Thursday, January 3, 2013

Gaining Traction

            Last week we embarked on our shortest move yet. We fired up the Bird and rolled a whopping ½ mile from one side of Full Circle Farm to the other.  Although it was a quick trip, this move did not come without some excitement.  The novelty of this particular move is that we had never attempted to drive the bus in snow, let alone eight inches of it, through a field and up a hill! This past spring we did attempt climbing a steep hill in the mud. Despite weighing over seven tons, it turns out that our bus tires are simply not designed for off road use.  Go figure.  After several harrowing attempts, we did reach the slippery summit with help from a bit of gravel and a running start that bordered on a “what-the-#$@!-was-I-thinking” moment.  Alas, we were spared and without losing even a single plate. This was a surprise considering the horrible crashing sounds emanating from our cabinets in protest of every rock and turn of the narrow road.  We vowed after that experience not to travel in slick conditions in our home, which also contains all of our worldly possessions (not to mention us). That pledge held out for about six moths. The next questionable move occurred in mid October. A surprise snowstorm dumped six inches of snow at our 4000-foot elevation just days before we were slated to leave. Fortunately, the snow melted after about a week and we were able to crawl off the mountain via muddy roads yet again.  It felt as though our luck might soon dry up and perhaps it was time to consider other options.  


 So, last week, when it came time to see if the bus would act more like a plow or a sled, we took precautions.  I tracked down the most burly tire chains I could find. What I came up with at a local scrap yard were some enormous logging-truck chains that are designed to pull thousands of pounds of logs down windy dirt roads in the worst conditions. Way overkill seemed just about perfect. For those of you not living in snowy climates, tire chains are essentially steel chains linked together to form a ladder. The “ladders” are wrapped tightly around the tires to give them more traction and traction is definitely what we got. It was as if our school bus was suddenly transformed into a military tank. Those seven tons of steel that had been so intimidating previously had became our greatest ally. We rolled steadily across the field, up the hill and down the icy road to our new winter resting place. It took everything I had not to continue over the river and through the woods, simply because I thought I could. There really is no better peace of mind then being prepared for the worst. 

         And so, here we are. There is a lot to say about this beautiful piece of land called Full Circle Farm in Kila, Montana and I plan on posting much more about it in the future. In brief, it is a picturesque 300+ acres of mixed forest, meadows, gardens, creeks and historical markers that have been preserved by owners Tammy and Jeff Hutten.  Heidi and I have the privilege of care-taking this beautiful property while the Hutten’s are away for a few months. This is a huge perk for us in that for the first time in more than a year we have access to modern conveniences like internet, phone, laundry and… oh yeah, did I mention the sauna?  We have also been invited to use the house and the workshop, which will allow me to finally put the finishing touches on the interior of the bus.  Don’t worry, although we wont be cruising around in our Mobile Homestead for much of the winter, there are plenty of stories from the past year, lessons to share and most exciting for us, preparations and planning for our adventures in the coming spring!
          Thus far, we haven’t had any trouble coming up with ideas for new posts.  Our future topic list includes interviews and profiles of the people we have met and the places we have spent time, DIY projects (such as building your own small-scale solar electric supply), discussions on supporting local farmers and foods, and adjusting to a lifestyle that our society does not always embrace. The list grows everyday, but we really want to know what you would like to read about. Do you have any questions about this lifestyle or are there particular topics you would like us to cover? I’m certainly not saying we will have all the answers, but we would love to get your input. Please feel free to add a comment or to contact us directly.  Thanks for visiting and spreading the word!  

Overwintering at Full Circle Farm

Poking around the internet I found these gems. These families have chosen to live full time on converted school buses like we do. If you find similar stories please post a link in the comment area.

-2 Cool 4 Skoolie


Lisa Lynn said...

Your description brought back many exciting memories of helping my Dad dig a tractor out of mud :) Our family heated with wood for most of my childhood and that meant going to the woods to cut firewood. Inevitably we ended up stuck a few times each year. Those were some wild times!

Lisa Lynn said...

PS: I almost forgot...I started a new hop yesterday called The HomeAcre Hop!
I'd love to have you link up at:

Colin D said...

Hi Lisa! Never a dull moment on a farm is there. Thanks for the comment and the link. See you at the hop!

Anonymous said...

tell us how you set up your cabinets/closet and such so that it is both functional and resistant to movement. any how to's would be interesting as you really have to think about minimizing space and maximizing utility

Colin D said...

That sounds like a great topic to cover. I plan on posting on many DIY topics for the bus systems and homesteading ideas too. Thanks for the suggestions.