Driveway

C had a little time before work and it was a beautiful 60 degrees outside so we decided to put in the driveway. About an hour later we had a beautiful start to a driveway. We still need to flatten the driveway more, put in drainage, and put in the culverts and we are ready for the gravel. Our goal is to have the gravel delivered Wednesday. 

  We have the dozer moving!!

   Pushing some dirt
    
 The almost finished driveway!!!

 

Privilege 

This has become a very hot word right now. Privilege. We all have varying degrees of it depending on where you live, what you look like, where you are from, and how much money you have to name a few. I grew up very privileged. I went to a good school, a great college, and didn’t really have to worry about money. I am very thankful for the opportunities I had. 

I was also ignorant. 

I thought everyone had the same opportunities I did. I thought everyone was treated equally. I even wrote a term paper on the misuse of affirmative action and reverse discrimination. I was ignorant. 

privilege (to me) is when you not only take the things you have for granted, but you expect others to take them for granted to.  There are people in America who don’t have homes, don’t have access to reliable clean water, kids who’s parents struggle to feed them. It’s looking at these people, at these kids and saying “you have the same opportunities I have. You just aren’t utilizing them”. 

I whole heartedly believe God puts us where we need to be when we need to be there. I knew back then that I wanted to make a difference but I had to have everything taken away from me to completely understand what kind. 

We are here for the working poor. The people who are fighting the system because they aren’t being hired full time because the company won’t pay benefits, work full time but still can’t make ends meet because $10 an hour doesn’t pay the bills, because profits rise while wages remain the same, because not everyone can afford college, because it’s not aa easy to pull yourself up as it once was. 

We are fortunate to have the opportunity to work for Ford. For a company that still has an amazing working Union. A company and union that cares about its workers. We have the opportunity to be a part of the middle class. What we don’t want is to forget what we didn’t have and that so many others don’t have. We also don’t want to forget how easily we could lose everything. I don’t want to be ignorant again. 

Success!!

The water ran out today so we loaded up the water barrel in the truck and he followed my car out (so that if he got stuck I could pull him up). We filled the water and came back just fine!  It feels good having water again. Gave the kids a bath. Took a shower. Ran a load of laundry. Hopefully the rain this weekend will fill the barrel enough to be able to fill it again. 

Water

Our driveway is still frozen. Unfortunately the one truck that can currently get water in and out cannot go up and down the driveway yet.  C and I decided to try and get the water collection bucket moved and set up. It wasn’t quite as difficult to move the water barrel as I had thought it would be. First we pushed it to its side, then we rolled it across the field and into place. Then w stood it back up and centered it. 

   
 “Do you want to build a snowman… That’s bigger than you?” 

  We still need to put a filter on it so that leaves and other undesirables get in the water (so it doesn’t clog the barrel, we have a filter in the house too). 

The snow is now melting and so far we have collected less than an inch of water. Hopefully we can go get water in the next few days because this isn’t gonna cut it. Not until we get a really good rain. 

Then there was snow

I have cabin fever

No really. I really do. It snowed on Wednesday. C took our only four wheel drive vehicle to work with him (because keeping jobs is awesome). Since Wednesday it has been the only car that can leave the house. I cannot leave the house. He has driven me to the store twice since we’d but that’s not enough. That’s not relaxing. In 90 days when he is off probation period we are going to look into getting a second four wheel drive vehicle. An f250, with a crew cab, and off road package. It will be so nice to be able to leave the house and not deal with a bored and fussy 2 year old. Of course it snows when we can finally start doing stuff on the house. Sigh. 

The bane of my sanity

  Meanwhile on the Homefront….

Currently the only way to keep our home heated well is a wood burning stove that is in our living room. C grew up using these so he is fairly used to them. I, on the other hand, did not. We had a fireplace we used about twice a year at my moms house when we wanted to feel cozy. 

This is our stove 

 It’s actually a really nice stove. “Why do I hate it?” You ask. Because of several reasons 

1) this stove in our tiny house has 2 temperatures. “No heat is coming out” which makes the house the same temperature as it is outside or “dear Lord it is hot in here we have to open windows to survive”. Now don’t get me wrong there is an in between but it only happens when the fire is trying to die so you have to poke it every 10 minutes so it doesn’t become the first temperature. This isn’t bad if you are at home, awake, and have the time to poke at it every 10 minutes. But let’s be real here, how often do you think that actually happens with us?  

2) I have never in my life chopped wood.  You would think this would be an easy task. Take an axe. Hit some wood with it. Instant firewood. Not so much. It has taken about two weeks to get the hang of chopping wood. I say two weeks. What I actually mean is about 10 minutes at a time 4 times over the past 2 weeks. I have been lucky enough that C had chopped all the wood I need. He is back at work now so much practicing has happened in the last 2 days. 

  

This is the 8lb splitting maul C bought me to help me split wood because the axe didn’t have enough power behind it. 

  
This is the log C cut that I have spent the last 15 minutes trying to split 

  
This is the same log with an axe stuck in it (and I mean that sucker isn’t coming out easily) because I somehow thought the axe would do a better job?  It looks like this log will have to be split when C gets home from work. 

3) I am the worlds worst arsonist, unless you count unintentional fires. I’m great at those. I am terrible at starting a fire. The kids and I ran errands today and when we returned the fire had gone out. There were a few hot coals left but basically it was done. I added small pieces of wood with even smaller kindling. Lit pieces of cardboard on fire to get it started. Fire started burning well but then I somehow managed to put out everything, including the hot coals.  After an hour of trying to start the fire, screaming at the stove, throwing the rake thing, using 2 types of accelerants, explaining to my 2 year old that mommy isn’t acting properly because mommy is frustrated, then telling her that mommy wanted to “set the thing on fire” which made me stop and laugh about the fact that I did indeed want to set it on fire, I finally got a good fire going. 

4) I somehow always turn my hands, arms, and face completely black every time I mess with this stove. 

The positives?  The house is warm most of the time, I am learning a valuable life skill, and lastly, apparently chopping wood burns about 480 calories an hour. That’s a major workout. 

My accomplishments today:  
   

Dozer

The dozer was delivered over the weekend. We went to use it Sunday after church but they had forgotten to leave the keys, so we had to pick them up first thing Monday morning. Monday morning was beyond cold. We picked up the keys but could not start the dozer (the downside to diesel). It looks like we will have to wait until next weekend to put in the driveway, unless C gets home from work before dark. I’m not going to bet on it though. It’s funny how it’s 50 degrees until we need it to not be cold and now we have January weather. Eh, no biggie, nature needs the cold front right now so im not going to complain. It would be nice to get the driveway complete by the 1st though. 

   
 

Getting anxious

Still no word on the dozer. It will come. Hopefully sooner than later. We really have until the 1st because we have other projects we are starting on the 1st and we really need to have the driveway done. 

Meanwhile we started working on other things. We picked up growing pots to start our spring vegetables.  We didn’t pick up quite enough, but we did get enough to do cabbage, broccoli, kale, spinach, and lettuce. I am still missing Brussel sprouts and cauliflower. Waiting to pick up those seeds. We may run byte nursery this weekend to pick them up. 

  
Come on dozer!  We need you. There is only so much we can get done right now. 

   
These are our culverts. We want to put them in their forever home. 

Busy days ahead

We have only a few short days before C goes back to work full time. We are so excited for him to be starting, but we also have so much that needs to be done before he does. 

Today we left out at 10am and didn’t return until after 4. We are still waiting on the dozer to be delivered so we can put in the driveway but in the meantime we picked up all the culverts we will need so there will be proper drainage in the driveway. We also priced out everything we are going to need in order to put the plumbing, electric, and gas line (to the stove), and all the accessories ton pour the concrete. All of this is going to be done *hopefully* by the end of February. Next month we start pricing out the projects for March. In March the well is being drilled and a small solar panel system is going in (large enough to run the water pump). 

We will start packing tires in March. Start marking your calendars too. We will do a cattle call for an “old fashion barn raising” sometime in March (date depends on when the concrete is poured) to get as many hands on deck as we can to get these tires pounded out. We figured out that if we do 12 a day we can get it done in 3 months. If we can do more than that we can finish so much sooner. 

Lastly we signed and had noterized the contract FINALLY making the land officially ours. That felt good. Even though we didn’t have a dozer we still were able to cross a lot of stuff off our list. Whew!  

Tires

We have begun picking up tires for the earthship. Our projected goal is to pour the concrete foundation by the end of February. To do this we have to have the first row of tires laid and filled.  Our friend’s family owns some sort of freight business or something. Something where they have a bunch of used tires they were needing to move. We were able to get our first row of tires from them, which is pretty darn awesome. That leaves about 950 left to go. Much more than they can provide in the time frame we need them. When it gets closer to the pour date I’ll call the epa and see about getting the rest.