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Time off work?

I had last week off from work in preparation for being there a bunch while my partner is on maternity leave.  I’ve found that a week off on the homestead though can be one of the most exhausting vacations you will ever have.

My father-in-law was replacing the deck on his lake house so we said we would love to have as much of the would as they would let us,  so with free wood comes projects. A couple years ago we had taken the wood when he was redoing a deck at another house and used it to build our duck house. 

On of the projects for this bounty of free lumber was a new path from the back door to the chicken coop. 

Put up some cafe lights we had as well to make it look like visiting the chickens was something very special indeed.

The second project was one I was a little prouder of.  I tore down and replaced the old rotting steps and landing to our lower porch using some of the recycled wood.  Before it looked like this…

And now ….

We are going to paint a resurfacer on them still, but they turned out pretty good.  I like the way they make that part of the house look a lot less like a place the Clampetts lived in before they left the hills. 

Well after an exhausting week off it’s back to work for some rest.


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a morning of reflections

As I sit here on a Saturday morning, with my yearly recognition of another trip around the sun looming in two days, I have been thinking about another  anniversary that recently happened.  It has been one year and one month today since we closed on our property and made the move away from city life.  We have tried to recall what brought about the decision to move out to the country, but have never been able to put an exact pinpoint on the moment in occurred.

A couple years ago we joined a farm co-op, which for a yearly fee allowed us to place a weekly order with a group of local farms.  It was like having a farmers market that took place on a website every week.  We would go online and see what was available over the weekend and then on Thursday would pick up our order at a local church.  One of the items we enjoyed the most was what the various farms would label “Best of the Farm.”  This was a box that would be filled with whatever was in season and available at the time.  When it was time for tomatoes thats what you got, or squash, or zucchini, or peaches, or onions, or lettuce.  At that point we never knew what to expect and every week was a surprise for the unknowing city folk we were.   It was our first experience with eating seasonally, and left us feeling more of a connection with our food.  We wanted to expand that connection and our tiny, two bed, raised garden was just not going to ever be able to produce crops that were any more than a novelty.  We had meet while working at a greenhouse and nursery, and both enjoyed putzing around in the yard.  So began the quest for a new home with a larger piece of land.

At that point I was 40 and my wife a few years behind, if we wanted to try a different life we needed to do it right then while we were able.  We weren’t delusional with thoughts of an easy, quiet life out on the plantation. We knew it may be hard and we may not like it at all once we actually got out there.   We told each other that if it didn’t work out we could always move again in a few years.

I will admit I had very little (ahmmm, no) role in the search, and it took a long time for a property to pop up that fit what we were looking for.  We knew we wanted about ten acres and a dwelling that was “livable.” We thought we would be okay with an old farm house that needed a new person to love it, but those places just weren’t popping up.  Then one day what sounded like the right size land in the right area showed up.  There was only one issue, it wasn’t the quaint farmhouse we thought we wanted. It was a log cabin. Not one of the nice, new pre-fabricated, manufactured cabins either.  A true, cut down the trees on the property and make a house log cabin.   We decided to make the trip out to see the property primarily because the description said that there was a pond, one of the items we had said we would love to have.  Trust me it was not because of the online photographs of the place, they did not do it justice at all.

The moment we stepped out of the car at the property we were in love.  Not with the cabin, but with the land. We thought the land was perfect for us, it was only after we bought the place that we thought about the battle with clay soil.   The cabin had not been lived in for a couple years, and you could tell.  That was probably what kept it on the market for so long and made the owner drop the price into the range that popped up on our search.  The cabin  was empty and it was very hard to imagine living in it.  Looking at it now, full of our stuff, I really think they should have put at least a minimal amount of furniture in it so potential buyers could picture themselves living it. Oh well, their lose was our gain.

We made an offer a few days later, before we had even listed our current house.  Our offer was contingent on us selling our house, which turned out to be so little of problem it is almost laughable.  Because of all my wife had done to the house over that last year in getting the house ready to sell, our little starter home was on the market and had multiple offers within 72 hours.

We were moving to the country.  Wait what’s that you say?  We have “well” water, and there is no trash service. No problem.  Let me just jump on the internet and look for…..what’s that?  No internet service provider except satellite?

Looking back I still can’t recall why we did it, but I know even with all the hard learning experiences we’ve had so far, we are enjoying it.  Know if someone could just find were these bats are getting into the cabin that would be great.


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My country list: 2

Okay lets get back to the next item on my list of things someone should have told me before I moved to the country.  For todays blog post lets talk about what you can see, and by that I mean nothing anything at all.  When the sun goes down it is DARK.  I mean I understand the concept of an absence of light but holy carp it is dark.  It is just so surprising how much you expect that there will be some bit of light to be there at all times.  You truly don’t realize how much light pollution there is near the cities until you get out to an area where there are no street lights.  Even if you don’t have street lights in your neighborhood there is still an amazing amount of light that can be given off of nearby houses. When your house is surrounded by a 100 yard wide wall of 50 foot tall trees in all directions, the only hope for light comes from above, and then you look up to see a million pin points of light, none of which let you see the hand in front of your face.

One of our first nights in the country was a moonless one and we were amazed by the darkness.  You really don’t understand the capabilities of a flashlight until you see it cut through that kind of dark.  The light from a good flashlight looks like a physical beam that you could reach out and grab.  For you Star Wars fans out there picture carrying a light saber to light your way.

I was walking across the yard with my trusty battery torch blazing the path when I heard something in the garden next to me. In that instance my mind ran through a thousand options of what horror could have snuck up on me.  I turned my light so quickly that I could almost see the light bend.  I prepared myself for the worst as the beam focused in on the beast.  I found myself facing down a bunny rabbit, but from the look in his eyes I could tell that he had messed himself too.

So let me end by saying that when you move the country, bring your own light with you where ever you go, as when the sun goes down you are going to need it.

IMG_6678 The view from my driveway down to the pond, isn’t it beautiful?