It’s been a LONG time since I posted anything on the blog, too long. The last post was when we closed on the homestead– over 6 months ago. I kept meaning to post, I truly did, but I couldn’t. You see, after we finally got our homestead we hit a rough patch. A series of unfortunate events ensued and I didn’t know how to talk about it without sounding like a complainer. I mean, let’s be honest, to many people we’re living the dream– and it’s true! We ARE living our dreams, but that doesn’t mean there won’t be challenges. And while I know that our challenges are so small compared to all the craziness going on in the world, they are a part of our journey and so I feel it’s important to share them accurately represent this life. We made it through this particular set of challenges, learned some things, and are moving on… it’s time the blog moved on too. So, I am going to do my best to give y’all an update.
The first thing that went wrong was with the car that I just purchased this summer (because my previous vehicle ceased to function properly). LONG painful story short– it needed a new engine. Over $4500, a couple weeks of stress, and a few life lessons later, I have the new (used) engine. While this is going on someone came on our property and stole several of our hens, our rooster, and a feeder and waterer. That really violated our sense of security on our new property. We have since installed some cameras to be sure if anyone else comes uninvited on our property we know. Around the same time, I got poison ivy. BAD. I had to go and get steroids because my body had a secondary autoimmune response and the poison ivy was spreading fast. It took over a month to heal and I still have scars where the worst spots were. A couple weeks later Michael and I got the flu, at the same time. We were so sick and couldn’t really take care of ourselves or each other. We got through it but were both out of commission for over a week. Then, in the process of moving the last of our things out of the rental house we learned the mold there was worse than we thought. Some of our things needed to be thrown away. Some family heirloom furniture pieces had mold on them. I couldn’t bear to get rid of them so I am doing my best to clean them and replace parts that were too moldy to clean. On top of that, the pipes froze at the rental house during a particularly cold spell (while we had the flu). So, we had to have the water shut off to protect the house from potentially burst pipes. Luckily the pipes were ok. We were so relieved when we finally turned in the keys to that awful place and got our whole security deposit back. I never want to see that house again, ever. Then, the radiator in my car broke (yes the same car that got a new engine a few months prior). Luckily it was something that Michael was able to fix so we didn’t have to spend too much money to get it back in working order. More recently, we lost a bunch of our chickens to some predators. My little lap chicken was injured in the attack and we had to do chicken surgery to save him. I will likely discuss this in more detail in a separate post because it is turning out to be elemental in shaping our vision of the homestead. There were a few other things too but that covers the majority of the bad stuff.
There have been lots of great things happening too though! My parents have visited us twice (and we’re looking forward to them and my brother coming for a visit in a couple weeks). They got to see our new place and we got to spend some time with them. While they were here, they were a huge help on progressing our renovations forward. We are so grateful they spent their vacation helping us work toward our dreams and make our home beautiful. We did a good bit of the demolition work of taking down walls (thanks, Dad!) and all the existing kitchen fixtures. We refinished the kitchen walls, installed new floors, and got our new appliances in place. Coming soon will be new cabinets (which Michael is building), counter tops, and pantry. I am SO excited for my new kitchen to be done!! Don’t worry, I’ll post before and after photos soon. Then, after the kitchen and dining area are done, we’ll finish the master bedroom and bath. Since we now have all our furniture at the homestead we are sleeping on a real mattress, instead of the air mattress we were sleeping on for months.
Michael and Bailey got to experience their first snow. We got around 10 inches of snow over 2 days, so it was a good one! And then several more smaller snows in the weeks after. We got quite a few snow days over the winter and took full advantage of them! They are much more enjoyable than hurricane days, in our opinions.
In February we got baby chicks and Michael built a beautiful brooder box for them. Then he made a nice outdoor run for them to get some sun and fresh air. They are so much fun to watch, even now that they’re almost mature and have been integrated with the older flock we “inherited” with the land. We took down the goat fence and put up the new garden fence. I started an asparagus bed and planted some peas and green beans. But, the rest of the garden didn’t get finished in time for this season. There’s just too much to do, unfortunately. Such is the homestead life! It’ll be ready for next season though! Luckily, there is lots growing that we didn’t have to plant but can still eat. The amount of stuff growing out there that is edible is mind-blowing! We have been getting to know our land, which is so much fun! We take walks around the acreage as often as possible. We’re observing and thinking and planning. Deciding where to put the new chicken coop, garden, greenhouse, etc. We’re also doing a whole bunch of information gathering on mushroom and plant species that we share the land with and what we want to introduce on our property. I will write a post about all the edible and medicinal stuff we’ve found so far soon!
We have officially been living in the mountains for over a year and been on our homestead for over 6 months. At the end of every weekend for the last few months, after working hard all weekend, I keep telling Michael “I don’t think I have ever been this sore in my life. Every muscle in my body hurts.” and then I tell him about which specific muscles hurt the worst and which task caused the pain. The funny part is that I’m not really complaining. I find the pain gratifying. I tells me I was productive and that makes me feel good. Soon I’ll have built up my homesteader muscles and I won’t feel the pain so much. It’s getting easier and easier to climb up and down the mountain, which is exciting.
So, there it is. Some of the bad parts and good parts of our last few months. Hard times are a part of life; everyone experiences them. There will always be things we can’t control or can’t keep from going wrong (no matter how much I hate it). But we can control how we respond to those situations and our response is the important part. To not let life’s difficulties drag us down we need to do our best to respond to the troubles with determination and gratefulness. There were some tears shed, sleep lost, and hard lessons learned but we came out stronger and smarter!