Its been almost 30 years since Tim and I bought the 160 acres of land we call Willow Creek! We had hoped this place in the woods, would become a retreat and getaway from the hectic lives we were living! We had been searching for a while and the sunny day we walked around, in the snow so deep you couldn’t really get a lay of the land, we knew this was the place. There was something comfortable and energetic about the stroll we took slogging though the snow and the way this land made us feel. The land was pretty rustic with about 2 acres of cleared land within the old growth trees and dense underbrush. No power…no running water…no shelter…just trees…and we bought it! (make sure you check out the video at the end of this blog!)
Our plan was to eventually build a cabin of some sort to keep us sheltered from the harsher elements and stay dry. Our first project was a cook house we built from the first and second cut boards we found lying in a pile, cast aways from a portable lumber mill that had been there years before harvesting some of the larger trees. The building was pretty basic and in the literal sense was actually just a one room shack – that’s still standing to this day. Inside the smell of Tim’s homemade bread would waft from the old fashioned cook stove that also heated the water we carried in pails from the creek down the hill. We slept in a tent just off to the side on stacks of foam and underneath layers of down filled sleeping bags. It was pretty homesteader like and completely foreign to this city boy.
I grew up in Edson with a booming population of about 5000…so for sure, big city. I left the day after I graduated and moved into the big city for an important ‘high powered’ job and ‘glamorous’ lifestyle. My mom had always thought I would end up living in a penthouse suite, so this introduction to ‘rustic’ living was pretty foreign to me. Thankfully, Tim who had grown up on a farm, knew how to do this outdoor living and after some time, I got used to it and eventually started to really feel comfortable out there in the wild!
Several years past and we graduated to a much larger cabin we also built.
This time we modified a single car garage package using brand new wood on our 2nd home on the land!
The antique cook stove was now moved into this new cabin with room for an actual bed, table and chairs, sofa and a full set of cupboards we recycled from a friend. I can’t count the number of weekends we spend out at Willow Creek, enjoying the great outdoors and fresh air. It really was the perfect weekend get way and retreat from all the craziness of our lives, in the city, during the week. This new cabin was pretty modern when you compared it to the old ‘cook house’. Our lighting was a hanging candle chandeliers and coal oil lamps. The running water came through taps and hoses we hooked up to the water barrels placed under the eaves. The heat came from the cook stove and finally we had solid walls, a roof and lots of room to move…and we could not have been happier.
For a whole lot of nights, Tim talked about his 10 year plan that would include building a permanent ‘small’ house so we could live at ‘the land’ full time. I was pretty sure that wasn’t going to happen but encouraged him to keep dreaming. Even thought I enjoyed our time out here…it wasn’t exactly how I visualized me living the next 10 years. Then one day we found some plans on-line for a house we both loved and after a lot of back and forth, procrastination and indecision, we finally decided to take the plunge. I still thought it would be a weekend place, but Tim always believed we’d live out there… full-time… one day!
We found an amazing builder and we built a really cool custom house that among other amazing things, featured the wood and flooring we logged from our land. Our builder did the work to lock up and we worked our butts off finishing the inside. It really was…and still is a pretty special place.
We have enjoyed each of the ‘homes’ we built. The land has always been a remarkable place for us with so many amazing memories. We’ve keep it very wild and treed with a couple miles of trails meandering throughout the 160 acres. These trails, the walks through the trees and our house on the hill have been and continue to be the perfect sanctuary. A place to run away from the hectic world around us and a place to just chill! It may not have been in my life plans or goals, but I cannot image my life without it. Willow Creek has been a perfect place to share with family and friends and we live each day here, feeling blessed and grateful for what we have. It truly is the place #thingsthatmakesmehappy
…the wisdom of 59