Tuesday, March 13, 2012

The Cabin

We have now lived in our cabin for about a week and we are starting to get used to a different kind of lifestyle than we had before. And we are enjoying it :)! 

So we live about 50 km outside from Fairbanks in Two Rivers. The cabin is in Scott and Kerry’s property (133 ha) which is big area full of forest, fields and excellent trails. Scott and Kerry kindly offered us their cabin and now we live next to them, their two energetic daughters Evelyn and Juliana, 17 dogs, 2 cats, 8 goats and 4 baby goats, many chickens, a couple of roosters, a few ducks and a rabbit. And sometimes a boreal owl :)

Below you can read about our daily routines in the cabin.

The cabin itself
To summarize, we live without running water, electricity and inside toilet in a cabin that has two floors, 5 x 5 meters downstairs and 5 x 6 meters upstairs. 

In downstairs we have “entrance hall”, “kitchen”, “living room”, “bathroom” and “heating room”. Well, actually we have one room for everything, which means we have two tables, wood stove, cooking stove, boxes for dishes and food, water tanks, couple of chairs and a wing chair. In upstairs we have “bedroom”, “dressing room” and “panoramic room”, meaning we have a bed, drawer and big windows to see the sun and northern lights.                                

 Outside we have a terrace, place to cut fire wood and a toilet.

For heating the cabin we have a big wood stove. During weekends the first thing we do in the morning is lighting a fire in the stove and we keep a small fire going the whole day. During weekdays we heat the stove when we come back from work. Don’t worry; we don’t get too cold here, especially because the stove is made for using the produced heat efficiently by a catalyzer. 

And we are good at making fire wood (greetings to home :). 
The mornings can be a bit chilly since there are no wood embers left usually. But we have fleeces.

We cook with a gas stove, what took Piia some time to get used to. You don’t really know how hot the stove or the oven is, so you learn by mistakes. And you turn off the stove more than three times during cooking. Nevertheless, we have had warm meals every day, so no worries! 

We have pretty amazing set of kitchen equipment here provided by Scott and Kerry so no limitations from there. And we have already had good tips from Kerry how to make delicious dinners, not French fries or hamburgers, but vegetable stews and different kinds of homemade bread. 

And pancakes!! 

After eating we melt snow and warm the water on the wood stove and wash the dishes. We skip the rinsing and just dry the dishes with a towel. The dishes are stored in boxes to protect them from oil from the oil lamps. For storing food we have a cooler, that keeps food cool enough when you store a bottle full of ice in it. Last night we tried to put the cooler outside. In the morning the milk and eggs were frozen, so no pancakes for this morning! For actual freezing we can use Scott’s and Kerry’s freezer.

For providing light we have oil lamps, candles, head lamps and sometimes the fire from the wood stove. There’s no atmosphere like this. And during the day the big windows let in the light we need.

Our toilet is an outside dry toilet with a huge hole in a ground and three walls and no doors. Just nice forest landscape. Really good air conditioning I promise you!

We wash our face and teeth inside. For that and as well for drinking we use water from small water tanks that we go and fill every now and then in Fairbanks. You drive to the water filling station, use the machine to pay the water with your credit card or cash and fill the tanks like gasoline for cars. Handy!

For taking a shower we need to go a couple of miles to a laundry mat where you can wash your clothes and take a shower. That is the nearest shower, but we usually take showers in our work in the morning time. We adapted to this system pretty easily, and you realize you maybe don’t need to take shower so often after all. Well, after a long snowshoeing trip… Let’s just say it’s good and fair that the situation is the same for both of us :).

Here sorting your waste works well. Without sewer system we have to carry all the water we use outside but other than that sorting is simple. Burn what you can, give left-overs to chickens and carry other organic waste to a compost. Then sort plastic, glass and metal and take them to work where you can find boxes of sorted waste.
So people keep asking, why we want to live like this and so far from the center. Doesn’t the description above explain why? :D If not, at least the landscape pictures from the property should convince you! :)

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