“Progress is not in enhancing what is, but in advancing toward what will be.” Khalil Gibran
It’s been a while since I wrote a blog post to update you on the build. What had appeared for ages to be a slow grind, has suddenly gained momentum and we are well on our way. In life, there are blessings and blunderings; our build has been no different.
Progress is defined as a ‘forward or onward movement toward a destination’ regardless of the pace, so while it may seem to many, a long time since we first dug into the land in late March, we are only 8 months in, and a great deal has already happened on this little patch of dirt. Our entire build has happened during COVID and even with sheltering in place, and limited social contact, we have been able to safely continue through Spring, Summer, and Fall, and now entering Winter, we feel lucky to be in the forest, where the air is fresh and plentiful, distancing is easy and masks are worn for more than a few reasons.
Our crew has remained steadfast, mostly family, with a few of our new neighbours helping out when they have time. Everyone is still healthy, only minor accidents to speak of, and a continuous work pace moves the build forward, every single day, regardless of the weather. And weather there has been, with plenty more rain, cold, and even snow, set to arrive before we open our front door for the first time. Luckily, the majority of work will now happen inside, with the exception of cladding the buildings which may have to happen in the rain but no fear, rain gear is abundant on the site.
Electrical and plumbing are now complete and looking great, not something I ever thought I would be saying about a maze of wires and pipes. But, the more I see behind the scenes, or more accurately behind the walls, the more respect I garner for these hard working, talented individuals who are not only learned in their trade but creative, hard working and fast paced. Their contribution to the build is vital; we simply would not be able to flip a light switch or turn a faucet without them. And while we may have chosen to have compost toilets, we also want power, lights, fresh drinking water, and clean laundry; and we shall have it all.
Speaking of compost toilets (and we speak about them a lot), they have not been without their headaches. As I write, we are still finalizing venting systems, after having already gone through a long approval process, and more than a few placement designs. Who would have thought that toilets would be the thing that would hold us up? Let’s hope that everyone who uses them appreciates our back to nature approach to such a natural bodily function.
The passage of time is measured easily when you are building from the ground up; you see significant change happening right before your eyes. Change is constant, and along with a new house, this year has already included many personal milestones, all of which have been celebrated in and around the build site. The natural world has been a real ally this year, with most of our parties being hosted in the woods. Thanksgiving was the exception, held in the garage with the sound of torrential rain pouring onto our new metal roof, rain that will eventually make its way into our taps. It’s been wonderful to honour the passing of time while watching the future unfold. I turned 60 in July, and Tom (the man on the roof) turned 60 in September. In between birthdays we celebrated 40 years of marriage. The irony is not lost on us; our house is in its infancy stage and we are in our final stage. We will be moving house in the winter of our lives, ready to spend our last chapter here.
For now, we continue what we started and whatever the next few months bring, we will be here, hammers in hand, time on our side, grateful for what comes next; especially if it’s a passing grade for our compost toilets!