Tag Archives: Family

Let’s Dance

You know what it’s​ like when you’re trying to accomplish something, and it seems like everything keeps going wrong and you just can’t catch a break?

When for every two steps forward, you have to take one or two backward?

Yeah, we had that happen. Yet again.

You see, we had our footing forms all built, leveled, and were starting the bracing in preparation for putting in rebar.

Fully built footing forms

And then we were told we had to have a certification letter from an engineer stating that our soil compaction was within acceptable levels. As you can probably guess, the engineer told us it most certainly was not within acceptable levels and we had to do some work under the footings.

So, we had to break down all those footings into sections. All those beautiful forms we spent so many days building. 

Forms moved out of the way and digging the footings UNDER the footings

All had to be moved so we could bring in a backhoe and dig under the footings. 

Under footings all dug

Do you see her?


After a couple weeks where we were waiting on inspectors, I had to work several days at my summer job, I got sick with a horrible allergy induced head cold, and we had to wait for the holiday weekend (Memorial Day), we finally got to pour concrete. 

Concrete flowing

We were told we needed a “2 sack sand slurry” to fill the trenches. I estimated we needed 18 yards. Boy, was I wrong! We ended up needing about 25 yards. 

Not knowing what a “sand slurry” was, we really had no idea what to expect.

The third truck

Turns out a sand slurry is basically just sand and cement, no gravel. And it’s pretty soupy. Made it easy to just flow into the trench. We barely even had to screed it. Just enough to make sure it was at or below grade.

Filled trench

It set up very quickly, and at the moment is the consistency of packed sand.

Set up enough to walk on within minutes

We do not know what it will be like when it is cured. Will it harden into more of a concrete consistency, or stay sandy, or something in between?

It’s a family affair

After pouring the concrete, we decided to watch the sunset from our new area for our Sunset Swing (finally moved it down to our new location). Unfortunately, it was too cloudy for a sunset, but the Hubs and I enjoyed sitting there as the light faded and looked at what we had accomplished. I’m sure many more pictures will be taken from this vantage point in the future.

Overlooking our domain

So, we did get a huge chunk of work accomplished today. 

And I am reminded that two steps forward and one step back is still one step forward. And that is one step further in the right direction. 

Also, there is this:

There will be many set-backs as we build this house. I could get all bent out of shape. I could get frustrated at the slow pace. Or, I can look on the bright side, and learn to dance!

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.

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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

The Heat is On

Howdy, howdy!

Boy, I’m horrible at keeping you all up-to-date. I keep procrastinating because there’s so many parts to our story I haven’t told yet. But I figure I should just go forward from here, otherwise I’m gonna get further and further behind. 🙂

So summer is officially here and the temperatures are rising. Where I sit right now, under the shade shelter we built, with the breeze blowing across me, it’s not too hot. Inside the trailer? Well, as long as the breeze is blowing through the open windows, it’s bearable. At least Bachan and Pagee have AC in their trailer.

We’ve been having quite the time keeping tarps on the shade shelter frames. The wind has been atrocious.

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But we keep redesigning and rebuilding. And then it’s good till the next wind storm. And by wind storm, I mean literal hurricane force winds. Yeah, anything that’s not tied down – and even some things that are – gets blown off the mountain down into the canyon.

But that’s life up here. You learn to deal with it. You prepare the best you can, and trust God for the rest.

Our schedule is about to heat up, too. Our house plans were turned into the building department this last week! We have just a short month or two to prepare for the work to begin. And then we’re gonna go crazy!

Not that we haven’t been keeping busy.  We finally got our shower all put together.

You may remember that our trailer does not have a working bathroom. So we’ve been washing up with buckets and wash cloths, or going down to Mom’s to take showers.

But now, we can take full on regular showers right here on the homestead! I’ll do a explanatory post on that whole system some time.

And speaking of my mom, she brought a TON of cherries from her trees up to gain some help in pitting them. Her and Princess Girl pitted a large refrigerator drawer full of cherries. Flower Girl helped by being the official taste tester. 🙂

The following day, the girls and I went to Mom’s to help her make jam and a couple cobblers.

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The end result was 27 cups of jam using three different recipes, and two cobblers.

Life hasn’t all been hard work over the last month, though. I’ve had a little bit of time to relax here and there. A couple Sundays ago, I spent nearly the whole afternoon in the hammock.

The girl’s and I had an opportunity to dress in 1860’s clothing and join in a Civil War Days event.

And just the other day, amongst errands, we spontaneously decided to take our fast-food to a park for an impromptu picnic. (I learned that I feel less guilty about eating fast-food if we turn it into a picnic. 😉 )

And amongst all the work of settling into the trailers, getting our house plans turned in to the building department, and the myriad of other things we do every day, Princess Girl and I have been working at our summer job at least a couple days a week.

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One thing I’m learning is that up here on the homestead  everything takes more time. Because we are living completely off grid in an old camping trailer, there are extra steps to nearly every task.

Gonna make breakfast? Gotta gather up of the food and utensils and dishes needed to take out to the outdoor kitchen first.

Gonna go potty? Well, do your business, but know in just a couple of days, you’re gonna have to take care of that bag of poo. (Another post on that is also in the works, just in case you’re wondering. 😉 )

Gotta get something from the shed? You gotta walk all the way over there and back -several times usually – to get what you need.

But it’s a good kind of work and we’re happy to be here. As has been my mantra for the last several months, “the trade off is worth it!”

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

Spring weather on the Homestead

We traveled to Nevada at the end of March and while we spent most of the time at my mom’s house, we did get to spend some time up on the homestead.

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This is the main reason that we decided not to stay in the trailer while we were there. It snowed on us!

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But the girls and I went up to check on the homestead anyway. And had a bit of fun while we were at it.

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And three days later, nearly all the snow is gone. We decided to try “witching” for water in other places around the house pad to accommodate the change in location of the septic system.

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This is “Ahma” (my mom) using the copper rods. It’s amazing how they really do react when near water.

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Flower Girl loves trying new things and having “pickmicks”

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Yeah, three days ago and now it’s warm enough to play in the water. That’s spring in Nevada for you!

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Our little “lion” in her cage.

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And look what we found while rummaging around in our log piles (placed there back when my parents owned this property and tore down an old barn).

Logs!

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Y’all remember my post about the logs right?

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And here I have some sitting right there on the property just waiting for me!

Oh, the possibilities!

Moving along

So this happened yesterday:

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That’s my dad’s truck. Hooked to my in-law’s trailer. Gettin’ ready to haul it back to Nevada for us.

It’s one less thing we’ll have to worry about on the day of the Big Move.

In THREE WEEKS!!!

Ohmygosh! Three weeks from today we’re moving back to Nevada!

I’m not excited or anything. 😉

In the meantime, I’m finishing little projects here and there. The house is pretty much empty, so there’s really not much left to pack. But, we still had a large freezer full of food that we don’t want to cart back to NV with us.

Like blackberries from two summers ago!

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So I made Blackberry Syrup. I think I’ll write a post on that. I only took the one picture above during the process, but it’s a simple enough process that it doesn’t require a lot of explaination.

Other than those little projects like cleaning out the freezer, we’re just soaking in the green beauty around us and biding our time.

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A cool thing happend last week when my man and I went out for date night. We went to a movie theater we’d never been to before and had about a 30 minute wait. So we walked around to this beautiful lake that was right next to the shopping center where the theater was.

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And got to watch a couple Bald Eagles flying around!

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Right there in the middle of town. It was such a cool experience!

So, to re-cap: the trailer is on it’s way to Nevada, the house is nearly empty, and we are eagerly awaiting our move out date in just three weeks.

Yeah.

Not excited at all. 😉

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

The Next Generation

What do you believe?

What do you think is best?

Chances are, if you truly believe it and think it’s best, whatever it is, you want your children to follow in your footsteps.

But what are you doing about it?

Learning kitchen skills

I was reading in the Bible this morning how in just a couple generations, the Jews had completely turned away from God.

Judges 2:10 says, “After that whole generation had been gathered to their fathers, another generation grew up, who knew neither the LORD, nor what he had done for Israel.” (NIV)

Now, no matter what your religious leanings are, there’s a lesson there for us all. In just a couple generations, the nation of Israel had fallen away from their beliefs.

Helping build the chicken coop.

I got to thinking about what our own country was like just a few generations ago. When my grandparents were young. Their values and morals. And just how different things are now. A LOT can change in just a few generations.

Whether you believe it’s a good change or not, the fact is, there’s been a drastic change in the last 80 years. And there will probably be more as we go forward.

More cooking skills

So, how can we pass on our knowledge, our beliefs, our values, to the next generation? How can we ensure that our children have the best chance of believing as we do?

 

Bible study

The answer to that also can be found in the Bible.

Deuteronomy 6:7 says, “Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up.” (NIV)

Packing lunches for the homeless.

Of course, this verse is talking about God’s laws, but the principle is the same for every value we hold dear.
We have to talk to our children. We have to teach our children.

It’s not enough to just show them. Yes, our example is very important. We need to live out what we believe. But to expect our children to follow in our footsteps just by observing us is walking a dangerous road.

Helping preserve the harvest.

They’re never too young to teach the why

Why do you believe what you believe?

Why do you do what you do?

Why do you live the way you live?

Homegrown cherries and the fun and hard work of harvesting them.

Sure, when they are young, they won’t understand. They will follow you because they love you and because they know no other way.

That’s why we have to talk to them. To teach them about our way of life. About your values and beliefs.

Planting the garden

Because one day they are going to grow up. One day they are going to look around and see that the rest of the world doesn’t live like your family.  And if you haven’t prepared them for that, they will have a much harder time holding onto the values that you hold so dear.

 

Planting the garden

Now, this is a homesteading blog, so I don’t want to get too preachy, but in the long run, do I really care if my children follow in our homesteading footsteps? Well, I hope they do. I believe this type of life is a very good one. But I know that there’s something in life so much more important than organic veggies and sustainable living. I believe that following God is the most important thing.

Observing and helping (and getting to stand on the roof of the trailer 😉 )

And I want my children to believe the same thing.
I am reminded of the first episode of season 2 of the TV show Alone. It is a survival show where the contestants are up against nature and their own psyches completely alone in the wilderness. They can tap out at any time. The last man standing wins half a million dollars.

In episode 1, they showed a man who bragged about how good he was going to do. He had the skills, he said. He wasn’t afraid, he said. He bragged about how if he met a bear, someone would have to come to the bear’s rescue.

What happened when he got to the wilderness and encountered actual bears (or rather the evidence that they were close by)? You guessed it, he bailed. As much as he bragged about it, he wasn’t actually prepared for there to be bears out there.

Learning to use tools (and learning to be a teacher)

I see passing on our values much the same way. It’s easy for people to say they believe something, but as soon as they come up to a difficulty or hardship, they bail because it was harder than they really expected.

If we truly want our children (or anyone we are mentoring) to follow in our footsteps, we need to teach them not only that there are bears in the world, but how to handle them.

Talk to your children, folks. Teach them. It’s a big job, a hard job, yes.

But one with some awesome rewards!

 

Maridy