Early Days of the Homestead

Early Days of the Homestead-Story and Pics

My son Mike just went through and gathered everybody’s phone and camera pictures and put them on a thumb drive. I was excited to find many pictures of our early days here that I had totally forgotten about. 

Originally, we had purchased a 10-acre piece of property, sight unseen, knowing we had some time before we all moved down to Missouri from PA. When I landed a travel nursing job in Springfield, MO, I finally had the opportunity to go see the property firsthand. Oh. My. Goodness! The property was almost fully wooded, with a winding driveway that was rutted and went down (and up!) at a 30 degree angle. It was difficult to traverse in a 4-wheel drive pickup. There was no way a school bus was going to get down. And if it did, it certainly was not going to get back out!

Thus began a scramble to find a different property (The company we worked with allowed this). We weren’t having much luck and time was running out. Then one morning I checked the Homestead Crossing website and there it was: 8 acres with a well, a dilapidated garage/workshop, and an unlivable house which was still standing, albeit precariously. We made the trade in January 2017, and in March, the kids and grandkids came down to our new Homestead.

That first Spring, while I was cozy and comfortable in Springfield, my family had their share of adventures: Digging latrine holes, huddling around a 55-gallon drum for warmth, and weathering horrific Spring storms. Water for bathing was heated on the stove; the more adventurous of us simply showered straight from the hose with cold water. In April! 

During weekend visits, I would sleep in the truck with the seat reclined and and the heater blasting. 

The passage of time saw some painstakingly slow improvements, but we are grateful for every one of them. Walmart delivered our $600.00 PortaPotty and we felt like kings on a throne! The back portion of the garage was closed off with some office cubicle dividers we bought for cheap at an auction. Mike cut wood into chunks and make a makeshift floor. Our old wood burner was installed. No more outdoor 55-gallon drum fires. We were indoors! Trust me, the garage was still ridiculously cold and it leaked when it rained, but that wood burner was our family’s heart that first winter. We cooked many soups and stews on it. Meals were eaten at the long table next to it. Water for sponge baths was heated on it. Gathering around it with family for coffee on a bitter cold morning warmed our souls.

Spring saw even more improvements. The kids put the new little kitchenette on the back of the garage. It is still in use, although it is very basic and not conducive to large-scale cooking or food preservation. Still, it is much better than where we were when we got here.  Herman bought a 20×60 greenhouse, and over the past 3 years we have been filling raised beds and growing some of our food year-round. 

I haven’t been travel nursing for two years now. Today I work locally (an hours’ drive each way, but it’s the closest dialysis clinic, so my choices are pretty limited.) My days begin and end in a little camper parked on the property with a view of my lovely greenhouse, hummingbirds, and moon flowers. With the tax-refund purchase of our new-to-us Kubota tractor this year we are finally taking baby steps in the construction of our permanent forever Home!

I hope you enjoyed my memories. I welcome all feedback and comments and hope to see you back again soon!

Peace to you,

Sue-The Zesty Bohemian/Czech Writer

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