Where has the time gone? Here at the farm, it goes fast.
Six months. Poof. Here we are … from Thanksgiving week to May in just a few short weeks. As you can see from the Christmas pajamas above, (and the not pictured Christmas lights that are still up), we are barely treading water around here.
We are trying, though… and doing our best has to count for something.
It still feels like it was yesterday that we packed up and left city life behind for our fixer-upper farm. Shoot, we travel so much back and forth to the city (various ones that all seem to be the same distance to where we are in Podunk), we feel like we took quite a bit of city with us into the country.
Last update (which was shamefully so long ago and preceded the longest blogging break I think I’ve ever taken since 2005) I spoke of:
– our lost city cat of ten years (Poor Quaker)
– my back out from shoveling gravel on my birthday weekend
– bathroom renovations in progress (sadly, they are still in progress)
– purging (also still in progress and unfortunately, I’m still paying that stupid money for storage until I can find some helpers to get the heavy lifting done)
…and NOAH-level rains.
The rains have not stopped coming.
Last night we had a thunderstorm so severe, I was pacing the house and looking out of the windows in prayer. It is quite obvious now that there should be a storm shelter on this tiny Texas farm property somewhere. I had no idea where we would go if a tornado came since the house is basically lifted up on pier and beam… and I joked with Kevin that we might just wake up in Kansas.
I also mentioned hoping we could get the greenhouse and carport enclosed on my last update. I’m happy to say that we now have a GARAGE – woohoo! – and a greenhouse! I love the greenhouse so much I have threatened to move into it. The only problem is that I’m going to have to get the ventilation and heating figured out. I ended up using corrugated polycarbonate walls, old antique windows my mama had collected and some my best neighbor friend from our old house had given me, and I’m in the process of concreting in a hand-laid antique brick floor. It has been a labor of love… and Siri no longer recogizes my finger print. Farm work is hard on a body.
The greenhouse is considered a “lean-to” because the back wall is also the carport’s exterior wall with corrugated steel, and the roof is sloped down from the carport roof so the water can run off. We have been learning about rain water capture, also, and using barrels of rain water to water the plants. At this rate, I could probably collect enough rain for the entire county for a year if it doesn’t stop raining so often. It takes all of ten minutes of hard rain to fill a huge barrel.
Living out here has been a smörgåsbord of emotion and change; ups, downs, all arounds. Lots of dirt, too. Like, what was I thinking putting white grout in the kids’ bathroom?!! My mother-in-law warned me. Shoulda listened. We are nowhere near finished with that bathroom, but I’m already considering ripping the tile out and starting fresh on the floor. Too bad I’m broke and need extra strength Bengay at the end of every day from working in the garden, or I might have actually redone it already.
Thankfully, the pipe issues have all been fixed. Running sinks, toilets and working bathtubs and showers in each bathroom are a major win for living in the country. I’ll deal with the wallpaper, trim, and final touches as finances permit. This was behind the fake paneling when we pulled it off. Now it is smooth sheetrock, waiting for me to learn the skill of wallpaper hanging. Grandma had these skills. Me, not so much. Hope I don’t ruin the walls and waste a ton of money on wallpaper.
My bathroom is further along, but also in limbo. I still have to stain the shelves, add tin to the ceiling to cover a mishap by the crew who helped renovate, re-paint the legs on the old clawfoot tub after they welded them on, fix a spot on the dresser they messed up when helping install my sink, add wall trim along the shiplap walls, finish touch up white exterior paint to waterproof the walls, clean up some paint mess on the tile with acetone or turpentine, get a fabric curtain for the old-timey rod that goes all the way around over the plastic curtain we have up, add a hanging basket to get the shampoo and conditioner a resting place, and do some minor decorating.
I love the bathroom, even though it is VERY small. Very small bathrooms in very small houses make very BIG sense.
Small is simpler. Small is good. Learning to live with less takes adjustment, but it is rewarding when you realize you really do have ENOUGH. It is freeing to be content with less. It doesn’t always happen with gratitude, and there has been some whining, don’t get me wrong… but overall, I’m definitely content. The only way I would want my old house back is if it was magically transported to the country free and clear of any bank debt. The end. Small really IS awesome when you look at it that way!
Unless of course, you are talking about plants or books, a small collection is LACKING. You can’t have too many of either. Maybe I should call this the plant and book farm, since I only have two cats and not that many cacti?
My favorite mug says “CRAZY PLANT LADY” and I have a t-shirt that asks the question: “How many plants is too many plants?” You know the answer to that… right? No one will ever know how big that number is. Infinite amounts. I’m doing OK in the plant department – pending the EXTREME water we’ve had from the sky… you never know if some will die off… but my books are a sad lot. Not that I don’t have a LOT OF BOOKS.
Half of my books are still in boxes, some with moisture ruining them, and I can’t find anything I look for. They are all out of order on the shelves that do have books, and I am probably looking at spending an entire summer just dedicated to working out some sort of book case solution and getting all these boxes in storage gone through so I can place all my books inside where they belong. Currently, I am looking at a possible book burn pile if there has been any mold or water damage, and that makes a homeschool mom REALLY ANGSTY.
For angst, I like to self-prescribe Pinterest, old magazines my mama collected (this doubles as purging because I’m tearing out ideas for the garden and house and throwing the rest of the magazine away)… and good old-fashioned digging in the dirt. I’ve planted more things than I care to list here since we moved. Just for kicks, though, I’ll list a few: Gala apples, elderberry, pear trees, vitex, mulberry trees, turk’s cap, root-beer plant, squash, lavenders of all kinds, chives, parsley, oregano, marjoram, chocolate mint, and all sorts of garden seeds from my window ledge at the last house. You would think I really do plan to learn to farm (I do). I try and plant something every day… or water or work on the landscaping… but some days I have pressing duties inside that keep me from “play”.
View this post on Instagram
There are so many pictures I can’t share from the past six months because they would make the post load too slowly. I may share a few later, or maybe not… but know that you can always check up on us in Facebook or Instagram. We are plugging away at homeschool, learning how to homestead (read: “tiny farm”), renovations, and just the normal drama of being a family of a dwindling nest size. Girl child is ACTUALLY moving away in just a few days and will be in Lubbock indefinitely. Big guy child is saving up for his own bachelor pad. Soon our tiny house will be less snug and mama’s heart will be spread much thinner.
Some highlights of the past six months not mentioned or shown here:
Senior Portraits for Abigail, my niece….
Finished pictures of the bathrooms, garage, and greenhouse….
Growing things in the garden and dirty, dirty, boys…
Home learning and fun with our co-op friends….
Maybe with co-op coming to an end after Easter, we can check in more. You never know, because I am resolute about getting the storage situation handled soon. If you have some arm muscle and want to donate a few hours or a day to help, PLEASE TEXT ME. I need volunteers to cart things off to Good Will or Salvation Army, and to help me lift and move boxes and make a burn pile. Maybe someone to offer a shoulder if the case should arise that one of the burn boxes ends up being BOOKS. I nearly died of sadness a few weeks ago when I discovered a very expensive fur coat I had gotten on discount when we lived in Arkansas in the storage unit. I had been looking everywhere for it and it had been misplaced in the storage unit OUTSIDE of a container for the mice to eat up. We had a short funeral and I said goodbye to my favorite item of clothing I’ve ever owned. Crazy how losing the important stuff helps you get rid of EVERYTHING ELSE.
I would say I can imagine what people who have been through a house fire have gone through, but really, that pales in comparison. Always keepin’ those silver linings in mind…. gratitude is the attitude that gets you through it all. One day and one little drama at a time here at the Cat and Cactus Tiny Texas Country Farm.
Keepin’ it real,
Heather (and I’m ok. and I’m ok. and I’m ok…)