Friday, July 10, 2009


Today I *FINALLY* got the basement finished at Lisa's work. I filled a construction sized dumpster just over halfway with all of the junk, garbage, empty boxes and broken furniture that was down there. One of the girls took an old copy machine for her church, along with some of the toys and an older 20" bike. Little "pixiestix" over at Heart of the Dragon took some of the old electronics and a small drawing table. Everything else came here for a giant yard sale. You want a 1973 Brady Bunch reject red & neon green plaid leisure suit? I have one! What about some Jimmy Buffet yard sale hawaiian shirts? Yep, got a few of those too. LOL. Along with the other things I hauled out was a whole load of lumber. Five 16 foot pieces of 3" wide cedar trim, three 1/2 sheets of 3/4" plywood, 3 or 4 six foot 2x4's, two 8 foot 4x4's and 2 other pieces of 3/4 plywood at 3x6 feet. I love free lumber lol I'm always making something or another around here, and scraps are just fine by me.

Some of this scrap wood will be used with a 3x3 foot steel top table I also got out of the basement. When I butchered the roosters early this year, I had a bucket, a hose, and a piece of plywood on top of my sawhorses. I am *NOT* doing that again, so I am building my "Chicken killin' station. (though Lisa prefers Chicken Prep Station lol) I'll use that tabletop as a counter, attach the single basin slop sink next to it, rig the faucet to accept a garden hose for cold water, and I'm toying with the idea of a 5 gallon bucket painted flat black and converted to a solar water heater as an experiment. I'll put it at the front-side of the left garage door, use the freebie 4x4's for posts, and get one length of 6 or 8 foot privacy fence to keep me under cover. (remember that it's illegal in this rediculous township to butcher animals at home) I'll have a spot for a 30 gallon trash can, my turkey frier converted to a scalder, and the 55 gallon bucket I toss the birds in after they meet Mr. Hatchet. It will be handy for chickens, the rabbits, any wild game, and also for washing any vegetables outside rather than bring them in the house to do the same thing. I'm always giving myself new projects!!!!

The garden is looking great! We're already eating onions, greens, turnips and parsnips. There are a few scattered hungarian peppers that I could actually pick, the tomatos are starting well, the beans have tiny 1-1/2" long beans on them, and well....rather than go through it all, I'll say it's just doing fine so far. Yesterday I walked across the orchard to check the wild grapes that we used for jelly last year. I had pruned them back a little last year when I was done, and WOW, those things are EVERYWHERE now with clusters of small green grapes everywhere I could see. It looks like this year will be even better. I checked the "blackberries" that the neighbor told me about too, and discovered that they are red raspberries and not blackberries, lol. Ah well, this is the same guy who asked me when that tassle at the top of his corn turned to an ear, hahahaha.

Speaking of the neighbor.......I have told nearly everyone I know about this wedding, and it looks like my "birthday picnic" will have around 10 guests to come eat, chat, and watch the train wreck of a wedding. And..................ready for this?........................... I dun went an' gussied up 'ma tractor for that ther weddin'!!!! Yup.....5 cans of yellow impliment paint, 2 cans of off-white, 1 can of black engine paint, and a few squirts of chrome paint, and the old Loboy looks fantastic. I just de-greased the old thing and sprayed away with impliment paint. It stuck just fine, after all, thats what it's made for. I did the engine black because the golf course that origionally owned it had painted the whole thing yellow, motor and all. To me it was just ugly. Yea yea I know, it's a tractor, but it was plain 'ole butt ugly and I figured I'd take care of that when I did the rest. The can of chrome was in the stuff to be tossed out, so I figured what the hell.....and now the Lowboy has a chrome carb, air intake, governor rod, starter/generator, distributor, and fan/pulley assembly. She sho' does look purdy!!!! I'll get pics posted when I remember to take some, hahaha. C'mon now, I couldn't let those fine folks next door take their weddin' pitures on some daggone old dirty tractor!

Now the reason for the title of this post........................Today I had a traumatic experience that Lisa seemed to take very lightly, which I still find upsetting.

After I got her from work and ran some errands, we came home to once again, a non-stop barking Hank.(the bassett) Now I dont know why, but a barking dog in the house just annoys me to death. I yell out to tell him to be quiet, which of course works for about 4 seconds. He starts barking again, and I walk to the front window to tell him when he can see me. I totally forgot about the new-forming hornets nest under the awning, and no sooner than I tap on the window, I get attacked by a whole SWARM of angry hornets. (ok maybe not a swarm, it was 5) I take off running across the yard, just to save my lovely wife from the attacking angry swarm, figuring that flying groceries and a 6 pack of cold Birch Beer would distract them. Of course, while my efforts sort-of worked, and she recieved no harm, I was stung repeatidly by the attacking marauders from the nest. ( ok ok again, it was five) I screamed at her when I got the first burning sting, "Lisa be calm and walk away, it appears I am getting stung by hornets!" ( ok ok ok! So I ran and screamed like a girl, geeeez) After I realized that the vicious attack was over, I was dealing with the gut wrenching pain of my numerous hornet stings. (all five!) She suggested I rub some yarrow on the stings, which I did, and it worked wonders. The pain/burn was gone in seconds. (write that one down folks!) After all was said and done, and we picked up the groceries, the birch beer, my hat,and found my glasses, we came inside to make some sandwiches since it was just too damned hot to cook. Apparanly my trauma was humorous to my lovely bride, and she laughed over and over, imitiating my scream. Of course now her daughter knows the "funny" story, and she has written her version of it on her blog. I'm so glad that my pain and embarrasment can be some writing material for her.........ah what the hell, it WAS funny, I'm writing about it aren't I??? LOL

Sunday, July 5, 2009

Holiday weekend and a new challenge

This weekend was really nothing special whatsoever. None of our families and friends have any big holiday get-togethers to go to. We would have one here, but some wouldn't show because we have dogs (yea I know, its a silly reason), some wouldn't come because they don't understand the way we live, and my folks wouldn't come because it's the other side of the county and you obviously need a passport to come here. So.....we just stayed home by ourselves, caught up on some things around here, and Lisa made a delicious roast in the dutch oven over a fire with potatos and corn on the cob. We didn't even go see fireworks, though we were invited. Our friends like to get there THREE HOURS early to get a good spot, and neither of us was up for that. Three hours early, 45 minutes worth of fireworks, and an hour to get home from what it usually 15 thanks. My friend Bill came over and we sat around a nice small fire till about 11:00 then came inside and gorged ourselves on ice cream and watch a concert DVD he brought with him. (Whitesnake-Slide It In tour 1984! Oh yea!) So, it was a good 4th of July, just not the kind you usually hear about.

On Friday I had to take the belly mower off of the LoBoy because one of the 3 blades wasn't turning. Luckily it was just a loose bolt, but while I had it off, I removed all the blades and balanced and sharpened them. I greased all the fittings, gave it 3 coats of yellow impliment paint, and put it back on. BOY did it mow better! lol Amazing what sharp blades do, hahaha. Saturday was nearly a whole day standing at the chipper, making enough to fill the 4x8 trailer. It was enough to fill the whole flowerbed in the front of the house, so it worked out great. It's not the pretty dyed color coordinated mulch that everyone around us has, but hey, it does what it's supposed to do and it didnt cost me but just a gallon of gas. Today I hauled the giant brushpile to the neighbors fire pit, then cleaned and raked that whole area which will now leave more room for firewood, which we'll need since we have been cooking entire meals outside at least 3 days a week now. We discussed the other rr ties and concrete bumpers I have to get out at mom n' dads place, and what to do with them. We decided on 3 new areas for food and herbs, and layed out the spots in the yard. Hopefully later this week I can get those here so we can start planting them. I'll have all the sod pulled and the area's tilled, so all I have to do it set them in place and plant/seed. Here we grow again.....more food, less to mow. We even talked about adding 2 more dwarf apple trees out front, and making a long (48x2) bed around them all, so I dont have to zig-zag mow around them all. At this rate, sometime next year I will be able to mow in 5 minutes, lol.

Over the years, and especially the last 2-3, we have set ourselves goals and met them. We have faced challenges and conquered them. We have simplified and frugal-ized our lives more than I could have ever imagined.
We grow & raise most of our own food
We make our own bread
We make our own household cleaners
We make our own bar soap
We make our own laundry detergent
We make our own deodorant
We have no cable or sattelite tv
We eat no processed/frozen/prepackaged food
We will soon be using a wringer washer for washing clothes
We are in the end of week 4 without a hot water tank
We make our own jam, jelly, tomato sauces, soups, salsa, hot sauce,horseradish, and more
I buy most of my clothes from thrift stores
Etc, etc, etc.

Now this weekend we discussed yet another change/challenge-Eating Local. Our plan is to follow that of many people we have read about, and ONLY buy things we cannot grow or raise ourselves from someone/place within a 100 mile radius. Since we do so much here at home, it isnt much of a list, but some things will be challenging.

Finding local meat was easy, we found a place not 10 minutes away that raises and processes their own beef, and buys their pork from someone less than an hour away. The challenges will be finding a local dairy, and finding local grown/ground grain/flour. Sugar, salt, & some spices will be impossible, but the rest should be easy to find. Changing eating habits to eating what is in season will make things much easier, though we will have this season's canning to fall back on. Anyone who buys a tomato at the grocery store in January knows what it tastes like.....usually the styrofoam packaging it is packaged in. Eating in season will eliminate that completely. So....we have decided to skip the usualy 30-40 jars of salsa this year, and concentrate on pasta sauces, tomato soup, etc, being things we won't have to worry about trying to find locally. The one family we read about allowed themselves 2 non-local items per month, which in our case could be as easy as salt and sugar. We're starting this challenge this week, so we'll keep everyone posted on how it goes.

Beyond all of that, I will be finished that wreck of a basement at Lisa's work this week. Tomorrow I will start hauling off the things they don't want, which will be coming here for a yard sale. Then I get a construction sized dumpster on Friday morning and have until 4pm to get it all hauled up and in, before it gets picked up at 4pm. probably Wednsday since it is Lisa's half day at work, I'll get the shrubs pulled up and the soil ready to plant something yet undecided in their place.

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