Wednesday, December 23, 2009
Something very creepy just happened. I got home at 7. It was dark. The dogs both came out to greet me and I went inside. Two hours later. Went outside to put up the horses and my great pyr was whining down the gully and wouldn't come. So i thought he was hurt and got a flashlight, woke Zack up to come help me get him. It's very steep and rocky there. Found him tied to a sapling with a haystring, a slip knot on his neck and hard knot on the tree. It did not look like an accidental tangle. So it looks like someone came here within the past 2 hours, took the most difficult route possible to get away, and tied my dog up on their way out. it's very dark outside, no moonlight.
For the first time since I've lived here i am scared.
Zack thought of what it was. Garrison had set a snare with haystrings, trying to catch a rabbit. OMG. it was one of his walk-through snares. I was getting really freaked out and had put the dog in the house in the hopes that he would do better at alerting me from in here than he did out there.
Good thing we didn't have to wait this long to catch something to eat, though! how funny now, but i was truly sweating for a little while there. Our imaginations were running wild. Even bigfoot and ghosts were getting into the mix, haha.
Thursday, December 10, 2009
Sunday, November 29, 2009
Monday, November 16, 2009
Saturday, November 14, 2009
Badger and Garrison. Badger wants to go hunting, too. They never let him go.
Zack successfully procured some dinner.
Saturday, November 07, 2009
Garrison helped me hang the gate properly on the stall. That took a little while. We had to drill holes in the post and screw in the gate hangers. Then we worked on the fence a little.
You can see that Comanche has a bunch of cockleburs in his forelock again. I couldn't get them out.
Friday, November 06, 2009
Sunday, November 01, 2009
Best laid plans just don't seem to work out lately. Today I intended to change out the top element of my hot water heater because it keeps tripping the breaker. I changed the bottom one recently, so my dad figured the top one would be the problem. A couple people said that since I was only changing the top one, I wouldn't have to wait for the whole hot water tank to drain; just drain it past the top one. So I said, okay, that will save some time...although I really didn't know how one would tell WHEN the water level is past the top element. So I started draining the water a while ago. I watched the hose and water was coming out. Let it go for a while, figured it was probably good, but for good measure I'd let it drain a bit longer. Okay, NOW it must be at least past the top element, right?
Wrong. I struggled a bit to get the old element loose, using a special tool and a screwdriver. I should have taken the hint then to wait a little longer. But no, I push forward, finally got it loose and a rush of water comes pouring out all over the floor and just keeps on coming.
I'm hollering for Garrison to bring me some towels and he just dumps a few dirty clothes down there for me. No, I want ALL the towels, clean ones dirty ones, it doesn't matter, just bring me some towels. But mom, we just got these folded and put away....Just bring them!
Finally I have enough towels to mop up all the water, that now has quit gushing out the hole where the top element should have stayed for at least 10 more minutes. All the insulation is wet, plus the insulation for the bottom element. So now I will have to get a blowdryer and dry all the contacts in there, and wait for the insulation to dry before I can get it all put back together and turned on. Hot water will be a good bit farther down the road today.
There are a couple lessons here for us homesteading gals on our own. First, this element can be reused. See the picture up there? Daddy said its the rust that is causing it to short out right there at the base. If I clean the rust off, I can use it again. So I'm putting that element away to use later in a pinch. The other lesson is just drain the whole darn tank. It's more time consuming to clean the mess and wait for insulation to dry than it is to wait for the water to finish draining all the way down.
With last night's time change, I was able to get up before the sun and feel like an early riser. Tonight, though, I'll take back all the nice things I felt because it will get dark an hour earlier than the night before, and I don't particularly like that. It means that Friday was the last day until March 25 that I'll get home from work before the sun is completely down. So, I'll leave when it's dark and get home when it's dark. I don't like that at all.
Saturday, October 31, 2009
I waited, knowing how long it takes for incidents like that to show up in their hooves. Right on schedule, about six months later, he foundered. Bad separation in one hoof, and two more started not far behind. Only one hoof was spared. Three out of four were in bad shape; at least he had one good leg to stand on. It was beginning to look like he'd need surgical work from a vet, so I got busy digging herbs.
Between hoof soaks with my herbal germ-killing and cell proliferating formula, taking him off grass and rocky ground, and a good high copper hoof vitamin, he is now almost completely mended. It is almost a miracle that he went from so lame to running over rocks in a little more than one month.
Yesterday, he figured he was good to go and busted out of his stall, taking off for the field on the other side of the creek with his cohort, Comanche. The boys and I think he and Comanche had been planning this bust for a little while. By the light of the moon it was easy to find them, but Snippy had no intention of returning so soon to his confinement. He ran like there was no tomorrow, skimming over rocks and uneven ground as if he were born to the terrain (in actuality, he was born in S. Louisiana where a person has to BUY rocks if they want them, imported from places like here). So I left them out last night.
This morning, they both came running to a bucket shaken with a little feed and again, he acted like there were no rocks in his path. I think he is mended. Called Gab, who stayed the night with a friend and told her that the horse is ready to ride.
Today is a day for re-organizing, cleaning, and getting my plans together for the next phase of cabinets and painting. My bedroom needs to be painted still, and I need to pack up the rest of my things from the old house so we can finish the demolition. There's a lot to do, but I can't get anything accomplished without a plan, so that's the order of the day. Tomorrow I want to work on expanding the winter pen for Snippy. I'll keep him penned during the winter so they won't run away over to the hunting clubs again, looking for deer feeders.
Friday, October 30, 2009
Lucky thing, too. By the time I'd picked Gabrielle up from her friend's house and started toward home, a lot more rain had fallen. We decided to try the first alternate route, where there is only one bridge to cross. That wouldn't work because that creek was swollen and the bridge was already flooded. The only other route is almost an hour of dirt road, but other than opting to stay in town, it was the only choice. So we went that way.
To say there is no bridge is a little deceiving. The reason there is no bridge is because the road just goes through the creek down near the end of our driveway. The water was pretty high in that spot, and I stopped the truck and backed up to the last neighbor's house instead. Made a call to Zack to let him know where we were and decided we'd better walk it first to see just how deep it was.
Gab and I, with flashlights and supervision from our neighbor Don, rolled up our pants and waded in. The water was freezing! I see why people get hypothermia after getting caught in flash floods. We stopped when the water reached our knees and we hadn't made it to the swift part yet. Just a little too scary for me. So Don cranked up the school bus and we drove across it in the bus to get an idea of how deep it would be. The water only came up to the second step for a little while (that's the determining factor). We thought the truck would make it.
And it did. But the water reached the bottom of the headlight at the lowest point, and that's a little out of my comfort zone for crossing creeks and I won't do it again. This morning it was a lot lower and we left after daybreak so we could see. But the kids got to school late and I was really late getting into work.
Hope we get our sunny weather forecasted for the weekend. We need to dry out a bit.
Sunday, October 25, 2009
Saturday, October 24, 2009
Monday, October 19, 2009
Sunday, October 18, 2009
Thursday, October 15, 2009
Sunday, October 11, 2009
Saturday, October 10, 2009
We got a lot of rain overnight Thursday, but not as much as the weather channel predicted. It probably amounted to around 3", but they were calling for a possible 6 to 9 inches, so we lucked out. I was afraid the rain would wash out our driveway, after my dad had put so much work into it, but we got lucky there too and it hardly suffered any erosion at all. Today when I woke up it was 43*, not as chilly as predicted, either. And that was good, too. This is our first winter in the new house. I was worried about how easy it would be to heat, since we don't have central air/heat. I hung thermal curtains in the doorway leading from the living room to the kitchen, and now the kitchen is easy to get warm and it keeps the warmth from spilling over to the living room, which is still under construction. We don't use the living room except as passage to the boy's room and outside, so there's no need to warm it yet.
Plans for today include building another cabinet in the kitchen and finishing the one I started in the utility room. I have one of the old glass windows from the old house that I am planning to use in one of the smaller upper cabinets for the door. Maybe I'll have time to build that one, too. If it works well, and I do a decent job of it, I may use the other windows as doors on the rest of the upper cabinets, too. Since these were once windows, they don't come with knobs, but I'd like to get some of the old multi-facet glass knobs for them. I think that would be pretty and would go nicely with the 'country' theme of the lower cabinets. Wish me luck!
Friday, October 02, 2009
My yard is junky. I am sure I will always have junk; I'm very much a packrat by nature. It’s just that I'd like to get the junk organized. Very little of our homestead is organized yet, but this is how I’d like it to eventually look.
Starting from the gate, there would be a nice welcoming flower/herb garden that I can decorate for the various seasons and holidays (my favorite being fall and Halloween). I'd also like to have a big rock engraved with our farm name, whenever we decide what that will be. There is no shortage of big flat rocks I can use, and I would like to do the engraving myself. With power tools, not by hand. Or maybe with hand tools if it’s not too hard. I’m just not sure what tools that would be. I’ve used dremel on small rocks, so something along those lines, just bigger, I guess.
Second, I’d like the driveway to be a little more tame - not too much, but enough for cars to come through without having to dodge the rose brambles that are reaching out to grab them. A split rail fence would be really nice, but its way down on the list of priorities. Before that would be planting plants and trees that I like to see at the various times of year. A few Echinacea’s that I’d planted a couple years ago actually bloomed this summer and it was a real treat. I want more of that. Redbuds, dogwoods and forsythias are high on the list.
At momma and daddy’s camper, I’d like to put a picket fence around their little yard so the dogs and horses won't harass them while they're trying to sit outside. My horse is almost as bad as a dog for wanting to sit in your lap.
Going on down the driveway some more toward the house (the driveway is almost ½ mile long), I’d like the first thing you notice to be the giant old oak trees in the front. And my quaint little rocked up henhouse. Right now it's not rocked and it’s not quaint, but it will be once I pull the plastic down and put up the rocks, and take down the ragged little fence that I don't use anyway. There will also be the paddock for the horse during winter, and the goats and chickens the rest of the year.
Then I’d like visitors to drive up to the house and notice the beautiful rock steps and landscaping out front. The old house will be gone by then, and when folks come to visit, we'll sit on the front porch and soak in the view. Right now the view only includes the trees, since they're leafed out and blocking the view. But in winter, you can see over to the valley on the other side of the creek. And from the balcony on the loft bedroom, you can see out to a beautiful sunset in the west.
Oh, and I’d like for folks to be able to come visit without needing 4-wheel drive to get to the house. My dad’s been working hard on that one and has it almost taken care of. But I need a sabbatical to take care of the rest the vision, I think. It’s going to come along, but my vision is way ahead of reality ;)
Wednesday, September 30, 2009
With the heavy rains from last week, the beavers' dams are broken. They haven't started rebuilding them yet. I guess they feel like there's enough water to not need to worry over saving any right now.
Wednesday, September 23, 2009
Sunday, September 20, 2009
Now I just need to hang the curtains (on the windows and lower half of the cabinets). And I need to figure out how to put a countertop right up to the stove with it in the corner like that. My attempt didn't work too well. But it will suffice for now. In the meantime, I need to cut a tile to fit that corner by the stove on the counter that is there. None of the tiles are cemented down, I just put them up there to see how they'll look and to make a temporary workspace until I can get it done more permanently. Now to see how many pots/pans and canned goods can fit. Onions and potatoes will go in one of the baskets, forks/knives in another, and whatever other things will fit go in the last two. Maybe spice jars, seasonings and such.
I'll post before and after pictures when I'm done. They won't be pretty, but maybe they won't be too awful ugly, either.
Wednesday, September 16, 2009
Dear Morgan Fahey, Casting Supervisor, ABC'S Extreme Makeover:
Please come to Kingston (zip 72742) to see our school and meet our people! Our community fought hard to keep our tiny school (enrollment this year K-12, 253 students) open several years ago when the state wanted to shut it down and force our students to attend a school so far away that bus rides would have been even longer than they are now (some routes are close to 2 hours). We love our school, but it could really really use a facelift and major improvements. Our students outperform many in the nation - we ranked 3rd in the nation for high test scores in our socioeconomic classification. Our girls and boys have been basketball champs at the district, region and state levels. Many of our students go to college for teaching and return to our community to teach at the school where they grew up.
Sometimes, attending school here is not so easy, though. We are very rural so we don't have a large tax base to make needed improvements. We need new wiring throughout. Winters can be quite cold and uncomfortable, and the elementary bathrooms are not heated (or cooled, although its not hot as long during the school year as it is cold) and they have no hot water. The roof leaks in several spots. The cafeteria was designed for an even smaller student population, and the equipment is outdated.
I would love to see the above needs addressed, plus I would really like to see some edible landscaping to go with it, adding shining innovation (not to mention it would be a very 'green' thing to do) to our new curb appeal!!!
contact info for the school: Marsha Shaver, Principal (479)665-2835
Monday, September 07, 2009
The top rails are on the center pieces, but haven't been added to the others yet:
I'll have to put rails on the upper porch, too. We'll assemble those on the porch below and then pull them up to the top with a rope. We still need the siding on the upper levels in front, and some of the east side, too, but we're almost done with everything now.
Chi-chi and Snippy. Both have cockleburs matted into their forelocks, but Snippy's is worst! His is just one big knot. It's almost impossible to get that out of there. When I comb out Chi-chi's he looks like he is sporting an afro, haha.
Sunday, September 06, 2009
Today's project was to hang my curtains in the bathroom, since last night I finished painting it. But this morning I see that the shade of paint from last night is slightly different from the previous paint and now I'll have to either paint the whole thing in this new shade, or buy another can to see if the color matches either of the two shades. Very frustrating! It was a different can that I opened to paint with last night, than the others I bought when I first started painting. I was one can shy of being able to finish the job and had gotten another can of it last week. They're supposed to be able to mix it exactly the same every time with that computer, but apparently it's not perfect.
I don't really feel like going out today, though, so I might move on to a different project instead. Maybe I'll work on my kitchen lower cabinets and see how far I can get with that.
Tuesday, September 01, 2009
Sunday, August 30, 2009
My dad and mom were here today and we got some things packed out of the old house. Dad and Garrison began the work of taking the old house down, plus they broke ground and cut a few trees to get the shed addition started. Right now I'm cooking beef stew, with carrots, potatoes, and squash. Getting ready to finish painting the bathroom. All in all, it has been a great weekend.
Wednesday, August 26, 2009
know full well that dragons exist.
Fairytales are written to show children that sometimes dragons can be
defeated. -G. K. Chesterton
I love that quote. Just thought I'd share it with ya'll. Sometimes I feel like I'm fighting a dragon, and its good to know there is hope. I found a lot of cool pictures on the web, but they were all copyright protected, so I didn't grab one to put here on my blog. I'm partial to dragons; in my fairytale, once defeated, a dragon is servant to the conqueror.
Saturday, August 22, 2009
A flock of chickens is not chaotic and random, as you might think. There is a certain hierarchy and each chicken knows its ranking in the flock. This is true for all animals which live in flocks or herds.
Friday, August 21, 2009
We did get in before dark and even had time to get our little garden bed fenced in. It's driving me crazy to not have some sort of garden, so Garrison and I built a rock bed, a small one, but large enough to at least grow some lettuce and green onions. It already feels good and I haven't planted a thing yet.
Monday, August 17, 2009
Anyway, the mechanic just called with an estimate for how much it's going to cost to get my jeep repaired from the deer damage. $2200. What??? That's more than the thing is worth! This really frustrates me because I just sunk a good bit into it just prior to hitting the deer to get it running again after being out of order for more than a year. So I asked Jerry if he'd make up a list for me, of all the parts it needs and put a star by the ones it absolutely has to have to get it running again. I'll see what I can find on freecycle, craigslist, and ebay. He said he wouldn't mind installing whatever parts I can scrounge up this way, and it might bring the cost down to a more affordable number. Otherwise, my old jeep is going to be calling the scrap-yard home.
Friday, August 14, 2009
Saturday, August 08, 2009
I'm not doing too much today, just piddling around the house. I started working on staining the baseboards for Gabrielle's room. Now that I know we have plenty water, I will wash all of the clothes and mop the floors.
Walking up the mountain to get to the tank is hard. For a long time I couldn't make the whole hike without stopping to breathe and let my thighs quit burning. But since I've been using a ladder to get to my room (versus the stairs that normal people have, lol), I think it's helped me with the hiking stamina, too. I can walk all the way to the tank now without stopping. That's a lot of heart and lung activity and it's surely good for me to continue doing that at least every Saturday. If I could force myself to do it more often, that would be better, but I'm not that much into workouts.
Friday, August 07, 2009
That makes three deer and one cow now. I should have met my quota for a lifetime.
Tuesday, August 04, 2009
Monday, August 03, 2009
Also, I changed the picture on the title of this blog. That's an elderberry in bloom up there now. The lighting was very nice when I took it, and I was so dismayed when I downloaded it and realized the camera was set on a low resolution at the time. So unfortunately, it's only good for a web pic, won't make a magazine or print quality picture.
Sunday, August 02, 2009
Saturday, August 01, 2009
This is the cut, under the blackberry stems.
This is the partial repair. I need another pipe clamp because one of those are broken, and a pair of gloves so I can hold the pipe without it slipping when I try to push it onto the connector.
So, after I've rested, back up the mountain I go. The tank is shut off so at least it can gain some volume in the meantime. I measured the flow. We're getting a little more than one liter per minute, which calculates out to about 12 gallons per hour. Not very much, but it's usually plenty enough when you allow the tank to fill halfway before starting to use it heavily. Halfway is 750 gallons, so we have to use sparingly while it fills.
Wednesday, July 29, 2009
I'm getting ready to head out to work. The floors are now done in the kitchen, bathroom downstairs and the utility room. The interior doors will be delivered on Friday, and the next thing on the schedule are the doors and walls in the living room. I also still have to paint the bathroom and upstairs. The next item after that is baseboards, and last will be the cabinets. Hard to imagine, but it almost feels like I'm almost finished.
Forgot about the stairs - still need a more efficient way of reaching the upstairs than the ladder I'm currently using!
Monday, July 27, 2009
Okay, found the source of the problem. The blackberry bushes by the tank and over the line from the spring got so heavy that they snapped it off at the tank. So now I have to go buy the connector that broke, and go back up the mountain with a ditch blade to take care of the bushes. And there's such a layer of silt and algae that I might as well flush the tank while I'm at it too. At least the problem is something I can repair on my own. I was worried it might be more than I could handle. Garrison has been my helper this morning, too.
It's 1:30pm now, and I hopefully have the tank repaired. While cutting the briars away from the line, I inadvertently also cut the line. But I had extra connectors with me, and extra pipe clamps, and soon had that blunder repaired, too. Water was going in when I left, but it's not coming out at the other end yet. The other end is about 200' down the hill at the faucet behind the house. I hope that once enough head pressure builds up, if there's a slug of algae or sediment in the lines, it will blow that out. Not sure I can make another hike up there - that's a hard climb! Water is such a precious resource and living out here where my entire water storage depends on our own ability to conserve, repair, and harvest the water is a good lesson in preparedness. When I bought new fittings for the part that broke, I bought extra connectors, too. If not for that, I would have been in a real bind when I accidentally cut the line I was trying to repair.
It's 2:40pm now and we have water! it's nasty dirty water full of bleach, but at least there is flow. We'll continue to flush this out and soon we'll be back online. I had shut off the valve to the house so that none of this nasty water makes it into those lines. But we had drained the tank last night with showers and washing clothes, so I probably need a new filter inside.
This morning I woke up and turned on the faucet to wash my face. The moment I heard the hiss, I knew there was trouble. No water. It's a long hike up the mountain to the tank, but hopefully, the tank is just empty. And if it's empty, then I have to know whether it all leaked out, or someone left a line open, or if we just used it all. If we used it all, that's easy enough to remedy; we will just begin our later summer water rationing. It takes about 24 hours to fill the tank and from there we will will know to only use what we really need, wash only one or two loads a day, and no tub filling for hot soaks. If it's broken somewhere, well, this will be my first time figuring out how to fix it on my own. I'll let you know how it goes, and I sure wish my horse was ready for riding. If it wouldn't be more trouble to lead him up there than it's worth, I'd tie things onto his saddle, but I'm worried it will be more tiresome to coax him up there than to just hoof it on my own two feet. First I have to figure out what kind of repair items to bring with me.
At least I had a gallon of water so I could make some coffee this morning while thinking about my game plan to fix this issue.
Sunday, July 26, 2009
Tuesday, July 21, 2009
Okay, I didn't get the pictures taken or posted last night. When I got home from work, the kids informed me that the computer was crashed - again - so I scratched the whole thing. This morning, though, I got a couple pics, and even though the quality is bad (not enough light) you can see the colors on the wall and the floors. The tiles are rough on the edges, so it's not clean lines, but that is the way I wanted them to look. I'm still mopping grout haze from them; hopefully I'll be able to finish that up and get them sealed this weekend. You can also see my messy kitchen workstations, lol. I'm taking the old cabinets from the old house and refinishing them. They're good quality cabinets, just been painted over one too many times, and the hardware is outdated on them... in other words, I think they're ugly. But a little time and attention will fix that. To buy new ones is just too expensive to justify right now. Today, I'll look at some curtains during lunch.
Monday, July 20, 2009
Last week I had to make a run to West Virginia for work, so I was afraid I wouldn't get home in time this weekend to get much done with the house. But I did get the kitchen moved back into the kitchen. Everything has been in the living room while the floors in the kitchen were getting done, but the refrigerator would not have been able to make it through the maze with it like it was, so my priority was clearing the path.
On my way down the county road as I headed out to W.Va, I spied a Joe-pye weed growing. It's the first one I've seen out here, so that was interesting to see. The entire WV trip was so fast, I didn't get any scenic pictures.
Tonight I'll post a pic of the kitchen.
Monday, July 13, 2009
Thursday, July 09, 2009
Tuesday, July 07, 2009
Monday, June 29, 2009
Thursday, June 18, 2009
Today I've been thinking a lot about our calling. Each of us has a purpose in life, but most people have no clue what theirs might be. It's not something you can learn from a book, and it's not something someone can point out and say 'here, this is your purpose'. No, it's an elusive thing that each individual must learn for themselves. And then there's the tricky thing; no one can tell you if you're right or not when you think you've got it all figured out. God does seem to give us signs, but then those same signs can be interpreted differently by different people, so unless you trust your instinct, it's hard to know if you're right in the interpretation of your sign. If you trusted your instinct to begin with, you wouldn't be asking for signs, though, right?
Some people never hear the calling. They go right through life and never agonize over these issues. Those people probably think the other people, the people dedicated to finding or following their calling are nuts. Or selfish. Or weird. Or a mix of all three.
Some people hear the calling and ignore it, or don't recognize it for what it is. They think somehow they'll find the cure for their nagging unhappiness and dissatisfaction in life. Some people smother the calling with alcohol or drugs, or other forms of addiction.
Some people hear the calling clearly and know that if they do not respond, they will go insane or die.
And now for the really random and cryptic thought I came up with. Anyone who's ever raised a wild animal and then released it will understand. A wildling can never return to captivity once freedom has been tasted.
Which leads to the last thought for the this blog entry, which is derived from the above random thought and combined with the previous thoughts. The calling, once heard, and acknowledged, cannot be denied. I think someone said that before, but I can't find a source for the quote. If you know it, please let me know so I can properly credit the author.
Saturday, May 02, 2009
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