Saturday, October 31, 2009

Horses and the Best Laid Plans

Comanche: Snippy, with Gab riding, and Comanche coming around the corner with attitude:
These are pictures from summer, not this morning, LOL. It was too chilly this morning for shorts and short sleeves!

But it is a gloriously sunny day today. This morning when I went outside to look for the horses, it was chilly, around 40*F, but not uncomfortable with a jacket. Snippy foundered recently because he gorged himself in early spring on corn in a deer feeder over the mountain next to ours. It was luck that he didn't die right then from colic, but he seemed to be fine.

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

More Rain!

It rained a lot yesterday, apparently. It didn't look like all that much to me, but the ditches and runoff waterfalls on the mountains disagreed. I had planned to go to a writer's meeting in Fayetteville after work, but Zack called to say that the bridges were already flooded down the road and that meant a long trip in the back way. So, I decided to not attend the meeting and just go home instead.

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


Now it is finished, except for the grabber clip I'll put in the top corner to keep the corner tightly closed. Knobs are on, trim on, all that's left is paint.


Almost finished. Ignore the mess around the pantry - when I'm working on a project, all other work seems to get put on hold... so clutter remains, dishes stay dirty, pretty much nothing else but the project gets done. So, you can see that it still needs a handle on the bottom door, and a gripper thingie on the top of the top door, either a magnet or one of those clips that hold a door tight...don't know what they're called. But my drill bit broke while putting the handle on the other door, so I'll have to wait until I can get back to Lowe's for a bit. Also still needs top molding and on both sides at the bottom molding. But the last piece of molding is in the back of the truck - and Gab has the truck. Otherwise, it's done. Well, it needs to be painted, too. But that's a different project.

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Probably close to the end

This is the west side of our mountain. The property line is right about halfway and goes over the top. This is the view out the driver side of the vehicle as you travel down the county road.

Just more pretty color. This is down a logging road at the house on Bradshaw mountain where my parents house-sit for a lady who travels to California during winter.

If the wind blows too hard, the rest of the color will blow away. The leaves are falling and it won't be long before the limbs are bare. The title pic is a dogwood with next spring's bloom lying in wait.

Monday, October 19, 2009

More color

Garrison called me to come take a picture of the oak this morning. He was right, the oak was shining in Fall Splendor once the sun made it over the mountain. The title picture is the view to the east from the porch or the balcony. The tree must be over 200 years. It has a partner, a red oak, about 50-100 feet west, but it is struggling to survive an oak borer infection and the carpenter ants have moved in. It is about the same age but not nearly as robust.

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Pantry Progress

Okay, I'm feeling pretty good about the pantry now. So far it's coming along better than I expected. The door, though, presents a real challenge. I have no idea how to do it! I'll post the finished pantry hopefully tomorrow. Maybe tonight if I get real lucky.

First Frost

This picture did not capture the color or the image I wanted to share. It is the view from my bedroom balcony and the sun was just popping over the mountain to the east at 8:20 a.m. And then my camera battery went dead again. Something must be wrong with my battery, because I'd just charged it the other day when this happened, so I probably will need to buy a new one soon. Anyway, this morning it was just below freezing and a layer of frost coated all the windshields. It was our first frost. The sun has been up a couple hours, but situated as we are in a valley with mountains close beside, it takes a while for it to get high enough to shine into my window. When it shines on the opposing mountains and valley, it lights up the colors of the western side. The battery is back on the charger again, but the lighting won't be the same by the time it's ready to reload, unfortunately. Maybe tomorrow will give another opportunity. It's been raining and overcast so much lately, that this is the first time I've seen the sun so bright in the morning in a long time. It was a welcome sight!

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Blazing Leaves

The maples are almost glowing, a luminous yellow-orange, and my camera battery was dead today. Not to worry, it is on the charger tonight and tomorrow I should be able to get some pretty pictures to post of the fall colors 2009. I'll take the scenic route to work (lol, they're all scenic, but I do have a favorite route during fall).

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Fall Colors

This is on the driveway, going toward the house, where the creek comes in on it. This is going toward the house, on the path coming from the garden/deer food plot, looking east.

Some reds are showing on the sourwood. This is facing south, from the garden.

Doesn't seem like much done for the amount of time and effort spent, but here's the roughed in cabinet I've been working on all weekend:

The tall one is the pantry, which will have 2 doors, one 6' long and one above it about 1.5' long. To the right is just a continuation of the sink counter and that's where the coffeepot and can opener will live, with other undecided stuff underneath. Over the short shelf will be a small upper cabinet to hold the microwave on the lowest shelf and an undecided other stuff on a shelf above that to make the top level with the pantry. To the left of the pantry is where the refrigerator normally lives (I have it pulled out to work on the cabinets). I'll try to make another small cabinet to over the fridge to put things I rarely use.
Maybe I didn't get a whole lot done, but I have a much much better idea of what I'm TRYING to do, at least. Since I've not done this sort of thing before, I don't know what sort of materials I'll need until I get doing it. Now I see I'm in need of some 1x3x8 boards to finish the front before putting on a door, and I need some 2x2 for making shelf rails inside. So I won't get it completely done until next weekend. That is irritating! I like to start and finish a project, I hate putting off finishing for a whole week.


Here's Garrison's deer blind that Zack started, and my dad and Garrison built. Zack planted rye grass on the field. In spring, they'll till it in and plant corn and squash and some other garden plants.

This bear enjoys the corn feeder meant for the deer. He is the rotundest, healthiest bear I've seen (only on the game camera, haven't run across him in the woods yet). The pipe (corn feeder) is 6' tall, to give you some perspective on the size of the bear.

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Weather and cabinets

The new title picture is the view from the front porch of the old house. Later, when the old house is torn down, it will be the view from the front porch of the new house.

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

Fall is a good time to reflect and plan. Today I’ve been thinking about my vision of the future and our homestead.

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 ;)