Buckets, Mold, Mice, and Good Neighbors

Dear Mishpacha v’ Chaverim (Family & Friends),

The generator is running, charging batteries, running the bug zappers and my computer right now. (Thank you, Grandma & Gramps for the second bug zapper!)  Bugs dying in your rinse water when you’ve hauled that water up the hill and boiled it on the stove is really a bummer. Loving the bug zappers! Also loving the intensive training our children are receiving in conservation and taking care of what we have! My body is recovering well here. I was able (not smart to do it, but able) to carry two of the 40-lb water jugs at once up the hill to re-stock our water supply on Sunday. My skin feels better than it has since I was 21, and my digestion is back online dependably for a solid month now: a first in over 14 years.

The freezer is now at a neighbor’s house, only 1/2 mile away! (A huge improvement from the hour it was from us a week ago!) I’m loving having our food and ice supply so much closer to us!

The same neighbor helped get our driveway a bit farther along as well! The driveway is a bit of an adventure on which everything else depends right now. There is a 40′ drop to the road from the building site, so getting containers and trusses and water tanks up the hill all hinges on a driveway sufficient to handle the weight. S and the kids worked a day at it while I was 45 minutes away getting groceries that meet our dietary needs. They made some impressive headway, even thought it was nowhere nearly finished. It was my birthday present., and I was duly impressed.  🙂  Since then, we’ve had two different neighbors come by with a tractor and a grader. Even more progress, and still more to be done. After the grader (the second machine with the second neighbor) was through, S & the two big kids worked on getting the root balls out of the way. There are so many saplings here that the trees are choking each other out. A lot of our job here initially has been forestry, building the health of the trees that stay by removing those that hamper their growth. When the grader comes back, he should be able to finish it readily now. The culvert came today, which is the last piece we needed. The power company (which is a small, locally-owned cooperative, investing in solar panels!) will be able to put in the meter once the driveway is completed. At that point, S can install the box, and have the county inspector come out before we hook up. Once we’re hooked up (likely another week or two), we’ll be able to move the freezer here. SO looking forward to that! Another neighbor recommended that we check at the local grocery store for  buckets. This has proven to be invaluable advice. We had a mouse invasion, and I spent all day boiling water and washing dishes we hadn’t used. Everything is now in  white, plastic food-grade buckets, each labeled with its contents. They even had some “short” buckets that are perfect for making ice blocks in the freezer. Water jugs weren’t stout enough to take many freezings and thawings before they’d spring a leak, which lead to mildew in the coolers rather quickly.  Now the coolers are sprayed and wiped carefully every 3 days, and the ice blocks keep them cooler without the added moisture of leaky jugs. I love that they have lids! I’m envisioning using them for schooling tools and toy storage and sorting once we don’t need them for refrigeration anymore.

This area seems given to mold and mildew, similarly to the area we left a month ago. We figured out that the ash from the fire does help, but it’s nowhere nearly enough to cover all the trails (growing mold all over the acidic topsoil!) We have sand on the property, though, and the mold doesn’t grow on it. So we’re wheel-barrowing (A new friend out here gifted us a wheelbarrow! We hadn’t brought one, as ours was broken and sold to someone who wanted to repair it before we left.) sand to cover the pathways.We’ll be using the sand in the construction of the house as well to ensure that we have an alkaline structure that will repel mold.

J is coming into his own with so many avenues for exercising his “big-guy” energy. K is loving all the space to run around & try to keep up with brother. H is loving so many new animals to investigate and make friends with. E is loving the opportunities to “mother” a bit with our friends about an hour from here, as well as littles she meets at the park. We made it to Shabbat services the week before last in the town 45 minutes from here. The kids have been invited to the religious school there, and we’re hoping to make that work. The congregation we met seems to be pleased to see children, and are in awe of their enthusiasm about the prospect of “Hebrew School.”

S’s business is taking off, and he’s working full time now already. We’re still working on getting the signs changed and the permanent cards printed up. He’s making due with the temporary cards right now, which actually look quite nice. The Chamber of Commerce out here seems to have taken a liking to us, and we’re pleased to have their help. We’re optimistic that our finances may look up, which would be a beautiful blessing on top of all the others.

Neighbors have been coming out of the woodwork to offer a hand here & there. We’re so grateful for all their interest in our venture. It seems we’ve been the topic of conversation around here a bit. The gist of it seems to be that we’re the hard-working folk they want to see succeed at our plan. It’s encouraging to see so many people from this area believing in us, as well as so many friends from “back home” who know we’re going to succeed.

Praise YHWH (He Causes to Exist) for good family & friends, good neighbors, sand, buckets, a wheelbarrow, and mousetraps!

Praise ElShaddai (The Powerful Breast) for Good health, and for Her nursing care for our family!

B’Shalom,

–Yochanna.

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