Friday, April 13, 2012

We Found a Place to Call Home!

First of all, I want to thank everyone again for helping us be able to get a home in light of our circumstances.  Hope the pictures below give an idea of where we are able to be! Despite the odds against us (finding an affordable property in a very expensive city with 3 dogs and a horse), we were blessed by stumbling upon a jewel.  Amy regularly browsed Craigslist and found an RV spot on a ranch in East San Diego.  I wasn't too keen on living in an RV, especially since we didn't have one anymore and they are cramped and small.  But, we drove out to look at the spot and we were shocked.  It is a 83 acre ranch in a picturesque and beautiful valley in East San Diego that most San Diegans don't even know exists.  There is a large lake on the property (Amy has a place to fish), several large pastures and it joins the Cleveland National Forest.  On the property, the owners' daughter and husband have a home and there are two other homes on the property that are rented out.  There are two young women who live in a bus and go to college.  The amount of homes make it like a built in community.  We can't see or hear anyone else who live here, but get to see people when we are out and about and are making friends with the owners' daugter Shelly and husband George.  She is a barrel racer and has about 8 horses on the property and he was a roper in the rodeos. The are close to our age - just a tiny bit older.  George and I are starting a huge organic garden together and we are getting chickens and getting a coop together in the next week or two.  I'm even going to get my chickens back from their foster home!  They check on Amy and are there to help her if she needs anything while I'm away at work.

Oh, regarding the RV space.  We didn't get an RV, but we're certainly not in a house.  There was a 400sf small manufactured home built in 1992 in very bad condition - 33' x 12' and we had the money because of the donations to purchase it and we had a small amount of money to bring it back into good condition.  I will have photos of the before and after soon - that's why I am not posting any photos of it right now.  But, it's a lot bigger than an RV and it's ours and we're no longer having to sleep at other peoples' homes.  We have our dogs back and it's wonderful to have everyone under one roof!  The rent is VERY inexpensive - we probably couldn't have rented a studio apartment for the amount we're paying here.  The ranch is breathtakingly beautiful.  Every morning I wake up and sit on the couch and look into the valley and fields below and can't believe I'm here.  There are ranches all around us and we never worry about hearing noise, music, cars, etc.  I feel like I'm on vacation when I'm here and Amy loves it and since she grew up on a farm says it's the closest thing to home.  The commute to work is only 45 minutes and I don't mind it at all - just turn on my talk shows and relax and I'm there before I know it. 

My horse Mickey is here and in heaven.  When I rescued her I told her I'd get her to a pasture one day and she has a pasture about 15 acres big with a buddy named Leo.  Shelly and I are going to ride together and there are trails right from the property into the Cleveland National Forest.  It serves as a hiking trail also for us and the dogs.

Regarding Amy, she is doing better.  She is still diligent about the alternative cancer treatment we do from home (only have to go to the Mexican clinic once every 3 months) and is taking the chemo pill Zelboraf (which has helped shrink her spinal tumors remarkably but only has an average longevity for about 6 months before it stops working and the cancer finds a way around it).  She is also doing an immunotherapy drug Yervoy which consists of 4 outpatient infusions.  She has them every 3 weeks and just had her 3rd Monday.  She is having a lot of fatigue since the last one but that is normal.  The drug can have a lot of serous side effects and we're grateful she hasn't had any of those.  Prior to the last infusion, she was even joining me on some short hikes with the dogs!!  She seems to have moved past most of the side effects from the Zelboraf except she is losing some hair and has extreme sun sensitivity.  Luckily, she had very thick hair, and aside from her eyebrows, you would never know.  She has gained 15 pounds since she was hospitalized in October.  She was down to 103lbs and is up to 118lbs.  She has 10 more lbs. to get to her "low normal" weight.  At least she has her appetite back and is enjoying the work of gaining weight.  I'm very hopeful about her future.  I'm confident between the conventional and the alternative she is going to be in the small group who beats this stuff!  This healing place we're in really helps to make that happen.

Thank you all again for helping this become a reality.  This is the type of place we've dreamed and prayed to be in for so long.  Guess we better be careful about what we pray for and be more specific about what we have to go through before getting there!  But, it couldn't have come to us at a better time.  The manufactured home is temporary and we hope in the future one of the homes on the property comes for rent when our financial picture is better. 

View from our porch and living room - hay fields below in the valley
Trail starting behind our place - goes into the Cleveland Nat'l Forest and Sherman enjoys it!
My rescued horse Mickey (on the right) finally gets a pasture - and a boyfriend.
Mickey looking at the other pasture and horses.
Mickey on her pasture - she has about 15 acres with oak trees.
George clearing area for garden - he is married to ranch owner's daughter and they live on property also.
George & his healers.
Riding Mickey on Easter.
Amy and I had Easter breakfast on our porch.  (this is Amy).
Amy holding Diamondback Rattlesnake we killed on Easter.  It was on the way to the lake and too dangerous to leave.
Over 3 1/2 feet long.
We skinned it and will do something with skin - one of the ranch hands wanted the meat to eat so nothing went to waste.