My Journey To Self-Reliance

My Journey To Self-Reliance

Postby Watchman » 09 Apr 2016, 03:35

This is actually fern's journey to self-reliance. Future chapters will be right here. When the book is done, we'll convert it to a PDF file and add it to the Lost Library. Chapter 1 follows.
"The prudent see danger and take refuge, but the simple keep going and pay the penalty." - Proverbs 22:3
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Chapter 1 - The True Beginning

Postby Watchman » 09 Apr 2016, 03:41

Chapter 1 - The True Beginning

It really all began with my earliest memories. They are not good memories since my parents were fighting horribly in most of them and i was crying but the outcome was their divorce and i was able to spend most of my very early years and later summers and holidays at my gramma and grampas home in woods of north central pa.

My best memories always centered around their home. It was the best home i ever knew! It really wasn't what people would call a home today since it was mostly a very rustic cabin grampa cobbled together in the woods of the Appalachia along a creek...or so i thought. It was many years before i realized that creek was the head of the Genesee river, one of the few rivers that flow north.

I can still feel the warmth and hear the crackle of the wood stove that sat in the center of the little home. I still can envision how to walk so as not to step on the creaky floor boards. And i still wonder how my grandparents raised five children in that little place?

There was a large wood cook stove in the kitchen and gramma often told me how she would put my mom up in the top warming oven when she was a baby because she "came" too early. I had no concept of what that meant but gram would hold me up high so i could look inside and envision a little baby in there. The small living room was placed around the upright piano but in the corner sat a tall piece of furniture that gram said was a gift from grampa for someday. The piano is what everyone would gather around every weekend and sing beautiful songs and hymns and my aunts could harmonize so beautifully.

There was a large dining room with a big long table and lots of chairs and three tiny little bedrooms that could barely fit a bed in each all connected by an open closet system so i could sneak from one to the next and surprise anyone that might be there! Each bedroom had its own chamber pot and they were so pretty i always wanted to play with them although i was not allowed.

Mornings were wonderful since gramma would grill toast from the bread she made everyday and cover it with butter and then i would have my choice of her homemade jelly or cinnamon mixed with sugar or fresh honey butter. Days would be busy helping gramma in the garden, milking the goat and cow and washing clothes in the tubs and handing her the clothespins as she would hang the laundry. Each day before lunch, we would climb to the top of the hill and wait for the old steam engine train to come by and she taught me to count by counting the cars. That old steam engine ran those tracks until they retired it in 1967.

It seemed like grammas canner ran everyday with grampas catch from the previous day plus whatever extra veggies she had. I can still hear the lid bouncing around and the water bubbling. Sometimes she would hold me up so i could get a wooden match out of the rack and she taught me how to light the fire in the oven.

After lunch i can still see my gramma's lips as she would rock me to sleep singing the old toon about the rooster saying cockadoodledoo. After i would wake, we would fill bird feeders that gramma had made with pieces of bread and sunflower seeds she had saved. And she would always start supper with bacon grease in her big cast fry pan that was the best gravy i have ever eaten in my life. She would sit me up on the counter so i could watch and learn.

Each evening when grampa came home is when the real work would begin. Grampa was a trapper and would bring home his days catch. It was off to the shed to help if i could but i would watch grampa carefully skin each animal. He would save certain parts of some animals in jars and the meat of all animals was my job to help haul in to gramma. Then grampa would feed the collection of animals behind the shed. He had a strange array of critters in cages with floors that tilted so he could collect their urine.

My grampa was 3/4 American Indian and my gram was half. The other half was Swede so i guess it was to expected that my mom would be the towhead of the family. Life with them was so warm and wonderful that i never missed electric or plumbing or much of anything. The woods offered all the happiness and entertainment i could want and often i would visit a part of the split in the river where the beaver had dammed to create their own private pond. Grampa would take me there before sun up every Sunday morning. We would lay low and wait for the sun to begin to rise. The beaver prefer to use that hour as their play time and they all come out to swim. Grampa would pick out the ones he would try to trap by watching where they went at the end of their playtime.

As i grew, i was finally able to go on the traplines with my grampa. How exciting it was to wear my new knitted hat gram made me and follow my grampa into the dark, dark woods long before daylight. Grampas first order of business was that i had to learn to walk without making any noise. That task took most of that summer and once i learned his traplines...i had to stay behind until he made a certain noise and then i could catch up to help kill the animal, remove and reset the trap and then wait until he was well ahead to the next location. I will never forget the first time i saw a trap with just the hand of a coon in it. When grampa explained a coon will chew its own hand off to get free, it made me wonder if i could ever do that? I never was allowed near when he trapped a coyote or wolf and i often wondered how they would die so quietly.

I loved running those trap lines, especially the water traps. I loved the day i finally could follow grampa and he did not know i was even there! I loved hauling the catch home to gramma each evening. The best part was learning to properly skin and then clean and stretch the hides. I remember dipping certain skins and grampa smoking certain hides but my best memories are when grampa would string them together because it was time to go sell them. What a beautiful array of soft furs to touch. Plus i knew that we would be going to texas hot for the best hot dog ever and then to see a movie next door. That same treat was what he gave to all his children twice a year when he sold his pelts and hides but i did not know that at the time.

My grandparents never owned a car but grampa did have a Harley. That was the most fantastic means of transportation in my eyes. It was like the woods...simply beautiful freedom! But for the sales trips, grampa would borrow his brother in laws car and we would fill it so full that we barely had room for the three of us to fit in.

We lost grampa when i was eleven. I was beyond broken-hearted but i still had my gram. Things started to change though. My two cousins and i did our best to keep grampas traplines running and with gramma's help we would prepare the fur.

My aunts and uncles started trying to make gramma's life easier. They piped the well pump into the house and you could pump water into the sink. The next year they piped gas to her house and put a gas stove in place of the wood stove plus a little gas heater in her bedroom. The next year, they brought power and bought gramma a washer and a dryer. It was fun to learn how to use them but the towels and sheets did not smell so good anymore. The following year, they added on a little room and installed a shower and toilet and running water to the kitchen sink removing the pump. They took gramma's wood cook stove and replaced it with a new gas range. I was devastated by the loss of the stove with the warming oven that saved my moms life when she "came" too early. But they also brought power that allowed gramma to plug in that tall piece of furniture for "someday"that always sat in the corner of the living room and we would enjoy listening to broadcasts from all over the world each evening before we crawled into bed. I still have that old shortwave radio and listen to it as often as possible. The stations are long gone but the memories are not.
"The prudent see danger and take refuge, but the simple keep going and pay the penalty." - Proverbs 22:3
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Chapter 2 - The Other Beginning

Postby Watchman » 09 Apr 2016, 03:51

Chapter 2 - the other beginning

It was his tenth birthday and he had climbed his favorite old oak tree half way up the mountain overlooking the hollow where he could see his father and grampa working the sawmill and see their home and typically would see their dairy cattle grazing. He had climbed higher than ever before and was stretched out on a branch he was unsure would even hold his weight. He didn't care if it held or not. He wanted revenge. He wanted to do anything to relieve the rage inside of him. He looked down but his two favorites cows that followed him everywhere were not grazing below. He was filled with pain and sick from crying so hard. He started plotting how he would kill the Sumofabeech that poisoned their cattle along with his two favorites. He would get his revenge.

His parents became concerned because Charles was acting out and they knew trouble was brewing. Charles was unexpectedly conceived when his parents were 54 years old so they had grandchildren his age. He was always a hard worker and very smart but his feelings ran deeper than all their other children put together.

The family moved from Germany to the remote hills of West Virginia when times were so hard. They did not like the politics, the struggle and decided to make the move. But now they had two square of land yet the adjoining property owner killed their entire herd of milk cows because he claimed they cut two of his trees down. They now were very worried over Charles' constant talk of murder and revenge. They decided the best thing they could do would be to move far away and start over. They located a farm in southwestern Pennsylvania and moved to start their life over one more time.

Two short years later, Charles' father passed away from a traveling blood clot and at age 12 Charles had to become the breadwinner for his aging mom and oldest brother that had spinal meningitis when he was a child. He dropped out of school in the middle of sixth grade and went to work. Charles built a successful life for his family if you term success in the size of your bank account. He ran the farm, logged timber until he saved enough money to buy his first truck. Hauled anything for anyone until he had enough money to buy his first bulldozer. Moved the earth until he had enough money to take the next step and the next until he was a successful land developer, had a successful coal stripping company, raised king ranch quarter horses, raised top of the line Herefords, invested in property ahead of the demand curve and eventually married the towhead girl he fell in love with on a hunting trip to north central pa. He was constantly driven to gain any knowledge, always had to push harder to succeed even when not necessary, loved traveling and remote hunting trips, collected guns and silver and gold coins, Packard cars, and other women at the cost of his marriage.

I was the baby of the family...the last chance to save this marriage child and i failed at my first job i was entrusted with.

By the time i was 13, my father decided it was time to learn the family business. With grampa gone, he no longer felt it was safe for me to spend so much time with my gram "in the backwoods". I had already been working the farm and with the animals most of my life but in my dads mind...i was old enough to drive and it was time for me to add value to the family business. Each year, i was placed with one of the crews and pushed beyond normal limits. First grading which meant i had to learn to operate all the heavy equipment. Then the pipe crews...water, storm water, sewer and i had better learn to dig and lay the most pipe on each crew by the end of every summer or there was hell to pay. Also back then every manhole or end wall was hand built with brick. I could have never been fingerprinted that year because i had none left. The following year was curb crew. And the most fun year of all was building roads and laying blacktop...not. I was always expected to outdo the crews that had been doing this work for years and they were strong men. Nights still consisted of cutting joints for the curb crew, and still caring for the animals, putting in hay, planting a field or whatever else. My final year was spent working in the office...getting permits to move equipment, running parts, doing payroll, bidding work and general bookkeeping. In all honesty, i preferred laying blacktop to office work. My dad was driven and by God i was going to be the same! That was my life until i finally graduated from high school. I passed on dads offer of free college education because i saw how it worked out for my brother. He was only allowed to attend one semester of college per year so he could work his ass off the rest of the time. There was never any pay check or bonuses for the kids. It was our duty to fulfill for the family.

I loved the farm, i loved growing everything with reams biological theory of ionization, i loved working with the animals, i even loved construction, i loved the work ethic that had been beaten into me, i loved the drive to tackle and learn new things. What i did not love was the demand to constantly out do everyone else. I think i fizzled when it comes to competition. Then again by the time i was 12, i could shoot 25 out of 25 whether we were shooting trap or skeet. It tickled my father to no end that i could outshoot him. He called me his rebel to the day he died. But he could never tell that me he loved me.

I left at 18 and headed north back to the woods. I took a third shift welding job building hopper cars and i rented a storefront where i operated a natural food store for many years. I bought my own Harley. I bought an old Victorian house on a few acres that had the best cherry trees i have ever tasted on it, started raising goats and making goat cheese, sold my own cheeses and yogurts, trail mixes from the wild fruits i would dry along with fresh raw nuts, fresh eggs from my chickens and basically hid there for as many years as i could.

Reality always returns and life brings lots of twists and turns. In my case it was marriage, children, and the need to make more money that took me to our capital in dc and what feels like ten lifetimes of work in affordable housing while yearning to get back to that ...ha ha...simpler life. The woods. It was always right there in front of me. My desire was as strong as my dads desire for revenge.

Dad almost got his revenge. He went back to WV and hid where he could watch that sumofabeech. He watched him for three days and finally aimed his weapon but did not pull the trigger. The sumofabeech was old by then and I like to believe my dad was not a killer. This story has a happy ending though. Two months before my father passed away, i loaded him and my kids up and drove to wv for the day. We visited his old homestead and what is left of the old sawmill and other markers. The kids and i climbed his favorite old oak tree and the family that now owns his old homestead let us sit on the porch for a bit for dad to share memories. I had a surprise to end the day with. I found Sumofabeech's grave and we all went to visit it and we pissed on it together. I saw so much stress leave my dads body and he laughed until he cried and he cried until he laughed again. I think that gave him some peace. He told me he loved me on the drive home. I cherish that day.
"The prudent see danger and take refuge, but the simple keep going and pay the penalty." - Proverbs 22:3
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chapter 3 - starting over

Postby fern » 10 Apr 2016, 12:59

I could not believe it! Excitement and gut twisting dread were duking it out with my emotions! For the first time, my husband had a chance to work in the east and we could actually live in the same home for more than a weekend! After a lifetime of his work in the southwest and mine in the east...there would be no more flying back and forth. THAT was the basis of the excitement!

The gut twisting dread was that we would have to settle right back in the area where i had grown up in southwestern pa. I left and never looked back when i was 18 and other than sharing the care of my father the last year of his life, i had not been back and had no desire to ever be there again. To this day, i struggle to come up with one single happy memory that didn't revolve around a horse or a vision of a beautiful farm field.

The desire to finally settle into one home together won out. My husband and i decided to find a house as far as possible from his work and made the leap into our new life together. Our kids were grown, out on their own and scattered from California to Virginia so it was finally just the two of us.

The relief of leaving DC and that way of life was incredible for me. No more restrictions on daily life that represented the complete opposite of "me". Being with my much better half all of the time was unbelievably wonderful. No more "see you next weekend" or packing a suitcase!

We were actually starting over though...financially. I had always bought, restored or rehabbed houses on the side and when the economy hit the skids in 2007, i cost us our savings, our retirement accounts along with every penny we were making trying to support my pipeline of houses believing that the market would settle and we would be okay. I was very, very wrong. All i had done was throw good money after bad and we finally sold most of them but had to take large sums of money to every closing. I signed the last house over to the bank and walked away. After a lifetime in construction and real estate, i had been smacked squarely in the face by the fact that our world was teetering. The proof was in the pudding that this was not a temporary downturn in the real estate market. I only wish i had realized that much sooner before literally wasting our lifetime of work.

Also, this move meant my husband would be taking a substantial cut in income. He would be testing a new layer of shale gas that may cover a large swath of pa, ny, oh, wv and ky. It would be exciting work but much harder to accomplish since every rig, tool, piece of equipment or experienced man was in the west. He would be roughing it!

Since we were poor...and the real estate market in the area was extremely depressed, we were able to buy a very needy sears roebuck craftsman house that had been built in 1936. We were 50 years old and working on this dump of a house just the way we had when we were young and starting out in life! I think we laughed sometimes so that we didn't cry but eventually it became home. And it was far enough away that i could almost forget where i was. We clung to visions of a future.

Through that first year, we talked so much...catching up on a lifetime of little things that you just don't get to when you live apart most of the time. We had both taken college courses off and on when we were young but we both buckled down when we nearing 40 and finished our degrees. Talk about late bloomers but we both rushed into life for different reasons, we both worked hard and had been successful in our careers.

One evening, as we discussed the topic of going back to school, we surprised each other by each of us being disturbed that every course we took emphasized the fact that we are no longer restricted by borders...that it is now a global world and market. It seemed very odd to to both of us. That is not how we were raised or taught! That topic led to our children's educations. The fact that they were not taught math tables and each struggled with simple math and fractions until i had to do my own version of homeschooling. None of our kids had been taught cursive writing or history as we learned in school. Through the years, our family vacations had become history lessons.

Three of our kids got it and buckled down. They truly researched and worked hard for the real truth versus what they were being taught in school and especially college.

Although we were stabilizing in our own day to day life, we were both extremely gun shy of debt and banks. We agreed we would never, ever enter into debt again. Learning to live completely on cash sounds easy. Its not. It is easier for my husband than it is me. I don't carry a purse so having that card and my drivers license in my pocket was how i functioned on a daily basis. Trying to carry cash in my line of inner city work would have been extremely dumb. I cannot tell you how many times i could not even pick up some groceries on the way home because i forgot to put cash in my pocket. Errrrr! If a vehicle needed work or tires, it sat until we could pay cash. It was that way with any purchase and frustrated me for a long time. My husband grew up that way so it was no big change for him!

I now think i was probably spoiled. I never trusted money or people with money because of my Dad. Making money to me meant keeping a roof, food and getting kids through good schools and college. I truly had not thought much further than that and we had just gotten the last kiddo through college when the economy turned. Thank God.

Like me, my husband grew up working on both his grandparent's farms in Oklahoma, but unlike me, he had to pick cotton or put up wheat. He passed on his full ride college scholarship to make the big bucks in the oilfield. He too was the rebel of the family and wanted to make his own way in life...good times or bad. I truly believe that is what clicked between us and kept us strong together all our lives. Neither of us ever expected anything from our families other than their love.

But here we were, remnants of the devastation and still not completely understanding why or where we might be heading. That became our main topic of conversation for weeks. After much discussion, we decided we both wanted to get back to our roots and save to buy a farm. Much was going on politically that seemed more and more backwards or at least the opposite of positive progress to us. That fact on top of the wounds we were still trying to heal is what made my husband say..."i think we need to prepare for more bad times. Would you do some research so we can make plans?" I remember staring at him thinking more bad times? What kind of bad times? We are broke so how can we survive anything more? I didn't say anything other than okay but i was suddenly afraid.
Last edited by fern on 14 Apr 2016, 20:47, edited 1 time in total.
“Laws are made for the weak more than the strong.” Ben Franklin
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Chapter 4 - the search begins

Postby fern » 14 Apr 2016, 19:23

I could not sleep. My mind was racing. I had no concept of what else could possibly come at us if we stayed out of debt and continued to work hard. After all, i had been raised to believe if you work hard enough, you can work your way through anything if you look at every issue from all sides, turn around and work your way back to where you currently are. That was something my dad forced me to do over and over and over on every effort he expected me to take on. Then he said i had a plan to success that i could follow even if there were adjustments along the way. I must admit he was correct to date. That approach had worked all my life and is what made me successful at my work. It worked right up to the crash of '07/'08. Never say never? I was no longer sure.

My constant and uncontrollable need to learn, think and overthink everything often frustrates my better half yet he depends on me to do it. I am damned yet appreciated for the same reason! But i alone was the reason we were in our current situation and my ability to trust myself was basically gone. I had always stood strong and was now a human form of the leaning tower of pisa.

I gave up trying to sleep so i made some coffee and set up my laptop in the kitchen where i could close the swing door to block the light as i began my search. I sat there thinking what do i search? Bad things to come in the usa...nope. Political pundits with their rhetoric is not what i want to read. Then i thought...preparing! That kept me busy for a while and lead me to some interesting sites but it gave me the new search word... Preparedness! Wow! A whole new world opened up and i don't think i slept for days! My quest had officially begun.

I was overwhelmed but i had to read all of it. When you do that, including the crazy or out there links, you start finding a theme and can research more and more on those topics. I was entrenched! I filled a complete notebook over the next few weeks on topics, info and websites i wanted to go back to but the important sites i kept on my laptop for easy access. My bookmark list on my computer became unreasonably long and my desktop became full of files on each topic. I started my list of items to buy or store that i still use today. My better half had to start forcing me to close the laptop to spend time together.

I belonged to nothing on line ever not even Facebook. The computer was always for work, checking the weather or emailing family for me. But a new world was opening and i wanted the all knowledge possible...asap. There were many sites that were closed to you unless you join. How do you know if you want to join if you cannot see anything but headings? I passed. I turned to amazon and researched books on my new topics. Reading is my favorite pass time so that was a natural but how do i do that with just cash? There is a way and i found it! There is a company that you could send your money to and they will buy whatever and have it sent to you. They are since defunct (they were cheap!) but were there when i needed them. After that i would buy credit cards at the 7/11 store with just enough money to buy whatever i wanted. Not a cheap option.

The more i studied and learned, my lists grew and grew on things we needed, topics i must research more, talents we must brush up on or learn, and so much more. I no longer wanted to go to work. And my poor beloved had to face my list of topics every day as i rattled on sharing my latest info.

I did go to work though. We needed the income now more than ever! I was working on a hotel that had gotten bogged between a bad contractor and the owners just after footings went in. Thankfully they had a contract i could limit to get this thing coming out of the ground after sitting for a year. It kept me busy and was close to home. I could continue to do my research as i prepared supper each evening until my husband arrived home. Shhhhhh...and after he went to sleep!

One Saturday, i found a site with a free online book. I cannot remember the name of the book but it was something like uncle bucks survival tactics. I settled in to read and at the end of each chapter you had to click the link to the next chapter. I read to chapter 12 or so but when i hit the icon to the next chapter...i was suddenly at a hate muslim site. It was a wild site. I hit the back button and returned to the book. I hit the next chapter and was back at the hate muslim webpage. I scanned down the page and could hardly believe what i was seeing! It had bomb making recipes with pictures to blow people up and letters saying things i had never even thought of. At that moment, my son came walking in for a visit. I showed him my problem and he proceeded to dump my computer, history, etc while giving me hell. So all my saved items were gone. He told me thats how i would get myself in trouble and it shook me up. I felt out of my league yet didn't understand why i would get into trouble when i did not create or post on that website. I explained what happened to my better half that night and he wanted me to stop researching. Like i could stop now...

One night, i finally searched the words preparedness and survival together and this forum appeared. I was already a follower of james rawles blog but this was different. It was unlike the others. I could read without joining and it gave me lots of news everyday from a wide array of websites i had not previously come across. It offered info on many topics that i was extremely interested in (especially the health and wellness topics) with member input. I read and read. Even though my better half said i was NOT to join anything or put my name anywhere...i made the leap to become a member! By this time, i had found a rhythm to my daily searches but i quickly became addicted to the forum and the sharing of info. Plus as a member, there are many more topics such as books, movies, recipes, how-tos, etc than what is visible as a non member.

If you have any concept of my personality yet, you know i would soon need to know more about watchman...the person dedicated to making all of this knowledge available to as many people as possible. The person that finds all the news every day and posts it here for us...wow! Why would he do this? Of course back then, newbies were monitored and i managed to do a number of things that were not correct and i would receive a private message explaining proper procedures or letting me know he had corrected or deleted my post. Well i'll be darned if i didn't get a bit po'd! Now i HAD to get to know watchman plus i was overwhelmed with questions i needed answers to but did not want to post to an open forum and i just knew this was the person i could ask! So that was the beginning of peppering watchman with emails until he finally responded to me. And that response was the beginning of my learning to trust and respect our forum's watchman.

As i got to know the members, i began to feel a true part of something special. It was a gift to me. And a sharing of perspectives that is always appreciated. There is good knowledge here from people that have true life experience. I had found my home amongst good company that i have learned to trust and rely on. I have my base camp where i can share, ask, learn and sometimes irritate my peers but it is all good.

With all my heart, thank you Watchman for your friendship and your commitment to knowledge (and guidance!). Thanks to all members through all the years for sharing, guiding, and keeping me on the path when i no longer could trust myself.
“Laws are made for the weak more than the strong.” Ben Franklin
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Chapter 5 - Beginning Preps

Postby fern » 01 May 2016, 00:47

Amazing...a whole year had flown by. It had been a busy year for me but even more so for my husband. My better half's work in the shale gas was proving the marcellus, among other layers, was rich in gas. Other companies were starting to sniff around and the race was on to lease land.

The hotel was finished and i was busy getting two more designed and through the approval processes plus working on an existing hotel the group had purchased. But more importantly, i had a wall in my basement full of storage bins lovingly labeled. Money was still very tight but i had learned to use funds we set aside each month carefully and stretching it as far as possible. My constant research and the forum aided immensely in those efforts.

Also i started stopping at yard sales...something i have never enjoyed doing. Yard sales became important though! I purchased boxes and boxes of new canning jars, lids and rings still in their original boxes for very few dollars. I was shocked to realize no one placed any importance on these items anymore. Estate sales are an excellent place to buy canning supplies too. Most of the time, they didn't even put a price on them since they figured no one would want them! I even bought two new in box water canners for $1.00 each.

Yard sales and estate sales supplied us with: new in box ammo, 13 military gas cans in excellent shape, food grade 3 and 5 gallon containers with lids, an immaculate wringer washer, beautiful treadle sewing machine with all the extra goodies with it, containers full of needles and thread, storage containers, strong shelving units, hand crank coffee grinders, hand tools, gardening tools, a pedal stone grinder, a free heavy duty very comfy schwinn exercise bike to rig up a battery charging setup, a scanner, an old but still working ham radio, a new mobile ham radio, a cb radio for every person in my family and all the same brand and model, chimney brushes, lamp oil, pectin, wax, candles, candle holders of many types, kerosene lamps and new wicks and the list goes on.

I had started watching auctions and attending a few that were mostly out in the country. The auction houses in towns or more urban areas were too expensive. At country auctions, i had purchased: ammo, a brand new american pressure canner, junk silver and bullion for less than you could sell it for at the time, a complete set of cast iron cookware in its original wood box...never used, self powered garden tools...cultivator, planter, mower, garden sprayer, and 2 new in box solar sets with wiring and lights from harbor freight. This list goes on too.

Although i am an "only organic" shopper, i learned to stop at dollar general every Saturday to use their weekly $5.00 off coupon on dried beans and canned meat or soaps and shampoo or toothbrushes and toothpaste. Each week, i would rotate with whatever sales they were having. One week, they had the large containers of salt on sale for 25 cents each.

I found a fairly large flea market that was open every Sunday and i would be there at daybreak before the crowds started. There i was able to stock up on disposable razors, over the counter meds...example zyrtek 24 pills for $4 and they were not even close to being outdated, toothbrushes, toothpaste, floss, liquid hand soap 5 for a $1. I bought 2 hand mixers like our grammas used to use, potato mashers, a brand new hand pump for a well, cb radios, a tire changer setup, hand pumps for 55 gallon barrels, and this list goes on.

My husband's work jumped around pa, oh, and wv typically in very rural areas. Every other weekend, i would travel to wherever he was working and i stumbled on to an unknown (at least to me) fact. I don't even remember now what i needed but i left the rig site and drove to a small town to buy something. The town had a mom n pop grocery store, a couple other small businesses and an old hardware. I decided the hardware was my best bet. I walked in the door and a bell above the door rang. Then i was greeted with a voice from somewhere saying to give a holler when i was ready to check out or if i needed help. I said okay and proceeded to peruse the aisles. Within the first six feet, i had to pick my jaw up off the floor. I had traveled back in time to when i was a little girl! It was more than the creaking old wood floors, the smell of dust or the clutter. It was the prices!!! I don't even remember if i got what i went there for but i carried three boxes of purchases to my truck that day! I bought them out of kerosene lamps and some hung on the wall with the cast iron holders, 29 cent wicks, boxes of 100 hour emergency candles, the heavy duty old style made in america can openers, two porcelain perk coffee pots, cooking utensils, canning wax, canning jars, lids, rings, canning utensils, and so much more. I spent my entire month of funds purchasing right there. And i went back several times! The place overflowed with made in america products older than i was. I discovered many of these types of stores in remote areas of each of the states. They are out there and happy to see a stranger arrive to take this old stock off their hands. Just rub the dust off the old hand written stickers and take advantage.

I became a sams club member so i could buy certain things in bulk such as sugar, oils, paper plates, spices, garbage bags, etc. i found a sysco outlet where i could buy restaurant foods and supplies in huge sizes very inexpensively. 122 rolls of two ply toilet paper was $32. Olive oil, # 10 cans of veggies and cheese and sauces and meats and more were just a bit more than the cost of small cans at the grocery store. Butcher sized rolls of saran wraps, freezer paper, heavy duty aluminum foil, baggies, garbage bags, 36 gallon food grade can liners, etc. anything a butcher shop or restaurant would use was there.

I found a young man that went to restaurants and bakeries and collected their food grade barrels and even larger containers. He would scrub the chocolate or whatever out and resell them. I purchased two per month in prep for my future storage.

Gun shows...what can i say...i went to every one every time within a two hour range. I couldn't buy much but i wanted to build relationships with certain vendors and get to know who sells what. I wanted to learn pricing, obtain more knowledge, and buy books that don't have to be purchased on line.

I discovered there was a settlement of about 600 Amish families about two hours north of us so i went up to that area early one day to see what i could discover. I stopped at furniture makers and cabinet makers and purchased eggs from a farm and apples at another farm. I stopped at a baked goods sale and ate the best donut of my life! But at each place i would ask who makes this or that. I would continue to move onto the next place. Eventually i found out about their weekly auction barn and went to find it. There was a lone carriage there but the fellow loved to talk. I spent an hour obtaining lots of excellent info. The following week, i went to the produce auction. I already knew the lot numbers of amish sellers but i was now privy to lot numbers of the organic sellers. I wanted to get to know those particular families and i was able to accomplish that. From those families, two became very good friends. I learned a lot of things through our friendship.

I finally felt like i was getting somewhere in my preps. I was far from being where i wished we could be. I had mastered so much but my list was continuing to grow! I was continuing too add more than i was crossing off! And the main items were the most expensive...a grain mill, a solar cooker, a stove top water distiller, weapons, ammo, alternative energy of some sort, a wood stove, a generator, and much, much more. I rotated between feeling good and then would review my lists and feel overwhelmed with frustration. We did not want to stock too much that we would have to move. Many items could not be purchased without knowing where we were going to finally end up too.

My husband and i decided we should start looking at property in hopes of possibly finding something we could afford. At this point, we had no idea what we were even looking for...land with or without a house or hopefully a farm. We had no concept yet on where or what we even wanted but my next research project had been set before me and i was ready to get started!
Last edited by fern on 01 May 2016, 21:18, edited 1 time in total.
“Laws are made for the weak more than the strong.” Ben Franklin
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Chapter 6 - Land Ho!

Postby fern » 01 May 2016, 21:16

Of course...i wanted to move back to the hills of north central pa and my much better half was talking about new mexico...after i assured him i would never live in oklahoma. I have a thing against tornadoes and raging grass fires. I have a passion for topography and trees too.

I knew those northern pa counties and the trails, waterways, people and and it was only a four hour drive from our current location. The most important reason i wanted to stay close was my Mom and step-Dad needed us and i knew they both would happily move back to their areas of birth.

We packed our camping supplies and headed north for a couple weekends. I was able to share beautiful areas that bring peace and nature to a way of life. We agreed to look at what is for sale but first decided each of us would create a list of must haves in our purchase.

I began researching what is important on line. Well...that was not easy! Some "experts" say remote, some say near a small defensible town, all said far from urban areas and way off beaten paths. No easements that allow people to walk through your property. Survivalblog feels only the northwest is safe. Creeks and springs are good but rivers are bad. Further north is safer than warmer southern climates. Some said property adjoining federal lands is good and some said the opposite! Wow...i began wondering how to figure this out. At this point, i could not even complete my list of what i must have in a final purchase.

A couple weeks later, my husband handed me his list. I could tell immediately that he had put a lot of thought into it. Each item had a subcategory with items that would have to be factored in or purchased. At this point, i had been envisioning a cabin in the woods with 20 acres or so. I was very wrong! My husband wanted a farm with pasture land and hay meadows and good bottom land to grow crops and mineral rights must transfer with the land because he wanted no drilling or pipelines to ever enter the property. He had listed his desired tractor and implements, what he wanted to grow, his desired shop to house and work on his items.

I must start my entire thinking process over! I decided my correct approach was to use his list as my basis and add my list to his. My list started with deep forest, high terrain, its own watershed, springs, ponds, good soil, privacy, southern exposures, end of a road with few or no neighbors and not having land that could be tainted by the now common gmo farming practices. My mind was scrambling...we had complete opposite visions of our future!

I was still researching on line and found a book i highly recommend to everyone. Strategic Relocation written by Joel Skousen, which was a gift to me! Back then, i had purchased the original version of the book. I now own the updated version too but the original is still my favorite for many reasons. There are maps and wind patterns in the original that did not make it into the updated version. This book was a Godsend and allowed me to truly chart the safest areas of any state we wanted to consider.

A new notebook was started as i studied the book to zero in on those areas. Where i wanted to be was good! Now i just needed to try to find a property that would meet our basic requirements.

The search was on! I called realtors, i read classified ads in every newspaper, i watched craigslist, i checked fsbo websites, i contacted everyone i knew in the area to help me search. I would visit as often as i could and drive the back roads. As i would see properties with potential, i would list them as best as possible. When i had a nice list together, i spent a day at the courthouse getting names and addresses of owners. Some i was able to call and some i had to send letters to. I was turning over every stone i could think of.

The county my grandparents had lived in was quickly disqualified. There were unbelievable changes since i had last been there. The Genesee River was gone...dried up. Evidence of the beaver dams were barely visible. The railroad tracks were even gone. I was told that weyerhaeuser had sold all their timberlands and timber rights to international paper co. IP proceeded to clearcut. As i drove all the roads in that county, they left little that wasn't barren. It made me feel ill. Springs that i used to drink from were now just pipes sticking out of the ground.

I decided to concentrate my efforts in the next county south and slightly east. I knew most of that land would be untouched as it was steeper and the majority was privately owned. I had a brainstorm! There was an old ccc camp from WWII there! It was end of the road, offered buildings of some sort, had flatland but was in a very secluded area. My uncle worked there his first year in the service before going overseas and he used to take me fishing there. It had good water and wells and lots of fencing to deal with that i could remember.

I drove there and got pretty excited. The roofs were gone off most of the concrete block buildings but the structures were still solid although covered with spray paint from kids that had ventured that deep into the hills. Weeds and overgrowth nearly hid the entire place. I knew this area had lots of rattlesnakes so i did not do much walking around but i could see enough to know it would suit our combined list! I left to find the owner to see what could be worked out. After researching the property at the courthouse, i was filled with hope! It had been sold to a private citizen many years earlier.

I reached the owner and he was happy to sell. His price was higher than expected but a lot less than i had been encountering to date. I could not wait for my husband to get home and share the info!

We camped at the location that next weekend and donned our snake gear to investigate as much as possible in a short day and a half. We both thought this would be the one and came home excited. That next week, i put together a contract and drove three hours to the sellers house. We agreed on everything...until it came to the mineral rights. He was agreeable to selling them with the property but he had already leased them! I was sick because i knew my husband would never agree to that. With little hope left, i asked if i could read his lease contract. As most people do, he had signed an all inclusive never ending lease that does not limit time or assignments or actually anything. Worse...he leased it for just $50 per acre. I was sick for him and sick for us. I think i struggled to swallow the lump in my throat the entire trip home.

I spent the remainder of 2009 encountering the same scenario over and over and over. The landmen were buying up almost all the rights in the western half of pa for pennies with the intention of selling them to the incoming energy companies for thousands of dollars per acre. Even if i was rich, i could never take advantage of people that way. The truth is that there is no end to those general leases and they are assigned so many times that it soon becomes impossible to ever clear your property rights.

By early 2010, we knew there was no need to try to buy property in pa. There was nothing left with mineral rights in tact or if you found one...the price per acre was upwards of $5,000 because of the gas boom. A year ago, you could buy land for $500 per acre.

We decided to try looking in west virginia next. The energy companies were only established in the nw part of the state so far but we did not want to be in those highly populated areas anyway. I returned to my book and charted the safest areas even though a few were listed with a notice regarding the people of the area. I wasn't worried about types of people! I was very wrong about the people and i quickly learned that there are areas of the state that you just do not drive down the roads...paved or not. I could write a book on the uncomfortable to down right scary encounters i experienced. It wasn't the bear or the snakes that i needed to worry about. I proceeded to delete those counties from my search area.

I spent the next two and a half years researching and walking properties in wv. Most of the time, the landmen had beaten me to each county. I was getting extremely frustrated. Those darn landmen were speculating across the entire state, into Va., Ohio and northeast ky. I could not believe it.

I finally found two parcels of property that had unleased mineral rights attached but truly did not meet our list of must haves. We camped on both and walked them. We tried to justify each purchase but it just wasn't what we wanted. They were beautiful and met enough of our desires but did not feel right. They would both have met my list but not even close to what my husband wanted.

Things were changing in our life though. Since early 2009, i would watch planes spreading trails in a plaid pattern across the sky. Those trails would spread out and cover our blue skies by 10:00 am almost every single day. I chattered about it constantly to anyone that would listen to me. We lived far from the airport and we never had anything like this in all the years i had lived there.

Little things began to change in me too. First my hair stopped growing. Very strange since typically i had to chop six inches a year off. My eyes seemed more dry and itchy. I would have to blow my nose every morning as if i had allergies. Each year, i seemed to be getting worse too. And i realized that when i would travel south of central wv, my problems went away. Very strange.

My much better half always pooh poohed my talk of the sky trails. But when we would go to southeastern wv, he could see the change in me too. It was strange but i just ignored it for the most part.

At christmas of 2010, my Mom got a lump on her cheek. By this time, i was almost always exhausted but pushed into every day anyway. My husband had taken a six month contract in Arkansas and only came home one week per month. He would drive back and forth rather than fly. On his second trip home, he snapped pictures on his phone of the sky trails stacked thick and high as he would get about an hour from any urban area. After years of telling me it was in my head, he finally saw the evidence.

I took my Mom to a dermatologist two days before christmas. The doctor immediately did a biopsy on the lump. I was afraid. Something may be wrong with this strong, healthy woman i loved more than life. She spent her life helping me raise our kids so my husband and i could work. She was my rock in life, my best friend after my beloved husband and the toughest lady i ever knew.

By this time, i was constantly wheezing and fighting chest and head congestion. I was getting weak enough that fighting the fight in daily life seemed bigger than me. I didn't want to work anymore. My memory was leaving me. I just wanted to sleep. Mostly...i wanted to find our property and move wherever it was and get my Mom well. I wanted my husband to come home because i felt overwhelmed. I just knew in my heart that all the problems i was dealing with, including my Moms lump, had something to do with moving back to this area. And I just wanted outta here...now.
“Laws are made for the weak more than the strong.” Ben Franklin
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Chapter 7 - Oh Dear God...cancer

Postby fern » 02 May 2016, 21:09

Two weeks after my Moms biopsy, we received the news that she had merkel cell carcinoma...one of the rarest but most aggressive cancers. For the past year, Mom had several strange symptoms. The first was the palms of her hands got huge leathery sores that would raise up and crack open. Then it started happening all over her beautiful body. It was driving her crazy with pain and itching. We went to a series of doctors but none had a clue. Two biopsies were done with all negative results. After that ended, massive mushroom type moles grew all over her chest, belly and back. Again...biopsies but all was negative.

We bought my parents a new home and moved them. I was grasping at any straw to stop whatever was going on. But now we were facing the ultimate worst enemy. I was beyond scared. All land or prep research mostly ended and my life became constant research and phone calls on alternative therapies. The standard cut, poison and burn was not an option in Moms book or mine.

I already knew there were options...i just had to find them. My search quickly was concluded! I found a local doctor that offered the high dose vitamin C IVs along with the required minerals included. Plus there was another part of the program that acted as insulin does, forcing the cells to open and accept the vitamin c. Cancer in all forms cloaks itself with a facade so that your immune system doesn't realize it needs to attack. As the cancer happily grows and spreads, it overwhelms a body with microbes eventually completely overtaking your immune system. There was no way i was going to let that happen to my beloved Mom.

We had the port inserted and then i trained for four weeks at the doctors office to give my Mom her IVs at home. The first four weeks she also received IVs of mild silver protein every other day. I had a new purpose in life and that was to juice fresh organic veggies for Mom to drink while i gave her her IV each day. At 3 months, she had another pet scan and we had made progress. At six months, the pet scan results showed that there was only one centimeter of cancer remaining in her right lung. All that had spread throughout both her lungs, lymph system, uterus, etc was gone. We completed two more months of IVs and Mom had a clean pet scan. Thank you dear God.

There is a rule in alternative cancer therapy though and if not followed will lead to a swift negative end. The rule is...a year to kill and a year to heal. Meaning after the year of killing the cancer, you must must must stay on an extremely restricted diet of mostly live foods and fresh organic juices. Carbs and sugar...even fake sugar...feed cancer. Colonics to help clean your body along with specific supplements to rebuild your immune system. Most people fall off their programs because they feel good again! I was not going to let that happen to my Mom. We had been given a gift and we must see it through.

Christmas was upon us again and we had much to celebrate. My health was continuing to slide down hill but i was determined that 2012 would be the best year for Mom and me. We would find our property and get the hell out of this place. We would get back to only the important basics in life and we would all be the better for it!

My new resolve began to get away from me. My health quickly took a turn for the worse. I quit my job because i could barely function by the end of February. I was literally struggling to breathe. I started getting a myers cocktail IV each week but it really wasn't helping. My husband had taken another six month contract in Arkansas but wasn't getting a full week off this month. He was worrying over me and suggested we meet half way somewhere in Kentucky for a few days. The thought of that drive wasn't exciting but to spend time together was so we made our plans.

The day arrived to head southwest. Our daughter came to spend the time i would be away with my Mom. For the first time in years, i packed a travel bag to go see my much better half. I knew wv by heart now but had never traveled beyond charleston so this trip offered some new territory to me. I had my travel nebulizer beside me but the further south i went, i felt more ease in my breathing. By the time i reached winchester, ky, i had to pull over at a rest stop. My body was dumping sickness. I could not believe it! After each attack of coughing and choking, i felt better!

I met my husband in london, ky. We found a place to stay and a good place to eat. We both marveled at how much better i was feeling and i could smell again too! We proceeded to travel around for a few days looking at different parts of this "new to us" state. It was a truly enjoyable four days and i was blue that we had to part and head back to our different homes. I called my Mom and told her that i was almost well and would be home tonight. It was a wonderful thing that we would both be able to get back to normal life again!

I drove home but as i got to northern wv, the tightness was settling back into my lungs and head. What in the world was going on? By the time i arrived home, i needed to use the nebulizer and was feeling miserable.

Mom was continuing to improve and i was barely functioning. Our daughter had now moved to pa and started keeping tabs on me. I began to search for property again and got back to my preps but everything was a struggle.

In early march, my husband suggested we meet in ky again but for an entire week. I was dreading the trip again but hopeful i may feel better too. And once again, my body dumped and we spent a week enjoying this state i could breathe in. It was official in my mind that pa was my problem.

We decided to consider looking for property in ky. I loved that idea! And we spent almost the entire week of doing just that. It was a gift to breathe, walk gorgeous property and be with my husband. The day came when he had to return to work but we decided i should stay for another week and keep searching for that perfect for us place.

We had traveled a good bit of the state by this point. My husband loved the west side of the state with its flat lands and tornadoes. I preferred the east side with the Appalachians. I decided to truly study the map of the state, the demographics, and Strategic Relocation to narrow my search. I am so very grateful that i decided to stay in that day to prepare my plan of attack. A series of tornadoes came through causing unbelievable devastation. These tornadoes did not limit themselves to the west either. They devastated the eastern part of the state as they waltzed their way to charleston, wv.

I did not even know any of this was happening in my motel room! We just had rain while i made my calls from studying realtor books and planned my full week! The next morning, my plan was to start east of where i was and i would slowly move up through the counties until i reached I-64.

My better half had given me limits to work within. Stay away from the east side at least by two counties. He knew other oilfield guys that had bought farms there and were constantly robbed. Stay at least one county north or south of any interstate. Stay out of the national forest lands in case the feds ever decide to take it. And last of all...think winter when you look at anything. I had my plan and i was excited to get started!
“Laws are made for the weak more than the strong.” Ben Franklin
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Chapter 8 - 2012 is a life changing year

Postby fern » 02 May 2016, 23:57

The very first property i looked at the next day was ideal! It was much larger than we wanted but met almost every item on our list and it had a comfy cabin on it! Property #1 to show my husband! And mineral rights were in tact.

I spent the next two days driving by properties in the next two counties but disqualified them all. I found a little motel for the night and spent the evening calling realtors or sellers with my list of questions and driving around for the next two days.

Again i found a strong potential for my better half to see. I was feeling pretty darn hopeful...two candidates in just a few days! That was more than i had accomplished in the previous two plus years!

I spent the next couple of days viewing properties and driving around areas to get more familiar. And i added a third candidate! Woohoo! I was making headway!

I was running out of time and still had three counties to study and drive so i called home and let all know i would be staying a couple more days. I had hope even though i had not yet walked much of any of the properties.

Many of the counties were very poor. That did not bother me since i was not looking for schools or handy big box stores. I knew i still had a lot to research if we truly liked a property before we could make an offer anyway. In this state there are pva offices that you must work with before you can even look up a deed. Most counties were not computerized either. Plus i needed to study demographics and visit the sheriffs offices regarding most common crimes and the list goes on. All for a later date.

The following day, i found my dream acreage. No house but an old grist mill and a tobacco barn still stood there, end of an 8 mile long road surrounded on all four sides by other large wooded tracts, its own watershed, but must be walked to see how many acres of tillable land would be available. I left to head to my final two counties for this trip but left my heart on that property.

I spent my last two days looking at different parcels but all were quickly disqualified. I decided to go back to the pva office to see what i could discover about the parcel that stole my heart. I gathered all the info i could but wanted to research the deeds. Everyone was too busy to help me and i could not see a system to the books that tied to the info i had gotten from the pva so i asked a gal that was in there to help me out. She did and we chatted for a while. It turned out she was a closing attorney for several lenders there completing a title search. I did get her name and number before leaving since you never know...we may need her services one day!

The next morning, i decided to roam a bit before i cut up to the highway to head home. I headed into a county that was on my list for the next trip down but stopped to study my realtor books for that area anyway. It turned out that there was a tiny little box advertising an old farm and its address so i decided to try to find it on my way out. I did find it and it checked off every item on both our lists except the listing agent had no clue about the mineral rights. Actually she knew little at all about the property. She had taken the listing two years ago as a favor for a friend. I stopped at the pva and courthouse on my way through town to hear...no property around here has mineral rights so i crossed it off my list and headed home. Too bad as it was the most beautiful land i had ever seen to date.

April was a miserable month for me. May was worse. I could barely walk or think starving for oxygen. I dreamed of going back to Kentucky and could feel the relief it would bring to me but i was not even well enough to make the drive. That night i literally thought i was going to die. My daughter stopped in to see me and immediately took me to the walk in clinic where they shot me up with steroids, gave me oral steroids and an antibiotic. I remember getting into bed that night and later my daughter waking me to take the meds. I swallowed them and not long afterwards...i felt a pop in my body. It was followed by a strange feeling but all i wanted to do was sleep.

I have no recollection of time anymore but i do remember our son and daughter both trying to wake me, trying to get me to take my meds, trying to get me to talk to them. I could do none of those things. They called their father and he told them to get me to the hospital asap. I have one memory of the ER and me telling the doctor that i cannot take steroids in high doses. That is my last memory for two weeks.

I could feel pain in my finger and then pain in my stomach! I could hear people talking but not really what they were saying. I thought i had my eyes open but could not see anything. Suddenly i was scared! Then i heard my much better half and i could feel his hand on mine. He was telling me how much he loved me and that i was going to be okay.

Okay from what? Why weren't my eyes opening? But my husband said i was going to be okay so i knew i could trust in that. What the hell was stuck on my face and making me breathe? Whatever this thing is has to go now! I was ripping and tearing at the strange contraption! I could hear my husband yelling and telling them to get it off me so i was trying to calm to see if they were listening to him. A doctor had to be called but eventually it was removed. I was terrified and they kept cutting my fingers and stabbing needles into my belly so hard that all i could do is cry from the pain. I was exhausted and fell back to sleep.

I woke in the middle of the night and opened my eyes. It was dark but the tv was on and shedding light. I could feel my husband in bed with me and was grateful. I could not see anything out of my right eye but had some foggy vision in my left eye. I wondered if i had been in a wreck? I couldn't remember anything though. I went back to sleep.

I woke the next morning and my beloved was still holding my hand while sitting in a chair by my bed. I asked him if i had been in a wreck and he said no. I asked him why i couldn't see and he said he was not sure but we will ask the doctor when he comes to check on me. Then he explained that my breathing was so bad that the hospital had to give me high doses of IV steroids. The steroids had caused me to have high blood sugar and that at one point my sugar was 1299. I had no concept what that meant but he explained they were giving me insulin and my levels were down now under 600. Was 600 good? Neither one of us knew that answer.

As i started to function a little more, i realized i needed a shower and felt the need to wash my greasy hair. My husband told me i had been in intensive care for over two weeks now. He had quit his job and flown home the minute the kids got me to the hospital and had stayed with me the entire time. The night nurses allowed him to shower there. He said Mom and the kids come everyday to visit too. At that point the doctor arrived and told me i had pneumonia and bronchitis when i arrived that triggered an asthma attack. I had been given large doses of steroids that had brought on diabetes. He assured me that the diabetes would probably go away with time since it was steroid generated. I asked him about my loss of vision and he said my vision should return as my blood sugar stabilizes. He explained that i must continue on the steroids until i was able to breathe normally and then my glucose readings should come down as the steroids were reduced. He was sending a diabetic trainer to show me the ropes and if i continued to improve, i would be placed in a regular room.

I stayed in the ICU for four more days. My husband right beside me the entire time. The night nurse, Pat, was wonderful. She and her husband were both diabetics and she taught me the tricks of the trade so much better than the official diabetic trainer that wasn't even diabetic. I finally made it to a regular room.

After 21 days, i was released. As my husband drove us home, i realized i could read signs far, far away without my glasses. Actually my glasses skewed my vision! This was so odd! I was just relieved to get out of there. We arrived home but i had a hard time climbing our front porch steps. I had blown up like a balloon on all the steroids and was actually 46 pounds heavier than before i went to the hospital. None of my clothes fit me and i had to come home in my pjs and housecoat!

Although i was happy to be home, i was terrified to be on my own with this new disease. Could i manage it? I truly did not understand it. I was afraid to eat. I am the gal that borrowed blood from my biology partner in high school because i could not poke my own finger. I closed my eyes when they pierced my ears and to this very day, i have to have my daughter put the earrings in for me because i almost pass out seeing that post go through my ear lobe.

Within two weeks of being home, i was struggling to breathe again. I ended up back in the hospital but this time for just 16 days and i was put on inhaled steroids vs oral. My blood sugar immediately fell and with that fall...i lost my vision again.

The very next day after trip #2 to the hospital, my husband got an offer for work close to home so we packed me up and i moved in with my Mom and step Dad. Thank you God for making this lady my mother. It was her strength that saw me through the next few months of learning what i could eat and how much insulin to take. She helped me learn to take my blood sugar without looking. She kept track of everything so i had a written source to quickly refer to. She made me pay attention to how i felt when my sugar was rising too high or falling too low. She made me believe i would get my vision back. She told me i was strong and could master this when i felt pitifully weak and frightened. She told me how proud she always is of me and my ability to always get up stronger from anything that knocks me down.

My husband moved us out of our home. He was afraid our house may be playing a part in my illness. We stayed at my Moms until he finished a small rehab house i had been working on near my Moms home. We moved in there and started saving every penny we could to send me and Mom to Hippocrates Health Institute in florida. It is expensive and a three week program but my doctor felt it would benefit us. My husband hoped that a detox may get rid of the steroid damage and my diabetes would go away. I suddenly had hope again.
“Laws are made for the weak more than the strong.” Ben Franklin
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Chapter 9- Hippocrates Health Institute (hhi)

Postby fern » 13 May 2016, 22:26

To this day, i cannot honestly say that i liked HHI. Its an amazing place that has helped many people and saved many lives and the majority of people that go through the program return each year for at least a week.

It is based on ann wigmores program, which is excellent but having grown up knowing ann wigmore and many other alternative medical professionals that were committed to truly helping people...HHI was a major let down. It is a moneymaking driven business that is run top down as are most corporations in our nation today with the eye always on that bottom line. The most coveted employees were the ones that don't care after you have paid. In many ways, it was a huge disappointment to me yet i benefitted greatly by going there. Would i recommend others with health issues, whether life threatening or not, to go there? In a heartbeat! It is one of the best alternative health centers in our nation. Are there better facilities? Yes...but in mexico or europe rather than here in the usa.

I am very lucky. When the word got out that we were saving to go to Hippocrates Health Institute, friends and family started pooling money so that mom and i could go as soon as possible. Within two months, we were on our way!

Even though i had spoken to the hhi representatives several times calculating the costs for the extra services we wanted to include in our package, we soon would learn that we needed much more money than anticipated! This is NOT a destination to visit on a tight budget! Yes, their basic program is the most important benefit but they offer specialized physicians with their treatment programs that a person will want to benefit from. There is an excellent blood test they offer (spectracell.com) that every doctor in our nation should use but do not. Probably because they do not understand the deep interaction of nutrients, hormones and genetics in our bodies. That is an extra cost and is recommended upon arrival and again at the end of your stay. Mom and i had to pass on all of this. In all hhi's information and my many calls to them, none of these extras were advertised or disclosed. Had they been, i would have saved more money before going.

I have visited florida all my life but had never been to west palm beach. It was exciting! The institute was lush and beautiful. It offered a mix of housing types from bronze to platinum. We were bronze. The campus is quite large with the housing scattered throughout. There are brick paths that eventually bring you to the necessary buildings with pools and fountains, native flora and fauna in between. The daily main events revolve around the central hall, medical center, hacienda and the health spa. Most housing types had a pool and a fir sauna but there were additional pools throughout the entire campus.

The pools were all ozonated with no chemicals whatsoever. The main set of pools were three very different types. One was a mineral pool, one a cold pool and a hot pool. You were supposed to go from the hot pool to the mineral pool and then to the cold pool at least once a day. I did the cold pool once and that was enough! My mom just looked at me like i was stupid!

Upon arrival, you are given a notebook of info along with a schedule of daily classes that are offered for the week. There is a welcome gathering in the main cafeteria where they explained more than a person can take in. Then golf carts are lined up to deliver us to our temporary home away from home to get settled.

The very first house they put us in was not going to work. As soon as i walked in, i started having trouble breathing. Mold and mildew. I walked to meet a housing counselor and we were placed in a second house...it was worse. I spent that night sleeping outside being eaten alive by mosquitoes. The following morning i walked back to the housing office where i was told there are no other options. I was sick. We paid a lot of money to be here to be told tough luck. A couple hours later, they said they had a third house we could stay in for a few days. The first bedroom they assigned us was so stinky, i could not take it. They moved us across the hall and we were able to settle in for five days until the next reservation arrived. This house had seven bedrooms with two or three beds to each room and just three bathrooms. That math is not too hard to figure out until you understand the basic program required by every person twice a day.

Now...I have to share the basic program. Every morning and afternoon, you must go to the wheatgrass shack and juice your own wheatgrass to drink and implant. Once juiced, you have less than 15 minutes to use it before it is dead and worthless. Implanting means inserting in the back door or up the dirt road or however you want to state it. Now you can do the math. Seven bedrooms with two or three beds per room and three bathrooms with a two hour window twice a day to shower, dress, do your implants or any other normal bathroom functions. It was chaos and people lining up desperately needing that room! I can highly recommend HHI to anyone with health issues but try not to settle for bronze housing. It is miserable.

There are about ten to fifteen classes to select from and attend each day. There were assigned times to meet with many types of specialist physicians, getting initial blood work and testing done, daily assigned treatments at the spa or medical office, be at one of the main buildings at eleven am and three pm to get your green drinks while fresh with live enzymes, lunch and supper buffets of only raw foods, spend 45 minutes in the fir sauna everyday, workout at the health club and do your pool rotation. Plus you had to spend a fortune buying your supplements at the store.

The first week is beyond busy. Trying to learn your way around and juggling a schedule that is jammed full was stressful. Worse...my moms schedule was different then mine so i had to get her where she needed to be and literally run to get to where i needed to be. Then run to get mom to her next place and me to mine. I had always been taught resting is critical in healing. There is no rest at HHI. I had visions of mom and i lazing at the beach on sundays and maybe seeing a bit of the area. There was never an hour that was not claimed while there. No tv, radio, or internet was allowed with the exception of one hour each night they would allow us to use the internet in the main hall. Typically i would be too exhausted to take advantage. My mom was just plain pissed. She loved music so i did walk a mile up the road to buy her a little radio for our room. It brought sanity and a bit of normalcy to us.

The store was located in the hacienda building. It was full of books and soooo much stuff that i wanted. They did allow you to borrow dvds if you had a computer to watch all the hhi programs on a myriad of health topics. We watched everyone of them over our 3 weeks there and learned so much.

There were yurts throughout the campus for different types of activities such as massage, morning exercise programs, meditation, etc.

My favorite part of the campus was the sprouting building and gardens. I spent every spare moment of everyday there that i possibly could learning better methods of sprouting each type of seed or better methods of growing types of food. Nothing was grown in the ground at hhi. Everything was grown in raised beds or a semi greenhouse structure. All sprouting was done in a metal building with no windows with high powered fans moving the air constantly and very low lights were only turned on twice a day for watering. The only door had several layers of heavy blackout plastic like going into a butchers cooler. The minute you step inside, the air you instantly breathe brings health! I wanted to live there permanently!

The daily classes were excellent. Some were offered by the different doctors, some by the nurses, some by the couple that operate the facility, some by the chef, and some were from professionals that were involved in the spa. I do have a favorite that i must share info on.

Brian David Anderson spoke one evening on his stem cell stimulator. He is no longer involved with hhi but i highly recommend anyone with a sprain or shingles to a life threatening illness to look at his website...trivortex.com...do a search for his videos or interviews on his "stem cell stimulator" and consider his program a serious option in healing. It is the strangest concept but i saw it work over and over on many issues. I met a gal that could barely function with ms become normal and a man from japan that had been in serious misery with horrid shingles for over a year...heal in one week. Brian is now in california and his cell number is listed on his website for questions. His invention is simply amazing.

Our housing issues continued each week we were there until we were finally moved into a house that was a step up from bronze....silver. Each bedroom had just two beds and a private bath. That to me is the minimum package to ever purchase when going to hhi. The housing people are unsympathetic and rude. They told me i should expect mold and mildew when in florida. I have visited florida at least once a year all of my life and have never experienced anything like their low end bronze housing.

Their spa and the hhi workout facility were top of the line but each offered a strange vibrating machine you stand on while it does different things. I cannot remember the name of this contraption but the version at the spa truly helped my mom as did the QRS equipment. The QRS equipment is an important part of healing cancer if you ever use the cesium chloride program. That program along with the hhi diet would be my choice if i were ever stricken with that horrible disease. If you want to read about it, check out cancertutor.com. On the left side of the home page, there is a link to that particular program. I wish i had known about it when my mom was diagnosed as it is much more affordable than the route we used and can be done at home.

My mom literally hated every moment at hhi. She did benefit greatly though. We came home with a fir heating pad that she loved using too.

Inflammation. It was a word i thought meant swelling in an area of the body such as wrists or ankles. I was very wrong. It is the beginning of all illness and rarely can be seen. Most people believe they are gaining weight from aging or some other reason because it is happening inside of their bodies rather than outside. I arrived at hhi weighing a whopping 172 pounds. I felt like a beached whale and was wearing size 16 clothes. At the end of our three weeks there, i weighed 163 pounds and wore a size 8 clothes. That was accomplished by the programs ability to release the inflammation from my body. Over the next year of staying on the program, i lost all the rest of the weight i was carrying from my two hospital visits. I came home feeling like i could take on the world again.

It was time to apply all i had learned to my daily life and finally get back to my preps. Number one priority was to finally get back on track in finding our property!
“Laws are made for the weak more than the strong.” Ben Franklin
fern
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Chapter 10 - back to business

Postby fern » 10 Jun 2016, 01:08

It felt good to be home! HHI had put me through many tests and confirmed that i did not just have diabetes...i had type 1 diabetes, Hashimoto disease and was suddenly a celiac with way too many food allergies to things i had eaten my entire life. I was completely devastated by that news of three autoimmune diseases but they also gave me a clear path to handling my diabetes without having to use any insulin whatsoever. I was determined to stick to this new path. I did not like the feelings i got inside my body each time i used insulin.

HHI also gave me new knowledge on healing methods and amazing supplements. I have posted some of this info on the forum such as Inflammablox and InflammaCore. Chlorella in high doses before and after any x-rays...just not from japan! Aphanin for any type of breathing problems. Liquid only zinc and copper for hair loss or baldness. Selenium and magnesium taken together neutralize mercury. The importance of the different algae. The danger of fish oils and replacing them with flax oil for your much needed omegas. Any type of lettuce is 40% less nutritious than sprouts. Sunflower and pea sprouts along with wheatgrass offer the most nutrients, protein and energy of any other type of food on Earth. Never eat black beans as they are extremely toxic. Dairy is the basis of arthritis and cancer. Chromium is excellent for your pancreas. All soy is very bad. Chlorella and blue green algae can correct dna. Vinegar stops digestion. The list could go on for days.

I have to admit that i was very apprehensive to be home too. I did not want any more breathing problems and the sky trails were in full force the day we arrived home. In fact there was the largest trail Mom and i have ever seen that day. It was darker than normal, extremely deep and went as far as the eye could see east or west for that entire day and most of the next day. It was unlike anything we had ever seen. My husband was working 84 miles north of our home and he said it completely covered them there. He said it was dark like a storm was coming but no storm. Unlike the normal trails, this giant did not allow sunlight through.

I had talked with many of the hhi employees about the sky trails while there. They laughed about them and told me to watch each day. The planes would spread the plaid pattern across the skies but they would be taken out to sea within an hour or two. They were correct and it made me wonder why they even bothered. In pa, the trails would sit in place because the Appalachians sat to our east holding them there.

My husband and i were anxious to get to Kentucky and walk some of the properties i had found so long ago. First i had to call and see if any were still available. It had been almost six months since i had been there so with fingers crossed i made the calls. Every single property was still on the market! That fact let me know that the market in ky had to be somewhat depressed. All good news in my book!

All of our belongings had been put in storage from our home so i spent the next week digging through storage bins trying to find items we needed for our new little home and all my maps and notes from my ky trips. Since i had not been involved in any of the packing...it was not an easy task but after many days of work, repacking and rearranging, i found what i needed. Now it was a waiting game for my husband to come home.

I used that time to reassess our desired list for our property. I now wanted to truly research the normal wind patterns in ky and see if and where they were getting these sky trails. I had never seen any each time i was there but i knew they were in tennessee, illinois, indiana and ohio according to my husband. I had studied wind patterns previously but that was in terms of nuclear plant locations. This was different and i truly believe it is just as devastating to a body but on a daily basis. It would now be a priority on my list.

I had the truck fueled and us packed ready to go when my poor exhausted husband arrived home. He literally walked from one truck to the other and slept the entire drive to our motel in ky. We only had 12 days and lots of walking to do. We decided to start at the most southern property and work our way north. I had a few new listings that i had added to our list to checkout if we had the time too.

Property 1 was huge! 460 acres with a log cabin. We spent three days getting a feel for this property. It did not seem that large to me. At best, my husband would only have about 70 acres for crops. There were several other buildings on the property that added value plus in the center of the land sat a unique building that had 18 built in bunks, a large indoor and outdoor kitchen, outhouses, etc. it had no frontage whatsoever which i liked but my husband did not. It had solar remote gates and three huge ponds along with more springs than you could count. I loved it. My better half was concerned. Still in the running for now.

Property 2 was huge at 400 acres and again an off the grid cabin with solar power and a rare in ky well. Although it was beautiful and met almost all of our requirements, you could barely get to it in the dry hot summer. It would be impossible in the winter. Crossed off our list.

Property 3 had 300 acres...half fairly rolling and open and the other half wooded but had been timbered to 12" leaving lousy forest land that looked more like scrub to me. It had four houses but only one had utilities. It had a huge barn that had been used as an artist facility. I felt open and exposed and completely uncomfortable there and my husband loved it. It was not at the end of a dead end road but did have ponds and good water. After much discussion...this parcel was crossed off too.

Property 4 is where i left my heart. This property appeared to have it all. We got permission to camp there and spent two days walking it. We found several old gas wells spewing gas into the air too which is a positive. It was decided that i was to do more due diligence on this parcel. No house so that was also a consideration. The asking price was a lot higher per acre too even without a house included.

Property 5 was 200 acres with an oddly unique but very nice roomy cabin. It had luscious grapevines growing up one side of the porch. I couldn't believe they were still producing so late in the year. This property was an estate and i was told there were no easements. I guess the attorney couldn't see the huge power transmission lines or the gas line crisscrossing it or the odd verizon easement that cut through the side of the parcel. Crossed off our list of potentials.

Property 6 was the most expensive of all. It had been a beef ranch in its day and each barn was full of expensive equipment and automatic feeders, etc. The land laid beautifully and gave my husband his 100 acres of crop land in the middle of my 150 acres of forest. Things got weird though when the seller required we let his old buddy live in his camper in the center of the property beside the only pond until he dies...free of charge. Then there was the small matter of his leasing just one acre of land to the gas company believing that left the rest of his mineral rights in tact. He did not realize that they drill horizontally per his lease or that they can clear and string pipelines anywhere they want on his land. He had only screwed himself out of his up front fees per acre and the energy company got all his rights for free. He did have the only true walnut tree i have ever seen in this state. Crossed off our list.

We decided to drive by some of the new parcels i had found. We were both getting a bit exhausted from this search. Yet we had two potential parcels so all was not lost.

The next day we disqualified all but one property and we spent a lot of time walking it. It was basically a bowl but laid beautifully with five ponds but no creeks. I wanted hydropower so that had me somewhat negative yet the land was breathtaking. We decided to meet the owner the next day to get more info. It was just under 200 acres but no house. The price was very tempting too. After sleeping on it that night and meeting the seller the next day...we crossed it off our list. Too much road frontage, too many neighbors, no way to ever have hydropower.

With only a couple days left, we decided we would go looking for sky trails and enjoy a bit of whatever ky had to offer. The only trails we found were in wv as we were driving home to the plaid skies of pa. Time for my husband to return to work and me to start my true due diligence on the two properties that were still in the running!
“Laws are made for the weak more than the strong.” Ben Franklin
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Chapter 11 - hopeful due diligence

Postby fern » 12 Jun 2016, 21:25

Mom decided to make the trip to ky with me since i would be doing mostly courthouse searches. We headed southwest right after my husband left for work. I had high hopes that one of these two parcels could be our home!

I could only drive during daylight hours though. Even with my diabetes stabilized, my vision was horrible. I had lost about 70% vision in my right eye and 30% in my left eye. I had learned to compensate but did not want to take any chances either.

The trip went fast with someone to talk to. We got our motel and decided to investigate the town, which was also the county seat, a bit before we settled in for the night. The town was one lane wide but about a mile long. I found the courthouse but we could not find any restaurants for supper. Interesting.

The next morning my search began. I started at the pva office and gathered all the info on the property and county that i could. Then on to the deed book room. As i followed the deeds, it did not take long to discover the largest pond had been "gifted" to a nephew. Another parcel had been gifted to another nephew and appeared to sit within the property boundaries rather than on a border. Although the sellers stated they owned the mineral rights, in the late 1800s and two more times in the early 1900s, the mineral rights had been "gifted" to family members who then leased them. The gas lease books had nothing listed for releases and no copies of the leases to see if there was an automatic release within the agreement. The good news was the property had only changed families three times from 1800 to today. For some reason, i could not find deeds previous to 1800 back to 1779 when the land grant took place.

Day 2 required going back to the property to locate the parcels that had been deeded to the nephews. Both parcels were off the west side farm road of the boundary. It was easy to figure out the large pond borders. After walking it, i found stakes. What a loss though since this was at least a ten or twelve acre pond and quite deep.

On up the road to locate the next parcel. What a shock! The road ended and there sat a shack and an old bubble travel trailer and lots of junk. I wondered if this was the nephews? I decided to see if anyone was home and they were. Nope...not the nephews but family of the sellers best friends from the 1960s and they are allowed to live there full time. They showed me their forever lease for $1 per year. Then they explained the nephews parcel was on up the path about 1500' and then i would see his hunting cabin. I left mom to wait while i hiked on up and certainly found his place. My hopes of possibly buying it back desolved when i saw a beautiful 1800 sq ft cabin. I wondered how he got the materials up there to build it and decided to push on. Thats when i came across an access road not shown on any docs the sellers gave me and not on any of the maps i found at the courthouse. We hadn't even come across it walking the property but it cut right down to a gravel road that supposedly was not a property border.

I was feeling deflated about this parcel. The idea of two people living within the property borders and the loss of the large pond was extremely disappointing. Plus the fact that the mineral rights were now questionable at best...made me dread sharing the info with my hopeful husband that evening. He was already concerned since this parcel had no road frontage at all. No need to waste more time in this location so we checked out and headed north to the parcel that held my heart. Whoever heard of a town without a restaurant anyway? Not everyone wants only a fast food destination.

After heading north, we arrived at county seat number two! We rented a room and immediately headed to the property. I wanted my mom to see this beautiful land! The dead end road is eight miles long with some beautiful homes at the beginning and a few scattered about half way down. Then a vacant home that had been ripped apart by people wanting the copper and whatever else. The last three miles only had three homes of the more private people that do not welcome strangers knocking on their doors. I decided to do just that anyway. I mean how scary is a woman and her mother?

The first home shared some interesting knowledge. From the late 1800s through 1910, there was a fellow that came through leasing gas rights and drilling many wells in the area. He strung pipe lines in the creek to a building he built and then sold electric to the local people and the town. He was his own utility company! Plus he gave one well to each property owner for their own use. Great deal! All mineral rights were returned to the landowners upon his death or business closing. They had several wells on their own property that gave them free heat and they had a backup natural gas generator for when the power went out. Clever.

House number two was not as welcoming! It was a lady about mid sixty and she asked me if i couldn't read. I am sure she was referring to the do not enter and no trespassing signs but i just explained that we were looking at the parcel of property at the end of the road and would appreciate any info she could share. She told me thieves burned the house down two years ago and asked me if i know how to shoot. I assured her i did. Then i got the fifth degree on my family and what would we use the property for. I didn't want to share too much but i knew she was looking for her own level of comfort. I told her it would be our home. She said there are a lot of bear and coyotes and cougars so never go without a gun. She turned to go back in her house when i asked her about the new cabin above. She said...yeah, its some asian fellow from california that believes the world is going to end. He is only here on weekends. I think he works at a bank or something like that. You wont be able to understand him. Then she told me to get off her property, which i did.

No need to stop at house number three since he would not be there during the week. I took new interest in his place now though. His cabin had been built into the hill. He had fenced off a garden area and he was still eating from it. His chicken coop had the door facing to the side rather than towards the house and was sitting near the road with only the creek between it and people. I thought that was odd considering he had 18 acres. He had an older jeep sitting by the house that was in great condition too.

Finally we arrived at the property line! I showed my mom the tobacco barn and what great condition it was in. Someone had stolen the one set of doors since i had last been there though. I showed mom the old grist mill and how the creek would have to be routed back where it used to be. I showed her a few of the excellent house locations and drove her back to the remnants of the old sawmill. It was all there but the structure was caving in on the mill. We sat on some old logs and listened for an hour just to feel the beauty and tranquility of the area. Mom liked it as much as i did! Time to grab some food at a fantastic mom and pop restaurant i had found previously and then get to sleep so i could be at the courthouse when it opened in the morn. I said a prayer that this search would not turn out the way the last one did.

I was waiting at the courthouse when someone finally came to unlock it. I knew i had to start at the pva office and headed that way when i realized that this was the first courthouse i had entered in years that i did not have to go thru security! Wow. Interesting again.

The pva office was also interesting. Trying to get help in between all the gossiping going on was impossible. Finally a fellow came in and went to his office. He kept noticing me standing there not being helped so he waved for me to come back. Thank you! Not only was he able to print out info on the land for me but he printed a large aerial view map for me. It cost $2. I went and sat in the hall so i could digest the property map vs the aerial and every old logging road on it plus any access points from adjoining parcels. All looked good as only large parcels on every side. The only way in or out was the main access road. It had its own watershed. No easements. I could see the potential areas for farming. It appeared like those areas had much smaller growth.

I realized i was sitting by the building permit office so i decided to stop in there and ask my questions. What a shock! The land was considered county so the only permit i would need to build a home would be a septic permit and that cost was $40. There was one inspection when the location was prepared but previous to installation of the tank or drain field. Odd. The electric company would require the new service to be inspected though.

Time to start digging through the deed books. There was a long line outside of the clerks office so i got in it. After twenty minutes i learned i could bypass that line and go on in. The deed books were in a back room and they pointed to it telling me the gal that normally works in there was ill that week. Oh boy. I spent ten minutes figuring out their system. It was different than other counties but i was able to find the first deed and start making headway. The property had changed hands many times over the last decade but previous to that it had not. I was able to follow the deeds back to the land grant. Whew! No negatives! I decided to use the balance of the afternoon researching the adjoining properties to see if there were any surveys on record that would bring up boundary issues. I started with the california neighbor and worked my way around the entire property following their deeds back at least to the late 1800s since that would allow me to find the gas leases.

I did find two adjoining parcels that had been surveyed so i copied those survey plats and deeds to study later and went in search of the old gas lease books. I did find the old leases and they did revert to all property owners. I tried to see if there were any new leases but could not find where they were. I decided to attempt a search on their computer system and was successful but it brought up an unusual book number. I searched the entire room with no luck so i had to attempt to get assistance. No one could help me so i tried the nice pva man and it turns out this set of books are kept in their office anyway. As soon as i showed him the number he said it was an easement. My heart sank. Yep. It was an easement granting a right of way through the entire property to the most rear adjoining parcel. I was sick over this! Can anyone be honest when selling a property?

I took all my new knowledge back to the motel and poured over the deed descriptions and surveys vs this property deed and the pva map and aerial. Immediately some border issues became apparent. Both surveys had been completed by the same surveyor so i decided to try to reach him the next morning. I was also going to call that parcel owner with the easement to see if they were willing to sell. If so, that would eliminate the easement issue.

The surveyor agreed to meet me at the end of the next day at the courthouse. His input would be critical since unlike all the other properties we had looked at...this parcel price was based on acreage and the cost was high for rural Kentucky. I spent the afternoon trying to reach the adjoining owner and finally did. They were unwilling to sell but assured me that no one ever goes to the property so the easement should not be a concern to me. Really? Do they think i am that dumb or are they that dumb?

Finally 6 pm arrived and i was waiting at the back door to the courthouse. They left it open for him so we could use their conference room. Amazing.

But the surveyor had no good news for me. He said the property was actually somewhere between 260 and 300 acres rather than the 450 acres the sellers stated. That did not upset me if i could negotiate the price with the sellers. He said he had surveyed almost every property around this parcel and knew it well. I asked him if there were any other access points to this parcel or any other way into the rear adjoining property with the easement. He explained the county stopped maintaining the access road to that parcel a few years ago because the last person that lived back in that area had moved out. Therefore that property owner got the easement through the property we were considering. I asked him to show me the other access road. I wanted to go see it for myself and he said since the road is no longer maintained most property owners had installed gates so i would not be able to drive it. I was determined though and would walk it if i must. So he marked it on my map with approximate gate location or intersections so i would find my way.

The next morning mom and i headed to find the old unmaintained road. The first six miles of the road was paved. Then a couple of miles of gravel but then the sign stating unmaintained road beyond this point and it became a four wheeler path. There was a turnaround there so thats where i left mom and started my trek. The first mile let me see why the county no longer maintained the road. There were several deep creek crossings...way over my rubber boots. Some had a high water crossing but most did not. One area had five creeks converging into one low area and that is where i turned around. I had lost this battle and wasn't interested in being wet above my waist.

As i walked back to my truck trying not to cry, i realized that i have had to work hard at everything my entire life and finding our perfect place would be no different. I decided i was going to take a couple of weeks off from the search and enjoy my family and get my tough side renewed. I would figure out a better plan and start again next month. After all...i had more prepping to do!
“Laws are made for the weak more than the strong.” Ben Franklin
fern
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Chapter 12 - a new approach?

Postby fern » 13 Jun 2016, 00:52

Mom and i spent the next few days trying to think of better ways to find property in ky. We came up with some doozy ideas too! Using a lie detector or truth serum when asking sellers or realtors my initial list of questions was my number one desired method.

My husband was simply disgusted at the time and money and effort we had put into these properties for naught. It had been the same for me over the last few years in pa and wv but i did all that work myself so my husband never understood my frustrations. I would only involve him if i found something with potential. Now that i am a decrepit diabetic invalid, he doesn't like me going and doing this process by myself. Plus i was now simply tired of my hours of daily searches for land. There are so many websites and when you do this search regularly, you quickly learn that if you limit your search in any way, you can easily miss prime properties. These websites will give you different properties under any search criteria so i would just plug my way through the pages and pages of listings.

I decided to change gears while trying to digest a new approach and get back to prepping. Before i had gotten so ill, i had come across a website that sold complete pelton wheel systems much more affordably than i had ever seen. I decided i was going to get familiar with those options and get a better understanding of how it can work and hopefully start buying a piece at a time.

I was also going to return to my monthly prep routines now that i had room in our storage unit i could fill. Plus Christmas was coming so i wanted to make it extra special this year unlike the last two years of worry and illness. And i decided every Christmas present was going to be a prep for everyone no matter their age. It would be fun!

It was time to concentrate on crossing off some of the expensive items on my list too. I had purchased two types of solar ovens before i was hospitalized but had yet to try them. I wanted to do that and now that our days were getting short and cooler plus our covered skies each day...it was a good time to see how well they work. I picked them both up from the storage unit and decided i would make banana bread muffins in one and try cooking a roast in the other one at moms home the next day.

Trial day went better in some ways than i expected. I had my smaller dark roaster for the meat and started it early in the morn. Mom kept going out to turn the oven so it was always facing the sun and sure enough...it heated up and worked beautifully. Even the muffins were good. They didn't seem to rise as much as normal but that could be me rather than the oven. I put the potatoes and carrots in the roast too late so that they did not get completely done before the sun was setting. We ate the carrots that way but i finished the potatoes on the stove. My stepfather, mom and i all enjoyed the amazing meal cooked in tin boxes that evening. It was truly great!

Since i had not planted a garden other than a couple late tomato plants, i decided mom and i could drive up to the produce auction and buy some of the amish produce to can and eat. It was so late in the year that i was unsure what would be available but we went anyway. We ended up filling the bed of the pickup totally up! I bought a load of still sweet sweet corn, beets, lots of cabbage, zucchini and all other types of squash, cauliflower, apples, several large bags of the Amish sweet onions, and an entire bin of large pumpkins to sell.

I gave the bin of pumpkins to our daughter to sell for Christmas money and mom and i proceeded to spend the next week canning our goodies. We filled many cupboards but decided to go back to the auction to pick up as many late tomatoes as possible to can in as many ways as we could think of. The week before, the tomatoes were unaffordable but this time we hit pay dirt and came home with lots of multi colored heirloom tomatoes. We stewed some with onions. We canned some as is and some as sauce. And we purchased another bin of pumpkins since the previous bin had been sold plus we bought more cabbage. Cabbage is something i can eat without having to use insulin. I love it raw, baked in thin slices with a touch of oil and spices, fried, boiled and canned. I can eat it everyday plus it is always added to any stews i make. This time we bought extra potatoes too and canned them.

It turned out that the pelton wheel company was located in ky! I spent some constructive time talking to them by phone and they helped me figure out the system that should work almost anywhere we may end up since they had a good feel for the part of the state where we were determined to purchase land. Even though to some extent i was getting the cart ahead of the horse, i started purchasing as much as we could afford each month. To me, this was the most important purchase to date and the one i have dreamed about having most of my life. It was such a relief too. As each package would arrive, i packed it away with hope to soon put it to use.

This was going to be a fantastic Christmas! Four of our five kids and our grandkids would be coming for the holiday! I had shopped for mid sized high quality molle backpacks for everyone down to the youngest. I went to cabelas and purchased the pen knife style fork, knife and spoon gizmo and i bought walkie talkies with the ear pieces for each of our kids. I went to dollar general and dollar tree and bought the little things to put together a first aid kit and toiletry kit per person. I went to the gun show and bought a couple of spools of paracord from a friend i had made there and split it up. I dug into our mres and put a three day supply in each bag. I added the fire starters and a good flashlight to each bag. I put little battery lanterns in each grandkids bag. I cannot even remember all the items i stuffed in each bag but i do remember i had to pack and repack until i could figure out how to fit it all in. A boy scout troop was selling all their extra new pup tents so i bought enough of those to tie onto the bottom of each adult bag. And we put ten silver dollars in each adult bag as their big gift. It was going to be the best holiday we have had in years and i was as prepared to make our kids and grandkids prepared as possible.

I still had not figured out a new approach for locating our land but i was ready for this holiday. Bring it on!
“Laws are made for the weak more than the strong.” Ben Franklin
fern
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