Friday, May 27, 2011

#17 - Washing Up...Here or There

For a few years we had an RV on our land and it seemed like we were living in luxury while making our weekend trips and enjoying our long summer stays.

Then, due to more difficult times in life, we took a long break from going to our acreage. All of the hard work we had done with partial clearing was being undone by Mother Nature. But, I had a good reason for holding back our visits for a while. My mother, who was in her 50's, was diagnosed with breast cancer, so I no longer had free weekends to go to our land. Tending to my dying mother was more important than cultivating our dream. I could not handle maintaining two places while helping my mother to make many, many trips to M.D. Anderson. But, that's for another time.

My sister and I visiting mom at M.D. Anderson, shortly before
she died while at home.
We pulled the RV off the property and stored it. We eventually sold it after it served a greater purpose. But, for the past several years we've not had anything on the land to lessen the harsh impact of being on raw land. We've been forced to be creative while roughing it.

Leaving our home in the city with nice amenities is not always easy, especially when it comes to having a hot water nozzle and a cold water nozzle at our fingertips. We have different bathing methods to choose from at our house that are rather luxurious...we have a huge two-person garden tub, a separate tiled shower and a second tub that is soaker-deep with multiple jacuzzi jets.

See? We clean up pretty good.

We have a lot of days when we look like city people.
But, the clothes we wear in the country feel much better!
On our acreage, when we need to wash up, we do have the luxury of a spring fed lake. It is constant running living water that is cold and fresh. There have been many times when we've taken our shampoo bottles and towels down to the lake to take a cold, clean dip. In the Texas heat, it sure does feel refreshing to take a bath that is provided by nature. Only problem is that we must trek about four acres to get to the lake, then we must make the long walk back to our camp site. And, if it is cold, then we nearly suffer hypothermia to be clean!

Even the dogs get a spring-fed lake bath in the country.

To help us enjoy an easier method to get clean, quickly, I made a suggestion. Remembering all of my camping trips as a child, I talked my husband into getting a sunshower. He wasn't really convinced that these worked so well until he began using them. Now, he's hooked.

We are a sunshower loving family!

These days, we bring large containers of water with us to our acreage and when we arrive on our land, Deputy Dave fills up the five-gallon sunshower in the morning and leaves it in the sun to warm up. Not only does it warm up, sometimes the water gets scalding hot and we must add cold water to the bag to cool the temperature.

From a pole, he hangs the sunshower and we get to enjoy the slow spray of clean, fresh water at the end of the day as it washes off the caked-on dirt from our every clogged pore. We must practice major water conservation by just getting wet enough to scrub off the dirt and to apply soap, then enough to wash our body free of the remaining dirt and soap residue. The little nozzle on the sunshower is designed so nicely: you pull it out of the hose a little to get the water flowing and then push it back into the tube to shut it off. Simplicity.

Over time, we upgraded out outdoor shower area and added a plastic chair for us to sit in because we'd often be so exhausted from our day's work and the overwhelming heat that it felt great to sit and have an easier time juggling the nozzle while using the other hand to scrub. We pulled an ice-chest close by to use as a shelf for the shampoo, wash rag and clean towel. An ice-chest always makes a great make-shift table.

Usually, we don't bathe until it is dusk or dark, but it is very liberating to be so "free" on our land. This is a huge benefit of not having neighbors, although we have seen people in the country do some pretty strange things. On that topic, we've seen some people on the streets of Houston doing some REALLY shocking things. After those disturbing memories, I realize, again, that country life seems to win my personal preference choice award for daily living.

The humble outdoor shower area got another face-lift during the past couple of months as I moved some old bricks that we'd previously used outside the RV as a pathway. These bricks had been my mother's and they had ended up forgotten and buried far beneath many layers of dirt in her backyard. They were testimony to the days when she craved flower gardens and a manicured yard to satisfy her own need to be outdoors. However, she didn't have much help in the yard area, so the dream died shortly after she had worked so hard to make it come true. Maintaining her dream was another story. Over long years, the yard with its overgrowth and lack of attention swallowed the bricks.

I prefer to put some Bluebonnet pictures I took in the Texas hill country
this past year, in honor of my mother, who loved taking wildflower trips.

One day, my husband and I took the time to actually uncover the many bricks so that they could actually be used and enjoyed. This was at my mother's suggestion. She wanted those bricks to be put to good use. She'd been to our land and knew how they could be used and appreciated. Deputy Dave went the extra mile to dig deeply to recover every one of those old bricks. I'm glad we took them out of the ground or no one would have even known the bricks existed.

One of Deputy Dave's hands that I love so much and am willing
to share with this ladybug...the only other lady I am willing to share with!
It was a lot of work to get the bricks to our land all those years ago to use at our RV. After we'd removed the RV, Deputy Dave had thoughtfully stacked all the bricks under a tree. They sat there for years. And, in the past several weeks, it bothered me that they were just sitting there being useless, so I decided to re-purpose those bricks in our outdoor sunshower area.

Brick by brick, we moved the pile from one area to another by wheel-barrel, then I put on my gloves and laid them out. Instead of having to sit in the plastic chair with our feet raised and dangling in the air to avoid the dirt, we now have bricks to stand on, firm ground, as if we are in a luxury 5-star hotel! Well ----- almost.



LindaG said...

All of the hard work we had done with partial clearing was being undone by Mother Nature. Oh, how well we know that.

We're lucky to have utilities, so while we first wished we had not bought the travel trailer, we are now very glad to have it.

We have bricks at the farm, but we opted to not dig them up.
Had they been something his mother had done, we probably would have; but they're old red bricks, which crumble easily no matter how careful you are, so we're leaving them where they are, unless we find them while doing something.

You have such wonderful property, I'm glad you were able to put your mom's bricks to good use. ♥

Lana C. said...

Thank you Linda, you are very sweet. I'm so glad I have those bricks now and hope to later find a better purpose for them once we built a little cabin. I might make one little, special garden area and have those bricks define the edge of the garden. I don't know...something special will have to be planned for those bricks!

I bet you do know how Mother Nature comes in and is not very sympathetic about all your hard work being undone in one of her visits to your land. It sure can remind us the power that God has and that everything still belongs to him. Well, that's how I feel about it at the end of the day. haha.

Thanks Linda, I always enjoy reading your comments, they are interesting and pretty darn helpful!

frugalmom said...

You know...I just heard about these sun showers. Or solar that the same thing? If you can believe it, I have never been camping in a tent...and I have some friends here who have invited our family to go along with them. They were talking to me about this shower contraption after I made it clear that one of my criteria for my first camping trip was that I had bathroom facilities close by. :-) Now, I know that may not always need that specific amenity, but for my first time, yes....Id like to have it. Especially if they want me to think about a repeat occurrence :-)

I love how you put your bricks to use! Great idea.

Lana C. said...

Hey FrugalMom!

Yes, the sunshower is the same as a solar shower. Just fill the bag with water as it lays in a sunny area and it gets VERY hot. We don't hang it until we're ready to use it to lessen the strain on the sunshower itself. Just make sure you lay it in an area that doesn't have sticks or thorns. If necessary, lay something underneath it to protect the plastic.

But, having a bathroom is a definite bonus...I agree. I've grown up camping on the "wild and rough-it" side, so it's something I'm fairly comfortable doing. But, we sure have had created great moments to remember while camping!

Let us know if you go for it!!