Here’s a rambling life update, complete with pictures.
After months of non-stop work, we finally deemed our little “medieval barn” habitable, and in early December we gave our notice at our flat in town. This meant we had one 3 and a half weeks to pack up our entire lives, finish our house, including painting and flooring and hooking up our water tanks and solar power, and moving it all up there.
I had a goal: we would spent Christmas Eve in our own home. For the week beforehand, I frantically packed boxes, which CDH and his dad painted as much as they could paint, built a shed for the batteries, and finished sundry jobs, while Father Metal got on with the serious business of finishing the interior.
We had wonderful friends come to help with the painting and cleaning (seriously, you wouldn’t believe how blessed we are!) and after 3 trips back and forth every day for four days with carloads and trailerloads of our crap, we finally lay our heads on our pillows at our new home at 11:28pm on 24 December. Just made it!
Christmas day was spent enjoying our first day. I cooked a roast and unpacked some boxes. CDH painted and napped. But then it was back to the grind – we still had two days of flat-cleaning to complete, and more painting and chores to go, as well as 15 metalheads arriving on NYE for an epic party.
Now that it’s just the two of us and the animals, we’re starting to get into new patterns and understand what our life is like out here. It’s pretty bloody rad.
Being off-grid is AWESOME. The first week I was an absolute Nazi about the usage, running around turning everything off and checking the monitor every day (we don’t have a monitor in the house yet, so if you want to check your battery capacity, you have to go down to the shed). But with a fridge, a freezer, and running two computers, we’re at 99% capacity most days (thank you NZ summer), any we never have a power bill again, so we’re laxing up a bit. We will probably have to be more careful in winter, but we’ll wait and see.
Our gas calephont has a leak, so if you want hot water you have to run outside, flick it on, frantically leap into the shower, bathe for 30 seconds, then run outside again and flick it off. I’m hoping to get this fixed next week, but the gas man is on holiday and not answering his phone.
The tank water also doesn’t taste great, and is looking a bit discoloured, so we’re looking into what to do about that.
The internet runs like a dream, better than the net in our flat in town.
It is so quiet up here. At night you can hear the wind whistling down the valley, and peacocks calling (they sound like a chorus of wounded cats). There are stars everywhere, and no cars, no screaming children, no domestic arguments heard two streets away. We are about to destroy this with a massive drumkit, but hey.
Oh, and we have pigs! A Christmas present from my in-laws, they are two bundles of mischief.
I am trying to go for a run every morning, and we’ve been down the road swimming at the lake a few times. I want to go every day, but we’ve just got too much painting to do.
I’ll post more pictures once we’ve got the carpet down and the painting is finished.
We’re finally here, in the house that has eaten my life for the past 14 months. And it feels amazing. Worth every sleepless night, every meltdown about money, every backaching day.
And now that it’s over, I have projects aplenty to get on with:
- Installing raised garden beds to begin vegetable garden.
- Chickens! They are coming soon!
- Spring: Planting 100+ shelter trees, ready for orchard-planting next year.
- Lambs to the slaughter and a freezer full of meat.
- Learning to make cheese.
- More mead-making merriment.
- Getting fit again using The Centurian Method. More about this soon.
- Finishing my novel At War with Satan, and publishing it. SO MUCH MORE about this soon. You will get sick of hearing about it.
- Going into planning stages for Stage 2: Castle proper. This is: Great Hall, Tower, screens passage, battlements … the whole deal.
- Swimming, kayaking, walking, hiking, all the wonderful things about living on South Head.
- Having money again!
- Saving up for a trip to Peru with Mother Metal, hopefully this year.
So that was my Christmas break – how was yours?