We had snow, then a one-day thaw that made watery ice, and now it is snow with hard ice underneath. That's a challenge for some, but our hiker guests are, literally, taking the trail in stride!
You'll want serious tread on your boots.
And it's done! Except for the whitewashing, which will have to wait until spring, the outhouse is complete and working well. Good reviews from our recent guests, and great ideas from them, too, for placement of the wood shavings, the coat hooks, etc. A deer mouse did "help" shred the toilet paper for us, but she is now locked out by the metal door sweep. That's a solar-powered light on the inside wall. We purchased our biobags from BioBag Canada Inc. The wood shavings are thanks to the carpenters in our lives.
No battens yet, no whitewashing, but the privy is built and outfitted and if today's guests are willing to be guinea pigs, it will get a test run!
The St Clair Region Conservation Authority was right (as always!)
It took us by surprise. This is highly unusual for November.
Guests are safely rescheduled/cancelled for the next few days.
We have just begun work on the biggest thing since building the treehouse itself.
You guessed it! An outhouse.
A modern, pine-scented, white-washed outhouse.
"Wait," you are saying, "it's a flood plain. Are you insane?"
No! Not quite... We are building it just off the utility path that branches from the main path. It is well up on the side of the swale.
It will still be a bit of a walk, but not the full kilometre people are walking now to get to the main house. Maybe 300 metres? I will be measuring it soon.
The hiking cat-hole solution to the flood plain problem was sustainable for six years. We are getting greater numbers of non-hikers now, though, and their inexperience leads to unsustainability (and a lot of work). We think this is the answer.
We will update as building progresses! So far so good.
With winter wheat planted here most years, our trail skirts the fields.
Winter wheat is planted in September or October, and harvested in July. Thus fall, winter, spring, and the first half of summer are affected. No walking on the field!
But right now is the magic time between harvest and planting, and so guests can choose whether to take the trail to the treehouse or strike out across the stubble.
That's our good friend Bob and his grandson Sammy in the combine.
Airbnb has decreed that on July 1, 2018, and henceforth, all listings must provide towels, bedsheets, pillows, toilet paper, and soap as "essentials". We were doing everything except the bedsheets. As hikers ourselves, we understand the mud, smokiness, leaves and burrs that are part of the experience, and how sliding into our own sleeping bags at night when camping reduces worry about ruining someone's nice sheets. It has always been bring-your-own-sleeping-bag here, and guests have been five-star happy to comply. But rules are rules, and so bedsheets it is. However, in order to provide bedsheets, one needs to provide a bed... We have a sleeping platform, but the 4' x 6' dimensions mean we have, all these years, merely softened the planks with blankets and ground pads.
What to do?
We cut a piece of 6" gel memory foam to size. It is encased in a sort of nylon sock, then the usual cover (folded over in memory of the cut off part), then a mattress protector, and finally full size bedsheets and blankets.
We are still hoping our guests opt to bring their sleeping bags - trust us, it is the best choice - and that they enjoy this king of groundpads as a luxury.
It is mid-March and the snow is back - just a few centimetres. Temps are right around the freezing point, so mud is added to the mix. Everything is accessible on foot, but do go carefully as the boardwalk, steps, bridge, and bank can be slippery.
Otherwise it is business as usual. We've noticed a flurry of June and July bookings in the last few days, so guests are thinking about warmer days. Us too.