Like everyone else who is uncertain about what the future holds, we have had to alter our plans at the present moment for an undetermined amount of time. When we left Seattle in February, our plans were as follows: We had planned on spending a couple months in Waco at the Homestead Heritage, including attending a church conference during the Easter week. Then, we had planned on traveling to Alabama, Tennessee, and Virginia to visit friends and celebrate Mel’s 40th birthday (April 23rd) with her close friend, Ruth. Afterwards, we had talked about traveling to several states that we have not yet visited. Finally, our goal was to make it back to Seattle in June.
Now with the recommendations against traveling, meeting in groups, and the orders to shelter in place, all our plans have evaporated. Though this has not been distressful for us, it has required some adjustments on our part. For starters, one of our primary goals for the first half of this trip was to visit with the Homestead community and attend classes, church group meetings, and to learn more about the homesteading lifestyle. All classes and meetings have now been cancelled.
Secondly, living in a motor home has some great advantages with a few, small disadvantages. The advantages are to be able to travel wherever, whenever, and GET OUT and see the country and the great outdoors. The disadvantages are that the living space is small and the RV can feel cramped and unpleasant if stuck inside for too long. So, given the current state of affairs, we have found ourselves suddenly embracing all the disadvantages of the RV lifestyle without the ability to balance these out with any of the advantages.
After sheltering in place for over a week in our motorhome, we realized yet another obstacle we would need to overcome. We had converted our shower into a storage space before we set out on our big 10 month trip and have relied on the generosity of friends or public facilities to bathe ourselves. Suddenly, we had nowhere to shower and several of us went two weeks without taking a real shower (sponge-bathing from our RV bathroom sink was as close as we got.)
In assessing our new set of givens, a friend of ours at the Homestead asked what we thought about looking at a month to month rental option that someone in their community had. Though it was not what we had originally planned on doing (being stuck in one place and taking on additional expenses), it did seem like it might help us overcome the obstacles we faced being confined to our motorhome. We agreed to at least look at the property for rent.
The rental is a 2 bed, 2 bath (with 2 showers!), 1,000 sq. ft. mobile home on 2 acres of land. When looking at it, we liked that it would be a much bigger space inside, had showering facilities but, for me, I was drawn especially to the 2-acre plot of land that was available for us to use. There are 14 garden beds and plenty of room for the kids to run around and play. If our family would not be able to travel or meet in groups, at least we could continue to learn about homesteading with our own piece of land to tend to.
After looking at the property we held a family meeting in our RV and discussed this idea fully from all angles. Given that we had (and still have) no idea how long we would be required to shelter in place, we began to feel that this would indeed be a positive step for us to take. With careful, and prayerful, consideration we made the choice to move forward and rent.
Since then, we have received nothing but unexpected blessing from that decision. The day after we committed to rent, several men from the community helped us by gathering up used furniture from various members of the community and helped moved them into our new home.
Couches, beds, tables, and chairs were brought to us and in a matter of a few hours we found ourselves standing in a fully furnished home.
Now, we have done nothing less than fully embrace the homesteading lifestyle. Our first act in our new home (after showering!) was to bake oatmeal raisin cookies (did I mention that our RV oven is poor, at best, for cooking).
And because the kitchen and oven space is much larger than the RV, we have been able to have more elaborate dinners including BBQ chicken and baked potatoes (pictured below), shepherd’s pie, and quesadilla burgers.
The following day, we began cultivating the garden beds and Caleb lead the charge to begin building a fenced in area (with spare materials found in the woods) for chickens.
Two days ago (Friday), after we completed building the chicken coop, we connected with a member of the Homestead community who raises chickens, and we purchased 6 laying hens. The kids could hardly contain their excitement.
And even more excitement came the following day after the kids found our first egg.
We have now also removed all the grass and weeds from the 14 planter beds and, after adding some compost, we have planted 12 tomato plants in the first garden bed.
Even now, as I sit at the dinning room table writing this blog, I look out the window at our chickens scratching the lawn for bugs. I can hardly believe everything that has happened in the last week. We truly have been given unexpected blessing in this season. Though we consider this new turn of events a temporary situation, we really don’t have any idea what the future holds. In the face of much uncertainty and unknowns, we are trading the fears of tomorrow in for the blessings of today. That really is how I believe everyone can make it through these adverse times. Count your blessings you have today.