Sunday, July 30, 2006

We just got back from a weekend on the homestead. I've got to tell ya, it gets harder and harder to leave it. We need to sell our home in town so we can get out there for good.

This weekend we spent most of our time clearing out the woods behind the house. When we cleared the 1.5 acres in the middle of the 65 acres, we knew we had picked a spot that had not been inhabited in recent memory, but I'm not sure we realized exactly how un-inhabited that area really was. On the upside, most of the woods around the clearing are just loaded with blueberry and blackberry bushes. It was actually sad to me to cut back the berry bushes. The good news is, there are plenty more where those came from! And the area we cleared really looks great right now. We didn't finish it quite as much as we had hoped, but we did get most of the wild vines, dead wood, rocks, and fallen timber out of the way. Take a look at the pictures. The ones of the clearing are at the end right now.

Besides working on reclaiming the backyard, we spread seed and watered to try to get some grass growing. We're really anxious about getting grass growing - walking around in a wet yard amounts to walking around with shoes that weigh 7 pounds each from the mud! Not to mention I am not big on mopping the floors in the house and tracking in mud equates to many more mopping days than I care for.

You would think that with all the work we have to do at our homestead we would simply dread going out there. Nothing could be further than the truth. Working that hard would be a total buzz kill if we weren't doing it for ourselves, or at least making a butt load of money at it! Since there's no money in this for us, there is no doubt we are doing this for ourselves. Waking up early and having a cup of coffee at the picnic table as the day wakes up is more invigorating than any amount of caffeine. Working hard and feeling the blood course through our veins as we labor on our homestead reminds us that we are alive - and why. And after a long day working to make our home what we want it to be, nothing can beat sitting back in a cool breeze and watching the bats devour the mosquitoes that fed on us all day. I've gotta admit, that's one of my favorite times of the day.

Well, we've got another week before we head out to the homestead again. In the meantime, we're going to fix my trike which decided to give up the brakes about 50 miles into a 180 mile ride last weekend. She doesn't mind - I've told you before she likes to go fast. But it was certainly a butt-puckering ride for me for about 130 miles. We'll get her brakes working again this week so she can make it back out to the homestead.

By the way, the Tin Can Campfire I told y'all about earlier is really great for keeping away the mosquitoes and gnats. We light one everytime we sit outside in the evenings. No question you could cook on those babies - they put out quite a flame and a bit of heat. A definite "must" for a survival kit.

Until next time, live free.


Friday, July 28, 2006

July 27, 2006
We started the website just as we were beginning our efforts to get out to our homestead and getting back to the basics of living. Our home in town has been on the market for a few months now, and we have had no luck selling it. As desperate as we are to begin this chapter in our life, we can not afford to do that until we sell this house. We're very disappointed that things aren't moving as quickly as we would like, but we're trying to make the best of it by spending weekends on the homestead and keeping in mind that our jobs in the city are helping to pay the bills until we can get out there debt free.

We got great news today - our homestead passed final inspection! We can now focus on clearing out the fallen trees, improving the house, growing grass, and a multitude of other things. I honestly thought putting in a doublewide would be quick and painless, but the government makes certain nothing is easy in life. Do you know it took us almost 6 months from the time the home was delivered until we got through final inspection? I'm sure that time varies from state to state and person to person, but should you decide to go this route with setting up your homestead, you may want to budget at least that much time.

I can not tell you how much we enjoy our time out there. We head out on Friday nights and come home Sunday before noon. Saturdays are really long days for us as we have an awful lot of work to do, but every minute out there is appreciated, and we take great pride in looking at the rewards of our labor when we finally sit down to relax as the sun is setting.

In my other life, I sit behind a computer all day. I'm a computer programmer and it's something that I've always loved doing. But there is something much more rewarding about physical labor that is done to make a better life for yourself. I take great joy in looking at every big ugly rock pile and knowing that each rock and pebble in it was moved by our hands and left a place more livable for us and brings us one step closer to the home we are preparing. I love looking out over newly sprouted grass, remembering the barren land that it now covers, and knowing that we put every single grass seed out there by hand.

For now, the few days a week we can spend there keeps us going. Late in the evening, after working all day on our homestead, it's easy to sit in a chair in the yard, look out at the land, and imagine the huge vegetable garden and the outbuildings that hold the tools we will use on a daily basis. Seeing the deer tracks in the yard assures us we'll have many hearty meals in our new home. Even the blueberries and blackberries that grow in abundance make me smile, imagining all the pies and desserts we'll enjoy - assuming I can get faster than the birds, deer, and bears!

We're not there yet, but we're working towards it. Right now it seems like a dream to us, but we're the kind of people who set sights on a goal and head that way. We will get there. And you'll be the first to know about it!