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.
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 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.
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.
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