Vela Creations is an in-depth resource for off grid living. The site documents our research and experiences, hoping that they might help others interested in pursuing this lifestyle. This blog is designed to document our day to day experiences as we build our new, sustainable homestead. If you are interested in seeing more photos and videos, we have a flickr account at the following url:

Sunday, February 28, 2010

First Blood

A friend of ours, Trevor, is visiting at the moment. Besides being a generally great guy, he is also very easy company, fitting right in to our way of life. However, there is a pretty major downside to his visit. Since he arrived, Leo has had a couple of accidents, including his first blood shedding. Is it fair to blame Trevor? Probably not, but you never know, Leo made it 23 months without shedding blood, then Trevor arrives and...

Abe, Trevor and Leo were outside, planning where to plant some trees we'll be getting in a couple of days. Leo was playing with Salsa (one of our dogs), and then he tripped and fell on her. She freaked out and snapped back at him, out of instinct not malice. Her tooth caught his forehead. Abe saw the wound before it started bleeding, and knew it wasn't too serious. My first sight of it however was very different.

I had heard him crying, so I started to go towards the door to see if he needed a mama cuddle. I got to the door at the same time as Abe did, Leo in his arms. My little baby's face and shirt were covered, and I mean covered, with blood, and he was screaming (had just been crying, but I think the blood in his eyes and everywhere else made the situation a lot worse). With my heart in my throat, we cleaned the blood away until we got to the wound, and it wasn't that bad. Heads bleed so much. We took him to the clinic in the village and the doctor cleaned it again and put a bandage on.

It's healing great. Leo points to it a lot and says "woof woof", but other than that he doesn't seem concerned by it. It certainly hasn't interfered with his love of the dogs or his energy levels or his general boisterous nature.

While I stuccod the power house ceiling and walls, which are now finished, the boys took Leo hiking, checking out the area. Leo has become quite attached to his new buddy, not to mention said buddy's super cool IPhone, which Leo thinks is the coolest thing thing he's ever seen. We've been trying to make Trevor feel guilty about Leo's accident on the offchance that he'll leave the phone behind out of remorse. We'll see how that works out!

For more photos, click here.

Monday, February 22, 2010

Starting on the Powerhouse

Sorry I haven't blogged for a while. Our routine has changed a little. We were working on the house Monday through Friday, and then doing computer work (including the blog) at the weekend. Now, we are doing all kinds of different things, any time we can get to them. We trade off working and playing with Leo, and do any 2-man jobs while Leo naps. So, now that blogging doesn't have a particular place in my routine, I don't seem to do it at all!

Now that the house is so far along, our main focus for this year will be developing the other systems further. We will be increasing our power, water and food systems considerably.

We still have some building work to do, which we have started. We are converting the first building we built and lived in into a bathroom, powerhouse and hallway. We have wired up the two partition walls, and put a scratch stucco coat on the powerhouse section. More photos.

We have started our first round of seedlings inside in soil blocks. Once they are big enough and the weather is warm enough, we will be transplanting them out in the garden.

Leo is doing great. While I stucco, Abe has been taking him for huge hikes. He is a natural born hiker it seems. They walk down in creeks and the river, and it's hard to get Leo to leave the water's edge. For photos for this month, click here.

Saturday, February 6, 2010

22 month old

Leo's going to be 22 months old next week - so close to 2 it's scary. There seems to be little left of the baby in him as he turns more and more into a little boy.

He is becoming increasingly independent. He still likes to keep us in sight most of the time, but he is developing his own little games that he can play alone for longer periods of time. He likes to line things up, rearrange them, make them fall down. He even gets out all my bowls, which are of different sizes, and he puts them back when he's done, in their correct order.

His favorite toys are trucks, tractors, cars, bikes. He'll push anything with wheels all over the place, and any time he hears anything with a motor, he stops whatever it is he's doing and say "brrrm". Next on the list is balls. His throw is excellent for such a little arm and he's getting pretty good at kicking. Catching is his weak point! And then of course comes animals, both live and toy. He likes to offer both food and water. The toys don't often accept, but the real dogs really seem to enjoy this game.

His room has been a big success. He really loves it, and definitely sleeps better. He thinks his bed is the coolest play area. If you watch any of the videos on the link below, you'll understand when I say I see trampolines in his future.

Now that we have all the books on the bookshelf, the stairs are a regular stopping point for him on his wanders around the house. He'll sit on a step and take out book after book from his shelf, and amazingly he puts them all back... for the most part. We still have no luck reading stories to him. He's happy for you to sit with him and point at things, but if you start reading the story, he'll take the book away from you and tell you what's happening instead.

He's getting more and more into coloring as well. Scribbles all over his book and he is even starting to recognise a few words we write. For example, he will say "woof" when we write dog.

He loves being outdoors. He runs, jumps, and can now walk for about a quarter mile before he wants up in your arms. This is wind season, and when it's howling out there and he has to remain indoors he gets cranky.

As for crankiness, there's some of that too. Actually not as much as I would have thought. He's mostly happy, sometimes whiny, but rarely angry. He'll sometimes shout to get your attention or let you know that he wants something, but he knows that we don't really respond too well to that approach.

I have started taking him to a get together with other mothers and kids from the village each week. He gets to be with kids his own age, which is cool, though he doesn't yet want to play with them very much. He watches the bigger boys play soccer with big, longing eyes, but when they ask him to join in he moves back closer to me. I'm sure this timidity won't last long. With people he knows well, kids included, he is anything but shy.

Language is still slow for him. His understanding in both languages is great, but he still says very few actual words. It'll come I guess. And from then on, he'll probably never shut up, so maybe we should be enjoying this slow start more!

When thing he's already better that us at it his teeth. He has always liked brushing his own hair and teeth. However, he now demands his tooth brush every morning and evening. So we, who are kinda forgetful where teeth cleaning are concerned, are being shown up by a two year old! I'm sure it won't be the only time we experience that - I think this little guy is going to overtake us both pretty young.

For photos and videos see 22nd month, and as of next week I'll be putting them in 23rd month.

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