It is rumored that we are going to begin the foundation this week. Realistically, I suspect it will happen maybe next week. Either way, we are on the precipice of some major changes, and of course my anxiety is skyrocketing. Interestingly though, I am aware of it, and also aware of something I heard at that class I attended recently. “What if your anxiety is excitement?”
I don’t have the best track record with follow through in the face of anxiety. I have a tendency to get in my own way and self sabotage what I’ve got happening, and I no longer wish to do that. So it’s something I’ve been working really hard on especially over the past year and a half or so. So with the exciting news, I’m mentally kind of freaking out, but instead of letting it overwhelm me, I’ve taken the day to do some light reading. Ponder the immediate needs, and not try to manage ALL of the things in this exact moment. I had a moment of realization over the past couple of days that it’s not all or nothing all of the time. Everything is about balance, and if I worked for an hour this morning, it doesn’t mean that I can’t take part of the day to sort out my thoughts or take time for myself if that is my immediate need. So when I’m feeling less anxious, then I’ll make that phone call to see what the wait time is for the inspection. When I’m less likely to feel stressed, I’ll look up what I need to know to calculate the concrete required or to ponder how we’ll connect the sonotubes to the footer molds with the different sized holes. Now is the time to gain some clarity and to approach the upcoming surge of activity with a clear head and some focus.
We are excited to launch ourselves into this next journey of our lives, and I’m grateful and pleased that we have so many wonderful souls with us on this journey.
On Facebook, I have been doing this hashtag thing #100happydays
Basically, I look for something positive about each and every day. It’s a way for me to try and re-frame my thinking in general. Things have been difficult for me since the loss of my son, and I will use any tool I can think of to work through some of this. I have to stay positive and focus on projects or I will make myself crazy.
Almost every morning I wake up with a replay of the night he died in my head. As we get closer to the anniversary, it’s getting worse. Louder. Insistent. Unwanted. Intrusive.
I’m on day #118 of 100. Even on my worst days, I have found some glimmer of something. Some days I just recognize that it’s not a good day at all, but that I have tried my best or accomplished remotely anything and that’s my positive point. I did something. Anything. Even on the days where I can’t bring myself to do anything. I’m still here. I’m still fighting. That’s still something.
It’s primarily been a thing on Facebook, but I may just go ahead and drag it over here too.
If I can do this. If I can continue to try to find the good anywhere. So can you. If I can go out and try to build things, even though I’m suffering daily in pain. So can you. You can do this. You can do anything. Sometimes you just have to force yourself to put one foot in front of the other.
You’ve got this, and so do I.
Yesterday marks 9 months since I lost my oldest son. Sometimes I think the only thing that has been pushing me forward is this looming house deadline. March 14th. We have to have everything done and ready to go by March 14th and we haven’t broken ground on the actual house. We have a meeting on Tuesday to discuss the whole digging of trenches for our foundation. Hopefully we’ll be digging within the next month because snow will be happening soon.
I digress. This post isn’t about the house. It’s about lessons I’ve learned over the last 9 months.
The first thing I learned was just how many sleeper friends I had. I’ll be honest here, we’re pretty hermity and both Mike and I are pretty introverted. I’m probably more of an extroverted introvert just because my entire “work” existence before all of this was customer service. So I’ve learned how to just deal with being around people. So I always felt as if I had a lot of acquaintances, but few people I would call a close friend simply because I tend to keep a lot of walls in place. This may be one of those things which has been shifting. A LOT of things have shifted for me in the last 9 months. So after all this, I realized that my friendship circle was a little wider than I previously thought it was.
In that same process of thought, I also realized (again) who my real friends are.
I am beginning to believe that traumatic events exist to remind us of our journey and also to clean out the clutter so to speak. It solidifies or dissolves those bonds which have been strained or have never really been established. It pushes us to change and grow. To examine our lives and to leave the behind those things and ideas which do us a disservice.
After my son passed, I poured myself into a lot of random crap. I started a whole bunch of new hobbies to busy my mind. I forced myself to go to many free local functions to meet the community and become a part of society. I took a psychic and self development class, and at some point I made it my goal to “know the unknown.”
Unrealistic of course, but I think that class and declaration have made my journey more insightful, and has shaped my thinking more than anything else. One of the most recent class sessions was with a gentleman who is a self taught geology hobbyist. I know that’s not a real term, but that’s what I’m calling it. Our discussion with him was more eye opening for me on a personal level than anything else to this point. We talked a lot about tools in psychic sense and how you use tools to do your work, etc etc so I realized that I just needed to find the right tools for my life, to navigate. We all just need to find out what our tools are. Maybe it’s meditation or yoga. Maybe it’s that soccer league you do after work or on weekends. Maybe it’s wrenching on cars or turning wood in the shop, but these are also tools for processing your life.
The other part of the discussion had a lot to do with judgement. We are all on a journey, and our journey is our own. When we judge everyone around us, we do them and ourselves a disservice. So before we judge someone else for not being in the same place as us, we should think about the times when we didn’t remotely have our crap together and see how we could easily be making the same choices as the person we are judging. It was a wake up call to how judgemental I’ve been for awhile. It completely changed my views on everyone around me. A lot of anger that I’d been holding on to seemed pointless when I sat down and looked at it. Being out here has also given me the unique perspective of realizing how little so much of life actually matters. It is the journey, my friends.
Your journey is your own. We went to the Sanctuary Center in Sedalia this week with my class, and one of the exercises was to walk this path in the labyrinth. Mike had attended with me, and we were the last two in the labyrinth because I took my sweet time elsewhere. At one point, I looked over to him and was going to go take his hand and finish the walk out with him, but at that moment I had a realization that while we may be on the same path, we are each on our very own journey. So he walked his path and I walked mine. We were together, but also very much alone.
Your journey is your own. Your path may be shared with so many others, but your journey is your own.
So It’s August, and we have a lot to catch up on.
The depression monster has been making life difficult for a couple of months, but we’ve also been pretty busy over here.
In June I took a trip to Illinois with my dad and older brother to visit the hometown and see old friends. I hadn’t been back in 18 years, and after the loss of my son my dad felt it would be good for all of us to go back home and reconnect with our old friends and also spend some quality time together. I don’t get to see my family very often as we live so far apart.
After I returned, we finally gained some forward momentum on our project. I have taken a break from the goats because I just have been struggling for awhile. She e mailed me a couple of weeks after I began my hermiting, and wanted to give me the name and number of a friend of hers who is an architect. We had been having so much trouble sorting out drawing stuff.
As it turns out, her friend used to work at the planning department and was the person I had spoken to back when I first tried to pull permits. She had left the planning department and struck out on her own. So she has worked the past couple of months to try and get us what we need and want in the house. I’m pleased to announce that we have drawings in our possession! She even met with the planning department already to go over the drawings to help us get them through. I have everything filled out, and now I just need to get some copies made of a couple of things and then drum up the funds to pull the permits! Once we file those, it’s go time! So guys! We’re getting ready to get the house delivered! We’re getting ready to build!!!!
lots of crazy screeching
We are finally moving forward. We are down to 7 months to get this place finished. It’s going to be down to the wire.
While I’m doing administrative stuff (poorly) for the build, I am also working on a side project or two in the meantime to begin my hands on time with some tools and learn a whole bunch of stuff. I say poorly because my mental state has been a bit scattered after our loss in December, and I’ve just been doing a shit job of pulling myself back together enough to really focus on the crap that I NEED to do and just do it. Instead, anxiety and sadness are whittling away at the fucks I had to give. So, perhaps a little TMI for this audience, but I’m feeling guilty that we’re kind of stalled out at the moment, and this process has been emotional in its own right without the added heaviness that comes with dealing with the losses that we have over the past few years, and I’m in this place where I am just sharing my feelings in an effort to just move past them and keep moving in a forward direction. So anyhoo, that’s not why I was here to post. I was here to post about the teepee side project and the upcoming compost bin side project. In my previous post, I had linked to a video from a day that I had been working on skinning logs. I’m still doing this.
Actually, over the weekend it turned into assessing the entire project again. Basically, this has just been my project. I got a wild hair and decided that I need outdoor sleeping accommodations, and instead of being normal and just putting up a tent, I’ve gone mental and decided I need to build a larger structure. Why? Glamping? I joke and say glamping, but the reality is that I’m a very large woman with some annoying health stuff that makes regular old camping just not possible. If I get down on the ground there’s always a chance that I’m not getting back up off of the ground without assistance. So I wanted something that I could put what initially was planned as a cot into and maybe a little side table and a little camp chair to sit in… I really could just make a large medieval style pavilion such as a friend of mine had discussed with me during this process, but I really do want to just DO something. So it became a tipi and a rope bed and maybe some camp furniture. I’m going to go back and forth between teepee and tipi until I figure out which one is actually appropriate to what the hell I’m doing, because I don’t actually know yet.
So, I started out here. Mother Earth News Plains Tipi plans, and also WikiHow for plans. My initial research was ridiculously light before I went full tilt. A novice mistake, for I am eager. After a couple days of wrecking myself a bit, and a week and a half of migraine as a result, I have made the wise decision to take a breath, and dig into this a little more. Also in my initial search, I found this company, who had a fantastic video to get me all fired up for this, and also made me wonder whether I should save up the money and purchase the tipi cover, or if I want to learn to sew and do the entire thing myself. I don’t know how to sew, so I think that just about everything that I’m doing on this project is brand new to me.
So that’s where I was. Now let’s go to where I’m at in the process now. Over the weekend, I went to do some work on the poles, and to pick the brain of my dear partner, whom I lovingly call “MikeGyver”, about my setup. The jaw horse that I’m using is too heavy and I get a headache when I have to unload/load into the vehicle. So we’re discussing a few options including just dragging it to a location where we can just leave it set up so I don’t have to worry about loading and unloading it, using saw horses, and creating some other sort of semi-permanent setup for me to process stuff. I am also clumsy, so the kinds of things that we have to think about when setting up something is how to make it “Ali-resistant” and also “Ali-Safe”.
This means basically that I am a human wrecking ball, and I also fall down a lot. So we consider those things along with whether or not it can be set up in a way that I am able to do it, or if we have to consider this a task that is simply not sensible for me to wreck myself doing. I’m all about self empowerment and setting out to prove to yourself that you CAN accomplish this monumental task, but I’m at a point in my life where just because I can push myself well past my comfort zone doesn’t really mean I should. I have to be smart. I don’t want to seriously injure myself because I was too stubborn to just ask for help, and also it’s OKAY to ask for help. Just because I want to do this entire thing all by myself doesn’t mean that it’s going to happen that way, and why should it?
Yet none of that is really any of your concern, but I figure since this is a new blog perhaps a little background info so you can get to know us a bit and kind of see why we may do some of the things that we do. In the process of helping me, he lopped off the really rough ends of logs and some were a bit too soft for what we needed so we cut some down a bit, and somewhere in this process I realized that I’m not sure how long or how thick any of this is supposed to be, so I ran back to the house and internet to look at the various plans and look at the tipi website that I was pondering ordering from and I realized that first and foremost I needed to settle on a size because all of these things were different sizes. The mother earth plans are for an 18 1/2 foot tipi, and the ones we were looking at to purchase were 14 feet. We settled on 14 feet. I looked up the size of the poles from the website where you can purchase the tipi because you do have the option of doing your own poles, and then I went back to measure my poles and a couple are short by a foot or just dead on so there’s no room to do any shaving and stuff. I’m also realizing I’ll need to mark the poles and some will need to be trimmed down a bit, plus I need to get more. I’m worried about using standing dead and fallen because it looks like green wood may be better in this application. So I’m back online and researching now. I started out by being a complete moron and googling tipi plans for 14 foot tipis, and realized that the plan is basically the same freaking plan, it’s just doing some math to change the dimensions. At this point, I’m on this website doing some research and a little more careful planning. I found yet another tool I’m going to be purchasing soon for my personal tool box. This will be a nice, long tape measure. My current one is 16 feet. My poles are supposed to be about 20 feet. I’m not saving tons of time by having a longer tape measure, but it’s going to keep me more sane. I’m still debating whether or not to learn to sew and sew my own or purchase one of those ridiculously gorgeous tipis that they have for sale and just doing the poles. I haven’t had a single person who thinks I should sew it myself, which in a way makes me want to do it myself even more, but I also want to sleep in it this year.
So that’s where I’m at. Doing some more research, gathering more logs, skinning the ones that will definitely work, and going over my options for the tipi project. I think we’re just going to stick with the tipi spelling, it feels right.
As far as camp furniture goes, I’ve been looking at some rope bed stuff here, and some general information on furnishing a period encampment. Obviously it’s not the same period and I’m doing a bit of a mash up, but I am not going full SCA on anything. I want a functional space, an opportunity to try a handful of new things, and an end result that is going to work for what we need.
Thanks for reading!
Things have been quiet at the ranch over winter. It’s been pretty chilly, so outdoor tasks have been things like dragging in firewood, and splitting wood to season. We suffered a major loss in December with the death of my oldest son. As the days slowly begin to lengthen towards spring, I begin to emerge from under the shadow that has been over me since then. I’ve been tending to a sick kitty for the past week who is finally out of the woods and on the mend, and yesterday I had my very first opportunity to milk a goat. I am looking forward to repeating the experience and getting to know more about those amazing and fascinating critters. Several batches of goat milk soap will be forthcoming in my Etsy shop as a result of my efforts. I look forward to sharing more goat adventures with you in the future. A woman in the neighborhood has goats and was looking for assistance in milking them, and I volunteered. I just want to try new things and start figuring out what makes sense for our property in the future.
I also had a photo shoot with a client yesterday down in Denver, and stumbled upon some photos from around Thanksgiving that I hadn’t pulled off of the camera until today. I thought I would share those with you. We love the deer that come around to say hello. They are so beautiful and I could sit and watch them for hours. They bed down on the hillsides all around the house and are always fascinated by the dogs. So here are a couple of the deer.
William loved the deer and many of the animals here made themselves known to him. He often took time to hang out by the little spring and ponds, watching the animals and enjoying the stillness of the forest. I was looking forward to having him join us in building the house and starting his life up there, but he was taken too soon. I dedicate this post and so many of my adventures to both he and my other son, Arden. They are the biggest adventure that I have embarked on in my life, and my most rewarding one. I love my boys. I will miss my gentle giant.
I would never have imagined 6 years ago that I would be living in a magical little forest with my favorite Sasquatch, and here I am. So much has changed for us both, and yet this vision always stayed the same. The house changed, multiple times, and then came back around to the one we bought. The land was everything that I ever wanted, and I do believe it’s the same for Mike. He was looking in the plains because the mountain stuff always seemed unattainable.
So close! We just have to put the rest of the pieces together.
I love you, Miláček!
Having never had a mission statement, I’m not sure what one is really. I’m assuming you state what your end game is. Your goal. Your ultimate mission.
Our aim is to inform via our experiences. While researching homes and properties and planning for this adventure, there was a lot of information on how to physically do a whole plethora of things, but not as much info on materials, costs, pitfalls, expectations, reality. It would be nice to just put the information out there for others to use as they will. Neither of us is an expert in anything. I have zero knowledge and skills coming into this, so I’m a clean slate. I am even new to keeping records of anything. So bear with us as we stumble along on our journey. We are still at the beginning, and so if you are reading this, then you are beginning with us.
A homestead. A working property. We work the land, and we use our skills to earn our living. We sustain ourselves with the efforts that we are putting into this. We build a home for our families to love and enjoy long after we’re gone. A sanctuary for our treasured ones. This is our goal. This is our dream.
We’re off to a slower start than we’d like. We’ve had setbacks and delays. We’ve also had small victories, new discoveries, new skills learned, and we’re moving ahead in leaps and bounds. We’re waiting for one piece of information to move forward with new plans and drawings. The kit is paid for, but we are waiting on test results from the soil sample so that we can pass along all of our info to the engineer for the correct plans. Once all of these things are in place, we can start moving ahead with the physical work.
In the meantime we have been doing some prep work for both building and the upcoming winter season. We have been doing property maintenance to catch up on a year or so of neglect. That adds up to a ton of stuff in a hurry when you’re in the woods!
We’ve made some fixes and upgrades in the current residence. So we have progress, but not quite the progress we had expected at this point.
So now we wait, and in the meantime I will begin to share our adventures with you here, on Facebook, and hopefully soon on YouTube.