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Impatiently Waiting

“I wanna sale out and move back to the country. I’m gonna get me a goat and some chickens!”

I’ve been telling everyone that for ages it seems. Well, we finally did it! As I posted before, the house sold very quickly and for more than we were asking. That means that we finally had the money to make our dream of a small homestead a reality!

As soon as we had the signed offer, I was dreaming of farm fresh eggs, homegrown veggies, and cold raw milk. Literally, dreaming of them. Many would call me crazy for that. I probably am crazy, but that is not why. Who wouldn’t want fresh, unpolluted food and a sky unclouded with a brown haze?

We decided to head back to my home country of East Texas, where the humidity is horrific to someone who has become use to the dry of the mountain desert. Oh well, I’ll just have to adapt because the pros by far outweigh the cons in this situation.

The property we’re buying seems tailor-made for our needs. There is a pole barn with a workshop that can be converting into a tiny house. Electricity, well, and septic system already in place. (Hallelujah!) A small shack for my gardening shed that I’ve been wanting. There is already some fencing in place for a goat pen.  It just needs a little work. There is also a pond that is spring fed and no one in the area no matter how old can remember it ever running dry.  In fact, it actually produces enough water to feed a second pond that is also on the property.

image The down side is that it has become completely overgrown, as in the blackberry vines and Sweetgum trees will cover you too if you stand still long enough. Of course, that’s also part of the reason for the great price.

Of course, now that we’re finally doing it, CC and I want it yesterday, so we fight to be patient. The upside of it going slowly is that it gives CC and I time to think though our moves, so that things happen in the right order. For example, I was surfing craigslist.org the other night and found 15 Black Astralorp pullets ready to start laying. These are the chickens I’ve researched and wanted all along. I’m not getting them because I have no place to put them yet. Sigh!

Hopefully, they will still be available when we get the coop put together. If not, I’ll order chicks from an on-line site that a friend recommended.  (I’ll let you know how they do, if I end up going that route.)

So here I am waiting (not so patiently) for the day to come when we sign on the dotted line and I can get started full steam ahead. Stay tuned for all the highlights, hilarity, and humdinger disasters to come!

And if you have any suggestions for getting rid of Blackberry vines that are taller than a 6′ person, do let me know!  Yeah that’s 6′ plus tall CC in the picture.

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Posted by on November 27, 2015 in H.S.H.

 

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Home Sweet Home

I’m sitting on my mom’s front porch in East Texas as I write this.  The crickets and the neighbors tractor through the trees is a soothing symphony that has lulled our two dogs into sleep after a hard day of country dog living (sniffing EVERYTHING, peeing on every other thing, and digging up moles).  BG is playing in the yard and I’m not even remotely worried about it, which is a big switch from the city.  My biggest concern recently is if she bothered to put her shoes on before she went outside.

We chose to move to East Texas for a variety of reasons, not the least of which is that I know the area, having grown up here.  It also helps that my mom is looking to downsize and is going to sell us a great little property that has everything we could wish for.  Most people think of desert and oil wells when they think of Texas, but Texas has a lot more to offer than that.  Texas has coastal wetlands, rolling hills of grass and wildflowers, a seemingly endless expanse of grass, and then you have the piney woods where tall Pines mingle with mammoth Oaks, gracious Magnolias, and delicate little Dogwoods.

It is the middle of November and while there is a little bit of bite to the air as night comes on, the grass is still green and BG has just brought me a small bouquet of purple flowers.

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The plan was to start living that more relaxed lifestyle that we’d been dreaming about and I have to admit, we’ve been having some issues with that.  Habit has been formed and now we have to build new habits.  The habit was to go, go, go and that just doesn’t work here.  Everything moves at a slower, more natural pace and I have to admit, I’m loving our new Home Sweet Home.

 
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Posted by on November 20, 2015 in H.S.H.

 

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SOLD!

We’ll be closing on our house this coming week and if that seems fast to you, consider how I feel!  The house market it apparently smoking hot because we had three offers within three days of putting the house on the market.  I’ve always maintained that when the time is right, things will fall into place.  Let me tell you…  This has only strengthened that belief.

Everything is going so well, CC and I are both slightly dazed, but that hasn’t stopped us from snapping and snarling at each other.  The stress of getting everything together has been horrendous, but we knew it was going to be, so we’ve been really clear about not getting to upset about being short with each other.  That’s gone a long way towards keeping the peace.

Now let’s talk turkey.

We’ve hauled away four to five times the amount of stuff that we’re taking with us.  Good stuff.  Stuff that someone somewhere is going to be overjoyed to have.  When we started there was a horrible feeling of insecurity that went with getting rid of it all.  We’d put something on the pile to go with us because we couldn’t bear to part with it, but as the hours and possessions passed, we’d revisit the “going” pile and pull stuff out and shake out heads at ourselves.

Many of you might be thinking that we’re paring down to nothing, but that simply isn’t the case.  I’ll give you a good example.  I have a hand-crocheted wall hanging of my last name.  It’s beautiful!  I’m not taking it.  Why?  Because as beautiful as it is and as much as I appreciate the time and effort and thought that went into the making and giving of this gift, it is NOT my ‘style’.  I’m not in love with it.  I’ve kept it because I felt bad about throwing it out.  For someone else, it might be just the thing, but for me…  not so much.  CC and I discussed it and we concurred, that it just wasn’t our thing.  On the other hand, I have already packed up my seed collection and the baby doll that my grandmother made for me when I was a little thing.

The difference is love.  There is no point in having a bunch of stuff that you don’t really love cluttering up your life.  It weighs on your mind, even if you never consciously think about it.  I know because my load is lighter with every load we haul to the thrift store and each treasure that I unearth from the clutter.

 
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Posted by on October 19, 2015 in Thoughts

 

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Someday has finally come!

CC and I have been saying for years that we were going to sale out and move back to the country where we belong, but we kept putting it off for this reason and that reason.  Lately, my health has become such that putting it off is no longer an option.  We have to get out of the rat race and move to a more laid back life.  We’ve had some concerns about uprooting BG, but in the end we don’t think it is really going to be a bad thing.  Let’s face it, we’ll all be much happier when she’s got more room to run around.  There is going to be some adjustment, but honestly there isn’t one of us that this move isn’t going to help.

We’ve put the house on the market and despite the fact that we’re in the process of sorting and packing, it will start being shown today.  I’m embarrassed for people to see it looking like it does, but who knew we had so much crap!  I mean, I knew we had a lot of stuff we didn’t need, but this is ridiculous.

I’ve found shoes that wouldn’t have fit BG last year and the worst part?  She never wore them!  They were in a box full of clothes that we were waiting for her to grow into.  We never even opened the box when any of it would fit her.  In our defense, she has a grandmother that sends several boxes of clothes every month.  Still no excuse.

 

We also have a lot of duplicates.  We have them because this one doesn’t do this very well, but it is great for this and so on.  For a laugh, I took a moment and looked at what a good one would cost that did all these things well.  I wasn’t laughing.  For the price I spent on all the cheap ones, I could have had one good one that did everything well.  I know exactly how it happens.  I see the price of the quality item and quell.  Instead, I buy the cheap one and when I get it home, I’m not happy with how it does this or that.  Then I go out and spend more money for one that says it fixing that problem.  The only problem with that is that is doesn’t do something else as well as the first one, so I wind up keeping both of them.  If I had just spent the money in the first place, I could have had one that did everything well.  I know, you know what I’m talking about.  I didn’t use an actual item in this example because there were too many of them.
The whole process would be too depressing, if it were not for the fact that getting rid of the crap is such a relief.  You literally feel like you’ve shed actual physical weight.  This feeling of relief made me realize that all those self-help and organization gurus are absolutely correct; having less is more freeing.

What this means for us moving forward boils down to several key points.

  1. Assess everything that we want to bring into the house for function and quality.
  2. Assess everything we have on a regular basis to see if it is still relevant to our lives.
  3. Change our mindset of more being better.  (Quality beats quantity.)

The thing that I’ve learned from this is that spring cleaning is not a joke.  It is important in this day and age to assess constantly.  We, as a society, live in houses that are so much bigger than what we really need that we accumulate stuff we don’t need.  Let me explain.  There are three of us and we’ve been living in (half of) a 1700 square foot house.  Half of that total is downstairs.  Do you know how much we actually used downstairs?  Two rooms; one was the laundry room and the other was filled with our books.  We’ve gotten rid of no less than three huge boxes of books just because we don’t read them, they aren’t that good, and we don’t want to move them.  That’s sad.  We’ve had those books for at least the three years we’ve lived here and we don’t even want them!

So let’s look at the math.  Assuming that the library and the laundry room take up half of the basement, that’s about 425 square feet.  Add that to the upstairs that we actually use and you come up with 1275 square feet.  That’s not that big of a house by American standards.  CC and I discussed it and what we came to realize is that if we had more land outside out house, we’d spend more time outside, which means you could probably shave even more off that number.

Smaller house – less money spent.  Less crap – less money spent.  Less money spent – less money needed.  Less money needed – more options for everything!  Think about it!  If you didn’t have to pay for all that crap that you really don’t use or want, would you still have to work as hard?  Would you be able to live on the income from the job that you’d really enjoy, but maybe doesn’t pay as much as you currently need?  Could you cut back to part-time?  How much (in money and other stuff) is your lifestyle costing you?  Do you really love it that much?

 
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Posted by on October 8, 2015 in A Penny Saved, Thoughts

 

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Lil’ Sprouts!

Baby, it’s cold outside!

But inside the house, my garden is growing happily in the kitchen window and in the living room window as well.  A couple of weeks ago, I filled cardboard egg crates with soil.  Then, I added seeds and a handful of hope.

Today when i checked them…

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Large Leaf Basil

I have lil’ sprouts!  I told a couple of friends at work about this venture and got looks of amazement.  They all acted like I was doing something amazing, which on the one hand I am and on the other it’s the most natural thing in the world.  There are so many people who limit themselves with things like “I could never” and “I’m not that talented”.  For that reason, they become bitter and unhappy as the people around them test themselves and expand their horizons.  Don’t be one of those people; instead try something new!

Not all of my seeds have sprouted yet, but I have high hopes and if they do, I’ll add lemon balm, lemongrass, tarragon, savory, a new type of basil, and thyme to my indoor herb garden.

(On a side note, all the lil’ sprouts that I don’t keep will be going to new homes with my coworkers who are hopeful that I’ll also share my homemade red sauce recipe!)

 
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Posted by on November 18, 2014 in In the Garden

 

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Hey, genius!

Ah, sarcasm!  My friend, my standby…  Wait, I wasn’t being sarcastic this time!  You really are a genius!  In fact, everyone is a genius, but if Beethoven had never been introduced to a piano would we even know who he was?

Unlikely!

Instead of putting yourself down, why not take a moment to jot down the things you totally rock.  Don’t worry I’ll wait while you go get a paper and a pen that actually works.

Seriously! Get up! Go make a list of things you’re good at.

Now on the other side of the page write a list of things you’ve thought or been told you suck at.

Done?  Good.  Now mark off the ones that really don’t matter to you personally or that you aren’t passionate about.  All that’s left is the things that require research, experimentation, and the grit to keep pursuing.  Nobody ever got called a genius about something they weren’t passionate about.

Not passionate about anything?  That actually happens in our society.  The passion is beaten out of us by day to day living in some cases.  In other cases, certain people in our lives beat the positive right out of us.  As the child of an abusive parent, I know this all to well.

My solution to not being passionate about anything is to simple start trying lots of things; from crochet to fence fixing to blue water sailing!  There is something out there for everyone, but in most cases there are a lot of things out there for each individual.

FIND YOUR PASSION(S)!

When I was growing up, I was told that I would never be any good with plants.  I was told that I was ugly.  I was told that I was stupid.  I was told that all my ambitions were silly.  I grow a garden that has inspired more than a few of my coworkers and neighbors.  My daughter looks just like me and she makes people run into things when she smiles at them.  That just leaves my ambitions…

When I was a child I was going to be a cowgirl.  I was going to have a ranch.  I was going to have a garden and live like the people back in the old west that were completely self-sufficient.

My dream has changed somewhat.  I no longer want a ranch, but I’d love to have a much smaller homestead with milk goats, chickens, rabbits, a huge garden, and that self-sufficiency that I still crave. How is that an unrealistic goal?  Sure it’s a long way away in a lot of ways, but I’m on my way the moment I start.

Truth be told, I’ve already started right here in suburbia.  I already have a garden and my city just changed the law.  I can now have chickens in my backyard as long as I can obtain the permit.

Guess what I’m researching right now!  That’s right! Chicken coops and yogurt making, and cheese making and plants for this coming year and…

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Posted by on November 15, 2014 in Thoughts

 

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Much different, much the same…

Life has changed a lot since last I posted here, but some things are still the same. I’m now a home owner. Is it my ideal place? No. Is it better than an apartment? By a long sight! Is this blog going to change? Yes and no. I’m still going to express my opinion, but I’m also going to start posting all the things that I’m doing to be happy where I’m at. So many people wait until everything is perfect to start being happy, which is why we have so many pissed off, grumpy people. Nothing is ever perfect, but life is good. With that in mind, stay tuned for lots of weird projects between me and my partner; things like making yogurt, recipes, gardening, starting fires with sticks/flint and steel/ etc., and other off the wall things. We will also be including the trials of being the parents of a baby genius. Pray for us to whatever God or Goddess you worship, we need all the help we can get!

 
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Posted by on November 9, 2014 in Thoughts

 

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