The following stories chronicle our family’s journey from suburbia to the edge of the modern frontier where we settled on raw land a couple of years ago.
From the first day on, I realized there was a lot to write about but being at the bottom of the pyramid of Maslow’s Hierarchy Of Needs delayed things a bit. I was too busy crying and trying to survive to write during that first year but here is our story; finally.
We are a married couple with a fifteen year old son and two cats. We were growing tired of the increasingly frenetic atmosphere of the Puget Sound region so we sold our house and headed east in search of wide open spaces more compatible with our nature. In the spring of 2017, we bought a twenty foot travel trailer and hit the road.
We camped in the national forest and anywhere else we were allowed for over three months as we cruised the real estate websites for property. In September we found a few acres of raw land in eastern Washington near the Idaho and Canadian borders that was just right. It was three miles away from the closest town and far far away from any major metropolitan area and came with no utilities.
Moving onto undeveloped land means you’re on your own. You are the engineer, construction worker and if something breaks, the repair person. Everything we used to take for granted has required forethought, planning and more often than not, exhausting physical labor in order to carry the project out.
For the first few months we got our water from the city standpipe but they close it in the winter. Luckily, we had discovered natural springs on our property which we dug by hand. For power we used a gas generator and installed solar.
We initially used WiFi for Internet but it became us vs the Google data pig. The neighbors let us use their WiFi until we got into a fight and they changed their password. We could only connect from my husband’s spot in our bed and only if it wasn’t raining. It eventually took downing three gargantuan trees to get Internet service to the property.
Emotional and social adjustments were inevitable with such a big move. Like the new extremes in the weather in eastern Washington as opposed to those of the moderate rain belt we moved from, the emotional highs and lows have been more extreme. Hotter summers and colder winters gave rise to newfound happiness and adventure which gave way to days and weeks of depression but I wouldn’t change it for the world.
Our first weeks at our new home were fantastic. We were officially land owners and there was exploring to do but then winter came on fierce and with a seriousness that slapped all thoughts of anything but survival out of our consciousnesses. Our water pipes froze and our worldly possessions disappeared under three or four feet of snow. Some things we didn’t find until the spring melt.
Zero degree temperatures forced us to make the decision to relocate my son and I to an emergency shelter while my husband hunkered down at the property with our cats. Three months later, we moved back to the property and picked up where we left off; still struggling financially and with very little to work with.
Spring, then summer came with new challenges. We got a crash course on ticks and dealt with hordes of Yellow Jackets. The heat, and a continuing feeling of oppression made summer one of the longest I’ve ever experienced but we had things in the works.
We tilled rock-hard soil and planted a garden. We dug the spring and water delivery system. We used antiques we found buried on our land to construct things we needed such as the fence to our garden. We did whatever we could to pass the time and keep our chins up.
Thank you to my husband for helping me to get through it all. When I was at my worst, he would hold my face in his hands, look at me and say “Good things Baby, good things”.
As fall arrived, our “eggs” began to hatch and we were finally able to make some huge changes to our living conditions and begin to build, literally and figuratively, the quality of our lives. We could stop trying to just survive and begin to live.
We’ve accomplished a lot since fall. We now have a solar power system, generators, a large shed, an upgraded RV (we decided to put off building until spring), and other necessities. We have a fireplace to sit by, a wood pile, larger propane tanks and other means for which to stay comfortable and dry for the winter. So far, so good as of January 2019.
We have lot’s of plans going forward. We are excited and ready.
I’ve edited this first post several times and didn’t want to give up my original bullet list outline so though it may be a little redundant, here it is:
- We are a husband and wife with a teenager who sold their house in western Washington and moved to eastern Washington.
- We have two cats and want a dog but not before we put up a fence.
- We are not perfect. Far from it.
- We don’t care that we are not perfect and we are known to swear but we are nice people (although one neighbor said we are evil).
- We sold our house in May 2017
- We lived in a trailer all summer while we looked for property
- We found property we liked. It “spoke to” my husband 🙂
- We moved onto the property and continued to live in the trailer
- We had a major reality check as fall progressed
- We weren’t very well prepared financially and some things happened that made it worse but things are better now 🙂
- We made the best of things but winter sucked
- Summer then sucked
- Fall is here and we’re doing WAY better but some things still suck but most things DON’T suck anymore
I love humor and aspire to write in the style of Jean Sheppard of A Christmas Story fame. I’ve thrown in some of my weird poetry and hope you’ll enjoy the stories that follow.