Posted by: highmountainmuse | February 10, 2009

In praise of dreaming, and musing on the outhouse

For as much as I am reminded by nature to remain in the present season, something deep inside us always gives us reason to dream. We are stirred to see what is not yet there, but what could be there with just a little effort, just a little time. I do not want to stop dreaming. It is this force which drives us to do our best work, give others the most of ourselves, and build something beautiful where before there was nothing.

The Little Cabin by the Big River in the snow storm

The Little Cabin by the Big River in the snow storm

Yesterday as the snow poured down, we walked down the new road to visit our Little Cabin by the Big River.  Just to be there, in the softness of the storm.  To sit there, to feel the shared solitude, to here the complete silence as the Big River remains tightly tucked under its deep blanket of snow. And once there, we began to envision it as our new home will be:  the wood stove will go here, the kitchen table there, some shelves here, lets build in our bunk beds there…

 

And outside in the big wide white world that surrounds that little cabin, we had to continue our dreaming:  the chicken coop will be here, the yard fence there, the foaling shed here, tack shed there, hay barn over there…

The view from the window of the Little Cabin by the Big River

The view from the window of the Little Cabin by the Big River

It is a thrill for us to build from scratch.  It is just work and time, and I suppose some money for whatever materials we need to purchase above and beyond what we can use from our junk/recycled materials piles.  But it is a creation; building a homestead is a work of art.  And you talk about the clean slate, the blank sheet of paper – that is what we feel we have down by the Little Cabin. With the ground about it solid white, it reminds us even more so of the endless possibilities we can create there.  All we have to do is dream…

 

Now, yes, we could be having big dreams. But it’s us talking here. So we’re dreaming about things small, simple, frugal, green, safe, cozy, warm…

 

And then we began to think about the outhouse!  And the dreaming really was set free  First, where should it be?  Why, of course there by the bluff so you can leave the door open and have a magnificent view of down the canyon.  But the dreaming did not stop there, it only started, as we discussed an outhouse I once built when Forrest was a baby (my brother helped me dig the pit through the caliche – I bet he will never forget).  It was back in New Mexico, so again, we had sunshine, and I was going to use that sunshine! I designed the outhouse to be just a little large, and instead of “second hole,” I left a bench, above which I could hang my solar shower bag.  The roof was southern sloping, and made of clear corrugated roofing, so the outhouse would be warm, and the solar shower bag would be hot at the end of every day.

 

We discussed this concept, and the dreaming took off from there.  Well, the water from the solar showers could/should be used to grow herbs.  If you built a plank floor with plastic under it, sloped down towards a trough, this could water the herbs in front.  Nothing would be wasted. And with all this solar gain and protected natural heat, wouldn’t it be a good place to start plants? So shouldn’t we build in shelves for flats?  And what about humanure? Perhaps we don’t need to go there… As you can see, our dreams are simple, but we sure have fun with them. 

 

Under all this snow, and from the looks of the storm that is still lingering, it looks like we have another foot to add to the collection. It will be at least two more months before we see dirt down by the Little Cabin, and three at the soonest before there is any unfrozen and dry ground on which to build.  But in the meanwhile, we can dream.  And we do.

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Responses

  1. WHEN I WAS YOUNG MY GRANDPARENTS HAD A OUT HOUSE IN TOWN . THEY LIVED ONE BLOCK OVER FROM THE MAIN STREET . WHEN WE MOVED ONTO THE RANCH OUT HOUSE BECAME A WHOLE NEW EXPERENCE . IT TOWN IT WASNT BAD IT WAS IN THE LOW LANDS . BUT ON THE RANCH IT WAS DIFFERENT .WE WERE IN THE MOUTAINS . IN THE WINTER WITH A FOOT OR MORE OF SNOW ON THE GROUND YOU LEARNED TO BE FAST . NO OLYMPIC RUNNER COULD KEEP UP WITH US . THE ONLY THING I COULD NOT FIGURE OUT WAS WHY A TWO HOLER . I NEVER HEARED OFF TWO PEOPLE AT ONCE . I GUESS THE SECOND SIDE WAS FOR A REAK EMERGECY
    I LOOK FORWARD TO YOUR LINE EVERYDAY. IT REMINDS ME OF THE OLD DAYS WHEN LIFE WAS SIMPLER

  2. Thanks for stopping by my blog, and for the book recommendation. I have the library trying to get it through interlibrary loan so I can take a peek at it before I buy it.

    I am dreaming too…it is funny how we dream so much in the winter, but we never dream of snow in the summer. At least I don’t lol.

    I am really enjoying your blog, and will be adding it my list of favorites.

  3. Don, your comments mean a tremendous amount to me, thank you. And I love your stories. Your accounts of your childhood outhouse got me going on another one here, from back in New Mexico, where Forrest first became “outhouse” trained at age two. It’s a big whole when you are that little…

  4. Forrest and Bob do (dream of snow in the summer). They are odd!
    I sure don’t either.

  5. I don’t understand why you have to start living in the Little Cabin.

  6. Yikes, long story! In a nutshell, my husbands family are all fighting and splitting up the family ranch – land they all just inherited, but my husband has been here working for his entire adult life. It’s a mess we got stuck in the middle of, and it stinks, and you just got to step away from family some times when they are not the loving, supporting type. And many families are not! The whole thing got us in debt and we just can’t afford to continue as we were, but so it is. It’s just money! So, we’re trying to sell the guest ranch business and property, and keep the lower 17 acres, and try to homestead there. We will probably by farm land elsewhere as well, hay ground so we can put up our own hay for our horses and cows and sell the rest; then over-winter our horses and cattle down there. We’re going to build another home – we’ll be very good at log cabin construction before I settle down for good! It’s actually quite fun. Good hard work, good clean fun. Bottom line is, life throws you funny punches, but you learn to duck and sway, and before you know it… you are dancing through life! We got to enjoy it all as much as we can, and do the best job with what we have. And I still feel we have so much!

  7. Oh, a family thing. Things can get very unfair and unreasonable when it comes to possessions, land and money. My mom’s family was split following the death of her mom and didn’t heal for almost eight years.

    I admire your spirit to go forward and let go.

  8. It is unfortunate but true how many families have fought amongst each other. In a way, if this makes sense, it has helped for my husband to hear what others have also gone through. He knows he is not the only one!


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