Headed back down South.. :)

ImageSo, BIG BIG news folks!! We are moving to Georgia in four weeks!! My family owns a house on a small lake in Lake Park, GA. It’s about five miles from the FLA line in Lowndes county. We are so excited about this opportunity! You know around Thanksgiving, we were wanting to get back closer to some family and I seem to have the biggest lot in one place ๐Ÿ™‚

The lake house was built by my great-uncle around ’74, I believe. He had moved there to become Principal of Lake Park Elementary. He and my great-aunt have been gone many years now. Their three children inherited the home until my mother bought it.. eh.. 15 years ago?? (don’t hold me to that date ;)) What! I remember working on it on my 13th birthday, so.. that means15 years, hey I was right! Mom gutted some of the house, knocked down partial walls and voila!

She just celebrated her second wedding anniversary with her husband who she now lives with on a beautiful spread of ten acres. She has rented out the house(it is still being paid for because of refinancing) and the tenants moved out last month. So!!! We are going. It’s a 3 bedroom, 2 bath, 1 office/laundry room (which was my room as a teen! but when I left, mom knocked down another wall and extended her closet halfway into that bedroom and put the washer and dryer and computer desk in there :/) All brick exterior, fireplace inside, four 75 year old (at least) oak trees that had been there before the house was built. My uncle planted four dogwood trees when the house was built but only one remains living. They died from the inside out just like the Sunday school story.

So how does this help our self sufficient journey you ask?? One major factor here is community (my family and friends of 28 years) We don’t really have and never will have the network we will down there. My two parents alone know 75% of Valdosta, GA. Michael has taken a big decrease in pay and it is really affecting us here. Commuting with my bike will be awesome around the Lakes and community there. The exercise on bike alone will be phenomenal! I’m actually REALLY excited about that! But.. I will not have the garden plot I had here. And everything we have planted in ground, we lose. We are still trying to find out about the chickens. They will be in a dog kennel in the back of the Fit if I can help it ๐Ÿ™‚ We’ve planted 5 beautiful trees, 3 tea olives, 3 rosemary bushes, 2 blueberry bushes, 2 jasmine, 1 huge Triplecrown blackberry bush, 1 each mint, spearmint, and apple mint. I can only hope the family who moves in here next sees these as a blessing. Will appreciate the life we tried so hard at putting back into the soil.

We will definitely have to change some garden practices for the new house. Start making a new homestead ๐Ÿ™‚ The back yard is mostly shaded by the oaks. The front yard is your conventional turf yard. I can’t wait to get back down there to look at the grounds with a grower’s eye. I know container gardening is going to be huge for us. Can’t wait to keep you guys posted on everything. Wish us good luck, I feel this move is for a right reason and we are embracing it wholeheartedly.

We have started the pre-packing purge for a yard/moving sale and it feels GREAT! Until next post ๐Ÿ˜‰

Am I a bad cave man??

ImageSo I went to the doctor last Friday. Weighing in at 147, he actually had to ask if I had any concerns.. Yeah! I’m 20 pounds heavier than when I came up here last July. Yes I admit to being a bit of a shut-in at first.. I didn’t know anybody, traffic scared me to death, I quit smoking.. Pick one. The results are in and regardless the reason, I gained 20 pounds, my clothes don’t fit, yada yada. I knew he would be impressed though when I told him I was trying to exercise by doing one of Jessica Simpson’s workouts! By his amused expression I took it he was not impressed by my choice of workouts. He then asked if I had eaten yet? My appointment was at 8:40 so no, but as I was about to lie, my stomach gave me away at the mention of food.

“You’re being a bad caveman.” he says. What? A bad caveman and he thinks I’m nuts for all my permie ideas.. He then explains. The way our bodies are made, think about a cave man. A good cave man wakes up gets his tribe. They go outside, eat some nuts. Ramble on for a while, dig up some roots, eat them. Ramble on a while, smack a squirrel.. you get the picture. When a good caveman goes throughout his day and goes to bed at night, he body tells him good job. There is enough food, we have adequate hunting and gathering skills so there is no threat of hunger. All body processes a go at normal speed. May even burn a few extra calories in the bush if your body think you have them to spare.

But a bad cave man may not be able to find food for him and his tribe. His body does not eat every couple of hours and throughout the day and when he goes to sleep his body will think.. okay there is not enough food to keep hunger at bay and it will go into calorie conserve mode, actually making it harder to burn calories. Your body doesn’t know when it will get its next meal and will fight over the precious calories it thinks is left. Sporadic feedings are not what we were made for, even though the average American skips breakfast, grabs a bite at lunch and stuffs themselves before bed. Not good for our metabolism.

I tell him I am not a bad caveman, but I will find a more stable in the long term workout ๐Ÿ˜‰

Jessica Simpson body by New Years…?? We’ll see!

So I’m well aware I need a healthy, fit body for farm life. And I will admit.. I have gained 20 pounds in the last year and a half since I quit smoking. Yeah, I know. Cliche excuse. Whatever the case, it’s time to shape up. Exercise is part of any and every happy life I read or know about. And at the verge of 29.. 20 extra pounds does not make for a happy camper or a full closet because nothing fits. So, what do do? Repin Jessica Simpson’s Daisy Duke workout. Brilliant! I wanna look just like that ๐Ÿ™‚Image After you see this picture, who doesn’t want to look like that? Michael definitely approves ๐Ÿ˜‰ I’m on week 2 doing the workout 4 days a week vs. her 5 days. It is getting easier. The first week, I didn’t push myself because I didn’t want to get overwhelmed by a hard workout and just quit. I took breaks between sets of everything it seemed! I don’t have a treadmill, but I do have a bike that I love riding. I alternate this in for treadmill time. If it’s too cold, I do jumping jacks. I had to YouTube a couple of the exercises to see not only how, but how at home with two 5 lb dumbells.

This week, I’ve been excited everyday to do the workout, the complete workout I might add ๐Ÿ™‚ And I can feel it, oh man! I think that’s why I’m so excited. Whether or not I end up looking like Jess or not (I don’t ever think I’ll be that airbrushed tan) I’m definitely on my way to a better body, my old wardrobe and a big puff to my self esteem. I just got to keep it up. One day at a time, I’ll get there

Here’s what Jessica Simpson did 5 times a week for her Daisy Duke body..

  • 10 min treadmill warmup (walk to jog)
  • 2 or 3 x 20 reps dumbell rows in squat position
  • 2/3 x 20 reps squats
  • 2/3 x 20 reps lying dumbell tricep extensions
  • 3 x 12 reps reverse lunges (per leg)
  • 8 min treadmill run
  • 3 x 18 reps bicep curls in lunge position (per leg)
  • 3 x 18 reps lateral raise in lunge position (per leg)
  • 8 min treadmill run
  • 20 x incline crunches
  • 3 x 18 reps prone kneeling leg extensions (per leg)
  • 3 x 15 reps forward lunges (per leg)
  • 8 min treadmill cooldown (jog to walk)

Another November day..

ImageWe finished getting leaves and straw through out the garden. Michael’s new job with a landscaping company helps us out with the free leaves and straw for sure!! We covered all the beds and will continue layering with leaves newspaper and cardboard through this month. Not only am I hoping for less weeds this Spring from lasagna layering in the garden, but some serious fertile material as well. I read that the freezing and thawing cycles over winter actually help break down and aerate from the water/air that expands and contracts over and over again. If we can help it I would like the initial tilling we did at the beginning of this year would be the only mechanical till. We added amendments and broke them into the hard clay, but every time I pull weeds, especially that stupid grass, it ’tills’ that whole spot!

The chickens love the new additions of leaves in the garden and the floor of their coop. They are like children playing in the Fall leaves, just scratching away. I cannot keep them cooped all day (Althea just paces) so I leave them in til around 3 or 4 in the afternoon, so their damage time is limited. I have been sketching up plans for them a new coop area. I really hope we are back in Georgia to build it, though. Every day that passes, I feel more sure of my decision to try and go back. To make my home near my family. With Michael’s two boys here, we are just torn..

But the mortgage payment is about to wear us thin. Knowing now like we do, we could build our own tiny home, decked, with what we pay here a year. A 30 year mortgage actually hit me the other day.. I was thinking about if we stayed here another year.. where would that put us on owing towards the house.. $900 a month, between 11 and 12 thousand dollars. Okay that’s a good chunk of change, how much do we still owe. He bought the house for $125,000 less than 2 years ago. 12 grand doesn’t even make a dent, holy shit. We’ve got to get out of here. I can’t have my soul on loan at Wells Fargo the next 28 years. Hell, that’s how long I’ve been alive!! Where has the Tiny House Movement been?? People don’t have to do this, but yet gladly step up to sign leases on houses and cars. I just want my cottage, my garden and my bike.

We are going in less than 3 weeks for Thanksgiving and this will be the big moment of looking at the land with my step-dad and asking.. Asking for a chance. We’ll work off the land any way we can. Michael can get a job, until we get everything in place. I really hope I can make them see how important this is to me. It’s not some dumb project where UI want to go all hippie and live in the woods, well maybe it’s along those lines, but it’s not dumb. To not have a car payment… House payment.. Grow your own fruits and vegetables, so that they don’t come from Chile, unripened and full of chemicals.. Spend more quality time with my family letting Nature and our own unhinged curiosity lead the way to learn and discover.. To encourage our children to not conform, to always dance to their own beat, no matter how funky ๐Ÿ˜‰ Who’s the crazy ones here, I’m really starting to wonder. All over the world people have turned to the simplicity of life, may be the oldest, time tested way to be happy. Do what your heart wants and live a life that allows it.

This is my American dream…

Image I mean think about it. Wake up with the sun, crawl into your custom breakfast nook to enjoy the kiss of sunrise. Think to yourself.. What do I want to do today. Get rid of the have to. We don’t have to grind away at a corporation setting to have things, nice things. We just have to change our perception.

Remember in school, where they ask you to take out a sheet of paper and write where you want to be in five years.. ten years.. Every year it changed, so why was it so important to push specific goals? For me to realize later, I failed them all in some way or another. I remember my 8th grade ten year was to be married to Buck Cargile, well that didn’t happen. Neither did I become a veterinarian, nurse, astronaut and I’m pretty sure the first female President floated around through elementary school. What’s the point? What if our teachers didn’t ask for specific goals, just directions. Maybe write out our favorite hobbies over a few years span, collect them and let us explore the options that have appealed to us best.

I think its more important to lean towards behavior rather than strict goals. If focus is put towards good behavior and open direction, we could have several places we could end up and that would be perfectly fine. I want to look more into ‘unschooling’. When we get our place, I would like to unschool Sydni. Let Nature be her guide. Giving her questions and answers at the same time. I picture us going through out our day making observations and talking about it. Going to the library to look further into things we had questions about. Just this time together, outside of four walls, will be beneficial to us both. Working in the garden together, talking about the principles of things without it seeming like a drill, working out the details of the house. Letting her see that we built our house, we own it, not the bank. We are free to do as we please with our time due to the simple way we live and that is true riches.

Word.. from my mother ;)

So I actually think mom is considering the idea of us coming down there. It would be awesome. We are going to look at the land they sit on when we go down for Thanksgiving. I don’t think they like the idea of cob as much as they would a cabin, tiny home style. That is fine by me!! That would let us build both if we wanted. Set up the homestead, actually build.. All the while learning the land, setting up the garden. I’ve never even practiced with cob so maybe this is a better idea to start. I want to do an outdoor kitchen area on whatever we decide, between the kitchen and garden would be nice! I would build a cob oven to break everybody in on what it’s all about and how it works.

I’ve been entertaining the idea of a Japanese style outhouse for the main bathroom. I feel completely renewed on my inspiration. I honestly thought my mom and step dad would shoot me down on this and I think the cob, they will. But the cabin, we may have hope! She says to me yesterday.. It’s all woods back there, Kortni. Yeah, mom, I know! I talked to her about felling trees on site. Renting a sawmill for lumber, hopefully harvesting all you need from what you cut down. We talked about composting toilets and solar panels. I think she is really starting to take me seriously.

She’s at a hippie festival this weekend, so I tell her to get in tune with nature while she’s there ๐Ÿ˜‰ Ask someone what they think of earth homes and off the grid living. Hopefully her and Jay come back with renewed inspiration for us too!

Weekend with my family, karaoke style :)

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So this weekend was my aunt’s 60th birthday party in Milledgeville, Ga which is just over halfway to my moms. Sydni(who is in the blond wig, stealing the show) and I jumped on the chance to get to see them before Thanksgiving, I have been missing them a lot lately!!

The road trip was great. Syd had her stuff set up in the back, we had packed a lunch and set out at around 9 Saturday morning. We printed out our directions (which got us lost!! that’s another story!) the night before and felt really good about the trip. It was a karaoke party so we sang all the way there. I love to drive. Road trips help me clear my mind and I’ve got a lot rolling around up there these days so I looked forward it for days.

I thought about where I really wanted to go to build for awhile.. My mother and her husband sit on 10 acres, most of it woods, right on the Georgia/Florida line. As much as I have been thinking about my family.. Well it got me thinking, my mom is sitting on the perfect site. Would the husband agree to work out a deal with me on even 1/4 an acre…? Man, to be back near my family, red Georgia clay, a piece of land I might could share or work off.. This probably took up a good two and a half hours.. I’ve never thought of really going home before until recently. It wasn’t that I had forgotten about that land, just never thought about it. I could build at the back of the property to where they wouldn’t know we were there. There is a road that goes down along the property so there is even a different access point. I decided to put the bug in mom’s ear. Who knows? Her husband may say no to my cob house idea on their property..

It’s just.. I love my family. We have always been really tight and when I moved Sydni and I to North Carolina last year, I felt like there a hole that would never fill up. I thought it would get better over time, but as we gradually get to a more simple lifestyle I realize how much further away I really am from them. I mean I drive a bike now for the most part and gas is so high. I just feel like the tear will become permanent with a homestead and do I want to be that far away??

Plus all that free labor ๐Ÿ™‚ My little brother would love to help us build with cob. I think it would even help him reconnect with himself. I thought about cobbing in general.. Mushing the cob, making loaves, packing them on and smoothing out the clay with wet hands filled with the life of this earth. My spirit is longing to start. When we go down for Thanksgiving I will talk to Jay and hopefully look at the land!! I really could have my place there. It can happen ๐Ÿ˜€

Michael has an interview!!

ImageHe took his cover letter and resume to GOP last week and the manager called yesterday to set up an interview for this afternoon at 3:00. We are so excited. It would be awesome for him to get this job part time. Great access to information, supplies, crazy outdoor stories, people to go biking or camping!! I’ve prayed to all who will listen and if it’s to be, it will. This could be one step closer for us, plus we could use to extra income right now.

They said they are looking for people who use the things they sale and Micheal is all over that. Due to a 10 year terrible marriage, he started biking hard core and kayak fishing. He actually bought his first kayak from this store and won 1st place in a tourney that same year. I hope they just eat him up. Plus with child support always looming, we need a job for him on paper so they can determine a proper amount.

So please wish him luck for all of us ๐Ÿ˜‰ I’m going to feed the chickens