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We Have a Wood-Fired Hot Tub!

by Tara

When we were living with Tyler's mom, Jodi, both before and after our big bicycle tour, we took full advantage of the fact that she had a hot tub. In winter, Tyler would shovel a tunnel through the feet of snow on the deck to get to it, and we'd run through the path as quickly as we could with a Fat Tire beer and a white tupperware bowl of popcorn in hand.

Tyler would run barefoot on the icy deck, of course. He'd get there first, throw open the insulated cover, and by the time I arrived moments later, I could slip off my crocs and step right in to feel the ecstatic shock of hot water running over my bare skin. Heaven on earth. We'd float the popcorn bowl in the water like a toy boat, which we'd push back and forth, though Tyler would usually keep it because it would be too salty for my taste. My hair would freeze into little icicle dreadlocks, but I'd be blessedly, blessedly warm.

We spent a lot of time in that hot tub, no matter the season or weather. We had many long talks in the gloriously warm water, planning adventures, dreaming about the land we ached to be living on, and talking about our travels past and future. In on particularly memorable conversation we had before our trip, Tyler waxed poetic about visiting Antarctica, and I interjected with: "How many continents are we going to visit before you're satisfied!?" He just cocked one ginger brow and smirked at me saying, "Well, there are only seven."

From the hot tub, we could watch the moon rise over Jodi's woods. We'd watch for shooting stars (of which there were plenty), and listen to the sounds of insects and birds. It was a place from which we could experience the changing seasons, and it was just about the only place I felt real comfort during grim November and March days when the skies never varied from a steely grey, whether morning, afternoon, or evening.

Tyler Reading in the Hot Tub

With our deep love of hot tubs, we knew we wanted one to have one someday on our land. When at last we we could afford one (actually, it was more like, "Fuck it, we'll be dumping every cent we make into this homesteading project for the next decade, so let's just do it now. We have so little in the way of comfort in our lives. We deserve an amenity!") we ordered one from Snorkel in Seattle.

While we waited for it to arrive, we had our neighbor come over with his mini-excavator to ready the site. This was a luxury in and of itself. We could do it ourselves, but we were far too busy with the house.

Justin Scooping Stone into Wood Fired Hot Tub Form Wood Fired Hot Tub Pad Nearly Complete

When the hot tub arrived on a busy Monday morning, our friend Jonathan helped us schlep the boxes up to the house. A week or so later, Tyler and I started the assembly. When we were done, even though we followed the directions, the thing leaked like a sieve. It was really frustrating.

Wood Fired Hot Tub Assembly Begins Tyler Assembling Staves on Wood Fired Hot Tub Tara Applying Grease to Stainless Steel Hoops for Wood Fired Hot Tub Tara Applying Grease to Stainless Steel Hoops for Wood Fired Hot Tub

We were afraid we'd have to take it apart and assemble it again, but one phone call to the people at Snorkel allayed our fears. All we had to do was add sawdust to the tub. As soon as we filled it with water, the dust was sucked into the holes, sealing it enough to hold water. This gave it time to swell, closing any cracks. And what do you know? It worked!

We are so, so pleased with this addition to our lives. It has only just arrived, but I am confident when I say that it is THE BEST THING WE HAVE EVER PURCHASED. Having a place set aside to go and simply be on our land is something we've needed desperately. We haven't taken much time to enjoy our homestead these days—we've been too busy working to step back and appreciate the beautiful place we call home. No longer.

To have hot water again (our shower is broken), to have a place of comfort that isn't our camper to go to after work! To be able to sit outside and enjoy the birds and watch the moon rise and the seasons change! It's amazing. My only regret is that we didn't get one sooner.

Wood Fired Hot Tub




It looks awesome! I am certain it is the loveliest thing after a hard day's work.
Posted by Magalie on November 8th, 2014 at 12:22 PM
So glad you got your hot tub,you mentioned that when i was out there.How do you keep the water from freezing in the winter,do you need a small electric heater? The cabin is looking awesome,did you get the slate roof on yet?
Posted by BRUCE WOLLISON on November 8th, 2014 at 5:42 PM
it sounds like a well deserved luxury for you both - and it's brilliant that you got a wood-fired one! (I didn't even know those existed).
Posted by Maria on November 10th, 2014 at 3:26 PM
That looks amazing. So pleased for you guys!
Posted by Breakfast in Moscow on November 13th, 2014 at 1:17 PM
WOW! That hot tub looks so comfu :)
This is a special spa also with rainy or sunny weather or in wintertime.
I would love to get away to a place like this and just enjoy peace and quiet! Love
Posted by Koriks on January 12th, 2015 at 9:48 AM
I was so happy when I read this entry!! I am glad you guys got your hot tub.
You are doing a lot, I know it is stressful often times, but I love reading about the happy times. Such as when Tara started to like plastering : )

It looks to me, this journey of yours isn't just about getting a house , but it is multi-dimensional learning process, where you show it to people. You are promoting natural living. My guess, when you are done with your house, you'll probably keep on building , holding workshops on a continuous basis. The difference is, you will know what to do right away : ) Maybe my prediction is off, but we are learning from you. Thank you Tara and Tyler.
Posted by Helen on January 15th, 2015 at 4:42 PM