Times Like This aka Little House on the Prairie

  • “I am definitely going to take a course on time management… just as soon as I can work it into my schedule.” – Louis E. Boone
  • A stitch in time saves nine.
  • Time waits for no one.
  • There’s no turning back the clock. (although if I could go back to the silence of January, I might.)
  • Time is what prevents everything from happening at once. ~John Archibald Wheeler (ah, now here’s a particular favorite! except it may not be entirely true.)

20140710_130801Mid-week, I was caught mid-way between screaming overwhelm and bleak depression, trapped by everything-happening-at-once. Building a home, even an add-on to an old structure that’s been on the farm for forty years, has more details than I could even imagine.

The Little House, as we call it, Dad-built in the early 80’s as an addition to the double wide mobile home he’d bought for Mom and after we’d torn down the old house which set right about where this addition is. Then they moved to town and sold the mobile home. And then they both died. But I’d moved to Kansas. The Little House has been my writing room for years when Cliff and I went up to the farm, staying in the old camper whose nose you see on the left in decidedly poor condition. It was already old when we bought it. That small piece of camper tells little of the story  — the leaks, the held-together-with-duct-tape ceiling, the dying air conditioner. We’ve been going up there and staying in the camper for ten years after I cleaned out dead birds and pack rat nests from the Little House. Now the Little House is getting an 8 foot extension for a bathroom and an office overlooking the prairie and a corner kitchen inside the old structure. It’s a process, as they say.

But time!!! What a monster it is. It took months last fall to get find the contractor (he’s great – a friend of the plumber who put in the rural water lines), get the okay from the rest of the LLC members, get the permits (we’re doing gray lines and composting toilet), and take a loan out with the bank in town.

But once it got started, the guys went like a whirlwind. Above is what it looked like when we got there Thursday noon; this is what it looked like by Friday afternoon: the roof finished and the siding done except for where they are finishing up building the front deck. (That’s the old chicken house in the background.. the one I had to clean waaaaaayyyy to many times. It needs tearing down but I’ll think about that tomorrow….said in my best Scarlett O’Hara voice.)

thursIn the meantime…..yep, there’s that time again, I’d had a huge glitch at the bank that necessitated finding MORE papers and another conversation with the LLC members to sign MORE papers (which of course was crazy-making since construction had already begun), and finding my cousin to see if he could pick up a range in Beatrice (30 miles north of farm) and finding said range and ordering it; and making a list of all the other things we needed; and and and. But by then I was out of melt-down mode and into simply doing.

Probably the only way, really, to deal with chaos. Just do.

So here’s another old proverb for you: a woman’s work is never done. But then, as you can see….neither is a man’s.



6 thoughts on “Times Like This aka Little House on the Prairie

    1. Thankfully I didn’t have to get any permits…the builders did that. All I had to do was convince the new county sanitation inspector that instead of looking for rules that ALLOWED a composting toilet (instead of a septic tank) to look for rules against them. She found none. This last trip, it was such a delight and joy to open the door, turn on the light, turn on the heater, plug in the composter, turn the water shut off valve in the basement, and unpack. Easy. No critters. No mess.

  1. I stopped by earlier, and got so interested in everything that was going on, I forgot to leave a comment. Your little house on the prairie reference got to me. My fourth grade teacher read that book aloud to us, and then the other books in the series. I still think of it affectionately.

    And I do love your little house. It’s a lot of work, but I also was reminded of this:

    “There is some of the same fitness in a man’s building his own house that there is in a bird’s building its own nest. Who knows but if men constructed their dwellings with their own hands, and provided food for themselves and families simply and honestly enough, the poetic faculty would be universally developed, as birds universally sing when they are so engaged? But alas! we do like cowbirds and cuckoos, which lay their eggs in nests which other birds have built, and cheer no traveller with their chattering and unmusical notes. Shall we forever resign the pleasure of construction to the carpenter?”
    – Henry David Thoreau, Walden

    1. Thank you! I love it too – and I love this Thoreau quote. Although I must say, I’m not exactly “building” it. But maybe I can be excused for that since Thoreau didn’t have to deal with permits and gray water lines in the right place and setting up a composting toilet! The roof was a little too much for me too. But I am so delighted in the work that’s being done. I do things like say “here” or earlier this week, cleaned out the basement so the plumber could install the composter. Now that was nasty. But it’s done. But in another way, I really am building it. In my next post (hopefully tomorrow or Saturday) I’m going to write about how I “built” this in my dreams and meditations. Now it’s concrete.

  2. Glad to see the improvements! My own home has been a work-in-progress for six years now; I gutted it to four outer walls and worked from there. Here’s hoping it brings you many future years of happiness!

    1. Thanks so much for reading, Jay. This is more a 40 years in progress thing!! All the years I lived everywhere else, I kept dreaming of a home on the farm. And it’s about to happen. Whew!! Never having built a home before, I didn’t realize what a LOT of work it is just in the deciding, let alone the building. Good on ya for building your own. Hopefully, I’ll be able to sit and stare out the window at the prairie the first week of August and get some writing done there.

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