What a productive day! I can't believe that we have a DRIVEWAY!!!! ....well...sort of! It's a start! We still have some grading to do, and another load of rock next week! I was a little dissapointed in the SIZE of the rock though. I thought we were getting the big stuff! Even Dan questioned what they actually brought us...but it'll work! I'm just thrilled to have a way onto the land instead of taking the truck through the ditch! Here a few pics from the day, and I'll post the rest in the gallery. (link on right!) Whew...we're getting there!
Ok...so it's MONDAY! YEA! (jk) BUT, in my eyes...it's the first day of spring break! I was so excited to post last night, because we had such a great day building our first rain barrel! We had gone to Menards real early, (limping as I may have been) and bought some gutters for the chicken coop, and stuff to transform a large garbage can into a rainbarrel! I even took pictures of each step! Cutting the holes for the spigot, Zach winding it in...the component for the downspout...everything. And low and behold, SOMEHOW...the usb cord for my phone was NOWHERE to be found! I searched high and low, and just don't understand HOW it could have dissapeared? SOOOOO, I don't have any pictures to post! :( But I will keep looking and post them as soon as I find it! I also bought THREE NEW SHOVELS, a cultivating hoe, and a small hoe (for Jenna) to make the rows. I got my onion sets, spinache, and radishes. But anyways...we did get the gutter up on the Chicken coop! The reason? Well, we have no source of water on the land as of now, and since I want to get my garden in real soon, we'll need some H20 for watering! Since the coop is the only structure on the land...well...that had to be it! But what we thought was going to be easy, didn't end up being easy at all! hehehe The roof of the chicken coop is metal, but they built it with the ribs of the metal going horizontal to the slant of the roof...which meant that the rain would not flow down, but to the sides, and the overhangs were WAY too far out to drop any rain into the gutters. SOOOO, we hammered the metal down to drop into the gutters. So now...all we need is a little rain to see if it'll work! We also flagged where the building is going to sit, and how far the driveway will go! Then we sat around the fire relaxing as I tended to my bum leg which was really swollen and very sore! After we got home, I once again began my search for a rototiller! I did find one in a town about an hour and 1/2 away. It's rear tined, looks pretty new and fairly large...and a good deal at $160. We've exchanged emails, but I'm second in line to a guy who's going today at 1:00, so if THAT guy doesn't want it, and if it all works out...we'll be heading to go get it HOPEFULLY tonight! I also found some Hosta plants on Craigslist for free...just "you dig up" in the town over. So I'll be heading over there in about an hour or so to get those. I really didn't need too many, as I still have more to divide at home, but Missy needs some, and unfortunately...I don't have many to spare this year for her. So since they're free, and only about 15 minutes away, I'll go dig them up! Well...I'll attempt to anyhow...with my foot...who knows! I'm wondering if I didn't hurt it worse than I thought! It was really swollen and turning black and blue? Oh well, I'm still walking...so that's not going to stop me! :) Have a blessed day!
My...oh my...what a day! (and it's not even close to being over yet!) Woke up early this morning, and drove to the BMV to get plates for the trailer that my Dad sent from Tennessee. Met Tobey, Dale and Diana, and cousin John back at the High School to finish loading up all the cabinets!
I'm extremely relieved to say that we are ALL done removing the cupboards and lockers! YEA~ So after lunch, Tobey went home to take a nap, and me and Jacob set out to dig up more shrubs and landscaping! After the other day's fiasco, and breaking one shovel, I THOUGHT I was being careful...BUT low and behold, as I'm trying to break free my matching shrub, SNAP...yep...broke another shovel! I called home to ask Tobey if we had another at home...and he say's.."you broke another shovel didn't you?" hehehe! I guess I'm just THAT strong! lol Well, a friend of our was there getting his stuff out of the school, and said he was running home, and that he'd grab me some more shovels! So at first...we were happy for the break..THEN...I get this AWESOME idea when I spotted a nice sized chain in the bed of Tobey's truck! So Jacob secured it around the shrub, and hooked it to the truck! A little tug and pull...and Woosh...it breaks free, and we're good to go! Feeling pretty excited and a little proud of our accomplishments, we thought we'd hook it to another "rounder" shrub that I just KNEW would really compliment our other shrubs...so I had him latch on and hook up the chain. A little tug and pull...and Woosh...it also breaks free! I cheered with delight! This was SOOOOOO easy! LOL Feeling pretty confident, we hook it up to a third bush...just as we did with the other ones! A little tug...nothing...a little more tug...nothing. So I'm thinking...OK, I'll just gun it. So I put the pedal to the metal and...SNAP! ...You've got to be kidding me? I broke the chain! (and we're not talking a little swingset chain! This puppy was industrial! Well...CRAP! Once again, I called Tobey..."what did you break this time?" he says! LOL Well, needless to say...We had to do it the hard way when we finally got some shovels!
Ended up pulling a total of those 2 larger skinny pines, and 4 round shrubs, 5 more rafia grass thingy's and a boat load more tulips!
So Jacob, Dakota (my "4th child") and myself drove out the land to get everything planted! The boys were a great help and really saved a lot of time digging by myself! We got one side planted, and were heading over to the other plot, and BAM...I'm on the ground! hehehehe I sooooooo totally twisted my ankle! OUCH! Took everything in my power to keep my lips sealed! hehehe BUT the good part was that Jacob and Dakota had to finished the last two shrubs on their own, while I sat there in the dirt tending to my bum leg! LOL
For the most part, it's been a very productive week! The room's finally cleaned out, several shrubs have been saved from demolishion, and we're ahead some great cabinets, and tons of other things! ...albeit...we're down 2-shovels, a chain, and an ankle! :) Oh...I almost forgot! Dale, Diana and I also removed the 4 windows that were in my room! Just the glass though! They're a perfect size for a solar cooker, and my solar hot water project! At least the "trial" ones! The bigger solar hot water collector will need glass from a sliding glass door or something big like that!
So now we're sitting here at the park! Jacob and his friends are playing basketball, and Jenna and her cousin are playing on the toys! (and I was able to find a connection from somewhere!) As soon as Zach is done with play practice, we're headed back out to the land to have a bon fire and eat pudgie pies and hot dogs! YEA! I don't think we're going to stay out there tonight, as I think I really want a hot shower and warm bed! Besides...I have a bum leg! hehe Toodles!
Wow..I got a lot done today! I spent the day cleaning up our backyard and going "kung foo" on my overgrown Wisteria trees! Last fall they had invaded our gutters, and started their travels up our roof! I'd heard that a strong pruning would help wisteria bloom. It's been 5 years, and they haven't bloomed yet...sadly...I HOPE we're not here to finally see them bloom! I cut them back to the extreme...whew, it was a lot of work though untangling that mess!
After that, I went about dividing all of my hostas and sedums here at the current house, and packing them in a tub to plant at the homestead. Then I went up to the High School to start digging up all the shrubs I could find. So me, Zach and Jenna started diggin! We started with the ornamental grasses. These were a lot harder to get out of the ground than I'd thought they'd be! But I think it was from all the rocks and stones and not being able to slam that shovel in! Then we tackled a bunch of tulips...my goodness did I get a lot of tulips! And there are still more! The HARDEST one to get was the evergreen bush. It's not a normal "Christmas tree" looking tree, but tall and thin! One shovel broke when we were trying to get it out! But we finally got it out! I'll have to go back tomorrow though and dig up the other one. I just didn't have it in me to tackle another tree! LOL Lastly, I dug up several smaller "plume like rafia looking grass! Even though they weren't growing right now...I'd remembered what they looked like from shooting several seniors in that locatin!
THEN came the FUN part! (total sarcasm) I begged Tobey to drive out to the land and help me plant all this stuff! He was quite the "unwilling" partner, and didn't find digging holes very appealing for his afternoon activites! hehe But as the good hubby he is...he finally conceeded to helping me out! And BOY was I happy to have the help, cause that wind was something CRAZY out to the land! (We're DEFINATELY getting a windmill!) And BRRRRRRRRRRRRR was it cold!
So here was are trying to QUICKLY locate/plot/dig/and plant everything in a "made up on the fly" design! I knew I wanted landscaping on both sides of the driveway, so that's where we settled. I actually think that it'll look just great where they are! YEA! BUT...I didn't get everything planted! It was just toooo windy! So my hostas and sedum will have to wait till tomorrow!
So anyways...here are a few pics of all my free landscaping! I'm going back for seconds tomorrow! Sorry if this post is kinda "blah"...but I'm just plain tuckered out! :)
Well, we didn't get ALL the cabinets moved tonight, but we did get a good majority of them moved! Getting them apart, and free from the floor and walls was the hardest part. That took the majority of the time! We had a lot of helpers...Dale and Diana (they were our baby sitters since Jenna was a baby, and have become very good friends to us!)(you'll probably hear their names alot!) Cousin John, Stacy who's a childhood friend of hubby's, and our son Jake and his buddy Andrew (who'd NEVER even swung a hammer before! (Now THAT was hilarious!) I'll post a few pics of how the upper cabinets came out, and then I'll post the rest of them in my photo albums (link on the right!)
We really had a blast tearing everything out! Unfortunately, due to the SOLID construction (they just DONT make them like they used to!) ...we did lose the "bump outs" from the L-shaped cabinets. It was a hard sacrifice...but it was necessary to salvage the straight runs. I still feel fortunate to have as many as we do! We enjoyed pizza and rootbeer together during one of our breaks!
We'll move the rest of the room on Saturday, since they're not open on Thur or Fri. Oh yea...(and this is awesome...) with a little "schmoozing" I was able to get permission from the Superintendant to dig up all the landscaping I wanted from both the High School and Elementary school! YEA! So, tomorrow afternoon, me and one of my best friends, Missy, (also a school teacher here) are going DIGGING! There's ornamental grasses, hostas, iris's, shrubs (I'll only take the small ones) and tons of other plants and shrubs. Even though I don't know EXACTLY where everything will go, I'm just going to plant them on the land, then I can always transplant them later! But GOOD GOLLY, FREE LANDSCAPING! I'd be a NUT to pass that up! See...it never hurts to ask! The only thing better than cheap...is FREE!
So here are some of the pics from this afternoon's work!
Just in case you're wondering...Most pictures will be taken with my cell phone. Occasionally, I'll shoot with either son's cameras...but rarely will I use my "work horse" pro camera, because it's so big and bulky for everyday shots. SOOOO...the pictures contained herein, are not representative of my work! hehehehe
We recently attended the Auction for our old High School, since we moved into our new school! I bought the entire Home Economics Room (minus appliances) for $130.00.
There were 5 kitchen stations FULLY stocked...with EVERYTHING you would need! Pots, Pans, dishes, bakeware, utensils, etc... We're salvaging all the cabinets for our living quarters, and I LOVE the old farmhouse sink! (That'll go in my kitchen) I'll use another sink for my "outside summer kitchen" to wash vegy's, and for the kids to clean up before coming in. I've already blessed two young adults going off to college with all their kitchen supplies, the Youth For Christ Cabins got some stuff, and another Christian Summer Camp got some stuff...and I still have 7-8 BIG boxes of stuff!
I work real hard at finding good deals, and recycling/repurposing items I find free or cheap! What I can't use...I find someone to bless!
Welcome to the first installment of B-Green Acres Blog. I thought that "B-Green" was a very fun play on words! The "B" stands for our last name...as well as "BE"! Ha! How fun!
I knew I wanted to blog our sustainable homesteading process, and what better time to start than TODAY! I'm happy to announce...that as of TODAY, we now have our new address and driveway permit! But before I get ahead of myself too much, I assume that a little background information is in order! So read at your leisure, as I'm sure it will be long! Enjoy!
We'll go back to 1991. I'm a junior in High School, taking a "home decorating" class for an elective! My teacher was the first to expose me to sustainable living and environmental issues. She was the first one to tell me about STRAWBALE homes! I was immediately intrigued by the idea, as well as the environmental benefits that it offered. I KNEW in my heart that I was going to have a strawbale home someday! Of course...my hubby thought I was crazy, and since there was so little information available, I had nothing to base my ideas on...much less research processes and building specs. So the idea was shelved for several years as we went about delivering three beautiful children, and striving for what we THOUGHT was the "Great American Dream"
We were crazy in debt, and struggling to attain that "appearance of the Jones'" And doing quite well at it, as our financial situation kept improving! But were we any happier? Nope...always stressed over finances! ENTER...the advent of the INTERNET! YEA! In desperation to find ways to cut back, I stumbled upon STRAWBALE building again, and found the idea of Christian Homesteading! (which I didn't know it HAD a name, till my Mama Bear told me!) Through all my research, and collecting enough info to fill a 3 ring binder...I had all the argument I needed to take my case to my hubby! It wasn't tooooooo long before he was on board with my ideas...and quite frankly...he was just plum tired of the rat race.
So we set out to become as DEBT free as possible. We worked hard at cutting back...getting away from consumerism, and not giving in to the "I WANT IT NOW" mentality of many of our peers. It really wasn't THAT hard...at least not on us...can't really say that the kids were jumping on the "live without" bandwagon as easily. BUT amazingly, they WERE in favor of our plans and ideas! Kid's are smarter than a lot of people give them credit for. When they KNOW and can UNDERSTAND the reasons behind it, they're much more willing and enthusiastic to help work towards our goals.
Jump ahead to last summer, (summer of 2008) We happen upon some land that came available...4 beautiful acres! Financially we were in a great position to buy. So we bought it! YEA! Then shortly after, we finally paid off 2 of our vehicles, giving us 3 vehicles free and clear...(we kept my buick regal for our son who'll be driving in 2 years!) Now we're just down to our current mortgage, and our land payment. I ONLY tell you this, so that you'll KNOW and understand that this wasn't a "fly by night" idea...and that "debt free" isn't just a smart financial decision, it takes time...but it is also deeply rooted in my relationship with God. When we borrow money, we become a slave to the person who lended. God will provide our needs, not a credit card or second mortgage, or personal loan. It doesn't mean we shouldn't work hard for our stuff...but just that it's God who is ultimately our provider. That being said...if you're following this blog because you desire a more simpler life...more sustainable...more HEALTHY...more enjoyment...it DOES help to become as debt free as possible before starting the process.
So here's the gameplan! We'll be building our homestead in stages, through blood, sweat, and tears! hehehe
We'll be putting in the driveway early next week...(as we're camping out for spring break!) Which we're getting help from a wonderful friend with a bobcat! So our driveway will be somewhat complete (with the exception of the top layer of smaller stone after settling) for $300 worth of rock, delivered. (I'll try to keep a running total, so people have an idea of costs should they want to follow our lead!)
The first structure going up is a 40x60 pole barn. The polebarn serves two purposes. The first 40 feet will hold my Photography studio, (yes...I'm a photographer...moved out of my commercial location in Jan.) And the last 20 feet are small living quarter for us, (5 of us...Me, Hubby, son 14, son 12, daughter soon to be 7)
So you're probably wondering....20x40 living space???? "You've got to be KIDDING ME?" LOL...I know...I know... Not quite the "McMansion" you were expecting huh? BUT...there's LOGIC in the madness! (really...there is!) I mean...just HOW MUCH room do you need to sleep anyhow? You'll see from the floor plan that it's very much adequate. (scroll down to the end of the page to see the design.) Our great grandparents may have had less room with more kids! The way that I have it designed, it actually has 3 bedrooms, and and open space for living and kitchen. Then there's a "family" walk in closet, and a small bathroom. This will be our living quarters for UP TO 2 years, while we pay off the land and building...sell our current home...and get ready to start the strawbale home.
So...what GREEN features will be in the building? SO GLAD YOU ASKED! Here's a quick rundown: Composing toilet Greywater disposal system Rain water harvesting cistern solar hot water (homemade) (*Eventually we'll be adding solar panels one at a time)
So...what SUSTAINABLE homesteading features will be on the homestead? So glad you asked! Chickens! We LOVE eggs! And a good friend already gave us a great coop! locavore eating! (well...as close to it as we can!) Large Garden and canning our own food! I'd LOVE a billy goat for the milk and soap! (My hubby put his foot down when I wanted a cow!)
So...this blog will follow all the steps, trials and errors, ups and downs, pictures, etc... of our lives as we chronicle our goal of sustainable living. This blog will also follow our processes up to and during the building of our strawbale home. So please bookmark this blog, and we'll take this journey together~ God Bless! (OH...and please be advised that I've never blogged before...so it may take me some time to grasp the "learning curve" of how to do everything!)(and I promise that not all of my posts will be so long!)
I'm a Mom to three wonderful kids, 16,14,and 9...two boys and a girl. I'm a Pro Portrait Photographer.
We're building a homestead on 4 beautiful acres in Northwest Ohio. The homestead will ultimately include a strawbale home, and many "Green" features. Even though a lot of people are jumping on the "green train"...it's been a long process to get where we are today...so what's that old song??? "I was country...when country wasn't cool!" Well...same thing applies! LOL Our dream just happens to be fulfilling itself at a time when everyone is finally accepting the alternative lifestyle of sustainable homestead living.
"The green movement has become [glamorized] and associated with expensive products," "But that's not what it's all about." To understand sustainability, we need to look at the way our grandparents lived. "This is not new thinking. It is new for us because we, as Americans today, aren't used to conserving."
"In my opinion...Consumerism"Stuff" is just an outwards display of attempted superiority in the midst of insecurity." -Tara Burley