Well, we did it.
We are officially moved out and moving on from our big beautiful house on Woodland and the life we knew before. I have to say, it was harder than I thought it would be to leave. As I started to see each room empty out more and more, the memories that we've had in that house started to play in front of me as I sat in the room. Like short movie clips being replayed in my mind, I watched our kids race down the stairs to Christmas morning, watched the kids stand up in the window ledge just to jump off, locked in the view of the morning from our bedroom, and tried to remember it all. Though we have chosen to leave that house, we have many memories that I want to keep and cherish. I wanted to make sure I was present and fully trying to imprint those thoughts into memory so that I could keep them forever. Saying goodbye to something permanently, no matter what it is, has always been very hard for me.
Our first few days in the camper were rough. Everyone was just a little off, feeling the stress of the move. We realized just how much of a downsize we were going to be experiencing from our house to the camper, and it put a strain on all of us. I worried a lot about our children, about how we were going to make it this way, and doubted by ability to live simply. But soon enough, we were all fairly well adjusted and finding our rhythm, Humans really are just so adaptable, I feel...They can adjust to live in many different environments, whether it's simply or affluently, in the city or countryside. And so, we were once again remembering why it was that we chose this path. As we enjoy four-wheeler rides down the gravel roads to our land, long walks through the wooded trails that surround us, waking up to the sound of the birds and chickens, living so near to those who we love so much, we are grateful to be here.
Preserving for Winter
As for most people right now, this is a busy time of year. We've been canning something almost daily as we try to keep up with the bounty of the earth around us. Though there are days when I'd rather not, I try to remind myself how much I'll be thankful for the food that I've put up once winter rolls around. And the chill is already in the air to remind me it's coming...like a sharp whisper, Jack Frost reminds us with his cold breath that he will soon take over this green summer land. When those long, cold days are here, I'll be thankful to enjoy the tastes of summer once again.
We were very ambitious this year, and we thought it would be a good idea to plant 40 tomato plants so that we'd have enough tomatoes to preserve. Boy, do we ever. We've been getting about 15 gallons of tomatoes every two days, and it's been hard to keep up! So far we've made diced tomatoes and pasta sauce, and the sauce is by far the easier of the two to make. We've decided we don't have time to waste peeling, so we have found it to be simpler to just take the tomatoes, put them in the blender, and then cook the sauce down until we have a consistency that we're happy with. We also added in basil, oregano, onions, salt and pepper, and I have to say, it's quite a good sauce! We were quite pleased with it.
My sister-in-law and her husband were nice enough to gift us 4 gunny sacks of sweet corn, and we were super excited to preserve that into freezer corn. It really is just so much better that way, so we justify the use of freezer space....and we can't wait to dive into and eat it all fall and winter!
Applesauce season went well too, and I'm thinking we'll be making another batch soon here in the near future. We are surrounded by wild apple trees and they are just such a great way to store some of summer's delicious fruit. We also tried apple slices this year and preserved them in a sugar syrup and then water bath canned. We haven't tried them yet, and I'm hopeful they'll be good.
Right next to the camper we're staying in is a wild plum tree. These plums are so delicious, but the skin is terribly sour. I've been trying to figure out a way to preserve these sweet and delicious treats for the winter, but I'm just not sure how. My grandma has preserved them in a sugar syrup before, and that may be the way I go too. If you have any ideas, I'd love to hear them! I know I could do a jam, too, but we just have so many jams already!
Progress on the homestead is coming along more and more each day. The chickens have made their new home there, and they seem to be enjoying their lives there as they continue to give us eggs, even through the move and cold spell we've had (anyone want any!?). Our driveway is set to go in next weekend, which is the first step in getting the rest started. D and his dad spent some time cutting down trees where the house is going to go, and it is pretty great to see it start to take shape. I can see it; this dream is so close to being reality.
I have to just stop for a minute and remind myself how far we've come. Like the seasons that have begun to change, we too have made some huge transitions these past couple of weeks: new job, leaving our house, camper life. But, like in nature, when I step back and look at what's happening, I can't help but see the beauty in the change. Though it has been hard, though there have been tears, and though I've questioned whether or not the choices we've made have been the right ones, I have no regrets- we are moving forward, we're building this life that we've dreamed about, and I've never felt more like me. And so, we continue on this journey, praying for God to lead us and guide us, and we are thankful for the chance to do so.
As we make this transition, thoughts of the pioneers moving west fills my mind. For me, I have given up my home and all we had created there, but that's all. I have the modern conveniences of technology to keep me in contact with the outside world and people, I have a vehicle to travel comfortably in, I have access to machinery to help with the construction process of our home. Our camper that we're staying in, though much smaller than a house, is lovely and full of everything we need (and some). I am lucky, and living in luxury by pioneer standards. When they left their homes, they gave up everything...they gave up seeing their families, not sure when or if they'd ever see them again. They gave up the comfort of seeing people and having helping hands around them. They gave up all that they'd worked for and built up to take on something new. They lived in a cold, wet and shabby wagon for months. Their journeys were hard. Though it's almost romanticized today, those people really took on some major hardships and stress as they worked and moved towards their dreams. In some ways, though I know it was a hard life, I still envy them and how they lived for a living. I envy the way they were never tempted by technology to steal life away from them and how they focused on relationships and family. It was a different time, with different worries and struggles...but with different common values and lifestyles too.
Thank you for reading along and staying up-to-date with our adventures. We're happy to have you along for the ride.
Until next time,
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