Friday, May 29, 2009
So, about the holes. Adam and I picked up the auger, 36 posts, fencing and some concrete and headed back home to experience what Adam says, "was the hardest work he's ever done in his life". I'll have to agree it came pretty close for me too. I think it's right up there with giving birth. The 3 of us are very tired, sore and a little bruised here and there. It was soooo much fun. Seriously. I can't think of anything the 3 of us have done together in a long time that was as much fun. When we first started we had no idea what we were doing. It was just Adam and me. We let the auger go down too deep without bringing it out to remove the dirt. It got stuck in the ground and probably took at least 45 minutes to get it back out. I think that's why I couldn't sleep last night because of my aching back. Once we got the hang of it it moved along much better. It was really hard to start back this morning because I was so sore and weak from yesterday. James joined us and that made things go much faster. He and Adam did most of the augering while I used the post hole digger and tamper to get more dirt out.
I got the gate posts concreted in now and tomorrow I'll finish digging and putting the other posts in. I can't wait.
We worked so well as a team and all 3 of us were in good moods (always a good thing). We only heard a little cursing early on today and I won't comment on who's mouth it came out of. After the fence is up, which I'll probably do alone, we'll begin the barn. I'm hoping that's another project the 3 of us can do together. It'll be a breeze after digging holes. I think it'll be even more fun.
Enough bloggering about my augering.
As Tigger would say, "TTFN"
Thursday, May 28, 2009
Someone sent me this email today. I had to use it in my blog because it fits me so well and it made me snicker. I don't know if this applies to men as much as women but if a man reads this and identifies with it let me know, ok?
KNOW THE SYMPTOMS.....PLEASE READ! Thank goodness there's a name for this disorder. Somehow I feel better, even though I have it!!
Age Activated Attention Deficit Disorder.
This is how it manifests:
I decide to water my garden.
As I turn on the hose in the driveway, I look over at my car and decide it needs washing.
As I start toward the garage,
I notice mail on the porch table that
I brought up from the mail box earlier.
I decide to go through the mail before I wash the car.
I lay my car keys on the table, put the junk mail in the garbage can under the table, and notice that the can is full.
So, I decide to put the bills back
On the table and take out the garbage first.
But then I think,
since I'm going to be near the mailbox
When I take out the garbage anyway, I may as well pay the bills first.
I take my check book off the table, and see that there is only one check left.
My extra checks are in my desk in the study,
so I go inside the house to my desk where
I find the can of Coke I'd been drinking.
I'm going to look for my checks,
but first I need to push the Coke aside
So that I don't accidentally knock it over.
The Coke is getting warm, and I decide to put it in the refrigerator to keep it cold.
As I head toward the kitchen with the Coke,
a vase of flowers on the counter
Catches my eye--they need water.
I put the Coke on the counter and
discover my reading glasses that
I've been searching for all morning.
I decide I better put them back on my desk, but first I'm going to water the flowers.
I set the glasses back down on the counter, fill a container with water and suddenly spot the TV remote.
Someone left it on the kitchen table.
I realize that tonight when we go to watch TV,
I'll be looking for the remote,
but I won't remember that it's on the kitchen table,
so I decide to put it back in the den where it belongs,
But first I'll water the flowers.
I pour some water in the flowers, but quite a bit of it spills on the floor.
So, I set the remote back on the table, get some towels and wipe up the spill.
Then, I head down the hall trying to
Remember what I was planning to do.
At the end of the day:
the car isn't washed
the bills aren't paid
there is a warm can of Coke sitting on the counter
the flowers don't have enough water,
there is still only 1 check in my check book,
I can't find the remote,
I can't find my glasses,
and I don't remember what I did with the car keys.
Then, when I try to figure out why nothing got done today,
I'm really baffled because I know I was busy all day,
And I'm really tired.
I realize this is a serious problem, and I'll try to get some help for it, but first I'll check my e-mail...
Do me a favor.
Forward this message to everyone you know, because I don't remember who the heck I've sent it to.
Don't laugh -- if this isn't you yet, your day is coming!
Wednesday, May 27, 2009
What do I worry about? Oh, all kinds of things that aren't important and just a few that are. Since I got my buck, Witty, he's had diarrhea most of that 2 and a 1/2 weeks. The second or third day he was here he ate all the chicken feed and had terrible poops. It got a little better but then came back with a vengeance. Finally I took a fecal sample to the vet to find out he had worms, which is what I suspected. Because I suspected it of course I did all kinds of searches on the internet and read about goats and scours. Turns out they can die very quickly if the parasite problem gets out of hand. To make a long story a little shorter, I worried he was going to die and would get up in the mornings and look out in their fence and when I'd see his little white face, usually grazing somewhere, I'd breathe a sigh of relief. I've been deworming him for the past 3 days so hopefully he'll be better soon.
Being a mother, I spend LOTS of time worrying about my child. I can't even begin to tell you all the things I worry about when it comes to him. I'd be embarassed to type most of it on this blog. Once again, most of it is unwarranted and a waste of energy. The funny thing is, a friend of mine has a son the same age as Adam and when she tells me things she worries about I can't figure out why she frets so about them. I'm sure it's the same with her and my worries. It always looks different from someone else's point of view, I guess.
I'm not alone in this house when it comes to worrying. James comes in a close second, though I doubt he'd admit that. Recently he had his cholesterol checked. It went up since last time he had blood work done. He says he's no longer eating red meat and he turned down ice cream a few nights ago. It's really bothering him. Thank goodness my cholesterol is in good shape. One less thing to worry about.
James and I walk 6 laps around our field (4 miles) several days a week. Usually we do lots of talking. A few days ago on our first lap we saw 2 crows eating the corn out of the garden that James had spent many hours preparing and planting. He was pretty upset about it and worried they'd eat all he'd planted. We walked the next few laps sharing very few words, he worrying about the corn and me about Witty dying. What a pair we are.
We both read a book last year by Eckhart Tolley, A New Earth. Great book. It's a shame I haven't learned to take what he wrote and apply it. He talks about "living in the now" and not worrying about what's happened in the past or what might happen in the future. It makes so much sense. Maybe I should read it again.
Saturday, May 23, 2009
Oooh, I just got creeped out. I stopped writing this post to go feed the goats and chickens because I could see the chickens were growing impatient. When I went back to the barn to put stuff away I saw a small patterned snake with it's little head coming out the crack below the door hinge. I looked at it's back to see if I could tell what kind of snake it was. I then went to the outside of the door to see it's head. It looked very triangular to me so I quickly decided it was a young copperhead and just as quickly closed the door so it's neck (if a snake has a neck) got squeezed in the tight crack of the door. I'm sure it's dead by now and if you go out to my garage you'll see just a tiny head sticking out the front. Gives me the chills just thinking about it. I hope I didn't kill a harmless snake but if it is a copperhead I don't feel too bad about it.
James and I went to an auction yesterday and spent a big $1.05 on some bushel baskets and a few bent up thin wooden crates, all stuff for our veggies this year. It was fun. This auction is 2 days long, yesterday and Monday. Yesterday was all outside stuff, tools and such. Monday is the household items, 2 outbuildings and a pickup truck. I'd love one of the outbuildings but I don't know how we'd move it and we're also hoping we can get the truck cheap since ours is now kaput. They also have milk cans and a butter churn that might be kind of fun to have too. So that's how we'll spend our Memorial day, at an auction. Today we're going on the river with some friends and then to some other friends for dinner. It's turning out to be a really nice weekend.
This past April Jon told us a friend of his was hiking the AT and might be calling us to stay here. Cody, aka C-zur, called 2 days later and brought along another hiker, Dustin, aka Myko. Again, really nice guys. They stayed 2 nights at the cabin, did their laundry, ate lots of food and caught up on the internet. Today I read C-Zur's blog and this is what he wrote about us.
PS I'm dreaming of your pizzas Karen and James...
Thursday, May 21, 2009
I got probably the best night's rest (that I've had since my own bed) last night. The Pannabeckers are 2 of the kindest, most giving people I've ever met. It is going to be very hard to leave this place tomorrow, hopefully I will be able to come back and visit for longer though. We had a nice lazy day today, however I did help James with his garden some this morning...it was nice to do some physical labor that wasn't hiking (don't get any ideas Dad!) I found a fellow thru-hiker's wallet and phone a few days ago and today he and his parents drove down from Waynesboro to pick them up...his Dad brought me a six-pack, cookies, and oranges for a reward (Crazy Awesome!). Glad to hlep you out, Splinter. Well I'm off to have another wonderful night's sleep. Thank you, James and Karen, for all of your wonderful hospitality...I hope to see you again when I have more time to hang out.
James picked me and Myco up at the Foot Bridge @ 3:00...took us back to his house and his wife Karen gave us all sorts of junkfood. Then he took us kayaking for a couple hours and we had freshly baked pizza when we got back. Sweetness! These are hands down the nicest (I can't think of a better adjective to describe them.) people I've met. I don't think this can be topped. These people are the Houdinis of Trail Magic! We are staying in a cabin they own near their house and it just made the stay here even better. There aren't even words to describe how great this is...Zero day tomorrow!
Reading stuff like this makes me feel good about helping out young people. I wonder if anyone will call next year.
Friday, May 22, 2009
I'll try to do better next post.
Wednesday, May 20, 2009
I think it took owning my own house to want to choose hard work, and that was more for the satisfaction of doing it myself than it was about saving money. The older I get the more gratification I get with each job I do, usually wanting to prove to myself I'm capable of doing just about anything I set my mind to. One of my most rewarding projects yet was building our outdoor kitchen, complete with wood-fired brick oven, barbecue pit, cupboards with a concrete countertop and a pergola above. I've posted a picture below, though it's not complete in the photo. It looks better now with vines growing up the columns. I couldn't have done it without James' help and faith in my work. He's the other reason I choose hard work today. James works twice as hard as I do. Anyway, I think the reason I enjoyed building this was because it wasn't necessary to the livablity of our house, like a bathroom or kitchen is. It was all about creativity, fun and solving the puzzle of each next step. I love puzzles.
My least favorite job in my house was gutting and rebuilding our upstairs bathroom, but I have to admit that it was almost as rewarding as the outdoor kitchen. It's a tiny room but created a huge amount of frustration and many hours lying in bed wondering if I was qualified to be doing this and wondering how I was going to do it. Much to my delight I still love that bathroom after 3 years. As Adam's tattoo says, no regrets.
My wish is that one day Adam takes pride in his hard work, not because it brings him more money but because it brings him joy and a sense of satisfaction. For now I'm just happy he's digging those holes and that I don't have to. Did I say I like to do all the hard work? Maybe I'll go ride the lawnmower.
Sunday, May 17, 2009
The sun came out in the afternoon so I went out to play with the goats. I had these large, thick cardboard hollow cylinders that our roofing copper came on. I put them in the goats pen for them to play in and on. They were so funny inspecting them. I wish I could have videoed them trying to help me put things where I wanted. They made the job challenging. After they settled down I was petting Witty. He was being so sweet just staring at me when I felt my leg get warm and realized he was peeing on me, his way of showing affection if you want to call it that. I just realized I still have those jeans and shoes on. Oh well, I can't smell it. Maybe I should call this blog filthy jeans instead of holes in my jeans.
I love freecycle.org but there's never enough stuff listed on our local freecycle so I signed up for the Roanoke one hoping they get more listings. They have to approve me first. I wonder what would make them turn a person down. I've gotten a few things already from freecycle, canning jars, gigantic free-standing peg boards for my tools, large plastic water jugs, horse manure and a small (cheaply made) medicine cabinet. The only thing I've given away on there so far was fresh basil from our garden.
I cleaned up most of the branches I had trimmed yesterday and then cut some more paths through the tall grass in the lawn field for us to walk through on our evening strolls with the goats.
Not an exciting day but a good one. My day of rest.
James and I don't go out to eat very often but we know a lot of people who did. Now it appears that folks are scaling down in the food department too. Where someone may normally choose to go out to a high end restaurant they now have chosen to buy a good steak and prepare it at home. If someone typically bought name brand groceries at the store, they might now be buying the store-named brands. Maybe not a healthier option, but sales are also up on the cheaper foods like Spam, Dinty Moore items and Mac n Cheese. Comfort foods maybe?
Do-it-yourself auto supply store sales are also up. People can't afford a new car and paying to have a car repaired is so expensive. If only James and I knew more about auto mechanics. Our cars are so old and it seems like there's always something wrong with at least one of them.
Condom sales, up. I guess people don't want another mouth to feed? Hmmmm.
Fishing supplies and firearm sales have increased quite a bit too. We rarely eat the fish we catch from the river but maybe we could eat the trout from the creek beside the house. It seems like they should be healthier than the ones in the muddy river. Neither of us thinks we could hunt but we sure appreciate the venison in our freezer given to us by friends.
Sales at Saks 5th Ave. are down 32% but Goodwill sales are up 7%. That's pretty cool. We have many clothes in our closet that came from Goodwill and none that came from Saks. Any clothes we own that came from a high-end store are probably many years old. Okay, I confess, I did buy 2 outfits at a nice dress shop last year before we went to Italy. I will still have these in 10 years though. I can't remember the last time James bought nice clothes. Our family doctor told me last week that, "James is the most normal guy I know". He commented on how James doesn't care how he dresses etc. That made me laugh. It made me wonder what James wore to the doctor a week earlier. Sales at WalMart and Dollar Tree have also gone up.
Most of the stuff mentioned in the article made sense but I guess we still need our special treats because sales of chocolate and wine are still strong, a comfort in hard times, though we're buying cheaper vintages of wine.
Two products and services that are up aren't on the positive side though. Pepto Bismal and visits to the dentist. Money and employment stresses may be causing upset stomachs and grinding of the teeth. James and I have both worn bruxing guards to bed, me for several years, James for 7 years. I've been grinding my teeth since I was a little kid but I'm not sure it has to do with stress more than it's a bad habit.
James and I have definitely changed our spending habits and love the idea of homesteading and self-sufficient living but I don't know how attainable that really is. Others do it so I guess we just have to do it with baby steps as it appears America is doing. Hopefully
Saturday, May 16, 2009
Friday, May 15, 2009
Let's see, what else? My neighbor and friend, Feenie, is forever bringing me gifts he found in his garage or at the dumpster telling me he knows I can find a use for it. Once he brought me one of those old tables they used to have outside McDonalds and other places. The ones with the swivel seats attached to them. It had no table top, just the metal frame and seats. After looking for barstools for my outdoor kitchen and seeing how expensive they were I decided to make my own using the old seats from Feenie. I bought cheap wooden stools from Lowes ($15.00), stained and sealed them. Next I cut the seats off the metal frame of the table with my Dremel and attached them to the stools. They swivel and everything. The total project probably cost me no more than $25.00 per stool instead of the $200.00+ pricetag I saw on other barstools. I'll post a picture below.
The field toilet that is also pictured below was built from stuff I had in my garage already. We're lucky to have a 4 stall garage/barn with an attic above so we collect all kinds of stuff and store leftover building material. Even the toilet seat was in the attic of the barn. The toilet is in our field down by the river for the use of campers and us since we spend so much time down there. My chicken tractor was also built from leftovers. The majority of it is built from old screens that used to be in this house but were removed years ago and left in the barn attic.
This year I've been lucky enough to have friends let me dig up plants and flowers from their yards to transplant in mine. I'm not planning to buy many flowers from Lowes this year in hopes of saving a little money. I usually buy flowers for my pots on the patio. This year I'm going to plant some of the artichokes and eggplants that James started from seed. They're just as pretty as flowers. I may also put some zinnia seeds in there that James had saved from last year's flowers. Last year I got moss from the woods and put it in my rock/flower garden and it has done as well as the stuff I bought at WalMart.
We had some leftover copper from when our roof was put on a few years back and I've found some uses for it too. I've done a few peices of "art" (and I use the term loosely) for our house and made some earings using a propane torch, old bed springs and other tools.
I'll try to keep thinking of other ways I recycle what I think are interesting things.
Thursday, May 14, 2009
During our lunch, sitting on rocks along the stream, we planned many of the next year's hikes. We've been doing this for 3 years now and I hope we continue for many years to come. I sure am thankful for my girlfriends.
Monday, May 11, 2009
Of course we came home with the buck, Witty, formerly Woody, aka Woodrat. We changed his name to Witty because we have a human friend Woody and we thought Witty sounded close enough to his name. As I type, I'm watching Witty chase our chickens around their fence. He doesn't touch them, just herds them. I just put him in their fence because he was wearing Jake out, my cute little wether (neutered male goat). He keeps butting Jake and Jake seems scared to death of him. Strawberry, our doe, has mixed feelings I think. She butts Witty like she wants to be in control but then lets him hump her and doesn't seem to mind at all. Hopefully in a month or less she'll be pregnant and we'll have little Nigerian Dwarf goats running and jumping around. I don't think there's anything cuter. Even puppies and kittens aren't as bouncy and playful as a goat kid.
Joanie gave us some of her homemade goats milk soap. I must learn to make this. It smells and feels wonderful. Ed says he loves using it. We haven't tried it yet. I almost hate to ruin it because she made it in such pretty molds. I have lots of plans for when Strawberry is providing us with milk. I can't wait to make soap, yoghurt and cheeses. I guess first I need to learn to milk her and of course raise baby goats. Once the chickens start laying I plan to make icecream from the goats milk and eggs. Some pretty rich ice cream huh?
On to something besides goats. Today I spent the afternoon in Roanoke with Feenie fixing some plumbing in his daughter's rental house. First we put a new faucet on the clawfoot tub. That went easier than I expected. Then we had to fix a leak in the drain of the bathroom sink. Not as easy as I expected. We took it apart 4 times. We still need to go back to fix the downstairs shower. Plumbing isn't one of my favorite chores but it was fun to do with a friend.
My son, Adam, offered to mow the lawn for me for Mother's day. He's broke. I prefer he doesn't spend money on me anyway. I thought about what I wrote about a few days ago concerning helping people. For a Mother's Day gift I asked him to do something for someone else. Not us or his friends, but someone who would really appreciate it. I still don't know what he did. I hope whatever it is he does makes him feel good and want to do more.
Time for dinner, steak and sourkraut.
Saturday, May 9, 2009
Friday, May 8, 2009
I have a book, The Help, by Kathryn Stockett, to finish in 12 days before it's due back to the library so I think I'll read a little while I wait for the sun to come out and dry things off.