I’m a member of Houseblogs.net, a community site for people interested in home improvement. They’ve started a new section, Topics, with cabins as one of the topics. Houseblogs.net and DIY Network are doing a cross-promotion, each of them featuring the other blog, in connection with DIY’s Blog Cabin Sweepstakes. I happen to be one of the few people on Houseblogs.net that labeled their home a cabin, so my blog is one of several being featured on the DIY Network blog right now. So, I thought I should show you a little more of it.
I live in a small frame cabin with an attached garage; the structure is 24 feet square, with half of that devoted to the garage. “My” half of the building-the living area-also has a 12×8 loft above the kitchen area, and I store my books and my bed up there. Access is by a drop down “attic access” ladder, which is really handy, since that leaves a large open area in the cabin, uncluttered by stairs.
I live here with Gizmo, my 105 lb Labrador Retriever. I think the cabin’s a little too small for him; he prefers staying outside in his doghouse, unless it’s too cold. “Too cold” starts at about zero for him. He’s a bit on the rolypoly side, and loves romping in the snow. He dives enthusiastically into snowbanks to retrieve frisbees, tennis balls, and sticks, and is a frost-and-snow covered black dog when he finishes his walks with me.
I don’t have running water, so I haul three 5 gallon jugs home once a week. No running water also means wintertime honey buckets and an outhouse. I shower at work, and do laundry at a laundromat. I’ve lived this way for about twenty years now (except for a stint “Outside”-the lower 48) and don’t really want the hassle of running water. I can leave the cabin in the winter with no worries about breaking pipes and a mess when I get back from a trip.
I do have electricity, which I would really miss! No computer, no sewing machine, no drill or skill saw; life would be a lot different. My Monitor oil stove runs on electricity, and I also cook and heat water with electricity. I used to have a wood stove, but the cabin is so small and it just takes up too much space. I use 100-150 gallons of heating fuel per winter, so I don’t feel that’s excessive, compared to some houses that use 600 gallons or more per winter.
I love living this way; it’s very common in Fairbanks and the town is adapted for those of us with “dry cabins”. Many businesses provide shower facilities for employees, and all the laundromats are equipped with showers and a place to fill water jugs. I like that my house is paid for, and I have an acre and a half to play on, as well as lots of room to take Gizmo hiking. I live about a mile from the Alaska pipeline, and can walk or ski to miles of trails off the pipeline. I picked several quarts of blueberries there this summer, and I’ve gone grouse hunting off the pipeline too. It’s a great life!