When we were missionaries there was a big deal made about the process of moving back to the homeland. The concept was called "Re-entry", and there were books written about it: it involved the sometimes painful process of readjusting to life back in the home culture, wherever that may be.
So in a sense, it was this what we were facing: after 8 thousand miles and two months of being spoiled by family and friends; eating at fabulous restaurants; visitng the grandeur of coastal California; basking in "70-and-sunny" perfect weather; and staying in beautiful, custom-made homes---we began to emotionally ready ourselves to re-enter our life on the farm.
I thought it could go one of two ways---the place could be spotless, with a fire lit in the woodstove, a meal prepared and ready for us on the table (yeah, right), all the animals healthy and strong and all the buildings standing and intact. Or, the inside of the house could be as cold as the outside (25 degrees), the horses and cats missing, a building or two blown over...or, worse! Well, it was somewhere in between...but you decide.
There was a wonderful fire lit in our woodstove (thanks, Tom) and still plenty of dry wood left for us, so I am thankful for that. And no buildings were blown over except for the smokehouse that was already lying on its face from the winter before. The ground was covered with a foot of snow, but we actually made it up our steep hill and plowed into the snow with our van to get as close as possible to the front door. It wasn't that close, but we got stuck and the van hasn't moved since (10 days later).
My first impressions: a thick layer of dust over everything; a foreign smell seeping in every corner; snow tracked in with our mountain of luggage; and (this is tops) a mouse that had been caught in a trap and had since rotted away.
Jeff was especially calm and spoke kindly around me (maybe even tip-toed). Our water supply was low and we wouldn't be able to pump more until the freezing temps broke. Eventually we ran out of water and my "re-entry" process hit the fan.
So much for the romantic notion of living sustainably off our land. I wanted water and I wanted it now! No further cleaning, even washing of hands, toilet-flushing or cooking was going to happen without water! My life as a farmer's wife halted.
We all knew this would eventually make a good blog entry at some point, but no one wanted to currently mention it. Meanwhile, we had a foot and a half of snow outside with still more coming. So, we "washed" our hands in the snow from the porch and melted buckets around the house to get enough water to flush the toilet at least once a day.
We swept and swept (and swept) the floors and wiped down furniture, put away the luggage and generally de-cluttered. Nothing else to do but improve our humble surroundings. Finally, Jeff came up with a brilliant idea to hook up another (unfrozen) hose to the spring and see if that would work. It did! and I jumped up and down ecstatically when I saw that beautiful spring water flow into our tank!
So, only 36 hours without water. And we have enough wood for heat, lots of food put up in the basement and freezer, and the internet and phone lines work. We have plenty of power from our wind generator and our house is clean. The only thing I am dealing with is having to turn on the kitchen faucet from under the basin because the turn handles blew off when we turned the water back on. While it is a bit of a pain, I'm OK with it. If life was too easy, I suppose I wouldn't be thankful for the simple things.
Here's to "re-entry": life back on the farm.