Posts Tagged ‘house’

Bee-coming a Homestead

In the cold months of January, homesteaders around the country are cozied up inside, salivating over seed catalogs and planning for warmer months. We now join the throngs that dream of April chicks, putting up deer fencing and contacting local apiaries for supplies.

Today I took one step closer toward our homesteading goals and ordered our bee supplies. Our little garden hive box and all of the necessary clothing and necessary tools should arrive within 5-7 business days. Then, between April 16th and 30th, we’ll hopefully get a box in the mail that contains our bees and their queen. Whoa.

In some ways this is daunting to me. I’ve never been stung by a bee, and I’ve heard it’s not pleasant. However, I’ve also heard that beekeeping is one of the easiest homesteading activities that one can do, and the side benefit of having our own honey will just be divine. Between now and May we’ll have plenty of time to read our beekeeping books and become well acquainted with all of our equipment. I’m pretty excited about the prospect of really starting our life in the country…somehow this makes it more “real.” After all, not many of my Los Angeles friends have a backyard hive (although I hear it’s possible). Next up: fixing up the chicken coop. We’re ambitiously hoping to order pullets for April or May. We’ll see if we can do it in time.

To be honest, I’m just happy to have something on the horizon other than working on that darned bathroom. The end of our first homeowner’s project is in sight: the tile is laid, the bathtub installed, the walls painted. Now we just have to seal the grout, varnish the wood stuff, and hook up the plumbing. Small potatoes compared to what we’ve faced so far.

My heart continues to overflow with thankfulness. Every day I get to wake up to clean air, beautiful hills and kind people. Years ago I never would have dreamt  that this would be the life that nourishes my soul and gives me a zeal to wake up every morning. But here I am. And if it’s a dream, I hope I never wake up.

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Within the Snowy Hollow…A Bathroom is Born

Working hard, and enjoying family time…I’ll write more soon, for my reflections have been many and my gratitude tremendous.

Above was a picture of our house this morning, and below is a picture of my handiwork!

This Woman’s Work

You can’t ever really take a vacation from reality–it’s always waiting for you when you get home. And so it is with our bathroom saga. But, like so often seems to be the case, with this mini-crisis has come some unexpected blessings.

What you see here is partly the work of my own hands. Rob and I spent the evenings of this week tearing down walls, tearing out old insulation, and tearing off the old and rotting wooden planks that had been nailed to the ceiling. Thus the last of the demolition phase has begun…and I continue to learn and do things that I never thought I’d learn and do.

This week, I learned how to tear down a wall. I also used a drywall saw to carve out an access panel. These are small things for people that are handy, but for me, well…I felt empowered. It’s strange and beautiful to know the insides of your home. To see the bare bones. To know intimately the planks of wood that hold it up and hold it together. It’s like we’re doing surgery on this house, opening it up and scraping out the parts that were doing it harm. In the process, we get to see how it all works, and it almost feels like I’m witnessing the the life of the house played out before me. In those wooden studs we witness the birth of this house, the development of it’s skeleton. Each layer that was added–from insulation to wooden paneling then drywall and wallpaper–each was a new age in this house’s history. Now we strip it down and another age begins.

Tonight my father has driven up from my parents’ home two hours south. He spent the evening with Rob and I planning tomorrow’s work, which will consist of finishing the demolition, hanging a drywall ceiling, and roughing in our tub (that is, at least, if all goes according to our ambitious plan).

I have to admit how wonderful it’s been to do this work–this, the work of our my hands–with Rob, and now with my father. Next week Rob’s dad will join us as well. I feel lucky and blessed to have this adventure, no matter how scary it feels at times.

God is so good–and I am thankful that even the challenges hold abundance of grace.

Planes, Demolition, and Sugar

 

Hey folks! Happy New Year. I feel ashamed that it’s taken me this long to get back into the swing of things, but so it is. We had a wonderful time in New Jersey, and arrived back in California stuffed full of homemade cookies and lots of love. It’s good to have such amazing family on both Rob’s and my side; the hard part is that they’re spread across 3,000 miles. I wish I had Superman’s gift of flight and supersonic speed. Perhaps I’ll ask for it next Christmas, it would make visiting so much easier!

Leaving the homestead for 10 days was a bit nervewracking considering all of the bathroom excitement of December, but everything was fine when we returned home. I have to admit: I was really happy to be returning to this place. Often when we used to return to LA and our noisy apartment, I would be filled with the urge to get back on the plane and fly far, far away. But it felt different when the wheels touched down this time. I was anxious to get back here. I wanted to see the land again. I wanted to hear the silence. Even the challenges of gutting our bathroom and all the other projects that need to be done (it’s a long list; we made it on the plane) seemed doable and even enjoyable.

We got right to work, visiting our most frequented spot in Tehachapi almost immediately (Home Depot, of course!). Rob ripped off the final remaining wood panels from our bathroom ceiling and I got to smashing in the drywall by the pipes for the tub/shower. We’ll have to have our plumber replumb those pipes–he’s coming to assess the situation today. We also had a tub/shower delivered since the old antique clawfoot tub shall never set its clawfoot in this house again (if somebody hadn’t bought it, I’d swear I would use it for a flower pot). This weekend my dad will help us hang drywall on the ceiling and walls, and in a week and a half Rob’s dad is flying out from NJ to help us tile the floor and walls.  Once again, these daunting tasts are made less daunting through the help of family.

Finally, our latest news is the new addition to our family. No, no baby yet, but a beautiful dog named Sugar. She’s about a year old, gentle as can be, and is getting used to the new rules of the house. So far she’s gotten along fine with our cats, is responding well to us teaching her commands, and is making sure we get back in shape through her energetic walks twice a day. Those Christmas cookie pounds will be gone in a couple of days at this rate! We’re happy to have her in our home and are both still getting used to the different pace of life that comes with having a dog. It’s true–they require a lot more attention than cats. But it’s also good preparation for what is to come–hopefully, the chickens, the bees, the goats, the garden. All will demand our attention in a new way, and we’re preparing ourselves for that.

So life continues to change, or perhaps it continues to change us. We’re being shaped and molded by our experiences here. And I say with honesty and joy: I like who we’re becoming.