So, it's here, finally. That elusive balance I've struggled to achieve for the past few years. I feel I have arrived. I'm there!
I find myself singing The Who ...
don don don don don don ...
And freedom tastes of reality
I had the guts to leave the temple! I cannot explain the sense of release in letting the big house and garden go. Something I felt so entwined and entangled in, and have untangled, dropped, and walked away from. The first weeks full time at the cabin in the woods were bliss! A simple 12x12 foot space without electric power, septic, tv/internet ... and it was bliss! It was also a test run to see if my husband and I could spend at least four months living there next summer. We have come to the conclusion we CAN, and not only that, but look forward to it!
Off the grid living is pretty convenient, really, with solar panels for power to charge the phones and tool batteries, etc. We have a two burner propane cook top, a propane on-demand water heater, propane heater for chilly days/nights, and a compost toilet from Nature's Head. We have our laundry serviced as in drop off and pick up (thanks Nicole!) — nope, not terrible at all. We haul water in and store it in a 35 gallon holding tank for dishes and showers (outdoors) which, honestly, IS a chore and something we will work on changing next summer. A solar powered pump runs the water through the water heater. We converted our chest freezer into a solar-powered refrigerator with the use of a special thermostat regulator (whaaa?). The chest freezer is better insulated and opens from the top so is much more efficient than a refrigerator. It works quite well but we still buy ice for cocktails which is something we need to figure out because I am a ritual believer in happy hour and ice is a good 40 minutes away round trip. A bag of ice in a good cooler lasts a couple of days if it's not terribly hot.
Our solar "refrigerator" on the porch aka "The Green Room."
Our cabin kitchen as viewed from the bed in the "bedroom."
Our cabin was built to last by us with minimal maintenance in mind, a refreshing change from the 100 plus year old house we left behind. The garden will be a raised bed, standing height (see plans here), for veggies and a SMALL area of flowering perennials that will be easy to tend. If I'm repeating myself it's because I believe in what we say comes true!
I have so much time! Time to focus on myself, my health, painting, kayaking. Such change! I completed three paintings before we left for our winter digs AND completed one I began in 2017. Before, I would be lucky to complete three paintings in a year! Best of all, there aren't any onlookers! No one is there to watch or hear what I am doing aside from the deer, porcupines, raccoons, birds ... it is so liberating!
Fast forward travel South ... Now, we are at our little cabana, as I like to call it, in Florida's Nature Coast. It is a little larger than 144 square feet at a whopping 660. We will spend time here through May(!), and I'm getting good and settled in. There's been a lot of packing, moving, shuffling, sorting, storing these past couple years ... I'm ready for things to be in their place, a bit of routine and a little fun! We have neighbors, but it's a different, completely laid back pace. They don't give a hoot what I, nor anyone else, does. I walk everywhere because the weather, and folks, are usually pleasant.
The main living area of our little cabana - really it's all one needs. We actually have a separate bedroom off to the left.
The garden is a bit of work but fun ~ tropical vibes ~ believe me, I've learned not to over extend. It is manageable. Nature surrounds, after all it is the Nature Coast, so I don't feel the need to create a forest in my backyard which I think it what I was subconsciously attempting to do at the old house. The veggies are grown at the community garden and that helps. The fruit trees planted by the previous owner, which I intended to try to keep alive and thriving, are going to be replaced as they decline (from lack of special treatment) because I am a habitat/wildlife gardener and the trees are not natural in this environment. They require fertilizer and water and extra care. I've already replaced two, one already dead before me, with native trees to this environment; a live oak and a redbud. The live oak looks great! The redbud looks as if it is struggling a bit and I believe it is because our irrigation system was not working for much of the summer. Luckily there was ample rain. I will make sure to water it while I'm here until it gets established. I have other native trees in mind, too, such as Yaupon Holly and Wax Myrtle. Eventually I will replace the irrigation system with a soaker hose system like the one I placed in the back of our property from Gardeners Supply ~ so easy! Most importantly, did I mention that I am in no rush to "finish" the garden? It is a perpetual work in progress. Pictures to come!
So here I am, living the dream. The dream that took quite a few years to whittle down to, which sounds ironic because usually one builds up to a dream. I've downsized to a dream. Trading in the big house for two smaller ones, to live in only during the best of weather. It is like good design — pairing down to only the finer essentials.
I have an art show coming up in January at the local art center! I've already set up my work space so I can create some much needed new work for the show "Flora, Fauna, Fins & Feathers" which I've somewhat incorporated into my newly updated web site as you might have noticed.
My little corner studio space. Not the luxurious dedicated whole room, but quite comfortable and efficient.
I'll be painting and gardening as usual but with much more presence and focus. I'll have time to play creatively, truly enjoy the earth, er, sand, and being outdoors. I'll have time to work on my health and wellth. I try my best to eat and live Vegan. I enjoy preparing and cooking plant-based foods. I'm happy to answer any questions you might have about a Vegan lifestyle or plant-based eating ( ; by the way unless, of course, if you ask where I get my protein from.
Lunch! Spiralized carrot and purple cabbage salad with hemp seeds, golden raisins, cashews and tahini lemon dressing with a side of olive bread with sunflower artichoke spread purchased from the Hendersonville co-op on our travels.
Work willingly at whatever you do, as though you were working for the Lord rather than for people.
All quoted verse is from the Bible I am currently studying: The New Living Translation Life Application Study Bible, Third Edition