One Cabin, One Cat, Three Years: One Couple’s Time in The Wilderness

In 2013 my wife, Jeanne, and I, she in her late sixties, I in my early seventies, set out to fulfill our long held dream of living in the woods for a year. Before leaving our home in the Eastern Townships of Quebec, I contacted the editors of Tempo, the monthly news magazine in the Town of Lac Brome, to enquire whether they would be interested in receiving reports of our progress in the endeavour. They said, “Yes.” This book is based on those articles.

My original intention was to produce a work echoing the objectives of Thoreau who, in addition to describing his daily life in his chosen wilderness, commented on the mores and politics of his time in his Walden. However, each time that I penned such a commentary, I realized that it detracted from the essence of our experience. The reaction to the Tempo articles proved that the unfolding of the tale of our daily lives was all that was required to engender intense interest and comment. Thus this memoir has to do exclusively with living in the woods.


How do you start a frozen chainsaw? It is February in Northern Canada and you are running out of wood, what do you do? How do you keep the hole in the lake open so that you can draw water in winter? What makes the best outhouse? How do you survive in the woods if you are in your 70’s? What’s it like to give up the modern world? Why would a lawyer spend 3 years in the bush? All these questions and more are answered in David Marler’s wonderful memoire of his and his wife Jeanne’s 3 years in a cabin north of La Tuque in Quebec. The book is filled with the details of the ordinary things that you have to do to live and even survive in such circumstances. But like Moby Dick, this book is written on two levels. This book is both an adventure story and also a spiritual story. A spiritual story with a twist. It is written from the perspective of a 70 + year old lawyer who joins his life partner in a dream that had not been fulfilled when they were younger. Like Moby Dick, you can read this book in two ways. It is an adventure filled with how-to details about how you make a good life in the bush. You will learn how to build a cabin, choose the ideal snowmobile, cook on a wood stove, heat with wood but you will also be inspired to consider your unfulfilled dreams.

About the Author
Born in Montreal, David Marlerattended Bishop’s University in Lennoxville, Quebec. He then entered the Faculty of Law at McGill University. One Cabin is his first published book. Previously he wrote “A Candidate’s Journey” describing his run for the Canadian parliament in 2006, a book which can be found online and has been referred to as a must read for any aspiring politician. Editors declined to publish the book for the reason that it was too hot to handle. His three years in the woods allowed him to transition from lawyer to writer. He is now working on “Places in Time”, recounting the cultures of the various places in which he has lived over the seventy-six years of his life. Also in preparation is “Bumps and Bangs in the Saint Lawrence Seaway” which tells the tale of some of the maritime law cases in which he was involved during his fifty two years in the legal profession.

One Cabin, One Cat, Three Years: One Couple’s Time in the Wilderness
by David Marler and Jeanne Marler (illustrator)
DCDesign Books
ISBN: 9780998701257
Paperback Original
224 pp., 6 x 9 Trim; full-color illustrations throughout; recipes
Publication Date: October 2, 2017

Available via Midpoint Trade Books and wherever books are sold.
Contact the publisher, Dede Cummings, at or at the Vermont office at 802-380-1121.

Contact the author for Canadian appearances/interviews/signed copies:
David Marler; email: or Jeanne Marler: jeanne@jeannemarler.com450.242.1884