7 Quick Takes
It’s been quiet ’round here lately huh? Shockingly I haven’t had much to say this month (I know right?!). It’s certainly not because my brain has been quiet (do our brains ever have less than 2,374 tabs open at the same time ladies?!). It’s that those thoughts have been a jumbled mess of To Do’s, Needs vs Wants and just a general ‘trying to keep the sanity within all this Chaos’. I finally gave up on the sanity part and decided to be more “live in the moment” and focus on the more doable tasks of getting the Need vs Wants down on paper in a Priority List and then prioritizing the To Do’s. And finally, looking at those lists and sketches my brain said Close tab, close this one, close that one, don’t need that one… whew! Only 1,956 tabs! Much more manageable.
kind of really snuck up on me! July was so busy with the house, it wasn’t until Bou’s girlfriend started the 2 week countdown that it occurred to me – uh, the children all kinda might really need school stuff. Hrm… Thankfully I have kept most of the younger grade books, so it was just a matter of taking the time to go and dig them out of the storage room at my mother-in-laws. Oh and searching endlessly for printables online. On my phone. With our (at best) spotty service that I give up on almost daily. That the largest carrier is “aware of with no plans to improve”. Sigh. I did (finally!) manage to figure out how to connect the new laser printer to my phone so I can print directly, baring I have signal of course. That was really sweet… until I ran out of toner… I seriously did not think it was possible to run it out in 2 weeks. That thing says it can print 1500 pages yall! So apparently I really REALLY like this whole direct printing thing…
Bou has spent much of his school time (and any other time he can find) working on the laptop. He has really gotten into game design and has spent a lot of time learning new programs, scripts, building terrain and characters then making everything work together, etc. Very awesome. See yall, building worlds in Minecraft does branch out! Can’t wait to see how it evolves!
It also meant a new routine to figure out and implement. I’d say schedule but since we really stink at the whole following a clock part, routine is a much better description. The times are a general guideline to shoot for. I revamped the chore chart (aka wrote them down). My previous idea of “areas of responsibilities” to be randomly drawn ended up in a yelling and crying mess every Monday when it was time to draw new areas. Somehow it was never “fair” to somebody (or two). Next idea was to write it all out. But remember, tiny house=few walls to post anything on. Insert a chalk marker into the equation and tada! The chore chart and schedule are written on a window – of which we have many. Problem solved. The bottom part doubles as a doodle space – yay! On Monday everybody’s name gets moved one space over – no more arguing because they know what to expect next. The hard part – trying to figure out enough “area’s” to be mostly fair while also giving each child an area. It’s only 600 square feet!
Two weeks in and so far no mutinies have happened, no coos formed. It just might work yall!
Close 10 more tabs…
No visible progress has been made on the house or homestead this month. While August is our hottest month usually, with this unusually cool summer it hasn’t been to bad. Which works the other way – when 95 is as hot as it gets, 85 is still really hot when trying to stay motivated to work outside. Then (as always at this time of year) the winter predictions started pouring in. Farmers Almanac predicts a colder and wetter that average winter. Eh, that’s a hit or miss publication. Then the weather guys started getting all technical and historical… and they pretty much match up. The persimmon seeds are all showing spoons, there’s been a ton of frogs (when we’ve never seen any!), we had a handful of fogs in August but I haven’t seen any squirrels nests to know their prediction. I know they are just wives tales, it’s fun to look at natures signs. And who knows – maybe the ole timers were on to something! Regardless, back to the “weather dudes”, some are saying it could be worse than last year. And last year was pretty brutal…
Open new tabs…
That’s when another reality hit me – yes it is the hottest month of the year, yes school just started… but it also means that fall is quickly coming – with winter right on its heels. We were so so blessed last winter to be gifted a new propane heater just before it got really cold. Praise God! Boy did that thing crank out the heat!! It was such a drastic difference from our first winter! But we still relied on propane. And as we found out, Murphy still liked to visit, running out at some very inconvenient times – like the day of an expected ice storm. The Lord was gracious, allowing Mr to get off early enough to get the tanks refilled before the storms hit – every time! While we managed to not go cold (at times the children even complained they were to sweaty!) it is essentially still a utility bill. No propane means no heat. And that doesn’t fit with the vision.
This year, my goal is to cut the propane usage in half, under $40 per month. We have built 2 different solar heaters and will be building 2 more. Hopefully these 4 heaters will give a good comparison on which one(s) are most effective and economical – while keeping us nice and toasty when the sun is shining. We will likely have to supplement during the storms themselves and at night.
More tabs closed…
Winterizing the house also has been weighing on the mind since that realization (more tabs! UGH!). This year we are fully insulated and drywalled. That is already proving to be a huge help over the summer. It certainly helps hold the cold in… but also the heat when it does warm up. This will (hopefully) prove to be useful for the winter as it takes forever for upstairs to cool off once it gets hot. And it doesn’t take long for it to get hot with 8 people in this tiny house! Under the house needs to be insulated and the crawl space blocked off. Since we are planning to do rock or brick and that won’t happen until we do siding. We will likely use regular insulation and foam board under the house because if the solar water heater works out the way we hope, I want it to be removable so we can install radiant heat tubing next year. See how this domino works?
Yay! Close a few more tabs…
My sister and I have been busy learning this canning thing. And finding it rather addictive honestly. Tomatoes were a whole lot of fun and a whole lot of work. We were so so blessed to be gifted these organic tomatoes from one of my sisters friends. And she said there will be more! Thank you Lord!
Beans were much easier. Yall – I love cooking in the pressure cooker! 3 minutes to cook 10 pound of beans – yes please! Total time was about an hour to get to pressure and then depressurize. Within minutes of removing the lid, daddy had gotten 2 bowls (uh, those are supposed to be canned!) and decided they may be better than the typical ‘simmer all day on the stove”. They were soft but not mushy, win!
And it never fails, the Littles fall asleep. Bless their hearts but so glad they will sleep anywhere after running crazy through the house and rearranging their Aunt’s kitchen.
The Girls and I have also gotten back into bread baking. While I wouldn’t say it was quite as easy as riding a bike, it wasn’t far. We tried a copy cat Hawaiian bread recipe… and decided to keep looking (add another tab or 3). It was close but not quite. And since that is the go to now for any dinner requiring rolls, it is a high priority.
We’re back at building this month to get winter ready. With (hopefully!) some really awesome projects to share!
Hope yall have a blessed week!!