Too much stuff!

When we first began preparing to move from our house it sure didn’t look like we had a lot of “stuff.” After a week of revisiting the old house to pick up “odds and ends” every single day I have come to the conclusions that we do indeed have too much stuff!

Of course this truth is exacerbated by the fact that we moved from a 2400 square foot house into one that is almost 1400 square feet. The rental garage is absolutely full of our accumulated belongings.

The house we plan to build is a little bigger than the one we are now renting, but only by about 300 square feet. Perhaps this exercise will help us to pare down our worldly goods so that the move to the farm will be less painful than this experience has been. I just hope that we can get all this stuff organized within the next year 🙂 I don’t want to have to try to give away or sell things once we move out to the farm since there aren’t many people out there.

Here comes the weekend and it is time for a yard sale!

On the move, one step closer to the homestead

movingday2014I picked up the U Haul truck early Saturday morning and by 8:30 am our “hive” was buzzing with activity. The day sure went by fast, but once I returned the truck and the sun started to fade my body tried to tell me it was time to take a break. I pushed through the overwhelming desire to collapse on the couch so we could arrange enough furniture to make the rental feel like home.

The dogs have already taken to the place and they sure enjoy chasing all the little bunny rabbits that frequent our back yard. Our littleman was so cute throughout the day, trying to find ways to be helpful. I’d give him a can of peas or a couple of his books and he would proudly take whatever he was given and help load up the new house.

I also managed a chuckle when I brought over the second load of furniture. The rental was in a great state of disarray, as to be expected, but I glanced in my teenage daughter’s room and she already had everything in place, the bed put together and made up with her new sheets and blankets.

We still have a few trips to make between the two homes to pick up small and stray items left behind (as well as all my tools), but we accomplished great things in two days. Of course in the midst of all the excitement I managed to come down with a sinus infection, but had to work through it. When you are on a deadline like this there are no sick days!

Once we get settled in to the rental we’ll begin another round of purging and organizing so that when the time comes to move to the farm we will be able to do it in one trip. We won’t have the luxury of being so close so multiple trips is out of the question.

Why we are making this transistion

© SmollaI have honestly been surprised at how many people are actually happy and supportive of our decision to leave city life behind. However, for every four or so people who love the idea there is one who asks, “Why in the world would you do that to your family?” ; “How are you gonna make that work?” — or something to that effect. I do have to be realistic and admit that I have asked myself these same things, but doing so has really helped to shape our decision-making into an even firmer picture.

Here are a few of the reasons (not in any particular order other than what pops into my head first):

Family

Modern life is nothing short of chaotic. Corporate employment, the demands of public education, and organized sports used for the purpose of giving kids “something to do” are among the short list of activities pulling families apart.

Even when we incorporate family dinner at the table to discuss family and activity issues, the minute the food is done everyone scatters to their next event.

The conceptual design of modern life has so many ways to escape from what is real that reality itself almost becomes a myth. The idea of something being real become so abstract that people seem to have to make uninformed decisions on what is real and what is not. These concepts become rooted in a societal soup that is so contrived and manipulated it is no wonder that families don’t know their members (and perhaps even themselves) very well.

A return to a rural farm is what we believe will help bring a family back in touch with each other. We will have to work together and communicate about concepts and ideas that are truly important and based upon things that are tangible, not peripheral and inconsequential.

 Food

Unless one buys their food from a local farmer’s market, the question about the source of what is on the table is always in question. How was it grown, how were the people who grew and harvested it treated, what is or is not in the food that we are eating?

Those questions are no longer in doubt when you bring your own food to the table. If there are hazardous chemicals in it, the fault is your own. Sure there are the real possibilities that a crop could fail, but wise planning and stewardship can prevent total disaster.

Spirituality

God is alive and well, but He sure seems to get a back seat in the normal day-to-day of “civilized society.” When a population derives its hope from corporations and governments, their view of God’s hand upon their lives is twisted and skewed.

On the other hand, when we can escape the sterile confines of brick and sheet rock walls to the expanse of nature’s grass, trees and weather, our understanding of forces bigger than us becomes much more tangible. We can see the intricate beauty of creation happening right in front of our eyes.

This builds a connection between the seen and unseen that goes almost unnoticed in a life that strives to artificially subdue the environment.

Peace

Nature is not silent, however, the natural noises of wind, rain, birds and other animals do not reach the ear in the same way that sirens and car alarms do. Most people find time in their schedules to escape from the chaos of urban life, but why not make urban life the anomaly rather than the other way around?

Pride

This is not the narcissistic pride that puffs one up artificially. This is a real sense of personal satisfaction that occurs when you see something you have done with your own hands. Food always seems to taste better when you know how hard you had to work to bring it to the table yourself. When you see the smiling faces of your family enjoying the fruits of YOUR labor and not someone those of some unknown stranger, there is a satisfaction that cannot be duplicated anywhere else.

Personal Growth

Who knew I could cut down a tree and turn it into a beautiful new gate for our property? People in the city have so much untapped potential it is almost a travesty to see it go to waste. In the city we spend so much time trying to get from this activity to the next that we lose the ability to truly try new things. We don’t experience our limits because we don’t often get the opportunity to challenge ourselves. Failure is certainly an option, but it is in the trying that we learn and grow.

Existence, to me, is not an hour on the couch watching television because my mind is too exhausted to create new adventures.

 Desire

Not everyone thinks this way, nor does everyone have what it takes to make this kind of transition. Believe me, even with all the previous reasons, without the desire to see it through, this would be a ridiculous move on our part. The reality is that we DO have this desire and it comes deep from within. It has been there all along, but we just didn’t know what to do with it. We tried to adapt to “civilized life,” but there was always a yearning to do things differently. Because we share this desire, we are willing to take our family on this journey, together.

 

 

Life Change Whirlwind and the house is SOLD!

The past month has been an incredible time for our family! Our original plan was to remain in our current home until our daughter graduates high school, but that changed…suddenly. While driving around running errands a little more than a month ago we noticed two brand new subdivisions going up and we realized that if we didn’t sell our home now, we would soon be competing with hundreds of empty NEW homes. So, we made the decision to sell and gave ourselves all of about a month to get ready to list it.

That my friends is a LOT to do in one month, but we did it. Not only did we get it ready to sell, we had a contract on the house signed in five days and for more than we expected to sell it for! The extra proceeds will be much needed as we enter into the homesteading phase, which is really about a year away. For now we will be living in a nice rental not far from our current home.

All this with an almost 2-year old in the house and me still going to college to finish up my Associate’s Degree. It is almost too much, but through prayers and answers to those prayers we are able to press onward.

My son (who lives with his mom out of State) flew in for a couple of weeks so the first thing we did was head out to the farm for some father-and-son time. We enjoyed our time together and actually got a few things done around the farm, but that is a story I will hopefully get to soon!

Memorial Day and Mosquito Haven

This weekend was the first time we’ve been out to the farm since the rains came and the temperature has risen. The pasture was blanketed with a field of yellow flowers and was pretty amazing to stand in. What wasn’t pleasant is that we have discovered our future homestead is already claimed by a few legion of mosquitoes! They weren’t so terrible in the wooded campsite, but step out into the open field and I felt like I was in Minnesota! I know there are pools of standing water along the creek, but they apparently love the tall grass and flowers too.

There is a giant Oak tree near the edge of the field that we have been admiring since we first set eyes on the property. It was encumbered with thick briars and a few Cedar and other small trees, but I just knew there was a beautiful tree under there. Since there was time this weekend I took the opportunity to do some clearing and reveal the mighty Oak in all its splendor. So, after I doused myself with mosquito spray I took to the task. One day I will remember to take pictures/video when I am about to take on a new adventure, but for now you can see the tree AFTER all the work. The picture doesn’t do it justice as the trunk of this ancient tree is well over 10-15 feet around.

We didn’t stay as long as we had planned because a storm system came through, dumped a little rain, took away the nice breeze we had enjoyed all day and left behind still, humid air. Without power for even a small fan, it wasn’t all that pleasant.

On another note, all the work to our house is done and it is officially on the market (and the calls are already coming in).

The war on the homefront continues

We are battling time. We set a goal for ourselves to have our house listed on the market by Memorial Day weekend. Did I mention that we made this decision only about two or three weeks ago? We probably could have given ourselves a little more room on the calendar, but this just seemed like the right decision for both of us so we determined to give it our all to make it happen. If it didn’t (or doesn’t) it won’s be to the ruin of our plans, but it is good to have goals!

I spent most of last week building a closet in the loft room so that we can claim it as an official bedroom. I’ve never attempted something quite like this, but YouTube was may friend for several days prior to my actions. The frame went up and ended up being surprisingly level and square all around. The sheet rock went on without a hitch and after a little tape and floating, the texture went on and it got a coat of paint. I hung the door, but ran out of time to put the trim on due to the next crucial element on our timetable.

There were a few small cracks in the ceiling that have been there since we bought the house, but we decided to do the right thing and do some patching. Easier said than done! The ceiling in question is two stories high and my garage is not equipped with scaffolding. The next best thing was my tall ladder which reached the ceiling with no problem. The hitch was that when leaning against one wall or the other, I could only reach about half of the ceiling. I did my best and I can testify that drywall repair is not one of my callings. It looks okay, but you can tell someone patched it and that wasn’t what I was hoping for. Oh well, we bought it with a crack and it never bothered us, so hopefully someone out there wont be bothered by my amateur attempt to fix it.

The minute that was done it was time to get every stick of furniture out of the house so that we could have new carpet installed. We managed, in about a day, to fill our garage and sun room with a house full of furniture. The carpet was installed yesterday and when we returned from our day jobs we set to repopulating the house with our things. Amazingly what had taken at least a full day to do only took about 4 hours to undo. I believe we were so tired and delirious that we gave no thought to how exhausted we were and just got the job done!

Now it is just a matter of a few paint touch-ups here and there, some cleaning and we should have pictures of the house taken for the listing on Friday, right on schedule!

For anyone else planning to sell your home, I suggest you make your plans a little sooner than we did 🙂

Well, well, well…whataya know?

© danist07While we progress to spending more and more time on our land, one thing we absolutely need to gain access to is water. There is a coop water line that runs parallel to our property and we will eventually tap into it. However, the cost to do so really struck me as almost prohibitive until we actually being building our home site.

To add, we know we want to add a well to the property for the main purposes of watering crops and livestock without the coop water expense. But that will come later. What we are trying to decide now is if it is feasible to dig a shallow well for our recreational use. I have looked at the sand point drilling (more like pounding) technique and there is some promise there.

I’ve probably watched every video on YouTube about this process and I think the sandy loam we have will allow this kind of well drilling. The part that I need clarification on is properly locating the well itself along with estimating how deep we will need to go. Perhaps this is a trial-and-error process, but It would seem to me there is a little more logical way to plan this thing out.

We do have a “creek” that runs through our property, but with the drought being what it has been it really is more of a seasonal creek that runs a little during storms and then collects shallow amount of water in pools along its length.

Any of you homesteaders out there who have drilled.dug your own shallow well, please feel free to comment or contact us about your experience(s).

Waging a war on two fronts

Last weekend we got to “play” out on our property clearing brush and such. This weekend we were back home getting things ready to try to get our home prepared to sell. My chore for the day was to do some cleaning up of the trees in our back yard in order to let a little more sunshine hit the ground as well as stop the Arizona Ash from crowding out the Texas Ash.

For years I dreaded doing brush work at the house, but I guess all that time clearing fences last week put some fire under me. I got to hackin’ and whackin’ at the trees and before I knew it the back yard was looking more like our property than a clean suburban retreat.

It was a full day’s work, but thankfully the sun stayed hidden behind the clouds most of the day. In the end, the yard now looks much bigger than it did before and I was rewarded with a delicious dinner!

I always look forward to the work we know we have to do on our property, but the reality of having to get the house ready to sell is starting to sink in. Thankfully we kept up with the home while we’ve lived here! There is still quite a bit of work to be done to get it ready for the market, but knowing that the ends justify the means has helped encourage us to “press on towards the mark” and get things done on both ends.

Easter Weekend on the Farm

We took off from work on Good Friday to prepare for a weekend on the farm over Easter weekend. When we arrived at the property I thought it would be a great idea to widen the path to the clearing so we could get our popup camper to it. Getting through all that brush was a bit more work than I had expected, but we did manage to get the camper into the clearing. It was very nice to have a much more secluded campsite with the trailer, but come Sunday evening we realized just how little space was available for turning around and getting out. We’ve all heard about the “three point turn,” but this turned out to be more like about 30 or 40 turns. We did get the camper out, but if we are going to do it again there will need to be a bit more planning.

Some of our family came out to visit us at the farm for the first time around lunch and we enjoyed the visit. Once they departed it was time to get to work.

The bulk of the work Saturday, for me, was continuing to clear a four to five foot path alongside the fence line that borders our woods. I spent several hours hacking and sawing away all the while dodging green briars and the increasing amount of poison ivy that is emerging with the warming weather. Thankfully I am not all that reactive to poison ivy, but WomansWhirld is very sensitive to this little devil of a plant, so I bought some coveralls at the Army-Navy store.

I wasn’t sure if I would be able to make it to the back of our property, but near the end of the day I reached that goal and we were finally able to get to an area we had yet to access. In doing so we did discover that although the fence posts have been put in place, there is no fencing along that side of the property. We had assumed as much considering the number of cow hoof prints we continue to find in and around the creek bed.

As the day drew to a close, we each took our turn under the cold water of our solar shower (apparently I had forgotten to place it in the sun…oops). We sat around the fire and cooked a delicious meal and then put our little man to bed. Just as the light began to fade, I read Luke’s account of Jesus’ arrest, trial, persecution and death. The depth of his love for us was closer that evening as we watched the stars poke through the night sky one by one.

Sunday morning we got dressed for church and visited a local congregation for Easter morning worship. It was a wonderful time of meeting new believers and celebrating the resurrection of our Savior! On a side note, I now know there are at least two indications that a person is visiting a country church: 1) More than half of the vehicles in the parking lot are trucks, and 2) There are hat racks just inside the front door for all the cowboy hats 🙂

We returned to the farm after service and the mood was a little somber because we knew that at the end of the day we would have to leave. We spent some more time walking the property trying to figure out what kind of trees and plants we have and I can tell you it is not an easy task for two people who know very little about trees and plants.

On our return to camp we stoked up the camp fire again and cooked a delicious meal of lamb chops, asparagus and potatoes with a tasty treat of grilled pineapple for dessert. WomansWhirld sure knows how to plan a camping menu!

We let the fire die down a little more and realized the inevitable so we packed up our belongings and (after a laborious effort to get the camper oriented for a safe exit) and headed for home.

It has been quite a busy week so far so we haven’t had the time to process our photos and videos of the weekend, but I will update this post once we have the chance to do so.

Celebrating the Resurrection of Jesus Christ

ResurrectionToday marks the celebration of Maundy Thursday. This is a time in which Christians commemorate the meal Jesus shared with his twelve Apostles known as The Last Supper. During the feast, Jesus interrupted the meal to wash his disciple’s feet. This action is where the term “maundy” is derived from a Latin word, mandatum. When Jesus had washed their feet, they returned to supper and he then resumed his role as a teacher and gave the men words of promise and encouragement. They finished the celebratory supper and left the room.

When Jesus had spoken these words, he went out with his disciples across the brook Kidron, where there was a garden, which he and his disciples entered. Now Judas, who betrayed him, also knew the place, for Jesus often met there with his disciples. So Judas, having procured a band of soldiers and some officers from the chief priests and the Pharisees, went there with lanterns and torches and weapons. Then Jesus, knowing all that would happen to him, came forward and said to them, “Whom do you seek?” They answered him, “Jesus of Nazareth.” Jesus said to them, “I am he.” Judas, who betrayed him, was standing with them. When Jesus said to them, “I am he,” they drew back and fell to the ground. So he asked them again, “Whom do you seek?” And they said, “Jesus of Nazareth.” Jesus answered, “I told you that I am he. So, if you seek me, let these men go.” John 18:1-8

Jesus was taken into custody and for several hours government and religious leaders struggled to decide how to deal with him. After several hours of interrogation, betrayal and gruesome torture, Jesus was crucified. Christians commemorate these events on Good Friday.

All of these biblical events took place in Jerusalem during the Jewish annual celebration of the Passover. During this time Jewish people commemorate the time in Egypt when the Jews, held captive in Egypt, were spared a most gruesome fate that led to their release from bondage.

Jesus died on the cross in the middle of the day on Saturday and was buried in a borrowed tomb.

After these things Joseph of Arimathea, who was a disciple of Jesus, but secretly for fear of the Jews, asked Pilate that he might take away the body of Jesus, and Pilate gave him permission. So he came and took away his body.Nicodemus also, who earlier had come to Jesus by night, came bringing a mixture of myrrh and aloes, about seventy-five pounds in weight. So they took the body of Jesus and bound it in linen cloths with the spices, as is the burial custom of the Jews. Now in the place where he was crucified there was a garden, and in the garden a new tomb in which no one had yet been laid. So because of the Jewish day of Preparation, since the tomb was close at hand, they laid Jesus there. John 19:38-42

The Sunday following Good Friday is commonly known as Easter Sunday, the day in which it was discovered the the tomb within which Jesus had been buried was empty.

Now on the first day of the week Mary Magdalene came to the tomb early, while it was still dark, and saw that the stone had been taken away from the tomb. So she ran and went to Simon Peter and the other disciple, the one whom Jesus loved, and said to them, “They have taken the Lord out of the tomb, and we do not know where they have laid him.” So Peter went out with the other disciple, and they were going toward the tomb. Both of them were running together, but the other disciple outran Peter and reached the tomb first. And stooping to look in, he saw the linen cloths lying there, but he did not go in. Then Simon Peter came, following him, and went into the tomb. He saw the linen cloths lying there, and the face cloth, which had been on Jesus’ head, not lying with the linen cloths but folded up in a place by itself. John 20:1-7


 

On a personal side note, I have been contemplating the term used on the day of the resurrection as Easter. I didn’t fully understand the origin of the word Easter and it is a term not used in most bibles. I did a little research of my own and thought I had discovered that the word Easter had pagan origins. This discovery seemed to coincide with the merchandising of the holiday with bunny rabbits, colored eggs, and chocolate candies; none of which I ever really thought of as reverent commemoration of our Savior.

This week however, I decided to to just a little more digging and discovered that it is not inappropriate to use the word Easter at all. Rather than try to explain all of what I found myself, here is a great article on the debate, written by the great people at Answers in Genesis: Is the Name “Easter” of Pagan Origin?

Once I read this thoughtful expose’ on the topic, I realized that the word “Easter” is actually used in the King James Bible:

And when he had apprehended him, he put him in prison, and delivered him to four quaternions of soldiers to keep him; intending after Easter to bring him forth to the people. Acts 12:4

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