Sometimes when we have a dream, we put everything we have in to making it happen. They can be good. They can have amazing outcomes. Or they can push you to your breaking point and make you question everything.
Last summer we had the latter. We had planned it out for months, but our plans fell short. It was easily the worst summer of my life, and definitely the worst of our marriage.
We bought a 60 acre plot and decided to stay on it for the summer. We bought a camper for the 5 of us to sleep in. We bought a 300 gallon water tank to haul water in to bathe and drink. We even got a couple batteries to run the lights.
When May came and we decided it was time to start our adventure, the bottom fell out. I had overlooked some damages to the camper. It had no water pump. We couldn’t run water in to use.
We did the simple tub wash with water we warmed on the stove. No big deal. A couple weeks of this, and I got us a pump. It made getting ready for interesting, but we made it.
I broke our generator. We had no power. When payday came I got us a new one. Unfortunately, it ate up our money until my pay check came the next week. Again, we struggled through and made our 50 mile drive to work, 2 miles of it through pature. Dumb!
If it rained our road turned into impassable muck. Our 4×4 vehicles were barely able to make it the 3 miles to the highway. Through God’s grace, and determination, we pushed through this.
We had some ducks and chickens for the kids to care for. This was their entertainment, and I could not be more grateful they had them. It took away from the stress of the situation. At least until the badger came.
In June we started losing chickens. We lost 4, then a duck. When we were playing outside one evening we saw a badger. Thankfully our dog, Bob, stared it down and made it leave.
About a week later we were woken up by the sound of the remaining duck, Ronald, quacking like crazy. I got up, grabbed Bob and ran outside. As I rounded the corner of the camper I see it. The badger wasbattacking the duck.
I was standing out there in pitch black darkness, the puny light of my cell phone flash light, in my boxers with the only weapon available. A shovel.
At this point I realize that I am screwed. The badger was crawling between the tires on the camper trying to get this duck. I couldn’t swing at it, I couldn’t get a good angle for any sort of attack. Bob jumped in and gets its attention.
When the badger sees me it took off running, Bob was hot on its trail. I couldn’t catch it. Bob is a fat, dumb dog. But he earned his place in the family. (I drove 250 miles to get him, so he had a place anyway)
I bought a trap to try to catch this badger. He outsmarted me. Six times. I bought a shotgun and never saw the badger again.
When July came it all got even worse. Our badger cost us a lot of money that we didn’t really have to spare. We were burning $120 a week in gas for the cars and generator.
We had a grocery trip that ended in disaster when I bought a new fridge that died within a week and spoiled the food. With temperatures in the 90’s everyday we lost $60 in groceries pretty quickly.
Back to the old fridge. Then our generator started getting tired. It wouldn’t run long enough to cook a meal. We had no propane Because We couldn’t afford it. We were sinking.
At this point my wife spent her days a nervous wreck. I have a neurological disorder that was kicking my butt. In July I would pass out from the heat almost daily. I had 2 trips to the emergency room.
I couldn’t let my wife, Abbie, know i was terrified I wouldn’t make it through the summer. I was defeated. I had put my family in a terribly dangerous position, and doing our best wasn’t near good enough.
By the time July ended we were sunk. Our grocery budget was $30 a week for 5. It took daily trips the store 15 minutes away to get food because our fridge wouldn’t hold much. We had lost, and we were terrified it would cost us our kids.
Then we caught a break. Abbie got a call for an interview at a school she had applied to. Then another. Then another.
We scraped up money and sold what we could to get her to her interviews. It was a way out, and we weren’t blowing it. Two interviews went great. She wound up not taking the 3rd interview.
It looked really good. Both schools said they would be giving her a call later in the week. She was hopeful. She could see a way out.
A week went by. No call. A second week came. Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday. Nothing. She knew she didn’t get a position.
She was at work when the call came offering her a position. Then the second call came. She had been offered both. It was an easy decision to make.
Abbie turned her notice in at her job and was able to move into a house provided by the school. I had 2 more weeks in the camper to ride out my notice.
When the summer ended I had lost probably 20 pounds. I had put my family in a terrible position. I even realized I was an absolute idiot.
We learned a lot. Abbie is a 1st grade teacher and loves her job. I stay home with the kids. We DO NOT sacrifice our grocery budget.
Abbie did however make me get rid of the land. It is not a happy place for her and I understand. It took a lot of faith and prayer to get through. I know God had His hand in it. If you disagree, that’s okay.
It was an ugly test. As I said earlier, it was stupid. I can admit that I failed that one pretty miserably. But, we came out of it a heck of a lot better.