Search This Blog

Monday, August 30, 2010

The weekend

Well we had a very interesting weekend here, my older girl broke her third pair of glasses in the past year. Then our momma cat decided it was time to bring the babies out for everyone to see. It started off with one and the mom walking to our tent with it, she gets waylaid by our blue tick hound, as I just happened to be coming out of the tent. So I rescued the kitten from mom and me and Silver had to stay up in the dark for another hour while she brought the rest out for us. I have discovered they are old enough to start eating so we have been giving them some peanut butter to eat until silver's next check comes in and we can buy some kitten food for them.

We have decided when we order the portable building we will drop it right where our outdoor kitchen/living room is, considering the space is already fairly level. We found out from Mark Chenail that he brought a “Pullman style” kitchenette for us when he made his permanent move. Which is great, a whole kitchen on one wall; 3-burner stove, oven, refrigerator, sink, and upper cabinets. All in one, it's the perfect size for the “bunk house”, and after-wards it will become my canning kitchen.

We are counting down the days till Silver gets paid this time around, it will either be on Tuesday or Wednesday, then again on Friday. The first bit of pay will go to the portable building, also the minor groceries we need to buy; the second is our land payment, electric payment, phone payment. All leftover monies go to car gas, laundry and “fixing up” the bunk house. Including getting the wire for our well, with our fingers crossed that it doesn't need anything else.

Friday, August 27, 2010

Missouri Journal

For those of you who have not read the Missouri Journal I am posting a link to it, I have found out that the author Mark Chenail has finally made his permanent move to his homestead ten days ago. I hope the "country living" and "simpler" life helps with his health so he can get up and maybe eventually take a stroll down to his pond with limited help.

I would like to thank the Pagan Homesteader for mentioning me in her podcast.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Plans Change

Yesterday Silver spent about three hours digging a hole, for our septic. He's gotten down about an inch; he's hoping to get to five feet in three weeks. I'm not sure if he will but he's got a good start.

Which brings us to a slight update on our building... we called a building company that rents to own portable buildings, and we may be getting a 12x24 one for use until we get the first half of the house is done. This way I will no longer get phone calls from the school asking me for an update about whether or not we have four walls up before winter... also our neighbors with the same. I'm thinking of making a plaque for it and calling it "The Bunk House" as if we do get it we will set up everyone's beds along one wall (bunk beds for my girls) and the rest of the space; storage, kitchen/living room, and maybe bathroom... though that one might be a built on the end if we can get it made with a door at both ends. The company we are getting it from makes them to order, you want windows? They'll put them on, want a regular door instead of a barn one? Ok no problem. They said from order placement it could be 2-3 weeks for delivery, which means we'd have a roof in less than a month. They told Silver when they bring it in they level it themselves and put down nessicary blocks, we just have to finish clearing the spot next to where the house is going so we can put it there, and Silver needs to finish the septic.

Silver figures this way we can do the building slower and make it stronger, still making our own posts and beams; with smaller peices of wood. I plan (and hopefully can) to document the whole building process when we start, and I will still save all the recipits for our build to see how/if we save money the way we are going to build. Also we have found ou that unless we want to buy it in peices the fiberglass dairy panels won't be any cheaper. The discount lumber store who advertised the panels at $4.99 each, when you call them find out they are partial pieces. So those won't work, and the shops with the full size ones charge almost the price of OSB for the panels, so again; that doesn't work.

The couple next door let us use their riding lawnmower, with trailer to get our water from them yesterday so we stocked up as if we were using our car.

On a lighter note we participated in a fun event this morning I call "morning cat walk" Silver's Siamese cat named Bandit followed us down to the kids' bus stop she was doing this at the end of last year too. Nice way to exercise your cat.

Be well and Blessed Be...

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Simple Life????

The following is a personal opinon about the comment "simple life", and what I think about it:

Many people (not all) say that when you homestead you are living the "simple life". Well, to me that phrase "simple life", isn't quite all that simple. I know in my early adult years I thought the "simple life" was childhood, we a child in a way (minus severe poverty) has a simple life, they have no responsiblity; and most people crave that life again. The people who think homesteading is the "simple life", well some ways it can be. You grow your own food, there by reducing your need to go to the grocery store; yep that makes life a tad easier. If your homestead is fully built with animals and crops growing when you move in.I will now share with you how "simple" my life is at this point in time.

I get up a little before six am to feed our dogs and cats (most of the dogs were "drop offs"), and start some water boiling for a mornign cup of tea for me and my partner Silver, also taking something out of our deep freezer for breakfast.Then at six am I wake the kids up to get ready for school, this takes anywhere from 20-40 minutes for them to get ready; with arguments over who has the hair brush. Sometime during this I have to give our oldest dog an allergy pill as she's allergic to flea bits and is half naked at this time because of it. While this is going on me and Silver are trying to enjoy a cup of tea, while hurring the kids up. Then when the kids are ready for school we walk to the end of the road (10 minute walk unencumbered), where the kids wait for the school bus and me and Silver use the wierless connection from the gentleman on the end of the road, so we can use the internet while we wait. *Note this is my only time of the day I am online*

after the kids have left me and Silver walk back home, then we have breakfast and decide where we are going to get our water from today; no our well is not yet running. Now we can go to the person with the internet connection, or go to the couple who live practically next door. This requires more thought than you think, while it is semi easier to go next door (semi); we have to wait till 10 am to do this and if we are low on water we need to go sooner. At the end of the road, we could sit for a bit and use the internet for a while after; we also get to listen to the gentleman who lives there for an hour or more complain about everything... and I man everything. Now, until Silver's next check arrives we have no car; it needs a new tire the regular tire and the spare are both flat. so we have to walk with our water bottles, Silver has rigged up a hand truck with a box so it is easier to carry 15 gallons at a time, plus whatever Silver or I can carry in backpacks. I will tell you now, when you have to haul water you use less of it and find ways to use less. Now imagine if you will one person with weak lungs and burcitis and one person with arthritis walking 1/4 mile with 15-30 gallons of water, it's not easy and we wind up sitting for an hour trying to cool down and catch our breath.

Next Silver will (for now) get out his chain saw and either cut brush or cut up some very dead logs for our fire wood this winter. I move the brush or log pieces, we do this until lunch or it gets too hot. Nowdepending on the day I will either do our dish washing or dishwashing and laundry next.

Now for dishes I fill a 30 pound bucket with water to rinse the dishes in, and fill a wash tub with soem dishes, soap, and water. then I wash them by hand dipping them in my rinse water then putting them in a rack to dry. I do this till either dishes are done, or the water is too ugly to use. Next if I am doing laundry that day too I empty the wash tub and if I remebered to heat the water while washing dishes (on a home made outdoor wood fire pit to save cooking gas), I fill the tub with clothes (not a lot), soap and the BOILING water. Boiling is important when dealing with kids clothes as they seem to attract dirt. then I add enough cold water so I can wash the clothes without scalding my hands in the process. This is much easier when everyone is home, then me and Silver wash and the kids hang it. Next I grab a peice of clothing and I determine how dirty it is, if it's slightly dirty them a few wrings through the soapy water will clean it then I wring it out and hang it... note I don't rinse, the rinse water from the dishes is still there; but do you want to rinse clothes in that? I don't. If I could afford the extra water I will set up another bucket of clean water for rinsing, however with clothes it will get mucky faster than dishes. Now if the clothing piece is very dirty then I pick it up and grab either liquid or bar soap and put some on it and scrub as if I were washing my hands. When satisfied that it is clean I rinse in the soapy water wring and hang. To do enough for a few days this process can take an hour or more.

Next if it is too hot to work we will sit infront of a fan and catch up on our reading. Sometimes Silver works on the plans for the house always trying to make it work better. If the weather is agreeable we keep up on the brush or wood cutting. You know it's fun chopping fire wood with an ax, everyone should try cutting up about 6 logs with an ax sometime, you'd appriciate your either pre-cut wood, gas heat, or electric heat much more.

this is done until the kids come home which at that time either me or Silver (depending on what it is) cook dinner and heat bathing water. While we are doing this the kids are doing homework. Yep bath... not shower... you know we bought one of those "solar shower" bags... it doesn't work well with five people, so out neighbor's next door lent us a bathtub to use. We bath in about 10-15 gallons of water a day, kids go first as they are in school. We heat the bath water on an outdoor wood stove(?) Silver made (I'll post a pic when I get to the library next), we have a old medical basin we use for the water heating it holds about 2.5 gallons of water and it takes from 20-30 minutes to heat it. Then we add it to the tub which has 5-10 gallons of water depending on if the kids need to wash their hair that day or not, then we adujst it based on how hot it is after the boiling water is added. Then we heat another baisn full for me and Silver, note we do not empty the tub between people that would waste the water we hauled.

After baths we send the kids intot he tent to read or in my son's case, play on his laptop; and me and Silver enjoy another cup of tea then we head in and read/ watch a movie/ play computer and then go to bed after the kids are asleep. We send the kids to bed at nine pm and it takes 10-20 minutes for them to go to sleep.

Now a few things will change in the next week or so, the first and biggest in my opinon is we are going to get the wire we need for our well. I am crossing my fingers that the pump is good and we won't have to replace that, but if all we need is he wire we'll have our own water in a week and a half at most. If the pump is no good... well I'm not sure how long it will take. Now the second change will be, we are goignt o be getting our building supplies after we buy the wire for the well so instead of brush clearing and firewood we'll be building.

I know not everyone thinks homesteading is "simple" compared to anything else, but somepeople think it is and I wanted to show how "simple" my life is. Now I will say I am healthier than I have ever been with all the work I'm doing and exercise I'm getting, plus the no junk food diet I'm on. so personally I wouldn't call this the "simple life", but I will call it the "healthier" one.

Just rambling...

I know most homesteaders prefer homeschool, but to be honest... I don't have the paticence to homeschool me kids. Granted I teach them some things where I can. I would like to say that the school system here in Wright county Missouri has been a pretty good one as far as public school goes. The school doesn't have all the sports avalible in cities, but they have a high rated school band. My son who is in special education for the first time in his 14 years of life has gotten above a c avarage in school. He is also happy to attend this local school, now of course my girls are doing well as well; but the biggest change was in my son here. This school system for the lower grades, at the school my girls attend; it is an outdoor learning center. The lower grade school also has computers for each child and smart boards in the class rooms. So anyway I just wanted to tell everyone how happy I am about this school system.

Silver thinks (fingers crossed), he finally has the complete list for our "big empty box". Which is what I am calling our house right now, for perspective sake. We need to have it up before November and Silver belives he can cut our costs as I have stated before about using the fiberglass dairy panels. Which we will get to look at in a week when his next check comes in. Now I am going to keep all the recipts for our building so I can see how much we wind up spending total on our build.

While we are waiting I am catching up on my reading and am going through some "natural healing" books to see if I can get Silver off his perscribed medications in the near future. He is a diabetic, who just before we moved out to MO was put on insulin. I will state due to our current diet... he is not taking the insulin, his blood sugar has been to low and he is taking the pills for it when his blood sugar is above 150, any lower and it shoots his blood sugar to low. He also has an inactive thyroid which I am also looking for an alternative for that pill too. He is also a sufferer of rheumatoid arthritis, and the medication he is given for relief from the pain causes stomach issues. So I am trying to find some healthy alternatives to his meds, looks like he's gonna be taking lots of vitamins until I can get my herb closet stocked. So far the best Book I have read in the last week is "The Green Pharmacy" by James A. Duke, Ph.D. Copyright 1997 ISBN # 0-87596-316-1. If you want to find some useful info on alternatives check it out, the book also has stories from real people who use the "remedies" listed.

Be well and Blessed Be...

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Well the kids are now in school for the year (yeah!!!!), that means work will and won't be easier. Traditional house building takes many people to do, but me and Silver are doing this all ourselves; if we come to something that needs extra help we will wait until the kids are home and use them to help out. We are planning on the kids to learn as much as we can teach them about all parts of the building process.

Now when I say their is a diffrance from "traditional" building and what we are doing, is because well... we live on a fixed income, Silver is disabled and I still have to find work out here in Missouri. Once the building is done and our growing area is set up his pay will be more than enough for the family but right now we are struggling with costs. So we are building with that in mind. We are going to use pole barn style consrtuction, it requires less of the expensive types of wood. We are also asking around at local lumber mills to see if buying from the scource would be cheaper that from (gasp) Loews.

We are going to check out a local discount building supply store to see their prices and also to ask about fiberglass dairy panels. If they are what Silver belives they are we are going to use them in the initial construction instead of using OSB for the walls and possible use them on the roof instead of metal as they advertised them at $4.99 a panel. Next year or a little after we are planning to use the slip-form masonry to face the house afterwards, so we'd only have a fiberglass house for a year or two.

Silver was also going to try to save us some money on our posts for the construction. He was originally thinking of using some of the trees we cut down as the posts. Do you know how hard it is to find a draw knife when your internet is limited to trips to town (which you limit because you want to save on gas money)? So Silver has come up with a better solution. He is going to make the posts himself from smaller wood and some pressure treated peices where we have to have them. All of the building manuls say you need pressure treated to touch the ground, OK; no problem. The last foot of each post will be pressure treated and the tops will be two 2x4's glued and screwed together with the pressure treated peice also glued and screwed on at the bottom. We will pay half the price on our posts this way, then to furthur protect them we are going to buy so cheap paint and coat each post in paint to semi-weather proof them. I'll get some pictures as we make them to show the whole process.

On a side note I have some advise to all those people out there who might think that using a chain saw alone would be a good idea. When we were still cuting up the area we were going to build on Silver was cutting one of the trees down. Now the wind was blowing in the direction he wanted, he notched the tree properly, and was standing in the spot it wasn't suppose to fall in when he finished his cut. The tree turned 180 degrees and fell towards him, if I had not been there to watch him when he was cutting he'd been squashed by the tree. He had to dive to the side and threw the chain saw in the process so he would not land on it. So please be careful when cutting in the woods folks, the unexpected happens; when you lest expect it too.

Be well all, and Blessed Be...

Monday, August 16, 2010

Summer fun...?

Well for those of you who saw the picture(s) of the tent we have been living in I have some new pictures of how it looks now. Let me tell you... I don't think tents today are built well.

This is the side of our tent my girls sleep on, unfortunately when it rains hard it leaks through the plastic in one spot.

This is a picture of an air conditioner our neighbor lent us recently to help with the heat here. It doesn't help much in the heat but, at least at night we can sleep in a nice temperature.

This is our "new" front door on the tent since the dog down the road this spring wrecked the one that came with the tent. The zipper recently broke and we are clothes pinning it shut.

Our start building date will be September 1st, so crossed fingers at worst 2 more months of tent life. The other piece of good news is our electrician neighbor might bring us some wire for our well so we won't be paying $100+ for the wire we need.

Monday, August 9, 2010

Delays... delays... delays

It is interesting how things can be delayed when you are trying to build a house. I am thankful that it is still warm and we can still use our tent to sleep in. We now have a almost full outdoor kitchen if we had a refrigerator we would have a full one, but we are settling with just our deep freezer we brought with us for now. I plan to do up some new pictures soon to post on here for everyone and hopeful with our ability to get working on our build we will also have our own internet. It seems that the phone company out here has allowances for people building to still put in a phone and internet on a temp pole by the construction. A little bit of an odd observation, when you live out in rural america you can acquire a lot of dogs by accident. We are up to 4 dogs now, we had one when we arrived and found two different strays when we were driving around and two days ago a dog decided to show up at our property and decided she wanted to stay. It is rather annoying really as the shelters here seem to be full of unwanted dogs so people dump them and they wander into my home. The people who bought a piece near us found this last dog first, the gentleman then decided to dump the stray a mile away as he did not want to deal with it, so the poor female decided to come to our home.

The people who moved in down the road from us have actually a larger job than we do at fixing up their home. The property was trashed by the previous owner and the Realtor decided to knock off $10,000 for clean up, as they didn't want to clean it up themselves. Me and my partner Silver decided we were very glad we had not purchased that piece of property, besides the garbage they have to clean up the people though they have a dug well. The well has no pipe in it, and it is on the back corner of their property and the trailer they are living in is at the front corner. Silver says it's not worth the money to plumb the water to where their trailer is. The fact our well is intact but might need a new control panel for it our plumbing job will be simple as well. Our home is going to be withing 50 feet of it so pipe and wire for it will not be a great cost.

We are going to try using cut logs for our support posts, only problem we are having with it is Silver cannot find a draw knife anywhere to purchase. He has made one from a lawnmower blade and is going to start working on them starting next Wednesday when the kids start school again. The children were warned that their days off they will be helping us build, I think its funny that my kids will probably know how to build, plumb, and wire a house before they hit high school; it may help them sometime in the future who knows.

Well thats all for now I hope to post more soon.

Be well all!