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The AikiHomestead

Our Lifestyle Blog as We Create a Homestead in Northern Ontario


Finishing The Courduroy Driveway - Doing Laundry In An Odjob

Kenny picking boulders off the drivewayRoboKenny extending a friendly handshakeToday started out typically for us – porridge breakfast, that amazingly, Kenny turned down! We mixed up some milk for him, and he dove into his Corn Pops cereal for a change. I headed off to try out the outhouse for the first time, and it worked great! There are still some finishing touches to do, but in the meantime, it is now functional.

I worked on the finishing touches for the morning, and around ten decided to call my driveway guy, as he hadn’t arrived yet. Of course there was no answer, and moments later he arrived with an extra driver in tow.

Twenty-one loads of gravel. And I suppose I should also take into account the three loads that I pushed around (over the course of three weeks…) But we have a driveway! She’s pretty rough in places. I have to make a point of walking to the road once or twice a day, taking the time to pick stones and maybe rake places smooth, but I hope over time she’ll grow more and more easy on the suspension.

After finishing up, I asked him if he wanted to look over the spot we had been thinking of as a possible dug well site.

He was gracious enough to humour me, and came along to look. It was a valuable experience! He looked over the lay of the land, and pronounced our location to be sub-par. He looked around a little more, and I pointed out the location of the original well, which he felt was a much more promising locale. This doesn’t really change our plans as far as a cabin location, but it definitely helps us to revise our thoughts on wells and grey-water.

I was also pleased with his estimate on costing for the well. Even accounting for the fact that his guess for how much gravel the road would require was fairly inaccurate, I figure we can still afford to have a well. That’s a nice thought!

Kenny, typical of all little boys, and taking a page from my childhood (uninfluenced I may add), has been finding great pleasure in converting boxes and odds and ends into machines, especially robots! His favourite has been a club soda box that he has cut a slot for eyes in. As soon as it is on his head, he becomes his alter-ego – “Robo-Kenny”. Complete with a robot voice, and very stilted movements. Yesterday he also added a Breton cracker box for a “Robo-arm”. Robo-Kenny came down to watch the work on the driveway too, although he wasn’t around when it was time for a robot that could pick rocks.
RoboKenny meeting a RoboDinosaur
That was okay – in spite of the roughness of the road, I still drove up it with the truck and car!

Before supper, after an inordinately long thought process, I was able to put up a clothes line. I’ve been itching to attain laundry independence, if at all possible. It was a bit of a slog through some swampy stuff (actually, where we thought the well would go!), then up a sticky tree, with clouds of blackflies swarming all around.

I did get up the pulleys though, and was pretty pleased with the result. I had to trim down some alder shrubs, and cut off one sapling, but otherwise, I didn’t have to slash through too much bush to have a clear path for clothes to hang.

Another great supper – this time a can of bottan soup (nod to my Garstin clan), mixed with a potato soup I had made and canned last year, and served up with lots of butter and pumpernickel bread. Donna is really coming through with good, nourishing meals in a difficult circumstance.

After supper, Mama went to the in-laws for a well-earned shower. This was my chance to try another experiment.
Odjob is good for small concrete jobs, not so much for laundry
I had purchased an
Odjob bucket) (amazon affiliate link)not that long ago, and tonight was the night to put my plan into action. I dumped in a load of dirty clothes, some Borax and detergent, and two kettles of boiling water. I topped it up with cold water, put on the lid, and started rolling!

After a few rolls, I went back inside (was driven back by bugs, truth be told) and washed the dishes. After dishes, I went back outside and did a few more rolls, then back inside, where Kenny and I straightened up the felt on the yurts and vacuumed a bit. Then outside where I transferred the clothes to a rubbermaid tub and topped them off with some cold water. I swished them a few times as a rinse, and dumped out the Odjob. I refilled the Odjob with clean water, and put the clothes BACK into it for a final swishy rinse. After that, it was onto the line with them!

Now, all that remains is to see how long it takes hand-wrung clothes to dry on a line. Maybe a wringer is in our future, although I’m not sure where to source one, antique stores notwithstanding.

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