A year ago I was a very pregnant mama hoping for a baby soon born and wondering when our house on two acres was going to be finished. We thought it might be done by the time our little girl arrived but clearly that wasn’t in the picture. Two days before Thanksgiving our little one joined us just two hours shy of being born on the same day of the month as her big sister. With a new little face to care for and mama (me) resting we wouldn’t be moving just yet. But then in the new year – providence. A new family joined our home fellowship and because of their circumstances we felt led to talk to them about moving into our home. We were planning on moving out anyway. So plans fell in to place perfectly, our new little home finished (sort of) at an alarming rate. In one weekend after Valentine’s Day we moved out of our Golden Meadow Dr house and the next weekend they moved in. And two weeks after that my husband began working out of state for 7 weeks.
There I was by myself with a little girl and a very little baby in a new house surrounded by cardboard boxes. It was February and very cold. We had no heater or central air system yet. No stove top, no oven, no kitchen sink, no washer or dryer, no closets and very little storage space. We relied upon our water well and got our drinking water from our bathroom sink. I used my trusty little toaster oven and the burner on the grill outside which I cooked on even in the cold and yes, the rain. What warmed me in those cold months were lendings from a friend and neighbor: an electric burner and a cast iron pot. I took all our dirty clothes over to my mom’s house and I had never appreciated clean clothes like I did then. When my husband came home on the weekends during those 7 weeks he installed whatever he had time for. One weekend I got a washer and dryer. The next weekend I finally got a kitchen sink. (Oh, for not having to wash dishes outside in a big bowl in the cold!) One day we had a magnificent ice storm and the neighborhood transformed into a winter wonderland. It was breathtaking. Except at 5 in the morning when the power went out- which means no heat (the little we had), no water (from electric water pump), no toilets, and no food even from my trusty toaster oven. Those first couple of months on our land proved to be memorable, challenging and interesting indeed!
Finally the icy Winter melted into soft Spring and warm Summer. We were able to enjoy the woods and their beauty for the first time, especially without having to worry about A/C or heat, ice storms and no supplies. Piece by piece our house slowly took shape and little by little it is now turning into a home.
Probably the most fun is all the creatures we’ve seen in and around our woods. This little turtle was quite a treat to see. We’ve also seen foxes, raccoons, deer in abundance, a roadrunner we’ve affectionately named “Bob”, snakes (yes venomous), Cardinals, hawks, hummingbirds, Tufted Titmice, birds of all kinds, skinks (a lizard-snake like creature), the most beautiful damselflies, and baby bunnies, which I absolutely wanted to take home with me…but didn’t.
The beauty of the natural world around me here never ceases to take my breath away. Truly. I’ve seen spider webs more beautiful than precious gems, sunlight glittering the earth like rays of gold, the quiet of the woods, the rush of the wind through the trees, the stamp of deer feet, the familiar call of the owl every night. It is an endless symphony of sight and sound- music for the soul.
Nine months after moving in, where are we now? Well, after 6 months of washing dishes by hand (by choice at first), we finally got a dishwasher. We had a new line dug so we could have internet access to our computer and even though it was a pleasantly mild Summer, my husband and his friends helped us install a central A/C and heating unit. My handy husband built us a beautiful tall bookcase for our one humble hallway, an outside stairway to our attic, and created more storage in our attic so we finally have room to spread some things out. I’ve unpacked almost every box, cleaned and organized and continued to give away many of our things to make space in our less than 1200 sq ft home. We have one “family closet” above our washer and dryer. I’m surprised at how well this serves us. Only the clothes that absolutely have to be hung up are, and everything else is in drawers.
With all the construction our yard was quite a mess, but with our basic needs met we’ve finally been able to put some effort into creating a cleaner and more inviting outdoor space. First all the piles of construction debris had to go. Some we hauled off, most we burn in makeshift fire pit. Then, my husband began grading the land around the house, filling in holes, flattening slopes and making even ground. It doesn’t sound like much, but what a difference it makes.
He even had a little help!
And we got a cat. Her name is Kit. It’s short for Kit-Cat, and while we were a bit reluctant at first to take on another animal (I really thought I didn’t want anymore pets) I’m glad we did. She beautiful and when she’s not climbing our windows (literally) reminding us to feed her, she’s sweet and affectionate and even follows us on our walks.
This house my husband built was supposed to be a garage one day. One day we’d build a larger home and turn this one into a garage or workshop for my husband. We still might one day. But everyday we’re letting that go a little bit more. Every day we’re adding comforting touches here and there: a rug, pictures on the wall, coffee table and hooks in the hallway for our jackets, and everyday this little house is looking more and more like our home.
So what’s on the horizon for our land? After much thought and debate, I think we have decided to clear a bit more of the underbrush only (sparing every tree) on our property. I love the dense wildness of this untouched acreage, but the woods are even too thick to take walks through in many places because of the Yaupons and vines and bushes all tangled over each other and it is not a very useful space. We’d like to try our hand at raising chickens in the Spring, and even maybe one day, a goat or two. If that’s to be in our future, we definitely need a little more useable space. And I can’t wait to see where that will take us next!
We came here to live more simply. Our goal is to be completely debt-free, keep our expenses low and enjoy the beauty of this land, our children and each other. Every day we’re finding this more a reality. We’re learning that “things” don’t make us happy, but God satisfies with the work he gives us (even if it is difficult at times). There is grace here. Grace in going where God leads, grace in letting go, grace in working with our hands, and grace in quiet living.