Monday, June 7, 2010

The Adventure Begins

Moving to unimproved property, in the middle of nowhere, with a newborn, a two year old and a six year old, to some, sounded like a recipe for disaster.  Maybe ignorance is bliss.  If I had known what was ahead, perhaps I would have given it a little more thought.  On the other hand,  knowing what I know now, it all seemed (and still does) so natural.  Pioneers never had it so good as we did.

The transition from city life to rural life was exciting.  We had electricity from our own solar system and a comfortable fifth-wheel with three slide-outs.  Baby Cody slept in the bedroom closet within my arm's reach while Weston (2) slept in a play pen as his crib, and Tyler (6) slept on a couch that made out into a bed.

On top of the demands of a new mother caring for everyone in the family, I needed to haul water.  We had no well yet.  A kind neighbor, about a mile away, let us fill up our portable 250 gallon water tank from his well.  This was the water we used for drinking, laundry, dishes, baths, and toilet.  The water lasted about a week before we had to fill up again.  We were soon spoiled by the clean water and couldn't wait to drill a well for ourselves, not to mention the convenience it would bring.

Water wasn't the only thing I had to keep up with.  I had to be sure the solar system was charging sufficiently, otherwise I had to start up the generator.  Nothing is ever easy or straight forward.  I had to constantly be educated by my husband on the merry-go-round of ever changing idiosyncrasies.  There was always (and still is) something to know in order to start the generator, or how to read a read-out, or how to coax a ball hitch, how to anchor a load in the back of the truck, the list goes on, trust me.

This move to the property was my schoolmaster in teaching me that nothing comes without a whole lot of problem solving skills and work.  I was never afraid of work, but I soon learned that it doesn't have to be pretty in order for something to work.  It's easy to think in such a way that you believe things will happen quickly and efficiently.  But they don't.  Not when it all depends on you, and that money doesn't grow on trees.

We began living here in late June of 2006.  Summer kept us hot, so we had to run the generator to keep cool in the fifth-wheel.  Even at 5,100ft. elevation, it gets warm, sometimes as high as 112 degrees at times.  It may have something to do with the thinner air, and that this IS Arizona after all.  As I just said above, nothing is straight forward.  In this case the air conditioner couldn't keep the entire living space cool.  So I had to hang blankets in the windows to block the heat, and close off the upstairs (bathroom and bedroom).  The kids went down for their naps downstairs while I camped out on the steps out of their sight.  I tried being as quiet as possible, and with nowhere to go, I read, studied and  wrote.  Not what most people expect to deal with, having real curtains, other rooms to go to, on demand power from the grid, endless water supplies, reliable cell phone service, internet and even a bedroom to retreat to!

Another thing I learned quickly was that nothing stays the same for long.  Before I knew it, it was coming on winter.  In November, a strong gust of wind knocked our solar system over.  Thankfully nothing was damaged.  Winter brought many more winds as we were forced to rethink our solar panel racking system.  It helped Ralph redesign his portable top-of-pole-mount system. 

This first winter also froze our 250 gallon tank of water!  It was nearly full too!  How can so much water freeze into what looked like a cube of ice?  The water tank inside the fifth-wheel was protected enough that it never froze, so for a few days we had to ration the water until the weather let the cube of ice thaw in the weak winter sunshine.

By the winter of 2008, soon before Christmas, we moved into our little 745 square foot home we built literally with our own hands.  Phase one of the house was pretty much complete and since the kids were growing rapidly we were happy to move into the larger space the house provided!

Moving into the house at this time was significant.  Ralph and I had moved into our new home in the suburbs just before Christmas of 2002.  Now we were moving into our second home in the wilderness just before Christmas in 2008, six whole years later.  A lot had happened and changed in those six years!

1 comment:

  1. How brave you are. We, too, have spent some time in small spaces as we built our own home--but the kids were grown. What a wonderful experience for your children.