One step forward two steps back….

It was with much excitement we awaited Friday…it was roof truss day! A house for the winter seemed close. The contractor was hired, three labourers were hired to help as well. Large equipment was rented and on site. The crane was paid for which would also arrive the following day with the trusses.

The sounds in the still of the night awakened me. They filled the night, shrouding me in fear and prayer. Our dreams seemed to slide down the tent walls with each drop…rain!!!! Massive Noah’s Ark kind of rain. Rain that would turn our cattle path driveway into thick chocolate pudding mud.

I whispered to Mountain Man but he was already awake….listening as well with a troubled heart.

My dad had already arrived in town to help and many of our new church family had volunteered to give up their long weekend to help us achieve a roof.

A would be roof that got stuck on the road. A crane truck sinking in thick mud….along with dreams of a roof over our heads. It took everything not to cry.

blessings,

The Prayerful Pioneer

Campfire reflections…

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The nights are starting to cool. Though the days still reach the 30’s the nights let you know that fall beckons.

August has gone by in a whirlwind. Good and sad memories. Our little cabin is taking form. Slower than I had hoped but filling us with excitement at each new phase. This weekend the walls will be put into place (an old fashioned barn raising of sorts with the aid of neighbours and a borrowed tractor). Next week the roof trusses will be delivered. We are coming to the end of our extra long camp out and though there are things we will miss we are ready for a solid home.

Last week I was at the gas station and overheard a woman complaining about how hard it was to camp for four days with children….. I laughed inside knowing at one time that might have been me! It has been eye opening for me to reflect on how these almost four months in a tent in the mountains have changed me already. Have changed all of us.

The garden was eaten by the goats and pig who broke in and had a party of sorts… Leaving only zucchini and pumpkins for us to enjoy.

The boys are growing up so quickly. Helping to build our home from the ground up. Learning to use all of the tools and the process for their own homes one day. Cowboy celebrated his 9th birthday… They are getting older too quickly.

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Bear Cub (our 5 yr old son), learned why we shouldn’t have bike races on wet grassy dirt roads and sported six stitches for a week. He is actually quite proud of his new “pirate scar” and Im thinking the life lesson may have been lost on him (ha ha).

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We have been blessed to have visitors from back east come for the day. What a treat to catch up on news and laughter!

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(Kids and friends from out east making crazy faces) 😜

We had to say a very heart broken goodbye to our border collie “TJ” and our puppy like goat named “daisy Mae”. We pray they are at rest and for comfort for our young boys hearts.

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(TJ snoozing on the long drive out west xo)

Goats have been selling well and we thank God for his grace and provision. Hopefully once the boy goats are sold we will be able to purchase enough hay to last the does through the winter.

Winter approaches…..

I have never spent so much of my day thinking of winter. How much wood we will need. How much food to have stored up incase we are unable to clear snow at times. Barn, animals, ability to road clear etc.

We don’t live on a road. We live on an easement. Basically a cattle path that winds through our property. It is rough and rugged. The only people who have permission to come through are the owners of the five ranches above us….none of which live there. Winter road clearing relies fully on our shoulders.

We are still hopeful to have water for the winter. A well price is beyond our means. We are currently pumping water from a nearby creek but we will need water for winter.

After much prayer I felt the urge to dig in a spot we had dug and noticed was wet months ago. I dug further down and water slowly began to fill in the hole. We are so hopeful that this may be the possibilty for a well. Please keep this in prayer for us, as a good water source would make the days so much easier.

Some days I feel weary at what we have taken on. Building everything from the ground up. Other days exhilarated.

Tonight sitting infront of the campfire I feel at peace. It is a feeling that has eluded me my whole life. For the first time I do not feel this sense of “temporarily filling time somewhere”. I feel at home.

Blessings,
The prayerful Pioneer

Ps. We Have Walls!!!!!

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I want to be a cowboy…

I wanna be a cowboy….

My boys have always wanted to be cowboys. My 8 yr old even woke me up once when he was two years old to have me put his chaps on.🙂

Of course every cowboy needs a horse to ride….especially a pinto horse!

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We purchased these two very handsome two year olds with the intention of training and selling them.
They are gorgeous! They came to us completely untrained but on the second day they stood for saddles. The next day they allowed three of the boys to mount and go for a short ride. They are kind and sweet, always seeking us out for a pet and cuddle.

I wonder if we will truely be able to say goodbye to these lovely fellows one day….

Blessings,

the Prayerful Pioneer
Sent from my iPhone

The Wild Wild West…

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There is a certain allure and draw to the west. To the pioneers it symbolized independence an adventure. To fortune seekers it symbolized their chance at “the better life”. To us it symbolized, “Home”.

It is hard to fully explain the draw of the mountains to those who have never experienced them. I say experience as it is more than just seeing…. It is feeling the majesty of God in their grandeur. The west has scenery that seems to leave a forever mark on your soul.

I can only imagine what it must have been like for the pioneers as they travelled across this great country. I have always pictured the covered wagons crossing through the valleys here. They invoke thoughts of wild pinto horses and raw landscapes.

I so wanted to share a few pictures of our latest sabbath hike. We are trying hard to take Sundays as church and family time.

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Im curious if you find yourself picturing covered wagons and wild horses a well. (Ps the horses you see actually are wild horses!!).

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Blessings,

the Prayerful Pioneer

Raising chicks off grid

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One Sunday during Sunday School my middle two sons ages 8&5 sat attentively listening to the teacher. She was talking about a room in your heart. My 8 year old thought about this and interjected that “we didn’t have a room as we (currently) live in a tent”….. Of which my eager 5 yr old quickly added “with 150 chickens!!”. 😊

I am sure that more than one parishioner raised their eyes in confusion over this, but let me explain. Raising chicks off grid is doable. It may take a bit more work but the end result of wonderful layers and delicious dinners makes it worth every bit of extra effort.

For the first week, as they are so young and tender, we kept them next to our wood stove.

As no one really wants (well I hope no one does but if you do hats off to you) 150 baby chicks running around their house. We housed them in large 3′ Tupperware tubs with vented lids. To ward against chill we also covered the lids with a warm blanket at night. Though it is July our nights are chilly and chills below 13’c can kill your baby chicks. This meant keeping a steady temperature all night long. Mountain Man kept me stocked with wood and I sleepily stoked the stove every hour during the night.

After the first week we started decreasing the temperatures slowly to prepare them to be moved to the large chicken coup.
As they would still need warmth during the nights we installed a battery system to power the heat lamps. To do this you will need a generator, battery charger, marine battery (as it is good for multiple charging), inverter and heat lamp. This may sound like a lot just to heat chicks but most homesteads seem to have the majority of these gadgets hanging around. If not try and beg/borrow from a neighbour or friend as you only need it for a short time.

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(Our new chicken coup)

Charge the battery using the battery charger and generator. When it is charged hook your battery to the inverter and plug in your heat lamp. One charge should give you about 10 hours of heat lamp time. That should be enough to have the sun naturally take over for you.

Of course you could run your generator all night to power the light but personally I find the sound of a running generator engine reminiscent to living next to the highway in my early 20’s. Not a sound I want all night long. Plus the cost of fuel defeats any cost savings of raising the birds your self.

Solar panels are also available on a small scale to charge your battery. We do have these but found they didn’t provide a consistent amount of charge and we didn’t want the chicks to lose power half way through the chilly night.

Once your little chickies have their feathers you won’t need the heat lamp. Now you can start bringing them outdoors and soaking up some wonderful vitamin D.

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I’ll admit I was a bit mortified as to how it would be viewed at church to have all our baby chicks indoors….. until the mother of the young Sunday School teacher shared that they live completely off grid as well….and her daughter hadn’t even blinked an eye at my children’s confession 🐣.

Blessings,
The Prayerful Pioneer

Home Sweet….tent?

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Last year as we planned, prepared and dreamed about our adventure to our new homestead my husband shared his dream……he had always wanted to live (temporarily) in a wall tent. My immediate response was anything but supportive. It sounded something like this, ” are you crazy??”. My mind raced to cougars and bears roaming nightly just outside a filmsy piece of canvas.
I pictured them invading while we slept silently. Now you could say that I have an over active imagination… But in reality there are many predators in our area and well.. I didnt want to meet them.

Hubby persisted in his vision of our temporary housing and I wasnt the example of the supportive wife. Maybe we could borrow a relatives RV I thought.

While hubby showed me picture after picture of wall tents I slowly (very slowly) warmed up to the idea.

We ended up both agreeing (after much research) to purchase an Alaknak wall tent. We figured we would most likely need to live in it for about four months while we built or repaired full time housing. Tried as I might the ability to envision our family of six in a 12 x 20 foot tent for months escaped me…. Little did I know I would come to LOVE IT !

Though I am not a huge camper historically… I am loving our time in our cozy tent. The boys have wonderful ‘discobeds’ which are convertible cot bunk beds (courtesy of Grannie).

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Mountain Man laid a wood floor for ease of cleaning and longevity which made it almost feel cabin like.

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Our wood stove keeps us cozy, allows hanged clothing to dry… And heats me a cuppa tea! (Anyone who knows me knows I drink tea by the gallon ha ha).

We have braved many thick icy nights, rain and wind storms and stayed absolutely cozy. This tent has not let us down in any way.

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We have found contentment in our 240 sq ft temporary home. Falling asleep together, sharing stories and memories. Playing infront of our little wood stove.

Though I have to concede that Mountain Mans dream was a good one (oh yes I said it). I wouldn’t have missed this time in our lives for anything.

I know one day we will sit around laughing and sharing fun stories and groans about this time in our wall tent…. And Mountain Man will surely remind me, with a twinkle in his eye… That he was right!

Blessings,
The Prayerful Pioneer
Sent from my iPhone

A Goat Rodeo….

As the summer moves forward, in addition to our many building projects, the marketing of our farm needs to be addressed.

Business cards and websites need to be made. Contacts for selling animals need to be found. But most of all….counting and sorting of stock takes first place on our “to do” list.
After all its hard to sell unless you know exactly what you have available.

Its important to us to know each animal and its individual needs. So a ‘Goat Rodeo’ of sorts was in order.

We started with corralling all the goats in one area.

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Each goat then was then caught, any health needs addressed, recorded, hoofs trimmed and returned to the main pen. This sounds easy enough but let me tell you it was a laugh a minute. Goats are willy lil creatures and I believe a whole lot smarter than sheep or cattle …. So catching them can be ummm an adventure.

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The ‘goat boys’ got to work and the family rodeo began. The boys and Mountain Man worked hard separating wethers from does and bucklings from doelings.

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The little ones passed us supplies as needed.

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I clipped hooves of 200 goats (I so could have used a hot shower .. Or at least running water at the end of the day).

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And of course there were lots of goat cuddles to be had.

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It was a beautiful, long and productive day. Complete with lots of trials and errors. Like goats escaping before we could record them and having to be re rounded up… Or the puppy chasing the chickens again…or little ones deciding that syringes (needle free) from medications made great water pistols.

Our goat rodeo finished and the next day we made out first sale!!!!

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So thankful to God for this first sale, the excitement of preparing for a new business, the beauty we are privileged to live and work in and most of all getting to work alongside our children. It is so vital to us that this is a ‘Family Farm’. Which to us means everyone counts. This is not mom and dads farm, but each family member has something special to contribute..especially during a goat rodeo!

Blessings,
The Prayerful Pioneer
Sent from my iPhone