Preparing for our first full-time adventure in a cabin without modern conveniences takes a lot of research. Our Sheds (called thus because that’s what they are, two sheds with raised roof to accommodate storage in loft and some adventurous sleep overs) were modular forms, put up on site in a two-day pouring rain. Construction and exterior painting in 2003; furnishing in 2004 with daily visits to check land clearing by Joe; final move-in date August 5, 2005.
I must note that our newly-found friends in the area are agast that we are experimenting with off-the-grid living. Many live in Manhattan and environs and have homes nearby. Why would anyone want to retro their lives? Do you suppose the fact that we're from Mississippi produces the assumption that we always live this way?
My advance research introduced me to a number of sites which sell products for emergency preparedness. Well, I call no toilet facilites an emergency, so I found what probably every camper or kyacker or canoeist already knows-- waste bags preloaded with Pooh-Powder™ a gel that catalyzes waste and decay and removes odor. We’ll use these bags until our compost toilet is installed in the bath house adjacent to the Sheds. Amazing, isn’t it, what’s going in the toilet world, as we make daily treks to our modern facilities? I almost bought for $19.95 the Inflate-a-Potty, something we could have used years ago on our trip West with kids.
We need a good noisemaker for fending off black bears, a commodity of the Catskill woods. We're told to make plenty of noise when they approach and not look at them directly. Perhaps the metal pan/spoon makes the best noise, but definitely not wearable, like a loud whistle. Neighbors with telephones keep each other posted of bear sightings; perhaps they can communicate with us via bullhorn. Neighbor Claudia says that we can’t snooze in our hammock outside, sleep with our doors open, or cook on a grill, without awareness of the approach of these furry animals. Remember those bobbing dolls we used to see on automobile dash boards? That's what we'll look like when you come to visit.
Ever heard of Buzz-Off clothing? Impregnated with natural flower essence to repel the gregarious no-see-ums and mosquitos. We're outfitted and ready to try them out. Beats those sweat boxes of shirts and hats with mosquito netting!