Saturday, October 28, 2006

Fall at the Homestead

For a change, I've decided to write this blog while I am actually at the homestead this weekend, rather than after we return back to town and begin our hectic work week.

I can not describe what it's like just to get to our homestead after a week of getting up at 3:15AM each morning and commuting 150 miles a day to DC. By Friday, we are exhausted and very much ready to get out to our property and enjoy the solitude and quietness this fortress offers us. We typically get back to our home in town from work on Fridays, pack up the truck with the groceries and items we want to take with us, and begin the 40 mile trek to the homestead. With each mile that brings us closer to our homestead, we feel the stress of the week slowly losing it's grip. By the time we get our driveway, we typically let out a sigh, and the last trace of stress leaves us as our shoulders relax and feel much less heavy.

Last night it was raining buckets as we pulled up to our little home in the woods.It was so beautiful I could have cried. It's certainly fall now, and the rain falling on the trees so bright with fall colors was just awesome. They seemed to sparkle. The grass looks so green and it's coming in so thick and full. What a beautiful sight! I could have sat in the truck and looked at it all night - not only because it was such a breath taking view, but because it was raining and cold and I wasn't at all excited about facing that to get in the house!

It rained all night, and it was a little foggy when the sun rose this morning, but the sun burned that off pretty quickly. When we're in town, I wake up before Bernie and get my shower before getting him up to face the rat-race of a day we are sure to have. On our homestead we reverse this. Bernie is usually up by 6AM, and I don't usually crawl out of bed until 7AM or so. Today was no different and as I staggered into the kitchen to make my coffee, he was already catching up on the news. I really love the sight of him sitting here, in the middle of our property, in our little home. He looks so relaxed and happy.

By 10AM we were outside insulating the well tank and installing the heat tape Bernie bought. When we finished that, we filled the log splitter, lawn mower, and ATV with the gas we brought out for that purpose. Bernie headed back into the house to get a nice fire going in the fireplace, and I took off on the ATV to staple the "No Hunting" signs we brought out a while ago. We get a little concerned about rogue hunters coming on to the property to hunt. This 65 acres has sat vacant for many years and even though we've owned it for a few, this is our first fall with a home on it. I'd hate to have to worry about hunters while we are in the yard working. At any rate, I got some signs up and Bernie got a nice fire going. When I got back, we relocated the firewood to a spot under a shelter we put up this summer. That took us quite a while, but we both feel better, knowing the wood now has a little more protection from rain than it had in the backyard under a tarp that the wind often blew off.

Right now we're sitting in the living room, toasty warm from the nice fire in the fireplace. I'm fixing to go in and start the lasagne we'll have for supper, but I wanted to take a moment and attempt to share our weekend.

We've decided to spend the week of Thanksgiving out here, on the homestead. I get excited just thinking about it. We've taken a few vacations in our life together, but I believe this will be the nicest yet! We're also planning to pick up our honey bees that week and bring them out to thier new home. We know nothing about honey bees, but we are both excited to learn.

OK, that's it for today. I need to go get supper started. I have some relaxing to do as soon as I finish that up.

Live free!

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

Freedom and Life in General

Among the many reasons Bernie and I made the decision to start down the path toward homesteading, is the fact that we are very concerned about the direction this country is headed. We feel it is not only desirable, but necessary to become more self sufficient. At the risk of sounding like an alarmist, I would say the fear of a collapse of our monetary system is at the top of our concerns.

Freedom to Fascism is an excellent video on the subject of the 16th Amendment, taxes, and the state of our monetary system. It's rather long, but I feel it is well worth the time to watch it and decide for yourself how you feel about the information. At the very least, I think it will give you pause for concern, and maybe lead you to looking into this subject a little more on your own. It's something to think about - and perhaps prepare for.

On a lighter note, we spent a whirl wind weekend out on the homestead. We started it on Friday night when we drove from Washington, DC to Richmond, Virginia for Delegate Janis' birthday party. We've attended the past couple of years and always have a great time, so it was hard to turn down the invitation. We left there around 9PM and headed out to the homestead. We arrived "home" just after midnight. It's the first time we've pulled up onto our property that late at night. I was impressed with the total darkness and calmness as we walked from the car to the house. It was so peaceful and so serene. We sat up talking until about 2AM and swore we were sleeping in late in the morning. When I got up at 8AM, Bernie was dressed and watching for deer out the living room window. So much for sleeping in.....

We spent Saturday splitting some logs from trees we had cut up earlier in the woods. We hauled the split wood up to the house and stacked it at the tree line by the house. We finally finished up around 5PM and came into the house to cook up some fish stew from some of the fish Daddy so generously provides us.

Sunday we got up, ate breakfast, and left around 10AM to head back into town. Bernie was supposed to go flying with a friend that has a 46 Luscomb, but that got cancelled due to the weather. He was looking forward to flying over the homestead and getting some pictures for us to put up on the website. That's OK. They'll reschedule and we'll get the pictures up there later. Instead, we spent the day working around our home in town and praying that we sell it soon.

Hey, we've scheduled the weekend before Thanksgiving to go get our honey bees! Six hives and the stuff that goes with owning bees. We're pretty excited. This will be a pretty cool adventure. I'll be certain to keep y'all up to date on that.

Live Free!

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

I feel I may have found a home on the Homesteading Today website. If you haven't checked them out yet, it's a pretty cool site with a lot of members - seems like most have been homesteading for a while, and some, like me, are preparing for it. Lots of good info there and lots of good people.

It's been a little while since I posted. We drove from Virginia to Texas for a few days for a bikers' rights related conference. We had a great time, and it was hosted by my Big Brother, so it was especially great for me.

We went out to the homestead to spend last weekend - we missed a weekend going to Texas, but what a difference the change in weather has made! The leaves are turning and the grass is coming in really nicely. The deer have changed their visitation schedule and now come even earlier in the morning. It was chilly while we were there and neither of us are cold weather people. We had a fire in the fireplace all weekend and I made a big pot of chili Saturday night. We had the yard to mow on Saturday, so that took most of the day. Next weekend we've got to get started cutting, splitting, and stacking some firewood. Did I mention we're not cold weather people?

I took a few pictures while we were out there. They're posted in the Homestead Pictures area of the BackToBasicLiving website. Scroll to the bottom of the page for the most recent pictures.

We haven't sold the house in town yet, but we're moving ahead as best we can. Our next adventure is getting 6 hives of honey bees! We have a friend who is selling his bees, hives, and accessories - he gave us a good deal. We'll be heading up to get them in November. We're pretty excited about it - I'll be sure to keep you updated and post some pictures of the little buggers.

It's really hard not to get bummed out about the housing market right now. We desperately want to sell our house in town and get back to basic living out on our homestead. But we made a deal with each other that we had to sell the house first, so that's that. If you know of anyone looking for a nice, 3400 square foot brick home in Front Royal, let me know!

Live free,

Monday, October 02, 2006

I've been reading up on the National Animal Identification System (NAIS). Scary stuff for anyone who homesteads or simply wants to raise livestock on a small scale (a goat, a chicken, etc.). Articles that I felt really did a great job of explaining what the NAIS is and where all this comes from are in the latest issue of Countryside & Small Stock Journal Magazine magazine. Check it out and see what you think.

This program has already been implemented. BUT if you are as worried about this as I am, there is something you can do to work to stop this program NOW. There is a bill in the House (H.R.6042) and a bill in the Senate (S.3862) to "amend the Animal Health Protection Act to prohibit the Secretary of Agriculture from implementing or carrying out a National Animal Identification System or similar requirement and to require the Secretary to protect information obtained as part of any voluntary animal identification system."

Each of us needs to contact our Senator and our Congressman and ask that these bills be supported. Don't know where to write? Well, find your Senator and contact information here. Enter your state name in the box at the top, right hand corner. Find your Congressman and contact information here. Enter your zip code or choose your Representatives name from the area in the middle at the top.

The NAIS program has been implemented. Now it's up to YOU to do something about it. The role of National Government is clearly spelled out in the Constitution of the United States - and clearly the NAIS is not included in the limited role of our national government. Are you content to let the government intrude into your lifestyle and personal liberties, or are you going to do something about it?

Write your civil servants today - and spread the word!!!

Live Free,

Sunday, October 01, 2006

Well, another weekend at the homestead has come and gone. We had plans to do a fair amount of work outside, but once again it rained all day Saturday. It's hard to get upset about that for a couple of reasons though 1) the grass seed we've been sowing desperately needs some water and 2) being forced to chill out is difficult to complain about! I spent some time working on my website. There are some little things and a few big things that I've been really wanting to do, but finding a couple of "free" hours while trying to maintain 2 homes, sell one of them, and work full time has been a little challenging. So I took advantage of the "down time" and did just a little work on the Back to Basic Living website. Check it out.

You know, I've been thinking about the story I posted yesterday "Life Without Left Turns". I still think it's a very touching, humorous story that makes me long for a simpler life, but I also got to wondering if perhaps the author's father just simply wasn't one to take any chances in life. It's rather difficult to judge that reading this story, but it gave just enough information to make me wonder.

Lord knows I love living and have plans to do a bunch more of it, but I can't imagine what life would be like if I avoided all risks. I like to believe the risks I take are carefully thought out, but there are some things I do that make others swear I've lost my mind. For example, the fact that Bernie and I plan to sell our home in town, quit our jobs and move out to the country and begin our lives as homesteaders. There are many people who understand and support our effort, but there are probably plenty more that think we're insane to quit good paying jobs and take a chance earning money month to month doing whatever we come up with to make a dollar or two. To us, it's worth taking a chance that we can make the money we need to survive and living a less complicated life, and end up with a healthier and happier life than making a bunch of money working in the city. Many think that financial independence is worth more than personal independence. For some that may be true. For us it's not. It may be a risk, but it's one worth taking. Although it's scary to some degree, being too afraid to do something we desire so much would be crippling to us.

So I guess life without left turns must be nice in many ways. But not if that means yearning to go down that road to the left and never experiencing what's there because you're afraid of the risk. Life is full of risks. It's one of the many things that makes it all so interesting and fun!

Left turns, right turns, and straight of ways all come with risks. Live life to the fullest and with purpose. We're all going to "go" at some point - I just don't want my final thought to be "If I had only had the courage to........"

Live free.