Posts Tagged ‘hippy’


wish I knew who to give credit to – hilarious!

This whole “the mosquito is Alaska’s state bird” is getting me a little freaked out.  I mean, I don’t like mosquito’s (who does?!).  I’m not really scared of getting some freaky disease – the itchy welt is enough to scare me.  And we have a wee babe!  How much would it stink to see sad little white bumps on his tiny little chubby body?  No thanks!  But what are the alternatives?  Chemical-laden sprays?  Did you know your skin is the largest organ of your body and since it’s porous, absorbs most of what you put on it?  I don’t want that stuff on me, or in me – or contaminating my littles!

So here’s what I did: I made some bug repellent.  I really hope it’ll work, and isn’t just a “feel good” alternative.  But the things I know about the essential oils I used (and if you know me, I’m not into the essential oil rage – more below) are pretty solid.  So I headed to my oil cupboard, where I keep all of my soap and body product makin’ goods.  Here’s what I mixed together and put into a 4 ounce dark glass spray bottle, to be shaken before each use and stored in a cool dark place:

  • witch hazel, filled to half of the bottle
  • quality water, filled to half of the bottle
  • 20 drops of clove
  • 20 drops orange or lemon
  • 10 cinnamon
  • 10 eucalyptus or peppermint
  • 5 rosemary
  • 5 tea tree
  • 1 teaspoon of glycerin, if you choose (I didn’t bother)

I won’t lie, I didn’t count out drops.  In fact, I suspect I was a little exuberant and over-did it, using closer to double what I called for in this recipe.  I love that this is something perfectly safe to use on my wee one (keeping out of the face, of course).  If nothing else, we’re going to smell amazing – leaving that travelers funk to the birds!

Here in the Pacific Northwest we’ve had a pretty wet, lengthy Spring.  That means a lot of damp places, and I suspect a lot of summertime mosquitoes here as well.  The rumor mill (weather man) says that this coming week will bring sunshine and warm temperatures.  I’m not sure I believe him, but I suspect we’ll be hearing that incessant, annoying, awful buzz sooner than later.  We’ve little time to put this spray to the test, but we may have a good opportunity to try!

Now folks, here’s where I want to share my concerns about the essential oil fad (pyramids) that y’all probably have at least one friend pressuring you to join… (more…)

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part-time skoolies

You’ll remember that one of our family goals for 2015 is to add a Tiny House to the homestead.  We anticipated learning together: carpentry, plumbing, and electric – start to finish.  In March, we landed ourselves a fully-converted, livable “skoolie” (hip jive for livable school bus).  With so much already being complete, this freed us up to work on upgrading projects we otherwise may not have done.  Our Wish List list is plenty long. We have since prioritized a few things to start with.  First, tho’ it is fully functional when plugged in at home or at RV parks, we want it to be self-contained.  That means adding 4 water storage tanks.  Our other priority is to replace the [water damaged] flooring.  This will allow us to redecorate more easily, reconfiguring cabinet/storage space as we do.  Lastly, we’ll paint the roof with an insulating, elastomeric roof coating.  This is known to take interior summertime temperatures down by as much as 15 degrees.  Our commitment is that our tiny house does not take from our family funds (checking or savings), and that we do not use money we do not have.  So how do we pay for stuff?  It compliments our de-cluttering goals.  As we sell excess things around the home & farm, we’re putting it into our “skoolie piggy bank”.  When we have enough money in there, we work on a project.

 Before we had any idea... Christmas 2013.

Before we had any idea… Christmas 2013.

Under the Hood

When we road-tripped to check out the bus, we knew we didn’t have a lot of time to dilly dally.  If we made the purchase (we did), we’d have to scoot back quickly in order to get through traffic and home before it was dark.  It wouldn’t be a concern, but the rear lights were not working (later we noted they were not plugged in ).  So daytime was a must. It was pouring rain.  The kids were excited.  The bus was perfect, there was no question.  The owner, a wealthy old guy, had decked it out sparing no expense, and was selling it for less than most used (crappy) cars we’ve bought.  Inside was a Heartland propane stove (worth the asking price alone!), from the same makers of the famous Aga stove.  Track lighting.  Leather furniture.  Floating cork flooring.  Smoke detectors and fire extinguishers.  New in box kitchen appliances.  Two small flat screen tvs.  A sound system wired in to the whole thing.  Custom matching linen from dish towels to couch upholstry.  Venetian blinds on each window.  An antique woodstove.  Everything came with a receipt (including all supplies used) and manual.  Really top notch. The drive home was adventurous. Scott drove the bus, I drove the ‘burb.  Because it has air brakes and the title hasn’t been converted from commercial to “motorhome”, it requires a CDL drivers license (anyone can drive it after title conversion).  No big!  Scott’s the guy for the task, using his every day at work!  Our first stop was for gas.  The attendant asked if he could tour it.  As he stepped inside, out ran an employee from a nearby restaurant, asking the same.  She told stories of when she moved to WA in her converted bus with two kids.  It was a hoot. One thing I noticed especially was the respectful traffic.  We were taking it easy, and were driving many miles on windy, hill back-highways.  Cars lined up every time we blinked.  When able, Scott would pull over to let them by.  But, assuming it was a bus full of school children, folks didn’t seem to give a rip that we were putzing along.  In fact, they wouldn’t pass us when we wanted them to! About halfway home we stopped at a closed Weigh Station.  The air compressor belt broke at that point, leaving us in a nice safe place to break down.  Easy fix, a belt, right?  But not on a Saturday evening, after 7pm.  No one would be open with the right parts.  So we called a towing company.  We actually called many.  In the middle of finalizing plans, our cell phone battery died.  So we loaded up in the ‘burb and hit the nearest town for a charger (and phone loan from a lovely gas station attendee there), hoping no one would loot our new home.  Long story short, our skoolie made it home and perfectly intact at 6am the next morning. The bus stayed parked there for a while.  Scott was working a lot of overtime during those weeks, so his ability (and know-how) to work on it was a bit limited.  With the help of John D. & DZ, several trips to Napa for the “right” belts and tools from Donald’s, the bus is mobile again as of early May!  Scott has since updated and shined up things under the hood, but I have no idea what.  It’s not my department.  Mine’s inside.


Keeping in mind that we strongly believe nothing we have is truly ours to hoard, and believe this project of ours (as all things) is a community project.  We’ve included folks in our learning along the way, and want to share it and put it to good use as much as we can.  And so, planning a trip to the Oregon Coast with our church family, we needed someone to manage the farm.  So we shared the need, and our new tiny house: We are looking for someone who would like to milk our 2 sheep for us in May. Perhaps oversee other homestead chores, but with minimal workload, if any.  It’s a good opportunity at your own sweet fresh milk, a holiday away from home (if you chose to stay over instead of travel for milkings) in our tiny house skoolie that sleeps 6.  We will stock the fridge/pantry with some good eats for your stay. And would totally entertain a “chore swap” if you want to get away from your own chores for a few days this summer!  Interested? Let’s talk.

Several applied for the position, and we landed ourselves a long-time customer of our past farming endeavors – the perfect gal for the job.  For what she may lack in experience, she makes up in motivation and care.  You see, we’re pretty picky about our homestead, and how it’s managed.  She is, too! And so our whole family was able to spend 4 worry-free days on the Oregon Coast thanks to a reliable and fantastic farm sitter.  It was such a comfort to head off knowing we could leave all worry behind with the farm in her care, allowing us the freedom to leave.   Who said farming holds you down?! We are so thankful for co-operative relationships that allow us to live more flexibly and *together*!

Who said farming holds you down?! Our whole family just spent 4 worry-free days on the Oregon Coast thanks to a reliable and fantastic farm sitter. We are so thankful for co-operative relationships that allow us to live more flexibly and *together*!

We came home to this beautiful, fragrant bouquet!

Kitchen Remodel

The first change we made inside was removing mossy oak camo curtains & gear.  It was a shame, as they were custom made and all coordinated.  But it wasn’t our cuppa, so down they came!  That itself made a huge change in it’s looks. We have saved up for the new floor (first thing before we do much inside), but haven’t decided what to go with.  We battle between a solid (not floating) cork and a few others.  The value of cork is that it’s green, is a good insulator, is waterproof, durable… and classy.  Fearing being put in a box, we’re trying to keep the interior nice.  Not hippy or gypsy as I’m so tempted at times.  It’s a dance we’re carefully doing regularly. The original [brand new] fridge was a typical tiny house specialty fridge.  It looks just like a full size top/bottom fridge, but is miniature.  It was great for the job, but my greedy self wished for a drawer style set.  One that would allow more counter space and remove the visual block of height, as well as have more usable space.  I did my research and stalked Craigslist for a while, then moved it to my “pipe dream” Wish List for the bus.  No one makes them “cheap”.  We’re talking $3000 and up.  So yeah.  No. And then I found it. A wealthy architect was re-doing his “vintage” (4 years old – ha!) auxiliary Sub Zero kitchen up in the OHSU hills, replacing his drawer unit for a wine cooler.  Naturally, we jumped on it.  Selling the Magic Chef upright paid completely for the new commercial 2-drawer set.  Score! So that’s where we are right now.  Not a whole lot of new things, but it’s already been put to use by others and us.  In fact, we had to firmly place a new rule that the kids can only sleep out there on weekends.  We weren’t ready for them to move out officially yet, and it was starting to feel like they may have.  We also do dinners and movies out there pretty frequently with the kids.  And meet with friends when we need quiet or private conversation space or moments.  It’s been a true blessing and joy!  We’re looking forward to more play throughout the summertime!

apparently I either want to get rid of everything and go tiny house OR live in a commercial-sized space. I'm so conflicted.

Apparently I either want to get rid of everything and go tiny house OR live in a commercial-sized space. I’m so conflicted.  And love our new in-house food dispensers!

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You know you’ve heard of these people, right? The ones who save up enough cash to buy their house debt-free?  Despite our lack of specific conviction against home mortgages, we just paid cash for our house.  Crazy, right?

Not only did we pay cash, but it only took us a six months to save for it!

How did we do this, you ask?

  • Well, we worked long and hard.
  • We sold excess things we didn’t need.
  • We purposefully set money aside for this venture.
  • We researched and watched the markets.

Then the right one rolled along.  The first one that Scott was fully onboard with, enjoying being in the drivers seat of this purchase.

Meet yet-to-be-named (currently Mack’s Landing Skool Dist), our new tiny house.

our skool house

our skool house

She came in significantly under budget, leaving us room to be creative and make her our own.  Until then, she’s fully functioning, equipped with all we need and more.

Are we moving or going gypsy, you ask?  Nope.  She’s an investment project and creative opportunity.  A goal we set for 2015 to work on a tiny house as a family.  While finding an excellent deal, we could potentially recoup what we’ve put into her (and significantly more), but for now we want to keep it as a home-away-from-home; an art studio or school room.  We may explore a bit in it.  We may rent it out to the tourists on weekends.  Host a farm apprentice.  House friends or family…  We’re pretty open.

room for everyone

room for everyone

…and there we thought we got away from a mobile home

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