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Everything But the Kitchen Sink



Ta-da! Water in the bunkhouse kitchen!

Out here at the farm, we have slowly started to collect everything that we need to live comfortably on our acreage. We pretty well have everything but the kitchen sink, until last night, that is, as we turned on the sink taps in the kitchen of the bunkhouse. ​ The journey to have running water has been a long one;

When we first started coming to the farm, we stayed in the “love shack” on a blow up mattress and an infrared heater. We truly were amazed that there was a 30 amp service to that building. There was definitely no water there, so we just stayed for a couple days until we were good and stinky and then headed back to Red Lake for a good back.

Man, we froze our butts off in here!

Then we moved into the farmhouse and lo and behold, there was a well! Unfortunately all of the pipes that had been connected to the house had burst when the house was left unattended for two years (the house was only heated with a wood stove so when the fire was out, the house was an ice block). Brad and Alex hooked up a cold water tap which allowed us to boil water on the wood stove or hot plate.

When we used up our jugs of water, we would melt snow. I was always worried I would accidentally scoop up a mouse outside!

Happy day! We had water!

We bought three plastic buckets at Walmart and I’m telling you, those buckets have been used A LOT! But we could only run the water in the warm temperatures and went back to melting snow and hauling more water in the colder temperatures. We lived this way at the farm for a good 4 or 5 years. We laugh now about our sponge baths in front of the fire, freezing our toolies. We also laugh about how we would go to town for breakfast and wash our hands before our meals and embarrassingly watched as the water turned an unflattering colour.

washing dishes by flashlight with wine

These two buckets have been indispensable!

a candle lit sponge bath after a long day

Now you know why we created the outdoor shower. It was quite inconvenient to drive out to Ghost Lake for a bath/swim every day and man, having an outdoor shower is the cat’s meow! (We actually plan on dragging it over to the bunkhouse to continue to use!)

When we brought the bunkhouse in, we knew that it was time for a septic system. We knew that we would be building a studio as well, so made sure that the septic would accommodate that. Once the septic was set up, it was time to get a new well dug. Holy bananas that was an expensive endeavor. But now we have a water system that will last us a very, very long time. Brad used his awesome plumbing skills to hook everything up so that we could have showers and use the toilets in the bunkhouse. What a treat! Good bye outhouse! (Not that we didn’t have the most awesome outhouse in NWO! Check out a blog I wrote all about the most epic loo around.)

Cameron of Blair Contracting did an job of our septic system.

So, you probably wonder why it took so long to wash dishes in a kitchen sink then? Well, the bunkhouse is split up into 3 units, with each unit consisting of two bedrooms and a shared bathroom. So the whole building had six bedrooms and 3 bathrooms. We decided that we would “gut” the center unit and turn it into a common room that includes a kitchen and lounging area. That meant that we had water, but it was not hooked up to anything until we could build something.

Brad, Alex and Chris completely gutted the center of the bunkhouse.

So our dishwashing process went something like this: turn on the hot water tap attached to the snake hose and direct it into a bucket. Add dish soap to get the water nice and bubbly. When that is filled, shut off the water and put the second bucket under it and fill it up with piping hot water for the rinse cycle. Wash and rinse the dishes, and put the dishes on the drying rack. Take each bucket, one at a time outside and down the stairs to dump in the yard. Make sure to not fall down the stairs. I honestly should have bought stock in those plastic buckets because they have been so durable!

This was our dishwashing process for years and years. We had a sink, taps, counters and shelves all tucked away but just needed the time to put them in. Yesterday was that time! What a luxury.

I took advantage of the rain and old eave troughs to have a redneck shower once!

It definitely has been something I have reflected on a lot since we started to live out here. Water is not easy to come by and everyone that is not on municipal water goes through a lot of effort to have clean, potable water. It makes me think of so many Canadians that live without running water in their homes and the effort it takes to have something that every single person should have access to. It is why bottled water companies stay in business. We hauled water back and forth from Red Lake to the farm and now we buy our drinking water at Safeway in their water refill station. Not everyone has the access that we do, and it is frustrating to think about. Every single person should have this opportunity and we acknowledge our privilege.

Our next step will be to put up the log building/studio and connect it to the septic and well also. That will be another moment of joy as we continue to make life more convenient for ourselves and the guests we will be hosting.

I can no longer say that “we have everything but the kitchen sink”. Now I have to say, “we have everything but the kitchen stove” but that won’t be for too much longer.


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