Friday, July 12, 2013


A tornado producing storm system hit our area yesterday, and power was out for about 5 or 6 hours.

The main part of the storm and an actual tornado hit about two miles away in Bellevue. We had very little damage at our place- Just a few big branches down, and I had to reset the breakers when lightning struck the house. The lightning killed one of our fans, but that was it.

I believe Bellevue is still without power, though, and they had tons of storm damage.

Tuesday, July 9, 2013


Every farm needs a truck.

I found a local one on Craigslist for 800.00.

I love it!  It sits 6 people comfortably, and looks like it could fit 8 without too much trouble.
 And its big.  I've already used it to carry some lumber we needed to make repairs. I feel like a real farm woman now.
Oh, and we have hot water! Billy felt bad that we were going to have to wait a week for hot water, so he came yesterday and installed a hot water heater. HOT SHOWERS FOR EVERYONE! Or at least 50 gallons worth!

Monday, July 8, 2013

We have a well!!

Remember how I said we didn't have water? And the cisterns needed an inspection before we could get them worked on and filled?
I got hold of the inspector today, and he is over a month backlogged.
Hidden rainwater cistern

Well, the handyman, Billy, came out this morning and was going to see if he could rig up a pump for the rainwater cistern, since he looked into it and it didn't have floating dead birds or anything. He thought that if we dumped some bleach in it and let it air out until the chlorine had evaporated, then put a filter on the line we might be able to use the water to bathe in, if we were careful not to ingest it in any way.

Well with lid
 While he was over looking in the cisterns and trying to figure them out, a neighbor came over and pointed at the big access thing that leads to what we thought was the main cistern, one where you have the water delivered by truck.

This  thing has a very very heavy handmade wooden lid with shingles on it. It had been too heavy for Billy and I to lift, so he had accessed the cistern by the other, smaller hole about 7 feet to one side of the very heavy lidded hole.
Cistern access

The neighbor told us that the lidded hole didn't cover the other side of the cistern, but instead it covered an old well. The three of us were able to get the lid off, and sure enough there was a deep, dark hole. Billy spent the day rigging up the pump and piping to bring the water into the house.       

There was a pipe into the side of the well that lead to the basement, so that was great! The neighbor wasn't sure why the well had been abandoned. He thought it went dry a lot, though. However, we have had a very wet summer, so right now there is plenty of water.  Billy put a couple of filters in the  lines and told us to run the water into the tub until it looked fresh.  We did, and the water ran stinky and sulphur smelling for a LOOONG TIME. 

While we won't be drinking the water until the well gets tested, we feel OK using it for bathing. After Billy left, we all took very cold showers.  They were frosty cold, but totally worth it to feel clean for the first time in almost a week. The hot water heater should be installed next week. I'm sure it will feel like we are in the lap of luxury when we can have a warm shower!

Sunday, July 7, 2013

Farm Views

We have decided to call our new place a farm. It isn't very big, but we do hope to get most of our food from it, so a farm it might someday be.
Here are some more photos of it.

You saw the house yesterday:
It needs painting, inside and out, and some boards repaired, and a new roof, but it is big enough for us and our studio (if we can get the basement dry!!) and it is shady and cool.

There is a small field off to the north:

That field goes to the fence, pretty close to the home on the other side.

And another bigger  pasture  in the back, that goes all the way to the trees, and about 20 feet into the woods to the west:

Altogether there is about 2.4 acres. The back pasture is about 1.8 acres. The side field is about .15 acre.

We would like to have a large garden, bees, chickens and rabbits, and maybe a cow.  I would love to have a pig, but they smell so bad, I'm sure the neighbors would complain, so I doubt I will do that.

According to all the self-sufficiency books, 2 acres is enough to raise most anything, but what the books forget is that a quarter acre is for the septic field, and really can't be used for much.  I think I may make mine a native flower garden for the bees.  It is sunny, and right by the driveway up front, so I need to make it look presentable.

The place is between Bellevue and Clyde Ohio, in a small unincorporated village called Colby.  The property has been empty for about 10 years, though it was mowed and looked in on by a neighbor, so it doesn't have an abandoned look.

Friday, July 5, 2013

Independence Day!

We got the truck unloaded yesterday evening, pretty late.  It seems fitting to move into this new place on Independence Day.
Today we spent finding and unpacking the stuff we need to live for a while.

The local fireworks are showing tonight, but I am too tired to go, so Snow took the others so I can hit the sack early.

I love the new place.

Even though it doesn't have water yet.
Or a water heater.

I need a shower, so that little lack-of-water problem seems really important.

The handyman we've hired says he will be able to  get the pump from the delivered water cistern up and running on Monday, but no one will fill the cistern until it is inspected. We found another cistern that collects rainwater. It is hidden under a huge old bush, but we noticed that most of the downspots are diverted to join behind that bush, and some clearing away showed us the cement lid of that hidden cistern.  We also think that cistern is the reason there was thigh-high clear water in the basement when we first saw the house.  It seems to overflow into the basement when it gets full.

BUT, if it is full, we might be able to use that for watering the garden or washing the car, eventually. And actually, with the Clyde Cancer Cluster pretty foremost in my mind, I think cleaning that cistern, repairing it, filtering that water and using it for drinking might be the best.

Until then, we are buying drinking water, and washing up in the sink.

Well, Happy Independence Day! I'm off to bed!!

Monday, July 1, 2013

Moving Day!

Finally! We have the truck packed, the gas and electric turned off in IL, and the electric scheduled to turn on in OH (there is no gas service).  Tomorrow we leave. I wonder if I will be able sleep tonight?

It is such a huge change for us. There will be five females - Me (age 48) my oldest daughter Snow (age 26) Middle daughter Jasmine, (23) Youngest daughter Gracie (19) and grandaughter Melody (4). And our goal is to become as self sufficient food-wise as possible on the not-quite-three-acres we have purchased in Northern Ohio. It will be so different from what my little 'urban farm' has been!

While it is too late this summer to start much of a garden, I would like to put in some tomato plants at least, and some greens. Melody is allergic to lettuce and I don't like it much so the greens will probably be some that we can cover with cold frames to last us into the fall and winter, like swiss chard, spinach and corn salad. When I am upset or worried, thinking about my future garden really is a comfort.
Crazy, eh?