Tuesday, December 25, 2012

In the spirit of the season ...

While I am Pagan, and hubby is spiritual, we wish the best of blessings on everyone this time of year. Our Yule celebration, such as it was, was last week on the solstice. Today, we had fun just laying about in bed most of the day, and haven't even bothered with the tv and all our DVR'd stuff yet. Hubby is sleeping, I have been knitting on a scrap afghan to use up some of these gazillion tiny balls of scrap yarn I have boxed up and laying around here, playing games on Facebook and getting myself Christmas presents in the form of more free books for my Kindle for PC.

No decorations, no tree, no nothing this year as no place to put the tree with having to hunker down in the living room anyhow. How's that working out? Mostly ok, the house generally is staying 15-20 degrees warmer than the outdoors, which isn't saying much right now considering that a major winter storm is trying to come through and it's only in the 20's outside. So you can imagine that with the winds blowing in the low teens when they do, and the low temps to start, that it's not all that warm in the house. The cat's don't mind too much, they're busily racing around and having a blast play-fighting off and on all day.

Me, my toes are a bit chilled right now because I'm sitting in the one chair we kept out here while writing, because I'm fixing dinner for us - turkey teriyaki - and the thermostat on the space furnace only reads 42, wavering a bit to 43, because it's actually got to warm up here on the mountain to get the snow that's predicted. It's just too darned cold out for it to snow right now, which is fine with me. Cold I can tolerate, snow is part of why I moved to the Ozarks and away from Michigan - I grew up with the stuff for six months a year, I don't really like it! Dinner could have been chicken, but doggone it, I'm too cheap to buy chicken to put in it when we have a freezer full of turkey to use. I got out one of the big breast packages to thaw the other day and it's so huge that half of it got sliced up, wrapped back up and stuck back in the fridge for warm sammiches later tonight.

We're doing a lot of soups and warm sammiches and pasta bowls and such - comfort foods that are warm and make us feel good and full and at least somewhat happy. I do feel some like crying, because it's Christmas and once again, I had to put my Yuletide traditions aside in favor of no space for them, and not having everything for them. Next year, now that we're in a house and all, I will do them.

My traditions, you ask? They're not too complicated, but they mean a lot to me and my family. Mom and I started them when I was little and she was a single parent - she raised me herself as best she could, so traditions were important to us and kept me (with my mental issues I was developing even then) fairly stable. I knew that certain days of the week meant certain activities, and that helped me, with my developing PTSD and BPD and bipolar II, to keep stable and calm and able to deal with the world. I'm so lucky with Quentin that he puts up with my mental issues, and has learned to work around them!

But traditions, especially for the Christmas season, were so important to me. Never mind that with my issues, I didn't really feel the excitement and expectation of everybody else (and still don't). For me, it's the traditions that are the important thing, not whether I personally feel anything. I'm blessed enough that I experience the emotions and get to have some joy in everyone else's excitement about things.

So Thanksgiving to Twelfth Night became important to me while young. Thanksgiving itself not so much for the food and family and all, but because once we had dinner eaten and cleared away, and the dishes all done and dried and put up, it was TIME. Time for me to climb up into our attic and get all the boxes of Christmas stuff, and hand them down to Mom, who could climb that ladder if need be, but not overly well, with her bum knee. Time to come back down and start opening boxes and putting the tree together and hanging up decorations and putting the ornaments on the tree and then enjoying the lights and the happiness that I could feel over the fun we'd had that day.

And then when my kids came along, and as each got old enough to "help," the tradition got added to, along with the fact that by then, Mom had joined the library book club, and one of the gals there was a teacher at the local Catholic school. Cheryl (which is also my Mom's name) liked to buy Christmas stories every year and read them to her students during the Advent season. And she'd bring some of them to the Christmas party for the book club and read them to the ladies as they had tea or coffee and cookies that everyone brought to share, and opened their presents to each other. A few of those stories made their way into our tradition.

All but one are a modern tale. We began to start, on my daughter's insistence on including it, with the Nativity story from the Bible. I may not agree with a great deal of The Good Book, but that story always gives me a big uplift to my spirits. A couple of others are The Christmas Candle, by Richard Paul Evans; The Christmas Box, also by Richard Paul Evans; and my favorite, The Christmas Miracle of Johnathon Toomey, by Susan Wojciechowski.

We'd end by taking everything down on Twelfth Night, especially after my daughter was born, as her birthday isn't much after that. It also became a tradtion for Mom to send me all those goofy Hallmark singing tabletop doodads when they started coming out with them, because she gets them cheap with buying all her special holiday cards at Hallmark.

So what are YOUR holiday traditions? Think on what makes you happy during the holidays, what you do to make the season bright and special to you, and don't forget to do them if at all possible.

Saturday, December 22, 2012

Happy Yule and no apocalypse

Well, it seems the naysayers and doomers were completely wrong about the Mayan apocalypse, because here it is 230 PM Central US time on the 22nd of December, and we're still here. Darn, there go my plans for a complete takeover of the world as of yesterday. Guess I'll just have to take it over the hard way, haha.

We've had a fairly busy week. Quentin got hired on at my plant, so we carpool now and it will help a lot with finances to have two paychecks coming in again till the fleamarketing and eventual farmer's market income and such take off. We've been doing a lot of one particular type cut on my part of the line all week, and boy howdy is my right shoulder at the collarbone sore. I had to stop by medical a few times for an ice pack, it was just that ouchy. I could move my shoulder up and down but rolling it forward just about made me want to cut my arm off. I'm still tender but since we don't have to go back to work until THURSDAY, which really bites into the paychecks, we'll I'll have time to recuperate, as long as we don't do what we had to do today, which I'll get to later.

Monday, Quentin had orientation at the plant, and I had the day off. Which was good in a way, as it gave me a day to relax and do a lot of things I needed to get done around here. The bad part was, our little Pelosi radiator heater we had keeping the chill off the front room decided to die around lunchtime. Made the front half of the house DARN cold. So cold, in fact, that after the storm we had Wednesday night, the bedroom end was comfy from the space furnace running there, but the kitchen was so cold I could see my breath. NOT fun for making our lunches. That wind had me worried that a tree would come crashing down on the house, but I forgot about worrying about one blocking the road. I should have, because ...

Thursday morning about 530 AM, just as we're getting ready to roll out the door to work, our neighbors up the road, Eric and Bobbi (who just found out she's pregnant, so I gotta get busy making some baby things for the little one - socks and sweaters and hats and diaper covers and a blankie or two from Auntie Heather!!!!!), the ones who helped get the car off the gravel grading ridge back a few months ago, called us up. Seems a tree fell across the road between them and us, and as they work first shift, too, they needed to get out. No chainsaw up there, but they knew we had one, so they called to borrow it. Quentin ran the saw and gear up to them and Eric cleared the way for them to get out to go to work. That was a good-sized tree, too, but the wind and rain Wednesday night just did the thing in. The roots lost their grip and the tree came crashing down, mostly shattering in the road, but some of the pieces were pretty good sized and too big and heavy for Eric to move.

Friday, we only had a partial day at work, which helped, because during the day, Quentin and I talked during our one meal break, and decided to "hunker down" in the living room, where our entertainments are. His swivel rocker, my desk and my desk chair all got moved to a corner of the kitchen we don't use, a corner by the broom closet was set up as a semi-private bathroom area so we could have the sawdust toilet there without making a mess in the food prep space or losing privacy for that particular issue, the boy's things (litter box and food dishes) got moved down to the living room, as did our nightstands and the bed. We can now be comfortable, warm and entertained at the same time. The temp when we moved everything yesterday afternoon while it was still daylight was a mere 47 in here after we got the bed and space furnace moved. Right now, with the temps outside warmer and things closed off in here, the thermostat on the furnace is now reading 63, which is DARNED comfy. Short sleeves are the order of the day right now.

Today was just a normal Saturday, in that we made a payment on the van (which Quentin calls a truck - it's a Ford E-150, so it's a F-150 chassis with a van body on it, might as well call it an enclosed truck), did the laundry and came home. We did what little groceries we needed to do for the week on the way home in Huntsville after work yesterday, so that saved us going to Harrison for anything today. Big time-saver, which means we can now relax and, as long as weather cooperates, get a lot of stuff done outside in the way of cutting wood for the pile and that will clear more of the brush out of the easement. Yeah, I'm still working on that one. Whew. Be easier when we can get that little 8" battery-operated chainsaw, cuz it'll go a lot faster on the cutting end of things for me.

We've also planned that when we get his first paycheck next week, one thing we're getting is a large roll of heavy mil plastic to put over all the windows. Home Depot has it fairly cheap, and Quentin has a manual staple gun to attach it to the walls. Just a matter of getting it home and cutting it to size, then hanging it. Ought to help a whole heck of a lot with the cold weather part of winter setting in for the Ozarks.

He also got the big old oak by the end of the drive cut up and the logs stacked by the woodpile, along with some logs from part of the electric easement down by the main drag a mile or so from the bottom of the mountain road. Hey, we got permission from the electric company that as long as the logs were in the easement and not behind a fence, we could go along the easements and clean up all the wood we wanted. I need to take a picture of these piles one of these days when we go get more wood, because there's a LOT of wood there that we can bring up here.

This is the stump of what's left of that oak tree. The pile above is the logs from the main  drag (back) and part of the oak logs (front). Altogether, we got 29 two-foot logs out of that tree. And yes, that's still a four-foot or so section laying down in front of the stump that we need to cut in half and clear out to the woodpile. You can see part of our county road in the background, as it goes up to the top of the mountain.

This is a piece off the top of the oak that snapped off when it came down. Another couple of logs from this one, once we get it out of there. It's laying in the brush across the drive from the stump.

Quentin had redone part of his edging wall to help with backing out of the parking area in the easement, but the winds Wednesday night blew it right over. He left it open framed so that wind could go through it. It got blown right off it's bolts that were supposed to hold it into the ground. However, you can also see that the trash pile that was left behind is now significantly smaller than it was four months ago. Part days at work, good weather and little to no wind, along with a burn pit and barrels means a LOT of that stuff gets dumped into a five-gallon bucket, hauled to the pit or barrels, and dumped and burned. Some of it's pretty nasty, too, making a lot of black smoke because of whatever it is that's all manky on it. The pile's coming down bit by bit, though we still have to dig out enough to get that mattress and box springs out of there and burned.

And then after today's errands run, we came home, hooked up our little trailer, and went up to Eric and Bobbi's to get our saw and such back. I had to stand on one side of the trailer to weigh it down so Quentin could air the tire back up proper and know that it was done right if there was a load on it. The trailer hookup wasn't just because he likes pulling the thing around, we wanted to stop on the way back down the road to load up as much of that tree as we could for OUR woodpile, before any of the other neighbors got the bright idea to snag it. And there's still enough there for a trailer load or two of wood that we need to find the energy to go get. Time we have for the next several days, it's finding enough time when we have enough energy and no other pressing things to do, so that we CAN go get it all!

While he's a bit blurry, here's Quentin sitting on the trailer with today's haul. Yes, I know, I still have a LOT of stuff to cut up for the woodpile in the easement there. It's gonna take a long while if we don't get me that little chainsaw I want pretty soon! But that is our week, and now I'm going to eat me some lunch and relax a bit with my hubby, who is curled up next to me taking a nap. He's not in a very comfy position, but he's sleeping, so oh well. I should take a picutre for him to see, so he doesn't complain and go ouch every time the boys curl up in one of those boneless positions cats can get into, the furry little contortionists.

Till next time, happy homesteading!

Sunday, December 16, 2012

Things are looking up

This is a good thing. There's a number of positive things finally happening. The downsides for now are that the car battery is pretty well dead. I can jump it and run the dickens out of the car till I let it sit for a while. I worked half a day Friday, and just the five hours or so that it sat between getting to the plant and getting done for the day, the battery died enough that I had juice for dash lights and such, but not enough to get the engine to turn over. I've taken the car to O'Reilly's (an auto parts supplier chain), as there's a store in Huntsville, and they do free checks on things like the electrical system. So I had one of the guys come out with their checker and do the check on the electrical, and he says while all else is fine, the battery's pretty well gone. This is a good thing, really, as a battery is a heck of a lot cheaper to replace than an alternator or starter, and a lot easier, too. So once Quentin has paychecks rolling in again, we'll be able to get a new one or at least a new-used one, and the car will be able to roll again without help.

Did I say "once Quentin has paychecks rolling in again?" Yes, I did. Tuesday, when my plant was finally taking applications again, he was one of the first ones in there. They called him that afternoon for an interview on Wednesday, and then Thursday just before lunch, they called him to ask if he can do orientation Monday. Bad part for him is, I don't have to work tomorrow, so I get an extra day to goof off, while he gets to go be bored. But he'll be working again, which is very important to us financially and to him personally. I don't know how many times he's mentioned that he feels like "less of a man" lately because of no job. He's feeling much better from this, even if it's not the pay he was making before. He just has to deal with this for five months or so before he can try to rehire back where he was.

We did get some of the hardie-backer up last weekend or thereabouts. Doesn't it look good on the wall? We need about four more pieces to do the other wall and the floor for safety, then it's just get the stove in.

We've got some stuff in the way of finishing that bit up right now, but when we get the rest of the hardie-backer, we'll get it out of the way. You can see the spacers he put up on the left, where the wall goes from window to corner. Just outside the left edge of the photo is the window. He doesn't have all the screws installed yet on the pieces he put up, but they are holding tiight to the walls.

We also got the rest of the spot in the living room where the A/C unit was finished off outside. I took a few minutes yesterday while he was doing some other things he wanted to get done, trucked back to the Merlot and tore off some paneling and got several good chunks of insulation out of the walls. It isn't the greatest insulation, but it's free and it works. I do love to recycle and repurpose things. In this case, we're recycling old but otherwise still good and quite useful insulation. With the help of a slightly busted but otherwise still usable for the one time ladder we found (the top of it's badly cracked, what idiot came up with the idea of a PLASTIC ladder????). Quentin climbed up as far as was safe, and stuffed that darn hole full of insulation and then took the piece of paneling and used his drill to screw the paneling over top of it to hold the insulation in and keep the weather out. When we got back in the house, the insulation is already doing well, as we are both starting to get rather warm in here!

Speaking of weather, thankfully, it's been much warmer lately than predicted originally, so the rooms we do heat have been staying more in the mid-60's up to mid-70's. It was so warm in the bedroom last night, we slept on top of the covers. What a pleasant change from what it was for a few days there! Hopefully, with the hole fixed up completely now, we'll be in better shape for keeping heat out here, and thus in the rest of the house. We all know, one good heat sink can really ruin your whole house heat in a New York minute. That the inside of that A/C hole is covered by a piece of linoleum I found in the front bedroom and nailed up over the hole, and then spray foamed around it doesn't seem to matter. At worst, it did keep out the weather and birds for a while!

Other good news, in walking back to the Merlot for the insulation and paneling yesterday, I happened to spy a bit of color up the hillside behind the trailers to my left. I stopped and looked up and what did I spy with my little brown eyes but the cistern! It's about 800 feet higher elevation than the house, but only about 300 feet away straight line. Problem is, with all the trees and brush, you can't get there straight line, plus there's that whacking great steep climb to get there. The thing was full of really ucky looking water, so we opened the valve to drain it. The spring is there, but we do have to haul pipe up to run down to the cistern, and we need to come up with a way to dam up the spring to make a pool. It's really a good seep, but it runs out from under rocks in a little cave and down mud to the bottom and out from there. It's not super fast, but good enough to keep us in steady water once we figure out how to get it dammed up to make a pool where we can run pipe over the top of the dam to pick up overflow and keep the water going to the cistern clean.

We need to get in the cistern too - it's got about an inch of mud in the bottom of it that has to come out before we put new water in it. I want to haul up a few gallons of bleach, too, hard as that will be, to pour in to help kill off any algae that might still be in there. There's just a few minor issues to getting the water going again, and we'll at least have water to the house. Quentin wants to put an outside spigot on the line to the house and have the spigot indoors, so we can fill water jugs that way, instead of having to go get it from one of the free local gas station outside taps all the time. I concur, to a point. I'm  not so sure about having a outside spigot in the house, but if it gets us some kind of water so we don't have to haul it, I'm halfway for it.

We did find that when we came downhill after turning on the valve at the cistern, that the lines from there down almost all the way to the house are good. We ended up with a good gushing flow out of it, so once we have water in the cistern again, we'll have a decent gravity-fed flow to the house. Yay us! Of course, if we find the outside well head and it's easier to fix than the cistern, we may go that way instead. Depends on which is going to be easier. I can tell you one thing, I'm smaller and fit into the spring cave better than Quentin does, and I still had to sit on rocks on one side to use the mattock at the back of it to widen the stream a bit so the seep, well, seeps better.

My jeans I was wearing are muddier than heck all the way from butt to ankle, and my work boots (which I wore due to weak ankles and not wanting to twist my ankle up on that hill) are completely muddy. Once we wash up tonight for the upcoming work week, I'm going to have to take one of the dishpans of water and put  my boots in there to be able to wash them off. I can't wear them to work looking like THAT! Quentin is teasing me that the spring and cistern job are all my fault, just like us moving here. I keep finding things and getting stuff fixed so things work better, so it's all my fault. He blames me. I'll happily take THIS blame, though it's going to be a heck of a job to get the spring dammed up. Anybody got any ideas how to get the thing dammed up? The seep is steady enough and doesn't gush out at all, so any mud would settle quickly to the bottom of the pool. We just have to figure out a fairly easy way to get the pool dammed so we can run pipe at the top of it for catching the overflow and thus running clean water to the cistern.

Now for a quiz. What the heck is THIS thing?

It's some kind of clamp thing I found on the kitchen counter in the Merlot yesterday, but neither Quentin or I have ever seen anything like it before and have no idea how to identify it. We are hoping one of our homesteading friends has a clue as to what it is and what it's used for.

So that's this week's news. I'm tired and my legs are like jelly from playing mountain goat for four hours midday today, and I still have to do dishes, make dinner and get washed up for the week. I think I'm gonna go relax and play games on Facebook for bit to keep busy till my legs feel like I can stand up for a while again!

Sunday, December 9, 2012

It's a quiet weekend here

Somehow, we managed to end up with a fairly quiet weekend this time around. Well, I did, Quentin's trying to redo a bit of the parking area border so he has less trouble getting in and out than he does. Not that he has that much anyhow, but he thinks he needs more of a "fence" there to help guide him when he's backing out. He needs to get busy on the little fix on the kitchen ceiling, where the mice are trying to get through again. He fixed one, now he's got another to fix. One of these days, we'll be pulling down all the old ceiling and insulation, and putting up new insulation and plywood, then covering the plywood with something nice, like paneling. Hopefully, we can find some kind of paneling we can put up in strips rather than huge sheets, because huge sheets would be a major pain in the tuckus!

We did find out that he won't be getting his unemployment. Apparently, them making him take bereavement points and screwing up his points and all like they did, means that Arkansas unemployment says he wasn't meeting employer standards for attendance. *Rolls eyes.* So, he's going to try to get in where I'm at and mutilate turkey for a while till he can get back to where he was. It'll give him something to do to make some money of his own, while trying to also get the handyman thing off the ground, while not being entirely dependent on me.

But hey, we figured that no unemployment would be one of the possibilities and planned ahead how to work on it if it was what happened, and we're going forward with that - the handyman service thing (no licensed work, just stuff that you'd have on a honey-do list), and trying to get in at the plant I work at, till he can go reapply for where he was. There's other news on his old job that the unemployment people mentioned when they CALLED him the other day, which they hardly ever do around here, but I can't go into details because it may mean him also talking to a lawyer, and you know how confidentiality stuff goes around.

We did get a couple pieces of the hardie-backer for the woodstove corner last weekend when I had a bit more money floating around, and he got those up the other day. They look so nice being up on the wall, and I can hardly wait to get it all done. It'll happen as it happens, and you can bet you guys are gonna see pictures as it does! Reminds me, I need to recharge my camera batteries so I can take pictures. I forgot again, lol. I'm so bad at that, probably because I don't take a lot of photos in general so I forget to take the batteries out of the camera and they get drained.

My socks are going along a bit at a time. With work and everything around here that's got to be done on a regular daily chores kind of thing, I'm not getting very far. I've managed to get the cuff and a bit of the leg done on one sock, and there's a long ways to go. Thankfully, it's late fall and almost winter, here in the Ozarks, so there's a lot more dark than daylight and I get time to sit and watch the boob tube with the hubster and knit my little heart out. We don't watch a lot of television, but we do have some shows we like. I'm currently fond of Arrow and Beauty and the Beast in new shows, I do like Once Upon A Time as a returnee, there's a few cop-type shows I like (Covert Affairs and Burn Notice), and we do love our DIY shows. It's amazing how much knitting you can get done in an hour of watching TV, with all the commercials they churn out anymore. You get half an hour of an "hour" show, and half an hour of commercials! I'd rather have more TV than commercials, like when I was growing up. We DVR a lot of stuff so we can skip the commercials that way.

And yes, from above, you probably figured out that I follow the equinoxes and solstices for the season changes. Winter to me doesn't hit till Yule, on the winter solstice, because I'm unabashedly Pagan. I honor the Earth and the seasons and the life the Earth gives us. So for me, winter won't hit for a bit yet, though to others, it's already here. The last few days we've had some late fall rains, and last night was a real downpour of a rainstorm. No real thunder or lightning, but an awful lot of rain. So with the cool temps we're having, it's making for a lot of foggy days. Today, it's so foggy we can't see the end of the drive from the bedroom window, and Quentin just informed me a few minutes ago (when he came in for a drink), that it's so foggy down the easement that he can't even see the road where it curves around and back to the right. The whole mountain is fog-shrouded, even through all the trees, and it's getting foggier by the minute. Tonight will be a crazy night, and I have to drive to work in the dark in the morning, which means I have to take it careful and allow a bit of extra time because it's likely the deer will be out in force! But the fog also is kind of nice. To me, it just wraps the world in a cozy blanket, and makes me want to curl up in bed and take a nap. All I have to do today is dishes after I fix dinner, so what the heck, I may take a short nape this afternoon. It's only 12:30 P.M., and I'm eating my lunch (grilled swiss cheese sammich and my fruit juice) while I write, so I may take a nap. It's got to be a good day for it, even the cats are out cold!

Our health is back to normal other than appetites aren't quite what they were just yet. The stomach flu is nothing to joke about, and it was awful to have to deal with. I'm grateful Quentin didn't get it nearly as bad as I did, and recovered quicker. For a scrawny guy, he's got the constitution of a mule. I'd say a horse, but I love horses and know them well, and they get sick at the first opportunity, just to mess with us, I swear. And the car, surprisingly enough, is going fairly strong on the battery yet. I've only had to have it jumped twice in the last week, so if we can keep going for another week or so longer, I'll have a good enough check that we'll be able to get at least a used battery from a local gas station/repair shop, so it will last a while anyhow, and we'll still be able to cover the bills for the week. Now, if hubby can just get in at my plant so things will be a lot easier on us! That's our big prayer right now, trust me!

But for now, I'll close with me going back to the quiet weekend that is causing so much relaxation here. Till next time, happy and healthy homesteading!

Saturday, December 1, 2012

I was a Wal-Martian today

Because last night was a nightmare. I got sick, so sick that Quentin had to run me to the Emergency Room. There's a virus going around that I got, and got bad. Shouting groceries, the trots, and dizzy spells, two of which had me passing out. The third time I got dizzy, I had Quentin get the car going and found the energy to get some clothes on so we could run to the Harrison ER. Five hours later, we were headed home, me with two litres of IV fluid in me, some anti-nausea medication in the IV, and a prescription for some strong anti-diarrhea medicine to take for nearly three weeks. I still feel like crap, but we did get our running done for the day and home again in about six hours. Then I lay down for a two-hour nap. Quentin made me use disability carts everywhere we went, and wouldn't let me carry anything in the house when we got here. I'm just now up, warming up water for bathing and some chicken noodle soup to feed me so I don't get sick again. Then I hope to have the energy to put away the clean laundry. Quentin's a rock, he put away everything else. Bless him, because last night, he was sitting on the edge of tub while I was heaving up my toenails, and got to see me pass out on the floor at his feet. That should have been my warning to get going, but stubborn me hoped laying down would let me sleep and get better, but nope. Thus the trip to the ER.

And while we were out today, I was dressed but felt so crappy yet, I wore my slippers, even to Wal-Mart. Thus, I was a Wal-Martian today.

Among other things, I finished a book again this week, when I felt better. I love sci-fi and fantasy for pure escapism, and it's a lot of fun when I find a book or series that's good. This one was book one of a three-book series by Elizabeth C. Monk called Shattered: The Children of Man. It ends with a twist that you don't really expect, and leads well into the next book, which I now have GOT to get, lol. Me and my books.

So my soup is ready and I'm off here to eat something that will help push this crap through me so I can feel up to working next week. Be safe everybody! (I have to or Quentin will kick my butt.)

Sunday, November 25, 2012

I don't even know ...

how to title this post, so a few words to start the post out will have to do. It's been a weekend of small, negative things going on right and left, and I'm left just wanting to cry my eyes out for some stress relief. It happens to everybody one time or another, I know, even if you're not homesteading. Somehow, though, it just seems to hit home harder on a homestead, I guess.

Thanksgiving went well, though we had the tenderloins package of turkey instead of a breast package, because I grabbed what I thought was boob, and got the underlying tenders instead out of the freezer. But it was still turkey and au gratin potatoes and green beans and snack stuff. The boys got the heart and liver, cut up and raw, on a salad plate just for them, and before we knew it, the  stuff was gone and they were both out cold. Turkey just makes both the boys pass right out worse than Quentin!

Friday, I did cheddarbrats, stuffing (I did it with some of the meaty broth off the turkey carcass, so it had turkey bits in the stuffing - yum!) and corn. We're kind of noshing the weekend away, since I don't have to go back to work till Tuesday. I got part of the draft dodger for the door done, and hubby doesn't want me adding the foam to the other side ... he just wants to pull the rest of the flat part of the knitting under the door and staple it to the other side to pull the dodger tight to the inside of the door. As the door weighs a good bit, and he doesn't want to haul it off the hinges to add weatherstripping to it, a draft dodger handknitted by yours truly will work well compared to stuffing one of my good towels up against the door when we're home, and hoping we don't lose a lot of heat when one or both of us is gone.

And hubster got the solar porch light we picked up at Harbor Freight installed on the end of the deck so when it shines, it shines right on the doorknob. Handy if someone is coming home after dark and needs to find the knob to unlock the door!  (Sadly, we have yet to get much of the trash pile out from near the deck, but it's coming along ... another five-gallon bucket gets hauled and burnt every time we take out trash or burn brush.)

So overall, things are going okay. The bad news is not monumental, but added up, it just is a lot of little stress that I'm not in a mood to handle this weekend. The spacebar on my laptop is giving out, which makes typing fast like I'm used to a pain, as I keep having to go back and add the spaces. His unemployment still hasn't gone through, and they're still trying to say he hasn't served his waiting week, which is ridiculous, since he's been off for nearly two, plus a decision is still pending on it. I only worked two part-days last week, so this week's paycheck is going to stink, even with the holiday pay for Turkey Day, which means *I* have to file for partial unemployment for me to help us get through and make last week's check and what little I get this week serve two weeks duty. Thank goodness the only bill we had this week was the electric and it wasn't too bad.

And to top it all off, the battery on my car is going out. I mean it is going O-U-T out without any warning whatsoever. It's the original battery on a 2006 Aveo, but you'd think it would warn me or something that it was going to need replacing, and we'd've had it done long ago. But of course not! The car sat for Thursday and Friday, because we didn't go anywhere. The van started right up when we needed it to yesterday, because we had to do laundry and now of course, had to run to Harrison to get a jumper cable set as well ... something we'd been talking about getting long before we moved her and never did. $12 later, I have a good set of cables that are now going to carry in the car all the freaking time, and thankfully I do know how to use them. So we took the car for a spin after jumping it yesterday, just figuring the frigid temps of late and not running it for two days were the culprit. I even went out and ran it a couple extra times last night after supper and before bed. And then this morning, I was telling Q to take the car because it has more gas than the van and is more economical (he needs to make another quick run to Harrison, he forgot something yesterday for some project he has going), and it wouldn't start without a jump again. So now, until he either gets his unemployment or a new job ... he has to be ready to come out and jump the car every morning I have to work or if we need to go somewhere without the van. Naturally, we can't afford a new battery right now. But hubby already said if he gets a job at the plant with me (if they ever start taking applications again!) or gets his unemployment, that comes even before finishing up the woodstove project. Cuz let's face it, jumping my car so I can go to work is going to get really old, really fast.

Otherwise, the week's gone okay. Lots of peace and quiet on our little place, not a lot getting done due to chilly weather, but we're staying hunkered down. Thankfully, on a good note, our little radiator heater and the space furnace keep the place around middle to high 50's for a temp at the least, so we aren't freezing. Cold at night maybe while we're still up, but not freezing our butts off!

Now if things would just take a turn for the better here, we'd be a little bit less worried about things and a lot happier. I am thankful for the fact that I have Quentin around. Without him, this thing with the car would be a lot scarier and a heck of a lot bigger headache. And in spite of all with his unemployment and all, he's being a rock for the most part. He's being strong as he can be on the outside for me, but I know it's hard on him, because he's letting himself go. I told him last night he has to start taking care of himself again because it will make him feel better - trust me, take it from someone who was off work for 20 months. Taking care of yourself in the little things like cleanliness and brushing your hair and such makes you feel a lot better and brings a touch of normal to your life, even when everything else is falling apart around you.

And hey, we have a project to do either today or tomorrow, depending on the outside temps. The one burn barrel's been used so much, we have it half full, so it's got to be tipped over and cleaned out and any salvageable metal pulled out and tucked away in the metal pile for scrapping. There's a place nearby on my way to work that I can drop off stuff at. We won't get much but these days, every little tiny bit will be a big help.

So till next time, may your homesteads flourish and your lives be peaceful. Time for me to go look over my list of things to be thankful for again to cheer myself up, and then either watch a little tv off the DVR for shows I really like and work on a pair of socks for me, or play Farmville. I need to relax!

Monday, November 19, 2012

Reality sets in

As many of our homesteading family know by now, Quentin came back from his uncle's funeral to crazy news from his job. For those that don't, in short ... They made him take "bereavement time" and the points to accompany it, with the proviso that he bring back the flyer from the funeral home to prove he'd been there, so that they then would revers the bereavement points and he'd still have his job. Lo and behold, he goes back after the funeral with the flyer and was basically told, "Sorry 'bout the funeral, but you now have too many points against you for absences to keep your job. Bye-bye." We are still waiting to find out if he'll get his unemployment or not, and that could take a few weeks. We are hoping he gets it, so he'd have some spending money of his own.

However, there's so much to do around here, it really isn't that funny, and the time off, we've decided, would be good for him. He can apply for rehire in six months, and in the meantime, as long as he maintains his job-hunting per requirements, even if he doesn't get another job, that incredibly long to-do list can get whittled down a lot faster on the small stuff during the week, when before, he barely had time for anything. It does mean he has to do more of the chores around here, as I'm the sole breadwinner right now, but that's okay. When I was between jobs for 18 months, he was our sole breadwinner and the chores and such were all on me. It's a switch, but we can do it.

In other news, "fresh season" at my job is finally over with, and while the money was nice, the 55-60 hour work weeks were killer. I'm about dead on my feet. We had a three-day weekend to celebrate the end of things, and with Turkey Day in just a few days, I have another four days off for that. I've been working thirty-three days straight, and I honestly haven't a clue how to deal with time off. I've forgotten what it is!

This weekend was still busy, though. Homesteading always is, even if it's all just small stuff. Of course, if you go with the Rule #1, Don't sweat the small stuff and Rule #2, It's all small stuff, nothing fazes you. Saturday we made a pilgrimage to Fayetteville/Springdale west of here just over an hour away. Neither of us had ever been to Hooter's, and I'd promised him a trip for lunch there after fresh for a late birthday lunch. So off we went. He had a blast with the eye candy, though he was so focused on the menu it took one of the waitresses deliberately dropping a napkin at his feet, saying "Ooops," and squatting down to get it for him to start looking around like he was supposed to! Silly man, but it shows how much he is focused on our marriage and not on looking around at what he doesn't have. Though the manager there needs to go on a diet and exercise program. The girls were nice to look at, if that's your thing, but the manager was a beach ball with appendages! Enough to put y'all off your food, though what we had was really good. (Whoever tried to tell me homesteading meant not having fun like lunch was, is off their nut!)

We also took a tour of the mall there, not that it's much, before heading to a grown-up toy store - the local Harbor Freight. We found several things we shall have to get from there for the homestead. They've got a greenhouse that will work to start, a generator he likes, and a cutting torch to make taking the Merlot apart a lot LOT easier for him, all for reasonable rates. For a late birthday present, I got him a logging chain and we got a solar light for $8 to screw down to the porch that will light up the doorknob for us without running up our electric bill.

Not that the electric bill is much. We ran to the power company offices today among other things, because we hadn't gotten the bill yet. They printed us off one right there, and it was much less than we'd thought it would be with running the space heater out here in the living room nearly 24/7, along with the space furnace in the bedroom just about as much. Considering all the spray foaming we've done, the insulated blackout curtains and blankets we've hung, the energy efficient lights we use, and that we turn things off if we're not using them, our bill was not bad at all, only $70 for the month. So we know we'll be okay this winter even if we add another heater or two, though any others will likely be vent-free propane heaters, and we'd run lines into the house through the floor to the heaters, and either get several of the cylinders and hook them together or get a propane pig in here. We're likely to go with a pig in the long run, because our eventual stove will be propane, along with our water heater.

We found the stove we want, in apartment size, with four burners (including one big enough for me to can on), and a good-sized oven on it. We also found the propane water heater we want, and finally found the stovepipe and chimney kit for a reasonable price that are mobile-home approved. The best part for Quentin about the chimney kit is that it's set to go through the roof or the wall, so he can go through the wall and stay off the roof, and hopefully not have to worry so much about falling off the roof and busting some important part of his anatomy like a limb or his neck.

Fall color's over here at the house, but it was nice while it lasted. By next year, there'll be less color around the house than there was this year, but it will be because all the brushy and shrubby stuff that's just junk trees will be cleared out, making the property all the much nicer to live on.

Oh yes, and we have internet again, which is why I can type this and get it posted, along with photos!!!!!

 Here, Quentin's working on the spacers for the Hardibacker to go behind the woodstove.

This is a view down the easement during fall color. It didn't come out too well because the day was overcast, but you can see some of the gorgeous yellows and golds I got to look at for a few days. The squarish thing with a hole in the middle in the foreground is the frame left from burning one of the recliners from the trash pile up by the deck.

The trash pile by the deck AFTER the furniture had been pulled out and burned. Boy, does it look a lot better. Still got a long ways to go, though.

This is part of the easement edging for the parking area that Quentin did. It makes it a lot easier for him to back the van out. The tires are useless for driving on for various reasons, but they are being held on to along with others we've found on the place to help make raised beds next year. Waste not, want not when it comes to a raised bed garden.

Another view of the parking area.

And looking down the drive towards the road so you can see the front of the parking area. If the electric folks need to work on the easement at all, it's awful easy to move the side stuff out of their way and still allow us to park here in the widest, clearest, cleanest spot of the drive.

The electrical splice got buried, see? And it works great despite the fact that we've had some good downpours. No electrical problems at all. Whew.

Quentin working on his chainsaw on the deck. He's just having a blast.

 This is for those of you wondering what he did to the bottom of the Reliance toilet seat to make it work on a five-gallon bucket. I have no clue how he got the legs off or what he did, but it looks like this underneath and sits sound on the bucket. We use the doodie bags like it's supposed to, to make cleanout a lot easier on both of us.

Near the wood pile, where we've been clearing out brush and such, during fall color. Just beautiful!

 Looking up the drive to the house from the parking area during fall color. Looks a lot different than when we started, doesn't it?

For comparison, similar shots of cleared stuff ...

And looking up towards the house now that fall has truly set in and the leaves have all fallen. Yes, I know the woodpile's shorter, not from use, but because we got tired of the deer kicking it over and knocked it over ourselves, back out of the way of the drive. For some reason, the deer kept kicking it into the walkway up to the house, and we got a little tired of that.

So now it looks like this. The white blobs behind it are empty scoopy litter containers from the boy's litter. I'm saving them for planters for next year's garden.

The lines are the screen ... it's a shot from my kitchen window looking behind the trailer. It's prettier than it looks, with all the leaves on the ground and even with the trees bare. It's just fall or early winter pretty.

This is NOT a small pool noodle. It's actually small pipe insulation that I'm going to be cutting down to size in two pieces and crocheting a cover for it to make a two-sided draft dodger that will slide under the front door and stop drafts. Right now, we're using a towel, and of course, every time someone opens the door, you have to put it back if someone's still indoors to keep the heat in. So a small project for all those dark evenings I have coming up, when I can't get outside to do things, that will help with keeping our home warm and comfy and still be cute.

Taken from the deck, looking down the walking path towards the parking area. You can see some of the trash along the sides a bit better, especially on the left, but you can also see a lot of what we've managed to clear up and clear out that has left things much more open.

Quentin's new to him trailer that he picked up from his cousin Donnie while in Nevada, MO for his uncle's funeral. Also, the burn barrels, neither of which is even a quarter full of ash yet, and we burn trash regularly, along with brush (keeps the brush ashes from flying all over the place).

And finally, a shot of Bouncer looking out the screen door one sunny, warm afternoon to say howdy.

Monday, November 12, 2012

September 29, 2012

End of September and early October

We've accomplished so much this week. It's been incredibly busy with work, though Quentin had a horrible Friday. He didn't feel all that well, but because of a points amnesty program at work and Friday the 28th being the last workday for it, he really wanted to go in and get the points back for being there every scheduled workday for September. Considering he also was earning a point back at the end of the month as well, that means he got five points back. He felt awful physically, but whatever it was thankfully passed by shortly after his meal break and he was able to push through and make the whole day. I am so proud of him for that. For me, my Butterball plant announced "fresh season" as October 16th through November 17th. Five weeks of working my butt off and Quentin being responsible for pretty much literally everything all month. It also means I have to do the grocery list Friday night so he can go shopping on his own on Saturdays. Kind of bites, because we love doing things together, but we have to do what we have to do. Thankfully, it's only for a few weeks, so we'll manage as best we can.

On the other hand, a lot of stuff's gotten done around here. We got a leaf rake and garden rake so we can get the easement cleaned up easier where we parked, and so that's gotten raked up and burned. A lot of brush has been burned, along with another nasty old yucky chair. Many trees (dead, badly damaged, learning, growing funny, and a crapload of saplings/brush) have been cut down and trimmed up so that the branches can be taken a bit at a time to decide what's woodpile stuff and what's for the firepit. I had to have Quentin come get one trimmed up pretty fast after it came down, because it came down pretty close to the firepit, which was going at the time. Disaster was averted, though, so all's well in that case.

And the splice is reburied, finally, and the plywood "bridge" that was originally on the deck (that horribly warped board that he cut in two pieces to get it off the deck in the first place) is back on the deck and screwed down to give us a bit more space on the deck. It doesn't sound like a lot but it's been about four hours of work today alone, and it's only Saturday. Thankfully, I have Monday off, why I have no idea, but it means a lot more work is going to get done. I was supposed to have Friday off, but we got scheduled to work, which as far as I'm concerned, those six hours are just more money on the paycheck. I'm also changing my W4s for state and federal to exempt status for the duration of fresh season so I take home 90% of my paycheck instead of only about 70% after taxes, and with the hours we're supposed to be getting for that month, I really want to get as much of it as possible for that month to be able to get the woodstove in and possibly even get the stuff for the new floors.

The floors are going to look funky when done, because hubby refuses to unhook the entertainment stuff to redo the floors under that corner, so the new plywood and laminate will be cut in around things, and if (or better yet, when) we replace the entertainment stuff, we'll have the leftovers to fill in the gaps. Till then, stuff is going to sit an inch or so "below grade" and look weird. I suppose as long as the rest of the floors look good, that's what's important.

Quentin set up the easement parking area to look nicer, and still allow the electric company access with their stupid big heavy equipment through to brushhog and such, though with any luck, we'll be keeping it picked up enough that they won't have to do anything on our property when they come through again in a few years. Hopefully by then, we'll have fencing up as well, and the goats and sheep, and maybe a few feeder calves and pigs. We're really looking forward to getting more cleared out so we can add livestock. But the parking area ... ah, that's soooo nice. We can now park side-by-side, and Quentin used some cement blocks found around the property as supports for the wood used to block out the space. The folks we're renting the property from and the guy's mother all looked at some photos Quentin took of our parking space now and said that they were glad of photos because if they came up here, they wouldn't recognise the place anymore, we've done so much with it. That's pretty nice to hear.

There's still a lot of stuff to clean up and brush and such to clear out if we're to get the garden and fruit orchard and the chicken coop and rabbits in next year, and there's so much to buy yet to do what we need to do around here. There's the woodstove or some sort of heat to get in yet, the floors to do, a stove (range and oven) to get in (and hope we can get it running in here without having to rewire the house to do it), I want a spinning wheel and a new computer, and need a new printer since mine is dead, we need new tires for both vehicles, we need a third vehicle as a farm truck, we need a trailer for hauling, we need to get the seeds and trees and some good soil and worms for the garden (the soil here is pretty much dead - I haven't seen earthworm one YET) ... the list goes on and on it seems. Ye gods and little fishies, there is so much to get DONE. Sometimes I think our project list is completely never-ending for just our first year here, never mind what the rest of our lives is going to be like. YEEEKS.

But we are incredibly happy and can't imagine any other life for ourselves, despite the "deprivations" of running extension cords for everything and only having one working light switch, and no running water and having to use a sawdust toilet, and living in the boonies ... it all adds up really to a lot of fun and relaxing "work" here, despite what many folks would say is a lot of lunacy with the things we DON'T have. "Why," they ask, "can you stand to live without running water? Or a flush toilet? And how can you handle running electric like you do?" Honestly, we just do what we need to do. We don't think about it, we just do it. And that's a lot of what homesteading's about, I think. You don't think about what needs doing, you just make sure you have a list of projects to do and get yourself busy doing them. And you make things work however you can best make them work to accomplish the task at hand.

Which is what I need to do. I have a bunch of small projects to do around here that have to get done, sore feet from work or not, so I'm off to do them. Cuz one of them involves taking the gun outside and seeing if I can figure out what's crawling around on the roof ... (Never could find out what it was ... other than noisy.)

October 10

I keep meaning to write, but I'm so busy with work that it's hard to find the energy. "Fresh" season starts Monday the 15th, and it will be 32 days of sheer busy h-e-double-toothpicks. I do what I can when I get home to clear up some of the brush and get it cut and stacked for the woodpile, which is growing by little leaps and bounds. We've gotten a bunch of big stuff cut and stacked, too, and part of the brushy stuff by the driveway between the woodpile and the house is slowly getting cut down and either burned or cut for small logs (what Quentin keeps calling "giant toothpicks", haha).

The splice is buried completely, between what we dug out to unbury it in the first place and some extra dirt Q brought from one of the grading ridges right across the road from the driveway. It's also pretty well packed down, from us walking all over it all the time. The piece of plywood that was over the trench for a bridge is now back on the deck so we can use more of that. It's awful nice on good afternoons or evenings, once work is done for the day, to go outside with a folding chair and a drink to sit and relax and watch the sun set. I'm looking forward to the day when we have enough doggone crappy brush cleared out from around the house right near the deck to where we can sit there and look across to the neighboring ridge and watch the sun set over it. Ought to be durned purty.

Blankets have gone up over the two biggest windows in the parts of the house we use the most, to preserve as much heat as we can right now. It helps a lot, whether it seems like it sometimes or not. We're going to slowly get heavy drapes or those insulated blackout curtains and area rugs and put up or put down things to help insulate windows and floors.

With me working seven days a week for five weeks solid, we know that I'm going  to have to transfer funds from the account where my check goes (what we call the "backup account"), Quentin is likely to have to get the stove or a heater of some kind by himself, and then install the thing himself while I'm at work. It's going to be a hard job without me around to help out, I'm afraid, but my paychecks are helping with a lot of small things we need.

And there's the burn barrels for small trash we got our hands on. Turns out a neighbor a couple miles away gets them in occasionally and sells them after getting the tops off them and putting in some draft holes in the bottom. So we have those in addition to the burn pit now. The pit came in AWFUL handy last weekend. We spent most of Sunday clearing out what turned out to be around half that awful trash pile by the deck, just by getting the four pieces of crappy furniture out of there that had been dumped. A swivel rocker/recliner, a love seat and two pieces of a sectional sofa. Along with the other swivel rocker that was still next to the walkway close to the house, we spent several hours burning nasty furniture. In the one piece of the sectional, Q discovered a cute little striped salamander that he captured and released to safety, after we took off our gloves and petted his oh-so-soft scaly skin. He felt so warm and so small, about six inches long nose to tail tip, and he wasn't scared. Just kept walking around in Q's hands and looking around. The chair by the walkway was apparently a nest for a field mouse that we scared, and it went boinging out of there like a little rubber ball. It was kind of funny, really.

The boys have been keeping themselves amused with their little playmates, aka the field mice that try to become hice mice. (Hey - mouse/mice, so it MUST be house/hice, right?) We've so far found two that they ... well ... errrrr ... played to death. I guess once their self-propelled playtoys lost their self-propellant, the boys lost interest! But nice to know they are good mousers.

Now it's dinner and movie time with the hubster. He had the day off and so despite that we won't see much of each other for a month starting Monday, we're taking what time we can tonight to spend together relaxing. Now if we could just get the phone company out here to hook up the interwebz so I wouldn't be going nuts so much without my online friends and company from them!

October 14
It's been a bummer of a weekend for us. I had Friday off work, and hubby took a day off to spend it with me, as other than a few scattered hours here and there for the next month, we won't get to see a lot of each other. I'm kind of dreading tomorrow with the start of fresh season - all we know for sure is we'll be working seven days a week for thirty-two solid days, and no idea if we'll be working five hours or ten hours or whatever a day. It's going to suck in that respect. The checks and what they'll help us with will make up for it, but it will still bite for not getting time together.

And of course, we got NOTHING accomplished Friday like we hoped. We woke up to a pouring rain. And I do mean pouring. It was good weather if you were a duck. Quack, quack. We took the morning before the roads got too bad and ran to Harrison for a few things to get some indoor stuff done and relax a bit, then home to do what we could when it cleared up for a couple of hours. Then it was back inside to do nothing much because you can't do a whole lot outside when it's back to black clouds and pouring rain in midafternoon. I took a nap after we got back, but not till after we put downn the little 5x7 area rug we picked up for the living room.

Saturday, it poured again, but stayed clear long enough for us to get groceries and do laundry and get it all home and inside. Sunday, today, is finally cleared up. A lot of breeze, so we can't really burn anything like we want. We did get the house trash done in the one burn barrel because the barrel was getting kind of full, but that was pretty much it. Q cleaned up the chainsaw yesterday while the rain was cleared up after we got home, but didn't get a lot done before it started raining again. As I take a break and write, he's out with it, cutting logs.

Why am I taking a break while he's working? As I've said before, we work different shifts. I've already been up since 5 AM doing housework and trimming up and cutting small logs and stacking them. His schedule being second shift, he wasn't even up till around 10 AM, then he had to make another run to Harrison (we rented a few movies off the Redbox yesterday and needed to return them) before he could even tear the chainsaw apart to find out why it was bogging down at the end yesterday - AFTER he'd cleaned it up. Turns out the spark plug was fouled up some,but with a few minutes of work with a wire brush, the plug was good again and the saw is back to running like a trooper.

October 22
Fresh season is h-e-double-hockeysticks. Oh. My. God. My whole body hurts so much I don't know how I manage to get up in the morning and go in and do my shift. I came home early part of Friday because I got a bit of a tummyache, but I still managed to put in about 54 hours in seven days. Holy cow, that is a LOT of hours. The overtime is going to be tremendous, especially since the Sunday hours are double time.

It's sad that I don't get to see hubby much right now. This morning, he was so tired that he was asleep when I left for work, and of course, long gone by the time I got home. We did get a quick call in when I got off work, and a bit of texting on our breaks, but that doesn't make up for the time we aren't getting together. We'll be soooo glad when this period is over.

Little things are still getting done depending on how tired and sore I am when I get home. A few more small places have been patched to retain heat, including my going to the Merlot my last weekend off and ripping out a bit of paneling and insulation to fix a few small places in the house. It isn't much, but it sure helps to pack in some insulation, even if it's old and reused.

And tired? I thought I knew tired. This is wearing me out, I'm so tired that the little bits I do are take everything I've got to get done before I collapse into bed at night to pass out. That's where I'm heading  now ... more later. (Hopefully we'll have internet by then!)

November 6

Fresh season only has eleven days left to run, and I'm about ready to die of exhaustion, it seems. On the upside, fresh is almost over, and Quentin talked me into a new laptop over a desktop, just so I could be able to sit in bed and goof off if I wanted to rather than having to get up, especially if my fibromyalgia kicked up and I had a bed day from it. We decided to hold off on my little 8" chainsaw, because Quentin wants to get it for me for Christmas ... yes, I know my big holiday prezzie ahead of time, but that's okay. I'll get it sooner or later.

And Mom got a chance to send down a few boxes of things I had left in her basement when I moved to the Ozarks, so what I'm getting shipped to me is yarn and books I left behind. I kind of know what's coming down, but it's still a surprise of sorts when things get here and the boxes get opened up. Some of the books will have to be replaced because they've been sitting in a musty basement for several years, but I'll take them anyhow so I can have more reading material to keep busy on the cold winter nights that are coming along rather quickly.

The bad part for me is that with the clocks getting turned back recently, it's awful dark-ish by the time I get home, so I get nothing done outside. Still, I'm gettting a bit done inside in the way of weatherizing. We got blankets and blackout curtains hung up over the windows in the bedroom and living room, and blackout curtains hung over the doorways from the kitchen and hallway into the living room, to hold heat into the rooms we use the most. We sleep in the bedroom and relax out here, and hardly use the rest of the house. We think it's kind of funny that if we were building a house, we'd be happy with something really small compared to what most people think you have to have. The extra space is still used. The kitchen is used for food storage and dishes and cooking and such and the bathroom ... well we use it, of course, the hallway is just a traverse between the used spaces, and the two extra bedrooms are used for storage. The bigger front bedroom is for my extra desk for small crafting and yarn and books, and the smallest bedroom is currently our "toolshed," since the one that's out back got smushed by a tree that came down during the 2009 ice storm, and we haven't had a chance to get it cleared out yet. We just aren't that far in brush clearing.

It's going slow around here on things, but it's going. Tonight, I managed to get some more cracks and gaps foamed shut around here, so that helps out a bit with stuff in the way of weatherizing around here. It's getting to be a major project compared to what we thought it be, but that's kind of what we thought would happen anyhow with EVERY project around here!

So now it's nearly 9 PM and I have to be up at 5 AM again for another day of fresh season at work, so it's time to close this for now and wait for Quentin to text me before I go to bed and pass out from exhaustion again, only to get up and get to work for another day. We will both be so glad when this is done and my work hours are back to more "normal" hours, because poor Quentin has had to shoulder the majority of the burdens around here. I'm so tired he's only half-jokingly saying that I'm so tired that I can barely remember my name. I told him I think it's honey or hey babe, but I'm not sure if that matches my license.

So things are going, and eventually we'll get internet back again so I can post this!

November 12

Hallelujiah! We finally have internet again! So it's time for the final updating and getting this out. The first weekend of November, one of Quentin's uncles died in a horrific accident. When Quentin and his brother and sister were younger, their parents separated and Mom couldn't keep them all together. The kids went to live with Aunt Jolene and Uncle Louie. The evening of the third, Louie turned on a light at their house in Nevada, MO, and it sparked a house fire. Louie's been in a wheelchair for a long time, and was tragically, horribly, trapped in the house fire and died. Jolene is widowed, the one son (Little Louie) is being a total butthead to where Quentin, his brother Pete, and Little Louie's brothers reall wanted to beat the holy heck out of him at the memorial service last Friday.

Quentin got to go to the service, I couldn't as I had to stay and work. So it's rough but we got through that mess, and thankfully fresh season at work is almost over with. Sadly, none of what I really wanted to get with my fresh checks got purchased, but things are slowly getting round to getting done. We, however, are totally whipped. Quentin's had to do pretty much everything around here for the last month, and I do mean everything, including shopping for groceries and the laundry, because I had to work seven days a week. About all I've had time for is eat, sleep and work.

Work, however, has been a bear. The stress of the hours (55-60 hours a week for a month straight), settling in, trying to do what I could here in my little bit of free time, and some of the people I work with just being total blithering idiots has had my blood pressure shooting up to levels that are well above even Level 2 hypertension. I felt kind of woozy last Thursday at work early on, and had to go to medical, where they checked my blood pressure. 205/180 ... eeek!!! They sent me directly to a local clinic, where I was treated, got a chest x-ray and EKG and a scrip for Lisinopril for keeping my blood pressure down to a reasonably dull roar. I now have to go to medical every morning for a bit to make sure my numbers stay down to a reasonable number. I was very lucky NOT to have a heart attack or stroke from all the stress I'm under. It really, really sucks to be me right now, as the stupid water pill makes me have to pee, as hubster puts it, "like a Russian racehorse."

We have decided that I can stay at Butterball more or less as long as I want, as long as it's not any longer than the start of fresh season next year. The stress is just a bit too much for me, physically, though the farm work seems to calm me down. Probably because I can sit down when I want, do as much or as little as I feel capable of doing, and don't have anybody running around telling me how much they hurt (try fibromyalgia and still working anyhow) or hate their job or they're quitting or how my section isn't doing their job right, or whatever. We DO need the extra money right now to get some things done (like paying off the last $1200 we owe on the van), but other than that, I'm done with it. The stress is just a bit much.

Anyhow, I'll write more next weekend, when we have something done around here to report. Gosh, it's good to be back!

Monday, October 22, 2012

Major quickie post

Sorry nothing in so darned long. We are STILL trying to get internet sorted out at the house. Long story short:

Satellite people say suuure we bundle with a local phone company for your address, we'll put in a work order!
Local phone company two weeks later hasn't come out. We call satellite people back.
Sometimes it takes a while, they say, we'll check on the work order and get back to you.
Two more weeks of impatiently waiting.
We call tv people AGAIN.
Oh wait, says they, we don't bundle with that local phone company for your address, you're too far out in the sticks!
Who do we call then?
Heck, say tv people, we have no clue!
Two  more weeks, we finally find out who to contact, now we are waiting for hubby to have a day off when we have the $50 deposit so he can go to the neighboring mini-city of Harrison to get the darned stuff set up!

This is highly frustrating, as it is now fresh season at work (7 days down, 25 days of H-E-Double-Hockey-Sticks to go) and I am working such long days that getting things done at home is problematic, let alone getting here to the library when they are open. As rough as the mountain road is, I don't DARE bring my lappy with me to work, lock  it in the car while I'm at work, and try to dump mail and etc. afterwards on the way home. I'm afraid the poor thing would be too jounced around to actually boot up after the ride down the road to the main drag!

On the upside, I got a package from my Mom the other day which included some yarn I'd left behind when I moved to the Ozarks, a couple movies I'd forgotten about and my recipe book of clipped recipes! What a treat! We've also decided to backburner the woodstove for a bit though we'll keep working on the woodpile, because we have a whole list of small things we need to get for the farm as well and quickly. So Quentin instead found this great little electric space furnace that was recommended to him by one of the guys at Race Brothers in Harrison for $160 that he'll get this weekend while I'm working and get it in the house. Otherwise, it's getting a bit chilly at nights and we'd rather like to be warm!

Getting the woodstove corner finished up and the stove in the house takes more than one pair of hands, which he doesn't have, and as cold as some of the nights are getting, we really can't wait until fresh is over to get it all done. So it's a stopgap solution that should work to hold us till next spring or summer when we'll have time to work on that project. Upside to that is, we get a bunch of the small stuff we need that we were putting off to work on the woodstove project done instead, like the 8" battery-operated chainsaw for me, another new tire for the truck (one is getting a bit worn for our safety), a weedeater, and some other things like my spinning wheel and a new computer for me. I'm getting a nice desktop, rather than another laptop, because of several reasons.

If it breaks down, barring the motherboard, I can fix it or cheaply replace things like the mouse or keyboard.
If it needs upgrading, I can do that easily myself
It won't require a new battery every couple of years when the one in it goes blooey and won't charge anymore.
It will have a bigger screen for the comfort of my poor, 44-year-old eyes.
It will have more RAM and hard drive space and processing power/speed than my laptop, so I can do more of what I need and want to do without having to worry about it freezing up or taking forever to do something.
And it will last me a good decade or more before needing replacing. (Mom is still using a 15-year-old one that I kept fixing and upgrading for her. The tower and motherboard are fifteen!!! years old and still going strong.)

Downside is that if the power goes out, and I'm working on something, I lose the something rather than having the time on battery that a laptop does to save stuff. Plus it's about $200 more than the best laptop Wal-Mart has that I can get my hands on. However, it does have double the RAM and hard drive space (8 gig RAM and a TERRABYTE hard drive - If I run out of space on the hard drive, there's something seriously wrong!), which will be a blessing. For that extra $200, I get a lot more bells and whistles.

So hopefully soon I'll be back blogging, and trust me, I have a BIG one to post with some photos, that's just going to get bigger as we get things done before the winter sets in here in the Ozarks solid and the telephone people finally get here to set up internet for me!

Love to you all - it's been a bumpy ride so far with the move but sometimes ... you just gotta bounce over the bumps!!!!

Friday, September 28, 2012

September Update

My apologies that it's been so long since I've posted here, but we still have no internet at home. Every time we think we're going to be able to do it, something comes up. Today, it was a new tire for both vehicles so we have working tires all round as well as usable spares. No sense risking losing our jobs because of no spare tire, after all. (Though considering I had to swerve around a jerk from work who jumped out at my car and made me do a serious curb check pulling into the library, I know I have to check tires when I leave in a bit and hope I don't have flats from bent rims! Q would be cheesed off if that were the case!) But anyhow, here's the up-to-date news, split up by date of when I actually wrote the stuff and hoped to get it posted!

And oh, yes, at the end, there are photos, as promised.

September 10, 2012
We've settled in at the property, and are happily beginning "real" homesteading, as a friend of ours recently put it. Almost feels as if what we've been doing up to this point isn't "real" in their eyes, but in ours, it's all been prep work to get to this point. And so far, it's been a blast getting to this point, and with what we've done so far. I've actually got some photos to show off from things I've written about and kept forgetting to shoot, and we'll get to those a bit later on.

The news of late isn't half bad. We're all unpacked and know what few pieces of furniture we still need to eventually get our hands on, which isn't much. We're slowly working on the outdoors, and this weekend, we hope to begin some serious work on an indoor project, our woodstove. We have to prep the corner it's going in first, so we can safely run it. That means concrete board topped by stove board under and behind it before we even get the woodstove and install it. That's not even mentioning all the little goodies we need to keep it going, like the ash shovel, poker, the grate for inside it, and etc. There's a lot more to putting a woodstove in safely than most people think about. Thankfully, with living on 5 acres of woods, there's plenty of trees to cut down, along with stuff that's already downed, that can be cut up for firewood. The woodpile's starting to get a bit more impressive, if rather lopsided, as we've lately been basically just tossing the logs on willy-nilly so they'll be out of the way.

Q found these neat gadgets at Race Brothers in Harrison for stacking your firewood, that are iron braces you hold together with 2x4s, so your wood stacks neatly. It'll sure help out near the house, the rest we think we're just going to kind of stack up without being overly picky about it all. There's just too much to do in that respect to be picky about how the wood is stacked to dry to begin with.

There's been some fun, too, in the wildlife department. The other day, around 930 at night, I heard a horrendous scratching at the door. Looking out the front window (which still didn't have a screen at that point), and using the big flashlight lantern to see what it was, I discovered ... Well, let's just say I had fun with the hubster the next morning as he was eating his supper and I was having breakfast. "Honey, I have to tell you something. Last night, we had an attempted break in by a masked bandit!" The look on his face was priceless. I just dissolved into laughter, and followed up with, "We had a coon try to get in last night. Scratched up the door and even tried sticking his paws under the door. Bouncer had a blast playing 'pat the paw' with the coon." Quentin started laughing himself, admitting that a coon did qualify as a "masked bandit." I should note that the front door has no weatherstripping right now, that'll be fixed by wintertime. This weekend, we at LEAST hope to get the screen door and install it, so we can keep the inside door open when the weather's nice and allow even more crossbreeze through here.

There's also been the local big buck deer ranging around, and he's mostly sticking to the trees, but he did come down and play havoc with the one end of the woodpile not too long ago, which is another reason we're not worried about keeping it neatly stacked. If he's going to keep knocking it down, there's not a lot of point to trying to keep it stacked up right now.

We have a skunk that likes to hang around the junk pile that the former tenant left by the deck. There's nothing there for it to eat, but it likes to come around and rummage anyhow. It was kind of funny the other day, as Quentin went indoors to get the car keys so he could move the vehicles around in preparation for us to go do our Saturday errands. He came out and shouted, "Oh, s**t!! A SKUNK!" ran back inside, grabbed the pellet gun, and came back out to plink the furry little stinker with it and scare it off. Last night, I had to plink the stinker FOUR TIMES in order to get it to go away and stay there. It just doesn't take NO for an answer very well.

And then tonight, there's the armadillo out back, rummaging in that particular pile of junk. There is a LOT of local wildlife, and while it's all very nice, sometimes, I'd like an evening where I just plain get to sit and relax without having to drive off the critters. The boys are highly interested in the critters, loving to get on a shelf or my desk and peer out the windows at them. Good warning for me to check and see if it's that silly skunk or not. We definitely do NOT want the skunk hanging round the house right now, as there's way too much chance somebody would get sprayed! Thankfully, the four times I plinked him last night, he didn't spray, he just twitched and jumped and ran off for a while. He seemed to not realize that he was being shot, but he did learn pretty fast that the door opening and footsteps on the deck meant he was gonna get stung by something that he didn't like.

September 19, 2012
Okay, it's now Wednesday, early evening, and I'm sitting at my living room desk that Quentin found for me for free, and looking out the back windows, and what do I see but a couple of dark green iridescent HUMMINGBIRDS! I didn't even know we HAD hummingbirds here! They're so gorgeous! Q says we'll have to get a hummingbird feeder next spring for them.

All in all, we're pretty content here, and truly enjoying the fresh air (which helps us both sleep a lot better), the ability to listen to the TV at a reasonable level we can actually hear without being yelled at by "neighbors," being able to park without fighting for a space ... we are so enjoying this, and so ridiculously happy. We can't wait to see what each day brings in the way of things going on here. Anyhow, now some photos, because I know you guys are all just dying for more photographs of progress!

Adding a bit more before the photos just because I have more to write. If my spacebar will cooperate, that is. Poor computer's getting a bit worn out and I have to hit the spacebar a bit harder than usual. Next big ticket item round here is probably going to be a new computer for me, after we get the woodstove in. I'm adding this a few days after the last bit ended because there are updates and I don't want to do another whole blog post just for this little bit. We did get the screen door on, but the opening isn't quite the right size and we can't cut the door down to fit, so it's a bit wonky. It works, it's just weird. We're going to start this weekend (the 21st/22nd of September) to haul some of the woodpile in, so it's handy for the woodstove when we get that far.

Right now, for basic heat in the living room only, we've got a small electric heater. We hate running up the bill with the thing, but it's been very chilly lately and we'd like to be somewhat more comfortable. It's a definite temporary thing, as we'll likely be putting straw bales around the house for "skirting" for the winter though not all the way up to the base of the trailer, to help avoid some of the rodent problems the straw will bring. We'll also be hanging heavy blankets over the doors we don't use (back door and a couple of the interior doors we use very little) and the windows to help keep heat in the house. We can always pull the blankets out of the way and tie them off to let light in. There'll also be some throw rugs tossed down for floor warmth - our feet are a bit tired of being cold. We deal with that enough at work!

The boys, aka the cats, have settled in quite well. They love all the windows to look out, and the room to play with their toys, and especially the length of the house, since it sits several feet off the ground. When they go racing up and down the house, or what Quentin calls "Kittydega," you can imagine the noise of a thundering herd of elephants around here.

September 23, 2012
Today was a good day. We've settled into a solid routine here. Weekdays are work, of course, and the fact that I leave about the time he gets home and heading to bed means he pulls in behind me and waits for me to get headed out the door for us to do a vehicle swap. I get home, change out of "work clothes" and into "farm clothes" and head outside while the weather is still nice to get as much done on the woodpile as possible. The fact that I cut primarily kindling and small logs is still good, though many would laugh at it. It's a huge contribution on my part for keeping us warm, because it means Quentin and I don't have to split kindling later on ... we'll already have it so the bigger logs can get halved or quartered or whatever is needed to make them fit the woodstove, rather than chop them into tiny bits for kindling. We need kindling to get the fire going again after one of us has been asleep for several hours, we'll have it already.

Weekends are the busy days. With our work schedules being as different as they are, I'm the one who gets a lot done during the week after I get home, because of working first shift. I get a lot of good daylight, so plenty of woodcutting gets done. The brush pile is clearing out fast now that we're living here. Quentin, on the other hand, working second shift as he does, is getting ready for work and heading in during what daylight he sees during the week, so weekends is about all the time he has to do any major projects around here. Primarily that means Sundays, because Saturdays, we spend doing all our errands in one big loop to get groceries, get building materials for the weekend's project, make the van payment, do laundry, and come home (gosh, that's still such a nice thing to be saying about this place!!), and put it all away.

So this Sunday .... it's been incredibly busy and as I write this over my lunch break, it's only about 130 in the afternoon, and we've gotten a LOT done, with more to come. In addition, I've taken quite a few photos the last couple of days, so this is a photo essay of sorts of the progress lately.

So far, things that have gotten photographed for this particular post are:

This is the stupid little 78 cent piece of electrical conduit that the power company threw a fit over it being broken. Since it came into the box from the top, we really think they should have fixed it, but oh well. Ridiculous that it held up power for three or four days, though. For want of a nail, a shoe was lost and all that.

This is the non-functional ceiling fan in the kitchen that's going to come down one of these days. It hangs a bit low and we really don't like Q having to duck around it so he doesn't bash his head.

This one is the non-functional kitchen sink light. Annoying as all heck that it doesn't work, but I am able to put the globe for it to use. I found the globe in the sink when I originally cleaned it out, and kept it with the intention of putting it back on the light once the power was on. It doesn't need to be up there, so it became a storage doodad on the corner of the sink for things like hanging my dishrag, and storing my scouring sponge when it's wet, and my bottle brush for the bottles I use to carry my juice with me to work. Gotta scrub them out so they don't get nasty, and by using the globe in an otherwise unconventional way, it repurposes it to good use of keeping wet, nasty things off the counters. I have to wash them enough, I don't want to purposely make them messy!

Here's our entertainment area in the living room, prior to the satellite going in. The DVR sits in the shelf area below the TV. We have a LOT of videos but not nearly enough for us to be happy. Things go wonky with the satellite come bad weather, we want to be able to be entertained. This only shows part of our DVD collection, and Q's old VHS tapes that we haven't replaced yet with DVDs.

There's the screen we found out back, installed in the same size living room window. It's been up for a bit now, and it's nice to have the cross breeze through the open windows. The boys like to sit on a bookshelf we put under the window for more movies, and watch out the window for various wildlife. Bouncer especially is fond of it and cries at the wilidlife to come play with him.

This is the plywood we took off the deck that was warped ... well, the bigger piece of it. The smaller piece got cut up to patch a few of the holes in the baseboards and floors for the moment. The flooring is a wintertime project, after the woodstove is installed.

The plywood piece acts as a bridge over this trench we still haven't had a chance to get gravel for to bury the conduit that carries our electrical wires.

This is the woodpile where the deer crashed through it and knocked it over. I give up stacking neatly. We've talked about it and we're just tossing it into a pile, willy-nilly. It'll get stacked a bit better when it comes in the house. Till then, if the deer are going to keep knocking it down, there's not a lot of reason to stack it up. Oddly, they have tons of room to go AROUND the woodpile, but insist on going THROUGH it instead.

Our power meter! It's digital, so it's likely a smart meter without our express approval, but apparently, our power company got rid of all the ones with the spinning disk on them. As long as we have juice till next year's hopeful big project of solar panels (to possibly be paid for by tearing out the Merlot and scrapping it to buy the solar equipment), we'll be okay. Though the sooner we have solar, the better we'll like it.

A look down the easement toward the main drag, now that the easement is greening back up a bit. You can't see the main drag in this photo, as we're about a mile and a half up the mountain road from it, but you can see how the road winds back and forth up the mountain.

Here's Quentin putting in the valance extension over the kitchen sink to give me a light in the kitchen, particularly for cooking and doing dishes. (Reminds me, I need to get them done up this afternoon, as the pan I need to make dinner in is in the dirty dishes. Oops.)

And here he is putting up my flourescent light! It plugs into a surge strip that plugs into one of the wall outlets that I also use for the electric skillet or the hotplate or griddle for the majority of our cooking. It does a great job lighting up the space we need lit the most, and gives enough light that even in the dark, we can find what we need.

The bird's nest I found in the sapling. I have no idea what kind of bird built it, and it looked abandonded. No signs of recent activity and in reality, it looks a bit on the ratty side.

This is Bouncer relaxing in one of the seats Quentin pulled out of the back of the van for more room in it. We put it behind the front door and Bouncer claimed it as HIS spot for naps.

Smudge, on the other hand, at that point, had decided the bookshelf by the window was a perfectly good place to sit and read the kitty newspaper.

This ia a pair of socks I handknit for myself. I like knitting socks, and especially wearing all those nice, warm, woollen things to work. Despite having fuzzy liners in my boots there, it does get rather arctic temperature at times, and without my warm socks, my poor feet would freeze. This is my favorite pair I've made.

This is another pair I recently finished. As I knit to my feet (which are a tiny 5 1/2 woman's foot, so finding storebought socks that fit well is a bit of a problem. I always seem to either have to wear girl's socks, which are usually too small, or women's socks which usually don't come in anything less than a six. With them, I end up with the heel halfway up the back of my leg or the toe tucked uncomfortably under my toes! I long ago learned to knit, and several years ago realized I could make socks for myself that would fit my feet perfectly for length on the foot, fit on the foot and leg, and go far enough up my leg that I didn't feel like they were falling down all the time. I've been making my own socks ever since. In both, you can see the little electric radiator heater we had to get till we get the woodstove in, because there've been some mighty chilly nights here lately, totally uncharacteristic of the Ozarks in late September, and we got tired of freezing our butts off. We only run it a couple hours here and there to take the chill off but it's nice to have it around, despite what it's likely doing to the electric bill.

This is our bed, all made up. I made all the afghans. Yes, I crochet, too. I can do most any kind of needlework, have been doing it since I was a little girl. At our apartment, the afghans were more pretty than functional, hardly getting used, and usually folded up and stuck in a corner somewhere. Here, they get a LOT of use. They keep us warm at night so we sleep comfortably, and the really huge one that is darn near bedspread size for a queen bed I'll likely lay on the living room floor later today for a rug to help keep our feet warm. (Rats, hubster denied that. Though that it upset me enough that I was trying to make things nicer for us and keep our feet a bit warmer almost had him giving in ... he just kept telling me that he didn't want my beautiful afghan going on the nasty floor, and besides, had I thought about how heavy it would be when it had to be washed afterwards???? He won, barely. He admitted after that if I'd held out for another fifteen seconds, I would have gotten to put it down. I gave in too soon, dagnabbit!)

For those wondering how we keep sawdust handy for the toilet, this is how. Quentin took one of our old scoopable kitty litter (our boys are spoiled or we are totally pwned, we're not sure which), cut off the top where the pour spout was, and we fill it from the sawdust bale in the storage room every few days. It sits under the bathroom sink where it's handy but where the boys can't get at it. Q is in charge of changing out the toilet waste bags, I'm in charge of making sure we have sawdust to use in the toity.

We got a little burning done today, too. The one nasty old recliner sitting in the trash pile closest to the road really offended Quentin for some reason, so he put the hitch on the van, tied the rope to the chair and the hitch, and pulled that son of a gun out of the pile. Then he used his muscles and the rope (I wasn't allowed to help, I would have apparently just gotten in the way of He-Man here) to haul the thing to a shallow depression we found near one side of the easement. It's a bit away from the treeline and the power lines, but it does the job of containing trash that needs burning.

We got a bit of other stuff and this week's trash, and set it off. It made a nice, warm bonfire once it was totally ablaze. WHOOSH!!! Yes, I know, burning the foam filling in the chair isn't exactly environmentally healthy, but it's either put that nasty stuff in the van and haul it to the landfill 30 miles or so away and pay a dump fee we don't have all the time, or get trash cans and haul stuff alllll the way down the mountain to the main road and pay $70 or $80 a month for somebody to come get the trash, or burn it. We choose to burn as much as we can, rather than pay to get rid of it. Sure cuts down on the trash around here in short order. The fire looked so pretty, and was what Quentin called an "inferno," because it did get kind of high when the chair really started in going.

We should have done the fire ring first, but hubby got on a roll with the chair and a couple other things and the week's trash, so once it died down some, the fire ring became a me project, while he did another small project he wanted to get done during daylight. I think it's a pretty good fire ring. It's big because there's still two or three chairs and a couple of sofas or love seats at least to toss in the thing and burn. While the fire was going, we kept a close eye on it so it didn't get out of control. Thankfully, it didn't but it sure made a nice chunk of heat for a bit! By the time I got the fire ring done, the chair was pretty much down to nothing but the metal frame and a bit of wood from near the footrest. So much for THAT bit of eyesore.

And here's our wonkily-done screen door. It's funky, but it works. We've got spring-loaded hinges on it, but also a hook and eye on the inside and outside because of the boys. That way, whether we're inside or out, if we have the entry door open, they can't push the screen open and get out and get hurt.

This one is Quentin when he was getting the satellite cable unhooked from the dish and sliding PVC pipe the length of it after running it behind the deck and stairs which the cable guy didn't do, and rehooking the cable to the dish. The TV works fine, but with all the trash around here and rodents, we want to make sure that they have as little chance as possible to be chewing the cable to bits and taking away entertainment. Especially after I saw a ROACH in the house the other night while I was making dinner. We got roach bait this weekend and they are down in the important places. I refuse to deal with those particular little pests any way but killing them, which the one I saw I did manage to squish.

And now it's 200 PM, and I need to get some water heating up so I can do dishes. More pictures to follow, I think, as a later today project is going to involve Quentin installing the clothes rod and shelf in the master bedroom closet tonight after he's done fixing the one back door on the van. He calls it his truck, and I guess it essentially is an enclosed truck, since it's on a Ford F150 chassis, but it does sometimes seem a bit silly. It's got ambulance doors on the back, and the one doesn't want to open properly, so he had to fix it so it would open right again. He just walked in the door and announced he had the "truck" done, and is off to do the ... TA DA! ... CLOSET! The paneling is popping off the walls in a few places, so in the closet, he put some 1x2 pieces up against the bottom of the shelf support already there, and used those to not only push the paneling back on the studs, but to give the rod/shelf brackets a bit more support. I took the photo after barely starting to get things put away. He did a nice job, though he thinks it's not that great. I figure we have a way to hang up all our stuff now instead of dressing out of boxes, so it's all good.

Till next time!