It's already livable, just some features like shower doors, safety railings, window screens, bathroom lights etc are not in yet.
While my family love to stay in it, I prefer to stay half a mile away--in a woodsy peninsula--in a tent.
I camped last week. All by myself. (okay with Pax)
It was my very first time to sleep in the wilderness with no other humans within earshot.
The next day CK and her family joined us to celebrate the 4th of July.
They too pitched a tent beside my tent.
My brother A and sister-in-law R joined us too, just for the evening--as well as another couple
Mike and Lisa.(<--more about them later)
We gathered around a camp fire roasting stuff to eat.
In the evening, I was driving our ATV from our campsite to the house, with CK in the front seat when suddenly--a bear crossed our path a few yards away.
I thought I was imagining it but when CK and I turned to each other, we clutched each other and started screaming. She saw it too.
We went on to the house where we relayed our bear encounter to Steve and his brother Tim.
I was planning to leave the ATV at the house so that they would not have to walk to join us at the camp fire but after seeing a bear, I changed my mind.
We took some kids on the ATV with us, (they were planning to walk) and on the ride back to the camp...
we saw another bear.
G spotted it sitting on the side of the trail.
She yelled: "BEAR!!!"
And this bear promptly popped up and took off.
I was aware that the property had bears, but its not like it is teeming with them.
The guys had seen one once during hunting season.
No bears were spotted near the peninsula nor building site--so us seeing two bears in a span of 20 minutes is quite remarkable.
Coincidentally, earlier in the day, while Steve and I were giving CK and her husband CB a tour of the property,
I announced to the three of them that I wanted to see a bear while we were riding the ATV.
(I had never seen one in the wild.)
But I wanted to see one while we were at the "hunting" areas of the property, not near where I lay sleeping in a tent!!!! I guess I should have been more specific.
(Sidebar: further proof that our words become our prayers, so we must guard our thoughts and words at all times.)
I was a unnerved by our bear encounters and was feeling unsure about sleeping in our tents that night.
But then after further discussion with CK and CB, we decided to stick to the plan to camp.
Anyhow--that night, once CK and family were in their tent, the non-campers were back at the house and I was back in my tent with Pax, my mind started up again.
I pondered the difference in the camping experience, pre-bear sighting when I was on my solo camping experience and post-bear sighting.
Pre-bear sighting-- the rippling of the river, the sound of leaves rustling, and the occasional assortment of forest noises made me feel both at peace and alive.
Post-bear sighting-- the rippling of the river was making me worried that I would not hear the sound of an approaching bear.
The forest sounds were making me feel like I was not going to be alive for very long.
I felt myself beginning to get worked up.
Then I remembered two things:
-I thought of Daniel in the den of the lions. (Book of Daniel chapter 6) and how God protected Daniel because of his great faith.
-and I remembered to pray.
Then I went to sleep.
The next morning we were so happy to have conquered the wilderness despite our bear sightings.
Or, maybe we were just ecstatic to be alive.
I am becoming a camper.
Camping is another way that I will be able to learn how to live by faith.
In the process I will also learn tips on how to coexist in the woods with bears.
1. Don't ever feed the bears.
So after enjoying food cooked over a fire, we made sure to send every single morsel of food/garbage/refuse back to the house with the non-campers.
2. Make a lot of noise.
Bears do not want to be around humans just as much as humans do not want to be mauled by bears. I kept a whistle on me at all times after the bear encounter.
3. Keep a fire going at your camp site.
We had tiki torches lit and our bonfire going.
4. Make sure you are not camping near berry bushes and other bear snackables.
(I will add to this list as I learn it.)