Sunday, November 22, 2015

November 22, 2015

Well, the Etsy shop will be at over 100 items sometime tomorrow. I have chores to do (always gonna be chores on a homestead). Wood needs cutting for the pile, trash burnt, cat boxes cleaned, dishes caught up, laundry put up. Plans are made for holiday chores next weekend. Looking forward to a short week at the plant (three days) and a long holiday weekend to work on things at home. I am feeling quite contented. Hoping to catch up on some of my shows on mu Hulu queue tomorrow night and over next weekend as well, plus might finally get that darned MAM afghan I started a year ago finished. I need more time than I have for everything, but the more I do on the business, the more it does and the more it does, the sooner things move to me working only from home and having even more time for the things I enjoy doing most - homesteading and the business and writing. I am truly blessed to have the good life I have.

Oh and what is dinner for the big day, since we have no stove, you ask? Pork steaks (braised and seasoned - they are fork-tender when I am done), green beans, stuffing, mashed potatoes. Have to get gravy this week, forgot it at the store today. Maybe some cheese and pickles as well. Cats are getting turkey and giblets wet food for breakfast so they will sleep the day away.

Holiday chores include the usual daily and weekly stuff, but also finishing up consolidating to the living/dining/kitchen rooms in the trailer. As we will be living in a one-room cabin as of next year, with any luck, now is the time to learn to do it without killing each other if it is possible. If not, we learn that as well. I am pretty sure it can be done. We've managed for a few weeks now and haven't clobbered each other yet. Basically it will be taking the shelf and clothes bar we put up in the master bedroom closet (which had one but it was destroyed and didn't work at all) from in there and moving it to the kitchen wall so we can have a warmish place for clothes. The unused part of the house is so cold right now I can see my breath. All we use that end now is the bathroom!!! So we are doing good on the one-room cabin thing.

But right now it is time for this old gal to put things up, climb under the blankets and get some sleep for yet another second shift day tomorrow. Hugs and love, all!

Sunday, November 15, 2015

November 15, 2015

We have the generator in layaway at the pawnshop. We have the kero heater. We looked at small oil lamps we can hang up overhead today at Wally World, so the cats can't knock them over but we can have some light without running the generator. We know what the battery-operated fluorescent lights cost, because we have a couple already. We know how much it costs to get a Derksen cabin (it's just the shell, but it's a start) as a downpayment and what the monthly payments will be. We have an offer to share land with a young couple we know from work who call us Mom and Dad anyhow.
The electric here at the trailer we have been renting is for crap. We would still have no running water, but I've lived with that for 3 years and a little and used a sawdust toilet for the same amount of time. Mind, hubby would have to not be able to tape his wrestling for a month or two until we got a solar setup going to run the receive while we are at wok, but he could watch the clips online anyhow. Internet does not have to be powered 24/7 to work, just have to wait a few for the modem and router to come up when we get home and start up the generator...until the solar setup is going good, then the generator would be just for cooking with the microwave and running the fridge when we were home.
Looking like come spring, we and the cats will be in a 12x20 or so one-room cabin. We would need to figure out how to get packages delivered from UPS and FedEx, which does happen regularly for us, as there is no local UPS Store. PO Box for regular mail. What we pay now in rent and average electric would make the cabin payment, so that balances out; we would just have to figure out how to come up with our share of the land payment which would be about $150-200 a month.
Goodness knows, it would be insane, but a lot easier to deal with than this insanity of kludged up cords and only three working breakers in the whole house and tonight's little funfest of finding out a cord we've used since we moved in decided to start melting it's prongs. /THAT/ close to a house fire. Yes, that extension cord (a heavy-duty one) is unplugged ... no way are we risking a fire if it can be avoided. Good thing we check all plugs and outlets weekly, more often if we smell something as we did tonight. He smelled something burning/melting; I have no real sense of smell, but noticed an off taste to the air and we started checking all connections, which is when we found the near-disaster.
That was when we decided we need to discuss things in detail with Cara and Jesse and go from there. Time to pull together and get the heck out of this place before it collapses (some of the floors are just ridiculous with where you can and cannot walk), burns up or something else happens ridiculous. Moving upward and onward! Someone remind me again why I love homesteading???? Incidents like this give me pause and I wonder, "Why can't I be like a normal person, buy/rent a house or apartment in the city and call it done and be happy with that? Why in the blue blazes do I have to be DIFFERENT?!"
I'm not unhappy with my life choices, but times like this I sigh and either laugh it off with a cynical shake of my head, or hang my head and cry. Though hubby and I have an agreement. If something happens to him and the insurance is enough to allow it, I'm packing my happy butt up and moving back to Michigan. The winters there may be miserable at times, and I'd have to be "normal" about being on-grid and all for the most part, but I'd be close to family anyhow. Now to just work on surviving the winter, because if we get a lot of snow, that's a lot of walking up and down the mountain road. At least at Jesse and Cara's, there's only one small steep slope in and out, and it's paved, so as long as it's kept cleared, everyone can get in and out fine in bad weather. Individual drives are a pain but you have to deal with that anyhow.
I don't mind saying I'm scared by all of this, because I'm one of those people that is scared by major changes. I can adapt, but major change bothers me, probably because my childhood was so stable and rarely changed at all. I like things to stay the same as much as possible. One thing is for sure, that cabin would be getting a major makeover in no time flat, haha. As it's only a basic shell, you get to do all the insulating and paneling and wiring and plumbing ... Whew. LOTS of work.
For those who want to shop with me on Etsy or Amazon, the Homestead Crafter page on Facebook has links to both. Etsy has a tab, and there's a post with the Amazon link (the app to add the Amazon store as an app does not work, argh). I am slowly copying items over from Bonanza to either/both as they fit, so Etsy has about 55-60 items now and Amazon a bit less. Should have been doing this from the start!. As I find more goodies in my wholesalers, I will be adding things like yarn and beads for my crafty friends. I really need to get to the point of the Christmas stuff, but I'm so far behind on everything that is not going to happen this year, I don't think, unless i put off everything else, too. Kind of a six of one, half a dozen of another issue there, though I should work on it more as that might help with holiday sales (though no guarantee). Sleep tight, my friends! 

Friday, November 6, 2015

November 6, 2015

I really need to get back to blogging more often, ya know?

Good start to a crappy morning. I have my fun time before work (i.e., working on the store), my best girl kitty (Stars) is cuddled behind me on my chair with her head on my shoulder, attempting to purr me back to sleep somewhat successfully. I am now going to need caffeine to get rolling today. Work sucks as usual, due to the people i have to deal with. I like my job most days, but the people just plain suck. I need time off, but we work six days this week, and it's three weeks to Turkey Day, with likely at least one more week of half a weekend between now and then. I will be so darned glad when things take off, because then I can get the rest I need, still get so much accomplished, and make a living in about half the hours I spent making a living now. $45K a year or so in sales and the profits would be enough to make up for what I bring home now.  I have the numbers nailed to the floor. I just have to make it happen. A little tiny bit at a time, it is happening.

The decision was made on the store to keep it limited to home/garden decor, jewelry and crafts/supplies a long time ago. A new decision has been made which eliminated a few things from the shop ... the store is staying at or below $50 on anything that is sold. I think more folks will be able to afford things at that rate, and more will sell. Like the page, so you can see the new goodies! I do sell privately, not just through Bonanza, so if you see something you like and don't want to sign up for another site, PM me with a list of what you want, and I will send you a PayPal invoice. At least with PP you don't have to sign up for it to send money, it just helps, and most folks I know already have a PP account anyhow.

FB Page: Homestead Crafter on FB
Bonanza Booth so you can see what I have up ... getting more up as often as I can: Homestead Crafter/Bountiful Farm on Bonanza

Off to finish getting ready for work and to try to get a couple things up today before I absolutely HAVE to head out the door. Yet another reason I want my own car again ... it would mean an extra hour to work on the store each day before I had to leave for work!

Sunday, November 1, 2015

November 1, 2015

Today is going to be a quiet day. I am going to have to start writing more often again, as these last months with Grandma so ill have thrown me off-kilter pretty badly. Everything but work and housekeeping have suffered.

So things have been progressing on the homestead. I am now down to living in one room essentially. Three if you count the kitchen and bathroom as well. Heat is primarily off-grid now, with the addition of a kerosene heater. The floor in the master bedroom has developed a rather bad soft spot due to the neglect of the prior resident, to the point that the plywood floorboard has a bad soft spot with a serious crack in it. Step on that too much and I will likely go right through the floor. Thus, the three bedrooms are primarily storage now, which is fine. I don't have much I need available day-to-day, and it is now all consolidated into the living room for daily living (bed, small dresser, entertainment, water storage cabinet), the kitchen has the usual, and the bathroom ... well, we all know what goes on there, haha.

A small propane heater which works on the one-pound canisters heats up the bathroom for showers quite well. It is a bit chilly with that end closed off for "those" kinds of things, but as I am only in there for a few minutes at a time, it is no big deal.

The woodpile is getting higher a bit at a time, though I am reduced to what I can get with axe and saw for now. My little battery-operated chainsaw bit the dust and I have no one available to take down the really big stuff for now. But at least a lot of small stuff still burns and makes for a nice pile.

A storm/whole house generator has been put on layaway at a local pawn shop, with the goal to have it out and up here by Yuletide, before the deepest part of winter sets in. I can then entirely rid myself of the electric company and THAT bill, saving an average of $100 a month. With that, I can easily get a manual log-splitter, a new sewing machine that I desperately need, and a new chainsaw which I now desperately need. Once I can also add a smaller generator, I can add a decent-sized electric chainsaw which can run off the generator, and take down bigger trees myself for firewood, with the eventual addition of a woodstove.

The house is being prepped for winter. Those cheap $8 raschel plush throws make pretty and warm tapestries to go over the leaky windows. They block a lot of light, but light is not a worry. Keeping warm is. The cats don't seem to mind at all. They are all curled up all over the place, mostly on the bed and the top of the entertainment center.

The garden is pretty well done for the year. The house tomatoes are still going strong, blooming well and loaded with ripening fruits, but it will not be long before they are through for the year. The needlework is coming along, and now that I will have a bit more time on the weekends, with cooler weather setting in, I should do better on progress.

The store is doing well, as I switched to Bonanza for a sales platform. (You can check it out in the favorite links.) I will likely go with a webstore/booth combination through them after the start of the new year, but until then, the booth alone is doing pretty decently. I have had more sales there than I did with Etsy (which was ZERO in two years), and in only a couple of months. Lots of new things are going up, mostly premade, because with having to work, I simply do not have the time I need to make everything. It is all nice, but I do wish I had more free time.

So all is well, and hopefully, I can get back to doing more writing more often. Wish me luck!

Sunday, October 4, 2015

Sleepy Sunday

Ok, it's been a long day and an extremely short weekend, but it is time for a major update on things ongoing.

Grandma first. No new news there, much. She is continuing chemo for her bone cancer, even though there is no help for the rest of it in her plasma and immune system. She is having a small rally, eating a little and brushing her hair and the like, but we know each day is precious. She is at the point where she is so compromised that a good head cold setting in could do serious damage.

Mom ... well, she and Amber are going at it. Amber is not behaving as she was raised and Mom is letting her know that the thin line keeping her in Mom's good graces is about to be crossed. Amber thinks life is screwing with her, but as she is not quite 23 yet, she has a lot to learn about life f--king her up. For those who do not understand why she lives with Mom, long story short is she goes to college in MI, and lives with Mom to be close to school. Staying with the 'rents is apparently not a good idea, because we would expect her to pull her weight and get a real job, too. Oh, well.

Mom is getting the bills from her hospital stays and the gallbladder surgery. They must think she is made of money or something, because the bill for the one-hour-long gallbladder operation was almost $13,600! Good grief.

What I said earlier about Terminix ... well, when Amber moved back in, she brought bedbugs with her. She swears she didn't but Mom has never had any bug problems in nearly 50 years of home ownership. So, without talking to Mom about HER house, Amber called in Terminix to deal with the problem. Granted, Amber paid for it, but it is MOM'S house. Mom was livid to say the least. They have done the treatment, but everything is still packed up in the basement Mom can't get down to and back up because of her knees and the stairs, and Amber doesn't want to go down and find the things Mom needs.

Multiple times now, they have been supposed to be back out for the checkup after treatment so that everything can come back upstairs. This has been going on for at least two months. It is MICHIGAN, and it's getting colder. Mom wants her winter blankets, so she doesn't get the flu or pneumonia. So what do they do? They have twice that I know of just plain not shown up at all. With five cats that have to be boarded for the day, this is not exactly cheap. There has been at least once that they have called to cancel. According to the manager for the Genesee County, MI area, there is a "communication problem" between the dispatchers and the technicians.

In addition, a couple weeks ago, the Terminix guy came by and said he was there to do the "perimeter spray." This was not in the contract. Mom told him so, and told him to go away. He calls the manager, who tells him there isn't enough in the account to cover it, and more money would have to be coughed up for the perimeter spray. Mom again had to tell the guy to leave, the perimeter spray had not been contracted, and since it was HER house, they could leave.

She is at the point of writing letters to everyone at the company that is a bigwig, as well as contacting the BBB. If that gets no action, as embarrassing as the whole thing is to her, she is going to contact the media and help/let them do an expose on Terminix and their poor customer relations/service. She says, other stuff first, and if that does not work, media can have at. At least then, she says, they can cover more than lead in the water.

Here - a six-day work week has just ended and a four-day is commencing tomorrow. We get this Friday and the 30th off as unpaid leave because the plant is apparently updating software and we cannot be running the machines while that is ongoing.

The store is coming along, and if I had more time to work on it, it would go much further. I have probably fifty different suppliers who want me to carry at least some of their products. This is a good thing, but what a huge store it will be when it is done. For crying out loud, who do they think I am, Wonder Woman????

I will have non-electric heat here probably next weekend. I have saved up almost enough for a kerosene heater that puts out up to 23K BTUs, which is more than enough to heat the house. It is tip-safe, starts with batteries and piezo switch, so no electric to get it going. A full tank will do 8-12 hours of heat, depending on how high I run it. It may cost about the same overall to heat this place but it will not run up the electric, the cost can be spread over each week, and if the power goes out, I will still be warm.

Despite it being October, my house tomatoes are still producing like crazy. I have close to 20 different-sized tomatoes going on the plants now, with nearly ten more left in the freezer for the winter. The ones on the plants now will join them as they ripen. Freezing makes the skins come off easier when I want to use them. Dunk in room-temp or hot water and the skins just slide right off.

So that is what's going on, other than I will be taking a bit of a lay down in a bit. It's been a long, rough week, all the chores and running are done today except for showers and putting away laundry and having some dinner, so I am going to get some rest for a bit. Hugs and love, all.

Halloween remembrance and apology

Sorry that I have been not on posting here again lately. Between work at the J.O.B., work on the webstore on Bonanza, and just life in general, I have been whipped. Some depression going on as well, so it is difficult to make myself do much of anything. But ... a fond memory for y'all today, as I get over a six-day workweek, all so we can have next Friday off for them to do software updates at the plant. I will try to get better about posting again, I swear.

With Halloween only a few weeks away, I am reminded of a cute story from my childhood.

Mom always gave out apples to the trick or treaters. NEVER candy. Always a bushel of apples by the door for them. She didn't think the kids really liked them that much, until one year, she decided to make chocolate chip cookies for the kids. I had gotten "too old" in her mind to go out trick or treating, so I was home. Most of them, as usual, were pretty happy about something other than candy. One little boy, however ...

Coming down our rather longish driveway (fellow MM grads will recall the house and drive, lol, especially those of you who TP'd the house a few times and Mom just left it there to rot), a little boy about 8 or 9 or so is bringing his extremely little (4 or 5 years old) brother with him to the door. As they are walking down the drive, Mom does a loud whisper, "Quick, go get two apples from the fridge!" Without saying anything, but wondering what the hey, I did it, and gave them to Mom, who promptly gave them to the boys.

After they left, she turned to me and said, "Thank you. I heard them talking as they came to the door, and the older one has been here before. He was telling his little brother, 'You'll like THIS house! They give out APPLES!'" How can you possibly disappoint a kid like that? Answer is, you can't. So I gave up a couple of school lunch treats and two little boys got a thrill on Halloween.

Those were GREAT times, I'm tellin' ya.

Monday, September 7, 2015

Too much going on

There's a lot going on, which is why I haven't been writing regularly like normal. If things ever settle down, I'll get back to writing like I was. In short, my Grandma has cancer, my Mom has had her gallbladder out, and I'm on the verge of a separation, if not divorce. Yay, me!

Grandma has been diagnosed with multiple myeloma a bit over a month ago. It is rare, but she has cancer of the bone, immune system and plasma. Chemo has not been helping and she was going to quit because it was making her too sick to eat, but she opted to go with another round anyhow. Doctors have said she has three to six months even with the chemo. She is 86, which is a good, long life, but she is my Grandma, and I don't really want to lose her.

Mom has had her gallbladder out. She's spent more time in the hospital these last few weeks than in her own home. There are other things going on that are causing her a lot of stress, but some of it at least brought on a really bad gallstones attack. My Aunt Liz (Mom's best friend for almost 35 years, so aunt in name only, but she is a terrific person) tried to get Mom to the car to  go to the hospital, and Mom couldn't even walk, so they had to call 911. Mom had all kinds of tests done to find out it was her gallbladder. Surgery a bit later and recuperation, and while recovering, she had my daughter call 911 again because Mom was not feeling overly good.

Turns out she was dehydrated and her magnesium and potassium were extremely low. Four more days in the hospital with tests of all kinds because the doctors thought she may have had a stroke when she went in to the ER, the way she was presenting. Thankfully not, but this is insane. Mom had to have a potassium IV for four days to get it up to normal. I told her she's going to have to eat a lot more bananas and we'll have to start calling her Momma Monkey. Also told her she's only going back to have the cute doctors hovering over her, but if she keeps this up, they'll give her a punch card - "Stay ten nights in our facility and get a free night's stay!" She thought that was cute.

Me, on the other hand ... let's just say that unless the hubby decides to grow up and act his age instead of his shoe size, and stops the emotional and verbal abuse towards me, I will be getting me a reliable vehicle of my own, finding a place that will let me have eleven cats, and packing up and leaving. Yes, I said that word - abuse. Trust me folks, it doesn't have to be physical to be abusive. Any time you (and I mean men as well) are in fear for yourself because of something your partner says or does, it is abuse. If it's just a general fight between the two of you, that's one thing, but when it continues constantly, it's abuse.

I will not go into detail, but suffice it to say that the name-calling and constant criticism have to stop somehow, and if it means I pack up and leave to get peace and quiet, that's what I'll do. It may mean starting over, but not a lot has actually been accomplished here in the way of clean up (which he says he will do all the time and never gets around to, being too busy "working on the truck" which doesn't need working on), so it would be no great loss overall. Mostly, I want to build my business and have some happiness in my life.

With that said, Homestead Crafter has a good booth on Bonanza. I sell not only finished jewelry and crafts I have made, but also home and garden decor that I can have dropshipped. I am working my butt off getting more items loaded into the store, so feel free to click the link on the sidebar for the store in the favorite links section. In case it decides to blow up on you, the URL is:

Homestead Crafter

Now for the fun part, where YOU can make some money for your charitable event or yourself.

If anyone needs a fundraiser, or wants to hold a Facebook jewelry/home decor party, let me know. I can book at least one a week. The deal will be this:

I will set up a private coupon code for your fundraiser or FB party - it will only be $1 off the order, but 10% of sales will go to your chosen charity or to you if you are host(ess)ing a FB party.

All items allow for buyers to make an offer, and as long as it is at or above the (hidden automatically by Bonanza) reserve, they can buy it at their offer.

I take Paypal through the booth, and my PP is business level, so anyone SHOULD be able to use a credit card if they want to.

Folks will have to sign up for Bonanza to buy through the booth, but it's a whopping four fields, or they can register with Facebook or Google profiles. If they'd prefer to buy privately, they can contact me here or on FB by PM with a list of what they want (item name, number, and quantity if more than 1) and offer(s), and their email, and I will do them up a PayPal invoice instead. All items ship free within the U.S. At this time, I cannot ship outside the U.S., as items either cannot be dropshipped outside the States, or the extra shipping cost even to Canada would be horribly prohibitive (a MINIMUM of $15!!!! HOLY COW!)

Folks can browse the store by category on the left side - major categories are shown and clicking on one will show everything in that category along with the available sub-categories.

Now it's back to work on the store and other money-making stuff. Hugs and love, all!

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Crazy busy lately

Heading to bed. It's been a long, hard day at work - things kept breaking, lots of boobs coming along with skin still on them so had to pull a lot by hand, which means my wrists hurt from the extra work. Had some extra work after the lines were done, so I was among the last folks out of the department. Not too bad getting half an hour towards overtime, but it still bites because I still hurt. I will be so glad when the business picks up and I make enough every single month to NOT have to have an outside job off the homestead. So much needs doing here that keeps having to be put off or done in pieces because the J.O.B. takes up all the time there is for those things with extremely little to spare.
Did get some work done on the business tonight after work, though, and that is good. The main lines of the business as far as finished crafts will be the jewelry (earrings, necklaces, bracelets and pins), Christmas ornaments and other holiday decorations (kind of cheesy in a way as most are foam or otherwise look quite a lot like stuff your kids might bring home from school, but these are done professionally, so not THAT bad), and magnets (just because I love sticking the things on the fridge, never mind that I haven't had little ones making artwork for me in years).
Other goodies will be things like jar mixes, my little ebooks, and eventually candles and soaps. All of that will go on Etsy and the website if I keep the site. Considering how the choice of back office software for a webstore that I can afford is either a - easy to install but does not share items to FB with a photo much of the time, if it even agrees to do the share at all or b - is more difficult to work with and I am not sure if it will share properly to FB ... well, I may have to bite the bullet and consider the website idea a loss.
Other goodies, like the less-expensive decor items for home and garden will be going on Amazon (yay, I get to compete with everybody else for similar products there) and eBay (again, competing with everybody else for similar products). All will give more exposure than the webstore has been getting, despite my promoting like mad with business cards and FB and other social media outlets. I am going to have to seriously consider the next batch of business cards getting a change to the URL listed on them from the standalone webstore to the FB page, which gets way more traffic, according to stats from both.
But it is time for some sleep so I can go kill myself with the chickens again tomorrow. Go, me.

Sunday, August 9, 2015

More heat ... ugh.

Been a long, hot day so far. Most chores are done. Had an issue with the van. Hubby got started tearing into it, and the way he thought he had to get at the plugs turns out wasn't how to get to them at all. (Even though this is an E-150 and the white van we had was, also, apparently the plugs are in different spots.) So I find a video on youtube on how to change them.

When a dealer mechanic is cheerfully saying things like "If they are the original plugs, they came in 2-3 pieces and sometimes break when you go to change them. Let's hope one of these puppies breaks so I can show you how to use this special $100 tool to get it out," you start saying things like, "Oh, h**l no. Not doing this tune up in the driveway. Parts are going back for return and the cash goes to whatever is next on the vehicle repair list."

In this case, a tire. The van still needs the tune up, so we don't blow out the catalytic converter or crack the block or something, but we will either trade it back for something else that isn't broke, or drive it till it dies, whichever comes first. Thank you to dear friend Kathy​, who came and got us again today to go get the tire replaced, because it was not going much of anywhere - there was a bad spot where the steel belts were starting to poke through and no way were we driving on it if we didn't have to. Well worth giving her money for a tank of gas for her help yesterday and today.

Next project - get the Escort back on the road with a new tensioner pulley and serpentine belt, so we have a backup vehicle. I don't really LIKE it, but at least it drives good. Then it's all the other stuff that has to get done. And y'all think I have an exciting life? HA! I only wish it was as exciting as some of y'all think, lol. Chores and gardening and housework and cutting firewood and clearing brush and kudzu and needlework are not NEARLY as exciting or entertaining as they sound, lol!! Some days, I envy y'all for living in cities with all the amenities!

Sunday, August 2, 2015

Sad Sunday

Homesteading day around here. Dinner is in the crockpot, chores are done, business is being worked on. What got done? A LOT. Trash out and burnt, litter boxes completely changed out and refilled, got all the nasty cases of hubby's soda that have been sitting around undrunk for MONTHS (and thus are just evaporating in the cans) out of the house, that area cleared up (ants all over the place due to leaking soda), lunch eaten, laundry put away, finished up putting away non-perishable groceries, bed made, Smudge got buried first thing, and gardening done for tomorrow's customers at work ... good night, all that in four hours. I am so pooped but still have to get in a shower, eat dinner, and call Mom. That last is the most important, with her health the way it is lately. We will know more after she talks to the surgeon on the 10th. Life is rough, but in general, going on day by day towards better things.

It is just extremely quiet here with Bouncer gone on the 23rd after getting so sick, and then this past Thursday, coming home from work to find Smudge in his favorite spot behind the toilet, dead from a broken heart. He just missed his pal far too much to want to go on, and literally grieved himself to death. Granted, I have the kittens, but it isn't the same. So it's really sad and quiet here.

Saturday, July 18, 2015

Still too hot

It is so hot still. I cannot believe how hot it is, especially with the heat index. Even with all the windows open, the fans all going, and the improvised swamp coolers going, the house is still dang near 100 degrees right now. No wonder the cats are all finding the coolest spot possible and guzzling water to stay hydrated. No wonder I have a heat headache. Definitely time to sit down for a bit and cool down. I have been running since 10 AM and just now got home and got everything indoors and groceries put up. I think about all I will do now is get into my swimsuit for comfort and get bare feets going around here for a while. Chores like making the bed, putting away laundry, gathering and burning the trash, can all wait. Even the litter boxes for a couple more hours. It is just too hot.

So what got done today? Laundry is done and hung to dry. Staples got bought and brought home and put up. Water is refilled again, though I need to get a few more sturdy jugs, as several of the gallon water jugs (like milk carton type jugs) have gotten old and either sprung leaks or the heat has actually made them collapse on themselves so they are unusable. I am thinking of getting more of the kind like I have on the back of the kitchen sink for hand washing. It holds about 1 1/4 gallons, has a big fill mouth on top, and when set on it's side, has a little spigot to use as a tap. (Makes for easy hand washing. Loosen the cap for air flow, turn on and wet hands, turn off, soap up, turn on to rinse, turn off, tighten cap.) Garden got watered good before I left, but I may have to do it every day for a while till it cools off and rains good some more. Got every throw rug in the house out on the outdoor line early this morning to let fleas die off them out there. A few days of no kitties or us to feed on and they'll be good to take to the laundromat for a thorough cleaning before coming back and going back on the line for a while until the fleas die back or die off.

Also met up with one of my old friends from the plant who no longer works there, and his wife, and gave her a bunch of my business cards. She started looking at things on her phone, and oohing and aahing. I told her too look at things on a computer, she could see them better and see more stuff. Her eyes got big, she asked for more cards, and I gave her all I had. Told her to contact me through email and send me her address, and I would mail her a bunch to pass out. I am hoping that this could be the beginning of good things.

Time to relax a bit more in front of the fan/swamp cooler and do some serious cooling off. I know this won't last forever. Thank goodness. I need a break from this. We are supposed to get thunderstorms Tuesday and Wednesday, but then it is mostly dry and hot again through the end of the month as expected forecast. Ugh. Hugs and love, all. Time for a siesta of sorts while doing some work of some kind to feel like I accomplished something besides sitting for a couple of hours and dying in this heat. Whew!

Monday, July 13, 2015

Far too hot

Phoo ... the heat index is low triple digits. Despite swamp coolers (the off-grid setup is nowhere near big enough for even a small A/C yet) and fans and all the windows open for every bit of breeze possible, the house is still in the 90s and I have cats panting. Thank goodness I am a cat mama who keeps plenty of big bowls of water out all over the place for the furkids to stay hydrated! I refill twice a day and boy do they guzzle, but worth hauling the water in the house for them. Going to have to haul a lot of water home the next few days to fill the house cistern for showers and such. Whew! I will be glad when things turn around enough that I can expand the solar system so I can have A/C for summer heat, and get that deep well submersible solar pump. That will be a big project. The well is drilled and cased, but we need to get the pump, a couple batteries for it, lines to come to the house, and build a small well shed over the pump and well caing. Whew!!! That bailer bucket is getting a lot of use this summer. Takes forever to fill a jug but worth the effort, when you can have a short Navy shower near every day in this heat to cool off. Might take me an hour to haul up water for the day, but worth it. We supplement with filling jugs at the gas station and getting them in the house, too. Sometimes, homesteading is not all it's cracked up to be!

Sunday, July 12, 2015

Itchy time tonight

Earlier, just as it was getting dark, I went out and finished tying up the "house tomatoes," the ones by the house I use for summer salads. Despite the rain making things difficult for them, I still have around a dozen golf-ball sized beefsteak type tomatoes from three varieties coming along. I am salivating copiously at the thought of that wonderful bite in my jowls in a few weeks when I bite into them. Heck, I can feel that bite now. I did, however, get eaten up some by chiggers and mosquitoes, though Calamine got slapped on fast.

Thankfully, the itch has died now, and I need food. Ate a bit earlier but not much. Made an open face sandwich type thing - ham, bacon, swiss on bread, just nuked the whole thing open and then folded the halves up and ate that way. I think I want sloppy joes tonight. There is some in the freezer, just need to nuke to thaw after peeling off the foil. I am a major tightwad - I save all tinfoil and dry for reuse, as long as it has not touched meat. I think I have reused this piece four or five times, haha. But it has packed meat this time so it will get wadded up and go into the small can for mixed scrap metal, and thus to the scrappers for some chump change and reuse again that way. This homesteader doesn't let much of anything go  to waste!

Scrap material? Saved for stuffing small toys for pets and kids. Yarn scraps? I save those for plant ties in the garden, and then bag up the crappy ones at the end of the year. Mark the bag "bird yarn" and the next spring, I sprinkle it outside on the trees where the birds can get it to help with their nests. (Also helps me spot songbird nests around here easier so I know where NOT to disturb while woodcutting.) Leftover food? I either make a very mixed stew with it or it goes to the compost heap or the chickens. If I can find a way to make it useful for at least one more step, I will.

Saturday, July 11, 2015

Fun homesteading

It's been so busy lately. High summer is probably one of the busiest times on a homestead, especially if you work off-farm as well, as I do. The boys did not get done back on Monday, as I  got to the bottom of the road with them and the serpentine belt came off the car. A bit of finagling got me and them back home, and they got rescheduled for this Monday, the 13th. As I have a solid ride this time, they ARE getting done, no question about it, this time!

Now, don't let anyone fool you into thinking homesteading is not fun, and is nothing but hard work, before I tell you what my day has been like. It is tons of fun, but it is also a ton of hard work. Nothing gets done as fast as you would like, but even if it is done in bits and pieces, it does all get done eventually.

The MAM afghan strips got finished up back on Monday while I watched a couple of movies, so they went in the wash today. The wringer for the home laundry station arrived the other day, so we could get the tubs and piping at Home Depot today. Still no piped water to the house, but we do have the cistern up and going again, so I can go out and fill buckets or jugs from the hose which feeds down the hill from there to haul inside and fill the wash and rinse tubs now. Today made our last trip to the laundromat. I even got some good eye bolts and clothesline today at the store, so I can put up indoor clothesline in the dining area now (since we don't really use it for anything), and if the weather is bad, I can hang stuff up in there to dry. So the laundry tubs are up and going and I just need to put up an indoor line for bad and cold weather drying.

We made a payment on Quentin's new Ariat boots for work, and I need to find me a pair of rubber boots for work Monday while the cats are at the vets. My sneakers are disintegrating again, because the chlorine water on the floors at work just eats the glue away holding the sole to the uppers! We had lunch at the Chinese place we like and hit up Wally World for things we can't or don't make ourselves, like cat food, a box of the topical flea treatment to stock up for the next round on everybody, and some children's Benadryl. The vet said that with Bouncer's flea allergy and how much he licks and chews his fur off, and with how much he is trying to dig himself raw, that 1/4 teaspoon 2 to 3 times a day of the stuff should help with the itching and irritation for him, so it won't be worse than a normal flea bite would be. It will still annoy him, but not so badly.

We went with the liquid so I would not have to grind up pills and hope that he only got 1/4 tablet. A quarter of a child's dose should do it. Quentin loaded up the oral syringe that the pharmacy gave us, pried his jaws open, and shot the dose right down Bouncer's throat. Kitty had no choice BUT to swallow, after which he made all kinds of dirty looks and funny faces that pets will do with that. I will do anything I can afford to do so that Bubba is more comfortable with his blasted allergies to the flea bites, especially since he will not let anybody bathe him. Quentin and I already agreed that if the vet wants to give Bouncer a bath prior to neutering so that he will be more comfortable, and it does not cost a small fortune, that we will do it so he will be better for the snip job.

I also washed the bathroom counter, tub and the bath mat to get rid of the mildew trying to build up. A gallon and a half of water and a half a gallon of bleach made for a strong solution to put my hands into, but it will help kill the mildew. The bathroom now smells much nicer. Bleach is stinky, but it smells so much better than the mildew building up from all the recent rains! Then dishsoap and water to clean my hands and some aloe lotion to soothe the slight burn from that strong bleach water. I also had to wash the bottom sheet and put it on the outside line to dry. Despite putting the tarp on the bed before leaving, one of the kittens got UNDER it and pooped for some silly reason.The litter boxes all got fresh litter the other day and were cleaned prior to leaving for errands, so there was no excuse other than sheer bad behavior. Not the first time I've slept on a bare mattress, and likely won't be the last. The afghans all finally are outside on the grassy weeds near the parking area, getting aired out prior to going to the laundromat (okay, so today wasn't the LAST time, just the last time for CLOTHES) and being put up until cold weather hits. I keep putting it off and putting it off, and it only took five minutes. I'm just really good at procrastinating sometimes! (Especially when it comes to winter-smelly blankets!)

I still need to put away laundry tonight, though I need a break first from everything. The temps were in the mid-nineties today, and I am rather exhausted! Tomorrow I need to clean out the Escort, as once Bill gets a decent 4x4 in, that problematic car is being taken back and traded in against a 4x4. I also need to tie up the tomatoes again. I have three small golf ball sized ones on one of the Arkansas Travelers already, and I think I spotted one or two on the Georgia Peach. The four Red Beefsteaks are not blooming yet! And that's just what is up at the house!

Overall, life is good, but I need to relax. Hugs and love, all!

Friday, July 3, 2015

Happy early Independence Day

I have not been writing much lately partly because of the rush to get things done in the morning before I leave for work, and partly because it has just plain been too hot. Today was a holiday from work, paid day off, so I took advantage and got all the errands done and run today instead of fighting all the traffic tomorrow. I have Monday off as well for a vacation day, but I will be up when I should be sleeping because Bouncer and the boy kittens will be going to the vet for "the little snip." I will get a bit of a nap in possibly while they are being neutered, or maybe will go to McDonald's with the laptop. I am unsure at present. Then there is what would normally be my workday, when I will more than likely rest if I don't while the boys are at the vet's, and get other things done, and just generally enjoy the day. Getting the boys done before the girls ever go into heat gives me a bit of breathing room to save up to get the girls done, and that is a good thing. The older litter is now a bit over five months old, so the girls will be starting to go into heat in a few weeks. I just need three days, and I'll be okay while saving up to get them done.

Needlework is going to be a major project this weekend. I have nothing to catch up on through Hulu, so I will likely pop in a DVD or three over the weekend and work on some embroidery, knit myself a pair of socks, and work on more weaving in ends on the MAM afghan strips. It will be a busy time for my needlework! Also for the webstore. The Facebook page for the store is almost to 100 likes, and when that hits, I will come up with a weekly special on the page only. ... I kept the old page name marker when I had it as the farm page, but it evolved into the "gift shop"/webstore page, so I changed the name of the page, but it is still mine, haha. Visit and like so it can get to 100 likes AND start doing weekly specials!!! There will be sales, there will be discount coupons, etc., etc. It will be busy!!

But hey, chores are even done today, yay me! Laundry is put away, bed is made, groceries put away, and the best chore of all, if you can call it that - loving on my kitties!!!! Hugs and love, all. I am off of here to play some games!

Sunday, June 28, 2015

No rest for homesteaders, haha!

Not that I am complaining, because I'm not. But homesteading is inherently an extremely busy lifestyle you choose, or that chooses you, and so sitting down for hours and doing pretty much nothing is not an option.

For a day of rest, this is going to be a rather busy day. There's a few chores to do yet, like putting away the nonperishable groceries (heading right out to the movies after we got all the running done and the perishables put up meant everything else waited), and the laundry to be put up, dishes to do, bed to remake, and I need to get out and tie up the tomatoes some more. They are growing rather tall and have many blossoms on them, so that is going well. The rest of the garden is either producing, blooming or slowing down in the heat (that would be the short growth period things like greens and radishes and the like). All the warm weather plants are going amazingly well, and I am enjoying the fruits of the bounty.

I have a few customers for the excess, always spoken for before I even get it to the plant to deliver and get my money on workdays. I pick one day, email my customers the list of what I have with prices and get emails back saying what they want. It sometimes takes a few emails for each customer, because let's say I have forty hot peppers ready to go, and someone wants half, and the next email they want them all. As I do first come, first served, customer #1 gets their twenty they wanted, and customer two gets the other twenty, having to wait until I have more ready to go in a day or two for the rest of what they want. Currently, I have backorders in line well before any new customers for many things that are established and producing. I wash and pack that night after I get home and have some supper, and tie labels on each bag so I know which bag goes to which person. They show up to work, give me the agreed-upon amount of money and they get their bag of goodies. I can hardly wait for things like potatoes and squash and such to set, and the fall garden of more greens and short season stuff. It isn't much money, but every little bit helps.

The webstore is doing well, though it could certainly be doing much better. I am so ready to have things pick up enough to where profits are enough to quit the plant job and just do what I enjoy doing. I would still have to go in five days a week during good weather to deliver veggies and all, but it would not be an all day thing anymore at that point!

And there is always the store to work on, and other things like my writing, so it is time to get myself in gear for the day. I am doing a bit better than yesterday, having conquered the depression by simply getting up and doing, so that is good. Hugs and love, all. Lots to do!!

Sunday, June 21, 2015

Father's Day Doings

It has been a week to remember. Overall, not too shabby, despite Grandma's ill health and the resultant family drama. I've lost a lot of family as friends on FB due to being willing to stand up for Grandma (someone has to) as much as I can, and that's kind of sad, but I'll live. As to work, it's gotten worse on my job, and I am busting tail to make sure I go in every day no matter how crappy I feel, so I can get my points down that little bit more and get to where I can transfer out of the department. I don't really want to, but the way things are being done now, it's just not workable. The department I want to go to is run by a supervisor that I get along well with, and the lead is pretty decent, too. So I should be okay. Just gotta shuffle through the next few weeks as best I can and get to that day when I can put in paperwork!

So I don't forget, Happy Father's Day to all the married dads, the stepdads (bless you for stepping up to the plate when you didn't HAVE to!), the single dads, and the single moms who act as dads. Good job, all of you!

Homestead-wise, things are booming. The garden is in full growth, and I am not kidding when I say it is a small jungle out there. I keep having to pick, sort and pack near daily on extras, and email my customers (mostly at work) as to what will be available so they can shoot me a want list from what I have. It usually takes four or five emails per person to get things straight, because I might have a lot of stuff, but I sell on first-come, first-served, and if I only have forty tomatoes and someone buys twenty, and someone else wants all of them, the second person is going to be a bit unhappy but they understand. I don't usually come home with much of anything leftover from folks not showing up to pick up and pay for their stuff, lol!!

The webstore/gift shop is filling up more. Today is the first day all week when I have had some serious time to get busy on it, and since the balance of the chores are done, other than going out later and tying up umpteen more tomatoes that are rapidly trying to outgrow their stakes, my day is done.

The sand fleas are miserable this year. It's been far too wet for ticks, as their egg sacs are getting drowned out, but the fleas ... oh my gosh, the fleas are awful. The cats are all indoors cats, but we do tend to drag a few in with us from outdoors on our clothes, and they are all infested now. If it's not ticks here, it's fleas. I'd rather the ticks, as they are easier to control. We spent close to $50 yesterday cleaning out Wal-Mart and three dollar stores of flea collars as well as a couple of packs of the liquid stuff, since Cocoa and Smudge are hard to catch and would be near impossible to collar. On the other hand, they hold still well for the drops, haha. The other cats, Bouncer and ten of the kittens, all got collars and their curiosity had them all getting collared in no time flat. The flea meds did make Cocoa sick up a bit (on the bed on hubby's side, no less - though I'm not sure it wasn't partly the heat and humidity as well), and Fuzzy also sicked up a tad. In her case, she somehow got her mouth OVER the collar and was chewing on it, so she got some of the flea powder in her system and it caused her to blow chunks for a few minutes. No side effects on any of them so far other than that, and both Fuzzy and Cocoa are behaving normally, so whatever caused them to sick up, they are fine now. But I do know of horror stories with this stuff, so I am watching them closely to make sure there are no issues.

Hugs and love, all ... I need a nap in this heat.

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

Not in good shape today

Even if you are not religious, folks, please pray, light a candle, think good thoughts, whatever feels right, for my Grandma Betty out in Oregon. She is my Mom's Mom. I just got a call from Mom to wake me up, to tell me that Grandma Betty went in the hospital this morning with bone cancer that has also apparently spread to her stomach. The prognosis does not look good and she is in a lot of pain. Worse, none of us can afford to go to the funeral, so our only goodbyes will be in the privacy of our hearts. I am grateful for one thing in this. My Mom is a wreck from it, which is understandable. I am grateful that for whatever reason the multiverse decreed, that my daughter had to move back home with Mom (long story that is hers to tell, not mine) just the other day, so Mom will have someone there with her to help her through this. I don't know when Grandma will pass, but I do know I am going to be a basket case myself for a few days. Thank goodness for bereavement time at work, though I will have to talk to my GPM, Jamie, and see how to prove she's my grandmother when I can't even go to the funeral. The usual procedure is to provide a copy of the little flyer from the funeral, but since I can't go, I am hoping a printout of the obituary will suffice. What a way to start the day. Hugs and love, all ... I think this morning will mostly be gaming instead of working on the business, so I can concentrate on something simple. Homesteading and home-based business just has to be back-burnered for a bit.

Monday, June 15, 2015

Ugh, it's Monday, y'all

I just can not do a positive and upbeat post today folks. Sorry. The evening last night was rough, and this morning is no better. Long and short of it, the cats are being cats and hubby is stroking out over it. I can do nothing but keep myself as calm as possible instead of going ballistic myself and telling him to calm down or get out until he does. I have no clue why, for the last few weeks, he keeps going off like this, and I do not care. Temper tantrums from a 40-year-old man are not necessary, and I'm pretty sure that most folks will understand where I am going with that.

In better news, the MAM afghan strips are done and I have gotten a few of them finished as far as getting all the ends worked in and snipped off so they are neatened up. I have a long ways to go on that, though. It takes about a minute or so to thread the needle, weave in the end, pull the yarn needle off, and snip the excess off and throw it out. Times about 150 to 200 ends to do over twenty total strips, that's a lot of time weaving in ends. But it is going to be so pretty when it's done that I don't care.

The webstore gift shop is growing like crazy, and I'm pleased with that, too. I am only semi-pleased with the weather. It's still hot and while I am not happy that we are looking at upwards of nine inches more of rain due to the tropical depression in the Gulf looking to track this way, I am happy not to have to water the garden for a while! So I am off to get a few things done before I have to head to work, so I can keep on trying to truck to get that other point back, so I can transfer off breast line. I love debone, but I need to get out of there, because if I don't, they'll just keep hauling me back over to "help," and the way things are running around there now, I do not want any part of it any more. So hugs and love, all. I will see you later!

Sunday, June 14, 2015

Sleepy Sunday

It has been a bit crazy the last several days. The heat has me tired enough, but the way work has been going with the changes they are "trying" on breast line have me exhausted much of the time. (By "trying," read as "Someone decided it would be a good thing and no matter how messed up it is, you are still stuck with it on a permanent basis.") So when I get another point back in a few weeks, I will be putting in for transfer somewhere else where the work is a bit easier on me. Apparently, so will half of breast line, because the "changes" are not working out well for the people who actually have to do the work. NOT good. I am not a robot, and I can not work like one. So it's off I go somewhere else, which possibly means working a lot of weekends instead of longer days and full weekends. Oddly, that does not wear me out near as much as 10- or 12-hour shifts all week do. Anyhow ...

The place is looking like a jungle. If I had reliable transport that I did not have to worry about so much (the Escort may be going back to the dealer and a different car coming home ... not sure yet on that one since we can't get a belt that fits it and it needs at least one new tire plus don't know what the engine light is on for), I would likely go back to first shift so I would have daylight hours in which to cut some of it down and back. You literally can not see the back trash trailers from the deck now, it has gotten so overgrown with no time to work on things.

At least it rained some yesterday, a good steady rain for a few hours, so the tomatoes got watered well. It is supposed to possibly rain again today, which would be nice. Breaks up some of the heat. I think I will head back to bed for a bit once I put this up, beause I did not sleep well last night for whatever reason. Hugs and love, all ... it's looking to be a sleepy Sunday!

Wednesday, June 10, 2015

Vacation day - happy me!

So warm today that I am having to dunk the cats in water to soak them down and help them cool off. Too bad I don't work strictly from home, because I would gladly do it several times a day. Thankfully, the worst of the heat doesn't last more than a couple of hours, so they don't overheat badly. I always make sure there's plenty of water, and right now the fans and swamp cooler are going constantly to help keep things in better shape.

All the outside chores are done - did them while it was not too breezy and the heat of the day had settled some but before the bugs all came out for their evening snacking on me. Thank goodness for all the birds and bats around here!

Took some pictures today, too, along with getting some edited from a week or so ago at the end of all the rain we had for about a MONTH. Enjoy!

This was from the end of the rain in May. You know how I mention the shallow gully that crosses the road at the cow pasture, where the extra water from the pasture goes through to the seasonal creek? This is the water going into the creek.

This is where the water comes from the cow pasture and starts across the road. It looks like a lot, but it's pretty shallow - maybe an inch deep at the most. Mostly it just spread out this year due to a month of nearly unending rain.

The upstream side of the low-water bridge, near the area at the cow pasture where everybody parks when the road is unpassable (like the wintertime, unless you have 4x4 and tire chains and hopefully a winch just in case).

The downstream side of the seasonal creek at the low-water bridge. The creek here is about six feet deep all told. That it was this high was amazing. It so rarely gets this full, and usually is only about 2 feet deep. The county had to put the bridge in, by the by, because of all the elderly and disabled folks who live at the top of the mountain. It didn't used to be here about twenty years ago, and folks had to park at the bottom near the mailboxes and walk all the way up to the top (about three miles).

The first of the afghans is airing out, draped on the trailer in the yard. So on going out to burn the trash, I saw this little darling fanning itself on the afghan! I don't know what it is, but it is pretty.

Some of the daisies at the easement near where we park.

A different type of butterfly, sunning on one of the Black-Eyed Susans near the easement.

A patch of the Black-Eyed Susans near the easement.

The burn barrel smoldering up a storm as the trash caught fire good. Hubby and I keep the weeds well away from it, though we do need to clean up the cans from the old barrel in the back and take them to the scrappers. The black thing in front was the last of the trash to be burnt. I had to wait for the barrel to burn down to make room for it. In this weather, we keep the burn small, so the flames don't get above the top of the barrel. Takes a while to burn two weeks' worth of trash, let me tell you!

Tuesday, June 9, 2015

It's a peaceful Tuesday

Hey, good news of a sort, at least job-wise! We got a full shift in last night! Barely, but a full shift. That helps a bit on the paycheck. The GPM is back from his vacation and says likely we will be back to full hours plus some overtime again either this week or next week. Thank goodness, because I need the money. All these short checks the last few weeks are killing me financially.

But I have tomorrow off!!!! Paid holiday! So JUICED about it, I can hardly wait for today to be over! I want tomorrow to drag. Lots to do, so it will probably rush past, but so much will be accomplished I know. Trash will get burnt so it will be caught up, the usual clean the cat boxes, do some light cleaning and organizing once it's dark that couldn't get done the other day from the heat, and a TON of writing and working on the store and working the afghan, and winding scrap yarn up into balls for later scrapghans, and ... yeah. It will be a nice, quiet, BUSY day, and an enjoyable one. Especially the late afternoon out in what garden there is that is busting out with life, because that is when it gets a little shady so it makes it easier to work in it, because there are some weeds trying to grow and I am going to pull the dickens out of them and get the mulch down (finally - yeah, it's been one of THOSE years in the garden).

I love homesteading, and all that goes with it. Always such a pleasure to do what you love. Hugs and love all, I need to get busy so I can do one more day of chicken fun before I get away from it for a day!

Monday, June 8, 2015

Yay, it's Monday

I sit here writing and wishing my supervisor had not been such a jerk over my vacation day today and insisted that I had to pick a different one because SHE overscheduled people to have the day off. Trust me, if I did not need the money, and was not working my points down, and was not such a nice person, I would call in and take a point without thinking twice about it, then take my paid day off Wednesday, too. See how she'd like THAT. But I am too nice a person, so as usual, I'm the one who has to suffers for it.

But on the bright side, the house got super clean yesterday, I got a lot of needlework done on rest breaks, and stuff is getting done on the store and on the book and on a bunch of other stuff. Woot!! So hugs and love, y'all. I gotta scoot to do a couple things and pull together for a not-so-lovely day at work.

Friday, June 5, 2015

It's a good Friday

So I haven't written anything in a few days, mainly because it decided to quit raining and get hot and muggy instead. Overall, things are going pretty decent, barring that I do wish work would give us more hours. Add in that they have changed up things on the boob line a bit to "help" us do our jobs better, and that takes away a lot of what fun there was there, but oh well. In a few months, I will be in a position to bid on better-paying stuff, and that's okay. I can deal till then.

The car is still down, but not for anything horrible. The belt still needs finishing up, due to two of the smooth pulleys for the serpentine belt being old enough that they have no grip left to hold the belt in place, and in hanging out under the car, hubby has discovered that the right front tire has a spot that is almost to steel belts, so no way am I driving it again till those issues are dealt with. I'll have to rush my mornings to ride with him for a bit, but I can deal. Not FUN, but I can deal.

Monday, the house will be getting cleaned after dark, and before dark I will be outside, doused in OFF!!! Deep Woods, and using my little chainsaw to cut down a crapton of brush for the woodpile. Also will be setting up the box fan and a pan of water for our cheap but effective swamp cooler for the summer, and moving the pedestal fan back down to the bedroom. Might even sneak in some extra writing and crocheting and such. Why? Don't I have to work or something? Technically, yes. But officially, I am taking my paid birthday vacation day on Monday, the day after my birthday. Boob line is shorthanded anyhow, but since both I and the lead will be gone, they are basically going to have a BAD day. Woops. Hey, the supervisor signed off on it! So I am outta here for now to get done what I can and go from there to work the last day of the week. Yay, me! Hugs and love, all!

Monday, June 1, 2015

Monday is here

The sun is out a bit, though it is still a tad gloomy. So glad to see bright light during the day instead of nothing but grey clouds. Now to just get out of this funky mood I am in. Things are progressing nicely, and at a steady pace, so I am okay with that. I did not get as far on the afghan as I wanted last night, but kitties wanted cuddles and that is just a tad more important.

Tomatoes did get the organic fertilizer granules dumped around them yesterday. I am hoping that perks them up quite a bit. I got a bit done on the store last night (you should SEE some of the goodies in the webstore - I gave away 234 copies of my book on making money taking surveys, which is pretty cool, and with luck, I will get some referrals from that which will make me some extra cash as well.

The second belt we tried yesterday actually did get the battery light to go off and the charge to come up on it, so that likely was the issue there. The check engine soon light is still on, however, which means next weekend, we take both vehicles and have the car codes checked at O'Reilly's and hopefully cleared. If nothing else, we will find out what is setting it off. That means that I still ride with hubby for a few days, but once the road dries out a bit more after all this rain, I can drive myself again. Yay. More work done here!!! Less tolerating nimrods at work!

Time to get some other things done, before I have to pull together for work and the early ride in with hubby. Hugs and love, all!! Have a good Monday!

Sunday, May 31, 2015

Happy Sunday!

Some days, it feels like I am getting nowhere fast. Spinning my wheels in place, no traction. This is one of those days. Errands yesterday went great, even got the new serpentine belt for the car, all is put away except for the laundry. I am sitting here waiting on hubby to need my help with the car after the debacle with the first belt, and wondering when in heck my life decided I needed to be kicked again.

The belt we got for the car is the one that it is supposed to have, according to specs. But it is at least two inches too big. So back today to the parts store, get it returned and swapped for a smaller one, same width, and get a second one a bit smaller than that and see which one fits best. The other one will go back to the store for refund. We shall see which one works. I want my car back on the road, and hopefully, replacing just the stupid belt will work to not only get the car fired back up, but the stupid engine and battery lights off! I have a funny feeling that the old belt was in just bad enough shape that it caused both to come on.

On the brighter side of things, I have been getting a lot done on the MAM antifreeze afghan, and finally ran out of de-antifreezed yarn, so am using up other scraps to finish it. I have six more strips that need round four done and then I can work in all the ends before washing the strips for assembly. I might get that part done tonight, as it's WWE Elimination Chamber, and hubby will be hogging the computer and internet for four or five hours to watch that. It lags a lot, but we do not have a TV that is internet capable, or I would find a dongle or something to plug into the TV that would pick up the signal from the router and allow him to install the app on the TV so he could watch it that way without the lag. But it is only one day a month sually, so I can tolerate it.

The newest book is doing well on Amazon with the freebie promo this weekend. Around 150 copies given away, and it is #2 in it's category. That is the best any of my books have ever gotten, so I am kind of stunned about that, but happy as well. It bodes well for the future. Now if only they had all been paid copies, lol. That would be about $300 in my pocket,  but you have to promo to get anywhere, and it is free advertising, so I cannot complain about it at all. As it may also get me some referrals on some things, which would also make me some money, and likely more than the $300 from selling all those copies, I am thinking happy thoughts. The next book I am working on is also about 10% done with editing, so that is a good thing, also!

The store is coming along nicely, but only crafty stuff going up the rest of this weekend until the wee hours of the morning, becase my supplier for the decor type stuff is down for site maintenance. Bummer, but what can you do besides nothing and hope that things work out in the long run. Oh yeah, and on top of everything else, I got out with the organic fertilizer and dumped some on the tomatoes! So much is going on and happening, that it is amazing to look back at the day as I head to bed and realize just how much really did get done! Hugs and love, all. I need to go do some gaming and wake up so I can finish up what few chores need doing!

Friday, May 29, 2015

Glad it is Friday

Last night was actually almost a full shift, which will be nice on the paycheck after all the short days we have had. Sometimes, I wish I was still on first shift, though, and I have thought about going back to it if I can get a lead job so I do not have to deal with the silliness on the line itself. Add in that it means a bit more money, I can handle that. It is either that or stay on second shift and go to the cone lines, which I do not really want to do. I do not think my arthritis would let me.

Work progresses on everything. The latest book is coming along a page or so a day, the antifreeze afghan moves along whenever I have a bit of TV or a movie to watch, other needlework is coming along a bit at a time before work, and the webstore is moving along nicely. Even though some of the stuff I can get wholesale is often found on eBay, I am thinking of putting the smaller stuff there up, like the $10 and under stuff, along with all kinds of links to my webstore, so that I can possibly generate some sales that way, along with traffic to the store. It certainly can not hurt. I would do some stuff on Amazon as well, but you have to compete worse there with price breaks and that is not easy. May have to eventually, though. This, along with trying to save up to get the girls all fixed along with the boys, and to get busy with a flea market stall or two.

The tomatoes are going to have to be fertilized. All this rain is washing the nutrients out of the soil, and I have a few yellowing leaves. Despite good drainage, it happens when there is just this much rain in short order. I know where the leftover organic granules are from last year, so I can sprinkle some in before work today or probably on Sunday, since my ride (hubby) is so impatient all the time to get going. (The man lives up to the line in an Alabama song that says, "I rush and rush until life's no fun." No fun for anybody around him, that is.) So it is that I must rush myself to get my day going so I can head to work. Yay, me. Hugs and love, all!

Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Yay for Wednesday

I am beat this morning. Work was not too bad, as we actually got out early. We are stil working some short days for a few weeks yet because of the bird flu in the area a month or so ago. It basically decimated several of our barns, full of birds of all ages, so now our growers have to grow out birds again for us. It kind of sucks for second shift, as first is getting full hours and we are not right now, but just give it a few weeks and we will be working full time plus a ton of overtime plus possibly Saturdays for a while to play catch up on all our orders.

No, I am beat because of eleven kittens deciding in the middle of my night (9AM for all you daywalkers) that playing kitty wrestling on my feet plus climbing the shower curtain. So I am short on sleep, but still got to go to work and mess with chicken all night. Yay, me.

The short night did do one thing, though. It allowed me some time to get more writing done and more work done on the webstore. So even as tired as I am this morning, and as much as I would just love to call in, I am happy. I can not call in though. My section is short-handed as it is, plus I need the money. Things are moving along in a way to where I need as much cash as I can earn through work and the store and writing. And if the gofundme campaign to get the cats fixed and raise some cash for the no-kill shelter's low-cost spay/neuter clinic does anything, that will help me get the cats all done and raise some much-needed cash for the shelter's clinic, so they can keep doing their good work.

All in all, though, it is a nice day (sunny for the first time in days) and I am feeling pretty good overall. Hugs and love, all. I have a lot to do before I head in to work.

Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Tuesday is ON

It is time to head back to work after the long holiday weekend. I wonder how many people will show up. A bunch did not Thursday, and company policy for holiday pay is that you have to work the full scheduled shift the day before and the day after the holiday. Personally, if folks do not show up, it is no skin off my nose, but it is nice when they do their job so that the rest of us do not have to do our own job plus part of someone else's. I do not mind working hard, but that gets ridiculous after a while.
If you are going to hire in for a job, show up and do the job, and so folks wonder why the majority of the people at the plant are in their mid-thirties and up. It is because we are old enough to have gone through all the stupid crap about not showing up for work and thinking that there are plenty of others out there AND that we can always depend on everybody else to take care of us. Oh yeah, it is called "being a responsible adult." Thank goodness my kids learned that while they were still young, and have turned out to be wonderful people. I could go on and on about that, but I will spare all y'all, lol. No need to start your week out with gagging over my Mom-praise, right?

I am still amazed at how much got done around here with just a bit of extra time and some concerted effort. So much done, so much yet to do, but gosh is it ever nice to see things starting to go the way I want. And hubby thought I would spend most of my weekend lounging around doing pretty much nothing. I have far too many things to get done to get to sit around and do that. Good grief, I have yet to figure out how to watch TV or a movie here at the house without needlework in hand to keep my hands busy. For me, that kind of thing is more of a background noise kind of thing, rather than being something to put me on the edge of my seat. I like certain shows, but there is more to life than the idiot box.

Thus it is that I have to dress and pack for work and get done what I can while I can, so that I can ride in with hubby to go mess with chicken again. I know it is only until the business and my writing take off, though. One of these days, they will, and I know it, and the day I put in my two weeks notice at a job I do not enjoy that much, to be able to spend my days on a business I do enjoy will be absolutely fantastic. It is slowly building to that. Which reminds me, hubby had a nice idea. Why not put back a few bucks a week and buy some small stuff to stock a flea market stall. Just stick it in boxes in the front bedroom for a while until I have a stall full, then get a stall at the flea market in Harrison to start (because it is closest)? So hugs and love, all. I gotta scoot.

Monday, May 25, 2015

Memorial Day

First off, I want to take a moment for us to have a bit of silence and remember the fallen heroes who gave their lives in service that we could all be free today. For those who think to say "Happy Memorial Day," please do not. This is not a day to celebrate our veterans, but to somberly remember those who died in service. If you want to celebrate them, wait until Veteran's Day when it is more appropriate. I just gave up a friend on Facebook who was wishing "Happy" Memorial Day yesterday, and gave a gentle correction. Nothing horrible, just a quick note to realize what the day is truly for. She wants to continue on because her son is going to Kuwait in a couple of weeks (I applaud his service, but happy he's going overseas?) and she specifically said she "did not appreciate" the "correction." A couple of others lambasted me for it. Fine, I do not need negative people like that in my life, so it is one less person on my friend's list. Not that I am worried, I have more than enough anyhow!!! So please, on this day when so many of us tend to think it is about parades and BBQs or picnics and a paid day off from work, just remember what it really is about.

Other topics. I got a lot done on the MAM antifreeze afghan the last couple of days while catching up on my few TV shows. I had not made time to watch for a bit, so I had eleven episodes to watch. yikes! That was a lot of crocheting, folks! I still have a few more strips to do round four on before I can work in ends and wash all the strips before joining. The tomatoes are all growing like crazy, and I am glad I have them well-drained with all the rain lately. The area is under a flood warning until later tonight from it all. So many of the local lakes are full to bursting with all the rain that the dams are having to let a lot of water out as well as blocking water from coming in. That backs up the rivers and streams that feed INTO the lakes, along with the tributaries that feed into the rivers and streams. Many of the local rivers are cresting at flood stage. I like the Ozarks, but the spring and fall rains can be a serious pain if you live in the hills as I do!

Much has been done on other projects, including writing and the store. The latest little book finally got done (how to make money with online surveys - I do not make a LOT but every little bit helps), and it has already managed to get a KU/KOLL lend/sale on it. I have gotten some other small things done, and I got quite a bit done on the webstore. Today is primarily webstore stuff, so I can get as much done as possible on my last day off.

Car issues ... the van is running good, but the car is down for a bit. The serpentine belt is getting replaced as hubby thinks it is a bit too worn (it looks fine to me, but I am not a mechanic-type person, so what do I know?) and the alternator is likely shot. We multimetered the charge on the battery. With the car off completely, we were only getting 12.7 volts, and with everything running, it dropped to around 11.8. This is not really good on a 12V battery that should be running 13.4 to 14.5 IF the alternator is charging it up. This is not good. Now, if he puts the old belt back on, and we check the fuses, too, it could be a blown fuse (either  the megafuse or the alternator fuse), but since the battery light came on, more than likely, it is the alternator and changing THAT out will probably solve the issue (90% chance that it fixes it). Now to just save up and get the parts, which will run around $200 plus tax and core. Ouch. Guess no payments on the car for a few weeks, which Bill does not mind if you are putting the money towards repairs. He really does not like selling lemons.

With all that, I need to clear litter boxes (the daily fun of cleaning up after the kitties while they try to "help" by swatting at the scooper and refilling the boxes as soon as they are done), getting dishwater heating up, and getting trash together so it can be burnt. Hugs and love, all. I have a ton of stuff to do today!

Saturday, May 23, 2015

Memorial Day weekend

So far, this weekend has been interesting. Did the run to Walmart yesterday for staples and cat supplies, did the run into Green Forest today for laundry. Cops are out like flies on a manure pile, as we saw them stopping people all over the place. While filling water jugs, we saw three stops in less than fifteen minutes. Wow. Good thing we are home now for the weekend and going nowhere till Tuesday when we have to head back to work.

Got my tomatoes I bought at Walmart yesterday in the ground while hubby unloaded water jugs, and he laughed, saying he has never really seen anyone enjoy playing in the dirt as much as I do. There is just something calming and relaxing about growing things. I even got the few seeds from last year's Arkansas Travelers (which is what I picked up in those two good-sized starts yesterday) that had sprouted in the ground, so hopefully I will get a good harvest of tomatoes this year again. Ok, so all I am doing as far as a garden this year is tomatoes, but at least it is something growing so I can keep my thumb green.

Needlework is progressing, and I am happy to say that some of the embroidery is really moving along. The antifreeze afghan (the MAM) is coming along whenever I have time to catch up on my television shows on Hulu, so in a few more weeks, I will finally get a chance to work in all the ends and wash the strips before assembly. They probably do not really need another wash, but I am going to be on the safe side, just in case kittens had a pee on them before I got them litter trained.

Chores are done barring litter boxes and putting the laundry away, so I can take a little while and relax and work on my money-making projects. The rest of today and all of tomorrow and Monday is going to be chock full of some serious goal work! I might even get enough gumption up to finish up the surveys book and get it up on the Kindle platform, even though I am not really happy with them. It does generate a few extra dollars a month, though, so I can not really complain overmuch, though it is annoying to put time and effort into original stuff and have it originally rejected because "content is too similar to information already on the internet." In this day and age, just about everything is already on the internet, but not everybody wants to look it up on the internet, and many folks are still old-fashioned enough to like books. (Seriously, if the KDP reviewers try to tell me this one is too similar, I am done, and will just put them all up on my webstore. Sheesh.)

Thus it is time for me to get busy kicking butt on paying work from home stuff (okay, after I catch up emaill and spend a few minutes playing Klondike and Ghost Tales). Hugs and love, all. I am outta here!

Thursday, May 21, 2015

Last day for this week

Still have not found the multimeter. It is around here somewhere, just hubby does not always put things away where they belong when he is done with them, and then can not find them. Thus the story of the multimeter. It is buried somewhere, and it will be found when he finally does a bit of cleaning.

Still raining off and on, but at least the county finally got out and smoothed out the rough spots in the road so we can all get up and down the road again. Work hours are short this week. All short days, with only Tuesday being full hours and then just barely, as is typical of mid-spring at the plant. Once folks quit grilling, the hours go kaput till the weather clears again. But by the middle of next month, folks will quit griping about the short hours and will start griping about the overtime. You just can not win with some folks. Add in that we have tomorrow off as an additional unpaid day along with the weekend and Monday as a paid holiday, next week is going to be short money-wise.

But the plant had to give us an extra day off, because there is some critical maintenance and deep cleaning that has to be done, and in between second shift going home and first shift coming in on our regular schedule, there just is not time for those things to get done. Ah well, I have vacation days, and my hire-in anniversary holiday available to me, and in a couple of weeks, my birthday holiday as well that I can put in for. So I will be putting in for my anniversary holiday today so that is on next week's paycheck, to help with the short hours a bit. As we do not have to work tomorrow anyhow, there will likely be no problem with my supervisor signing off on it. I just have to catch her to get her to sign it, haha! Financially this week, we are doing extra good, as they finally got my bereavement pay on my paycheck! Only took a month and plenty of hollering about it. Seriously, if it was not paid, then say so. If it was, why take so long when they got hubby's done right off the bat? Oh yeah, I do not carry his last name, so folks apparently thought that we are not married (sorry, I have proof that in just over a month, it will be five years, sheesh).

Hugs and love all - have to hurry to get things done before we head out the door to work one more time. And then get through that, and barring chores and errands, I will have four days to work on the webstore and get LOTS of new things up! WHEEE!!

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

More car woes

I get to ride with hubby again for a while. Yuck. I love him, but not his driving, or his temper. But there's no choice but to rush my mornings and ride with him for a bit. The battery light on the Escort came on last night just as I pulled into the driveway, and we need to find the multimeter so we can check to see if it is the alternator or a bad battery. I am hoping it is a bad battery, or even a blown mega fuse, because those are a lot cheaper and easier to fix than an alternator. Short hours all week this week are expected and we are getting an unpaid day off Friday, plus Monday off for Memorial Day, so with any luck, I can do some catching up over the four-day weekend. This is not going to be fun for a bit till the car is fixed for whatever is wrong, but at least it is a trusty vehicle to get me from point A to point B. Usually, used cars tend to leave me stranded on the side of the road over things like this, but the little guy, who I have named Buddy, got me home before whatever this is happened. So that is a good thing. Off I go to get as much done as I can before I throw together. Hugs and love, all. Think good thoughts for me, I need them right now. (The car now is yet another reason to move into town as much as I hate suburban living. No matter what, I could still leave when *I* like and walk to work!)

The kitten spay/neuter fund is up on gofundme. Any help is appreciated! Heather's Kitten Spay/Neuter Fund

Monday, May 18, 2015

Earballs and rain

The last few days have been so busy, despite off and on rain. I had to work Friday, of course, and that was fun, in that we all get to tease one of the floor boys (glorified janitors) for a few days on something he said. A while back, the plant installed this stupid bell next to the supply cage that we can ring if we have had a safe day at work. Unfortunately for where they mounted it on the wall, most folks clang it to annoy others on clock in. Friday was no exception. When I and a couple others were clocking back in after lunch break, including Grant the floor boy, another guy we call Polka Dot (long story) rang the bell right next to Grant's ear. Grant MEANT to say "Don't do that, it hurts my ears." Instead, he said it hurt his "earballs." Kid y'all not, within twenty minutes, everybody knew about Grant's "earballs," and I didn't have to do a thing. He practically begged me not to anyhow, because he knew I would tell hubby, who would not let him live it down. Or, as our GPM put it, what kind of warm, friendly, caring, supportive team member would I be if I did not share the wealth? *looks innocently around and whistles*

The weekend rained off and on, so not a lot of outside stuff got done other than burning trash and hubby got the walking path weed whacked so we have less worries about snakes and things near the house. It has been so wet for so long now, the grass was waist-high on me, and I am not that much over five feet! The yard, such as it is, looks much nicer now, and I was able to get out and tie up the tomatoes to their stakes yesterday when it was nice out. It is supposed to rain a bit more today, but at least it dried up enough over the weekend that we got both vehicles to the house Saturday afternoon. Unloading everything for the first time in days was so easy, but we were exhausted. Considering we did not get any perishables, we just left it all in the truck, came indoors, and took naps until we felt better and were more able to get things in and finish up the chores. I am still tired, but no time for any extra sleep. There are a number of things going on that I am not comfortable talking about right now and they are messing with my sleep, which is not good. I need more than five hours a night to be properly functional!

But it is time to start doing what I can with the store for a few minutes before I head out to work. Hugs and love all, be safe!

Friday, May 15, 2015


Thank goodness it is Friday. Well, sort of. One of the gals on breast line at work quit because she was not given the transfer to day shift that she wanted (too many points) and another is transferring to another plant, so today is her last day. So things are going to be rather busy over there without two people, especially since the lead went to first shift a few weeks ago. Yikes. But, as it is the one gal's last day, she is likely to get the "last day ritual of respect," or, she will have to bring a change of dry clothes with her because she is liable to get a bucket of cold water dumped on her sometime during the latter part of the day. It's the plant's way of saying, "Thanks for being here, for being a good worker, and we will miss you." Me, especially, because come Monday, I will have to take HER spot and that particular liine of the three breast lines is the busiest of all. The work is not that hard, but boy, do we get a lot of folks who quit after just a few weeks because "it's too hard." By which they mean that they are actually expected to WORK. Oh dear. I thought that was what a job was about, but maybe I was wrong.

The webstore is coming along nicely, so that is a big help. I need a lot more sales, but every little bit helps. Now if I were just awake enough to do more stuff, lol. The weather has me pretty sleepy with all this rain, but I gotta get my butt to work. Next week might be easier. There is talk of having Friday off as an unpaid no-kill day, because a number of the overhead shackles need to be replaced, and with the following Monday off as a paid holiday for Memorial Day. A four-day weekend next weekend would be nice because I could hopefully get so much more done. As it is, gotta get through today so I can get stuff done tomorrow and Sunday. Hugs and love all.

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Smarter than I thought

Every time I think I do not really know all that much about homesteading, or frugality, or simple living,  or any of the things that go into what I do, I find someone has a question that I can answer thoughtfully and insightfully, and realize once again, that I know more than I think I do.

Today, it came about with hubby that he doesn't like the color of the water I'm bringing up from the seasonal creek. It's not clear like tap water. It doesn't taste like tap water. That is because it is not tap water. I got him to understand it was safe to drink (if the wildlife around here is not dropping like flies from it, and it is what goes into folks stock ponds, wells and the local aquifer, I would say it is reasonably safe). Just because it is not filtered, chlorinated and flouridated and chemically treated beyond belief does not mean it is not good water. It is just like what we get from the well when we have time to haul it up over a hundred feet, and we have yet to get sick off of that water.

Others ask how I can possibly deal with a crappy road and hauling groceries and such up the road, if we have to park half a mile to a mile away from the house. A Coleman camping cart, which is a cloth folding cart, comes in quite handy. It folds up for easy storage, has a removable sturdy base that folds up for storage as well, and holds upwards of one hundred and fifty pounds of stuff in five cubic feet of space when opened. Now, hauling that much uphill is a trial, but we limit to about a third of that. For example, I already went down and filled four more jugs with water while hubby got ready for work. That was just over thirty pounds I dragged back to the house. Then he took the cart with him, as I will stop at the dollar store on the way to work and grab a small back of scooping litter at about fifteen pounds and some extra cans of cat food, so that is about twenty pounds to haul up from wherever we manage to park tonight, depending on the road. It is a lot easier to haul it uphill in a rolling cart (or on a sledge in wintertime) than to carry it in your arms.

My pollen allergies are still in full bloom, so to speak, as the dogwoods have finished up for the year, but now the wildflowers and wild black raspberries are blooming. And yet, I homestead, in the midst of all the green, glorious, pollen-loaded mess that is the backwoods. Go figure. Time to get some lunch, pack for work, and head out for another night of fun messing with the chicken! Supposed to rain a bit tonight maybe, so we will see. At least all this rain means my tomatoes are well watered! Hugs and love all!