Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Wash Day

I'll admit...I'm spoiled. Living the gypsy life with a washing machine is lovely. Especially on a day like today where the sun has actually come out and there is a gentle breeze blowing. I realize it's just a temporary break in the rain that's supposed to be back this afternoon so I'm enjoying it while I can. As I look out the window I can see all my nice clean laundry fluttering in the breeze on my retractable washing line. The line measures upto 50 feet long so I have it running from the moho (still looking for a new name) to Steve's work trailer/office and back in sort of a 'v' shape. It works really well and I can hang a load or two up at once. We're still trying to locate a camera and get you guys some pictures. Hopefully later today that will happen.

So how did we hook up the washer? I have a frontloader that's good on water and that's important because all that wash water has to drain somewhere. In our case we extended the drain hose about 10 feet from our little living area and it drains into a series of trenches a few inches deep that the kids and I dug into the sand. Probably the best way to do it would be to bury some drain pipe that would let the water gradually seep out all along it's length. But the sand absorbs a lot so our way sort of works for now. The washer is sitting on some 2x4's so that it is level because we don't want it bouncing all over the place when it spins and it's a little off the ground so it won't go rusty. The water is fed to it just from a garden hose attached to the cold inlet and left turned on. If you do this though you must remember to cap off the hot water inlet, or the cold water will just come pouring out through the hot inlet. Obviously we can only wash in cold water but saving trips to the laundromat plus the $3.50 per wash and average of $3 per dry is worth it to me. My machine spins out much faster than the laundromat ones too so drying doesn't take as long.

Do you know the very best part of doing laundry and then hanging it out? Besides the saved $6.50?

THE SMELL!! I love the smell of line dried laundry.

I guess it helps I'm not in a smelly or polluted city too. Gotta go switch loads. Hope you're all having a great day. Elizabeth

Monday, May 30, 2011

Living in an RV with kids

Or should it be...how not to go crazy living in close quarters with 4 children.

Let me give you a brief description of our living arrangements. Ours are actually a real luxury compared to some. Stephen and I have a little 1972 Class C Motorhome that's named the moho. Yes, it really needs a new name and we welcome suggestions. It measure approximately 12 feet long and the bathroom is a tight squeeze at 22 inches wide by about 34 long. Ok if you're slim but a bit of a tight squeeze if you're chunky. We have a 3 burner propane stove, oven, single small sink, fridge and a porta-potti (which Stephen is hauling out to empty as I type this). The seating is on 2 benches that run on opposite walls so we have tables set up in between them for meal times and our place gets used as the kitchen/living room. The kids have an older Prowler trailer that's about 18 feet long. Kitchen, double sinks with hot running water, bathroom with sink, counter, flush toilet and shower and 4 bunkbeds. This is used as the family shower and as bedrooms for the kids with a curtain dividing them for privacy. Boys at one end and girls at the other. Junk strewn between unless they've recently tidied up. They are getting better at this but it's a S..L..O..W process.

Each of the kids bunks is just over 7 feet long so they have room at the foot of their bed for shelves and some storage. Chris has also commandeered the closet and half the counter and has set up his computer, PS3, screen etc. His electric guitar and amp are in there too somewhere. Jordan has his collection of stuff just tossed casually at the end of his bed. The girls bunks are near the door so when things fall off the bed they are really in the way to anyone trying to get in or out of the place. They're working on it. They have a small but tall 7 drawer dresser for their stuff plus the storage at the end of their beds. Kate has the best storage as she lucked into a compartment right by her feet that's nice and deep. Their heat source is just one of those portable oil filled radiant heaters and is very effective. It just basically takes the chill off in the morning because right now it's warming up. With no heat on all day yesterday my moho stayed at 14 degrees overnight which is much more pleasant than 4 degrees I can tell you! Right now it's about 20 so nice and pleasant.

One of the biggest blessings of being parked here is that they have a trampoline and generously let the kids use it any time they want, which is a lot. They have also made fast friends with young Ethan next door so outdoor playtime is good, especially for the girls. The teenage boys have a high speed internet connection and games so they stay occupied. Plus we are walking distance from the pool and we give them money to be able to go swimming or attend 'teen night' on Fridays.

I have to get going to take lunches to the girls school because they forgot again but will return soon.

Friday, May 27, 2011

Where do we go from here? Nova Scotia!

** Note, this post should pre-date the one about trip plans...sorry for any confusion - Elizabeth***

While our plans of rejuvenating the farm in Hilliers were dashed, we're still optimistic that the future can hold wonderful things in store for our family. The dream is not dead, it's just changed a little.

Here's what our original introduction said about us.

One family learning to be self-sufficient on Canada's beautiful west coast. We hope you enjoy following our story as we turn a run down and seriously neglected little rented farm into a thriving and vital part of our community here in Hilliers, near Qualicum Beach on Vancouver Island, British Columbia. We have a large market garden and raise chickens, turkeys, cows, goats, sheep, alpacas and bees. Oh and let's not forget the most important thing...we raise our family here too.

That all changed with the owner selling and the new owners bulldozing everything.

Despite of all this the motivation to create a vibrant and flourishing small family farm is still there! It just looks like we'll have to start over again somewhere else. So we're looking to get our own place in Nova Scotia.

Nova Scotia?!?! What? Isn't that at the opposite side of the country?

Well, yes it is. Infact, from here to there is about 7100km. Since we're planning a few detours to see family, see our beautiful country, and to have fun along the way, it should end up being a bit closer to 7500km. I'll work it out and let you know. Ok, here's the map.


View Directions to Halifax, Nova Scotia in a larger map

So the plan is to take our motorhome, 4 children, the dog, the goat, 2 cats and one trailer and drive 7000+km in search of a place to call our own. We'll need some help along the way I'm sure so we're going to look for some sponsors, sell pretty much everything we have, and we'll keep you posted each step of the way.

Coming soon...a tour of our current home, our Vancouver Island Bucket list, and how to do all sorts of stuff on a budget while travelling.

Trip Plan-Working out the budget and fuel costs

We're working out some things at the moment for the big move namely:

-How to pay for it
-When and where to go
-Where to live once there
-Where to get a job

Here are the maps we're using for planning on Google. You'll notice a number of stops in both BC and Alberta that seem out of the way...we'll post the itinerary so you can see why we're doing a bit of back tracking.

First let's do up a budget of sorts. Obviously these figures will vary as we gauge the Motorhomes actual fuel consumption and decide on stops of interest along the way. I'm making a general assumption of $10 per person per day for food, 10 mpg for the motorhome towing a trailer, gasoline price of $1.35 per litre and $100 per night for stops at campgrounds of which there are not likely to be many. SO here are the numbers:

10 mpg=.235 litres per km so a trip of 7100 km needs 1668 litres at $1.35=$2252 OUCH!!

If we can improve the gas mileage by even a little by simple things like good driving habits, properly inflated tires, a tune-up, keeping a speed of 80-90km/h then we should be able to get a few more mpg. Here, I'll show you how a little can make a difference. Say we can get 3 mpg better...
13mpg=.18 litres per km. x 7100 = 1278 litres at $1.35 = $1725 so we'd save $526.

Of course if the price of fuel goes up even a little it makes a difference too of about $16.68 for every penny increase at the pumps so if gas hits $1.50 then we'll be paying another $250. See how a few simple things can add up quickly? That's why we're going to make and track our budget so we can see where all the money is going.

Budget

$2250 Fuel
$1000 Food
$ 200 Ferry
$ 500 Repairs, upgrades and maintenance of motorhome.
$ 400 Campgrounds
$ 400 Admissions
$ 50 Parking and Tolls
$ 50 Animal food
$ 200 Interior upgrades such as foam and bunkbeds.
$ 500 Used trailer frame or shell
$ 300 Lumber to build trailer and animal pens.
$ 200 Insurance for trailer and motorhome
$ 150 BCAA membership (to cover towing if we need it)
$ 50 Sani-dump fees, propane refill
$ 40 New propane tank
$ 10 Memory card for camera
$ 50 Souvenirs

Total Budget for this expedition $6250. But that is still way cheaper than paying a moving company $8000+ and still paying for the 6 of us to get there which is another $3000 minimum. I know we'll try to cut the budget down as far as possible but your help would be greatly appreciated too. If you'd like to support us financially you can donate using paypal. If you go to our website novaappliance.com you'll see a payments page where you can give. We really appreciate it and we promise to not squander your money. Every dollar makes a difference.

We are also offering advertising space on our trailer. We have both sides available to feature ads up to 16x7 feet. Cost of advertising is $100 per square foot with the signage provided by you. All sponsors and advertisers will be featured both on our blog and our new Youtube channel starting next week and you can use us in your own company promotions.

Please e-mail us at fairesfamily@gmail.com for more info.

Have a fantastic day! We're off to Chamainus to finish the reno's at a friends place so her family can move tomorrow.

Thursday, May 26, 2011

We've Moved!

Yes, we're still alive. Contrary to what you might have thought with us being AWOL for so long.

We're moved from our big 5 bedroom house into out very little 1972 Class C Motorhome. And the kids are in the Prowler Trailer. We've set up camp in the sand riding ring of a local farm and we're saving up to get our own place some time soon.

Photos of our camp to follow shortly.
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