Adjusting to Life in the Country

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Hi, friends! Today, I thought I'd write about our first few months in our new home. When we moved to the country six months ago, Kerwin and I quickly realized it would take time, energy and money to make our new home feel warm and inviting. We moved from a one-bedroom condo to a three-bedroom, two-bathroom house with a two-car garage.

All of a sudden, there we were in our new home. A clean, new slate — both inside and outside. During our first few months in the country, we made countless trips to Home Depot and our local country hardware store. Kerwin stopped at Home Depot on his way home from work to get a tools and parts for our home projects.

OUR FIRST HOME PROJECT

Unlike most mailboxes in the city, ours isn't anywhere near our house or driveway. Because of the dirt roads, switchbacks, steep hills and driveways, the mailboxes in our area are all lined up along the side of the dirt road, under a tall eucalyptus tree just off of the main concrete road.

When we bought our house, our agent told us we would need to buy a mailbox and set it up. Shortly after moving in, we looked online and searched for a heavy duty and secure mailbox. We found one on discount. It was large enough to hold most of the boxes we receive from Amazon Prime. It came with a lock and a safety feature to prevent prying hands from stealing mail. One morning, we went to Home Depot at 6 AM to get tools and equipment to setup our new mailbox.

When Kerwin returned home from work later that day, we loaded Midnight (the name I gave our SUV) with bags of concrete mix, buckets, and a few other supplies. While Kerwin was digging a hole to China, a kind, elderly gentleman stopped to check his mail. When he saw what we were doing, he gave us a knowing smile and laughed. "Ah. We all had to do that at one point — put up our own mailbox." We chatted for a bit and learned he and his wife were the first residents to purchase property in our little dirt road neighborhood fifty years ago. He gave us a warm welcome to the country and was off.

We finished setting up our mailbox shortly before sunset that day. It is one of several mailboxes under the old eucalyptus tree. Ours is the first one on the very left. When our friends visit us from the city and see the row of mailboxes under the eucalyptus tree, they joke and say, "Wow! You guys are really way out here! Your mailbox is half a mile from the your house!" Then they drive down the dirt road to our house and realize they really are far from the city.

Sometimes, our visiting friends and family see a coyote (or two) on a nice, leisurely walk.

DELIVERIES & INSTALLATIONS

Our propane tank was at the top of our priority list. We had it delivered first, so we could finally use our gas stove and cook in our new kitchen. Cooking in our kitchen was a defining moment for me. When I turned on the gas stove to cook our first meal, I knew I was home. It felt surreal to cook in our very own kitchen.

In December, we had our solar panels installed. Due to the nearby Lilac Fire and strong winds, the installers had to come three separate times to finish the installation. It was just too windy.

We also had our washer and dryer delivered and installed. I was so thankful to finally be able to do laundry in our own house.

March was unexpectedly cold and wet. We didn't have rain gutters installed yet, so we had huge puddles around our house. We hired a local company to install our rain gutters. I was so fascinated by the machine in their truck and loved watching it make our gutters on the spot.

PICKING UP OUR RAIN BARREL

Kerwin and I had been talking about collecting rain water for our vegetable garden. After a ton of research, Kerwin found our rain barrel. But there was one problem. We didn't have a trailer to bring it home! So Kerwin found parts online, ordered them, picked them up at the dealership, and installed a hitch on Midnight the night before we picked up our rain barrel. Poor Kerwin was up until 3 AM installing the hitch.

Very early the next day, we drove thirty minutes to pick-up a trailer we rented from a Craigslist post. We hooked it up to Midnight using our newly installed hitch, and drove half an hour to Temecula to pick up our 1,320 gallon Bushman tank. It was quite an adventure hauling a huge tank in a trailer while driving on the country roads. We took our time and drove slowly. I was so grateful Kerwin installed our hitch the night before!

Here's a view of the beautiful valley we live in. It was so green after several days of rain. I will never get tired of this view. The descent to the valley is my favorite part about driving home. I find myself breathing a sigh of relief when I exit the freeway and every time I drive down the hill and see this view. This photo was taken on our drive home after picking up our rain barrel. Do you see it on the side view mirror? 

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HAULING COMPOST & HAY

A friend of mine told me about a mushroom farm just twenty minutes north of our house. When she told me their compost is free, I was determined to get as much as I could fit in Luna's (our sedan) trunk. I was getting my seedlings planted and was eager to get my hands on free compost. After Kerwin left for work one morning, I drove to the mushroom farm and managed to fill three five-gallon buckets with compost.

A week later, I drove to a local store to pick-up some hay for the garden. Before leaving for work that morning, Kerwin lined the back of Midnight with a tarp so we wouldn't get hay everywhere inside the car. The nice gentleman at the store was only able to fit one bale of hay in Midnight. I told him I'd be back for more later.

When I arrived home, my eagerness got the best of me. I was supposed to wait for Kerwin to get home and unload the hay (I have a bad neck that hurts when I lift heavy objects). But I was eager unload the hay and use it for our garden. Here's what happened when I unloaded the bale of hay before Kerwin arrived.

Tsk, tsk, tsk.

That last photo is the very reason we decided to get our very own trailer. It was becoming too time-consuming to make several trips just to get compost, soil, or bales of straw and hay. Kerwin found our trailer on the Costco website. It is 4.5 ft x 7' ft and has a load capacity of 1,640 pounds. Here's our trailer being unloaded.

Adjusting to Life in the Country | Aiane Karla | www.aianekarla.com

A few days later, my dad and Kerwin assembled our trailer to pick-up a mixture of compost and soil for our raised garden bed. I'll talk about our garden-related projects in a separate post. 

Adjusting to Life in the Country | Aiane Karla | www.aianekarla.com

INTERIOR DECOR

In between our outdoor projects, I was able to get started on decorating our living room and kitchen. The images below were taken sometime between February and March. We've added a few more decorative items and furniture since then.

Thank you for stopping by and reading about our adventures in the country. Yay! You made it to the end!

I like to end my posts on a grateful note. So here goes. Today, I'm thankful for...

  1. my hardworking, thoughtful and loving husband

  2. reed avocados from our neighbors at Stehly Farm

  3. the Keys Creek Lavender Farm near us

  4. a place to call home

  5. intercessory prayer

Adjusting to Life in the Country | Aiane Karla | www.aianekarla.com

What kinds of posts would you like to see in the upcoming weeks?
Please let me know in the comments section below. Thank you!