Welcome to the journey,the tale and the saga of our

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

D.I.Y Screen door.

 This past weekend Chance built us a new screen door. We had been searching for a recycled one at the local Habitat Restore with no luck.The big box stores didn't have any that were what we wanted to spend.Also being us we wanted form and function, something you don't find at a mega store.

We are surrounded by livestock,a fact that no matter how clean a farm is kept you are going to end up with flies. Our little house has amazing cross breezes that really help keep the house cool.The windows are screened but without a screen door the flies were coming in on a swarm level. Icky, yeah they just fly but no one wants to think about flies and what their purpose is.

Chance and I went to the hardware/lumber store and purchased a large sheet of outdoor grade plywood and some metal screen they sell by the foot, this came to about $35. Next we went around to the Restore and found all of the hardware we needed.We lucked out that day was a 50% off everything day so the total came to a whopping $4.

Chance used our grove of Quaking Aspen trees for his inspiration, his first step was drawing and cutting out of paper a large leaf to use as a stencil.

Once the leaves were stenciled on he took the drill and drilled a hole along the line of the stencil, this was the starting point for doing the cutting. Next he used his jigsaw and cut out both leaves.

We then cut pieces of the window screening that were large enough to cover the cut outs, leaving a few inches all around the cut outs.Chance then stapled the screen down to the wood. Once this was done using a pair of scissors I cut away the extra screen, leaving about an inch of screen beyond the line of staples.

The photo above is one of the leaves, while Chance was doing some sanding I started to dream up a way to use the cut outs.They are nifty little treasures and have been set aside until we can think of a place or use for them.

Our house is owner built and has over the years done some settling, nothing worrisome just a fact of houses we sometimes forget. While Chance was working on hanging the screen door the settling of the house became apparent quickly, it took some more sanding to get the door to fit and hang properly. This extra fiddling around made us happy that we hadn't bought a ready made door,espicially if it had been a metal one, it probably wouldn't have fit.

Extra fiddling done and a couple of coats of linseed oil the door was finished. It only took a couple of hours to do which is a lot less time than it took our old dog Thora to figure out which side opens. Happily, the door is too heavy for the dogs to push open but since it opens from a different direction than the door old dog had to learn something new.
If you look closely at the photo you can see how the linseed oil really brought out the grain in the wood. There was no way to plan that out but we were very happy that the lines of the grain just happened to add a layer of organic lines to our new door.
I wish my camera would take a photo at night. We have under lit the eves with little string lights and if at night the door is open between the string lights and the screen door cut outs it's lovely with a soft glow of warmth and homey-ness.
We came in under budget so with the extra money I am watching on EBay for a just right push plate for the inner side of the door. A push plate is the metal plate you see on doors that push open, they keep the wood clean from finger prints ect. I had no idea those plates had a name until this project and then last night I found out in the UK they are called finger plates.Anyway random trivia ....So I am searching for a vintage push plate something artsy or interesting to add another interest point to the door. I will be sure to post when I find the one that is just right.
The only other news I have is I went Huckleberry picking with my friend and her kids. The season is just starting,I came home with about 2 1/2 cups of berries. I am sitting on the fence between freezing them with the hopes of picking more so I can make jam or maybe just bake something with what I have.
Speaking of canning, the local natural food store here,a place I love BTW, offers canning boxes of produce at a reduced price.When I was in the store the other day the list was up for what is available. I will have to wait until Friday to place my order since the owner is in charge of these boxes and is gone until then. I am excited about this service, I was wondering about u-picks and farms to get canning items from. At least for this year this will be the way to go, our feet will be more firmly planted next year along with our own garden.
Today is all about books and learning.We are taking Sol to enroll for school and later I am finally going to go get a library card.
Until next time

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Moving away thoughts for Stacysix.

Stacysix left me a comment for my last posting,she asked me if I missed Portland and my friends there.
The city and friends is something Chance and I talked a lot about before we made our choice to leave.

We both realized that by staying there were many important things to us that we would have give up because of the housing market in Portland. Finding housing with a yard and a garage was slim chances. We would also have to give up full time homesteading life.

We could have given up a yard fairly easily.Many friends offered if we ended up close to them places to garden so we could still grow our own food.We had been thinking about taking a break from having hens so they could have been re-homed.

But the no garage was not a choice we could make.Chance uses so many of his tools either for work at his job or for side jobs,we would loose income.Replacing a life times collection of tools would be hard to do and expensive.

There were also the scooters.Yes,a luxury to some degree but Chance had been riding his full time for transportation.Leaving scooters parked on the street,in a driveway or a parking lot is a high risk to theft.

As far as the city itself went,take it or leave it. We are not consumer type people so much of the city we didn't even use. Eating out is not a big deal to us so that we wouldn't miss.We can watch for special events we may want to go to and plan to come up for them.

When it came down to our friends that had and still has it's moments. Yes,we have friends but we didn't live in each others pockets so seeing them sporadically was the norm. We are only a little under 3 hours from Portland,that's an easy enough hop over to see people. There were moments before we left that where tough but we knew by making this choice we were keeping on the path we had set ourselves on. We may be off grid but we still have phones and the internet to stay connected too.

We also made a deal with ourselves and each other,once a month we would come up to Portland. Just so we could keep relationships with people going and that way if we were really missing something we could get a fix of whatever it may be.

So far for me the most frustrating thing has been not knowing where anything is in Bend.I had lived in Portland my whole life,the city is mapped on an easy to follow grid  unlike Bend. I now do know where some places I will use are and when I look up an address I can kind of tell which end of town and which side of the highway it is,sort of,maybe....sigh. I will get it! I said to Chance "If Debbie and her family can move to Hong Kong I can do this!" Good thing I love maps.

We do have our close friends here so we are not totally alone.They have been very helpful when we have had questions.And the people in Sisters are a friendly community,all you have to do is say hello and then ask for their help and they are willing if able.It is funny though,Sisters is small,everyone at least knows you by face, I have lost count of how many times we've been asked "are you guys new in town?" It's never said rudely but with curiosity,so far people have been welcoming. I don't know,it could be our love of head to black clothing that gives us away,what do you think?

The hardest part to leaving though was leaving Issac.Yes,he made the choice to stay in Portland to move towards his own  adventures but I still really struggle with him newly out on his own just as we move across the state. He's doing great and calls weekly which helps but I still miss his face and smile.

I hope this answers your question Stacysix. It's a mixed box for sure but so far so good with no need to spit any chocolates out.

Ok next post I will have figured out our new computer so I can post pictures.This dang thing is just different enough and I still have things to load onto it that my eyes are poppping out over it.Until then imagine waking up to the wind in the trees and a view of a magnificent mountain range right out your window.


Sunday, July 20, 2014

Sideways and then straight,kind of like a country road.

Well Dear readers I am going to give this a go,let's see where it goes from here.

The past year plus some was one that tested us to the point of feeling like the Universe had deemed us unfit or some such thing.I was unemployed,my Father has become crazy in a heart breaking fashion from dementia and just one thing after another.The worst was the loss of our boys' friend whom had been a part of our family since our boys were very young.And then you are told by your landlord you need to move. It was one of those years you cry "Why me? What have I done?" and all of your friends reassure you they have had years like it before and you come out stronger for it,usually with something much better.

Somewhere in there I did manage to full fill  my dream of going to school to become a Nutritional Therapy Practitioner which was a financial struggle but the whole family pulled together and I am now almost finished with the program. I am sure I will blog more about this later.

Then one day it was all over and our friends were right, out of the storm good things can come.A text message was the tipping point back towards good things to come.

We were trying to figure out where we wanted to move to,the housing market in the Portland area is tight so finding a good match was looking like a needle in a haystack. Then one morning I woke up to a text from our dear friend Jen in Sisters. Long time readers may remember me writing about visiting her and her family. She had a thought just as she was falling asleep- we could move to Sisters and live in the Hacienda,their former house! She went on to mention the fabulous early American music project at the local high school for our young Sol. I could work for her in her earring shop while I finish school and get myself going and since Chance has so many excellent work skills and there is a lack of skilled workers finding a job for him should work out quickly.

Now I am going to be honest here,I wanted to text back right away and say YES!!!! YES!!! because we have always wanted to live in Sisters ,we love the house and the land it sits on but I calmed down and Googled the school program for Sol,if we couldn't sell him on it,it wasn't going to work. Then I called Chance at work. We both thought and talked it through for a few days and then approached Sol.It was an easy sell,he loves it in Sisters and the idea of all the things the school has to offer was inspiring to him.

Then the work of moving across state began,we downsized our stuff because we wanted to,we sold some things,Chance left his job a few weeks early to make logistics of moving work-many trips back and forth needed to happen before the big move and then we began to say to friends not good bye but see you soon.

We also left Issac behind in Portland,being 20 he was ready to be out on his own. we knew this was coming,he'd been talking about it but it was weird to be the ones moving away just as your son is flying from the nest.

On June 19th 2014 we moved onto 97 acres,2 miles out of town up a dirt road. We have a 900 square foot house with two bedrooms,the only utility we have on grid is power,wood heat,propane for hot water and a well for water.Since we are not on a sewer line we have a very modern looking composting toilet and all water from the house drains into drain fields..We also have use of the 30 foot greenhouse and our fenced in garden area is about an acre of land.We were able to bring our hens with us,their yard is about 1/4 of an acre.We share the property with Emile who is the father of our friend,he lives in a gorgeous A Frame he built himself that is across from our house about 400 yards away.

We have repairs to do on the house since it sat for a year and a half empty. We got here too late to garden this year but since the garden needed overhauling it gives us more time to have things more in place for Spring.

As of today we are moved in and some work has been done. All three of us are working and so far enjoying the adventure of living someplace very new to us.

Now we begin relearning things! Prepare yourselves to laugh at us,cry with us and be inspired by the beauty of this place. Gardening here is a totally different thing -the weather keeps you guessing a lot. Living off grid will have its learning curve I am sure- we already ran out of propane once and wondered what was up with the hot water heater for a few minutes.Living along side wild critters that aren't just the skunks we had at our old house will be interesting too- I no longer scream at big spiders,bugs are bigger here and you just become immune to their presence.
Next time I will have photos to share.Not of the spiders but of the house and land. I am not sure how much homesteading news I will have right away but we will just have to wait to see what comes up.

Until next time

Saturday, July 19, 2014


 So I know it has been a terribly long time since I blogged but life went sideways.
But I am curious if anyone is still out there and if anyone would like to read along as we learn how to live mostly off grid in Central Oregon?