Category Archives: Miscellaneous

Will this winter ever end??

3-5-17 Snowing again

This past week, we had a few days of dry, sunny weather. The birds started singing again. The trees started budding again. And Spring seemed just around the corner.

And now we’re 5 inches deep in snow again. I know, I know, that’s not much compared to some (we have friends who live higher up in the mountains who literally have a tunnel through the snow to their front door!)

But for us, at the elevation we live, in the particular mountain range we are in, 5 inches is…Well, it still isn’t much. But it’s the 10th or so storm system to move through since New Years. That’s more than one system per week. In a place that normally gets less than 10 inches of precipitation annually, that’s saying something. 

The wettest winter in our area in the last 50+ years, and we’re trying to build a house. Last year, while we were still sitting up in Oregon eagerly awaiting our return to the homestead, they had roughly 5 storms the entire winter here. This year, it’s just one after the other.

So, what are we doing about it?

Well, there’s not much we can do. God brings the storms in his timing. All we can do is trust him that he has a purpose for the delay. And maybe learn something in the waiting.

The Danish have a word: hygge. It loosely translated as “cozy” or “coziness” but from my understanding it is so much more than just that. “In essence, hygge means creating a warm atmosphere and enjoying the good things in life…Hygge is a philosophy; a way of life that has helped Danes understand the importance of simplicity, time to unwind and slowing down the pace of life.” (Source)

I feel like this winter has been one of discovering and reveling in hygge.

Today, as I sit in my cozy trailer with my chai tea latte and watch the snow fall, I contemplate the rest I have been given this winter. Had we been able to get the shell of the house up this Fall like we had wanted to, we would have been busy, busy, busy building over the winter. But that did not happen, and instead, we’ve had long periods of forced inactivity. (Well, there’s still animals and the family to take care of, and normal day-to-day stuff, but you know what I mean. If we were building, and when we DO build, we will have to do all that on  top of building our house.)
So, this winter, in my spare time, I taught myself to crochet. I’ve always wanted to learn how, and I finally have the time. In fact, as soon as I’m done with this post, that’s what I’m gonna be doing.

In my warm tiny home. With my 4 year old snuggling next to me on the couch. Candles lit, and relaxing music playing. On this snowy winter day. Hygge all the way, baby!

One of these days, things will dry out and we’ll start construction on our house. Life will get crazy busy and hectic. But today is not that day. And there’s a teeny bit of me that hopes winter lasts another two months. 

Stay warm and cozy, my friends.

Maridy

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This awesome hack will save your pant cuffs!

OK, I know the title of this post sounds like click bait, but it’s really true. Today I did one of those simple little things that had me saying, “No way! Why didn’t I think of that sooner?”

You see, all this winter as I’ve been bundled up working outside, I have been frustrated with the cuffs on my insulated pants. The legs are too long and the edges would get nasty in the mud and dirt.

Too long pants

In fact, the cuffs are even starting to fray. And that’s just really annoying.
Often I would just roll then up, which looks silly, but whatever. 

This works if  there’s not a ton of mud or it’s not actively raining, both of which I was dealing with today. The mud gets on the inside of the pants if they are rolled up like that while working in mud, and the water gets trapped in the cuffs if it’s raining.

What’s a girl to do?

Then I had an epiphany!

Elastic cuffs! It’s kinda hard to see in the pic since my elastic is the same color as my pants, but I found some wide elastic and wrapped it around the outside of my pant cuffs.

I didn’t even sew them. Just used a big safety pin on each one.

External elastic pant cuff

So simple. Just a couple items and my pant legs didn’t bother me all day!

I’m thinking this same idea would work with Velcro, or string, or even a thick rubber band. 

I’m just wondering why it took me all winter to think of it! ­čĄú

Light on the Homestead

This is my Hubby’s first post on the website! Thanks, Babe!
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Being off grid and out in the country means having to provide for many needs that would traditionally be met by urbanized infrastructure. One of the things that all of the adults keep in pocket every day and night, is a good flashlight. The lights we carry are not super bright, but they balance intensity and portability well. Turn to Amazon, eBay, or any one of the many outdoor gear websites and you’ll run across the crop of lights that are not your dad’s 1990’s maglite.
LED technology and lithium (sometimes rechargeable) batteries have made today’s flashlights light, compact, bright, and long lasting. The lights that I bought for the Mrs, and Princess Girl is the Olight i3. It is a AAA powered flashlight blasting out 120 lumens and barely larger than the battery itself, making it easy to have on you at all times either on a keychain, a necklace, or in a jean 5th pocket.

The Wife was initially skeptical of carrying a flashlight around the homestead, but

late-night-egg-check-barely-see-the-flashlight-in-right-hand

Late night egg check. You can barely make out the super small Olight i3 in her right hand.

she has grown to find it an indispensable tool for everyday use. From finding her way to the trailer from the car at night, to peering into the cabinets to find a pan for lunchtime. The small size makes it easy to grip in her lips for both hands free, and the pocket clip allows for it to be clipped to the brim of a cap to act as a headlamp. I made sure to power it off of an Energizer Lithium AAA battery. This gives it better temperature resistance, longer runtime and slightly lighter weight.

There are certainly many types of lights to choose from, my recommendation for a basic light would be a single AAA or AA type, with a light output around the 100 lumen mark. Olight, 4Sevens, Thrunight, Nitecore, Surefire, Fenix, Streamlight are all companies putting out great lights.

maglite-2aa-led-hf-cheapie-3aaa-led-olight-s20r-energizer-headlamp1

Maglite 2AA LED, HarborFreight cheapie 3AAA LED, Olight S20R, Energizer headlamp

Maglite has stepped up their game as well with a line of LED bulb lights. Even the “giveaway” type LED flashlights (like from HarborFreight) that run off of a trio of AAA batteries have their place: small, light, bright, and so cheap to the point of ┬ábeing nearly disposable.

My rechargeable light (Olight S20R) is larger and more expensive than the i3, but it has features that make the greater size and weight worth it. Its rechargeable 18650 battery can be juiced up at my desk while I’m at work, on a snazzy magnetic charging base no less. It can put out enough light to illuminate the hillside, or little enough to peer under the theater seat without disturbing other patrons. It can get a bit tiring in a mouth grip or heavy attached to a hat brim, but its versatility makes up for these factors.
easy-to-find-the-dark-red-olight-i3-connected-to-victorinox-cadet-nd-maglite-solitaire-led

Olight i3 in red makes finding in the dark a little easier, small size pairs easily with a Victorinox Cadet to round out a front pocket light/blade EDC combo. The blue Maglite Solitaire LED also runs on a single AAA, and is easily found at just about any kind of store.

For working tasks I highly recommend having a headlamp in addition to a pocket flashlight. A light specifically made to wear on the head is much more comfortable, and one designed to provide a flood of light rather than a spot beam makes working with your hands easier.
While we have many flashlights hanging out around the homestead, nothing beats having one in your pockets, right at your fingertips ready at a moment’s notice.

Permits!!!

What do you do when you’re in the middle of a construction project and learn that your building permit is ready to be picked up?

Why, you drop the tool belt and get your rear down to the building department asap!!!!

And then you come home and have a photo shoot to show your excitement.


For those of you who haven’t been following along, or just forget, it’s been almost exactly six months since we initially turned in our plans to be approved for a building permit.
Six months!

We haven’t exactly be twiddling our thumbs that whole time, but we really thought we’d be further along than we are by now.

But God had other plans and here we are now, at the beginning of winter and just getting the permit.

But, we have a mudroom to build (the project I was working on today). And a well shed. And then we’ll probably start on the septic system. So we’ll keep busy this winter as weather allows. And come Spring, we’ll break ground on our house!

Now back to our regularly scheduled program… building a mud room!

Water, water everywhere…

…and hopefully safe to drink!

The well is in! 

O. M. Goodness, we are so excited! 

If you follow us on facebook, you’ve probably been keeping up with our well journey, but if not, here’s a quick recap. It took them three days of drilling and several more days of prepping the well, having to go down 461 feet, but we hit good pressure water. The water down there is flowing at about 60-70 gallons per minute, and the well head (how high up the pipe the water is being forced by the pressure) is at about 230. So half the pipe is filled with water. This is a very good thing.

Drilling in action

They put the pump in the well last week and I didn’t even know it. So I didn’t have the generator and storage tank down there for them. So they came back today to hook everything up. 

So. Very. Exciting!

That’s water from our well!!!

WAAATERRRRRR!!!!!

So, since we’re not set up to run water to our house, (because, you know, it doesn’t exist yet), we are just going to pump water into our 250 gallon storage tank to use as needed. Also, we’ll be able to run a hose from the well directly to the trailers to fill tanks and barrels. That will be so nice.

Of course, all of that is providing we can drink the water and don’t need to do anything extra to it. We have to flush the whole system for a while, then send some samples in to the state lab to have it tested. So far it looks and smells very clean. We’re hoping and praying that it is drinkable as-is. That would just be absolutely amazing. And of not, if it has some high mineral we have to filter out, we can deal with that, too.

Our set up

So right now the pump is controlled by the breaker, which is powered by the generator. When the pump is on, it fills the tank, or alternatively can be diverted to a garden hose. 

We are working on getting gravel delivered over the next couple of days, then we will begin constructing a shed around the pump and tank, etc. The Pump House will hold the well pump, holding tank, generator, and probably the laundry washing machine, too, for now. This shed will provide the insulation to keep the tank from freezing. Although, we learned today that our water is actually a bit on the warm side. Not sure if that’s because it just naturally stays that warm that far under the ground, or what, but today when we were flushing the well, the water was decidedly warmer than the ambient temperature outside as the sun was setting. But then, it IS November. At any rate, the fact that the water is not frigid will help keep the tank from freezing as easily. That’s our hope, anyway, as the overnight temps are supposed to drop into the 20’s this week. Brrrrr.

So that’s it for now, folks. It’s a monumentous day. And a huge step forward.

We have WATER! 

Adding on and making room

We have an addition to the family. At least for a few months. Meet our godson, Raven Boy.

He’s 13 years old, can drive a vehicle, is great with electronics and tools, and is a ginormous help around the homestead. He and his family visited for the summer, and when his family went home, it was decided that he would stay here with us for a while to help out with building the house and other projects. 

So, as I looked around our trailer, I realized we didn’t have enough room for another full sized person to sit anywhere when we’re hanging out inside. (He has a separate “bedroom”in our extra trailer that we use as storage.)  And with winter approaching, spending all our time outside isn’t going to be an option for too much longer.

So, Hubby and I had a talk, and figured out that with a little bit of rearranging in the living room, we could build a bench to comfortably seat another person or two. And it wouldn’t take up any more space than was currently being used.

I forgot to get a before picture with all our stuff there, but here’s the area cleared out. We had Scooter’s kennel, a couple of file boxes, and the toy chest in this corner.


We cleared out and cleaned the floor. Then started building the frame for the bench. This is where Raven Boy really shined. He already knows so much about using tools, etc that he cut all the wood for the bench, as well as helped put it all together.


Once the frame was together, and the door in for Scooter’s cubby, we covered most of it in plywood.


The left side was left open and put on hinges so that we can lift it out of the way and still deploy our couch into a bed. It was Raven Boy who came up with the design for that section.



We also left the top plywood unattached on the right side in order to easily access the area underneath for storage (and to be able to clean out the dog cubby when needed).


We bought pillows and pillowcases as the cushions for the bench. And we downsized Flower Girl’s toys to fit in a small tote and put the rest of them and the family heirloom toy chest into the storage unit.


I plan on painting the bench and sewing up the ends of the pillow cases so they look a bit more like cushions.

Overall, though, I’m very pleased with it. And since the weather has cooled off considerably recently, it’s been nice that the five of us can sit comfortably in our living room. We can also go over to Pagee’s (now spelled Pajii) trailer to watch a movie or something.

And Pajii put the full dinette back in his trailer after Bachan passed away, and all 6 of us can sit around the dining table when the weather (or yellowjackets) is not conducive to eating outside.

So that’s one more thing checked off our list of things to do to in order to live comfortably in the trailers for the winter. Next up is heat! Pajii’s trailer has a working furnace. Ours does not. We have several ideas of how not to freeze over the winter. I’ll keep you up to date on what we come up with.

End of an Era

If you can call just over two years an era, August 4th marked the end of it.

Mom/Bachan went home to be with our Lord that day.

For those of you who haven’t followed along since the beginning, Bachan is our kids’ name for Hubby’s mom who’s declining health was the reason we dropped everything and moved to Portland, OR on July 12, 2014.

We spent nearly two years in the Portland area helping care for Mom. You can read all about our time there, which I called our Portland Interlude.

On May 20th, 2016, we brought Mom and Dad back with us to Nevada. Mom got to spend just over two months enjoying the blue skies and bright sun here in the high desert.

But the disease eventually won out and her body just couldn’t fight any more and she passed peacefully in her sleep on August 4th.

We were so very blessed to get to spend two years with her. She was such an amazing, godly woman. I hope that should I ever face the challenges she did, I handle them with the grace and strength she showed.

image

Mom and Dad getting to enjoy the sunrise together for the first time in forever.

So now we move forward, with a hole in our hearts that her presence used to fill, but also with a profound gratitude that she’s no longer in pain and a firm knowledge that she’s home in heaven. The future looks a little different than it did a couple weeks ago. And sadness still lingers. But, for the most part, the joy outweighs the sorrow and we are doing well.

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.” Psalm 121