Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Friday, January 13, 2012

Goals 2012

I'm not a great fan of New Year's Resolutions, but the timing is right for me to be thinking of goals for the Cookstove House.  (El Jefe is still referring to it as Plywood Place).  Goals are supposed to be SMART, according to TEOTWAKI BLOG here  SMART means Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, Time-Based.  The one that will give me trouble is Time-Based...  I can write down everything that needs to be done, or that I want done, but it is pretty much a twenty year plan due to the limited number of waking hours in a day and dollars in my pocket.

In order not to be overwhelmed by that, I am going just deal with what absolutely, positively,  must be done this year, rather than what I'd like to see done. 

Cookstove House must have curtains in the bedrooms, and rods to hang them from.  Otherwise, we won't sleep well.  I have curtains and rods for the living room; I just need to install those.  The lack of attic and garage, and the limited basement, means the closets need closet organizers to use all the space most efficiently, or we will be tripping over all our stuff and be unable to locate anything.  This needs to be done prior to 2/10.  The only major unfinished cleaning projects are the shower, the tub, and that nasty lazy susan in the kitchen.  Should be done this week.  Then we can move in.  Sanding and painting are not going to happen prior to moving.  I'm not breathing those fumes in a closed house.  That will wait til Spring - at which point it may not get done because I will be busy with the garden.  So maybe July. 

We need to get the visqueen laid in the crawl spaces while it is still cold enough for the insects to be dormant.  I'm not crawling under there when the spiders are active.  It's bad enough crawling under there when claustrophobic.  I need to haul up the loose stones in the "Michigan basement" just to make it easier to move around in (that's a "in my copious free time" sort of job that I may hire the kids to do, except for the rocks that outweigh them).  Also we need to remove the dirt that was piled against the house, install the plastic shields around the crawl spaces and fix any drainage issues.  And lift and replace the termite bait stations in the process, an annoyance.  And put in some foundation plantings - probably thorny rugosa roses as a small deterrent to anyone trying to break in through the many windows.  And because I want the rose hips for jelly in the fall.  And the mailbox needs a clematis, because my mailboxes ALWAYS have a clematis, and once in awhile a goal should be something that makes me happy for no reason.

Next is the driveway, or lack thereof, and the (non-existent) walkway from it to the door and around the house.  These are related to the drainage issues, so I don't know if this year will be the quick, cheap, temporary fix followed by a visit from the Bobcat when we have the money, or if we will manage to find the funds for this in the fall (I really hope so).

Related to the garden work - The hoop house needs to be cleaned up, the figs pruned, lots of compost added to the beds on the sides.   I want 8 - 4'x4' raised beds in the current garden.  Yes, I'm a square foot gardener.  Otherwise the weeds take over.  Next year I'll expand it enough to have veggies to can from it.  This year I'll be buying my veggies for canning from the local farmer's market, again.

We do NOT want to make the mistake we made at our last home, where we put off putting in the grapes and fruit trees because we kept thinking we'd sell the house...blah,blah,blah... we have no intention of selling this place.  So, the issue is seeing what is already ON the land, and figuring out the best places to put what we don't have.  Anyway, I want a Honey Crisp apple and a Granny Smith, a Damson plum and one other kind (I don't have another preference), a sweet cherry, and a sour cherry, and a good hardy apricot.  Also, seedless grapes (because I am lazy and prefer to make jam over jelly), although I could probably just deal with the wild Concord-types on the property if I had to.  I should try it as an experiment in any case.

Then there are the animals.

I have to order the bees this week.   One three pound pkg.  I'd like a dozen hives ultimately, but I'd prefer to work up to it by splits, captured swarms, and only buying one package per year if necessary.  That's highly optimistic on my part, but I'm going to try it that way first. 

Next is either building a chicken tractor, a coop, or repairing that old shed, or using space in the barn.  I do not know what the best option will be, so I have to do some research first.  Anyway, we're getting chickens.

Last is the unexpected pig, that will require a pen, and for me to repair some fencing.  I don't know the timeline on that because it is by El Jefe's arrangement.  I'd be real good with April.

Somewhere in there I have to homeschool the kids, and deal with refining next year's curriculum, too.  And make dinner.  Thank goodness for Crockpots.

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Pics of Cookstove House

Here are some pics of Cookstove House.  You'll see why El Jefe keeps referring to it as Cookstove and Plywood Place.  Keep in mind it was a dark and dreary cloudy day when the pics were taken.  Please. 

First is the lovely Stove in what used to be the dining room...

to the left of the Stove are the stairs going up to the loft... the room you see through the door on the right is El Jefe's future office.

this is the loft.  These pics were taken when the former owner still had stuff in the house, btw.
this is the littlest bedroom, off the loft, leading to the balcony. We will be using it for a reading/homeschooling room.

This will probably the Princess' bedroom.  She wants it to look like the Captain's cabin on the Dawn Treader.

El Jefe's future office

Our bedroom.  The color on the wall's did not reproduce well in the pic.  It is a bright salmon, not pink.

Now I need to pack another load in the van, and a lunch, and the kids and the dog, and get on down there, to unpack the trailer loads from Saturday, and today's van load.  Yesterday I bought two closet organizers and curtains for three of the windows that have none (but no rods, so I cannot hang them today).  Menards didn't have enough curtains for the living room. (I need two more panels).  They should be in next week.  I see no reason to get the rods until then, unless I come upon a great sale.

Sunday, January 1, 2012

And about this New Year...

I have mixed feelings about New Year's Resolutions, for the usual and obvious reasons.  It annoys me to make them and then either do them all before June, thus having set the bar too low and then not having goals for the rest of the year, or to achieve so few of them that I feel like I wasted the year.  And sometimes, January is just the wrong time for me to be thinking about goals, since the gloomy lack of sun and unpleasantly frigid air is just depressing.  Fortunately, it hasn't been that way this year.  With remarkably good timing on the close of the Cookstove House, the beginning of this year seems perfect for making some resolutions/setting some goals.  And I have decided to put them into the blog with my progress on completing them, because  a) you can harass me about getting stuff done if you know what I'm supposed to be doing; and b) I thought this would be a good place to keep a record of the before/after changes to Cookstove House and the land it is on.

So far, we've gotten two trailers full of stuff from our storage unit down to the house (that was Saturday).  There is one more load left in the unit, or several van loads, if I happen to be driving past and have time to take care of it.  The goal is to get it done before the end of the month, because we don't want the monthly storage unit rental expense anymore.  This is somewhat challenging because Cookstove House has no attic, no garage, and what is colloquially referred to as a "Michigan basement" which means that the basement is dirt floor under the original 100 year old house and all the additions since then have been over crawlspace.  Very, very tight crawlspace.  Basically, only enough room for the furnace and the water heater and the stairs up/down.  So I have to find space to put everything where it isn't in the way, or I need to get rid of it, unless I'm willing to store it in the barn. 

The other task that was completed was cleaning the fridge/freezer.  That was this afternoon before the weather got so bad we thought we should head back to the apt before the roads really got nasty.  The fridge was rather yucky.  It's a big fridge, which is good, but I dislike the freezer on top.  Someday, I'll have another one with the freezer on the bottom.  In the meantime, this one is clean and now I need to figure out the least annoying configuration for the shelves.

El Jefe also measured all the windows for me, so I can come up with some window treatments for the windows that currently have none.

For tomorrow, assuming reasonable driving conditions, I'm going to pack another van load of stuff from the apartment, haul it down, unload it and start sorting everything so far delivered into the correct rooms.  The wood paneling needs painting, and I wish I could do it before we moved in, but I don't want to paint indoors without opening all the windows and doors for venitalation, and that won't be possible until spring, since if I did it now, it wouldn't be warm enough to paint.  At least, that's my excuse.  I may see how bad the fumes are painting the kitchen, while we can still come back to the apt to sleep and not breathe the fumes at night. 

Time for a momentary break to watch an ep of Man, Woman, Wild with El Jefe and the girls...

Happy New House for the New Year!

December 30, 2011, we FINALLY closed on the Cookstove House.  Hooray!  2011 was a stressful year, and I must admit I am glad to see it gone, particularly glad that we can now get out of this apt in the hood and into a home with room to roam.  (Yes, that was on purpose.  You can throw something at me if you like).  I thought I'd be able to post the realtor's pics of the place here on the blog, but they are protected so I will have to take my own and post them later this week.  Of course, mine will look much gloomier, considering the mud and cloudcover we have right now.  But I am happy despite the weather. 

Speaking of that, it's been rather too long since I felt like this... like I have the resources to make tomorrow better than today (and today has been real nice, BTW).  I'm liking it.  Though I admit to some trepidation about the amount of energy and work that the new place will require if it is to be as self-sufficient as possible.  We've been trying to find an affordable but livable house on enough land that we could hunt it and/or farm it (for subsistence, not commercially) for about 15 years.  I had given up on that about three years ago.  I had simply decided it wouldn't ever happen, and that I should get over it and get to work on simply being as self-sufficient as possible in whatever conditions we were in.  This is not a BAD attitude, since one should always make the best of whatever situation one finds oneself in, but it is not an attitude that led to much excitement on my part.  I prefer my happiness to be exciting, apparently. LOL.  The whole Chinese curse about "May you live in interesting times" has always made me grin.  And you must admit that these ARE "interesting times."  Possibly not the most positively interesting times this world has ever seen, but interesting nonetheless...

May you all have a positively interesting New Year!