So Then Came the Rain…..

Well we live in one of those areas of Mississippi that was in the paths of the tornadoes that decided to come Sunday night. The hubby was at work so it was me and the kids in the tent. When the sirens went off, I dragged kids and blankets up to the house to get in the closet. The tornado hit about half a mile up the road. It was the first major storm with any impact that we had experienced with the hubby so far away. We both just felt helpless.

The tent withstood all this but the low land we live on flooded and it flooded our tent.

This happened twice– first Sunday night. Then again Tuesday night. It was like living in a nightmare.

Monday we used the generator and small shop vac to suck the water out clean the floor. That worked. Everything was set up again nicely. But after it happened again last night and because it’s due to our home and land being in a flood zone, we decided to move back into the house so the tent can dry and the ground can harden enough for us to take it back down.

It has been an exahusting week workwise as well as mentally.

Everything was wet but thankfully we were all okay and all we really lost was a pressboard dresser. It did make us realize we do want to invest the money into building a platform when we get ready to set up on our future land.

I do not wish to experience this again.

All day I have washed clothes and bedding and hung them out to dry. It has been quite the ordeal.

Our possible good news is we have accepted an offer on the house. We went with an “as is” sale since the house does need so much work. The inspection is to be this Saturday and we are nervous about that. We see all the work that needs done but we were also upfront about all of that with our realtor. This buyer wants to come in and redo the whole house and I pray it works out for all of us.

We did decide to pursue the other option for getting the funds for our land. My husband had a small retirement IRA from his past job and we decided to take the tax and penalty loss and cash it out. We are now waiting on all that to go through. It proved to be a difficult decision and one we didn’t take lightly. But the account has already lost money since it was rolled over from the hubby’s previous job to the financial institution it is now in and we feel that we would rather invest the money in land instead of stocks.

So now the house is in chaos since we just hauled everything inside and left it and I have until Friday to clean it back up. Thankfully the hubby is off until Saturday.

We are all okay and things seem to be progressing even though there seem to be alot of challenges in the progress. We are steadfastly moving on and we will get through all of this. We are keeping our goals of simplicity and living together and working together and raising our kids in the old fashion way in our thoughts as we struggle through these trials. I never realized how complicated everything could become by just striving toward simplicity. It is a little overwhelming.

I pray everyone has a blessed week.

Transitioning Phase

The realtor came out Tuesday to take photos of the house to get it ready to list. She looked around the living room and politely asked if there was anyway we could put all the beds back into the bedrooms. I kind of felt sorry for her– she looked so confused as to why all these rooms were empty and everything was in one room. So we told her we really did not want to do that to the kids since we were all used to being together but we did have a solution.

Hence after 3 long hours Tuesday night, the wall tent was up in the back of our yard. It feels strange being set up in our backyard. We honestly thought our land would be the first time we would set it up but the realtor came by today and was much happier with the house. So here we are– partially moved into the wall tent and partially still in the house with showers because of the lack of privacy in our backyard. Due to our lack of wood, we are also still cooking in the house. We do have our camp stove and I have been using that out here as well. It has been quite an adjustment.

Our wood stove did arrive and we cured it but have not placed it inside the tent yet. After it cooled, we moved it to the sun porch to keep it dry.

I really love the stove. It was the hottest day of the year so far when we cured it and that thing got hot! I am nervous and excited about learning to cook on it.

Above in the inside of the tent picture, you can see the closet the hubby built us out of leftover PVC pipe. It works great and with the curtains, offers a nice divider between our bed and the kids’ beds.

The hubby has also built us a pressurized solar shower out of PVC. He pressurizes it with a bicycle pump and it holds continuous pressure for about 4 and a half minutes with 5 gallons of water. Of course, we won’t run it four straight minutes. It is connected to a short hose with a garden nozzle that we can turn on and off to save water as we wash.

It has been very busy around here. We did call the realtor about the land we feel is the one for us but he says no one is making offers on it right now so we are waiting to get the rest of the money when the house sells or possibly before the house sells. We have one other option to get the money but we have not decided if it is the wisest choice for us. We are just praying that if that is the land God wants for us, no one else will make an offer on it.

We are so close and yet it seems so far to acheiving this dream. This was the hubby’s first day back to work after being with us and staying in the tent a couple days. We hate him being so far from us.

But God has a timeline in all this so we just keep preparing and moving on as best we can while waiting rather impatiently.

Oh the hubby also rigged up a pee diverter for us girls for the compost toilet. He can do anything I think!

May everyone have a blessed week.

Another Road Trip

Its been a busy week already around here. The weekend was busy with the yard sale which did okay. We no longer have a TV or xbox in the house. We also sold the DVD player. Our entertainment center shelf looks bare but it has actually been nice not to have any of that stuff on. The background noise of the TV has always aggravated me. The kids haven’t even asked to watch movies– they have been busy outside playing and digging in the dirt.

It has also been a weekend of deep prayer for us. We have been feeling stuck and unsure what to do. Every parcel of land we find– it seems the door is just slammed in our face. We found 6 acres in our area but it was almost $90,000! This is far above our $20,000 budget.

Sunday night I did one more random search for land in the state we visited a few weeks ago. I wasn’t expecting to see anything I hadn’t already seen a million times. But there is was– several 10 acre plots right in our price range. Its a large acreage being sold off in sections. So I called the realtor, once again expecting to not receive a reply like I had from every other realtor. But I was put right through. One of the sections even has a well already dug but that lot is above our price range. We have prayed and have decided to leave early this morning to go look at this land. We have no idea if it’s right for us or not but we feel God has opened up an oppurtunity and we are going to look. It is a good few hour’s drive one way.

We are just praying God shows us what He wants for us and where He wants us to go.

Update: The realtor told us we needed 4 wheel drive to get down the logging trails but as it sometimes goes, our truck broke down the morning of our trip. We got it home and swapped to the car- leaving an hour later than planned.

We made it to the corner of the property and parked the car– walking in. We explored for about 4 hours. When we left it did not seem the perfect spot but something started happening in our hearts. We felt that this may be it. The lot with the well is the one we are leaning towards. It has no pump so we would need to install a deep well hand pump.

The kids (well except the 4 year old) enjoyed the hours of hiking and exploring. There were several cleared areas because selective logging was done on the property a few years back. My oldest daughter fell in love with the small creek that goes through part of the property.

Yesterday hubby was able to repair the truck. It is funny but we are thankful it broke down. If it hadn’t we would have missed so much by driving in and not walking most of the property.

We also had our first interested buyers come see the house last night. The rooms are getting empty and I have deep cleaned much of the house.

We will continue to pray it sells and and we have the rest of the money we need for this land.

May you all have a blessed weekend.

An Experiment

Recently I did an online questionnaire to find out how many gallons of water on average a family of 5 uses in one day here in the states. It said without any water conservation implements put into place, we would use around 532 gallons of water per day based on what I entered just about everyday things we did like clothes, personal hygiene, dishes, baths/showers, drinking, cooking water– all of those things. I was shocked! To me that was an unreal number because this past weekend, I began to get serious about keeping up with our water usage. We know off grid, our only water source may end up being rain water so we knew we needed to see what we are using here for everyday.

We called around trying to find 55 gallon rain barrels but most were $100 and up and we weren’t willing to pay so much for an experiment at this point. We do realize we will have to invest in a rain catchment system eventually but for now we are just doing an experiment.

Finally at a local hardware store, we found metal 55 gallon drums for $19.98. These were repurposed. The one we bought had apparently been used for commercial paint at some point. It had stains on the lid but the inside was relatively clean.

Since we were only using this water for non consumption purposes we weren’t worried about it. For drinking water, we use the kitchen tap since we have a filter on it. For the kitchen, we have two 7 gallon water containers –the kind you can buy at Walmart for $15. One is by the sink for hand washing and dishes. The other is on a shelf the children can reach and it is only for drinking and cooking.

This is the 3 gallon jar we keep in our bathroom. It works great and last about 3 days before refilling. We refill it with the tap water since we do use this for teeth brushing.

We are still taking showers in the tubs even though our next step is experimenting with sponge baths. The little kids take a real bath in the galvanized tub with 5 gallons of water two times a week. The other days they get sponge baths.

Thankfully the oldest daughter has finally stopped peeing the bed thanks to a pee alarm. Boy, were we excited!! She is very proud of herself too. So now she gets a shower about every other day. The hubby and I get a shower about every night. However I have been catching the cold water in a 5 gallon bucket while waiting on the hot and use this to refill the kitchen sink water jug saving from having to use the water out of the 55 gallon drum.

So far we seem to use about 100 gallons a day if I do two loads of laundry. Laundry is taking up the most water. I really need to work on this. The only thing I know to do is have less laundry to do. So yes, this is a work in progress and a difficult one those first few days. I didn’t realize how hard it would be not to turn on the faucet for water. It is such a habit and it is hard to break. Plus to wash dishes I have to plan ahead and make sure to heat up water for dishes. And I only fill my dish tubs up a quarter of the way and just wash a few dishes at a time. It’s been an adjustment for sure. But I figure the longer we do it, the easier it will be and the more effecient we will become.

We have also been using the blessings of spring to add greens to our diet.

A chicken sandwich filled with dandelion greens we had picked right before lunch. The chips were a treat– we normally don’t have things like chips. The hubby made a second sandwich and asked for more greens then he stopped and looked at me laughing. He said I had corrupted him becuase now he was actually enjoying eating “weeds”. The first time I ever served him dandelion greens he thought I was crazy!

I have still been sewing on my dress and also trying to learn to crochet socks.

The dress is working so well using this dress form I was blessed with by a dear friend. I never realized how nice having one of these would make my sewing projects. We of course named the dress form because we name everything. Her name is Nellie. So Nellie is getting her workout holding this dress while I have added yards and yards of material I pleated for the bottom edge.

Today we are cleaning out the garage and getting ready for my yard sale this weekend.

I do hope everyone has a blessed weekend.

Sewing and Things

Easter was this week and even with vacation I finally managed to get the dresses and bow tie sewed for the kids’ Easter outfits done by Saturday afternoon.Then this week I started working on me a new dress and I am not sure if I like the contrasting colors. The material was given to me by a member of our church.We also have been tying up loose ends around the house. We finally sold the motorcycle which gave us the rest of the money we will need for our land but we are still waiting to hear about the land.This next weekend I plan on having a yard sale to finish getting rid of the rest of the items such as movies, TV and a few furniture pieces we will not need anymore. We have also been working outside on the house and flower beds just trying to make the appearence more appealing to any perspective buyers.So we just keep working and doing what we can knowing God will work eveything out in His time.I have still been preserving food as I find good deals. I found bananas for 23 cents a pound so we stocked up and I dehydrated 4 quart jars worth.I also tried dehyrating some outside but with our humidity it wasn’t too successful. The kids ended up eating them.I hope everyone has a blessed weekend.

Camping

The state we are in is truly beautiful. The river we are camped near is peaceful and there is hardly anyone here in the campground. Of course this is probably due to the freeze warnings we have each night. Its been chilly even with the sunshine which finally came out our second day here.

We found land but it is not on the market yet. We are praying it all works out. It’s a little over 7 acres.

The camp ground has offered its own entertainment. There is another camper here– Mr. Francis. He doesnt have a tent but he does have a kayak and a tote of belongings. He normally hitchhikes but this summer he plans on using the water for his transportation. Just seeing how others live is very interesting.

Our trailer needs organizing but it has worked out well. We have no heat but we brought every blanket we own and have been cozy enough.

We are about to take the kids to see an old train car. I pray everyone has a blessed weekend.

Ready to Roll (well almost!)

this was the used trailer we bought several weeks ago.

After alot of hard work, it now looks like this. It is solid and watertight. I also made a little white ruffled curtain to finish the look. Next week we will be taking this trailer to a state where we are looking at land. We are just praying for guidance. We pray after this trip we know where we are supposed to be so we can begin moving on with the next step.

This camping trip will be good for our family. We have not been away in a very long time. Just getting to go look at land and enjoy the traveling and camping expeirence is something we are all looking forward too.

The hubby finally got me a washboard and it has made all the difference in cleaning socks and shirt underarms and other problem areas. I love it!

Nothing much interesting has been going on around here. I went on a sewing spree and finsihed five pair of underwear for baby girl and little boy. I had cut them out a couple weeks ago and finally finished them all. I even managed to figure out the fly for the little boy’s. Although the first time he wore them, I asked him if that hole in the front made things easier and he was like “what hole?” Turns out he put them on backwards! We had a good laugh over that one.

I still need to make Easter dresses but I am attempting to draft a 19th century pinafore dress pattern for those from Romantic History’s blog– http://www.romantichistory.com/p/tutorials.html?m=1

My two girls are like me. They have their own style of dressing. Here they are from this past Sunday.

We are heading for severe storms here today and the hubby is on his way to work.

I pray everyone has a good weekend.

Stepping Back

It has certainly been a stressful week around here with repairing the trailer, continually downsizing and packing, and to top it off the little boy falling on the concrete floor which ended up in an ER visit. Thankfully it was a concussion with no bleeding in his brain. He bounced right back to his normal self after a couple of days.

After all that, I decided we needed some grounding and time to put us mentally in the place we needed to be and what better way to do that than setting up the old tent and living outside for a few days. With little boy’s help (since hubby was at work), we put up the tent and even put the tarp over it since this tent is so old it is not watertight any longer.

We cooked our very first ever meal outside on the campstove.

This turned out very successfully so the next morning I kneaded my sourdough sponge and cooked the biscuits outside.

They too were successful. Being outside like this has made us careful of water usage and is giving us more an idea of what we will truly need with our wall tent and our land.

It has been perfect.

Once the husband was home it was even better. He built us a fire and even managed to get it restarted the next morning with just the hot coals buried in the ash and a few dry pine needles for kindling.

It is supposed to start raining so I imagine tomorrow night we will be back inside since we aren’t set up for cooking outside in the rain but it refreshed us and reminded us of the simple life we are working toward. It was what all of us needed– just enjoying God’s creation and simply being with each other.

Our little sponge bath station.

May everyone have a blessed weekend.

Little Steps

We spent this past weekend at a friend’s house working on the very old enclosed trailer we purchased. We needed one for moving and for storage once we get where we are going. Which of course is still an unknown.

I never once considered how hard it is to truly simplify life. How has our society become what it is? Why are people who supposedly love you so judgmental? What happened to the respect of letting a family do what’s best for themselves without extreme negativity and anger from other family members?

Needless to say it’s been an emotional roller coaster these past two weeks. We have taken so many steps forward only to feel like we are thrown back to the beginning over and over again.

That goal of peace and simplicity seems almost unattainable at times; going against the normal is overwhelmingly difficult. But we keep getting back up, refocusing on our goal, and taking tiny steps in that direction. We believe we will get there. We believe this is what we are supposed to be doing. We just never imagined so much opposition from those we love.

But the hubby says it’s all going to be okay because this is what we believe is best for us and our children. It is those steps– no matter how small they are– that will get us there. We aren’t giving up on this dream just because others don’t understand. They don’t want to see the end goal. We see it and we want it. We want the simplicity, we want to have a close family; we want to immerse ourselves in the sustainable ways of years gone by.

So we keep trudging on and praying and believing. God will work this all out. We will keep the faith no matter the opposition. We will continue on with each little step and soon we will get where we are going.

May everyone have a blessed week.

Southern Weather and Packing

About the time our tent arrived, we experienced a winter storm like I haven’t seen since I was a child. We had ice and snow and single digit temperatures. It has been something else and the kids have loved it! It certainly made getting clothes dry a challenge. It took two days for a load of clothes to dry. They froze first then I guess the wind did the rest of the work. The hubby could not even make it into his job for two shifts the roads were so bad.

However all was not lost. While hubby was here, we cleaned out all of the bedrooms on one side of the house. We went through everything– clothes, toys, closets, collections, evrything in those rooms we sorted and decided if it was worth keeping. Now because of the laminate and concrete floors, when you go to that side of the house it echoes because it is so empty. We took apart all bed frames. Ours is the only one worth selling or donating; the kids’ were worn out from years of use. Not one of them was new. They had been passed down. So the hubby took them apart and leaned them against the walls for now. We will have a large load for the dump I imagine.

Walking through our house leaves me with this stange feeling. Our living room is set up like the tent will be and this is where we are staying. But since we don’t want to waste propane for our camp stove, I am still using the range in the kitchen. Of course we are still using the indoor bathrooms as well. Sometimes I feel we are just pretendinge and maybe it will never happen. We have not sold the house, we haven’t found land– well not really. We have found some but not in our state (it is in my home state) but this leaves us feeling torn about where we should go. So we pray and seek leadership.

Today we talk to the realtor who sold us this house and pray she can help us sell it for at least payoff and fees. It is a lovely large house with some land but I am sure it will be considered a fixer upper.

There are just so many unknowns and questions but we continue on making one choice at a time and praying diligently over each choice. This week reinforced to us again that the family is not meant to be apart. Yesterday was ths hubby’s first day back at work in over a week and we all had a terrible time. Families were meant to be together and to grow strong together. Yes unfortunately, there has to be money to make things happen but it shouldn’t be all about the money. It should be working to have the money you need for things you actually need or want. This working our lives away for material things was never the way it was supposed to be. Our children need us present; they need our guidance and love.

We continue on this journey knowing we are doing the right thing by not accepting what is considered the normal. We will just take each challenge as it comes.

May everyone have a blessed week.