Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Homeward Bound!!

One of 2 wolves who overcame their shyness to cross the frozen
lake to investigate us at the cabin.  Alley took this picture!
Clearing snow off the ice to thicken the ice for travelling on.
We are in the process now of heading home! Yay!!!  We are currently visiting friends in Smithers, BC, but should be on our way tomorrow by noon.
It has been another lovely stay at the trapline cabin, but it is always so nice to go back home.  Back to running hot and cold water, bathtubs and showers, flush toilets and internet!
To give you an idea of what life is like out on the trapline, here is a typical day!
The lake under it's first layer of ice.
As we have no appointments to make or jobs to get up for, we can sleep in and enjoy a leisurely cup of coffee.  This usually happens between 8 and 9 am.  My wonderful husband, Trevor, usually brings me a cup in bed, as he is up first and gets the coffee I prepped the night before going on the woodstove or Coleman.  This is treatment I can get used to, but pretty much only happens at the cabin.  I lay back and enjoy my coffee while looking out the window at the incredible view.  Our cabin overlooks a beautiful lake which is the source of our water and delicious Northern Pike fish.  Our bed is built in beside a big window we had to transport in over a rough atv trail, along with everything else we have there.
Once I have finished waking up, I climb out from under the quilts and wool blankets and dress quickly to make my first trip to the outhouse!  Our outhouse faces the lake, so even that enables us to take advantage of the view!  We also have a porta potti in the cabin mainly for night use and when it is just too freaking cold to bare your bottom outside!  The kids tend to use it more than Trev and I, but who can blame them?  I can remember being terrified of outhouses when I was little!
Next come breakfast!  We usually alternate between pancakes and oatmeal but sometime I will have made cinnamon buns the day before, or will fry sliced potatoes and Spam for a change.  We eat Spam fairly regularly on the trapline.  Because it comes in a can, does not require refrigeration, last for ages, and freezes well in the can, we have found it is a pretty good option.  We have tried the occasional canned whole chicken as well, but they always seem like so much money for something that isn't that great.  Anyways, we usually have breakfast more as a brunch, and then a snack for lunch. Cooking at the cabin is different from home due to the fact that, although we have a lake full of water, getting it to the cabin and then having to purify it is hard work.  I try to minimize the number of dishes we use to cut down on the amount of water needed to wash them.  We use paper plates, but real cutlery and cups.  I scrape bowls and pots out thoroughly after they are used to help keep the wash water clean longer.  I only wash dishes last thing at night, and it works well.  Bleach is added to both the wash and rinse water to keep the risk of 'beaver fever' away.  Our drinking and cooking water is strained through a fine filter, boiled for 1 minute and has also had a few drops of bleach added to it.  Lastly it goes through a Brita water filter, more to remove any last sediments and for taste.  We have come to appreciate water in a way most people never will.  Not only do we cut back on how much we use, but we also work hard to get it.  When we first arrive at the cabin in October, the lake hasn't frozen over yet and all that is required to get the water is to scoop it into buckets. Once the cold has set in though, and the lake freezes, we have to chop a hole in the lake.  I prefer to get the water once the lake has frozen purely because it comes out cleaner. I can go further out onto the lake, which means I am scooping water further from the lake bottom and not stirring up the dirt or catching little fresh water shrimp in my scoop, which all needs to be filtered out.  The hauling of the heavy buckets is more difficult in the snow though, and we generally pull them up on a sled.  The cabin is about as high up as a 3rd story, so carrying the buckets up hill can be a challenge!  Now you can understand why I only wash dishes once a day!
Zac and Trev fishing for Northern Pike before the lake freezes over completely.
For the kids and I, our days at the cabin involve doing some schoolwork, reading, playing games, doing various crafts (I get a lot of knitting and crocheting done!), getting water, cooking, baking and going out for a walk or some other outside activity. Trev, on the other hand, spends time out trapping!  Before Alley and I arrived there this year, he and Zac had gotten 2 beaver and an otter.  Then later, he set his marten traps and caught 7 before it was time to head out.  He uses an atv or snowmobile to get around, which often have some kind of breakdown or another, which then require tinkering.  Not my idea of fun, but he seems to enjoy it.  We must haul everything in and out on snowmobile or atv, which takes time. This falls to Trev as well.
Alley getting water at -20C.

Zac (and Zoey!) and the only beaver taken this year.

We have a small generator which, along with solar panels, charges a bank of batteries, which in turn, power lights and give us the option to use electric tools and use a 12 volt tv and charge the laptop.
A word about trapping for anyone reading who may be offended or is 'against' trapping.  When Trevor and I met, almost 30 years ago, our dream was to be able to live in the bush, using what God provided us through nature, living simply and frugally.  We looked at many ways to be able to do this.  Trev had already been interested in trapping and had taken his trapper's course and gotten his license before we met.  I, on the other hand, was anti-trapping and sold raffle tickets for Greenpeace in highschool!  That was purely from my love of animals and a lack of really knowing anything about it.  After we met, and I began to learn and realized why trapping is still something that is necessary. I found a new understanding of the industry. Owning a trapline was a way we could live in the woods and at least in part, live our dream.  In this day and age, there is not a huge market for real fur, most of it goes to China and Russia.  I personally would not wear real fur.  The need for trapping in today's world stems not from the money to be made, as this is not much, but from our own need to expand and grow.  As man spreads out and takes over more and more of the land, the animals who once lived there are pushed out.  They have to go somewhere.  And that is into land that already sustains a population of various species.  The land can only support a certain number of animals in a certain area.  If too many squirrels live in one area, they use more than what the land can provide to support them.  They either starve or move, pushing into other squirrel's territory, and repeating the process over again.  By managing and harvesting our forest of animals, we allow the species to survive and thrive.  Trappers are not 'nasty animal killers'.  They harvest and manage.  They use humane traps that kill quickly and do not cause the animals to suffer. I do not enjoy the trapping part of our cabin, but I do understand and accept it. In return for managing our trapping area, we are permitted to build cabins and trails.  We only harvest enough to maintain the line, and this is the way in which we can legally be allowed to be where we are at the cabin.
So much for my humble opinion and explanation.  If you are interested, here is a site where you can find out more about trapping in Canada.
Hoar frost on trees above cabin.


  1. Harvesting furs is a good way to make ones living out in the back of beyond. Trappers are the first ones to report if they see something that is going to have an impact to the animal population. Most trappers are great lovers of wildlife. They study animal habits and wonder at the things they see.

    1. Hey Vicki! You are right, How was your season?

  2. Wow! This was an interesting read. Thanks for sharing a peek into your life.

  3. Hi Jenny! Thanks for stopping by. We are missing the time at the trapline this year, but hope to be back there in the spring.


Your comments make my day. I love getting feedback from you. Please take the time to let me know what you think of this post, and also, if you are a blogger in need of some blog-love, leave your site address so I can go visit you too!