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March 14, 2011
The digital age


Our mountain property when we first saw it in March 2003

Our son Cameron has said that having our mountain property has been like reliving the entire history of civilization.

We started out in May 2003 with bare, undeveloped land in all of its pristine and natural wildness.

    

Thanks to fire, we were able to begin staying overnight on the bare land. Fire gave us warmth, light and the ability to cook food. But we could only stay there in clear and non-inclement weather.


We began to put up temporary, portable structures to stay longer. We had a tent for sleeping and an enclosure for an outhouse. We had portable cooking equipment. We were nomadic, moving around to various sites on the property and constantly changing our minds about which location we liked best.

    

Our first modern convenience was the addition of an unlimited water supply. Previously, we had to bring in every sip of water that we needed. Even so, we had to make a short hike to get to the water every time we needed it.

    

We began to construct makeshift apparatuses, including showers and sinks. Our sophistication was at about the level of “Gilligan’s Island.”

    

In 2005, we began to erect permanent structures. First was a storage shed that held tools and supplies, so we didn’t have to bring them up in a car every trip. Second was the foundation and skeleton for our eventual mountain house.

    

As the house slowly began to come together with bare floors and walls, we were able to set up living quarters inside. They were still temporary and had to be dismantled every time we left.

    

After we sealed the house, first with plastic sheeting and finally with windows, we were able to set up permanent furniture inside. We began with college-dorm quality furniture, then slowly upgraded as we transformed our house into a home. Still, every tool we used was powered by batteries, fuel or a portable gas generator.

    

    

In 2006 we gained the civilization-changing power of electricity. Suddenly, we had lights at night. We could use a microwave oven and space heaters. We could watch television.


In 2007 we gained indoor plumbing. This gave us flush toilets and sinks. In 2009 we gained hot water, which enabled us to add a bathtub and shower.

         

On March 14, 2011, Gail and Dirk made the next evolutionary leap in our civilization. With the help of the local telephone company, they switched on telephone and internet access. Gail made the first landline telephone call to Russell back in the Bay Area, while Dirk sent the first email. (Unfortunately, neither of them said “Mr. Watson, come here.”)

    

We expect that the advent of the Digital Age will transform our mountain home lives in further amazing ways. Our teenage sons had become more and more reluctant to come up to the mountain without constant online access. Now they are excited about trying the mountain internet. Gail and Russell no longer need to wander all over the property to find a clear reception spot when they need to make a telephone call.

The Digital Age is one more step in the slow evolution of our mountain life. But it is a huge and exciting step.


Eight years into our history, the current state of our mountain home

 

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