Destination

02Throughout the month I have been thinking about my chosen word for this year (Apparate) and how I can apply it to each day. This past week, I’ve chosen to focus solely on the Destination. In the simplest terms, I think about how the things I do each day would be handled in such a small space. In what ways would I conserve water even more than I do now? Would I prepare food differently? What about washing dishes? Clothes? Planting veggies?

Right now, as many of us do, I rinse my dishes after use then wash them when I have a day’s worth. I wash them in a small Rubbermaid bin and rinse them under running water. That’s a lot of water, even if I have it just above a trickle, but I’m not entirely comfortable rinsing them in a second tub of clean water because I know that the water will be more soapy as I rinse the last dish. I do know that I could collect the rinse water and use it for watering my plants, but that’s still only a tiny solution since I don’t water daily. Since the water will have a trace of dish soap, it wouldn’t be a good medium for dyeing yarn, either. Washing clothes? Perhaps.

I’m still using the laundry room here, but also have a bucket and (new) plunger for when I wash my non-work clothes and my hand-knit socks. I also have a Laundry Alternative Spin Dryer and that really makes a huge difference in the length of drying time. For the most part, I’m fine with washing my clothing by hand (except the work clothes), so I think that part is set.

I’ve also been spending some time reading articles and watching videos on various repairs that might be needed. Replacing a roof is certainly not something that I want to do, but I know that I would be able to. That goes for a lot of other repairs that could come up. This is one area that I am forever grateful to my parents because they involved me in household and vehicle repairs.

As I continue to set money aside and build up stock for the shops, I also think about the people I’ll be visiting. There are so many out there who I want to sit down with and talk about whatever comes up, knit a few rows, spin a couple ounces, or whatever else we feel like doing. There are some who have shown support and faith in me throughout the years and I am looking forward to hugging them in person and telling them how very important they are to me. While seeing the country is a great thing, it is the people who will make this all the more amazing.

An overdue update

Happy September! I can’t believe that it’s been so long since I posted anything. Time really has a way of getting away from you, doesn’t it?

Skipping ahead a little, I’ll say this: I’m not living where I thought I’d be, but this place is better in many ways. The first being that I’m actually in town instead of out in the country. Yes, the country would be more soothing, but also more difficult to get to places I need to get to. Like the fabric store and work. It has also allowed me a way of “practicing” living in a tiny space since it’s a one-room apartment. Yep, that’s right, one room, plus a bathroom. The bathroom is pretty roomy, which surprised me a little, but the main room is a little over 200 square feet and I’ve learned how important sturdy shelves are. I now have 3 sets of the kind of shelf most people would put into their garage and I’m loving them. I set the shelves to the height I need to hold my things (printer, computer, yarn bins, etc.) and have attached a couple bolts to the sides to hang my project bags from. Later, I’ll decorate the shelves to be a little less “industrial” looking, but for now, they are great. I also now have a small freezer so that I can make meals and put the leftovers away for future meals. When I first moved in, I couldn’t do this because the fridge is very small (imagine a larger dorm-size unit).

I also changed jobs. I know that the office job was a very easy one, but I sat in front of a computer all day and I knew something had to change. So I started looking for the most physically demanding jobs I could find (that still paid decently) and am now working as a Flow Team member at one of the local Targets. Holy smoke, it’s physical! But I can now say that I can sling a 48 pound box from the conveyor to a pallet without straining myself. Why would I do this? Well, I’ll be out there on the road and want to make sure my body is capable of handling anything necessary. By working strenuously several hours a day, I know that I can easily deal with the necessities. Hauling wood, lifting several gallons of water, even traipsing through the woods for hours… all these things are going to happen and, with my newly added strength, I know I can do it.

As the season shifts into autumn, I’m reminded that on the 27th, the day and night will be the same length and we will begin the darker time of the year. My goal is to use as much of this season to get the shops filled with wonderful items for you all and to keep planning out the things needed for a life on the road.

For now, I will leave you with this design I worked on yesterday:

A wee Gryffindor owl, ready for autumn!
A wee Gryffindor owl, ready for autumn!

I’m hoping to get the remaining Hogwarts house colors done today. It’s a pretty intense design (over 45k stitches), but it really was too adorable not to make. The project bags I’ll be making will have one of the House colors as the liner for a little added fun.

May you have a day filled with beauty, fun, and love.

Closer and closer

I have nearly all my stuff in the living room now as I prepare for moving day. It feels strange to know that the next place I call “home” will be temporary but, in a way, they always are.

Worldy PossessionsThis corner, in my 850 square feet apartment, contains almost everything that I’ll be taking with me. I wrote a little about it on my personal blog, but that still doesn’t convey the enormity of it. You see, for just a little while, I looked at that corner and my heart felt a bit crushed to know that all my possessions could fit into such a small space. The thought of “when I die” came to mind and it was a bitter laugh that escaped me when I thought about how easily my children could distribute my things. Oh, I know, that is a morbid thought, but death comes to us all and I’ve been well aware of that since my kids were very young. But in the next breath, I looked at that corner and realized that I won’t have a hard time fitting it all into a small motor home after all. Yes, I’ll still need to stay organized, but it will fit!

I also shared my thoughts with some friends and, as they usually do, they reminded me that this is a wonderful affirmation of my choices. These growing pains are necessary to get me to the place I need to be. Now, when I look at this corner, I see all the wonderful things that I have. You see, almost all of this “stuff” is there for a reason and I carefully chose these things while preparing for a life on the road. My spinning wheel, hand-painted by Sally at YorkieSlave Artworks and paid for by several dear friends so that it would arrive by my birthday a few years ago, always brings a smile to my day when I look at it. That chair was found at a thrift shop and has held my kids, the daycare kids, the cats, and a puppy – it’s also perfect to sit in cross-legged and knit. The rack with all the hangers is what I use to hang some of the skeins while I’m getting them prepared for shipment. The guitar was a gift from my dad and will get played a lot more. The walking stick was from an oak tree that had to be cut down (the roots were too close to the house) and I was able to smooth it and keep it for myself. So you see, these things are a wealth of awesomeness and love.

There was once a time in my life when these steps would have frozen me in fear of the unknown, but…last week, when I was talking to another friend (who plans to hit the road in another month or so) we were talking about the change from, “I just want to have roots,” that I used to say so frequently, to this desire to be in a different place every couple weeks. Without thought, “My roots are inside me,” popped out of my mouth. “Exactly!” she said to me, and I knew that was a truth that I’d not been able to recognize before.

I should have everything moved over by Thursday evening, except a change of clothes, cleaning supplies, and the cats. But that’s only because I’ll be sleeping at the apartment one more night so I can wake and clean before the walk-through. After that, I plan to arrange the new place as close to a motor home as I can, then relax for the weekend while soothing the cats.

I will have more news about the fundraising event soon! There are going to be some amazing things listed for you to choose from and I really look forward to getting it started. Who knows? Maybe I’ll actually be ready to hit the road by next summer.

Hesitations

Even though my progress through the house-cleaning has been slow lately, I can see more clear spaces and organization. I even find myself annoyed when I leave fabric or yarn where it shouldn’t be (which will be a great thing once I’m in a tiny space). I’ve gotten a few bins here and there and have been figuring out what items will go into them, thinking about how many toiletries I’ll really need, and even whittling down my cleaning supplies (which wasn’t a huge amount to begin with). I think I figured out how I’ll still make my own laundry soap on the road, but I still have to try it out to make sure it will work and I’ve been messing around with some cleaning techniques to see what works best, keeping in mind how small a space I will be in. I’ve also been taking pretty hard looks at all the things I have and really pushing myself to choose what is important. That Barbie that I got for my thirteenth birthday didn’t make the cut. The moccasins that Brianna wore when she first started walking are definitely staying. Some items are now in a box because, even though they’ve been packed away for years, I still can’t decide whether or not to get rid of them. I’ll open the box every few weeks until I decide.

In the meantime, plans to move to Leicester are still on the menu. As Brianna clears out her room in preparation to move back to Ohio, I do my best not to give her things just so that I don’t have them anymore. She has some basics for setting up a home of her own (even though she will be rooming with a friend until she gets her own place), but no more than I gave to Anthony when he set up his own place. A few pans & pots, some bake-ware, and miscellaneous things. And yet, I find myself wanting to give her more, just like when I wanted to give more to Anthony.

I watched TINY: A Story About Living Small the other night and it brought up feelings of wanting my own land again. And reminded me that I have had a few moments over the last couple of weeks when I thought about how crazy my plan seems. There will be so many things that I have wanted over the years and they will be pushed off even longer. Like a tiny house that I built myself and a garden with veggies & herbs. Granted, I can still grow these things in pots while I’m on the road (as long as I secure them while I’m driving), but it’s not quite the same as walking out your door and sipping tea while you enjoy the growing things around you. Some things won’t do well in flowerpots, either, like snowdrops, so I can’t have them. Would it be worth it to throw the plan out the window, then? Should I stay where I am instead? Should I just forget about all of this and settle down somewhere?

Rose LeavesI thought pretty hard about it and the answer is no. I know that I will have days when I’m questioning my decision again and again. I know that I may have some regrets about living such an uncertain life. After all, my element is Earth, not Air. But… I really don’t see any other way to see the people I want to visit and to visit the places I want to see.  And, for the first time in my life, I’m making choices that don’t involve someone else. My kids are grown and my responsibilities at this point are to my cats and my customers. And I believe good things will come of this choice.

And, as strange as it seems, I’m looking forward to seeing just how tiny a budget I can live on. I’m also looking forward to dyeing yarn over an outdoor fire in the middle of the woods or under the desert sky. I’m looking forward to visiting with my family (finally) and meeting all the people I haven’t met yet. Am I worried about things? You bet! But I’m also doing what I can to be prepared for it all.

Conversations & Coffee

Lately, I’ve been taking a very hard look at how I use the things around my house and realizing that some of them are just not going to work in an RV. My French press, for example. To those who’ve never used one, you add fresh grounds to the carafe, pour in some boiled water, then let it steep for a bit. Stir the grounds, then use the plunger to press the grounds to the bottom, leaving the drinkable part at the top. The problem that I see with this is that I need to rinse it each time I use it, unlike a coffeepot where I just lift out the filter. Since water will be limited, this won’t work well, especially since I can’t use the rinse-water for anything else. So, I may have to buy a coffeepot in the next several months. I’m hoping that, if that’s what I do, I can find one of the small ones or a percolating kind (stainless steel not aluminum). I did think of giving up coffee, but it’s become such a ritualistic part of my morning that I’m not sure I’d be able to. We’ll see.

Conversations with a friend have left me longing for the desert in a way that grows stronger each time we talk about the southwest. The thunderstorms, the heat, the open land… it all calls out to me. I look at pictures of places I’ve been and wish that I could fly myself to the valleys and hillsides and lay under a Palo Verde tree, looking up at the blue sky. Or wander a dry creek bed, looking for tumbled stones and flakes of mica. I know it will take me a while to get back that direction, but I am really looking forward to it.

As I empty out the house of things I no longer use, it strikes me as odd that I’ve kept some of this stuff for so long. old dressers, bags of clothing, knick-knacks, and so much more. Even the toolboxes that were given to me are long gone as well as most of the tools. I am keeping the ones that I use the most, but I have no use for things like a level (one tube has no oil left) or 3 pipe wrenches. I’m not even going to buy a toolbox for  the ones I’ve kept since they will likely end up in a drawer or one of the storage compartments. I’ll decide later.

Clouds in the mountains
Taken September 19, 2012.

Oh! I found a new place to live. It’s not ready to go right now, but I’ll be moving to Leicester at the end of May (sooner, if I can get everything worked out, but I’m not holding my breath on that). It’s a sweet little community and the owner is such a cool woman. The first time I saw her she was wearing the coolest bohemian pants, had beads in her hair, and a ready smile. She and her husband have all kinds of animals: goats, sheep, pigs, chickens, dogs, cats… and probably more that I didn’t see that day. She showed me the lot that I’d be living on and it’s perfect! Lots of early morning sunshine with trees to block the afternoon heat (deciduous, so there will still be sun in the winter), no need for yard work, and a nice, long driveway where I can park the RV when I get it. She told me about a community garden they will be starting once an abandoned barn comes down and I think I will definitely take part in that, if it’s started soon enough. If not, I’ll try to grow a few tomatoes & cucumbers along the south side of the lot.Oh, the place is also $200 less per month than I’m paying now, which will give me more flexibility in renovating the RV and such. That is a huge bonus.

I did buy a new camera recently, but I’ve not had much time to learn about it and to figure out how to use all the options on it. As soon as I can, though, I’ll be sitting down with it and the manual and playing with the different settings. My zoom capabilities range from 18mm-55mm and 70mm-300mm and it will be nice to try them out, too. Yes, I realize that there is a bit in between that I won’t have covered, but I’ll figure that out along the way. After all, I do still have the point & shoot camera that I’ve been using for the yarn pictures, and I’ll have my phone, too.

I’ve been working on some of the ideas for a GoFundMe or IndieGogo account and I’m just about ready to launch that. Self-striping yarn club, embroidered items, and much more will be part of the perks of the donations. I think it’s going to be a lot of fun! And, of course, help raise a little more money for any repairs and such needed for the motor home. Since I already have quite a bit put away, this will be the boost to get me out there, visiting customers & friends, even sooner.

Slowly, slowly

As cold temperatures race through the country, I can’t help but wonder how I’m going to handle the winters. Oh, I have ideas of adding insulation, possibly the under-floor heating, and lots of wooly rugs, but will that be enough? I know that I could just drive somewhere where the temperatures are a little nicer, but my intention is not to drive all over the countryside in a rush to avoid the seasons. Instead, I want to take my time and meet with the people in the areas that I visit. I want to invite my yarny friends to sit with me over coffee or tea while we chat. I want to take a moment in an afternoon to enjoy the sounds of birds and watch the sun rise. Or set. And yet, winter worries me.

For the moment, I will set that aside and focus on right now. Right now, my schedule is still so hectic that I hardly have a moment to myself. Yes, I have a lot of down time/knitting time, but it’s almost all while I’m sitting in a building waiting for something. Waiting on an appointment, waiting for Brianna’s final touches on her presentation, waiting for Brianna to finish physical training with the recruiters, waiting, waiting. I could drive home and come back later to get her, but I’ve already been adding more than 100 extra miles each week  and I’m not willing to double that right now. So, I wait. I believe there is an end in sight, though. Then my knitting time will be paired up with dyeing time and embroidery time so that I can replenish the shops. I currently have yarn sitting in a box waiting for splashes of color. I have potholder parts that need to be put together. I even have crystal grids that need to be assembled. All I need now is a little more time at the house. Soon, I hope.

I’m still cleaning out the house. There are some things that I just can’t bring myself to part with and other things that I’ve been told not to part with. My Renaissance dress, for example. I was talking with a friend and was reminded that Brianna told me that I should keep it in case I get to go to a Faire one of these days. I have lots of friends across the country who like the Faires and it would be so fun to dress up. And, as she bluntly pointed out, I worked really hard on it. Other things, such as coffee mugs, I can’t let go of. For one reason or another, I love the ones I have. But… I still have so much stuff! I haven’t even touched my closet yet.

I’m currently looking for another place to live, too. One that costs a bit less and allows me to save up even faster. There are a few RVs on Craigslist right now that look like they’d be great for my needs, but I’m not yet in a position of haggling with anyone. But once I am, oh, the ideas I have!

I do hope you are all having a wonderful day and are staying warm out there. My heart goes out to you and I look forward to the day I get to sit with some of you with coffee and knitting in hand. 🎇

 

A little less clutter

I’ve been working more and more on clearing things out so that I can be closer to ready when it’s time to go. My old dresser has a new home, pots & pans have been sorted, clothes are chosen, even jewelry has been gone through. Most of these things are still in the house, but they’re bagged or boxed up and will be heading out the door as soon as I get the opportunity (probably to Second Chances). Granted, I still have a long way to go, but this is a good pace for me. It allows me to figure out what is really getting used and what isn’t without that rush of trying to do it all at once.

I have a lovely new-to-me dresser from Liz at belovelive.com and my clothes fit into one side! There are a total of eight drawers and the left side has plenty of space remaining for anything else I might put in there. The right-hand side will likely hold my yarns & fibers in the top drawers and linens in the lower drawer, but I might change that once I get the motor home and figure out how I want to have things situated. I also now have a small locker where I can lock a few things, if need be. Most likely I’ll use it to store books & such so that they don’t get bounced around. And, of course, the surfaces will be nice for a variety of things during the stops that I’ll make.

Lone bloom on my Christmas Cactus.
Lone bloom on my Christmas Cactus.

There is a part of me that wants to head out right think moment even though I’m not anywhere close to being ready. I think it’s more because of all the things happening around me right now that makes me feel that way, so I’m doing what I can to stay mellow about it all. Things will happen as they happen, right?

In the meantime, sales through The Raven’s Cauldron Shop are a happy blessing that helps add to my savings account and I’ve come to really enjoy making the items that go in there. I’m hoping to have some cool potholders and more towels added soon.

Oh! I nearly forgot, I want thank all who have checked out the Morrigan’s Nest Facebook page as well as the one for The Raven’s Cauldron. You guy are pretty awesome!