Under the Homestead Act, a homesteader was permitted to go "out-side" to work in order to get the money necessary for improvements on his place. After the family was settled Mr. Donaldson, a marine engineer, resumed his occupation, spending several years on the run to China, Japan, and Alaska. He was home only two weeks out of the year, and once was gone two years. Meanwhile his family did the pioneering.
During the winter of 1893, unbelievable as it may seem, the Queets river froze over. There had been six weeks of snow, beginning in February and continuing into March. Below the Donaldson place there was a bend in the river. And beyond it, an eddy which froze, Jane's explanation is that ice forming on the gravel bars collected into larger pieces and whirled around until they became still larger and finally froze solid.
"Mother was alone with us children. Mr. N. A. McKinnon and George Hibbard, neighbors two miles down river, were worried about us. They figured that if it started to thaw, there might be a big flood that would carry our house away.
They knew Mother had no canoe, so they started up river to bring us down to the neighbors. But when they reached the frozen eddy, they had to cut a channel through it for the canoe. By the time they were part way through, it was so near dark that they decided to go home. The following day, however, they finished tunnelling through the ice and took us to McKinnons.
After about a year in the Powell cabin, Dad hired N. A. McKinnon and Frank Schaupp and Dick Hopkins to split out the lumber and haul it to the site with McKinnon's oxen. They got mired in the deep mud and had to be pulled out.
As was the custom in those days, we had a house-raising. Dick Hopkins, Fred Knack, Mr. Schaupp of Tacoma, Mr. King, Mr. McKinnon, and perhaps others, helped. It was a story-and-a-half log house, 18 x 24, with shake roof. There was just one room downstairs, and we had a heating stove in one end and a kitchen stove at the other. Around the wall were bunk beds. Also we had a dresser at one side. To get up into the attic we used a ladder which leaned across the dresser."