Last year my husband and I moved to our little farm in Virginia. We bought a small abandoned farm where we are beginning a new chapter in our life. A new simple life.
For several years we had been raising our own food by gardening and raising chickens for meat and eggs. Now here at the farm we have the space for the addition of Nubian goats for milk and a Great Pyranees named Sophie to our homestead.
Currently we are living in our 32′ motorhome while the century old farmhouse is being restored. It’s small, but comfortable.
This will be a busy year as we establish our first garden and build new homes for the livestock as well as begin work on restoring the old farmhouse.
This quiet life-style is quite different from the hectic pace we lived for so many years. No more sounds of sirens, squealing tires, and loud neighbors.
Here, where there are no city lights, we can see the night sky in all it’s glory, and watch as hundreds of fireflies light up the fields. The only sounds we hear are the insects, and once in a while a distant “mooo” from a neighboring farm.
This is where we intend to live, quietly, peacefully and simply as our grand-parents did a century ago.
It has been one year since we first applied for a building permit in order to begin work restoring our once abandoned 100 year old farmhouse, and which also allow us to connect to the power lines. What has been accomplished during that year? Not much.
Red tape in the form of new laws which had recently been passed in VA making it more difficult to homestead, and a local government representative who has a reputation for being less than helpful has made this a long, stressfilled year.
We have finally learned that the new laws require that every home have a certified approved 1000 gallon septic tank, even if you will be using composting toilets. And, if the land doesn’t perc, a waste water filter system must be installed with the septic tank. Thus all waste water will first flow into the tank, leaving behind any solid waste, then the water will flow through the filter, a container filled with peat, and finally it will be free to flow out onto the ground, or pond, or wherever we decide to send it.
But, it still isn’t as simple as it sounds. First we must find an approved/certified person who will come to the property to inspect and make measurements and take multiple soil samples throughout the property. He determines whether the property will be perced or not. And where is the best location for the system.
He writes a report and sends it to a conservation design engineer who draws up plans for the system, which are then forward to the local VHD agent, who sends it to the State level for approval or denial.
Our guy told us that just about every home in the vicinity is in the same situation and ends up being required to get the same system installed on their properties. But, even with his encouragement, it isn’t a sure thing and will take about two months to learn the outcome.
End the end, if we get approved, we will be able to have our building permit immediately and will have a up to 2-3 years to install the system at a cost of about $14,000.
The goal here is to get electricity so we can start using power tools to work on the house, and outbuildings. I am no good at using hammer and nails, and much prefer using screws for construction.
We expect a confirmation by the end of April, if nothing else develops to slow things down again.
In the meantime we have other things to do, weather permitting.
We decided to use one of the rooms in the house as a storage room for our food stockpile and our household stuff which has been packed in plastic crates. By building simple a simple shelving system we can store a great deal in a relatively small area. This will help to empty the RV from all the plastic crates we have been storing inside the living area, and give us some elbow room.
While we wait for the permit, we will install wiring and insulation inside the house, and make or change some decisions on how we will finish the interior of the home.
So much to do, for this week, however, I will be continuing work to establish a garden.
Spring begins on time here, much sooner than it did at the CT home and I am eager to put seeds in the ground.
Meet our Nubian goats…. that’s Dawson in front, won’t be a year old until May….. Behind him and looking off to your left is Charlotte, and the one looking to your right is Penny, they were two years old in January. That white bit of fluff in the back is Sophie, our Great Pyranees who will also be a year old in May. They are quite a group, all camera hams and always ready to pose for photos, except they usually try to get really close to the lens.
They are all lots of fun and are as sweet as they can be. They love to be petted and go for walks. The goats follow us around like good little puppies, which, sad to say, is not the same for the dog who must be kept on a leash when going outside the fenced areas.
We can’t wait to see the babies this trio creates.
Just about everything I have learned about home-making I learned from grandmother. Her home was always sparkling and her laundry was already bright.
Along with my favorite cleaning ingredients, vinegar and baking soda, I absolutely love Murphy’s Oil Soap, an old-time product for cleaning just about every area of the home. It was first introduced at the start of the 20th century and is all natural and bio-degradable.
I use old white cotton socks with a bit of the oil soap for dusting. It does an amazing job on wood furniture, flooring and all the wood in the home.
When dusting, it acts like a dust magnet, so the job is done quickly and effortlessly.
In the bathroom it will make your fixtures shine. Begin by washing them with baking soda as you would with a powdered cleanser, then rinse well, and rub on the Murphy’s using a rag, and wipe again. You can even use it to clean inside the bowl using the same method, but replace the rag with a toilet brush (unless you don’t mind donning rubber gloves).
When considering how to make Simple Living easier, think about how things were done in “the old days” before all the chemical cleansers became the norm. Living without chemicals helps not only to keep our homes clean and safe for our families, it also protects the environment.