Here I was out in my off the grid cabin, having survived the night, toilet installed, and ready to give this homesteading business a go!


My first night out alone in the cabin with a blizzard raging against the outside.  I felt like a pioneer, Henry Fonda on the back of an old Hudson during the dustbowl, Captain Ahab with his whale, Beryl Markham in her bush plane.  I was tackling this whole winter cabin thing for the first time and alone.


I woke up to the most spectacular WINTER WONDERLAND.





It was absolutely awe inspiring and mind numbing.  I thought the cabin was magical before,  now I was convinced some little leprechauns were going to come digging around for their pot of gold.  I had obviously landed on the other end of the rainbow.  I felt like Dorothy stepping onto the yellow brick road, now let’s just hope I don’t find a witch wearing red shoes under the cabin come the spring thaw…


First chore?  Get outside and take some photos!  ( I think our homesteading pioneers just rolled over in their graves. And their little cow too. )


I decided since the neighbors had graciously offered up some of the logs from their woodpile behind their cabin, and having gotten handy with the sled it would be fun to see how it did with massive stumps of wood.  Here goes nothing!


It went great!

At first.


Then not so great.  Then the sled kept on tipping over.  Then I kept on tipping over.  I finally decided that sled and stump were probably never going to be friends.

So …using my best homesteader reasoning skills I decided to just roll it.  I think we’ve all seen this cartoon.  First I stood and rolled it like a mechanic rolls a car tire,  then it got too heavy with accumulated snow so I pushed it, then it tipped over, then it was too heavy for me to stand up, so then I cleaned it and started over again.

It’s truly amazing I didn’t roll over any important body parts, only a foot and a hand.  By the time I got that one to the door I was soaked with sweat,  panting with exertion,  covered in snow and splinters,  and deliriously happy!

I decided to go get one more just to prove I was no wuss.



I would like to chat about them for a minute.  Let’s just say that I was not prepared for how thoroughly I was going to get to know those little guys.   Just like I was unprepared for the phenomenon of frozen mice.  They don’t tell you about this crap in “Cabin Digest”.


Cabin + wood walls + wood floors + wood shelves + wood ceilings + wood loft ladder + firewood = a hell of a lot of SPLINTERS!


I somehow manage to get at least 3 every time I touch anything in the cabin.  I am considering carrying a sandpaper holster to sand every surface before I touch it.  Would a tweezer necklace be too gauche?


I had a minute, ok fine maybe it was a whole half hour, where I contemplated how our forefathers dealt with fixing wooden wagon wheels.  They must have had some spectacular full body callouses to not have enough wood lodged in their skin to start their own matchstick company.

Logs now happily installed in the mud room it was now time to chop one!

Hmm, ok.  I’m accident prone.  My boyfriend is constantly telling me I have a serious problem with gravity.

When I was getting talked into doing my first beauty pageant by the summer camp swim instructor, who was a young first time pageant director trying to get contestants, I had to tell her that she really didn’t want me walking down a catwalk.  In fact she probably didn’t want me walking in heels at all.  I asked her if there was a Miss Clutziology that I could try out for?

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I was contemplating all this as I pulled out the axe and starting thinking about how to tackle this whole chopping wood thing.  Then I started thinking about how likely it was that I would injure myself in some way while being at a cabin with no road access and nobody around to perform emergency triage.

I wasn’t necessarily worried about chopping a finger or an arm off, I thought the biggest hazard was me knocking myself out while trying to swing the axe then ending up knocked out cold on the floor, reminiscent of Bridget Jones being concerned about being eaten by wild dogs.


With my luck it would be the White Walker version of the frozen mouse I had found in the sink.  A whole army of albino, glassy eyed, rodents nibbling at me one splinter at a time.

Maybe I’ll save wood shop for next time?



After agonizing for a couple weeks about which snow shoes to buy, reading a million reviews, talking to friends, and then sussing out the sexy factor, I finally decided on the Tubb’s Flex TRK for Women.   *** Snowshoe review below!

I for some reason or other decided to follow some ski tracks up the mountain.  While being extremely hard core as planned,  and quite scenic with all that snow and all,  (movie buff line there,  see if you can guess)  I however did not plan out my homesteading properly since my legs were already wrecked from towing logs.   I’m looking for an oxe for sale or rent.  Serious inquiries only.


Tubb’s Flex TRK Snowshoe Review:


I have been snowshoesing in the past and have had torturous experiences.  Being that the only way to get to the cabin in the winter was cross country skies or snowshoes I knew I needed to make sure I was getting something comfortable and easy to walk in.

All the reviews on the Flex TRK bragged about how easy they were to trek in and I was ready to give them a go.  They did not disappoint!   While being light weight and attractive to look at (hence the sexy factor) I was ecstatic to learn they lived up to their reviews.  I was mostly going to be walking on pretty straight forward trails and these seemed to excel at this.

After researching men’s snowshoes for my boyfriend we decided on the MSR Denali’s since he was planning on doing a lot of off trail extreme hiking in his.  I decided to join him on some off trail adventures and the Flex TRK’s did great at this as well!   I came down some steep terrain and they gripped pretty darn good for a clutz like me.

The Denali’s seemed to perform great as well although my boyfriend has spent a lot of time worrying they weren’t on all the way or right.  One benefit of the Flex TRK is they have a marker for the Right versus Left shoe.  Also, once they are latched properly you don’t have that my shoes are coming off feeling.


The only negative I can list is that although they claim to be easy to get on and off I have been having trouble with the bindings.  Now they perform great when it’s warm and sunny but trying to hook them in the cold when it’s snowing can be a bit trying   But I guess that goes for anything you do in the cold and the snow as a friend pointed out!


4 thoughts on “Homesteading!

  1. Michelle, glad you are having a great time in Mammoth. “learn by doing” I always say. My favorite snowshoe thing was to traverse snowshoeing up to the top of the falls which took 30-45 minutes then glide back down to the cabin in my snowshoes in just 5 minutes! What a trip. Go for it!


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