Sunday, June 28, 2015

Four years ago

Four years ago (at 4pm as I write this) we were sitting in the heat waiting for the trailer break down guy to get our house dug out of the mud. He had been 2 hours late, he was sent instead of his father (who we had paid), and was now drunk. He had not followed the normal procedure to break down a house trailer (probably due to his lateness and the fact that his dad was usually there to oversee things). Our house sat unstable and a little twisted. The damage was pretty significant, broken walls and cabinets.  But he was convincing when he said they'd have it out in the morning when the puller came back.

They did not, instead they jacked it up as high as they could on the puller truck, put blocks at the back to hold up the back, leaving the middle unsupported (anyone who has ever towed anything knows how bad that is! ) and surprise surprise,  what happened?? They broke our house. In an instant we found ourselves homeless. It is what changed everything in our lives, even our outlook on the world. It all changed in a blink of an eye. The following days and weeks, were awful, including also the loss of our income. It was a very dark time.

For some reason it is hitting me hard this year. Much harder than the years past. It was not just a house, it was a home, it was a dream, our daughter was born there. To many people it was 'just' a house trailer,  of no real significant importance, that was the hardest part, feeling like so few cared. Of course there was a lot of amazing kindness shown to us and very kind friends and random people. But for whatever reason, knowing some put so little value on our HOME was dehumanizing in some way. I certainly can't wish it on anyone, I hate hearing people have lost their home, it is too near my heart. It is something you really can't imagine until it happens.

Tuesday, June 09, 2015

Wahoo! We can cook outside!

I can't express how liberating it is to finally have a good solution for outside cooking. Being off grid (or even for those without a/c), cooking inside is brutal and makes the house a level of hot and humid that nature can not create on its own. So mostly I only cook breakfast and we eat light things and sandwiches.

The last few summers we have tried the propane camping stove and just an open fire (in various forms). All ended up being very susceptible to the wind, even a light breeze could make water not boil. We thought of a propane grill with a side burner,  but a grill is a poor oven and the side burner wasn't rated to get water boiling (one of the hardest things to do!) Plus, propane costs money and money is usually pretty short for us.  The wood was free, coming from our own trees, but it would take so much wood to get the water boiling and boiling long enough.

So our solution started with the kids. This early spring they started making 'camps' with random things we had in the yard, most would be considered trash, but it was so neat to watch them create and see what they came up with.  Paul became obsessed with campfires and cooking outside. In time he found and old pot that had rusted through a few spots on the bottom. He built a fire and cooked hotdogs! Just this week Chip needed to boil some oak bark, a process of several hours, there was no way we would heat the house up, so he started looking around and he ended up elaborating on Paul's camp cooker. Now we can cook outside efficiently using the unsplitable logs. Chip cuts them real thin and then chops them into little blocks.

The bottom pot has slits for air, then a grill grate, and then the pot for cooking. 

Friday, June 05, 2015

The heat has begun

Summer is a challenge!  So hot, itchy, sweaty, just miserable. I Don't know how people can enjoy it, maybe it is the difference between people who can get relief with a/c and those who can't for whatever reason (us being off grid, man it would be a LOT of solar panels to have even a little a/c!)  I probably wouldn't mind summer as much if it involved less sweat and itching. I do love the life that is around and the green plants, but it is literally an hour by hour trudge to fall. Thankfully it is really only 3 months.

The other part is the mosquitoes,  those little pests are out with extra thick this year. We got lucky last year, not this year. The whining of them can start to drive one crazy, not to mention the itching.  I really don't like chemicals, but I am on the verge of looking to see how you'd kill ten acres of mosquitoes!

I am mostly writting this to get the summer whine out of the way and hopefully resign myself to get through it. Complaining does not help at all. It just makes a downward spiral on everyone's mood.  Hopefully we can get a water meter, that will help immensely.   Thanks to those who have helped with donations toward that!

Monday, June 01, 2015

On the walk to get the mail

Our mail is about half a mile away, along with our trash can.  We usually to up daily and just abkut always find something along the way, a new plant or flower, some kind of animal (yesterday it was a skunk! ). Here is today's find, a box turtle.