Back to basics

We’re supposed to be doing the whole intentional community thing out here: living simply, anti-consumerism, homesteading, working less & hunting more, all that happy horseshit.

So much of that fell by the wayside over the last year. Sunshine has been working his ass off to get this house built. That means Biff hasn’t been available for helping out around here, because he works for Sunshine. I had help planting a garden, but with only DaRule and I to tend it… well, that went to shit real fast. With no garden, there was no canning. I’ve been dealing with an overwhelming plethora of health issues, so it was probably for the best that there was no canning. Mr B has been doing what Mr B does–moving dirt; which is the exact opposite of simple living.

When Sunshine got home from out of town, he didn’t have any projects lined up for work, so we’re starting to buckle in for the winter.

Side note: no, it’s not even fall yet, but the reality of construction work is that it always slows down during the fall and winter months. So we’re getting ready for it even though it’s still hot as fuck outside.

Sunshine decided it was the proper time to mention the need for a proper root cellar for food storage. Because Mr B is the king of unfinished projects. The minute Sunshine said “root cellar”, Mr B was out there digging a fucking hole for it. Even though he hasn’t finished the pond yet.

I’m starting to have home that I’ll be able to get some help from Sunshine to get prepped for spring planting. Because I’ve been unable to get help with the garden between planting and harvesting, I’m going to try square foot gardening for most of the growing. I’ll supplement it with traditional row gardening for beans, and root vegetables that can be stored in the root cellar. Sunshine says he will help me build the raised beds and get the right mixture of soil in them over the next few months. I’m excited to try a form of gardening that I might be able to handle all alone.

We also picked up some military surplus mosquito netting yesterday. I want to have screen doors, and they will have to be built. That’s the price of having these beautiful 8′ tall, 3′ wide doors that we got at ReStore for $100 each. It should be cool enough to turn off the a/c soon, and let the constant breeze from the south cool the house.

I’m (hopefully) about to be working, so it’s good that Sunshine is here to hang out with Miss Mollie for a while. She enjoys going to the woods and checking game cameras, throwing out corn to lure game, and in general running around like an actual d-o-g outside. We desperately need the game to fill the freezer, so hopefully all this fucking heavy equipment and digging and shit hasn’t completely killed off hunting season.

It’s kind of exciting to be able to put some focus on what we’re supposed to be doing out here, even if it is just for the winter. Come spring, Sunshine will have to get started on the addition, which will be his atelier (that’s a fancy french word for an artist’s workspace); and simple living will fall by the wayside for him when that gets started. I’ll at least have the winter months to get him to set me up for success in the spring.

Now, I think I’m off to go collect the pears from the neighbor’s pear tree, because she said she isn’t going to do anything with them, and the guys loved the ginger pear jam, and I’ve got to try some pear chai too (thank you to The EcoFeminist for that idea😍)

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Big plans

Sunshine has plans to finish the outside of the house, starting this coming week. He’s got a couple of days of work to do out of town, then he’s heading home with a crew and they’re going to get the exterior finished.

All I know to say is “It’s about time”. I’m sick of never seeing my Sunshine except when one or both of us is so worn out from a hard day at work. I’m tired of looking at these unfinished walls on the outside of my house.

I’m looking forward to getting on with the next phase: the addition. I’m already disgusted with Sunshine’s workbench taking up space I want to use in our living room. I’m looking forward to getting this house all the way finished so we can get back to the business of homesteading and simple living.

Community jam session

Last night, Sunshine grilled some venison burgers and almost everybody here showed up at our place for dinner. Rude Ass brought his guitar, and next thing you know, Mr B had picked up Sunshine’s flute and he and Rude Ass started playing some songs.

After Mr B headed home, Sunshine picked up the flute and he and Rude Ass played a while.

This is why we decided to make this change.

This is what it’s about for us: simple pleasures, friends, connections, community. Last night, all was as it should be in my world.

When did things get so quiet?

I am astounded by how quiet my new home is. The 2′ thick insulation in our exterior walls certainly contributes to the quiet in this house, but it doesn’t account for it all.

Side note: I already miss the sound of rain on the roof. It was a very noticeable sound in the magic bus, yet the ceiling is so well insulated here that it has to be a really heavy downpour to catch my attention now.

I’m also still not hearing much of anything on my right side. The quiet in this home is much more than that, though.

The window unit air conditioner Rude Ass installed for us is really really quiet. The fart fan in the bathroom is effective without making much noise at all. The fridge doesn’t hum like the one in the RV; the only sound we get from it most of the time is ice cubes clattering down into the bin. The clothes washer makes more noise when it swings to me as I press buttons than it does while its actually washing clothes. The tankless hot water heater makes some noise, but only when something is needing hot water and even then it’s fairly quiet. I hadn’t given this much thought until I started my new dishwasher for the first time ever

and could barely hear the damn thing running.

Side note: it’s weird to have a full size dishwasher after several years of that mini dishwasher in the magic bus. I actually have room in the dishwasher for full-sized plates plus food storage containers plus coffee mugs plus dishes plus flatware… you get the picture.

I’m enjoying the quiet. The RV was noisy, and Sunshine is noisy, and Mollie is often very noisy. This week, with Sunshine out of town has been almost preternaturally quiet and it all seems surreal.

All of this quiet and all of this space have gotten me to thinking. All those cramped years in the RV really helped me learn what is truly important to me and what I can live without. I’ve come to see a clothes washer and a full sized dishwasher and a 5-burner stove as luxury items. Who needs Swarovski-encrusted cabinet pulls when simply having a full-sized dishwasher feels luxurious? Who needs a “Sex & The City” style shoe closet when simply having all one’s clothing & shoes in one central location is the most amazing feeling ever after 6 years of digging through at least 4 separate compartments to get dressed?

My mom saw some pictures of the interior of our house and asked why we didn’t make it bigger. As soon as the words had escaped her mouth, she realized how silly that sounded to someone who had just spent 6 years of her life in slightly less that 250 square feet of RV. We had a good laugh over it, and she just listened to me ramble on about how much SPACE I had now(and how Sunshine is probably going to try and fill every cubic centimeter of it with gack).

I don’t know where I’m going with this, I just know I feel very serene and grateful in this moment, and wanted to share it with you, my dear readers who manage to find ways to comment on my navel-gazing drool-inducing drivel. Thank you for being part of my journey!

Final note: Rude Ass change my name in the contact information in his phone today, and made me text him this morning so he could hear his phone announcing “message from Change Order”. I feel honored to have earned a permanent nickname by adding a cabinet over the refrigerator (to prevent dust from collecting up there).

Now, I just have to figure out what to store in it. We’ve already decided we’re ok with filling the island cabinets with toilet paper and shoes, maybe I should move my canning pots out of the pink house laundry room?

Allergies

In Texas, allergy season never ends. There’s spring pollen season. When that ends, grass pollen season begins. When that ends, ragweed season starts. When ragweed season ends, cedar pollen season begins. It’s brutal.

So I finally tried something I’ve been selling as an allergy aid for the last few summers.

Bee pollen. I had hesitated to try it because I was afraid it would taste like dust. Because pollen is dust, right?

It doesn’t taste like dust. It tastes like honey and dried flowers. Who knew?

Ok Mollie, I totally get it now

Miss Mollie has a habit of low-key growling at us when we get too close to her doggie bed while we’re watching teevee at night. We let her, as long as it’s just a low-key growl and she doesnt snarl or bare her teeth; we call it “grumbling”, because we see it as her way of vocalizing her displeasure that we disturbed her after she spent all that time making sure all her things were there and getting comfy.

I just got home from the weekly grocery run, and I haven’t even finished unpacking groceries yet but I need a nap. Stay with me, I promise this non-sequitur has a place here.

I moved Mollie’s bed to the end of the couch and went to stretch out and my head wound up resting on her dog bed

and now I totally get why she doesn’t want to share it. I’ll probably “grumble” at her if she tries to climb up here with me.

Running out of room

I finally realized that I need two distinct and separate wardrobes. One is cheap stuff that I LIKE but won’t cry over when it gets ruined; that stuff is for work. Then there’s the bulk of my wardrobe, which is stuff I love and would cry over if it got destroyed.

In an RV, that kind of wardrobe is just not feasible. There’s no fucking place to keep it without cramming it into every possible nook and cranny and dealing with a clothing avalanche every time I want to wear clothes.

Recently, I got fed up with it all and went to my favorite fashion & style forum. I asked if anybody had any suggestions for how to stay sane for the next few months until we get moved into the house, because I was ready to donate half my closet just to stop the clothes avalanches. The suggestions I got were so obvious they made me say “doh” like Homer Simpson.

I guess I couldn’t see the forest for the trees. After our first summer in this RV, I did a seasonal changeover, bringing out all the warm clothes and putting away the summer clothes. That was some bullshit, and I vowed never to do it again. When the good ladies on that fashion forum suggested I stow the bulkier garments, it was like “why didn’t I think of that?” I bagged up two big-ass black garbage bags worth of sweaters and shit, and I had Sunshine help me haul them down the hill and hide them in the closet. I had to think of it as putting things in a holding zone, because seasonal changeovers are some bullshit.

The rest of the RV is in the same shape. I can’t open a cabinet door without risking getting trapped under a landslide of objects. The house is nearing a point where I can start moving shut in there, but it’s not there yet. There’s still too much dust and shit flying around, and that will continue to be the case until the kitchen cabinets are installed and wrapped with reclaimed wood on the exposed sides.

I’ve had to take most of my yarn stash and bag it up for temporary off-site storage. All of our winter weight blankets and comforters and shit have been bagged up for off-site storage. Some of my shoes are in a pile in the closet of the new house. I’ve moved most of my laundry detergent to the house because I mostly use my own washing machine these days. I’ve moved some of my hoard of body lotion & body wash down there

All that, and I’m still running out of fucking room in the magic bus.

I’ve enjoyed the last several years of self discovery that living in an RV has given me. I’ve learned what’s important, and what’s just “stuff”. I’ve been able to strip away some of the extraneous in my life (like TVs for every room), and add things that enhance my contentment (like my yarn crafts). The challenges of living this small have been interesting, but it is directly conflicting with the intentional, simple life we want to live. Canning, hunting, gardening, crafting, Sunshine’s art; these activities require a lot of gack, and we are running out of room.

Final note: gack–all that stuff on a live event production that is not otherwise classified. Microphones, speakers, props, wardrobe; these are all examples of classified items. Gaffers tape, sharpie markers, a stash of granola bars, dry socks; that’s gack.