Sunday, May 27, 2012

May 27, 2012

This has been a quiet week for the most part.  I'm currently battling a headache, but otherwise pretty much ok.  Have to worry about Q a bit though and keep an eye on him.  The time we spent at the property yesterday was good time spent, considering we got the deck fixed enough to be much safer, but we failed to take Powerades with us for him, and he failed to eat before we left, so he ended up with a bit of heat exhaustion before he could get at using the chainsaw.  Being ten miles from the nearest gas station where we could get him anything, I piled him in the car and we took off so I could rehydrate him and get some food and electrolytes in him.  He rested on the way there and on the way home, so he was okay in short order, but it scared me a lot though I'm pretty sure he didn't realize it.  I tend to stay calm during a crisis, and it's hard for him to realize I'm actually frightened out of my wits in those times.  So we didn't accomplish all we WANTED to get done, but we got the most important part of things done, in that the deck is now safer to walk on.  We're going to eventually tear the thing out as it is now and redo it from scratch, perhaps expanding it lengthwise along the trailer so it's usable better.  We'd like to put a small table and chairs out there and a small grill so we can enjoy some outdoor time during the warm weather.  (Speaking of which, we found the perfect charcoal grill at Wal-Mart today for about $100 ... it would even work with wood instead of charcoal if we put a fire brick inside it ... TOO nice ... too bad we are broke this week and couldn't get it, but we bookmarked it in WM online so we can find it again later!)
Just for kicks and giggles, our current "livestock." This is my cat, Smudge, and from the blotch on his nose, you can see how my yearling boy got his name. His left ear is cropped, yes. He was a rescue kitten at eight weeks old, and they neutered him and cropped his ear before we got him.  But he is a sweetheart, just scared of outdoors and anybody who isn't me or Q.
And this is Quentin's boy, Bouncer.  He is also a rescue, though not quite in the same way as Smudge.  Bouncer's last "owners" (I refuse to say that with anything but sheer disdain) lost him due to neglect. He got bitten right in the middle of his back on the spine by a brown recluse spider, and they refused to treat it. The bite swelled up horribly, until it literally exploded. I can only imagine the pain that the swelled up bite caused him, let alone them letting it blow up like it did. It left a dried flap of skin and fur hanging on his back, and apparently, maggots were in the wound when they finally decided maybe he should go to a vet. He was treated, and we're not sure what the story is after that, but Bouncer finally healed and we got our hands on him. Now he has a tiny bald patch on his spine and he occasionally has trouble walking, which led to his name, since instead of walking, he bounces like a deer or kangaroo, depending on his mood.
Quentin starting to tear the deck apart.  This is the board we opted to take out and reuse, as it's not that badly warped  like we thought, and cheaper to reuse it for now than to put down a new board that will have to get ripped up later anyhow. Took both of us to heave it out of there and off to the side so we could lift it back up later onto the joists.
You can see here we moved the grab post closer to the house. It makes it easier for me, with my bad knee and hip, to get up the stairs. It was coming loose anyhow, and we just opted to move it closer so it's easier to grab and help pull myself up the first couple of stairs. The stairs are sitting on a bunch of rock slabs to raise them up closer to the level of the porch, but the first step is a bit higher than it should be because of this, and a bit hard for someone with short legs like mine to get up the thing. This makes it much easier.
Quentin working on stabilizing the one corner that was coming loose after we tossed the deck board off to the side. He doesn't much like having his picture taken, but at least you can see there's a real hubby in this, lol. Tall and skinny, but he's got a heart of gold and works his butt off. Of course, with this, you can see how much the brambles and brush have grown just since spring. We've got quite a job ahead of us to clear it up yet.
More reinforcing of the deck corner. Took about three good nails to hold it together, but the frame's solid again.
Q sitting on the joists, working on fixing the third one in that had completely fallen out of the framework. The one that was half hanging down is under where the other deck board starts.
Finishing up toenailing the third joist back into the deck framework. About all I was good for was handing him nails and the wrecking bar, and taking pictures yesterday, but good thing I wasn't busy with something else when we got done and he started feeling poorly!
 The deck, repaired for now. When we put the second deck board back up, we flipped it so it's upside down as well as sideways on the deck now. We've got solid joists all the way across, and the other deck board is smaller, as I'm sure you noticed. Q cut the thing in two with the chainsaw in order to get that fourth joist free of the deck board. It was too hard to get it free from that joist otherwise. So now we have a more reasonably safe deck to walk on to get in and out of the house until we get the thing properly torn apart and rebuilt after the move. Which we are a month behind on. This is killing me, waiting to move. I want to be there NOW! So does Q! Thing is, with working a few weekends at my job and him sick last weekend, we're behind on the work to be done to get it ready for moving into. However, we hope this upcoming week will be the last month when we are renting two places, plus we have the van payment and the insurance next weekend. Yeesh! We are going to be financially tight that week but it will be worth it to get further toward our goal of moving out of this tiny little apartment and onto the five point one-eight acres of woods in a trailer/cabin closer to work. That will be a celebratory week for sure.
 And for more kicks and giggles, this is Quentin's new-used van. Isn't Sheamus (yes, we named him for the wrestler, and yes, we like to watch wrestling) pretty snazzy with his weekend decorations? We are flying the flags every weekend now that we have the flagpole mounts on his sides. What bugs me is this is Memorial Day weekend, and out of all the time we've been driving him around the Branson and Hollister area the last two days, Sheamus has been the ONLY vehicle we've seen flying flags. Not even anybody flying those little window clipon flags, for heaven's sake! Where's everyone's American pride and respect for our armed forces? Nowhere around here, I guess, though we got a lot of rubbernecking, some pointing, and a few horns honked at us. Thankfully, Sheamus gets good mileage for a V8, so even before we've moved, Quentin gets pretty good mileage for commuting. It'll be a lot better once we're moved. (I DO keep harping on that, but I'm excited, and can hardly wait!)

The only downside to the weekend's work was that once he'd let it sit for a bit, Q couldn't get his chainsaw started back up. I think it was partly that he'd cut that plywood in two on the deck, and partly that he left it sitting in the sun afterwards instead of bringing it indoors with us when we were trying to cool down a bit. so when he went to start it back up, it would catch but wouldn't stay started. Checking the gas to see if it was low, the gas was literally BOILING in the tank. Ooops. So it's getting a thorough cleaning this weekend, along with Q washing the bug dartboard he calls a windshield on the van. Me, I refuse to take pictures of Victor, my Aveo, right now, as he is utterly filthy. He is supposed to be red, but he's apparently mostly brown right now. So tomorrow is a day when I get to take water and rags out and wash the heck out of him so he'll be clean for a day or two anyhow.

So, for those of you who are in the States, have a safe and Happy Memorial Day, and remember to honor our veterans. We're spending part of tomorrow visiting a local veterans memorial since we can't find a veterans cemetery, and doing our little part to honor those who served and died so we could have what freedoms we do have.

Friday, May 25, 2012

May 25, 2012

I've a bit of a heavy heart tonight.  A dear friend, who I've not know for overlong, Buckshot, had a massive heart attack just under two weeks ago.  Extensive open heart surgery was required, but all the care in the world wasn't enough, and today, he was removed from life support due to extensive brian damage, per his wishes.  He was a fellow homesteader, and he will be missed very much.

Blessings on you and yours, Buckshot, my friend. Sleep well till we meet again.

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

May 22, 2012

No photos this time, but I hope to have more this weekend.  This is just a semi-quick update on how things are going, besides busy.  We found out yesterday that the plant I work at is taking tomorrow (Weds.) off, and rumors today say likely we will have them off for some time to come. This means one less day for me to get anything done at the property, but an extra day here at the apartment to get things done here that need doing.  This is good, I think, but we shall see what happens.

There are still some things to get done before we can move, and unfortunately, between me working a couple of weekends, and this past weekend, Quentin getting sick, it means we're three weeks behind schedule.  This is not fun for either of us, as we don't like being behind schedule.  But it happens, and it's a part of homesteading.  Nothing gets done quite on the time frame you wish it did.  We still need to fix the deck so it's reasonably more safe (that's this weekend's project), put up a screen door, and fix the splice (still need to get a mattock or pickaxe for that).  We also need to work on the plumbing, which has become slightly more complicated.  Remember that big yellow whatever thing near the eyesore vehicles?  We found out today it's a 500-gallon septic tank.  Funny-looking septic tank if you ask me, but *shrugs*, that's what the landlords told Quentin (he works with one of them, different department, same plant).  We are asked to eventually get it shifted into the sewage lagoon and hooked up to the house plumbing.  That's going to be down the road, because it'll take at least a day to clear out the brush enough to get the darn thing TO the lagoon!!!  But that will help a lot with odors, I think, too.

With any luck, I'll remember the camera this weekend and take a series of shots of Quentin fixing the deck.  We're reinforcing the base frame and joists, taking off the old, warped plywood decking, and putting on new, treated 3/4-inch plywood sideways on the joists.  The new board will run the same way the trailer does, and give us four solid feet of supported decking to walk on.  That will be important for being able to move in, if we don't have the other decking board down by then.  I laughed when Q and I talked about it this afternoon before he went into work, saying I think we're both adult enough to know not to walk off the deck and into the temporary hole.  He laughed and agreed, saying he sure HOPES we are!  We'll be using his new-used van for transporting tools and supplies to the property, because while we could get MOST of it in the back of my trusty little Aveo, a sheet of plywood is NOT going to fit.  At least not in one piece.

The wild black raspberries are so yummy.  I need to cut the brambles back when they are done fruiting and I'm done eating the heck out of them, so that just the new canes are left, as they will be next year's fruiting canes.  I need to also get some kind of edging around them to try to contain them some, likely some of the old tires on the place that I keep finding, and fill in with good soil and compost to give them a really good start for next year.

Quentin got me a can of orange spray paint - pumpkin orange, as that's all Wal-Mart had - so I can blaze trees I want him to take down and we can avoid a lot of the hand signal issues of making sure he's cutting down the correct one.  There's only one little issue I found today.  One of the trees I had to mark is pretty darned huge.  It is also the tree that currently has the no trespassing sign nailed to it.  I happened to look up today and discovered that it is a - very tall and b - the top third or more of it is dead.  *sigh*  That means it has to come down for the health of the remaining forest.  Bugger.  That also means I have to move my sign.  Bugger again.

On the upside, I guess the local wildlife has decided I'm okay to have around, as pone of the squirrels beaned me today with a green acorn.  Ouch.  Another upside is that with all the clearing we've been doing, I've found hardly any ticks on me during "tick patrol" when I get home yesterday or today.  Either tick season is dying down rapidly, or clearing out deadfalls and cutting up them and the brushpile isn't a very ticky business.

Other wildlife is abundant.  I've seen a wild turkey twice.  I'm pretty sure it's the same bird, but unless I can kill it and still see wild turkeys, who knows?  I've got a beautiful little iridescent blue-black gecko-type lizard whose taken up residence in the woodpile.  The woodpile, by the bye, has been completely moved to a new location, away from the power easement.  With the addition of today's work, we now have a face cord of wood for the winter.  Ummm ... I've also seen a bunch of sparrows and chickadees, a red-tailed hawk, several turkey vultures, cardinals, bluejays, and a bluebird in feathered friends.  Lots of orb-web spiders in the area, you can't hardly move without seeing a web.  I'm not fond of spiders in the house, but outdoors, I have no problem with!  Insects abound, other than the ticks.  I've also seen grasshoppers galore, dragonflies, bees and wasps, and lots of butterflies.  I'm no butterfly expert, but I can identify a swallowtail at least, if not the specific species of swallowtail.  Many, many of those all over the place.  Beautiful fluttery things, and useful pollinators.  I've also seen deer.  A herd of about six or seven does and yesterday going up to the property, just as I reached the driveway, one that I think was a buck about fifty feet further up the road, just standing there as pretty as you please.  I'm pretty sure it was a buck, because he looked regal and majestic and rather masculine compared to the deer in the herd of does I saw.  He just stood there for a few moments staring me and the car down before bounding off into the woods.  I can't identify him as a buck for sure since he wouldn't let me get close enough to examine him for boy parts, but if his demeanor and musculature are any indication, he's a mature buck about five to eight years old.  I do hate killing things, but I wouldn't mind having him "hang around" at freezer camp, for I do love venison!

More after this weekend when we hopefully get the deck fixed.  Right now, I'm off to goof off on Farmville for a bit before I head my sleepy behind to bed!  I've a lot to do tomorrow after Quentin heads off to work and I want to be well-rested for it!

Thursday, May 17, 2012


Just ow.  Worked a full shift today, so up to a whole 22 or so hours for the week.  Better than nothing, so not griping, but my feet hurt after all these half days we've been pulling lately!  If the commute currently wasn't so long, I'd volunteer for extra hours in another department after a half day, but most don't get out till so late that a 90-minute commute right now kind of makes it impossible due to being too pooped.  The move grows closer daily, so I keep telling myself that it won't be long before my commute is halved if not more than halved. It's only 22 miles from the trailer to the plant, but there's a lot of windy curves on the main drag I have to take which slow things down to 50-55 mph ... not exactly made for a quick hop back and forth!  But still not too bad once the move is done.

So I stopped for an hour or so today, and tried to get started digging up the electrical splice.  No go ... that ground is pure nightmare hardpan.  Three tries with the shovel got me a teacup saucer-sized dimple about an inch deep in the ground.  So back went the shovel, and out came the saw.  Time to work up a sweat cutting logs for the woodpile.  After, of course, stopping in for a snack at the wild raspberries.  Heehee.  I sure do hope we can reclaim some of them, because those are good black raspberries!  But we have to cut them way back if not completely back.  A lot of trash is buried in the brambles as well as dead canes which all has to come out.  If we can save anything, fine, but if not, they'll be past fruiting for this year anyhow and things will have to come back over time.

But hey, I got a surprise looking at the pile of stuff I left for Q to cut up.  Something BIG trampled through the pile, because a lot of it is now broken up.  Either a deer or the local sow bear went rampaging through, as those are the only things I can think of that could step on a 3-inch or so log and break it.  More likely to be the sow bear, which means she's coming close to human habitation, and will require a call to the DNR to come trap and relocate her.  Especially if she's got cubs, and from what I've been told, she's old enough to be breeding, and that means trouble if she and the cubs come near the house.  I don't want her or her cubs killed, just not so close to my house and eventual livestock!  If I see further signs, I'll be putting in a call for a trap and relocate so she can be happy and alive somewhere a bit safer for her and us.

I did get some more smaller logs cut up.  We found out Q has to work this weekend, so that leaves out a trip to the property for him again ... so I showed him the pictures to give him as much of his surprise as I could.  He was thrilled to see the progress and thinks my little handsaw is just peachy. Turns out he likes Kobalt, so getting a saw in a brand he likes is a good thing.  It also means that stuff that is too big for me to use the loppers on to cut to stove length, but which is also kind of wimpy for the chainsaw, can now be cut up during the week and save some chainsaw gas and a lot of effort for Quentin.  He's happy about that, as am I.  He gets to deal with the big stuff that I can't haul around well, nor cut up well, and I get to feel like I'm more important to the woodpile efforts than just cutting up the piddly stuff that's barley half an inch across.  I can now easily go up to two-inch logs/trees before it gets hard for me and the fibro, so it's a big step up and a big help to Q and the woodpile efforts.

We will be so glad to get things finished up so we can move.  We have some seating (even if we have to take the extra captain's chairs out of his van temporarily), a couple of beat up end tables we can use, the countertops in the kitchen, and so at a minimum, all we need is the hangar pole in the bedroom closet, a bed and a dresser to be able to  move.  Fixing the deck better and putting up a screen door are near necessary as well and we hope to get those done really soon.  We want away from where we have trouble finding a parking spot, have to deal with a lot of traffic and the long commutes, and especially we want to get away from the noisy neighbors who fight and drink all the time!  Okay, so we'll still have noisy neighbors who fight and drink all the time, but they'll be the wildlife, and their fighting is to be expected and is normal, and their idea of drinking is water from the local streams and ponds, not alcohol!

But overall, it was a good day.  Hard to beat a full shift and some homesteading work done.  All to the good, and makes me a happy lady!  Off to bed so I can get up at 4 AM and do it all over again, whee!

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

May 15, 2012

It's been interesting lately, to say the least.  Work's been busy, Quentin was on vacation alllll last week (and you can hear my sarcasm on that, can't you?), his van is sitting till he gets a paycheck again, we may have to move sooner than intended, and much was accomplished at the trailer homestead.

I won't comment much on work except to say I'll be glad when we are moved, so if we have short days, I can volunteer for overtime a day or two a week in another department.  These half-days are killing my paychecks.  They are helping a lot with the property, but we still have a lot to do.  Fix the deck, install a screen door, switch out the outlets and light switches, and dig up that blasted splice and fix it.  I've a bad feeling as hard as the ground is that we're going to have to invest in a pickaxe to break the ground up enough to shovel it out of the way.  It's just THAT rock-hard.

The reason Q's new-to-him van is sitting here instead of being driven is because it had to have a tire replaced.  There went his gas money for the week.  Sigh.  But he can ride with buddies till he gets a paycheck, so that's still good.  Just kind of weird to look out the window here and see the thing.  I'm still getting used to the idea that we own a VAN.  I should take pictures of it for here, right now, but I'm tired and I've got shoes and socks off and I don't want to put them back on today.

I'm feeling better than I have in days.  Last week wasn't fun.  The sinus drainage thing I had going on culminated in a major blowout of my system (literally) Tuesday night.  I got just enough sleep to go into work Wednesday and got through by the skin of my teeth.  I don't want to take a sick day unless I have to, especially when I'm the only paycheck for this week with Q having been off all last week.  Grr.  It's a use-'em-up-or-lose-'em policy where he works, so he had to use some up.  Balls.  Just leaves us tight financially till I get paid Friday.

And we may have to move sooner than expected.  We currently live in a renovated "extended stay" hotel/RV campground.  The hotel rooms were all turned into efficiency apartments, which is fine, except that the local health department apparently considers them all to still be hotel rooms.  This is okay as well, in general, barring that we heard end of last week from two reliable sources that the county health department is trying to get some of the extended stay motels in the Branson area shut down.  No idea if where we're at is one of them, but we're not taking chances.  We're pushing hard on getting things done that HAVE to be done, figuring worse comes to worse, we can live with just the bits of furniture we've added to the place on our own, and a bed and dresser while getting everything else we want/need for comfort as we go along, either through Wal-Mart's "Mainstays" cheapo knock-together furniture, or through the local secondhand shops.  Worse comes to worse is one of two scenarios.  Either A - we find out this place is getting shut down (the "motel" part anyhow) and we have to move somewhere that will accept cats (preferably the homestead!), or B - this place doesn't get shut down but someplace with less-than-savoury characters DOES and some of them come HERE.  Either way, we want to be gone before it comes to that.

So, updated photos of the place!!!!!!  I do love sharing what we're doing with y'all.  It's loads of fun to let people see what we're doing and realize that homesteading CAN be done on a budget if you're willing to put in a heck of a lot of sweat equity.  And I do mean a HECK of a lot, lol.
Hey, look the living room floor's cleaned up again!  I moved all the stuff from here that was trash into the smallest bedroom for temporary storage until we can get up there with the van and make a dump run with the junk.  Ugh.  In among other things, I found a TV and record player which I don't know if they work, a rack with some largish glass jars on it that I don't know if I want to keep them or what, and a set of four glass candle sconces.  The bucket is one that Q is sitting on while he replaces outlets, so he has a place to park his behind other than the floor.  But a clean floor looks much better than a pile of trash.  I'll be glad to get all that crap out of the bedroom that will eventually be my home office!!!!
One of our new outlets, installed by Handyman Quentin, my hubby.  We can tell the new ones as they are white, and the old ones are either dirty, have scorch marks (goodness only knows how much wiring Q will have to cut back from those to find good wire, if he can), or are nonexistent.
And one of the new light switches!  This one's in the kitchen by the door.
When the crap wasn't so overgrown a few weeks ago, we found this in the Merlot out back.  It had doors on it that we hated, but we liked the look otherwise.  So doors off, some light paneling on the back (again, Handyman Quentin to the rescue!) and a good washing up and it looks nice.  We have an etagere' for the bathroom once the toilet's replaced!  (That's a fancy way of saying "bathroom organizer that goes over the toilet."  Heehee!)
I tried to chuck the old doors off the thing into the trash outside, figuring what the heck, it can't make it worse than it is.  One stuck to my glove, and landed on the deck. We opted to go no doors, and I think the etagere' looks better without them.
Hey, ho, whaddaya know?  We have a kitchen floor now!!!!!  Still needs scrubbing, but there's a FLOOR there.
And COUNTERTOPS!  Again, needs scouring down, but still, a VAST improvement over what was there before.
 This is that basket thing from the original photos.  We're going to put the camp stove on top of it and use the drawers for storage of things like pots and pans.
 The built-in pantry is cleared up ....
 As is the broom/coat closet.  All it needs is a hangar rod.
 Hey, presto!  There's even a floor in the front bedroom!!!!!
 Looking out the window of the front bedroom toward the Fleetwood (back) and Merlot (front with the blue shutter), you can see how overgrown things have gotten in just a few weeks.  The property's suffered benign neglect for years, so you can imagine how bad this REALLY is.  I also found out the briers are wild black raspberries.  So, with that in mind, we'll cut them back a LOT after they're done fruiting (I'm snacking frequently on the ripe ones ... oh YUM!) and put in some kind of border to "enclose" them as much as you can ever enclose bramble berries.  Then we'll let them come back fresh next year and see what happens with a little care and time.  Maybe bigger berries cuz these are about the size of my pinky fingertip!
 This is on the wall of the kitchen next to the doorway to the living room.  No idea what it is, has a little shelf inside.  Q thinks it's cute and we should keep it.  I'm dithering, cuz I can't see a use for it right now.
 And this is Q's big surprise for this upcoming weekend.  While we don't have a weedwhacker yet, and it likely will be a couple weeks before we have one, we were both getting pretty tired of wading through waist-high grass and weeds to get back and forth to the trailer.  So, trusty grass shears in  hand, I went out side and chopped this down to make a path ...
 and this down to keep it going ....
 all the way out to the road.  Now he can drive the van almost all the way up to the house if he wants, just he'll still have to wade through grass to get out and around the van, lol.  But here you can also see the beginning of all the hard work we've done to clean up the forest.
 This was where he was clearing things up the last time and there was a lot of downed stuff in there.  I spent part of the week clearing it up and dragging it down the hillside closer to the drive, to be sorted into brushpile (needs loads more trimming before turning into logs), stuff I can cut up, and stuff he has to use the chainsaw on.  You can see in the sunshine on the left, the power company easement.  We're even clearing that up, because there's some primo downed stuff in there for the woodpile.  Still a long ways to go, out of 5.18 acres, I think we've managed to clean up the .18 acres, lol.
 More of the same area.  You can see how much nicer it looks than it did previously, in the original photos.  All the saplings that were growing in huge bunches, three and four to the same space, are gone to leave room for better, straighter trees to grow.
 Of course, this means that my job of the brush pile has grown considerably.  I've a LONG ways to go with this ... I'm pretty sure even as small as some of this stuff is, that the stuff that qualifies as "log size" is enough to at least make a cord of wood out of this mess.
 This is Quentin's sawbuck that he made from a piece of tree trunk he found lying about.  He cut a notch in the top so he can just stick a log in there and have it hold still while he plants a foot on top and chainsaws off a two-foot piece.  Why two feet?  The woodstove we've got picked out holds logs up to two feet in length.  So, two feet for the logs.
 Yesterday, Monday, after a half day at the plant, I spent the other half of the day at the trailer turning a pile of these (only smaller) ...
 Into THIS.  You can see that the woodpile has grown CONSIDERABLY with the efforts we've put in.  WHEW but that's a lot of hard work.  Wood really does warm you twice.  The cutting is fun though!  Sone of the larger stuff on the top row, left, I did with a Kobalt 15" handsaw.  The packaging for it said it had an "agressive tooth design."  If by "agressive," they mean "cuts through a two-inch tree slicker than dog spit," it's agressive.  Even with my fibro, which is often pretty mild right now, I can cut larger logs for the pile without putting the whole burden on Quentin for the bigger stuff.
 My little job of sprayed insulation to attempt to keep things out of the trailer by the dryer vent has failed.  Something chewed right through it and scattered pellets of chewed stuff on the floor.  GRRR.
 And last but not least, our toity.  The top is a camp stool made by Reliance, and it's good for what it does, but the legs aren't NEARLY tall enough, hence sitting the whole shebang on a bucket.  Plus keeps the bag from scraping on the floor and will keep the cats out of the thing.  The short legs are the only real downside to it.  It sits well, if a bit shaky on the bucket ... at least till 225-pound me sits down a bit too hard and snaps the back legs ... we were trying to do that anyhow.  It now sits much better on the bucket.  The doody bag does keep down odor really well, too.  I have to say, it was well worth the $30 we spent on it.

Anyhow, that's this week's update.  I'm off for supper and a nap, now.  I'm pooped.  I think I wore myself out writing about how I wore myself out!

Sunday, May 6, 2012

Week of May 6, 2012

It's been a busy week, and of course, in the rush of getting up and moving this morning, I forgot to pack my camera and batteries to take pictures.  Ah, well.  I can always take some next weekend!  I should note that this homestead start isn't going to be off-grid at least for now ... we need to have electric right off, and we'll hopefully be switching to off-grid over time if we can convince the landlords to allow it.

In various news, I got off probation at work and promptly had to take a point this past Friday, so the hubster and I could go vehicle shopping for him.  He celebrated three years at his job on April 22nd, and got his vacation pay this week.  So we used a good chunk of that for the downpayment on a vehicle for him.  It's not what we were looking for, but we do laugh, as it fits hubby's requirements.  He wanted something he could haul and pull with, and he wanted it to have a CD player.  He was thinking of a truck with a working CD player.  We ended up with a 1996 Ford (he hates Ford, lol) 150-Econoline van.  It does have a CD player, but we don't know if it works.  So he got what he asked for, just not what he WANTED.  *gigglesnort*  Unfortunately, it took us most of Friday to find it and do the paperwork, so while he's on vacation this week, he has to arrange the insurance and such so we can hopefully pick it up tomorrow after I get out of work.  Fingers are crossed.

The landlords were going to go to the property last Sunday and get the Taurus out of there, but then they couldn't find the title for it.  So it and the van are still there, while they apply and wait for a lost vehicle title so they can go get it out of there.  It will be one less thing for us to have to deal with on the property, in the form of "something we could get hurt on by accident that doesn't belong to us."  They'll let us know for sure when they can come up and try again.

We opted to spend yesterday here at the apartment to get a few things done and then went to Harrison, Arkansas to the fairgrounds for a truck pull.  We didn't stay for the whole thing, because with my schedule, I was getting really tired, so we left about 10:30 PM.  But it was pretty good.  We'd already seen all the modified gas engine classes and the start of the diesel classes, including two brothers who made full pulls (200.76 and 210.?? yards), and long enough to watch them do their pulloff.  It was a blast.  Hubster likes them for the noise and fumes and the trucks.  Me, being something of a nerd, likes them for the physics of it.  Of course, we both shout and scream pretty loud, and have a blast.  We ran into a number of local friends who work where hubby does, so we had a good crowd to sit with while enjoying the show.

That left today as the day to go to the property and get some work done.  It was hot and humid and we chose to get work done as early as we could (hence why I forgot my camera, it was early for me on a weekend), and avoid some of the heat.  More shrubs and small trees came down, and while we originally were only going to go about 3 feet away from the drive to clear stuff, we're now thinking five to ten is better with all the ticks there.  It'll give them less chance to hop around or whatever onto us, considering what a tick magnet I am.  Good thing hubby ignored my three-foot comment and went for five to start, so he doesn't have to go back and redo a couple small places back a couple of feet.

We also got a lot done in the kitchen, the cupboards are in better shape than we thought they were, so we can save a bunch of money in there by not having to get new cupboard stuff.  That means a bunch of things crossed off the to-get-before-moving list.  I can just take a lot of water up there, scouring pads and rags, and clean the bejesus out of the countertop and sink.  The cupboards are being swept out and will get new contact paper, which is a heck of a lot cheaper than replacing them.  WHEW!!!!  About a third of the cupboards are now cleared out, and we can get a camp stove into the kitchen in the place where the stove goes - there's actually a good range hood AND vent pipe there!!

When it got a bit too warm for us to be outside working on the lumberjack/jill routine again, that's when we went at the kitchen (me) and outlets and switches (him).  He remembered to bring tools and the wire stripper/cutter tool this time, so got quite a bit done there.  Apparently a number of the outlets had been previously overloaded, we think, as he found scorch marks on a number of the outlet fronts and bad wiring on the backs.  But the good news is, the wiring about an inch or so away from the outlets is in great shape with no scorching or anything.  Just nice, clean copper wiring.  I know a number of the outlets work, just not which ones, so we're being expedient and replacing all the little buggers, along with the switches.

And finally, we peered through the brush to find the grey of the meter box on the power pole, and line-of-sight read that toward the conduit coming down out of the house into the ground for the power lines, and guesstimated and marked where we believe the conduit runs and where we were told that the conduit with the splice in it is.  I really need to get in touch with the power company and find out how long it will take to get a meter back up there and the power on, as well as if they'd run line from the pole to the house aboveground and how much that all will cost.  If we can get them to run lines to the house above the ground, it'll be a heck of a lot easier on us to fix it than to have it all running underground in hard ground. (Addendum 6/2/12: Talked to the power company at the office near where I work, and running new wires above ground is a no-go. Apparently, HOUSES can have above-ground wiring, but trailers cannot. It's silly if you ask me, but them's the rules here.)

So that was this week.  Not a lot done, but there's a kitchen floor and countertop showing now, and that's a big improvement over what there was last weekend!  I can't wait to see what this week brings (besides the van being legalized and more work at the plant and more cleaning at the trailer). Course, we can hardly wait to MOVE either.  There's so much to get done to move, but gosh, it's a lot of fun.  There's still cleaning to do, and the driveway to clear more, and the electric to fix, and furniture to get (this apartment came furnished, so we can't take it with us, bleah), and a coop to build for guineas and chickens, and guineas and chickens to get and brood till they can go outside safely.  They'll make it a lot more bearable with the ticks, that I know!!!  More news next week, see you then!