Grit Blogs > Homesteading with Mrs D

In the Beginning...

By Robyn Dolan 


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After giving notice on our house and packing up all our worldly belongings, we went out to the property to see how things were progressing on the trailer setup. The lot looked exactly the same as it had a month before, when we had purchased it. Not a grain of dirt had been moved by human interference. We sat and meditated for a few minutes. Shouldn't they be digging a septic system? Shouldn't there be some signs of overturned earth? We walked the property. Then we went to the real estate office to see what was up. In true "it's not my problem" form, we were told to contact the contractor. Okay. You got your money now, you're done. We called the contractor, who seemed to be at a loss as to who we were. Suddenly remembering, he said "someone must have forgotten to get the permit." Could that someone be you? Is that not what we hired you for? Did you not get your first draw from the construction loan already?

So there we were. Two weeks to move out of our house 30 miles up the road and no house to move into. That's alright, it's September, still hot, cool nights, we can handle a month camping. Little did we know, we wouldn't be in until December! We went back to the property, which was well treed and had very few neighbors. We chose a location fairly far back from the street, shielded by trees, took the camper off the truck and stabilized it for living.

Ye old camper

We pitched 2 tents nearby, under some junipers. Then we started moving all our stuff that wasn't in storage out to the property and arranged it around the campsite.

Our original campsite

We built a big fire ring and now we were in business. It looked a lot like some of those old westerns where they have to unload some stuff off the wagon because they're being chased by bad guys. A dresser here, a dining table there, boxes of dishes.

Reconstructed fire ring

Life was good. We cooked over an open fire, ate out under the stars every night, heated our wash water over the fire, and rigged up old sheets from the side of the camper around a ladder to take a shower with the solar shower. We had a 400 gallon water hauling tank on the back of the truck, propane lanterns and the propane stove and fridge in the camper, plus a large cooler.

400-gallon water tank

We had the toilet in the camper. The cell phone would pick up a signal from the fire station 2 miles up the road. Who needs television? We were having fun. Then the weather turned ...

 

robyn dolan
11/21/2008 9:45:14 AM

Lori thanks. I am going to wrap this up with the next installment to end the suspense (that's so cool, you guys), but as you will see, I too wimped out a little. I would do some things differently now, but this is how I did it then, and it got us out there. Robyn


lori
11/20/2008 9:39:57 AM

Robyn, your story is amazing, and like Hank, I can't wait for the next installment. I can see how it would be cool to live like this, cooking over an open fire, taking showers with water warmed by the sun, but I am a huge wimp when it comes to cold weather. I simply can't take the cold. I'm sure when the weather turned things were not so fun anymore! Please don't be to long with the next chapter!!


robyn dolan
11/13/2008 7:32:50 AM

Just don't want to get too long winded. Glad you're enjoying it - I love hearing other peoples' stories, too. The picture shows the tank on the back of a truckbed trailer that I got after a few months. In front of it is the truck, currently with a shell on it. It is a 1995 Ford F250 long bed 4x4. Not really that old, but it's been good to us.


hank will_2
11/12/2008 1:48:51 PM

Ah ha! I see your strategy now. You just want to keep me on the edge of my seat. I am really enjoying this. I think life is a story in so many ways, and yours is a good one. I am curious about your water-hauling truck. It looks like a good old one.