My Big News

Ain’t it cute? A little primitive, but cute!

Ok. First with the news. Big. News.

I’m going on an adventure!

I’m going to work in the middle of nowhere.

I’m going to live in a 400 square foot cabin in the middle of nowhere.

This is going to be exciting!

I have done this before, so everyone can take a deep breath. It’s going to be ok.

There’s really only 2 things that are always a little challenging.

1. There is no running water (but I do get a big water tank that gets filled monthly because there is no stream or water source nearby). There is most definitely no hot water or bathroom.

I do however have a very clean outhouse if I do say so myself! White and pristine in fact. Just saying.

2. There is no power, however I do get a generator for power 2 hours a day. A must since I plan to continue to blog of course. In fact I’ll have more time then ever to write which is one of the BIGGEST perks of going out to the woods!

Maybe it’s best to talk about the things I have than the things I don’t….

I do get a little garden. Yes it’s mostly sandy dirt that vegetables really don’t like to grow in, and the growing season is only 2 months, but it’s better than nothing. Kale, chard and spinach all grow fast enough as do green beans. With grocery deliveries only once a month, this is going to be my main source of fresh veggies! I wish I could compost but alas….there are too many bears for composting, so I will buy fertilizer. Luckily my sister has a ton of it. She has 2 horses!

I also have internet, thanks to the technology advancements and a thing called the air card. That’s a huge bonus if you plan to maintain a blog. Very important stuff you know.

I do have a property completely surrounded by wild blueberries. Freshly picked berries for morning smoothies?! Yes. Please. Sure it’s only for a month, but it’s a glorious month.

I do have a propane tank to provide heat and refrigeration and a small stove. This little propane stove gets hot, like really hot! Which means some of the best homemade pizzas I’ve ever had where made in that small oven! Expect some sprouted pizza recipes in your future.

So you’re probably wondering WHY and WHAT FOR?


Well, to change it up mostly, but it’s a really relaxing environment and I’ll be able to do a ton of writing.

What the heck are you doing out there?

Primarily, I climb my way up into that little box, way up there and I watch for smoke and fires. That’s it in a nutshell (there’s other stuff that will bore you so I’ll skip it). If there is one, I call it in to dispatch who will send out a team of fire firefighters.  It’s a simple life.

It’s much higher than it looks!

Even though I have done this before, for some reason it’s still a little scary. I try not to think about the occasional scary moments I had, but my brain plays tricks on me. You hear sounds that aren’t there, imagine scenes from movies like the Shining. I’m also a little scared of the dark, which really doesn’t help. I know. I’m a grown woman. It sounds ridiculous. But I absolutely hate having to turn the generator off at night (it’s in a separate building). Waking to the generator shed is ok, but then you turn it off and everything goes black. No lights, no sound, and always visions of someone with an axe hiding behind a door! Always. Silly I know, but true.

Now what is far more likely is that a bear will be standing between the generator shed and the cabin, leaving me hiding in a generator shed until morning. Yet, for some reason, it’s always the axe I worry about….

Mostly stress free, simplified living.

This time I have a new challenge. 5 years ago (the last time I did this) I followed a modified whole food diet. I made everything from scratch (with the exception of canned tomatoes and stock which is an absolute mandatory purchase), except I had not yet ventured into using all whole food ingredients. I still used white sugar, I didn’t buy GMO free products, and I most certainly bought whatever animal products I could get, such as eggs, milk, and meat. Even though those animals products were minimal.

Nothing lasts long in a badly temperature controlled propane fridge (about the size of an old 1950s fridge), not to mention the size difference. But the thing is…I can’t buy that kind of meat anymore. I just can’t buy mass produce, factory meat or eggs (I won’t get into all the reasons right now). And dairy is even more challenging than both of those. So it looks like this girl will be going mostly vegan. At least for the most part unless I can find an ethical, sustainably raised meat supply (not likely). Occasionally the family who owns the beaver trap line a few miles away will drop off a fresh grouse for me, but it’s rare. So hopefully I won’t lose too many of my paleo and primal readers out there.

I usually go out to the cabin with 3-5 cookbooks. The hunt for good vegan cookbooks begin. I’m so pleased with the recent addition of Superfood Kitchen to my bookshelves. A beautiful book filled vegan recipes and raw desserts. I can’t tell you what a life saver this will be. Sure I have a bunch of vegan recipes on BTP, but the thought of having to come up with vegan recipes 3 times a day is a little intimidating. The one thing that I can have as an animal product is honey. Oh sweet honey, how I love thee.

I have some great vegetarian cookbooks that I love, but they use a surprising amount of dairy and eggs that aren’t easily substituted out. The books I’ve had the opportunity of looking through were TERRIBLE. Hardly a real food in site. GMO soy cheese this, soy protein that, and Nature’s Balance this, and processed food coming out the woohoo. So disappointing. If anyone has recommendations for a real food vegan cookbook, I’d love to hear them.

Remember I am limited to simple kitchen tools. No dehydrator (that takes power) cookbooks please.

One more thing! Posting will be irregular from the first of April until the 20th. And then the adventures begin!

29 Responses to My Big News

  1. Julian Niemiec March 15, 2013 at 3:54 pm #

    Sounds ideal, wish I could join to.

  2. Koko March 15, 2013 at 4:03 pm #

    Hooooooly! Good for you France, that sounds crazy!! I would be so nervous…between the darkness, the bears, and the HEIGHT of that tower. Whewwwww!

    Have you tried Dreens Burton’s Vegan Books? She really doesn’t use any ‘fake’ meat or diary products and everything is vegan. Let Them Eat Vegan is her latest and it’s awesome.

    Have fun!!

    • beyondthepeel March 15, 2013 at 9:41 pm #

      Thanks Koko. I was hoping you’d have some great suggestions.

  3. Deborah Tout March 15, 2013 at 4:04 pm #

    Vegan on the Cheap by Robin Robertson. I’ve yet to find a bad recipe in there, and the ingredients are whole and easy to find.

    • beyondthepeel March 15, 2013 at 9:41 pm #

      Thanks for the great suggestion.

  4. Guest March 15, 2013 at 4:20 pm #

    Can you take some chickens with you? I saw a BBC special last night called, ‘The Victory Garden’ and they showed how to make a bee hive

  5. Beth Campbell Duke March 15, 2013 at 4:24 pm #

    Can you take chickens with you? I watched a BBC special last night called, ‘The Victory Garden’ and they showed how to make a small bee hive using hay. How long do you go for? This is very exciting news, France.

    • beyondthepeel March 15, 2013 at 9:42 pm #

      Not really, unfortunately. Sounds like it was a great show tho!

  6. Sarah Howard March 15, 2013 at 4:35 pm #

    Try checking out Appetite for Reduction by Isa Moskowitz or Eat, Drink and be vegan by Dreena Burton.

  7. Sheilav March 15, 2013 at 4:41 pm #

    New Adventure, Great attitude, that’s all it takes…..yikes!

  8. Kim March 15, 2013 at 5:39 pm #

    Sounds fantastic! Enjoy! Last year I came across some lights on Amazon that are solar-charged during the day and run for a while at night. They weren’t too expensive, either. And, I noticed they have a lantern-shaped one now so you could carry it back from that shed and scare the bears away — not that there would be any. (I just search solar powered lights indoors, if you’re interested.) Can’t wait to read about your great adventure!

  9. Chaya March 15, 2013 at 5:40 pm #

    Wow! This is certainly an adventure and I am sure, you are going to make a success of it. I am glad you will be able to blog and keep us, up to date. I will be checking in regularly. Be sage and be fulfilled and eat.

  10. Liz Hardwick March 15, 2013 at 6:23 pm #

    Suggest you look at the older vegetarian/vegan cookery books – from the 60’s (I still have my original Walter & Jenny Fliess Vegetarian Cookery) and 70’s before all the weird stuff became available – Madhur Jaffrey’;s world vegetarian although not Vegan has some nice ideas and you can substitute Chickpea flour for eggs – chickpea flour pancakes are brilliant for all sorts of things, as they are, as wraps,

    • beyondthepeel March 15, 2013 at 9:43 pm #

      That’s smart. Of course back then they wouldn’t have had all the weird stuff.

  11. Tessa March 15, 2013 at 7:09 pm #

    Good for you France….what an escApe! I have hiked to many a fire lookouts throughout the cascades….they are never close to anything! I always loved the challenge of making really good food that weighed nothing and needed no good refrigeration, I know you are up to them challenge! I also really like dreena burton, and veganomigon or vegan with a vengeance are great. Easy to sub out any margarine asked for.

    • beyondthepeel March 15, 2013 at 9:44 pm #

      That’s a great suggestion Tessa. Thanks. She’s come up a few times, so it’s probably a good choice.

  12. Nina March 16, 2013 at 10:44 am #

    Check out the Forks Over Knives cookbook.

  13. MQ March 17, 2013 at 4:36 am #

    Can you get a remote starter for the generator?

    • beyondthepeel March 19, 2013 at 3:30 pm #

      You know it does have one, but it doesn’t work. I’ve try to get them to fix it…but my persistent had not paid off by the time I left after my second year. Maybe I’ll get lucky this year!

  14. mjskit March 17, 2013 at 9:32 pm #

    This sounds really exciting! If I were A LOT younger, I, too, would jump on such an opportunity. It’s nice to disconnect at times and just spend time with yourself or the one closest to you without interruptions. Bobby and I use to take off into the woods or canyon country twice a year for at least 2 weeks and sometimes longer (like 3 months). It was great! Sounds like you have lots and lots of challenges ahead of you and I wish you the very best! I can’t recommend a vegan cookbook because I don’t know of one. I wish you the best of luck and look forward to the few times you do get to post! Have fun!

  15. Jeanette Chen March 21, 2013 at 2:29 am #

    France, sounds like an excellent adventure – you are incredibly creative, so I have no doubt that you will come up all sorts of tasty meals despite the limited resources. I can’t wait to hear all about your experiences – I know it will be eye opening for me and others. Best wishes in your newest endeavor!

  16. Joanne (eats well with others) March 21, 2013 at 4:27 pm #

    this is so exciting! I can’t wait to follow along as you do this!

  17. inspirededibles March 24, 2013 at 10:43 pm #

    Congratulations on your big news France! I do remember your former adventures on the tower (I seem to remember a photo of a chin-up bar and those sexy arms!). It’s a lifestyle that sounds pretty wonderful to me. There is much that can be done in quiet, solitude and your little garden sounds like magic.

  18. BigRed Couch March 25, 2013 at 3:18 pm #

    Have you considered canning a few meats and meals to have on hand? Shelf stable and require no refrigeration. Heat and eat when needed. Each summer I can all the tomatoes I can get my hands on. I make all my own stock from our own farm raised organic clean meats. Nothing in a store can compare those. Gosh, if you lived near me I would let you shop from my pantry for your extended cabin in the woods stay – just remember to return the empty jars! Enjoy your time away! -Angie @ HomeGrown

    • beyondthepeel March 27, 2013 at 12:08 am #

      These are great suggestions. With a little less than a week before we move, we won’t have the time to take on such projects, let alone drive them 1500 km from where I am not to where I am going. But canning meat is something I’d love to try. Giving lessons? :)

  19. Beth March 25, 2013 at 9:09 pm #

    How fabulous that you get to do this! I’m trying really hard not to be twistedly and unattractively jealous. Not succeeding, but trying. The climb up that tower is the only downside, in my view. That would leave me a little shaky–even more so than the odd night noises and a runaway imagination.

    • beyondthepeel March 27, 2013 at 12:05 am #

      The climb is only scary the first couple of times you do it. Then it becomes old hat. Isn’t it funny how life is like that sometimes.

  20. Amber H April 4, 2013 at 4:44 pm #

    Oh France, thank you for bringing us along on this adventure! How exciting. I can’t wait for your posts and pictures…and to hear about what you are cooking for yourself up there. What a sweet little cabin and space you have! Love it.

  21. Debbie @ Easy Natural Food April 4, 2013 at 5:38 pm #

    Wow, you are so crazy :) Have fun!

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