My Country Quest

Follow along our journey back to the land. This is where we will record our thoughts, musings and dealings with terrible dragons right here for your viewing pleasure.

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Location: Missouri, United States

Thursday, June 29, 2006

June 29, 2006

Finally got some cabinets up - they don't look bad at all! I love them! I bought the fabric quite a while ago, had the lumber laying around, put a crackle finish on it, pale green underneath then white on top so thru the cracks you see the green barely. It is so pretty. A tiny kitchen but jsut right for me. Keeps me from having too much "JUNK" and "gadgets". I'm a gadget gal and I love to have allthese kitchen tools! I realized when we moved how very little of them I actually ever use. This is MUCH better. Sortof like gastric bypass for my kitchen! LOL

About a week ago, here I am taking a "bath" in the new tub. This time I was fully clothed because of the daylight (hehehehe). The truth is, Shawn pushed in in! Then, since I was there already, I called for the shampoo. I will never take water for granted again! It's a terrible picture of me due to the "floating nature" of some of my body parts PLUS the fact that the sun is in my face and I look like a very fat china-man! LOL Oh well... I am what I am...

Wednesday, June 28, 2006

June 28, 2006

Hot here, despite the coolor than usual temperature, it is still hot in the house. I have planned abth this afternoon as we have church tonight after baseball practice. It will be a night out - sortof.

The chicks all survived, but I'm having a bit of an issue with the rabbits. A couple of them seem to have some sort of problem that I can't figure out. Their hair is falling out on their heads and they are losing weight... have consulted the "Rabbit Lady" aka:Jeannie (THANKS Dr. Jeannie!) and she said she'd look into it to see what she could find out.

We got the chicken tractor built and up yesterday. I'll try to post a link. Works great. I might (if I get a minute) post instructions as to how we made it, materials list, etc. Right now, I am sortof fuzzy-brained. I'm pretty sure I have an infection of some sort and am trying my best to treat it naturally with not so much luck so far. SO we'll see how I feel tomorrow. Maybe I"ll get up the instructions then.

June 25, 2006

Just finished putting 2 cut-up rabbits with a can of mushrooms and 2 cans ofcream of mushroom soup into the crockpot. I would like to add some sherrycooking wine (they say that helps the moisture stay in) but I don't haveany. I'll add onions later - Shawn loves them. This is my first dish withrabbits that isn't fried or just barbequed. We will see how it turns out! Ihave no recipe because although there are load of them on the net, there arevery few that do not call for strange ingredients which I do not have accessto. So neccesity is the mother of invention! :-) Baked potatoes with it, ormaybe fried if I get my stove to working, on the big iron skillet. Greenbeans and fresh salad from the garden... OHHH!!! I'm in heaven!!!!!(Assuming the rabbit dish isn't a wash-out!)

Speaking of stoves, I think we have it wired backwards. I know,,, you allare sitting there horrified probably that we are doing all this high-techstuff ourselves, probably thinking for sure that we're going to burn thehouse down around us. Well, we aren't. If God chooses to let the house burndown then so be it. Otherwise we just do what needs done and pray forwisdom. He has been faithful to provide that as we need it so far. We aren'tbeing stubborn or prideful by doing these things ourselves. Rather it is the only way we can afford for them to be done, and so we keep our hands to theplow and press on.

June 24, 2006

A nice bath just finished... having clean armpits always inspires me. :-)
I spurged (big time) and bought matching shampoos and conditioner for "brunettes". Now, my husabnd is quick to point out that those shampoos and such are gimmicks. They add shine honey, that's all. The minute you get some build up or shampoo again it's of no use. I don't care. The smell was divine. The reason for buying shampoo and conditioner for "brunettes" is because of my ever-reddening hair. It seems that the more I am outside the more fiery it becomes! Nothing against red-heads (I have one myself), it's just that nothing matches with red hair. My makeup is off-colored, my favorite color pink is a nightmare to try to wear because the freckles that, again, are compliments of the Midwest sunchine, are ever-increasing as well. So I spend an extra dollar or two on shampoo in hopes of toning it down a bit rather than the $10 pr so for a home-job hair color.
Speaking of the smell... it must have been that which drew the June bugs because, well it's June I know but they were all over my head last night. They are fat, sneaky little things and as soon as I would pluck one off I would feel the sticky feet of another one slowly climbing to the top of my wet hair (slathered in conditioner at this point). It must have been the smell of the conditioner because up until now I haven't had a problem at all with them. Oh well...
The weather has been delicious lately. Since Thursday the highs have been in the 80's with nice stiff breezes. It looks like more rain tonight though. Better get to bed early because the kids upstairs with the tin roof right above them (and nothing between) are still frightened half out of their minds from the noise. It is rather loud I'll have to admit. They'll be downstairs lickety-split at the first drops.
I've been thinking of Tasha Tudor lately. I checked out a few of her books and a biography of her life a few years ago and the one thing that really sticks out is her clothes. I am absolutely fascinated with the way she dressed. In case you haven't had the pleasure of getting to know the lovely Tasha Tudor, here is her website:

She dressed the way you see in these pictures all the time. I wonder when she began to do it? It's one thing for a bit of an excentric woman in her 60's or so to dress this way, but a 30 something woman dressing that way? With 4 kids in tow? I'm not so sure.... lol. People think I'm "QUIRKY" now!!!!! I would seriously love it though. Dressing old fashioned.... long dresses, calico prints.... lace.............

June 22, 2006

We had a bit of a crisis today with the baby chicks. After their arrival last week we have lost 4, which isn't bad and considering they sent us 12 extra with the 100 chick "Fry Pan Special" we're doing fine. This morning though it was looking like rain and OOPS! I forgot we were low on rabbit feed last night. There wasn't enough left in the barrel so I hollered out for the kdis to come get in the van to run in to the feed store. I told JOshua to cover up the chicks and he could finish their feed and watering when we got back. We got back and he hadn't either covered up the chicks OR the feed barrel. Almost 50 pounds of chick grower ruined, and half the chicks were lying on their backs, their poor, sad feet twitching from hypothermia. Not one to under-react, I cried at the sight of them, sure we would lose the half that were lying semi-concious on the wire brooder floor.

We grabbed a Rubbermaid container (did I ever tell you how much I love Rubbermaid containers?) and put a layer of sawdust in the bottom. In the box and into the hosue they went to twitch under a lamp in hopes of reviving them. I called a friend (My resident "Chicken Lady") and she said it's if-y. They might make it, they might not. Within an hour though they were beginning to gluff up, peck at the sawdust, and we laid to rest only 1.

A big storm has moved in today and I do hope they don't get leaks in the brooder roof. It is less-than satisfactory but the whole thing came about with little advance planning. When we found the special we bought 'em. Lebanon, Missouri -

June 20, 2006

Sometimes I wonder what we were thinking (my dear hubby wonders everyday!) in trying to do this whole homesteading thing. Of course it is much more primitive than even WE planned, but still... so much work, so little time.
The glitch in the sewer system seems to be handled, but we are still waiting. While I realize that it was a technicality I also realize the abhorable inconvenience of it all. We sent the money almost 2 weeks ago and had heard nothing so I called the state guy to see what the satus of our application was. He told me he had received the money and was waiting for some more forms from us.


Oh - haven't you received the forms outlining the method, materials, blah blah blah of your waster water treatment system?



Sigh... so we're still waiting. I am trying very hard to keep things light and not get discouraged but I have come to one firm conclusion. Ma Ingalls would have surely used paper plates if they had been available for $1.50 at Olsen's Mercantile.

June 2, 2006

I am so angry I could spit. In fact, I might have as a few (blushing now) explitives escaped from the back of my mind to the front of my mouth. The dear lady across the road found it in the best interests of getting us off the land she used to ride her horses to call the Department of Health on our septic system installer. I cannot believe some people would stoop so low. There is absolutely nothing wrong with our system, the installer has a good reputation in the community for many years doing this type of work, he has served on the local water board, etc. etc. This isn't some fly-by-night guy with a pick up and a bobcat trying to earn a bit of extra money. He dug our overflow lagoon and graded it so prettily that I envisioned planting roses around the edge! It looks wonderful! We are forced to believe the "neighbor" (and I use that term losely) simply would like to see us give up and move off.

SO now we have an extra $2000 in fines and permits and different materials to come up with. See, our county only recently passed codes concerning waste water systems for private homes on more than 3 acres. We started our system many months earlier to that new regulation going into effect, so our installer made the decision that we would be "grandfathered in" to the current set of regulations without having to formally comply. The neighbor has raised such a fuss that the local guy at the DOH hinted at it being best to handle it at his level rather than have her go over his head. Ugh... the wheels of the system stink.

May 18, 2006

2 weeks since our water line was put in and now we're waiting... and waiting. Hope they get here soon. Got alot done on the garden though now that I have water for the seedlings. I have tomatoes, green and hot peppers, green beans and a few herbs. I also put in my pink roses Shawn bought me for Mother's Day beside an arbor leading in to the garden. It is going to be so pretty next year!

May 9, 2006

We are taking baths in the garden hose now - hallelujah and move over Gabriel! We have running water!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I will never again take cool, clear, clean water for granted again. Nor will my children. It is wonderful. NOw, the "showers" are very cold, and we have no where to really hide to take said showers, so Shawn and I just sortof sit on the deck and hose down between gasps from the cold. The kdis on the other hand are in heaven. Abby was bragging to her violin teacher, the sweetest girl but one I"m sure that has never taken a garden hose shower, about how she takes a bath now.

With the biggest grin, she said, "First we get our shoes and socks off and put on swim clothes or something. Then we get the soap and Mom gets the shampoo and stuff and she turns the water on and sprays us down! It's so fun! I don't want to ever take a bathtub bath again!!!"

Umm... can't quite say that honey. It should be long now before we have the septic system in and on then we can have inside showers again. HOT ones.

May 3, 2006

We have officially moved in! Though there are no outlets or running water yet, most of our things have either been given away, sold or otherwise disposed of so we can live as "lightly" as possible. Shawn has been working on the outlets and light fixtures though, so I think we'll have some modern conveniences soon. I am so proud of him for the work he is doing! He didin't grow up in this lifestyle, and yet is absolutely fearless> He got a book from Home Depot on wiring and has hooked up our main line! From a book! With no help or supervision! Of course, he did have me sit nearby with a 2x4 in case he got electrocuted. I joked that yeah, I'd better do that. We want to have a nice looking body if we have to bury you. hehehehe....

He is reading to the children by kerosene lantern at night... it is so quaint and wonderful. Oh it's not as romantic as it sounds perhaps, but this is a summer our children (and we) will never forget. These are MEMORIES. Golden ones.

September 26, 2005

Oh my aching back. But woohoo! The beams are screwed into placed (man those are some big dfeck screws! and the floor joists are nailed togeher waiting for placement. A long day but thoroughly satisfying. I had a moment of panic last night in bed. I was tired and achy but generally optimistic when suddenly I was beset with a genuine fear of the hosue falling down around our heads.
Yikes. Shawn's dad made a comment about the way we set the posts in the groun - something to the effect of the hosue falling down in5 years and that we might as well light a mtch to the lumber now... and my dad has made a few comments along the same lines and though he said it a bit mroe subtely than
that I'm sure he fears the same thing.

So last night in bed I had those words thrown back at me - such discouragement, such FEAR. Oh I wanted to just quit and hire someone to come in and do the rest of the flooring./foundation. I was so sure we had done something wrong! BUt Shawn comforted me as only he can, reminding me why we are doing this, we went back over all the decision, why we made them, who we consulted with before making them, the prayers for wisdom and leading,e tc. I was relieved of most of the panicky feelings. Still this morning I can't believe we ever had the nerve to try something like this! IT's sort of that same feeling as the first time I jumped from the high dive into the swimming pool. I was completely convinced of my ability up until the point that my feet hit the bottom of the pool. I was completely struggling for the surface, afraid of breathing water... this whole process has been aleap of faith, just like that.

Not faith in myself or in Shawn, though I have more faith in him than I do myself, but faith in God that he would indeed be true to his word, that, "If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all me liberally, and upbraideth not; and it shall be given him." ~ James 1:5

And He has been SO true. Shawn woke up this morning with a solution to a particular part of the foundation building that had us both stumped. That's just SO like GOD! :)
So to back-track a little bit, we started this out more than willing to do the whole 9 yards ourselves but my brothers Adam and Ben are bringing their
construction crew and tools on Saturday to do the actual building of the walls and roof. I don't remember if I had told that part or not. So all we have to do (HA!) is to get the foundation built and ready for walls, have it perfectly square, level, etc. by the time they get there.

I knew it would be hard but I had no idea it would be THIS hard.
Physically yeah, this old mare ain't what she used to be,
but spiritually it has been very trying. Everything we are doing we are doing we are doing unlike everyone else around us does it. There ae plenty of people that have built houses like this mindy ou, but not around here, and we have taken a considerable amount of flack for it. Being in the land of "Show Me" it has been anuphill battle to get anyone to understand what we are doing and WHY we are doing it that way. U g h . . . .

I have some of the cutest pictures of the kids working to post... they are just priceless. Yesterday Joshua asked me if he could get started building his chicken house. He is not quite yet 8 years old mind you, but he had been watching intently so I figured it would give him something to do while we worked on the decking (something he couldn't help with). So I look over and he has the level on the post he is putting into the hole he dug in the ground. He nails the prop boards onto the post then proceeds to tamp it in just like we did. :) And then he comes over and says he need sto know how to figure out where to put the 2nd hole! I was shocked! He had it perfectly tamped in and level when I checked it! So I showed him how to stake out for the 2nd corner post and he had it put in before we finished for the night. WOW.

And Abby, while we were working, she found a small mullein plant and dug it up and planted it in the corner of the garden, giving it a drink from the coolor, etc. and prouldy went of searching for more "wild weed medicine plants". WOW!

Luke was buys busy BUSY in the dirt pile, alternately picking up sticks for the bon fire we're having on Saturday night... and Austin. Well, we simply couldn't have done this without his help.

Not even close. He is SO strong and capable it amazes me. Even with fibromyalgia, he never gives up or wants to quit. He was picking up 2x10x12 ft. floor joists running them over to where they needed to be!
D o u b l e W O W ! : )

We have such great kids... thank God for His many blessings...

September 30, 2005

This is judgement day for our foundation. Adam came and took a look and found a few things that need corrected. BEFORE the crew gets here tomorrow. Very minor thigns really thoug he gave me a heart attck when he first got here. He shook his head in a "NO " fashion, then walked around the floor, saying aboslutely NOTHING. I was anervous wreck thinking he was going to say that it wasn't good enough, that it wouldn't work and that we wouldn't be able to use it. Whew... when I asked him finally (I couldn't take the suspense) if it looked better or worse than he hoped. "Better. Lots better. No offense sis, but you've never done anything like this before and I didn't know what I'd find."

S u c c e s s ! ! !

With the corrections made now we are thoroughly exhausted, tired and I ***think** ready for tomorrow. Shawn and the boys are sleeping on the land to guard our lumber and supplies. So that means neither of us will get any sleep tonight.

Spetember 23, 2005

Hello everyone! What a week! On Sunday our daughter came down with a abd stomache. Not the flu- that we had last week. She complained of terrible pain in her stomach and so we took her to the ER. NOthing showed up on any of the tests so they sent her home with some med. for gastritis. I hope it works. She is in terrible pain and won't eat.

So obviously we have done no work on the cabin this week, with her being sick ,Shawn being at work (of course). Still the house-raising date is still October 1st!!! There is still alot to do and I"m leaving now to pick the OSB flooring sheets and to take our oldest to physical therapy. Oh my how I long for the days of just staying home and cleaning house. I long for a home cooked meal, to put my apron back on and to fold laundry. yes, even washing dishes (my most dreaded household chore) is looking pretty appealing. We have been gone every day for almost 3 weeks now. WHEW.

October 1, 2005 - Building Day!

The forecast is calling for rain, and it certainly looks as if it will pour down any minute. It cannot rain today. I kept saying this to myself over and over, yeah, even outloud a few times. The guys arrived at 8:30 am and got started, only find... the lumber company brought the wrong kind of lumber and not enough of it anyhow. And they stated emphatically that they do NOT do Saturday deliveries. "Oh honey!" My dear, sweet darling husband Shawn drove in there and the corrected order was on the sight within an hour. That costs us precious time though and we were noon before the first wall was up.

OH that so was AWESOME! The kids stood transfixed to their little patches of dirt, mouths agape, Shawn and I wept aw we watche dthem raise it up. God is so good. Abby kept saying "Mama! I didn't know cabins were so BIG!"

It does look bigger than it would have been initially too because they ahd to raise the roof pitch even more. You see, in the beginning when I drew up the plans, they called for a 9pitch roofline with just a small loft area in one end. Then we got a few bargains, saved a few pennies here and there and could afford to build an entire 2nd floor. Adam had to correct the roof pitch after they got here. That took some head scratching on their part, more money on ours and again... TIME.

But with the higher roof pitch we will have a big nice room up there with an 8ft.
ceiling, a nice room for the boys - 15 x 27 not just a loft but a full second floor bedroom with bathroom too. :-) That was more than we planned on though and by the end of the day we spent about $600 m ore on the roof steel. Speaking of which, the company we bought it from has been wonderful! But the manager/owner figured the length we needed wrong. So we have $600+ worth of tin that is 3 ft too short.Sigh... that's an expensive mistake. We will find out MOnday if they will trade it in for the right length or if we are going to have to swallow it. "Swalling it" being the temr, Iwe learned, when there is a mistake made in materials. Your fault, my fault, nobody's fault and the own pays for it. It stinks. With the extra "surprise" expense (more than $1000 total) we are not sure how far we are going to get into the finish work before our money runs out. But that's fine. I don't really mind living there while we work on it. In fact, I have always had this secret desire to live "rough" for awhile. Just too see how it was like for our pioneer mothers.

God was merciful and it never did rain more than a dozen drops. NOt even enough to get anything wet. And at the end of the day we have the end walls up
with windows in them. Boy it looks pretty. V e r y n i c e i n d e e d .

All together we will have 1536 square feet. Not bad. :-)

* * * On a personal note... we are so TIRED. We decided yesterday than one really should do construction work everyday or never. This stuff is hard on a fat girl. :-) You just try to convince me that Tylenol isn't a legitimate building expense. Without it I would have been useless! lol A big THANK YOU to the guys that came to help us on Saturday:

My darling brothers (Neither are married but both are spoken for!)
Adam and Ben And their friends who are now ours as well, Jerry, Mike, and our cousin C.C. Without David Jerry's trailer full of tools, Mike's staples
and C.C. offering to buy our tin if they won't replace it, building this house would have been a long and almost impossible task. And to my mom and sisters who
cooked delicious potato soup, homemade bread and brownies for a load of
hungry men. You are wonderful. :-) What would I do without you?

October 2, 2005

So much was accomplished yesterday but I am a bit disappointed in our work on the foundation. It wasn't our work exactly that has caused the trouble, but hindsight being what it is, I do wish we had used a larger post because of the settling factor. Since putting on the gables ends yesterday, the whouse has settled some - maybe an inch? Which isn't a big deal really considering we are ameterus, but still it would be better if it had not settled at all. So now we have to buy some porch support blocks and level the hosue with them. The other option that would have made a difference was putting a concrete pad at the bottom of the holes before putting and tamping in the posts.

NOw for some updates that I didn't get to before now: on the roofing tin, the company we bought it from is willing to take the short tin as trade in against the rpice of the longer tin (which they cut too short). That amounts to about $200 instead of $600. That's a blessing.

ON the steel beams under the house, those never arrived (thank goodness we hadn't paid for them yet) so we had to use pressure treated 2x10x8's for the beams. That has contributed to the unleveling of the house too because if we had used steel beams the individual posts would have been negated by the weight of the house resting evening on the beams rather than on the beams themselves. (Does that make sense?)

So again, hindsight is a wonderful thing for future decisions, but doesn't change the here and now much at all. There is a bit of a bounce to the house when all the guys were on the 2nd floor owkring. Not a bounce in the floorm but a resonating feeling when someone runs along the top floor. To take that away, someone suggested a 2x4 boards nailed crossways between the piers, like X fashion. That will take the bit of shake factor out of the house.

November 4, 2005

A whole month alater than I thought and I had hoped to have the roof on 2 weeks ago and the interior plumbing and electrical done by now. Oh well. Such are the plans of mice and men. Instead the guys are coming again on Saturday to put up the rafters and purlins for the tin. Also they will install the remaining windows and doors too. If there is time they will also put up the house wrap too (Tyvek it's called). Adam wasn't too thrilled about putting up that stuff - did dislikes working with it I guess for some reason. ANyway, it has to be done and we can't do it without help.

Thursday, June 22, 2006

Updates On the Way!

Please forgive me, but the next few posts will hopefull get you caught up to date on what's going on here. Just pay attention to the dates in the post title NOT when the blog was posted/published. That should help you keep the timeline straight. Thanks!