Chapter Six: Moving In


NOTE: "Semi-Rough: A North Country Journal," is now available as a complete book, that includes these on-line essays and more. If you'd like a free pdf to download to your computer, send me a note at and I'll email you a copy.

When Camp was purchased in November 1947, the house was "pretty good." It seemed structurally sound, the 16 x 23 size was adequate, and there was a loft that gave more floor space. But the roof was a little "iffy," there were only a couple windows in the cabin, a flight of steps up to the loft took up considerable room inside, and a wood stove right in the middle of the floor limited the furnishing options. In the spring of 1948, Slim began to remedy those shortcomings.

He tore down the small "barn" at the front of the cabin; the salvaged wood was used to build a woodshed and outhouse, and for other improvements. He removed the steps to the loft, and replaced them with a ladder. He cut holes for windows on all sides of the house, and scrounged windows from wherever he could find them, including the glass panels from his own orchid house in Massachusetts and an old window from a neighbor's home. Sheets of aluminum were purchased to restore the roof, and a large, wood-burning stove from Portland, Maine, was brought in for cooking and heating.

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Because Slim had his college courses to teach, the kids were in school, and the Harrises didn't have a car of their own, getting organized at Camp took a little time. Slim ventured north whenever he could to work a day or two, the family joined him for the Memorial Day break, and then they all came to spend the summer of 1948. Slim built a tent platform so Sally and her brother would have a place away from the main construction, and got a garden started.

An early change in plans occurred when the first Camp pet, a puppy, died of distemper. They were advised not to try another dog there for at least six weeks, so they looked around for another pet. Neighbors in Massachusetts had a new crop of goats, and so Cabrito came to spend the summer.

He lived in the Camp with them, learned to take care of his bathroom chores in a bean can held under him, and followed Cal everywhere. At the end of the summer, he was given to a local couple who welcomed some new blood for their own goat herd.

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Sanford Wilbur 2022