Extreme Weather

The end of October and beginning of November here were wet, wet, wet!! It slowed our dig out slightly, but not significantly.  Our smaller seasonal creek was flowing and knee deep in some places.

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Then we had wind.  We had two pretty strong wind storms (for us).   The first knocked down trees with power lines on the roads around us (we weren’t able to pick up our laundry at our neighbor’s).  The second did this….

drivewY TREE

That’s our driveway.  There had been a work truck parked right where the tree fell moments before.  The same wind storm knocked down a couple other trees on the other side of the property.

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This was the largest tree that was knocked down – the roots were about 5 feet wide.

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This limb went through our well house roof.

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Then we had freezing temperatures.  Our heater in the trailer can’t quite keep up the temperature when it’s colder and our pipes almost froze.

For the first time since living in Oregon I am wishing for our rainy, grey, mild weather to return to stay until spring!

Dig Out

First, the new septic tank had to go in…

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…then 2 days later the dig out began!

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The first scoop.

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By the end of the day it was starting to take shape.

The rain slowed work down, but 2 days later we had our driveway.

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And our finished dig out!

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The kids have loved every minute of the process and living on property.

T&S

Look closely at Titus’ “hat”.

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Precious Water

After 3 weeks of hauling water, (the first week from town, the second week from a neighbor, and the third week from our well) we appreciated on a new level what it meant not having limitless clean water.  The farthest we had to hand carry water was about 300 feet from our well to the trailer.  I was hauling around 10 gallons of water at a time and it was HEAVY!  I forget to be thankful for these “small” things that are part of our daily life.  What a gift!! When I think of the people (mostly women) all over the world, who walk much farther – for less water – that isn’t clean – I remember to give thanks for what is truly a treasure!

On our third weekend on the property we had a family work day to help us get temporary water from our well to our trailer.  What a blessing to have willing family and delicious, clean, available water!

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We cleaned up some of the logs as well.

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The kids were really helpful.  They moved rounds and helped insulate the water pipe.

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And by the end of the day, we had water!  Praise the Lord!!

Tree Falling

We needed to have a few trees taken down before much else could be accomplished.  We could have waited but it would have made things more complicated.

Full tree

This tree, in particular, was tricky.  It was near the electrical wire, the shed, and our trailer.  So, first the loggers limbed it and then the cut off the top.

Half tree

Then they cut down the rest.

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Here is the logger we used (we are the 3rd generation to use him!).  And it gives some perspective of size.

No tree, same look

And then the tree was down! (These pictures were shot from the trailer door).

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This is the opposite perspective (opposite the trailer).

Mobile Home Demo

After moving the trailer to the property and moving out of our old house, one of our first tasks was to demolish the mobile home.  This ended up being a fiasco.  Because mobile homes have wheels they are different than a house (they have a title).  The county told us that we needed to give notice to the assessor’s office that we planned to demolish the mobile (so we wouldn’t be taxed for it).  So I called the assessor’s office and found out the title of the mobile hadn’t been transferred when the land was bought by the logging company (who sold it to us).  The logging company never owned the mobile but weren’t aware of that, so it delayed the closing process for about a week while they got it worked out.  Otherwise we would have been buying land with a mobile home on it that we didn’t actually own.

Then we began the process of trying to find a way to demo the mobile.  One Friday I called around 20 different places trying to find someone who could/would do it.  No luck!  We were getting desperate.  Then in a total God thing, we met a (super nice, married to barrel racing pro – which the girl went crazy over) neighbor who’s wife (the barrel racer) owned a trucking and excavation company.  If you’re in the Yamhill county area I would totally recommend them.  They have been prompt and fantastic to work with.  The demo of the mobile home was great fun to watch, but if I had it to do over again, I would try to get all the windows out first!

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trailer demo

trailer demo II

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Gone!!!

House To Be

I could tell you all about our house plans…. but really it’s much easier to show. If you click on the link it will take you to the website that has the floor plans, as well as a “gallery” of images you can look through if you’re so inclined.

We will have wood floors throughout the entry, great room, dining room, and kitchen.  The master bedroom will be used as a 2nd living space and for a home school room, and the walk in closet will be used as extra storage – woohoo!  The den will be the boy’s bedroom and bdrm 3 will be the girl’s.  Our sleeping abode is  bdrm 2 (with a walk in closet – yay!).  In the corner of the kitchen (opposite the sink) there is a pantry – *squeee*!!  The laundry/mud room has a sink in which the boy can fit.  I’m picturing him coming in from rolling in the dirt/mud (how else do you get THAT dirty?!?), taking off his clothes and putting them directly into the laundry and basically bathing in the utility sink.

We are using Adair to build our house.  They build (what seems to us and builder friends we know) high quality stick built houses (not pre-fab houses or “kits”).  As the owners, we are responsible to get the site ready.  Then there are a few things that we are responsible for during the actual build process, such as painting exterior/interior walls, general clean up, and drying out the interior.  I don’t want to end up sounding like a commercial but I loved their mission and core values.  I especially liked the core value about honesty and integrity being part of every transaction.  Since we chose them, we have been impressed at every interaction.  They have consistently given us good estimates for our site development cost (often doing what we would choose – in giving us a number slightly above what’s it’s likely to cost “just in case”)  They’ve shown great initiative by calling the county and our insurance as needed.

We felt even better about Adair after learning our excavator built an Adair home and our mobile home demolisher has built two Adair homes.  Like I said before, I knew I’d end up sounding like an ad for Adair – I don’t mean to, but we’ve been really pleased so far.  We have a long ways to go and I’ll know more as we continue on but for now, it’s been great.

Home Sweet Home

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Here’s our home for the next several months.  It’s our van (30′ travel trailer) down by the river (creek).  To the right you can see our water fetching buckets (since currently we are having to haul water – at least now it’s from our well about 200 feet from the trailer; rather than from town).

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Sometimes, on exceptional days, the kids can sit next to each other and do school in peace.  The table may be high and the seats overly deep, but the view is great.

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The kids have dominos, cards, and jenga blocks.  They have books.  And they have the property trash to find and turn into treasures that stay outside.  So far, it’s been absolutely great.  Once we move into the new house, it will feel like Christmas having the plethora of our things back.  But for now, we don’t miss the stuff (much…).

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Here’s a shot from the door looking at the kids “room”and the bathroom door.

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Here’s a closer look at the kid’s bunk beds.  We hang a blanket off the top bunk to help enclose the bottom bunk a little more.  You can see the tiny fridge on the far left.  It has a regular size piece of paper that serves as a grocery list hanging on it.

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This is our bed “room”.

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And this is our living “room”.  Isn’t it spacious?  It may be small, but it’s working for us and I’m certain we can do this for the 6ish months it will take us to build our house!

Our biggest challenge so far has been water.  I’ve gained a new sympathy for all the people around the world who have to haul water daily.  We haul two 5 gallon buckets and 3 other containers full of water every day and siphon them into the tank.  And this just barely (and sometimes doesn’t) meet our conservative (for us, of course) needs.  This has gotten old, fast; but it’s doable and hopefully that problem will be solved by time you read this.

The second biggest challenge has been the tiny fridge.  I like to go to the grocery store as little as possible.  Having a fridge that is only large enough to hold mostly condiments is not ideal.

All that said – I’m thankful for my 1st world problems.  It really has been great overall!

Property

As most of you know, we’ve sold our old house and moved onto some property about 20 minutes from our old house.  We are living in a travel trailer on the property while we build our house.  Here are some pictures of the property as we bought it, although we’ve already been making changes.  I’ll try to catch up as I can!

Front view

Our property is a 9.5 acre rectangle that goes on both sides of the gravel road.  This is the Northeast side of the road.

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This is towards the back of the Northeast side looking towards the road.  The mobile home has been torn down (it was unlivable).  The dome is a shed where we are keeping some outdoor type things.

Front West view

This is the Northwest side of the property.  Previously this property was owned by loggers who clear cut and made their money off the lumber so the property was cheap.  You can see the largest slash pile in the center of the picture.  The smaller seasonal creek is to the left in the picture.  It runs vertically on the property.

  South view across road

This is looking across the road at the South side of our property.  You can’t tell much because the tress block the view, but it climbs in elevation pretty quickly.

Corral Creek

This is the larger creek which runs parallel to the road on the South side of the property.

North west side with view of mt

This is the view from the Northwest side looking towards the other side of the property.  All the dirt you can see on the other side is part of our property.  It goes way up the hill.

South View see Road

View down w: kids

View down mt w: kids

High up view w: kids

These 4 pictures are of us climbing our Southern slope.  I tried to get the kids in each shot for some perspective.

I Don’t Want to be Human

If you read 5 Kids is a Lot of Kids (and if you’re a mother with kids in the house, you should), then you’ll be familiar with the post titled On Being Wrong and Being Human: Thoughts From a 6-Year-Old.  And if you’ve ever met my daughter, you know she is obedient, truthful, loving, compliant, and intelligent.  Oh, and she’s also an extreme perfectionist (at 5).  I had her listen to this 6 year old talk about “being human”.

In response, she said “I don’t want to be human.”

I wish I could say I responded brilliantly, or pulled out some amazing mom wisdom, but truthfully, as a kid, I was just like her.  And all I could find myself saying was, it is good to make mistakes, to try our best, to be human. Unfortunately, I didn’t believe it myself until I was adult.  I don’t know how she will walk this road, but we will walk it with her, imperfectly and absolutely humanly.

Break From Life

We went to Mexico!

It was paradise.

Sunny and warm.

The pool bar.  Yes, please do bring me something to drink while I lounge by the pool.

Yes, please do bring me some fruit in a kayak while I lounge by the pool.

Yes, kids you can go play in the pool while I lounge by the pool.

Look!

The iguanas were huge!

Titus found a “boat”. He grieved the fact that he couldn’t keep it for a loong time.

But he made himself a little “fire” to feel better.

No photo editing was done on any of the pictures – it was just that beautiful.