Friday, April 2, 2010

Workday with Friends!


But we don't have any photos. Too busy working and talking while working, for the most part.

Before everyone arrived, a bright and beautiful spring morning greeted us. After some chores we did a few things around the place.

Michael burned some of those boxes that he and Ashlee sorted through.

We cleaned off the front and back porches, scrubbing down the furniture and setting up cold drinks for the day in an Igloo.

While I did more housework, Michael began mowing the crop area on high to knock down a bit of growth in preparation for finishing up today.

Then three boys descended on the place and enjoyed a variety of activites with Michael, including preparing an Airsoft battle zone, shopping for pellets online, doing some gymnastics, playing games, and best of all, swooping through the garden and pulling out a bunch of fence posts in about 5 seconds flat.

I had a couple of friends helping me in the garden by that time. Elaine and Ashlee came by again to help out. What a blessing. We finished getting fencing out, dismantled the tomato cage from last year, and dug out a bunch of huge weeds in preparation for tilling.

We girls headed to town for errands - a piano lesson, dinner, and shopping for 20 t-posts and the insulated cable we need to ground the fence system.

Dinner was amazing. I'd never been to this place, and it was empty when we got there. We sat out on the veranda in perfect weather, and chatted and ate some really great food.

Back at home we straightened the house that the boys had left a mess before they took off for manly type activities all night. They have a mens' group they all attend together, which they affectionately have dubbed "Man Class". We then went back down into the garden.

The horses got a new mineral block. (Funny, they don't LOOK like they weigh 50 pounds...). And we pounded in the remaining fenceline posts for the front and dug out the remaining weeds.

I nabbed one quick photo of finishing up the work last night...

Up to the house for some well-deserved cleanup, rest, lemon merengue pie, and working on Civil War ballgown stuff. Our next ball in in just a little over a week!

We watched 50 First Dates while we sewed, using the Clearplay movie filtering system. It's such a great movie when it's cleaned up.

Anyway, another morning of doing some work in the amazing sunshine outdoors, then we are off to do office cleaning and gymnastics.

I better get busy!


Thursday, April 1, 2010

Hiccup Starts...


Seems getting a project done always includes hiccup beginnings, and getting the electric fence put in was no exception.

As we went out to pound in the three grounding rods, we realized that the fenceline needed to be moved. It had been curving down around the pool area...

It went up again nearer the house, so the horses would have a little more pasture area...

and then went back up again down by the greenhouse frame.

We had been planning on extending the garden area sideways, toward the fruit crop direction, but instead we decided to extend it upward toward the house and move the fence so it would be straight and parallel (as close as you can get in with lopsided everything) to the house area.

We used a hose to mark the straight line we would follow. I took this photo when we were done along this area.

If you remember this amazing contraption my dad built for us last year, we fell in love with it all over again. It made getting the posts out a breeze! This one is dug out because we started that before Michael remembered how to drop the winch down further.

You just park it over a fence post, hang the winch from the ring at the top and wrap a chain around the post.

If you are on a hill, use a board. Some of the hills were so steep, we actually place the frame uphill from the post, right next to it, instead of directly over the top. Start winching...

...and the post comes right out!

We also moved some of the posts to create an interior fenceline inside the original fence. That's where we planted the blueberries. Since the compost bins are down there and we'd like to plant fruit trees along there as well, we are closing it off from the horses.

We dismantled the garden fence so we can redo that. The horses had trampled it down beyond repair, so it will be new and improved with this new electric system.

We also began mowing. Guess who ran over the electric wires we had laid down from the old system? Yeah, me. I was near them, Michael yelled something to me, and I began trying to look and hear him instead of where I was going. I wonder if he was telling me to watch out for the wires...

Here he is untangling the mess.

We don't have a working weed whacker, so we have to rely on sprays along edges of buildings and fences. Usually we have to do it so often that it gets away from us. We decided to invest in this stuff, which is very costly, but we are only going to use it on the most problematic areas, and hope that the one application will last for the whole growing season. The regular Round-Up will have to do for the easier stuff.

These little sprayers are sure uncomfortable on your back. You have to bend down a long way for long periods. So that's what I did while Michael fixed the mower blades.

We both soaked up as much sunshine as we could. I'm sure our Vitamin D levels are horribly low. I've been having a tough time dealing with the dreary weather all winter, so I was so happy to finally be out enjoying a sunny day of 75 degrees in a short skirt and spaghetti strap top. I even got a little sunburned. But we sure feel a lot better!

Today has another list. It's spring break so we are using it to full advantage!



Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Body Bags, and A Good Idea Gone Bad.


I have been saving up boxes toward the end goal of being able to sell on eBay and ETSY. I haven't had any time to pursue it yet, but I wanted to use the opportunity I had to collect shipping boxes.

This has led to some stress. My guest room was bad enough when it turned into a slash/canning room. Now it has become a guest/canning/box storage facility.

Some friends came by yesterday and helped us reduce my stress level, by straightening up that room. Ashlee is back behind those boxes somewhere, working hard.

They helped me with another project; organizing my sewing stuff which had completely taken over my closet floor. Those boxes came in handy after all!

I've also been working on trying to make a custom fitted dress shirt for Michael.

It's slow going, and I don't really know what I'm doing, but I work on it when I get the chance. Sadly, this is what the family room has looked like all week.

We did some target shooting last Saturday, during the brief, 4 hour sunny period.

We made a smaller set of parallets.

We flipped over the false table top I have on my little Mediterranean set. It was getting droopy.

That's better!

And I love these huge in-the-way leaves we chopped off a houseplant.

It had been drooping on the floor, so we cut it off and, on a whim, I put them in a vase. So far they've lasted a week.

We put the handle on the pommel trainer.

The little apricot tree is blooming.

Unless you read the comments, you never heard what was in my dryer vent. It was a bird. Here is the body bag.

Here is how it got in. I have no idea how the whole cover of it was broken into a lot of pieces on the ground.

Today's focus is going to be beginning to replace the non-functioning electric fence system for the horses with a newer, more expensive, and currently more stressful system. However, the reduced stress in the long haul should be worth it.

This took a big chunk out of what I'd been trying to save for a rainy day, but you know what? It's been raining.

This was cheaper than the solar powered chargers we've been trying to make work. We just don't have a power source nearby which means an extension cord for the foreseeable future. I have been asking around for people who would like horses, but the market is very low right now.

Ready... set... read the manual.

As I do, I realize that the way my husband set the grounding system up, it was doomed to failure from the beginning.

This grounding is going to take a lot of work, so we better get started.



Monday, March 29, 2010



I think this is a true life thriller marathon week.

So Michael and I are reclining next to each other on the couch working some math problems on a very large write on/wipe off board.

Michael says, "Look at that", and points to the near, upper corner of the board I've got propped up in my lap.

All I remember is seeing two long antennae. The next few seconds are a blur.

I seem to remember it suddenly leaping down onto the arm of the couch that I was also reclining on, and heading down, where I was also.

Michael, who lost a couple of hero points with me this morning, nimbly leapt up and off the couch, safely away from the creature.

I, in an effort to put some distance between me and IT, raised myself up off the couch in a bridge position, feet on the ottoman, shoulders on the back of the couch.

However, this put me in a dangerous position. Now, I could not get off the couch without dropping back down again. An even more horrifying predicament emerged, I realized my over sized shirt was dangling down beckoning to anything looking for a dark cavernous safety zone to hide in.

I have no idea how I got off that couch. I seem to remember yelling for Michael to help me (and watching him move WAY to slowly), flailing from side to side (I have no idea where the dry erase board was at this point) and frantically wondering where on earth that thing was.

Mind you this had to only be a couple of seconds but it felt like a good hour, life-and-death struggle to me. I finally ended up on my feet and standing next to Michael, both of us peering at the couch and seeing nothing.

Then, I feel it.


You know bugs are ok. As long as they are in their own zone and out of mine. But there are certain times when they have crossed over the zone that I've had to utilize my God-given authority to squish them.

There have also been very few instances where I've had to strip naked, but this was one of them. Fortunately for Michael, the closet was within 10 feet of me because I ran in there and stripped, faster than a renegade sergeant loses his stripes.

Sure enough, shaking out my clothes, out drops a c.... c..... I can't say it.

Shoes! That's what God made them for!

Just so you know, this entire episode from beginning to end was paralleled with a non-stop verbal haranguing of my poor non-existent hero. "I TOLD you it would get me! I TOLD you to help me up!!!!"

He said he doesn't like bugs.
Blood and death are OK, it's bugs he doesn't like.


I'm going to have nightmares for weeks.