Tyler and I have been talking today, about how it’s been over a year since we moved to the farm and we realized we haven’t wrote about it yet. We thought maybe some of you would like to hear the start of the story…
At the start of August 2016, we moved from our acreage to my parents camper in the middle of our field. We had our mobile home moved onto our new ‘yard site’ from it’s previous location and our plan was to move into it right away and just live without power or natural gas since they hadn’t been brought onto the property yet. Unfortunately, since the mobile home and the addition sat separately for a while, we ended up with a bit of a mouse problem. Anyone that knows me, knows it was a serious problem, as I am terrified of mice! We got the addition sealed up against the mobile home and temporarily sealed all of the holes for where the services were to be brought in. Once I was 100% sure there were no more mice (2 full weeks of having at least 10 traps set and not catching anything), we thoroughly cleaned everything and after a little over a month of camper living, we were finally able to start sleeping in our own beds in the house.
It was a slow process getting everything set up and all of our services installed. Our well had been dug, and the septic system installed, but we didn’t have power to run them so we had to make daily trips to town for showers/baths and rent a port a potty to use as a washroom since the camper didn’t have enough water for us to use on a regular basis and we didn’t have a big enough truck to haul the camper, so we had to rely on my dad to fill and empty it. During this time, we got a driveway built and with the help of Cassandra’s uncle, Tyler got the water lines all trenched in from the well to the house and to what would be our future barnyard, despite having the trenches constantly filling up with ground water.
At the same time we were able to find a big generator to rent and thankfully Tyler is an electrician by trade and was able to hook it up to the electrical panel in the house to give us a limited supply of power. This allowed us to use our well, but without natural gas we didn’t have hot water in the house. Thankfully, we were able to fill the camper with the well water so we no longer had to go to town to shower. The generator was definitely not cheap to run so we tried not to use it too much if we could help it; however, the weather was starting to get pretty cold, so we had no choice but to run it all night long so we could have space heaters in our bedrooms to keep us warm. On the weekends when we were home for the day, we hung blankets in the hallway and wheeled the space heaters from the bedrooms into the livingroom/kitchen and waited for it to warm up enough for us to be somewhat comfortable. Occasionally, if it was really cold, we would turn on the oven and open the door to heat the room up a little faster. Eventually, the camper had to be winterized, so we still had it parked outside to use the fridge, but we were back to going to town for showers.
The cows and yaks were out at my parents pasture, so we didn’t have to worry too much about them. We had pens set up using hog/goat panels for the pigs and goats right beside the camper, so we didn’t have to go far to do chores and we also didn’t know where their permanent location would be yet. We used a solar fencer to run electric fence to keep the pigs from digging out under the panels. We borrowed a trailer and water tank from my parents as well, so we used that to haul water from town for the animals to drink.
The night before Wyatt’s first day of Kindergarten, I was in town with the boys, getting showered and ready for the next day when I got a call from Tyler that he had fell and hit his head on the edge of the water trailer when the step he used to get on and off of it came out from under him and he was bleeding really badly. I called the ambulance and my dad and I rushed home to meet them and make sure he was alright. I followed him in the ambulance to the hospital and it was close to midnight before he was able to see the doctor, where he ended up getting stitches in two different spots on the back of his head. To top it off, the freezing wouldn’t work so some of the stitches were done without any. The boys stayed at my parents that night, as it was so late, so we ended up going to town in the morning to pick them up and take Wyatt to school.
Finally, at the end of October, power was brought in and Tyler was able to trench it over from the pole to the house, hook up the power and disconnect the generator. That same week our natural gas was brought in and Tyler and a friend of his who is a gas fitter ran the gas line from the meter to the furnace and hot water tank so we finally had heat and hot water. That was the best week ever!
We fenced off a few acres and purchased some windbreaks and free standing panels so we were able to bring our cows and yaks home from the pasture for the winter. We had a small barn (two calf shelters pushed together with doors put in on the ends) built and moved in.
We have definitely come a long way in the last year, especially considering we both have jobs off the farm. It has been a lot of work, having to build everything from scratch and all the issues we’ve encountered along the way, but everything seems to be coming together; slowly, but surely.