Injured, and trying to mend.

Wondering where I’ve been?

Well, I am out of commission.  Somehow I have (re)injured my knee and I can’t stand for very long to do much of anything (cooking/cleaning) because it swells up so bad inside that I can feel it out the back of my knee and up my thigh.  I also can’t sit for too long to rest it because then it freezes up and I am positively crippled upon standing again!

I am currently living on 100mg Celebrex and hobbling about on Bob’s walking stick.  The tree is still up, the chores are piling up, and I am fed up!   😦   I am calling the Dr as soon as I press the publish button.

On a humorous note:  We went to see the newest Peter Jackson Hobbit extravaganza and I was worried they wouldn’t let me in with my rather large walking stick.  Bob laughed and quipped:

They will just think you are in character.  What you need is a wizards cap and cape!

He was right, no one really noticed me and my “weapon”.  😉

On other topics, so far 2014 is coming in on frigid winds and ice-cold temperatures. It is 10:30 in the morning and our current temperature is 21 degrees.  Over the next few days we will continue to get below freezing temperatures and the temperatures will stay well below freezing even for the highs.

The worst of it will be Monday with a high of 20 degrees and a low of 5 deg, and Tuesday is not much better with 23 H and a 12 L.  You know this California expat is still not used to this kind of winter weather!

I have express ordered a heated water bowl for the Mountain Farmlet.  I would have just picked one up at the local pet store or the Co-op… but this is the Deep South and they don’t really stock them here.

How are you surviving the cold where you are?

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The Mystery is Solved!

Since buying the property I have been seeing large floaters in the water.  Some are over two feet long!  I had been told that they were snapping turtles, but I could never see them. Trying to get closer only caused the shadowy shapes to dive down deeper.

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Do you see those scary dark spots in the water?  Do you think they are snapping turtles?

Sunday afternoon I tried a different tactic.  I walked very slowly, and cautiously to the pond.  I stopped and waited several times for the shadows to resurface and then put my tripod up in the shade.  Being in the shade masked me, but the awesome part was when the slanty light finally revealed the mystery.

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I went hunting,

What did I see?

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I saw a big Catfish

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Looking at me!

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So happy there are no snapping turtles to bite the feet of my geese!

A scenic route, hard work, and a graceful glider

WARNING:  Go grab yourself a cup of coffee or tea, because this is a longish post!

~*~  THE SCENIC ROUTE ~*~

Each week we try a different way to get the Mountain Farmlet.  This week on our way up we discovered a cute pond.

The owner of the pond set it up with duck decoys and a painted silhouette for the dog.  Most of the rest are garden art statuary.  Kitschy?  A bit overdone?  Nah, a wee bit Disneyesque perhaps.  😉

~*~ HARD WORK ~*~

To say that fixing up the old cabin is hard work goes without saying.  To say that it is hot work is an understatement.

On the previous Sunday whilst peeling the walls we discovered that there were rodent feces falling down from a crack in the ceiling.  And I suppose it is to be expected in a drafty over 100-year-old farm-house.  So we stopped our work, went to Home Depot and purchased disposable space suits.  The label said “One size fits most…”

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERABut barely.

Poor Bob was getting overheated and we both had to make frequent stops to hydrate and cool off.  He lost five pounds this past Sunday!

What we have discovered so far is a fire in the kitchen walls, termite damage, and graffiti.  Apparently, the house was empty for a while?

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What we discovered in the ceiling was pounds of rat crap.  I’m sorry, but there is no more delicate way of saying it, and it was disgusting.  We were very glad for the “One size fits most” disposable space suits and our face masks with mold filtering capabilities!

And, I suppose it goes without saying that we were glad we had the foresight to put down disposable paint tarps before we pulled down that ceiling, and that we spent the extra money to purchase HEPA filters for the shopvac.

Bob was so grossed out that he put everything, including the HEPA filter into a black trash bag and tossed it.  GACK!

As we pull away the layers and remove the damaged wood I have been spraying EVERYTHING with pure vinegar.  It kills germs, kills mold (I looked this factoid  up) and remarkably, makes the house smell fresher.  So far, best practice says that the mold is growing on the surface, and to remove it you must use elbow grease and *hot soapy water to get rid of it.  It also says that if there is discoloration into the wood, Then it is wood rot and you should remove it.  Of course if the mold is in the wallboard, or in the fiberglass batting, then it goes without saying that it should be removed and properly disposed of.

Which leads me to the next factoid.  Did you know that if you stuff an old wooden house with fiberglass batting, that you are trapping moisture within the walls and you are inviting MOLD to live there?

Apparently, in our efforts to use less energy and to be “green” we are creating a perfect storm for mold growth and decay.  The more you stuff into the walls, the more air tight you make your home, the more you save on energy costs.  Right?

Unfortunately, the trapped moisture you create means your walls become a spore factory.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAExhibit A:  White mold on a wall brace where fiberglass batting rested on it.

Mold spores are everywhere outside.  They are kept in check because of sunshine and the breezes that surround us.  Once they are locked up tight into your walls they go into overdrive and you may get sick.

So it turns out, that a drafty old house is a healthy old house.

We have decided to remove the toxic, formaldehyde off-gassing, mold harboring, fiberglass batting.  The walls will be able to breathe again and the mold will have a less inviting place to grow.  We will not be “green” but as our winters are not so harsh here, we then find it an acceptable tradeoff for our health.  Currently, I keep the thermostat set to 64 degrees in winter and wear warmer clothes.  In summer it is 74 degrees with ceiling fans to circulate the air.

This Thursday the new insulated tin roof goes on and that in and of itself should be a big energy savings winter or summer.  😀

~*~ A GRACEFUL GLIDER ~*~

Would you ever guess that a Guinea Hen could be a graceful glider?

Last night the hooty-owl from the oak woods came for a second visit in exactly seven days.  We lost another Weechoo in the dark of the night.  Bob came in and told me about it early this morning.  Strangely, for as loud as they are, we never heard a thing.  Poor Weechoo.

So this morning while I sat on the front porch to wave Bob off to work I saw a rather largish bird take off from the top of the tree across the street.  At first in the dusky light I thought it was the killer owl, but no, it was one of the Weechoos returning home.  From that height it spread its wings,  stretched out its neck, and in a perfect glide went over the barn into our chicken yard.  That was a distance of over 200 feet!

Who would have guessed that such an ungainly and to be honest, rather ugly bird could be so graceful?

IMG_6673Image courtesy of Lori on her visit to the Farmlet this spring.  AKA: Little Sundog at Day by Day the Farmgirl Way.

Unfortunately for us… trash day was yesterday.  We were left with no other choice but to triple bag the carcass and put it into the freezer till next trash day, because it is still very much hot, humid, summer weather here.

Now I can hear some of you gagging and groaning! 

But think… 

You put dead things in your freezer all the time, and I’m betting that you don’t even triple bag them.

😉

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(You’re still here?  Thanks for reading!)

~*~

NOTE:  Borax was highly recommended on many sites for mold remediation.  You know I will be adding that to the hot soapy water!

REFERENCES:

  1. http://www.buildingscience.com/documents/reports/rr-0211-mold-causes-health-effects-and-clean-up
  2. http://www.homeconstructionimprovement.com/prevent-mold-growth-under-fiberglass-insulation/
  3. http://www.insulation.org/articles/article.cfm?id=io031002
  4. http://www.cdc.gov/MOLD/

A Saturday Snapshot: find the kitty

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERADo you see *her?

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*Her name is Miss Kitty and she is one of two kitties we inherited when we bought the Mountain Farmlet.  The kitty boy is named Neville after this fellow!

Neville is even more camera-shy than Miss Kitty, but seems to be well fed.  I will keep trying to get a photo of him and post it if I do.  We are hoping that once we get moved up onto the mountain that they will be less skittish and come around more often.  😉

PS:  The young man down the road is being paid to keep them fed and watered in our absence, so never fear!  😀