Thursday, August 27, 2015

Downsizing.... We Did It!

Hello there folks... I've been missing all of you!  It has been a wild and crazy ride around here, but praise the Lord, today I finally see light at the end of the tunnel, and have the presence of mind, and energy to spare, to write a blog post!

I can tell you this.... downsizing is tough!   So many hard and difficult decisions about memory heavy belongings!

When I move, I normally have a "staging area" which is a room that I use to put things that I know need to go somewhere, but don't really have a place to go - yet.  In our little cottage, there really was no room for a staging area, except for our bedroom, so for the last week or two, it has been piled with boxes having no particular destination, and a small path to walk through.  Each night, I went to bed surrounded by boxes with unknown destinations.  For me, this was very hard, because I love things organized, and in their place.

Finally though... yesterday the last box in my bedroom was put in its final destination, and I feel like I can breathe again!  This has been a difficult road filled with organizing challenges, and other miscellaneous challenges along the way which didn't really help.

Probably the main challenge - and one we still face - is the fact that don't have hot water.  My husband had to leave to go back to work on the day that the propane tank was filled and the heat/cooling company was scheduled to come out the next day and light the hot water heater, and ensure its safety and working ability.  However, when they came out, because the hot water heater was previously natural gas, and is older than eight years, the part to interchange the hot water heater from gas to propane is no longer available. So, we basically have a hot water heater that won't work with propane. The other option is to switch the hot water heater over to electric, but this is something my husband will need to do. And he won't be back until Labor Day weekend.

So... we are camping!  We are heating hot water for dishes and bathing, and while this is a challenge of sorts, it is not terrible.  It is manageable.  Yet, it is just one more thing I have to do, on top of getting the house in order.

So, there you have it... the reason I've been lost and hiding from blog posts is just that I've been covered in boxes... and dust!

You see, on top of everything else we have going on here, our area is on high alert because of wild fires.  The air has been incredibly smoky, and thankfully that is the worst we've had to endure.  So many others close by us have lost their homes and all that they have.  There is a huge wildfire burning north of us, about 12 miles away, but we are in no danger of it approaching where we are at.  However, everyone here is on edge and on high alert about the fires, and it is a great cause for concern.  We have tremendous amounts of dust because of the gravel road we live on, and the fact that our new construction has stirred up a lot of ground that once was forest floor... and now, is just... dust.  The dogs love it.  They run back and forth and clouds follow them.  I spray the ground down daily, but still... dust is everywhere!



We watched the moon come up a week or so ago, and it was rather eerie.  It was completely red because of the smoke and particles in the air.



Our yard looks like a huge mess of tunnels.  Lines had to be dug to put in the propane and telephone lines, and my husband also dug a water line from the well to the garden.



Uh oh!  The ground gave way as the tractor was shoveling the dirt back into the holes and the tractor was stuck!



No amount of effort to use the bucket to help back the tractor out would work.  Time for my husband's heavy duty 4x4 pickup to be put to work.



I drove the pickup and pulled the tractor out... lots of fun, and a few laughs there! My husband was extremely careful to not get close to the edges again, as I was his eyes on the ground as he pushed dirt.



The new home for our chickens arrived!  I found this well made chicken coop locally, and it was time to introduce our hens to their new home!



The hens were very stressed about the move.  We put them in the back of my pickup, and they all huddled on the plastic container for the drive over to their new home.



We had cleaned out the chicken shed (it still had residuals from the previous owners), and dusted it down with diatomaeous earth.  The hens are loving their new home, especially since it is right next door to the garden!



We have regular visitors throughout the day - a whole group of momma turkeys and their babies come by to visit mornings and evenings.  I've been leaving fresh water out for them, and the turkeys crowd around the water and just drink and drink.  I keep fresh water for them each day, as it is so dry here. See that dust?  Yeah, that's right outside my window! It fills your shoes and your feet are almost black at the end of the day, especially if you are wearing sneakers or open toed shoes.  Even wearing boots, the dirt has a way of attaching itself to you!



Our horizons around here are very limited right now due to the very smoky air.  This picture was actually taken on one of the better days we've had. Some days it is downright eerie with the amount of smoke that is in the air.


Yesterday, there was enough done on the house that I could leave for a while, and so I took Annie on our first walk since we moved in.  Oh what a beautiful walk it was!


We walked approximately 2.5 miles and it was a welcome relief for me to get out and walk again after all the moving excitement!


When I got back, I heard this woodpecker in one of our trees.  He wasn't worried about me at all, and let me get very close.  Once I got a little too close, he just moved to the other side of the tree, lol!


My small garden is doing well, and produce is really starting to come in!  Last year, our first frost hit before any of my tomatoes even ripened! So I am so thrilled that this year I am already experiencing a significant amount of ripe tomatoes!


Oh what a happy sight to see them ripening beautifully on the vine!


Some pictures of recent harvests...



Well, this is it for the update on downsizing our lives!  It has been a challenging journey to be sure, but already I am reaping the benefits of enjoying a simpler lifestyle, and praising the Lord for helping us get to this place!  Thank you for following along with us in this crazy wonderful journey that we are on, and I hope to get back to regular blog posts very soon.  Many blessings and hugs to all my wonderful friends out there... and I hope to get back to visiting your blogs soon.  :)






29 comments:

  1. Oh, what a delight to see your lovely post pop up in my reader this afternoon...I am catching up on some much needed blog reading whilst sipping coffee...smiles...
    Shew! You have been quite busy...and oh! You must be delighted to be settling down after the move! Downsizing...our family have done that once or twice ourselves and it is no joke...so much sorting and packing! Boxes...everywhere - yes indeed!
    But your new place looks and sounds just wonderful, and so peaceful too...
    How terrible about the fires though...I will be keeping you in my prayers...
    Many blessings and hugs to you...I really enjoyed reading your update - hope your hot water gets sorted out soon - my! We've had to deal with that problem so often too, and it isn't always fun trying to get enough hot water to bathe dirty little ones or wash dishes, but praise God for His grace! It does carry us through! Enjoy settling into your sweet new home...
    Joy and love,
    Kelly-Anne

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Dear Kelly-Anne! What a lovely drop of sunshine your comments always are! Downsizing is a lot of work, but I am beginning to reap the peaceful rewards, and for that I am very very thankful! Bless your dear family for enduring such a thing more than once! We often "bush camp" without water of any kind, and so I am used to the ritual of cooking, cleaning and bathing without accessible water - for a few days anyway.. so it really hasn't been so bad. I've got so many other pluses here, as I can look out my window and see the beauty of the place we live in, and that helps a whole lot! Thank you for your very sweet words today, what a precious soul you are, and appreciate your blogging friendship so much and thank you for the prayers about the fires! Tomorrow is supposed to be a difficult day with very high winds up to 60 miles an hour here, so say an extra prayer for the firefighters. It has been very hard on them! Much love and hugs to you across the many miles :)

      Delete
  2. P.S. Your harvest looks amazing...so impressive! Well done on your wonderful, bountiful summer garden...:)
    Hugs!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you dear Kelly-Anne - it is lovely reaping such bountiful produce indeed! :)

      Delete
  3. Wow. You have a lot going on in your world right now. Your chickens are a riot. I am glad the dust is beginning to settle down inside your cottage, if not outside. Those fires sound frightening. It comforting to know that you are outside of harm's way, I am sorry for those that are not, plus I can't imagine that the smoke and particles are good for anyone~ near or far. I hope that fall brings less dust, no fires and hot water! Enjoy your harvest!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks for stopping by dear Kim! I appreciate your faithfulness in the midst of my blogging absence - yes, there has been a very lot going on, and I don't do well with un-organization, lol! Thankfully though, we have now settled in, and our home feels like home, and that is so wonderful! Yes, the fire danger here is at a scary level, but we are just trusting the Lord for His protection, and praying for those who have lost so much. We are looking to fall, hoping for rain, indeed. Appreciate your sweet visit today, your encouraging words mean so much! Blessings to you my friend!

      Delete
  4. This is all so very amazing and I'm beyond ecstatic for you folks! Congratulations! Major progress! When the water heats up again inside, you'll appreciate it all the more.

    *hugs*
    Kelley~
    Letters Unfolded

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hello dear Kelley - and thank you for your faithfulness to visit in my absence around here! We are thrilled about it all, and while it has been a lot of work, we are already reaping the benefits of such a warm and cozy home! Indeed, we will very much appreciate warm water coming out of the shower, lol! Hope that you are enjoying your travels.. and will try to get by to say hi soon! :)

      Delete
  5. I had to sigh after reading all that you have going on.
    You have certainly had your share of work, but oh when it is finished you will reap the benefits and enjoy it immensely.
    Happy to hear that you were able to go for a beautiful walk, I'm sure that was quite peaceful and relaxing.
    Your hens were adorable taking their ride in the back of the pickup. I'm sure they will adjust well, and those turkeys, aww...
    Our turkeys have not been around this summer but they always come back in the fall and stay through the winter. I feed them all winter and then they leave to nest and I never get to see the babies. :(
    Your tomatoes look delicious!
    Remembering you all with the fires.

    Have a blessed weekend, friend.
    Joy to you! Debbie

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Dear Debbie, what a blessing to read your sweet words... I appreciate your faithfulness to visit in the midst of my blogging absence! Yes, we really have had a lot going on, even more than I've blogged about yet, but the Lord has been a constant companion and friend to us throughout every step of the way!

      I enjoyed the walk so much, and hope to get another one in tomorrow. We are supposed to have high winds here tomorrow, and I am hoping that somehow that won't be the case, as that is the last thing we need with the fire situation, but we will see what the day brings.

      Our turkeys had their babies very late, as it seems they were born in July! I wonder where your turkeys go? The ones that come to visit us are like clockwork, they show up at 7 and again at 5, lol!

      Hope that you are doing okay, as I know that it so hard to recover from the grief of losing your father. I will be trying sometime this weekend to get by to visit my dear blogging friends, and catch up on their lives. I appreciate you so very much, and your prayers too! Much love across the miles :)

      Delete
  6. Oh, bless your hearts! You have really been busy! I am so sorry about those fires...I know that has to be very disturbing. I am keeping you in my regular prayers, and the Lord brought this verse to my mind for you. "There shall no evil befall thee, neither shall any plague come nigh thy dwelling" Once when we were living in FL, we had the same situation going on. I could literally stand at the end of our driveway and watch the billowing smoke from a wildfire VERY nearby. I remember standing there and begging God to have mercy and singing this song, "Jesus is still the tempest and storm..." precious words to an old hymn over and over and over. Also, "Be not afraid 'tis I"...those dear songs helped to calm me and keep me steady through that awful time. I know God will give you the same peace, and I just trust this will all be over soon. Enjoy your dear new home! I am so thankful the worst of the move is behind you, and now you can relax. You must feel so much lighter, having unloaded all of that stuff. We are doing the same thing here...not as quickly as you had to, but on a steady basis. Our problem is figuring out what to do with it once we are willing to let it go!!! Much love and many hugs back to you, sweet friend. :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. My dear Cheryl! What a precious joy it was to read through your comment today, and it meant so much to me to know that the Lord had given you a verse for me - thank you so much for sharing it! Indeed, I have felt such peace in the midst of doing this difficult transition, and I know it was because of the prayers of my dear friends praying for me!

      To be honest, I have not had a wildfire that close to me, and I can understand your fear, but how precious it was that the Lord gave you peace and calm in the midst of that awful time! I pray we never see the fires that close, but do believe that we can stand on and claim the promises of the Lord no matter what we face!

      We are enjoying our new home so much, and my window where the computer sits, opens out into the front yard where the turkeys come to visit, and I can tell you, that it has been a most beautiful and blessed thing to enjoy. God is so faithful to reward us with beautiful small things even in the midst of trying times!

      Oh downsizing does hurt... and I understand your dilemma of what to do with it once you want to let it go! We had a yard sale, and did manage to get rid of a lot of stuff there, and things that didn't sell, I called a local thrift store, and they came and picked up the remnants, so that was awesome! I know the Lord will lead you in how to best repurpose things you don't need!

      Appreciate your faithful friendship so much, and much love is sent to you across the miles :)

      Delete
  7. Sweet friend, how you have crossed my min during these last few months. You have been so quiet and I figured it was because your were busy with your sweet home. You are certianly making a lot of progress, dear one, and that is ever so exciting! You remain in my prayers, friend.

    And oh my, your bountiful garden looks oh-so-tasty! What a blessing to be able to enjoy such fresh and tasty produce :) Enjoy your weekend! Love and hugs to you!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Oh, I have thought of all my blogging friends many times through the past month or so, in my absence, and wondered about their lives! I pray the Lord is healing your heart after the death of your precious grandfather, and continuing to bless you and your sweet family!

      How is your Etsy shop doing? I pray the Lord blesses your efforts there too!

      Our garden is really producing pretty great this year, and for that I am so thankful, because last year, it was just about a complete loss, lol! Yes, yummy indeed, and nothing - really - is better than fresh homegrown tomatoes! Umm!

      Much love and hugs to you across the miles, and praying the Lord is blessing your sweet heart in all you do :)

      Delete
  8. Sounds like you've had a very challenging time. Glad to hear things are settling down and you're enjoying some comfort. And, your own tomatoes!
    Amalia
    xo

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Ah yes, my own tomatoes grown in my own garden, pure pleasure indeed! Things are settling down, and yesterday was a nice relaxing day, the first one I've had that didn't involve unpacking a box, lol!

      Delete
  9. I'm glad that you are finally able to move around in your bedroom! Sorting through pieces and deciding what stays with you, and what doesn't is a difficult decision.
    The bounty from your garden is quite a gift! Enjoy the fruits of your labor.
    Keep the pictures coming!
    Debbie
    xo

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yes, it was kind of a challenge to have my bedroom as the staging area, but thankfully, I am glad that part of the move is over! There is a great relief that comes once the transition has been made!

      It is such a joy to be next to my garden (I've lived several miles away from it all summer), and to just go over and enjoy being in it without knowing I would have to leave! We are definitely enjoying the fruits of the labor, it is such a blessing! Thanks for stopping by today :)

      Delete
  10. Oh my...what a journey you have been on. I'm so glad that you are able to move around through out your home now. Yes a lot of boxesnow everywhere can be very stressful. I don't like clutter either. Oh and that dust...I am so sorry. Not fun I'm sure. Scary to think you are near the fires. So glad to hear you are safe. I will definitely keep you in my prayers!
    Your garden looks wonderful and your harvest looks amazing! Thank goodness for fresh grown produce! We love our greenhouse and all that it provides!
    Thanks for updating us, keep them coming when you can. It's all looking great!
    Hugs to you, Amy

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Dear Amy, yes indeed, it has been quite a journey - can't say I saw it all coming... but so thankful to be on the other side of it now! Drinking my coffee this morning watching the wildlife outside my window - ahhh! Thank you Jesus! I'm so thankful that I'm here with my garden now, and not miles away, and I can walk out there anytime, and just enjoy it. God is so good!

      And a praise report! We did have a terrible windstorm that came through yesterday, but a big joy too - we are now getting much needed rain! Praise the Lord! Hoping that the rain continues, and helps the poor firefighters who are working so hard fighting the fires. Thank you Lord!

      I will try to post pictures soon :) Take care Amy, and may God bless your new adventure! :)

      Marilyn

      Delete
  11. Oh my...what a journey you have been on. I'm so glad that you are able to move around through out your home now. Yes a lot of boxesnow everywhere can be very stressful. I don't like clutter either. Oh and that dust...I am so sorry. Not fun I'm sure. Scary to think you are near the fires. So glad to hear you are safe. I will definitely keep you in my prayers!
    Your garden looks wonderful and your harvest looks amazing! Thank goodness for fresh grown produce! We love our greenhouse and all that it provides!
    Thanks for updating us, keep them coming when you can. It's all looking great!
    Hugs to you, Amy

    ReplyDelete
  12. Ahhh, good to read this my friend. I feel your happiness, your contentment. You and your hubby make a great team, and your hard work is paying off. Your chicken house is so quaint. Fresh eggs would be wonderful. And your produce is lovely. We have wildfires burning here, too. Some days we can't even see the mountains around us, even though we're miles and miles from the fires. We're praying for rain. So glad to get caught up with you. Take care and God bless you. Hugs, Nancy

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Good morning dear Nancy! So wonderful to be back amongst my dear blogging friends, I missed everyone during the hectic past month or two.

      I love our new little chicken house, and once we get some other bigger important things done in preparation for winter, i want to spruce it up with some paint, and a window box of flowers... (smile).

      Thankfully, we did get a storm that came through yesterday that has now brought in much cooler weather, and this morning - rain! yeah! I hope the same system has brought this weather to you! I can actually see the mountains today, what a joy! Praying that this change in weather helps the poor firefighters who must be so exhausted.

      I know you are reaping the benefits of enjoying your beautiful new home, and praying the Lord continues to bless all you do! :)

      Delete
  13. How exciting! So happy for you that you are almost settled in! I know it has been a lot of work but it is already starting to pay off in peace of mind knowing you have no payments! Yeehaw!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yes, not having a house payment feels SO good! The downsizing was an incredible amount of work (and still lots of work ahead of us to prepare for winter), but it is a happy thing to know that the house is fully paid for! Yeah! Appreciate your visit dear friend! :)

      Delete
  14. I'm so glad to hear your ok- I've been aware of the fire situation in your area. Glad to hear your getting settled into your new life and home. How sweet of you to put out water for the turkey's. I'm sure in return they bring you so much joy. I'm thinking that's a hairy woodpecker....

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Ronda... yes I imagine you have heard about our fires here, it has been a terrible month for them, but we thankfully got a huge rainstorm yesterday which is going to help a whole lot! I do enjoy seeing the turkeys come by for a visit, and the cute little babies are so fun to watch! Thanks for letting me know what kind of woodpecker that is. I notice that he is really pecking on the tree I have my birdfeeder on, close by my window. Does that mean the tree may be diseased? That makes me very sad to think that it might, as I remember you saying that woodpeckers generally only peck trees that may be diseased from within. Appreciate your visit today so much! :)

      Delete
  15. Oh my goodness, you have been busy. I so enjoyed hearing about all of the happenings going on around your neck of the woods. I am so happy that you are getting settled in. Thank you for sharing. Sweet pleasures and simple blessings for your evening. Hugs ♥ Teri

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you Teri for your visit! I know you have been quite busy yourself, and it was nice to see you stop by! This summer has passed by so quickly hasn't it! Praying the Lord blesses your day in a very sweet and wonderful way :)

      Delete

Your comments are blessings to me, and I appreciate each and every one, they are precious to me! I appreciate you taking the time to comment on my blog... this is what makes blogging worthwhile! Have a blessed day!