A Gathering Place

The area I selected for my gathering place. Photo taken in November, 2019.

Friday, June 12, 2020

This was a short weekend at River Song as I had to head back to the city Saturday evening. Earlier in the week, I started putting my belongings into storage in preparation for moving to my new place at the end of the month. Rather than panic and try to move everything at once, I rented a 5’x10′ storage unit. I would take my time, put everything in storage, and then move it from storage at my leisure. Or leave it there. The unit is only $18 a month, so no hurry.

My big deck box with my Burning Man gear was the first thing to go. This freed up the eight 12″x12″ cement pavers it sat on, and I decided to use these in front of my cabin’s back door. I had been planning to build a wood porch, but why do that when a couple of pavers would accomplish the same thing? And in a matter of minutes, instead of hours!

Clearing the back entry for pavers.As soon as I got to River Song, I got to work. First, I had to level out the area. I started digging it out, but then it occurred to me it would be much easier to build it up, instead. The cabin sits almost a foot above the ground, so this was an excellent option. And, the area around the front deck could use a bit of dirt removed to level it, too. Perfect! I dug up four buckets and spread it around the back door. It wasn’t quite perfectly level, but it is good enough for now.

I laid out the eight pavers in a 3x3x2 pattern. For the most part, the pavers were level. Over time, their weight will compact the dirt, and I can add more to re-level it, as needed. In addition, the area could use another four pavers. And then there’s no need for a back porch. I can now take off my shoes on the pavers and walk into the cabin, leaving the dirt outside. A super simple, elegant, and cost effective solution. My favorite kind!

My new back entry.My new back entry area took only about half an hour, leaving me plenty of daylight for another project. I really wanted to roast hot dogs over a camp fire. I started clearing an area last Sunday, and there was still lots to do before I could put in a fire pit. Time to grab my shovel and rake and get to work.

I worked for about an hour and a half, clearing out ferns, digging out fern root balls, and hauling away rotted vine maples. I piled the root balls in a depression near the road. They should eventually compost and help fill it in.

By sunset, I’d made good progress and decided to call it a night.

Saturday, June 13

I decided to continue working on my gathering area today. But first, I had to wait for the rain to end. Fortunately, I had a new book. A real printed book, not an e-book! A few weeks ago, I discovered “Native Peoples of the Olympic Peninsula : Who We Are” while googling local basket weaving materials. It sounded interesting, especially since it was written by actual Native people. I ordered the book, and it arrived yesterday.

Gathering area, day 2. Nicely cleared and levelish.After a few hours, the sun chased the rain away, and I headed out to my gathering area with my rake and shovel. It took only a few hours to finish digging up the rest of the ferns. I also moved dirt from the higher areas to fill in some low spots and level it out. By mid afternoon, I was pretty happy with my work and decided to call it a day. Time to head back to the city!

I didn’t get a lot done this weekend, but it was enough. After all, I built this cabin as a relaxing getaway. I don’t have to work hard every weekend!