Iona Elizabeth

   Sunday we went to the farm to feed the animals, and I wanted to walk to get excercise, because I wanted to have the baby. As  we walked down to our new fully operational spring box snapped a few PHOTOS, and walked back up,   Bruce guided me up out of the spring,  the very vertical choice of paths, not the path I had specifically requested,”the yome way” as we left the spring. Halfway up the pasture I saw the dig site through  the woods behind  Bruce, I was like this isn’t the way!” It is like climbing stairs straight up into heaven.  I went on  and on making the poor child feel guilty, he just kept trying to sell the way we were taking as the best, fastest, shortest way.  We made it, no problems.

  Monday morning I was scheduled to substitute for a first grade teacher at our local elementary.  I had stayed up late Sunday drawing in my sketching journal and I woke up at 1:45, about 2 hours after I laid down. 

Wait, Sunday the tenth, Bruce had mentioned that it was only 2 DAYS until the baby was due, repeatedly all day. I spent a considerable amount of time and energy trying to explain that it was actually 3 days until  the thirteenth, but this little blonde boy with his sparkling smile and hip circling dance in the kitchen….there was something startling about his words of impending baby. I prayed “Dear God, please let me do this for this sweet boy and girl,” as they high-five each-other and competed in an exaggerated 5-7 year old dance off. 

I am glad something led me to choose not to eat anything Sunday night, I had eaten a bowl of cereal before I made dinner and have been trying to eat based on how I feel rather than just eat whatever I feel like eating. After the kids went to sleep and Billy was snoozing away, I wrote in my journal and decided to order a “Moses Basket” for the new baby. I went to bed around 11:30 and woke to use the restroom at 1:30.  I noticed immediately my lower abdomen was aching and things were moving into the space below my navel between my hips. A lot was happening there, I knew I would not be able to substitute and work with 6 and 7 year old children in this condition, so I cancelled my teaching position on my phone.  After I “got off the fence” and called in basically, my body seemed to take that as permission to go ahead and start to make it clear “these are contractions that are happening.” So I set a timer on  my phone to see how long the contractions were and how far apart. Well, because I hadn’t practiced this, I just set the 5 minute timer and watched as the contraction came to and end, another started and came to it’s completion before the 5 minutes had passed.  So my husband notices all the commotion, leans up on his elbow and asks, “ARE you OK? Is something happening??” “yes…. something is definitely happening, the baby is coming, today or tomorrow, for sure.” 

   The next most important task, in my mind only,  at that time was to have my older two children  run down to our friend’s house to be away from the cabin when the baby arrived. Josie seemed ready, she was like ” I’ll just take this flashlight and go.” Bruce was messing around looking for his hat or other miscellaneous thing, so using my most dragon/batman-like voice I convinced my husband to have him go.

As soon as the kids left, we began to turn on each other. Here is a  glimpse of that dialogue…

“Where are the bags? aren’t there supposed to be bags in here?’

“I do not know, you will have to look in the bag yourself.”

“These gloves don’t even fit on my hands!”

“OH GOSH! OH me OH my.”

Well…this is  gonna be….dupd dldklsk slhed,”


” I say things, I get to talk to myself if I want to,  during this…”

Well how far apart are the contractions supposed to be? 

I was just getting to that part when this contraction started! It’s in  the book, probably in one of the sections labeled….”To the coach…”

We hugged, got back on team Ervin, and as  soon as he said “Ok, I think now if you push, it will happen, it’s right there.” 

I smiled at him and said, ” Good! this is the fast part for us!” 

I pushed, twice and the baby was crying, I nursed and then looked to see it was a girl! Iona Elizabeth came in to our world on “one” while we were planning to count to “three.”



Brothers & Sisters | Illustrated manuscript, Quotes and notes, Irish quotes


   With all of the new baby and new constant nursing routine, it was very exciting to learn today that our Yome is going to ship out next Monday and should be here by the end of the week.  We can begin to build our platform and put our Yome up!  I look forward to living in the Yome as we build our sites on the property.  Our original kitchen and root cellar will be the basement of our own little home which we plan to build with our own materials we will harvest from our land and local  sources.  We found a nice smaller wood stove that will fit perfectly into our Yome, plus it has 5 triangular windows and two doors. We just need to start on the decking and set it up, it is finally ready!  I will be sharing step by step as we transition from our large pasture and forest, to a home.  We have been here for a little over 3 months, sometimes it is easy to forget, we are making progress!


Spring Box Rebuild

 By William Thomas Ervin

Natural Spring

Water from the earth.


little by little



What’s been happening on the farm?

“The journey of 10,000 miles starts with the first step, even if it’s in the wrong direction!”



   Quite a lot actually, we are finding that starting a farm, basically from scratch, is a real challenge. The ability to multi-task, problem-solve, and simply use what the land and day give you, are the keys to slow and steady progress towards our goals. I find this to be the most basic formula for any goal one might have in life.

   Sometimes, we over complicate things to make them seem unachievable and give ourselves a perfectly reasonable excuse not to try.  Although I am a big fan of reasonable and practical thinking, this type of reasoning will not take you from ordinary to the extraordinary places in your life.  The journey of 10,000 miles starts with the first step,  even if it’s in the wrong direction!

   But hey, what has been happening on the farm?

   December has been a great month to finally get started on some projects that are vitally important to the life of a farm, water sources, and fencing.  Let me tell you, this has been a reinvigorating month for me, after spending the last couple months decompressing from the move, establishing a base camp for our family, and adjusting to our new environment with it’s daily living conditions, I was ready to see some real progress.

   After spending a few days cutting trees and brush to access the spring somewhat comfortably, and cleaning up the rats nest of downed barbed wire fence mixed with trash from previous unsuccessful attempts to harvest water from the area, with out digging out the old box; it was finally time to get to work on the spring box, which had completely silted in.  Upon further investigation of the remnants of broken pipe and trash, as well as a conversation with the elderly gentleman who built the spring box in 1977 and did a very good job I might add,  I discovered that the main reason the spring box was silting in, was that a couple of bored country kids had taken the concrete cap off and busted it up, 

   Despite the wreckage,  I was excited to start digging out the old spring box and start  really working on it because it will be the life blood of our reemerging farm.  The days that followed were filled with observation, discovery, problem solving, and hard work!  Oh yeah, and numerous trips down and up the nearly 45 degree angle hill, because contrary to the laws of gravity, here….what goes down must come up. 

   When you are working down in a holler (or valley) at the end of the day you have to muster up enough strength and energy to get back to the top!  What a great metaphor for life.   I have to admit that each trip up was exhausting, but with every trip, it became a little easier to pull my tired body back up.  I know the peace that I find down there working on the spring and hanging out with our kids is worth every step!

    So, you may be asking yourself, ‘what is a spring box?’ 

   A spring box is simply a dam built at the head of a spring to collect water and get it into a pipe which feeds into a  larger tank, to be re-distributed where the water is needed.  As far as rebuilding the damaged box, my first task was unearthing  the box inside  and out.  This was the most tedious part of the process, digging through clay packed rocks with a Maddox, shovel, and eventually my bare hands. 

   Once the water started collecting inside the box, the excitement started to build.  A friend compared the feeling of working on a live spring to having “gold fever,” and let me tell you, that is  100% accurate.  Even with freezing cold fingertips, rubbed raw from clearing the sediment and sand, you just want to keep digging!  Once the box was cleaned up, it was time to start to assess the damage and observe where it was leaking.  One of the main problems, besides it being silted in,  was that the old galvanized pipe was plugged.  Eventually, I came to the conclusion that I would need  to cut the pipe, drive it out, and replace it with a new PVC pipe.  After several more cleanings, it was  time to build some forms and pour concrete in them to replace the broken and missing pieces of block.  At that time, I took the opportunity to add an overflow pipe, which is recommended,  in case rain increases the flow of incoming water, to reduce water pressure on the box.  

   With the structure of the box restored, after I removed the concrete forms, I was able to apply hydraulic cement to the inside corners to create a rounded cove.  I also applied the hydraulic cement to the vertical surface, which helps create a waterproof seal inside the box.  With the weather changing, I decided to let the cement cure for a  couple days before I finished  the PVC intake pipe and added washed gravel to collect any sediment that might collect inside.  This step may be unnecessary on this particular spring, because it comes straight out of a fold of solid rock, but the gravel will also support the new concrete cap. 

   Even though this project is not quite finished yet, I am feeling much more confident about the spring production, (about 30 gallons of water per hour) and it’s ability to meet our needs on the farm.  I know 30 gallons per hour may not sound like much, but hey, we have at least two more springs to develop and a couple of ponds that need reworked!  That being said, I need to set this new found writing career on the back burner and get back to work.



“It is for freedom that Christ has set us free. Stand firm, then, and do not let yourselves be burdened again by the yoke of slavery.” Galatians 5:1    

There you are!

   We moved here to be free. We sold our home, our security, our socially acceptable three bedrooms and corner lot because we felt led by God to MOVE.  They say if everything is going well and you don’t have any problems in life, then you are not a threat to the devil. You aren’t on his  radar,  he has no concern with you.  In Luke 9:1-9 When King Herod heard what the disciples were doing, he desired to see Him.  Jesus had told  the disciples, “take nothing for your journey,” no food, supplies, extra clothes, nothing, he goes on to say if they don’t accept you, “shake the dust from your feet as a testimony against them.”

   The slavery I believe we had faced was social in nature, trying to be accepted by other’s in the world.  We created a beautiful home, perfect for dinner  parties, barbecues, family and friends. No one came.  I taught Sunday school, graduated from a nice university, taught fitness classes, and we lived an upright life, without the guilt of drunkenness.  We were still not enough in the world’s eyes. 

    In a recent film, two parents advise their daughter,  ” It’s O.K. to have dreams, as long as you don’t believe in them too much.”  Our families allow us to jump up and reach for our dreams, as long as we come back down.  If you succeed too much, then  they look bad to the world.  What if they had encouraged us from the beginning? Rather than come to the graduation party, they would rather cause us pain. Why be proud of your child if they figure out something you cannot understand?  

   When  you attempt to break free from the social structures that people are comfortable knowing and understanding, where you are and how you got there, they want you back.  “Why did they do this? Who do they think they are?”  Rather than support and encourage you, they remind you of your past mistakes and inherent inadequacies. 

   God did not bring me this far to abandon me in the wilderness.  Although the devil is aware of my progress,  and desires to see me, my God is stronger.  So GO AHEAD! Shoot my dog, throw your judgement and  guilt,  replay the highlight reel of all my mistakes over and over, to build yourself up somehow.  I plan to keep running up this hill, with my babies on my back!  He has given me a lot of practice on these hills, this is what the training has been for.  Now I am ready to kick it in, pick up my knees, and pass you on THIS hill. Let’s go.


Donna Ervin

26 Don’t be afraid of anyone! Everything that is hidden will be found out, and every secret will be known. 27 Whatever I say to you in the dark, you must tell in the light. And you must announce from the housetops whatever I have whispered to you.” Matthew 10:26-27