Starting earlier this month, the NY Times began publishing the blog of Lou Ureneck, chairman of the Journalism Department at Boston University. The blog was given a name we’ve seen before, From the Ground Up, and will document Lou’s journey building a cabin in some picturesque scenery of western Maine. Take a gander at what he’s written so far and it may conjure up thoughts of Henry David Thoreau’s own cabin near Walden Pond. That’s a purposeful analogy, though, because Lou channeled a bit of Henry while pushing the envelope of frugality with this interesting endeavor. All in, the $30,000 cabin and $32,000 swath of property promises to be quite the retreat.
That said, if someone mentions they’re building a second home, the typical environmentalist will most certainly pounce. It’s a common, knee-jerk reaction, but tell me you don’t find some truth in Lou’s statement:
Building a cabin, I’m finding, can be a lever into a middle-aged man’s rural fantasies. Second homes are an American obsession, partly — maybe mainly — because of the chance they give us to live a second life, one that may be truer to our real selves than the first that we live out of necessity.
A place to get away and enjoy nature. Maybe even respect nature and realize how important the environment actually is. Maybe even get back to nature because our first homes don’t really do the job. Lou tells us why he’s building a cabin, and we can’t blame him either. He seems to be going at it the right way, that’s for sure. Says Lou:
With the extravagant vacation-home market in collapse, I’m happy to offer my simple and inexpensive cabin as a manifesto for the times. Let it declare the old New England adage, "Waste not, want not."
It’ll be roughly 640 square feet in size and made of a good portion of recycled and salvaged materials. And like Mr. Thoreau, Lou will be doing most of the work himself, that is, with the help of his brother and family. There’s just something about two, fifty-year-old brothers working to build a $30,000 cabin out of existing materials that’s hard not to follow. Don’t you agree?
Image credits: NY Times.