Saturday, July 28, 2012

Satuday, July 28, 2012

Today was a momentous day. It's been another mildly busy week, but today was the tipping point. The splice still needs actual fixing, but the supplies were bought and are waiting to be used. There's a good reason we didn't get to that today, other than the triple-digit heat again. We had a buddy of Quentin's come help us out with the big stuff. I'm pretty tough and strong, but between being female (and thus less natural upper body strength) and having mild fibromyalgia, I wasn't really any help to Q to get the heavy stuff we dropped off last week up the drive and into the house. It required Q's work buddy Scott.

 This is the guys hauling the NEW fridge into the house! That's Scott from the back. They got it on the dolly and hauled it up the drive, up the stairs, and into the house. My newish Tappan 15.0 cubic foot fridge/freezer. Wheee!!!!
 This is Scott on the dolly with the fridge. You can see a smidge of the hubster on the right side of the door behind the fridge.
 It's in the house!!!
 Q and Scott in front of the fridge after they got it into the kitchen and off the dolly, congratulating each other on a job well done.
 Q on the first side of the entertainment center to come into the house. Scott's at the bottom of the deck, pushing it toward the door. They got it next to the deck, tilted it back to lean on it, and heaved it up on the deck. Heavy thing!
 Pulling it through the door, and it just fit through sliding in on the narrow side. Solid thing for being presswood.
 The entertainment center in all it's glory, such as it is. Considering it was free, I won't gripe that I really don't like it much, because it's a start till we get one we really like.
 The fridge in all it's glory. And behind it in the front bedroom, no, that is not garbage from the left-behind mess again. It's all our extra goodies that we don't need at the apartment, packed into plastic grocery sacks only because it's easier for me to carry them up the drive right now. That room is going to be my office/fiber room/library, since Q doesn't want his own man cave. Ok, it'll become my girl cave!
 And can you believe the look of the countertops now in the kitchen? SO clean now, and that's our tiny new-used $2 microwave. It'll do till we can get a bigger one, then it'll get freecycled to someone else who needs one and can use it.
 And the bathroom countertop and sink! That's not dirt in the sink, by the bye, it's spiders. I had put the bags of our towels on top of the counter, and moved them to take the photo, only to find these little lovelies in there. I don't like spiders in the house, and so called out the master bedroom window to Q to come take care of a little eight-legged problem in the bathroom sink for me. Daddy Longlegs I wouldn't have had a problem scooping up and sticking out the door or a window that has no screen or something. But these were short-legged spiders and considering how long the house has sat empty, I figured they could have been black widows or brown recluses. Later, Q and Scott found a brown recluse crawling around on the bedroom floor and squashed it. Ah, the joys of deep country living!
 And the tub looks good, too. Some stains that I can't scour off, but for the most part, you can see that a lot of the dirt and grime just scrubbed right off. So now we can save about $50 with not having to buy a solar shower stall to shower in (hanging it in the tub/shower at the trailer), just to keep our clean feet out of whatever it was on the floor of the tub. Turned out it was just a lot of crusty dirt, but still ... kind of looked pretty nasty!
 The other mattress and box springs coming in the door!
 And stacked all up in the bedroom. We took the bed frame apart for the moment and set the box springs and all right on the floor. They span that little bit of a soft spot in the floor there, plus will keep the kitties from going under the bed and possibly falling through the soft spot if it collapses under them. It sets up quite a bit off the floor but soooo comfy.
And the bed sits up close to the underside of the window, too, so the breezes will come over the bed through the window a lot easier. I nearly fell asleep on it testing the comfortableness of the bed!

So a not-sot busy week because work was hard and long days, but a solid work day put in today in just a couple of hours. Then it was off to the grocery store, get some stuff to take us through the week, and dinner for tonight and tomorrow because wekeends right now is when I have time and energy to cook. Tonight was a cheat in that we bought a rotisserie chicken at Wally-World. The heat just dragged my energy levels to zero so the photography was about all I was able to handle, and the heavy work the guys did just about wiped Q out. So it was cheat food tonight. Tomorrow, I'm making rotini pasta and meatballs with marinara sauce and cheese for dinner. Yummy. Only thing I could have made that might have been better was pizza pasta, which is a maybe for next week. (That one's just pepperoni slices mixed into cooked rotini, top with spaghetti sauce and shredded cheese, and eat the heck out of it.) Dinner tomorrow isn't much harder - you cook up pasta, add meatballs (cheated and bought them, since I have no way to make them myself right now), dump on spaghetti or marinara sauce and cheese and inhale. I can guarantee there won't be leftovers.

Oh, and we stopped at Lowe's for a few on the way to Wally-World. Q liked the flooring I picked out but his height allowed him to find one up higher on the wall that we both liked. It's a light maple, but it's special order, so once we get the new plywood down all through the house, we'll be ordering a box or two of it at a time. It'll cost about double the American Beech I liked, even though the boxes are cheaper, but they don't cover quite as much floor per box as the beech does. I'm okay with that, as we love the look of the hardwood, but real hardwood would take too much of a beating from us, the cats, and the eventual dogs. Hardwood-look laminate will look just as nice as real hardwood, and it will take the beating we'll put it through with all the paws and boots going all over the floors.

Lowe's also had a blessing for us financially. It'll be a while before we get it, but for around $150 less than Home Depot, Lowe's had a nice 20-inch electric range with the coils! Just over $300 for it, plus free delivery and setup, and the four-year warranty for repairs and parts and all isn't overly expensive, either, so if it has problems in the first few years, it won't cost us anything out of pocket for stuff. It's got three small coils and a larger coil in the front, so canning will be a breeze on it, and the oven, while not self-cleaning, is good-sized. Heck, I grew up with a range and oven that were electric, and the oven was NOT self-cleaning. I don't think we even had self-cleaning ovens 30 years ago that I know of. There may have been, but I don't remember and know we certainly didn't have one, because of all the times I had to scour out the oven in the house I grew up in! We have found my stove, and it's apartment-sized, so we know it will not only fit easily through the door, but into the spot for a stove in the kitchen, so I can make good meals on a proper stove again one of these days.

All in all, life is good, and we've finally passed the tipping point. Next week - we finally fix the blasted splice, then it's just the deposit to the electric company, turn it on along with the satellite TV for the hubster and the internet for me, and we are GONE to live the homestead dream. It's scary to be this close, but comforting, too. What a rush.

Saturday, July 21, 2012

Saturday, July 21, 2012

What a day. In some ways, it's been pretty good, and in others, just plain crappy. You know those days when it comes to homesteading. Days when things get done, but not as much as you want to get done, and you're glad some progress was made, but sure wish more had been made.

Downsides of the last few days:
Quentin got sick Thursday and had to take the day off.
Friday morning, he found out we'd have to get the beds we were given out of here that day.
So he had to take Friday off, too. (Thank goodness he'd already put in for a vacation day for that one.)
We can't get all the parts we need to fix the splice at Lowe's, but have to go to a specialty electrical supply shop instead.
We met at the trailer after I got off work Friday and did some stuff, then another trip today to do more stuff, but not everything got done like we wanted.
We had a mild tiff over things not going well.

The upsides:
We not only were given the beds (two queen-size mattress and box springs sets) for free, but were also given an old entertainment center. (Good thing the owner of the complex is refurnishing all the furnished units, so we were able to pick up these few pieces for free. Saved us a bundle there.)
Renting the U-Haul trailer for the weekend wasn't nearly as expensive as we thought it would be.
The van didn't burn nearly as much gas hauling the trailer as we thought it would, given that we made two trips.
One of our neighbors in the RV park part of the complex is having a garage sale, with permission of the managers. Sadly, it's because the husband's cousin and good friend is dying, and the cousin's house up in O- is being foreclosed on, so the couple is getting all his stuff out of the house and selling it for what they can to help the guy out a bit. They know that if the bank gets the stuff, it'll get sold for pennies on the dollar, so they're selling things for what they can get, but still ridiculously low prices.
The garage sale netted us a desk for me for $5, a small microwave for $2, and a really nice upright fridge-freezer for $20.
We did get all the stuff up there, including the last of the really don't need it right now stuff, barring exception of extra blankets and the wall stuff, as the blankets will be used to wrap electronics like my laptop, the TV, his stereo, and his PS2 before loading them into the van. We know it has way better shocks than the rented trailer does, and want to protect our few electronic toys as much as possible.

Sadly, the fridge, the entertainment center and one of the beds are all sitting outside yet. The entertainment center made it up to the porch before Q realized we couldn't get it up ON the deck because the thing weighs a good bit and the deck is pretty high. I understand basic physics, and know an inclined plane (aka a ramp) would get the thing up there easier than trying brute force. Being a rather stubborn man, he wouldn't hear of it, as usual. I have to laugh. We both have good ideas, but often come at a problem from different angles, and it causes issues. That's what caused our tiff today.

"I suppose," he says, looking at me from around the entertainment center as it stood next to the deck, "that you'd rather give up on the free one and just get one of those knock-together things from Wal-Mart right about now."

I replied, "Well, if you'll remember correctly, I wanted to do that to BEGIN with because it would be easier to get stuff into the house!"

(Mind, about now, we were both pretty wiped out. More on that in a minute. So it's no wonder why we were completely snipping and snapping at one another by this point.)

The one bed made it into the house and bedroom and got set up yesterday, but it's awful low to the ground for us and our older bones. And right after Q got them and the EC onto the trailer Friday, it began POURING here in H-. So of course, they got soaked completely through. So the one loaded on top dried out pretty quickly. The one on the bottom was still soaked when we offloaded it Friday. So it's sitting next to the woodpile to dry out, with logs stuffed under the corners to help keep both pieces off the ground directly till they dry out. Then we'll get those into the house as well and make the bed sit on the floor directly (thus avoiding the cats getting under it at all and anywhere NEAR the soft spot in the floor there), and put both box springs on the bottom, and both mattresses on top, making for a very comfy bed with enough height that we won't be struggling to get off the thing when we get up in our mornings!

The fridge ... well, we had been given a general dolly to use to help get things from the trailer, up the driveway and into the house. Sadly for the dolly, it couldn't handle that Ozarks driveway, and one of the wheels came off. Good thing we were told it didn't matter if it broke or not, lol. So we ended up cat-walking the fridge off the trailer and leaving it standing by the side of the driveway in the easement out of general sight of the road.  Now to just hope it doesn't do a disappearing act before we can figure out how to get it down the driveway and into the house.

Now, as to why we were both wiped out. Not to put too fine a point on it, but the Extremely Nasty And Gross Refrigerator That Had Been Left Full Of Food And Left Behind is no more. We cat-walked it to the front door, realized it wouldn't go out the door with it's doors on, took the doors off the thing (very nasty job, that), and slid it out onto the deck. I know that deck is sturdy for sure now, since it held us and the fridge without wobbling or creaking or anything. We scooted it over to the edge by the house and shoved it off, yelling, "BYE BYE YOU NASTY THING!" The doors went out that general area to the trash pile as well, since we'll be dozing it into a hill to cover with dirt and grass and flowers anyhow later on down the road. So it looks awful for now, we figure big deal. Eventually it will look pretty.

Now, it does smell pretty bad by the front door right now, but we know that's because of the bacteria in that fridge (thank goodness for work gloves that protected our hands and which will get washed with this week's laundry), and also that it will ease off over the next couple days as things things clear out, or maybe are cleared out. The saddest sight in it for Q was five unopened cans of Mountain Dew, his favorite soda in the world. They'd been left in there and had evaporated. To him, that's a complete travesty, or what he calls "Dew Abuse." The look on his face was almost laughable.

So not a lot got done that we really wanted to get done, but enough was done that we feel some progress has been made. We even made a few scores in the household stuff department, and things are moving forward a little bit more. It just is so hard to be doing so much and seeming to make so little progress, but that will pass. I think I'm just a little depressed by not being there already, but the more that gets done, the better I feel. Right now, it's late Saturday evening, and time for bed for me.

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

The last couple of days have been grating. I feel like I want to find a brick wall, stand about 20 feet back, bend over, and run full-tilt into the thing. The headache from that has to hurt less than the one I'm getting from DD's collegiate application and registration process. The FAFSA was bad enough. DD lives back home in MI with my Mom, who supports her and claims her on her tax return. Hubby and I live in MO, soon to be AR. There are about 850 miles between us. And yet, the FAFSA had to be filled out with OUR financial information because we aren't dead. Even though we aren't the ones taking care of her, DD had to use our financial information because we're still alive. This was frustrating enough.

On the other hand, the college is worse. They haven't gotten a whole lot of things done right from the start, and the last few weeks have been worse. We finally got all their required financial paperwork to them, including signed and dated copies of our tax returns for last year and our W2s. Then yesterday, Mom took DD to the campus to register for classes. Long story short, registration is predicated upon my and hubby getting ahold of the IRS and having a copy of the transcript of last year's tax return sent to the college somehow, prior to the first of August.

I tried calling the IRS yesterday and spent around half an hour on hold waiting to speak to someone in individual transcripts. I was sitting in my car, in 100+ degree temps, in the shade of the little park in C- on the way home from the trailer. (Mom called while I was driving to tell me what was needed, but I had to call her back when I could get off the road safely.) I was hot, tired after a long day at work and some work at the trailer, and wanted to get here to a hot shower. I gave up.

Tried again today after I got to the trailer, and while on hold, did a lot of minor cleanup. An HOUR of being on hold, that is. But the gal I talked to was incredibly nice, and apparently, a lot of colleges are pulling this "we need the transcript" thing now. I'm not upset with the IRS, really. It's not their fault that we needed this and they're apparently incredibly busy. I'm upset with the college. They've known for MONTHS that their little rule change would take effect July 1st, and that DD wouldn't be registering till after due to being an incoming freshman, and they could have told us three months ago we'd need that piece of paper. Heck, three WEEKS ago when they wanted the tax returns would have been good! Now we'll be lucky to get the thing in time to find a fax machine to get it faxed up to Mom to take to the college before their deadline, so DD doesn't have to RE-register for all her classes.

So I haven't gotten a lot done other than to block off the floor vents in the front bedroom and the kitchen. Apparently, a possum or raccoon has found that the ducts aren't hooked up all the way, and found it's way into them. And on top of that, whatever it is, is small enough to fit through the hole in the floor that the vents sit in, and strong enough to push up heavy metal grilles that are rusted stuck to the floors, and get them out of the way. It also climbs, because it climbed up onto my newly cleaned countertops, left footprints all over the place, and then took a dump into one of my glass baking pans! I cannot WAIT to move, the cats (and eventually a dog or two) are going to have LOTS of fun little playmates! (she said with an extremely sarcastic tone)

Though calling my Mom after talking to the IRS today did give her a lift. It's been hot up there, too, and just about as dry, and she doesn't do well in this kind of heat. She's 64 and it just hits her so hard. I love her dearly, so you can imagine our Sunday phone calls are as important to her as they are to me, especially with DD grown up and going on off on her own. Mom doesn't get out much anymore, and so connecting with her on a regular basis helps her to stay positive about things going on. She likes hearing what's going on as much as y'all do, Gentle Readers.  But the lift was more than just talking midweek, unusual for us. It was me sitting in what is going to be my new living room, telling her about the whichever pooping in my baking dish, and the mouse in the breaker box, and how far we've come the last few days in clearing up and getting ready for the last stages of The Big Move.

Speaking of which, this weekend, we are certain will be the weekend we FINALLY get the blasted beds moved up there! Q's been told we have to get them out this weekend, as the complex's owner wants to get all the old furniture out of here and get new into all the units. (All come furnished with all bills included - it's hard to beat for cheapish living when you don't have a lot and only one income. It worked for us for a long time, but with both of us working, we need to be closer to both our jobs, and that means this move HAS to happen.)  Anyhow, the manager told Q today that we need to get the beds out of here, and we have no idea what else in the way of "old furniture" that the manager will let us have. We shall see. For now, it's off to bed. I've got a long day planned for tomorrow again, and I need my rest to get everything accomplished.

Monday, July 16, 2012

Normal, boring day. Worked my shift, then stopped at the trailer and tossed some more stuff out from the small bedroom into the pile of junk that will eventually become a hill. I'm seriously thinking of planting the hills of buried trash with that grass that supposedly grows on concrete, clover, and wildflowers. I think they'll be prettier that way, and it will help hold the dirt in place faster and better.

On the other hand, we decided this afternoon, during our usual after I get off work conversation on the phone (the second time of the day we get to talk, the first time being when he's getting ready for bed and I'm getting ready for work!) ... well, we opted that this weekend we ARE going to get those blasted beds to the trailer. Period. We're tired of no bed up there, and if we want to go camping for a weekend, we are a bit too old to sleep on the floor. So beds have GOT to go this weekend!

Sunday, July 15, 2012

July 14, 2012


Short day at work, but not too bad, considering I at least got the minimum hours I need for a day to be "good" to me. I could have gotten more time in another department, but it would have meant staying till 7 or 8 PM, and with my current commute, that's just a tad too long a day. But we're a bit closer to the move after today! One more little step in the big steps. I had loaded a few things to take to the trailer again this morning, to continue the "move out of the apartment what we don't desperately have to have," and dropped that off first thing when I got to the property after work. Then it was grab the mattock and shovel and get busy on digging up some more of the splice.

It wasn't that hard. We had some hard rain yesterday for about an hour, so the ground was a bit softer. Since I've also split wood with an axe before, I just swung the mattock like the axe, and bammo - more stuff dug up. The splice is now dug up enough to repair, or darn close to it.

There it is, in all it's rather messy glory. You can see clearly the remains of the black electrical tape that was used to wrap it, and the calcification that's occurred due to all the limestone around here. Plenty of lime IN the soil, just not FREE lime for the garden later. This is NOT how you splice a line together. I look at it and go, really? Really? THIS is what you call an electrical job?

I'd also taken the wire cutter/crimper/stripper with me, but forgot the little carryall of house tools I'd picked up ages ago from Wal-Mart for about $20. It has just about everything in it that you could need in a household tool set for most minor household repairs. In this case, it held the doggone screwdriver I needed to work on the outlets and switches! Have to remember it tomorrow, or I'm going to be kind of bored with nothing but brush to work on again. *laughs* The goal is to get as many of them done as possible this week, so we have less to do next time Q gets up there. I'd like to think that with the lower temps this week, that maybe I can get all of them done that aren't all hard to get fixed (like the ones where the wires are really short and have black electrical tape around all the ends, ugh). I'll leave him the harder, messier ones. Meanie, I am!!!!

I saw some interesting wildlife, too. On the hinge for the water heater compartment door, I saw a huge, six-inch or so long walking stick! I hope he's back again tomorrow, I am going to try to take remember the camera and take a photo if he is. He was so neat! I also saw a cool-looking dragonfly. It had a white abdomen, black head and thorax, white eyes, and the wings were tri-colored, being red-black in the half closest to the body, then a white stripe, then more red-black on the tips. I've seen this one before, I'd like to get a photo of it, too. And neatest of all, two raptors of some kind. Hawks, I think. They were look-alikes, and the one chased the other off the property, scree-eeeee-eeeeing at him all the way. With the coloration, I'd say both were males and one was intruding. The victor sat in a tall tree by the easement afterwards and screamed his victory. After hunting through various birding sites, I'm pretty convinced it's a red-tailed hawk in the "dark brown phase" and boy were they both gorgeous to see. The victor chased the other one off the property across the driveway and through the lower trees pretty close over my head, less than ten feet. Talk about a close encounter with incredible wildlife. It was pretty neat to see something so proud and beautiful sharing my new home with me (and yes, even that darned rattler is proud and beautiful in it's own way ... long as it's own way is out of mine, lol).


LONG day today, equipment kept breaking down so they had to keep shutting down the line, so work lasted a whole day today instead of  part of a day. Good for the paycheck, bad for the feet, lol. They ache today from unaccustomed standing around doing nothing but twiddling my thumbs! I did get some more stuff to the trailer today, by means of taking it to work with me and locking it up all day - our towels and linens. Mind, the complex we're in used to be a motel (and did do some long-term residential motel housing, common in the Ozarks), but they converted the rooms to small efficiencies, which is good. They provide your first set of sheets and towels, and it's up to you to keep them cleaned up. So we'll need sheets when we get the beds, but we already had our own towels, and I moved them today.

I checked the breaker box and it's a 200 amp, 120/240 volt box. I seriously doubt we'll need anything like 24,000 watts of energy all at once. We MIGHT need about a quarter of that if we ran everything electrical all at the same time, but even that's doubtful. We're both very much into the windup, battery-powered, or manual powered goodies. Me especially when it comes to kitchen gadgets. There is no more fun for me in mixing than my eggbeater mixer. Turn the handle, turn the beaters, and BRRRRRR it goes. Loads of fun, and a lot less noisier than an electric one.

Speaking of noisier, when I opened the breaker box, a fat little field mouse went SQUEAK! and ran off down into the wall through the hole in the bottom of the box for the wires. I hope the cats like their new playmate when we get moved.  Heh heh heh. I'm not so sure their playmates will like them, though. Also noisy today was a male cardinal, who sat in the bushes across from the front door and scolded me for sitting down on the job. I was pooped after a long day at work and I went to the house and offloaded all those towels, plus I changed out two light switches before I had to head home.

Now, the one switch, I know I did right. The other, I need to research to double-check, as it is the bathroom switch, and the bottom had two wires. One went right in the back, and the other was around the bottom side screw. The ground that top wire for the side screw I figured out easily. The other two wires I temporarily put together on the bottom side screw while I research the thing and find out what it is doing. I think the third wire is the one for the bathroom vent fan, which I understand doesn't work anyhow. I know which of those two wires it is, and if that's the wire for the fan, I'll unhook it tomorrow and put a wirenut on it before putting the thing back together, so it's all safe. And here Quentin thought I was too much a girl to be able to do this kind of thing - it's easy once you know what goes where, and especially if you do one wire at a time!

Speaking of the darling, he's off today. Not because he doesn't want to work or the plant's closed for the day. He woke up sick as a dog. He tried, I know, to get together for work, but by noonish when I had my second meal break at work, he still wasn't dressed and we both know for either of us, if we ain't dressed in an hour after we get up for work, we ain't going in cuz whoever it is, is sick as all get out and wouldn't last anyhow. We do need the income, but not at the expense of someone's health. I got home and he'd fallen asleep in his recliner watching videos, woke up just enough to say hi and climbed back into bed, covered up and at 730 PM is already dozing again.


What a crazy day. Went to work and we had issues again, to the point that we all got sent home way early, with a warning that we'll be working longer hours tomorrow. I asked my supervisor today about moving to a different area in the department that I like working at better for the ergonomics aspects, and he said talk to the leads involved (mine and where I want to go), and if it's ok with them, it's ok with him, just it might take a bit till they get someone trained for my position. That's fine with me. I like what I do, but being a lefty in a right-handed world can cause some problems. In this case, it's a moving conveyor belt and righties working down the line in front of me all the time, forcing me to work down the line. Since the line goes left to right, that means I often end up working to MY right, twisting and stretching in a way that is not good for my back. Even with an extra stand, often it's not enough to keep from getting crowded out of position. So it's time to move to a place where people tend to stay put, the work is still fun and challenging, so that my employer doesn't end up with a future workmen's comp claim for my back.

But, due to the super short day, and knowing that we're going to get our butts kicked tomorrow, I told Q in a quick call home that I was opting to come home to the apartment and get plenty of rest for tomorrow, rather than doing stuff at the trailer. He agreed it was a bright idea. So home I came, to see him just before he left for work, and then I had lunch and took a nap for four hours. It's now about time to make some dinner, and relax a bit before I hit the sack for tomorrow. As to what shortened the day, and made yesterday so bad? We've got some kind of leaks in the roof right now, which are all being fixed at work, but yesterday and today for some reason, one of our condenser main pipes has started leaking in various spots for no reason we can think of. Now, they do get some moisture on them as a matter of course throughout the day, that's normal. What's not normal is for the mains to be dripping water so bad that they have to run plastic sheeting down from the pipes to the walls so that the water can run down the walls to the floors safely. Hopefully, they'll have it fixed tomorrow! I'd like to get some hours in on a good paycheck again.

But after supper, I'll get a bit of homesteady stuff done here at the apartment anyhow, in that I can pack up some more small stuff to go to the trailer. The more that gets shifted now, the better off we'll be. My only concern about tomorrow is that there's a church group that comes around weekly to check on people and drop off a free meal Thursday nights, and they said they'd have a minifridge and microwave and crockpot for us tomorrow night. Hope I don't miss them. We know the guy and his wife who run the group, and could get ahold of them to figure out a day and time to get stuff, but still ... we'd rather have them underfoot for a couple days and then take them down Saturday (we have an event Saturday night in H-, AR anyhow, and the trailer stop wouldn't be that far out of the way), then to miss them and have to figure out how to get them later.

Also, before I forget again, thanks for the compliment, Annightflyer! I do try to keep it down to earth, as you said, because I think if people want to homestead but are afraid they can't do it on a limited budget or minor physical issues or whatever, and they read blogs like this one, then they find that others have done it and are doing it right now. They get inspired (as you also said, lol) to give it a whirl themselves. After all, they say, how hard can it be if THEY'RE doing it???? It's still hard, and I don't mince words on that, but it's still a ton of fun. You just have to be willing to work hard and have a lot of patience with yourself and your projects, and don't forget your to-do list! Mine grows and shrinks a lot, but it gives me a pure shiver of pleasure to be able to cross something off that list.


Crap. The church group stopped by, but the people who came weren't the people who were GOING to come, from last week, so none of the goodies for the trailer we were supposed to get were received. Ah well, I have numbers for the guy who runs the thing, I can call him this weekend or Monday and find out what's going on and how to contact the people involved so we can get the stuff. If they want to clean out storage units, we will be glad to help and take even some furniture off their hands if we can figure out how to pack it in the van to move it. So a long day at work anyhow, and coming straight home to meet them, meant no work done. But I did have an idea I think will fly, just have to remember to pass it by Quentin.

Those two big trash piles (and there will likely be a third when we tear down the Merlot) can be bulldozed with a small rented dozer into low piles of junk. There's nothing there to rot into methane gas, as anything rottable has long since rotted apart. There's nothing toxic, either, just a lot of junky furniture and plastic bins that are broken and old (OLD OLD OLD) rusty cans of food. I think we can likely bulldoze them into piles, get a few tons of clean fill dirt delivered and dumped on top of the piles of trash to bury the unsightly stuff, and then seed it with something hardy like wildflowers and alfalfa. I figure if we bury the trash at least three feet deep in clean fill dirt, it should keep it from poking it's ugly head up again. It also saves us shoveling it into a trailer to haul to the local dump site and paying god knows what in dump fees, as well as the time to do all that. The place is already a semi-landfill, so I figure why not do it properly and turn the dump into a treasure?


Got a bit done at the trailer today after a good day at work. I like my job a lot, and I think once the homestead is on its feet enough to where I can work from home and make as much or more than I can from my take-home paycheck, I'll miss it when I'm so busy at the homestead that I have to quit. It'll be a few years yet, I know, but I do like some of the people I work with. My supervisor is fun; he's one of those guys whose face just naturally falls into a scowl even when he's not upset. One Friday I took advantage of that, and told him to smile, it was Friday! "It's not over yet," says he. "So what?" says I. "You wander around here with the scowly face, you're gonna scare people, looking like that!" He laughed, and kept grinning every time he saw me the rest of the day. It's like that with a bunch of folks I work with, in that they're just generally pretty happy people. Oddly, there's one or two who are real party-poopers, but you find those in every crowd.

We are getting so NEAR to the move, I can taste it. I can hardly wait. It's going to be a miserable life for a while to most people, I know. No A/C, just a few box fans. No water other than what we haul till we fix the plumbing. No big fridge or fancy stove, just minifridges and a handful of small electric kitchen appliances to cook on/with. Our only company, the cats. And a whole heck of a lot of work to be done to make it all work the way it should for a solid, self-reliant homestead. It's gonna be a blast.

On the upside, being home so much the last couple of days, I've gotten a lot of that cotton I've had sitting around for awhile spun up on the drop spindle. This is a good thing. I'm not that good a spinner yet, still learning, but I'm getting better. Cotton's cheapish, and I figure by the time I get it all spun up, I'll be good enough to have not only learned how to do it well on the drop spindle (I use a top whorl version), but also may have saved up to get the electric spinning wheel I want. I want electric because my ankles aren't that good, and I have some arthritis in my knees and hips. I don't want to sit and treadle for hours on end if I don't have to!


It was a good day. It rained some Friday night into Saturday morning, so the day was overcast and cool. We went to the trailer and got some work done. Q did some shooting and a lot of chainsawing. I took up some water, the dishsoap, a scrubbing sponge, and one of my dishpans so I could work on the cupboards and sinks and the tub. Found an old, ratty towel in our stuff that I'd already packed up there to dry things off with, and you wouldn't BELIEVE how nice and clean things look now. A lot of it was just caked on dirt instead of awful stains. We just saved a bunch of money, because we were pretty sure we'd have to replace countertops and the tub, and get a solar shower stall to hang in the tub for showering in for a while to keep our feet off the nasty tub bottom. The tub doesn't drain super fast, but it does drain and that's good. The place just took a 1000% jump towards livability again, and you can bet I'm happy with that.

It being date night, and the wrestling show going on in H-, we went to that. Had a great time, as it was their Legends of Wrestling show for the year. The indie company in question works really hard at getting good talent, and for the Legends shows, brings in old starts from the WWE. Last year, it was Jerry "The King" Lawler. This year, it was "Hacksaw" Jim Duggan. We also had "Hacksaw Butch Reed and ECW's Angel, and everybody got behind Duggan with HO and the USA chants. The crowd raised the roof. Wrestling is a big country sport, and to have it organized like this makes it all the more fun. One of Q's buddies from work fights with the company and is more of a dork than Q is, but he's a lot of fun to watch.

Now all we have to do is get through the week till Wednesday night when Q gets paid again. It's going to be a bit tight, as it almost always is because of the van payments right now, but we'll manage. I'll be so glad when we do get moved, because between the rent here and the gas we use to go back and forth to our jobs, it's EXPENSIVE. Living so much closer to work will be a lot nicer for us both, even though the place does need all that work. A three-bedroom house to sprawl out in vs. a one-room efficiency, and lower rent, and closer to work, all combine to make the inconveniences we'll have to put up with at first a lot easier to deal with than not.

And here it is 930 on a Sunday morning and all I want to do is go back to bed. But I have socks to knit, yarn to spin and wind, and some stuff to pack up that I can yet take with me to the trailer and get moved prior to the Big Moving Day to save room and gas, so it's off for me to get things done. More later, and pictures of the clean counters and tub soon (because silly me was still tired yesterday when we left and took the camera but forgot the batteries ... ooops).

Sunday, July 8, 2012

July 7, 2012

How the heck did half the year pass so fast? It's getting closer and closer to having to move, and I'm nowhere near ready for this, because there's so much yet that really should get done beforehand and likely won't. The way the neighbors with the anxiety-ridden poodle-thing are going, the move may become a necessity with a gennie for a bit before anything is done with the screens, the plumbing or the power. I say do it, as I'm tired of trying to sleep with their dang dog whining and howling. (Sorry, I'm irritable - I'm starting this post Tuesday over breakfast and I had a rough night, so today will be running on adrenaline and caffeine for the most part.)

Monday wasn't too bad, other than Q took the day off work to fix the brakes on the van. It wasn't that difficult a job, other than driving really carefully to get the brakes and get back here, because his were gone. Somebody prior forgot to change the pads anytime in the recent past, so about all he had left was bare metal. Not a lot of pad left. Yikes. I went to work like a good little drone, which it ended up being a bit of payback for last Thursday. Turns out a lot of people skipped work, so I ended up being one of only two people for the most part on my position on the line. Thankfully, they ran the line pretty slow, but ye gods, it was tiring! Then I went to the property to deal with cutting up all the smaller logs I had piled up, so there were woodpile sized, and stacking them and the stuff Q cut up Saturday that we were too tired to stack then. Bad part is toward the end, the red paper wasps decided to start hanging round the woodpile. I'm not allergic to bee stings, but I'd still rather not get stung, either. And paper wasps are aggressive and can sting multiple times. I need to get some wasp spray of some kind or make up an organic wasp repellent so they'll go away. I told Q that shooting a can of soda all over the top of the woodpile wasn't a good idea, but he did it anyhow. Now we get to deal with the aftermath. Ah, me. Homesteading fun at it's crankiest. (He fell asleep with the lights and TV on again last night, which shorted me on sleep ... and if I don't get enough sleep, I'm an absolute BEAR in the morning, more than usual, lol.)

Tuesday was better. Not a lot of hours, but enough to make it worth going in, and with Wednesday off as a paid holiday, that puts me up around 19 hours for the week, which isn't bad. It's almost better than I was getting in a whole week for a while there, when I was considering myself lucky to get 20 hours. I can do with 25, 30 is better, and anything over that is a huge help. We don't have to worry about the paper wasps so much, as they decided to not make a return visit today. Good, I'd've hated to have to bust up their happy little home in my woodpile, but it's MY woodpile, and I don't want to have to fight wasps and things for it! The little blue-black gecko-y lizard is cute as can be, and welcome, but stuff that can hurt me is NOT.

Got some brush cut up and stacked, along with leaving some of the bigger stuff for later again. It's still really too hot on a shortened work day to deal with sawing stuff. With temps in the 90s to low 100s, even with a good breeze, it's too hot to be out in the sun for long. You wouldn't know it to see my farmer's tan, though. I wash up at night and I wonder if I'm trying to wash of the dirt or the dark! I do tan up pretty easily, and for a gal whose genetic background is all Eastern European that I know of, I do tend to tan up fast and dark without burning. My daughter is the same, only moreso, as she is also 5/16 Hawaiian through her biological father. (She calls him "sperm donor." If asked about her father, she will say she has two - one is Dad (Quentin), the other is her sperm donor. At nineteen, she's a heck of a kid.)

I also did some more target shooting at pop cans. Not upright cans. I laid them on their sides on the woodpile, so they were kept stable in the little valleys between logs. And I shot at the ends of the cans. Five cans, five shots, five hits. I quit while I was ahead, but apparently, this has spurred the hubster to coming up with some sort of challenge for me that he refuses to reveal until he gets home from work. Grrr-some.

I'm glad the brakes on the van are done, though. If our combined checks after bills are enough this weekend, we'll finally get the beds moved and be one step closer. We are hoping like crazy, because this is annoying as heck with all the hurry up and wait. We looked this morning at the to-do list of things we need to do to be comfortable the rest of the summer and prior to winter, and while most of them are one-offs, there is a lot to get done. For example, four of the windows at the trailer have no screens in them. They open fine, but we don't want bugs and little reptile friends of the snakey persuasion and birds coming in for visits. So we need screens up in order to open them for cross-ventilation as well. I checked at Lowe's today on they way back here from the property and work, and found 15" wide ones that open to about 36" total for around $6.50 including tax. That isn't too shabby, as it means for less than $35, we could have the other four windows screened, too. And yes, I know $6.50 times four isn't anywhere near $35, but we may have to buy a small board or two and have Q build end frames for them to keep them in the window openings without letting things in (or the cats out). We need to get box fans, at about $20 each. We need the solar shower stuff, a camp stove, a new doody bag for the toity ... Like I said, a lot of one-off stuff, but stuff that needs doing as soon as possible no matter what.

If we HAD to, we could save up for a small gennie and use that for the minifridge for food basics (with a cooler with ice for him to have cold sodas at night), a couple of fans and for charging our cellphones and my laptop. We wouldn't have tv service or internet for a bit which would drive us both batty, so we're hoping to get the power fixed ASAP as the next big project on the list. Getting all done soon. We keep saying that, but I need to concentrate on getting him to concentrate on it rather than always wanting to have fun with the chainsaw. He's kind of addicted to the thing, and I've been being nice and trying to baby him, hoping he'd get over it. He hasn't. Time for me to get a big axe and show him that an axe can do just as good a job with a lot less frustration. Heh heh heh. He thinks cuz I'm short on one end that I can't POSSIBLY swing a big ole axe. He ain't seen me in action.  Heh heh heh heh.

Shout outs to Gentle Readers:

Tina, who never fails to visit upon hearing of a new post, nor does she fail to comment. Bless you for all  your inspiration. And folks, if you like a fun homesteading list, Tina's is one of my few favorites (alphatoomegahomesteading on yahoo groups). One of these days when I have a few minutes to spare (HA!), I'll put up a blogroll on here.

Patrick, for the advice on the PVgis. I still can't seem to find a PV calculator that will work for me, as they all seem to just go to a "buy our stuff!!!!" page, but I'll keep looking. We're clearing around the house and thinning the forest for more than just firewood, my friend. We are looking to clear roof from any shading possibilities so that the PV system will work better. (Reminds me, I need to pull together a few bucks and buy LaMar's Off The Grid Book in hardcopy. I have the ebook, but I want the hardcopy, too. The solar stuff in there will be a big help to setting up things, but it's a bit hard to hand it to hubby and show him stuff sometimes on the computer screen - a hardcopy book would be a big help. Plus there's the whole taking it outdoors or into another room and keeping it going without power so that we can follow along with what to do, lol.)

And to Phyllis, thanks for the note on the soil mix. I do know that we have to lime some here in the Ozarks. Despite all our rocks, all the lime seems to be tied up in them, and not free in the soil. I do prefer the gravel to help with drainage a bit as well as because many of the beds will be reclaimed stuff or plastic totes, and I don't want all the soil washing out the bottom through the drainage holes! Your soil mix sounds really good though. I plan on giving it a try and seeing how it does for me!

Okay, nuff for Tuesday. I'm off tomorrow due to the U.S. holiday of the Fourth of July, though sometimes I wonder how many people still celebrate it for the real meaning and not fireworks and grilling.

Wednesday, we did a bit of shopping for basic groceries and discovered that B- now has a Coleman Outlet store. Since the store was having it's grand opening on the Fourth of July, what better fun for us than to visit and see what we could see? We found a bunch of low-priced goodies that we can certainly use at the trailer while starting out, including a bedside lamp/alarm clock that looks like Coleman lantern, and it's battery operated. We also found the campstove we like that Wal-Mart carries, but cheaper as it's the outlet store, a handy "camper's tool" that we can both use when out and about on the property (it's a pliers-thing that opens up into over a dozen different small tools), a small flush toilet we can sit on top of an upturned 5-gallon bucket and have a flush toity fairly quickly without getting a more expensive porcelain one, and my favorite - a propane-fueled on-demand hot water heater.

Q says we need two - one for the bathroom and one for the kitchen. I say get one, because we don't use that much hot water in the kitchen, and I can warm up on the campstove or in a microwave what we need there. It's the bathroom for showers and such that we need hot water. So we can fix incoming water pipes within a few weeks of moving and quit doing the sponge bathing pretty quick. The outflow pipes are a one-day job essentially, it's the incoming that are a problem since we have to replumb the house and bring in the pipes from the cistern/spring downhill to the house. We might not have GREAT water pressure, but we'll have some gravity flow pressure. The on-demand propane water heater will be a big help until we can get all the plumbing properly fixed and get an electrical on-demand heater purchased and installed.

The trailer will give the cats some more room to race around, us some room to stretch out and be noisy if we want, and plenty of land to enjoy working on. It's a long-term project, and we likely won't have everything how we want until we're just about ready for the great dirt nap, but that is half the fun. Just seeing how well you can do things and how quickly you can accomplish things. Other projects have been added to the to-do list due to the trip to Lowe's to "look" at goodies, haha. Now he wants to do blonde paneling throughout the house, which is fine with me. I mentioned that the house I grew up in had dark knotty pine paneling throughout, including all the kitchen cupboards. We are talking drawer fronts, cupboard doors, and frame fronts. He said not to tempt him. I said too late, I was tempting him, because I loved the look as a kid. I grew up liking the rustic look, and we finally realized that's what we're going for as a design throughout the house.

And Q surprised me for the Fourth. He took me to Famous Dave's for dinner, so I wouldn't have to cook in this heat. I was surprised, and pleased, and the food was good. We went for lunch and got lunch combos, and both walked out full. Four hours later, we're still pretty full. The food is really good. He had St. Louis style ribs and short ribs, I had the St. Louis ribs and brisket. I like Rib Crib's sauce better, but the food at Famous Dave's is really good. The ribs literally just fell apart. I was able to peel the meat off with my fingers and not leave anything behind on the bone. Now those are some very tender ribs.

Only it's been a rough week already, and I need to go clobber some things. I'm off here to do a quick email check and play City of Heroes for a while. Q's playing one of his PS2 games, so it's earplugs for me and I go clobber bad guys.  More tomorrow!

And here it is Friday. I have a hooray! The nasty-attitude neighbors with the anxiety-ridden poodle-thing have left next door! I don't see their cars anywhere in the parking lot for the complex, so I assume they moved. That is so nice, though I daresay any new neighbors won't be as pleased with their doggie, due to training it to be a pill, just to try to annoy us worse than it already did. And on the upside, fixing the splice should be easier than we thought. Stopped back at Lowe's and did some Q&A with people there, and get some firm answers - Q asked me to stop on my way home to see if they had any ideas.

The plan is to cut out the splice and take it to Lowe's so we can get about a foot of NEW wiring and enough wiring clamps to hold all the ends together. So it will now be a double splice of a piece of wire patching the missing bit together. Wish I had a picture I could use to show you what I mean! When it's been cut apart, we're going to put a piece of PVC pipe with an end cap on one of the old wire ends, and a second end cap on the other old wire end, then splice in the patch, and slide the PVC pipe together and glue the caps on. This should keep out most, if not all, of the dirt and moisture. As it's only a temporary repair until we start putting in a solar- and wind-powered system, so we have the electricity we NEED, the folks at Lowe's said that not burying it super deep wouldn't be a major issue. Plus if something happened to it, it would sure make it a lot easier to get it dug up and fixed again. We hope to never have to fix this thing again, but instead to start putting together a solar system pretty quickly, even if it's only a few watts worth.

Friday ... good grief, but it is HOT out. Triple digits. This is ridiculous. I didn't even bother to stop at the trailer because it's so hot. Only four hours or so in my department at work, but eviz needed a few extra people, so me and a few buddies popped over after our second break, signed in and got a couple extra hours for the day. Every little bit helps, as it means next week's paycheck will be about the same as this week's was. Whew. It's a start toward a bigger check again, though it'd be nicer if they'd give us more hours in debone, period. Four hours or so is almost not worth going in, other than to keep my job.

It's so hot that I'm exhausted, and I didn't do anything but drive home from work. Six P.M. and I'm whipped. Nuts. I sure hope this heat wave and drought break soon, for everyone's sakes that's dealing with it. Not like my friend Chris in southern Chicago area though, as she got hit hard by a big storm and lost power for a few days. She and her hubby have a two-year-old boy, so it was really hard on them to keep him cool. I feel for them, really, I do!

We do have nearly all the non-necessities moved up to the trailer now, so that's a big step in the right direction. It looks a tiny bit bare in here with all the excess stuff moved out. We kept it because we knew we'd need it when we got a real house, but there isn't really anywhere to store it here. The trailer has loads of storage space. I do need to sweep floors again and get some water up there and clean the cupboards and sinks out though. Also to try to wash out the tub/shower a bit so they're not quite so filthy-looking. I might even be able to bring them to a decent amount of clean from washing them up. It is amazing what a little elbow grease will accomplish - just look at the house when I started and when I finished!

And with temps continuing into the high 90s and low 100s all weekend, I think it likely that we won't be doing anything this weekend except vegetating in here at the apartment. We need to get things done so we can move, yes, but not at the expense of our lives from heatstroke. Q's said many a time in this project, he doesn't care about his commute, it's me with mine that bothers and worries him, and that's a big part of why he wants and is so willing to move. After a day like today, I am almost ready to move, electric, gennie or no!

Saturday was another wash. Temps were just too high to do much, and I had a mondo headache. You can't accomplish a lot when you feel like your head's about to explode. Painkillers out the wazoo didn't help, but thankfully, but this morning (Sunday), I'm feeling a lot better. I'm loading that bed frame into the car this afternoon and taking it to the trailer tomorrow so it can finally get up there, since Q doesn't seem inclined to make a run past on his way to work to drop it off. It's just one of those weeks, and Q is getting really frustrated by the seeming lack of progress. I'm pleased with how far we've gotten so far, and I know that once a couple things are taken care of, like the splice, then things will just explode into action. It's a matter of hurry up and wait. He wants to hurry up and hurry up. I hate to explain this one to him, but once the splice is fixed, there's still the electric deposit to pull together, so that power can get turned on to keep us going till the off-grid power system is bought and installed. You kind of can't live without power these days of some kind, so it's on-grid for the nonce, while purchasing all the pieces and parts and putting them together (barring actually hooking up to the breaker box).

I'm a little tired of entering contests lately. Yeah, contests. There's been a bunch of giveaways from various companies for stuff we can certainly use on the homestead if I win. Sure would be nice, because there's food, animals, fencing supplies, and a whole host of other goodies I know would be awful useful. Now I just have to wait. I will say one of the things I do all the time is look at all our receipts. Many companies have contests of a sort for a gift card once per quarter. Lowe's and Wal-Mart are big on that, at least here in the States. So I tend to check every receipt. Never know, I might just get lucky and win free gas for a year, and considering how much we go through, that would be great!

Anyhow, it's time for me to actually get some food in my carcass and get some stuff done around here that I've been neglecting out of sheer procrastination. I'll write more next week, and I think I'll keep up with the daily notes, because it's a lot easier to keep up with what happened that way!