Well, it was a beautiful day out today, so Jim decided we should all take a walk and head to the state land that adjoins our property. It is always hard for me to take time off and do something like that, since there is so much to do around here. We finally got going after lunch. There are plenty of unwelcome snowmobile tracks on our land, but at least they packed down the snow and made it easier for everyone to walk the trails. The air was very still, and so even into the state land we could hear a hymn playing from the carillon located at Metigoshe Ministries, a Lutheran retreat center about 3 miles from our property.
Our homesteading in a pop up camper lasted about 3 weeks. Fall is not the time to do camping this close to the Canadian border, and the night that decided our move to warmer quarters was when the temperature dropped to 27 degrees! Jim's folks hauled their pull behind camper all the way from New Hampshire to be with us, and that was a true blessing. They had enough room to squeeze us all in for a warm place to eat meals and to get out of the rain. Our 4 boys took turns sleeping in their camper each night, and that was a real treat! Grandpa Bartlett felt sorry for me having to use the compost toilet in the woods, so he built me a real outhouse! It was officially finished the day they left, and that was the day we moved into Metigoshe Ministries.
Jim had scoped out the retreat center before we moved up here, and friends of ours had stayed there while visiting us only 5 days after we had arrived here. The center had 2 bedrooms in what they call their Life and Growth building -- part of an old church that had been moved to that location and were willing to rent to us. It was great, as there is a common area just out from the 2 bedrooms where we stayed that had an apartment sized refrigerator and a stove, as well as couches and a foosball table. Upstairs were dorm rooms where people stayed when there were retreats. There was also a nice bathroom with 2 showers on the main floor. It wasn't the most private place in the world as during the day people would be walking through, so we felt we needed to keep things straightened up as much as possible. That could be a stressor for me, as we needed to be out of there for times when the church used that building, and it was my responsibility to keep the bathroom and main area cleaned up.
About the time we moved into MM the contractor began work on the basement and the well driller came to drill our well. The phone company also trenched in our phone cable -- so that day we had 3 things going on at the same time! Jim would usually leave early in the morning for the property, and I would try to get some homeschooling in with the boys -- unless Jim needed the older boys to help him in what he was doing, and they would go along with him. I would try to have meals prepared and bring them over to the property. It was a busy life!
This lifestyle was certainly not what I had planned, but it was definitely ordained of the Lord. Through our 57 days of living at the center (and 118 loads of laundry -- we counted, as they charged me only $1.00 per load to wash/dry my clothes -- what a change from what I was formerly paying!) we developed a wonderful relationship with the staff, and whenever they need extra hands we are called upon to do the work. Our son Jonathan vacuums over there twice a week, which gives him a little income, and whenever they need me I go over to help out in the kitchen, do some cleaning, or work in the office. There are also many other ways that they have blessed us.
The center's carillon arrived the first week we stayed there, and the boys helped to carry all the equipment up to the bell tower where it was installed. On quiet days we can faintly hear hymns playing during the day on the hour from across our lake, and it reminds me of the surprising blessings the Lord gave us through Metigoshe Ministries.