Platform Build

This past week has been a trying time. There were many times I kept asking God over and over why? Why did we move here in the middle of summer? Why is this ground so rocky? Why is everything we try to do so difficult?Most of these thoughts came from sheer exhaustion. Last week hubby had a stomach bug we assumed was irritated by his IBS since we were experiencing so much stress over the house sale and the planning of the platform build. But no– he actually had some super stomach bug that laid him down for several days. Wednesday– the day before our church guys were due here to start the platform I woke up sick. I seemed okay after awhile but by that night I was sick. Thursday I could do nothing but lay in bed or run to the outhouse and wish to die. I couldn’t pump water or take care of children much less play hostess to 4 men.I was trying to fight the heat and the bug when I heard the trailers and trucks bounce in. I couldn’t even gather enough strength to look out the doors. I knew the hubby had sent the kids into the trailer with me while the trucks parked.The next three days are mostly a blur.The platform was built– no one was hurt but the heat killed us. And it’s still hot. Most days are running heat indexes of 103-106.We are finally all recovered and partially moved into the tent but we have decided to take this week off for a mini heat-filled vacation. Well all except for the few things like catching up on laundry and dishes in the early morning hours before the sun befins to beat down.I will leave you with a few pictures of our progress. I intended to take many more but just did not have the strength.I pray everyone is doing well.

Closing of a Chapter

Yesterday we finally closed on our house. Before the closing, we went by to dig up some more mint to transplant as well as some of my irises that where given to me a couple of years ago. We walked through the house once more. It was so empty– it didn’t feel like a home any longer just an empty shell with echoing rooms. We left and I can’t say I even looked back as we drove away. We were ready for this chapter to be closed.

Because the closing was at 2 we had our sweet friends invite us to stay the night with them. It really helped being able to just rest without making that long drive twice in a day.

None of us wanted to leave the land and I think we are ready to head back. I am sitting here in my friend’s house looking at all the modern things and realizing how little I miss any of these things. I can hear the birds starting to sing outside and I almost feel trapped sitting on this nice comfortable couch. Everytime the air conditioner kicked on last night, I awoke with a start! After not using one for over a year, it seemed so loud.

If I did have to choose anything I miss it would my fridge at times. Since I have no garden this year, we are greatly missing fresh foods and I really can’t keep anything cool enough to stock up on meat or vegetables.

A couple days ago the hubby built this table with scrap wood lying around. He needed a work table. He was able to get the Poulan chainsaw working so now he has two light duty chainsaws going.

I used his table for washing my hair. It is just the right height for this.

As we drove to town one day this was what was on the road.

There were more on the right side but we finally managed to make it past them. When we came back through I guess the farmer had managed to get them put back up.

We are always seeing unique sights on these mountain roads. Keeps things interesting!

I pray everyone has a wonderful weekend.

A Few Bumps

These past couple days have been a little more trying. The hubby decided to build a frame for the swing friends bought the kids before we left Mississippi. They are loving it and it help keeps them occupied when we are busy with big projects.The hubby went to cut a tree up and his chainsaw just seized up. It is a very old chainsaw his dad had over 20 years ago. It wasn’t up to the work of felling trees and daily use. He has a small saw his friend gave him but it is a fixer and we need parts for it and it is a light weight saw not meant for tree felling. So as much as we hated it, we headed into town in search of a chainsaw. Up here it is not a want– it is a necessity to get the land cleared for the platform build next week.We first went by the Stihl dealership because we knew they were supposed to be great saws but the price was too much money for a saw. We didn’t know where else to go– our new town is tiny with very few options for large purchases. We found a small Sears Hometown store which I did not even realize still existed. Thankfully he was able to buy a Husquavarna 440 for under $400. He has felled a large tree with it as well as cut up the trees he has felled. So far it seems to be a handy saw. He has been researching and thinks he may be able to fix his other two saws. He really wants his old saw for making board lumber with his chainsaw mill. It is a 20 inch saw whereas the other two are only 18 inch.We also needed to move some trees and couldn’t move them on our own so we hooked the chain to the truck and pulled them away.Today we tried a new church and it did make us homesick and miss our church family. We know we have made the right decision but it doesn’t make everything easy even knowing that. We miss our church family. We had grown very close to them.I finally got a shovel out and dug down in this rocky ground and planted some mint cuttings I brought with me. I planted these around the clothesline post. One day maybe they will grow up the posts. I think I would like that.The kids have adjusted very well. We are all learning new skills. My new skill of the week is learning to start a fire from scratch as well as from the hot embers. It’s an amazing process and is teaching me patience for sure but I have learned to do it even in the rain.This morning my heart felt a little sad when my baby told me her first tooth was loose. It came out easily but made me realize once again how fast they are growing up! She however was so excited that she lost her tooth. It is now under her pillow. She has talked about loosing that tooth all day long and how it is going to turn into a dollar tonight. We don’t teach our children to believe in tooth fairies or such but we do tell them it’s special loosing teeth and putting it under your pillow so Mommy an Daddy can make it a dollar.I do hope everyone has a wonderful week.

Cutting the First Trees

It has been a busy couple days around our new homestead. The hubby felled his first tree and then his second. He used these dead trees as posts for my new clothes line.It is very rustic and I love it! It took a couple hours. His chainsaw was his dad’s and it runs but it acts up and kept quitting on him. Plus there ended up being a nest of orange wasps that had set up on one of those trees and since I am allergic I couldn’t help him. We ended up getting some wasp spray and hubby has killed most of them so I can try it out tomorrow.The hubby also cleared an area behind us where we are going to set the trailer so we are off the logging road. This is probably where we will leave it permanently even after we are in the tent. This location was originally going to be where we were going to build the platform but we just didn’t like it. We know the lots around us will eventually sell and we don’t want to be plainly visible but we still need to be near the well.The hubby went exploring and found a perfect little clearing downhill from where the trailer will be. It is shady and secluded and just a short walk to the well or 55 gallon drum I am using for water storage.The drum water is for dishes, refilling hand washing jugs and non drinking water purposes. Its helps to have water right here and we don’t have to pump so much every morning this way.We even started our first woodpile. You can see it on the left in the trees. I am sure we will have several woodpiles. There is so much downed wood already on the property but this wood is from one of the felled trees.Our little kitten is growing and she follows us everywhere we go now. She has become quite the tree climber!Our homestead is a lot of work but we love it and we feel peace here. I cannot wait till tomorrow morning to see that clothesline full of freshly washed clothes blowing in the morning breeze.It is a different life for sure but one we are finding rewarding. The kids help with chores but they also play and walk and explore around our cleared area and up and down the logging road.As evening comes on, I sit here and just look around and find it amazing we are here and how much already this is starting to look like a home. Our home. And it makes me content and at peace.I am so very blessed.

First week

Tuesday our church friend brought the deep hand well pump we ordered. It works great! The strength it takes to pump did surprise me a little but it works and we have as much water as we need. The best time to pump for all our daily water is first thing in the morning when you are full of energy and the day is cool. I also wash first thing in the morning at daylight. I wash our laundry from the day before and hang it to dry. So far this has worked out perfectly. The hubby made me a temporary clothesline till he can build a full one.We have been here almost a week and the first few days were so hot it was unreal. Real temps were in the low 100s. But the cold well water and a kiddie pool helped us get through it. On Thursday it finally rained and everything cooled off a little in the days and especially the nights. We have frozen at night! I had to pull out extra blankets.I have been mostly cooking on the camp stove but a couple days ago hubby built me a rocket stove so now we have a free way to cook.So far I have baked biscuits in my skillet with a lid and set up on another skillet or Dutch oven. I cooked a full supper on it last night including baking some yeast bread. I am working on my sourdough starter. It did not like the move and heat but its making a comeback and I will try to set my sponge tonight for baking tomorrow.We had bought a well water test kit off amazon. Well the bacteria test was positive but we had already been drinking the water so we continued on. It has been almost a week and we are all okay so we figure the test was bad.We are figuring out routines and what works best. It has been an adventure for sure but very peaceful.We picked our spot for the tent and outhouse and we start clearing that area tomorrow.The kids have had so much fun picking all the wild blackberries.I hope everyone has a good week.

We Made It

I have never been alone in the woods in an early morning. The peace of sitting out here before anyone else is awake is amazing. I can hear a deer snorting nearby. He isn’t happy we have encroached on his territory I imagine. Of course there are many birds just singing away. It is like a choir there are so many singing their own tune. The sky is amazingly blue already even this early while the moon and Venus are still clearly visible.There are a few insects buzzing around but all the noises are from nature. I can hear no cars– no trains– nothing but what’s around me here in this place. Its a 2 mile drive to the nearest main road.

And I feel at peace. I finally feel at peace after all these months. All the trials and fears getting here were worth it. Even yesterday as we left the house one last time, I felt such fear and sadness. It was overwhelming! But God has and is working it all out.

Our friend picked up our deep well hand pump yesterday and is already on the way with it here this morning. Hopefully in a few hours we will have good fresh ground water. You just don’t realize how precious water is until you have a limited amount. We look around and we see all the work but we also see all the possibilities. What a wonderful blessing we have been given!

A Week of Goodbyes and New Beginnings

It has been quite the week around here starting with our house realtor contacting us to let us know that when she sold us the house six years ago apparently she and the the lawyer didn’t follow all protocols and there was another family member of the previous seller listed on the house. It showed up on the title search. So now even though we somehow got a title 6 years ago, this family member of the original seller has to sign for us to be able to sell legally. It has been a little unnerving to find out after all these years there is someone out there who could have come back on us and argued it was his house and probably would have had a good case. We are praying everything goes smoothly with his signing the necessary paperwork and mailing it back in.

In a way it did end up being a blessing because it has pushed our house closing date off and we now dont know when it will close. Hopefully in the next 2 weeks.

The yard is getting so overgrown here because we have already had to move the mower to our storage unit in the new state. But there is really nothing we can do about it at this point.

Wednesday was the day scheduled for closing on the land. Tuesday we spent the day loading the truck and a small trailer a friend lent us. We needed the flat trailer to move the chicken coop and oh what a heavy coop that is! The hubby used a come-along to help us load it because I could not lift it.

As the hubby was tieing down the load in the truck bed, he slipped and fell about 6 feet down to the concrete. The truck bed was wet and he just lost his footing. We were all so tired. Thankfully he doesn’t seem to have any broken bones but he has some severe pain in his left hip. Being the medic he is, he has diagnosed himself with a bone bruise and says he just needs rest. And I really think he is probably right but the next day we had to go close on the land and unload all of those big items at the property itself so he hasn’t rested much.

However it is official. We now own almost 11 acres in the Ozark foothills. And it is beautiful land. The hubby cleared some of the tall grasses in our clearing to set up a portable garage for storage space.

We didn’t get home until very late that night. Thursday the hubby did rest and I tried packing the rest of our things and catching up on housework.

Yesterday we went over to our friends’ house from church and spent most the day with them just saying goodbyes. We will see the husband again Tuesday as he travels for a living and is picking up our deep well hand pump and delivering it to us. He will also come back in late July to help the hubby build our tent platform.

They have been very dear friends and love our children very much. Their own children are grown and married.

Today we say goodbye to the hubby’s mom. She is going to stop by for a quick visit. We are also setting up the trailer as a camper to get ready to move onto the property Monday. We are taking water in with us to make it through until Tuesday when we get the pump.

It has been a very emotional week and actually very scary. Everything is so new and this is such a huge step we are taking. We still feel peace but sometimes we just feel overwhelmed at all the changes. It has been such a slow transition– it almost feels like a dream this life we are striving for even though we now own the property. We start worrying about everything– can we chop enough wood for winter? Can we grow a fall garden for a few fresh vegetables? Is it too late in the year to get chickens to help with all the insects? Can we be out there and keep everyone safe? Is the well water even going to be good safe water? All of this and so much more goes through our minds as we start on this new road.

But it is exciting as well and it is almost a yearning to live old fashion on our own land with each other and working together as a family. God has continually worked out each step just as it should be and I believe with all of my heart He will continue. We just let our own fears get the best of us sometimes.

May everyone have a blessed weekend.

Some of my plants that have to be moved.

(I do have basic phone service on the land but very spotty internet so the next posts may be a little slow in coming. Thanks for your patience as we start our new journey.)

First Load

Our truck made it! I was so worried our old truck and trailer might not withstand the trip but it did. We had loaded that trailer down and hauled it the long way to our storage unit in our new state. Once there, the unloading was actually quick.

The hubby is great at organizing and using the most of the 10 by 15 space we are working with.

We still have another couple of loads to move but some things like the chicken coop and portable gargae we can’t move until the day of closing. We will take those very large items directly to the land.

When we finished unloading we had a very small window to get to the tiny community nearest our land where we rented a post office box for the year. After that was finished, we were so near the land we drove on out there for a picnic.

It was our very first time driving back to where we will set up the tent. We have never had the truck and have always had to walk into the property. It was nice to drive in. Not only did we drive in, but the hubby also parked the trailer about the spot we have picked for the tent so we ate our picnic where our future home will hopefully soon be set up.

Everytime we go out there I don’t want to leave but the hubby had worked the previous 24 hours with no sleep and he had to go back the next day so we headed on home. I did get some pictures this time. Both other times we have visited I had every intention of taking pictures but always got busy.

A few of the more cleared areas.

The well and the last clear area. The rest of the land looks more like what is behind this clearing. There is a lot of underbrush in the trees.

Of course they had to walk down to “their” creek!

This is the county road leading to the logging road.

Nearby river and pasture land we pass as we head toward the county road.

It truly is beautiful in this area.

Hopefully we will pack another load today and move it Saturday after the hubby gets off from his last day at this job.

Now I need to go make pies. It is the baby girl’s 5th birthday and she has requested chocolate pies over cake 😊.

I pray everyone has a wonderful weekend.

The Day Is Almost Here

This week we found out our closing date on the house is June 24th. The closing date on the land is June 23rd. We have to be out of our house by June 24th. So the frenzy has begun! To make things a little more complicated, the hubby waited a week to turn in his 2 week notice. With the way things are, he was so worried the house sale would fall through and we would be stuck here with a house payment for another few months. His last day is the 18th which gives us mostly days in between his 24 hour shifts to start moving. The other problem is we don’t own the land yet which of course means we can’t move our things onto the land.

Wednesday I set about calling storage units up that way and was shocked to learn just about everything was rented. They don’t know what’s going on but suddenly everyone is renting self storage. Well I finally found one that is in route to the property. He had 2 units left. So if everything goes according to plan, we will start taking trailer loads up Tuesday. Once it’s all moved we will take what we use on a daily basis and camp out of the trailer until the platform is built. The only problem is our well. If the backorded pump does not arrive by closing we will have to camp somewhere near our land with water access or here on one of our fellow church member’s land (which several have offered).

I have also been canning like crazy. We are trying to have a year supply of food up there with us. Meat is hard to come by around here but I was blessed to find 4 hams on sale and 5 lb boxes of bacon on sale plus a turkey. I have canned all of this– made turkey stock and canned that as well. I plan on making ham stock but have not yet. We have had VBS all week long at church and on the hubby’s days off we have been helping a lady at our church. She needed some plumbing work done and the hubby is planning to finish that today.

I wasn’t sure how to pack all the empty jars as well as full jars but I remembered I had all these books of fabric square samples that were given to me for making a quilt. My oldest daughter pulled them apart and we went to work wrapping everything. Later I can iron them back out and use them for their intended purpose.

It has rained and rained and rained and honestly it doesn’t feel as if it’s ever going to stop. I can’t get clothes dried, we need moving boxes but with the hubby at work I have only had the truck and no way to keep boxes dry; I need to run errands to get things ready but hate dragging the kids around in the rain eapecially after our late nights of vacation Bible school. It has just been a messy week. I think the whole South is getting all this rain.

The kitten was trying to help me clean out cabinets.

Thankfully we have got so much done. I cannot believe the time has come to move. I am excited but oh so scared too!! I keep thinking what if we can’t do it and just fail?I have many fears but deep down I know we can do it with hard work and determination.

May everyone have a blessed weekend.

Dreaming

Some things are as simple as just doing them. You want an old fashion life and house? Just eleminate the new and the clutter and simplify down to what was used in the past.

Somethings though– they are harder and more complicated. We dream of land we own with no mortgage (only property taxes), we dream of gardens and fruit trees, we dream of goats and chickens and meat rabbits– I see all of this in my head. I dream of this and see us in a few years time as pretty self sufficient. I see my children learning the old ways and becoming confident young people who can care for themselves and others without modern conveniences. Children who explore nature and learn by observation and asking questions. They can pump well water and feed animals, but they also know how to play as children should.

I see our tent on a small platform (which really is becoming just a dream due to lumber prices) with an outhouse set out behind. I can see next year’s project of a root cellar dug down in that rocky dirt. We will use it to preserve our supplies and for storm safety as needed.

We dream all these big dreams but the process of getting there is hard work and stress. All the little things in the processs of working toward a lifestyle that is mostly against the norm is hard.

The hubby and I were discussing the other day wondering how many people dream of a simpler life or just dream in general. Everyone has some type of dream but not many really achieve them and we started asking ourselves why. We know a young couple who shared with us they too have thought of selling everything and going back to the land but they decided against it. It was too big of a step.

We decided fear was the biggest factor in people not following their dreams. Money of course is usually a big deterrent, but when you really want something I think you find a way.

We are scared and we can only imagine all the work it will take to reach our dream, but we are going to press on because we can see what end we want. We can see the family we want; we can see that normal is not for us. We want this dream and we are putting our whole hearts into it. It is easy to get discouraged. But each little step brings us closer so we keep moving forward.