Wednesday, September 30, 2009


It's been fantastic all week so far. Mild daytime temps in lower 70's, cool nights around 55 or so. Just cool enough to be chilly in the mornings. The dogs are all frisky in this weather, jumping around excited when someone pets them. Soon we should start seeing color changes in the leaves.

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

Useful tick?

What an oxymoron. But apparently it is true, ticks have been found to be useful for something fairly important. The saliva of the Brazilian tick holds promise to scientists researching cancer. Read more about the discovery here. But don't expect to come away with a newfound love for ticks. What I did come away with, however, is a greater respect for all things large and small, seen and unseen, that exist on this planet. There is surely something that can be exploited for human advancement in every thing. At least that's the impression I was left with after reading another spin on the discovery of this tick spit. The writer was emphasizing how we should work harder to conserve the animals and plants that are going extinct because we never know which ones will be useful. To us. And it seems that is the slant for many conservation efforts. I'm human, and of course I benefit from discoveries just like everyone else. But it's an awful anthropocentric viewpoint. Can't we just save a species because it's the honorable thing to do, when its within our realm of influence to do so?

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Cabinet is done.

Well, I can't get the picture to move to the bottom. But here's the cabinets as finished as they will get for now. I still need to cut a piece of tile to fit the corner by the stove.
Before: After:

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.


Today I am working on a cabinet for the kitchen. I started out real optimistic - bought all the materials, including paint and baskets (in place of drawers) and thought I'd have it all done and polished by last night. Boy, was I overly sure of myself! So it's the second day and I've readjusted my expectations. I figure I can get it finished today, but doubtful that I'll get it painted before the end of the weekend.

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

Help our school get a makeover!

ABC's Extreme Makeover show is cruising Arkansas to find facilities that could use a makeover. Our school is in real need of some work, and we're hoping to attract their attention to Kingston. You can help - just send an email to and tell them that our school needs a makeover. Be sure to include our zip code (72742), if you send a letter, because there is another 'Kingston' in Arkansas. I've posted the letter I sent below and you can use it for ideas if you want ;)


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!!!


Roxann Phillips

contact info for the school: Marsha Shaver, Principal (479)665-2835

Monday, September 07, 2009

Labor Day

We (Mom, Dad, Garrison, and me) labored on Labor Day weekend. Here's pictures of our progress on the porch railings:

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

Rainy Days

It's a rainy morning this morning. We're getting some much needed rain over the last few days. My turnips are happy for it. The ducks are loving it.

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

Sick Day

Today all three kids are home with fever and various symptoms. Hope it's not the flu and they just have a bad cold... The tincture I made over summer has elderberries, lemon balm, anise hyssop, prunella, rose hips, and spicebush in it. It is particularly bad-tasting because I used more elderberry than I usually do. So, most of the moaning and groaning that's been going on around here this morning has had more to do with being forced to take nasty medicine than from feeling poor. I suppose I should go take some of my own nasty medicine to hopefully stave off my own episode of this sickness.