My husband Brian and I spent the winter doing some interior updates to both our home and our camp so that, once we get through mud season, we can start on some major landscaping projects. A couple of years ago, Brian noticed that our little A-frame camp in Carrabassett Valley was sinking into the ground. In order to correct it (as opposed to tearing it down) we had to have the whole camp jacked up so that we could replace the rotted underside. I am grossly simplifying this whole thing—it was quite a project! We opted to put a new foundation in, instead of setting it back on new posts, which creates a whole new pallet of opportunities for our little old camp.
With a little help from friends, Brian has done almost all of the work on the camp. It started with new rough-sawn pine siding boards, then new windows and doors. On the inside, we’ve got a whole new room on the ground level along with a small single-car garage and workshop/wood storage area. In the original living space, we have worked hard to preserve the look and feel of the original camp, which has been in my family for over 50 years. New windows made a huge difference, and the teeny-tiny “guest” bedroom is now a wonderfully rustic pantry with windy stairs leading to the new downstairs room (which will eventually be the master bedroom).
When the ground thaws, Brian will do the plumbing for a new bathroom on the first level, and then the fun begins. As you can imagine, the entire “yard” was uprooted in the lifting process and there are large boulders and trees and mounds of earth that need attention. We were able to pick up a used tractor over the winter and have been spending a lot of time daydreaming about what our new yard will look like (with a little inspiration from Pinterest). There is a deck to be built, a fire pit to be constructed and an abundance of raised beds and other garden areas to be planted. This will definitely not be a one-year project.
All of this work is being done with the idea of eventually retiring and spending much of our time living at the camp (when we’re not on the road in our van, the “Love Shack”). With this in mind, I really enjoyed reading Candace Karu’s piece about “downsizing” on page 18. I like her advice to “keep, sell, donate, trash” all those items that build up in a home over the years. Lucinda Harrington’s piece on backyards, page 10, offers a host of ideas for making your backyard and relaxing place you’ll want to hang out in all spring and summer. My vision is to have a grass-free yard that incorporates the natural, wooded setting of the Carrabassett Valley area. We are fortunate to have a lot of the “natural stone” look that is described in this feature.
Whatever your project, I hope you find some useful tips and ideas in this issue of My Generation magazine. Look for our next issue in mid-May.