Monday, September 1, 2014

Living in a Garage - The Tour

Hello! I am glad you have come to visit. We have been busy fixing things up around here and are excited about giving you a tour! Let's get started.....


If you come to our place- to get inside you first will go through our outdoor kitchen and dining area. We are using a workbench that we had in our old garage as a counter outside. The ground is sloped here so we had to prop up one end on logs and in that spot our counter is quite high. It is very usable however. We use this area for cooking on our camping stove, washing dishes, washing our hands and getting drinks.  We made an awning out of an old banner that Ken had for his business (it is now outdated and so he wasn't using it anymore).  To see more pictures of our outside dining area you can go to this post.
When you come inside the first area is our "kitchen". We don't have any indoor plumbing but we do have electricity and so we have a fridge and freezer. We also have other odds and ends of furniture that we have put together to hold dishes and food. We hung some shelves/cupboards on the walls and then I also put up some shelves in between the studs. 

The desk on the left used to be our phone desk and a place that we kept schoolbooks at our old house.The green desk/shelf I had used in my office at the old house and the next shelf had also been in my office closet to hold sewing/crafting stuff on. All of them are working very nicely now as kitchen cupboards. In the picture above you will notice that both desks can provide a counter space as well as holding things.
The dining area is next with our table and chairs fitting nicely between the "kitchen" and "living room". Currently we probably eat around 1/2 our meals outside but as it gets cooler more and more will probably be inside. This noon we ate inside more because it was so warm rather than it being too cold.

Here is our living room. With normal furniture and a rug laid down and a nice window - it is quite comfortable!
This is the view if you look back into the garage. Computer desks to the left, shop area in the back left corner, Storage area dividing the shop area off, a door to our room, Mara's "room" behind the bookshelves and the music area.

The desks.

These are some of the shelves that I had fun putting in the walls several places in here. Shelves are so nice for storing things.


The "shop".



The music area.


Our bedroom- which will eventually be the honey extracting room. It is 8 foot by 10 foot so not real big for a California king size bed but it works. We even fit both dressers in. The ceiling is also 10 feet high so we have gone up with a lot of storage. We have clothes hanging above the bed on both ends and shelves up high as well. The height compared with the size seems rather weird as you lay in bed but it works just fine.


Here is a view of our bedroom from the opposite corner (up on the bed- I do a lot more walking on the bed than I ever used to - for making it, for getting down clothes to wear, opening the window, etc).

Mara's room is made from bookshelves and curtains and just barely holds her bed, dresser, shoe shelf and dirty clothes basket (with clothes hanging above), It was challenging to get a decent picture.

You can get a better view from Megan's room up in the attic. This is Mara's room from above.

Now we will go up!

There are three different ways to go up to the attic - a rope ladder that leads to the boys "room", a ladder that goes up right by where the rooms divide and you can get to either room that way or a door from outside at the back of the garage.

You can see that door in the picture above. Jonathan put the door in and built the ladder (out of old parts from a discarded bunk bed). This door goes into Megan's room but the boys also like to use it a lot - just going through Megan's room to get to theirs.
Here is Megan coming into her room from that door.
This is the other end of Megan's room. Her dresser is quite light so she was able to have her full sized dresser up there. The boys are making do with smaller plastic dressers right now.
This is Megan's desk in her room. Jonathan helped her build it. She can sit on her bed to use it.
Another picture of Megan in her room. She had fun getting it ready for the tour and had me even light her candle for the picture (which you can't really see - so I thought I had better tell you).
On the other side of Megan's dresser is Jonathan's area. He put up dividers and then made places to hang all of his tools.
He also made a desk for himself. It is his special place to work on his plane kit.
This is the view of Aaron's end of the room as seen from Jonathan's bed area.
Both boys have "closets" in this area.

The new windows just got put in this weekend.

This is what is looks like when you open up the garage door. We feel rather like dolls in a doll house when this happens (which is not often).


 Another part of our home is our shower. I made it out of salvaged items.

 This is the inside view. We have one area that is the showering area divided with a shower curtain from the changing area.

 Thanks for coming to visit!!
If you have any questions please ask away - I can post more details in the future. Suggestions and tips are also welcome.

Saturday, August 30, 2014

The Proverbs of Solomon

The river by our place - photo by Mara
I have been reading through the book of Proverbs lately and have really been enjoying them. Proverbs has long been a favorite book of mine and that does not seem to have changed since the last reading. :-)

  Here are some that stood out to me right now as we have been working hard on our new land and are dreaming about the homestead that we will have there. I feel inspired when I read verses like these and I hope they will be inspiring to you too.

 "She girds herself with strength and makes her arms strong." Proverbs 31:17

"The ants are not a strong people, but they prepare their food in the summer;" Proverbs 30:25

"He who tills his land will have plenty of food, but he who follows empty pursuits will have poverty in plenty. A faithful man will abound with blessings, but he who makes haste to be rich will not go unpunished." Proverbs 28:19 & 20

"Know well the condition of your flocks, and pay attention to your herds;
for riches are not forever, nor does a crown endure to all generations.
When the grass disappears, the new growth is seen,
and the herbs of the mountains are gather in,
the lambs will be for your clothing, and the goats will bring the price of a field,
and their will be goats' milk enough for your food, for the food of your household,
and the sustenance for your maidens."  Proverbs 27:23-27

"My son, eat honey, for it is good, Yes, the honey from the comb is sweet to your taste;
Know that wisdom is thus for your soul;
If you find it, then there will be a future, and your hope will not be cut off." Proverbs 24:13-14

These verses make me think about homesteading and the need to work hard and find that God will bless that labor. There is something really fun about working and then enjoying the results of your labor.

On the topic of the Proverbs of Solomon - I have been reading aloud to the kids lately in 1 Kings and we have been reading of Solomon's life. Recently we read the 4th chapter and at the end of it, it says:

 "Now God gave Solomon wisdom and very great discernment and breadth of mind, like the sand that is on the seashore. So Solomon's wisdom surpassed the wisdom of all the sons of the east and all the wisdom of Egypt. ..... He also spoke 3,000 proverbs, and his songs were 1,006. He spoke of trees, from the cedar that is in Lebanon even to the hyssop that grows on the wall; he spoke also of animals and birds and creeping things and fish. Men came from all peoples to hear the wisdom of Solomon, from all the kings of the earth who had heard of his wisdom." 1 Kings 4:29-30 &32-34

How neat would it have been to be able to go and listen to the teaching of Solomon!?!? You don't think of Kings spending time teaching about the natural world but evidently he did. That would have been so interesting. Solomon's wisdom of course came from God who knows all things.

The Making of an Outhouse

Since we don't have indoor plumbing just now - an outhouse is a quite necessary building. It was also our first building to get up here on our property because of how important it is.

Here is a photographic record of the process that we went through...



You would think that we might begin with the digging of the hole - but no. In our county and I think especially since our land is on the river we needed to get a building permit for the outhouse and the plan needed to be approved by a septic inspector. So the septic guy had to come out and check out our planned spot. The place that we had picked he decided had to much clay but thankfully he found another spot that he said would work fine without the need to put a tank in. Ken found it a little interesting dealing with the septic guy as he couldn't figure out why in the world we would want to have any outhouse- Ken didn't really think that was any of his business but whatever.

After those steps we did get to dig the hole. The kids and I did that one day when Ken was busy with some other project. Going down in the hole was thought to be a lot of fun.
Then we put down some framing for the floor.

 The floor goes on. It is even more fun to go in the hole now - with a roof overhead. :-)
 I decided I needed a picture of Mara in the hole to go along with some photos I have of her as a toddler when she decided to get into the toilet in our house. Thank-fully as a general rule she doesn't do that sort of thing anymore. :-)
 The wall frames go up!
Ken built the seat. My dad told us to make it with this design as he thinks it is the nicest. It does work pretty nicely. The pipe that is behind is for the venting of smells.
 This picture shows the roof on and the pipe in place. We painted it black on top as dad says that would help the pipe heat up which would draw the smell up and out.
 I had fun making a rustic toilet paper holder from some birch branches. I also have another branch with a "Y" hanging up higher which a little lantern hangs on.

 The outhouse is on the trail between our garage and garden.
 All finished except for the siding.

  Now that we are living here we do also have a little table outside with soap, water (in old laundry soap containers that my mom got that have spigots on them) and a towel. I also put up a shelf inside to hold toilet paper and anything else that might be used in there.

 Not only is the outhouse very needed for life right now but in the future I will be glad to have one on hand. It would be very handy if we had a power outage, it also could come in handy if we have a lot of guests or when people are up working in the garden and don't want to go all the way inside.

   Would you ever put an outhouse on your property? I would love to hear your outhouse memories (keeping it clean of course!).

Thursday, August 28, 2014

Bees and Their Yummy Honey


 Last week while we were working on moving I also extracted all the honey from my bee hives. It made for a busy week. But a very sweet week too with all the honey eating. :-) The middle of August is a little earlier than prime extracting time which is early September but I did not want to move hives that we stacked high and full of thousands of bees.

  Above I was showing off on of the frames that was just beautifully loaded with capped honey. Not all of them look so nice but a lot of them did.
 A close up picture of the capped honey comb.
 The kids did all get to help again and we all ended up nice and sticky. The extractor is run with a very powerful drill and so for the kids it works best to have a helped or so to hold things still. Mara is really not as plump as it looks in the picture above - she simply has her shirt being puffed up with the air blowing up from the extractor.

The picture of the frame about shows some of the brood including some queen cells. I pulled everything out of the hives and either brushed away or vacuumed up the bees this year. I had not ever wanted to do that again after vacuuming them up my first year but my attempts to overwinter them the last 2 years were unsuccessful and it didn't seem like this year was a good year to try again with all that we have going on with moving and building. So I killed them off but next year I want to study up on things and try overwintering again. I have been getting Italian bees which are one of the most gentle and good producers but I was visiting with another beekeeper up here and he said that Carnelian bees overwinter much better and aren't that aggressive either and also produce really well. I will be looking into those. If I change I will have to get packages rather than NUCs which would be something new for me.
Jonathan straining the honey. (I think he did some taste testing too.) This will be our last time of extracting just right out in the garage Lord willing. Next year we will have a special room set aside just for extracting and other bee stuff. That will be very nice! Currently it is our bedroom though so that bees have to wait until we move into our house.

  This was our lowest honey year yet but we still were incredibly blessed - getting more than many people ever get from their hives.

  I would love to hear any thoughts or advice you might have on bee keeping.

Meanwhile I am looking forward to an apple crisp that is sweetened with honey that I have cooking in the crockpot just now - getting ready for breakfast.

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

8 Ways to Re-purpose Bed Sheets

 One of the easiest ways to re-purpose bed sheets is to leave them just as they are but then use them for table clothes or curtains or whatever you might need. Not long ago we had a garage sale and since I think it looks much nicer to cover up the tables that you set things on (especially since some of the tables were rather make-shift) many sheets went into action as I don't have oodles of tablecloths laying around.

In one area I used them as backdrops too.

 Next week when I give you the tour of our new home (the garage) you will see that I have put old sheets to work here as well to make room dividers and such.

  Here is a list of other ways that you can re-purpose old bed sheets:


  • Turn the flannel ones into handkerchiefs
  • Make menstrual pads
  • Rag Rugs.
  • For making quilts
  • Making clothes - You should have seen the cute skirt that my sister-in-law wore to church a couple of weeks ago. She had made it from two top sheets and had cut out two squares and cut circles in them and layered them so that the points were in different places on the two layers and then I believe she put elastic in the middle circle to go around her waist. I wish I would have thought to take a picture. You can make many other clothes from sheets as well. A blog reader mentioned making pajamas out of old sheets.
  • Cloth diapers
  • A really cute bedspread.
How would you re-purpose bed sheets?



Monday, August 25, 2014

We Have Moved to Our New Garage

Well our house sold as of 12:30 pm, last Friday. Yeah! On to the new chapter in our lives! Ken jokes that we are homeless - but we aren't really. We don't have a house right now (though the work has begun) but we do have a home - it just happens to be in our garage. We also have an address so homeless we are not!

   Above is our temporary home - and a cozy one it is turning out to be -though a little chilly on nights like this one where the temps are going down into the 40's. That's all right - we have lots of blankets!

  Here are a few photos from the last few days - a little peak of life at our new place. Lord willing I will give you a full tour (showing how exactly we are living in the garage) next week.
 The outdoor kitchen- right outside the door. We are working to figure out ways to keep the mud and dirt (which there is plenty of with all the house digging going on) out. Mulch, stepping "stones" (really tree slices) and mats have helped.
 An outdoor shower was one of our recent projects. I still have a few minor adjustments but it is functional and I am pleased with it. (The photo above is not the finished product!)
 Jonathan put up a rope ladder today which they seem to think has turned them all into circus performers. Much fun has been had.
 My big rag rug has found a new home and made our "living room" much cozier.
 Aaron loves to keep the fire going. Supper of stew (made up of whatever could be found in the fridge) and fried biscuits was very, very yummy on this chilly evening!

The outside door into Megan's attic room (our garage is in a hillside so the back of it is largely buried in dirt). Jonathan installed the door and made the new ladder today. He is such a handy guy to have around!

  Oh we are so glad to have the moving over. Life feels so much more relaxed with the whole camping feel to it and the stress of getting things packed up and the house cleaned up all over. We are so thankful for all the help that we had moving. My parents were (are) amazing and I am so very thankful for them! (Hauling loads, cleaning, unpacking, doing our laundry, feeding us, taking care of our birds and the list goes on and on.) We also continue to be so thankful for our great new neighbors who are so interested in us and let us get water from their place, offer us firewood, storage space, etc. We are beyond blessed! God is SO good!

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