Repair Man to the Rescue

  Here my mantra of late…aging bodies, aging house…aging vehicles…and now aging appliances.

Gene and Dan moving stove

Hubby and Dan move the stove back into place.

My favorite large power burner on my 9-year-old Kenmore range hasn’t worked for over a year. The range hood fan quit last week. The sink disposal hasn’t worked in years either and while I don’t really need a disposal with our active compost system, I just don’t like the idea of things failing and not getting repaired.  

Dans appliance truck

Dan’s trusty steed!

Gene and his buddy Ron had replaced the igniter on the range over a year ago and still it did not work without being lit using a match every time. Apparently this job was more than an IT/phone man or an agricultural college graduate could handle. It was time to call in the reserves!

Dan's Appliance sign on truck USE

We’ve found it hard to find a reputable repair person in our area especially one who will take on small jobs. I asked my Facebook buddies who they would recommend. I was given the name of Dan at Dan’s Appliance Services in South Haven, MI., by a local realtor who is in the know for these kinds of things.

With meal making, canning and general three-meals-a-day cooking tasks I really need these two large burners working and a range hood fan that removes the toxic LP gas from my room.

I called and set up an appointment and Dan was prompt and spent about an hour and a half trouble-shooting and diagnosing the problems. A bit on the expensive side (aren’t they all!) I hired him as these repairs had to be done. It turned out we could replace the fan part needed for the Broan range hood and I ordered the fan on-line while Dan was here, looking over my shoulder to make sure I had the right part!

The stove needed two parts ordered which we did. And the disposal would need to be replaced and I said forget it because we compost 99% of our foodstuff and anyway so I haven’t used this unit in ten years or more.

Our encounter was very pleasant and if you own a home and keep it repaired you know how rare that can be! I was very happy with his professionalism, his promptness, his friendly attitude and his quality of work. I will definitely call him back again.

Honestly, I can happily recommend Dan’s Appliance Service from South Haven, Michigan. 269-639-2202. (Disclaimer: I received nothing in return for this recommendation, I am pleased and happy with Dan’s service.)

No matter how sustainable we try to be there are tasks we cannot handle. Homesteader wannabees take note.

Small House Homesteader, Donna








Time to Ask for Help

I consider myself a very independent person. I’ve always work hard and carried my load and more. I have worked long days even when sick with endometriosis many years ago when my children were small. I’m a mom and this is what mom’s do. But I honestly never thought this day would come…a day when I would admit to myself and to Gene that I can’t do this all alone anymore. Or that I would be paying for help around the house and homestead.

I’ve been feeling overwhelmed and frustrated at falling behind couple with the pain of my plantar fasciitis pain. around. Today I hired a local girl to come and help me. I posted on Craig’s list and found a worker who lives just two miles from me. Grateful!


In spite of feeling embarrassed about this, it is actually a huge relief. I had anticipated that Gene would be helping me more and that between us we would be able to keep it all up but he has been busy building the chicken coop and run. And his feet are a mess too even worse than mine.

This 25-year-old angel came today and helped me for 3 ½ hours and it was a huge blessing. While Roxanne vacuumed the outside of our limestone house roof to garden beds I vacuumed the inside windows, sills, and screens, washed our bed quilt, sheets and blanket and hung them out of the clothes line to dry. I also took care of our chickens, helped Gene hold panels on the chicken coop, trickled watered the fruit trees and made a number of telephone appointments – all on less than four hours of sleep last night.

Roxanne lives just two miles from us, is a real hard worker and has endless energy and will come back on Thursday for another round. I was so exhausted doing my part of the work I don’t think I could have gone another hour and she was the one working outside in the heat while I was mostly inside in the cooler house.

I’m not used to asking for help. I don’t like admitting I can’t do it all myself, at least not this week. It’s just plain embarrassing. But I admit it feels so good to have made some real progress on my “to do” list today.

I like a clean and tidy home and this just may be the best money I ever spent.

Small House homesteader, Donna

P.S. I’VE been searching for other senior homesteaders for some time now. I’d like to form a group where seniors like Gene and I could benefits from as well as share. If you are a senior homesteaders and I like this idea…let’s talk!


A Different Kind of Senior Moment

It’s been one of those weeks…a “senior” kind of week in fact.

Our appointment with the podiatrist diagnosed my heel pain as alas, Plantar Fasciitis and Gene’s feet troubles as arthritis, hammertoe (which we knew,) neuropathy. No, he is not diabetic and there is no specific reason for his neuropathy… it just is.

Bodies acting up or giving out seems to be one of the “givens” of senior homesteading. Many of my friends with farms have faced many challenges like this one before too.

We always tease and say “We are wearing out our bodies with this lifestyle” and while it is a joke, there is also some real truth to that statement. This is one of the high costs of the homesteading business, so to speak.

Leg centered and 2 chairs

I now have a sleeping boot. It doesn’t sound like a big deal, just slip it on and go to sleep. But I am a super “sensitive” sleeper. I can’t take anything but cotton on my body, nightgown or sheets and if the sheet has any pills on it…forget sleep for me. And like many women who experience hot flashes and night sweats I need to put feet outside of the sheet to regulate my body temperature.

Wearing a stiff, heavy boot made of a thick, manmade fiber that is also hot and scratchy is enough to keep me awake. I only slept about two hours last night, but I said I would give it my best effort and I am.

Gene is also having feet issues, quite serious ones and is in pain nearly every day. We both had custom orthotics cast and will have to those to put in our  shoes in a few weeks. I am hoping that these orthotics especially help with my heel pain and Gene major feet issues without his having to have surgery.

The pain is pretty bad and I’ve had to take things a lot slow of late.

To get my mind off of things,  I made this delicious salad for lunch today.


3 medium (1 lb.) raw red beets

¼ cup apple cider vinegar

½ extra virgin olive oil

1 cup toasted pumpkin seeds

½ cup lightly packed raw parsley

2 large TBLS of Olive Cart Cherry Orchard vinaigrette (a slightly sweet taste) Optional

½ cup dried cherries (for a slightly more sweet taste) Optional

2 tbs. sea salt

In a large bowl mix all together. Serve immediately or refrigerate for up to 2 weeks depending on your fridge.

CHANGE IT UP: 1) Sub sesame seeds, sunflowers seeds or nut for the pumpkin

Add ¼ cup crumbled blue cheese or feta cheese

Substitute FRESH chives, basil, dill or tarragon for ½ the parsley

Small House Homesteader, Donna


Hidradenitis Suppurativa

It’s been a very long and painful week for me.

Turnaround July from driveway USE

I have a skin disease called Hidradenitis Suppurativa (HS) and this week I had a serious flare-up. To help understand HS; imagine having a skin disease that your doctor does not understand, that is painful and none of the treatments you’ve tried make it any better and that keeps getting worse overtime. Now you have an idea of what having HS is like.

VERT Back of pool shack close July

For me most flare-up’s means bacterial infections that are sore, inflamed and very, very painful and my typical life stops.

In order to not take antibiotics every three months (or thereabouts) I mostly cold turkey these events using only a hot compress and a drawing salve. It’s not easy, it’s certainly not comfortable and it’s not fun but I know that the constant drugs can cause serious side effects and are generally are very bad for my body as they kill the good bacteria as well as the bad. HS is a chronic inflammatory skin disease that affects an estimated 1-4% of the world’s population.

VERT corer of pole barn daylilies

Without going into too many of the gory details, this event starts in a sweat gland and hair follicle that becomes blocked and ends in a painful and infected boil. There is no cure for HS and I know others who have it much worse than I do. I try to control mine thorough efforts to keep up my high quality nutrition, get lots of rest and sleep and keep stress at bay but sometimes with the demands of this homesteading lifestyle, I fail.

VERT sunflowrs and new run frame July

This episode resulted in two back-to-back cysts in a very delicate place, requiring antibiotics and painkillers. So it’s been severe pain, stomach and digestive system upset, mind-numbing fatigue and flu-like symptoms going on 9 days and still counting.

Studio triangle ned in foreground USE

So as a result I have not been able to post on a regular basis. Quite frankly I’ve been barely able to keep up with caring for my chickens, garden and cooking and extra doctors’ visits and hot compresses multiple times a day. That’s about it.

Pink flowers at studio mid close

I’m sharing more garden and chicken run building photographs because that is all I have been able to manage this week. Next week will be better!

Small House homesteader, Donna