After weeks and weeks of rain, we had a funny cold patch in February where it snowed almost every day for a week! It was fun to look out of the big bay window in our house and see a blanket of white across the yard. We closed the sale on our house last week and are happy to have that behind us, although it’s kind of bittersweet as we’ll always remember it as the first house we shared! We made another big life choice last week and decided to move into an apartment – it’s been difficult to be in the RV with very unreliable functioning of all kinds of things – water pumps, ceiling leaks, no real insulation, etc. All of this together has felt kind of emotional for us – we’ve been really trying over the last year or so to make decisions that will, in the long run, save us money that we can put towards our house. It’s hard when those things don’t seem to be working out well, and we have to backtrack. It’s felt like one step forward and two back at times. As I’m writing this, I’m thinking about all of the work we’ve done trying to get things going with the farmhouse and how many dead-ends we’ve hit – I don’t have the energy tonight to write about all of that, so I’ve put Aaron on that task for another post. 🙂 Anyway – we are now in an apartment in Bonney Lake, which is only 10 minutes or so from the farm. It’s wonderful to be so much closer, and that’s given us some needed encouragement.
I feel like Aaron and I have been trying so hard to make things work getting out to the farm, and it seems like we keep making mistakes! We joke that at least we picked the right partner, even if we’re making lots of other mistakes along the way. 🙂
I had this sort-of-romanticized idea about living in an RV. I thought it would be fun to downsize, have a mobile home that we could take with us wherever, etc. And this might be the case if we were in a new, expensive RV! But we are in Honey, our lil’ 1987 oldie. It seems like every which way we go, there are new problems, each one that takes a day or two to fix! Among the issues we are currently dealing with:
- The water pump in the RV is not working, so we don’t currently have water.
- There is a little leak that we became aware of in the living area, which dripped water down onto a duvet while we were out.
- The battery died from being parked too long and it took us several hours to get it going again.
Well, the bear on our property is persistent! We were out of town for several days and it broke in again; this time ripping off the lock to the area where the chickens were and tearing out a chunk of the wooden door. Miraculously, the chickens survived! They may have PTSD, but they are apocalypse-ready! The three of them were just hanging out by the coop – clucking away and looking for food.
It’s a bummer that the bear came back – we feel like we need to call Fish & Wildlife now and see if they can re-locate it. Hopefully they can do that without hurting the bear. We want it to live a long life – just without our chickens.
Aaron reinforced the door with a new lock – unfortunately the bear can probably get past most anything we put up at this point. All of Aaron’s hard work constructing the feeding and watering system needs to be re-done – I guess this is farm life!
We had a great Thanksgiving visiting my parents on the coast! Casey and Jenn were there, and we had lots of good family time – eating tacos, seeing a play at the Newport community theater, watching the new “Murder On the Orient Express,” and taking many naps. We drove home on Sunday and went out to the farm to check on the chickens, and found a big surprise! A bear had gotten past the sliding barn door and into the big plastic bin holding the chicken feed. The empty bin was in the yard with some big bite marks on it! The door had some scratches as well. Aaron even used a “peppery” feed that’s supposed to repel animals. But all the chickens were safe in their coop next door, so we were thankful for that!
We adopted three chickens from the B&B – Lady, Gardener, and Tweet Tweet – names courtesy of our nephew Little Aaron. They are very sweet! Aaron and I have a history with one of them – about a year ago, a possum broke into their pen in the middle of the night at the B&B and was munching on the tail of Lady! She was in shock – it was the strangest sight, seeing her (by flashlight) standing in total stillness while this possum, face covered in blood, was attacking her! While Aaron ran to get a shovel, the possum jetted off. Lady recovered, and she’s now happily living her best life at the farm, shortened tail and all!
Aaron’s going to do a blog post at some point about this (he’s working so hard right now – got up at 3:30 this morning to do Cyber Monday sales for The Fruit Company) but I wanted to post a few pictures of his handiwork. He constructed an amazing feed and watering system for the chickens. For the water, they peck in the little orange bowls, and water comes out. He rigged it up with a weight that comes through the mesh windows of their coop and goes up/down based on how much water is in the PVC pipes, so we can see how empty or full it is without going in, unscrewing the cap, etc. Handy!
Another hiccup on our way – after setting up our mailbox at the top of the driveway where there was already an existing mailbox post and newspaper box, we were told the mail lady doesn’t drive down one-lane roads (which ours is) and we would need to put one up at the top of the hill in front of our neighbor’s house. So after meeting our neighbors and asking their permission, we put together a new mailbox post. Aaron did most of the work on this, and it turned out great! My do-it-right-and-by-the-rules hubby looked up all the USPS specifications for our specific location and built an apocalypse-ready mailbox post. Here’s a photo of him and his handiwork!
We are now living full-time at the farm! It’s been a big transition, but we are glad to be in one place and not having to drive back-and-forth so often. The last haul in getting the RV ready was a long one. In summary, we ripped all of the old carpet out, put down Pergo floors (we so appreciated Aaron’s dad’s help on the trim – he had all the right cutting tools to make it easy!) and tiled the tiny bathroom. We cleaned everything top to bottom and then moved in on a Friday afternoon a few weeks ago.
The tiny space hasn’t actually been the hardest part of the move – it’s been all the problems we’ve run into along the way! The little refrigerator stopped working, so we bought a used full-sized one on Craigslist for $150. It took us most of a day to go look at that, get it loaded, unloaded, take the doors off to get it into the farmhouse, and then get everything moved over from the old fridge into the new one. Then we were having problems with the heater, so we bought a space heater. Then we had problems with the water pump, so Aaron’s working on replacing that. Each of these issues has taken a day or two, and when we are trying to work on these on Sundays on the weekends, it’s taken quite a while.
Since we moved in, I’ve been trying to make everything feel more homey. I added some little bulb lights to the bedroom, and put a bunch of peel-and-stick hooks around for towels, keys, etc.
I can’t believe it’s almost September. It feels like summer flew by! I start another school year at PLU tomorrow, and can’t wait. We have a fun new cohort, and I get to teach them their first class – always a good time. If there’s anything I wish I’d known four years ago when I started here, it would be to trust that IT WILL GET EASIER. I thought I’d drown in my first year of teaching… I remember working 10-12 hour days every weekend trying to get my lesson plans ready. My goal was to stay two weeks ahead of the class! Now I’ve taught some classes 7 or 8 times, and others 4 times… it’s so much easier now that I’m tweaking the material I’ve already worked on for several years.
Aaron and I have been working hard on the RV over the last few weeks. We’ve been driving out to Buckley after work and putting in several hours before the sun goes down and we lose the light. We are only a few boards away from finishing the Pergo floors we put down after ripping out all the old carpet. It wasn’t until after we’d made quite a bit of headway that we realized the RV was constructed by nailing down all the fixtures on TOP of the carpet. So pulling it out with pliers, boxcutters, etc. was a task. We are thankful for my parents who came up and spent a long weekend helping us! We were also surprised at how long it’s taken us to put the flooring down… pretty much every board (with the exception of a select few down the center) has custom cuts. For reference, it’s taken us about 50-60 hours to do the flooring. But we’re seeing the light at the end of the tunnel now! The bathroom was also carpeted (ew!) and we’ll put down some white penny tile in there. Then I want to deep clean, maybe paint if we have any energy left, and then move in! I’m hoping we can do that and get the Tacoma house listed within a month. It will be so good to be out at the farm – I don’t think I’m going to mind being in the RV… I’m kind of looking forward to being a minimalist and having less to clean/maintain. Let’s see if I change my tune in 6 months. 🙂
Other happenings over the summer:
- My mom and I got rear-ended in a pretty bad car accident that totaled my mom’s SUV. We were waiting to turn left and the driver in the truck behind us was distracted – he rammed in to us without any breaks at about 45 MPH. Thankfully, no one was hurt, although it was pretty scary.
- My mom got diagnosed with shingles the same day we were in the car accident. It’s been really painful for her – she has chronic pain from the car accident that crushed her foot about 8 or so years ago, and she doesn’t complain about that – so I know when she says she’s hurting, she’s really hurting. She’s on Neurontin now, and says that’s made a lot of difference. We are praying for a quick recovery.
- Aaron and I watched the eclipse from the farm. We were in about the 98% zone, and it was so fun to see if get dark enough that the outside lights came on.
- We found an amazing heritage blueberry bush on the farm that is still producing delicious little berries, even without any maintain for the last 10+ years!
- Today we came back from a great long weekend in Sunriver with my parents, Casey and Jenn, and Jenn’s parents George and Becky. Casey and Jenn are thinking of moving to Bend area, and we had fun driving around and looking at property with them, visiting Sparks Lake, throwing the ball way out into the water for the pups (my parents brought Sadie too), having peaches and ice cream, and staying up late playing Balderdash.
I’m so excited for fall. The hot weather here has me down! PLU is very connected to it’s Scandinavian Lutheran heritage, and one of the things they celebrate is “hygge” – trounced “hoo-gah.” It’s a Danish word that means “cozy,” “connected,” “content,” etc. There are 10 principles to hygge:
- Atmosphere – turn down the lights, use candles and lamps, etc.
- Be here now – turn off your phone.
- Pleasure – bake cookies, have a piece of chocolate, etc.
- “We over me” – share the tasks and air time.
- Gratitude – take joy in daily life.
- Harmony – no need to brag, it’s not a competition.
- Comfort – put on sweatpants, curl up in a quilt.
- Truce – strive for peace and no drama.
- Togetherness – build close relationships and narratives. “Do you remember the time we…?”
- Shelter – this is your tribe and place of safety.
Isn’t that a good manifesto for the end of 2017?
Our sweet friend Bethany drove down from Seattle (braving Friday traffic – with her two month old, Ireland!) yesterday evening to take some pictures of Aaron and me at the farm! Bethany is one of the most creative, talented people I know – do you know anyone else who is piecing together a new quilt two weeks after having a baby? She throws floral arranging classes, does all kinds of sewing projects for her kiddos, bakes fancy things, photographs people, etc. – all while having a three year old and an infant! She is amazing.
For any of you looking for a florist or photographer for your wedding or special event, feel free to contact me for Bethany’s contact info!
Here are some of the beautiful photographs she took – ones we will love forever. Thank you, Bethany!
Last weekend, Aaron and I went out to the farm to trim all the brush and brambles from around the electrical cables. We are working to get electricity back on, and the company said they would be happy to come do the yard work for us – for $2500 extra dollars! We said no thanks – we can do it ourselves. 🙂 So we spent most of Sunday trying out our new buzzsaw on the end of a big stick (I’m sure there’s a more technical name for this tool). It worked great! Aaron worked hard cutting down limbs and branches, and I was the “hauler-away” person. He was impressed by my brute strength and said I am like Paul Bunyan. He is my Babe the Big Blue Ox. 🙂 Fen was “helping” by playing tug-of-war on the branches as I was trying to haul them to the pile. She LOVES life on the farm. I can’t wait to have her there full time.