Camping Life on the Land

May was a beautiful month. A little cool, but rather dry and no mosquitos! Most of these posts will be showing our building progress so I thought I would do one on what our life looks like when we are here. 


Cool evenings usually lead to a fire, and when there is a fire there are smores. As the kids get older though I'm not sure which is the greater draw, starting the fire or eating a smore.


Our campsite adapts a bit more each time we are there. Having two tents set up has given us a bit more space, and the tarp stretched over our table has given us some shelter from the hot afternoon sun. 


One thing we are of course always fighting with kids is the dirt. So we have done a couple things to help.

This was the first set up of our shower. A camping style water heater that runs on propane, a water pump hooked up to a DC battery, which is charged by a solar panel. We have several 5 to 7 gallon tanks of water we bring each time with us. We usually use up a full 7 gallon tank on showers for all 6. These are quick showers, but being able to get clean while camping is wonderful. We also have an inverter hooked up to the battery so we can charge our phones. 


The second thing we did to try to keep things clean was spread wood chips all around the campsite. We rented a wood chipper one day and ran most of the branches from clearing for our house through it. Moving the wood chips was a family project, even our youngest enjoyed showing his stuff. This have decreased the amount of dust and mud getting tracked a lot.


Being on the land in the spring has been a wonderful time. There isn't much undergrowth so getting around is relatively easy. Seeing the leaves come out on the trees made the woods change daily. It evolved from an open wood of trunks and branches to a series of enclosed rooms where visibility past the next tree quickly disappeared and trees became walls. It is amazing how the leaves change our perception of distance in the woods. 


Because of the dry spring there was no flooding early, that came late this year, and we were able to explore lots of areas that are usually under water this time of year. 


The ferns did especially well this year. We were able to watch their growth, which was fun for the kids. They are beautiful when they are found in thick clumps in the woods. 


There is a lot of geometry to their form. 


And here is what happened to them in under a month of growth. And as you can see by the beginning of June maneuvering the woods begins to become a bit more difficult for the kids. Especially, when by the end of May we were beginning to experience more rain and the flood plain became a different landscape every time we hiked it. Right after heavy rains the flood plain is completely inaccessible, but a couple days later the water recedes to secondary routes it has carved through the ground, and usually within a week there are just a few pockets of water. This means of course we get to find a new route each time we walk the flood plain and it is amazing how much it changes. The river moves branches and piles them up in different spots, occassionally a tree whose roots have gotten too wet falls over. Nature is very active in this area. 


This is our dog Gunnar, he is 12 1/2 now. Starting to show his age, but he loves the walks through the woods with us and often follows the kids as well. More and more of his downtime is spent sleeping around the campsite. We hope he keeps holding on.


Here is a pocket of water trapped a few days after a big rain. June has been wet, so we have been spending more time on high ground and in the field. And we have been starting to make some progress on our work up there. I'll share that next.