Tag Archives: moving

Packing up

Tomorrow (May 18th) begins our three-day moving adventure.


Tomorrow, a friend and I take the filled Uhaul down to Nevada. Then, the following day, we drive back here to Oregon with my mom’s RV. The day after that, we pack our suitcases, camp chairs, and mattresses (the only thing left in the house!) into the van, and ourselves into the vehicles, and off we go.

It still hasn’t sunk in that Friday’s trip to Nevada will the the last one for the foreseeable future. We’re so used to making that trip back and forth that it doesn’t seem real that it will be the last one.

So, today, we’re loading.


And cleaning. And clearing out.

Well, most of us are, anyway.


There are times I will shamelessly use the electronic babysitter. This is one of those times. 🙂

Just think, in three days, we’ll be living on the homestead!

Oh, the anticipation!


“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

Blackberry Syrup with Honey


So…we’re moving in just a couple of weeks. And we had a freezer full of food to eat up since we will be living in camping trailers and won’t have freezer space available to us (have you seen how small those freezers are?).

We had several bags of wild blackberries in the freezer from two summers ago. First of all, they just needed to be used. Because, you know, two summers ago!

Second of all, as I said, we don’t want to transport frozen food to Nevada. So we either needed to eat them or transform them into something that is doesn’t need to be refrigerated/frozen.

We had so many that we could eat cobbler several times a week from now till we leave. And as much as we all love cobbler, we’re just not that into desserts around here. We see them as a treat rather than a staple.

So a canned good of some sort was the order of the day.


I coulda made jam. But as much as we had would have probably made about 5 pints of jam. Way too much for us to go through. That would have lasted us years! We just don’t eat that much jam.

So I chose to make syrup. By straining out the pulp and seeds I knew I’d get a smaller volume of juice. Not only that, but one jar of syrup will be gone in just a couple of days. We don’t make pancakes all that often, but when we do, we open a jar of our delicious homemade fruit syurp, use it for the pancakes, and the remainder gets used in oatmeal till it’s gone a day or two later.

I started out with 10 cups of frozen blackberries. I put them in a pot with about 1 cup of water and heated them till boiling, then cooked them for about 5 minutes. I then took a potato masher and mushed them up to get out as much juice as possible.

After that, I scooped them into some jelly bags to drain. You could use a piece of muslin or linen fabric, or several layers of cheescloth if you don’t have jelly bags.

I hung the jelly bags from a cabinet doorknob and let them drip into a bowl.


They drained like that for about an hour or so. I probably could have let them drain for several more hours and gotten more juice out of them, but I was in a hurry.

I ended up with 4 cups of juice. I added this and one 1 cup of honey to a pot on the stove and started heating it. I chose this amount of honey because that’s what tasted good to us. Feel free to adjust the amount to your liking. You can also use any other kind of sweetener you’d prefer.

Once it was boiling, I sprinkled in about two tablespoons of no-sugar-needed pectin. I figured this would thicken it up into more of a syrup consistency without waiting for it to boil down on the stove. If you’d prefer not to use pectin, you can just let it simmer for a while on the stove, but be prepared to lose a bunch of volume. If you do use pectin, be careful not too add to much or you’ll end up with jelly!

Once it boiled good for a minute or so, I ladled it into prepared jars and processed it for 15 minutes in a boiling water bath. For detailed instructions on water bath canning, check out this site.

You can see from the following picture that the syrup is thick enough to coat the inside of the jar. Yummy!


I ended up with 5 cups of syrup in 4 jars (two 12oz jars and two 8oz jars).

Can’t wait to have some pancakes!

And yes, we left enough blackberries out to make a couple cobblers. 🙂


“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

Moving along

So this happened yesterday:


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.


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!


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.


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.


And got to watch a couple Bald Eagles flying around!


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.


Not excited at all. 😉


“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

Leaving soon

We have our moving date set!

The house is on the market and Bachan and Pagee have accepted a contingent offer. But no matter what happens with the house, we are moving on May 20th!

Actually, May 18th marks the beginning of the big move with me and a friend taking the moving truck with all the rest of our posessions to NV, turning around the next day (the 19th) to travel back to OR with my mom (“Ahma”) in her RV – which is how Bachan is going to be able to make the trip down – then all of the family back to NV with our various vehicles on the 20th.


Makes me tired just thinking about it!

In the mean time, since we only have 3.5 weeks left here in Oregon, we are finishing up with small projects around the house, visiting with friends one more time, and just kinda waiting for the day.

And since we have gotten rid of tons of furniture, look what I finally get!


A reading corner next to a window! I haven’t had this in so long and I always long for a little space all my own like that. Now, this is in our bedroom, which is still Hubby’s office during the day, but in the evenings, when I am tired from the day and would rather get away to read or journal, I finally have a quiet corner all my own.

After almost two years.

For only three more weeks.

Ah, well. I’ll enjoy it while I have it.

And speaking of enjoying it, here’s the view outside that window as I sit here and blog.


I sure am going to miss the green!

But, the trade off is worth it.

Heres a picture I took the last time we were on the homestead.


Flower Girl running around the homestead nearly naked. Playing in the dirt. Having a grand old time. And Princess Girl, at 10 years old, was in nearly the same condition.

The freedom they have there cannot be replicated where we live here in Oregon.

We are so glad that our children are going to grow up with a close connection to the outdoors in a place of freedom and openess. They will not know or remember the scrutiny of neighbors. The claustrophobia of being hemmed in by houses. The fear of living in a neighborhood where you stay indoors or in your yard after dark and the curtains are drawn and the the doors locked.

At Castle Rock, we will not be putting in an air conditioner, which means that on hot summer nights, all the windows and doors are open to let in the cooler night air. The cars will be left unlocked, and probably even the house most of the time. Some of the windows might not even have curtains, or if they do, it’s to block out the sun in the summer.

Life in the country is kinda laid back like that.

And we can’t wait! Only 26 more days!


“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


Today was such a beautiful day out, I just had to forgo the boxes inside in favor of some outdoor work. Did a bit of straightening and cleaning and weeding.

And Flower Girl and I added a bit of curb appeal to the front yard.



And for dinner, I decided to start getting in the practice of cooking outside, since that will be our life soon. I fired up the side burner on our gas grill for the first time.


These skillet potatoes and onions will go great with the smoked chicken Hubby is cooking in the smoker. Mmmmm…. the smell of dinner cooking in the great outdoors. What is it about cooking outside that makes everything taste better? 🙂

Anyway, we’re busy preparing for our move (which will hopefully happen in May). Whether it be physically preparing by packing and cleaning house, or mentally preparing by figuring out how we’re going to cook our favorite foods while boondocking on the homestead, we’re preparing to start our great adventure!

And what an adventure it’s going to be!


“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

More Delays

We traveled to Nevada this past weekend for a convention we go to every year. We used it as an opportunity to get some work done on the homestead.


The previous hole we tried to dig (but couldn’t get deep enough with the backhoe we rented) was still full of water from the last rains a week ago. This did not bode well for perk tests.

But we decided to rent a bigger machine to dig through the hard ground for our test trench for our septic system. My parents coordinated renting an excavator and Pops dug the hole while we were on the day-long drive down.


20160324_082111_resized 20160324_083306_resized


Got down significantly deeper (7ish feet) before hitting bedrock, but still not as deep as we needed to go (13 feet).  It took Pops all of 30 minutes or so to dig the hole, and since we had the excavator for a whole day…


Pops used it to do some leveling for us.


Our house pad is significantly larger and more usable now.


All of the scraped earth in the pic and even back behind the trailer is new usable space!


The next day, Hubby was able to be there when the inspectors and engineers came by. The news was decidedly not good. The ground doesn’t “perk” at all.

Which means we have to start all over.

Meet with the engineers.

Find a likely looking spot.

Rent the equipment.

Dig the hole.

Do the tests.

And pray it works!

And we’re only in Nevada this one week before we go back to Oregon.

And then it snowed 9 inches.


I’m so frustrated with the roadblocks we keep running into with building this house!


Why did you send the snow NOW?

Why this week?

Don’t you know how important it was to get lots of work done while we’re here?

And then I remember all the times he has taken us in a different direction from they way we wanted to go and it has turned out better than we had ever planned.

So I hang onto God’s promises that it’s all gonna be alright, and instead of asking God “why”, I am now saying, “Ok, God, I’m excited to see how you’re gonna work this one out!”

And in the mean time, I am enjoying the fact that we brought our snow gear with us and the girls had a great time playing in the snow today.


And knowing That in just a few months, we should be living here full time!



Taking Home a Piece of the Northwest

A tree blew down out at the camp our Church uses. The iconic tree stood right next to the lodge and cabins. Thank goodness no one was hurt! When Hubby was out at camp a few weekends ago, he learned that they are having a hard time getting rid of the pieces of the tree. Where do you put a 100′ tree?

So, we decided to bring home part of it.

The girls and I drove out to camp today and after some back breaking work and a bunch of help from one of the camp workers, we got two large “rounds” loaded into our trailer.

“The Big Tree” as it was known around camp looks so sad lying on the field. 😦20160322_145414_resized


A field of stumps.

20160322_145529_resizedThe stump at the bottom of the picture is the one we chose.

Rollin’, rollin’, rollin’, get them stumpies rollin’! 20160322_150718_resized

Trying to figure out how to get it into the trailer.20160322_152327_resized


The second stump is about half the size of this big one.

So, what are we planning to do with these guys?

Well, Hubby wants to make a table like this one:

Only tall enough to actually sit around it.

I thought it would be cool to make some chairs like the following:

Or maybe a planter:

Or bench supports:

Or maybe just to play on:

If we could have, I would have brought some of the large logs home. But they are way too big and heavy. If I had a log, I’d do something like the following:

If nothing else, I think we might just have to carve our initials. 🙂Initials


Can we get logs and stumps in Nevada? Sure we can. But whatever we make out of these stumps is going to have quite a lot of emotional significance behind them. We are bringing a piece of Camp, a piece of the Pacific Northwest, back to Nevada with us.

And that makes the aching back all worth it!

Unbuilding a home

As we plan and prepare to build our house in Nevada this summer, I feel that we are quickly unbuilding our home here in Oregon. We already sold off a lot of the larger pieces of furniture.



We are having a yard sale this weekend to hopefully get rid of the bulk of everything else we have stacked in the garage.

The girls’ bunk bed is dismantled in the garage waiting to be sold. Princess Girl took the whole thing apart with very little help from us. She is going to be such a huge help when we build!


She even patiently let Flower Girl help with a couple things.


So now the girls are sharing one dresser (the other is being sold) and sleeping on their mattresses on the floor.


Toys have been downsized to a few favorites. Some have gone into storage, most have been donated to charity (No, I don’t want to fight with a three year old over selling her toys in the yard sale. Better that they are just out of sight, out of mind!)

The living room has a couch and coffee table in it. Nothing else. And the coffee table is going bye-bye this weekend. The dining area has a table, but no chairs. The family room and kitchen are the most furnished rooms in the house, since we do still have to live here. But even they are sparse.

And it feels good! Not just the knowing that we are returning home soon, but the emptiness itself. The space. The uncluttered feel. When our family of 4 moved in with Bachan and Pagee, we had to fit our stuff in on top of their stuff. I needed an area for school/crafts/work, so we squeezed it into a corner of the living room. It worked, but it sure felt cramped.

Since Hubby works from home, he uses our bedroom for his office, which means his desk, etc is in our bedroom. It works, but it sure feels cramped.

And since he takes up extra space in the bedroom, there’s really no space for any of my stuff. So I keep all my clothes in the girls’ room. It works, but, you guessed it, it sure is cramped.

So as we downsize our lives once again to fit into 240 square feet, I am once again reminded that we often carry around too much extraneous stuff in our lives. And that the more space you have, the more you fill it up.

So, once again, I am finding the downsizing process liberating. And while most of the stuff being sold in the yard sale is Bachan and Pagee’s, there are quite a few item of ours as well.

And it’s all rather exciting since it means we are moving soon!


“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 most comfortable rain boots

Update: see the end of this post for an update after I’ve actually gotten a chance to wear these!

I got a package in the mail the other day. I had been eagerly anticipating it for a couple weeks (not used to waiting any more – thanks Amazon! :-\ )

And then it finally arrived!


If you know the Bogs brand, then you probably already know what is in the box. If not, let me show you…


Insulated waterproof boots! I was so excited to see these on sale that I just had to snatch up a pair. I had heard of Bogs and decided to get them since they have a 100% satisfaction guarantee. My previous run-of-the-mill rain boots sprung a leak in less than a year. So disappointing.

And, moving back to Nevada soon means less rain, but more snow and especially mud on the homestead. And we’ll be building in all sorts of weather. I know at some point I’ll be tromping all over our property wearing these boots. (See update below 😊)


I like that these are insulated enough that I’ll be able to wear them in the snow, but not as heavily insulated as some of their boots so on those later spring days my feet don’t roast.

And they are comfortable! And cute! In fact, they are so cute, I’m wondering if I really want to wear them in the mud and muck. Maybe I’ll buy another pair that’s not as cute so I won’t feel as bad getting them dirty. Hmmmmm….decisions. 🙂

One thing about Bogs, though, is that they run small in the shank (the area that goes around your ankle and calf.) I can wear these ones because they are shorter and have a bit of give at the top. But the tall boots would not work for me. I wonder if they make a wide calf version.

Overall I am very pleased. Definitely the most comfortable rain/snow boots I have ever put on my feet. Excited to have a reason the wear them.

What do you wear in foul weather when you have to be outside?

UPDATE: I wrote this post back in March. Today is November 1st. We are now living back on the homestead and my prediction about mud has definitely come true.

Mud. Mud. There was mud everywhere!

Mud. Mud. There was mud everywhere!

We’ve had several fall storms come through and our heavily clay soils are just soaking up that rain and turning into a quagmire.  So these boots have been great in the mud and muck. I especially love that they are form fitting around the ankle so that when my foot sinks down to my ankles in very sticky mud, the boots don’t get sucked off my feet. And yet, the toe box is wide enough that my toes have room to wiggle. Perfect.

And while our well was being drilled? Yeah, they definitely came in handy then!

In the stream created as our well was being drilled.

In the stream created as our well was being drilled.

So now that I’ve had a good chance to wear them, do I still say they are the most comfortable rain boots?


I am able to wear these boots all day trudging around in the mud and my feet won’t be killing me at the end of the day.

I only have two gripes with them, and they are small ones.

They are a bit difficult to take off when they are coated in slippery mud, but I was able to help that issue by taking out the laces, or loosening them completely. They really aren’t needed anyway.

And the other problem is that sometimes, when walking down a steep hill, the top part of the heel of the foot box can dig into my Achilles tendon area. But overall, not much of an issue.

Definitely the pros to these boots far outweigh the cons and I am sold for life I think. 🙂


“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

Moving right along

Our small remodel project in the kitchen is almost finished. And we’re so excited! We should have done this when we moved in nearly 2 years ago!

Just a reminder, here’s what the ceiling looked like when we started.

We cut into the drywall and pulled that soffit off the ceiling. You can see pictures of that process here. 

We got the new sheetrock in place.




And did some sanding to make the old stuff meet up with the new stuff. And my man is absolutely amazing! I was anticipating tons of dust all over the kitchen from shaving down the sheetrock. Hubby got the rasp from the garage and started thinking. And came up with an ingenious solution. He taped the rasp to the end of the shop vac! With the corner attachment, it almost seemed like it was made for it!

It worked great! Very little dust all over the kitchen!


We finished the sheetrock…

20160226_222513_resized…then hired a professional to come in and do the taping and mudding and texturing. We have some experience in that department, but not much. And since it needed to match the existing ceiling, we decided to leave it to someone with much more experience than us.

And he did an amazing job!


Now that it’s dried, you can’t even tell the difference.

And last night Hubby (with Dad’s help) hung the upper cabinet and the mounting bracket for the microwave. This afternoon they will finish cutting the hole for the vent, and get the microwave hung. A friend who is an electrician is coming this afternoon to finish the electrical stuff and we’ll be done!


Just in time to move. Of course.

But, really, I’m ok with that. Since doing all this work means that we’re actually in the process of moving back to Nevada. I will gladly do anything I have to do to make that happen.

And speaking of moving…

Dad went and signed on the dotted line for their trailer they’ll be living in while we are building. It is so very nice!

It’s a brand spankin’ new 34ft Springdale. It won’t be delivered for a couple weeks, but it is designated as sold to Dad.

Trailer (4)

Not our actual trailer – picture found online

Trailer (7)

Not our actual trailer – picture found online

It has two huge slideouts. Mom’s hospital bed will fit perfectly where the couch and dinette are currently. There will still be one side of the dinette for people to sit when they come to visit. And there is a second “bedroom” in the back where Dad will put his computer, etc. It will also have a couple bunks for the girls if they need a nap during the day or want to spend the night with the grandparents. I’m a little bit jealous because this trailer would fit our needs exactly. But we only paid a 10th of the price for our used one with no slideouts that Mom and Dad paid for theirs, and it works just fine.  And we’ll be so happy to live in it again after thinking for so long that we wouldn’t get to.

Trailer (2)

Not our actual trailer – picture found online

The thing I’m really excited about Dad and Mom’s trailer is the outdoor kitchen.

Hubby’s and my trailer (with the girls of course) will be parked on our barn pad, which is about 0.2 miles from the house pad where Mom and Dad’s trailer will be parked (not enough room for both). As you can imagine, we won’t want to be running back and forth between the two for snacks, lunch, etc. Or when the camp cook (ie, my mom) comes by with lunch, it will be good for her to be able to finish up prep without having to bother Hub’s parents in the trailer, especially if Mom is sleeping.

Hmmm…OK, how are we going to keep all the Moms and Dads straight in this story now that we are all going to be living in the same town and we will be super involved in each other’s lives?

Ah, I know, Hubby’s parents (who live with us) will from how on be referred to by their grandparent names. Hubby’s mom is Bachan, and his dad is Pagee.

I may on occasion refer to my mom as Ahma (the girl’s name for her), and my stepdad as Pops (my name for him). And my dad will simply be “my dad”.

Got all that?

Good. Neither do I. 😉

But hey, it’s a good problem to have. Not many families are as close as ours. It will be wonderful to live back in the same town as the rest of our family!