DON’T FEED STRAY ANIMALS

The Seller and I finally closed on the property, taking 4 closing dates and 2 extra signing days to finalize it. She left me with about two dozen stray cats to deal with. Feeding strays is actually discouraged among animal rights activists and rescuers.

Note: FEEDING STRAYS WITHOUT TRAPPING/SPAYING-NEUTERING/VETTING ONLY CREATES MORE STRAYS, WHICH ONLY CREATES MORE STRAYS, and the nightmare continues unabated. STOP IT. You’re not solving any problem; you are creating horrific problems for everyone, including the cats.

Yesterday I arrived at the property, which I don’t yet live on because it’s not yet livable (in my picky opinion) and found a tiny dead kitten. I was outraged because this was completely preventable. I’m already trying to clean all the cigarette tar from the carpets and off the walls and now have a yellowed ceiling to deal with – and I find a dead kitten too beautiful and too innocent for this world it was born into. A cruel rip from the fabric of that idyllic land, one that was harsh and cat-overcrowded. I feel forced to continue feeding the cats because there are so many that would starve if I didn’t.

Last night we had our first real freeze. Tonight the temps will drop even lower. I created two makeshift shelters on the front porch where they hang out, using the nasty cabinets my bro-in-law tore out of the nasty kitchen, plus the dropcloths we’d been using to paint. Then I found some quilt batting I didn’t even know I had (queue the book I’m writing about manifesting exactly what we need exactly when we need it) … (or wait for the straight-to-video movie) so the batting became their bedding. Before I left last night, I saw that several of the kittens claimed the spaces. That helped usher up some happiness about having to improvise.

The move date was postponed about three weeks, giving me some time to get the place fixed up and the cat population (hopefully) taken down a bit. I am calling rescue groups, but haven’t found the feral cat or barn cat group(s) yet. Still searching. They’ve GOT to be out there somewhere…

pic of too many cats
The Kitten Farm

To Do or Not To Do a To-Do (list)

Being a bit ADD  but having OCD tendencies, I make lists. I’ve always made lists. But I now hear people say that having a To-Do list is counterproductive.

Really? Because it’s always helped me remember what I NEED to do while my mind can focus on what I truly WANT to do (which is A LOT.) So I make my lists and I cross out the tasks I’ve done. It’s so simple and so effective that all the recent ruckus about To-Do lists being ineffective is rendered completely bogus here in StellaCasa. Who would tell anyone not to make lists if that’s how they keep their minds clear enough to really enjoy their time? I’m here to untell that story.

Note: Time is our greatest asset. It’s the gift we can give, but also the thing we can steal from others, that can never be replaced. Use your own time as wisely as you can (not always possible) while respecting the time that others give to us (nearly always possible.) Be cool people. Don’t take someone’s time if you’re not willing to give something of equal value in return.

So back to lists… mine is (are; I might have several) ongoing. Like grocery lists. They allow me to get in and get out of the stores in a flash rather than dicking around, looking for what I might want rather than what I know I need. Anything I didn’t get is moved to the next fresh grocery list. And I save a ton of money making grocery lists. Those who know I’m becoming a Frugal Queen understand this. Of those people, I’ve been asked a couple of times to help them with their finances so, in the true (Benjamin Franklin) spirit of pouring our purse into our heads, I intend to take a course in Financial Coaching next Spring. Next Spring because I have yet to find the time to finish the online business course I signed on for last Spring. One thing we can’t actually borrow is time…. “hey, can ya spot me a little time? I seem to be coming up short”

Each list I make may not be done all in one day – or one week – so, like on the grocery lists, I migrate the “undones” to a new list and jot down all the fresh, current tasks needing done. IE: weed/edge my little RV yard so my bro-in-law doesn’t freak; continue renovating/priming/painting/caulking; commence with scraping off the massive side decals from the windows, where they should’ve been scraped off at the factory; re-pack anything I won’t be using in the next month so the impending move will be easier; write that book; explode previous website style sheets (css) and cross-reference the corresponding HTML; find the *Land Kraken family hiding in the walls; et cetera.

Then, after each has been completed, I cross it off and it’s gone and doesn’t move to the next day’s list, like the undones will be. (Or next week’s list, if I’m having a lazy week. But having a lazy week doesn’t preclude my actually doing a few tasks AND moving the undones to a new list.) It’s all so highly effective for me.

So list on, sweet baby loves. It’s the lists that get us through our mind-muck.

photo of a mouse
*Actual photo of a Land Kraken
by Yunu Dinata from Unsplash

 

Paradise Farm, the Continuing Saga of Closing…

photo of farmhouse surrounded by pastures
This is not my beautiful (farm)house
Excellent photo of someone else’s farmhouse by Fritz Bielmeier on Unsplash

Update October 11, 2019
The rescheduled closing for today (Friday) is rescheduled for next Friday.
More updates as they occur.
This eventual Artist’s Retreat WILL HAPPEN…. but patience is the constant while the dream is the reality.

~~~

Oh, Dear Reader, how life loves to trip us up while we’re dancing so divinely. That’s because life can be an asshole.

Spoiler alert: We STILL haven’t closed….

Despite having planned to close on the new property which didn’t happen, and the title company being paid to get their affairs in order, new surprises are popping up all over like pimples on the pubescent.  It seems the house, whose title is already in question, is also sitting about two feet on the property next door…. for FORTY YEARS. Really? And now is when we’re hearing about it??? Looks like the title company who closed on that deal has some splainin to do.

We’ve had the neighbors who own that slice of land (approximately .099 acres) deed us the slice. All the while, another gigantic issue is awakening, one that should’ve been taken care of many years ago…. but who knew.

WHO’S RUNNING THIS SHOW? How’d the property get closed upon back in the day, when the house that straddles the property line was only half its current age? And where’s its title? Who’s butt do I need to chew to get this done?

All these tiny glitches could blossom into major malfunctions so I’m keeping the faith and positivity up as much as I can. Stay busy, stay cool, and it all works out.

I’m manufacturing cool like this dog is cool

Photo by Josh Rakower on Unsplash
Photo of a coolcat dog by Josh Rakower on Unsplash

 

Capturing Time

We’re in some shit on this over-tapped planet and it’ll only get deeper if we don’t all begin curbing our massive consumption. Repeating myself (as I’ll do a gadrillion times before I’m done) moving here has changed me. I’ve always been a recycler, upcycler, kitchen and garden waste composter, and general conservationist, but these are the times that try our souls. We are IN the very thing that was predicted toward the last decades of the 20th century – we are living within the massive destruction, and eventual extinction, of the planet. And not enough is being done about it.

In addition to researching solar for the RV, I’m beginning to study all things sustainable for when I move out of here and into another place I might finally call ‘Home’ and, dammit, I am learning a LOT. For one: most people who’ve gone sustainable-living say they wished they’d done it sooner. IT’S COMPLICATED, yes but, once done, it’s NOT complicated. It’s also doable on many scales, my latest being living closer to the Earth, feeling the ground beneath me, having that smaller “footprint” and leaving things better than I found them.

Isn’t that the way it always should be?

I’m in contract to buy a place = 5 acres of land with an older home placed around the early eighties. I want to see the final deed, see how it all began and who owned it before. A Realtor recently told me that most title searches can go back as far as the very beginnings, in the 1800s when land in Texas was traded or purchased from either indigenous people or the Spanish settlers (so all you anti-immigration freaks – guess again. WE are the immigrants.)

I won’t take Stella the RV to the new property because I’m afraid she’d belly out on the rough roads leading to it, opting to either lease her out to vacationers or sell her. That makes me really sad and I hope I get to keep her. I love her. But I will build. Small housing, perhaps shed-to-house conversions, doing it right and eliminating all the crappy materials like chip wood, MDF board, PVC and plastics of any kind, and managing the project myself so it’s done right. Living here I realized early on that I don’t need much space. I don’t even need my antiques and those unnecessary tchotchkes. Now the necessary tchotchkes I will keep! making them keepsakes. For the sake of keeping. So I can always remember who gave them to me and wish their souls well on their own journeys….

But I digress like a madwoman, and my reality is: The work is about to begin. I’ve been in a holding pattern for 5 months now, diligently working on the RV, working on finding a place to move to, working on rebuilding family relationships, but the real work awaits me in the form of building a Life. We’re in the options period where we check out everything to ensure it is sound and livable, safe and doable.

As usual, I’ll keep you posted.

photo of a country road surrounded by trees
House Hunting, always a nice drive out here…

Why Rain Reminds Me of Zombies

apocalyptic photo of parched earth by Daniil Silantev on Unsplash
Apocalyptic photo of parched earth by Daniil Silantev on Unsplash

Sitting here in the RV with the (extremely loud) A/C going because it’s about a zillion degrees outside, I hear these small popping sounds. Of course I panic that it might be the A/C breaking down, then look around and figure it’s my dog clicking her teeth in her sleep – which it isn’t, so I get up and walk around, listening more closely as it becomes more prevalent…. it’s rain!!!!!

The ground outside is parched and dry, crunchy underfoot after a couple of weeks of hot, arid weather. At last, a little rain. I fear it’s very little, though. It’s already stopped after only a few moments but the dark cloud is giving some much needed shade on this old girl Stella — the RV, not me, altho I am a bit of an old girl now.

Working on work, reformatting older website code that is obsolete to follow a more semantic style, sweating in the heat, wishing I could put an RV-port (like a really tall carport) over Stella, when it suddenly occurred to me that I’m slowly preparing for the Zombie Apocalypse. (… Oh, you too, huh? Cool.) Because when SHTF, all good people need to band together and get right. We’ll need to have shelter and rainwater capture systems in place, solar powered generators and high walls, we’ll need shotguns and flare guns, crossbows and pistols and rifles, we’ll need gas cans for when we find abandoned vehicles that might need gas, and we’ll need to map out all the places that will still have gas, using our GPS search now (Hey Google, where’s the closest gas station?) then transcribing it to actual PAPER so that we can use the paper maps when our cell phones die. Because lord knows ya can’t find a decent’recent map anymore…

So here’s the deal on my quest for true frugality, the one that will take me into the next two decades without having to eat the paint off the walls: Those who can cut loose of and aren’t dependent on civilization’s commonly used conveniences – like electricity, city water, internet – will be the survivors. Ya gotta be creative, think ahead, make some slightly uncomfortable changes. Take for instance, RIGHT THE HELL NOW: I’m in WordPress typing this out when I lose my already-shitty connection to Hughes net crapola internet service. My dish that is supposed to receive the signal and get my ass up and running failed, maybe due to the rain clouds, maybe due to them being the shittiest internet service ever on the face of the planet, but it’s gone and I cannot even save a WordPress draft version of this. So I go semi-analog and copy/paste it into a local text document so I don’t lose my thoughts or lose my mind.

And right after ^ that thought ^ – BAM – the electricity goes out. Bring on the Zombie apocalypse. Anyone up for helping me build a fortress?

cryptic photo of a being behind a door in an old asylum in Berlin by Nathan Wright on Unsplash
cryptic photo of a being behind a door in an old asylum in Berlin by Nathan Wright on Unsplash

Why Rain Reminds Me of The Walking Dead

Changing Lanes

photo of landscape

The full-on intention of my writings began as a chronicle of my RV adventure, having moved from a 4 bedroom 2,240 square foot house to a 360+/- square foot 5th Wheel, and onto my sister’s property, while I search for a new place to call home.

But what’s happening in my life is far more than just that – I’ve done a 180 in so many ways that it’s been hard to contain it all. Hence, my lack of blogging and cohesion in reference to this adventure. But that’s okay. I can afford to vacillate, to switch gears, to move about the cabin and to, of course, change my mind.

I’m now following a ‘Frugality Challenge’ brought to me by the incredibly entertaining and engaging FI blog of The Frugalwoods until the end of the month and, not only has it changed my thoughts about money, it has changed me. I’ve always been frugal, saving what I can over the years, so I was interested to learn more ways to sock away more money, but deep down it is transforming me. I’ve been interested in the FIRE movement for awhile now but hadn’t put much merit in it…. until a couple of months after I moved here. THEN it all began to hit me.

I’m figuring out ways to save money, sure, but also in my search for property I am deciding on how much land (if I get acreage) and if I will get a conventional site-built house, a manufactured home, a container house – built in southeast Texas (Houston’ish!), a lake house, or maybe build one myself as I had planned on doing when I owned property in Washington County.

The sky’s the limit and my imagination can run pretty wild with such options. Stay tuned, there will be more organization here and more on how this journey will take shape soon.
Oh, and Stella the RV rig is still getting her beauty parlor treatment as the days go by. More on that, too. Here’s a little snippet of that as I continue to paint these walls

 

My favorite cow next door is marked for death so it makes me terribly sad
photo of a white cow in a pasture
She adores my white pup… maybe she thinks it’s one of her people