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Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Water, Water, Water

Yes from that picture if you cannot tell we have our well running now! Seems the pump and control box are fine and the only problem we had was a bit of mud and stone getting caught in a valve when we first fired it up. So we washed dishes in OUR water yesterday, took a bath in OUR water last night. It was strange , but it seemed we must have been more stressed over the well than we thought. As soon as we got it running Silver and I felt great relief fall over us, like a great weight was lifted from our shoulders. Did notice something interesting about the waster, the first person on our road when we'd get water from his well; the water was very hard and had a slight unusual taste to it. When we'd get water from the people nearer to us (the ones with the animals), it was very soft water with no additional taste to it; AND they don't use a water softener. Our water is coming out soft and... it might just be that it's our water, but it tasted very sweet. Silver and I plan on celebrating by taking a bath tomorrow during the DAY... shocking as when you have to carry water that's a luxury. I guess we also loose some of our aerobic workouts now with no water carrying on the menu anymore (awwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwww), though it will save us on car gas for when we'd get the washing water we'd have to drive half a mile. It was funny about the wire Mark Chenail picked up for us, he said he “hoped” it was 60ft, it was about 140ft; which means being $8 for the roll about $.05 a foot. Good thing it was so long too as being “well wire” the wire that goes -into- the well Silver needed to double it to make up for the slightly smaller gauge wire. So lets see... well works(we didn't dig it)... we have wire for it($8 for the roll)... we have a tank for it (we got it for free)... we spent $30 of our money on parts to go from the well to the tank. I think we came out OK on this one. Now Silver says we should buy the proper wire eventually, but this will work.

Dug Well... free

Pump for Well... free

Control Box for Well... free

Wire for control box... $8 (worked off)

Pressure tank... free

Assorted fittings... $30

A WORKING WELL... Priceless!!!!!!!!!

Be Well and Blessed Be...

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Neighbors and Good News

I don't believe I have ever mentioned my neighbors here on the road that my land is on. I wanted to talk about them today as I need to get an opinion about one. The first person on our road actually has his driveway on the cross street by choice, him and his current wife (third I think); have lived there for about 15 years maybe a slight bit less. He has a radio shack for his short wave radios, about 20 I think; he also has his computer in his shack. He spends more time in it than in his home, I know he loves his wife and his wife still works a regular job in a hospital; she cares for her husband a great deal. They like to help people out and have been the people we get our water from when we need it. They also feed all the local stray cats (grins).

The woman who lives next to him is a recent arrival to the street, as recent as this summer; though she made her down payment on the property about when I did. She had arrived with her husband and her two youngest children, they arrived with high ideas; and desires for their lives. She is now living alone as her husband and children decided “country” life was too rough. (guess the “simple” life was a bit much for them) She is doing well and right now one of her sons is with her helping out with his family. I do not know how long they will be around but it is nice to see her get some help from her family.

The next person on the road is our closest neighbor currently... there is another property between us and him, but no one is using it right now. This neighbor I know very little about other than I was told him and his wife came from California. I do know he stays awake most of the night playing drums very loud, sometimes at 3am. Occasional weekends he has loud parties, he also has a beautiful black Great Dane; who has free range of his property. The kids say that sometimes they don't pay attention when they are walking home from school and they have to jump off the road to avoid their cars.

On the other side there are only 2 occupied properties The nearest to us is a couple who have been on the road as long as the first (they have also not spoken to each other in about that much time). They have let us use their well as well when needed, they are also the people Silver and I do occasional work; and the place I got the truck load of goat poo. They have a number of “pets” 2 aged goats, 2 rabbits, a flock of laying chickens, a small flock of guineas, 6 dogs, and 8 cats. The dogs and cats are mostly “dumped” animals they took in when no one else wanted them.

The final people on our road is a couple who the first week we were here met, the gentleman walked onto our property with a handgun on his hip and told us they were going to tear up a section of our lot from the power pole out to the road then along the road, so they can run power line. Nice way to meet someone huh? He then spent the next month clearing his land, laying a foundation, digging a well, setting up a cesspool, then having a double wide dropped onto his property. I wish I had seen it come down the road, but we were out that day, I do know it didn't make the road any better. We see him a couple times a day driving up or down the road, that’s about it.

Now the opinion I would like is about the second neighbor the woman alone. The son who is visiting and helping out is a service man who just came back from Afghanistan. She has told me that his is in transportation, which means he in some manner works with the vehicles; Silver when in the air force was a driver and my father was a mechanic on jets. Now this son since coming in the last week has been firing off an automatic weapon for target practice. My neighbor says he does it because he wants to be a shooter but because he isn't he does it whenever he can. She said he is shooting at targets, but I do have a problem with someone who is firing off an automatic weapon, that may miss; next to a property with expensive livestock on it. Also knowing there are children on the road why not warn the other residents so we won't accidentally walk into a stray bullet? I know he wants to be a fighter, and I can understand wanting to be able to defend yourself or hunt with a good gun; but an automatic? All that is good for to me is killing people... if you tried to use it to hunt it would swiss cheese the animal. If you used it for defense all it would do it kill someone very completely. I wanted to complain about the shooting but I also know they are doing it on their own property technically... but what if it ricocheted and hurt someone? What do you think?

Now on a good note...

WE HAVE OUR WELL WIRE!!!!!!!! We are going to hook it up today and see if the pump and box works OK. Keep your fingers crossed.

Be Well and Blessed Be...

Monday, September 27, 2010

Cold Nights!

Note I had planned on putting this up on Tuesday morning but an opportunity presented itself to put it up Monday instead so forgive the dates please.

Wow this is a change for us right now, instead of taking a break midday to wait out the heat we are waiting for a morning warmup before working. Sunday night the outside temp was 45, and our tent was 50 all night, so... Monday morning getting the kids up for school was loads of fun. We have discovered our little space heater we brought from New York still does run as we tested it out Monday morning and it ran fine. Which is amazing as it has been out in the weather without cover. I will say that I am amazed at how much warmer a (plastic????) tent is when the temps start to drop. Sunday as we had overcast skies and 55 degree temps we stayed in the tent wrapped in blankets and watched movies all day, having home made hot chocolate in the morning and hot tea all day. I have made a nice discovery in that Hersey’s makes a Special Dark cocoa powder, we discovered it in New York and I just found a Wal-Mart here that sells it. It is wonderful as hot chocolate, also we used sweetened condensed milk for it with 4 cans of added water to it enough cocoa powder to taste; and when almost done a tablespoon of vanilla extract. Also we use real extract not the imitation, we discovered Sam's Club sells a large bottle of pure vanilla extract; I believe (don't quote me) it was under $5.00 a bottle. That was also a New York price so elsewhere it may be cheaper. Wal-Mart itself in some stores also has double strength vanilla extract sold I think under the Watkins brand.

Other fun things with the cooler temps? Well... as I stated to Rianna (pardon if I mispelled your name) our outhouse seat is frigid! I also think the maggots in the outhouse might have gone dormant from the temps, I figure they will go normal when the temps warm during the day. It is amazing what you learn sometimes... like the maggots in the outhouse, they keep the “stuff” down so it doesn't overflow on us, their only problem is whe it hits the saturation point in the ground then the liquid starts draining out the bottom. When we get the portable building in 3 weeks(counting it down folks!) we are going to use a sawdust toilet like the guys at the Missouri Journal have been using for years. That is we will use it until we can add a bathroom to the end of the building, I do not plant to use the saw dust for a long period of time, as it might wind up being costly after a period of time with 5 people to buy all that shaved wood.

We go on Friday after 8am here to order and make the first payment on the building, then approximately 2 weeks after they will deliver it, which if the 2 weeks is accurate it will be delivered on my youngest's birthday. Also we will have to take down our tent,sitting room, and kitchen the day before and sleep a night in the car. We are going to have it set close to the power pole so we won't spend a great deal on wiring the place. About 2 weeks (again based on if 2 weeks is actual) we will be buying the wire for it, insulation, and timber to make it “cozy” for the winter. Bunk beds will be made for my girls and my son will have a built in bed, all three of those beds will be made “cave-like” so the kids will have there own space. There will be a loft over the back end of it where we will store most of our things and anything we will be using often if it won't fit in our one cabinet or shelf unit will be in bins under the beds. We will have “some” space for our TV cabinet near where we want to put a small wood burner. We had found this nice little wood burner that can be cooked on so it's double duty, good for soups to be cooked on all day, and should be big enough to warm a 12x24 portable shed; that’s insulated. We were going to have the company put on 2 windows but at $100 a piece at the down payment time we have decided to buy them later and add them on ourselves. Just means no windows for at least a month maybe more, but we will have to live with that. Once we have the first part of the house build this shed is going to become my canning kitchen and extra storage for food items, whether it be animal or human food.

The nice thing about what we are going to be doing here with our own house building and even the work we will do on this shed is that we are going to teach the kids how to do these things. So before they get out of high school (grammar school for my girls) they will know how to build, wire, and plumb a house. Nice skills for anyone to have, growing up my parents believed that if we needed something fixed we learn how to do it ourselves; so we'd have the skills. Granted the kids won't be doing as much work on it as me and Silver will but they will learn it.

We will be having 2 building projects going on at once though... as I want to get my chickens and turkeys next year in the spring we will need the chicken house built before we get the chicks. That way once the2-4 week period they need the brooder is over I have a place to put them that my 2 labs and one hound dog won't chase/eat them. I am thinking of getting about 15 Leghorn pullets and a Jersey Giant Pullet and one Jersey Giant cockerel, as the Leghorns are -not- suppose to be broody and the Giants can get up to 13 lbs in weight; though I have no idea about their broodiness. I will try and see, worst that happens is I will need an incubator and a permanent brooder.

Another thing I am going to try out this coming spring, starting in a few weeks to a month I am going to buy 4 straw bales to over winter in the weather so they are “aged”. In early spring I am going to plant onions in one of them all over it to see if they will grow. The other three will be my starter straw for potatoes grown just in straw. I plan to take loads of pics and to document what happens with them both and see if it goes well.

So all that’s left to say is we are all counting our days to get the portable and crossing our fingers that maybe the weather will remain clear until it arrives.

Be Well and Blessed Be...

Friday, September 24, 2010

Long days

Whew... It has been a busy week, Silver and I decided to check out our pile of "stuff" we were keeping under a tarp as we were awaiting a place to put them. Well... that wound up being a 2 day project, and about 50% of the things we brought will were wrecked ; but the silliest things survived. In a completely soaked box of books one book was dry as a bone. In another box of things that were to wet to salvage a clock radio was discovered in perfect shape. Our desktops survived in their tucked away space and about 80% of our bagged clothing survived. We have moved the remainder of out things to a new spot and put a better tarp (canvas one) over it and that is where it will remain until out portable arrives, sometime in the middle of next month.

My son's birthday was this week and we wound up having a nacho and movie night when they all came home from school, he got his first "real" watch as his present it is a pocket style but it is designed to be worn on a belt. He was so excited.

I'll write more when I get a chance I'm sitting here as Silver fills our water bottles... hopefully in a week we'll have our well running. Mark Chenail the "Missouri Journal" guy found us some wire for $8, nice deal, when Silver's check comes in we'll pick it up and check and see if the Pullman kitchenette works.

Be Well and Blessed Be...

Friday, September 17, 2010

More Rain...!

I swear I'm getting sick of it raining here, the night of the 15th it rained from approximately 16:15 to 2:20 am the next morning, and most of the night it was loud nasty lightning and thunder. Let me tell you if you have nocturnal astraphobia (fear of thunderstorms at night, I hope I spelled it right), and you are in a tent and a wicked thunderstorm comes through; you aren't sleeping. I happen to have that particular phobia, and thought I had almost beaten it till that night; the bad part was that by the time the lightning was getting bad it was raining too much to go out and into the car. So I spent a verrrrry long night unable to sleep cringing at every bolt of lightning and thunderclap. I wager if my girls had been awake they would have had a good view of the storm as they were in the car that night. Seeing as how the dogs had gotten their bedding all wet. My son slept through it, the dogs and cats slept through it aside from random playing of course. Even Silver slept through it, 'cept of course when I'd jump half out of my skin with the larger thunders or lightning strikes. I was able to finally get to sleep at about 2:30 am and get a few hours sleep before getting up at 6am to get the kids moving for school.

One of the biggest joys of “living” outside, is cooking outside. When it's raining you tend to eat more junk food as you can't cook anything, now we have the cooking area covered right now; but that only stops rain coming straight down. Part of the problem with that is our deep fryer doesn't have a sealed lip on it so when it rains hard we lose any frying oil in it. Silver is thinking of buying something to put the oil in between uses just to slow it down. Oh speaking of fryer oil we found at Wal-Mart the other day a 2.5 gallon bottle of peanut oil in a restaurant styled bottle (those heavy duty bottles in the boxes), those bottles make good water bottles after they are empty and washed out. Another fun part about your cooking space outside is you cabinets (if you are using any) won't stay clean. We have a nice metal cabinet with a wooden top on it, unfortunately it is painted white... so... needless to say it's looking very dingy right now. Also the wooden top is not going to be useable when we get inside the “Bunk House”, we will have to replace the top when we move it in. Same with my metal computer desk that has a vinyl press board top, that will need to be replaced. Something good that also happened when we went shopping the other day. We started going to the discount groceries out here and one of the two we went to gave us a crate of half pint vanilla shakes for free, they are sitting in our freezer now and we are taking out a few at a time to thaw and drink. The only thing she asked of us is to return the crate to her when we come back by the store, they are still good; she just needed the space in the cooler for another product. I think we were lucky that day.

For those of you who saw those picture of my stroke kitty Crookshanks when he was a kitten I will put us some more of him soon, he has grown into a very handsome young cat; though his head is still slightly crooked. We think he might grow to be larger than his father is, he is already the same size as his father and he isn't a full year old yet.

I'm not sure I mentioned it, but Silver has become healthier since we have moved here. First, before we moved here he was wearing a size 42 pants and now he is down to a 36. Next about 3-6 months before we moved here he was put on insulin, he is a type II diabetic; and besides the insulin he was taking two Glyburide and one Metemorphin (not sure on those spellings) pills twice a day and barely in control of his blood sugar levels. Now if he takes one of the Glyburide's his blood sugar drops below 60 and 90-100 is considered normal... 85 and under are not good. This was all before I started him on vitamin and mineral supplements, with this he has also pretty much stopped drinking coffee and picked up tea drinking instead. If we go out somewhere he might get one cup, but when I first met him he was drinking 3 pots of coffee a day.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Onions and Anniversaries

OK, I know it's a weird name for a topic;but bear with me. I have recently discovered homemade onion rings are excellent! We've been buying mix and our extra onions have been becoming onion rings when we have something with home made fries (I love my french fry cutter!). For example yesterday Silver and I had fries and onion rings for lunch, never thought I'd consider that a good lunch but for some reason it sounded great. It was also light enough that when we had leftovers from our favorite other night dinner. Which was incidentally Yankee pot roast stew, yeah sounds odd; but again trust me it's good. But anywho, I am looking for a recipe for a good batter mix for onion rings so we can make the batter from scratch; if anyone has one I'd appreciate a pass on. The other day when I was adding to my compost pile (normally I have the kids do it but no more!) I found three of the large onions we tossed into due to spoilage sprouting! I pulled them out and have them sitting in front of the compost pile and I am going to see if they do anything more. They have no sign of spoilage now, I'm hoping they will grow some more or maybe send out some bulblets for me to plant.

As for the anniversary part... On Wednesday at about 11pm central time it will be Silver and my anniversary. It will be three years we have known each other, a year and a half in which we have been together in the same home. It is also very funny as the place we met is so very far from where we are now it may surprise you. Silver and I met in an online world called Second Life... for those of you out there who have never seen it or even heard about it. It is an online world that well... you can do anything. Unfortunately you can do anything, but anywho; we met there on September 15th 11pm central time. It was so amusing that even though both of us weren't living the lives we wanted at the time we both had a dream to live out on a piece of land and raise our own food. I also wanted a place where I could feel was safe for my three kids, Silver wanted the same for his son; but however his son lives with his mother. We have that now, and I am hoping for many many more good years on our land with Silver and my kids.

Be Well and Blessed Be...

Monday, September 13, 2010

Just a brief note

Lookie what I found in my garden before the rains dumped down upon us. It's a cabbage plant thats still fighting to stay alive! I might get a full head yet! It's not the only plant trying to come back since the rains came and the weather has cooled down.

This is one of my remaining broccoli plants 2 of them are trying to make a come back. Not only that but my zucchini is flowering again as is my "patty pan" squashes.
My peppers have lived through the almost no rain and are trying to flower out again, and we have been picking the hot peppers and drying them in our new dehydrator for winter soup and stew flavoring. We picked up a lovely dehydrator at the free shop in Lebanon, MO it works great and has a full set of fruit roll trays!

We have had rain here from Wednesday night through Saturday afternoon and have been drying out bedding since it stopped. I wish the rain would quit just until we get our portable building next month.

Well thats it for now

Be Well and Bright Blessings...

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Koran Burning... Why?

I spent part of this morning being hit with news about a Florida pastor wanting to burn Korans on the anniversary of 9-11. The man is planning to do this as a “warning” a quote from the news story at the top... “"Instead of us being blamed for what other people will do or might do, why don't we send a warning to them?" he said. "Why don't we send a warning to radical Islam and say, don't do it. If you attack us, ... we will attack you."”

I have a problem with this kind of “public display”, it is wrong on many, many levels. Why would anyone want to do something so hateful to people who haven't done anything to anyone. Not everyone who follows the Koran can be blamed for things a few of it's followers do, so why do these people want to hurt the ones who want to live their lives quietly?

To do this shows that the person who thinks it's a good idea is no better than the person they say is wrong. They are their own worst enemy. The second link is for the site for the church that is proposing this “Koran burning”, I wrote them an email telling them I believe they are wrong. I do not know if telling them what people think will change their minds, but I couldn't not say something when I think it is so very wrong.

Ok These are the pictures we were sent of the kitchenette. Up close the base unit looks much bigger, I'm 5'9" and the counter top is up to my chest! It is all metal, the upper is a single unit, the picture the upper is upside down. We still do not know if the whole thing works yet, we aren't picking it up until our building gets delivered.

The refrigerator is larger than it appears in this picture, in this picture the stove is open and the fridge is on the other end; with a small space in between for the pipe and wires. It is a three burner electric stove, and of course a small sink in the middle. Mark told us it came out of an old church so I'm thinking it still works OK.

Notice it's white with black, it's funny the other day we bought a electric roaster/slow cooker that is white with black too!

We discovered that our clay soil is easier to dig in when the ground is wet, so we have dug at least a foot down in the wet clay. thats when we found some stones... one big one in particular, we hope we can get the stone out ourselves. I am hoping to take some pictures of it today if it doesn't rain, then next time I'm in the library I can place them up here. We also had an interesting idea for when the ground is hard and we can't shovel more than a few inches down. With luck our cesspool will be dug before our building arrives, which due to a need to replace my daughter's broken glasses will be next month. I certainly hope she understands how not funny it was to break them when we needed the money for a building to live in. Of course needed to repair a tire didn't help either, but hopefully (crossing fingers harder) nothing else goes wrong.

Be Well.... & Blessed Be

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Rainy days

Well we finally got a good rain after not much this summer, which for us was a verrrrrry mixed blessing. Due to a holey tent with more duck tape and plastic than the original, we spent last night in our car sleeping as between the couple holes we missed and the five wet dogs every bit of bedding got wet. Not to mention the "Return of Wolf Lake" everywhere. Now I don't understand how a property that is the highest point has the most standing water. This morning when me and Silver were out enjoying a bite out the radio said that in Springfield they got 4.6 inches of rain just yesterday. We have a flood watch until 11 am today and then it restarts at 2 pm until tomorrow morning. You know we needed the rain but this is a bit much.

This is the outdoor wood stove that Silver built for us to use when we don't have propane to cook with. He took the commercial stove metal base that was dropped on our property and filled it with gravel then set two cinder blocks on it. Then filled the holes in them with gravel, placed the thin cinder blocks on top. Then he put another cinder block behind it, filled it and placed that piece of sheet steel from the same stove on the back and placed a few more of the thin blocks behind it to hold it in place. We use the "leg" pieces from the stove as a place to set the pans, tea pot, etc on top of and burn wood in the center piece. It was funny when he first made it we were out of cooking gas for two weeks and got very good at cooking over that "open fire".