It’s really happening! Kimberly and I have both ceased working as of May 8th and are starting the next chapter of our lives. The house in Knoxville is for sale! We are ready to spend some time filling a lifelong dream to live internationally, ingraining ourselves into a culture, and serving that community. Upon our return we plan to live the simple life on Qberry Farms in Virginia. In the meantime, there is a lot going on and a lot of stuff to do before you can close up life at home in America. My hope is that at least one of us will turn out to be good at blogging, that would be a tremendous way to meet many of our goals for this season of our lives. Hope you’ll follow along as we try to figure it out.
We just got back from a 10 day Alaskan Expedition a couple of weeks ago and wanted to post some of the photos here since Facebook can only hold so many You can check out the videos on Youtube…
It’s been a long time since an update, but we’ve gotten a lot of work and relaxing done since Christmas at the property. A lot of people have been asking about our power and water systems at the barn since finding out we are completely “off grid” at the property, so I thought I’d explain a bit about how we have done it.
We have always had power at the barn thru a very simple system of two 12 volt marine batteries, a solar panel to keep them charged, and a 10,000 watt power inverter to make standard 110v power. This has always worked great for us, although I did recently upgrade from a 1700 watt inverter. The upgrade was due to the fact that the 1700 watt inverter didn’t have enough power to allow us to use the electric skillet or coffee maker. These two marine batteries easily keep us in power for a 3 day weekend. The solar panel then recharges the batteries so they are ready when we return. I have also wired in lights using compact florescent bulbs which use very little electricity.
The next issue to overcome was the lack of running water. Although there is very clean stream on the property as well as springs, etc; we really didn’t want to dig a well or have large expensive pumps (especially with our limited power source). So, after installing a septic tank, toilet, sink and shower I moved on to a system to capture rainwater from the roof of the barn. I used two rain barrells and black corrugated pipe to capture the rain from the gutters. I cut holes in the top of the barrells to allow the overflow to run off into the drainage pipes and be carried away from the barn. See some pictures here… A simple 12 volt water pump designed for a camper was installed to pump the water from the barrells into the fixtures. The best part is a small propane powered hot water heater that comes on instantly when you turn on the hot water at the sink or in the shower and heats the water to very high temperatures nearly instantly. This was also an expensive system designed for RV’s and mobile hot water uses. It connects to a standard 20lb propane tank and will lasts for many months as little as we use it.
The next trip is this coming weekend. It’s bee a great 4 day weekend for us with friends and family as we grill out and enjoy what we have worked so hard to build. I am definintly prepared to start sitting back and enjoying as opposed to working the whole we visit as in the past. Although, I’ll always enjoy a simple project every now and then. Besides, I still have a bench swing and a chair swing to hang somewhere.
We are home safe and sound. We spent the last day in Greece at the ancient city of Corinth. We were able to stand in the exact same place where Paul stood when being judged. See Acts 18:12. We browsed the ancient ruins and viewed the museum most of the day while listening to our our tour guide Costas. Costas is one of 850 registered tour guides in Athens and one of the only 3 that are Christians. He spend the day pointing out these significant items and where they were mentioned in the bible.
We also hiked to the top of the acrocorinth which is the Corinthian equivalent to the acropolis in Athens. The view from there was amazing and the pictures reflect that. The entire photo collection can be viewed here.
We came back with our eyes opened to how easy we have it in this country and how much we take for granted about our Christian lives. The people we met had to give up everythign they knew and had to become Christians and they never looked back. As hard as it was and even while still getting over the jet lag, we feel refreshed and renewed and have a deeper understanding of the history of the bible. Along the way were even able to break a few barriers while helping and serving a few refugees. Thanks to all those who supported and prayed for us during this trip.
We are land owners in Floyd and Carroll counties (the county line divides the property). We closed on the properly Thursday and drove straight to the farm to start camping. We spent the first night alone and were joined by family and friends quickly afterwards.