Monthly Archives: February 2015

Insta-Drive!

I just have a couple more of the old posts to bring you. I sure have enjoyed reminiscing. The day our driveway got improved about a year ago, I was nearly delirious with excitement. This post  is long and filled with lots of pictures of the process of getting our property ready to live on. Oh, those were good times!

March 29, 2014

Instant Driveway: Just add money, time, a skilled operator (who just happens to be your stepdad :-), 100 tons of gravel, and some heavy equipment, and voila! A driveway in 6 hours!

At the beginning of the day on March 28, 2014 our driveway looked like this:

And this is AFTER the grader ran over it once or twice!

By the end of the day it had been transformed to this:

Smooth as buttah!


These pictures were taken in roughly the same place (looking opposite directions), only about 6 hours apart. We started out the day with a nearly 4wd road and ended with a very smooth driveway.


Now for some more details and pictures (because we all know I love the details and pictures:-) of the drive-way in process…

But first, here’s some pictures from the past couple of weekends that we’ve spent out there.


Two weeks ago, we met my mom and stepdad up at the property to walk around and dream and plan and see what all we needed to do. Pops (my stepdad) is a newly retired Operating Engineer – which means he ran heavy construction equipment such as dozers, graders, and back hoes his whole career. So, we knew he’d be able to help us decide what our next step should be. It also helps that he and Mom live only about 5 minutes from the property. He’s the one who suggested a blade (grader) rather than a backhoe to do the work and asphalt grindings rather than regular gravel to lay down.

 
Playing around with a tape measure to get an idea of possible house dimensions (no we don’t have a set floor plan yet.)
Lunch time!
Lunch time!
Lunch time!
Wild onions that are so prolific up there.
Nap time!
Digging out the clogged culvert – My nephew telling Hubs how it should be done 😉 (and yes, my husband is in a kilt)
Digging out the clogged culvert – proof that my nephew actually did some work!
Princess Girl in her “sandbox”
Digging in the “sandbox”
Unclogging the culvert. Yes, my Hubby’s in a kilt and my nephew’s in just socks while he works. They are weird like that. :-/
I think we overworked him 😉

We also took some time while we were up there to enjoy the beauty around us and do a bit of exploring.

 “Beauty in the Desert” 

This little fairy glen is just off our property, but oh, so pretty..

 The following week (one week ago) we went back up to do a “bit” of work that turned into an all day project.

Flower Girl helping drive on the way up – it didn’t last long because as soon as we hit the rough drive, Joe needed her out of the way.
Dropping off some old windows we will eventually use in a greenhouse type structure
Obsidian REALLY wanted that stick (*ahem* – log)! (Edited 2-7-2015 – awe, Sid, I miss him. Yes, we have Scooter now, here in Oregon, but I miss our big goof-ball. Eventually, when we are back in Nevada, we plan to get him back from some friends who have very graciously been looking after him for us.)
It’s nearly as big as he is!
Undaunted
Silly nephew
Finally on to the project that we went up there for and which ended up lasting ALL DAY LONG. How were we to know that the nails we were going to pull were a freaking SIX INCHES long!?!?  (These huge pallets have been sitting there for years now. We plan to pull them apart, get them up to the house pad, and use them for decking around the trailer, etc. And no, the barn in the background is not on our property.)
Princess Girl and her friend did some nail pulling, too
Look at the size of that nail!
Yep, I got in the action, too.
Flower Girl wanted to help
Flower Girl and Daddy taking a break in the shade.
The girls playing in the dirt.
Getting closer to the end.
Ummmmm…yeeaaaahh…THAT’s why you should use the right tool for the job. A light duty hammer is not the tool for demolition!
Only a couple more boards to go. Getting close to quittin’ time.
Hey, lookit that, it still works as a hammer!

I really need to take a picture of the pile of nails. We calculated that it was over 600 of those suckers! I’m gonna save a few of the best ones to use as a decoration of some sort in the new house. Oh, and did you notice there’s a whole other pallet for us to do the same thing with???

See the other pallet next to the one the boys are sitting on? It is actually bigger than the one we worked on, and sitting upside down. Oh, yeah, that’s gonna be fun!


Ok, so we are finally up to yesterday’s work. Yay! It was so exciting!

The blade was delivered at about 7:15am
Pops going up and down the drive with the blade smoothing it out. There were a LOT of big boulders in this section.
See, big boulders. Every time he’d pass over this 200yard section, more and more boulders would surface. Eventually good enough had to be good enough.
The grader on our drive with the valley in the background
Finally, the first load of asphalt grindings getting laid!
I went running and jumping around on the first pour!
Just a little excited, ya think?
Pops smoothing out the first load of grindings.
The first load of grindings getting smoothed out.
My brother got to come up for a few minutes and run the blade. He is training to be an operating engineer like his dad and jumped at the chance to get in there!
Once the drive itself was basically done, Pops then took some time to grade the house pad.
The last load getting dumped.
We finally get to drive on our new driveway! This was about 2:00pm
On the very clean housepad. The Suburban is parked on the asphalt grindings which is where our trailer is going to be parked while we’re building the house.
Taking some time to rest and enjoy our view before heading back down the hill. It was a very good day!



So that’s it. We are a couple thousand dollars poorer, but infinitely richer after yesterday. Our housepad is accessible, which means we can start moving up the trailer and storage shed, etc. And eventually (hopefully soon) we’ll be moving there (as soon as this house sells). And then there’s going to be a big pause since the next step is building permits. And we have to have a floor plan and blueprints and all that fun stuff, which is going to take time and money. So, we’re going to have to save up some more money, and while were saving we’ll be finalizing plans. But we’re one step, or should I say, one drive closer to our dream!

Growth!

I have yet to write up a post about my garden plot and container garden plans, so I know I’m jumping the gun by showing you these pics, but I just can’t help myself. Is there anything as exciting to a gardener as the first sprouts?

image

image

image

image

Do you have anything growing where you’re at yet?

Maridy

“I lift up my eyes to the hills, where does my help come from? My help comes from the LORD, the maker of heaven and earth.” Ps 121:1-2

Misadventures of an Urban Homesteader

So, this is how my day started:

20150225_095822

“Taco” our 4 month old cockerel who is destined for the crockpot.

And this is how it ended:

20150225_174223

Yummy chicken tacos

You can guess what happened in the middle. Or can you…?

I started out the day expecting to slaughter a chicken, take some pictures, and load up a tutorial of sorts, What I ended up with is some important lessons in homesteading, preparedness, and emergency first aid. Yes, first aid. Now you might have an inkling that things did not go so well.

WARNING: THIS POST CONTAINS GRAPHIC PICTURES. IF YOU DO NOT WISH TO SEE THEM, DO NOT CONTINUE!

So, this morning, the rooster, affectionately named “Taco,” finally found his voice and gave several full fledged cocka-doodle-doo’s. We were able to sell his brothers through Craigslist, but this guy, for whatever reason did not sell. So, before we got a neighbor complaint and ended up with a fine from the city, we decided to turn him into his namesake.

I set the stock pot on the stove to boil and got to girls to tear some old phone book pages into a bag in a bucket (to soak up the blood during the butchering.)

20150225_095337

Then, I grabbed Taco and got prepared. 20150225_095836

20150225_100314

And this is where it all went wrong. Well, kinda.

I successfully detached the head, he started wiggling, like I knew he would, and I brought my other hand around to hold him still. The hand which had forgotten to let go of the very sharp knife.

Speed forward about an hour, and there I am at the Emergency Room.

20150225_104937

Hmmm… what’s under the gauze?

 

WARNING, THE NEXT PICTURE IS RATHER GRIZZLY!

 

 

 

 

 

 

20150225_110426

Yikes!

20150225_111410

The worst laceration I’ve ever had. Seven stitches. Oy!

20150225_112655

All bandaged and splinted up. The splint is so I don’t bend my hand and pull on the stitches.

So, what have I learned from all this?

First and foremost, DROP THE KNIFE! I should have immediately put the knife down as soon as the head was detached. This oversight comes from not thinking through the process well enough from beginning to end. It’s been a while since we’ve done this and it would have been good to walk through the entire process in my mind first. Think it through. This goes for any new thing you are attempting. Not everything will have Emergency Room potential, but even just mitigating mistakes and re-do’s will be worth the time it takes to think things through in the first place. And, of course, avoiding a trip to the ER is preferable in all situations.

Secondly, have a wound care nurse on hand in the event of an emergency. If you don’t have a nurse hanging around (because, who does?), at least know updated first aid practices. Yes, we did have a nurse in the house, she was here tending to my mother-in-law. But the Hubby and I did all the right things and knew all the information. Don’t panic, apply immediate pressure, rinse the wound if it got dirty, cover the wound, don’t take bandages off to peek, wrap the area applying pressure, and seek immediate professional care. I took a 1st Aid course less than a year ago and was rather gratified that I knew what to do (once I got over the shock of it happening). I don’t know many people who would dispute that knowing first aid is a good thing. But when you are a homesteader, I believe it is even more important. The potential for accidents is exponentially greater the more you get up off your couch – you know, when you do all your homesteading chores. And, if you are aiming for self-sufficiency, knowing how to do as much as you can is important, as is knowing when you need to head to the ER and when super glue or steri-strips will do the job. Obviously today necessitated a trip to the ER.

Third, while I was rather proud of myself that I had the correct knowledge in my head to take care of myself, all the knowledge in the world isn’t going to help me treat myself if I don’t have the correct supplies or can’t find them. It was brought to light that we don’t have a good first aid kit put together. We have most of the things we need, but they are scattered in different areas of the house and vehicles. Could we have improvised? Certainly. Should we have needed to? No.

And that brings up my 4th point. Every adult and child old enough living in the house needs know where the first aid kit is and how to use it. This is another area that I am lacking in. Sure, I have the knowledge, but if Hubby is the one who knows where all the supplies are and he’s not available, then what? And Princess Girl is old enough now that she needs to know 1st aid for herself. What if something happens and the adults are incapacitated? Or, as in the case of a bad laceration such as mine, it’s hard to do what needs to be done with only one hand. Sure, I can direct if I’m able, but having a helper with the knowledge is preferable, and Princess Girl could be that helper if she was trained.

Lastly, don’t be surprised when you pencil things out and raising your own food is more expensive than buying the cheap stuff from the store. We fed “Taco” for nearly three and a half months. We got one good meal and some leftovers out of him, plus his bones will go into the next batch of bone broth I make. It doesn’t add up financially. Add in ER costs and those were some of the most expensive tacos I’ve ever eaten! But the monetary costs aren’t important. Sure, it’s prudent to cut costs and save money where you can and not get in over your head financially, but I truly believe this way of life is good, it’s valuable, with benefits far above what the markings on a piece of paper can tell you. As embarrassing as it was too have to tell my story over and over at the ER, there is a part of me that is proud that I sustained this injury from something as uncommon and awesome as slaughtering my own “farm raised” chicken. I’ve heard other homesteaders say that one of the things they love about this way of life is that they can tell the story of their food. Boy, do I have a story to tell! And I’ll have the scar to prove it.

Well, I think that’s it. This has been a long post to type with one hand. 🙂 In fact, I’m finishing this up the next morning because I got too tired last night. And guess what I had in my scrambled eggs this morning. That’s right, left over taco meat. It was yummy.

On my walk…

The other day I came across these structures in a yard in the neighborhood:

image

They are over what look to be berry bushes (blueberries?). I thought at first they were for covers for unexpected late freezes or to create greenhouses in early spring. Until I looked closer.

image

They are covered with a fine netting. Birdproofing the berries! I have not stopped long enough to see how you might enter them to get to the berries, but it seems like a rather simple and ingenious design.

What about you? Do you do anything to protect your harvest from the wildlife?

Maridy

“I lift up my eyes to the hills, where does my help come from? My help comes from the LORD, the maker of heaven and earth.” Ps 121:1-2

Exciting (old) news for the Homestead

We were so excited when our house was put on the market about a year ago. It made the move to the Homestead feel like it really was going to happen!

March 9, 2014

Our house is on the market! It’s listed as a 4 bedroom, 2064sqft, for $185, 000. We’re all hoping and praying it sells soon!

To that end, we’ve started taking loads up to the property and stashing things there, both in the storage trailer as well as on the land. Things like the old fence wood that the Hubby got when the neighbors at his work put up a new fence. And all the firewood we had stacked up. We’ll probably be having more campfires up there, but also, we just needed it gone from here. Then there’s the patio chaise lounges that we are planning to recover. You know how expensive those things are?  Better to keep the frames and reuse them if we can. (Edit 2-7-2015: we brought one of them to Oregon with us, and after a few repairs, it is working quite nicely up here. When it’s not too wet to sit outside, that is!) So, you know, that kind of stuff. Pretty soon we’ll need to get our shed moved and deal with the chickens. Hmmmm…still need to find homes for the rabbits, too. Still a lot to do, and here’s hoping not a lot of time to do it! 😉

Edit 2-7-2015 – awe, I miss our rabbits. They would be the perfect urban homestead animal for our situation here in Oregon, but we’re just not sure how long we’re going to be here. We are discussing trying to move back this coming summer/fall. If that is the case, we don’t want to put the money into a rabbitry only to have to leave them or have that much more stuff to take back to Nevada with us. However, if we’re going to be here for another year or more, it might be worth it. We just don’t know at this point. I do know, however, that once we get settled in Nevada, I want to raise meat rabbits again.

Trailer Transformation: Part 3

This is the last of my old posts dedicated solely to the trailer transformation. There will be a few more trailer updates in the other old posts about our move to Castle Rock, but those are just some finishing touches.

February 7, 2014 (yes, written over a year ago)

Ok, this post is mainly just going to be pictures. It’s late, I’m tired, but it’s been way too long since I posted about the trailer. Sooooo….. here we go!

Finishing up the painting

 

Standing in the “living room” looking toward the back
Standing in the kitchen looking to the living room
Where the shower used to be
Our bedroom
putting in the shelving in the “pantry”
Into the bathroom which is now half pantry and no longer had a shower and we won’t use the toilet either. (that’s a post for another time)
Taking a break at the “kitchen table”
Love my man
got the shelves in and the cover boxes built
more pics of the pantry
Flower Girl “escaping”
The girl’s beds are almost done, just need the privacy curtains.
Another view of the girl’s beds
Why is it sideways? Well, anyway, yeah that’s the power cable from the trailer, cut and stolen! Can’t wait to get out of this neighborhood!
See that other, smaller trailer which is hooked to the suburban? That’s our storage “shed” which we recently bought. It is now parked up on our property.
Hubby putting in some of the final touches like magnetic latches on all the cabinets.
Got the privacy curtains in. Princess Girl “loves” hers.
See, with them open, they almost disappear.

Well, that’s it for now. We are basically finished. Still need to put on the cabinet pull handles, but really, that’s about it. Oh, and a bunch of clean up. And a slip cover for the butt-ugly couch. And a myriad of other little things. But basically it finished! Now we just need to finish up the packing in the house, get it on the market, get it sold and then we can MOVE!

(Edited 2-7-2015 – wow, so much has happened in one year! I really miss living in the trailer. It was a wonderful 2 months. And every time we go back for a visit, it’s hard to face the fact that that part of our dream is no longer a possibility. With the Hubby’s parents permanently a part of our lives now, there’s just no way we can rough it like that with them in tow. Oh, but I miss it sooo much! When we were there just a couple weeks ago, Flower Girl surprised me when we went in the trailer. She walked in, looked around, and exclaimed, “That MY bed!” and promptly crawled into it. It nearly broke my heart to think that she won’t be able to experience living there. But I keep reminding myself that living in the trailer was only part of the dream, and the rest is still on track. Eventually we’ll have a house there and be able to live there full time. And that is definitely something to look forward to.)

Starbucks, eat your heart out!

First of all, for you subscribers, are you enjoying the old posts? I think I have about 4 more of those scheduled. I hope the info is interesting to you. I felt like this blog started in the middle of the story of our move to the homestead (and then our subsequent move here to Portland). So I wanted to be sure the whole story was here on the blog. Okay, back to our regularly scheduled program:

I think I mentioned before that I have a guilty love of mochas. Starbucks mochas, half sweet, to be specific. Well, today as I was making yogurt (following the super easy instructions from Jill, over at theprairiehomestead.com) I got a hankering for one of those mochas.

Might have something to do with the fact that I had just had to resist the temptation to run into Starbucks on my way home with milk. That little logo sure can get my mouth watering! (Pavlov anyone?) But I resisted because my wallet is near empty and their chocolate syrup is full of questionable ingredients such as highly processed sugars and preservatives.

What’s a girl to do? As I set the milk for the yogurt to heat on the stove, my tastebuds were still craving that creamy bittersweet chocolatey goodness. So, of course, I whipped up my own cafe mocha. Right in my kitchen. Whithout an espresso machine. And full of only nutritious real food. No way!

image

Yes way!
-I started with about 3oz of really strong coffee. It could maybe even be called espresso, it was that strong.
-To that I added about 6oz hot milk (I used the microwave to heat the milk, but you could easily use the stove as well, or steam it if you have an espresso machine).
-About a tablespoon of cocoa makes a rich chocolatey mocha.
-To balance out the choloclate and add depth of flavor, I added about a quarter teaspoon real vanilla.
-For sweetness I added a splash of pure maple syrup. I really don’t know how much. If I had to guess, I’d say probably 2 teaspoons. But I don’t like my mocha very sweet. I just dropped some in, stirred it all up, tasted it, added a bit more, and tasted it again.

Perfection.

Well, it was missing the real whipped cream on top, so I dropped in a dollop of heavy cream. That kicked up the delish factor to as high as it could go without having actual whipped cream on hand (and no patience to make make some).

Who needs to shell out $4 for a drink when you can make an even better version for a fraction of the price right in your own kitchen?

Maridy

“I lift up my eyes to the hills, where does my help come from? My help comes from the LORD, the maker of heaven and earth.” Ps 121:1-2

Moving update

Another of my old posts.

January 12, 2014 (nope, not a typo, this really was typed a year ago 🙂 )

So, the trailer just sits there, almost, but not quite finished.  The holidays hit, and we all know how that goes. And then January hit and we decided that we are going to put this house on the market as close to March 1 as possible. Which means we have to essentially be ready to walk out the door by then. All extra stuff in storage, all non-needed stuff sold or donated. So, for the past week I’ve been sorting, weeding through, boxing, packing, distributing, planning, etc, etc, etc. We moved Flower Girl up into Princess Girl’s attic bedroom to free up mainfloor bedroom to use as a staging/storage room until such a time as we can have a yard sale and get a storage trailer to put all the extra things into. So far, three rooms are almost finished (Both girls’ rooms, and the school/play room.) I’m amazed at all the STUFF we all have!

At any rate, today we didn’t do ANY packing or sorting or organizing or anything.  Nope, we’ve decided that today would be a day of rest.  So, we went to church this morning,  then to lunch at my mom and pop’s  house. After lunch, the grandparents watched the girls while the Hubby and I went and saw The Hobbit. By the time we got home, it was evening, so Princess Girl and I played dominoes till bed time while Hubs watched tv on his laptop and Flower Girl ran around. It was a nice, relaxing day, and I’m so blessed to have been able to just relax. It was hard at first, though. On the drive home, I kept thinking of all the things I could get organized or packed in the hours till bedtime. But I also knew I just needed to spend some quality time with my girl before we started back into another hectic week. It was a great way to finish off a wonderful day. And tomorrow, with a trip to the DMV  to register the trailer and finding boxes and packing, packing, packing is going to be productive enough. I’m so thankful for restful days. Now here’s hoping I can sleep well and get a restful night!

Trailer Transformation: Part 2

Part 2 in the continuing saga of turning our trailer into a home over a year ago.

November 22, 2013

It’s been a while since I updated about the trailer. We’ve gotten quite a lot done in the last two weeks. Take a look 🙂

My 2 year old niece “helping” paint. She helped for about 10 minutes and then was done 🙂
Working on the bunk beds. Nearly done.
The girls trying out their new spaces for the first time.
Finished building the bunks, now just gotta sand and paint.
Yes, it’s actually large enough for a full-sized adult. Cramped but possible.
Painting cabinet doors
Break time
Building the back bed platform.
My 13 year old nephew helping paint.
He was a huge help!
Painting the ceiling
The little girls trying to stay out of trouble
Coffee break! 😉
Princess Girl is finally back from the birthday party she went to (thus the painted face) and now her cousin thinks it’s play time 🙂
Cousins!
Taking out the bathroom wall.
Almost there (I forgot to get an “after” picture. I’ll have to do that later.
The first curtains are in! We decided to go with curtains here rather than putting the doors back on so that Princess Girl has a bit more elbow room and she will be able to access the spaces easier while on her bed.

So, I realized as I uploaded these pictures that I do not have any pictures of the completed (well, almost completed) cabinets. Over half of them are fully painted but nothing has the hardware on it yet. 


Today I want to work on the seat cushions that go next to the beds. Yesterday, I bought the hardware needed to string up the privacy curtains for the girls’ beds, so maybe I’ll whip those up, too. Of course, I also have quite a few other projects to do around the house. Since we’re putting this house on the market in the Spring, we have a lot of little (and some not so little) things to do. Last night the Hubby and I put in a door at the bottom of the attic stairs (we converted the attic when we moved in.) We’ve had a baby gate at the bottom of those stairs off and on since we built them since I babysit little kids and now our own daughter is old enough to get into real trouble if the gate wasn’t there. That door is soooo nice comparatively! Still have to put trim around it and build a “window” above it. But the door is there and it’s functional. I’ll post pictures once I take them. (Edited to note: I never did take pictures and now that house belongs to someone else. Oh well. 🙂 )


Well, a lot to do today, and it’s already mid-morning, so I’ll sign off for now.

Beauty in the Interlude

If you’ve been watching the tags on my posts (and I think I’ve mentioned it once or twice,) you’ll see that I’ve christened this time we are living here in Oregon as our Portland Interlude. It’s one way to come to grips with our time here and reminds me that this is temporary and eventually we’ll be back home on the homestead. And it gives me permission to enjoy the beauty around me, something I felt almost guilty about in the beginning. By recognizing that it’s only a break in our plans, just an intermission, or a commercial break, or whatever, helps me learn to let myself enjoy living here while still 100% eager to leave.

So, on today’s walk, Princess Girl and I saw some beautiful and interesting things.

image

Beautiful early flowers in my favorite color!

image

Stopping to smell the flowers.

image

The small wooded park which I wrote about the other day.

image

A cool little sidewalk lending library! Now I know exactly where I need to take my books when I’m done reading them!

image

I hear that Dutch Bros coffee has made it all the way down into a town in Nevada where some of our relatives live. We also had a new one appear just around the corner here in Oregon. I am not particularly fond of their mochas (which are my guilty pleasure – every once in a while), but I enjoyed this bumper sticker. 🙂

And there you have it, just another beautiful walk in a beautiful suburb. I always said that if I just HAD to live in a big city, I’d choose the Portland area. And here we are. Just hopefully not for too long, Lord!

Maridy

“I lift up my eyes to the hills, where does my help come from? My help comes from the LORD, the maker of heaven and earth.” Ps 121:1-2