My construction site has been closed for winter for a month now and I am back to regular life in Toronto. That in itself is a cause for celebration: You probably are like me: when winter ends, I am happy to put my skis back in storage and I look forward to taking my kayak out, but when next winter comes again I feel again the desire to take out the x-country skis from storage, clean them up and get them ready while I watch the sky wishing for snow. Well this project and I go through a similar cycle: As much as it was a thrill to be forging ahead with the project during the warm part of the year, designing, building etc., at the cost of maintaining a rather project-focused life style, I am now happy to set it aside for a few months and enjoy a more social focused life style.
How did the construction season end?
Key Milestone in October, I finally completed my solar-powered electrical system installation and turned the switch on!
I never received the final 5 trucks of dirt in October even though I tried different suppliers, but you have to keep in mind that during the two weeks of deer hunting season in Bancroft area, you cannot expect to get any work done at all. It is about as bad as trying to get work done during the soccer world cup in Brazil. The final pass of levelling the construction site will have to wait for spring.
Last weekend of October, I went up with 2 objectives which were completed with success:
Objective # 1 – Finish all electrical work. It did take some hard work to finish all the detail. I equipped myself with a functioning electric tester, verified the circuit I had just connected and ooops…, I had to switch around a couple of cables that were reversed! There is something to say for proper testing before throwing the switch on. Well, I finally got the system in full operation. After that, I completed a few additional electrical connections on the distribution end of it that was it: I now have a fully functional electrical – solar powered system, totally off the grid and permanent electrical power to my camper.
Objective # 2 - Bury a drain pipe through the center of the building pad to allow for rain water drainage from the front of the house to the back. This is because the center of the house is a low point in between two rocky high points so there is no escape route for excess water but through the building pad. (See the photo in the photo-gallery).
November 2nd weekend, I drove to Bancroft for three reasons: 1 - I am invited to a Halloween party at some new friends and of course I never pass a party, 2 - I need to close my camper – 3 – I need to ensure that the battery system is ready for winter. Objectives 1 and 2 are met, but I ran short of time and could not complete #3. “Two out of Three ain’t bad!” as the song says!
1- The Halloween party was great! Granted, the group was largely people from the theatrical community in Bancroft so they were bound to approach creating and wearing a costume seriously. I will say only this: I was seriously under-dressed for this one but it was great fun and a pleasure to meet all these great people.
2- Closing the camper: I put my stuff away, reloaded my mouse traps with fresh peanut butter and covered the whole camper with a tarp. Nothing fancy but it will help protect it over the winter.
November 11th weekend I took a final day trip to Bancroft with my good friend Robin. Objective: Check my battery bank. I added some water in the batteries, some more Styrofoam around them and paid a visit to a couple of friends. (See the picture in the photo gallery)
End of year 1: Project reality check
Things did not progress as fast as I initially expected: the walls are not started. It is quite obvious that considering that I work there only on weekends, it will go at least to the end of 2015. I already updated my home page with that new expected end date. So be it! I am truly ok with that!
From the point of view of achievement:
Quite a lot was achieved this year:
- Sheds and storage to make the project doable.
- Camper is operational and pleasant to stay in.
- All engineering is completed and permits obtained and paid for!
- I now have solar powered electricity and I am off the grid!
- The building pad is nearly completed.
On a more personal level:
- I formed some friendships in Bancroft, with neighbours and in the Bancroft community.
- I survived year # 1 with no injury and in good spirit.
- Things I learned a few things bout myself in this early part of the project:
- I learned to truly enjoy the cycles and the seasons and the variety that they bring at all levels and -I am getting better at going with the flow and taking advantage of the ups and the downs more harmoniously. I take it easy and do what I can and relax much faster when I encounter a delay.
- I am getting better at asking for help when needed and always found it.
- Solitude on the project and in my life over the past year or so has...
- opened me up a lot more to reaching out to other people than I would have in the past.
- made realise that I cannot take my friendship for granted and I am more conscious that I need to nurture them.
- Relationships - Family, friends & professional:
- I have a lot more gratitude and respect for these relationships than I did before.
- But with the quieter period starting I decided to go back to swimming and joined a club in Vaughan. Trainings two mornings a week are perfect for me. I can still catch a train to work after! This club is actually very good and it feels good to be back in the pool. Ok, I’ll admit: the first week was quite painful!
- Looking forward to start some X country skiing!
- After playing in a number of occasions I feel the need to take a break and reframe myself musically. For now I have more questions than answers: What do I really like to do? - What am I good at? - What should I stay away from? - What can I improve?
- It has also made me want to put some of my writing to music and realize that it is not easy. Something to work on this winter!
How about the celebration in all that?
It is what we are left with when all is said and done.
- Most of all, I celebrate the friends, old and new who walked along this year or who appeared for a while, the love I gave and received;
- I celebrate the good work that took place, all the achievements and the mistakes, the fun and the hard work and all the challenges that resolved into positive outcomes;
- I celebrate the beauty of nature that I discovered paddling along or simply standing still and looking
- All in all, I celebrate all of HIS bounty given and coming to me.