the trailer

A 1976 Marlette mobile home, compact and apartment like, it sits on 20 acres of piney woods and meadow.

photo shot with the Hipstamatic app - Yuri 61 lens and Rasputin film

photos shot with the Hipstamatic app – Yuri 61 lens and Rasputin film

The previous owners brought the trailer in and used it as a hunting cabin. They tinkered with it and added things like the front porch, which is built of pieces of scrap wood, metal and cinderblock. The porch is wide enough to feel like a New York City stoop. All similarity ends there because the porch is draped with leafy Sweet Autumn Clematis vines and we have a visiting porcupine that likes to gnaw on the steps. The beds of Hosta that ring the trailer are in bloom now and buzzing with bees and hummingbirds. The tiny hummingbirds stick their heads inside the lilac colored flowers so deep that half their bodies disappear.

marletteTailer2

We have no running water so we pump from a well that is outfitted with an old-fashioned hand pump. The water bucket system flushes the toilet that is connected to a primitive septic system. The sinks and bathtub are connected to a grey water system where the water is flushed out to the back meadow. Only biodegradable soaps are used. Pumping water for the buckets is really good for your core and your triceps.

Bucket power

Bucket power

I’ve become really good at dishwashing without running water. Everyone, even guests are trained to remember which is their water glass and to be conservative about creating dishwashing volume. We grill a lot and make one-skillet meals. I use sturdy Bagasse dinner plates that are made from sugarcane waste and go straight into the compost bin. Marinating meats takes place inside zip lock bags.

The back meadow has a nice view of the woods. In June I like to sit on a lipstick red Adirondack chair and watch the light show that is fireflies. In August, we are lulled to sleep by the song of black crickets. Moss grows like a carpet in the shady parts of the back meadow and red squirrels chitter like monkeys in the pine trees.

adirondackChairs

We have been here for six weeks. This is the first time we are spending all summer here. I’m getting spoiled by the smell of the mountain air and the feel of grass under my feet. The dogs run free without collars on and chew meaty bones on the grass, their heads greasy with marrow. For the first time, I have seen the cornfields growing up from little green tufts in rows of dirt to what I see now where the stalks are over my head and topped with a cornflower.

cornfield

summer’s end

I spent the summer in a 1976 Marlette trailer home in the northern Catskill mountains. Our rural homestead is totally off the grid, without electricity (until this summer) or running water. I love that when you stand at the mailbox and look down the road, you don’t see any electrical poles. It makes me think, what a pristine place, so pristine that I once saw a fisher cat cross the road in full daylight. A fisher cat is a creature so wild that it only exists in a place where nature is in balance and the forests are deep. At the end of summer, yellow goldenrod in full bloom grows thick on the side of the road and the colors of the vegetation change and take on a muted hue – soft purples and maroon start to appear among the lush green leaves.

This summer we installed an off the grid solar energy system (more on that to come), we made a lot of good meals, getting our vegetables from our neighbors “honor system” style roadside stand and our eggs and meat from our friends at Heather Ridge Farm. I am now spoiled by the eggs with bright orange yolks laid by happy hens who peck in a garden eating bugs and other good things. We gathered with beloved friends around bonfires and listened to the coyotes at night. We swam in the inky black water of ponds as smooth as glass and in swimming holes underneath waterfalls. The smell of the last hay harvest was always in the air.

So long summer – see you next year.

Marlette trailer

Marlette trailer

Morning mists at Heather Ridge Farm

Morning mists at Heather Ridge Farm

Eggs from Heather Ridge Farm

Eggs from Heather Ridge Farm

The sun charging our Nokero solar light bulbs

The sun charging our Nokero solar light bulbs

Twilight in the hayfield

Twilight in the hayfield

David, Frank and Oona

David, Frank and Oona