Sunday, July 12, 2009

Community Updates

There are many, many things happening at once here at Koinonia Community. The garden is in full swing, so much weeding, harvesting, and canning has been underway. This is the largest garden we have ever undertaken, and we have learned so much this first year of gardening at this beautiful place. This is also the first year that we have undertaken gardening since committing to not using pesticides. Whew, what a learning experience. I am developing an intense hatred for squash bugs. I have located some diatomaceous earth though, so they just may be wiped out soon, even if it is too late to rescue a huge portion of our squash plants.

We are still living in the camper. Harvesting and canning is quite a challenge when you have a limited water source and limited space. We have been collecting cucumbers and beans and storing them in a plug-in cooler out in the barn until I gather enough to haul, along with my canning supplies to my mom's house to take over her kitchen. We have pickled several batches so far. My parents have been so supportive and helpful through all of this experience. My in-laws surprised me last week with a pressure canner. (See how spoiled I am!) Yesterday I canned my first batch of green beans in it. I say I, but truly my husband was an enormous help. We have enjoyed working together on this year's canning and pickling.

We have been blessed with more animals. Two of our goats had babies. Snow had one adorable little girl, and Jane had a boy and a girl. One of our cats had four kittens. We have new ducks, more chickens, and two new horses. We have a donkey coming our way once he is weaned...maybe later this month. We are enjoying them all so much.

We are scheduled to close on our building loan tomorrow. I am trying to keep my cool though since we have been scheduled to close before, and errors in paperwork caused delays. The incredible people who are building our house have gone ahead and started the grading and footings. It is so awesome to witness people stepping out on faith. I am excited to see progress, but a little frightened of forgetting all I have learned along this incredible journey within the confines of a comfortable life.

It has been 14 months since we closed on the selling of our previous house. We spent the first six months living with a friend. We started out as near strangers, but became more like family as the six months progressed. We have been in this camper for nearly eight months now. It has been a struggle and a blessing at the same time. It is a struggle because we are living very primitively by American society's standards. Our family of four is living in a little over 200 square feet. We still don't have running water. We haul it in by cooler loads. We heat it in a pot on the stove top. We haul water to our several dozen animals by the bucket full. Darrell spends alot of time filling up buckets of water at work. We recently acquired a large tank for him to put on the back of the truck to fill. It has been a serious blessing.

We do use an outhouse most of the time. We do have a toilet in the camper, but with no septic system...what goes in must be taken out. Anything in the tank must be removed by the 5 gallon bucketful as well. Additionally, as hot as it is outside, it smells up the camper in a couple of days if you use it.

We are still going to my mom's house or friend's house to shower and do laundry. The shower is probably the biggest struggle we face. It is hard to work outside all day in the heat, and try to sponge off with a small amount of water. I love my showers, and I love being clean. And it really takes quite a bit of time to pack up a shower bag and shower at someone else's house. And it is never first thing in the morning or just before bed as I was previously spoiled to be able to do to my heart's content.

But we aren't suffering by any means. We work hard, but live quite comfortably. We even have air conditioning in the camper. We all sleep on beds. That is more than many people have. We have food. We have family. When it rains or is too hot, we hang out and watch a movie together.

What a blessing this whole experience has been. We have become closer as a family. We have truly been focused on what is necessary and have banded together to get things accomplished. We have grown in our faith immensely. We know we are doing what God has intended for us. We knew we were giving up comfort and security but did it anyways out of obedience, trusting God to meet our needs. And He has. I have to say there is no greater comfort than to KNOW you are within the will of God. No doubts!

I assure you that when you step out on faith and depend fully on God to meet your needs, you have no choice but to see Him working in your life. For example, we have spoken with person after person who have seen their gardens perish this year due to lack of rain. They have told us that they watered and watered it, but it just isn't the same as rainwater. We don't have a way to water our garden, except for the occasional hauled 5 gallon bucket of gray water. But our garden has flourished. We have harvested hundreds of cucumbers. I keep thinking the plants are dying, then I'll check the next morning and find more than forty beautiful cucumbers. We've had more than enough to share. Only God is capable of making that happen.

Oh yeah, and we are getting a neighbor here in the community. Seems we have made camper living sound SO appealing that someone else wants to give it a try. But more on that in the next post.

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