following a feeling + cabin life

We have almost come full circle.

It was one year ago this week that I called our real estate agent to see a house I had seen in our local paper.  It was the same house I had found over the holidays, clipped out, and stuck to our fridge as a reminder of where we wanted to get ourselves.  I was flooded with a familiar, urgent, almost frantic feeling that I tend to get at critical points in my life; fork in the road moments.  It comes when I have an off the wall, irrational or otherwise seemingly impossible idea that grabs hold of me and refuses to let go.  I called Mike to tell him we needed to look at the house as soon as possible.  Instead of doubting me, he too recognized the tone of my voice, told me he was learning to trust it, and that we should follow it to where ever it took us .

The next day we looked at the house and a week later our house was listed.  I should add that we were in no position to buy a new house.  One income, lots of debt, and the biggest sticking point of all, we owed more on our house than we could ever sell it for.  But by the grace of some pretty incredible parents we were loaned a substantial amount of money to cover the down payment, realtor fees, and discrepancy.

We ended up not buying the sweet tiny house I originally found.  It had dry rot in the floor beams and sold before we sold our house anyway.  When we were losing hope, I got a call from Mike who excitedly gave me a website to check out.  It was the listing for our cabin.  The strange thing was that in the summer or 2010 we had picked up some real estate papers one weekend and pretended we were house hunting.  I was looking at the house I had fallen for that summer; it was still for sale.  We called our agent and told him about the house.  Turns out the listing had expired and they simply forgot to take the listing down.  We are still unsure how Mike managed to find it in what he thought was a current paper.  Serendipity at its finest.  They re-listed and dropped the price significantly as it was a situation of divorce and they needed to sell and settle.

The rest is history and here we are.  There is both charm and inconvenience when living in a 103 year old settler’s cabin in the middle of nowhere {otherwise known as Gooderham}.  There are nights we lay in our cold bedroom and wonder if there is, in fact, any insulation in the walls above the logs and if perhaps we should have bought the more conventional and likely heat efficient bungalow we looked at.  There are days I wish I could put the kids in the stroller and take a much needed walk downtown.  There are moments when I wish I didn’t have to worry about septic systems and felling ancient trees.  There is black fly season, sand fly season, deer fly season, horse fly season, flea season, house fly and lady bug season {or as my Dad says: “You have black flies, and sand flies, deer flies and then snow flies.”}.  There was the moment I realized my incredible and irrational fear of harmless garter snakes which are in great abundance around our house for some reason.  There is the exposed wiring due to log houses built in the early 1900’s  not having electricity.  There is exposed duct work and ugly carpet and cardboard-like wall coverings in the bedrooms.  There are days I wish we didn’t have to drive an hour for decent prices and selection of groceries.  Trust me, we have our moments.

Yes, there are many moments that make us wonder why we always have to take the path less traveled.  But there are oh so many more that make our hearts swell with gratitude and bliss.  Like gathering apples with the kids from our wild apple trees or having an endless supply of wildflowers for my mason jar vases.  There is history and spirit in the land with a traditional healing circle and fire pit on top of the hill behind the house.  We are surrounded by 80 acres of woods, trails, and pond {owned by people who never visit, but grant us full, respectful use}.  We finally have a chicken coop of our very own.  There is the wonder of seeing every ax mark in the hand hewn beams and walls and we like to dream of the men and women who once touched these walls; built and grew life within these walls.   I think of the laughter mingled with heartache.  There is nothing like the smell of dew and coniferous floating in the windows as we sip coffee in the summer mornings and snow has never felt quite as magical as when it tumbles down around our great pines; our house, like a warm ember, nestled into the snowy landscape.  There is the joy that comes from collecting your own green boughs, branches and leaves rather than buying them from the grocery store.   The deep silence and darkness of nights lit only by stars and fireflies.  There is no missing our noisy, messy neighbours making terrible music, decor, and parenting decisions {though we do miss the neighbours who we traded baking and garden items, and conversation with}.  There is peace in knowing we are already home when the road gets busy with cottage traffic.  Then, of course, there are these moments or ones such as this.

We know our house isn’t for everyone, but it is ours and I am quite certain that if we were to pick this house out of the ground it would have deep roots beneath it clinging to dirt and rocks.  That makes me feel rooted in history and earth myself.  Slowly, we will make it more efficient {added insulation and a repaired wood stove}, practical {a cabinet to house the majority of wiring and a pantry under the stairs}, and pretty {tear the carpet out, replace the cardboard walls, landscape, tidy, and paint, paint paint}.  With all her faults and charm she is home and will be the place our children romanticize and come home to; the place where their first memories will be made;  it will be where they come to find comfort and center themselves; and it will hold us just as it has held so many families before us.  It will be the home where we battle and slay our demons.  It is where we will become the people we want to be.  This is the land that will sustain, teach, and shape us.

Over the course of months {and years, I am sure} I will share corners of our home and land with you.  I do hope you enjoy the tour.


go gently + be wonderful



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  1. Posted January 4, 2012 at 2:13 pm by sarah | Permalink

    what a wonderful story. and your photographs have a beautiful lusciousness to them.

  2. Posted January 4, 2012 at 4:58 pm by Stephanie K. | Permalink

    This story is so similar to ours. We looked at our place on a complete whim…not sure why I was even on the mls website. We turned into the lane and my life flashed before my eyes; I imagined my children coming home for Thanksgiving and Christmas, my daughters walking over the lawn in wedding dresses, the animals we’d raise and love and bid farewell too…it was all in the briefest of flashes. Within a week, we’d sold our house, bought this one, and the rest is history. It’s home, with its crooked floors, mouseholes, and damp basement. Every time I turn up the laneway, I get the same feeling…of being part of the history of a place. My daughter was born here in this house, and that ties me to all the other mamas who must have birthed here in the past 150 years. Sigh. It’s just wonderful, isn’t it? Serendipitous indeed. So glad you’ve found your home.

  3. Posted January 5, 2012 at 7:17 pm by Ana | Permalink

    I so want to live in a place just like yours <3. I love Toronto because my roots are here, and I know every nook and cranny and secret hiding place of so many ravines, and I've befriended so many trees… but I yearn for something more; ravines that don't have drowned shopping carts in them, for a start.

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