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Moving Forward (or is it Backwards?)

Well, we’re a little over 2 weeks into the blog and I’m finally getting around to really contributing to it. So what has happened over the last few weeks from my point of view, well let’s see…

Terlingua Sunset

Terlingua Sunset

Our trip to Terlingua was WON.DER.FUL! Oh how I missed it so. Despite Murphy showing up the day before we left (the car battery dieing), our trip was pretty uneventful. Which is completely opposite of how we usually roll. We met some new friends, who actually wound up being best friends of our best friends (it’s such a small world). We got to check out The Field Lab, which was really cool! The scenery was beautiful, the time was long and the Big Bend was awesome as usual.

While we were there we got to see plenty of wildlife (surprisingly since the horrible drought there last year). My favorite thing by far was the small “barn” owls. They were no bigger than a robin, but were as neat as could be. We got to see them 2 nights in a row. I told Chris when we move down there we have to get some! (somehow I’ll create a habitat for them to come to, because they are just that cool) We saw javelina, deer, lots of rabbits, bats, and Chris saw a snake or two. Somehow I missed it (which is ok, because I really don’t like snakes).

The girls had a good time. It was neat seeing them work together to build a “fort” under the mesquite trees. We let them walk over to the Bad Rabbit Cafe to get themselves some ice cream. And go on walks around the ranch. They eat up all that freedom & responsibility. They work together (most of the time) and watch out for each other. I love to see this in the works.

We can always tell how good our trips were if when the first day we get home they tell us they are bored. It happened this time like clockwork. They do go outside & play with a few friends, but they don’t have the whole desert at their fingertips here. They want (& need) to be out in the great wide open. We all need it. The city life is not for us, and the girls will be the first ones to tell you that.

Reading List

Reading List

As for me, well I’ve begun reading a lot on the homeschooling / unschooling process. I just finished the book (on the Kindle) “The Homeschooling Option” by Lisa Rivero. It was a good read. Lots of great information about the homeschooling process and the things that will help you get started. It also helped me feel more comfortable about our decision to unschool the girls. Next up is “the unschooling handbook – How to Use the Whole World As Your Child’s Classroom” by Mary Griffith. It’s a tad outdated (written in 1998 & many references to AOL (AO What? LOL)) but overall seems to still be very relevant.

I’ve been trying to find ways to save money and cut back on “commercialized” products. I recently made my own laundry detergent, which I love. And just started a batch of Citrus Enzyme Cleaner and Citrus Vinegar Cleaner a couple of nights ago. They will both take about 2 weeks to be finished, but then I’ll have natural cleaners that will have cost little to make & be safe for my family. (Thanks to Jillee at www.onegoodthingbyjillee.com for some of the “recipes”)

Homemade Citrus Cleaners

Homemade Citrus Cleaners

I’m also trying to cut back on using paper towels. We are bad with them, we use a bunch. So I bought a cheap pack of white wash cloths and am going to do my best to use those and hand towels every chance I get. It’s a work in process, but I’m sure over time, it will improve and the paper towel usage will go down (dramatically). Some of my changes are small, but I’m hoping that in the grand scheme of things, they’ll make a difference in the long run. If we get all the bugs & kinks worked out now, we won’t have to deal with them when we get to Terlingua (and are over 100 miles from the nearest stoplight).

Another thing we’ve done away with is using the dishwasher (I’m going to see if there is a way to check the kWh usage to see what we’re saving in electricity). The water here is horrible and I found myself having to wash the dishes before I washed the dishes (and they still weren’t clean). We decided that it’s much easier to wash the dishes by hand. It’s just the 4 of us. Theoretically that means 4 bowls, 4 plates, 4 cups, etc., & a couple of pans & spoons. Easily tackled by hand. Sometimes they build up a bit, but still less water & electricity used to wash them by hand (oh & I don’t have to wait 2 hours for the dishes to be done).

Other than that, we’re in the process of moving the office into the living room and downsizing our computers, adjusting to the new swamp cooler and beginning our “minimalization” process. Sell, sell, sell. Organize, organize, organize. Sell some more. (Anyone who wants to help, is more than welcome!)

All in all I think it’s been a super productive few weeks. I’m hoping to get lots done this next week or so.

Now, off to do laundry & dishes or to peruse the internet for more homesteading/homeschooling/off-grid living ideas………?

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3 Responses to Moving Forward (or is it Backwards?)

  1. Shawn June 15, 2012 at 7:03 pm #

    Nicole,
    I just finished reading the blog. I have to say it is very cool what you and your family are doing! A very exciting time in Miller household, will be following your progress and I am sure I will have tons of question. Will you have a washing machine or will you wash clothes by hand? Are you planning on growing your own vegetables and hunting for food sources?

    • Chris Miller June 15, 2012 at 8:45 pm #

      Shawn,

      If she makes me hunt for our food we’re going to be in a world of hurt. I am not that good of a hunter. ;)

      We’ll be off-grid in a more modern sense. We won’t be paying for our electric, or our water because we’ll be producing both ourselves. Growing our own vegetables, yes. Hunting for our own food, yes… about 60 miles away at the grocery store. ;)

      We’ll still be online with DSL internet too.

      So we wont be truly “off-grid” by some peoples standards but we’ll be sticking it to “the man” in the best way we know how. I’ll let Nicole comment on the cleaning of clothes. I could get by with just being hosed off every couple of weeks, lol.

    • Nicole Miller June 15, 2012 at 9:31 pm #

      Thanks Shawn! I am excited to say the least! As Chris said we’re going to try to grow as much as we can. Hunting… not so much ;)

      As for washing clothes… It kind of depends on how much solar we have. I am not opposed to washing by hand. People did it for hundreds of years, it can’t be that hard. ;) Since it’s the desert, we don’t really have to worry about a dryer, probably clothes fading in the sun more than anything else. But I imagine to begin with, I’ll be washing them by hand. I guess I should start hunting for wash tubs & wash boards, huh?

      Thanks again for checking the site out! I’m open to all questions.

      Take care (& give the kiddos hugs from me)

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