Christine Howe said family history, organizational skills and a dose of adrenaline make the extra work hours bearable.

“It’s about the connections. What drives us to the camp is that it was 40-years-owned by my grandparents. It’s an incredible opportunity and job for us,” said Howe, who telecommutes full-time and operates Spencer Pond Camps with her husband, Dana Black, who commutes several times a week to Orland to lobster.

Both are registered Maine Guides and give tours throughout the year.

“It’s wonderful to be here. These were my grandparents’ cabins. The swing that hangs on the tree — my uncle made for me when I was 4 years old. It’s a joy to be able to share that with our girls,” who are 3 and 6 years old, Howe said.

When they aren’t working on their day jobs, Black said every other moment is spent running the camp, replacing roofs and logs in the walls of the six 100-year-old cabins, cleaning, booking and caring for guests, as well as their 20 chickens, rabbits and dogs.

“You have to be real organized and adrenaline keeps me going,” Black said.

Solar panels run the computer and phone, as well as an electric pump for the shower. Otherwise, the camp is off the grid.

Black said they rely heavily on Howe’s job for benefits and a steady paycheck. The money they make from the camp gets reinvested to buy new kayaks and mountain bikes or furniture for the cabins, as well as rebuild the cabins themselves.

“It’s an expensive business to run. We don’t want to charge high rates — we try to keep it down to a minimum,” Black said. “We survive like every other hardworking family.”

They worry about day-to-day bills, sending their kids to college and the overhang of retirement looming.

“Sometimes I wonder if it’s better to work for someone else and collect a paycheck and work eight hours a day. But it’s nice being your own boss,” Black said.

In the winter months, Howe continues with her telecommuting job and Black scallops and does odd carpentry jobs.

Howe said she and Black started juggling multiple jobs in 2009, when lobster prices plummeted, fuel prices spiked and the catch was awful.

“We didn’t want to have all the eggs in one basket with lobstering,” Howe said.

Even his job of lobstering has become a labor of love, given the 30-year-low prices being paid for lobsters.

“I do it because I love it. You have to love it to keep doing it these days,” Black said.

Howe admits it’s not easy juggling multiple jobs and raising two girls.

“Time is so precious. And we have to be impeccably organized. I have a system for everything. If I can find a more efficient way of doing something, I will — whether it’s cleaning the cabins or organizing our shopping list,” Howe said.

— Staff Writer Jessica Hall