Sunday, May 31, 2009

Not ready but closer

Well, like I said last night, we won't be ready tomorrow.  There isn't really a deadline but I am so anxious to be done with all this craziness so I can begin to settle into a new routine.  My garden is suffering while I've been painting and packing.  I need to spend some quality time weeding and I really need to get my beans and corn planted! It's supposed to rain for the next two days so maybe I can finish up the painting here at the old house in the next two evenings and spend some time out there the end of the week.  There isn't that much painting left to do. I've been putting off painting the dining room because we still have so much furniture left in there that I hate to move more than I have to.  I also still need to paint the trim in the master bedroom and the interior of the back door but we're much closer than we were a week ago.  
Since last Saturday, we have-
painted the living room
painted the stairwell and landing/hall at the top of the stairs
painted the boys' bedroom
woodwork painted in bathroom,  boys bedroom, hall and basement/backdoor landing
got garage repaired and half painted
packed numerous boxes
as well as the usual laundry, dishes, birthday parties (bake and decorate cake), meetings/school events to attend, meals prepared, homework monitored, etc.
moved 4 or 5 vanloads of stuff
finished stripping old flooring from upstairs bath
hung new range hood
installed new track lighting in the kitchen
tried to figure out the wiring (the house is wired very oddly- things on circuits that don't make sense together)
began insulation of the basement
got the well pit over half filled
painted the living/dining room
planted asparagus and trees

Okay, I guess when I list it all out, we did get a lot accomplished- I can begin to see the light at the end of the tunnel but it still seems so far away.  Realistically- I don't see how we can list this place while we're trying to move out- things are too torn up.  I would hate to think of having to clean up everything every time I change what I'm doing.  I've been working on packing up my sewing/craft room in the basement (which also doubles as storage for V's guitars, the telescope and various toys) and I have craft stuff scattered all over the desk and table as I sort and pack.  It looks like total chaos  but I actually know where stuff is so it can be packed in an organized manner.  If we were going to be showing the house, I'd have to either finish packing everything or put it all back in the cabinet every time.  
I really need to be more systematic about how I pack.  I've found that I've been rather random about packing- a few boxes from the china cabinet, a few from the kitchen, a few boxes of books- rather than just totally pack one area.  Well, the kitchen and dining room still have things we use but I need to finish packing books.  But, I guess I'm waiting on V to finish packing his train stuff.  He has trains 'parked' on the bookshelves in front of lots of the books and I'm NOT packing those- or all his computer stuff in the basement- so I've packed what I can now I have to wait for him.  I'm not good at waiting.  
Tomorrow I'm back to work so it's back to double duty, working during the day and then working here to get things ready.  Oh well, at least work will be less physically demanding.  Both V and I have been moving pretty stiffly lately.  I think it's the cumulative effect of all the work we've been doing.  Oh, and the fact that we both fell this week.  The old rickety stepladder that was left at the new house collapsed on V as he was climbing down from the attic and my foot slipped off the ladder as I was working in the boy's room and I fell backwards onto the corner of the dresser (I've got a lovely bruise on my right butt cheek!)  V needs to do some writing for his job tomorrow as well so hopefully he'll give himself a chance to rest some.
Although... we've both realized that if we stop moving for any length of time we start to stiffen up so the best solution has been to just not stop.  But we can't keep that up forever.

Thanks to all of you for all your kind comments.  I was in a pretty whiny, stressed out place last night (OK, I still am a bit).  Having your encouragement and understanding has helped me tremendously to keep it all in perspective.

Something new is afoot!

In all my spare time (Ha Ha!) I will be writing on a new cooperative blog.  There are 12 wonderful women (see, I include myself as being wonderful) who have come together to share our experiences.  Check us out at Homemakers Who Work.  It should be a grand adventure.
I was honored to be asked to join, even though I don't feel I'm doing a very good job at balancing home and work right now.  But then our goal isn't to be perfect, it's to share and learn how we keep our homes a priority, even though we work outside the home.

Saturday, May 30, 2009


It's not going to happen.  I can't do it.  There is no way we will be ready to put this house on the market by Monday.   I knew that it was a lofty goal but I had hoped to be able to somehow pull it off.  We are both exhausted and I find myself constantly on the verge of tears.  I just wish there were a few more hours in the day.

Another name change!

May is a busy month for us celebration wise.  We have our anniversary neatly sandwiched between two birthdays.  Today I11 becomes I12!  He was my stubborn child to deliver.  My blood pressure was up and I had been on bedrest for 2 weeks (and let me tell you, bedrest with then J3 was NOT rest!) when my doc decided to induce labor.  Not the natural experience I had hoped for but apart from the oxytocin I made it through without any other meds.  He didn't seem to want to leave but after 20 hours we finally got our lovely baby boy.  My how he's grown. He is nearly as tall as I am now- and we wear the same size shoes!
Happy Birthday Ian!

Gratuitous range and hood photo.
Ok, you still have to imagine the stainless housing on the top of the hood and the countertop but the kitchen is coming together.  
Now, I'm off to paint trim.  I feel like I've been missing out on lots of others posts. Sorry,  I'll try to catch up someday.

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Too tired for words...

It's been an exhausting 2 days.  I've been painting up a storm between packing and trips to the house to work there. I did have about 45 minutes to work in my garden this afternoon and got my super secret tomatoes planted and got some weeding done.
I11 works on stripping old linoleum in the upstairs bath.
My iris out at the farm are beautiful- weedy, but beautiful.
The track for the lights in the kitchen.
The new range hood got hung today but I forgot my camera- of course.
K9 and his teacher after the play.
K played Tom Snout.  Here he is being a chink in the wall.
Here is where I spent my morning.  
I'll confess, in the 15 years we have lived here, we have never painted the living room until now.  This staircase is the main reason.  The wall from the living room blends into the stairwell wall and there is an open stairwell about 18 feet in the air. NOT a pretty place to paint!
Ah, it's a dog's life, guarding the drop cloth.  It makes a great pillow.

Well, I've got 3 more days to get this place into shape.  I've got the dining room and the boy's bedroom left to paint as well as the woodwork upstairs on the landing.  I think I can have the main floor and second floor ready to shop but the basement is still a disaster area and there is no way it can be ready unless V takes time out from working on the new place to help.  He is also supposed to help me fix the bad siding board on our detached garage so it can be painted as well.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Updates- garden and such

Busy, busy, busy.  It's been quite a day.  My parents came today to help paint here at the town house.  We got the living room done. Let me tell you, it's much easier painting out at the new house when there isn't all this furniture in the way!!  We got a fairly late start on painting since V and I had errands to run in the morning and then we all went out to the new place so Mom and Dad could check out the progress (and move another load of boxes).  
They also brought me 3 huge asparagus crowns (about 10-12 inches across each) that we planted out at the house.  If these do well, they have lots more they can bring me.  Yeah!!  My parents and I came back to the town house to get started painting while V stayed out on the farm to work on changing out the lights in the kitchen and start framing in the attic for the range hood.
My parents are spending the night so we can get an earlier start on painting tomorrow morning, in hopes to get more done.  I'd like to get at least the dining room done, then the entire downstairs will be ready.  YES!  Maybe this is doable by June 1. Keep your fingers crossed for me.
In garden updates- not much new is happening.  The peas are starting to climb the fence, the lettuce is looking great and I noticed that my basil is up.  Now, I just need about 20 hours to weed and everything will be great.  Since this is the first time that this has been tilled and used as a garden space, the weeds are horrendous!  At least the soil is nice and loamy so I can just hoe up most of the weeds between the rows and only have to weed in the rows by hand. Unfortunately, it has been raining almost all afternoon.
Oh, and I almost forgot about the 'super secret tomatoes'!  My parents went to see my brother briefly tonight after dinner and brought some seedlings back with them. Apparently, the story is something like this.  Some guy that my brother knows used to work for a seed company.  They were evidently contracted by a 'major soup manufacturer' to come up with a 'super tasty' tomato over 20 years ago.  This guy worked on developing this tomato for 7 years.  Then the company changed hands and the project was dropped.  Fast forward 20 years.  The man discovers a tin of tomato seeds on a cupboard shelf (20 years old seeds, remember) and decides to plant them to see if any would sprout.  Almost all of them did and now he is giving away these seedlings to his friends.  My brother (the conspicuous consumer) only wants 2 or three plants for his backyard.  He gave my Mom a bundle of probably 15-20 seedlings.  So I will get some of these secret tomato plants (I'm hoping for 3 or 4) for my garden.  I have no clue what they will be so it will be an adventure in gardening.  I'll keep you posted.
And now, it's off to bed for me.  I was up until midnight packing boxes last night and got up at 6:30 and worked hard all day.  We do get a bit of a break tomorrow afternoon.  K9's 3/4 grade class is doing a production of A Midsummer Night's Dream.  We have seen both of our others perform in it so it's a tradition.  They have combined 3/4 classes and their teacher puts on this production every 2 years.  I'm so glad he gets to do this before he changes schools.  I don't know of any of the other teachers in the district who do this and I think it's wonderful!

Monday, May 25, 2009

Independence Days- take 2: week 4

Okay.  I'm tired.  And it's only Monday... I've got all week to work yet.  Actually I shouldn't complain- today wasn't as bad as late Saturday and yesterday.  I did work on Saturday but when I finished up at work, V picked me up and we all went out and started digging to back fill the well pit.  We also have been packing like mad and taking both vehicles full out to the new house every trip.  Sunday afternoon I worked to get the entire dining/living room space painted. Man, it is a huge space when you're working to paint it.  The previous owners, in their infinite wisdom painted nearly every room in the house. Unfortunately, they didn't paint all the way to the ceiling- they only painted as far as you can reach without a ladder so the top foot and a half wasn't painted and you could see the roller marks on the wall.  So we're painting- not only to cover the bad painting job but also to add some color.  The floors are beautiful but everything else is SO white. Not even shades of white- just white.  Today we were hoping to finish filling the pit but we got rained out.  I did manage to get several boxes of kitchen stuff unpacked and the boys  unpacked a bunch of their toys. V got the rest of the upstairs bathroom demolished and we got the new sink base fit into place.  We can't fully install it until we get the drywall on the walls but at least it's there.  
My parents are coming up tomorrow to help us again.  I think they're expecting to paint so I need to make sure I have things here ready to start painting upstairs- either the woodwork or the walls in the boys' room.  
But now down to Monday business and my IDC update.
1. Plant something- nope, I need to get my beans and sweet corn planted and my garden is an absolutely weedy mess.  
2.  Harvest something- a few chives and the first tiny radishes.  I noticed this afternoon that my lettuce is getting almost big enough to start picking a few leaves.  It really took off with the warm weather.
3.  Preserve something- No.
4. Reduce waste- the usuals: cloth bags, compost and recycle.  Plus we are repurposing one of the sink bases from the basement for our upstairs bathroom remodel.  
5.  Prep and storage- Ummm, Not sure.  Right now we are so focused on getting this move underway and still trying to fix up two houses that I don't have much time for anything else.   I did manage to pull together all my collection of candles and pack them into one box for the move.  I've also been able to sort through my collection of plastic containers.  And I discovered a stash of party plates that I'd forgotten about. I've been looking over my kitchen and pantry storage spaces and trying to figure out where things will go.  I've got so much more storage than I'm used to that I'm not sure what I'm going to do with it all... but, oh, the possibilities....
6.  Community food systems.  No- I didn't manage to get to the farmer's market.  But I did find out from my brother (who dropped off more boxes for us today) that he has a bunch of 'super secret tomato seedlings' and he will give me a few.
7.  Eat the food- I've hardly been shopping all week.  We've been eating out of stores except for milk, eggs and cheese.  I still need to sit down and figure out the week's menu so I have a clue what I'm doing.

Sunday, May 24, 2009

23 Years!!!

That's how long V and I have been married.  Today is our anniversary.  We waited so long to have children after we were married that our families had given up on us.  But we're happy with the way things turned out.
We all worked hard, at both houses today, and now we are going to play.
V and I are going on a DATE!!!  We are going downtown to have dinner at a local Japanese restaurant.
The children are staying home to watch movies and we're letting them do something we rarely do:  order delivery pizza!    

And we had our first 'harvest' from the garden.  I thinned a couple of baby radishes.  They were no more than a taste but oh so good!

Friday, May 22, 2009

It's dumpster season!!!

Hurrah!  The first dumpster harvest! And not a bad one at that.  Last weekend was graduation at the university.  Since we are the last owner occupied house on our block (in fact, the last for several blocks) we are surrounded by lots of students who are now moving at the end of the school year.  This evening, V and I were out on the front porch (picture posted yesterday!) when some guys pulled up to the dumpster for the apartment complex across the street and began unloading lots of stuff.  This is the time of year when even people who don't live there begin to dump things off as they are moving out.  
Over the years we have come up with some amazing stuff- that we're not too proud to use.  We've got bookshelves, a TV stand, clothing, coats, a tux, a trumpet, computers and over $400 in music CDs over the years.  
Tonight, J15 and I went across the street when those guys left.  A lot of what they left was junk- or at least nothing we would want.  They left lots of ripped up particle board shelves and a ruined sleeping bag.  But we did get this:
Part of the haul!
We got 2 of what look like plant stands (or speaker stands) in oak but painted bright blue. A small wall shelf (white) that looks like the right size for DVDs and 4 folding chairs- some that are much nicer than the ones we have now.  
Not a bad haul for free.  Of course, we had the brief discussion that  here we are, trying to downsize and picking up more stuff out of dumpsters.  But J15 wants the blue stands and the shelf (if we don't usurp it for movies) and we can always use more folding chairs- especially since we now have more space to store them.  
We did have an extended discussion of  goals and priorities for the next week.  I work tomorrow- it's my weekend to work.  Of course, that means that I get next Friday as a comp day and since Monday is a Holiday- I am taking the entire week off next week, using only 3 vacation days.  Not a bad deal and my co-workers are good with it.  Our goal- which may or may not happen- is to focus on this house so we can have enough stuff moved out and have enough of the fixes done so we can call our realtor and have our house listed by June 1.  It's doable but it will take lots of work.  I've already warned the children that they need to focus on getting their rooms in shape.  We need to take down all the glow in the dark stars that the boys have on their walls and ceilings and work on getting their room painted.  I've also got lots of other painting to do around the house.  Like I said, it's doable but will be a challenge.  I don't think we need to have everything done but we need to have it presentable enough that they can take pictures to put on the realty website that may make people interested in buying our house.  
But now, I need to worry about getting my last load of laundry hung in the basement so I can get to bed and get up to work tomorrow.  6 days in a row is a bit draining but it shouldn't be too bad.  I haven't had to work a weekend since March so I'm out of practice.
But first, another Friday night margarita before bed....

Thursday, May 21, 2009


Meadowlark is having a contest of sorts about porches.  Well, not exactly a contest but a give away having to do with sharing pictures of your front porch.  I currently have two front porches.  They both need some work.
The new porch.
from a different angle... not a new picture.
We recently planted a climbing rose at the corner of the new porch, just to the right of the stairs you can see in the picture.
And the town house.
Our porch in town is lovely.  It is mostly screened by the lilac hedge in front of the porch so it's rather private. Unfortunately, where we live, we can't leave anything out on the porch or it goes missing.  Oh, we can leave the trash barrel because it isn't fun but we have never been able to leave chairs on the porch or they end up smashed in the street.  Just one more reason for leaving.  To be able to sit on the porch and look out at nature.  In fact, I was sitting on the porch at the new house last week and spied a hummingbird visiting the blossoms in the yard, that and the oriole building a nest in a tree.  So much to watch and interesting in a different way from watching students parade down the street.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Oh, Gnats!!!

It was another beautiful day here.  Temps in the low 80's.  I'm always amazed at this time of year that we can go from frost on Sunday morning to 85 degrees on Tuesday.  Oh, well, that's just the way it is.  But with all the rain we have been having, the gnats are fierce!  Even I11 asked me if he could take vanilla to school so he could put some on before safety patrol in the afternoon- he is a crossing guard.
I didn't get out to the acreage today, and I didn't get to the farmer's market either. But I did manage to get the porch rails (12 inches wide) here at the town house sanded and painted.  We didn't paint them when we painted the house a few years ago because we had planned to sand them down to bare wood and finish them- but that didn't happen.  So, I dug out some paint we had left over from the house and painted them.  It's one of those tasks on the list to get this place ready to sell.
J15 said that the Renaissance faire went well today and people liked the cheese she made so all is good on that front.
I have been contemplating applying for the new supervisory position that should be coming available in our department.  V is encouraging me to apply but I'm still torn.  Granted, it would be only 25% administrative and 75% patient care but I'm not sure I want to take on that kind of headache.  A few years ago, I would have jumped at the opportunity but I'm just not sure.  Yes, it would be a strategic move careerwise but I'm not sure my heart is in it anymore.  My priorities have shifted over the years and I have realized that there is much more to life than a career.
Something to ponder while I work in the garden.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Garden updates

It was an absolutely gorgeous day here.  Too bad I spent the majority of it at work.  I guess it was good, though, work was fulfilling and we had a meeting with our new director who outlined for us how the department will be restructured.  This would actually give me the opportunity to apply for a supervisory position- if I want to.  I'm still on the fence about that one.
I only had a brief time out at the acreage.  We ate out there since J15 had her violin lesson tonight and the music school is less than 2 miles down the row.
Things are growing like mad out there.
The peonies are ready to burst at the seams!
The tomatillos, undaunted by frost, are blooming already!
The peppers and tomatoes look a bit singed around the edges but are doing well.  The one that I had my doubts about is still hanging on.  Really, we fared pretty well.  Out of 50+ tomatoes, I have to replace only 5 (3 due to frost, 2 to animal damage) and one pepper.  The heirloom peppers are already budding!
Looking around, I am finding just how much work there is to be done outside after we are finished with the house.
If you look really carefully, you can tell that this is a bed of iris.
This is the front 'flower' bed.  I guess dandelions are flowers....
My peas are growing and outpacing the weeds- barely.
It's going to be a challenge to keep up with everything outside.  We did investigate state tax write-offs for 'wildlife habitat' and wetlands conservation land.  We don't have enough acreage for the wetlands set aside- you need 2 or more acres that would qualify as wetlands.  Some of our land is a wetland- I can tell by the vegetation, and the squishiness- but we don't have over 2 acres that would qualify.  However, the wildlife habitat write off can be done with even less than 2 acres.  So we may apply for that for next year.  Essentially, we need to state that we won't use the land for commercial purposes and that we will leave it in a natural state for wildlife.  We've got no problem leaving a portion of the property in a natural state- I actually love the look of 'unkept' land.  I had fun looking up different wildflowers that we've found out on the hills.
I'm also excited to have some 'wild' land for the children.  I've been amazed at how much the boys have loved wandering around, exploring, and hitting things with sticks.  For two city kids, they have been loving it.  I just hope they keep it up after we move.  Right now, they don't have access to TV or video games out there so there isn't an entertainment option.
But they have been having fun:
Kids and barns- what a great mix.
They rigged up a 'pulley' system and have been hauling stuff up into the hay loft.  Of course, we have had them working as well.  Again, for city kids, it is a bit of an adjustment to actually having things that we expect them to do.  Not that they had no responsibilities at all before, but with us all working so hard to get things ready, they have had to pick up more than they have been used to doing.  It's good for them.
Pasta primavera anyone?
And now, a kitchen update.  The base cabinet is in place by the stove.  We don't have a counter top yet but I discovered that the cutting board that was in the microwave cart that the previous owners abandoned fits pretty well over the cabinet base.   The stove is also fully functional now.  I made a lovely seafood pasta primavera for dinner out there.  Yum!  Even K9 liked it.  I LOVE the simmer burner- it was great for the cream sauce for the pasta.
In cheesy updates from last night- we managed to get it all done- of course I was up til midnight cleaning pots and pans but it's all ready.  We estimated where 90 degrees would be on one of the 'old fashioned' thermometers that had the first mark at 100 and went with that.  I figure that when people first started making cheese things weren't so precise that you had to do something exactly at 88 degrees.  J15 now has probably about 1.5 lbs of cheese for her project and 2 loaves of bread.  We sampled the third loaf for dinner and it was great.  She needs enough for approximately 40 people to have a sample taste- that's several classes of students and any visiting parents/teachers.  Her teacher is really excited to try the cheese.
It should be another warm day tomorrow. I just hope I have time to get to the farmer's market for some replacement tomatoes- that and the lawn here in town desperately needs mowed.  Ah, no rest for the weary.

Monday, May 18, 2009

Independence Days- take 2: week 3

Another week down- where has the time gone.  It seems like the weeks are flying by.  It's hard to believe that we have owned our new property for almost a month. While I know that we have accomplished a lot out there- we were really hoping to be ready to move in by the end of May.  I don't see that happening although we are still pushing for it.  I picked up a few boxes and I need to call my brother to see if they have any more that we can have.  What I really want to do is pull the bookshelf out of the boy's room (it will go in K's) and unload his books onto it so I can use those boxes again.
I didn't get out there today.  I really wanted to check on the condition of my garden but J15 and I have been cooking up a storm.  Her Renaissance Faire is on Wednesday so we are getting her food project ready tonight.  Fortunately everything can be prepared ahead of time.  Since she is doing a food related project she has to prepare enough of each thing for 40 people to have a sample.  Normally, for a food project, the student has to make a main dish, bread and 2 desserts.  Since she is tackling making cheese- something no one has attempted before, her teacher is allowing her to only do the cheese, bread and one dessert.  So we baked whole wheat bread tonight, gingerbread cookies and are making homemade mozzarella.  We just discovered that my digital thermometer is evidently low on batteries so we will have to use the old standby.  Unfortunately we are supposed to add the rennet at 88 degrees and the lowest my candy or meat thermometer read is 100. But we will make it work.  
But now, on to the business at hand.  Mondays are my day for updates on the Independence Days Challenge.  I find it useful in helping me sort our what I've accomplished in the past week toward our goals and dreams.  So here goes:
1. Plant something- I got my fingerling potatoes planted and my sweet basil.  I planted out my tomatoes and peppers on Mother's Day and then we had a patchy frost a week later.  That just figures!  
2. Harvest something- only a few chives again.  My lettuce is up but not worth eating yet. I plan to pick some lamb's quarters when we are out at the acreage next time.
3. Preserve something-  again, my sanity, which is a priceless commodity these days. Otherwise- NADA.
4.  Reduce waste- the usual- cloth bags at the grocery, recycled and composted.  We are repurposing lots of lumber, lights and cabinets at the acreage.  We even discovered that a door that we have hung onto in our garage for years is the right type and size for our new well room. See, it pays to not throw useful things away.  We were also able to get J15's new vest out of 'scraps' of fabric that I had saved.  Okay, I don't save tiny scraps (well, except for really cool stuff I use for quilting) but these were usable sized pieces of blue wool.  And we still have quite a bit left.
5.  Prep and storage- Hmm, lots and lots of prep work out at the house.  Tried out my new gas range using a match to light it.  Yeah!!!  As far as storage goes- nope- I'm trying to downsize- unless you count getting too small clothing out of my house as storage. I guess it is a kind of storage management.
6.  Build community food systems- Um, not really,  I plan to head down to the Farmer's market either Wednesday evening or Saturday morning to pick up some greens and a few replacement tomatoes.
7.  Eat the food- no problem there.  We've been trying to eat a lot out of stores.  In fact, my freezer is NOT full!!!  We've worked it down to just over half full.  Of course, apart from milk, cheese, bread, tortillas and a few other odds and ends, we haven't shopped for much recently.  I know, I know, bread and tortillas I could make myself but I don't have the time right now.
Well- J15 has curds that need kneaded- I guess I'll go help.   

Sunday, May 17, 2009


Well, we didn't escape last night's cold weather. We tied the record for low temps last night.  Normally our low is around 50 this time of year.  Last night we got down to around 35.  We had scattered frost out at the acreage.  It was rather random so I'm not sure if there was a pattern to it or not- even the weed seedlings took a beating.  I lost 3 tomatoes outright and one pepper.  Another tomato looks like it won't make it.  A few others are looking a bit rough around the edges but I think most of them should pull through.  Interestingly enough, the plants that took the worst beating (including those that are totally gone) were all hybrids- even the pepper.  The heirloom varieties look like they'll weather it pretty well.   I still have a few tomatoes left that I didn't plant out and my Mom said she still has a bunch if I need them.  I also want to transplant a volunteer from the back yard here at the town house.  We planted a yellow cherry tomato once a couple of years ago in the raised bed and they have come back every year since. I have also thought about picking up a few 'fun' tomatoes at the farmer's market for replacements.  One vendor always sells heirloom varieties in lots of colors-  last year we got a green tomato, red zebras and black cherry tomatoes.  I love variety.  I also noticed that something bit off one of my Amana Orange plants. GRRR.  I really need to get that fence up.
Everyone worked really hard today.  The boys did a grand job hauling away all the rubble from the well pit.  They loaded it up into the wagon and wheelbarrow and took it down to the riding arena where we are having trouble with erosion.  J15 worked on demolishing the upstairs bathroom. Yeah, I know I said we were done with demolition.  This isn't because of mice- this is because of UGLY!!!  Someone covered the entire bathroom in dark pine paneling: floor, ceiling and walls.  There is only one window that faces North, and it looks out onto the wall of the garage!  The room is incredibly dark and hideous.  We will bring up one of the sink bases from the basement and will drywall and paint the walls. We are also planning to put in a light tunnel- a small version of a skylight- to bring in more light.  It isn't a big area but they used tongue and groove boards on the walls and it is taking J15 a while to pull it all down.
I also used my new range for the first time today.  I11 wanted soup for lunch today so I lit a burner to warm it up for him.  He was beaming that he got the first thing cooked on it.  V did get the framing done for the island.  We pulled the cabinet from the basement but it needed some repair work before we install it so it is out in the shop for a day or two.
We also took out all the boxes I packed yesterday, plus a laundry basket full of kitchen stuff.  I did actually manage to get the laundry sorted and put away on Friday afternoon so I could use the basket to carry out some things that I'm not likely to be using any time soon. I really don't see myself using my springform or bundt pans in the next few weeks.  And on top of all the boxes- we took out the sleds!  We have a kick-ass sledding hill that should be fun next winter.
Tomorrow is back to work for me.  V needs to do some writing for his job and then will likely spend the afternoon out working at the house.  It looks like the weather for the next week will be warmer and sunny- no more rain for a bit.  J15 and I will be baking bread, cookies and making cheese tomorrow night for her English project.  Just when I thought things were beginning to get under control....

Saturday, May 16, 2009

I'm Cookin' With Gas!!

Woo Hoo!!! V and my Dad got my range hooked up this afternoon.  The electrical line isn't run yet but since it can be match lit they were still able to test it to make sure it works.  It does!  Tomorrow we will frame the island and bring up the base cabinet that we are going to repurpose from the multitude of cabinets in the basement.  We don't have a counter yet but we're leaning toward having a butcher block top.
While the guys ran gas line, I packed. I got about half the books packed- including all my cookbooks, all my 'dressy' shoes (I have lots- V has a 'thing' for shoes) and a bunch of the wine goblets.  I also sorted and repacked lots of clothes that the children have outgrown that we are going to 'hand down' to some friends.
While I packed, my Mom and J15 worked on her costume.  I already had the shirt and skirt from previous costumes but she made the vest.  We purchased the pattern a while ago but all the fabric is from my 'scrap' stash. I know it looks black in the picture but it is actually really dark blue wool- left over from when I was subcontracted to make Civil War era Cavalry shirts for a movie- so it's Union Blue.
Doesn't she look like a serving wench?
Things are starting to come together.  Definitely not as smoothly as I would like but they're moving in the right direction.  Now if it just doesn't frost tonight.  Of course, as soon as I get everything planted out they are predicting near record lows tonight in the mid 30's.  I'm hoping that since the garden is on top of a hill and there is a breeze that we will be spared.  V forgot to cover things like I asked him to before they left so I hope it will be alright.  If not, I'm going to be scrambling to find replacement plants.
Think warm thoughts.

Friday, May 15, 2009

The day in pictures- good, bad and ugly

We had a great time celebrating (now) J15's golden birthday.  Per her request we had Chinese take-out.  It's a family tradition that the birthday boy/girl gets to choose what's for dinner that evening.  She had a fairly low key evening.  Dinner, cake and presents.  She got $ from my brother, my parents and Vs' mom.  From us she got some iron-on appliques that she wanted to customize her denim jacket, a book and an IOU for a cat.  She has been asking for a cat for a long time.  I grew up with cats and love them and we had a cat, as well as dogs, for a while when she was younger.  We're going to wait until we're moved into the new house before we get it.  I don't want to stress the poor thing out too much by bringing it home and then promptly moving.  Also, with as much as the doors will be open carrying stuff in and out I don't want it to run away.  I really hope the one she chooses will be a good mouser.  We may need it.  She wants to go to the animal shelter to pick one out.  While a tiny kitten would be fun, she wants a slightly older one that would be more able to defend itself against the dog should he decide to play rough.
We were out at the house this afternoon in the rain.  The basement is still leaking.  And while checking out one of the window wells, we found this charmer:
Isn't it beautiful!
And speaking of beautiful...
J15 says we're bringing sexy back to the kitchen!
It is sitting where it will be but we don't have the island built yet.  V and my Dad will be putting in the gas line tomorrow afternoon. I love the little side door.  It is a space to store the cast iron griddle that came with it as well as cookie sheets, baking stones and other stuff like that.
But now for the bad and ugly:
We tore into a suspicious wall by the basement stairs- one we weren't initially planning to remove but I found a mouse tunnel leading into it when I was pulling down the ceilings the other day.  This isn't even the bad spot for mice although you can maybe see along the bottom where they have been.  The bigger problem is that there evidently was a leak in the roof at some point- which was patched- but they never repaired the water damage to the wall. There is plywood that has begun to de-laminate.  If that is even a word.  It will need repaired but we will probably need to take off the siding to get to it from the outside as well. Sigh, one more project to add onto the list.
But now, to round things out on a good note...  We have a winner in the family!  Since this was bike to work week.  The schools have been having a 'Ride, Walk, Win!' contest this week.  Every day that a student bikes or walks to school they have a ticket with their name on it put in for a drawing.  Earlier this week K9 won a nalgene water bottle and I11 won a bike headlight yesterday.  But today was the big drawing.  From all 6 local elementary schools participating, there were only two winners of bikes from a local bike shop. Guess who was one of the winners!!!
K9 with his certificate for a new bike!!!
YAHOO!!!  He has been complaining that he needed a new bike but that got put low on the priority list.  What a great way to wrap up the week.  
Now- I'm off to throw in a load of laundry and box up some books.
Have a great weekend!

Thursday, May 14, 2009

It's here!

My new range and range hood arrived today.  Ok, hate me now- I forgot the camera.  I took several pictures on my phone but for some reason, my phone and laptop aren't on speaking terms so I can't download them.  I'll be sure to take some tomorrow when we're out.
V also took down the last wall in the basement today!  Hurrah!!!!  Maybe we'll have to break out that bottle of sparkling wine we have in the fridge.  Unfortunately (or fortunately), with the storm we had last night (LOTS of rain and wind) we discovered that we still have a few leaks in the basement that we haven't managed to stop. So that means no framing in that side of the basement until we figure that out.  At least it's on the opposite side of the basement from where J14's room will be.  That is the room we will frame/finish first so she will have a place to live.
My parents are coming up Saturday to help us again.  My Dad will help V run the gas line for my new range and my Mom will stay at our 'town house' and help J14 with her sewing project for school.  That frees me up to work on other things.  I need to get a few more boxes packed to take out- I'm running out of the 'easy' stuff- although there are always books.  We have LOTS of books.

And fifteen years ago today, V did something that caused the closing and evacuation of the federal reserve bank in Richmond, VA.  While working on an archaeological dig at the Tredegar Iron Works, he discovered what they thought was an unexploded civil war cannon ball.  The bomb squad was called and the area evacuated.  It turned out that the round had been spiked long ago but the next day we had our own little bombshell.  
After he got home from the events of the day, he had several drinks to calm himself down.  The next morning- I got up to make coffee and had my water break.  He refused to take me to the hospital until he had some coffee in him.  But later that day, our lovely daughter was born.  One bombshell on Saturday that was a dud and one on Sunday that has been going off ever since.
So, there will be a name change tomorrow. J14 will become J15.  Wow- it seems like just yesterday.  I'd better go bake a cake.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Garden update and such

I got my fingerling potatoes planted today. Yeah!!  The garden is looking really good.  My peas, radishes and beets are coming up and my onions are looking good.  My little plants that I set out are all doing well- except for the one that the dog snapped off with his leash.  Fortunately I have 2 extra plants left- even the same variety that he broke.  I've been meaning to get my fence put up- ostensibly to keep out the rabbits but maybe the dog as well.  I also managed to get the nettles dug out of the main fence line so I can install my rabbit fence.

One of my brave little strawberries.
The poor little things, they only have 3 or 4 leaves on them but are putting out flower buds.  I'll have to spend some time and pick these off before they set fruit to let the plant grow a bit more.
There is actually a blueberry in there.
My blueberries and currants are slowly leafing out but still look mostly like sticks.

The first kitchen move!
I moved my glass jars of dried beans and such today.  I'm guessing that I won't be soaking and cooking many beans in the near future as crazy as things have been on the food front.  I love the look of beans in the jars.  I have several very old canning jars that I got from my Mom and grandmother that I use for these- I don't want to risk canning in them.  I especially love the ones that are "Atlas- strong shoulders" jars.

This afternoon V and I were both busy.  V worked on taking out the concrete block walls from the old well pit.  That's a lot of block- it was really impressive to watch him throw a block over his head out of the pit onto the pile.  He's getting pretty buff again working on the house.  WOOF!!
V's pile of concrete blocks!

My afternoon project.
While V was working on the pit, I removed the last of the ceiling from the basement.  UGH! It's a dirty job.  The mice have been running around above the ceiling and when you pull down a panel, you get showered with mouse poo.  SUPER ICKY!!!!  But I did find probably the last major nest spot and entry point near the stairs so those are now cleaned and sealed.  We've got only one divider wall left to take out- it is the one with all the computer cables in it so V is going to have to sort through that one.  Then we are ready to seal the mud sill, insulate and start framing.  YEAH!!
I had a message that my new range and range hood should be delivered on Thursday afternoon. Well, we don't have the gas line run or the island built yet but at least we'll have them out at the house.  I can't wait to get a gas stove hooked up.  I really dislike electric stoves and that is all we have out there.  But I guess I can't complain too much, at least I have a stove that works.
Tomorrow we are taking a break to work our day jobs.  I'm back at work and V is taking a day off physical labor (after today I'll be surprised if he can move tomorrow) and is going to be working on several writing projects that he needs to get finished for his work. 
Tomorrow is another day.  Maybe I'll pack up a few boxes tomorrow evening.  For those of you wondering how/why I am posting so regularly- I mentioned that this is part of my sanity preservation system- it is also a record for us to be able to look back at what we have accomplished. It's also a way to keep friends and family posted without calling.
Thanks for all the support- we're really not super man/woman.  We're just motivated.

Monday, May 11, 2009

Independence Days- take 2: week 2

What a week it has been.  Things are progressing at the new house, although more slowly than I would like.  I know I was busy all day but I really don't feel like I accomplished anything.  I'm hoping that taking inventory with IDC will help me sort it all out. I know that a lot has been accomplished in the past week, so here goes.
1.  Plant Something- in addition to all my seeds that I started last Sunday, I planted out my tomatoes, peppers, eggplant, and tomatillos.  I managed to prep the ground for my fingerling potatoes but didn't manage to get them planted today.  My peas, while in late, are starting to come up and I spotted radish and beet seedlings popping up as well.
2. Harvest something- a few chives and thyme. Oh, and lilacs.
3. Preserve something- I made lilac jelly in my spare time this evening. Phelan posted about lilac jelly and I was curious.  It is wonderful!  In fact, V liked it so much I may try to make a bit more before the lilac blossoms fade.  
4.  Reduce waste- Hmm, not much more than the usual.  I've started a compost pile at the new house.  It needs a bit more work- currently it's just a heap of grass clippings and a few veggie peels from meals.  We're being careful to salvage everything we can during this demolition phase and will be repurposing it or stashing it away for future reference.
5. Prep and storage- I don't think so- except for making the jelly, I'm trying to deplete the stores so we have less to move.  Even though we're only moving about 7 miles, it still seems like there is SO MUCH STUFF!!!  I need to get better organized about taking at least a few boxes out to the new house every time we go out.  But that means that I have to have them packed....
6.  Community food systems-  I missed the farmer's market downtown on Saturday.  There is one at one of the malls tomorrow afternoon. Depending on how things are going, I may try to stop by to get a few things since my garden got in quite late and I'm really wanting some fresh salad greens.
7.  Eat the food- No problem there. I've been better at planning and getting meals on the table than I was the first week or so we were working on the house.  In fact, J14 made it a point to point out that we were eating dinner before 630 this evening. Of course, it helped that I took the crockpot out and made beef stew that I could tend to and add things to all day.  It also made the house smell good- that and the big bunch of lilacs (not to mention the hours of cleaning and demolition) have gone far to eliminate the mousey smell that has been all too common.

In house updates, there is only one wall remaining in the basement to come down and one small section of ceiling.  We didn't get started on backfilling the pit today- the waterproofing mortar/sealer/stuff that V put on the outside of the new foundation blocks wasn't dry enough yet, hopefully by tomorrow it will be ready.  
We did get the new flue liner positioned in the chimney this morning and will put on the chimney cap tomorrow. We also did a patch job on the south side of the house where the birds were getting in to nest in the attic.  It will need more permanent work done on it (much like we did with the fascia on the north/west corner.  I didn't get much done in the garden apart from  prepping the row for my potatoes and making chicken wire cages for around the blueberries and currants.  I also spent a lot of time cleaning in the kitchen and taping around the windows and doors in the living/dining room to get ready for painting.  I was hoping to get started painting this afternoon but I ran out of painter's tape and wasn't going to make a special trip just for that.
In fun  house news, I was sitting on the porch stairs for a breather after dinner and saw a hummingbird flitting around the bushes.  I also noticed that there is a Baltimore Oriole flying in and out of one of the poplar trees.  We have hawthorne trees blooming, discovered that we have black willows (we planted a weeping one), black walnuts and hickories and figured out that J14's tree is a boxelder.  It's fun discovering what all is out there.  We always make sure that we take a walk around outside every day/evening to remember why we are doing all this work. 
Tomorrow will be a garden update, I hope.

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Happy Mother's Day!

I hope all you Moms out there had a wonderful Mother's Day.  Mine was almost picture perfect.  I got to spend almost all afternoon working in my new garden and K-9 helped me carry grass clippings to use as mulch to try to control some weeds.  And I got to use my Mother's Day gift:
My very own watering wand!
It's already muddy since I used it to water in my tomatoes and peppers and had dirt on my hands when I used it.  Plus, V was using it to spray out the bucket he had mortar mixed up in.
We worked the children so hard they needed a lie down!
What a crew!  I feel so blessed with my children.  For all their picking at each other, they are really good kids, loving and hard working.  They have all been pulling their weight around here the past few weeks- sometimes with prodding- but they have been pitching in. They even unloaded the dishwasher, vacuumed and sorted socks late this morning while V and I were at Menard's.  
The well pit and our new well head.
Tomorrow I will plant a bit more in the garden and we will begin removing the concrete blocks from the walls of the well pit.  Then we can begin back-filling the pit.  We are planning to top the backfill with topsoil mixed with horse manure and I'm thinking about putting my herb garden around the well head.  It's just outside the door to what will be V's study which is right off the kitchen.  
I have two more days to get a few things done. I definitely need to get an early start tomorrow morning. I think it's planting and painting for me tomorrow as well as 'pit work'.  I have a few more flowers that I want to move from here so we'll see if that happens anytime soon.
Tomorrow evening will be an IDC update and on Tuesday a garden update.

Saturday, May 9, 2009

The week in photos

It's been a busy week here at the new homestead.  We were out working all afternoon.  I took the children shopping for new shoes this morning.  When both boys' shoes were held together with duct tape- it must be time.  But we have gotten a lot accomplished this week. Here are a few highlights.
Things got planted in the garden!!!
The floor- mouse central, ground zero.  ICK!!!
J14 learns the way of the power tools.....
One of the last walls comes down in the basement. 
Oh my!  The weeds are coming up thick in the garden!!!
V finished the wall to fill the 'door' to the well pit. We can now drink the water!!!
Our new toy- er, tool! Delivered on Tuesday.
The lilacs are in full bloom here.
And our dumpster is nearly full!!!
Thanks to all for your support over the week.  It really does help. It's great to know that so many people our there are rooting for us to succeed.  
I wish for all of you Moms to have a Happy Mother's Day!  May it be filled with love and laughter.

Friday, May 8, 2009

Small fruits

Hurray!!!  My blueberries and currents arrived this afternoon.  Luckily I was able to get out of work a little early and was home when the UPS guy delivered them.  We had already collected the children from school and were ready to head out to the house.  I'm really impressed.  Since we bought from a local company- even though they are a nationally known chain- we are close enough to the nursery that everything arrived in a day.  I got the shipping notice yesterday morning and everything arrived this afternoon.  We went straight out to the house and put them in the ground right away.  J14's blue climbing rose arrived as well but for some reason they haven't shipped my red raspberries yet.  Oh well,  That's okay.  I've got plenty of things to do other than plant- although I really need to get the rest of my seedlings in the ground this weekend.
Today at work was a bit smoother.  Another co-worker screwed up her documentation and asked me to help her sort it out (I'm the most computer literate of all of us- even though the system is fairly self explanatory).  And, on a bright note- I have arranged to have both Monday and Tuesday off- so I have 4 days straight to get some work done.  I've also sent out the email that I want to take several afternoons off in the next few weeks.  All of my scheduled patient care groups are in the mornings and my afternoons are spent doing evals so if anyone else could pick them up for me I can get out several hours early.   The 2 other therapists there today were very supportive and 2 of the other 3 are also very understanding.  The only one who hasn't been that supportive of what I'm going through is the one that I was ready to slap yesterday.  She has her own issues so I think is rather self absorbed.  We have covered her butt for a long time so it's payback time.
The well is fixed!  V flushed the system today and has started fixing the hole in the foundation wall that used to go into the well pit.  We will still need to back fill the pit when the foundation has cured a bit and need to figure out where we will rob the soil from to fill it.  We are thinking that since we were planning to build at least one retention pool to help with erosion, that we may kill two birds with one stone and use the soil from the pool construction to fill the pit.
Knowing that I have 4 days in a row to get things done has done wonders for my stress level.  I need to call my Mom.  Since she offered to help with things, I think that helping J14 sew her vest for her renaissance costume would be a great help.  My Mom is an expert seamstress and taught my sisters and I to sew when we were young.  I have taught J14 the basics of sewing but this is probably the most complicated pattern she has attempted.  I have a suitable skirt and shirt for her costume but she wants to sew a lace-up fitted bodice/vest to complete her character's costume.  
Thanks to everyone for your support and understanding.  I reached my limit the other day.  I'm teetering on the edge but have been holding it together.  V and I need to have a sit down and talk about priorities.  He is so focused on the new house that he wants to put the things that need done here on the back burner.  While waiting to list this house won't be the end of the world- financially, things will be very interesting for us until we are able to sell this house- and, since there is a good chance that this house will be sold to someone who wants to use it as a rental- we are running out of time since people are already starting to sign leases for the fall semester here.  
I'm feeling better about leaving this place.  While I've wanted the acreage for years, there are things about this house that I love. But, things have been getting more and more violent around here.  In fact, there was an assault on our block on Sunday morning (about 3 am) where someone was knocked unconscious and robbed. He ended up hospitalized with a broken jaw.  We have always had trouble with vandalism but this type of violence is relatively new.  Makes me glad we're moving out of downtown.

Thursday, May 7, 2009


Oh my,  what a week it has been so far.  Work has been awful.  The new computer system hasn't been that much of a problem for me but one of my co-workers has been having a terrible time figuring it out.  I've explained it to her multiple times and she keeps screwing it up.  Luckily one of our department managers came up and worked with her today before I was tempted to do her an injury.  I was sorely tempted to slap her upside the head to see if I could knock any computer intelligence into her.  AARGH!!!  As if I needed any more stress in my life right now.

Things here at home have been crazy.  J14 and I11 both had events tonight- at the same time- in different places.  I11 had the final band concert of the year and J14 had the artist reception for the community school art show.  Selected art from the area high schools and Jr Highs were on display at one of the local credit union branch offices.  Tonight was the reception and award ceremony. J14 didn't win any awards but just to have been selected to be displayed in the art show is a honor.  She had a sculpture made of recycled newspaper and wire that was selected to be displayed.
V went with I11 to his concert and I took J14 to the art show.  It was nice to get away from it all for a while.  V has been spending lots of time out at the new house - WELL IS FIXED!!!!!
I've been struggling to keep things under control here, start packing and prepping this house for sale.  I actually ended up in tears last night.  V didn't get home until 830.  I got the kids fed and through homework and then was working with J14 to make cheese. They have this huge project for their English class- they are having a Renaissance Faire and her project is food related.  She will be baking bread and making cheese.  So we have been practicing.  Our first attempt was a epic failure but last night actually ended up very cheese-like.  Her teacher is really excited- she has never had anyone attempt something like this before.  
Anyway,  After getting everyone fed, homeworked, cheese made, laundry done etc. V came home and was rather pissy with me because he is tired.  I finally went upstairs for bed and discovered that someone had used the last of the toilet paper and not replaced the roll.  Something that insignificant drove me to tears because- while I KNOW that V is working really hard on the new house- I still feel like I'm doing everything by myself here at home and that someone couldn't even change the toilet paper roll was just the kicker. 
I've been better today except for thoughts of striking my computer inept co-worker. 
We are not going to meet our original deadline.  There is absolutely no way we can be ready to list this house by next Friday.  My plan to take extra time off work hasn't worked too well- the same inept co-worker informed us that she was off on Friday and that it had been on the calendar for a long time (it wasn't because I had just looked at it).  And with the new system I haven't felt comfortable leaving everyone in the lurch.  I'm hoping to schedule some time off next week but we'll see.   I need some time to get things together.
Wish me luck.

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Updates- garden and life

I'm participating in the Growing Challenge: Seed to Seed  this year sponsored by Melinda at One Green Generation.  Yeah, I'm doing several challenges at once. But they all fit in with what I'm already doing so it really isn't much extra.  The challenge here is to start something from seed, grow it and save seeds for next year.  There is actually some work involved in this but seed saving is something I have been interested in for a while.
As you all know,  I'm in a new spot this year for my garden.  It was lots of work to get it cleared and tilled but I've got it done.  26x85 feet.  I have been impressed at how rich the soil is and how well it worked up.  My Mom and Dad were even impressed so it must be good.  But now the weed seeds are beginning to sprout. Oy!  I can tell that I'm going to have a tough year with weed control since this area has never been worked before.  
But I have been planting!  On Sunday I planted peas, onions, chard, beets, lettuce and my pathetic broccoli seedlings (they have been languishing and look really sad).  I also planted radishes, some french breakfast and some 'watermelon' radishes from seed that I saved from last year.  We'll see how they do. 
This evening I took a chance and planted out a few peppers and tomatoes.  I planted 4 of each. It's still a bit early here but generally Mother's Day is fairly safe and that's coming up quickly- and the forecast is looking good for this week.  My pepper and tomato plants that I started really need either planted out or repotted and I don't see repotting happening.  My eggplant and tomatillos are also getting huge.
I talked to several of my co-workers about taking some more time off- even if it's just leaving early when it isn't too busy.  I am feeling a bit overwhelmed with everything I'm trying to do.  Making the new house livable, packing up this place, working to get this place ready to put on the market (very little of this has been done- eeek!), getting the garden in and all the usual home/family management stuff: kids events, laundry, cleaning, cooking, dishes, etc.   Whoosh!  It tires me out just thinking about it and I'm trying to do it.  But on the plus side- I've been sleeping well.  That's from me who hasn't slept well in years- I'm so exhausted by the time I hit the bed that I'm out like a light.
Well, gotta go get kids to bed and maybe do a load of laundry before I go to bed.

Monday, May 4, 2009

Independence Days- take 2: week 1

Well, the Independence Days Challenge is starting up for it's second year.  I was a latecomer to it last year so only made it for a few months on the old challenge.  If you haven't participated in this one, consider it.  I find it quite helpful- especially during those weeks when I don't feel that I'm getting much done.  By trying to accomplish something in each category each week, you not only work toward independence but also prepare yourself for hard times.  It is gratifying to see everything that  you can accomplish in a week's time.  Me, I don't always manage to do something in every category but at least I sit down and think about it once a week.  It's amazing how many things I already do (and would be doing anyway) fit into the categories.
Here goes for this week:
1. Plant something- Peas, onions, chard, radishes, lettuce, beets and broccoli.  Oh, and I transplanted 12 black raspberries and 16 golden ones from our old house to the new. Whew!
2. Harvest something- Only chives.  J14 and I were talking about trying to make violet jelly- we have a TON of violets at the new house.  We have lots here but not nearly as many.
3. Preserve something- Nope- but thinking about jelly.
4. Reduce waste- Did pretty bad on this front again.  We did use cloth bags at the store, recycle and compost as usual. We've been using cloth bags for so long that we don't have plastic grocery bags in the house anymore.  In fact, when I transplanted our raspberries I wanted to put them in plastic grocery bags for transport.  I actually had to bring some home from our stash at work to use.  I did save them and will reuse them to transplant more things as we go.
5. Preparation and storage- Other than working on the new house and garden, not much else.  We're trying to NOT stockpile anything else new since we would just have to move it.  I did move 6 dozen canning jars out to the new place and stored them  (off the ground) in the barn for now.
6. Build Community food systems-  Um, not really.  One of my coworkers was hitting me up for any spare produce that I may have this summer. She is the one who is going to Brazil on a mission trip this summer and will be taking some of our old toys along with her.  Since she will be gone for a while she isn't planting anything at her house.
7. Eat the food-  Yup.  Tonight's dinner was turkey and noodles with turkey I canned in January, dried carrots and celery from last year's garden.  We're trying to eat mostly from stores- although it has taken a bit more planning to make it work with all the house work we're doing.

That's it for a bit.  I've gotta go.  I'll try to do a Seed to Seed update tomorrow.

Sunday, May 3, 2009

200 posts!

Wow!  It seems like only last week that I started this little exercise.  Today marks 200 posts!  My goodness, how time flies when you're having fun!  So much has happened in the months since I started.  The adventure continues.
Today we got a late start out at the house.  We all slept in and were moving rather slowly this morning.  After a late breakfast and a trip to the home center, we all trundled out to the house to work.  My parents surprised us by showing up later in the afternoon to help (and to bring fresh cut asparagus from their garden- YUM!)
V finished getting as much concrete as he can safely remove from the well slab.  He is worried that breaking up the rest of the slab will drop pieces of concrete onto the pressure tank and we definitely don't want to damage that!  My Dad supervised while V worked and the children all helped move wheelbarrows of debris to a dumping pile.  V hopes to use the chunks of concrete for constructing dams in the creek to make some catchment pools to slow the erosion.
My Dad also helped me pound in the fence posts for the peas that my Mom and I finally got planted.  I have some earlier ones planted at Roger's house but these were the first things that we planted at the new place.  I also got all my onions planted (100 each of white, yellow and red) as well as chard, beets, lettuce, radishes and my broccoli seedlings.
Having my parents come help was great but it did really drive home that they are getting old (they are both in their 80s now).  My Mom had to take a break after planting a bit and my Dad was winded after hammering in the fence posts for me.  It really made me rather melancholy.  But the weather was beautiful and I finally got something planted.  My Dad helped me identify that we have a mulberry tree in the yard and Mom agreed with me that it looks like the apple was cut off at the ground and came up from the roots.
I also went the way of industrial ag this afternoon and wandered around with a sprayer of Round Up.  I know, I know... there are better, less damaging ways of killing weeds but we have SO MANY stinging nettles, thistles and poison hemlock plants growing that I wanted to really get them quickly.  There are nettles growing in the fence line around the garden and I keep running into them when I'm working.  Don't worry, there are still plenty if we want to  make tea.  I only worked around the garden edge and behind the barn where the hemlock was really thick.  I don't want the dog accidentally munching on something that poisonous.  I'm actually surprised that the previous owners didn't do something about it since they had horses.
Tomorrow it's back to work.  It should be really interesting.  We are starting with a brand new computer system for documentation that went live on Saturday. Hopefully they have gotten the kinks worked out of it by tomorrow.  It will probably be a very stressful day trying to get used to the new system so I just hope it isn't too busy.   I've got plenty on my plate with out work throwing me a curve.  

Saturday, May 2, 2009

Dog Tired

Oh My, I'm tired!  V even more so.  We worked HARD today.  He was out early with a rented 12 inch chop saw cutting through the concrete slab that covers the well.   He didn't have a good time.  Evidently when they poured it, rather than using re-bar, they used several steel fence posts as reinforcement.  But he got through most of it before he called it quits.  Now that there is access, the well guys can come in next week and bring the well up to code and shock it so we can finally drink the water.  Then comes the septic.
Me, this morning I dug raspberries and then transplanted them out at the new place.  12 black raspberries and 16 golden ones as well as a few bluebells.  Then I mowed the lawn, at least that immediately around the house- with our push mower that chose today to suddenly be not-self propelled.  Ugh!!! What a job.  The grass was about 10 inches in some places and still wet.  To make matters worse, the previous owners' dogs dug holes in the yard which are now hard to see until you either step into them or the mower gets stuck.  Not to mention that the yard needs some serious re-grading (which hopefully will happen when we replace the septic) because there is a wicked hill.
We had a few visitors today as well. First, our realtor stopped out to see how things were going.  I think really to get a feel on when we will be ready to out our house on the market.  V is speculating that he has someone lined up already and is just waiting for us to be ready to move out.  
Then was the other surprise visitor.  V and I were taking a break to get a drink when an Iowa State Trooper pulled into the drive and got out of his car.  Lets just say that we were a bit nervous at first.  But, it turns out that he is one of our neighbors (one of the 3 houses we can see from our property) and was just stopping in to welcome us to the neighborhood.  It turns out that his MIL grew up in our house and is probably one of the kids from the family that originally built it.  Talk about a small world.
I did take a walk about to see what is blooming at the new house.  There were a few surprises that should be fun to see how they turn out.
The wild cherries are just starting to open (there is a bee on the blossom- sorry for it being out of focus- the wind gusted just as I took the shot).  Wild cherries here are a 'weed' tree but still good for making wine.
There is an apple tree beginning to bloom.  I have no idea if it will produce any fruit and it is in really bad shape- it looks like someone cut it off at the ground and it came up from the stump so there are lots of 'trunks' intertwined making it look more like a big shrub.
We also have an ornamental flowering quince- pretty flowers but not much else.
I know I already posted a picture of the Bleeding Hearts but they are just gorgeous.
Just on the other side of the fence is a grove of wild plums in full bloom.  They smell heavenly!!!  Also, as I was planting the golden raspberries near the fence I discovered that there are wild raspberries across the fence as well as what looks like gooseberries.  Hopefully they are escaped cultivars since I know that wild ones tend to not produce as heavily.  
I did get the rest of the garden tilled last night since Roger called and wanted his tiller Friday night so he can work his garden this weekend. It was a bit wetter than I would like because of all the recent rain but it wasn't too bad.  So tomorrow- I plant!!!
When we called it quits we finally went out and did our 'big ticket' ordering.  We have a lawn tractor that will be delivered on Tuesday and my new range and range hood will be delivered in about 2 weeks (they are both special order items).  Hopefully by that time, we will have the gas line run and the island constructed and ready to go in the kitchen.  We have realized that we won't get everything done that we wanted before we move in.  We at least need to have the kitchen remodel done and J14's room in the basement finished.  Everything else, we can finish when we're there.
In some other good news,  V had a call from his little brother- the one who is a co-owner of an energy company in Texas that he is doing freelance writing for.  Anyway, bigK and his partners evidently like the work V has been producing and want to give him more responsibilities/work and will double what they are paying him.  It could make things interesting with the timing of trying to get work done at the house.  Maybe we will need to get the cable hooked up at the house early since that is the only way we will get high speed internet access out there and we're not going back to dial up.  So, that is good news on the financial front, especially since the publishing company that V worked for previously will be closed for good on the 15th of this month so there will be no more copy editing jobs from them.
Now, off to watch a video with the children for a bit and then it's off to bed for me.  Tomorrow is another busy day.  I'm excited that I'm finally going to be putting things in the ground in my new garden!!!