Dream home stories

Dream home and small things

Small things make a big difference. When I wrote the first post of the dream home series we had a plan to move within June but as we all know – human makes plans, and God laughs. At the beginning of June, my better half had an accident resulting in his right hand being temporarily unusable. Since we needed several heavy works to be done before the move – it got postponed.

I am no princess but the limits of my lack of height and strength make some jobs impossible or too hard for me. I know we have gender equality and everything but I refuse to endanger myself or my health if there isn’t an immediate need. So we rearranged our plans to give him healing time. He’s better now, not fully recovered yet but can use his both arms. At least we got a container now providing us a place to spend the night, which is huge because instead of driving on and off on weekends, we can stay there and don’t have to keep an eye on the time. Small things but that saved 2 hours of drives (back and forth) makes a huge difference.

Front yard fate

So our front yard is now looking like a real front yard! There is even enough room to turn a car around. It’s not perfect, but since our borehole with handpump is there and it needs to be dug up I have no point in creating flowerbeds there yet. Maybe next year. The dig-up is necessary because the insulation in the well is old and not very weatherproof. We want to add an electrical water pump there to get running water, so we are planning to create a small well-house around it to keep it sheltered and prevent pipes from freezing in the winter.

Also since we don’t know the condition of the plumbing – we need to dig up the route and check if plumming is ok before sending water to the house. So at the moment, we have a pretty front yard, but I think by the end of the summer it will be mostly dug up. Only for a better future.

Discovering camping shower

So no running water means – yes, we have only a dry toilet and no shower/bath option in the house. We got a handwashing unit there which is also great for washing dishes and quick rinsing. But not very convenient, so when our plans were changed I searched online for the option to create a temporary shower option until we can get a permanent one. And found several camp showers.

They seemed weird but interesting and not very expensive. The one we choose has a capacity of 20L and several hanging options. And the main thing – it works! Of course, nothing beats actual running warm water, but after several hours of physical work under the sun – when sweaty and dirty from the soil, grease, and all kinds of things it is really a joy to wash up even with a bit too cold water. Small things mean so much! After a few days in a row in the dream home wilderness, there is a new kind of appreciation for the small things – running water, a warm toilet and a warm bath feels like luxury!

Veggies – growing and blooming

The veggie garden I started last month has been surprisingly productive and I love checking in on how they are growing. Sometimes I feel like a Wall-E hovering over them in amazement that they actually grow and I made it happen. Since we didn’t have time to fix the greenhouse there and I knew in the spring that we don’t have the time nor the place for a new one I searched for cucumbers and tomatoes which are able to grow on open land.

It seems strange, since I was a kid I have always seen them only in greenhouses. But they do grow! And my cucumbers are blooming now! They made a great leap of growth after they got outside. Same for tomatoes, but they aren’t blooming yet – so I am waiting. Impatiently.

This land has been on its own for years which means weed has spread all over and taken over everything. And I wasn’t thorough enough removing roots, so I have joked several times that all those weeding jobs I avoided as a kid – I have to now pay back with an interest. Sometimes it almost makes me feel hopeless when I clean all veggie beds before leaving and when returning a few days later it looks like nobody has ever-ever removed weed from there.

I already have harvested my first radishes and salad. And they taste really good! Can’t wait for my beetroots and potatoes! The first potatoes plant is starting to bloom! So fingers crossed. Actually, there are several things I have learned and relearned about gardening so stay tuned for my gardening adventure post!

Hiccups with a lawn trimmer

When we bought the lawn trimmer it came with safety harnesses but unfortunately, the stitches weren’t very good so it broke after 3-4 times. They aren’t very expensive so we thought we will buy new ones next time we are in town. But we always forgot until we were back at dream home and it was too late. The nearest bigger town is about 40 km, so it would take too much time to go back and forth just for that. The trip would cost more than the harness, especially with current fuel prices. Where can I learn how to teleport?

So we adapted and used it without harnesses – just holding it up with our hands and since my bicepses and tricepses are a bit weak – I leaned it against my hip. Kind of like carrying a baby on the hip. Job got done, but since it was heavy my max time was about 1,5 hours in a row – after that, I need a long break. This resulted that we were switching trimming times and front and back took time about 2 days straight with 2 people. Time-consuming!

Starting a fight with knotweed

We have a lot of knotweeds, which turns out are illegal in Estonia. Oops. So one weekend I decided to cut it down. One day and our backyard seemed twice as big after that. Knotweed was about 1,5-2 meters tall and thick like a forestlike wall at the end of our veggie garden. At first, I thought it will be an easy task with a bush cutter blade but run into an unexpected problem to which I couldn’t find a good solution. Even now when thinking back.

The knotweed is pretty thick from the bottom, so the only option was switching to a bush cutter blade to cut them but when they were cut – they didn’t fall down but stayed up leaning against each other on top of the blade and with spinning got stuck between the blade and safeguard. Annoying. So I tried to cut them and move the blade out of the way as fast as I could. Sometimes it worked, sometimes not.

The first battle ended in a tie

The only thing I could think of is that when they regrow – we need to cut them as early as possible. Way before the sprint to over a meter height. All this ground needs to be dug up and roots removed – burned in hopes of getting rid of it. There are some poisons that should help, but we are not really sure about using poison. Because our veggies are close by and this is the place where our veggie garden will be expanding. So poison doesn’t sound good.

This cutting day ended up draining my hands so in the evening I had to hold my cup of coffee with two hands. The wrists were so weak my hand couldn’t hold it. And it was just the beginning. The next day they started to hurt so the following work week I tied my right wrist up with an elastic bandage to give it some rest and support. At least it did the trick and I remembered that we need a new harness, so before heading back we finally got one. It was before a weekend I spent alone there because my better half had other responsibilities to attend to. When arriving and reviewing the lawn (weed) growth I thought it will be the only thing I have time to do in those 2 days.

Self-care – relax and proper safety gear

I got there pretty late on Friday so I just chilled and relaxed for the evening while cleaning veggies and watering them. Preparing myself for the hard work the next day. On Saturday morning I filled up the trimmer tank, took a new safety harness, and started with the front yard. The difference right gear makes! I was basically walking around the yard and when unexpectedly trimmer stopped after running out of fuel I noticed that I had managed to cover twice the ground than before with one tank. And my hands weren’t hurting!

So I filled up the tank again and continued. Until it stopped again. So by the evening I looked around and was amazed. The land we usually covered with two people and two days was with half a day by me. And still, my hands weren’t hurting, this time my feet were more tired, but with about 25k steps – they were supposed to be tired. All it took was a harness. And we had thought that with so much ground – we need another trimmer. Not anymore. At least not right away.

My last task for this weekend was digging up summer flower beds – tulips and daffodils will be on the way to the future works with well and the house. But I don’t want to give up on them, so I dug up all the flower bulbs to dry up and replant them later in a safer place. I got 3 full jars of bulbs from the first flowerbed! I got 2 smaller ones more to dig up and save. And then I have to learn and find out how big flower beds I am gonna need for them. So if you know good gardening blogs with content for newbie gardeners – share the links!

Suprise visitor from the wilderness

The next day since I was SO much ahead of my planned tasks I decided to enjoy myself for a while. So I prepped my breakfast with morning coffee and headed to the hammock. Enjoyed the warm breeze under the apple trees with birds singing around me. Observed them as they flew above when I suddenly heard a weird cracking sound. The sound dried-up knotweed makes when breaking. But I was supposed to be the only one here and from that side, we don’t have neighbors – only forrest. I slowly turned my head.

Bambi! Walking and snacking on our willow trees. Just about 3 meters from me, a small baby deer. I am used to seeing them but mostly they hop over the road when I am driving. So I have never seen wild deer up so close. For a moment we just stared at each other. Guess we both surprised each other. Then I remembered – I had my phone and tried to move as little as possible – not wanting to frighten Bambi. I got pictures! And since it was calm I even got a small video before Bambi took off.

Step into the modern world

Since our dream home is alone for long periods of time and probably will be also in the future unless my dream of becoming a full-time blogger comes true and I can work from home. You can help me one step closer to that with a cup of coffee.

Both of us work in the security world so it’s only logical for us that our dream home has video surveillance. We installed our cameras and when it was up and running it was time for the next step – we needed permanent internet to our dream home to be able to check the cameras when we are away.

Unexpected battle for the internet

We have 2 major operators whose service area we are so we took quotations from both and got the first bad surprise.

The first one told us that the only way to get internet there is to book a technician and the waiting list is about 3 weeks. We tried to explain that we don’t need one – we can install it ourselves. Firstly there isn’t anything hard about it anyways and since I worked as a low-voltage technician for a decade – I have done it way too many times and with way harder setups. But they weren’t budging. So we booked the time and right after that called the other company and checked with them. Because we weren’t really happy about waiting for several weeks and paying for something that can be done by ourselves.

The second one was kinder. They were willing to ship devices by courier and the wait was 2 business days and no requirements. There was an option to order technicians but it wasn’t mandatory. So we got it and in about 30 minutes the internet was up and running. Now came the interesting part – setting up and testing online access to our video server. This took more time and I was about to quit when I finally got pictures on my phone app. YEY!

Demolishing manpower

As I mentioned before – I am short and not the strongest one, so when the time came to demolish an old and a bit sunken shed we need help. So we reached out to my partner’s brother and he came with the family. And the progress of demolishing and cleaning big and heavy construction parts is kind of breathtaking when there is 3 full-grown man working together. The shed was gone within a few hours! And our backyard is bigger once more.

There is so much space!

Estonian weather tends to be moodier than a teenage girl, so without any warning, we got a downpour, but since men were on the roll – they headed inside the house and cleaned out all the big and heavy stuff – furniture, rugs, etc. The previous owners didn’t clean up the place so it got everything. Under a pile of dust and spiderwebs and all that comes along with the house sitting by itself. And after the rain stopped, they continued with the shed.

Taken for granted

So with half a day, we got so much further than we even dreamt! We need to clean up a bit more and then we have a temporary space to store the stuff that won’t fit into to container with us and what isn’t needed on a daily bases. This cleanup also gets us a step closer to fixing up the inside – the next steps are to install lights in the house so we wouldn’t need to move around with flashlights and headlamps when it gets darker.

Yes, we got an electrical panel installed but we only added a power socket so we can use electrical power tools and charges them. The light part slipped our mind 🙂 Just another small thing that is taken for granted.

What’s next?

In the next steps, we need light for the temporary toilet and decide where and how we create the first running water option because although we can wash with a camp shower or bucket. There are way too many clothes to wash by hand. One outbuilding we plan to turn into a sauna – so the easiest would be fitting a washer machine corner there. It’s also closest to the well so we would need to dig less. For now. But could we fit it there?

One more important step to make is testing our water. In the beginning, it was very rusty and dirty – it has been unused for so long. But we have pumped it to water plants, wash things, us and dishes. The only thing we haven’t dared yet is to drink it – so we always bring drinking and food and water with us in big bottles. Water from the well looks now pretty clear and probably is fine – there aren’t any factories or cemeteries or something like that close by so it should be good. But we are being careful just in case. I need to contact the health board and get samples of the water for them.

If I am not here

So I am off to Pinterest drowning myself in ideas of how to use small spaces and all kinds of DIY tips – I will be saving interesting thoughts to one of my boards so if you need some inspiration follow me.

Small bits of progress teaser for the next post will be released on Twitter – so don’t miss out. And I am working on my Instagram sharing skills also.

This post turned out longer than I expected so applause to everyone who reached the end! Thank you for reading and if you subscribe to my newsletter (on the sidebar 😉 ) – you will not miss out on new posts!

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