Since I’ve been way out of touch lately with my blog, I thought I’d just give a quick update as a means to reconnect.
We stayed for a month with my parents in town as a result of my mom’s broken femur. We helped to take care of Dad day and night, which was a blessing for us, but also a little challenging, just for the fact that we were away from our home duties. The boys spent most nights at home, playing bachelors. Although we made some attempts, we just couldn’t quite successfully run the Homestead with us gone so much. So it fell behind. We were just in survival mode.
This week, we all came home. We wanted to give my parents the chance to see how they’d do on their own. I’m happy to say that they’ve done pretty well. They’re developing a system of making it work, with my aunt doing more of the household responsibilities, bringing Mom things to chop/prep at the table so she could be a part of the cooking.
That are receiving therapy, and because of us stepping back some, Dad has gotten more help than before, with additional aid a couple days a week for showering needs and speech therapy, along with the physical therapy they both receive. This is really good for them. My aunt is determined to make it work, and that is very helpful to us, because we’ve been feeling the press to get moving with the house and garden here.
The main big need is night time help, because when Dad gets up, he’s really shaky. He can easily fall, and this scares Mom and all of us. Seeing that this is something we can do, our family will try rotating ourselves nightly to stay there to listen for Dad and help him up and back to bed. Mom is too laid up to be much help when she’s tangled in the covers, and then needs a walker to get up. We are also trying a couple things so that maybe Dad doesn’t have to walk so far to get to the bathroom.
For those who aren’t aware, Dad has Parkinson’s, but also Lewy Body Disease, which makes him weak and causes him dizziness, among a host of other symptoms. We’ve had to take a hard look at the living situation and our realistic ability to be two places at once, and, obviously came to the conclusion that we simply can’t.
We initiated the difficult question of whether it’s time to change living arrangements, and whether the property my parents have lived in for over thirty years is going to serve them well in the future. We have all concluded, that, difficult as that may be, their property is not sustainable for their age and future. Maybe for a little while, but not for the long-term.
Already, only Mom could access their raised garden boxes. But not any more since her injury. Their lawn is sloped and steep, with steep steps and a road between them and the mailbox. Mom has strict orders forbidding her from trying those steps again. Dad can’t do steps, which leaves my aunt, and she can barely climb them at all. That leaves us to help pick up the mail or her to cross the road at the bottom of the driveway, which is not safe.
My parents and aunt are in the process of discussing their future options, which includes bringing a home onto our property. While nobody relishes the thought of moving and all the work that adding a dwelling will involve, it seems to be the most feasible way to allow us to help out while maintaining our own homestead. The last month has shown everyone that it’s wise to have our own space as families.
The ball is rolling. The conversation went well, the realtor will talk to them this week, and my mom is already talking about “when they move” like it’s a reality, not a crazy idea. She’s a lot like me—she’s gonna take as many of her flowers with her, because flowers and plants are part of the family! Guess who gets to dig them up? “Oh, Boys…! Got a shovel?”
You may wonder if it’s jumping the gun to think about them moving, since what prompted all of this was just a broken bone, albeit the largest bone in her body. But, the reality of it is, if it happened once, it’s a possibility again, with the sloping yard and their age. Already, we knew that Dad would need more help, and with Mom down, it just gave us an accelerated glimpse into what’s coming.
A prudent man seeth the evil, and hideth himself; But the simple pass on, and suffer for it.Proverbs 22:3
That was a long explanation!
Since we’ve been home at Ridge Haven…
Being away gave us a fresh perspective. We came back more determined to get this house finished and to get our garden planted!
Prepare thy workwithout, and make it fit for thyself in the field; and afterwards build thine house.Proverbs 24:27
We have our marching orders from scripture. The focus is getting the “fields planted”, but we do have an injunction to “build thine house”. It’s a command from scripture so we’d better get a move on!
We came back Sunday evening. I looked around and immediately became overwhelmed at all of the projects just waiting for us! So much catch up, and frankly, I wanted to get it all done the first day! I mean, more than a month ago, I became inspired by the Clutterbug, and decided go through all of our belongings, so when we get into our house, we have less to do then. With that project on hold for so long, I wanted to jump back into it and get it done! But…first things first.
We made a list of the immediate projects. There were a hundred. Ok, so maybe about ten seemed very important.
- Plant taters
- Get wood stove into greenhouse
- Build greenhouse benches
- Install water tanks for gravity feed for garden
- Sow seeds
- Electrical and solar—finish for inspection (thankfully, that’s not in our hands!)
- Sort junk/get rid of stuff
Do you see where the sorting places? Last. But it’s a project that can be worked on in the cracks.
As per our usual, one project led to another. Installing the water tanks led to a burned out well pump. ($$). We won’t talk about that. But the part is on the way, and hopefully, that’s another lesson learned!
In the meantime…we will eke by with a wee little bit of water til next week sometime, and yes, we did all take showers! Oh, the joys of off grid living! One of these days, I’m gonna write a post about how to take a shower with a gallon of water.
I cleaned, put things back together, and did work on sorting. I learned that I’m a micro organizer. It’s hard for me to walk away from a heap of tools that aren’t sorted and organized, so I’ll spend hours sorting nails, screws, and screwdrivers (which I did for awhile) and the whole garage will still look like a mess. Sigh. You have to start somewhere.
I did: fill a trash bag a day (my goal), make a path through, and organized the camper. Much of what I did this week involved putting things back that have been scattered. Next week, I can tackle more.
Adam and Andrew worked on the water system and the greenhouse benches.
Getting the wood stove installed (actually, moved into the greenhouse) seemed to be the major accomplishment in terms of brawn and strength. That thing was no joke! I saw the guys struggling and tried to help, but was quickly demoted to the cheering section.
Through many levers, some tricky maneuvers that involved flipping the stove over a huge log, and just plain manpower, my guys got that stove moved up the hill, into the greenhouse, installed and puffing out smoke. Homesteading is not for wimps!
Flowers in bloom
Naturally, I found some flowers! I love walking the property! This week, my walks all stayed on the driveway, but here’s a sample of what’s growing and blooming this week!
Andrew starting making greenhouse benches, Adam did some cleaning up on the outside of the house, and we all did some much-needed cleaning up inside!
By the grace of God, we believe that tomorrow, we will have another plumber come out and look at the job. We just need to get the drain lines in, and have considered DIYing it ourselves, but when ALL of the professionals keep disappearing, we have concluded that something must be difficult about our situation, so are leery to try it on our own. We’ve had about a dozen plumbers come and look at the job, or say they will, with nothing panning out. One of these times, we are going to find one.
This is a random kind of post. Just something to catch up on the Homestead happenings.
We listened to an encouraging talk last evening on the topic of country living. Dwayne Lemon connected the country living/gardening theme with spiritual preparation in our families. W r appreciated the focus, and were left more inspired to get our spiritual and physical houses in order. You can listen to the talk here. Gardening in the Last Days
With that, I’m signing off!
Have a great day, and thanks for coming by!