Publisher’s Letter: Adapting to Mountain Living

Recent rain presents challenges, nothing that the Kubota BX23s couldn't handle; photo by Blaine Howerton
By Blaine Howerton, Publisher
North Forty News

Four years ago when I purchased my mountain property, I envisioned the day I would live there. Now is the time! Moving into my vintage RV (Revela) with my two sons is going to be a challenge — but I’m up for the challenge and they’re up for the “adventure.”

Our move started 3 weeks ago and I never realized how hard it would be to decide what necessities we’d need and what would go to storage.

One challenge was choosing which clothes I would absolutely need. But an even greater challenge was fitting all the food I had into the RV refrigerator (not currently working so ice takes up a lot of space). Enter “efficient” dinners and buying fewer groceries every few days.

Last week, my first full week in the RV, certainly had its challenges — rain was one of them. I’m not exaggerating that every time I move, it rains. And when I decided I was going to scale back and move to the mountain, it rained buckets. Thank goodness I had my Kubota tractor. I put my rain suit on and started digging trenches — so we didn’t wash away — not even close.

Another challenge has been power. So far, this property is without power or even nearby utilities. The house I am planning to build will be entirely off-grid. Solar panels are on order. But for now, I rely on a small Champion generator. This little unit packs a punch — it’s a 2,000 Watt generator, capable of charging my batteries and running “Dishy,” Starlink Internet, just fine.

You’d be surprised what it takes to produce this newspaper on a weekly basis. It often means working late into the night and that little generator has done me well so far. North Forty News is now produced off-grid, connected through satellite internet using Starlink — leading-edge, huh?

A reader recently asked me about the Starlink system and I tried to respond — I hope she’s reading because her email didn’t work. The Starlink system has been wonderful, both fast and reliable! But at this time, they aren’t taking new orders till next year. I was one of the lucky 10,000 people worldwide to sign up for the trial and be approved.

The small Kubota tractor that I recently bought has been a Godsend. In addition to keeping us from washing away last weekend, I’m now digging ditches along the entire quarter-mile stretch of my portion of the road for run-off. I’ve also used it to dig a driveway — on the mountain, that’s moving a lot of dirt and ROCKS!

A question I’ve been getting is “how do you handle the sewage?” With a portable tank, the tractor lifts it into the back of my truck and I empty it at an RV waste station. I’ve only had to empty it a couple of times, so it’s not that bad — most of the time. But as a newbie, this weekend when I was trying to figure out how to lift it into the tractor, the cap came off and it spilled on my shoe — an easy decision — it’s time for new shoes!

No matter what gets thrown at me, I learned early on to adapt, move on, and make the best of it. My boys agree, living up on the mountain, watching the sunrise, the sunset, the stars, and even dealing with the challenges of weather, it’s been exhilarating!

And it’s going to be an exciting summer!

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