Friday, February 5, 2016

~A dream you dream alone is only a dream…a dream you dream together is reality~John Lennon

To practice being in harmony with the universe, the earth and all that lives on it. This was and is the plan. Frugal living, self-sustaining, self-subsistence homesteading-growing our own food, building our own home, taking care of our own physical needs, without dependence on the outside world. Pay cash for everything. If we don't have the cash, we wait. Seems simple enough, right? Hmmm...

This lifestyle strikes a chord with both of us for various and personal reasons, but for two people to be in unison is....well John Lennon said it best. Life is so much easier with two people thinking intentional thoughts. It sure has made us both become do-oers as well as thinkers. It just shows one what can happen. We just know we are blessed to have stumbled upon each other 10 years ago, and now we continue to live the dream and life as it and we evolve. 

So...we cashed in our nest egg, bought 14 acres in northern California, sold our beloved victorian country home on 14 acres, closed our retail garden center after our Spring/Summer sales and hired a local trucking company to drop off a full sized semi trailer. We packed it up tight with our household possessions, three greenhouses, and our collection of succulents and bonsai.

The trip here was long.... We left August 10th in three cars, eight cats (sadly Jazper bolted while being loaded into the cattery we built in the van) and our three dogs. 6 cats in the van, Onyx and Max in the Forester with me, and Luna and Rio rode with Emma and Ivy. We were fortunate to find motels that allow for the critters, although we left the 6 in the cattery so as to not lose anyone. They actually had it made in there and did quite well-they all did. Sad about Jazper, although Betsy and Effie (our new owners) have since adopted him so he will find new companionship along with their 6 cats.

We arrived here on the 15th and it was a stressful day. We had to meet the driver at the gate within the hour and he assessed the drive up to the property. He could only bring the load up part way so we had to unload the trailer while he waited. This trailer was packed so full there was not a square foot available, mind you. We checked craigslist and were able to find at least one more pair of hands to help unload, which we did reluctantly on someone else's property for a few days while recouping.
A kind neighbor loaned us a trailer to ferry our things the rest of the way up the hill...

We quickly set up camp and tried to assess the area and get our bearings. We had to just turn the cats all loose and hope for the best. Over the course of the next week 5 of them disappeared for up to 3 and 4 days but all reappeared eventually. The bad thing was that drilling our new well was an extremely loud process and it was so hard on an already stressful new situation for them. Late afternoon the day the well was in I heard a rattler go off and quickly ran up and grabbed Luna off the coiled snake. The next day was a repeat with Rio. The day after that we found Ling Ling lying dead. He had fang marks and a bit of blood on his neck This was just too much to handle. Drained both emotionally and physically we were questioning every thing and spent some serious personal time soul searching. We both came up with some interesting stuff and agreed that we would strip ourselves completely naked metaphorically (sort of) and rethink who we are and have no expectations. We'll just be re-born and grow into who we are. This is a brand new life and everything we used to think no longer really applies. Any pre-concieved notions are just that-notions, so do not apply and should not. We are finding ourselves and creating our own reality as we go along.

It was in the 100's every day and we were soooo lethargic!  We moved our campsite up on a bluff over looking the pond, clearing our land of brush, weed eating, raking, inspecting for snakes.
I've learned to work in the morning, drink lots of water, and slow down. We have both slowed down, which was hard for us both, but was part of the plan..Work 4 hrs a day during the hot months and 6 months out of the year and spend the rest of the time learning about us. The heat has actually helped us ease into the lifestyle, and as painful and unfortunate as Ling's death was for us, it helped us to learn respect for our surroundings and also helped us to remember that nothing is permanent and to love with all our might each and every day...

Labor Day~
We spent most of the day clearing and planning the area for our yurt. The materials for the deck which it will be built upon will be delivered this week and we're excited to get going on it. We're both looking so forward to getting indoors out of the heat and being set up indoors. We've got a lot to do before the rain begins in Oct. Besides, our furniture and belongings are sitting mostly exposed to the elements, under tarps, and plastic. My furniture has already faded from a nice dark green to an irridecent green yellow, and I think there is a bit of wood cracking going on so I desperately need to go over and do some oiling of the wood. Gotta let it go, some things are just the way it ought to be, I guess.

When the yurt is built, we will put up a greenhouse and get everything we brought that survived, under cover and ready for winter. We'll also put up our veggie house and plant our fall crops in-ground, under plastic, for extended season. We found an amazing greenhouse  that has a huge variety of plants winter hardy to our area-much bigger than anything we're familiar with....The greenhouses here prepare for a second growing season, so we bought some herbs, flat leaf Kale, tomato plants, and lettuces to get us going but will seed out some stuff and put in some more greens, and broccoli for sure...
We were like kids in a candy store looking at all the stuff we can grow in our zone 9/10. February is the time to plant trees/shrubs so we are planning our fruits and citrus garden/fruiting shrubs and palms, as well as a little oasis of tropicals in a small recirculating pool/water fall area for the cats and us to enjoy. We will be adding Koi to our family I think. Although we have a Greater Egret and Blue Heron that occasionally fish our pond, we're planning our oasis right outside the yurt near the deck, so we should be safe with new life there...
 We've got a wonderful little Natural foods grocery store with a large selection of fresh organic veggies, and a lot of health foods available 10 miles down the road and I can't believe there is one in our little berg! Lucky us.  We're situated near a small  gold mining town look and feel. Looks like the wild west. 

Our phone service is a local cell phone service, and we have a clearing at the top of our hill where we have a bench and table to sit and talk, but need to leave our phones up there for reception. A minor inconvenience that we accepted. We'll plan to get satellite Internet, and can make calls from our computer indoors when that happens, but will cross that bridge when we come to it but somehow it does not seem important at the moment...
Redding is only 10 miles north of us and has everything  but I'm not sure how often it will be necessary to go that far for needs. Red Bluff is also 10 miles South of us and has Home Depot and Lowes so we're good for building supplies.
Sep.t 9th

Our lumber and piers were delivered this morning so now we can get started with yurt platform. The guy that delivered was actually the manager from this place, Payless Lumber. What a really nice personable man with such a can do attitude. We always worry about deliveries and people coming up here as it's a pretty hairy place to get to, but between this guy and Mike, the well driller, if anyone has a problem, they are just plain weenies...Everyone we have come into contact so far is personable. Everyone tries to save us $, or throws in a deal. I guess it's the way it's done out here..Even Mindy at Pacific Yurt helped me tremendously in putting together our yurt order and although the sale was over threw in a $700 insulation and wind package! I feel confident doing business with folks, knowing they are looking out for our best interest. It's all about doing good business, not just trying to make a sale. That means a lot to us as we navigate our way through our unfamiliar new life.
I spent a few hours at the library and ran errands, worked out at the gym and by the time I got back, Scott had all the piers laid out and the joices cut and propped up. Now we can both see just how much floor space we will have. Sure looks bigger than we thought so that's good. 30' is an amazing change from what we came from.

I went away camping with the girls to Mt. Shasta. What a wonderful place! Met some interesting folks and spoke of the magic and wonderful sense of well being you feel just being in the presence of the mountain. There's a spring at the edge of town that you can fill your water containers with and the water is soooo cold and delicious.
Met up with a group of young women that my daughter had met the previous year and we did a full moon circle. It's been a long time since I joined a ladies gathering and It was wonderful to spend the time together. The woman leading the group was from Germany and she spent some time in India studying . Then there was another young woman from Berlin with a baby, another young mother, one from Thailand, one that was half south African and spent time there. Interesting young women.
The moon was amazing! It rained the night before and there was a double rainbow at the base of Mt Shasta. Incredible!! There was a hint of a third one as well and the reds were all pooling in one area and cast a fantastic light. The sun was going down as well so it was extra golden red to begin with.
The girls showed me all around, we saw the most amazing views.
took me to Crystal Lake and showed me a beautiful spring there and a huge patch of pitcher plants right under the spring. I spent my last day hiking up to Panther Meadows and to the spring that is supposedly the beginning of the Sacramento River. I spent some time talking to an herbalist who talked of the lore of the spring and she shared a bit of her history. She was there gathering floral waters. As a naturopath she was definitely at the perfect place to do it and with the full moon the night before she had a perfectly wonderful batch collected to take back with her. She took be back down to my car and I continued on up to the mountain as far as I could drive and spent a few hours hiking up and enjoying the view. I was particularly drawn to the more southern peak and hear an amazing sound coming from it. Could have been bats screeching I suppose..or the wind, but it was exciting whatever it was...
Spent some time meditating and then felt I needed to head back, pack up and leave asap

Sept 23rd~
Went to an Autumnal Pot luck gathering at our neighbors Chris & Kelly. Great food mostly vegan and exceptional food and conversation with lots of other neighbors and friends. Wish the girls would have been here as they would have enjoyed themselves and met some wonderful young homesteading families and fellow travelers. These younger kids sure have put on some miles in traveling all over the world and have so much to teach us. Medicinal mushrooms, Ringing Pines in Siberia, lots of cool stuff.
Met some sweet young ladies and they are planning a woman's gathering for full moon. I'll look forward to that and hope to hostess a few of them myself at time goes on....This can be a hard life for women up here and sharing ourselves is valuable.

Sept 24th~ John finished installing the floor today. He had a very frustrating time with warping. I've never heard him carry on so much. Sure didn't help much that he's still not up to par with his rib giving him problems. I began my job sanding the floor and got half way done. Will finish sanding tomorrow and get the finish on.

Tonite I had to kill a rattlesnake. As I lay in bed I was awakened by that telltale hissing/rattle and I jumped up, yelled at whoever was antagonizing it, grabbed a rake and shooed two cats away from it while putting on my rubber bogs, grabbed and edger and while fumbling with the solar lights tried to remove his head from his body. It took 10 or 15 minutes for it to die. I sure felt bad to have to do it, but really felt I needed to do the deed. The cats were all around it and I didn't know what else to do.
It creeps me out to think how many times I come out of the camper in the dark bare legged and footed with out thinking about it. Another wake up call today. Nitetime shelter has just become a real necessity-that and I think I will try to get my hands on a 22 asap, and a high powered flashlight. My machete is just not going to be enough protection for me to sleep well at night.
John is having a horrible time with pain tonite. He could not move through this whole ordeal and In between pulling the cats off the snake and killing it I ran and got him two alieve and a cup of water.
I wonder what tomorrow will bring.......It may rain.

Oct.1st. The yurt is nearly finished. Hallelujah! Putting the top on proved to be tough for two people. We put the liner on the top, the the insulation over the top of that. We ended up needing to go get scaffolding to put on the heavy top cover. What a test of strength for me. We did get it done though with great joy in the end for having that part finished and reveled in it for the rest of the evening. Tomorrow we'll get to the wall insulation, cover and the dome skylight. I can't wait to move in and see what it's like living in the round.
I've decided that I would like to get a 38. It'll take care of rattlesnakes, and coyotes, if the need arises. I'm most familiar with a 38 and I like the piece of mind knowing that I won't feel so vulnerable. I think I will keep it to myself though as I know John will not approve and it'll just cause a problem. I'll call it my little piece of mind. Wonder if that's why it's referred to as a 'Piece'.hmmmm, something to ponder.

The girls came home last week for a few days and brought a friend, Abi Masufa. Abi is such a delightful young lady, and we really enjoyed getting to know her. She's from Ft. Wayne, IN, close to where I once lived and my family is from. Abi's father is from Sierra Leone, Africa and her mother, Ft. Wayne. They are or were both teachers, but her father is now spending a great deal of time building schools in his birth place now that he is retired. Abi has a degree in political science with a minor in Woman's Sustainability. She plans to join her father in helping out in Sierra Leone. Emma hopes to travel over with her this winter and spend some time. Hope it works out for her.

It was great to have them home-they cooked for us, gave us a hand with the yurt rafters along with our neighbors Chris & Kelly. We had a nice evening sharing our evening meal, conversing and listening to Shay and Chris sing and play their guitars.
The weather is cooling down substantially now and we are expecting rain in a few days. It'll be great to be moved inside, and give poor john a nice long rest so he can heal his cracked sternum. He's worked so hard despite his pain, to get this project done. I look forward to seeing him on the sofa reading the new book, our friend Vito lent him. They seem to have the same book interests and he seriously deserves the rest- it'll be mandatory. I'll also set up the message table and work on that bad lower back pain that's also plaguing him. Got to get him better so we can focus on the next step~solar panels, plumbing and greenhouses.
The girls left again -this time for the Hardly Strictly free concert in San Francisco. Ahhh to be young and carefree! We are now nearly finished with our home and it's gonna be sooo fine moving indoors...

Had to go get scaffolding to finish the job pulling the top cover up through the dome skylight. Wow that sure took all the strength we both had and then some. It's all insulated, side wall cover is on.

Could not sleep indoors the first two nights-toxic vapors galore! I had terrible headaches and nausea. John bailed as well the first night, but was fine on the second. We pulled off the vinyl windows and left the screens open for a few more days, but the fumes were still giving me nausea and a headache, so I stayed in the camper again.  The third day was  much better so I spent the day moving in and enjoying the spaciousness. Being indoors was heavenly after spending about 2 months outdoors.

Oct.25th. Loving the perfect weather. 83 degrees here is like about 70 back in WI. It's just so doggon wonderful! I can be indoors or out and not be too hot either way, so I've been unpacking, decorating the yurt, doing laundry, and today we had a dozer come in and grade for the greenhouses, give us a level driveway and parking, spread large gravel, and give me a load of small gravel for the walkway. I now know how to use a sanagalo bar and swing a pickax. Ooooh am I sore and ready for bed tonite! Tomorrow we begin putting up one of the greenhouses. After that we'll get our winter garden going. We'll put  up a smaller greenhouse up and plant in ground. 

The girls are working right now trimming for local growers growing medical marijuana for compassionate caregivers and dispensary's. We are in the Emerald Triangle after all and it's a way of life for many around here. I worked for about 4 days but needed to get back to the task at hand...getting our operation operational and settled in before the rainy season. 

Nov, 2.  Finished putting up greenhouse#1 and everything is indoors now...light frost last night so just in time!

Nov 5th. Wood stove goes in today..yay! Our kerosene heater has done well in this interim, but wood is plentiful here and a lot cozier..
supposed to rain today and I'm looking forward to it softening up the ground so I can begin my outdoor cob oven project. Gotta dig and level the ground first.
I put in a sand sidewalk to level the paths to the yurt, but hope to incorporate river stone  into the wall/bench/oven project-we'll see..Gotta make a hearth first.

Wednesday, February 3, 2016