Friday, December 30, 2011

Merry Christmas

Yes, it's well past Christmas, but the days just keep flying by.  All of us being cramped into such a small space doesn't lend to easy blogging.  Seven of us sleep in the "living room", which means there is no couch, only beds, which means that getting a five month old to bed at a decent hour with everyone bouncing around is no easy task (and who feels like blogging with a tired and complaining five month old on their lap? Not me). 

Anyway, in homesteading news; we still do not have the well hooked up, and at this point the project has been abandoned for my man to finish his office.  We've gone over two months without any income, so he needs to get the office done to start earning some money. 

The kids and I went to the Artesian well in town a few days ago and filled about 100 gallons of water into containers.  It took over an hour, but I am hoping that we will be able to go a whole week on 100 gallons.  I spent over three hours last night heating water on the stove for baths.  It's not bad, really.  It feels good, in a very simple and organic way, to spend a cold winter night hanging out doing washtub baths for the five little kids that will fit into it, and then washing the hair of all the older kids in a bucket before I send them to the tub in the bathroom to finish off with a sponge bath.  Though, we all miss a real shower, and even though I am not a bath kind of chick ~ I have been dreaming of taking one.  I've spent a night or two laying in bed before I fall asleep trying to figure out the best way to set up a bathtub outside and heat some water for it, but that won't be happening until the well is working, because there is just no way I want to haul that much water to the property.

I went back to using cloth diapers a couple of weeks ago.  During the move and getting settled in I had been using disposables, and then it took some time to wrap my brain around the idea of using cloth without a washing machine at the house.  Finally, I took the plunge and tried it, and we made it the whole nine days between trips to the laundry mat with the cloth.  My man even hooked up our dryer for me so that I can dry them at home, otherwise we would have been at the laundry mat for half a day waiting for the damn things to dry.  Cloth diapers have a certain pain in the butt factor, but overall I get great satisfaction out of not having to worry about buying diapers and wipes all the time.  It really kills me to spend money on things that are bought with the express purpose of being used once and then thrown away. 

Overall, we are still happy to be here.  I've started reading about growing a crop of wheat, about different goat breeds and what they need, and I'm eager to start planning a garden.  We're as poor as can be right now, but it doesn't seem to matter.  Our needs are met, and have been reduced to the point that we should be able to continue meeting them, which brings more peace than I can put into words.

Christmas day was fantastic.  The kids got a lot of cool stuff and we spent the day playing with most of it.  We excavated crystals, a dinosaur, and Egyptian artifacts.  We poured plaster to make a volcano, and we looked at anything and everything under our new microscope.  A model airplane was constructed, and barn animals were painted.  We even did some target shooting with Blake's new targets, which made me laugh.  It just felt so redneck to get out the gun and blow through 100 rounds on Christmas day.  But, I guess that's us now; the people in the mobile on the mountain with all those kids that get out the gun to celebrate Christmas.
Excavating, building, and snacking.


The Range is open - hohoho
The Feast

After a long day of fighting crime.
Gifts from Oregon ~ REAL cheese:)

More gifts from Oregon ~ maybe the kids won't recognise me and I can have a drink in peace?
You know it's early in the game because no one is crying yet, but be sure there was cheating and stealing going on later.

The dino dig.
Hanging out with my super boys while waiting for my turn to shoot.

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Days Gone By

Christmas is a busy time of year anyway, but ad in simple day to day tasks becoming time consuming jobs and it has been easy for the days to turn into over a week without blogging.  We still have no water, so that means heating water on the stove to wash dishes and to take a bath.  I think I broke down and gave up on water flowing from any faucets in my house on day 17 without a shower, and took a sponge bath.  It was more refreshing than I had imagined, but nothing like a real shower.  I've been washing mine and the girls hair in a bucket, and at this point I'm tempted to lop all of our hair off for the sake of convenience.  The little kids don't seem to mind taking a bath in the washtub, but it's really not that different than their normal bath, other than they can't all get in at once.  That problem has an easy solution for them - the non bathers just sit around the tub and play with who ever is in the tub....oh, to be four and five again and have life be so simple:)

My man is working on getting the well hooked up so that we will have water on the property, but not running to the house.....not a perfect solution, but better than having to drive 30 miles to get water.  He is still stumped on how exactly to get water to the house because of our low GPM, and we are running out of time.  He still needs to finish his office building so that he can start working again. 

Baby Man getting his bath.

Our Christmas shopping, and wrapping is done, and we started on baking tonight.  We got two kinds of cookies made, and Columbus made his sugar coated almonds.  The kids are very exciting and counting down the days till Christmas.  Santa came to visit us last weekend and the little ones were beside themselves with joy. 

Big brother showing how to make paper snowflakes.

Baby Man hanging out with Daddy.

Baby Man and Mommy hanging out:)
In homesteading news there isn't much to report, other than continued water frustrations, though, I'm making my peace with that.  And my man got some bales of straw to throw down on all the mud that surround us.  That may be boring to some, but it's been rather exciting to me.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

(more) Laundry & Water

Normally, I wouldn't blog about doing laundry, especially again, but this whole laundry mat business is really getting to me.  So, I'm making an exception, but let it be said; under normal circumstances I wouldn't blog about laundry, I hate those kinds of posts.  At any rate - we went to town, again, today, to do laundry and get water. 

I gave the kids a little heads up talk before we got to the laundry mat.  I explained how it's a first come - first serve type affair and we needed to get all the heavy duty loaders.  In past trips, we've lost out on getting them all because it takes so damn long to sort and Spray & Wash it all (roughly a half hour - today a little longer because I had to take a break to free Georgie's hand from the change machine.  I guess he thought in his pea brain-four year old mind that if he reached up high enough into the machine he could pull quarters out at will, and then buy all the snacks out of the vending machine.), and I really can't wrap my mind around stuffing the pile of clothes we have into those little single would be like attempting to force and elephant into a gunnysack.  Which makes me wonder what exactly a gunnysack is, because even if I've heard of them, now that I think about it, I've never really seen one, but lets assume that they are small, in comparison of an elephant.  Anyway, I explained that we needed to get some clothes into each heavy duty loader as quickly as possible so that no one else could come in and stake their claim on them.  They seemed to understand the concept - it was kinda like licking the last piece of cake so that no one else wanted it. 

We lucked out and all four triple loaders were open, as well as the big one, which I assume is a quad loader - we took them all, and a single loader for whites.  And then we took all but about eight dryers, and only because they were in-use, and we still had wet clothes waiting to be dried.  I almost took a picture of our overtaking of the laundry mat, but that seemed a little retarded, even for me. 

Just let it be said, that as we left, I again hoped that this would be our last trip to the laundry mat.  I pray my man gets the well done by this time next week.  It's been 15 days since I had a shower - a record for me by a long time. 

When we were done with the laundry we went to the artisan well to get more free water - we overtook that too.  A long line of people waiting to get water grew behind us as we filled roughly 75 gallons of water.  I didn't make eye contact at first, I felt like such a water pig.  But, we had timed the well and it runs at roughly three gallons a minute, and based on the number of them and the amount of empty bottles they had - we would have been the ones standing there forever if I had let them cut.  Though, I should say, as to not sound totally selfish, earlier, when it was only one person behind us we did let them take cuts.   I did apologized to the line of people as we filled the last of our bottles, and they were very nice about it, understanding, and took my apology as an opportunity to ask, how many of them are yours?  And of course they just couldn't wrap their minds around the answer of all of  them, like a person would lie about something like being a crazy breeder at the local town water well.

I did take pictures at the artisan well, because I think it's really cool.

Monday, December 12, 2011

Mystic Mud

And this marks the end of my dry, factual, and uninspiring posts, I hope. I’ve spent the last few nights recreating what happened for the first few weeks from chicken scratches in my day planner, and I wanted to get as much done before I forgot what all those little notations meant.
This blog is a story, our story, and I write it because I want to capture what we’ve done and how we’ve transformed. The last few years have been hard, and a lot of work, which sounds odd to say since really, in the last year we’ve managed to lose all that we ever worked for, but we are finally to a time that is ours. With four remote acres covered in mud that mystifies me, and a small mobile home overflowing with children, I feel like the world is our oyster. We have each other, safe and sound, and really, in the end, that is all we ever really wanted.

Day 22 - Christmas Cheer

Three happy little people.

Baby man admiring his first tree.

My man and Columbus finished the roof to the wood stove today.  It looks great!!  I don't know what it is, but every time I walk and see the little roof with the wood stove ablaze under it, I just get a happy feeling.
My Man and Columbus, finally done with the wood stove.

I kicked the kids out and wrapped Christmas presents today, since there is NO room in the mobile to hide them, and I can't keep them (safely) in the car.  The kids have been worried about where we will put a Christmas tree, which we actually don't really have room for.  But, I bought a small planting pot so that we could dig up a small tree off of our property and have something of a tree.  It's a Charlie Browner, for sure, but they had fun decorating it, and now we're all feeling in the spirit:)
Our constant protector - she helped pick just the right tree
Doody, proudly holding the pot awaiting a tree.
Baby Man, all bundled up to go tree hunting.

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Day 21 - Shopping

My man and I went out Christmas shopping.  I was excited to spend some time with him without all the kids, though we did take the baby and G-man.  G-man came with us because when left in the presence of his twin brother the two of them act like animals.  They love each other, and they love to fight with each other.  Put the two of them together and they are like a super natural force of four year old mayhem.  So, we really didn't think it a good idea (or fair) to leave both of them home with the other kids, and since G-man is the whiner.....we took him.  Big mistake.  Within the first hour I threatened to take him home.  I thought, by himself, he would act like a human, but nope, even without his other half he managed to find the energy to bounce around, hang, climb, complain, whine, want, and rather than walk - take a few steps, throw himself on the ground and slide, only to stand and repeat....over and over again.  It wasn't very relaxing, and I swore I'd never take him again - fair or not.

We found an outlet mall close by and got some cool Christmas presents there, but other than that we drove around and got no where.  Being new to the area it's hard to know where to go, especially when you're on a tight budget, and aren't really looking to stock up on cheap plastic crap from Walmart.

So, I did a little online shopping after we came home, and we have plans to go out again.  In the mean time I don't know where I'm supposed to put any presents in this little tin can of mine?

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Day 20 - Football

My man and the boys spent the better part of the day setting up the TV antenna and then attempting to receive as many channels as possible, preferably channels known to broadcast football games.  Really, I don't care, and I like to watch the games too, but my little people wanted to watch Cat in The Hat on PBS and didn't quite understand why their big brother kept making the TV scan for more channels every time the antenna was rotated a little.  It was a long afternoon of frustration for all parties.  Final count - 10 channels, some of which don't come in all the time.  I guess now all they can do is pray that the right channel works on game day.

Friday, December 9, 2011

Day 19 - Kings & Queens

Yay!!!!  We finally got the phone and internet installed today!!!  There's been a line to the computer all morning - Football scores being among the most looked up topic.

We went to town today to run some errands.  Really, I am tired of needing to go to town so often.  I can not wait until we are set up enough here to not have to go to town more than once every week, or maybe even two weeks.  It's fun to go out, but it always takes forever, and we seem to forget that.  We are almost a full hour from a town of any real size, so there is almost two full hours just in travel time, and then there are the errands we need to run that we went for, and then the ones that pop into our minds while we are there.  Not to mention shuffling 12 people in and out of the car, stopping to nurse the baby, or tie a shoe, and I can't even begin to count the amount of times I hear Mommy, LOOK at this!!!!  Really, it is a mind boggling experience to go out with all the kids, but I always feel like I've cheated them when they get left at home, and I know they need a break from things too. 

We ended up doing some Christmas shopping, which meant a trip to the local Russel Stovers outlet store.  My man and the boys had stopped by there on one of their trips home.  They brought us a five pound box of chocolates and told us how huge the store was, and how there was more candy than we could imagine.  So, needless to say all the other kids have been begging to go check it out ever since we moved here.

So, we were out much later than expected, again, and everyone was hungry.  When I asked my man where we should eat I was ever so pleasantly surprised to hear him say Logan's.  I thought he was kidding at first - we never go to real restaurants!  But he wasn't, and so off we went.  We all had a grand time.  The kids most obviously felt like Kings and Queens to be seated and served, and then there is the whole big family celebrity factor.  People love to stop by our table and ask questions, and almost always compliment the kids and us on how well they are all behaved.  It was a nice night and a real treat to us all to just sit and eat a nice meal together that none of us had to prepare or clean up after.

We drove home happy and full, and I think it's safe to say we all felt like we'd had a little celebration of sorts.  The night felt like it marked getting past a hump, like we had finally come to a place where we could say the hard part was over, or at least the really hard part, and that what lay in front of us was....okay.

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Day 18 - Snow

We woke up to snowflakes falling - at a rather fast rate, it looked like a blizzard at times, but it wasn't sticking.  As the day worn on and the snow continued, the kids started placing bets on if it would stick or not.  The sticky people turned out to be right.  It was so pretty once everything turned white.  I love living in the mountains - it just feels more like home to me.

I am so, so, so glad that we have the wood stove.  I can't imagine how cold it would be without it, but my man and Columbus still had work to do on it and they were miserable out in the cold.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Day 17 - Heat

My man started installing the wood stove today!!  He's not all the way done with it, but he got it hooked up enough that we can use it - finally, it is warm in the trailer:)  I am so happy to have such a handy-man.

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Day 16 - School

We started school today.  It still feels like there is so much to be done other than school, but I don't want to fall back into the trap of putting off school for a day, and then a couple of days, and then before I know it a week has turned into weeks.  Life is always there to take over, and there are a million little things to keep doing, but if I've learned anything from the last couple of years it's that I have to make time for what is most important and let the other stuff take care of itself, or not even get done. 

It was a good first day back.  I like that I can keep an eye on everyone and know what they are doing because there isn't a big house for us to get lost in.  But, it's also stressful with the little kids in top of everyone being loud and bouncing around.  We'll find a groove, but it sure will be nice when it's warm enough to send little people outside.

My man finished the compost bin just in time, all four of our buckets were full. 

Monday, December 5, 2011

Day 15 - Chores

I took kids with me to town to do laundry again.  I swear, I think every time I leave a laundry mat it will be the last time.  We've gone to a different one every time, and so far I liked this one the best.  I guess that's a good thing, at this point I could be needing one for much longer than I thought.

My man and Columbus worked on setting up the TV antenna.  TV isn't that important to me, but it will be nice to be able to check the weather, especially since we don't have internet yet.  They also got our wood stove out of storage to start installing that.  The mobile is old and not very well insulated, so it gets very cold.  I thought between a space heater or two and cooking that we would be much warmer, but my man was right - we need the wood stove. 

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Day 14 - Water & Poop

My man started the compost bin and worked on finding the static water line for the well - one step closer to getting water.

Saturday, December 3, 2011

Day 13 - Errands & Compost

David and I went to town with the little kids to run some errands.  Mainly we needed a part for the well, which still isn't installed, and my man is still generally stumped on how to install it ....sigh.  And we also needed to get the wood to start building the compost bin for our humanure, a very important component to have when you're crapping in a bucket.

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Day 12 - Homemaking Queen

My Man spent his day trying to figure out how to hook up the well.  He is stumped on what to do because of the low GPM we have. 

I spent my day playing house.  It felt good to have a normal kind of day.  I really like it here.  Everytime I start to feel stressed I just remind myself that I don't have to (stress).  The whole point to moving out here was to get away from pressure and stress, and surprisingly, that simple reminder brings me emense peace. 

And so I baked - bread, rolls, and pies.  And I made chicken & dumplings for dinner.   Nothing says home better than comfort foods cooked by mom:)

Pictures of the mobile

Cramming twelve people into 600 sq ft is......cozy, to say the least, but we are making it work.  For right now I kind of like it.  I've spent more quality time with my kids than I have in a long time.  I read to them more, play with them more, talk to them more, and in general, enjoy them.