Winter is coming……

Friday September 26

When we were first looking around at camper trailers in late June, everyone told us “The season ends on Labor Day weekend”. We heard this over and over again. But as Greenhorns we were a bit clueless and didn’t really get it. Well, guess what, there is a reason everyone says this, and everyone was right! Shortly after Labor Day, over a period of a week the weather changed dramatically. Nighttime temperatures plummeted, the daytime humid heat disappeared, the leaves started turning on the trees.   Our “Tin Can” (as our camper trailer has now affectionately come to be known) became a tad unpleasant to sleep in as the temperatures inside fell into the upper 40F’s. Nancy to the rescue! She loaned us a radiator to restore family harmony and happiness within the Tin Can in the evening hours. While we are most grateful to Haynes and Nancy, it became obvious that “The season had ended!” as all the RVers and campers has wisely predicted and loudly declared. Clearly our house would not be ready for us for winter, heck we haven’t even broken ground yet. And clearly the trend in nighttime temperatures was only going to go in one direction. So we started to look for alternative winter accommodations to hunker down into for the next 6 months.

Fall has arrived in Western Massachusetts
Fall has arrived in Western Massachusetts


Our relationship with The Tin Can had admittedly deteriorated a bit over time. Living in the trailer seemed like a good idea back in July. It was supposed to be “temporary” and at the time we thought we would be having a prefab timber frame home built by Bensonwood that would be ready in 8 weeks. 8 weeks in the trailer seemed OK. Perhaps we should have opted for a trailer larger than 24 ft, or at least one with a bump out or two to give us a tad more room. A 24ft trailer is probably doable for a single person. But for a family of 3 plus 1 energetic dog, we found full time residence challenging by week 12. At one time or another, we all found ourselves lacking in patients, frustrated, bumping into each other constantly, no able to find anything. The walls of the Tin Can are…well…thin. Pioneer Valley experienced many very spectacular wind, thunder and lightening storms this summer, with several power outages over these past 12 weeks. The strength of these storms were all amplified a few orders of magnitude when experienced from within the Tin Can. We also have no running water in the trailer, very minimal kitchen facilities (the countertop area for all food prep was a total of 8 inches and Judy experienced more than one meltdown while trying to prepare a way too elaborate dinner within this space), no landline, cell phone or internet. Add to that the leak that developed in our bedroom that claimed saturated clothing, one library book and a pile of Paul’s sheet music as victim before we discovered it….no fun when it rained for 2 days straight. In summary, we have learned many lessons living in the trailer: patients, more patients please, running water and pluming are very nice, in a small space neatness must become a constant way of being otherwise chaos and confusion rapidly take over, and did I mention patients?

It turns out that rental housing is quite pricey here, even though listed real estate housing prices are much lower. Renting is pretty much the same as in Sonoma County. We suspect this is because there are 5 colleges and universities within a 1 hour radius. Given that we don’t yet have a steady income stream established, our rental budget was limited. We explored many options in addition to the traditional rental arrangement: caretaking, work exchange, housesitting… Our Katywil friends kindly put the word out in their respective networks of friends and family. Several possibilities emerged, some very interesting: work trade to offset housing costs in a meditation and retreat farm in Leveritt, a non-profit farm animal rescue and sanctuary in Greenfield…..

I am happy to say that our search for warm winter digs has finally ended. We will be renting a delightful log home on 3.56acres just 2 street away (in these parts that means 3 miles away) from Katywil. We will be very comfortable there for the winter months. Some of you may know that Judy has been fascinated by log homes (borderline obsessed, suggests Paul!) for the past 20 years. Judy is delighted that we have to opportunity to live in one for the next 6 months. The home has a soaring open cathedral ceiling with lofted bedrooms above. The acoustics are great and Paul can’t wait to practice his French Horn in there. Monique is simply excited about the novelty of it all. After 3 months in our tiny trailer, this seems like total luxury. We will also be able to have our goats right there so this makes Judy very happy. We are most grateful to the owners for extending this opportunity to us, and thankful for the power of networking.

Our winter home
Our winter home


In other news, Paul turned 40 on September 12th! We want to thank the Willards, Turkles, Peter and Kaylee, and Lynn for helping to make this a memorable birthday for Paul. Finally I will close with this cute and sweet Birthday dirge written by Lynn for Paul on his Birthday:


Special Birthday cake: Upside down pineapple cake
Special Birthday cake: Upside down pineapple cake

In misty morn, we hear Paul’s horn, o ‘EE Katywil sweet notes wander;

And all who hear the song so clear, pause on their morning saunder–


The turkeys too, They gobble and coo, to hear the notes melodious

But Rock and brush, they are not moved, that task is much more odious !

For this the stalwart Hadley “Pere” needs work a little rougher…And in the end, he made them bend, he proved to be the tougher!

and that’s not all He hears the call , of many difficult tasks,

whether digging potatoes splitting big stumps or rooting out evil wasps!


With a sure hand and skill Paul goes at it with will!

He trims turkey feathers,cares for goats weathers; tiling and painting and trimming;

and last but not least he is no beast but pleasant and sunny in general.

So we gather to celebrate, dine, drink and eat cake, and welcome the Hadleys to Katywil.

Happy birthday to you, Paul Hadley, and may learn to love the Colerain winter…


The Old Birthday Boy
The Old Birthday Boy

One Comment

  1. HomeMom50 said:

    The rental looks beautiful! I’m so glad that you’ll be warmer for the next 6 months. Sorry we couldn’t taste that yummy upside pineapple cake on Paul’s birthday. Happy belated birthday, Paul!

    October 6, 2014

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