Tuesday, April 29, 2008

It has been a long time.
My birthday came and went. Marc got me a bar of Greene and Black organic chocolate..mmm...
I have been writing lots at Kettle and Cup and Baking Delights, while still keeping up here and with Apron Strings & Simmering Things.

Not doing so good at that, huh?

In any case, in my wanderings, I have come across The Simple Woman Blog..and love the concept. I felt that way once, that I could achieve that, and I hope I will feel that way again..Simplicity. Like a really good vanilla custard simplicity is elusive and more complex than one would think.
In any case she has this meme and it is good for getting thoughts started...If you would like to participate click here...

FOR TODAY April 29, 2008...

Outside My Window...
The sun is shining and there is a slight breeze.

I am thinking...
of how to wrestle my life back and take joy in the journey despite what is happening now

I am thankful for...
Marc, that the green beans are up and that the cucumbers and okra are following

From the kitchen...
French Country style roast chicken today with garlic roasted baby purple potatoes

I am wearing...
jeans and a red top, with a grey sweater

I am creating...
Memories, stability, and roots..a legacy

I am going...
for coffee with Marc in a few minutes

I am reading...
Lots of blogs right now, but other than Bible, no books.

I am hoping...
We are almost finished with this season we are in

I am hearing...
The kids playing

Around the house...
Messy..but better

One of my favorite things...
Coffee or tea in on my porch

A Few Plans For The Rest Of The Week:
Love to Know editor training, more organizing..maybe a little spinning

Here is picture thought I am sharing...

For everything there is a season....

Friday, April 18, 2008

Matt spent the afternoon finishing up the tilling...We had rain forcast and I wanted to get the green beans, okra, cilantro, basil, and cucumbers in. I still need to put in the dill, the corn, the squash...
I was able to get them all in the ground so hopefully I am closer to gardening nirvana.

I am going to forgo a fall garden this year in the hopes of preparing for a raised bed, permanent planting next year. I saw one in the new issue of Mother Earth News that I have pegged for my front yard...SOMEDAY.
I realize that all it takes is planning ahead but this year..well there was no way. Besides, I am clinging to a small hope that everything will sell and we will be on a bigger place in the country next year..If not, I will have the garden.
I am kicking around the idea of selling all the goats. I need the money, and I think I have someone that would buy them all. Sigh. I feel that it is going backwards sort of..but maybe I need to step back to step forward.

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Always fun when I *discover* a new blog. I found Homestead Herbs quite by accident and spent a few minutes there..hopefully going back for a visit tomorrow as my time was very limited today. Check it out...
Well today we spent another day at the VA. I swear to you, I feel like I should bring a cardtable, some packs of cards, and start a game of Michigan Rummy or something. It is an all day thing and really tiring. I quick prayer request here...The doctors that did a certain test (we call it the tazer test) involving needles, muscles groups, nerve clusters, and electricity...well they seem to have lost part of the test...and want Marc to redo it. It was 4 hours long..and very painful. Hard for me to watch..harder for him to deal with. Please pray it is resolved...and hey, remind God about the disability pay too. I know that He shall supply all my needs...but it is getting tighter here. Not because I am not frugal, dear Lord! But the effects of the sole provider for the house lose his job because of a sudden disability, and then having 4 people move in...bringing the income to Marc's 100.00 a month disability (yes one hundred, they have him at 10 percent ..and he is in a wheel chair...) his unemployment, my blogging income...and...ah...yeah..that is it. Erin and Jon are still not working...the Lord is working in them...
and after all that they have been through I think they need the rest...then of course I ask..once in awhile..but what about me Lord? What about my rest? I don't seem to need it...I get grace! And I am thankful for that.

We have the very first salad from our garden today...Buttercrunch lettuce and green onions with just a light olive oil vinaigrette.

I think Grin is going ot kid tonight..she has some discharge..and is talky. AND CRANKY! I hope so, poor thing, she is huge.
Some of the tomatoes I thought had frozen in the weird frost we have had over the past few weeks on and off (is this really Texas?) seem to be coming back well, and I did not lose too many peppers...Even the eggplant is returning to full health..

I was going to get a picture of the salad but it was gone before I could. :)

Monday, April 14, 2008

We are serious about coffee around here.

I have decided to make this my main personal blog..I am leaving the other ones up...but will maintain this and Apron Strings & Simmering Things
Hopefully I will get a chance to update some things on them shortly. SO the finances, the homestead, the homeschool, the small farm..all of it will be here. Personal blogs...personal blogs.

It is amazing how God works. We have a very long property. And the sewer and gas pipes were brought in from the back for some reason..so all of the pipes from the house have to travel 2 acres to the main lines.
Well we noticed that one of the sewer pipes in the back was backing up. Our plumber told us it was going ot be $$$ but Marc was able to fix it today for less than $100.00 YAY! We praying about the money for the plumber but when the city checked the lines the guy told Marc what to do, and to see if it worked...it did!

Other than that..Matt is about to till the garden up one more time. We are still getting odd freezes...so nothing really much in yet. I feel like we are about to turn the corner to something wonderful.

Which is cool..because I love love love this movie~!

Wednesday, April 09, 2008

Looking around there are alot of reasons for me to complain about how my house is. It has a long way to go to full restoration. Things are insane with 12 people here now, and cleaning is a joke...I have no time...on and on..
but going through some old pictures today I found this from last Christmas and I was reminded exactly why I do LOVE my house. It is warm and at least the two front parlors are beautiful..it protects my family...and it is mine.

Wow...time flies.
Well, a tono f my tomatoes succumbed to an odd late freeze so I have to start over. I need to get out and plant the rest of my things but my back is still acting up. O.k..not acting up. It hurts like crazy...and sitting and blogging does not help.
It does however, help pay the bills.
I wrote a long article today on preparing strawberry beds. It would be totally awesome if I could put one in this year but there is seriously no way.
We are starting to see some pink evening primroses which are my favorites.
The roses are very budded out, and it looks like they will be gorgeous in a week or two. Grin still has not kidded, I think she is going to explode.

Monday, March 24, 2008

We had rather an exciting Easter, although I could have lived without it. Matt noticed at the five p.m. feeding that Buddy was not wanting his grain...he had been laying down in the barn. Matt bounded up the fire escape stairs to knock on my bedroom window and tell me.
I flew off of the bed and headed down the stairs taking them in no particular order..yelled at Erin and Jon to handle dinner, and was out the kitchen door like a whirlwind.
I hate colic in horses. It is an evil thing that comes on suddenly, sometimes for no apparent reason and can kill them. Buddy is prone to colicky episodes when he has been under stress...Like from a flood.
So we brought him out into the yard and I hosed him down good with cold water. Took him out front and we took turns walking him until nearly midnight (my, it was cold) and laying hands on him and praying.
He perked up, and began nibbling grass after a couple of hours of it...and finally started passing gas which helped to relieve his gut pain. I wanted to wait for him to poop so I knew he was totally past the episode but by midnight we were too cold, and tired to continue.
He is fine this morning. We made him skip grain for now, and fed the mares int he next pasture. We will observe him today, and if all is well, he will get his grain this evening.

Friday, March 21, 2008

Things have been sunny since the flood. Really, other than the drowned snakes, lizards, and other creatures, and some mud here and there, you would never really know it happened.
Which is sort of the sad thing, because it DID happen. And it will continue to happen. But one of us that live along the creek will think about it while the weather is nice...it won't be until the sky darkens and the wind picks up that we think...uhOH! Floods!

Marc and I are working on an escape plan. We are praying about it, of course, but we are ready to liquidate and move. At one point we wanted to move to North Central Maine, but now, we are just wanting to move, somewhere that we can afford land, and that has a creek/stockpond...somewhere that has a house that will work for us...and where it rains regualry but does not flood. and somewhere away from here..with the over building, incessant permits, and increasing violence. Surely someone will want this house, it is beautiful, and would make a great Bed and Breakfast, just a lousy farm.

So we are in the process of brainstorming..where? How?

Our tenant in one of our investment houses is not paying rent. It is amazing to me how people can just say, hey, I am not paying rent, and then proceed to not pay it. Does she not realize how difficult a time we are having just putting food on the table right now? I wonder why she believes we should pay for her way as well?

The garden was not harmed by the flood, everything is coming along well. I think I may have enough tomatoes to sell some, but we will see.

I began utilizing the eggs, since I can't find a venue to sell them. We have eaten masses of deviled eggs, and egg pasta. The egg pasta is the best I have eaten, consisting merely of 4 cups of flour and enough eggs to make a crumbly looking dough that sticks together when you squeeze it. I found that one day t took 4 eggs and one day it took 5. No matter...still the dough was fantastic, and the pasta was filling.
The coolest thing happened yesterday. I thought I was at the end of what I could take. I think I have been there quite alot but yesterday i felt as if my entire world was exploding and I was struggling just to believe. So many blessings in my life, so many times that the Lord has stepped in, and yet still I struggle at times ..It just does not seem right.
But there I was, crying out...and the Lord provided not only what I needed at the moment, but some handfuls on purpose which included chocolate.
He knows that I am but a worm, and not a man...and chocolate made all the difference. He took care of a need AND a pleasure. Over and above. Exactly what I needed to see.
Isn't God good?

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Life is odd. I read over Monday's post....I couldn't post yesterday I was too busy.
First we went to the VA in the morning. Marc had a pain clinic intake appointment. Nothing new there, they have no idea why he is in pain and can't give him any more meds than he is on. Check. They are referring him to neurology for nerve studies. sigh.

We head out to Starbucks...You can read THAT fiasco here...Kettle and Cup
We finally get home, exhausted and soaked because it has started to pour while we are out...I am reading Animal, Vegetable, Miracle, and I went up to read in the bedroom by the fireplace..I was freezing! Marc came up and laid down and we both passed out for awhile.
We woke up to Shiloh yelling that we were flooding..
Marc said, "Yeah, right.." and got up to look.
Meanwhile I flew to Shiloh's room where I saw this:

Oh, you don;t know what they are looking at? Here, look closer....

Yeah the creek was out of its banks...Now usually it is about two inches deep and down in a twenty five foot ravine.

Have I mentioned to you that we fought the city on the new development they allowed north of us? I have? Have I mentioned that they said the run-off would be minimized by new techniques for water run-off containment systems that the developers were using? I have? Have I mentioned that we did not believe them? Good...Carry on....

By 2:30 Marc had taken the truck to go check creeks and bridges. He ended up getting closed away from the house when they closed a road while he was out. Apparently He did not care..he got home anyway. Meanwhile..I told the boys and Jon to move the chickens, and Flashe, our buck, to the goat barn. I asked them to let the horses out in the front yard..Maybe you can see why...

And then we watched with a sick feeling....we have been through this before but not ever with so little rain...only five inches of rain caused this...oh, and did I mention the development north of us?

Those were the last pictures I got because I saw the horses running around the back and the trying to get them.
I got downstairs and outside. Marc had Candy and was taking her over to a neighbors that has higher property, the kids were trying to get Buddy out but Hope was going bonkers. She remembered the other flood and was pulling away from them. She was rearing and Matt was trying to hang on to her while Ethan put on the halter she had slipped off...She was throwing Matt around but he was hanging on her neck...Erin got some great pictures and tape of the whole thing....She is going to put it up on youtube and I will post it later.
Praying the whole time, we got Buddy out and Marc had come back by then..Marc took him over...while we continued to try to calm Hope...Finally got leads on her and headed down the street..sort of.
That's when things got nuts. She went ballistic, the police, thank God they came by, had to stop traffic in both directions because we could not control her, or do much more than hang on. They sent animal control over, two very nice women...who had no clue about horses. I was trying to calm her. Poor baby, she was so freaked she was biting her tongue and bleeding from the mouth. She knocked me in the head with her head pretty good...Think I have a slight concussion.
When she did that she pulled away from me and Jon and Matt got her. Marc came up about then and was trying to calm her...She started backing up and almost when backwards over the bridge.
By this time I was sitting on the bridge crying...Almost ready to "Curse God and die". I was just so frustrated with the situation. We put all our money into this place to have a small sustainable farm, a couple of horses, some chickens...my dream had always been this...and it was crumbling, or washing away if you prefer, before my eyes.
When we moved here we knew we were in a 100 year flood plain. Not a problem. It had flooded once in ten years. The year after we moved here they began building upstream. In 2004 our entire property went under in armpit high (on me) water. But we had had an unusual 15 inches of rain in 24 hours.
Since we moved here the creek has been out of it's banks numerous times and flooded our property 4 or 5 to one extent or another. Our pasture is bare mud from all the sludge that was laid down...and we are losing massive amounts of property to erosion.

So Marc was able to get her down to the neighbors but not before she reared and came down on his foot and kicked his knee. Yeah....Good thing he is in a wheelchair most of the time.

We thawed out, at soup, and then I took him Back to the VA for X-rays...Not broken...Just very very bruised.

The rain had stopped and the creek was receding, but not as quickly as usual. I heard the rain start up again at 3 a.m. and couldn't sleep, so I came downstairs, prayed, and then blogged, checking the back every so often to make sure we weren't flooding and I did not need to bring the goats onto the porch.

So....that is my last 24 hours.

If you happen to see a farm for sale, with a big farmhouse in pretty good condition, a decent barn, a stock tank, creek and fenced...an orchard would seal it for me...I don;t care if it is in Alaska....let me know if it is under 250,000.
I don;t think I can do this anymore.
Oh, and if you can't understand why I haven't just sold the horses? There has been a drought ...horses are selling for 300-400 dollars here...and being sold for meat.
No way.

Monday, March 17, 2008

All kinds of fun things this weekend. I got more of the garden in.

So far I have kale, spinach, lettuce, peas, tomatoes, peppers, eggplant, broccoli,onions...uh..I think that is all. I still need to do beans..Maybe later today.

I also planted rosemary and lavender in the garden by the front porch. I want to use both ornamentals and food plants in that one.
I think Marc and I are about to make a big decision, but I will write more about that after tomorrow...we have an appointment at the pain clinic tomorrow to see if THEY can do anything about his pain..All these specialists. Yikes! It seems the medical system has turned into the blind men and the elephant story.

I have 13 dozen eggs in my fridge and I can't sell them because I can't advertise them. I guess I could sell them as FERTILE eggs for people to use to hatch...

Marc made a 'hawk target yesterday..No, not a HAWK target...a 'hawk target.

The boys, and Marc, spent hours yesterday throwing tomahawks at the target. Excuse me, I also tried it, and the Princess Kyrie did too. I do not know WHAT the people driving by thought but I bet none of them stop in.... :) It is funny, Matt, with his long hair in a pony tail, and Marc with his beard, look like mountain men..I used to call Matt Huck but maybe I should call him Johnny Tremain.

They were all very good at it, but I think Sean may have done the best. He is 9.

Nick got tired out and sat down to watch....

And Kyrie gave herself bunny ears when she saw me taking this picture...LOL!

Sunday, March 16, 2008

O.k..so I have 30 some odd tomato plants in the ground, 20 some odd pepper plants, eggplant, spinach, buttercrunch lettuce, and lavender, and rosemary.

I still have seeds to plant but I feel like I accomplished something today.

I also disbudded the two bucklings, blogged and wrote an article on Antique Gun Collectors for Love to Know...AND I wrote and article on disbudding goat kids, complete with pictures.
I am wiped out and going to bed!

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Marc is finishing up the tilling today. I had to bite the bullet yesterday and get non heirloom plants. It just took too long to get the money together to get the plants and seeds, and I got them from Home Depot. If I wait much longer it won't work...it will be too hot.
SO I got 4 roma tomato plants, 3 other tomato plants, and 6 peppers..then several packets of seed. I will be on the lookout for other tomatoes but for now any plants that live will be good.
We are supposed to have good weather so I plan on having the boys shovel out the lean-to with all that nice, rotted manure, and begin planting tomorrow. I would like to say that I am doing raised beds and containers but honestly, money being what it is right now I am glad to get in a garden that hopefully will make some sort of difference!
I hope to add to the tomato collection in the next week or so..and I will order seeds, HEIRLOOM seeds, because here in Texas I can do a fall garden easily.
It is 72 today, although the house has remained cold. It will remain cold as long as we have cold, or even cool nights, right into June. After that we will be dealing with sleeping in 100 degrees but we seemed to manage for the past couple of years so I think it will be o.k.!
The chickens are laying like gangbusters...I have about 6 dozen eggs int he fridge and i have given a ton away. I would love to sell them but advertising is hard. I had an ad on Craigslist but it got pulled...
Tell me, why can you advertise sex on Craigslist but not eggs for sale? sigh.

Monday, March 10, 2008

Well we have runt he gamut from spring leaves to snow.. NOw it is 60 degrees again, but I still can't plant anything because everything is gooey and muddy. We had some major thunderstorms last night, with more supposed to move through over the next few days.
This happens ot me every year I think
Anyway. I did handle a credit card problem, and I don;t think things are as bad as I thought they were for this month. YAY!

I want things to be different, I just don't know how to make them different. SOmetimes I am so overwhelmed,and I wonder what the point of continuing to try to push ahead is. SOmetimes it feels like i am pushing ahead, and just dragging everyone else with me, and i am tired of that. I still think, sometimes, as much as I love this house, that selling it and buying something new and mcmansion-y is the way to go. And then I see the eggs, free, organic, fantastic eggs, or maybe the creamy milk..or the horses whinney to me, or something..and I know this is where I want to be.
Hard as it is it is better than the alternative. I keep repeating to myself that this is a season, only a season.
I wonder what I am learning. Here, the mud, the flooding problems, the lack of space, the infringement of the city on me, taking a bit more each day...
Surely there is something just around the corner.

Friday, March 07, 2008

Do you remember last month when I posted the buds on the trees?

Well that was February 19 as I recall......and this is March 7th...

So, the kids have a snow day, and the adults are huddled by the fire drinking coffee and chai

Grin still hasn't kidded but honestly with this cold front moving through I am glad about that. I am in a very contemplative mood today..Not sure what direction the day is going ot take but i have a huge sense of my life being about to change. We'll see.

Wednesday, March 05, 2008

This is what love looks like to me. Marc is really in pain from his knees, but he knew how badly we needed, and I wanted, a garden. The thing is that he is on crutches on in a wheel chair most of the time, so I feel awful about him doing this... but I appreciate that he did, you know?
I know he is going to be hurting tomorrow. I think he is hurting now.
Anyway...I think it is supposed to rain tomorrow so I won't be getting it in then but hopefully by the weekend I will.
Too late to start the tomatoes from seed but I think I will get a few packages and start a couple of plants and see what happens.

Tuesday, March 04, 2008

I cannot believe that I have not had a chance to get here since Thursday! Life has been amazingly busy.

Spring has apparently sprung here at Pecan Knoll Farm. Amazing about that too, because Texas being Texas..we had the first snow flurries of the entire season last night. That after 81 degrees last week...
Remember my post about the leaves?
Well today Hadassah, one of our Nigerian Dwarf does, gave birth to twins....Bucks. Sigh. They are very cute but I don;t think Dassah has had does in her entire career as a dairy goat. This is her third freshening and her 4th and 5th males.
Still, they are cute, will sell easily..They have blue eyes and.....well...Check this out...

One of the things you have to appreciate about homesteads and having animals is that your kids get alot of hands on education. Life becomes very matter of fact with breeding, gestation, birth, lactation and death. We do not, at this point, slaughter any of the animals we raise, the chickens are merely for eggs although we are not vegetarian and that could change. However they understand about the cycles of life and the fact that the hamburger they crave means that an animal was slaughtered. They are learning that meat does not grow in plastic covered trays on a tree behind the grocers.
I think that the reason we get so much cruelty int he processing of animal flesh is that Americans have distanced themselves from the reality of the slaughterhouse. While killing your own animal might be hard to do, at least you know that the animal was raised ethically and killed painlessly.
Wow..I didn't mean to go there. Sorry.
Friends brought their tiller over for us to use, ours is not working..seems to be a bad fuel line. Marc is hoping to till the garden area tomorrow, if he can. His knees have been worse than usual the past couple of days.

Thursday, February 28, 2008

It is funny the way the internet works...
I published an article some time ago about Urban Homesteading. The other day I noticed that it was getting alot of hits from one link and when I went there, low and behold, it was the blog of the people I had used as examples in my article.
If you have not visited Path to Freedom then you really need to. It is inspiring and informative...and theya re really nice and talk to you. i think that site is going to be my lifeline right now..I feel like i am floating and not rooted this year. Hopefully I can refocus and get to work!
Marc has his reevaluation with the VA on Tuesday. Prayers appreciated. Hopefully they will understand that being in the wheelchair means that he is probably more than 10% disabled... grrr.
Our tiller is down..I am looking at the money trying ot figure out if it would be more cost effective to do raised beds or fix the tiller...Marc is looking at it now.
I am frustrated because I have lost a season all ready in the garden...
Grin is huge, I think she will be having at least triplets, maybe quads. The nice thing, besides the milk, is that the kids sell for enough to pay for the goat feed for a year. That means essentially we have free milk. Hadassah is big but not nearly as big as Grin..we'll see. I need to think about another doe, with 12 of us we need the extra milk at this point, and it doesn't look like my oldest and her family will be moving any time soon.
I love having them here in one way and in another the stress is overwhelming...I find my mantra has become..trust God...trust God...trust God...
The horses are not going to be sold. I haev tried a couple of times..but with proces the way they are no one wants them..and I am not selling htem for 300.00 to be dogfood..you know?
Maybe I can start giving horseback riding lessons or somethign and they can earn their keep..
yeah..right..in my spare time.
Make a note...do not decide to restore an old house, go off grid, homestead/sustainable living, start a blogging career and have a husband become disabled all at the same time...especially not if you are homeschooling 6 kids.
Just a thought.

Monday, February 25, 2008

Would you believe it was 80 today...an now we have a strong north wind...strong and COLD. I am sitting here listening to branches fall, and wthe wind whistle around the corner of the house. If I was the owner of a nice barn I would feel much better about the whole thing, but the truth is our horses have a lean to shelter, and I hate that.
I am in a contest on hubpages, and we get a subject each day to write about. Yeasterday it was pets. I wrote about horses, of course. If you are interested at all the article is The Intelligence of the Horse

Around here there is not much going on, it being Monday night. The kids and Marc are gone for Royal Rangers and Erin is working on one computer while I work on the other. Money is still awesome tight, I wish I saw some light at the end of the tunnel. I don't.
I am falling into an odd, lifeless routine and that bothers me alot. I just don;t know how to get it all done, and that stresses me out. I need to just saddle up one fo the horses and go on a trail ride for about 8 hours.

I need to take a day off..and really figure out a schedule...except that if I took a day off I would get so far behind my scedule wouldnt work!

Sunday, February 24, 2008

If anyone is interested, Jennifer and Peggy at TreeHugging Family are giving away free tickets for a ecowedding and lifestyle show in Canada...I would try for them if my wedding had not been a million years ago.
Tree Hugging family is a way cool blog, written by one of my favorite bloggers, Jennifer Chait...Peggy has come on as coauthor recently, and she is an awesome blogger girl too! You beeter save yourself some time when you check this out because the blog is THAT GOOD.

Thursday, February 21, 2008

I had to take Marc to the VA today so I haven't had tme to check in. We had another cold front come through, as usual Texas cannot make up it's mind!

So from 70 degrees to 30 with the fire roaring and the heat on. Blah! The chickens didn't like it either, they only laid 14 eggs rather than the 22 we usually get.

I wrote an article on how to invest 100.00. Now I am going to follow my advice, to the letter and see exactly what happens...That should be fun. Interesting at least.
The article is here: How to Invest 100.00 and Make Money

Anyway, slow news day here.

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Do you see that? Look really closely at that tree. Maybe you need to get closer....

Spring! I know, I know..it is only February. Today, right this moment in time, at 2:35 CST it is 60 degrees where I am. And the trees really are thinking that it is time to produce some leaves.
And oh man, am I ever ready for that. Seriously? I was saying on one of my other blogs, kettle and cup that for the first time I am sick of crackling fires. I am totally tired of being cold. This is the point I admit that I am not the person I was when I was a teen or twenty something...I am 48, and I just don't like being COLD!
My dad passed away several years ago..(wow, has it been 7 years all ready??!!) and I think he would be cracking up at me right now..because I finally understand what he meant when he said that he could stand the cold..he just didn't LIKE it.
I am excited about spring, and planting the garden, and sweating in the house when it is too hot to sleep.
What a weirdo.
So, yay..it's spring...almost.
The Barred Rock chickens we have seem to be interested in the house more than usual..You remember that I posted yesterday of the one peeking in the window at my breakfast? Well this afternoon when I went to look at the tree out back, there was a chicken looking intently in the den door, as if waiting to be invited in....

You'd think it would have enough manners to knock, wouldn't you?

Monday, February 18, 2008

When you live on a farm, even a tiny one, sometimes you look out your kitchen window and see the strangest things....Like a chicken admiring your breakfast through the window.....and then strutting away in disgust because you refuse to let her in to share.

Friday, February 15, 2008

Not much happening around here today. The weather was a sunny 70 degrees yesterday and true to form for Texas, it is dropping rapidly today, with a cold rain. It is supposed to end up in the low 40s.
Marc used the nice weather to split wood yesterday. We have quite a stack again, altho with the weather going cold we may go through it fast.

Marc has the day off and is using this time to repair a hole in the drywall (FINALLY!!) in the office bathroom so I can paint in there and finish it. Patches aren't too hard to do.

How to Repair a Hole In Drywall

  1. The first step is to mark a square around the hole with a pencil and ruler on a piece of paper. To do it, just hold the paper up to the wall, covering the hole, and trace. Make sure the square is at least 2-3 inches bigger than the hold. Next, cut the square out with scissors. This is going to be the template for the patch you are going to create.
  2. Using the template, cut a patch out of drywall.
  3. Tape the template up on the wall and cut around it turning the ragged hole into a square that matches your template.
  4. Place joint compound around the edges of the new part and the edges of the cut out square. Place the patch into position and hold in place for about 5 minutes, giving it time to adhere.
  5. Spread more joint compound to hold patch securely, and allow to dry.
  6. The next day just sand,prime, and paint.
Hopefully in the next few days I can get in there and paint. It only took us a year but it will finally be done!

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

So, I was writing an article on How to Fix a Leaky Faucet for a specific place, found out it had all ready been assigned..and decided to post it here.
Because it happens to everyone eventually. And it can been expensive to hire a plumber...and if not done right..well you can flood your bathroom...and the kitchen..and any other room in the general vicinity. So..if you don;t know how to fix a leaky faucet here are the instructions you are looking for.

Leaky Faucets - How to fix on your own

Your faucet will be one of the following four types of faucets: compression, cartridge, ceramic disk,or ball type. These instructions are for the compression type.

A compression faucet relies on rubber washers to seal the valve seat. Rubber washers eventually wear out and be replaced . The other types are often called washerless faucets They do last longer but they can also develop leaks. When these cartridge, ceramic-disk or ball-type faucets leak, you can replace the O-ring or neoprene seal that's causing the leak, or you replace the entire assembly inexpensively.

Before You Start

There are a couple of things that you need to do once you have identified the type of faucet you have, but before you begin working on it. Visually go over the faucet, and the way it looks. If you are like me you might want to take digital photos as you take it apart so you can have a record of how it goes back together. Just in case you get confused.

Begin by finding the water shut off valve under the sink. Most sinks have them, although we have lived in some old houses that require that the water be shut off at the street before repairs are done. Be sure you shut off the water under the sink. If you have double faucets, and are replacing the valves in both of them, be sure to turn off both sides.

If you leave the water on, when you take off the faucet you will have a geyser that rivals Old Faithful, ask me how I know.

1. Be sure to close the drain to the sink and cover it well with a rag of some sort. Some of the parts are small and will bounce easily and you want to be able to keep them from going down the drain.
2. Some people use duct tape on the jaws of the wrench that that use fo this chore. By using tape you can avoid superficial scratches to your faucet.
3. Lay a piece of newspaper down on the floor. As you take each part off the faucet lay it carefully on the paper in order.

You will need the following supplies:

• Philips screwdriver,
• a small common screwdriver,
• common pliers,
• needle nose pliers
• a wrench.
• white vinegar for cleaning off mineral deposits

Remove the cap cover from the top of the leaking faucet handle.. The small common screwdriver may be needed to remove the cap.

Use the Philips screwdriver to remove the screw that holds the handle to the faucet valve stem. Once the screw has been removed, use the wrench to unscrew the nut that secures the valve stem to the faucet. Gently, if possible, use the pliers to remove the valve stem. Sometimes the stem will stick a little and require a bit of tugging.

Now you should see the rubber washer sitting on top of the spring in the valve stem. Pull this out with the needle nosed pliers.

Take the washer assembly, along with the valve stem to the hardware or home improvement store to find the exact replacement. By taking the assembly with you, you can match it up completely.

Re-assemble the faucet by placing the rubber washer on top of the narrow end of the spring and using your screwdriver as a guide to slide it into place into the valve stem housing area. The wide end of the spring should rest at the base of the valve assembly housing.

Next, install the new valve stem in the valve stem housing and secure with the nut.
Put the faucet handle back in place, on top of the valve stem and secure it with the screw. Push the cap back into place on top of the faucet handle.

Finally turn the water supply lines back on and check to make sure the leak is fixed.

Image:Morgue File

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

I am sitting here, at 5 in the morning, listening to the huge storm that has been going on for the past 3 hours move away. Where it was loud and crackly only an hour ago it is rumbly now.

It is still dark so I don't know what I will find when the sun comes up...I heard a load crack that sounded more like a tree exploding and coming down that lightening. We'll see.

I guess this is what you get when you have 70 degree days in February followed by a major cold front. I know they said on the news last night that Oklahoma City was at 30 degrees when we were at 65, and there is only a four hour difference.

Before we moved to this house I loved storms, but the flood and then all of the trees coming down over the past few years has made me nervous in them. I would feel so much better if we had a good barn for the horses rather than a lean to that sometimes the mares won't let the gelding in.

I like mornings alot. They are quiet, I can get my Bible reading done, and a start on my day with no interruptions. In the time I have been up I have started two loaves of English Muffin Bread for breakfast, read Bible, prayed, written my devotional on Butterfly Warriors, checked my stats on my other blogs and feel like I can face the rest of the day. Sadly, I will be exhausted by this afternoon. :P
I think I am doing better, things seem to be getting done more according to plan. Yay.

Monday, February 11, 2008

I love this picture. To me it says it all about homesteading..you can be self sufficient anywhere if you only just do something.

So, I have headed to Heirloom Seeds and made my list...This is what I am going to be planting in the next few weeks for our early spring garden:

Strawberry Spinach (this has small red berries on it that I found intriguing)

Pink Chard (who can resist?)
Rainbow (seriously, technicolor chard, who would have thought?)


Violetta Italiana- it's PURPLE

I am not sure that I am adding peas. Normally we don't have great luck with them here. Marc is going to borrow the tiller from our friends and I think we should be eating some of this stuff in the next two months. That will be helpful on the grocery budget for sure.

Saturday, February 09, 2008

I whined today at Kettle & Cup that I was out of coffee.

Weekends are supposed to be quiet and laid back.
I am still kicking myself for everything I have done wrong the last several years, every stupid decision, everything that was not well planned and thought out. A waste of time and energy I know, but easier said than done to stop.

If you are a family member reading this-go away. This is private between me and a million people on the internet.
Meez 3D avatar avatars games
I wish my barn looked like this....

I am going to knit today. I have decided to ask Matt and Ethan to take my comfortable chair up to my room. I am usually not a person that hides away but I am overwhelmed by the extra people in the house. Not because they are doing anything wrong, but integrating 2 more adults and their two kids into a family the size of ours has some weird logistics. Suddenly you are having to be so careful of what you say..people are giving way too much advice to others, and I guess I feel like my haven of peace, my refuge is no longer a refuge. Somehow it is my fault too...and I am bad about being the one that sacrifices for others...If it is a question of my comfort or theirs their will normally win...
DO I resent that? hmm..sometimes. I don't think of it that much..it just is. I have been an anorexic ..I know I can go long periods without food, so if there is not quite enough it is easy for me to use blogging as an excuse to not be at the table...
I must say, that I am having trouble being quiet because Jon and I are so much alike. Absolutely full of ourselves. I am tired of hearing that God is teaching me something...I am tired of hearing about my spiritual weaknesses. I have them, assuredly! When I am stressed because of the lack of money, and i am the one that is making the money..and a person does not have a job and does not feel *led* to get one...umm...maybe telling me that my financial stress is unspiritual is not the best thing to do?
But I bit my tongue, did not say much...I wrote ugly poetry on Butterfly warriors and it made me feel better..LOL!

It is a nice day here, sunny and close to 70 I think. The little kids are playing outside. The big kids are trying not to argue over the computer. Marc is away at a Royal Rangers thing, and Erin and Jon are sequestered.

Garden planning is done, only to find that neither of our tillers is working. Hopefully when Marc gets back he can go borrow a friend's tiller. I want to get kale, spinach, lettuce, snap peas, radishes, onions, broccoli and cauliflower in the ground.

My friend Jennifer has a blog called, Slices of Green. She has the most amazing stuff there. I was so absolutely in love with this sink and sideboard made from recaimed wood.
I would so put that in my kitchen. It just fits.

I wish I could get a different perspective on my kitchen. There are a lot of positive things about it, it's size for example. Having a fireplace in the eating area, having 4 ovens (well, three that work), having 2 dishwashers (don;t use them)..A big walk in pantry. This house is fabulous. I do love it.

Maybe rather than going upstairs I am going to head to starbucks..I have money left on my gift card that my friend Mary gave me (thanks Mar).

So, what does homesteading look like at your house on saturday?