Tuesday, October 31, 2017

The Greenhouse

Although our structures aren't completed yet, the greenhouse is completed enough for me to use it.  As long as the sun shines the greenhouse warms up quickly.  It was in the mid 20s the other night and the greenhouse stayed in the 50s during the night and in the morning the temperature shot up so quickly that I had to open the windows. It will get over 120 inside, even if it's only 50 outside.  It's amazing, but with temperatures over 100 the plants won't pollinate the flowers. The greenhouse has heat in the floors, so if we get several days without sunshine we can heat it up, if needed. 

I've never grown anything in a greenhouse before.  I was an expert gardener while in California.  Anything I planted grew like crazy.  Fruits, vegetables...ok, not ornamentals.  If it didn't produce food I wasn't that great!  So now, I'm trying to figure out how to grow everything in buckets indoors.  I bought 70 quart muck buckets for the trees and 40 quart buckets for vegetables.  I drill half dozen 1" holes in the bottom.  Then I put in a layer of the weed cloth so the soil won't come out the bottom.  I also have some 5 gallon buckets and other containers that I'm using.  I like the 10 gallon ones better than the 5 gallon ones as the plants seem real crowded in the 5 gallon buckets.  The 10 gallon will be more stable for the plants such as tomatoes.  Right now they are sprawling all over and the 5 gallon container isn't heavy enough to stick cages in them to hold the plants upright. 

The potting soil makes a huge difference.  Our compost isn't ready yet so I've had to buy potting soil.  I've used organic soils and they seem to work well.  I had some leftover Miracle Grow that I'd bought from Sam's Club.  That seems to compact too much and the water ends up going down the sides of the buckets and not to the plant roots.  I have to make sure that I mound soil up at the sides so it provides a well for the water to go where it's supposed to go. 

We have tomatoes growing in the Miracle Grow soil.  As long as I water it right they are happy plants.  Tomatoes will self pollinate with a little air flowing, so I open windows on each side of the greenhouse to bring in a little breeze.  That and I have a small paintbrush that I dab from flower to flower. 

We have lettuce growing in small pots.  I have these pots set in a plastic bowl that's used to catch water so it doesn't spill all over.  I fill the bowl with water and the soil soaks up the water.  This makes it so the lettuce doesn't get knocked over as it would when watering from above.

The green bean plants look sickly.  I'm keeping one step ahead of whatever is trying to attack them and we are getting green beans.  I've never had anything attack my green beans in my outdoor gardens.  I think this is some sort of fungus because I've never seen any pests on them. 

Here, within the first few days, some of the plants were attacked by aphids.  How did the aphids find us?  I tried using soapy water to kill them but that just killed the pepper plant! Now I search the leaves and squish the little buggers.  I also bought a ten-pack of the sticky fly strips.  I bought a piece of yellow cardboard, cut it into strips and attached the sticky strips to the cardboard.  I put a nail through each one and put a homemade bug catcher into each bucket.  I've caught some bugs.

The best part of the greenhouse are the fruit trees.  I've got lemon, oranges, grapefruit, and tangerines growing at over 8000 feet elevation in Colorado! My lemon tree is getting ready to bloom.  I'll again use the opening the window method to bring in a bit of a breeze, plus I'll shake branches, and individually touch the blooms with the paintbrush.  I'd like to bring some flying bugs in that will help with the pollination, but I'll have to remove my sticky traps if I do so. 

I'll be planting more soon.  Right now I've got quite a few empty buckets.  I'm hoping to find some local compost to mix with the store bought stuff.  Otherwise it's gets to be expensive.  Our compost, made up mostly of goat manure and grass hay droppings should be ready next summer.  So should our outdoor garden. 

Wednesday, August 2, 2017

Using Your Food Preps

The local Walmart (local means 1 1/2 hours away) sell Auguson Farms dehydrated and freeze dried foods for cheaper than the company sells it on their own website.  Each time I go to that town I stop by and buy something to try.  Since our house still isn't done (maybe by next spring) I don't have much space for food storage.  I probably still have a year or two of food, but it's packed into the back of the shipping container and unavailable.  But if TSHTF it's there. (I do have a 4 foot wide shelf in the front of the shipping container that is crammed with food.)  So I try this new stuff.  They sell it in #10 cans and I've bought chili and black bean burger.  The black bean burger can says it makes 38 patties and it was under $11.50.  It's cheaper to buy this can than to buy the already made burgers that are in the freezer section of the grocery store.  It's got black beans, rice, peppers, and seasoning in the ingredients.  I made 4 burgers the other day.  Boy didn't like it because they were soggy in the middle.  I think that's my fault because I made them thick.  When cooking a regular burger I'll make them thick so the center is medium rare.  You can't do that with black bean burger because the center ends up soggy.  If I made them thinner it would have been better.  The taste was good.  This mix would also be good cooked up like ground beef and used in burritos. 

The other item I bought was the chili.  It was a bit more expensive than the black bean burger but still worth getting and using in our everyday food preparation.  The black bean burger gets soaked in hot water for about 15 minutes prior to making into patties.  I soaked it for about an hour because I was busy.  The beans came out tender.  The chili has different directions.  You don't soak the beans, you just cook it in boiling water for 15 minutes or so.  That's a lot of fuel to use so next time I'm going to try soaking the chili for a while before cooking.  We cut up some hot dogs and put them into the chili just for something extra.  The chili was ok.  But I'm used to good homemade chili! Boy really liked this chili. The open can of chili has a very strong smell, that can still be smelled through the plastic lid. Once the can is opened the chili needs to be put into a thick Ziplock bag and then put back into the can prior to being stored or your entire pantry is going to smell like chili seasoning.  Or you can put it into a glass jar to keep it from smelling up the place.  

I think it is important to use this type of food in your daily eating if you plan on using it in your food storage.  I don't use dried food every day, but I'd sure hate to have to go cold turkey from fresh or canned food, or restaurant food, or however you normally eat to dried food.  Both of these items are going to be part of our storage plan and I'll buy one of each can each time I hit that Walmart. 

Thursday, June 1, 2017

Nothing done but settling into a routine

We are back in our trailer after having spent the winter at our friend’s guest house. We had internet access there.  At our house we have it but I didn’t have a place to set up the computer.  After all, there isn’t much wiggle room in a 19’ trailer!  Our house is not complete.  Still nothing is finished. We keep not passing inspections- electric and plumbing.  The inspector comes and points out one thing that needs to be fixed.  Then he leaves.  We fix it and the inspector comes back a week or two later.  That’s good but now here’s another item.  They can’t give us a complete list of what needs to be fixed.  It’s one at a time.  Job security for the inspector scum and because it’s new construction we are stuck having to deal with them. Unfortunately, this means more time and more money.  The plumbing inspector is coming back today.  Hopefully that will be a success as he has been easier to deal with than the electrical inspector.  We can’t finish anything or move into anything without these inspections passed.  I did move my computer into the bunkhouse and have it working, so sometimes I can get on line. I’m not supposed to be occupying any building, so the computer looks like it’s just on the shelf being stored. 

Same with the food supply.  A small trailer doesn’t hold much food.  I have a storage rack filled with food in the bunkhouse.  That’s allowed since it is being stored.  But with all the inspectors and workers traipsing in and out, I don’t like it so much in the open…but I don’t really have much choice here.  There’s no long-term buckets or anything that looks like I’m storing up food. I just comment that since it’s 100 miles to Costco I just have to stock up. I still do have food buckets and cans.  Some are stored in the barn, in a pile that just looks like junk, while the rest of it is in the shipping container with all my stuff that was brought here last year. 

Spouse hasn’t quite bought in on prepping and just tells people that I like to shop.  That’s not quite it.  I like to not run out of anything; not now, not during winter when the roads are bad, and not if things go sour.  Spouse gets that and any time a tool or something is needed we seem to have it on hand.  Spouse will come around.  When we were at Max’s Spouse asked Max about his food storage.  Max’s storage looks about what mine was when we were in the Great Central Valley.  It will look that way again some day! 

It snowed last week, the end of May.  In the Great Central Valley it was over 90. I’m still trying to get used to the weather.  Cool in the morning.  Nice until right after lunch.  Rain or snow in the afternoon.  Since the greenhouse isn’t done I have my plants growing in the bunkhouse.  I’ve started asparagus (seeds rather than roots is much cheaper!), tomatoes, onions, strawberries, blueberries, and salad greens.  I am trying to root apple and peach trees.  Spouse is hoping the greenhouse is finished soon.  If it had doors on each end then I’d be able to use it as it is, but since it doesn’t the goat would find my plants very tasty.  The place is so rocky that it’s impossible to even pound in t-posts.  You have to dig out the holes with a shovel and pull out all the rocks, or you use mechanized equipment. So the outside garden is not fenced!  Instead I’m picking out areas that I can plant my things that the goats, deer, and antelope won’t find.  I am putting the asparagus into a swale.  If I can keep the animals away for this first season they should survive just fine. 

Boy doesn’t realize how good of shape he is getting in.  If he wants to go visit a friend, he rides his bike.  He has one friend a mile away and another 7 miles away.  He’s also swimming a couple of times a week because I signed him up for lifeguard class.  He’s not old enough but the instructor is allowing him to participate, he just can’t get his certificate.  He has to ride his bike 30 minutes each way just to get to swimming.  If he frustrates me, I send him out for a run of 5 miles or so.  All of this at over 8000 feet elevation. 

I’ve been going out walking each day now that the weather is better.  I’ve gotten on Boy’s bike but walked it back the last half mile uphill because I was too tired.  That’s not saying much for my conditioning.  I feel like a lump after the winter.  But every day I walk, and I’ve started jogging a bit.  Can’t keep up with anyone, but it’s making me feel less sluggish.  Winter wasn’t so awful (after all, I lived through it!), and I’m sure I will get used to it and be more active next winter. 

Thursday, January 26, 2017

Colorado Bound

Wow, it's been half a year since I posted.  I suppose when life gets topsy-turvy posting gets put aside.  I didn't have a computer that had internet.  I certainly wasn't going to try to type stuff on my cell phone nor was I going to use the library computers to post on my blog.  But now I have a computer/tablet that has a real keyboard, plus I have internet access.  So it's about time I get back into my blogging world.

Instead of work going through the layoffs in August as they originally stated, they did it in July.  And they gave us less than 24 hours notice that the process was going to happen.  I didn't know whether I would be laid off or not.  I was going to be told the next day. I had some very pressing work tasks that I wanted to finish, and thinking that the deadline was still weeks away, was able to relax and have lots of fun on my honeymoon.  But here it was, my first day back, I was preparing to leave work for the last time, maybe.  I spent that entire day cleaning out my office.  I walked home at lunch and drove the car back.  I then made a couple of trips from the office to home, taking all my books, office supplies (only mine, not what belonged to work), and everything else that was in my cubbie. 

I still had it in the back of my mind that they would possibly keep me.  After all, when this thing started, my boss said that of the 9 people in our group probably two would lose their jobs.  Everyone in my office joked that because I didn't care if I got laid off or stayed I'd probably end up staying. They were wrong.  At 8:30 in the morning I got the phone call at home that my position was terminated and they didn't want to put me into any other positions. (Two kept their jobs, two moved positions, five were laid off.)  Since I was living in company housing I was told that I could stay for up to three months if I wanted. Since school was going to start in a month we only stayed two weeks.  I figured that the kids should start off the school year at their new school.

Girl surprised me and asked if she could go live with her mom.  If it's ok with her mom, then yes.  Drug Daughter (DD) has been off of drugs for over a year and she was interested in having Girl live with her.  OK.  But Girl can't boomerang this.  The deal is she must stay the entire school year, although I'm the one legally responsible for Girl and if things aren't working out I would take her back.  We put her on a plane with one very large suitcase.  She is now in the American Redoubt and doing very well. 

Boy is still with me.  He wants nothing to do with DD.  I don't blame him, as he wants stability and can't be assured of that with her.  He's also lived with me for about 11 of his 14 years.  This is home.  He is enjoying his new school and has made new friends.  He's also getting along well with Step-parent, even though SP expects a lot more out of him than I did.  That's really a good thing.

So here we are in beautiful, cold (-6 this morning) Colorado.  It's quite a change from the beautiful, not cold Great Central Valley of California.  Our house is not yet complete.  Instead of some of it being ready by November, nothing is ready.  We were living in our little trailer, and not killing each other in the process. Yeah for us! That worked until the weather turned cold.  I put my foot down and said no.  Three in a 19 foot trailer (that's fully extended) is not going to work.  It's really a trailer for one. The shower is also the closet, so you have to take all the food and clothes out before you shower.  Max offered to let us come to his house and shower.  That would work but I needed a more permanent solution. 

Another friend of ours had a little guest house (not little, 2 bedroom, 2 bath) that we could use.  It's got wood stove  plus wall heaters in each bedroom.  We've been in it for three months.  We have 1 1/2 more, then they need their guest house back.  Our house will not be done by then.  We are also building a little bunkhouse.  It probably won't be done by then either.  We will be back into the trailer but I will have a better exterior set up (for food and other items).  The bunkhouse isn't allowed to have a wood stove, and although it can be heated with a couple little room heaters, the county won't sign it off for moving in until the main heat system in the main house is done.  That's because the heating system is interconnected between the main house, bunk house, and greenhouse.

We've been working on the heating system for the past two months.  The heating system company said that their price to install this main portion was $17,000.  We decided to do the install ourselves.  While it is taking several months rather than the week that they would have taken,  that's a lot of money to save! 

So how was the move?  Most of my stuff got moved by the moving van in May.  We still had to move the truck and utility trailer full of stuff.  We looked like the Beverly Hillbillies.  Three cats, dog, goat, food buckets, and several 55 gallon barrels filled with yard tools (why didn't I put them into the moving van???)  The trip was very eventful.  The main freeway had been closed for 4 hours but had opened to one lane when we hit the slowdown area about ten miles from the closure.  We had a full tank of gas but hungry bellies.  We ate granola bars and snack foods.  We saw the mile long line to get off the freeway at the one and only gas station.  No doubt the gas station ran out of gas but people didn't know that.  It took us about 10 hours to make it to Vegas, which is normally a 7 hour drive.  Unfortunately, by the time we got there it was very late (can't see us driving down the strip with a goat in the back) so we filled with gas, got some more food, and kept driving.  Then it started pouring.  A river of mud went across the freeway.  We drove through it.  We ended up stopping somewhere in Utah, pulling over on the side of the road around 3:00 in the morning.  We slept sitting up.  In the morning, we drove into some small town and I insisted on real food for breakfast.  The sun was shining and we stopped at an I-Hop.  Best breakfast ever! 

The second day of the trip went well.  At least until the last few hours.  It started to pour again.  But we made it to the house.  We were able to pull the trailer into the barn and get the truck covered too.  It was late so it was time for bed. 

In the morning I made a little pen for the goat.  She was also happy to get out and walk around after having been in the back of the trailer in the pouring rain for a couple of days.  She ended up getting sick but I was able to cure her with some shots of penicillin.

Some of the food buckets lids blew off in the wind and rain and ruined what was in those buckets.  Some other buckets ended up getting water in them (cracked lids) but I didn't realize it until quite a while later, when the buckets started to smell!  All in all, we made it to Colorado. 

Monday, July 4, 2016

Happy Independence Day

Hope everyone had a good Independence Day.  Around here fireworks were lit last night, on July 3rd.  They are set over a lake and it’s supposed to be really beautiful.  Boy and Girl were really excited, that is until their friend’s mother came home and said that the parking is crazy at the lake and it was only 3 in the afternoon.  Then Boy and Girl didn’t want to go.  Today they wanted me to drive into the city to watch the fireworks.  No.  I’m not going to.  Yet, if we had gone the night before I’d have been more than willing to watch them twice.  Sometimes they forget that it’s the family experiencing things together that makes the memories.  And, there wouldn’t have been any traffic or parking or traffic issues because we would have parked and walked less than ½ mile, plus on our way out everyone else would be heading down the mountain and we would be heading up!  But instead I read a book and played cribbage.  

Today I read Boy and Girl the Declaration of Independence.  I do it every year.  Most people have no clue what that document is.  I think many confuse the Constitution with the Declaration.

Boy brought home a cribbage board from San Diego sister’s house although he didn’t know how to play.  I don’t know why I never taught them, so yesterday and today were their days to learn.  I have such fond memories of playing all kinds of games with my brothers and sisters and parents.  It was a great way to spend a rainy day.  Now I think that it would be a great way to spend time, if TSHTF or if it’s just a lousy day outside.  Boy had absolutely no interest.  Girl, on the other hand, gave it a try for a couple of games.  Then she wasn’t interested.  She was having fun but because she actually had to think when adding up the points, she decided that it wasn’t for her.  She would have had more fun if I just said you only get points for reaching 15, 31, or having the last card.  I wonder if Future Spouse likes to play cards?  Odd that I don’t know the answer to this.  I’ll find out soon enough!

Future Spouse had a surprise visit by one of our new neighbors.  Yes, blogging buddy Max came by the new house.  I wasn’t there.  I’m still in California but FS was there.  FS doesn’t quite understand how I met Max (I read his blog!) although I’ve tried to explain it.  We’ve communicated by email and blog for five years, and I’m a bit jealous that FS got to meet him in person first!  I was going to stop by last Christmas but the timing didn’t work out.  I have to wait, but not too much longer.  FS did get a picture of Max in front of my new house.  The house is looking good.  Max was too.

I have been experimenting with making my laundry detergent.  I had about 1 1/2 years worth of regular powered detergent but it’s now gone.  I have enough ingredients here to last me another year of making my own.  I’m mixing washing soda, borax, and either Fels-Naptha or Zote bar soap.  I’m also adding some new nice smelling blue pellets.  Those don’t do anything other than give it a nice smell.  The amount of smelly stuff that would normally be used in one load I’m adding to a month’s supply of homemade detergent.  The ingredients aren’t exact but it’s somewhere between 1 and 2 cups of washing soda, 1-2 cups of borax, and one bar of soap.  I have a stick blender that came with a blade/bowl attachment.  I cut the bar of soap up and then put it into the bowl.  The stick blender turns it into a fine powder.  I mix all the ingredients together and put it into a jar.  I could add this to boiling water and make gallons of liquid laundry detergent, but the powder is so fine that it dissolves just fine in cold or warm water.  I use about 1 or 2 tablespoons of powder, depending on how large of a load of clothes and how dirty they are.  But really, that’s all I’m using.  I’m not washing in a front loader, the machine here in our company housing is a 20 year old Maytag.

I’m getting excited about finally moving to Colorado.  I will know the first week of August whether I’m going to still be working or getting laid off.  The way the company lays people off is the week prior they set up a meeting with each individual in the group having the layoffs.  Even if they are keeping you, you still have your meeting.  If they are laying you off or transferring you to another location, your meeting is scheduled for about an hour but if they are keeping you, the meeting is 15 minutes.  So, one should be able to tell if they are laying you off or changing your work location if you look at the right calendar.  They want everyone to have their personal stuff out of the office the day before the meeting and all your work things brought to the office.  If they lay you off then you get walked out the door.  If you left anything at your desk (backpack, purse, lunch, it doesn’t matter) you don’t get to go back and get it.  You can call one of your coworkers and they can bring it out of the building.  It’s a brutal process if you aren’t expecting it.  But me, I hope they lay me off.  If they do, I’ll get some severance plus money for reeducation.  I’m looking forward to taking gardening and animal courses! I’d also like to get the move over with before school starts. 

I just learned about some seeds which can grow into a tree, a bush, or as a small plants that you can trim every month.  The plant is called Moringa.  It grows outdoors, and becomes a tree or bush, in areas that don't get as cold as where we are moving.  It's too bad I didn't know about this plant when we were in the Great Central Valley.  I would have grown it.  You can buy the seeds on-line with prices varying from $25 for one ounce of seed down to $10 for several ounces.  If it grows into a tree or bush then the seed pods have about 2.5 g of protein for every 3 1/2 ounces of pods.  You can cook the pods or eat them raw.  I can probably grow the bush in the greenhouse but you can also grow it like a bed of lettuce and cut the leaves and stems each month.  You can eat that raw or cook it.  That also contains protein, iron, calcium, and minerals.  It's considered a miracle food in some parts of the world.  

Best news is my wedding is coming up this Sunday afternoon.  I don’t mind planning and cooking but since we moved from our farm in the Great Central Valley I don’t really have a good place to hold the event close by that’s convenient for people.  I could have held it here in the company town in the mountains but most people are afraid of winding mountain roads and towns without shopping, hotels, or gas stations.  For some reason that’s preferred by most of FS and my relatives over blue skies, open views, trees, lakes and rivers.  So the wedding will take place in Southern California, with one of my sister’s hosting at her home.  She is also doing a lot of the planning and decorating, which she is good at.  The weather is supposed to top out at 79 that day.  

Wednesday, June 15, 2016

Big move is over but we are still in California...for now

The main move is over! The house sold and closed without any problems.  My stuff got loaded into the moving van and unloaded into the shipping container at the new house a few days later.  The moving van had to put the delivery off for a day because of snow but I didn’t get charged for it so it didn’t matter to me.  When I was packing a taped fluorescent green ribbon on the boxes that needed to be put into the shipping container last.  These items included my tool chest, small tools, hardware, the table saw, and other items that would be necessary for helping with the house building. 

Mostly the moving of items went smoothly.  One issue I had was that Salvation Army was scheduled to come pick up stuff and it happened to be on the same day as the moving van showed up.  So I put the SA pile in one corner of the garage and flagged it off so the movers wouldn’t accidently put it into the van.  In the house the SA was going to take the piano and the queen bed.  When they got here they changed their mind on the piano.  I wasn’t going to bring it with me so what was I supposed to do with it?  The new people didn’t want it, as I’d already offered it to them.  They already had a piano and didn’t want two!  I had a little fire pit that cost about $100.  I wasn’t going to take it with me and SA didn’t want it either.  One of the movers asked if he could have the fire pit and I said sure.  Enjoy!

I used Mayflower, yes I am purposefully advertising for them.  They were really good.  They gave me an estimate, which was a couple thousand dollars less than other name brand movers.  But they said that they would guarantee the price, which nobody else seemed to want to do.  Because I packed my own boxes, the other movers figured that I was hiding heavy stuff in boxes that was marked as stuffed animals or whatever.  I guess they couldn’t read the boxes that said “extra heavy” or maybe they thought those were really light.   But when I had Mayflower go over my stuff I told them the piano wasn’t going.  Neither was about 100 pieces of particle board shelving that went with the metal shelves in the garage and house.  I had figured that if I couldn’t stuff them all into my sister’s trailer then I’d just buy new pieces once I got there.  Particle board is really heavy so it would cost as much to get new as it would to ship the old. 

As I was trying to get SA to take the piano, I think they were too lazy to move it because there was about 10 feet of rocked driveway that they had to maneuver through.  Anyway, the Mayflower lead person said that they would take the piano for me.  They also said that there would be plenty of space in the moving van for the 50 or so pieces of particle board that didn’t fit into the trailer.  No extra charge.  I don’t know what they did with the piano.  I don’t care.  All I know is they added the shelving to the load and it didn’t cost me any extra even though it wasn’t on the original shipping list.  And, as far as I could tell, everything made it to Colorado in one piece!  Go Mayflower!

The kids schooling change went pretty smooth.  Boy wasn’t actually able to stay at his old school so he transferred to the local mountain school.  It’s a K-8 with less than 60 kids total.  Not bad for a California public school.  He was able to make a bunch of new friends and now that it’s summer vacation he has kids to hang out with during the day when I’m working.  Girl’s new school was also much smaller.  She went from a high school of 3,000 to about 400.  She wasn’t so lost in this new school. In fact, for her last 5 weeks of school I never got called once and she never got suspended or had detention. She made some friends, although none of them live in our new little town.  That school has kids that are so spread out, one of the friends Girl made lives 1 ½ hours away!  Girl decided that the 6 or 7 kids in our town that also went on the bus with her to the high school are all stupid and not worth her time.  This translates to those kids are all nice and respectful. Oh well.  She has been hiking and started running a little again. She has also played with some of the younger kids, so she’s keeping herself busy enough to not be getting into trouble.

Most of the kitchen things got moved.  This was my plan as we are half-way living off our stored food and using paper plates and cups and all non-electric appliances (other than the refrigerator and oven).  Unfortunately it doesn’t do me a lot of good to have several hundred pounds of wheat with me when the wheat grinder is in Colorado.  The Sun Oven is also in the shipping container.  But the garage is full of food as is the closet in my room.  The fishing gear all got shipped but I’ve rigged up a line and Boy has gone fishing a couple of times.  He can dig up a bug or worm to hook but hasn’t caught anything.  He is learning patience – sort of.

Our new home is coming along.  The bunkhouse is much more complete than the main house/barn structure.  But the main house is partially built.  The barn space is a big dried in area.  The greenhouse hasn’t been started yet but it should go up quickly once it gets started.  All three buildings are going to be heated by a large wood burning boiler with a propane backup. 

I have learned something about future spouse.  He wants everything to look really nice from the outside as well as the inside.  I’m more of a plain, non-showy person, on the outside.  I remember reading one of the Survivor’s series books and one of the characters has a trashy looking car (at least from the outside).  The inside is spotless and modern but it doesn’t give the impression that someone who has money is driving the car.  Our new home is truly massive and impressive.  Because the barn and house are one building it’s over 9,000 square feet (4,500 on each level).  It’s not good if you don’t want to stand out.  It’s going to have to have a real good defense system because it’s so visible.  The entire property has been fenced with barbed wire but that’s all we have so far. 

I am looking forward to our final move from California to Colorado.  It will either happen at the end of this summer or by the end of the year, depending on whether I keep my job or get laid off in August.  I’m hoping they lay me off.  It will be a little harder financially but I’d get a year’s head start on some of my projects that I’ve planned.  If I keep the job we’ll stay in California until the main house is done.  

Thursday, April 21, 2016

It's Really Hard to Move When You are Well Prepared

I haven't posted in a very long time.  So much has been going on these past few months but tonight, I have found a few moments and post I shall! 
As I've been writing about our move for the past year, I can say that moving is not something that I ever want to do again.  Our farm has been sold, it actually sold in less than a month for almost the amount I wanted.  Our new house is not ready.  We've had a really hard time finding a builder.  It's either too difficult of a project for those who just put up square tract homes or it's not expensive enough for those who build custom homes.  We even had one builder tell us that he only builds multimillion dollar homes and ours isn't worth his time.  So what are we to do since our house is closing escrow at the beginning of May?  We have to go somewhere.  I was hoping to find a house to rent along the school bus route for Boy and Girl.  I want to keep them in their schools for the last 1 1/2 months of school.  I found one house and it was going to cost $3400 per month.  Not in my budget! 
Next week we are moving up into the mountains to be closer to my work but our stuff is going to Colorado.  Boy's school has said that if I bring him a day or two each week then he can home study the rest of the time.  Girl is going to change schools.  I'm sure the high school she goes to now will be happy to see her leave!  Things should be fine at the new school because she will be the new girl and instantly popular. 
With the house not ready, Future Spouse has ordered a 40' shipping container that had better get to the property before the moving van does!  San Diego sister lent me her 20' trailer, in which the tractor, gardening tools, t-posts, animal water troughs, and wood shelving has filled it to the brim.  But I haven't had the time off work to drive it the 17-20 hours each way out to the new property.  I'm hoping to maybe go over Memorial Day weekend, but that would pull the kids out of school so probably as soon as school gets out would be better.  She would like her trailer back soon as they use it a lot. The moving van is going to pick up most of our things next week.  The rest I will bring up to our new little house in the mountains by my work.  We aren't bringing much up there, just beds, the kitchen table, kitchen supplies, plus lots of food, cleaning supplies, everything that I'm not putting on the moving van, plus the dog and cats.  After the moving van goes I'll have two days to clear everything else off the property.  The weather is forecast to be good.
I'm sure I won't have to shop much once I'm there in our new temporary small house in the mountains by my work, which is good because the closest grocery store is 50 minutes away.  It's about the size of the store in our new Colorado town, which means it's good for picking up items here and there but not for full blown shopping.  To get to a chain grocery store is a drive of almost an hour and a half.
I brought most of my goats to the auction and got a good price for them.  I still have my buck and two does.  I may sell the buck and just keep the does.  I don't know.  I haven't figured out what I am doing with them yet.  A relative of one of my coworkers had said that I could house my goats at their house since they built a small shed.  This person just last week said that they wouldn't be able to house my goats because their shed is too small for their animals plus mine.  A friend of Future Spouse said that I could put my animals on his cattle ranch three hours away.  I'd need to spend time fencing that up, and I just don't have the time.  A coworker just bought some fencing from me and I promised a great deal on fencing panels in exchange for watching my goats.  I think we have a deal. 
I told the new owners of our farm that I was taking a lot of my 16' fence panels.  I would still keep most fencing here and if I hadn't pointed it out they may not have really noticed.  But you aren't supposed to take that stuff unless you disclose it first.  The coworker is going to get what he needs and then I'm going to store extra fence panels at his place.  Then I'll be able to bring those with me to Colorado when I bring the animals. 
I have so much stuff!  You pick a category of items and I have it.  In trying to figure out what to bring and what to sell or give away, I'm going strictly by replacement costs.   The moving van charges about fifty cents a pound.  Obviously my 40 pounds of salt (a lifetime's worth) isn't being put into the moving van.  On the other hand, my egg incubators weigh a couple pounds but cost $50 to replace.  They are packed.  Some things, like my 40 year old wooden boxed electric wheat grinder with a backup crank handle weighs a lot but it can't really be replaced with anything other than cheap plastic. It's packed.  So is the Sun Oven, and 200+ other boxes! 
Most of the food is not going onto the moving van.  Driving round trip in my truck will cost about $500.  I can put a lot of low value items into the truck and trailer (after this first trip carrying the tractor, garden, and animal supplies).  But added up, it's not low value!  Having a full house, garage, and barn, which held everything I need takes up a lot of space.  It's going to be interesting being up at the small house in the mountains by work.  I am already stressing because I won't have most of my preps with me.  But I will have more stuff than anyone else there (at least whose homes I've been in).  This week I've filled the garage shelves with food: canned meats, noodles, vegetables, and condiments of several gallons of vinegar, soy sauce, ketchup, and mustard.  I still have to bring up the buckets of flour, wheat, the "emergency food" buckets, and the cases of water.  Those will wait until I get the ok to put thing into the house rather than just filling the garage.  This small house is a short walk from a creek so water will not be in short supply.  Still, the cases of water bottles are coming with us.  I brought up 24 rolls of paper towels and 36 rolls of toilet paper.  Amazing that we still have 36 rolls of tp left!  I haven't bought any in several years.  Because of the big move, I've been trying to find that perfect balance between using up my preps and not feeling insecure because I've used my preps!

So how long are we going to be in the small town in the mountains by my work?  While FS and I are getting married in July, the grandkids and I are probably going to end up staying here in California until the fall.  They will probably start the next school year still here.  We are hoping the new house is ready by November so that's when we will make the final move.  Until then I will keep working and socking money away to help pay for our new home. 

After this big move next week I will be spending much more evening time on my computer reading what is going on in other people's lives and also learning more prepping skills.  I am really looking forward to that.  Boy is looking forward to getting to go fishing every day if he feels like it.  Girl is looking forward to not having farm chores to do.