Czajkowski: Making a House a Home

Chris(tine) Czajkowski(sounds like Tchaikovsky) has done what many of us dream about: she built a log cabin in the wilderness. By now she has built more than one, but Cabin at Singing River is about her first adventure in log building in the Coast Mountains of British Columbia. Here she describes moving into her new home:

It is a strange collection of items that eventually finds its way into that remote corner of the wilderness. There is the huge, clay water pot from Afghanistan that I did not really want, but the man sitting beside the dusty road took a 10-Afghani note from my hand and started to give me mountains of change—the pot cost one-tenth of a cent. I dragged it all cross Asia and the Antipodes; it is now being backpacked over a frozen trail in British Columbia. Then there are the shells from the South Sea Islands, brought to me my the children in the palm-fringed villages where I stayed, with memories of an environment that could hardly be more different from the place where I am now living.

There is the great, round bell from the cow I milked one summer in Switzerland, a water gourd from Uganda, burned with a design of dark loops and swirls, and a model reed boat from Lake Titicaca. There is a pinecone from a monkey puzzle tree in Chile and a penguin egg from the Falkland Islands, as well as a box of old bottles of watery green glass that I dug out of a dump there. And there are books, books and more books. The dog is the only one who does not appreciate my library, for she is the one who has to carry it.

All these things have travelled long and strange journeys, and they have now come together in the house that I have built. Within these log walls is the history of my life.

I definitely recommend her books to anyone with an interest in wilderness living. She writes beautifully about nature and humourously about her struggles to carve out a place for herself in it. She also runs the Nuk Tessli Alpine Experience, a fly-in mountain camp where you can stay in one of her hand-built log cabins on the shore of a remote mountain lake.


9 comments on “Czajkowski: Making a House a Home

  1. Stefanie says:

    Sounds lovely and very Thoreau-like

  2. Sylvia says:

    Not exactly. Thoreau is a walk in the park. Czajkowski is a bushwhack through thick, grizzly-infested forests while carrying an 80 pound backpack and being devoured by biting insects. The nature she writes about is totally wild, and perhaps all the more beautiful because of its harshness. I'll have to post some more excepts.

  3. Julie says:

    Wow, this definitely sounds like one I want to read! I've never heard of her before; thanks.
    The fly-in mountain camp reminds me of something I saw in a movie once…
    Sorry I haven't been by for a while, dear Blogodop. Things have been pretty crazy over here, but I'm back in the blogging saddle now and eager to catch up with you.

  4. Stefanie says:

    Ah. Big difference.

  5. Sylvia says:

    Glad to see you, Julie!
    Someone should make a movie about this woman. She tells both harrowing and humourous stories–lots of material for a film.

  6. Talmida says:

    Sylvia, a bit OT, but this reminds me — do you read the Dana Stabenow novels? The Kate Shugak series in particular? I think you'd enjoy it.

  7. My webmaster has just sent me this link. Thanks a lot for the great promo. And thank you, readers, for your comments as well. Did you realize the Cabin at Singing River was destroyed in the 2004 Lonesome Lake Fire? My latest book, Wildfire in the Wilderness, due out this fall, describes it.
    Are you are wondering whether I am still in the wilderness if I can write this? I've told many an interviewer in the past that I would rather have the internet than plumbing and two years ago I finally scraped together enough cash to instal a solar-operated satellite internet system. I haven't spoken to a human being for months – except via the keyboard! (And I still haul water in a bucket!)

  8. Sylvia says:

    Wow, Chris, thank you so much for stopping by! You are an inspiration to wannabe wilderness types like me. I look forward to your next book. I'm glad to hear you're now connected to “civilization.” Stay safe out there! 🙂

  9. Sylvia says:

    P.S. I've posted another quote from Cabin at Singing Riverover here.

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