Keep Calm…and Don't be a Jerk, ok?

Monthly Archives: February 2012

Life has been pretty hectic these last few weeks. First things first, I got a Ukulele for my birthday! (which is 2 months from now, but hey! who doesn’t love early presents. 😀 ) So I’m learning how to play that, it’s surprisingly easy.

Rob and I, also have traveled nearly the entire northern half of the lower peninsula in just the last week visiting friends and family and going to classes. Needless to say, I am sick of being in the car.

But our most exciting news, is that we have an opportunity to buy a house, our dream house, complete with the little bit of land we need to pursue our dream of homesteading. About a month ago I was heading downstate to meet my mom, to travel with her and my grandparents to Virginia to clean out the apartment of my great grandmother who passed away January 15. As soon as I left Mackinaw City, I knew I was in for a long trip. The day before the weather had been unusually mild and warm, so a lot of the snow was melting. Overnight, temperatures dropped below freezing, just in time for me to leave early that morning. Everything was ice. The highway was just a sheet of ice with a little bit of snow on top. The trip to Gaylord usually takes about 45min…it took me nearly 2 hours to get there. Gaylord sits on the 45th parallel, which seems to cause a lot of crazy weather. It was nearly whiteout blizzard conditions. I stopped in Gaylord and walked around some of the stores trying to put my organs back where they belong. Meanwhile I was on the phone with my Mom, who’s in Kalamazoo, she was online looking at the weather reports and maps trying to help me figure out a different way to get downstate. Finally, navigating over the phone for me, we were able to find a small country “highway” that led to a county road, that led to 131 (where I needed to be). As

Driving through a nerve wracking blizzard on County Road 42

I’m driving down the snow covered county road, with big trucks and semi’s flying around me. I pulled over periodically to let them pass. The last point along the road, I had pulled over onto this small side street and when I looked up there, across the road, was this beautiful old yellow house.

WITH A FOR SALE SIGN! AND, a Land Contract sign attached to it! Which is how we had planned on buying our property. I wrote down the number and continued on my way. I made it safely to Virginia and back.

Now my story picks up again a few days after I got home from Virginia. I called the phone number from the sign just to get more information about the house. I assumed that it would be WAY out of our price range, like most beautiful historic homes are.

The guy who owns the house, Rick, called me back that afternoon and began to tell me all about the house. How it was built in 1903, for the head railroad executive, much of the house is original, or been nicely updated. The Parlor (yes..it has a PARLOR instead of living room 😀 ) has beautiful old growth oak floors, the kitchen has beautiful maple floors. The whole house has gorgeous hardwood floors. He stripped and repainted the kitchen cabinets, which have a flour holder/sifter built into them! He tore down and rebuilt an addition that had been added onto the house, to create a large laundry/mudroom. The house has all new electrical up-to-code wiring, new plumbing and brand new furnace, new water heater, new well pump, he put on a new 100 year tin roof, added on to the front porch to make it a wraparound, the ceiling for the porch was taken from a house on Mackinac Island. It has 3 bedrooms, one bathroom, plus an extra sink outside the bathroom. It has a michigan basement, with easy inside access, which would make a PERFECT cellar. The road that it’s on is very busy which is Pro/Con. Pro, we can have a roadside stand (there’s no zoning restrictions) and all that traffic means customers! Con, well it’s a lot of traffic. The house is 2 miles from 131 and about 15/20 minutes from Gaylord and 75. But it’s still in the country and feels like country. There are power lines on the property, which is an advantage, when we build outbuildings we’ll be able to hook up electricity fairly easily. It sits on 2 acres which is honestly more than enough to do what we need to for the moment. Rick also owns the property next door, which has 20 acres some of which he’s willing to to lease or let us farm. It is our dream home. Rick mentioned it, Rob and I have talked about it and it really feels like God is at work here. He put me there to first see the house, He’s been sending help our way  left and right. We just need a little bit more. The total price of the house is $80,000. It’s ours for $15,000 down then $600 a month after that. Keep us in your prayers, and if you feel moved  to help us out, you can Donate (just click it, it will open in a new window) directly to our PayPal, every penny goes towards the homesteading dream.

This was taken a few weeks after the snowstorm, you can see how beautiful it is.

If you want to learn a little bit more about what we have in mind, check out the page at the top “The Wayfaring Homestead Dream”

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I just finished an e-book “One Bite at a Time; 52 projects for making life simpler” by Tsh Oxenreider.

http://www.amazon.com/One-Bite-Time-Projects-ebook/dp/B005MZGZ84/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1328553258&sr=8-1

(she has a blog “Simplemom.net” which I have not checked out yet, but will!) I highly recommend this for really any modern woman. In her book she presents 52 “projects” which are mostly good habits to foster. These are all things that she uses and implements in her own life. One of the ones that I almost immediately adopted was her daily “To-Do” list. She emphasizes over and over again throughout her book to do what you can, take baby steps until you reach your full goal. Project 39 is to create a daily to-do list. Most people’s lives are too unpredictable to make a minute by minute schedule, so instead she suggests making a “skeleton” to-do list, with no more than 10 things on it. You create this list one day at a time and make sure that your list is reasonable. (for example, if one task is going to take 3 hours, than maybe that day will only have 8 items) She also doesn’t put a time on anything unless it requires a time. (like appointments or mealtimes) and each day has 3 MITs (Most Important Tasks) so if nothing but those three things gets done, its a good day.

So I started this habit, except given my current retirement I have less pertinent things to do, the day before I pick 3 things to do. (Writing this post was one of them today!) I got this great App on my Kindle Fire, Tasks N Todos. (their website is http://www.handy-apps.com) which is where I put my list. But paper is also great for this! 😉 Then the next day I do my quiet morning stuff (Project 3) and eat my frog (project 1) then do my three tasks. Since I’ve started this, I’ve been able to cross off things on my “I wish I had time to do this” list. On my own, I think about all the STUFF I have to do, and then end up not doing any of it, because it’s overwhelming and I don’t know where to start. So by taking my list and turning it into bite size tasks, I can get more done. I don’t have to worry about the rest of the list, or the project or anything, all I have to do is the only little piece I wrote down, and if I do more, it’s a bonus! And once it is done, I get to cross it off my list. (which for a visual, list-oriented person like me, it’s very satisfying) and I can do the things I want to do, like play games, without feeling guilty.

Tsh’s whole book is full of good habits and methods and wisdom. It’s by far, the most reasonable, down-to-earth, homemaker advice book that I have ever read. All of her projects are reasonable, reachable and they really make a difference in making life run smoother. She does a good job of utilizing modern perks (She uses Pintrest, and Netflix) and more traditional methods (like Project 23, Turn off your TV regularly) I am really looking forward to (unlimited) home internet, so I can spend more time browsing her blog. For the rest of the world, I would highly recommend picking up an e-copy of her book, it’s $5 in the Amazon store, and totally worth it!