So 2012 has came and went in a flash. When we moved back to West Virginia in the fall of 2011 we thought that we would rent for 6-12 months before moving into our permanent home. But 18 months later we are still here in our rented doublewide miles from our own property. We have always had such big plans but it has been so hard to bring them to fruition! Every project seems to take twice as long as planned and cost twice as much. There has been long months where no progress was made because we were in between plans. We've decided on one plan and then scrapped it for another over and over again. But we are finally set on the plans for the Earthship so tire collection and construction continues on. We have accepted the 3-5 year timeline that the Earthship construction requires and made plans to move into the old farmhouse until completion. So the farmhouse renovations continue through the winter months as time and money permit.
Sometimes it is all very overwhelming and we feel like we are in over our heads. There are so many huge projects on the agenda and my full time job keeps me from home more than I anticipated. There are weeks when my work and the kids' extra curricular activities barely leave time to do laundry, cook, and wash dishes. Those are the weeks that I don't even get to step foot on our property, those are the weeks that our dream of a sustainable life seem unattainable, and those are the weeks that I spend time wondering why I left graduate school to come here. The last few weeks were like that and it really started to get me down. I started to feel very "stuck" in our current living situation and it wasn't a pleasant feeling. So today we went on the hill to work on the farmhouse. We discovered that we have a horrible leak in the roof over the kitchen to contend with. So we spent the day moving our new cabinets out of the kitchen. As usual, it's one step forward and two steps back. It put a definite damper on our day but there wasn't any real water damage so we were lucky. After moving cabinets away from the leak I just sat on the porch and enjoyed the cold winter day. It's so peaceful there away from the main road. There were no cars driving by and the only sounds were from the wildlife and the wind. My husband and I agreed that life would be so much better in this serene setting. Although there are only a few miles separating our current rented house and our home on the hill, they are truly worlds apart. So we will be spending every day of Christmas break working on the house in an effort to live on our own land as soon as possible. We have set a move in date of April 1st, 2013 and I've been working on a reasonable timeline to make that dream a reality.
I've been so inspired by my list making that I have also started setting our 2013 farm goals. So without any further ado, here they are:
~Finish the necessary farmhouse renovations including new electrical and plumbing.
~Move into the farmhouse. This will include purging our current house and letting go of many of our material possessions in an effort to live with less clutter. I come from a long line of hoarders and it is a difficult habit to break!
~Build a permanent chicken coop with a self watering system from rainwater catchment.
~Create raised beds for this year's garden. These can be improved upon each year but we would like to have the basic layout completed this year.
~Start all of our crops from seed this year. No store bought tomato seedlings this year!
~Grow and harvest our own chicken feed for next winter.
~Set up a rainwater catchment system to water our garden. Most of our neighbors haul water in from the local water station. City water is not available that far away from the main road and the wells have to be very deep to supply enough water for household use.
~Add milk goats to the farm family.
~Raise our own hogs to butcher in the fall.
~Work on fencing our land (this is a long term plan as fencing can be costly and time consuming to install).
~Build our greenhouse. I have drawn up plans for an awesome greenhouse made from old used windows and other recycled building materials that we have saved.
~Make whatever progress we can on our Earthship. I have decided not set goals on how many rows of tires to have done by a certain time because we want this to be as stress free as possible. I have come to realize that deadlines and strict timelines should only be used when necessary. And we are going to keep the building process as organic as possible without strict deadlines to meet.
I think that should keep us busy for the next year! I have very mixed emotions about our goals for this year. I am excited to complete them and think that they are excellent goals but they are all too familiar as many of them are the same goals that we had set last year. But if I could impart one piece of wisdom to anyone reading this it would be that it's not a failure until you give up. As long as you're still willing to try then you have never really failed! So we will keep setting goals and working at our own pace towards attaining them. And hopefully one day in the not so distant future we will have all of those goals completed.
Much love from the farm,