This is the third winter that Chris and I have been co-owners of 15 acres of mostly untouched, natural forest at the end of Babette Road...just outside of Athabasca, AB. A joint purchase we made with my parents in the spring of 2009, we started out with a couple of campers and a small little clearing adjacent to a cutline that offered natural space to stretch out and be one with nature. Fast forward a couple of years and my parent's "side" is now equipped with all of the modern niceties that a soon-to-be retired Grandma and Grandpa should have. A beautiful home with power and water and HEAT...and satellite television to stay in touch with some of the more important things in my Dad's life: CTV News and Hockey Night in Canada of course.
Our "side" in mostly untouched as of right now with the exception of a small clearing about twice the size of a campground at Gregoire Lake. It currently houses our camper and a firepit...simplicity at its finest. Really simple life would find a tent instead of the travel trailer but propane heat and insulated walls allowed far more "camping" time with a young infant last spring, summer and fall. Chris and I have had many discussions about what we wanted to do with our 7.5 acres of paradise and we used to think we wanted to build our dream home - complete with country kitchen, sunlit porch and all the toys to go along with life in the country. Our definition of "dream home" has slowly been evolving lately and by this fall our ideas were transforming from big and awesome to simple and cozy. When I think of the summer cabin I'd now like to have, I think of my Great-Granny's old house in Owl River. I aspire to be as strong as my Great Grandmother was and if I can live half as long as she was alive (103 years), I'd consider myself blessed. Only until the last year or so of her life, she lived in the most simple, quaint little house in pretty much the middle of nowhere and without electricity or running water. The funny thing I learned after her passing was that her house was always wired and ready to be hooked up to the grid but she just never felt the need for it. Her infamous wood stove was her only source of warmth on some very cold, cold nights and she lived happily and peacefully...a strong relationship with her daughter and her God.
She really is my inspiration and when I now think of my dream home, I envision the fun we had at her house camping every summer when we were younger and the memories I'll always have because of it. Far more than any material things could ever give me.
In the wisdom of The Minimalist Mom, "Do we want our children to grow up in a home where it’s always about the next thing to buy or the next thing to upgrade? Or, do we want them to grow up in a home where being good citizens and spending time with each other are the focus?"
I think it's safe to say we all know what the answer should be.
Up Next: Project Four - Mount Laundry