Monday, November 13, 2006

The Go Button

Well, last night we pushed the "go" button. We made the decision to move forward on the block house project, trusting in God to provide the resources. If it becomes VERY clear that we have chosen the wrong direction, then we will abandon ship, but no more wishy-washy on the fence stuff. We are going for it.

All of this comes after 3 days of silent contemplation. Thursday afternoon Teagan went upstairs in the block house to see what it looked like. He discovered why it has a steel roof. A tree had fallen on the shingled roof many years ago, putting a hole in the roof and cracking/breaking some of the beams. He also discovered more rotten wood than he had expected, probably a result of water damage from the fallen tree/hole in the roof. He came home with a new idea.

The new idea is to take off the upstairs and build an addition out the back. If we dig down and build with the slope we could have a bi-level home with a single pitch roof. It would be the same size, possibly a bit bigger, with no upstairs. The add-on would be a couple of steps lower than the original building. I'm not sure if that's what we are going to do or if we'll try to fix the problems upstairs.

Either idea comes down to one thing... money, money, money.

Why does it always have to be about money?????

Either option will cost some money to buy resources, even if all the labor is free. We're way past fixing up a building and living in a project. If we're reconstructing, that will require more resources and by default, more money. Yet, if it's the Lord's will for us, we know that He will provide the resources needed.

First step is cleaning all the junk out, no matter what direction we decide to go. So, once hunting season is over, Teagan will be working on that. In the meantime, I will be working on cleaning all the junk out here. We must declutter and trim down our possessions if we want to make this work. We don't need all this stuff. It's just cluttering up our lives and suffocating us. It won't be easy, but I think we'll be better off without it.

Yesterday in church, the sermon began with the story of Jesus and the rich young ruler. (Luke 18:18-23) The young man in the story had done it all "right" his entire life. He had followed the commandments and the law. But there was still something missing. He couldn't release his grasp on his worldly goods. He was RICH! He probably liked being that way. He was more comfortable than his neighbor and life was "easy". He didn't want to give it up, not even for Jesus!! As I listened, I wondered if I could give it up. Here I am, being called to give it up. To sacrifice the things of this world so that I can live a life more pleasing to God. Am I going to do it or am I going to go away from Jesus saddened at the thought of losing my "stuff" and my "comfort"??

How could I turn away from Jesus?

In my heart of hearts that's what this project is about. It's about letting go of the worldly things and looking to Jesus. It's about surrendering and letting God be the Provider and Sustainer. It's about stripping off the old (wo)man and being the person God created me to be.

Thursday, November 09, 2006


It's the word of the week! :-)

We have determined the block house project to be doable, if difficult. But what is that saying? Nothing worth doing is ever easy.

Teagan & I have reworked the floor plan a number of times and finally hit upon a solution that would include a bathroom without building an additon. And I think we figured out how to pipe water for sinks & a shower/tub. A flushing toilet is still not in the plan, but the biolet looks like a really good option. We are talking about a small addition on the front as an entryway for storing coats, boots, etc. That would be insulated and give a few more square feet. I think it would open up the kitchen and make it look a little bigger. And, the new floor plan also has space for a small sitting room/library, so I'm excited about that! I always wanted a library of my very own.

I was talking to my mom, and she reminded me of a great resource I had overlooked. My grandpa has been in construction most of his life and would probably be willing to help and give us advice. So, we'll be talking to him soon.

Teagan also finally talked to his dad about it, and they are on board with the idea. The biggest concern is legalities, building permits and the like. Otherwise, dad & mom think it is a good idea. At worst, they end up with a cleaned out building and at best they get a few more hands to help with keeping up the "ranch". So, it's a win/win situation.

We're still talking about the fence. I want to take it with us. Teagan thinks it would be wrong to take it out. I think we will need it. We could at least use the wood for something, even if we don't decide to put up a fence for Jade over there. That's over $2000 down the drain if we leave it here.

Sunday, November 05, 2006

671 Square Feet

That is the grand total of the block house, both levels. Teagan & I were out there today, looking things over and taking measurements. We also took some pictures. Password is homestead. We could only get to the downstairs, as the stairs going to the upper level were outside and rotted away years ago. It's a mess but the structure itself is pretty solid. There are 2 rooms downstairs and one upstairs. There is electricity to the fact there is a brand new electric box that Don & Tanna put in when they updated their system a couple of years ago. Plumbing is still an issue though.

The building is smaller than I originally thought. The footprint of the building is about 24' x 16', slightly less on the inside due to the brick walls. The larger of the downstairs rooms is 13'5" x 14'9". That would be the kitchen/dining/living room plus house the wood stove. And therein lies the other big problem. How to get all that in said space. That also doesn't account for a staircase and a bathroom.

We discussed adding a lean-to type addition on the west side where you could put a bathroom and maybe a pantry. The stairs would most likely go in the smaller downstairs room, "our bedroom" which greatly decreases our privacy. Not that there is much privacy to be had in 671 sq. ft.

We both decided we have to stop talking about it for the night. Teagan is sick, the kids are sick, and I'm recovering so all this deep thinking is frying what circuits we have left. There are so many things to think about. Debt is not an option, so it will be a matter of time, elbow grease, and God's provision of materials. We are still praying about this option and waiting to see where HE leads.

Saturday, November 04, 2006 vewy, vewy quiet...

Okay, so I wasn't supposed to spill the beans on our grand plan just yet. Teagan came home from Dad's early today to rescue me in my time of illness and didn't get a chance to discuss the plan with Dad or Mom. OOPS! So, don't tell anyone okay? LOL

We talked about it more this afternoon, did some research, made lists, fleshed out ideas. Plumbing is the only really sticky part of the plan. Plumbing with no basement or crawlspace is a bit tricky. We found some toilet alternatives, like this one... No plumbing required! But a bit pricey. But then what about a kitchen sink and a shower? So, we're still thinking on that.

Teagan does think that we'd be able to finish the upstairs at the same time as the downstairs, so that gives a little more breathing room. He really sees this as a viable option, and so do I. HUGE change, but doable. I think.
Not feeling so super this week... I've been sick since Sunday and now the kids are sick too. My head feels like it might explode. I am so far behind with the housework it's not even funny. I was finally getting into the swing of things getting a routine going and BAM too sick to do anything. :-( I try to do a little each day, but it's not enough to make a difference and I feel so discouraged! I have 4 custom longies to do is done, 2 started. The poor cow longies have been patiently waiting for me to return to them.

On top of that, our landlord called yesterday and they decided to move to Arizona. Which means, if we can't buy the house by April, it's going up for sale and we have to move again. I guess we shouldn't have spent all that money on the fence. :-( The timing is horrible. We couldn't get a loan when Teagan was working, I don't think our chances are too good with him disabled and no income. I'm so sad. I really feel at home here.

We talked some last night about what to do. Teagan is not worried at all. I am. Suprise, suprise. We read an article that I stumbled across online about homesteading. These people built their house themselves with recycled & donated materials and no debt on an income of $10K/year. Teagan finishes reading it and says, yeah that's a great idea. We should start doing that. The discussion evolved into possibly making the block house at Don & Tanna's habitable and living there. We're talking dirt (possibly cement) floor, wood stove, one maybe 2 rooms, no running water, all of us in 600 or less sq. ft. Eventually it could be plumbed, fixed up and the second floor finished, but the main point would be mostly free shelter and an opportunity to help mom & dad while saving to get back on our feet.

Last night it seemed like a great idea. This morning, it's still not a horrible idea, but the realities are seeming a bit tougher than the storybook picture that had formed in my head. Life like that would be a lot of HARD work. I would be hauling laundry, wood and water every day in addition to what I already do. We would have to pare down our possessions ALOT. Not that that is a bad thing, but I look around and go, could I live without that? If not, where would I put it? Like my craft things...I'm too crafty to not have any of them, plus they could be used to make clothing, blankets, sold for money etc. But where do you put 5-6 tubs full of fabric and 50+ skeins of yarn? I guess I'll have to be really crafty this winter! LOL

I long for a simpler life, but how simple can I get?