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Wednesday, April 12, 2017

Seed planting

Saturday, April 7th was bright and sunny.  I decided to dedicate a few hours to the green house.

Last summer, John, Joshua & I took the little "farm truck" and went over to the rock ledge on Riverview Farms (the 782 acre hunt club that adjoins our property on 3 sides).  We collected limestone slabs to use in building a rock oven.  Well, the stones have been standing there in a pile ever since.  I decided to put what we had collected into use as the floor in the greenhouse. John said he didn't mind. We can always go collect more rock.

Our "farm truck", with right hand drive.
Our order had come in from Baker Creek Rare Seeds.  I'm always excited about planting!

This year's seed order.
The herbs will be staying in the greenhouse.  I want to get some herbs & small fruit trees going in the greenhouse.  I want an interesting, relaxing growing environment.  Some place to sit and listen to the birds & smell the dirt & plants.  An over sized terrarium.

My friend Karna hosted a tea party last week, and it was a beautiful day for it.  I went to my friend Beth's house so we could car pool.  Then we went to Karna's.  What a nice day.  The food was good, and so was the companionship!

The pergola put interest shadows on our faces.
I also spent time with the ladies, working on the Hardy Homesteaders raffle quilt.  It's almost finished.  We just need to finish the border.
We were quilting ( and eating cake).
The brush piles from this past winter are slowly disappearing.  I hate tripping over sticks!  My right leg doesn't lift very high, thanks to my Parkinson's (and some old damage after a riding accident).  So as I'm walking along those damn sticks trip me up!  I make piles & burn them when the weather cooperates.

Chris and Joshua have been working on the Hobbit House interior.  Josh & I got the exterior waterproofing finished.  Now it looks like an avocado. Once the interior cement is completed, the door and window can go in.  Then I can tile the floor & paint.  I hope to have everything ready when Tammy and Ariel get here in May.

Monday, March 27, 2017

Birthday thoughts

Today, I turn 58.  Wow!  I seriously never thought I'd get make it this far...

Not that I ever considered leaving this world.  Thankfully, I'm just not plagued by depression.  I've had my share of sad times, like after my father died. But I've always bounced back to my happy self.

I've had my share of illness and injury.  Yeah, I have Parkinson's disease.  Yeah, I have 3 blown discs in my lower back.  Yeah, I have pain in my joints...

But, I live in a good place with my family that loves me.  I have good friends.  I have sufficient income to meet all my needs.  (And not bragging here, just stating a fact) I have more income than I need.  Our home & land are paid for.  And all the vehicles are too.  No debt hangs over our heads.  Our pantry is full.  Our well never goes dry.  We have good soil, our garden grows well. Our animals are healthy, excepting Peanuts diabetes.

My extended family is large, but distant.  And that's ok.  Modern communication allows me to keep in touch with everyone.

As I sit here sipping my coffee at 5 AM, I feel blessed. Blessed with love.  Blessed with plenty.  Life is good.

My family

Extended family

 More friends

My home

Tuesday, March 14, 2017

Back to winter weather

We've had a very mild winter, so far. Last weekend we had heavy rain & very high winds.  Several building in town lost shingles, and a few trees are down.  We didn't have any damage to our property.  Our neighbor to the south had a tree come down near her cabin & garage.
Large tree

Large tree that missed all buildings.
After the windy weather, Joshua and I got the first layer of rubber applied to the Hobbit House.  It's now a nice green color.

And the, winter made it's continued presence known... It snow on Saturday night 3/11. We got about 3 inches.
Cricket in the snow

Bunny tracks

I took these videos Sunday morning.  The dogs really enjoyed the walk.

We canned some venison yesterday.  I started out by removing all the connective tissue from the meat.  After 2 hours, my hands were exhausted.  Josh took over.  He ground the meat, packed the jars & loaded them into the pressure cooker.  This was his first canning experience.  Now he knows exactly what to do.

I finally finished a sweater I started 2 years ago.  I'm not happy with the collar... I've worked on it quite a while, and I may re-do it yet again.  Or I may just put the buttons on and accept it the way it is. Earlier this year I scored a great find, a collection of buttons, at the local flea market.   I remember moving my stash of pewter buttons while I was sorting all the buttons.  Now I can't find them.  Dang.  Anyway, I've put the sweater aside while I search for buttons.
The back of the Fair Isle sweater for me

The front of the sweater.  No buttons.
 My next project is a double knit Fair Isle vest.  A new challenge for me.  The vest will be completely reversible. Here's a link to my Ravelry page for this project.  Camilla, a Fair Isle Vest

Saturday, March 4, 2017

Spring on the homestead.

It's been rather warm the past few days.  The flowers are really putting on a show!
Pale yellow daffodil with yellow center.

White hellebore.

Purple hellebore.

White daffodils with orange centers.

Yellow daffodils.

We had some VERY high winds on Wednesday, 3/01, early in the morning.  Our dogs woke me up at 3:20.  They were terrified!  The wind sounded like a train coming through the house.  I'd heard that description for a tornado before... but I don't think we actually had a tornado.  Just high wind.  We didn't have any damage to our property.  A large tree fell down next to our neighbor's hunting cabin, no damage to any structures though.  Thankfully.
The tree just missed the cabin & garage.

Big tree

We've made some progress on the Hobbit House.  Joshua worked his buns off, removing clay that fell in over the winter.  John got the tractor out & used the bucket to help.  Sorry, I have no pictures of this activity.  I was busy removing splattered cement from the slab (floor) inside.  Why didn't the men put plastic down to protect the floor before they started adding cement to the dome??  ARRRRRRGH!

Anyway, the french drain is now in.  We should have several warm, dry days next week.  We'll be applying the rubber sealant to the structure.  That should make it waterproof.  Then I can start working on the interior walls.

Pictures of the progress...
French drain installed.

French drain, the black perforated pipe, then covered with gravel.

Scraping the splattered cement to clean up the floor inside.

I finished the boot cuffs I've been working on.  They came out well.  I like them!

We have an unidentified tree blooming in "the pasture".  It also bloomed last year.  We've had several people say  it might be a Bradford Pear. There's no aroma.  It looks like an apple blossom.

Sunday, February 19, 2017

February weather

Normally at this time of year, we have snow and/or ice on the ground.  The temperatures are in the mid-30's during the day.  Here's a picture from 2/17/15.

This ice storm was in February 2013.

And this year?  No snow or ice.  At all. Nothing.  Maybe that doesn't seem odd to you, but ponder this.  It's been so warm that the tree frogs (alias peepers) are sing outside right now.  It's only 43F right now and I hear peepers singing.  The wasps are out already.  And the lizards and garter snakes.  Very odd, if you ask me.

I've been working on the floor inside the Hobbit House.  I've been scrapping off concrete that fell through the mesh when they were working on the dome.  I need to remove this mess before we can put any tile down.

Joshua was working on the french drain for a few hours yesterday.  That is damn hard work.  Shovel and bucket work.  He's removing clay from around the concrete pad so the drain tube can be laid down.  Then gravel will cover the drain.  We have the sealant that we will cover the dome with, as a rubber barrier.  This will waterproof the dome, so we can bury the whole structure.

We'll work on the inside during the summer.  The interior will be cool in the summer, nice for working on the interior walls & putting tile down.

I made a Pinterest board for the Hobbit House, if you'd like to check it out.  Here's a link:

Hobbit house ideas on my Pinterest board

Tuesday, January 31, 2017

New books

I'm always interested in learning new things, or in this case "new to me".  I watched a homesteading video on YouTube and he referred to these 3 books.  So, I thought I'd invest in them for our homestead.

The fist book is "The Forgotten Crafts", by John Seymour. When I handed this book to my husband John, he was very interested.  He looked through it for a few minutes, vowing to peruse it again.

Do you need to make an enclosure for your livestock?  The section on stiles will help you design & construct it so that the animals can't get you & YOU can. Do you need a new, rugged pair of shoes? Learn how to cut your own clogs. Barrel making, saddle making, basket weaving, sod cutting, charcoal making.  This book introduces you to the skill and shows you the tools you need to complete the task.

The second book, "The Forgotten Skills of Self-Sufficiency" by Caleb Warnock.  This book was very interesting to me.  The author quotes for farmer's journals from the 1840's and 1850's, discussing planting times, how to replant if needed (and it usually was), saving seed, establishing a community seed swapping network and raising chickens.

The third book, "Lost Crafts", by Una McGovern, is a real treasure.  The print is tiny, and the book is thick.

This book cover a great assortment of crafts. From dry stone wall laying to soap making, milking a cow to skinning a rabbit, pickling to thatching, blacksmithing to weaving.  Very handy for the homestead, to be sure!

Saturday, January 28, 2017

Canine diabetes

Our older dog, Peanut, has been acting a bit odd lately.  She's been drinking A LOT.  And I mean A LOT.  As peeing a lot... vomiting, shaking, losing weight.  She's always been a chow hound, but lately she's been sleeping by the food & water bowl.  Odd.

We've had her 10 years now.  We don't really know how old she is, she's a rescue dog.  She was a young adult when she came to live with us.

Miss Peanut in 2008
She had an eye infection last week, so we took her to the vet for treatment. Shaw Veterinary Clinic While we were there we made arrangements to get her teeth cleaned this week, on Wednesday.  But on Tuesday she was rather ill.  Drinking, peeing & vomiting.  When we took her in on Wednesday, I told Dr Roger Shaw about her symptoms.  Peanut had to stay & have blood work done so he could solve the mystery of her illness.  Her blood sugar was over 500!  OMG!

Both my parents, my cousin, several family friends, my sister-in-law all have diabetes.  I know this is a difficult disease to manage.  How in the heck do you manage it in dogs??!!

Just like people, when dogs get older & heavier they are more at risk for certain diseases.  Diabetes is one of them.  And Peanut was in the heavier category to be sure.  She's a shorty Jack Russell terrier and she weighed 25 pounds!  She's now down to 18.  A much healthier weight... but it was all lost in the past 6 months.

She's now going to be on insulin twice a day. I did my research on treating dogs with diabetes, and was a bit apprehensive about giving her the injection.  But this morning at her 6 AM dose, she didn't even flinch when I gave her the shot.  She was fixated on the jerky treat I had for her.  I hope this trend will continue.

More info on canine diabetes:
The following symptoms should be investigated as they could be indicators that your dog has diabetes:
  • Change in appetite.
  • Excessive thirst/increase in water consumption.
  • Weight loss.
  • Increased urination.
  • Unusually sweet-smelling or fruity breath.
  • Lethargy.
  • Dehydration.
  • Urinary tract infections.

Dog Diabetes Symptoms, Diagnosis, and Treatment - Pet WebMD