Grit Blogs > Homesteading with Mrs D

The Good Life

By Robyn Dolan 

Tags: homesteading, electricity, kerosene, propane,

Okay, I'm gonna try and wrap this up now.  So we are "roughing" it and enjoying ourselves and then, about the end of October, the temperature starts to drop; the wind begins to blow. You can't very well have a safe campfire in 40mph-plus winds. We went to using just the stove in the camper, but it quickly got crowded and uncomfortable with four of us plus pets. The establishment where I was working part-time graciously put us up in one of their motel rooms for the first two weeks of November. There were many confrontations with the contractor and the real estate agent during this time. We traveled to grandma and grandpa's for Thanksgiving and by the time we returned, December 1st, we had a junky double-wide – WITH FOUR WALLS AND A ROOF!! Green tag be bleeped, after fighting tooth and nail for this for months (blood, sweat and tears begins to have a literal meaning), we moved in and set up housekeeping.

Electric hookups followed shortly thereafter. It was a bit longer for the propane, but we used kerosene heaters (yechh) donated by a friend who wanted to get them out of his garage, and mountains of blankets, double layers of long johns, and rediscovered the night cap – the kind you wear on your head. Due to a plumbing pipe that kept breaking, we still carried buckets of water into the "house" and heated it on the stove for baths and washing.  After the third "repair" by the plumber, I fixed the pipe myself and ten years later it has not yet broken again. We replaced the old water heater and, with the advent of propane, now had hot and cold running water in the house. With a little oil, the motor on the ancient forced-air unit began to pump warm air through the ducts. We now also had gas to the kitchen stove, and water and gas for the washer and dryer. Victory is ever so sweet.

Lessons learned for rural living:

• If you want something done right, do it yourself. 

• Celebrate the small stuff. When we finally moved into our trailer and got the electricity on, the first thing we did (it being December and all) was put up the Christmas tree and lots of sparkly lights.

• Don't feel bad about wimping out here and there. We're only human, and coming from a pampered lifestyle, it takes time and faith to adjust.

• This IS the good life.