Week Two

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Two whole weeks on the land, and I feel like it’s been months.  There is something about this rustic camping situation that really slows down time, in a good way.  There are no phones to answer, no computer with high speed internet beckoning me away from the present moment.  Bed time is with the sunset (thankfully quite late these days!) and wake up time is whenever Everett decides it’s time for his morning nursing.

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The days have been spent building, growing, preserving, and figuring out how to remain comfortable, clean, and relatively chigger and tick-free.  For me, it’s a particular challenge, as I have to interact with the outside world on a daily basis.  A few weeks ago I auditioned for, and was cast in the musical Once on this Island.  Going to rehearsal every night, I feel a strong need to be clean and laundered.  Right now I’m bathing in big black tubs full of water, washing my hair with a hose over the head, and taking daily pond dips.  It’s all so reminiscent of Little House on the Prairie, which we’ve been reading throughout this whole Missouri adventure.

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The kids seem to be adjusting well to living on the land.  They play outdoors all day long, eat heartily, and sleep soundly in the tent trailer,.  Everett follows along beside me in the garden, carefully pulling weeds and watering young plants.  Ella nurtures the chickens, and begs to be taken to the pond to practice swimming.

We have been blessed with a long, beautiful spring.  Unlike last year’s drought, this summer’s rain has been bountiful, and our rain water catchment is thankfully full.  We experienced a particularly torrential downpour Saturday night, and within a few minutes time, our outdoor kitchen had  2 inches of standing water, a driving rain was soaking everything under the house roof, and the tent trailer’s tiny holes were dripping onto our bed.  We realized the only dry space was the tent trailer’s “dining table,” and we managed to host 7 people for dinner, each of us dripping wet.  It was quite laughable after the fact, but a bit scary in the moment!  The kind of experience that I will certainly remember for months to come.

All in all, each day, this land feels more and more like home.
Wishing you a wonderful day!
Teri

 

A Sneak Peek

Well, here we are, back from cake land, and once again firmly rooted in the reality of building a homestead.  Unfortunately, we have been rained out of our big moving day, which was supposed to be today. We will wait at the cozy town house until things dry up enough to move heavy furniture across wet ground.  While I’ve been sharing endless photos of cakes and decadent icing, we’ve actually been hard at work creating a rustic camping situation that will be comfortable enough to live with for three or four more months, or until we finish the house.

So here is a little sneak peek of our soon-to-be home!

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The garden is really coming along.  I still have peppers, basil, and some okra and onions to plant, but the main push to build a sheet mulch garden is over, and now I’m enjoying planting, sowing, and watering. OutdoorKitchen1

 

 

 

 

 

 

Brian has been shaping and building a beautiful outdoor kitchen, creating level spaces with urbanite and earth moving, and using some lovely black walnut wood that we had milled up in Oregon to create counters and cook tops.OutdoorKitchen2

 

This photo is a week or two old, and shelving and running water has since been added, but you can see the sink, counter space to the left, and the cookspace to the right.  The lower level will be the “pantry.”NewSofa

Moving slightly east to the living room!  That orange sofa was a total college move-out day score!  Free on the side of the road for the taking.  At first I gave Brian a “what are you, crazy?” sort of look, but I have to admit that it is comfortable and so useful for chilling out under the blue roof of the future house.

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The Sun Oven at work!  We will have a two burner Coleman white gas stove, a rocket stove, and this Sun Oven to cook with.  I hope for lots of sunny days, as the Sun Oven is SO cool.

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Tent, sweet Tent.  Our neighbors lent us this enormous tent in which to sleep and play.  The kids have loved spending time in there with their dolls and trucks; it’s relatively tick-free, cool, and spacious.

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And maybe the most important element of our camping situation: Water.  With this rain, we now have five 50 gallon barrels of water full to the tip top (and overflowing).  The barrels we purchased from Pepsi for $10 each.  They smell like Mountain Dew.  To filter, we will be using a Berkey Water Filter.

I look forward to sharing more in-depth information about each of these elements as we move to the land and get more intimate with these systems.  I know it will be a huge adjustment, but I’m really growing more and more excited to finally live on our land.

 

Touring the Tri-Communities

After years of hearing about the “tri-communities” of Northern Missouri – Dancing Rabbit Ecovillage, Red Earth Farms, and Sandhill Farm – we finally had the opportunity to visit the three communities yesterday.  To say that it was an inspiring day would be an understatement.  The three communities are vastly different, in size and in focus, but I came away from each of them feeling so invigorated and excited about the path that lies ahead as we seek to create our own homestead.

Our primary goal for this tour was to check out the basics of food, water, and shelter.  How are people building in Northeast Missouri, and what kinds of materials are they using?  What kinds of irrigation systems are in place for growing food?  How are communities meeting their drinking water needs?  What about electricity?  How can we adapt what we see for our own needs as a family of four?

What was truly exciting was to see a diversity of systems that worked well for each person or family.  For instance, the first small home we visited cost less than $3000 to build, had one single solar panel to power a light and radio, and the owner only built fires indoors when the temperature got below 40 degrees!  Contrast that with the exceptionally comfortable and spacious community building at Dancing Rabbit, in which there is internet, hot showers, composting toilets, refrigerators and washing machines.

Here are some of my favorite buildings:

A south facing sun room/greenhouse provides growing space and warmth.  In the winter, the residents open the door to their house, and let the warm air from the sun room enter.  In the summertime, they shade/screen the sun room.

A south facing sun room/greenhouse provides growing space and warmth at this Red Earth Farms home. In the winter, the residents open the door to their house, and let the warm air from the sun room enter. In the summertime, they shade/screen the sun room.

A composting toilet at Red Earth Farms.

A composting toilet at Red Earth Farms.

30 x 60 foot greenhouse.  My dream.

30 x 60 foot greenhouse at Red Earth Farms.  There were still greens and carrots growing, even after several 20 degree nights. 
An underground cistern collects rainwater from this house's roof.  Water is pumped through a filter before drinking.

An underground cistern collects rainwater from this house’s roof. I love that they used an antique hand powered pump to move the water from the cistern to the house. Water can be poured through a filter before drinking.

The community building at Dancing Rabbit Ecovillage.

The community building at Dancing Rabbit Ecovillage.

A temporary structure at DR.

A temporary structure at DR.

Many of the dwellings at DR had living roofs.

Many of the dwellings at DR had living roofs.

Mosaic in earthen plaster exterior.

Mosaic in earthen plaster exterior.

This house really captured my heart with its big windows and warm colors.

This house really captured my heart with its big windows and warm colors.

Another awesome building at DR.

Another awesome building at DR.

Timber-framed strawbale house in progress.

Timber-framed strawbale house in progress.

There was a very wide diversity of houses at Dancing Rabbit, including this old school bus!

There was a very wide diversity of houses at Dancing Rabbit, including this old school bus!

Check out these communities’ websites.  They have so much to offer and share!