the time of salt

DSC_7475smDSC_7470smDSC_7468smDSC_7479smDSC_7480smDSC_7483smDSC_7487smDSC_7476smit’s pouring out now. the thickness and steadiness and heaviness of rain that you forget about through the hot still days of summer. the winter rains tell me why i should’ve tyvek’ed the outside of the shed. they remind me why covering the brush pile is necessary if i intended to use if for kindling all winter. they let me know why i need a woodshed and that a covered outdoor area needs not only a roof, but walls, because winter rains fall both down and sideways. winter rains say – a tarp over the outhouse area is no longer enough. winter rains make me want want want, and yet ask for nothing. winter rains feed hungry cedars, parched red by the vehemence of summer. winter rains clean summer dust off the shed roof and fill bucket after bucket with sparkling clean water.

my ass and knees got soaked by inadequate rain-pants as i completed the last few things needed on the shelter for the on-demand propane shower. so. i finally got the two D batteries i needed for the heater on my last trip over. i didn’t buy them before because i thought i’d need other things, like piping. turns out i had enough hose to do the job, so the batteries were the last thing necessary. i tried out the shower in the spot that i would’ve liked to have it, but nothing happened. most likely it was because there wasn’t enough water pressure, and as all i’ve got on my side is gravity, i hauled the bulk of it down the hill to the base of the cliff below the garden. then i tried again. and it worked!!! i was even skeptical i’d have enough pressure there because ideally you need 40 lbs for the tank to ignite, though it operates on as little as 20 lbs. for every foot of height you get about half the amount of pressure (.433 specifically). so for 20 lbs of pressure i would need 46 feet of head. there’s no way i have that from the top of the garden, it looks more like 35ft max to me. but i’m not complaining! it was REVOLUTIONARY when i took that first shower. i couldn’t believe how easy it was. and this was despite showering in a raging windstorm, in 10 degree weather, with no shelter, and the burner continuously going out from wind gusts. i was crouched on the forest floor, re-igniting it whenever it seemed the wind wasn’t too strong. so now that i’ve built a roof over it, and walls, i’ll be showering in style! i am SO excited about this, i don’t know that i can even convey it. now i can shower late at night after coming home from a dance, instead of climbing into bed sticky and clammy. now i don’t have to plan my dirty activities for shower days (like chainsawing. one thing i never realized about chainsawing until i spent hours doing it myself, is how much one reeks of exhaust fumes afterwards). it’s just so EASY to hit a switch and have hot water flow down onto you. and it is so necessary to have some things be easy when you live on an island off-the-grid and cut off from many amenities. the life we choose here is not an easy one. i am grateful for the things that can be.


so yeah. the windy season has come. as i said before, i get motion sick. the last ferry over it was blowing 27 knots. that was not fun, though it wasn’t the worst. i was feeling woozy with great urges to burp by the time i got here. then at dance on monday, we were practicing turns and i overdid it. i do know better. sigh. it was also super windy that day (surprise), and i am now feeling slightly claustrophobic being on the island. i think it is coming from the knowledge that i am going to have to go over again for work, and it won’t be up to me to choose the day. i won’t be able to avoid the winds. ideally i wouldn’t have to leave the island at all during the winter. but that would depend on having a job here. it’s weird feeling this way. the wind bothering me just because i know i will be at its mercy one day soon. i don’t like it.

i have been reading a book i picked up at random called the reconstruction, by claudia casper. at the beginning i wasn’t so sure about it, but lately it has been latently inspiring. like i said in the last post, there has been this nebulous inspiration around me this past while, and this book feeds it. i have a thing for ancient history. i find fascinating the evolution of planet earth and the various species that inhabit it. this book centres around a woman doing a reconstruction of “lucy”, the famous australopithecine skeleton. i love the tidbits she discusses, such as how it seems our teeth are an evolutionary flaw because they are so tight together they constantly have food stuck between them, and therefore are prone to decay. yes. why is that? and why are we the only species of human now? (or are we?;) there were so many different species co-existing all those millions of years ago. why was it weeded down to one? are there more coming?


i’ve been missing tofino/ucluelet/the wild west coast lately. it must be the change in the seasons. the grey seas, churning waves. the wetness out there. maybe funny since i am lamenting all the wind here. but there i am safe on shore, watching and knowing i don’t have to go out into it. the immensity of open ocean. standing and beholding. the feelings it brings up inside.

when you know for sure you have enough dry firewood, this is a really nice time of year.


i don’t have good enough internet here on the island to be able to post blog entries, therefore i am able to write them over the course of time i am here before i go back to the land of high speed. as such, i have now had three showers in my spectacular ghetto shower since first writing this. it feels impossible to express to you how giddy it makes me to have a shower in there. i can’t get over how HOT water just comes out of the shower-head when all i do is flick a switch! i am in love!!!

the other thing i am in love with is my truck!!! i have spent way too much of my life without a truck. my truck brings home objects from all over the place and deposits them right at my door! my favourite thing to come home with lately is mill scraps, i got a whole load of yellow cedar, and then this last trip was doug fir, some 16 foot long pieces! mill scraps made my first garden fence: an enclosure for a fig tree that hopefully survives the winter. and mill scraps are now building my outhouse! yay! tonight my truck also brought home a substantial 10×5 foot pallet that is to become my woodshed floor.


this community is so vibrant and connected and busy! now that i am settling in to life here (which is helped by not having had to go over for work three weeks in a row), there is so much to do all the time! twice weekly dance classes, knitting group, art day, workshops, i am joining a band (!) which meets twice a week, friends to visit, the weekly winter social night is starting up, and i was just told tonight that there is volleyball every tuesday! this is all on top of homesteading! when am i going to get this outhouse finished?! that was a whole lot of exclamation marks. and all to say, just how much i love it here. in this place where creativity is fostered and individuality expected and neighbours work together to get things done and everyone you see is someone you know and a whole island comes together to reach common goals. how thankful i am to be here. all the time.


*another fabulous post title brought to you by valeria. she made me aware that this is the time of year, now that all the woodstoves are firing up again, that people are harvesting ocean water to evaporate for salt. i love this life.

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