Each autumn as the weather turns cool and the days get shorter, I think back on our first year living off grid, eight years ago this month, PB and I had a final trailer full of the last of our possessions sitting in the driveway, we had closed down the last of our life in the city (Irving Texas), PB had shut down his one man business, I had quit both of my jobs, the house was nearly empty. PB had brought several loads of our stuff out to the property some 500 miles to the west, most of it was sitting under tarps to keep the weather and (hopefully) the critters from ruining it.
We were waiting for a break in the weather, that fall into winter seemed more wet and icy than usual. As it got closer to Thanksgiving, we chose to stay in town to spend one final holiday with our families. Again we waited for the weather to clear so we could leave. In the middle of the trailer of our belongings we had a large wire container with food, I worried about the can goods freezing so we placed a small space heater under the tarp, it worked well enough, our food made it just fine.
We finally got a break in the weather on December 21, the sun was shining, it was above freezing, the roads were dry, so we decided to make a run for it. As we were walking through the house one final time to make sure we hadn’t forgotten anything, we heard a loud crash, turned out it was PB’s son coming home for lunch. He made a left turn in front of a car that was going way too fast down that road, but since he had pulled in front of her, it was technically his fault.
Fortunately no one was injured, the vehicles however were not so lucky. As a result, our start time went from morning until after 3pm, we couldn’t risk staying another night, the weather could turn on us again and we wanted to get to our new off grid home. PB drove a truck pulling the trailer, I drove his service van pulling the VW bug, everything was loaded down to the max.
It took us 12 hours to drive the 500 miles, stopping only for fuel, bathroom breaks and to adjust the loads as needed. When we arrived at the property, it was COLD, I found out the temps that night got down to 14 degrees F, and it was blowing a gale all night long. We hiked up to the box PB had build that would become our SkyCastle, climbed the ladder into the house and hung on while the wind threatened to knock the place down.
Well, I didn’t wait, I was too tired, I crawled into the tent that was inside the room, laid down on the mattress, I was wearing thick quilted coveralls, so I was warm enough even with no heat, my little chihuahua Pekoe crawled in with me and we went to sleep.
PB stayed outside of the tent but inside the box, he was too wound up, and too concerned about the structural integrity of the box on stilts that seemed like it couldn’t possibly stand up to the wind. The following morning I drove to town and purchased some heavy wire to help strengthen the house, PB tied the corner of the box to two trees, he also put up some bracing on the inside, good thing too, the following nights proved to be just as windy if not more.
Now I sit in the spot where that tent used to be, we have come so far, it’s hard to imagine it’s been nearly 8 years, yet I can barely remember my life before. It’s as if we have been here all along. Much has changed since those first few years, we have a larger “box” to live in, it has really bloomed into a proper SkyCastle. My little chihuahua is buried out next to the garden, now we have 2 dogs, though I still want to get another chihuahua, they say once a chihuahua mama, always a chihuahua mama :) That will have to wait for a while though, our two dogs keep us plenty busy.
Had to take one of the dogs to the vet this week, turned out Zoe had an infection in her ear, we knew something was wrong with her ear but couldn’t see anything in it. I thought we were going to have to take the other dog Casper to the vet too, he has been whining and crying for no apparent reason, it got really bad, we thought he might be having tummy troubles. Then the day before the vet trip, we discovered one of our neighbors has a female dog, in heat, that explained his behavior, he’s love sick, now we just have to keep him inside the fence until this passes.
That is our update for now, one last word here, in all these years, I have only one regret, that we didn’t do this sooner, life has a way of passing us by while we wait for this and wait for that, don’t wait to live your dream, grab life by the horns and ride it for all its worth.
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