Ruth J Jamieson Art

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January 2016

Deforestation – Clearing the Land

Choosing the Lot

We had visited the area with one of the Band representatives and chose our lot. All the lots were 100 feet along the road and over 100 feet down to the lake. Of the 50 original lots there were only a few remaining.
It was difficult to see all the features of the property due to the trees and bush but we choose the lot that we liked the best in part because it appeared to be higher than all of the surrounding lots.
This turned out to be a good move as in the years to come some neighbors experienced flooding and loss of their beaches due to erosion from storms.

lot with brush cut
The lot with some brush cut

Siting the House

The lots had been surveyed and our first job was to decide where to put our home. Some people had built near the centre of their lot while others built to one side or the other. We chose to build to the side leaving ample room for expansion.

The conditions of the lease allowed for a setback of four feet from the property lines on either side, and you had to build more or less in line with your neighbors houses. The setback from the road was required for the installation of a septic bed that would be about 50 feet by 50 feet plus the septic tank. This however would be some time in coming.

First the Clearing

On evenings and weekends we would load the kids into the van and head out to the site of our home to be. The kids would play in an area away from the brush clearing and they had a ball in their woodland playground.

The work wasn’t too difficult as we were removing mostly brush and small trees with an axe and buck saw. The wood we cut was piled and fed to a small fire over which we cooked hotdogs, marshmallows and s’mores. It was just like camping and with all the exercise and fresh air everyone slept well.

Throughout the fall, friends from college would come out to help on weekends. We cleared a lot of the small brush and enjoyed a few bonfires.

With the site cleaned up, we had to decide which of the trees we needed to remove. We wanted to keep as many as possible but had to remove the ones growing where the driveway and septic system were to go.

Next – Deforestation Part 2

If you don’t find the notion of writing things down on paper that weird, you can buy a notebook with one of our winter visitors…

Bluejay Spiral Note Book
Bluejay Spiral Note Book by ladybuglane
Design your own customisable notebooks online at Zazzle

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The Search Begins

Ruth was the driving force behind the whole endeavor

She, being an artist, had a vision of the house and drew up the plans. Several plans including an octagonal house, a multi storied house and the one which was actually achievable given our budget and skills, a modest rectangular house.
We didn’t want to build in the city with its high property costs, taxes and the normal building process of contractors and permits.

On the lake

Ruth had found waterfront property only 20 minutes from the city. Was there a catch? It depends on your views about property ownership.
The lots were being leased to non-natives by a local First Nations group for about a $1000 per year.

Leased land or owned land

Most people feel that they have to own the land if they are going to build a house on it. Some people are leery of land leases because they have heard stories of massive price hikes and leases not being renewed. These things have happened and you can find related news stories on the internet.
But, you can also find stories of people owning land but not the oil and mineral rights underneath their property.
There are also news stories of the government telling people that their land is being appropriated. They are told how much the government is going to pay and when they have to get out. I actually met a lady who built a home to retire to with her husband and within a year or two the government said they were putting a road through and the house would have to go. Here is a cheque, don’t let the door hit you on the way out.

Along the lake from our lot
Along the lake from our lot

Go for it

We looked at a couple of lots and went over the lease and decided we were going for it.
Truthfully we did end up having a court case and long negotiation when our Lessor proposed a hike in the lease amount, but that will be another post.

Next time… Deforestation

The view from my back yard is available as a poster at…

AS ABOVE, SO BELOW POSTER
AS ABOVE, SO BELOW POSTER by dequilla
Look at other Digital Posters at zazzle.com

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Building Our Own Home

This blog will tell the story of how my family and I cleared some land and built our own home.

I am not a carpenter, mason, electrician or plumber. My work history includes 10 years as a carpet installer (fuzzy side up) * and I currently work in the Information Technology field (have you tried turning it off and on again?).
My wife Ruth was an artist.

Most of the knowledge we gained in building the house was gleaned from books (it was just before we got on that internet thing) and talking to people who were also building in the area as well as some tradesmen who didn’t mind sharing their knowledge.

In the late 1980’s Ruth and I were living, with our four children, in a rental unit near the middle of a row house. This row house was one of three arranged around a parking lot. Next to those houses were another group of identical homes which was across the street from another group of row houses. There were a few apartment buildings sprinkled throughout the area which were home to a fairly temporary population as there were often people moving in or out.

The street we lived on often looked like the parking lot at the mall.

a winter picture of my old neighborhood
The old neighborhood

On our side of the street the row houses were brick and looked to be in decent shape. Inside, the units were well cared for but the construction left something to be desired. Walking across the floor felt a bit like bouncing on a trampoline and at Christmas time our tree would shake like it was out in the wind.

The walls were not soundproofed to any great extent as we could hear our neighbors when they argued and when they were being friendly.
The fireplace in our unit had a damaged chimney so we could not have a wood fire but there was one benefit to having thin walls. Heat. One of the neighbors installed a gas fireplace on an adjoining wall and when they turned it on, the heat coming through the wall made us turn down our thermostat which was kind of nice considering the cost of natural gas.

The next post will start at the beginning of this journey –The Search Begins

*things became more difficult when we started installing vinyl. No fuzz.

If you still use a mouse pad and like winter scenes you can purchase a view of my lake here…

Snowy Lake View Mouse Pad
Snowy Lake View Mouse Pad by damccaskill
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