Sunday, November 25, 2012

I don't even know ...

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Monday, November 19, 2012

Reality sets in

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Another view of the parking area.

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

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

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

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

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

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

For comparison, similar shots of cleared stuff ...

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Monday, November 12, 2012

September 29, 2012

End of September and early October

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

October 10

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

November 6

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

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

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

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

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

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

November 12

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

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

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

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

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