At first, I thought we would plant some apple seedlings, sink a well, camp in a tent while we visited the Would Be Farm. Maybe build a cabin in a few years.
Belay that. Turns out we already have close to 100 apple trees on the land (overgrown, I grant you, and untended for decades, but full-on rows of trees -- producing fruit already!). And it turns out that even when it's not raining, the mud factor makes tenting, hmm, let's say "untenable."
But it did have a propane stove and refrigerator. And running water.
And it didn't implode as we hauled it down the road, over the hill, past those cows, down the driveway, and over to that nice bluff.
Given a week and access to the hardware store it's quite possible to convert a 150-square-foot unseemly little metal dwelling into something pleasant for quite a bit less money than most people in my neighborhood spend on rent each month. Jeff is a good rough carpenter, after all, and caulk is cheap.
We yanked out one of the bench seats and the over-the-table bunk. We removed the scary upholstery and the seedy-looking window treatments and extracted several sarcophagus-like cabinet doors. The previous owners, for a mercy, were clean folk, so it wasn't one of those really disgusting projects.
Jeff shored up the rotted beams and re-floored the soft spots, applied a nice thick layer of roof-seal on top, and caulked the snot out of the seams. He got the windows working and made sure the water system was watertight. He replace the dented valve on the propane tank and cleared the propane system (now that was an exciting afternoon!).
There's a wonderful product called cabinet paint -- applied with a foam roller, it's a water-based paint that sticks to and covers any manner of Formica folderol. I picked a warmish cream color and start painting everything inside the little cottage-on-wheels. I mean ev-er-re-thing: walls, cabinets, metal cabinet hardware, tabletops, etc.
Now we have Base Camp. When it rains, we can sit at the table and watch the rain stay outside while we sip our hot (or cold) beverages.
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