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  #21  
Old 08-22-2012, 12:03 PM
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The nearest store of any kind was a very small 2-gas pump--close at 6pm famly run pricy and very clandish.

Across the (road was) a very small feed/hardware store---which would become a friend and comic relief stop off spot.

In the store--after giving me the whos this interloper-look--she took my money for a cup of coffee,rols and bottle of water.

(A note here: Gallon jug water this many years ago wasn't a stocked item:But this tiny store sold bait--and catered to fisherman.

I asked where the nearest Walmart was---17 miles that way--owner said pointing and add the 7 miles to this store--I sighed--went out and shared my roll with ole Tippy--dug out my hair brush---gave a look in the mirror---and started laughing---I never went out looking like this---but this day would become a normal way of life---cleaned brushed hair,no make-up and a new additude.

I new exactly what I needed--aaand headed for a Very small Wm---17 miles away.
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Old 08-22-2012, 12:26 PM
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I had seen the green water kegs--6gallon containers. Bought 2--found the lamp oil bought 2-1/2 gallon jugs(quit laughing) matches--a can of bug killer(quit laughing)over to pets got Tippy her pet food--Also bought a small ice chest--some can meat,bread,sweet rolls( which would be a mainstay for a few weeks(quit laughing).

On my way home--I saw the small town community hall--fellow was mowing--and I asked if I could get some water---ya got to remember my apperance--seriously muddy truck and that where am I,what in the hell was I thinking look.

I missed my turn to the house--panicked---pulled off the side of the road-layed my head on the steering wheel and cried---I hadnt done that--I dont know how long I was there---I didnt realize I was in another phrase--on my own--literally.

Suddenly,a horn honked,a big black Ford duelly diesel was behind me---long tall drink of water came up to my window--and ask Ma'ma you having trouble? he pushed his hat back and told me: I see your down the road from us? It was my first glimsphe of a wonderful neighbor--reclusive- stand-offish-- a silent guadian angel.

I had to dry my tears and told him I had missed my turn--I thought I was lost--which isnt hard in these old country roads--all oaks lok the same--He said follow me---and its all I could do to get myself togather--followed him---he honked as he passed my place.

I pulled in and gave myself the suck it up annie--you got this--you'll get organized--slowly and it'll be ok,Talk.
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Old 08-22-2012, 08:54 PM
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I'm really enjoying reading your journey.
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  #24  
Old 08-22-2012, 09:28 PM
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Powerful writing, Annie. It reads like a compelling novel. Just proves that truth is the strongest of all.

Thanks for sharing your story. It can't be easy.
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Old 08-22-2012, 09:37 PM
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Anne, I just found this! I can't wait til the happy ending, but please don't leave anything out.
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  #26  
Old 08-22-2012, 11:02 PM
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The old house was home built of course---milled planks--laid horizonal.
There Wasn't a thing between the outside boards and the inside but air--the interior boards for some reason were rougher.

And it had a wonderful tin roof---that would be like a sleeping pill when it rain and an easy bake oven in the summer.

The framed windows were saging on the east side--and it appeared to be the new add-on.
(6o) y/o instead of the 80y/o west side.

I ventured into the winter kitchen--scary as there was only one tiny window--but did have an outside door. I found the other chimmeny--and my chinaberry tree problem--it had pushed the brick chimmey over--well almost over---I could see when it rained it poured in---goodness--oh well I wasnt that crazy about that tiny room anyway.

I knew then I had to close that door up--leading into the house from the old kitchen--the rotted floor would allow all manners of critters in--and it would be well that I did that and soon.

I opened the doors back facing the south and the front facing the north---Really north--stone cold facing the north---

I swept and I swept--dust from years---I killed all manner of critters. Black widows and a few scorpians.
It was the snake skins that had me skitish---big one----paranoid---I kept looking around for the owners of the skins.

I was going to run out of daylight--I had my bed set up--got my oil lamps set up--sleeping bag and blankets and got my little .25 auto out and was prepared fo dark.
I went out side and looked around.
The grass was so high--I was really cautious about snakes--and there behind the house was a beautiful oak--about 150 years old---I love that tree.

I was trying to think---how was I going to get bath water?
Cooking/dish-washing water?
I walked around the old house---looking at the slope of the roof---BARRELS--I needed barrels.

I needed to make a list---but I would think about it tomorrow.
I was totally exhausted--alone and for the first time in years--I would have depend solely on me---noone else--suddenly I knew fear.

Had I lost my mind?
Was I chasing a dream--or a nightmare.
Tippy and I climbed in the sleeping bag--and I began to hear sounds---in the attic---a knawing--alot of knawing--Problem--just one more problem-- I needed a list just for problem.

I had to get up in the night--to tinkle--problem--so I got the gun -got up and headed to the back porch--as I stepped into the room that would become my kitchem--later--there were at least 7-8 BIG rats lumbering around the room--they had my sweet rolls.
Tippy and I slept in the truck another nite.
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Last edited by Txanne; 08-23-2012 at 12:59 AM. Reason: correct
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  #27  
Old 08-23-2012, 01:23 AM
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My mind and body had -had it with sleeping in the truck.
Tippy curled up in the floor--on her blanket.
Shes a wired-haired terrier mix---she was a mulled /mix of color and I always thought she had been strained through a sieve--her 4 sisters were snow-white.

She was beginning to love riding in the truck--she knew when we got close to the old house--she'd stand up and wag her tail.
In our years togather-she never bit or offered to bite--she rareily barked-was house trained at an early age---her favorite food was friend chicken and cheerios.

In our years off grid--she was shot by a poacher--snake bite twice and had a standing appointment with all the skunks---we spent a lot of time--in the tomato juice bath---she didint weight muchmore than 10-12 lbs--but developed the heart of a lion--tall skinny hunter---knew no fear---rabbit hunter--frog catcher and after she figured it out--a rat or a mole didnt have a chance.
I watched her spend hours--treeing squrriels---she even tried climbing trees. A gentle old dog--had her spade as a baby--so she had her mind straight.

Tippy and I had to get a plan---my body screamed for real rest--I needed real food and I needed to make those dam list---I needed a bath--bad-- spit bath get ya by--but hey .

Headed to the feedstore/slash hardware/keresene depot.
And I got the best cup of coffee--and lots of(your living where?) That aint living the ole fellow said---thats excicisting---I asked about some water/rain barrels.
He said he knew his was to high---and he drew me a map to an old used place--said he had them (55gal.) for 5.00--my kind of price. Told me knock on the door-hard-the old fellow was kinda deaf.

As I started to leave--I remembered the rats--and ask him what to do to get rid of them.
Told me his truck would deliver the next day---he'd have some poisen--that would knocke'em right out---he didnt mention how bad the stink would be.

I noticed clouds building up---coming in from the north---I knew my mild days had just run out.
I decided to go to the used place the next day---boy was I in for a surprise.
The next nite--my water was trying to freeze in the kitchen.
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  #28  
Old 08-23-2012, 02:26 PM
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Tippy and I had to sleep in the house---I had on two layers of clothes--tippy her sweather.
By morning I was in the truck trying to get warm.

I have been at the beach in November and had sleet Easter--so our spring weather is fickle.

I had to visit the (bucket)--as I went up the back steps I saw something buried in the grass. Kicking at it with my toe--I saw it was a boot-scraper--It was to become my cook stove---my mind was starting to get into survival mode and out of the grieving--dark mode.

Now what I needed was some hydite blocks--I had enough dead fall---to keep me going for a long time.

I washed up---coldest water I had ever washed my face in--pulled on a cap--to hide my tousled hair--headed to the junk store---Of couse I drove for ever--and when I came up on the place--I spotted my life saver--an old sheet metal wood-burner,sitting in the yard.

Also,an old enanmell bath-tub--my brain started clicking--

How much money did I have?

The ole fellow came out--all bundled up--and we introduced ourselves--I ask him how much he wanted for the wood-burner and I needed 2 water barrels?

I got the wood burner for 18.00---2 water barrels 5.00 each and he gave me the tub-said it wouldnt hold water--the drain had been messed up when the people had taken it out.

Thank goodness I always carried rope behind my seat--roped my treaures down and headed
to the feed store for some stove pipe. I had a pretty good idea--had much I needed--OF course I was wrong--
headed home and when I got there--there sat middle son--boy did I have a job for him.

We assessed the situation.
He sai lets go back to the dump pile--on the back of the property---I had no idea it was there---and found a treasure trove of goodies.

Concrete blocks--a sheet of metal(to put under the wood burner) and an old rocking chair.

We would have to go through the old cracked window for the stove pipe--my son told me--He had just the thing--a hub-cap-ooff an old car--it was in the dump pile also.

Thank God the sun was out---I was cold--tired and hungary---
He is a painter--had his ladder---
After another trip to the feed store---we had the right elbows.

That nite--sitting by that old wood-burner--by lamp light--I felt peace--But the wind whistled through the old house---another problem.
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  #29  
Old 08-24-2012, 12:11 AM
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My son stayed overnite---slept in his truck.

The next morning we took the trucks to the back of the 50 and loaded up dead fall.
There--we saw the cattle--in a meadow--one mama had given birth--seems to always happen when when it feezing cold---tiny snow white bull calf---with a black line down his back--we called him zipper.

They all came wondering up to the trucks--looking for a treat--the (bull) rubed hisself on my tail-gate rocking the truck.
Their owner a lineman my oldest son knew(thats how he found the place)always hayed and fed field chunks in the winter--the bull was friendly enough--I would find out how friendly in the dark one night.(There were only twelve of them)

We stopped and walked down a trail--that led to a beautiful pond--I had wondered how the cattle had watered. it seemed full of activity---I was a fisherman--knew what I would be eatting---and did through the years.

We started back to the ole house---and crossing the road(trail) was a doe--crippled in her right hind-leg--with 2 fawns----we just sat--I think she thought we had food too--I suspect she had been eatting with the cattle. She didnt run--and through the years--had more fawns--in a little shaded--covered area--kinda like a birthing area.

Having unloaded the firewood--we set up my (cooking area) The boot scrapper over 3 hydite blocks . Fired up my camping cooffee pot and I had my first of many cups of coffee in that od speckled spot--still have her today---I learned about keeping my wood dry that week---it rained and rained--stayed cold.

But that was alright--I had lots of cleaning to do--List to make---Needs--problems to solve
So I had two lists: problem list and needs list.

We heated some spam over the fire in my cast iron skillet and I had a feeling.

My great adventure was underway---and my son had asked me--Mama come back into town with me---its not safe out here--we're worried about you.

I understood that--But I had to heal--find my way--My way.
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  #30  
Old 08-24-2012, 11:05 AM
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Beautiful story!
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  #31  
Old 08-24-2012, 12:44 PM
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I had no where to put my pots and pans---they stayed in a box.
Clothes in a duffle bag.

I had no closet to hang my things--I wondered what the people had done for closets?

My son had put the rat-bait in the attic---the constant chewing began to stop--thank goodness it was driving me nuts.
And the nasty things(rats) had eatten my sweet rolls and tried my canned spam--yuck.

Sitting in the cold old house--it began to dawn on me---for the first time--I didnt have anyone to care for--the place was so empty--so quiet---No traffic noise( I would see maybe 3-4 cars/trucks day and the school bus twice a day)

I began to shake---I dont know if it was from fear---relief or the shear aloneness.

We dont understand being alone---we're with family-people all around us---I was 7 miles from a store that was a gas pit stop at best--24 miles from Madisonville and 30 from Huntsville---

I bundled up to go outside---fresh air--and walk around.
I went to the big oak behind the house---in the tall weeds/grass I saw a pile of rumble and thought what is the world made someone pile old tires and bed-springs under the tree.

I moved the truck around--deciding to get busy to get rid of this terrile feeling.
As I loaded the trash---I saw a round mound of rocks and cement---it was a hole in the ground!!

As I cleared it away for a closer look---Oh man I was tickled to death---jumpimg up and down---I knew how the folks got their water---An inground Cistern---and i didnt have a bucket---well I didnt but ti was doing potty duty---

A cistern--got the flashlight out of my truck--looked in her and WOW she was full of water.

Its was if the old oak was a marker--and then it dawned on me--the cattle--They would fall in--thats why it had been covered up.

So I drug the bed springs and tired back out and covered the cistern up again.

I could mark water off my problems list---the cows would be gone in a few weeks--

I had water--now to make it work for me.
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  #32  
Old 08-24-2012, 01:37 PM
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Gods blessings in unforeseen places.
Annie, I so enjoy reading about your life. Thank you. It's sad but it's life. You are an encouragement to many. Thank you for sharing it.
Hugs
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  #33  
Old 08-24-2012, 02:50 PM
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WONDERFULL story!

Txanne, you have GOT to submit it to backwoodshome!!!!!!!
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  #34  
Old 08-24-2012, 02:58 PM
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I want to take this time to thank you all for the kind words.

Some of the postings will bore you--some will make you laugh
and some will make you call me a big dummy.

But what I am trying to point out is:
I read the books--I listened to folks and knew it was in my blood.

I have no problem sharing my dumb stunts--my achievements and
my emotional state.

Off grid living isnt as cut and dried as some would have you believe.
Its a trial of errors--achievements.

BWH---Countryside and sometimes MEN were avery important part of my life.
But basically BackwoodsHome and many of their books--that I ordered.

I had to learn through the 3rd person---alone is a great teacher.

Sincerely
Txanne
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Old 08-24-2012, 04:51 PM
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Annie,

Wow, what a story! I'm sorry to think about the hard time you had to go through, but I find myself impatient to see if you've added anything new yet. I think this is so fascinating.......you are quite a person......you must have such a wealth of inner strength. Thank you for sharing.

Terri
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Old 08-24-2012, 05:03 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Txanne View Post
Off grid living isnt as cut and dried as some would have you believe.
Its a trial of errors--achievements.
There is a saying that goes something like "Calm seas do not a sailor make."

In other words, we grow from overcoming the challenges, not from coasting trough the easy stuff.

Sharing your challenges and victories is good for all of us. We would get bored if everything went smoothly.
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Old 08-24-2012, 06:00 PM
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Shucks, you are more brave than me, when we first moved to this old farm house I was so scared. It is so dark in these woods and it seems to take forever for daybread to come. For the first year I didn't have electric in the farm house and there was no door on the kitchen. I nearly jump out of my skin one night when I caught sight of what looked like some kind of wild cat, like a cougar or something run across the kitchen and head in the front of the house, I ran screaming out of the house. I knew that thing could not get out of the house any other way but to come back out the kitchen, all the time I'm thinking that thing is going to get me because I am here alone, all I could find was a yard rake for protection, turned out to be a someone's big old tom cat. I never told my husband or kids about that and I to this day will not go outside by myself after dark. Love reading about your adventure, can't wait for more to come.
Thanks
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Old 08-24-2012, 07:36 PM
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I thought it was never going to warm up.
keep the ole burner fired up---sat real close.

That nite as I looked at my list--I knew I needed some #3 washtubs--I remember seeing
them at the hardware store.

I would go get a couple---A plan had formed in my head--I would set up my dish washing and tubs near the cistern--it would be easier baling water close to the cistern.

Oh yeah I needed a bucket--added that too my list.( shouldnt added buy 2 buckets)

Went to bed that nite--and in the dark it seemed every thing moved cracked squealed and wiggled.

Got up--fired up my boot-scraper on hydite blocks stove--made coffee--and thought to self---I cant handle these grounds anymore--dug through my uensils and found my little strainer--now-no more coffee grounds--yuck--I already had to fight critters didnt want anything in my coffee---

Went in got my tubs and bucket(1)---- went back home.
Went down to the dump--which was really an old dry creek bed.
Dug until I uncovered some more blocks.
I would later learn they were to bepart of a smoke house--that never went anywhere.

Set my tubs up--wind from the north--of Course blew the smoke straight through the house.
Geezzzz--dummy.
So in the winter the fire was built on the south side of the oak and in the summer the north side of the oak.

Uncovered the cistern and went to baling water----A note here: REMEMBER to TIE
the Bucket Rope off---to the tree==idiot.

It would be a couple of years durning a drought before I fished that bucket out of the cistern.

And about this time the cows came up to call on me--I quickly covered the cistern and went back inside----

I would think may times about those early days---my mind seem to not function like I wanted it too.
But it was just grief---sudden change in comfort levels--I was lucky enough to even be feeding myself.
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Old 08-24-2012, 07:53 PM
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The cows werent going to leave--but when i heard the truck at the gate--I knew why.
The fellow had come to feed them--and see his new calf.

I told him I named him zipper---ask when he was born-he took a pad out and wrote oit down.

And in abit--his lady friend had come too--she knocked on the door and ask if I wanted lunch---sure I did--we had bolonga on the tailgate--chips and drinks--felt like a steak dinner.
We talked and the fellow ask me--Anne what are you doing out here by yourself?
All I could say--I am going to live here. He was shaking his head--she offered me a job at Krogers--she was some kind of big wig---the very thought made me shake.

He told me about the area--how Hopewell was 10 miles long--and if I took a right at the end of it--It was a shorter way to Huntsville--to this day I dont believe it--you can drive until you run out of road out here--really.

He talked about the two black churches--that had split years ago and built another church across the road--the pastor went to each church every other sunday--and about Mustang Cemetary--a really beautiful oak covered place.

Time came for them to leave--he drove to the back and the cows followed--well all but the bull--He like my truck would stand right next to it.

One day I would venture down the road--but he said wait--until it dried up--unless i had 4wheel drive--there was a clue--I missed it.
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Old 08-25-2012, 12:28 PM
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MONEY:

In Jims' days before he was bed-ridden,he had-had a life insurance policy.
When my nurse told me to make my arrangements--( I came to hate that term)
I called our agent--He said Jim had called and cancelled the policy---because he
couldnt afford it----I was dumb founded.

But that was his mental illness talking---it had caused many problems.
He had at one time loaned money to a friend to get a book published.
It was a scam---

He would buy pounds of plums which would go bad before he ate them.
Strange acts---His medication only stabized him in the most minor way.

This illness would cause me a long court battle for settleing his estate.
He had an on going law-suit--worth a small sum.

My life in the next 8 years would require hundreds of phone calls--apperances before a probate judge,where I was finally appointed administrator of his estate.

The probate lawyer was a doll--absorbing cost until the final days of the lawsuit and settlement of the estate. His para-legal shed as many tears as I did.

Not having a phone--cells were infants then--I didnt have one--when I finally got one I
would have to stand on a ladder in a pasture--and have done it in the dark to keep in touch with everyone. It would be a few years before that happened.(Having a cell).

His cancelling the life insurance caused me great grief.
I had sold the small mobile home we had---Myself and a friend had refloored it--I painted and built small cabinets--but it idnt bring much---I sold all we had that anyone would buy.
( I had remodeled before he bacame bed-ridden)
Jim was cremated as to his wishes---not as expensive as a full burial.

Jim was Catholic and a Nun from the church came to see me shortly after he died.
She talked awhile and when she got ready to leave she haded me money.
I was really shocked---she said that they kept a small collection in the ladies organization and gave it to folks in need--Boy--I had about 17.00 that day and was racing to figure out away to take care of everything.
The sum was 281.00--I would live on that until I got the MH sold.

I had used everything in my checking acct---paid for his burial--paid lot rent and utilities.


The day before the folks came to pay me for the MH--I had a huge yard sale---what I couldnt sell I gave to the different folks---

I was left with a twin bed--propane tank--yard tools and old lawn mower(that I mowed that monster yard with off-grid for years)I had power tools--boys those were useless--
the regular kitchen tools and camping equiment that would come in real handy.

I had dozens of potted plants---my little hobby--I gave them away.
But I saved my books---my precious books.
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