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Saturday, April 23, 2016

Cabin in the woods, then and now

There's living in the woods and there's living in the woods. I'm living in a low population density area surrounded by trees and wildlife. However, it's a compromise area for me. When we moved out here we had young children. My wife didn't mind moving for one major reason.

The road was maintained year round. Sure, having some access to town services is nice, but the fact the road is plowed in the winter is huge. It's inconvenient if the kids have to cross country ski to the bus stop. Sure, it's a pain to haul groceries in on a tobaggon. That's bad, but not the deal breaker. Mud season is the deal breaker. When roads and trails turn into a knee deep mix of slush and mud, there's no traveling.

You can't keep a job or live even a semi-normal life if you are housebound for a mouth until the mud dries out. Whatever you do don't have a medical emergency or need supplies in town. It's not gonna happen.

Now that the kids are grown and on their own I suppose I could live in a more isolated cabin. Off the grid cabins can have a few things my dad's old hunting camp lacked. The big one is cheap solar electric. Just being able to have bright LED lights is a huge plus.

Another thing I'd change is the outhouse. There's nothing worse than having to put your boots on and struggle through the snow to do one's business. Dad was smart because he kept the toilet seat on a hook behind the woodstove. That way you could take a toasty warm seat with you to the outhouse. Believe me, it made a huge difference. Instead of an outhouse a nice indoor bathroom with a composting head would be a huge improvement. No need to put boots on and plow through the snow.

The problem with moving to a more isolated cabin is that I'm pushing 60. One day I could wake up with shooting pains down my left arm. Being able to call an ambulance and have it appear at my door could save my life. Actually, if access to emergency medical services is a necessity, it really makes sense to live in town. EMS response times make a difference. Also, you get help from professionals who stay right next to their ambulance ready to go. Beats the heck out of waiting for volunteers, no matter how dedicated they are.

Personally, living in town would probably kill me quicker than a heart attack. Being out in the country is probably one of the reasons I'm not dead before age 45 -like one doctor told me I'd be. Clean air, water, exercise, and natural beauty do wonders for one's health. That doesn't mean I can't fall down and break a leg. Should that happen I'll be very happy that my local volunteers will be able to eventually get to me. Beats the heck out of dying in the mud.

-Sixbears

15 comments:

  1. "Personally, living in town would probably kill me quicker than a heart attack. Being out in the country is probably one of the reasons I'm not dead before age 45 -like one doctor told me I'd be."

    It's not even necessary for someone to have your medical problems for that statement above to be true.

    Over the last year or so, I've been studying the links between chronic stress and numerous very serious medical conditions. Not "theskyisfalling.com" website, but medical journals, and within those journals, articles written by people who know the most about this. In short, the links are not hypothetical. They are scientifically understood and much more serious than almost all people, and most doctors, realize. As in ... the eventual cause of death for most of us.

    Another option to put on the table besides straddling the fence or moving into town:

    Live your life the way you want to, where you want to, and if that means you'll eventually have a serious problem without medical attention, then die. Accept that. Not only is that feasible, but in some ways, very rational. It's also the way that 99% of all people have lived for most of human history.

    Not trying to be morbid. Just factual.

    By the way, an unusually good and engaging introduction to the stress-disease topic is the National Geographic 1-hour documentary from 2008 called "Stress: Portrait of a Killer":

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eYG0ZuTv5rs

    Another good reference is Sapolsky's book titled "Why Zebras Don't Get Ulcers":

    http://www.amazon.com/Zebras-Dont-Ulcers-Third-Edition/dp/0805073698

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    1. I am somewhat familiar with the research. Makes sense to me. We are human animals that developed in the wild.

      Life is fatal. Nobody gets of this world alive. Might as well enjoy your time here.

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    2. Although it is all interesting to me, one of the most fascinating aspects is the connection between stress and obesity. It is very specific. In one very common pattern -- mid-section obesity (abdominal) without general obesity -- the cause has been demonstrated as chronic stress. For those tempted to dismiss stress as "whining", this connection was first demonstrated in monkeys, and later discovered in large-scale human studies.

      Short bursts of stress and our reactions to it can be helpful to our survival. Near-constant lower levels of stress lead to several major diseases and are literally killing us.

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    3. I'm fat enough as it is. That very last thing I need is fat making stress.

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  2. I once read about a guy whose three doctors told him that he was dying, so he went back home to Italy to spend his last days. Ten years later, he came back to the US for a visit and tried to look up his doctors for a chat, but they were all dead. It was supposed to be a true story. It wouldn't surprise me.

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    1. Doesn't surprise me at all. Hope it's true.

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  3. I believe I am still "hale and hearty" at 72 because I live in the country, somewhat isolated from my neighbors.

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    1. Having to be self reliant must give you plenty of exercise.

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  4. Our doctor told us moving to farm country probable saved our lives. Too much stress working and trying to keep the house we loved. Stress is a killer. I'm glad we moved.

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    1. I've gotten rid of a lot of stress in my life and that certainly helps.

      Glad you moved and saved your lives.

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  5. All things being equal, I'd much rather be in the country. However, more than once, living there caused economic stress, and a migration back to the city to chase dollars. Almost damned if you do, damned if you don't.

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    1. Not being able to make enough money to live on is one of the stressful things around here. I'm got enough to survive so I'm fine. However, it is a tough area to make a living.

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  6. Mother Nature can be the best relaxer and tonic for what ails you.

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    1. Pretty sure living out in the country saved my life.

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  7. Exercise runs both ways. City people walk everywhere. Rural people drive. That makes a difference.

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