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Can’t Get There From Here (but we did)

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Funny how just looking at the house from the other end of the field gave me more perspective.  The kids and I walked down to the other end of the property to look at the progress on the shop.  Standing on the edge of the site, looking back at the house, I was hit with a memory of when we drove in from West Virginia and saw just open field in front of us.  For so long now, all I see everywhere I look is more projects, more work, not enough money, and not enough time.  Tonight, though, when I look at the house and outbuildings from the shop site, I see our home.  I see the garden built with love and hard work.  I see the sheds built with Sophie in a backpack sleeping.  I remember each and every moment of making it happen, but rarely get to really appreciate the view from afar.  There is more work to do yet, but it is neat to see the property with a wide angle lens instead of the magnifying glass.

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Garden Bounty

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Somehow, between all of the millions of things we did this Spring, we still managed to put in a garden.  We literally worked every day to get it planted the week before we left for vacation, and then we were gone for two weeks, and prayed that it would still be there when we got back.  We rigged up an anti-deer fence, anti,bunny fence, and watered the new plants.  We pulled in the driveway two weeks later and it was all we could do not to run straight out to the garden and see what survived.  Guess what?  EVERYTHING!  We have munched on snap peas, enjoyed fresh salad greens, and the boys eat the carrots whole.  Zucchini bread, zucchini relish, diced onion, summer squash  boats, radish and carrots dipped in sweet chili sauce.  The boys check almost daily for the emergence of green beans, tomatoes, peppers, and their beloved pumpkins.

I feel like there was some mistake, because the garden that I almost virtually ignored in the beginning has exploded into a crazy jungle of food-producing madness.  I can barely walk the rows between the tomato plants taller than I am and the various squash plants that are creeping across walkways.  I look for deeper meaning and hope that our spirits can grow this wild and wooly with little attention.  I love watching the kids beg me for fresh carrots while I am making dinner.  Looking forward to next year when we can add chickens and maybe goats to our funny farm.  As we enjoyed the cool evening by the fire, I feel secure in the knowledge that God is with us.

Taking Down the House…..

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Today marked the end of another testament to our craziness.  I cannot believe that I did not take any photos of us driving the two trucks and trailers from West Virginia to Minnesota to start our life here.  All I could find was a photo of Dave in the old trailer that we bought down from Alaska to West Virginia and lived in for three months.  We packed everything in the front and had a bed in the back.  When we dismantled that trailer, we felt a little bit sad.  We called it, the ‘hobo home’.  We kind of missed the freedom, the feeling of not being tied down, not belonging anywhere.

This time around, it was very different.  This time when we took the trailer box apart, it was more of a celebration.  We built the box on a utility trailer and packed as mch as we could inside.  We had to rent another Uhaul to get everything up here.  We used our old door from the house in West Virginia as the trailer door.  We actually even used the hardware and some of the wood from the Alaska trailer, so part of this trailer came with us all the way here from Alaska eight years ago!  The last three years were rough on it, the roof was leaking, mold was taking over.  We decided it could be repurposed as a wood shed for the time being, but that meant pulling all the nails in the floor and somehow getting it off the utility trailer (enter the tractor).  Dave drilled a couple of holes in the sides, ran chain through, and attached the chain to the bucket of the tractor.  Up went the bucket, up went the box- sort of.  After a few snafus, I drove the trailer out from under the hanging box and Dave set it down not-so-gently on the ground.  I am not sure that it will be able to be moved again without falling apart, but it will do for semi-dry wood storage this winter (or a large mouse house, anyway).

It was nice to look out the front and not see the ugly box anymore.  Now we can use the trailer for more exciting things, like picking up old telephone poles to use for a bridge across the creek!  And this time, I am NOT looking back nostalgically at our time camping in the field.  I am TOTALLY fine to be living in a house, with a foundation, that cannot be driven away!

 

Our New Home Away From Home!!

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Well, ironically enough, exactly two months ago we first walked onto this property in Northern Minnesota. We had been in Minnesota for two weeks already and had only two more days to look at properties. We were worn out from traveling with a two-year-old, logged more than 3,000 miles on the rental car, and had looked at over 40 properties. On a whim, I decided to expand the search to slightly more than our intended price range, and we found this piece in an area that we had already researched extensively. We decided to go take a look, and when we got there, we realized right away that this might be home. 40 acres- our target amount of land- with 15 acres in field, 25 acres in mature hardwoods, and a very small creek running through. Surrounded by a mixture of farms and large wooded tracts, it was on a maintained road not far from the snowmobile trail and within a comfortable enough distance from the Mississippi River to allow for recreation but not flooding! There have been many ups and downs over the last two months and finally, today, it is ours. Now that the dream is finally realized, we get to begin the scheming phase! At this point, we are contemplating building a yurt and securing a shipping container for storage. Another idea is to put up a steel shop/building, and use it as home/storage while we build our primary home. We are planning to live simply, cultivate a food-producing garden, and have a manageable amount of livestock.

I know that we have many challenges ahead of us. I know that this new adventure is not going to be easy. I know that after four years of being in West Virginia and wanting out, I am finally feeling rooted here and will miss many people. I know that even the idea of starting over, of packing, and moving, makes me feel very, very tired. But I also know that our time here, as well as our time in Alaska, has prepared us for this adventure in ways that we could not have imagined at the time. We are much more realistic about what to expect. We know that our immediate priorities must include shelter, a garden, and small livestock. We know what we can and cannot live without. We know the price of sacrifice and how to ensure that it strengthens us as a family instead of weakening our bonds. We know that after the year that we have had- God is on our side, and we are praying for this land to serve as an opportunity for us to reach out to others. We know that this life is not going to be easy, but it will be fulfilling. We know that the values and life-skills that we received from our grandparents can now be passed on to our children.

There are so many unknowns between our lives at this moment and our first day on our new land. There is a baby to be born. There are financial challenges. There is a house to sell and a house to plan. There is five years worth of stuff to sort and pack. There is 1,165 miles to move all that stuff. There are jobs to be found, and connections to be made. Most of all, though, and most importantly, there is finally the realization of a dream that has been years in the making. I really do not know exactly when the pages will turn to this new chapter in our lives, but stay tuned, because it is sure to be an exciting, adventure-filled ride!!

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