I’ve written about my life in the shack that I held together with tarps and duct tape – I’ve written about many aspects of my different, strange abodes through the years… Tonight, I had a profound flash of memory as I was fixing my supper. With Quorn (a meat substitute, protein source) cooking in my Wok, standing over the new black gas oven gifted to me by a friend whom I adore, I remembered the shack. It was a constructed “room” that I set up on my land, then brought a battered trailer to attach to it (not very successfully!). I had electricity in half of my home, water to a kitchen sink, bathroom sink and tub. I had no furnace, no water heater, no stove and no real roof between the structures (I use that term loosely).
I used a stick style, stable bucket heater to heat water in, yes, a bucket to take, yes, bucket baths… squatting in my tub and pouring the hot water over me with a ladle. You can get really clean, even wash your hair properly with one bucket full of water if you plan particularly well.
And with a few working outlets, I kept an oil filled radiator space heater going in the bedroom and one in the bathroom during winter. In summer, I installed an air conditioner in the bedroom with it sitting on a T post on the outside of the window, held in place with, well, duct tape. In winter, water would freeze on the table in the kitchen and in the pipes. I had to keep a tiny trickle going on the below zero nights (they were awful and scary). All during this time, I had my 4 splendid horses who had worked Equine Assisted Psychotherapy with me living just below my “house” in large pens I had built with an acre of turn out. I also had 3 dogs, one of which was my sweet, 20 year old Basil who is still with me today.
I held tarps on the gap between the “structures” with bricks, duct tape and roofing tar – I was up on the roof after every wind storm which meant at least twice a week. I lived without a human with me – alone I was not, because of my animals. And, I lived out at the end of a road in the high desert with few neighbors. It took courage. Stablewoman type courage.
I remember at night, returning from outside lessons or walking around the land, looking at the warm glow from distant neighbors’ windows. I remember crying, wishing for better for my family and myself. I remember cooking in the electric Wok. I remember cooking Quorn each evening and placing it on a salad, taking it to the bedroom to eat in the warmth or in the cool.
I remember that bedroom was covered with futon mattresses on the floor where all my dogs and I slept and how I kept blankets on them at night, moving across the futon pads to pull covers up on little beings sound asleep… depending on me. I remember so much and I thank all my lucky stars for that experience AND for my life now. A life now that is better and yet, the same, because I am still cooking the same meal, loving different horses and dogs (and still loving Basil!) in the same deep ways and I remain totally grateful and full of courage. I’m a stable woman.