It is hard to believe but we have now been in Indiana for a year. Seems like just yesterday we loaded up the van and U-haul and headed out across the summer in the midst of a killer heatwave!
Things have not moved nearly as fast as I would have liked, or as fast as I wanted them to. Here we are a year later and I still don’t have a job that can support us, nor do we have a home of our own. So if I had to judge by the checks on my checklist I would say I’ve got a failing grade! But if you look at progress – well that’s a different story altogether! Here are some of the things we’ve accomplished and the ways we’ve grown and succeeded in the past year:
I have a job! Granted it’s not a great job in terms of pay or benefits but it’s actually a very interesting, challenging and enjoyable job in a lot of ways. It adds a small amount to our coffers and as I continue to look for something more sustaining it gets me through to employer’s who filter out the unemployed in their job searches.
We have started our hobby farm! We have put in a lot of sweat equity getting barn and pastures in shape, and have learned a lot about raising livestock. Diving right into goat farming gave us all something to feel invested in as we gradually got used to the rural Midwestern lifestyle (not that we’ve totally made that transition yet). I think we would have had a harder transition if we hadn’t had our goats to take care of and to care for. We are excited about our first crop of Kiko kids this fall and expect anywhere from 5 to 15 baby goats!
The kids (children) survived changing schools again – all of them made honor roll at their school, excelled in their schoolwork and participated in extracurricular activities. My oldest took her History Day project on Emmett Till to the state finals and won the award for most improved basketball player on the Jr Varsity team (after 2 years away from playing ball). My Jr. High student won a gold medal in a regional vocal competition, had the most Accelerated Reader (AR) points in her school and joined Jr National Honor Society. Leaving friends and changing school was hardest on my oldest (sophomore) and youngest kids and I’m hoping this next year they will feel more settled in.
We found a house and are on the verge of purchasing it and having it moved to our property! These next few weeks will be stressful and busy (especially as I have work and school and the 4H fair on top of house activities). We managed to work through all the bureaucratic obstacles and get our permits approved. I’ve borrowed and fund-raised enough for the major things – buying the house, moving it and installing the septic system (that last one cost more than the house). We are still trying to come up with money for a cistern, to ship our belongings stored in California, and to furnish the house (including buying a refrigerator and modifying natural gas appliances so they will run on propane). Our entire inventory of furniture currently consists of one twin bed, a desk and chair, two small chests/bedside tables and a dresser! Please consider helping us out with a donation if you can.
By far the best thing about moving here has been reuniting with family. The kids, my son in particular, have really benefited from knowing their relatives and having them involved in their lives. We are also blessed with some lovely neighbors who have been endlessly welcoming and helpful over the past year. They help us mow hay, let us keep our 4H pig in their pen, and let my son run wild, ride on their tractors and fish in their pond.
Life in rural Indiana. We’ve survived floods and snow storms and power outages, celebrated our first birth and grieved our first death (goats), built pens and erected fences, mucked stalls and hauled hay and water.
Our mini-van is not a soccer mom’s car – it’s a farm wagon! I doubt we will ever get all the hay and straw from under the seats. We enjoy fresh chicken eggs and garden produce and deal with endless bug bites. We lay on our back in the hay fields and watch the fluffy clouds go by. There is room to run and roam and turn cartwheels and friends and family close by.
I am hopeful we will be able to make a life here together (at least until the kids grow up and move out – then I’m buying a little RV and heading back to the beach ;-)!