Tuesday, June 28, 2016

Welcome rain, warm nights.

Despite the challenges right now we're moving along with life as we address them. Lately our predator concern has come from the hawks that are out a lot lately. The electronet doesn't help with that, but the chickens have been sticking to the tall grass and weeds to hide from the aerial threats. I'm always glad to see animals doing the smart thing to stay alive when I can't be there to preserve them 24/7/365 since I'm at work during the day.

On the funding side of things, the furnace situation is rough, but the go fund me has been incredibly helpful, and people have been generous, kind, and helpful with money, advice, and love. Our strength and wealth is in our community and friends, and this has really highlighted that.

Friday, June 24, 2016

The time has come.

In short order after Tuesday's post, things have changed again. Our furnace failed spectacularly. While we've always wanted a hot tub, 5" of boiling water in the basement was not quite what we'd wanted. With the results of that, and everything else going on, we've shifted from "We need to fix up the house, and sell but we'll keep it private for now" to "ASAP."

Where does that leave the blog? Well, sale in our area usually involves 2 years on the market once we get the repairs complete. I see no reason to not keep up what we're doing with this as we move along and keep doing what we're doing. I intend to keep going with the blog, and keep on keeping on for now. I will keep updating folks both on the homestead side of things, and will let folks know if the blog is likely to close or take a break for a while.

For now, I'm going to post the information from our Go Fund Me. If anyone's looking to buy a house in the hills of MA, or pay for all of our repairs let us know! We love the house, it's a great house in good condition other than a couple repairs. The real reason we have to move comes down to, our financial situation isn't improving, and hasn't improved for years. Without our finances improving, we end up with our one car dragging the Critter around for hours a day which isn't ok. So, it's time to change.

I figure, closing on a rainbow seems appropriate. If you're interested in the Go Fund Me you can go to the link, or I'm including the text below.
As some of you may know, we have reached a challenging point in home-ownership.  We had planned to keep it private, but we had already decided to move after the latest in several major expenses when the well suffered damage due to the previous home-owner's "DIY tendencies." We simply cannot keep up with the expenses, even with insurance.  We LOVE this house, but the distance and issues have made this a completely untenable situation.

We have long spent our emergency funds and ability to take loans/credit cards. Those who have been to our house know that we hadn't even had a chance to repair the damage from the first plumbing issue (affectionately known as the "Speed Bump") where the improperly installed dishwasher dripped through to the basement.

We just had our oil furnace completely give up the ghost. Our insurance is probably helping to cover much of the water damage caused by 4+ inches of hot water, but not the new boiler which is the priciest part. While having a hot tub is something we wanted, in the basement by surprise wasn't really what we were hoping for.  No one was hurt and there wasn't a fire though, which is lucky.

For the destroyed oil furnace, while we may qualify for fuel assistance to get a new burner through Massachusetts grant programs, they are out of money at this time, and may not be able to start qualifying us until November.  We are looking to see if an exception can be made but the process is slow and unclear. We also are out of hot water and heat until it is replaced (though the water otherwise works fine thanks to that last repair...thank god!)

We would normally never resort to such a thing, but times are bad.  We were trying to save for the new roof, or the painting that the house badly needs to be lived in long term, much less resold, but things kept coming up.

If left in this state, things are only going to get worse.

We are asking for help with covering some of the expenses because we are out of options. We are going to continue to try to pursue grants and things of that nature, but realistically much of it will need to be out-of-pocket. There are some things on our list that are musts, and some that are maybes.

Houses don't sell well in our area, so it's necessary that it's at absoluty move-in ready and passes inspection to sell in any length of time.

To start with the money would be used for:
Paying the well repair company
The installation and cost of the new furnace
Repairing the floor damage caused by the first leaks
Wiring the bathroom light
Fixing the wiring in the upstairs room
Painting the house

Some of it will also go towards paying the taxes on the funds.

For those who own a home, you'll probably notice that our list is long for 10K. If the money goes over, the money would still be used towards getting the house in livable, then sellable condition. If it's under, we will handle things in dire need first.

Of course we prefer not to just be handed money. Michelle also has an etsy store, and sells art.  We are happy to go that route as well.  She cannot take on many detailed commissions because we currently rely on the regular income from that time spent making gryphs so couldn't realistically give a reasonable deadline since it couldn't be prioritized. Smaller projects might be a go, such as pet portraits. She'd be happy to discuss work that is already created though, or custom size prints, etc.

If you have any questions, please don't hesitate to contact us. Any help right now would be invaluable, thank you for your time, anything you can give, and anywhere you can share this. If you'd like to contact us directly with support rather than through here, you can contact me at coureton@gmail.com.

Thank you.

Coureton, Michelle aka. The Lady of the House, and Gabriel aka. The Critter.

Tuesday, June 21, 2016

Quick Hit: Quitting Rabbits.

The Summer Solstice has come, and it is a time of changes. This is the best time of year in Cummington, and when we most love where we live and homesteading. Given that, I feel that it is also an ideal time to make decisions about things that are tough to decide because we aren't tainted by the fact that winter is rough.

We've decided it's time to move away from raising rabbits for meat. The primary reason to move away from it is, I am getting to the point I just can't really take doing the killing. It's too stressful to me to regularly be giving the rabbits the care I feel the deserve on an ethical level, and also be able to kill them. Part of it is the frequency it has to be done, but part of it is, I just think I'm not cut out for doing it since I don't literally HAVE to to survive. There are other choices we can make to have ethical food, and we're just going to have to do those instead.

I'm a little disappointed that we aren't going to be able to continue doing rabbits, but there is more than enough in the way of other things to do.

For now we're going to start de-acquisitoning our herd and getting rid of the hutches, because the rabbits and hutches both are in good shape.

Friday, June 17, 2016

Wait, it's Friday?

I seem to have gotten confused on days, and ended up not making a post yesterday! I apologize for my oversight. The new chickens that our friend was kind enough to de-acquisition to us have settled in for a couple weeks, and we're starting to get them used to being outside. I need to do a little more mowing and weeding before putting the electronetting up is going to be useful and successful, so right now they're only out when we are outside with them. The Critter really enjoys being outside with the flock, though they break way before him like he's a large ship with a really unfortunate bow wave! He hasn't yet trained these girls that he's safe enough to be around to be able to pet them.

Tuesday, June 14, 2016

Two Years, and healthy greens.

First things first, today is the second anniversary of our wedding. It's been a tough couple years, but our partnership is only stronger than it began, and I'm glad for it. Something that may not come across all the time is just how much the Lady of the House does for the homestead, and in terms of thinking and planning. Her beautiful work on her herb garden has done a lot for the beauty of our house, and in terms of what we will have available for cooking.

Really though, I feel fortunate to be with her as whether homesteading or otherwise, she enriches every aspect of my life.

Thursday, June 9, 2016

Wind, power, and wood oven class.

Another long night of heavy winds which seems to be more and more common. We get a lot of good cover from our trees, but that doesn't protect power lines elsewhere. We lost power for around eight hours last night which is very inconvenient. Fortunately other than needing to throw out most of what is in the fridge, it's just that, an inconvenience. Sadly part of that inconvenience is not having our white noise machine that helps the kid sleep, so we had a long night.

Before that though, I went to an interesting class last night at the River Valley Market Co-Op that I'd intended to talk about today, so that's going to be below the cut.

Tuesday, June 7, 2016

Perfect weather for greens.

The grass is getting out of control with the nearly every other or every third day rain we've been having followed by hot sunny days. I'm going to actually have to mow the law instead of using a sickle and feeding it to the rabbits. Just too much greenery! Not a thing I thought I'd be saying, but there it is. We've been trying to keep on top of the weeding. In the bare beds I haven't mulched yet that's tough, though the garlic is going gang busters as you can see.

Thursday, June 2, 2016

Chickens, and mulched terraces.

Of all the things we got done this weekend despite the rain, mowing the lawn wasn't one of them, though the rain was why it didn't get done. The rain also made the necessity of doing it all the greater. It's amazing just how fast our grass grows. That said, while I covered most of what went on I missed a few things, and didn't get all of the photos I wanted to share for Tuesday.