Already I am grieving the town, the job, the daily activities in Alexandria. Weeks away from my move, I feel the pull to the Harn more each day. I stand at the counter in Cherry Street Books and think how much I’ll miss the books, the people, the quiet moments, the conversations with co-workers and book buyers, and the many books to add to my To Read pile as people share their favorites.
People say I won’t have enough social interaction at the Harn and, while I will have less, it may surprise many that I can be quite the homebody. I can entertain myself for hours moving things, reading, organizing, cooking, sleeping. I’ll have the cats to keep me company along with the critters of the woods. And there will be plenty to do, at least initially. There is much to organize and arrange and learn as we embark on this homestead adventure. But I also enjoy the times chatting with customers in the bookstore and I will miss not having as much of that. Though I am hopeful to be able to occasionally fill in so I can get little pieces of bookstore time in the coming months. 🙂
I remember leaving Indiana not so long ago. The goodbyes were really just “so longs” as I have been able to make a few trips back south over the last couple years. I realized Wednesday that it had been two years to the day since I’d moved to Alexandria. Time sneaks up on you, I guess. It doesn’t seem that long at all. The Harn progress was not as quick as we’d thought, with the addition of my part-time (sometimes lots of hours) job and all the extra-curricular activities I’ve added. I was immersed in the Bernie Revolution until it fizzled, which ate up many hours, though was exciting and full of interesting conversations. I worked the DFL office’s GOTV program, volunteered at the schools, shared crafting ideas, taught Community Ed classes and ESL, started a Non-Fiction Book Club, joined several others, and met loads of fun people. It’s been a lot of fun stuff. And I was cheered at the most recent Non-Fiction Book Club to have people excited about continuing it after I have gone. I have gotten so much from the books and the discussion and it seems others have as well. I’ll have to come back and join them as I can! But I also think I’m ready for this move. I’m feeling a strong pull to begin to live a more sustainable life. It’s been a much longer time getting to this point than we originally planned so it’s time to make the leap.
The Harn work has really moved into
overdrive this summer and we’ve spent a ton of money investing (thanks for that word, Vonnie!) in our place. We’ve added cisterns, expanded the Harn with a water room, contracted for a graywater pit, spray foamed the external rooms, wired it all, cleared trees for garden areas, dug a river, had gutters put up and installed a water catchment system, added more mass to our Rocket Mass Heater, cut more wood for our heating, and also had lots of fun. We work our butts off when we’re at the Harn but we also take time to enjoy the quiet of nature and eat good food. We come home most weekends with some aches and pains but we feel quite calmed by the time in the woods.
And we have laughs. We added a gable wall in the garage to close off the larger portion of the attic and Dan joked that we’d “built a wall”, we’re “Making America Great Again!” Hopefully we’ll keep out those mice and chipmunks. There is a big window in our wall that we’ll cut out for a foam door to access that area should we have need. But so far, it doesn’t look like we have had anyone intruding through the foamed area… though we did find some mouse turds inside. We’re guessing someone is getting in though we haven’t yet seen them. Still, the poop is not a good sign. It’s getting cold enough that the mice will be looking for a warm winter home. Guess that may give something for Shirley and Lucky to do when they arrive. Outdoors is cold for us too. The porch is still great but eventually will be too cold for much more than a quick poop!
This weekend we had our first snow – little sprinkle showers – and we added Snow Bars (to keep the snow on the roof preventing it from sliding off and ripping off the new gutters). We got some more mass on the stove too, though this is slow going on the vertical work. You have to let the cob set before adding the next course. Plus I’m working on finishing in some places while still building mass in other areas. It’s a giant art project! We’re also preparing for a final (?) concrete slab in the garage. This will give a concrete floor space for our freezer, dryer, entry door, and utility room addition. I’m hopeful to have that poured soon so we can build the room for our water heater. We’ve got most of the spending done with just the plumbing work and concrete pour pending for this year. Hopefully next year will be a less expensive year though we will be looking at the chicken coop (hopefully a pallet building) and garden additions.
Now we’re just awaiting the election year to finalize. That should be interesting. I’m just glad it’s almost over. I don’t know what everyone will do without their HRC/Trump daily fix! I guess it will be the daily fix of how terrible things are now that “whoever” is in the White House. I’ll be glad to avoid most of it as I enjoy the peace and quiet of the Harn.