Well, now that I’ve gotten that whiny post off my chest 🙂 I’ll try to follow it with something more upbeat because while I cannot ascribe to the popular declaration”It’s all good!” neither is it all bad.  While I struggle with what sometimes seem to be debilitating losses and bouts of depression, the kids are moving forward.  They are doing well in school and are active in a number of extracurricular activities like drama and choir. Both of my older girls hope to try out for their respective basketball teams (providing I can come up with funds for sports physicals, uniform fees, etc.,) and they are making friends.  Unlike me they are looking forward to the change of seasons and hope for sufficient snowfall to indulge in winter recreation.  And there is one member of our little extended family who loves the change of venue – our cat, Topaz!  She spends 90% of her day and night outdoors and is doing her best to bring the local rodent population under control.  She’s one happy cat!

I find some measure of accomplishment in our little farm endeavor.  It is one area where I have some control and make a difference.  Our angora rabbit is healthy and growing a beautiful crop of fur – I almost hate to pluck him as I worry he will be too cold without it!  The hens are laying and I never have to put eggs on my grocery list. The goats are thriving as well and are such engaging animals that I just enjoy seeing them and spending time with them.  They are a long term investment – we won’t have any kids until late next summer so in terms of income they certainly fall into the deferred category.  Nonetheless they provide me with a purpose and some friendly companionship so I don’t mind the wait.

My Etsy shop is filling up with all sorts of handknit goodies just waiting for the Christmas shoppers to appear!  Please feel free to share it with your friends.  I will be adding more on a weekly basis.  I’m thinking about adding a line of knit clothing for 18-inch (American Girl) dolls as well. They will be quick to knit and since they don’t take much yarn I’ll be able to pick up odd skeins of yarn on clearance and keep the costs down (the cost of good wool yarn makes it hard to profit from things like cat beds).

I’m going back through my novel, making a few revisions, and hope to move forward on e-publishing it by the end of the year.  These little creative endeavors help a bit.

We appreciate the support and encouragement we receive from our readers!  Thanks to the folks who sent some winter clothing – my youngest daughter is completely outfitted for snow now!  If you wish to correspond with us our address is 899 S. College Mall Rd #244, Bloomington, IN 47401.   If you are doing your Christmas shopping early please remember to shop through our link – that little monthly commission can make a big difference at the end of the month!

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22 Responses to Upside

  1. Mama says:

    Hi there! I stumbled across your blog and thought maybe I could offer you some encouragement. My husband was laid off because of the construction industry taking a nose dive, and couldn’t land another job for 11 months despite actively looking. We moved onto family land in a 31′ camper with our three kids, ages 1, 3, and 4 at the time, and then found out we were expecting, yikes! Well, we are still going through foreclosure, but a year and a half later we are living comfortably in our camper, and now that dh has a job we have been able to make baby steps toward building our own place with cash. Bit it certainly hasn’t been easy. Last summer I was scrounging for change to buy kids clothes at thrift stores, and welcoming food pantry donations, so I know how hard it can be. It sounds like you have a good support team though, with your children, family, and blog readers. Hang tight, you can do it! And, I’m interested in learning more about your novel, is it about your experiences?

    • boxcarkids says:

      Hi Mama! Thanks for the comment – I enjoyed perusing your blog. I’m glad to hear your dh has found a job – I’m still hunting, hunting, hunting! My novel is not about this experience. I’m too close to it to write it now without it being both difficult to recount and difficult to read! My novel is a fictional (clearly) account of the incident that led to the murder of the bronze age corpse found a decade ago in the alps – the Iceman (now called Otzi). My academic background is in archaeology and I had the fantastic experience of being able to meet and talk with some of the researchers who studied the Iceman.

      • Mama says:

        Wow! That is really cool. And I totally understand your need to have something you enjoy that takes your mind off the here and now. I’ve got a few of those myself. Well, I’m glad you enjoyed your visit to AFN, I know I’ll be back here too 🙂

  2. LC says:

    Hi! Wanted to mention that I just received a knitted hat from your Etsy store and I’m very impressed! Wonderful craftsmanship–lovely product. I will definitely order more and would recommend highly to anyone else. Btw–I’ve been reading your blog almost from the beginning and am still following and wishing you well!

  3. Jeannie says:

    I saw this on craigslist while I was / am looking for a job myself. This was posted a while ago, 9/25, but it’s still up and it made me think of you:

    Blogger / Content for Organic Farming Site (Anywhere – USA only)

    Date: 2012-09-25, 11:58AM EDT
    Reply to this post [Errors when replying to ads?]

    Looking for a blogger / copywriter for a new site I am launching about it’s about Organic Urban Farming.

    5 posts per week, plus at the beginning I will need several additional articles / posts. Typically 400-500 words, need to have internal links and use a stock photo from my account. I am looking to develop a long term relationship with 1 – 3 copywriters.

    Please send examples of anything your have written in the organic / farming industy. Also please let me know you cost per post, keep in mind this is for 5 every week so the work flow is steady.
    Location: Anywhere – USA only
    Compensation: $10-$15 per post
    Telecommuting is ok.
    This is a part-time job.
    This is a contract job.
    Principals only. Recruiters, please don’t contact this job poster.
    Please, no phone calls about this job!
    Please do not contact job poster about other services, products or commercial interests.
    PostingID: 3295416249

  4. Lynn says:

    Would I be correct in assuming the address given above is just for correspondence? Or could packages be sent there, too? (In case someone has winter clothing your eldest could use, or Legos for the youngest, or a replacement American Girl doll for the one that had to be left behind…) I realize Amazon has your shipping address if people go through your wish list. I hope you are all OK now that the weather is changing fast. I know California clothing, even if it still fits, is not warm enough for snow.

  5. darla says:

    Have you looked into some of the greener home building ideas? Maybe you could put a Cob House on your farm first, while you were working on getting other housing. Cob houses are very cheap to build. I’d also put a wanted ad on Craigslist for some type of a trailer or RV – I too think you’d feel better with a little more space of your own.

    Are you certified to teach? Maybe you could get a job teaching online? Or teaching Home school classes? Or even just tutoring?

    Have you applied for assistance? You should be eligible for SNAP {food}, Medicaid for the kids, and possibly TANF {Cash} assistance. There is no shame in taking it – you need it right now and you pay taxes just like everyone else.

    • boxcarkids says:

      There are a couple of stumbling blocks in getting any sort of housing built on my relative’s land – the first is permitting which involves surveying, assessing the viability of putting in a septic system, etc. Once the permit is obtained the utilities would need to be established – this is also a hinderance for just parking a RV on the land – no power, septic, water hookups.

      • Lynn says:

        I don’t know how close they watch it where you are but I had an RV in my driveway for the better part of a year once. We just ran an extension cord out my kitchen window and into the rv, and parked it so that waste went straight into our sewer drain . I suspect as long as no one complains, you might get away with it. But with your luck maybe not. You’d wind up with your rv impounded and a big fine.

  6. akajb says:

    How much for the basketball stuff? That’s something I’d be interested in helping you out with if possible. Send me an email if you’d like.

    • boxcarkids says:

      Thanks! The only thing I know for sure is the sports physicals which are $60 each. They have to have a physical before trying out – if they make the team there are other expenses that relate to uniforms and transportation. It’s fall break now so we can check when the girls are back in school next Monday.

      • Nancy says:

        You can get a physical at a CVS Minute Clinic for $35 in most cities (or similar place), or at the county. Our schools have them for $20 several times a year, and in August they were free at Sports Authority or Dicks. When I moved to Florida I learned that ALL vaccinations are free for kids under 18 at the county (when we registered for school, we had to go there for our records to be transferred to the special ‘blue’ card), even the HPV ones that cost $350! at the pediatricians. Guess where we’ll be getting the rest of the shots?

        Look around. Most of these requirements like sports physicals can be obtained for free or a much reduced rate, the participation fee waived or at least reduced, the uniform shorts can be any pair of black (or red) shorts.


      • boxcarkids says:

        Good to know – we just had the physical list the athletics dept handed us when we registered. The Uniform fee of $20 is not optional though, nor is the $20 per child transportation cost for away games.

        – Just checked and locally CVS charges $59 for sports physicals.

      • akajb says:

        I posted a reply yesterday, but not sure if it went through. So, I’ll just post again. 🙂 I’ve been out of town so I’m just catching up on this post now. How soon do the physicals need to be done? And is the best method to donate through pay pal? Is it 120 + tax or 120 flat?

      • boxcarkids says:

        I don’t think that there is tax – if there is I can manage it. Try outs are next Weds and the physical has to be done by then in order for the girls to try out. Thank you so much! They are very excited about basketball! Oh yes – paypal would be the easiest.

  7. bogart says:

    It’s great to hear about the animals and how you’re enjoying them. I don’t know a darned thing about angora rabbits but if they’re anything like my shaggy dogs (or long-haired cats), the fur will never … run … out!

    Your readers may want to know that it’s possible to put thing from your Etsy shop on an Amazon wishlist, which I mention in case anyone (else) wants to do that. I’ve just put the scarf on mine and have a birthday coming up as well as Christmas, so perhaps someone will buy it for me — it looks beautiful. I’m really impressed by your crafts.

    Last thought, left over from your earlier post: are you part of, or could you participate in a faith community up there? I would guess this would be one of the most straightfoward ways to connect with social support and a community that might be willing to help you and your family.

  8. Lynda says:

    Environmental Jobs in Crane…wasn’t that your field? (Craigs List)….I’m gonna’ stop…I’m probably making you whacky!

  9. Lynda says:

    I just went on Craigs List and see they have a FREE Mobile Home listed…the seller will pay $100 towards moving costs….I’m reading another blog: Mystic Mud and they have been redoing an old mobile that was given to them…same situation as yours except they have 10 kids. You may find someone to help with the move…AND keep the wheels on it and you may be ok with the planning dept. I bet if you were in a place of your own, you would feel so much better.

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