Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Limbo and The Research Phase

I've mentioned before that I really enjoy research.  In fact, I enjoy it too much; when I get on a roll, with seven different windows open in my browser, I can get totally lost in it and ignore pretty much everything else around me.  Like the dishes piled in the sink.  Or the article that's due tomorrow.  Or those other creatures I happen to live with, otherwise known as my kids and cats.

As of now, I've probably watched three hours worth of two-minute YouTube videos and have a list of bookmarked websites that exceeds the length of my computer's window.  Today I received the two books I ordered (Earthbag Building:  The Tools, Tricks, and Techniques by Kaki Hunter and Donald Kiffmeyer, and Water Storage:  Tanks, Cisterns, Aquifers, and Ponds by Art Ludwig), and it felt like Christmas morning.  I've also been reading two other books simultaneously (On the Mesa by John Nichols and Off the Grid by Nick Rosen.  Because I will be both off the grid and on the Mesa - how cool is that?)

I've researched earthbag building, house plans, earthen floors, water catchment and storage, composting toilets both lo- and hi-tech, generators, propane appliances, and much much more.

And it's all been really fun and inspiring, but sometimes, on days like today, when my three-year-old wakes me up at four in the morning and I'm just plain tired, it's all a bit much.  At these moments, I suddenly get a peek into my life from the point of view of some disapproving stranger, some really nice normal person who's frowning at me and my messy house and hungry cats, asking, "What the hell are you thinking?"  (Except they're probably not saying "hell" because nice people don't use words like that.)

And the thing about researching all of these different aspects and stages of the process all at once is that it takes the emphasis off the one step in front of me right now, the one thing I can actually do today, like making a flyer to sell my van or inquiring about a possible source of free bags for building with.  I start peering into the future and wondering how I'm going to fit everything I need into a bus, where I'm going to get the money for solar panels, how I'm really going to feel when I'm out on the Mesa with just my teenage son and my preschooler.

Believe me, I have no illusions about it all being peaches and cream; I know I have months of hard work, chaos, and ordeals ahead of me.  Which is fine - but not when you try to contemplate all of that at once, because in reality, it's not going to happen all at once.  And there's nothing I can do about it anyway, except back out of the project, which is not even close to being an option.  Despite any difficulty this project presents, I can't begin to imagine anything I'd rather do with my life.

Because the van still isn't sold and the land is not safely mine yet, and because the bus still sits at the Two Peaks junkyard, I'm experiencing an unsettling sense of limbo.  I'm tired of sitting on my butt in front of the computer, and itching to get outside and do some real work.

But this too will pass, right?  Patience and trust are my keywords right now.  Patience and trust, and putting one foot in front of the other.
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  1. I'd been wondering about your water source. Is water trucked in?

  2. Ah yes, the water issue. I'll be posting about that soon, but the short answer is that there's a community well and I will be hauling water from it to a cistern on my property.

  3. I love that you get so wrapped up in your research you ignore the dishes. It must feel great, if daunting at times, to have such a huge project to get your hands really dirty with. Apparently people who work through all the possible ordeals and difficulties in their imagination fare much better when/if any of them occur. So don't listen to those who say why worry, it may never happen. It may happen and working out possible solutions in advance will make it much easier to deal with.

    You'll be hauling water from a well?!

  4. It really does feel great, Eryl. In fact, I've never experienced such a fulfilling sense of purpose in my life. You make a good point about the benefits of thinking things through. Thank God that's a lesson I've learned in life!

    Yes, I'll be hauling water, but it's not as difficult as it might sound. (Remove any images of me carrying a bucket-laden yoke.) I'll be posting about it soon.

  5. Hi Miss Polly! I just found out today about Earthbag Homes and this is so exciting! I go a little off the charts with the research as well (it's like midnight and I can't sleep because I'm planning my home in my head). My husband and I will have our small 950 square foot home paid off in 2 1/2 years and at first I thought I wanted an Rv and to see our country! Since then common sense has kicked in that I need a more permanent structure, so I thought of Tiny Homes! Common sense prevailed once more, knowing I don't really want it to be tiny,lol. Today has been full ofinformation about Earthships and Earthbag homes, so now I think , when we sell our house, I'd like and Earthbag home slightly recessed into a hillside. I'm thinking of Solar power and water catches,but don't know much about them yet. I do like your reading lists though and will be checking it out. Have you heard of Hosting and Earthbag Build? My understanding of it is that you as the host, would invite the class to your site to help you build! Cool idea, I may use that one when our time comes. So excite for you and your new lifestyle, you are teaching your children an invaluable lesson, respect for our earth, plus being more self sufficient! Good going Mom! I'll be back to check out your progress, Peace Out