Thursday, April 14, 2011

Laughter is the sugar that makes the medicine go down!

We are a little unconventional around here.
If you haven't been reading long, you may not know that we live up a mountain in the far north of Idaho
where we bought a piece of land with nice southern exposure, trees, and a year-round creek.
And... a shack.
With no power or septic or running water.

That was a full three years ago, and at a time when we thought a summer retreat would be fun.
Since then, we decided we love it up here so much, we'd rather call this unusual place home.
From the beginning of this venture we have been making "improvements" of all kinds;
things like power we now have (in the form of generator, and solar battery), also light in our main living spaces
via gas lamps.  We have water running.  IN our house which means easy dish washing, hot showers and baths,
laundry in a real-to-goodness washing machine - the kind you use at YOUR house,
not a tin wash board in a galvanized tub!
But even our water is something special - a gravity-fed affair from a tank at the top of our hill
which is filled by the excess overflow of an artesian well further up.

If you're thinking of going "alternative" whether from a dream, desperation, or illness (just kidding!),
I'd suggest starting from nothing because it's easy to get inventive when you have nothing!
There are a few things I would look on as absolutely essential to a crazy venture such as we have undertaken.

1) A dream and an ability to dream.
    If you don't own a vision and aren't passionate about it, it probably won't survive long.

2) A willingness to not only accept the parts that are uncomfortable but embrace them.
    They are the things that build character, and the things that make your story your own.

3) A love for living!
    The experience being something to enjoy and savor.  Blessings and "haves" counted,
    "have-nots" disregarded as unnecessary to happiness.

4) A sense of humor.
    I can't put enough emphasis on this!  You HAVE to be able to laugh at yourself,
    your failures, and the many MANY strange things you are bound to encounter.

There's more of course, like a good shovel and plenty of toilet paper(!)
But seriously, most the world doesn't live like modern America, so remembering that is helpful at times.
We like the pace that comes with this way of living.
At times we are surprised to find we miss some of those things that were "hard" once we've "improved".
We found that we love candles for lighting, coffee reheated over a wood stove, reasons for having to go outside all seasons and times of the day.
We laugh at each other wearing headlamps around like  fashion accessories.

We laugh a lot actually, which brings me back to the humor thing again; this is a sign I made for our
"toilet" room.  The one tiny room pictured above - a custom built composting toilet built attached to
our house but just outside the back door.
Being unconventional is very common up here - in fact, our brand is pretty decadent - but there are those
who visit us from modern, conventional, standardized, unimaginative America.
We have to prep them a little bit :-)
We don't call the toilet a "bathroom" but tell people to expect something more like a pit toilet, and they
are pleasantly surprised when they don't find a smelly outhouse in the woods.
(I'm sorry friends, but a lot of our humor is supplied by you!)

Our throne room, while usable, is still a work in progress, but there are a few uh, rules necessary to consider.
AJ has been wanting a kind and gentle warning, so on a day when I got a wild hair and found some of my
"fun" (albeit somewhat vulgar), this is what I came up with ;-)

So, just a little background to help you appreciate why you should grin - even a tiny bit - at this
unorthodox art project.
It may be mountain folk humor, but I had hoped it wouldn't be exclusively limited to folks with our illness ;-)


Cinnamon said...

Oh my goodness! Thank you for the much needed laughter tonight. Is there another little hill nearby, we'll move :-) Wouldn't *that* be fun!!

We are hoping to rent a little cabin in the woods when my handsome soldier returns. A nice quiet one ♥

We lived "rough" like you when we lived in California. My husband was a general contractor there and we started building our home from the ground up. 4 yrs of living in an 8x25 trailer (yicky smelly sewer to dump) and we had 8 children at the time :-0 Cozy didn't even come close to describing how snug we were.

The Lord used that time to change our entire lives.

I like your sign. That would make my husband smile too.

Hope you are feeling, good? Will you be having the baby at home or birthing center? I'm guessing home birth.

Loved your long comment. Thank you~


Courtney said...

BwaaHaHa I absolutely LOVE your sign! It made my day :D I love you my friend and it was so good to talk to you today.

Jess said...

Love it!

Julze said...

hahahaha...sooo funny! I love your sense of humor but mostly your sense of adventure!

I hope one day to have a little home in the woods too....complete with a toilet system like yours :-)

Rachel said...

Just came over here and was chuckling throughout your post. I love your words of wisdom about having a sense of humor -- well said!

I'm off to go read more. I've been blessed already. :)


Sally said...

You know Ana, I think you could sell about a million of these funny signs. Perhaps you could get AJ to help produce a few and put them up for sale online--I'll bet they would go like hotcakes. Sometimes "reality" art sells even better than fine art--after all, who doesn't need a good laugh?
m said...


SarahS said...