Two years ago I bought a cabin in rural Pennsylvania. It may not have an elevator to ancient subterranean gods, (I wish), but it does fulfill every writer's dream of a retreat far from the madding crowd. After three years combing "Farm for Sale" advertisements on the internet, I found the perfect one. The old man who died there owned it as a retreat from his wife. She wanted nothing to do with it. She didn't even clean it out. As a result, I became the proud owner of
every manly tool, ancient and modern. I am also the owner of a pile of junk that I have yet to cart off.
From a man's point of view, this is heaven. My wife looks at me like I've been inducted into Sanford and Son. I call it a cabin. My wife calls it "the shack", an upgrade from the "hut" she declared it before I installed running water and insulation.
Yeah, I think "Rustic" is the polite term. The fact that it resembles a house is misleading. It's more like a rigid tent. It may remind you of an oversized version of those sheds suburbanites buy for backyard tool storage. Chocked up on blocks, the structure had no insulation or interior sheetrock. I had to clean a dead bird out of the flue before I could start the wood stove. It had electricity but no septic, no plumbing, no internet, and no cell service. Even parts of India and China are more civilized.
Still, it's a great place to putter and get away from it all. I can escape to my cabin to be alone principally because no one in my family wants to go there. The recent Lyme disease tick infestation and the poison ivy bloom made solitude even easier.
The place also has a certain magic - the ability to control the weather. It is invariably cold, raining, or a full out blizzard. I could leave New York on a sweltering summer afternoon and arrive to a snowstorm. The first two days I spent in the cabin, it was colder inside than out. Maybe the former owner left behind a cold spot? No matter, I have the wood stove to keep me warm and seven acres of wood to supply it. It leaks smoke, so asphyxiation is always on my mind. If one of my characters die from smoke inhalation, you'll know where I wrote that part.
My neighbor's shaggy goatee and farm clothes look appropriatley rural. He looks like the neighbor you expect to have when you pass the last "Come Again Soon" sign. He owns a real farm complete will all the necessary ungulates and feed scratchers. I spent a month nursing the toe his horse stepped on.
It's the meat, stupid. The guy raises cows for meat, the best range fed all organic beef this side of Montana. As a Paleo diet devotee, I can't get enough. You haven't tasted bacon until you taste his organic slabs. Wait, I have to wipe the drool off my screen. I've even had a barbecue while the sacrificial beast's siblings looked on over the electric fence. Ha! That's primal.
I love my cabin. Maybe, someday, with a little work, other people will, too.