Tucked away deep in the woods at the southern edge of the Tug Hill region of New York. Dragonwood is our off-grid sanctuary. Six acres of pond and gardens bordered by forest on three sides.
The project began in 1995, when after a long search, Debe and I purchased the property from a local logger. To date we have built a cabin, a bridge, out house, two sheds in addition to expansive gardens and stone work. We have a generator, propane lights, refrigerator and grill, a wood stove and modest solar system. A dug well and small stream suitable for watering gardens and other needs and a nearby spring for drinking water.
The Dragonwood Chronicles will serve to document the project with photographs and notes. Future projects will include additions to the cabin, a root cellar and a studio building.
Comments and questions are always welcome.
We enjoy hearing from people who visit Dragonwood Chronicles. Please feel free to leave a comment or ask questions.
As long as I'm posting about favorite movies, here's one of my all time favorites.
Libertarian biker types in New Mexico...hmmmmm. I'm picking up on a trend here.
Easy Rider 1969
Wyatt and Billy are two motorcycle riders (bikers) on their way to Mardis Gras, and encounter hitchhikers, a drunken lawyer, a jail cell, a whorehouse and the death of a friend. Written by Aaron Horne
Two young "hippie" bikers, Wyatt and Billy sell some dope in Southern California, stash their money away in their gas-tank and set off for a trip across America, on their own personal odyssey looking for a way to lead their lives. On the journey they encounter bigotry and hatred from small-town communities who despise and fear their non-conformism. However Wyatt and Billy also discover people attempting 'alternative lifestyles' who are resisting this narrow-mindedness, there is always a question mark over the future survival of these drop-out groups. The gentle hippie community who thank God for 'a place to stand' are living their own unreal dream. The rancher they encounter and his Mexican wife are hard-pushed to make ends meet. Even LSD turns sour when the trip is a bad one. Death comes to seem the only freedom. When they arrive at a diner in a small town, they are insulted by the local rednecks as weirdo degenerates. They are arrested on some minor pretext by the local sheriff and thrown in jail where they meet George Hanson, a liberal alcoholic lawyer. He gets them out and decides to join them on their trip to New Orleans in time for Mardi Gras.
OK, so I'm not a film critic and this is a little out of the norm for this site, but............. A movie about a family living off the grid? They just don't make'em like this.
Set in the stunning landscape of rural New Mexico near Taos, this movie is worth a look just for the visuals. Art, sustainable living and great acting make this movie a real gem for folks with these interests.
Movie Overview - Holedigger Studios
It's 1974 and the harshly beautiful wilds of Taos are home to 11-year-old Bo Groden (Valentina de Angelis) and her free-thinking family. While constantly yearning for escape from her sparse environment, Bo passes the time with flair and imagination. She's a crack shot with a rifle and a bow and arrow, an artful plunderer of wallets and briefcases, and the compelling mistress of ceremonies for a moonlit three-ring circus of her own invention. Bo's home is an entrancing, challenging place that she will one day transcend to become the woman she was destined to be. Arlene (Joan Allen), Bo's warm, earthy, and eccentric mother, raises most of the family's food in her vegetable garden -- which she prefers to tend in the nude. Meanwhile, Bo's father, Charley (Sam Elliott), the embodiment of Old West masculinity, is losing the battle with his inner demons. When William Gibbs (Jim True-Frost) arrives, a hapless IRS agent with demons of his own, he soon proves to be a catalyst in the lives of the family during this watershed summer. Embraced by the Grodens' idyllic, peculiar world, Gibbs eventually abandons an investigation into the Groden's tax history and realizes he has fallen in love with both the place and its people. In a surge of creative energy, Gibbs dips a brush in paint and pours his feelings out on canvas, discovering a long hidden talent for artistic expression. The Grodens, too, make their own discoveries over the course of this memorable season -- the mysteries of love and loss, the power of family unity, and the eternal truth that in New Mexico, the Land of Enchantment, anything is possible.
New York State Is So Broke It Steals From Itself To Pay Off Unapproved Debt Submitted by Tyler Durden on 10/29/2009 15:50 -0500
The surrealities of a "healthy" economy never end. The latest indication of the new banrkupt normal is New York State itself. A new report by NY state comptroller Thomas DiNapoli entitled "Highway Robbery: State's ailing road and bridges robbed; State siphoned money to pay for operations and debt service" tells you all you need to know about just how prosperous the ailing economy really is. According to DiNapoli, "only one-third of the money in the Highway and Bridge Trust Fund has actually been used to pay for highways and bridges. The rest has been siphoned off to pay for debt service on back-door borrowing and to fund operational costs for the DMV and the state Department of Transportation." Is that lack of stolen pocket change Mr. DiNapoli can believe in? Apparently not - Mr. DiNapoli's words: "I think outrage and anger is certainly appropriate; we need to channel that into thoughtful public policy." Yet anger is so September 2008. Welcome to the Xanax highs of the new credit bubble.
“This money should be going toward keeping our roads and bridges safe, not to fund state agency operations. The bridge closing in Crown Point is just one more example of why this is so important. If this trend continues, the state will have to transfer nearly $4 billion into the Trust Fund over the next five years. Using this dedicated capital money to pay for operations and debt service is just one more gimmick on the list of New York’s bad fiscal choices.”
Should one cry or laugh here? New York State is stealing from itself, and its own comptroller is bitching against this practice, seemingly powerless to do anything to prevent it in the first place. Perhaps the state's transportation trust fund should put all its stimulus money in CIT stock or whatever the HFT megavol stock de jour is and hope and pray. These days the market has odds that are just a little better than Craps (although the likelihood of being comped by your broker when the ponzi market loses all your money, are still slim to none).
Just back from a tour in Iraq with the US Army Reserve, activist Jon Alvarez is hosting a new local talk show at noon on WFBL 1390 on your AM dial. I encourage everyone in the Central New York area to check out Jon's new show! Topics will include pretty much anything and everything from local to National and even International issues. Jon's show airs daily from noon to 1:00pm.
UPDATE - JON'S RADIO SHOW IS NO LONGER ON THE AIR.
We are disappointed to see Jon go, but he has real estate to sell and his farm will take up whatever time and energy he has left.
Libertarian Gary Nolan is on 105.9 FM from 4-7pm, Monday thru Friday. Sad to lose Jon but Gary has a great program for us liberty minded folks. I encourage everyone to check it out!
HUGE RECESSION SALE! This downturn in the economy has really put a pinch on our business. In order to try to get things going we are marking down all prints 50% - 75% and are willing to negotiate on our originals. Take advantage of this opportunity to buy that painting you have been wanting or get a jump on your Christmas shopping! http://www.abbottsstudio.com/
Abbott's Studio, 624 So. Main St., Central Square, NY 13036 315-668-9459 HoursMon - Fri 10 -6 and Saturday 10 -3 or by appointment.
We all hear the phrase, "Reduce, Reuse and Recycle", and I think most of us try to put this principle into practice to some degree. We definitely are trying to practice what we preach at Dragonwood.
Gleaning, scrounging, dumpster diving is an art form for us. You would be amazed at the things we have picked up over the years. Our cabin is built largely from "recycled" or "salvaged materials. My son and I picked up two mini van loads of red cedar shakes from a building being razed back in 90's. These shakes are very expensive to purchase and last a long, long time. They now are on our cabin. We also used doors and windows picked up on the side of the road.
Palettes picked up for free have made great compost bins. We have developed a nice system that is easy and free. These bins are ideal, the cost is right and they are easily expandable should your needs grow. I expect at some point I will take photos and post a quick piece on here about these easy to build compost bins.
Pictured above is our most recent find. A house burned in our village and before rebuilding, the contractor completely gutted the building to include the old brick chimneys.
Old bricks used to be easy to come by, but as demand has grown they have become hard to come by and actually cost more to purchase than new bricks.
This particular contractor apparently had no use for them or didn't want to bother. He was about to put them in a dumpster and have them hauled off to the landfill. Given that he has to pay by the ton to get rid of the construction/demolition debris he was all too happy to let us take them away.
So far we have filled our truck three times and I estimate there are two to three more loads. Many are broken but a lot of them are whole. We are taking even the rubble as we intend to put that down as hard fill where my son is putting in his driveway.
Nothing goes to waste! Finds like this are out there, you just have to keep your eyes open and not be afraid to ask. You will get turned down sometimes but the times you get a yes make it worth the trouble.
Seems like I just posted a little piece on here about planting garlic, but another year has passed already. Mid October is about the right time to plant garlic in this part of the world, (central New York state) and this past Sunday we set in 106 cloves of six different varieties.
Last year (2008) we only planted one variety. We waited a little too late and ended up buying our seed garlic from a nice old guy at the regional market. He didn't know for sure what variety he had, but it looked good so we went with it. It was a white hard neck variety that for lack of certainty we called it a New York White Hard Neck. After harvesting this past summer we have determined that it is most likely Music, a fairly common, easy to grow hard neck.
We have been growing garlic for well over a decade now and normally grow several varieties. Last year was an off year for us, procrastination I guess.
In the early years of our garlic cultivating we purchased our seed garlic from a garlic farm in Fulton, New York. This place was great! They grew dozens of varieties and were very helpful. We even took a garlic growing seminar there. Sadly they are no longer in business.
This year not wanting to wait too late and fall back into a repeat of last year we (Debe) got right after it and found a good source *on-line and ordered our seed garlic well enough in advance so as to be ready at planting time.
We have planted nearly double what we set in last year and will plant a couple dozen more before we are done. You can never have too much garlic.
Pictured above, Debe is setting in cloves into one of our raised beds. We have the varieties sectioned off and labeled with our signs for easy identification at harvest time.
*Buying seed garlic on-line: A quick search will bring up many sources of seed garlic. Be sure to locate one near you or at least one that shares your climate as much as possible. California may grow wonderful garlic but those varieties may not fare as well in New York for example.
Watch money. Money is the barometer of a society’s virtue. When you see that trading is done, not by consent, but by compulsion–when you see that in order to produce, you need to obtain permission from men who produce nothing–when you see that money is flowing to those who deal, not in goods, but in favors–when you see that men get richer by graft and by pull than by work, and your laws don’t protect you against them, but protect them against you–when you see corruption being rewarded and honesty becoming a self-sacrifice–you may know that your society is doomed. Money is so noble a medium that is does not compete with guns and it does not make terms with brutality. It will not permit a country to survive as half-property, half-loot.”– Ayn Rand
Yurts have always intriqued me ever since I first learned of them back in the early 1970's. You see there was this hippy fellow who erected this round insulated tent thingy and he actually lived in it year round. Even through Vermont's cold and snowy winters. In fact he actually lived in that Yurt for the better part of a decade.
I later helped erect several Yurts at the Salmon Hills Cross Country Ski Center in New York's Tug Hill. The Tug Hill gets more snow each winter than any place east of the Rockies. The lake effect snow off the eastern edge of Lake Ontario averages around 300" annually. How can anyone live comfortable in a tent in that kind of weather? How can a tent withstand that kind of snowfall?
Trust me you can and they do.
The first thing most people have to overcome is, that although Yurts have some things in common with tents they are not tents, far from it. They are structurally very strong. They can be insulted, heated, plumbed, wired etc.. They can be made very cozy in even the most extreme weather.
My son Kevin II or K2 as we call him is now planning to put one up on Dragonwood next summer. I will document his progress on the project here and explain the wonders of the Yurt as we go.
Owning rural property is a lot of work if you want to take care of it and keep it nice. Even suburban property owners know the amount of work it takes to keep lawns and gardens looking good.
Dragonwood is essentially a woodlot with a pond and a one acre clearing. It is a constant battle to keep the forest from trying to reclaim the clearing. Small trees and brush have to be cut back from the edge of the clearing and from around the pond every year.
We pile the brush in the clearing and burn it when conditions are safe and the risk of the fire getting out of control are minimal. Here in the northeast we are essentially in a northern rain forest so growth is fast, but most years we have adequate rainfall to make burning safe.
Larger trees, anything about 2 inches in diameter or bigger are cut up for firewood. Junk species (Poplar, Hemlock, etc) we use for campfires, but the hardwoods (Maple, Black Cherry and Beech) are saved for the wood stove.
Each weekend I try to bring some wood home for heating during the winter. Today I have two spindly standing dead Black Cherry trees. These trees have no value as timber but will make excellent firewood. They are a good 40 feet tall but not very big around or straight. Disease or shade out killed them and they have now dried completely out and await the chain saw. I love these finds as the wood needs no drying time and clearing them is all part of good wood lot management. Free heat is a beautiful thing!
The Second Vermont Republic is a nonviolent citizens' network and think tank opposed to the tyranny of Corporate America and the U.S. government, and committed to the return of Vermont to its status as an independent republic and more broadly to the dissolution of the Union. Members of the Second Vermont Republic subscribe to the following set of principles:
1.Political Independence. Our primary objectives are political independence for Vermont and the peaceful dissolution of the Union. 2.Human Scale. We believe life should be lived on a human scale. Small is still beautiful. 3.Sustainability. We celebrate and support Vermont's small, clean, green, sustainable, socially responsible towns, farms, businesses, schools, and churches. We encourage family-owned farms and businesses to produce innovative, premium-quality, healthy products. We also believe that energy independence is an essential goal towards which to strive. 4.Economic Solidarity. We encourage Vermonters to buy locally produced products from small local merchants rather than purchase from giant, out-of-state megastores. We support trade with nearby states and provinces. 5.Power Sharing. Vermont's strong democratic tradition is grounded in its town meetings . We favor devolution of political power from the state back to local communities, making the governing structure for towns, schools, hospitals, and social services much like that of Switzerland. Shared power also underlies our approach to international relations. 6.Equal Opportunity. We support equal access for all Vermont citizens to quality education, health care, housing, and employment. 7.Tension Reduction. Consistent with Vermont's long tradition of "live and let live" and nonviolence, we do not condone state-sponsored violence inflicted either by the military or law enforcement officials. We support a voluntary citizens' brigade to reduce tension and restore order in the event of civil unrest and to provide assistance when natural disasters occur. We are opposed to any form of military conscription. Tension reduction is the bedrock principle on which all international conflicts are to be resolved. 8.Mutuality. Both our citizens and our neighbors should be treated with mutual respect.
To learn more click on the Second Vermont Republic Flag in the side bar.
Well we finally took the plunge and I don't know why we waited so long. This 45 Watt system is basically a solar battery charger. I had to purchase a 12 Volt deep cycle battery to go with the system. Basically a marine or RV battery. This system came with a regulator and two DC 5 Watt compact fluorescent light fixtures.
One of the biggest challenges of being off the grid is lighting. As soon as the sun goes down things become difficult especially if it is overcast and no moonlight. We have used propane lanterns, tiki torches and rechargeable lights as well as oil lamps.
I was somewhat skeptical, but I have to tell you it works great. This system is an inexpensive set up made for campers or a remote cabin like ours and clearly has limitations. We will eventually have to purchase an inverter if we wish to operate AC appliances, but for now I am just happy to have the lighting.
As an experiment I ran both lights all night long, which normally I wouldn't do. The two lights only drew down the battery to 12.3 from 12.8 on the regulator.
The solar panels connected brought the battery back to a 13 on the regulator in just a little over a half hour. I am impressed.
Last week we harvested the garlic planted last fall. The tops of the plants began to turn yellow and brown and dry out. This is a signal that the plants are done and it's time to pull the plants and let them dry out. Leaving them in the ground too long invites rotting or fungus especially in a wet year like this has been.
Once the plants are pulled we bundle them together in bunches of 8-10 bulbs and hang them in a dry place out of direct sunlight. They will hang for about two weeks roughly and then they will be brushed off and trimmed.
Washing the bulbs is not recommended. In the interest of a long shelf life they need to dry. Just brush off any dirt. You will peel them anyway before using.
This year we harvested around 50 bulbs of New York White, a hard neck variety. Most years we grow several varieties. This fall we plan to plant three to four varieties and closer to 100 seeds.
We have several garden areas with Lavender that normally does quite well. This year it seems to be having an off year. Perhaps it's all the rain we have had or maybe it's just time to ammend the soil.
All of our gardens are essentially raised beds as we must add top soil, humus, compost and mulch on top of the hard pan. Some of the beds are defined by stone or wood but most are just mounded on top of the ground.
Last fall we posted an article about growing garlic. We planted in the fall a couple of weeks before any danger of the ground freezing.
I stated at that time, that the garlic would come up in the spring and then we fertilize with fish emulsion fertilizer a couple of times. As the plants grow they send out "scapes" toward the end of June or early July. These will flower if not cut off, and thus reduce the size of the bulbs at harvest time. The "scapes" will loop back onto themselves before flowering. This is when you cut them off.
Here is a photograph to illustrate.
By the end of July or early August it will be time to harvest. I'll post on that when the time comes.
"You cannot legislate the poor into freedom by legislating the wealthy out of freedom. What one person receives without working for, another person must work for without receiving. The government cannot give to anybody anything that the government does not first take from somebody else. When half of the people get the idea that they do not have to work because the other half is going to take care of them, and when the other half gets the idea that it does no good to work because somebody else is going to get what they work for, that my dear friend, is about the end of any nation. You cannot multiply wealth by dividing it." ~~~~ Dr. Adrian Rogers, 1931
"There will never be a free and enlightened State until the State comes to recognize the individual as a higher and independent power, from which all its own power and authority are derived, and treats him accordingly."
--Henry David Thoreau, "On the Duty of Civil Disobedience" (1849)
Photo from the Tax Day Tea Party, Federal Building, Syracuse, NY April 15, 2009.
I will be joining the Central New York Patriots on a bus trip to Albany to protest high taxes and our disfunctional state government. The June 16 protest is a follow on to the April 15 Tax Day Tea Parties and should draw thousands of New Yorkers from around the state who are fed up with out of control spending and ridiculous taxes.
AUSTIN, TEXAS - May 26, 2009 - Three highly-regarded national polls have confirmed a growing Libertarian trend in U.S. politics. The Pew Research Center, the Washington Post with ABC News, and Rasmussen Reports have published their findings on American political attitudes in 2009.
"Across the board, these polls tell us that most Americans believe in the free market economy, are skeptical of big government, and take a moral stand against government intolerance and bigotry," said Patrick Dixon, chair of the Libertarian Party of Texas. "This is the essence of Libertarian thought, and we welcome the results of these national polls."
The Pew Research Center published its annual report on political values and trends last week entitled Independents Take Center Stage in Obama Era. This report concludes that "the proportion of independents now equals its highest level in 70 years" and that these independents are more likey to be economically conservative and socially tolerant.
The Washington Post/ABC poll released in April shows yet again that 5% of Americans identify with a party other than Republican or Democrat. Despite the personal popularity of President Obama, this same poll indicates that 87% of Americans are concerned by the growing federal deficit, and 53% were not confident in the government's ability to cut wasteful spending in the President's economic recovery package.
A Rasmussen Reports poll released on May 11 asked 1,007 adults "which of the following will be the biggest threat to the country in the future -"big business", big labor or "big government?" Fifty-nine percent (59%) of politically independent Americans viewed "big government" as the greatest threat, virtually unchanged from the 60 percent measured the last time the question was asked in 2006 - before the financial crisis and election of Barack Obama.
"Despite the two-party and two-philosophy slant in these polls, Libertarian trendlines are emerging," notes LPT Executive Director Robert Butler. "I look forward to the day when these organizations acknowledge us for who we are: a truly distinct philosophy, and not a mish-mash of the Republicans and Democrats. There has never been a better time to be a Libertarian."
Hopefully you have heard of HR 875 "The Food Safety Modernization Act of 2009" and have joined the fight against this sweeping piece of legislation that will forever change farming and gardening as we know it.
Ever wonder how "Pork Barrel" spending gets approved? Most often it is tacked on to an otherwise decent bill. Buried somewhere at the end of lengthy legislation and either goes unnoticed until after it has passed or in many cases is accepted as just part of the price of doing business in Washington.
Who doesn't want a safer food supply? We have all heard about the peanut scare and other food safety concerns of late, so it stands to reason that most Americans will simply assume this is a good bill without any knowledge of what is in it. Members of Congress seldom ever read entirely through every bill they vote on. The bills are lengthy on purpose so it is too time consuming for every one to be read and dissected. Most in Congress rely on staffers to skim bills and then get briefed and weigh opinion voiced by constituents and peers to determine how they vote
HR 875 is currently in committee and is moving along "under the radar" of the media and therefore most Americans are unaware of the broad implications of this bill.
HR 875 is driven by lobbyists from "Agri Biz" giants ADM, Cargill, Monsanto and others. The bill was introduced by Rosa L. Delauro (D- CT) whose husband Stan Greenberg's firm has Monsanto as a client and who has recieved over $180,000 in campaign contributions from "Agri Biz" political action committees (PACS).
In a nut shell, this bill will change agricultural laws and regulation to the point that small farms, organic growers, farmers markets and road side stands will be all but put out of business. Open pollination seeds will no longer be legal and food grown in your own back yard for your own consumption would actually violate some provisions of this legislation.
DO NOT TAKE MY WORD FOR IT! LOOK IT UP YOURSELF. GOOGLE HR875 AND READ THE BILL YOURSELF.
Here are a few shots I took a week or two back. Anyone who may have read the post on planting garlic last fall here is a shot of the plants this spring. They are doing well and we have applied some fish emulsion fertilizer. The Rhubarb is also looking good. Deb dicourages any mowing until the forget-me-nots have gone to seed ensuring an ever more plentiful bloom every year.
Ok I know some of you have noticed more politics on here all of a sudden. Hey I have to go where my passion takes me. I guess that's the artist in me.
Anyway I'll be posting some planting pictures soon. The garlic we planted last fall is doing marvelous and the rhubarb is up. My blueberry bushes are not doing well and we will have to address that. Also on my to do list is a new bed for the asparagus. I have a raised bed idea that I intend to make mole proof. I had a real decent asparagus bed going but each year the moles end up eating more and more of the roots. I have tried several things but to no avail. I have a plan - stay tuned.
Anyway back to the politics. I am now actively working for the Libertarian party and the Campaign for Liberty. One of our current initiatives is to generate support for House Resolution 1207. HR 1207 is legislation introduced by Congressman Ron Paul to Audit the Federal Reserve. As of today there are now 143 bi-partisan co-sponsors. I urge everyone to write, call or e-mail their representatives and urge them to support HR 1207.
I could go into some detail here but for more information I suggest you vist ronpaul.com or just google HR1207 and a ton of information will come up.
To be honest at the out set I was doubtful that this thing would get anywhere. Now with almost one third of the house already signed on this thing actually has a chance. We need to really push now and if we can get it through the house it's on to the Senate where the effort begins anew. In fact many of us are already contacting our Senators to lay the ground work.
The Obama administration promised transparency. Let's see if they meant it!
We will attend the April 15 tax day Tea Party at Clinton Square in front of the Federal Building in Syracuse. The Tea Party is scheduled to take place from 11:30 - 1:30. Join Us! Stand up and be counted! NO MORE TAXES! NO MORE BAILOUTS!
These events are non-partisan. The conservative talk show hosts may be promoting them but citizens of all potical persuasions are welcome. If you care about our country and are tired of your taxes going up while spending by the politicians spirals out of control - Speak Out! We need to make a bold statement - numbers matter! It is our civic responsibility to voice our concerns!
To learn about a Tea Party in your area, visit - http://www.912project.com/
As I build this blog I'm getting a lot of readers asking where we are located. We are located in the Tug Hill region of New York State, USA. The Tug Hill region is famous for it's Lake effect snow as we lie directly east of Lake Ontario.
Dragonwood is at the southern edge of the Tug Hill region. Most locals wouldn't even consider it Tug Hill, but technically it falls into that region. The Tug Hill is a large very rural area between Lake Ontario and the Adirondack Mountains.
I have posted a couple of maps to help illustrate.
It's funny how many people around the country hear New York and immediately conjure up pictures of New York City. Well I gotta tell ya. This ain't New York City. This is about as rural as it gets.
I was born and raised in the mountains of Vermont and have lived in North Carolina and California with stops in Alaska and other places thanks to the U.S. Army. The Tug Hill is certainly not as vast an area as some, but trust me it's rural and with an annual snow fall that averages between 200" - 300" it's going to stay that way.
The upside to all the snow fall is there is no shortage of good water.
Cross country skiing, snowmobiling and ice fishing reign supreme as winter activities. When summer comes we have excellent fishing in our rivers and lakes and of course boating and pretty much anything else one might enjoy out doors.
Every year about this time we have to think about how much snow weight we have on the roofs of our buildings. It can really add up and sadly we lose a few more old barns every year. Porch roofs, garages, and out buildings often collapse under the weight of the accumulated lake effect snow. Sometimes even houses and commercial buildings come down and mobile homes seem to be especially vulnerable.
The cabin at Dragonwood is one that I make sure we shovel at least once every year about mid-winter. The weatherman is calling for a warm up and the chance for rain. Although I have seen deeper snow on the cabin roof, if it rains, we would be flirting with disaster. The cabin is over built in many respects, but when you take 2 - 3 feet of densely compacted snow and add a couple of inches of rain into the mix, that adds up to a tremendous amount of weight.
The sun came out for a while today. A fairly rare occurrence in these parts in January. That being the case we strapped on the snowshoes and ventured in to check on the place.
Evidence of a lot of deer activity as always but otherwise things seemed to be fine.
The picture on the bottom shows Deb making her way up the driveway. We don't plow it for two reasons. Number one my snow plow bill is plenty high enough as it is. Also we don't use the place much during the winter and keeping it somewhat inaccessible helps keep unwanted visitors away. We are also fortunate to be well away from any major snowmobile trails.
The top photo shows Deb walking along the north side of the pond. The bench in the foreground faces the pond and almost due south. This is a good illustration of solar radiation. The small hill there and the area where the bench sits are open and face south. That hillside will be bare in early spring when there is still several feet of snow in other spots. That bench would not have been visible today, but for maybe the top railing if it were on the other side of the pond.
Even in this area solar gain is a very tangible asset.