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Snaping out of it.

“We’re OK!”

Around Halloween I was spending way to much time on Facebook.  I tend to get sucked in when I am depressed.  However, all the moping and browsing uncovered a little Youtube gem that I will share with you!

 

Although the film is listed as a “FAIL”, I believe that with his attitude he is a WINNER in my book!

I watched it and laughed.  A good belly laugh which is something I haven’t done in far too long.  That old saw “Laughter is the best medicine” is not far from the mark.  We need to laugh.  A good laugh, or cry, is a catharsis for our system and, I believe,  vital to our mental well-being.  I shared these golden 16 seconds with Bob and it had the same effect on him.

For several days we could be heard to follow a negative remark or situation with,

“I’m OK!”

These comical outbursts were soon followed by laughter, or at least a smile.

We are grateful for many things we did prior to his loss of work, and this brutally cold and early winter weather:

We ordered broilers for our winter food supply.

white-broiler-chicken

I am not happy that they are currently in my living room while waiting for all their feathers to come in, but it is too cold for them in the barn even with heat lamps.   I anticipated them being freezer ready before the winter temperatures set in.  (I’m OK! 😀 )

We prepaid for our propane this year.  We will stay warm and not worry about that mid winter refill.

We are not idle. 

We are working on getting projects done both here and up on the Mountain Farmlet.  We’ve transplanted our soft fruits, and begun planting the steep slope that is impossible to mow by the cabin.

Cabin-shotThis slope doesn’t look so bad in the picture but mowing is impossible and weed whacking too strenuous for us at 60+. The wiser move is to plant the slope in native shrubs and ground covers, to hold it in place, and let it keep itself looking good!  😉

While we were there we primed the old well pump and found that it works!

Hand-pumpHowever, in spring we will need to get in there and clean out all the years of moss growing down on the sides and floating on the water’s surface, because it promptly plugged up the spout!  😉

Bob has drawn up plans for the new Chicken Tractor on AutoCad and we have begun construction on it.  Those chickies are growing fast and need more room to move!  While we work hard we pray for warmer weather so we can send them out to the barn, because even with feathers it is still very cold!

Bob and I carefully measured the lean-to portion of the cabin and Bob once again put his AutoCad skills to work.

B-on-AutoCad

He marked door openings, a proposed new wall for between the kitchen and the washroom, a walk-in pantry…

We found room for it in a surprising place!

Walk-in-pantryThis entryway room will be divided and the new pantry accessed through this existing opening in the kitchen.

And, of course we will be reusing the original door!

Pantry-door

He also added the space for a new door to replace this old hobbit sized model and more!

Hobbit-doorIf you recall, it was the one I told you was 5 ft 4 in tall and that could make a polite lady swear or a grown man cry.

We have the propane man scheduled to come out soon to check our lines, add a line for the stove and turn on our gas.  We will be warm while we work on the old farmhouse this winter!

And, during all this flurry of activity, Bob continues to look for work.  He went to a promising interview yesterday and now awaits their phone call…

We’re OK!

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Thankful

Thanksgiving Day

On Thanksgiving we had goose.  Yes, I finally did it.  We were thankful for food on the table.

Our plan was to put it in the smoker and 6 to 7 hours later have a wonderful savory feast.  Our plans were interrupted when Bob found a starving and dehydrated opossum trapped in the smoker.   We haven’t a clue how long he had been in there.

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Apparently, having gotten in through the little adjustable air vent on the firebox, he then got into the smoking chamber.  In doing so, he dislodged the small grate and trapped himself.  (We walked away and gave him a chance to get out.  When we came back he was gone.) 

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Weak and filthy with soot, we are certain he was thankful too. 

Having no time to pressure wash the smoker and disinfect it I had to go to plan B.  Roasting the goose in the oven.  I hate doing that because of all the greasy mess and smoke, but I tried it a different way!  Dragging down the big, blue, enamel, roasting pan that once belonged to Bob’s mother, I put the goose in, put the lid on, and Voila!  No greasy smoking mess!  I am thankful.  😉

Bob came in later in the afternoon and smelled the goose in the oven…

Oh man, this smells so good!  I’m glad we had to prepare the goose in the oven because it smells like the holidays when I was a kid!

He was thankful for the memories of holiday gatherings and his family.

Fast forward to yesterday…

Which found us at the Mountain Farmlet and working feverishly.  Bob was inside doing demo, and I was outside moving and storing the (possibly) useable planks of lumber from the demo.  In between I finished cleaning out the sheds, and then went walkabout in the woods.

I took myself directly to the bridge to look at the creek.  The creek and the bridge define the southernmost tip of our property.  While I was there, the neighbor lady came over and introduced herself.  We talked for almost an hour and got to know quite a bit about each other.  She seems so nice, and I look forward to being up there full time and having her as a friend.

We have a ‘date’, she and I, to go down into the creek bed and explore, “when it isn’t too hot and there won’t be snakes.”    She’s never been down to the creek!  We have to do this, and when we go I will make sure she won’t have to go bush-whacking like I did to get there.  There was lots of *saw vine. YIKES!  No wonder she’s never been down to see it!  😀

I went down and followed the creek for quite a ways in both directions.  It was lovely.  Here is what I found…

Later, I went into the woods and forging off of our trail this is what I found.  If you are not Lori of Day by Day the Farmgirl Way you may not appreciate the significance of these last photos.  😉

Evidence of life

I was told by the Octogenarian that the deer no longer come here.  Well, they do!  You just need to know the signs.  Thank you for teaching me, Lori.

So thankful!

*NOTE:   The locals call this plant Saw Vine, but it goes by Cat Briar, greenbrier vine, or its botanical name of Smilax bona-nox.  To see where it grows look HERE.

Saw vine information can be linked to by clicking on its name above, but an awesome image of the plant can be found on Steven Schwartzman’s Portraits of Wildflowers  by clicking HERE

Hey Diddle Diddle

Yesterday we set to work and had in mind to get the lawn mowed and wall work done.  So of course before we even left for the mountain I bent over to turn on the water spigot to water the geese and

WHAM!

I threw out my lower back. 

I didn’t let it stop me going, but it sure limited my work.

Every week it is something new up there, but the surprises that help us to continue, and not become too discouraged, are awesome!   So while Bob continued on demo and reconstruction, I busied myself with cleaning out the old smoke house.  In recent history it had been used as a shed and was mostly empty after the Octogenarian’s estate sale, but there remained tons of old junk,

plastic bags, moth balls, old chemicals, baling wire, string, cracked and brittle extension cords, old antennas from two mystery cars, pine cones, mouse eaten black walnut shells, screws, nails, old silk flowers, rusty saw blades, spider webs, and of course the ubiquitous mud dauber nests.

A nice consolation prize was finding a primitive, hand crafted bench, and some ancient iron shelf supports that will look great when cleaned and repainted for the kitchen.

I apologize for not having pictures for you, but I couldn’t carry the camera and lean on the broom for support at the same time.  Rest assured you will see these items when they have been spruced up and placed where I need them!

However, at the end of the day I did find you these by using my tripod to support the camera, and on the trail I used my trekking poles to support myself!  HINT – if you find yourself on poles for support, well, in a pinch you can use one of the poles as a monopod and balance your camera on it.  It isn’t as sturdy as using the tripod, but it works well enough.  😀

UPDATE!  The fencing in question is called “Ring Lock” fencing and is apparently quite dangerous to wild animals and livestock.  Mostly in Australia, and mostly to Kangaroos!  Animals attempting to jump over it get their feet stuck in the wires.  Their feet go through and as momentum takes them over their feet cause the lower wire to the whip over the top wire and this captures their feet.  Very sad!  Glad I will be removing any of it that still remains.  I like the look of the wire fence, but imagine it put to better use as some Objet d’art.    Thank you Pam and Deb for getting me on the right track to solving this mystery fencing!  😉

NOTES:

Chimaphila maculata – aka:  Spotted Wintergreen, Pipsissewa, Striped Wintergreen, Striped Prince’s Pine, Striped Prince’s Plume, Dragon’s Tongue.  Dragon’s Tongue is my favorite of its names and it produces the prettiest petite flowers too!  Want to see them? Then look HERE!

Smoke House –  When the Octogenarian’s husband was growing up on the Mountain, they raised pigs.  To keep pig healthy for eating you had to butcher it in winter and smoke the meat to last you through the year.  The smoke house works on beef, venison, or fish too!  Want to know more?  Look HERE!

Construction notes on the Mountain Farmlet – I promised you a bit of history on cabin building, but now feel it will be more interesting if you wait for me to take more pictures of the cabin’s structure.

I know this is a big tease, and I am sorry, but I think you will be as excited as we are when you can see the photos along with a good explanation of what you are looking at.  Don’t you agree?

Two steps forward – one back

Today’s post will be a rambler, so bear with me…

But first, how about a little music from my youth to set the mood?


~ Donovan‘s First There is a Mountain ~  

With deepest apologies to Donovan…

Look  upon my Farmlet there’s been a thief, that’s what it was.
Look  upon my Farmlet there’s been a thief, that’s what it was.
First there was a trailer, then there was no trailer, then there was.
First there was a trailer, then there was no trailer, then there was.
The caterpillar sheds his skin to find a butterfly within.
Caterpillar sheds his skin to find a butterfly within.
Ah, my-my.

~*~*~*~

It would seem that sometime between Wednesday afternoon’s roof inspection, and yesterday’s work session, that someone took it upon themselves to *liberate us of our little trailer.  It is only big enough to carry the lawnmower.  Hence, without it we would have to leave the lawnmower.

Now that there had been a theft we no longer felt confident to leave it up there!

The locals say that theft is rare up on the mountain, but like anywhere else it can happen.  So, after making a police report, there was nothing for it but to go off to Tractor supply and purchase a new one.  We were pleasantly surprised to find that our model was on sale and this saved us $100.00.  Still, the money spent was money we don’t have for other needed things this month.

Bygones…

Our morning was now shot, but we set to work in the hours we had remaining.  Bob began the puzzle of building bones for the crooked wall in the bathroom, and I went out and finished the mowing around the house.  Everyone that comes to the Mountain Farmlet to work admonishes us to “Keep that grass cut short around your house and outbuildings so the snakes will stay away!”  Ah!  Now I understand the old adage about “A snake in the grass”  but I guess mowing doesn’t work on the two-legged kind.

When I was done I checked to see if Bob needed my help.  He said “No.”  So I went to the woods with the dogs in tow.  Because the land is a very long piece of property I estimate the trail’s loop to be one half to three-quarters of a mile when you walk it.

The trail is little traveled for the moment and always full of spiders.  On previous treks I had tried using a stick to rid the way of spiders, but their webs are hard to see and very strong!   It is very creepy to try to pull them off of your face and out of your hair, so I devised a tool to use.  I took an old, rather large umbrella and removed the fabric from it.  Now when I walk I hold its spines out in front and they catch the invisible webs, spiders and all!   This is a strange but true fact:  When I am done I hang it near the trail and when I come back the spiders *and all the webs are gone!   Weird, but nice.  I love a self-cleaning tool.  😉

Returning with the dogs, I then put them on the back porch and grabbed my camera.  Before I left for the second walk I told Bob to ring the old farm bell to let me know when he was done and ready to go.

I have been here three times and never saw this bell until I took the previous picture!

Love that old farm bell!

Found along the way ~

NOTES:

  1. Apparently, the high protein substance of spider webs is a high energy product to produce.  Therefore, many spiders eat the silk to conserve energy for production of the next day’s web.
  2. *Hickory Tussock moths carry a poison substance in the barbed hairs on their backs.  It is said that it can cause a serious irritation in some individuals.  I did not want to test this, and therefore left the little beastie on the side of the trash bin. 😉
  3. The little trailer was heavily cabled to the car port structure… so they had to come back with bolt cutters!  😐
  4. And yes, even at the furthest point on the trail I could hear that bell.  Simply old-fashioned and wonderful!