Living in the Moment

jan18snow2

 

I stare out the window of our little camper at the snow covered building site, I try to be thankful for how far we’ve come. Dave has spent hours and hours pounding tires and we are almost to the point of needing plumbers and electricians to come stub things in. We didn’t have enough done to get an inspection, so we’ll have to renew it once again, but this is a process. I like to compare it to the pioneers living on the prairie in sod houses. At least I don’t have a dirt floor. (Well I guess the earthship floor is dirt now.)

We purchased a small shed for our water tank and it has really been a lifesaver for the hubby. He doesn’t have to go to town on bad roads to get our water every week. We can make it last for almost three weeks if we’re careful. We open the doors with a southern exposure and warm the small shed and tank up. When it’s really cold Dave starts a small propane heater up for an hour or so and it keeps it warm enough so the water in the tank doesn’t freeze. We’ve had such a mild winter, this is the first snow that hasn’t melted after a few hours.

Everyday I walk my dogs down to either the place we call the point, or down the deer trail to the bottom of the ravine. I am constantly in a state of gratitude for being able to walk on our own land, looking for rabbits, or just enjoying the beauty I’m surrounded by. I thought I was really living in the moment, but once again, I’ve been schooled.

My husband and I recently attended the funeral of a dear friend. She was 83 and her name was Joy. I’ve never met a person so aptly named. She was so happy and laughed at everything. Her joy was muted when she lost her husband of 60+ years a few years ago, but she loved her family and she loved the Lord and eventually her joy returned.

We are very close to her daughter, in fact she worked for us for a time, that’s how we met Joy. If you’ve ever heard the term “fast friends” that would describe Terri and me. We worked together in a mortgage company first, then when we set up our appraisal business, she came to work for us. I love her like a sister.

I sat in the service with tears streaming down my face. Not because of the loss of this precious lady, I know she’s in a better place. I cried for my lost moments. I watched the slideshow of her life with tons of pictures with all her children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren and she was always right in the middle of the shot. She certainly lived in the moment. She lived and recorded the moments with her in them. This family now has memories and pictures to invoke those memories any time they want.

I have been reluctant to be in pictures because of how I looked. Whether my hair wasn’t fixed just right, or I needed to shed those pounds, I stepped back and took the pictures instead.

One of my intentions for this year is to live in the moment. I thought I was already close to doing that, but sitting in that service, looking at pictures of someone’s else’s life, I realized I have my head in the moment, but I’m not all in. The pictures may bother me initially, but when it’s all said and done, does that really even matter? Will my grandkids care whether I was plump? Isn’t it more important that I came to their dance recitals and lacrosse games?

Jan18snow

The same holds true for this process of building an earthship. We need to plan and move forward, of course, but this isn’t going to happen overnight. We have to find ways to make enough money to fund this, do the work and move forward. I’m struggling with this concept because we live in a world of instant (or almost) gratification. Need a house built? Go get a loan for hundreds of thousands of dollars and it’s done. We aren’t doing that, but on the other hand, when it’s all said and done, we won’t have to make those big mortgage payments either.

Life can be simplified, but be prepared to work hard, be patient and thankful to get there.

Psalm 30:5  “…weeping may remain for the night, but joy comes in the morning.”

Peace, V

Posted in Off Grid tips and trials, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Happy New Year from the ship builders

grandmesa winter

Whew! What a fast year that was. I can’t believe we are in the New Year already. So many things have happened in the past 12 months, I thought I would give you a little readers digest version of them.

In January our son was laid off from his North Dakota oilfield job, so he headed back home, and he and the kids lived in their 5th wheel again. We celebrated our granddaughter’s birthday with a big bash at Chuckie Cheese’s and she had a ball. Well, up until she got home and had the flu all night. Poor babe.

February was cold and dry for the most part. Dave celebrated his birthday, and we plugged along trying to get used to life in the camper in the cold. We had a problem with humidity and found several of our important papers that were stored in the upper cupboards were soggy and ruined. Our bedroom was another place where we had lots of moisture. I guess we are heavy mouth breathers. I would wake up in the night and wipe down the walls with towels. We’ve since purchased a dehumidifier, but so far we haven’t had any rain or snow for months.

Speaking of that, we could be headed into a drought. That makes me a bit nervous since we have to purchase our water from the local town. If they don’t have enough, we may be out of luck. They will probably just charge us more per load, which is really reasonable right now. That is something to think about in the future.

The spring brought cold, harsh winds. I’ve always dreaded the spring winds, even in the town we lived in before. It would feel like the wind came straight down from Grand Mesa bringing the coldest, most bitter air it could. Now we live at the base of that mountain, so we are that much closer, and that much colder.

Our son got another job in late spring, so that was a big blessing. He worked long hours and since he had no vehicle at that time, I had to drive him to work. As long as he was working at the shop, it wasn’t too bad, but when he would have to meet his ride at the Interstate at 3 a.m. this old mama had a bit of a hard time.

We made it through and he got a place with one of his work buddies in July. This was a mixed blessing for me. Happy that he’s doing so well, but, I have to admit, I got very used to having him and his kids living so close.

I had to have emergency gall bladder surgery the Friday before Father’s Day. I had been feeling sick for quite a while, but I was afraid to admit that something may be wrong. There was no denying it then. I had the surgery and my folks came down, and helped out while I was recovering. I was better after a week or so, but there were certain things I couldn’t do, like start the generator for air conditioning by myself.

My sister and brother in law stopped by to help me most days, and a neighbor did it if they couldn’t make it. Eventually we got the automatic starter going, so that was even better. We did fine until the whole thing broke down. My son and his roommate took it to a little shop, but they were so busy they never got to it.

That was a mixed blessing, because as it turned out, it was still under warranty and if they had worked on it, we would’ve had to fit the bill. We found an authorized dealer to fix it and four long, hot weeks later we had it back.

In the meantime, we had a small portable swamp cooler, so I could at least tolerate the heat. A gift from my brother in law, and I’m so thankful for his generosity.

We were in need of a vacation from life and trying to build this house, so we planned to go to Taos, New Mexico and check out the earthship community there. We were going to time it so that we could drive down to Albuquerque and catch the annual balloon festival. I told our son about our plans and he told me in no uncertain terms that was no vacation. I laughed him off, but a few days later he called and told me to get a passport and pack warm because he was sending us on a real vacation.

He wanted to surprise us, but since I don’t have a passport and they need a destination to let you have one, he had to tell us. He sent us on an Alaskan cruise!

 

We left our dry, parched parcel of land and headed to Denver to catch a plane. From there we flew to Seattle to catch the boat! We were so excited and didn’t want to get left behind, so instead of exploring the city a little bit, we went straight to the dock and checked in. We ended up having plenty of time, having to wait in a huge room at least an hour before we could board the ship.

Dave gets so excited to explore new places. He had us up and down on every level of the ship within the first few hours we boarded. I think there was only one place we never got to, a chapel. We had wanted to check it out on the Sunday, but there was a group in there most of the time.

I thought we would start to relax as soon as we boarded, but it took Dave at least 24 hours to relax and when we did, we slept. I think I slept for 12 hours straight, then we ate (of course) then I napped again.

We had so much fun exploring the little villages and towns we docked at. We went to a logging show, and when we were in Juneau, we purchased a tour to the Mendenhall Glacier, and a whale watching tour.

IMG_0150

We were so excited for the whale watching and had to catch another bus, so instead of hiking around and checking the glacier all out, we took a few pictures then sat and waited for our next bus. We are such goofy travelers. I get all worried about the schedules and I don’t want to miss the bus, I end up missing what is right in front of me.

IMG_0181

The boat for the whale watching was small and since we were the last to purchase tickets, we ended up on the “honeymooner’s seats.” It was a little bench at the back of the boat, outside, but they gave us a blanket and gave us our own private talk about what to expect. We had a blast and saw quite a few whales. Magnificent! That alone was worth the trip. When we got back to shore, the tide had moved out, so we had to hike up a long dock to get to the bus. There were bald eagles perched on every pole, tree and on the buildings when we got there. They were all over the place, kind of how ravens are here.

IMG_0206

We had another day at sea then we got to Victoria, B.C. We visited the Buchard Gardens. Spectacular! I had been as a young adult, but I had forgotten how remarkable the whole place was.

We flew back from Seattle to Denver and had breakfast with my cousin and her hubby the next morning. When we got home, I was worried I would be dreading our dry climate and sage brush and redish dirt everywhere. But I was surprised to feel the sense of peace of coming home. Dusty, dry, dirty home.

The rest of the fall flew by. I wrote another book in my Xander James Mystery series in the November (NaNoWriMo) writing contest.

December was dry and warm. We only had light snow a couple of times, but that’s good for our solar system. Dave worked on Christmas, so I went to the kids’ houses and visited with them on Christmas morning. I stopped at my sister’s house and saw my folks, then came home and made us a nice little Christmas dinner.

My family got together after Christmas at a church for a potluck. It was so much fun. No stress, just food and visiting. I told Dave that day felt more like Christmas than ever.

dnvvaca

I’m at peace, feeling exited and energized for the first time in a long time.

I’ve given up resolutions, and now have intentions. My intentions for the new year are to be grateful for every blessing I have, and to live in the now.

God bless you all in this bright new do-over. V

Posted in Off Grid tips and trials, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , | 6 Comments

Waiting for Blessings Take Patience

 

 

 

IMG_0200

Blog post #18

I’ll be the first to admit I’m not the most patient person in the world. I tend to be a go-getter, if things don’t happen quickly, I’ll go make it happen.

I know the Lord is teaching me to stop and wait for him to give me everything I want and more. In jumping ahead, I miss out on the good things and the surprises he has in store.

I have been given gifts that I would’ve probably never gotten for myself, or at least not for a long time. Let me back up.

I’ve always wanted a matching bedroom set. When Dave and I got married, we had a hodgepodge of furniture that was given to each of us by our parents. We had a bed, but no bedframe, mismatched dressers, goofy lamps, a bed stand, even a love seat to complete the room. The thought of spending money on a good bedroom set was in the back of my mind, but since guests don’t usually go into your bedroom, I just put it into the file of “someday.”

When my Aunt Evelyn passed away suddenly my cousin, Janet, was given the daunting task of going through her things and divvying up who gets what and what should we do with this? I had no idea we would be a part of her answer. My Mom and Dad took a trip over the mountain to help her move some things and my dad called and asked if we would like to have Aunt Evelyn’s bedroom set. I said sure, not even knowing what it looked like. Things were loaded up in a borrowed horse trailer and Mom and Dad delivered our new bedroom set. It is high quality and very nice. Thank you, Janet, Mom and Dad. Oh, and God provided when we didn’t even ask.

Since we’ve been doing our project, we’ve been living in a pull trailer, which probably has less than 300 square feet to live in. The winter was a little difficult, but I dreaded the summer more. I don’t deal with heat very well. I made up my mind I was going to be ok. I’d just crank up the generator to run the A.C. if I really needed to.

In the meantime, I had to have emergency gall-bladder surgery. I was helpless as far as starting the generator, it had to be pull started and I didn’t have the strength after my surgery. Family and neighbors stopped by to help me most days, and on the days when they couldn’t come, I would take my son’s dog to the park, sit and read and wait for Dave to get off work. Eventually he got the electric starter charged up and then I could do it myself.

A few weeks after that, the generator stopped working all together. It would run, but no electricity would come out. Our son and his roommate took it to a repair shop they knew of for us and we waited. We called after two days, then four, then it turned into a week and they hadn’t even had a chance to look at it. Good thing, because it was still under warrantee and there was only one place in town that was authorized to work on it.

They picked it back up and left it in their garage and we found the dealer to work on it. I delivered it with no problems and they promised me they would have answer.

In the meantime, my sister and her husband gave us a swamp cooler that saved my sizzling bacon. We had started looking at small window mount coolers just to get us through… Another answer. The generator was eventually fixed after about six weeks. We survived and since it was still under warrantee, it was all free.

IMG_0133

 

 

 

Since my son was in middle school, my hubby and I have dreamed about taking a cruise to Alaska, but again, we put that way down on our priority list. Like maybe, someday, probably never. With the building of the house, breakdown of equipment, my expensive surgery without insurance, hubby starting another business, well you get the picture.  We really needed to have a get-away, but it had to be fairly close and not too expensive.

 

 

earthshipgaragedoor

 

I was looking at Pinterest and decided the Albuquerque balloon festival might be just what we needed. We could stop in Taos, New Mexico and check out Earthship Biotecture and be inspired. Hubby agreed and put in for what little time off he had.

I was on the phone with my son and told him about our plans, there was a long pause on his end of the line. He told me, “Mom, that’s not a vacation.”

I just laughed and told him, “Well that’s all we can swing this time.”

 

 

IMG_0180

 

A few days later, my son called and told me to grab my passport, pack warm and get ready for a trip of a lifetime. No questions, no turning it down, just say yes. I cried, not even knowing where we were headed.

I called him the next day and asked for more specific information since I would have to know where we were going if I was to apply for a passport. He reluctantly told me he’d paid for my hubby and I to go on an Alaskan cruise. I cried again…How awesome is God, our son and the way things work out.

We had a fantastic trip, the weather was beautiful; no rain, sunshine, happiness, whales, glaciers, food, fun. I didn’t even have much trouble with my stomach, which could’ve been bad since we were on a floating food buffet.

It did take us about 24 hours to settle down and relax. Dave loves to go, go, go, and he wanted to explore every nook and cranny on the ship within the first 6 hours on board. There was only one place we never got to and I’m sad about that, the chapel. They had a group there for a memorial when we were going to check it out.

 

I was a little worried, after living in such luxury I might find it hard to come back to the dry, arid desert and the small camper we live in. What was amazing was I never felt resentful, sad or upset that we live like we do. I was happy to be home in our cozy little camper and welcomed October and the beautiful fall colors with open arms.

The month of November brings more work for me than ever. I am doing NaNoWriMo again, I released my 6th book, am getting ready to publish the prequel novella I wrote this summer, and I volunteered to make the turkey for Thanksgiving at my folks’ house.

IMG_0150

 

I am looking back at this year, pausing and thanking God for all of his abundant blessings. Some we don’t even remember we wanted. I am still learning, every day, every minute that God is in charge, he loves me and wants to give me the best life I can have.

So in this season, pause, think about all you have, and with a grateful heart just say thank you.

 

 

“Be still and know I am God.” Psalm 46:10

Posted in Off Grid tips and trials, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , | 10 Comments

I See You

Workers

 

Please allow me to give a little attention to my love. He is the reason we are able to live here and to build our dream home. Thank you with all of my heart Dave. I love you.

 

I See You

 

I see you working.

I see how tired you are from working 12 hour shifts for 5, sometimes 6 days in a row.

I see you getting up at 3 a.m. even though you only had a few hours sleep.

I see you trying to hold on, to keep working a menial job, that doesn’t challenge your intellect.

I see you rushing home from work to do thousands of little things that have to be done to survive here.

I see you missing most birthdays, concerts, festivals, reunions, grandkids’ games, concerts, and church because you work every weekend when everyone else has time off.

I see you taking your vacation time to build our home.

I see you trying to better yourself, for us…and me.

I see the pain in your eyes when I’m sick, or hurt.

I see you get frustrated that you don’t have the time, or energy, or money it takes to build such a difficult home.

I see you work on another new plan to get you and us to the next level.

I see you struggle with negative thoughts, anger and other emotions that come so easy because you are exhausted.

I see you being my biggest cheerleader, my confidant, my friend.

I see you holding me, even when you want to rail at whatever, or whomever made me cry.

I see you always believing we will be successful.

I see you never giving up, even when we both want to.

I see you loving me through it all.

I see you…..

Posted in Off Grid tips and trials, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , | 4 Comments

A Year In the Life

 

 

 

A Year In the Life

(A glimpse of 365 days)

Earthship Blog post #17

 

I’ve been avoiding my journal and my blog for several reasons. One, I’ve been tired, another I’ve let negativity rule how I feel. I’ve been wallowing in self-pity- things with the house have almost come to a stand-still.

I had big dreams to spend out first Christmas here in our new home. That wasn’t to be, then I dreamed about maybe having the next Christmas in our home, but we might not make that either.

We’re in the process of building our funds back up. We are looking at several ways to do that, and it all takes time, so I am learning about patience.

I’ve been reading other’s blog posts about their journey to build an earthship as well, and it has helped me to understand this is not just building a home, but building a lifestyle and building a home that will not only shelter us, but will provide food and water as well.

Being a baby-boomer doesn’t exactly help either. We have been conditioned to expect instant gratification in all things. If you don’t have the money right now, go borrow it, or better yet, put it on a credit card. I know my grandparents didn’t expect to own things they didn’t have the money for. They saved and scrimped or just made-do without. They never went to bed under the stress of tremendous amounts of debt crushing them.

Dave and I are both go-getters, we have rarely had to wait for the right time to do anything, or certainly not wait for God to give us the go-ahead.

Now I’ve gotten off the pity pot and I’ve renewed my attitude, energy and excitement. Don’t get me wrong, we’ve had our share of ups and downs even now as we speak. I had to have emergency gallbladder surgery four weeks ago. (No insurance, by the way). We have had devastating news about my brother and his cancer. But all in all God is in charge, he is good and he loves us as his children.

 

Okay, all that said, now let’s get down to the year in review. Good and bad….The top 5

 

 

 

 

 

#1 A) The first day/night we arrived on the property it had to be at least 100 degrees. We had no electricity, no water and we found out the fridge didn’t work either. Oh, and to top it off, we had to borrow a camper to bring up here. I sat outside in the shade with the wind blowing fiercely. Honestly it felt like we were sitting inside of a blast furnace. I had a horrible headache and I couldn’t face trying to fit 3 adults, 2 dogs and a cat into a tiny trailer for a night of sleepless heat. We went to a pet friendly hotel for the night.

B) We now have a lovely (sometimes feels very crowded and cluttered) camper. Solar panels provide electricity, with a back-up gas generator. We have a water tank which Dave takes on a small trailer down to the town to fill up water for us. It costs $0.50 per load, plus gas, and his time. Our fridge works great and I’ve learned how to shop to be able to stuff everything for a week at a time into it.

 

#2 A) We had to figure out what to do with my son and his kids, nothing to do, no TV, no toys. He had a job at a motorcycle shop so I watched the kids for him, we had very long days, but the kids seemed happy once they settled into their own camper which he and I bought from a guy in a nearby town. It’s small but they seemed to be happy to be on their own a little.

B) After 18 months of trying, my son finally got a good job. The only drawback is, he has to be out of town for weeks at a time and can’t be with his kids. This past weekend he, and another guy he works with, rented a house. The kids are thrilled to have their own brand-new beds and to see the toys again that have been in storage for a year.

 

 

#3 A) We had dreams we would rush right down to the county and get the necessary permits and get everything started as soon as the dust settled on our dirt road. Many visits to the building department and fees, and more fees, and more time spent there, we were sadly disappointed that our plans were rejected. We finally contacted the architect Michael Reynolds, and he went to bat for us with the county. We got approval, but with many changes. Some of those changes will cost us thousands of dollars, but we’ll deal with that later. We had to have our septic system engineered. We paid our fees, got things started and were off. Then when the money dried up and the winter came, it all stopped.

B) After all the headaches and frustrations, we have a gravel drive-way and road (we had to pay $1800 for approval to put in a gravel driveway). We have our septic system (even though they won’t give us the final inspection till the cisterns are in). That’s okay. We have our solar system up and running. (I love this part) renewable energy. So, all in all we have our infrastructure, minus the water.

 

 

#4) The weather….Each time we faced something new, I was concerned and even a little frightened. The first night that a thunderstorm moved through, I spent the night awake counting the seconds between the thunder and lightening strikes. Sitting in the middle of a dry grass field would do nothing to stop a grass fire from devouring our little compound.

The rain while cooling, would leave greasy mud in our clay soil, making it difficult to drive out. In the road leading to our property there was a huge dip in the road that would become a small pond whenever it rained. We learned to drive around it.

The snow, while beautiful, would lead to treacherous, icy roads out of here to town. It usually melted the next day, but that only meant we would have soggy, slick mud to wheel through. My son and I were headed to a funeral in January when we got stuck in our driveway. He put some rocks down, and I insisted that I drive us out so I could make sure I could do it on my own.

B) I learned if it’s snowing, move my car to the area least likely to get me stuck. We just got a new load of gravel, so we will be able to drive out a little easier. Building our driveway and road last fall helped a lot. All the neighbors on this end of the road seem to band together and do what they can to maintain the road that the county refuses to work on.

Rain, snow, and now heat again, are something we have to deal with living this close to the earth. Once we get our home built those things won’t be quite as hard or harsh.

The one thing I haven’t gotten used to yet is the wind. When it gusts up to around 50 miles per hour or more, I worry that even the solar panels might go. We have only had about 3 really bad winds, each time I end up searching for items that weren’t tied down. This last wind took the inside of my son’s camper door off. (It was propped open and the wind tore off the fiberglass.) Wind has always made me nervous.

 

 

 

#5 A) Living (or as my daughter says camping) full time here has its ups and downs. We’ve had to replace our toilet twice. They don’t make ‘em like they used to.

We had water running in through the window in our bedroom, leaking all over the bed and mattress during a thaw of ice and snow.

We had a difficult time with moisture in the cupboards and on the walls, during the winter, enough that I had to wipe them down in the bedroom multiple times at night.

Our generator stopped producing electricity, which we need to run our A.C. during these hot, hot months.

We lived without the internet for 9 months. Yes, I said lived.

Our families don’t come for special occasions. Some have never even visited.

Sometimes I don’t have enough water to do the dishes. (darn) or take showers every day.

I have to drive to town to do my laundry every week.

My home is covered in dust and dirt daily.

BUT!

 

 

B) Just look at our views. I wake up every morning and look out the window at the sunrise, and go out every evening and watch the sun go down and thank God for this opportunity to have this adventure.

We made it! One year in and we survived. I know we haven’t faced every circumstance that may yet arise, but we are here on our own land and we have the chance to do something different and fresh and brave. Are we even close to being done? Nope, but we aren’t ready to give in yet either.

 

 

 

Thank you all for supporting us on this journey. I know we don’t always have earth shattering things to share, but we are here and we are grateful for every day we have to be here struggling, laughing, crying and loving. Without your interest and kindness, we might not have the courage to push on.

Ephesians 1:16 “I have not stopped giving thanks for you, remembering you in my prayers.”

Posted in Off Grid tips and trials, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , | 8 Comments

This Life is For the Birds

 

This Life is For the Birds

Earthship Post #16

April 2017

     I finally got a visit from a robin and his mate. I miss the robins we had in town. These only stayed for a day or so, then moved on to greener grass. (Literally). We don’t have much grass and no trees for them to nest in.

We have had a very colorful blue bird. He is shy and stays down by my dad’s cabin when he visits. I’ve been trying to figure out what kind of bird it is. I had just about settled on an Indigo Bunting, but my brother told me it’s a Mountain Bluebird.

Spring is here and once again I have green lawn envy. We have some green meadow grasses poking up through the ground, we even had grass growing in the tires we’ve already filled with dirt. It’s not quite the same.

I’ve been given a sweet gift of more birds visiting in the past few days. Right now I’m listening to the sweetest bird song I’ve ever heard. It’s loud and clear and when I tried to look out the windows, I couldn’t spot it. It must be on the roof of the camper.

There’s also a poor little bird that has started courting an allusive little bird that hides in the mirror of my son’s truck. He is obsessed with his own image. He hangs on the side of the truck looking at himself- sings to the reflection and when he flies to the back of the mirror to see the other bird, it’s gone. He rests on the solar panels and calls for his soul mate to no avail….So sad.

I love how quiet it is out here. I can really hear the bird calls. There are so many different sounds. I’m familiar with the flute-like call of the Western Meadowlark. They are the most abundant bird here. They also chatter to each other and nest on the ground. I can’t believe they do that since there are so many predators here. I guess they must be fairly safe though, because there are a lot of them here. I hear the neighbor’s rooster, ring necked doves and even crickets. It’s amazing what you can hear if you turn off all the noise.

I’ve spotted another Golden Eagle soaring higher and higher towards the foothills. A new bird was here the other day, a Copper’s Hawk. I wish Dave’s bird book wasn’t packed away. Oh well, there’s always Google. Now we have beautiful Swallows catching bugs in the fields.

There’s such beauty here, but you have to take the time to slow down and look for it. Tiny wildflowers, blooming cactus, even the flowering weeds bring a little color to the routine browns and sage green. Different birds visiting, soaring and singing.

Dave has always told me, “A place is blessed if birds are drawn to it.”

 

Matthew 6:25-26

“Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more important that clothes? Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to his life?”

My hope for you is that you filled with peace and free from worry. ❤

 

Posted in Off Grid tips and trials, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Just a Little Q and A Time

earthshipfrontdoor

I’m caught up with myself (at least for now) on my posts so I asked a few of you if you had any questions. Here are a few, hopefully I can answer them and if not I’ll try again.

earthshipgreenhouseexample

  1. What will the square footage be? The living area will be approximately 1300 square feet with another 700 in the greenhouse. We plan on having the greenhouse be part of our home as much as possible. It is separate (doors and windows) in order to control the temperature in the actual home. It would become too hot in the summer to have it open. The earlier models of earthships had the greenhouse and living areas altogether, but it became so hot it was almost unlivable. Hopefully keeping them separate has solved that problem.
  2. If the earthship is underground, how does the septic system work – do you need a pump? No we don’t need a pump, the septic system was designed by an engineer and it is gravity fed. (You know what rolls downhill) 🙂 The earthship is not underground. It is burmed on three sides (the tires will be covered with cement and some dirt).                                 earthship underconstruction
  3. How do you smash tires? It’s typically called “pounding tires”.  On the first layer you put a thick plastic cover inside the tires for a moisture barrier. Then on each layer after that you start with cut out cardboard inside the tires. You then fill each tire with dirt and use a sledge hammer to make sure its full in every nook and cranny. When the tire bulges, its done. Just an aside, when the tires are full, they become like giant bricks, solid. Assuming they are part of the walls, do they have to be the same size? They are the walls on three sides and the front part of the greenhouse as well. And, yes, they need to be approximately the same size, so they are level on each layer.
  4. Will you have a cistern? Yes the plans call for five, but we won’t have enough room for that many, so we’re planning to put in three in. How will you keep the water allergy free and clear of contaminants? The plans for the earthship call for catching rain/snow water off the roof into a rock filter system then into further filters from there. Although the state of Colorado repealed the law that said you were not allowed to catch rain water, they’ve put a stipulation on it that you can only catch it for outside use and I believe around 100 gallons. So, we’ll continue to haul our water for now. There are other rules about gray water as well, which is vital in the plans for the water of an earthship. After using water in the sink, washing machine, or shower, its supposed to go to the greenhouse planters where its filtered by another system and used to water the plants. From there it’s pumped back to flush toilets. Some models even take it one step further and use the black water to leach out and water the landscaping outside. We’ve decided three uses is enough. 
  5. Will you have electric outlets in every room, just like new construction? Yes and light fixtures as well. We’ve already talked to an electrician and he’s familiar with what needs to be done and when.
  6. What prompted you and Dave to do this? This is a question we get asked a lot! I’m sure they are thinking “Have you two lost your minds?”.  In an earlier post I explained how we were swimming in debt and it seemed we weren’t making any headway at all. We had consulted a debt consolidation company and were working diligently to get everything paid off, but still the stress was overwhelming.                

    I prayed to God and begged to keep my home. I would do anything but give up the home we’d built together. We had memories of grandkids and kids and I loved my home. Still I kept getting the feeling we should sell our property.                                                                                                                                      

      I began to do research on alternative type homes, including tiny homes. I didn’t think I could hack that in this climate, maybe if we were in Southern California where we could live outside as well as in. We looked into cob homes, earth bag homes, and a number of other things as well.                                                                                                                                            

    We found videos about earthships on YouTube and Dave had been to Dennis Weaver’s home in Ridgway and thought it was pretty cool, so that began the tiny idea. I was still not convinced, and had several long talks with God to help us find another way. It was not to be.                                                                                                                                                    

     We started getting our home ready to sell in March of 2015. I felt an urgency that I was sure meant we were suppose to sell it quickly. That same month my parents purchased this piece of land we’re now on.  With no utilities, this seemed like the perfect fit to go off the grid.  Long story short, we didn’t get it sold for nine months. Nine discouraging months.                                                                                             

    As far as to why this type of home? It’s self-sufficient and once we get it built, it will be so affordable. No heating or cooling bills, not even any electric bills! We’re doing this without a net, (no mortgage) so it will be slow going, but I think in the end so worth it. Thanks everyone for your questions. Let’s do this again soon.

     

     

Posted in Off Grid tips and trials, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , | 6 Comments