This is a copy of a newspaper clipping from about 1979, sent to Walter Bond by his father, James Bond. It’s a story about when he (as a toddler) moved into a one-room shack with his mother, father and sister.
He’s chucking it all for pioneer life
by Bruce Henderson, Staff Writer
Mason City – James Bond, a 37-year-old Mason City welder, says he is fed up with paying higher and higher utility bills.
So he’s chucking it all for the life of a pioneer.
“When you say pioneer, that’s just about as close as you can get,” said Bond, who works at Curries Manufacturing, Mason City, and is a member of a rock band known as Southern Comfort.
Bond, his daughter, Dena, 17, his girlfriend, Mickie Zuehlke, and her son Walter, 3, all are moving into a cabin that has only one open room, about 18-by-15-feet, on the southern shore of Clear Lake just north of Camp Gaywood.
Bond plans to install a 41-inch tall wood and coal furnace in the cabin for heat. There’s no running water; plans are to store water in a 50-gallon tank that Bond will replenish with water from Mason City.
Cooking – and making hot water – will be done on a double hot plate, Zuehlke said. And, adds Dena, baths either will be taken in a small tub, or occasionally at Bond’s mother’s house in Mason City.
Washing dishes, Zuehlke said, will be done by filling two small tubs with water, one for washing, one for rinsing. A sink later may be installed in the cabin, she said.
“I’m just sick of paying high bills,” Bond said recently of his move to the cabin and his freedom from fuel bills. “Last year I paid 45 cents a gallon for fuel oil, and this year it’s 80 cents.”
He said some of his friends “laugh about” his pioneer plans, “but I haven’t found one guy who thought I was crazy for doing it.”
As far as doing all the cooking on a hot plate goes, Zuehlke said “we’re very creative.” About a year ago, they were living in a trailer. Zuehlke said they learned then to cook a whole turkey on a hot plate. More recently, though, they were living in a house in the southeast part of Mason City, where utility bills made a budget-biting impression.
Zuehlke noted electricity costs last month were about $40, and that was $40 too much. And she doesn’t like the power company’s method of estimating certain bills or the prospects for utility bills for heating this winter. For the past two weeks, they’ve been living in the house of Bond’s mother, Gweneth, at 530 11th NE.
Bond currently is busy cutting, chopping and stacking wood at the cabin. He plans to have eight to 10 cords of wood stacked for the winter, and “I plan to get a ton of coal” for about $90 for the “cold months, when you need something to keep that furnace red-hot all the time.”
The cabin is owned by Bond’s mother, who also owns a similar cabin next door. Neither cabin is winterized, but Bond is busy insulating, carpeting and preparing the cabin he plans to move into for the winter.
Bond recently was mentioned as planning to live as a “pioneer” at a meeting of the Cerro Gordo County Board of Health.
Health board Chairman Larry Hauser noted the only sewage facility the cabin has is an outhouse – one of the last outhouses along the Clear Lake shoreline. Outhouses are banned on the lake.
The board decided to send a letter to Bond, notifying him that more adequate sewage facilities would be necessary before he can occupy the cabin.
Bond said that decision is going to cost him about $1,000. He said he plans to install a holding tank immediately. “Sooner or later we were going to do it, but now we have to do it right away.”
“It just killed me. It (the cabin) has been there about 35 years with an outhouse and they didn’t know it (the outhouse) was there,” Bond said.
In the meantime, Bond is busy chopping wood and making the cabin improvements. He said he hopes to be living at the cabin in three weeks to a month, depending on when the sewer tank is installed.