Sunday, April 29, 2012

Happy Dance Time

So, after I finished my last post I decided to tackle the dirty job of getting the water out of the washer.  First, I got out all of the wet stinky clothes, ran them through my mop bucket squeezy thing, and then I sent Einstein to get the pump from a fountain I have.  I used the pump to get as much water as I could out of the drum, then, naturally, I checked my email....lol. 

There was a comment from Kymber and Jambaloney over at Framboise Manor.  Kymber made me laugh and feel better, while Jambaloney offered advice.  They suggested that I make sure that the drain hose was above the water level in the machine, which I did.  Then I went back to my machine, set it to drain and spin, which it started to do, but then it gave me yet another error message.  So I cleared out that cycle (I was amazed that the machine let me!) and reset it on an easy to handle "hand wash" cycle and pushed start......IT WORKED!!!  It ran through the entire cycle with no problems. 

Once the test cycle was done I added the wet stinky clothes I had just taken out, put in some soap, said a prayer and pushed start....that was 109 minutes ago, as my machine is in it's last minute of that cycle!!!!! 

My man was still down at his office, I told Kymber that I took that as a sign that he still wasn't ready to deal with the washer, so I went down to tell him the good news.  He had to come to the tin can to see for himself...he is a happy man again, and I of course am overjoyed that I get to do laundry.  I can almost smell clean sheets on our beds......

Washing Machine Part 2

I woke up yesterday more than a little disgruntled that the gravity fed system failed.  I tried to mentally ease myself back into accepting another trip to the laundry mat.  I told myself it wouldn't be that bad, and I reminded myself of all the interesting people I had met there.  Then my mind wandered back to before we even moved out here, when we were in the planning stages of living off, or semi-off, grid.  I remembered reading site after site, blog after blog, and marvelling at how many people were living and surviving without all of the modern day conveniences.  I saw no reason why we couldn't do that too, and even if I didn't know exactly how we would do it I applied another cliche: for every problem there is an answer.  So simple.  So naive. 

It's true, for every problem there is an answer, but getting to the answer that finally works can, and often is, a process that pushes frustration levels to new heights.

Yesterday morning, as I was contemplating my next trip to the laundry mat, My Man surprised me by suggesting we actually buy a 12 volt pump so that we could get the water pressure needed to run our front loading washer.  The thought of spending more money on this project pained me, but in the long run it seemed financially prudent.  Besides, we were so close to reaching our goal; how could we quit now?  It was almost a matter of pride to finally reach this goal.  He made some phone calls to find one local, then a few of the boys and I set off for town to pick it and the needed parts up to install it.

Once back home, My Man set to work of getting the pump hooked up.  At this point we were on a whole new plan though, why not hookup the water to the mobile plumbing and have water, wait for it.....wait....throughout the entire mobile!?!?!  As the work was being done I daydreamed of water flowing from my kitchen sink.  I imagined the pure simple pleasure of washing filthy hands with soap and warm water, no bucket involved.  We could brush our teeth without a cup.  The water dispenser in the bathroom could GO, freeing up counter space for the array of toothbrushes, lotions, and the roll of toilet paper that always has a little wet spot on it from the water container spigot leaking.  Imagine - completely dry toilet paper, oh the luxury.

Really, it didn't take that long, and again, I wondered why we hadn't done it sooner.  Columbus turned on the kitchen water faucet and My Man flipped the switch to the pump.  Then we all stood and eagerly awaited the much longed for water to flow from the tin cans pipes.  Nothing.  We stood and looked at each other with blank faces wondering what the problem could be.  My Man suggested that possibly the hot water tank had to fill first.  Then we stood around with more blank looks.  Finally, I went outside, and that was when it was discovered that water was leaking from the pipes in three different places.

My Man was surprised.  I was not.  I've feared all along that when the day came to run water through the tin cans pipes that chances were good, very good, that there would be leaks, or some other problem.  After all, this is the same tin can that we spent more money on getting the electrical fixed than we actually did on the tin can itself.  Nothing about that little fact made me feel confident about the pipes.

Back to the original plan.  My Man undid all that he just done and set to work on hooking the water up directly to the washing machine.  We were all confident that this would work.  Once the hoses were in place we all eagerly ran to the washing machine to plug it in, my finger was poised right over the control panel, ready to push start

The very idea of my machine running water and spinning in my own house made me smile, we were finally there.  Nothing.  The machine's control panel didn't light up.  We plugged and unplugged.  We tested the plugs.  We tested the outlet.  Nothing.  Finally, after enough plugging and unplugging it came on, but it wouldn't start.  Unplug.  Plug in again.  Nothing.  Round and round we went.  Finally, My Man cut off the old plug and put a new one on.  The machine powered up, but still it wouldn't start.  We couldn't even get the door to unlock.  There were a few error messages, but who knew if they really meant anything or not with the machine acting so wonky.  And besides, this machine is 12 years old, with our size family it's done what I call a tour of duty.  As soon as it got power it probably got post traumatic stress disorder at the very thought of washing another load of our dirty clothes.  I'm convinced that it's made it through the last few years on my prayers alone, because I kid you not, I've thanked God for each and every load of clean laundry since 2008. 

My Man is at the point of what I call twitterpated.  Oddly, I am fine.  Years ago, I watched a movie with a couple who had been married for a long time, a young girl asked the wife what the secret was to staying married, and the wife answered that only one of them was allowed to be crazy at a time.  That rule applied last night.  My Man was using up all of our collective crazy.  I don't blame him, and I was surprised that I, myself, was not crying: all I want is to wash a load of dirty clothes in my own house.

My Man had already gone to his office when I got up this morning.  I think he'd rather not have to think about the nonworking washing machine that now sits in the middle of our small kitchen.  I plugged and unplugged again this morning, and was finally able to get the door to unlock.  All that means is that I can now get my wet and dirty clothes out, and then hopefully drain most of the water.  Maybe we will try checking the drain filter, or maybe we will bury the old girl and have a service for her today.  She might make a nice outdoor plant stand?

Friday, April 27, 2012

Gravity Fed Washing Machine Fail

It was last Saturday morning, I wasn't quite awake, but as usual I woke up thinking.  And that was when I decided it.  I decided I was D.O.N.E. going to the laundry mat.  I didn't see any reason why we couldn't figure out some way to hook up the washing machine.  And then I told My Man my brainiac idea.....the water tower to hold a 55 gallon drum of water to gravity feed it into the washing machine.  He was impressed, and neither of us could figure out why we hadn't thought of it sooner.

Yesterday, while My Man was out running errands he picked up the supplies we didn't have on hand, and then today he and Columbus started work on building the water tower.
The completed tower.


That's me in the barrel putting on the gasket to the spigot.

While My Man and Columbus worked away I began sorting dirty clothes and stain treating them.  Finally, the big moment came and it was time to load the machine and turn it on.  No water flowed.  We tried again.  We checked the hose.  I checked the connection and filter.  Nothing.  And then the machine gave us an error message.  A quick Google search revealed that both the hot and cold water must be connected for the machine to run.  My Man and I made the trip down the mountaintop to the nearest Walmart and bought a splitter, came home, put it on and tried again.  We got the same error message.  Humph.  Not to be outsmarted by a machine, I even tried manually feeding water into it.
Still, we got the error message.  It seems that the machine doesn't read the water that I manually put in it, so it still thinks that there isn't enough water to run itself, because I know I put in more water than it normally has in it when it washes.

Needless to say, I'm more than a little disappointed, and miffed.  I'm not sure what the next step is, if we need the water barrel higher for more gravity pressure, or if a top loading machine would work, or maybe I just have to wait until water is hooked up to the mobile.  We're open to any ideas and suggestions.

In the mean time, to not end on a total bummer, here are some cute kids pics from today.....

Baby Man - almost 9 months old.

G-Man - 4

JoJo - 4


And for some humor - my bed full of babies at night.  Yes, I crawl and contort my way in enough to kinda, sorta sleep for a few hours.  The dog shouldn't be there, but try telling her that.

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

It Felt.....

......almost normal.  Never mind that it's taken most of my day, from 2:30 this afternoon, to be exact.  But we've bathed.   In our bathtub.  In the tin can.  For the first time ever.

So what that I had to drag the garden hose in through the back door to fill the tub.  So what that I spent eight hours heating water on the stove.  So what we all aren't clean yet and the bathing event will continue on tomorrow.  Tonight, I will snuggle up to four clean little people with heads that give off a faint scent of dollar store Batman shampoo, or Winne The Pooh, depending on gender.  Finger nails are clipped, toes scrubbed clean, faces are bright and shinny. 

It won't last, by noon tomorrow, at the latest, they will be back to their normal filthy state.  Piles of dirt will have been dug.  Fortunes buried and unburied in my freshly rototilled garden area waiting to be planted.   And by tomorrow night, I will cringe at the thought of dirty little feet in my shared bed, but for tonight, this one night, they are clean and sweet smelling. 

After they got out of the bath, their skin pink from hot water, they threw their bath towels on the floor to watch a movie, dog piled in bed.  Normally, I would have complained, and made a point of teaching them to clean up after themselves, but not today.  Today, I smiled at towels on the floor, at the normalcy of it all, and I picked them up in silence.

Sunday, April 22, 2012

My Gift

Yesterday, Dawsy turned nine.  He wanted Lego's, an airplane model, and one of those little one man rafts that every store in the summertime carries.  For dinner he asked for homemade pizza, and instead of cake he asked for doughnuts.  He ended the day happy, and with all of his birthday wishes having come true.

There's a funny little story about Dawsy.  Haha funny, and funny because it so perfectly illustrates one of the many crazy ways a couple can get to ten kids.  Dawsy came after our first set of twins, who were babies number four and five.  The twins made five kids in five years, life was busy and hectic, to say the least, but with their birth My Man discovered a little (or a lot) more about taking care of babies. 

I breastfed both of the babies for the first few months, but then I grew tired from lack of any real sleep and long days of juggling five kids.  One of the twins went on the bottle, and that baby became his baby.  My Man took his baby to bed with him at night, I took my baby to bed with me, and we met in the morning.  My Man was tired, I was too, but compared to two babies one seemed easy. 

It didn't take very long for My Man to wonder why I had wanted so many kids in the first place, over and over he would ask me why?  And then he started talking about being done.  Done as in no more kids.  No, no, I would say, someone is still missing, and I would point to the family picture and say, see, look!  No, he would tell me, they are all here, no one is missing.  Round and round we went.  How many would you have, he would ask.  When would I be done?  And then there was the money needed to support them, and the time to spend with them. 

He was daunted by the thought of more.  I understood his points, they were all valid, but my heart told me it didn't matter.  One day My Man finally offered me this; he would gift me one more baby, but then that was it; he wanted a vasectomy.  I agreed, there was nothing else for me to do.  I certainly didn't want to force him to have kids with me if his heart wasn't in it, and besides, with six kids I considered myself blessed beyond all measure, and lucky he had gone that far with me. 

And so it was done.  Dawsy was born and My Man headed to the doctor.  I asked that we not talk about it, or babies, after it was done.  I said I could make peace with it once, but if we talked about it it would break my heart.  And so we didn't.  We never spoke of it, and for a while it was fun to not have to worry about family planning, but then, a year and a half later we went on vacation.  We were at Disneyland and it seemed everywhere we looked there was a little baby or a pregnant woman.  We both saw them, and we when came home My man started talking.  About one more.  About babies.  I let him say the words for the first few times, but then I was afraid if he continued my heart would ache, so I asked him to stop and reminded him of our agreement.  And that was when he said it.  He said that he could get a vasectomy reversal.  I told him not to play with me, and he said he wasn't. 

You know I was on google that very night researching the ins and outs of getting a vasectomy reversed....lol.  Obviously, he ended up getting the reversal, after some kicking a screaming from family and friends - all of which thought we had just passed up crazy and gone straight for insane.  We in fact cancelled his first surgery because of other people.  Then I cried for three straight days, while my man moped, and then we came to our senses and rescheduled  the surgery without telling anyone until after it was done.

After I got pregnant people would ask NOW, you're done, RIGHT!?  And to their horror I would reply no way, the reversal was expensive, we have to get our monies worth and have a few more to prorate out the expense!!!  It was funny to me, still is.  I never understood what it really mattered if we went from seven to eight, or eight to nine, but I guess that just one more attitude is how you get to ten, and then it is a lot. 

I sometimes wonder what our life would have been like if we had stopped at a more normal number of kids.  I wonder if we would have ever left Oregon.  I wonder if we would have memories of places gone and vacations taken that we don't have now.  I wonder how easy life would have been.  But most of all, I wonder who we would be, because it wouldn't be the us that I know today, and then I realize that none of those other wonderings matter, because being us is all that matters.

Friday, April 20, 2012

Taming the Mountaintop

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Not a lot to say, the pictures speak for themselves.  We've been here for five months now, to the exact day.  I'm proud of us, and I am so very proud of the kids and the hard work they've done.  I hope that now, or someday in the future, they are able to look back at this very post and realize that they were a huge part of taming this mountaintop and making our little four acres a place to call home.





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Piles and piles of sticks and leaves have been removed.

More construction - the addition.



Bad chickens - this pile of eggs is in the humanure compost - yuck, and what a waste of good fresh eggs.



We've added some plastic netting to attempt keeping chickens out of the compost.

Emergency Preparedness Fair

Just a note to my local readers that the Clinton Community Center will be hosting an Emergency Preparedness Fair on May 5th.  If you're not local you might check around in your area for one.  We've never been to one before, I just recently discovered that they even exist, but I imagine there is always something new to learn at one.

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Done Enough


Finally, another project is done enough to use, to make a difference in our lives.  My Man has got his roof, four walls and a door of an office to the point that he can move into it.  Power has been ran, internet cable, modem, and tools just arrived today, making it mere days until he is all moved out of the mobile and back to wage earning work again!! 

It's small and unfinished, but a huge step in the right direction.  It seems like it has taken forever to get to this point.  He plans a small addition as soon as possible so that he can get the rest of his office stuff out of storage.  We currently have two storage units because we thought they were temporary until we built a house, but as a house grows further and further into our future we realize we have to reduce what we pay to store. 

I don't want to take away from this post too much, as it is a big moment that should be enjoyed, but I want to say thank you all for your words of support, suggestions, and love to my last post.  I am not depressed, or in a state of dispare, and I highly doubt I will ever quit trying, but at times the temptation to want to quit is there.  Before I published that post I considered not, because who wants to be seen as negative, or depressed.  What made me go ahead and hit the publish button was this;  on that day, in that moment, those feelings were real and true.  Even My Man said if he were to write something at that point in time it wouldn't be positive.  This blog is about our real lives, for better and for worse, and there are plenty of both.   There are days that I know in my heart that we did the right thing, and then there are days that I wonder if we would have been better off in town, in a house, and spared ourselves this whole raw land experience.  If I only blogged about one or the other of those days the story wouldn't be fair or complete - nothing is all good, or all bad, and I want our story to show the shades of grey, both for you, my unexpected readers, and for us, when we look back on where we started from.  In the mean time, I'm going to try to enjoy the ride as much as possible, come along, won't you?

Monday, April 16, 2012

Cornucopia of Chaos

School work, laundry, cooking, cleaning, holiday, building, doctor appointments, nine voices - in need, in complaint, looking for a listening ear, or just making noise because they can, and one baby - in varying degrees of happy and unhappy, a spring cold.....the last week has been a mind boggling flurry of activity.  I go through this when we have big changes, like moving, or having a new baby; I wonder when life will settle back down and get back to normal.  I should have learned by now that when I think like that, that it is a sign that we have just entered into a new normal

I have a hard time accepting this new normal.  I am impatient.  I am in want.  I want to hunker down and bear my right shoulder into my life and push with all of my might, my face red, my heart racing, muscles strained, just to get it moving along.  It moves now, but at such a slow pace it seems not to.  I want a washing machine.  I want a hot shower.  I want a bed to myself and My Man.  I want room in our house for what we need.  I want more time.  I want my children to wait their turn, and not interrupt - each other, but my thoughts, mostly.   I want a chance to answer the first question before the second, third, and sometimes forth are asked. I want more money.  I want every single soul who lives in my house to stop drinking out of my glass.  I want possible, and I want impossible.

I sometimes wonder if I am cut out for this life of simplicity.  I wonder if I can really do it.  I wake up and see these four walls that we live all aspects of our life in, and I want out.  Cozy turns to claustrophobic.  I think; I am sick of this.....this fighting to do all of the little everyday things that there are to do.  Day, after day, after day, after day. 

I see where we are at; in life, at our ages, with this many kids, and I wait for it to get better.  I fight the thought that this is now us.  I believe this is a phase, a stepping stone to a better time.  And then I wonder if it really is a stepping stone, and I fear that this is it.  I fear that we have arrived at a permanente position in life and we will finish out our days in these four walls, in this 600 square feet.

Stay the course.  I looked out the window today and watched our five year old daughter walking side-by-side with her four year old brother.  Her arm was lovingly and casually draped over his shoulder.  They were deep in conversation, and though I could not hear their words, I could see their love.  They glowed with contentment, satisfaction, security.  They were at peace and relaxed in each others company, and all seemed right in their world, and for those few seconds, in mine, too. 

I wonder how much control I have.  I wonder if it would matter at all if I decided to sit down, shut up, and let whatever will be - to be?  In the end, would I just end up in the exact same spot?  Is it mandatory to fight my way through this whole affair, all the while justifying the frustration with cliches?  This too shall passIf it doesn't kill me it will make me stronger.  Stay the course.  Money doesn't make you happy

I know this all sounds so melancholy.  It's not, but it is.  It's months, turned to years, of highs and lows, the changing of expectations, frustrations unattended, and attended.  It's coming to terms with, and accepting, that life isn't always what we thought it would be - over and over again.  How many times can I make a Plan B?  At what point is it just, am I just, a failure?  At what point is wrapping that failure in pretty words simply a lie - to myself, and to them, to you? 

Dragging a weeks worth of laundry to town has lost it's nobility.  A bucket of hot water and a bar of soap no longer feels character building.  Sharing a bed with four babies has grown old.  Stacking, shoving, and burying our life into every nook and cranny of our tin can is overwhelming.  Telling myself, and the kids, that this is all for our own good becomes less believable. 

The silver lining is still there, I still see it, it's just not as easy to find, and to believe in, as it was in the beginning.  When I was a little girl I promised myself that I would never give up, I would never stop fighting, I would never be beat.  I believed good always prevailed.  I believed in right and wrong.  I believed I could be anything I wanted to be if I tried hard enough, if I wanted it bad enough.  So many years, and so many life lessons later, I wonder if I promised myself the impossible.

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

As Seen on T.V.

In an effort to keep the bugs out, and keep Columbus's bed egg free, we decided to try out the Magic Mesh screen.  I'm not a big fan of As Seen on T.V. stuff, but it was at Walmart for $14.97 - a pretty cheap solution if it works.  I guess it will work, it's more of a question of how long will it hold up to the abuse of our tribe of kids and animals?  You can see the pretty lady on the box, with her white smile, and pitcher of fresh lemonade, coolly, and I'm sure gently, walking through her Magic Mesh.  Her's will probably last a whole spring/summer season.  I imagine mine with a stampede of small children swinging out the back door by the Magic Mesh, Tarzan style, never a single toe touching the steps, to hit the ground below running at full speed.  Did I mention that the box says that it installs in seconds?  Read - it installs with velcro and sticky tape.  I'll be lucky if my Magic Mesh lasts a entire week. 
 Columbus is proud of his installation, and has high hopes of going to bed tonight without any eggs in his bed.
 A beautiful sight - our 500 gallon water tank.
My Man and Columbus have been busy working on the office.  The roof is done and they have started on the floor, which should be done today, and then they will move onto installing the door.  Our goal is for My Man to move into it by the end of this week.  The office won't be entirely finished by then, but it should be finished enough that he can work from it.

The kids and I continue our efforts of clearing the property.  Spring is bringing rapid growth, and with it Poison Ivy.  I'm trying to get as much cleared before it takes off and overruns play areas.  I seem to have caught some of it, on my back of all places, which makes no sense to me - at no point have I laid on the ground, so why I would get it there is odd, but nevertheless I have it, and it's spreading.  I'm just glad that it's me and not the kids, and I hope to get it under control before any of the kids do get it.

My Man and I went on an Easter shopping date last night.  Yes, Easter has come and gone, but we decided to have our Easter after we could take advantage of the 50% off sales, all those chocolate bunnies add up, ya know.  The kids don't care, they just want an egg hunt once every 365 days, which day exactly doesn't matter to them.  And so, we will squeeze in egg coloring, hunting, and a ham dinner at some point this week, which ever day is nicest - just another plus to having Easter when you want to.

Friday, April 6, 2012

Moving Right Along

Bringing home baby chicks

4 Mallards, 2 Leghorns, 6 Red Sexlinks (We've lost 3 though, so we're down to 3)

35 Cornish Rocks.
 I had the 35 meat birds in with the Mallards and pullets, but I lost three Red Sexlinks (one due to drowning, the other two were smothered), so I decided I needed to get the big meat birds separated from the little birds.  Since I got such a great deal on the meat birds I was even more motivated than usual to keep my costs down, so I built a little pen using small tree logs.  Einstein helped me with this project, it was his job to gather the logs from the woods and get tools that I needed.
 The chickens getting in the house is still a problem.  Here is Columbus being silly while he evicts yet another hen.  He went to bed the other night and found an egg in his bed.....I thought it was funny, he didn't. 
 So, My Man and Columbus moved the temporary chicken coop to the back of the property in hopes that the girls would stay down there.  They do not.  I let them out in the morning and in a matter of ten minutes they are up by the mobile.  To make matters worse, they don't go to their coop at night, the kids end up rounding them up and carrying them down to the coop after dark.  It seems we've only made our problem more difficult in the coop moving. 

We had about two too many roosters with four roosters to nine hens, and things were getting a little ugly around here.  I planned to practice my butchering skills on two of the roosters, but before I got a chance a couple of them decided to get into an ugly fight.  They were really going at it, and would not be distracted.  We finally ended up shooting them. 

A couple of weeks ago I found a freezer online for $50.00.  My Man called on it for me while I cooked dinner.  The seller said it was in "good condition and rust free"....rolls eyes, no she wasn't blind, just a fibber.  I was all excited as we drove to look at it, imagine seeing this, not that I expected much for 50 bucks, but she did say it was in good condition and rust free, so I didn't exactly expect this ugly thing.  My Man offered her $40.00 and she took it, so the ugly freezer is now parked by our front door.  The top is some floor linoleum glued to the lid....not sure if it was to cover something up, or if (shudder) someone thought it was an aesthetic improvement!?  Anyway, I'm not sure which was worse, the fact that the woman was fibber, or listening to her advice on how to train dogs and raise kids while My Man and Columbus loaded this ugly beast up, which felt like it took forever.  We just need a couch and a recliner to go out there with it to be official trailer trash....lol.
 The kids and I went major grocery shopping the other day.  I picked up 80 pounds of raw boneless, skinless, chicken breasts, as they were $1.50 a pound, and two ten pound pork roasts.  We came home and I set to work of cutting up chicken and pork to be packaged for the freezer.  Honestly, as I cut up all that raw chicken I really started to wonder if 35 meat birds were a good idea.  Don't get me wrong, I'm committed to it now, and I know that, but it just might be a little nastier than I had imagined.

And the office.........

We've had some very gracious help from afar in the office department.  My dad and his girlfriend sent us some money to pay bills so that My Man could take time off of work to focus on building his office.  And we've had a very generous donater who has helped us very much in our office and water projects.  I never know what exactly to say.  There is the obvious heartfelt thank you, and I also want to give credit to the people that help us.  We aren't doing all of this by ourselves, and it just wouldn't be fair to present it as such.  And so, again, I say thank you - we all say thank you, and you've not only helped us financially, but you touch our hearts.

Now, the office.  It is slow going, and My Man is cursing the task of building with used building materials.  Not everything is used, but he has recycled as much as he can.  He and Columbus took down a free barn right before we moved, and it is the roof from the barn that he is using for his office.  Cutting down the metal roof, and dealing with the numerous holes, has been a job.  My Man has also been dealing with taking care of some long neglected health issues that is requiring once a week doctor appointments, along with testing that is another day out of each week.  While we are both grateful that we are finally at a place in life that we feel like he can make his health more of a priority, it's still a hardship that will hopefully be resolved soon.  And the roof should be done soon, too.  He is about three quarters done with it, and then he will be ready to install the new door, and finish the floor with materials he just bought.



In other exciting news, as I type this post My Man is on his way home from buying a 500 gallon water tank!!!!  I can't wait to see it, just the idea of being that close to getting my washing machine hooked up and working again makes me giddy!!!  And I'm sure that the main dishwasher here on the mountaintop will be very glad to see hot water flowing from the kitchen faucet rather than carrying in bucket after bucket of water to heat on the stove three times a day.

And so, we're moving right along.  It's hard, some days it feels like we got a ton done, while others it seems we moved at a snails pace, and we of course want it all done - yesterday.  I suppose that this painstaking process is good for us.  I'm sure we are meant to learn patience and diligence from it, but sometimes I wonder what else we have to endure to have learned enough patience and enough diligence?  I feel grateful, I feel happy, I find contentment here, and even in frustration I know we did the right thing, but I still wait for it to be easier, and then I wonder if it was ever meant to be easy at all?  Maybe, with or without knowing it, by moving to the mountaintop, I somehow agreed to a struggle, maybe there is no easy, and rather than wait for it I am meant to accept now for what ever it is and not worry about what the future brings? Yep, moving right along, in certainty, and uncertainty, such is life.