Oh yeah, how's the RV? [With photos!]

I bet a lot of you are wondering how RV living is going. Well.... we are still loving it!

I thought I'd share some 'after' photos (click here for side-by-side comparisons of before & after) and tidbits on RV life. Ready? It's not perfect, and there's still more work to do (like paint), but it's ours. Home.

Here's a quick view of our main living area. Isn't it cozy!?? I love it!

View from the back / bunkhouse.

View from the front door / bedroom.

Front door + ktichen + part of the bunkhouse.

Kitchen.

  • I don't like clutter in the sinks, so I keep the dishes washed as much as I can -- usually right after a meal is finished, sometimes while cooking a meal if a certain tool or bowl isn't needed anymore. We don't have a dishwasher but that's not new for us -- I can't remember the last time I used one.
  • The sink faucet is a bit too low -- I can barely fit bigger pots and the blender underneath to wash. It's also leaking a bit. We'll be upgrading to a new faucet soon with a higher 'neck' arch.
  • We are still figuring out the pantry. As of right now, the pantry is a storage area (next to the fridge) with just one shelf. It's deep and narrow, so it's kind of hard for me to reach in the back. We did purchase an additional short shelf for more storage space but I still find myself digging. I'm hoping as we use up our items and purchase only the things we use on a regular basis, the pantry won't be as full. For example, right now we have jars of marshmallow, sprinkles, and chocolate chips -- all used for a hot chocolate party we had awhile back but not really something we use on a regular basis.
  • I can bake! Sort of. I think. I attempted mini blueberry muffins from scratch and they turned out OK! I ate them in less than 24 hours. Oops?
  • The oven is smaller than normal sized ovens but it fits every pan I have and cooks just fine. The gas stove works perfectly too (it does cook things quicker than I'm used to).
  • Our little IKEA dining table is working out, too. Right now, it's much easier to fit two people than four people around, but we can easily make adjustments if needed.

Oh, and I'm hoping that before winter comes, we will convert the area next to the door into a small mud room. All the farm dirt can get quite messy and it would be nice to have a place to hang up coats.

Living area.

  • When we both want to watch television (lately we've been re-watching the The Office), one of us will usually lay on the couch, and the other will sit on the floor with some pillows. We have turned the couch once to face the telelvision but that isn't worth the hassle unless we want to get cozy during a movie or something.
  • Our 'coffee table' is a trunk that holds all our books and DVDs. It's perfect.
  • Oh yeah, did you notice the size of the television? Kyle knocked out a shelf and raised the cabinets just so he could fit the television in the space. He also has Wii hooked up, as well as a VCR and BluRay player. Boys and their toys. ;D

Bedroom.

  • The bedroom might be my favorite room of the 'house.' I don't know if this is because it's the coziest area, the green walls, or because it's the only area that's a separate room, but I love it.
  • The low ceilings are something we had to get used to -- can't lift your arms up to pull on a shirt unless you're sitting down! I think we've managed to stop bumping our heads on the ceiling, though.
  • Closet space? Minimal. We each have one little closet (see that mirrored door to the left of the bed? that's a closet), and three small drawers to put our things in. I also have some shirts stacked in the cabinet above the bed, and we both have clothes in a duffel bag under the bed.
  • And, oh! Our IKEA nightstand fit perfectly in the space next to the bed. Whew.
  • The bed platform lifts up and reveals a storage area! So thankful for a bit of storage. Our storage area has a couple boxes of 'childhood memories', our holiday decorations, and some clothes.
  • Oh my goodness, our cat. He is adorable but such a headache when he's hungry. Last year, we actually moved out of our studio apartment into a one-bedroom because we needed our bed to be in a separate area with the door closed. There is an accordian door for the bedroom, but it doesn't keep the cat out. He crawls right under it and pokes me awake in the middle of the night. We tried to put a baby gate in front of the closed accordian door and he still figured it out. Finally, we gave up. He still wakes me up at odd hours of the night. When our finances are better, we're investing in an automatic feeder -- maybe if he learns the food comes from the machine (bwahaha), then he'll stop bugging me. Sigh.

Bathroom.

  • After using various showers of friends and family while we were in Illinois, and walking over to Jordan's to use her shower the first couple weeks we were here, we finally figured out how to use our own shower! Woo-hoo! For some strange reason, the hot water wasn't coming in through the shower (although it was working in the rest of the RV). Then Kyle had the idea to turn on the 'cold water' knob and voila! Hot water! The previous owners must've switched the knobs. What a silly, simple thing. It's been soooo nice showering in the RV -- and it's actually kind of better than our last apartment because the water is always hot! Yay!
  • The tiny bathroom has otherwise been working out fine for us. We may not both be able to be in there at the same time to brush our teeth, but it still works -- and is fast to clean!
  • Oh, and dumping? We're dumping the greywater into the drainage ditch every week or so and using Jordan's bathroom as much as we can to avoid dumping the black water too often. A permanent solution will come when we've got the land more established.

Pets.

  • Cats -- we had the litter box in the bathtub but that was actually kind of messy and one of our cats couldn't figure out how to get to it.... so we moved it into the living area, in the corner by the dining table. Not really the best spot, but it's all we can do for now.
  • Rabbit -- Frosty's cage currently sits on the bottom bunk bed. He does have an outdoor hutch, but he's been inside more due to high temperatures and outdoor inexperience.
  • Bearded dragon -- his home sits on the floor towards the back of the RV. I have tripped over it on on occasion, and we do have to move it every time we close the slide-out, but he seems happy and we're OK with it.
  • Everything with the pets can be adjusted accordingly when guests are present.
  • All their food & stuff is stored on the floor of the back closet, or under the kitchen sink.

Laundry | Bunkhouse.

We don't have laundry in the trailer [anymore --- we sold our WonderWash and Spin Dryer to another couple living in a trailer]. We've been using Jordan's machines or going to the laundromat for large loads (like comforters). Oh, and we have a collapsable laundry basket that hangs on the back closet's door.

The bunkbeds are nice! The top bunk is ready for guests, and although Frosty occupies the bottom bunk, it can be easily made up for guests, too. We've also added a privacy curtain to block off the back area.

What about water, electric, and heat?

We have our RV hose (with a filter) hooked up to one of Jordan's water spickets. We also have our electricity plugged into one of her ourside electric boxes, as well. (Thank you sooooo much, Jordan!) We just have to be mindful of our usage -- and make sure we don't run the AC and the microwave at the same time! Whoops. Our propane tanks supply is good for now, too.

So.... what about the land?

Ah, yes, this. The land has already been graded. We put up an electric fence around the area we need to work on (to keep the nosy horses away), in addition to a little side gate and the main gate off the road! Yay! Now all we need to do is buy a trench pipe for road drainage and bring in some gravel to lay down. We also need to get a large propane tank on the land. All those cost money, so we are taking our time. Once that's done, we can move the trailer over! Hoping to do that before winter hits.

Oh yeah, we acquired four chickens!! Two beautiful black Austrolorpes re-named Lucy & Ethel, and two fluffy Ameraucana chickens named Tiger & Puff. Building a chicken coop is also next on our growing to-do list....

And there it is! All is good! Still lots of work left to do, but it's coming together. Any questions??

Much love.

chirp, chirp, peep, peep.

Baby chickens!

Jordan’s white hen has been sitting on a batch of eggs for a few weeks now with no luck. We’ve found a couple dead chicks (which have been stolen away by the ducks) and ‘bad’ eggs but no babies. We nearly gave up on her last week, thinking that she would give up on the eggs soon too. One morning, a fluffy head emerged from under the mother’s white wings! A baby!! Success!! Then another day, another baby! Yay! 

The one year-old hen is a first time mama hen, and we are so proud of her! I’ve spent quite a bit of time crouched in the shavings beside the nest, watching the mother spread out her body to keep all the eggs warm and tuck her head underneath her body to push some eggs around or scold chicks. She sits patiently, clucking quietly at chicks that have wandered a couple inches away, calling them back to her. The fluffy chicks trip and tumble about the nest, falling backwards when attempting to tilt their heads up to drink water, and accidentally pecking mama in the eyes. The little blonde chick with the brown stripe on its head is a joy to watch. He studies his mother and immediately imitates her actions. I love it.

The chicks are not without some sadness, though. More hatched chicks were found dead in the past couple days. There are still a few eggs left, so there's hope for more healthy chicks. For now, we're just enjoying watching the mother (and rooster) interact with the two fluffy babies.

My adopted duckling Judy is also growing larger each day. Her pin feathers are starting to come in and she recently enjoyed her first 'big girl' bath! Soon, she'll be out with the other ducks. They grow up so fast....

I found a job! Woo-hoo!

As we transitioned from our lives in Illinois to our new life in Kentucky, I was going back and forth on whether or not I still wanted to teach. The desire to teach was still there, but it was marred by disappointment of not finding a teaching job in the last three years since I left grad school.  I want to be a homeschooling/unschooling stay-at-home-and-volunteer-everywhere kind of mama in the near future, so I decided to pursue teaching assistant jobs in Kentucky. I got phone calls from a couple places -- for teaching interviews! A few days ago, I accepted a position as a teaching specialist in a Christian early childhood education center. The job couldn't be more perfect: be a teacher without the late-night/weekend workload, work with a very small population, use my experience from working with low-functioning students with special needs, be close to home, incorporate some sign language, and work within a private school/Christian environment, which my heart has been yearning for..... in addition to a few other perks. God sure has strange and wonderful ways of providing and fulfilling my dreams. I am full of joy and cannot wait to start working there!

The beginning of the end of summer.

I cannot believe it's August already. The heat is peaking, but cooler nights are just around the corner. This is the beginning of the end of summer, and I love it. We've been here three and a half weeks. Time flies. I am in awe of how crazy/beautiful life can be. One more month and I'm going to start decorating with apples and pumpkins. Hehe.

Much love, friends.

Bourbon and Church.

Kentucky loves their bourbon. And beer. And wine too, I suppose. In a span of twenty-four hours over the weekend, we visited a brewery, a distillery, and a winery! Oh, Kentucky. We were unable to tour the bourbon distillery, but hope to head back as we tackle the Kentucky Bourbon Trail in the future. Otherwise, we've been exploring different small towns (and falling more in love with the area, one road at a time), moving the ducks into a new 'home', cleaning up the land a bit, hanging out with the horses (as usual), and enjoying the quiet out here. We've also had to bury a dog (Kyle helped a neighbor out with her dog too) -- that was sad, but such is life. With all the animals around, things like that are bound to happen. A sneaky fox steals ducks on occasion, and raccoons have stolen a couple turtles. At least I've got a little duckling following me around! Oh, and that rooster. He's a character.

We also found a church, which will be a vital source of grace and community for us. The people are warm and friendly, the community is tight-knit, the pastor is not afraid to address serious issues, and there are plenty of ways for us to grow & connect through volunteering, small groups, and worship. I'm excited.

Oh, there is an Amish community here! I'm not quite sure where their homes are, but one of my favorite grocery stores is a little Amish-owned store north of town. They come to town occasionally to sell goods and shop. It still throws me off when I see an Amish woman pushing a cart around at Walmart. In the past year, I have been reading a lot about the Amish simple way of life and feeling very inspired to incorporate some of their wisdom and methods into my own life. (I may expand on this in a later post.)

The residents we talk to seem so shocked that we moved from Chicago and usually remark with, "Wow, what a big difference!" Yep. That's why we are here: to live life with an adventure our hearts desire.

I probably have more to write about, but all I want to do is get off this computer and go outside. It's funny how my priorities have changed in just a couple weeks. Stepping back from what we used to know and considering how we want our future to look has given me some clarity. I won't stop writing, but my desire to share everything has lessened. I want to be here. Now.

We woke up today to a chilly fifty-degree morning (in July!). I don't mind - I love layers and hot drinks (is it too early to say that I'm looking forward to fall already?). Our plans for today include more odd jobs around Jordan's farmstead and a continued search for jobs. We're also picking up the truck from the shop (the trip out here was a bit much for it). Asking for prayers and luck in our job search! Hope you are well, friends. 

Of course, what's an update without some photos!?