Today’s blog post isn’t about your normal “health and wellness” stuff. Today is a little more “Me in the raw”. For those that don’t know, for 22 years together Mark and I had a team of competitive racing sled dogs (36 years total for Mark). The last eight years of our racing career we lived at our cabin, 10 miles from the power grid and six miles from the end of the maintained road (that means plowed in the winter). We first moved to our cabin in the winter of 2003-2004 with the intention of it being temporary. Well, life has a funny way of not going exactly as planned and we ended up living there for all eight years. We started out with Coleman lanterns for light, unreliable snowmobiles and vehicles to slowly adding buildings and amenities to our homestead/compound. I started to write a this blog post on Saturday night after we had spent the afternoon and early evening mowing the yard and it ended up getting longer and longer. I will share part of it with you today and the rest has been suggested to me to be in the form of an e-book. During the time we lived “Off The Beaten Path” people told us we should write a book about our adventures, so in 2007 I started writing an almost daily blog with the same name (I linked it above) chronicling our life of adventure. Recently again I was told I should write a book, so maybe my writing about the nostalgia I was feeling this past weekend is the beginning…

Mark and I decided to head to our cabin in “the bush” on Saturday afternoon after our workouts to let the dogs be dogs; unleashed, un-kenneled and running free, and to get the grass mowed. Well…it’s green and it grows so we have to mow it, so we call it grass…

For some reason this trip made me nostalgic. The nostalgia could have been because the weather was cool enough to have a fire in the woodstove and cool enough that if we still had sled dogs we could have hitched up a team or two and ran them? Yes, you read that right, we had a fire in the woodstove on July 20th (a new record and one of the reasons why we are moving).

Or the nostalgia could have been me noticing how things around the cabin are noticeably “no-one-lives-here-all-the-time” unkempt. The south side of the cabin needs staining, the main outhouse and tool/garden shed needs a coat or two of paint, my gardens that were my pride and joy when we lived here, in dire need of weeding. I think what struck the nostalgia cord was the condition of what was the vegetable garden for three years; full of weeds, daisies and could use a “mow” itself. In all, it still looks like a neat little compound, but you can tell we don’t LIVE there anymore, and it makes me sad. (Click on the pictures for a larger photo).

The garden in front of the cabin in 2010 and 2013. In 2010 we had to have it fenced due to puppies running around in the summer. In 2013, the moose horns are hidden away and locked up so no one steals them.

The sauna garden in 2010 and yesterday. It's hard to tell in the photo, but it didn't look very good yesterday. It is the one garden I didn't get to for weeding.

Even the outhouse used to look "cheerier"....

The vegetable garden..then and now.

What really brought on the nostalgia could have been the condition of the signs with each sled dog’s name on it that were once screwed into their house are all peeling and you can’t read the name any longer. When we sold our equipment, which included the dog houses, we took all the name plates off the houses and saved them. The ones that were still in decent shape, we saved and put on the shed. (Some of the dogs had chewed their names off, lol). I had shellacked the names on the painted boards, but the sun, other elements and time have done their thing. As I looked at them, I wondered if we would forget who they all were and how much a part of us they were and we were of them. Most of those names were of dogs that were born at our kennel, who we held when they were just a few hours old and grew up with us. As the dogs were sold a little part of our hearts went with them. I know we made the right decision to retire, but some days you tend to relive those days.

The photos almost look identical…until you click on the photo and realize you can’t read the dog names in the photo on the right.

My heart longs to be out at the cabin, but I don’t miss the hour-long drive to town every day or the beating our vehicles took on the six miles of un-maintained road. We share the road with other cabin owners, but yet no one fixes problems on the road until it’s impassable. There is a culvert that has been half-failing since our first trip out in June…it still is half-failing. Since our last trip, a tree had fallen over the road near a beaver pond…someone cut it out of the way, sure. But just enough to get a vehicle by it and not clearing it completely out of the way. Those are the things we do not miss. However, when we sell the gym or liquidate the equipment and we don’t NEED to be in town everyday, it might not be so bad…

Must be time to sign off on this as I’m getting too “in the raw”. This IS a health and wellness blog afterall. Thank you for reading my “nostalgia” post…as mentioned earlier, who knows, this just may be the beginning of that book everyone has been telling me I should write!

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