Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Going Off the Grid

I've already had notes from disappointed readers that I didn't write about my trip to Linda's house over the weekend.  My bad. 

Linda Terpstra and her husband are building a house in Oklahoma.  They are kind of in-between homes right now.  Linda has found a church she likes and thinks that might be a sign that she's settled but she hasn't taken that final step of finding a hairdresser.  I contend you haven't really moved until you change beauty shops.

They found land they liked a few years ago but it is so remote that there are no utilities.  No water, electricity, telephone or gas lines run out there in the wilderness. This didn't stop them.  Since they are building the house with their own hands they just built in solar panels while they were at it. The stove is propane.  The fridge draws very little electricity.  It doesn't even have alight bulb inside that comes on when you open the door.  They have a well with a generator to pump the water periodically.  They have a lot of windows.  And heat the house with a wood stove.  Linda says summer will be the acid test.  They have an window A/C unit but it draws a lot of electricity so they try not to use it.  Linda will only admit that she gets a little "grumpy" when she gets too hot.

Visiting the house is like being inside a housing exhibit at the Home and Garden Show.  It's also just about the most peaceful place I've ever been.

We checked out her garden and found a tiny but beautiful frog.

The green beans have been doing great, the tomatoes not so much.  The strawberries are so delicious I suspected she might be sneaking into the garden and injecting grains of sugar.  Asparagus season is over.  She has a bunch of other vegetables but not potatoes or onions.  She says the soil is too rocky for those kinds of vegetables.

The thing I wanted to see most was their new sawmill.  It's a portable thing you can hook up to your pickup and drive around but don't let the word "portable" make you think "wimpy."  This sucker is huge and will handle logs over 20 feet.  Linda and Denny are cutting all the cedars because they are trash trees to start with and useful only as lumber and also because they're going to use them for flooring on the deck and kitchen.  When I said they are building this house themselves I'm not kidding.

We went to the pond to feed the fish.  She has a huge Big Mouth Bass that has been eating all the catfish.  It turns out Bass are carnivores.  We took a walk in the woods.  Got in the car and drove around.

By now I was an expert at staying with Linda and was better at conserving electricity.  When darkness arrived we went to bed.  When the sun came up we woke.  I don't think we even used any candles. And she has found some of the most amazing gadgets that run off batteries. 

But the best part was also the all-too-brief three hours when my visit overlapped Melanie and Miatta's.  The minute they arrived on Friday afternoon we started talking like it was a limited time giveaway at Russell Stovers Chocolate factory. Before I had to leave and go home we had just enough time left to run by the Hateful Hussy restaurant in Talihena to get some Indian Tacos.  (Just like regular tacos but made with Indian Fry Bread.  This is Oklahoma, after all.)

I came home with four book suggestions and a soul that was four times lighter.  Good friends are like that.

Keep scrolling for today's original post. Now I have to get on with cleaning before the cleaning lady comes.

1 comment:

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