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Monday, 31 July 2017

From Forest Land to Awesome Land! Our Cabin Adventure!

So. Back in March/April, we found a Kijiji ad for forest land off a river in Quebec.

Ontario land in our low-low price range was giving us no hits, even for land that required a few kms hike/atv/swim/boat ride into that neither realtors nor owners had seen.

Based on our location, however, we were still limited in our Quebec land search, and wanted it West of Kanata vs North of Ottawa (where there is a plethora of river/lake land...but that would mean driving through rush hour twice to get home, pick up pups and finish packing, thus stress to destress).

Somehow we found the unofficial land broker of Waltham, Quebec.

Where is Waltham say ye? North of Renfrew and kind of East of Pembroke. It lays upon the Black River (Riviere Noire), apparently known for its white water kayaking and canoeing. There are even two canoe/kayak outfitters down the road from us.

We had to take a chance and felt good after spending two long afternoons with our Waltham whisperer, trekking through the land once (in a couple feet of snow), climbing down the steep decline to the river, and going with our guts, hoping it wasn't sh$t land when the snow thawed.

I did see an Air B & B on our main road that had stairs built down to the river, and we even took a look down - knowing that it's possible to build easy water access would happen in time.

We were fortunate enough to have some help, and made the choice of purchasing two 3-acre lots for a total of 6 acres.

We knew there was a Right of Way Road through the land...but it was unclear where it was - but we were able to decipher the survey enough to know that the road wasn't hindering the majority of our land (which I feel are some of the best lots in our particular section minus the last lot, which is 24 acres with a walk down to the river and dead trees cleared by the old owner!).

Thankfully once the snow thawed, and the unprecedented floods went over the main road, Husband had enough of not seeing our land we paid for, and we rented a big arse truck (oh god, I was SO paranoid as I work in insurance!!) that was amazing and terrifying at the same time.

We drove THROUGH the back roads (not even the main road!) with GPS on the way there (for the most part), two or three weekends after we officially owned the land.

We drove through the side of Green Lake that actually overflowed several feet onto the Road only a week prior, and was still a foot deep when we drove it! We couldn't tell where the lake started and ended...and it was scary. I though we were going to float into the lake!

But we eventually made it up to our land.

I made a sign the week prior with our Camp/Cabin name. Cabin 0.1 And with every upgrade we do, we're increasing the numbers depending on the cost and type of upgrade. Quality of life gives it a full point, and little things add up based on cost.

We also made a sign with our last name on it - so people can find us. It's the friendly thing to do!

We started with our tent, a screen tent (thank god!), and one of those old people toilet things that looks like a walker, but with a toilet seat on it - for our temporary outhouse.

The "outhouse" sat behind a fallen pine tree until we got 1/2 an acre partially cleared, and the pine tree went away. he also dug our outhouse hole, which was a relief!

The other 1/2 acre will be cleared in the fall when rafting season slows down, along with taking out the trees in the acre, levelling the land, and towing our trailer to its permanent spot overlooking the river from a safe distance.

When Husband naps, I work my way through an area of trees from the perimeter of our already cleared and living areas further in. I clip down little trees in the area that is going to be cleared (less than 1.5" thick), clip all the dead branches off the standing trees that are dying, and drag trees, shrubbery, and branches to one of three fire pits to just burn. At this point, with so much dead brush to get rid of, there is no need for a branch pile.

We finished the shed a few weeks after we wanted to, and almost finished our outhouse this past weekend. It just needs a door and shingles.

We have had upgrades from the tent and outdoor bathroom experiences. Husband found a 35 foot trailer in awesome condition thanks to one of his co-workers at a great price - they towed that up mid June.

Oh not to be sleeping on the ground is amazing! My back can't take that, despite doing Yoga once or twice a day up there to help alleviate and prevent pain. Yoga actually works, which is awesome! I just saved a plethora of YouTube videos on my laptop, and thanks to the generator, am able to ensure the laptop stays on (minimal battery life after it's 8 year journey with me), and workout mats to do my workouts on in the screen tent.

We still need to fix the fridge (doesn't stay on without the generator on - the propane doesn't want to work, and the flame doesn't work now), and fix one window that broke while we were closing it from the outside.

But it has a separate bedroom with its own table, closed in bathroom, and the main living area - I really like the design and storage space!

The bathroom has been updated from behind the pine tree into a bucket (oh yeah!), to the tent we were sleeping in once the trailer arrived, and finally the outhouse.

Oh Outhouse, how I love thee!

Next...well I did plan on starting to build stairs at the beginning of June. It's now the last day of July, and no stairs built besides a test stair at the bottom. With bug season mainly over, and the main structures taken care of, we will plow through stairs, digging, and putting them literally in the earth ("L" shaped into the ground with Rebar to anchor them in, eventually filling the middles with gravel for even more durability).

Without stairs, it's a REALLY treacherous climb down. Yup - we climb down to the river (with our spa rock!) by holding onto a climbing rope tied around trees along the way down, hoping we don't slip, fall, and die.

It will happen - we just had priorities, missing parts to do the job right, and meh.

That's the short story.

We have met many amazing neighbours so far, enjoyed local fireworks on Canada Day (which brought out 50+ people on ATV's and trucks), fireworks across from our lot last weekend from some cabin renters, getting lost in the back roads without a GPS or Cellular connection for a few hours, read at least a book a weekend, seen the joy of the pups running and finding their "sunshine," and not thinking of the outside world until it's time to pack up (which took under an hour this weekend counting me hanging up pictures and doing other non-packing stuff in-between).

Oh, and we found what we have dubbed the Waltham Sandbanks. It's an amazing beach that comes and goes with the water levels, and is shallow enough for the pups to walk in.

And are looking forward to popping our "Waltham Float" cherries next weekend. Over 100 people were floating down the river past our lot this weekend (which we trudged away making the outhouse!) sounded like so much fun! And happens every weekend apparently! I can't wait!

There are more stories, more adventures...and if you'd told me a year ago I'd be going to the forest every weekend, towing shrubbery out of the forest, own two canoes, and would be just floating down the river on a unicorn...I'd say you're a bit crazy!

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