This Past Year…

I have shared along the way all of the goals I had listed to accomplish this year. I have shared at least one that I did not accomplish. I just wanted to show them all in one place and tell you about what we have learned this past year.

  1. Put up the wall tent. I am happy to say that it is still standing in pretty good shape. We never did fix that hole we had made. It didn’t let too many bugs in. It is currently being used for storage while we get the house insulated and then some of the stuff we have will get moved into the storage loft. There is no way it will all fit, but we will have to get creative.DSC_0299
  2. Build an outhouse. We had a tent outhouse that we used throughout the summer. It worked great, no real issues. However, after we moved into the cabin, we had quite the windy day and the outhouse blew down the hill. I’m fairly certain this tent is not usable ever again. We will likely build a new one in our spare time.DSC_0303
  3. Plant a garden. I already shared that this had failed miserably. I think we got two tomatoes. I am, however, still planning on hosting a seed exchange ad rather than exchanging saved seed, I will exchange the extra that I buy this year. I cannot possibly plant all that comes in all the packets.
  4. Outdoor kitchen. We had a cooking area. Actually a few. But we never actually put together the outdoor kitchen. I have already started next years attempt in hopes that this will actually happen.DSC_0310
  5. Warm shower. We had a warm shower most of the time. We managed to get plenty clean without freezing most of the time. It worked, but I would like to do better. It is on the very bottom of the list for next year, but it is on the list.DSC_0300
  6. Cistern. This did not happen at all. We had the stream that we used for our water source, so it was never really urgent to get the rainwater cistern set up. We tried a few times, but it just wasn’t a priority and so did not get done.
  7. Root cellar. This never even made it into our heads. We never even considered working on it because we were so busy. I remembered it had been in the plans when I looked at the list to do this post. It made it to the top of the list for next year though.

Most of these goals were secondary to building the house. The house took up almost all of our time. We knew this would be the case, but made the list anyways as I always do. Overall, not a bad year.

So, what did we learn in all of this?

  1. Chop wood early. We had a bunch of cut wood that was siting around, not chopped. We have been fighting with burning wet wood since we moved in to the tiny house. It is very frustrating. We are not locals and the locals have known this fact since they were kids. This will not happen to us again. The man plans to start getting wood together over the winter for next year. We are also going to finally be buying a few cord of wood this week. We had to wait until the finances had lined up right. Either way, we are warm.
  2. Houses take time and money to build, no matter how small. We underestimated the time and money aspect of the house. We assumed as much, but when it is staring you in the face, this is a different ball game. We made it through just fine, a little frustrated, but fine. We do plan on building a bigger house, but it will be of materials we gather as much as possible which will save money and it will not be a rushed project. We are living in a house now, not a tent, so there is no need to rush.
  3. Living out in the sticks is a very different experience. Being off grid makes that even more different. You learn to watch the weather and plan around it. You have to be aware of how much water you have. You have to store much less food since you don’t have a fridge. I’m sure many of these things will get easier as we get established, but we have worked harder this year than we ever have in our lives. It is still all worth it. It is beautiful out here. Life is getting easier every day. The more we get used to our new lives and the more we build our home (including the lot) the more we are able to enjoy it and maybe even relax. Yesterday, we noticed that we really only have a couple more things we need to do NOW before we can take it easy. Sure, we have to do the inside of the tiny house and cut next years wood and deal with the snow when it comes, but we are almost settled in to a comfortable point. It feels amazing.

This really wasn’t much of a learning year. We were too busy. I haven’t really even had much of a chance to reflect on it yet. This is the first time I really looked back on our year. I only have a chance to do this because I got up early and everyone is still sleeping. We also have to wait for the morning frost to clear a little bit before we can do much work. I’m actually trying to get a fire going with wet wood so that I can have my morning coffee sometime today. We splurged this week and got some delicious flavored coffee. The house is starting to smell good. Apparently it is not too early for hunting though. I can hear the distant gunshots outside the house. That is a skill we need to learn someday too. Someday…

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