Memories of Moving

Doing schoolwork under the canopy during the weeks that our home was a camper

We lift up in prayer the millions who are experiencing hardship in the cold with no electricity right now.  Let it be a wake up call to the rest of us to be prepared for the unexpected when the systems we trust may let us down.

One year ago when we moved to this off-grid homestead we knew we were in for adventures and a lot of hard work. The night we moved in was no exception. The little chicken coop was reassembled with the help of friends and family since our animals had to move with us the same day. There was not yet a fence around our living area, so to avoid invasion by our curious and potentially destructive goats we had to build a quick fence before going to bed. All the children went to bed except Evensong, who helped Silver Oak build fence around the camper area while I unpacked the many boxes crowding our already very limited space in the camper. We got to bed early the next morning, and the goats were fenced out! Our possessions were safe unless they broke in as they did the first week after the move. Blah!

It may seem backwards, but for over four months on our new 20-acre homestead, the goats, chickens, and horse were running freely outside the fence and we were “penned up” inside. It got better as the year progressed and we got more and more fences up. Whenever a new fence was finished it was always exciting because it gave us more freedom to plant or do other things without animals getting into it, or it allowed us to separate animals or keep them from escaping.

The morning after the move…putting finishing touches on the new fence around the camper

We were penned in…

…they were shut out

The chicken coop and Evensong’s rabbit hutch, seemingly setting out in the middle of nowhere

Living in a camper for six weeks was challenging with eight of us sharing that little space and no other place to go except outside or into one of the sheds. We did make one corner of the big shed into a temporary office for Silver Oak even before it was refurbished, but it was kind of like being out in the elements in some ways. Fortunately the weather was lovely so it was refreshing to be outside, where there was plenty of work waiting to be done. We did schoolwork under the canopy and cooked on the gas stove in the camper or the grill outside. We probably missed our piano and a second bathroom more than anything. When we did finally move into our 350 sq ft tiny house, it felt huge!

There was no place to store outdoor things as well as many indoor things when we moved, so it got stacked out in the open area between the camper and the northern property line. As we settled in, the assortment of “junk” grew larger and larger. It was good and very useful junk, but I thought it looked horrible, especially since it ended up being the main view out of my kitchen window after moving into our tiny house, so I named it “the graveyard.” Much of it was good lumber waiting to be repurposed, left over from someone else’s projects. We have built many things from that lumber this year at very low cost, so it was a valuable “graveyard.”

Included in the “graveyard” were stacks of stepping stones and landscaping blocks, concrete blocks, bricks, large planters, used fencing, used propane tanks, 55 gallon drums, tires, PVC pipes, five gallon buckets, water storage tank, sets of wooden steps and rails, gates, tubs, and many other items that are extremely valuable in developing a homestead inexpensively.

I am happy to say in recent months we’ve relocated almost all of the “graveyard” contents to more desirable places and it’s being transformed into an orchard and garden area. The fencing is in the back pasture waiting to divide it into paddocks, the plumbing is stored on brackets hidden behind a board fence, and the lumber is in the “lumberyard” behind more board fence. Now I love looking out my kitchen window at the 10 newly planted fruit trees and a few volunteer tomatoes and squash growing in the garden area.

The “graveyard”

Another view looking toward the house

Starting the big job of clearing the “graveyard” this summer

We got up an hour early many mornings to move things bit by bit

The new lumberyard

This is all that is visible of the new lumberyard from the house…a fence made from someone else’s discard pile

We hauled in and spread decomposed horse manure to prepare a garden area where the “graveyard” once was

The new garden area as it appears now

The big shed had to be refurbished before moving things into it. We had sold or given away a lot of our furniture and other belongings before moving. But the rest, including many books, keepsakes, camping gear, stored clothing, and filing cabinets, had to be moved from their temporary places in town within the first month or two after moving here. Restoring the big shed became a huge priority to meet those deadlines. It has been such a blessing to have that extra space to store supplies or anything else we don’t have room for in our tiny house.

Refurbishing the big shed

Finished except for the paint job it still needs

The adventure of getting our tiny house ready to live in will have to wait till next time.  I’ll be sure to share lots of pictures.

One Year On the Off Grid Homestead!Blessings,

One Year On the Off Grid Homestead!

Linked w/Morris Tribe, Natural Living Mama, Chicken Chick, Growing Home, Backyard Farming Connection, Frugally Sustainable, My Simple Country Living, The Wilderness Wife, Natural Living, Homemaking, Live Renewed, A Rural Journal, Simple Lives Thur., LHITS DYI Linky, Farm Girl Fri. Fest, Farmgirl Fri., Ole’ Sat. Homesteading Trading Post, and Seasonal Celebration.

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One Year On the Off-Grid Homestead!

Our fall friend, Hillary, stands watch for us

Today marks one year since we moved out to our 20 acre homestead on our journey to a sustainable lifestyle. It’s hard to believe it’s gone so fast. Today we looked over all of our goals for the past year and set new ones for the coming year. Our goal was to be relatively sustainable by this fall. We have not accomplished all that we had hoped, but fall isn’t over yet.

We are so thankful to the Lord for all He provided and brought us through this year. He taught us a lot of lessons and we have seen His faithfulness many times. Last summer God graciously answered prayer by providing this property that met our precise requests. We made a very low offer with all the funds available, and the seller (bank) accepted. Amazing! That was enough confirmation that this was God’s place for us. In spite of moving ahead slowly when time and finances were tight this year, we have been so blessed to live debt free on our own homestead, and are living completely disconnected from the power grid.

Before moving we cleared enough palmettos for our living area and for a long 1/3-mile lane back to it. It was hot and rainy and miserable some days, but it finally got done. In the meantime we simplified our lives by selling and giving away many of our possessions we could do well without. We also set up a small shed that Silver Oak built during the summer with repurposed metal given to us by a customer. This was the first mini building to be placed. Close to it we placed a much larger shed that needed to be remodeled before it was usable, and a camper to live in until our tiny house was ready. Our dryer was installed (clothesline), the septic done, and a tank for storing water.

Endless clearing of stubborn palmettos

There was excavating for everyone!

And plenty of grunt work.

Clearing the long lane

The first building in place...Silver Oak's little shed

The camper waits for us to move in

Digging out palmettos to make way for the big shed

The big old shed is added

On moving day we brought what we had to have, leaving the rest in town in temporary storage. The chicken coop and milking parlor combination that Silver Oak had built in the spring was taken apart and reassembled the same day to accommodate our animals who moved with us. With the help of friends and family we got it all done!

The dismantled chicken coop and milking parlor is loaded and ready

The mess waits to be organized

I’ll be back in the coming days to share more memories and photos of our move off-grid and our first year!

When There is No Dentist, Part Two of ThreeBlessings,

When There is No Dentist, Part Two of Three

Linked w/Morris Tribe, Natural Living Mama, Chicken Chick, Growing Home, Backyard Farming Connection, Frugally Sustainable, My Simple Country Living, Natural Living, Homemaking, Live Renewed, A Rural Journal, Simple Lives Thur., LHITS DYI Linky, Farm Girl Fri. Fest, Farmgirl Fri., Ole’ Sat. Homesteading Trading Post, and Seasonal Celebration.

When There is No Dentist, Part Three of Three

Our homemade tooth powder

If you haven’t already done so, read part one of this series here, and part two here. This post is a summary of the tooth infection story and what worked for us.

Silver Oak has had only minor tooth decay the past 20 years, but in his younger years he had many large fillings, especially in his molars. I have no doubt the changes we made in our diet and lifestyle during the first years of our marriage have played a major role in that. Many of us have learned things about diet in recent years we never knew before.

Dr. Weston Price spent a large part of his life as a dentist studying the diet of people groups all over the world and the resulting impact on teeth and overall health. His studies have greatly influenced many and we are so grateful for what he had to share. Since studying some of his writings about making a healthy environment in our mouths to promote healthy teeth and bodies, we made more changes.

Now we rarely use toothpaste, which in some ways discourages healthy teeth. We make a tooth powder, which we place on our palm and scoop up with a wet toothbrush. The powder is two parts baking soda to one part salt. Baking soda helps give our mouths a healthy ph level and salt is a natural antiseptic.

After flossing and brushing with powder, we use Spry from the health food store to rinse out our mouths.  It contains xylitol, which fights cavities and freshens our breath since the powder is not exactly delicious smelling. I would love ideas for a more sustainable and healthy mouth rinse that is good tasting, so tell me your ideas.

Flossers take the pain out of flossing. I now effectively floss in a few minutes, where using string floss used to be so laborious I rarely did it. Flossing helps remove the beginnings of plaque build-up and decaying food that may be stuck between teeth.

If we can keep any plaque from beginning to form and keep a healthy ph level in our mouths through proper cleaning and diet, the likelihood of developing cavities is greatly diminished. When any colonies of plaque-forming bacteria are allowed to reside in our mouths they can build deposits of plaque which makes a safe haven for them to multiply. Then, especially during the night when bacteria fighting saliva is not being secreted, they have a hayday in our mouths.

Doug Simons teaches how to brush teeth with a stick, either a flat type toothpick from the store, or crafting them yourself with certain kinds of wood. He says they get cleaner than with a toothbrush and floss, and feel smooth and polished all the time. We have yet to try that, so I will let you know when that happens. But if sustainable is what we’re after, this idea fits the bill.

Silver Oak’s recent tooth infection taught us many things. We’ve made a plan in case we face something like this again.

At first hint of toothache:

  • Ask the Great Healer for help
  • Bite on whole clove with affected tooth
  • Oil pulling with 1 tsp coconut oil & essential oils
  • Refrain from sugars (they feed bad bacteria)
  • Clean teeth well with tooth powder and floss (or stick)

If it appears to be an infection continue the above and add:

  • Prickly pear wedge or poultice, depending on severity
  • Tooth packing with crushed fresh garlic and cayenne powder
  • 2 oz Ionic silver 3x per day
  • Suppliments of garlic & Vitamin C several times per day

Hopefully we will continue with these steps until two days after symptoms are gone!

Silve Oak missed three days of work, making this ordeal an expensive endeavor, but so would being treated by a dentist. Then he would have missed work AND had a big bill and drugs to take. And we wouldn’t have gained the experience and confidence in dealing with this problem ourselves, which could be fatal in the event there would be no dentist available.

Horsetail (Equisetum Hyemale)

There is one thing we still need to address. As Silver Oak has gotten older some of his teeth with the large fillings have started to break. The recently infected tooth needs a new layer of enamel covering the broken part as the natural barrier against infection that teeth normally have. Dentists say that will never happen. Doug Simmons and Weston Price have said differently.

At Doug Simmons’ advice we just purchased a horsetail plant (Equisetum Hyemale) for $4 and hope to grow enough to use as a supplement to aid in healing that tooth and strengthening the enamel on all of our teeth to prevent cavities or heal any that may appear. Varieties of this herb grow wild in many places around the world, and it propagates easily. It contains the highest amount of silica available in plant form, and silica is what it takes to grow new enamel (as well as healthy bones, nails, hair, and ligaments).  We hope to see how it works.

Blessings,

When There is No Dentist, Part Two of Three

When There is No Dentist, Part One of Three

Disclaimer:  This website is for educational purposes only.  It is not intended to replace licensed, professional health care or dental providers.  The author and Live Ready Now! disclaim any liability in connection with the use of this information.

Linked w/Morris Tribe, Natural Living Mama, Chicken Chick, Growing Home, Backyard Farming Connection, Frugally Sustainable, My Simple Country Living, Natural Living, Homemaking, Live Renewed, A Rural Journal, Simple Lives Thur., LHITS DYI Linky, Farm Girl Fri. Fest, Farmgirl Fri., Ole’ Sat. Homesteading Trading Post, and Seasonal Celebration.

 

When There is No Dentist, Part Two of Three

Prickly Pear Cactus grows almost anywhere and is a natural refrigerant, useful for fevers and inflammation.

Part one of this series can be read here.

I was recently reminded that serious infections must be fought in at least three ways. The first is prayer.   When There is No Dentist, Part Two of Three The second is fighting it locally (or externally), and the third is attacking it internally. These should be continued two days after symptoms disappear to make sure the infection is completely gone. That is easier said than done, because after an intense battle with infection we want to relax and move on to something else as soon as we start feeling better. But the cost can be high.

When Silver Oak’s infection seemed to be gone less than 24 hours after using prickly pear cactus, crushed garlic and other things, he stopped treating it too soon, and the infection and toothache returned worse than before. Now we had to be more aggressive than ever if we wished to do it without drugs or a dentist.

The prickly pear wedge was no longer enough to fight the growing infection, so I made a poultice for the outside of his cheek which covered a much larger area than a wedge could. I cut the cactus pads in half the long way and scraped out the gel. The goopy slimy stuff was placed on a paper towel and plastered against Silver Oak’s face, covering the entire jaw area around the infected tooth. It was tied on with a long strip of cotton wrapped around his head. He looked quite a case!

Cutting the cactus pad in half after removing the spines

The inside of a pad cut in half

Scraping the inside with a fork to remove the gel

Scraping the other direction to break it up more

The loosened gel with the skin underneath

The slimy gel was placed on a paper towel...

...and applied to the cheek, jaw, and upper neck area.

Poultices are slow acting so must be applied about eight hours to be effective. In the meantime time Silver Oak kept his teeth brushed with tooth powder after every meal as mentioned in the last post, and we kept his “holey” tooth packed with crushed garlic. We repacked it every several hours, using a Q-tip to press it into the hole. We mixed cayenne powder into the garlic packing to help fight infection and stimulate circulation and encourage faster healing to the area.

Silver Oak could feel the drawing effect of the poultice at times. Making poultices kept us busy hunting down more prickly pear, scraping off the needles, and mashing fresh batches. It was a bit of work for several days, but it really helped reduce the visible swelling on his jaw. At first, if he went for any period of time without a poultice, the swelling and ache would return.

Wearing a poultice in this way is a "pain," but not nearly so much pain as a bad toothache and what a dentist may have to do

In addition to the poultices Silver Oak began taking 2 oz of ionic silver three times per day. Ionic silver is a powerful weapon against bacterial, fungal, and viral infections. We purchase ours by the gallon from Galen Yoder at Nature’s Defense (to order by the gallon contact him, and no, we don’t make any commission on sales :)). It is hard to estimate the value of keeping a generous supply of ionic silver on hand in the face of possible epidemics or other medical emergencies. It has an indefinite shelf life if stored in a cool, dark place (and we’ve heard the FDA is trying to take it off the market…???).

Another very powerful routine Silver Oak began was oil pulling, which fought the infection locally and internally. We are impressed with the results as we learn to use this idea more. At least once each day he swished one teaspoon of virgin coconut oil (other oils will work but coconut is superior) in his mouth along with a few drops of cinnamon, clove, and other essential oils. He pulled this mixture through his teeth and swished it for 20 minutes before spitting it out. This pulled toxins out through the bloodstream in the mucous membranes. Twenty minutes is necessary to mix the oil thoroughly with germ-killing saliva, making a powerful pathogen killer duo.

The white foamy liquid filling his mouth was spit out, but not down the drain. The extracted toxins dared not be swallowed, and coconut oil solidifies and can clog plumbing, so it works best to expel it into the trash.

After three days of consistently using prickly pear poultices, garlic and cayenne packing, oil pulling, ionic silver, garlic and vitamin C capsules, refraining from sugars, and keeping his teeth cleaned, Silver Oak was again free of pain, swelling, and infection. This time when he went back to work he remembered to use the items I packed for him. He discontinued the poultice so he could work, and after a few days of no symptoms he stopped everything else. Since that time (over six weeks) he has had no signs of recurring infection.

So, if we had it all to do over again, what would we skip and what would we do for sure to get rid of the infection? And what will we do to make sure the infection won’t return to a compromised tooth without going to the dentist for a filling or a crown? More in part three coming soon!

When There is No Dentist, Part One of Three Blessings,

When There is No Dentist, Part One of Three

Disclaimer:  This website is for educational purposes only.  It is not intended to replace licensed, professional health care or dental providers.  The author and Live Ready Now! disclaim any liability in connection with the use of this information.

Linked w/Wildcrafting Wednesday Herbal Edition, Morris Tribe, Natural Living Mama, Chicken Chick, Growing Home, Backyard Farming Connection, Frugally Sustainable, My Simple Country Living, Natural Living, Homemaking, Live Renewed, A Rural Journal, Simple Lives Thur., LHITS DYI Linky, Farm Girl Fri. Fest, Farmgirl Fri., Ole’ Sat. Homesteading Trading Post, and Seasonal Celebration.

When There is No Dentist, Part One of Three

From L to R is our battery bank, inverter, and (for now) one charge controller for the first set of solar panels we installed. Marble the cat surveys Silver Oak as he connects things in the middle of the night.

Six weeks ago Silver Oak came down with a serious toothache that incapacitated him. That means it was really bad! He had stayed up the night before to finish connecting the newly installed solar panels. He was tired of high fuel bills to run the generator for hours every day, and the electrical work had to be done when the sun wasn’t shining on the panels. He finished at about 4:00am, and the next day his tooth attacked him.

The bad tooth was a broken-apart molar with huge fillings from his younger years. It had been sensitive for a few months and he hadn’t said anything (naughty!). It was just waiting to strike when his resistance was down from stress and lack of sleep. The infection and pain moved in with a vengeance.

We like to learn as much as possible about dealing with things like this ourselves during a time of non-crisis when there is also opportunity to go to a dentist if needed. Experience, skills, and knowledge are even more valuable than a stash of stuff, in our opinion. We recently purchased a DVD called “Alternatives to Dentists” by Doug Simons which gives many helpful instructions on how to deal with tooth issues when a dentist is not available (some of his teachings we don’t agree with but much is very helpful).

My dad helped install these peel & stick solar panels on the roof of our tiny house...more on them in another post

Using things we have on hand and previous experience, as well as Doug Simons’ teaching, we spent the next several days seeking the Lord’s wisdom for treating Silver Oak’s infection. Sometimes I’m frustrated by bloggers explaining things they have not successfully done themselves. I purposely waited this long to report what we did to verify its success.

Whenever there is a serious infection, I try to remember to fight it locally as well as internally. First we went after the local area since he was in so much pain.

He placed a whole clove between his teeth, biting it firmly with the ailing tooth till it eventually disintegrated. This has been successful in the past for toothache. It numbs pain (especially in the mucus membranes) and fights infection. This time it numbed his jaw, but the infection was too deep and severe it didn’t stop the ache.

Silver Oak brushed his teeth with a combo of baking soda and salt (2:1), followed by rinsing out his mouth with Spry. This powder cultivates an environment with the proper ph to inhibit growth of plaque-forming bacteria and is more effective than toothpaste (especially the “normal” brands with all the junk in them).  Brushing is especially important before bedtime so the mouth has a healthy environment all night long when there is less helpful saliva to fight the bad bacteria.

Prickly pear cactus growing on our homestead

We went out and found prickly pear cactus and, after scraping off the needles, I peeled the skin and placed a wedge of cactus “meat” into Silver Oak’s cheek next to the bad tooth. Within five minutes Silver Oak said he felt something drawing out of his tooth. I then crushed a clove of garlic and packed as much as I could into the broken tooth. The pain slightly subsided enough that he drifted into an exhausted sleep.

When Silver Oak awoke several hours later (remember he had gotten no sleep the night before) he felt so much better that he ate dinner with us, then brushed his teeth again. I repacked his tooth with crushed garlic and made a new cactus wedge to place inside his cheek against his tooth. He slept fine that night (with no pain killers) and felt great in the morning. I sent his teeth brushing supplies with him to work, as well as another wedge of cactus and capsules of garlic, golden seal, and vitamin C, but he felt so good all day he didn’t even use them! Very naughty!! I told him if he was my child I would…well, we won’t go into that.

Needless to say, he failed to learn from my mistake with my infected foot several months ago when I stopped treating it too soon. We had successfully fought the infection enough for it to recede, but it was still simmering in there and came back even worse than it had been before. It was so bad by the next morning he couldn’t go to work. I was worried we would have to use the dentist after all, but our ammunition was not yet used up. We had to pull out the bigger guns and be more aggressive now than ever.

Part two of this series is coming soon!

Enjoying Our Off Grid HomesteadBlessings,

Enjoying Our Off Grid Homestead

Disclaimer:  This website is for educational purposes only.  It is not intended to replace licensed, professional health care or dental providers.  The author and Live Ready Now! disclaim any liability in connection with the use of this information.

Linked w/Morris Tribe, Natural Living Mama, Chicken Chick, Growing Home, Backyard Farming Connection, Frugally Sustainable, My Simple Country LivingNatural Living, Homemaking, Live Renewed, A Rural Journal, Simple Lives Thur., LHITS DYI Linky, Farm Girl Fri. Fest, Farmgirl Fri., Ole’ Sat. Homesteading Trading Post, and Seasonal Celebration.