Well I’ve survived the first week at the Harn.  Still don’t have a real routine as Thanksgiving happened this week, but I have developed a few protocols.  In the morning, Lucky wants to be fed as soon as I leave the bed.  But first thing is go outside to pee (usually) and then start a fire, depending on how cold it’s gotten over night.  We typically have the space heater on in the bedroom overnight but on nights I don’t I’m surprised to see that the Harn holds at 60°F.  When we have a heater on, we’re usually at 64°F in the morning; the other side of the Harn (unheated area at night) will usually drop to 60°F.  After the fire warms the water in the teapot perched on the top of the stove’s barrel, I will use that to wash me, dishes, or both.  Barring a need for either of these tasks, I can use it to make some oatmeal.

I’ve spent most of the time this first week moving boxes and unpacking a few.  Mostly I was clearing out the shelving unit that was the original wall of our 20×30 cabin space so that I can unload some of the boxed things from Indiana.  I’ll post a photo next week of the wall of books as I forgot to take one for this week’s blog.  It’s filling fast and I still have many boxes of books remaining to unpack.  I’m realizing that we will never have enough room for all the books we’ve brought and I’m leaving some of them for later unpacking, first pulling the best or most urgent reading materials for immediate shelving.  In the bedroom or on my bedside table are most of the current reads, recently acquired items, and permaculture/gardening/homesteading books. I have not made too much time to read as of yet but hopefully with this longer week of solitude I will make some time for a bit more of that.

I’m going through wood as Clay (our Rocket Mass Heater) is not fully massed and a lot of the heat goes right up the chimney.  Luckily we have lots of wood here and Dan and I pulled a half cord from the front woodpile (circa 2012) into the garage so it’s readily available for burning.  We did pull the clay buckets (and one manure bucket) into the dscf0013garage to warm it up and this week I hope to get some of the structural cob started.  Since I fire the stove daily, it will be a good chance to use that heat to dry out the new applications of cob.  We hung a big mirror and the cloth wall hanging I made this past week to cover the construction-y looking wall behind our bed.  We also got the lazy susan cabinet’s countertop base cut so I can start working on that project. I’m hoping to use bottle caps to cover the surface and then pour acrylic onto them for a flat surface.  So many projects!  But now I’m here full-time so I can plug away at them through the winter.  Dan also put up the mailbox I painted so I can now get mail!


Meanwhile we had a lovely Thanksgiving at the Mississippi Headwaters Hostel. Another couple was there and Mom and Tom could have driven up with them as they were from Alex too!  It was a real blast sharing stories and photos of our adventures as we digested our Turkey Day meal.  There was chicken (I know, blasphemy! But there were no fresh turkeys at Aldi’s, only frozen.), cranberry sauce, stuffing, sweet potatoes, and pie – all the makings of an authentic Thanksgiving meal.

And I am grateful for so much of late.  Mostly I am thankful at this moment for Mom and Tom helping make this 2-year transition to the Harn so much easier than it could have been.  Not having to pay rent while we stayed at their place, being able to get so much work done to make things livable before we had to live here, being able to transition everything slowly up to the Harn rather than in one big move, the truck that made moving all that stuff possible, and all the support they have given as we’ve been making this transition the last 10 years – it’s invaluable.  I know parents are supposed to take care of their kids but they have done so much more than we could ever have expected and lots more than many parents even dream of doing.  I am grateful for the freedom to be able to make this move, even if I am a bit unsure at this point where it’s all going to take us.  I’m grateful for my son Tom and for Celia, who has his heart now.  They are good for each other.  I am also grateful for my grandkitty Jax ~ a big, sweet, fluffy ball of fur that makes Celia and Tom happy.  And I’m grateful for Fran and Ed who took care of Tom those last few years while he was finishing school.  They too have been extraordinarily supportive through the last quarter century since fate brought us together and it’s tough not being able to spend time with them every week like we did while Tommy was growing up in Indy.  And though I never knew him and barely had time to know her, John and Natalia Obert are often on our minds as we spend time at the Harn.  Some of the furniture, books and housewares that were once a part of their household are now special to us.  It feels good to know the history of these things, to be a part of a bigger family than just my birth family.  I am grateful too for all our friends and acquaintances who I am reminded of every day in little places around the Harn.  The calendar from Muzamba, the shaker from Anne Dunn, the wall hangings from Vicki, the fragile blue glass dish from Char, the suncatcher and small painting from Mariah & Virginia, the photo from SDI of everyone wishing me well (well, one guy was flipping me off… but I get it ~ he got my old job!), and the Christmas tree from Dan’s Mom, another I never had the chance to meet.  It reminds me that one day, once we are gone, our things will pass on to another who, hopefully, will love them like we have.  As Dan often says, All of our possessions will one day serve another.

I hope you too have much for which to be grateful.  And I pray that your possessions will serve you well for a long time to come.  And once you are gone, that your memory will last with others in a way that brings joy to their hearts.