Missouri family plans on using pony for transportation
In a home that was built in 1887 on property that reaches three city lots, one family is making plans to save money.
When Rick and Rebecca Lieb got married about four years ago, they brought eight children to the relationship; Cody, 20, currently in the U.S. Army; Joshua, 16; Katherine O’Bryan, 15; Nicholas, 13; Conner O’Bryan, 12; Rikki 11; Julia O’Bryan-Lieb, 11; and Zachary, 9.
“They call themselves ‘O’Bryan-Leibs,’” Rebecca said of her children. “There is such continuity, they’re full siblings. They really pull together.”
A year ago, the family started thinking about making a new addition to the family. Because of the rising price of gas, Rebecca said she has plans on having the family’s pony pull a cart for local travels. The family already uses a “flock of bicycles,” and a 12-passenger van, “which guzzles the gas.”
“We typically do think out of the box,” Rebecca said. “Come spring I will be all over town. … There are animals all over town, and 100 years ago, Carthage was full of carriage horses. We’re not that far away from that time. Nobody thinks that maybe they don’t have to have three cars, a big mortgage … people frequently don’t think further than the standard quo. The real charm of Carthage is its pastoral and its historical value. I think it would do us well to embrace that as a community. It’s a different way to look at life and the world.”
There is another contributing factor to the family’s money-saving decision. Julia is still in the diagnosing stages of having autoimmune diseases. She has fevers, severe pain, averages 15 hours of sleep a day and has to make frequent trips to Children’s Mercy in Kansas City.
“That will change your life right there,” Rebecca said. “She just runs out of steam.”
Rebecca continued to say in three generations, the family has never experienced this type of illness, and showed such little signs of improvement.
“You really think about how you can make her quality of life be as good as you can possibly make it – each day trying to bring her something new,” Rebecca said.
At one point, if Julia had been schooled publicly, she would have missed 28 days of school. However, the family is home schooled, and Julia’s parents were able to take her work with them.
“We would catch some of it here and there, she is actually still a grade ahead where her age is. She’s done very well, very bright,” Rebecca said. “We’ve continued to function.”
All of the children, except Cody who is in El Paso, are home schooled. The family’s home and school were once separated with the smaller building next door. However, the recent ice storm pulled meter off the building, and knocked out the power.
“It’s going to take significant work before we can use it again,” Rebecca said.
Now, a home, school and play are within the same quarters. Rick and Rebecca said the system of a strong work ethic is working for them, and their children are proof. Katherine and Joshua are currently taking duel credit classes at Crowder College, and the two are 15 and 16 years old.
“They’ve done exceptionally well,” Rebecca said.
All of the children are involved in 4H in Lawrence County, which where they have made friends. Rick and Rebecca agreed that the kids have really benefited from the organization because it allows them to see what it takes to feed a family.
The Lieb family lifestyle works with the children at home, Rebecca teaching piano lessons from the home, and Rick works as an RN for St. John’s Hospital. However, the family said this system doesn’t work for everybody.
“We want people to let us live the way we want,” Rebecca said.
“We’re under the radar people,” Rick added.
Rebecca said taking care of the home and the animal requires hard work and dedication. She said her neighbors have been great to live next to, and she wasn’t about to spoil it with the addition of a pony.
“You don’t want to be a nuisance to others,” she said. “And we don’t want to be the butt end of rudeness. It works out well, we like it and it’s fun.”