Finally, after seven long months, I was able to return to the Eden Property to get a mental picture of what had happened (or not happened) over the winter, what if any damage was done to the temporary shelter, the deck, or the ramps or dock, and also so I could come away and make some decisions on what the future holds for Eden and also for myself.
So, let’s not fidget with our toes in the water. Let’s jump in and see what I discovered there, what will need to be done in the future, and what issues I’m currently wrestling with the are standing in the way of my ultimate goals for the property….
No Tree Fall Damage
There was, to my surprise, zero tree fall damage or tree fall at all this winter despite a few storms (high winds, etc) that came through this season. Typically there is at least one tree to come down, but this year, none of that.
I did notice that it appears as if the section of tree that remained wedged in the branch overhead the workshop/deck area came down, though. It did not hit the deck or the privacy wall, thankfully.
There is no telling when another tree will come down. But it is certain, one will. In fact, they all will at some point. And for those who say, “why don’t you just cut them down?” Well, about 10% of the trees that could do damage are actually on my property. The rest (yeah 90% of them) are on the timberland property or my neighbor’s property. Neither of which would allow me to cut them down. Plus, the trees on the timberland side are massive, 100 ft Douglas fir trees that line the eastern ridge. The only way they could be taken out would be by a logging crew and that ridge is too close to the lake to be harvested (which is why they are so large).
I’m still convinced my best best will be to build my shelter underground. I have near perfect drainage, my previous testing shelter worked perfectly and survived in the ground for 2-3 years without any leakage at all. When I pulled it out of the ground last year, the wood I used had zero signs of being wet or rot or anything. No mold, nothing. And this was without a source of heat.
The plan this year will be to get the whole dug for the permanent structure, then get the roof up, then the walls, and then finally the floor and door. I plan to take my time and build a solid and sturdy door (the one on the temp shelter is quite feeble) that can be locked with a padlock.
Repairable Dock Damage
I did notice that there was a styrofoam float someone had tossed onto my breaker logs at some point. When I got out of my kayak I could tell right away that the whole left side of the dock was missing floats. It is beyond me what events could have transpired that pulled those floats out from under the dock, but somehow it did. It will be a relatively easy fix this summer, though. I have plenty of floats.
What won’t be easy is facing the reality that my docks are less than spectacular. In fact, they are down right old. At least two sections anyway. There are two 20ft x 5ft sections that are relatively new (one also needs some fine tuning of the floats underneath). If I could, I would actually like to just use these for the dock structure and dismantle the rest for building material up in the cover of the treeline.
Part of me would like to enlist one of the contractors on the lake and purchase a brand new dock. But I imagine that would cost close to $10,000 and that’s simply money I do not have. I could buy the lumber and build my own, but the cost of lumber now is ridiculous, so I really think I’m going to just set up the newest docks for primary use, move the other sections out of the way. Once the permanent shelter is finished and livable, I plan to bring large dock + log around and secure the breaker logs to the pilings (or to each other with the pilings in between). This way the logs are in their final position and I can have the primary dock in it’s final position, and I can take my time dismantling all the old docks (three sections). Eventually, the plan (hope) is that I will have a very small dock footprint back by the ramp, with an open space of water and then the breaker logs. The open section of water would be protected from wind and wave, but there would no longer be a protruding dock blocking the flow of water or collecting the slime off the water like it does currently.
One issue with the docks that I really haven’t found a solution for yet is their ridiculous slipperiness that occurs in the winter. The older docks are terrible, to the point that I almost can’t walk on them. But even the newer sections do the same. A temporary solution has been (and which I did on the ramp as well) to nail small strips of wood onto the deck in a path. This provides traction when the rest of the dock is wet.
I would love to find an outdoor carpet or material (would love a non-slip rubber) that was both waterproof and mold proof, that shed water (rather than be a sponge) and was also highly non slip.
Other issue that I want to address in the future is how the end of the ramp makes contact with the newer section of dock. The previous owner simply put two pieces of 2×6 under each end, which works fine, as the ramp adjusts itself up and down as the water level rises and falls through the seasons. There is always a risk, though, of the dock moving enough to slip out from under the ramp and it would be very difficult to get it back on the dock by myself.
One option I considered awhile back was to forgo the “dock” altogether and just put a float under the end of the ramp and let it just float on its own. This, of course, would not be convenient since the ramp would be completely out of water in the summer, and any more angle and it would be difficult to use in the summer as well.
I think securing the 2x6s tracks to the dock would help keep things “on track.” Another help will be, once the dock is in its final position and configuration, I can attach it permanently to the back piling. This would remove 95% of the dock play as it is. So using the newer 2 dock sections and putting them in final position, attaching to the piling, might just be the solution I can use for the next 2-5 years while I wait for lumber prices to fall. To be completely honest, if that configuration worked even moderately well, I may never need to replace the dock again. Those two pieces are quite new and very well built.
I’m still having some trouble letting go of the configuration I wanted using the old sections of dock, but that could still be utilized down the road if I ever decide to “add on” to the existing 2 sections. One of the major limitations is the underwater pilings that exist. Though, while they are a hinderance for me in my dock configuration, they are also a great deterrent for fisherman. Plus, as trees keep falling, my hope is the egresses at each end of the breaker locks would be filled up with submerged or partially submerged logs to the point that boaters would not venture inside my bubble. But, realistically, as long as they don’t come onto my dock, I really don’t care what they do (well, that’s not entirely true).
Moving the dock back and the breakers back at least 10 feet will provide a lot of deterrent I think. Especially with some no-trespassing signs and maybe a skull or two on posts.
Yeah, I’m one of those guys.
Cleaning the Shelter
On this trip I was able to do some cleaning in the temporary shelter, which, I have to say, has held up quite spectacularly, given that, not only did I build it (strike one), but it’s open air walls (netting). The floor was pretty dry and I couldn’t smell any mold or see any signs of it. I think between it and my current hammock/tarp configuration, it will make for a quite pleasant summer. Finger’s crossed no trees fall on me while I’m digging out the permeant shelter.
Generator Won’t Stay Running
One negative was I could not get the generator started this time around. Of course, there are a few strikes against it. One, I left gas in the tank over winter. I did not realize I shouldn’t do this, plus I did have some intention on returning sooner than I did. But, there is a good chance that if I replace the gas and change the oil it will start. I might have to clean the carburetor but there are Youtube videos to guide me. Worst case scenario, it simply won’t start. It was only $160 and has already lasted me a few seasons. A Ryobi replacement is $60 at daily sales. But, everywhere else the replacements are double the price. So, it is worth some effort to get this machine working again.
An alternative is just using my external battery brick or maybe even purchasing another one. I know pairing it with my phone lasted 5 days of 24/7 use. With the laptop to consider, though, plus the slowly increasing other rechargeable electronics, getting the generator running again is the best option.
Finger’s crossed it’s an easy fix. And here’s hoping I’ll be able to get the shelter to a livable level that I can continue through the fall and into next winter and then permanently move to Eden altogether, which would mean no more wintering of equipment.
My Summer Plans
As I’m writing this it is the end of March. The warm season does not typically begin in my area until the beginning of May. Most seasons, though, I can usually get out to Eden regularly starting sometime in April. I, theoretically, could have (and had planned to) started this week, but I had packages coming that I wanted to be in town for.
With my current hammock setup, I think I will be surprisingly comfortable starting next week 3 days a week, to hopefully expanding into 5 days a week as May comes. I do want to get some progress done on getting the house cleaned up and the outside presentable for 1. If God brings me a wife, or 2. I end up selling next summer or even next winter. Theoretically, I should be able to get all this done on Friday, Saturday, Sunday, when I’m staying at the house for work. If I’m able to create the living space and shower that I would like at the lake, though, it might quickly become unnecessary to return to the house at all and even preferable to remain at the lake even on workdays. This is, ultimately, my aim.
This season I do not have the issue of trying to finish a dissertation or a doctorate degree. School is officially over for me, and all I have now is my volunteer position at the institute (which does not take much time at all), my own post-doc research there, plus I think God might be calling me back to writing in the future. It is still unclear.
Lately, I’ve also been suspecting he might be preparing me for a future wife. This has not been a personal desire or something I thought was an option for the last 13 years (since my divorce). But over the last several weeks I’ve experienced a renewed conviction toward wanting to commit my life to another believer. Personally, I agree with Paul. I think I would be happier if I remained as I currently am (1 Co 7:39). But, likewise, as he concludes, “I wish that all men were even as I myself. But each one has his own gift from God, one in this manner and another in that” (1 Co 7:7). I think the apostles had it right, “If this is the case of the man with his wife, it is better not to marry.” And Jesus replied, “All cannot accept this saying, but only those to whom it has been given” (Matt 19:10-11).
It is fascinating that lately I’ve found myself praying that God would bring me a helpmate for the remainder of my life, and, of course, I have a multitude of motivations for such prayers. Partly, I think it might be to grow in Christ, more incentive to die to self. But also for comfort, for companionship, for true, genuine connection. To have a best friend that I can study the Word with, that I can share my life with, go on walks with, sit out and watch the stars with.
Yet, through all of this, I do not have the loneliness that is so often accompanied by such desires, the kind of lacking that I experienced in my 20’s as a new believer. Because of this, part of me thinks this is just a season I am experiencing, a burning away of the last fleshly and emotional desires I have for a life shared with someone else, in preparation for an actual life of solitude, of celibate contentment, and peace at Eden.
We will see what the Lord brings. In a day and age where countless people seem to really be struggling to find authentic connection with someone else in the world, I have full faith and confidence in Christ. If it is part of his plan for my life to remarry, then I trust he will bring to me a helpmate that is perfectly comparable to me, one who is not in rebellion to her husband, to her gender, or to her God.
Please pray for me as I work through these issues with my creator. I take comfort, though, knowing whether these times are either preparation for a future spouse or simply temptation from the devil or the flesh, “If God is for us, who can be against us” (Ro 8:31)?
In the end, I was pleasantly surprised at the condition of the property and the structures on it. There is nothing really standing in my way at this point from recommitting to another warm season at the Eden Property so, unless unforeseen things occur, I should be doing some posts from there soon.
Until my next update….
Please consider supporting my writing, my unschooled studies, and my hermitic lifestyle by purchasing one or more of my books. I’m not supported by academia or have a lucrative corporate job – I’m just a mystical modern-day hermit trying to live out the life I believe God has called me to. So, any support you choose to provide is GREATLY appreciated.
Excerpt from Sacred the Circle:
There was a knock at the door.
Campbell got up from the chair and crossed the small distance so he could open it.
A young man stood in the doorway, probably in his early twenties.
Campbell could tell he looked a little disheveled.
He had deep rings around his eyes, as if he hadn’t been sleeping much, and he kept checking the hallway in both directions, as if half expecting someone to be stalking him.
“Hey,” Campbell said.
The kid was stumbling over his own words.
Campbell leaned out into the hallway, checking to make sure there was no one else listening.
This guy wasn’t the only one who was becoming paranoid.
There were two students hanging out at the foyer, near the stairs, but the rest of the floor was clear.
“I’m sorry,” the kid said. “Must be the wrong place. I’m mistaken.”
He started to leave.
“Wait,” Campbell said, putting a hand out. “Hold on a second.”
The kid paused.
“What’s your name?”
He fidgeted with his collar.
“I know it sounds crazy, but – ”
“You’re not crazy, Lloyd,” Campbell said, grinning.
“Did you – ? ”
The kid paused, as if unsure if he should continue.
He looked back toward the stairs, then at Campbell.
“Did you know I was coming?” he finally asked. “I mean, that’s not possible, but, were you expecting me?”
Campbell chuckled to himself.
“What’s so funny?” Lloyd asked.
“Well – ”
Campbell pushed the door open all the way so Lloyd could see inside his dorm room.
The entire room was full of them, students, non-students, ranging from what looked like eighteen to even a few middle-aged men, scattered about the room, sitting wherever they could find a comfortable spot.
Lloyd’s mouth dropped open.
“I wasn’t really expecting them, either,” Campbell said. “So, I hope you don’t hold it against me when I tell you, I had no idea you’d be showing up here. Do you care to join us, anyway?”
Buy my book Sacred the Circle to find out what these men are hearing from the supernatural realm. Will they answer the questions tugging at them? What are the visions saying? Who are the Multitude? Why are all these men being brought together? By whom? And why, above all else, are they being convicted….to pray?
But, trust me when I say, you’ll be white knuckling this one with every turn of the page!