Cabin Fever

I guess since we are approaching the one year mark for moving into our house, we should give you all an update and a few pics. While some of us miss the nomadic life, we are all enjoying the creativity of making this house our home, as well as the adventure of learning to homestead. Our house is an older, half A-frame style home built in the 70’s. It was a couple rooms short, needed a bit of work all the way around, and had a water loss the week after we moved in, so we have been pretty busy. Because of the water loss, the kitchen and dining room got the attention first. Insurance covered new floors, we painted the cedar siding walls, then rebuilt and painted the cabinet doors and drawers and built a new island. I still have a few cabinet doors left to build and someday I would love to build my own table, but for now, here are a few before and after pics.

After the kitchen, we focused on the kids’ space. We had a nice big game room with high ceilings and two smaller bedrooms in the basement. We didn’t want to lose the game room space, so we built River and Micah each a loft (with a bridge in between) for their own personal space. It’s been almost a year and River is already bumping her head, so it might not be a permanent solution, but it sure has been a fun one. We haven’t gotten around the painting the basement, so the colors you see are not ours.

Game room when we moved in.
This was Micah’s bunk loft before we build his real loft.
It’s a weird picture, in panoramic, but you get the idea.

Next, we worked on a chicken coop and currently have 7 laying hens and three troublemaking turkeys. We also started building a greenhouse out of old windows, which was pretty fun, but it turned into a bigger project than we anticipated. It still needs caulk and paint before winter, but we will wait to finish the inside until next Spring (ventilation, shelves, etc).

One of the most recent things we did was paint the living room and finally hang some pictures. I love the brighter, lighter space and cannot wait to do my bedroom this winter, once all my outside projects are finally done. We live in a high risk area for wildfires, so Erich has been working hard to clear the hill around our house of underbrush and thin out the trees. We had a couple wildfire scares up the road this summer, so that was definitely not time wasted.

This is a horrible picture and I still need to paint our door unit, but you get the idea. =)

Because we had previously been in Billings, MT for two travel contracts, we were already plugged into a church here. The pastor was our pastor in Washington when Asia was a baby, so it feels like home. Asia will be fifteen in December. She is leading a Bible study for junior high girls and is in a leadership program for high schoolers. Jake loves youth group and had several of his leaders and some friends over for a very fun paintball war for his 13th birthday this month. River has also enjoyed making friends at church and at our homeschool co-op. Her and Micah spend hours every week “playing” with the chickens and turkeys. We started hosting a small group and have made some really great friends. Erich is currently working a contract in Bismarck, ND. He works for one week and then is home for one week. He has been doing a discipleship study with the guys from our small group and really enjoys going deeper with them. I am working one day a week for a friend’s fire protection service and have been invited to participate in a leadership course called Trueface. I’m pretty excited about going deeper, being challenged, and even having homework. We joined a homeschool co-op with some of our church friends where Erich and I are taking turns teaching science to the junior and high school students. Erich is really good at it and the kids love him. I would much rather teach photography, but I’m doing my best.

Between losing our AC for seven weeks of 100 degree weather, and all the projects and the wildfire smoke this summer, we didn’t get to do a lot of camping. I am calling it the Summer of Bummer. We are headed to Jackson Hole this week though for four nights and I cannot wait. Settling down has been an adventure and I absolutely love our land and our home. I love the wind, the snow, the 300 days of sunshine. I love seeing the Milky Way on a clear night. I love learning new things and tackling projects that feel too big for me. I love watching my kids establish friendships and seeing their joy in learning to homestead. I love the creativity required to make a house a home. I love it all, but I get restless. I miss the constant change, discovering and exploring the unknown, not having commitments and schedules. I miss the freedom of traveling. Freedom from the temptation to pursue the “American Dream,” freedom from the rat race, freedom from debt and bills and routine. Sometimes I just want to sit with nature, to camp in the wilderness, to be scared to go out in the darkness to use the bathroom in the middle of the night, always on the lookout for glowing eyes in the shadows. I want to hike until my legs hurt and my lungs are on fire. I want to take pictures of something I’ve never seen before. I want to wonder at His creation and revel in the knowledge that He didn’t have to create such a beautiful world, He did it for us. There is something about the way He crafted everything so spectacularly, that makes me feel so, so loved. It’s such a gift and, while I miss the excitement of the nomadic life, every day I am grateful to have our own little slice of heaven here in Montana. We are surrounded by friends and nature. We get to enjoy the trees, ridges, wild animals, and breathtaking sunsets every day. We have so much to be thankful for. So, while I miss watching the sun set and the moon rise somewhere new, I am thankful for my current view.

Anyhow, I know this is kind of a boring blog, but I have had several requests for updates and pics on the house, so there it is. Oh, and we are building a studio apartment in our outbuilding. Hopefully it’ll be done by Spring and you all can take turns coming to visit us! Thanks for taking the time to keep up with us. Don’t be a stranger, we’d love to hear from you as well.

Below are a few more pics from the last year.

Our tiny harvest from today. Hey, at least it touches three of the main food groups….

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