Tuesday, December 3, 2013

The house is mostly done

So the structure is pretty much complete and we've moved in, hurray!  It was a long, difficult at times process.  But it feels really good to look at the results.
Right now we're actually in Kansas City visiting family, so I'm trying to take advantage of having internet available 24/7. 

Maybe someday in the future I'll do a step by step "here's how we built it post".  For now I'll just say, I'm happy we have a place to stay warm and spread out a little.  I'm always looking towards the next thing that needs to be done.  Next year I'd like to plaster the walls and finish the floor in the house.  I'd like to get started on a combo bathhouse/greenhouse.  Miles is going to build a recording studio/guest area.  I'd like to really get the garden going and start planting fruit trees.  I'd like to get some animals, definitely a dog, and maybe some quail for eggs.

When we get back to the house in a week or so, we'll start doing Christmas decorations, then we'll hunker down for the winter.  I requested about 20 or so seed catalogs this year, and I'm really looking forward to some intense catalog studying. 

Hope everyone is well, I definitely am.

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Woah....the past 7 months recap

Oh hello again.  We've been on quite the adventure the past couple months and I thought I'd tell you about it.

Last time I posted here we were in Germany.  Sounds nice doesn't it?  Well it was in some ways (meet some very nice people, experienced living in a different place, kids learned some German), but it was definitely not a vacation.  Glad to have done, was very glad to get back to the states (with the exception of the god-awful customs line/rat maze we had to wait in when we first got into Philadelphia and consequently missed out connecting flight).
Our studio apartment in Cologne.  All those books and only one was in English: a book about Kylie Minogue.

Georgia eating some fish eggs in our apartment.  That's my baby.
After Germany we stayed with my parents for a couple weeks through Thanksgiving and then the girls and I planned to head to our new neighbor's house in New Mexico to stay the winter while they were house sitting in Hawaii.  Miles was going to stay in Kansas City and work.  One of our goals of building a house was to not incur any debt.  So to save money we wanted to live rent free for a couple months before we starting building.

Our neighbor's house was not totally complete (something they had fully disclosed to me), and that combined with the extra chilly weather and me being alone with two kids and having to almost constantly manage the wood stove left me looking for another option.  I signed up for the World Wide Opportunities for Organic Farmers website (wwoof.org), which was one of the best $30 I ever spent.  I found a woman in Tucson who needed help with her gardens and welcomed children.  We exchanged some good e-mails and decided I could come down after Christmas.  I had a couple delays (transmission went out in my car and we spent the New Year's Eve and the first couple days of the new year in a hotel while it got fixed, then we realized Miles still had the key for the lock that was on the hitch of the trailer and it had to be mailed).
So finally I got to pack up the trailer in negative degree weather and we headed for a warmer climate.
Once again the trailer came in super handy as we traveled south through New Mexico and west into Arizona.  I love road trips!  We stayed just at a couple campgrounds and Wal-Mart parking lots, but the best spot was a dispersed camping (free camping) spot in the Cochise Stronghold in Arizona.  I highly, highly recommend camping in the National Forests and BLM land.  One it's free, two, it's usually very private, and three it's beautiful.  Dispersed camping is like a library of land.  You can pick a spot and it's yours for 14 days.  I've honestly never felt so free in my life as when I'm out camping on public land.  It's great.  The only downside at this particular location was we had no cell phone service, so I couldn't let anyone know we were just fine and dandy, so I left earlier than I would have liked.  But we came back on our way back to New Mexico.

So, yes, on to Tucson.  We parked our trailer on the land of a very lovely woman who enjoyed the kids and taught me about her gardens and kept me company!  I would work for her for 2 hours a day (which was challenging at times with the almost 2 year old Georgia constantly needing my attention).  I dug a big trench for humanure, pruned her apple and almond trees, double dug a garden bed, oiled all her garden tools, and weeded a lot of grass.  Her land was in a small semi-intentional community several miles outside the city.  So we could take walks out into the desert, walking though the sand washes.  It was so nice to be warm (most of the time).  We did arrive right at the beginning of a cold snap, and we saw it snow!  We left at the beginning of March, I was pretty frazzled by that time, having spent 3 months with the kids by myself.  I was ready to be with Miles and to be at our new home.

Exploring the desert
Once we got back on the land, we started working on the house right away, digging into a hill.  It took about a month to dig out the house area, then we dug a trench below where the walls will be, and then dug holes for concrete for posts which will be on the inside of the walls.  We just poured the concrete last week and the next step is the harvest the posts out of the forest and get those up and the roof on.  Meanwhile, I love exploring the forest around us.  We have an amazing spot here and I'm so grateful.

On our land

I love our neighborhood forest

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

In Deutschland

Sorry I have not posted in months and months.  We had no internet in New Mexico, then we were staying at my parents house for a couple months, and now we are in Germany.  We're half way through a 2 month stay.  We have a little flat in Cologne, but we're just outside of Berlin now.  Staying with some friends who have a beautiful place that used to house pigs 100 years ago (they asked me what a pig house was called in English and I couldn't really say: pig stall, pig sty?).

Alles ist gut, but it can be hard to do simple things like grocery shop in a place you don't really know the language.  We are all learning a lot.

...uhhhh, innanet's not letting me upload pictures now.  I'll try again soon!

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Enjoying life

Not a whole lot to say right now, just taking in all the great sites and great people around us.

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

90% in the trailer

So, we've been sleeping/mostly living in the trailer a little over a week now.  I haven't written much here because I haven't been on the internet as much and because the thought of breaking down all that we've been doing into blog form seems pretty enormous to me.

Click here to see a quick video I made of the trailer.

Since I really don't know what to say, I'll just make a couple bullet point thoughts:
-great to be outside all day long
-lots of bugs!  flies, ants of all sizes, spiders, mosquitoes, etc. hold a lot of our attention.  I think because of our non-winter here there are even more bugs than usual
-it's been 90+ degrees here for the majority of our time our here so far, but it's been OK.  I think it's really great for the kids to build up temperature tolerances.  I imagine it's healthy to follow a seasonal temperature cycle in much the same way people are realizing that it's important to eat seasonal foods.
-cleaning the trailer is awesome, everything has it's place and it's all within a 90 sq ft. area. 

I'll post some pictures as soon as I can, please feel free to ask any questions!

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Sad sight

I was very excited to get our solar panel so we could try and hook it up.  But when I opened the package today the glass had shattered into a million tiny sharp little pieces.  You can see where it got dropped or slammed into something somewhere along the road.  Kinda bummed that we have to keep waiting on this.  We are otherwise really, really close to being done and itching to move in.

I wanted to give a couple other updates on some previous posts:

-All my talk about moon time and my second period came 6 weeks after the first!  Pretty sure my hormones are still regulating themselves and I'm still breastfeeding A LOT.  95% sure my period started again because I was trying to nightwean Georgia, but I decided it was too early so the frequency of feeding picked back up.

-Water only washing update: I have gone back to shampoo, about once a week.  My hair seems to require constant experimentation, and I still don't feel totally satisfied with my routine.

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Getting close now...

Here's some of the latest pictures of the trailer, although we have a lot more done now.  If you have an iphone and want more up to the minute trailer updates, you can follow me on instagram, I'm "dunniedun".

Soooo, here are the beds and the kitchen counter.  There's a toilet seat there because I was getting ready  to make our composting/sawdust toilet.  You can see the cork floor here too.

Installing the cork floor was a fairly easy process.  Cutting the edges to size was the hardest part.  I ended up having to special order the adhesive ("water based latex contact adhesive") because no stores carried it around here.  Well worth it though, as it was really easy to use and any extra came up easily within 24 hours.  There were a couple spots we didn't get up within 24 hours so there's a sticky section by the door.  I think we'll just put a rug there.

We used e-track for the beds.  Pretty easy to install also.  Here I'm making sure the 2x4's line up.

Miles is a good driller, I'm getting there.