Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Back in the Saddle

Well, after my short-lived solo pity party, I settled down with my extra large Sonic rootbeer float, a solid John Wayne flick (Cahill, US Marshall) and accepted (once again)  that things happen for a reason. I may not understand why but I'll accept reality and forge ahead.

As I settle into midlife at the age of 42, I've come to accept one of my most commonly uttered phrases as an adopted motto: It is what it is. Some things you can change and some things you can't. I am right where I should be and I agree with John Wayne when he said:

"Have you ever heard of some fellows who first came over to this country? You know what they found? They found a howling wilderness, with summers too hot and winters freezing, and they also found some unpleasant little characters who painted their faces. Do you think these pioneers filled out form number X6277 and sent in a report saying the Indians were a little unreasonable? Did they have insurance for their old age, for their crops, for their homes? They did not! They looked at the land, and the forest, and the rivers. They looked at their wives, their kids and their houses, and then they looked up at the sky and they said, "Thanks, God, we'll take it from here."

So I'll take it from here. In seven glorious days I'll be heading back to Arizona to collect my beautiful family. We'll load up our belongings and head to a little town in northern Oklahoma. We'll rent a little home in town while we attempt to homestead our family farm from a few miles away. We won't be able to do some of the things we planned, like raise chickens, guinea or goats. It would be too hard to keep an eye on them without living directly on the farm.

Whether a piece of the old family farm finds it's way into my hands someday or we buy our own down the road, there are still some things at the farm we can do in preparation for owning our own piece of heaven. Things like growing a glorious garden full of vegetables and herbs. Plant some fruit trees around the farm house for future nourishment.  Add a barn roof gutter system to catch the plentiful rainfall and divert it into barrels to slow drip into our gardens while we are away. I can still thin the vegetation of the forests to minimize fire hazards and provide firewood.

Old Red Belly...and Old Big Belly
Old Red Belly ('49 Ford tractor) will still be waiting for me in the barn. We'll give children joy rides they'll never forget, pull treasures out of the ground, and turn up the soil.  The '79 Chevy pickup still awaits new life in the back of the barn...as do the two go-carts and mini motorcycle. Maybe I can even get the two riding lawnmowers running and we could race 'em around the yard?

The fences will still need mending and the dirt road to be grated a time or two. And the acres of grass...let's not forget the tending they'll need. The rapidly growing briar patch is no match for Old Red Belly and me. I can teach my girls what it means to be stewards of the land, regardless of where we live.

So Lord, if you're listening...I'm back in the saddle...and I'm thankful for everything you have given me.



New Farm Critter

This fella contently posed on the soft top of my Jeep while I took several pictures of him. He looks so sleek and aerodynamic! You can click on the image to see a more detailed full size image. He looks eerily like the aliens from Will Smith's Independence Day to me.


New Farm Rule

21) After moving to your new homestead town, be prepared to see things you've never seen before. (The buffet at the KFC in town had gizzards(!) and livers(!) offered like they were as normal as the Colonel's extra crunchy chicken breasts. Just laying there...in a pan...looking at you...! My hospital cafeteria served deep fried macaroni today. What the...?)

Click the pic for a bigger, more detailed version.


Back Home Report

Wifey and the girls had a fun-filled day at the local water park, Sun Splash, with their cousin and "Aunt Grandma." They enjoyed the whole day together and from the sounds of it, fell asleep almost instantly when they got home.


  1. OJD,
    I am glad to see the Root Beer floats picked you up. I know the news on the trailer was not what you were looking for. Keep your head up and keep building the dream. Your family will understand what you are trying to do for them and they will be thankful. I don't know much about God, but I do believe in Fate, and you are definitely where you are supposed to be. Get the family with you and settled, then worry about everything else. If you have time and have never read the Sackett books by LaMour I highly recommend them. Keep on keeping on Pilgrim.
    Chris from NC

  2. Things will fall in place for you, it just has to happen on his timetable. I also use that saying 'it is what it is' quite a bit. It helps to keep the blood pressure down some. I know that was how my dad viewed things and he was one of the easiest guys to get along with.

  3. OJD,
    Think outside the box my friend. Right now your thinking totally inside the normal box. But this homesteading dream is not an inside the box dream.

    My family of 7 left the city in 2008 for 10acres of bare land. no power, no sewer, no water, no driveway, and... you guessed it, no house.

    Your way ahead of the curve with power and water and sewer (septic I presume) now you just have to think outside the box. I got 2 singlewide mobile homes for free, just pay hauling and we were off and running. sure we had to do some remodeling but not having a home loan is priceless to us. take a look at this and see if you cant start to think of some other options.


    call the mobile home hauler companies and see if they know of any options for free/low cost homes. check with the mobile home parks in cities around you for forclosures and vacants that migh be available to be relocated on the cheap.

    Dont give up and dont get trapped in the box of "normal"

    Good luck, and you are not alone in this crazy path to homesteading and self sufficiency!


    God may just be reminding you that He is in charge. One thing that helps me is to sit down and read about the prophet Elijah in I Kings 18 and 19. Pay special attention to chapter 19. Chapter 18 is mostly just to set the scene in this situation.

    Short pity parties are not necessarily bad. I spend way too much time synchronized swimming in the deep end of the self-pity pool sometimes. But it helps me to remember that HE is in charge, and I am not, and that is the best possible scenario for me.

    He's got you and he's not turning loose (Rom 8:38-39).

    Hang in!

  5. I think a lot of people who have commented are failing to see "any" benefits of living in the rental property. Although I agree there are more to living on the ranch the negatives are quite large there also, to include the stress and strain on the family. If your girls are like any children that I know they will not fully understand the Grand idea you and your wife are trying to bring to fruition. It seems like you have decided to go with the rental property in town so let's mention some of those advantages as we might see them and develop a plan to get you out into the country, instead of only looking at the negatives.
    By living in the town you will be able to better aquaint yourself with the members of the community more quickly. You will be able to familiarize yourself with who is who so to speak. Also, you will be able to spend your off-work time preparing the ranch or future purchased land for your family, i.e. making it safe for the girls. You will be able to get some quiet alone time with the wife when you aren't living on top of six young girls. And let's face it, that is always good for your relationship with your family, your coworkers, and God. I believe your living stress level will be lower because everyone will be happier with a little more room to stretch out. Maybe the family ranch isn't where you are supposed to end up finally but at a close location you can purchase. Then there will never be a wonder in your mind if you are going to have your land taken from you thanks to Estate taxes etc.
    There are benefits to living in the town for a bit and I feel like a lot of people have ignored them due to our desire to be off-grid, self sustaining, individualists. Don't stop believing in the dream, just understand this is a speed bump with some bonuses.
    Chris in NC

  6. Dear OJD,
    You know the old saying - When one door closes another one opens? Well, I believe this is what you are facing. I strongly believe that God has some thing waiting for you over the horizon. Listen for that small inner voice; in my experience it is God giving directions. I have been following you blog for about a month now and I am in love with your family and life. If you ever need to adopt another grandmother, I am up for adoption. I would say good luck, but I don't think you need it -God's blessings are upon you.

  7. Don't forget to ask your local family (aunts, uncles, cousins, etc...) for ideas. Most people in small towns and farms are used to making due with what they have as well as helping out friends and family when they need it, as long as it is understood that the generosity will be repaid in kind or paid forward.

    Not only are there lots of helping hands around you, but also materials to build with, and skills and labor to be traded and/or bartered with.

  8. Be very thankful and GLAD you did not get the loan. Live in the house, get a large tent and have the girls sleep in the tent this summer. Fix up a solar shower, a privy (outhouse) and store excess furniture in the barn. You can add onto the house.
    Watch what God is telling you....not to go into debt!! In the future, you can walk away from the house in Az, and who cares about your credit, you are going to be paying cash!! Modulars suck! they are a sinkhole for money!!

  9. Do I remember that you do not own title to the farm? Or have a written agreement with the other family members about future ownership? Perhaps this area should be finalized before pouring lots of money into houses that set on property owned by others. DG

  10. Hi ,your post are very interesting and can't help but keep up with it..am aged now and thinking back on some things we had gone thru and coming out on the Other side with the Lords help. I wish I could share some things about how our family years ago moved to the country twice and as a teen I thought my life was ruined but it all turned out for the best and for our learning. but on a differant note- consider this what if- the stuff hit the fan and you & family made it to the farm saftly- what could you do. you're not going to be concerned with all the comforts of home but the safty of the family . move out the living room set get some skinny bunk beds, put what you cant use in the barn storage.( or get a travel trailor for the older girls ) or build them a room in the barn for clothing and storage or sleeping.. .as a teen girl we lived in 2 differant barns.us 3 girls climed a wall ladder to get to our one bed in the loft where the scorpians, were. on the other on it was two rooms and a dirt shed on the side for a kitchen.outdoor toilets no running water. we survived .We came from a house in a large city- what a change- You probably think no one lives like that today and you could not do that to your family. I understand that .Just giving you some food for thought. It looks like the Lord had almost everything you need right there waiting.thats much more than most have to begin with - what a blessing. Wishing you the best. Pat

  11. OJD,

    First I want to say that I understand that you have a wife and 6 kids and moving to the country in Oklahoma is a massive lifestyle change for them and moving into a rental house in town is doable where all 8 of you living in a 1 room farm house is not.
    Remember that Rome wasn't built in a day and see this as a step along the way to your eventual goal. Just think, you have succeeded in getting a good job in the area that you want AND will very shortly have your family moved. That's awesome and a lot to accomplish.

    My next advice is "Do NOT become a slave to a lifestyle" !!!
    As someone above posted, our ancestors (even our grandparents) didn't have 10% of the things that we take for granted yet lived great lives and were happy. See the farm as the goal and come up with a plan to get there. I hate to tell you this, but that house back in AZ is going to become a huge anvil on your back. Everyone I know that has tried this (including me) ends up getting burned. The renters will not pay the rent and you have to evict them, they won't cut the grass and you'll have to hire someone to do it, something will break that they demand that you fix, they'll trash the place.....meanwhile you have to pay the mortgage, taxes, insurance, every month no matter what and if the renter doesn't pay---your family suffers.

    My advice--short sell it. To heck with your credit--if it's already in the 600s it's already trashed and you have nothing to lose !!! I know that you're an honorable man and took the loan and are trying to do the right thing, but it will be YEARS (if ever) that you'll be able to sell that house and break even--meanwhile you have to pump money in every month. My advice, get a short sale LAWYER (the bank WILL try to burn you) and dump it. Then save up and fix up your farm in OK.

  12. I don't really know anything about short sales, or how they affect your credit...but if your mortgage is in the 225,000.00 range, and the house worth is in the 180,000.00 range, I just don't see any other way, especially with no savings and having to pay rent someplace else. I don't think I would rent a place, I would try and make it work on the farm in the house that's there. It may be cramped, but if it's (as I understand, you, your wife, 3 children and your mother-in-law) I think it's doable. Also, don't get discouraged about having animals if you do rent in town. We live 40 minutes/45 miles away from our place in the country (8 would be easy) and keep goats, pigs, chickens, guineas and a Great Pyr. We also have fruit trees and a small garden. It is definitely a time drain, but not too bad either. Prayers to you and your family, and I don't want to be negative at all, but do agree with a poster above that you are not thinking outside the box and need to. May He bless and lead you!

  13. Hello, I have enjoyed reading about your journey. I especially appreciate that you are seeking wisdom and guidance from the Lord as you go through this process. I am so glad that you have acknowledged His hand in so many ways. His hand is still on you and He is showing you His will yet again. I know the disappointment that you are feeling but I also know that He is protecting you. Don't be afraid to do things differently. Perhaps reconsider staying on the farm. I think if you look around the web you may see how others in similar situations have made out. I really enjoy a blog called livereadynow.com, they also have 6 children, take a look at what they have done. Also, at aworkingpantry.blogspot.com, read about their 'canopy makeover. I think you may be surprised at how close your family will become as they rally around mom and dad in the excitement of it all. They will love going to the auction and picking out some chickens and goats maybe a couple of piglets. Their lives will be forever changed - for the better. Invest your money in things that belong to you instead of enriching others.
    Just my two cents but my prayers and well wishes are with you whatever you decide.

  14. Sounds like a one room school house for education!

  15. Dear OJD (and anyone else needing help with their mortgage):


    I worked in the mortgage field for 30 years and have held almost every position in the field over that time frame. If you apply for either a deed in lieu (DIL) or short sale/preforeclosure sale (presale). it is extremely important that you demand a Release of Lien. Otherwise, the mortgage holder can come back at ANY time in the future and demand payment of any deficiency balance left after it sells the property to a third party. I was not even aware of this until recently - apparently it is a closely guarded secret. If you are unable to sell the house quickly, you might consider a modification of the loan. This will change the terms of the existing loan, and unlike a refi usually does not entail any large costs. The big problem with a mod though is that you may have to be one or two payments in default before you even qualify to apply. Many people who were current on their mortgage let their mortgage go into default to qualify to apply, then are denied the mod for one reason or another. Now they are two payments down and are in a worse condition than they were to begin with. I have much more information on this subject, and if you are interested you may contact me at kballene@gmail.com. I am not connected with any business that claims to help people save their house (most of these are bogus and expensive). I just have the inside scoop on how the mortgage servicing industry works. REMEMBER - IF GOING FOR A SHORT SALE/PREFORECLOSURE SALE OR A DEED IN LIEU OF FORECLOSURE, BE SURE TO GET A RELEASE OF LIEN FOR THE REMAINING BALANCE.

  16. The complexities of home ownership, insurance and keeping up with it all have encompassed us for three years. We are in the short sale process right now. It sounds like you are on the right road. Always be careful not to take on more than you can realistically handle. At this point, I agree that it is what it is.


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