Sunday, February 6, 2011

My hearts desire part 1

When I was a child I would much rather be in the barn than the house - even if it meant mucking out stalls. As a teenager I told my parents I didn't want to go to college. I just wanted to build a little off-grid cottage on the family farm and live the "homesteading" life. They disagreed strenuously with that plan. I went to college for a year, got married, had children, got divorced, raised two great kids, went back to school, became an RN, came back to the family farm, met my DH, got married, ran Kiss My Grass Farm with the DH and closed down Kiss My Grass Farm so my DH can pursue his college dreams full time.

And now we are leaving the farm again.

I have made up my mind to use our apartment exile to think about what I really need to be happy. I've been thinking quite a lot lately about what I wanted way back when. Funnily enough, I still pretty much want the same thing: a little cottage, on a little piece of land where I can produce the food we eat as much as possible and live quietly and simply.

I found an old drawing the other day. It was my "dream" house, well, what I thought would be my dream house when I was seventeen. It came complete with a composting toilet, a cook stove for heat, cooking and hot water, oil lamps for light and a sleeping loft with a sewing room complete with treadle sewing machine and four harness loom. This dream house had a nifty covered walk that attached it to a cozy little barn with room for a Haflinger pony, a Dexter cow, a couple of pigs and a sheep or two. Chickens would live in their own walk-up one-level condo.

Some things about this dream have changed. Knee and foot surgeries and a touch of arthritis have eliminated the loft - or stairs for that matter from my dream house. Now I'm thinking compact single story with an Arts and Crafts sort of look. The composting toilet is debatable. My husband is pretty much appalled by the idea. As for off grid... I believe his response was something to the effect of "NO WAY am I living off grid!"

Some of the original dream has not changed. I still want a wood cook stove for heat, cooking and hot water. Wood cook stoves have come a long way in the last 30 years. Now you can get one with an airtight firebox with a viewing window, better oven controls, and a water heating capacity to allow hot showers and hot tap water, and they'll hold a fire longer and heat a larger area. I'm researching stoves now.

I still love oil lamps and I'll have some in the house, but they will be for mood and emergencies. Unless I can convince the DH that he loves them as much as I do. We'll see. I'll have to work on him.

I'd still like a sewing/crafting room, but I think that will have to be combined with a study/library room. This will take some careful planning. Hmm.... I still want a treadle sewing machine and a loom. I like the quiet rhythm of a treadle machine. And weaving is such a calming occupation. Best of all both of these "relaxation techniques" result is beautiful handmade textiles. There will have to be room for book shelves because we've accumulated quite a treasure trove of books on a multitude of subjects both sentimental and practical. Brian says he can't give up his computer. I don't know. Some days I think I could.

The nifty covered walkway is still in the plan. When my DH finishes his degree, we want to move to the rainy Willamette Valley of Oregon . A covered walkway will come in handy during the rainy season which is about 8 months of the year. Going back and forth to the barn will be much nicer if you don't have to get wet every time.

The cozy little barn is still in the dream, though we'll have to make room for another pony for the DH. :^) I love the wooden barn my DH built for me on the farm here. It has a piggy maternity ward, stalls for ponies, milk cow and calf. He built a milking area with stanchion and milking machine. And it has lots of storage. Maybe a smaller version would be good.

So much to think about and consider.

And so ends part one....

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