If you've been following the Time Traveler posts, you know we moved to Idaho from California in July 1977 in a van with a goat. We arrived safely at our heretofore-unseen new property in Idaho, which was basically just 20 acres of forest, 25 miles from nowhere, where any phone and electric lines had yet to exist. Which was kind of the whole point.
We pitched a tent to live in while we started building our house--a pole structure that my dad had carefully designed on the backs of various napkins late at night. Dad set poles to soak in 55-gallon drums of creosote about halfway up the driveway, and got started.
There were five of us at the time, because we had my parents, 7-year-old me, my 2-year-old brother, and Patrick, who was one of the nomadic 70s friends who lived with us on and off through those years. He had come along for the move from California, and he doubled as a big brother/babysitter for us, a carpentry/building assistant for the house, and a drinking partner for my dad.
We camped out in a square 4-man tent, all five of us, until like October, and then we moved into the one semi-finished room of the house, which would later become the kitchen.
I remember keeping our food cold by packing it around blocks of ice in a big Coleman cooler, and I remember packing gallon jugs for water, which Mom tells me we did for 7 years. SEVEN YEARS? YOU GUYS. OMG. It makes me want to go and stand in our shower right now, just thinking about that many years of no running water. So, that's why I recall taking baths at other people's houses...because we did it for. SEVEN. YEARS.
Oh sure, we were able to bathe at home. In a metal tub. With water we heated on the wood stove. We weren't entirely heathens.
|This is probably 1979, two years later, and yes, there I am, packing water. So, yeah.|
I also remember having to duck outside the blanket when brushing our teeth, to spit, so obviously we didn't have anything inside during that first winter that would qualify as a sink or a drain. Mom had been doing dishes outside on the ground, sometimes with chickens supervising, (not even kidding, check out the one next to her right elbow), but of course now I can't remember HOW Mom did dishes in the plastic-walled room that winter..Buckets? Mom? How the heck, woman?
|Dad had definitely improved on THIS situation, by October. I think. I'm also really sure he never did dishes, ever.|
This also should make it self-explanatory that my mom and I both severely dislike camping , unless it involves a microwave, running water, and a door that locks. It may have been an adventure for me, and probably definitely was one for my dad, who spent a lot of time drinking and scribbling on napkins, but I can't imagine being the "mom" in that situation. sorry, mom!! Someone needs to build a statue in her honor, I'm pretty sure. Or a fountain, with actual running water.
So, to wrap it up--by the end of that first year, 1977, we were definitely up off the ground and safely behind the locked blanket/door, and the goats were outside where they belonged.
Which reminds me, I also distinctly recall having problems with mountain lions being attracted by the sound of those stupid loud screaming Nubian goats, because Nubian goats have two volumes: loud screaming goat sounds, and WE JUST GOT OUT AND ARE RUNNING DOWN THE ROAD INTO THE WOODS AND YOU'LL HAVE TO CHASE US THROUGH 20 ACRES OF UNDERBRUSH ALL THE WAY TO THE RIVER HAHAHAHAHA.
More to come, but right now I'm inspired to go do dishes, laundry, AND take a shower. Don't forget to appreciate the simple fact that you can turn on water INSIDE your house...