Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Update on the Plywood Palace Move

El Jefe here. Move successful. XaLynn burned out, worn out, tired. She is beautiful, especially in her patience with us.

New place is awesome with challenges. These include: Mice (yeah, I may have forgotten to fill her in on the ubiquity of the common field mouse in houses like ours), the dog's fascination with rolling in all the exciting new faeces of all the exciting new local wildlife, the supposed depredations of the local pack of coyotes (40-60lb??? The tracks were large enough. Recently killed a foal? The Pirate is on the case with her pink .22lr Cricket Rifle), strange smells that are like the "Fresh Earth" cover scents some people think are useful for deer hunting arising from the Lovecraftian pit more formally known as "the Michigan basement," long treks (40minutes plus) to church and martial arts classes with late bedtimes for both Pirate and Princess, and the extrication from the "short term lease."

We also had an interesting discovery that the river appears to be altering its channel and may suddenly separate about 8 acres from our 46.7. Princess and Pirate were devastated at the idea of losing 8 acres of worthless "swamp" that they never even knew we owned.  I put "swamp" in quotes because the granolas might not recognize that as a synonym for "wetlands". A few days later, though, a lawyer friend explained that this state follows the common law rule that accretions and erosions will slowly change boundaries, but if a river suddenly jumps its course you own on both sides of the new channel to the middle of the old channel. I'm cool as long as I can hunt and log the 8 acres of bottomland.

XaLynn and I are both working on our lists of stuff that has to be done, short - medium - long term. I think it will be cool to post them both at the same time to compare his & hers priorities. I doubt that she is going to place "build man cave and home office" sufficiently high.

On the good side, the awesome side, XaLynn and I spent our first morning doing devotions and prayers in the upstairs room with the roof deck and east facing windows watching the sunrise. When we started this, I told her it would be an adventure and that we'd be depending on God to see us through all of it, but especially the more interesting adventure parts.

Also on the awesome side, I took the Pirate hunting for the first time. Of course, her pink .22 rifle was unloaded, and she was really mad that we didn't kill at least 20 coyotes ("because they killed a foal, Daddy!!! Make them dead!") on her first time out. The Princess also wants them dead, but for other reasons that I'm not going into here. Notably the "worthless" (according to XaLynn) dog herded both the Princess and the Pirate away from the trail leading to the back fields right at the time the Princess noticed a pack of 5-6 coyotes or dogs or coydogs or whatever traveling through the brush way down. That's God's work, because even I will admit that the dog's first response to danger is bark then flee. The girls will be staying around the house unless they're with us until they're big enough to deal with wild dogs or coyotes. I'll let XaLynn write more on that later.

Thursday, February 9, 2012


We got a trailer this past weekend and mostly emptied the garage at the apt.  There are a few things left but they will all fit in the trunk of the CV (just not all at once).  If I can get the whole thing emptied and cleaned out before the end of February, we won't have to pay the rent on it in March... saving us another $50.  The boo part was discovering the amount of damage done to out stuff by the raccoon that apparently decided to make itself at home in there. 

On Tuesday, I took another trunk load down and put it away, along with everything I had no time to put away on Sunday.  In the process, I found the stud-finder!  Yay!  Then I discovered the stud-finder doesn't work on the wood paneling.  Boo!  So I decided I'd just install the closet organizers in El Jefe's closet in the master bedroom, and my closet in the mudroom, where there is wallboard and not paneling. Yay!  I'll figure out what to do about the kids' closets later.  We've had to postpone moving again to the 18th, so I have time to come up with a solution,  I think...

Saturday, February 4, 2012

Another beautiful day...

The kids spent the afternoon tearing prickly vines off the corral.  That wasn't my idea.  They inadvertently tore off a few pieces of wood, too, so I think I now need 18 1'x6' instead of 15.  At least they were trying to help... The weather was gorgeous.  Clear blue skies and temp in the upper-forties.  The kids ran around without coats.  Warmer blood than I have, apparently.

I got three of the curtain rods up, and the curtains on them, so the living room is done (until I figure out what color I'm going to paint it) and the Princess' room just needs the closet organizer installed.  I was going to do that today until I discovered I needed a stud finder, which I don't have,  although I have found my tool box (hooray) and the extension cord I needed for the drill (yea) in the process of trying to do this. 

Now I'm going to throw together a chicken casserole we'll have for lunch tomorrow, and get ready to go out to dinner with a friend. 

And same as yesterday and the day before - the pics will go up when El Jefe has a moment to show me how to do it...

Friday, February 3, 2012

Stupid garage door opener...

I misplaced the stupid garage door opener for the apt garage again, so I couldn't get the stuff I needed in order to do what I had planned at the house.  In a fit of frustration (and because we are forever losing them), I stopped at Lowe's on the way to the house and bought another set of pruners.  The weather was still in the 40s, if rather gray and cloudy, so I thought I'd just go work on the figs.  The first one went fairly quickly - cleaned up the leaves, took out the dead wood, took off all the tall suckers and called it good.  The next two went much more slowly.  They were larger, denser, taller, and had more dead wood.  There was so much, in fact, that I think I may just cut them back to the ground and let them start over.  It'll put a crimp in getting figs this year, but it needs to be done.  In the process of doing the fourth and last fig, I discovered that it was really two figs very close together.  All we managed to get done on that one was to clean up the leaves.  And yes, I did say "we," because I had help.  The Princess and the Pirate showed up while I was finishing up the first fig, and they helped remove the leaves, and hauled off the branches for over an hour after that.  Pics to follow when I figure out how to get them out of the camera and into the computer.  This is rather difficult because El Jefe cannot find the cable...

Lovely Day Cleaning the Hoop House

Yesterday I finally accomplished something.  I got all the beds down the sides of the hoop house cleaned up, pulling up at least 15 sled loads of weeds, and piling them up outside in a mound as tall as I am.  The weather was perfect for this job, and I love the H-house.  I am contemplating moving into it... ah, no, but if you can't find me in the real house, the H-house is the best place to look next.  It smells wonderful in there.  I am wondering if that is the scent of figs or something...  The temperature outside was pushing 50, so it was ten degrees warmer in the H-house and I took off my jacket because it felt like May.  The ground inside was not frozen.  It was damp from the walls to about two feet inward, which made pulling weeds easier, and I was very pleasantly surprised at how loose and light the dirt was.  I grew up on clay and always expect that.  I'd like 15 yards of compost to top off the beds, but I think it'll be okay even if I don't get it all this year, because the dirt was so good.  Before and after pics will follow as soon as I figure out how to get them from the camera to the computer...

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Moving is a slow process...

I haven't been posting because moving is going soooo slowly.  The van died (not unexpected with 189,000 miles on it, just bad timing).  We replaced it with a much smaller Ford Focus that would get far better gas mileage on Ele Jefe's commute, but that has put a serious crimp in my ability to move things to the farm, seeing as how I can only carry one CV trunk load per trip now.  So we're aiming for the end of February now.  El Jefe rented a trailer this past Saturday while I was Appleseeding, but he only got one load moved down because the weather refused to cooperate.  Then yesterday it turned nice and all the snow and ice melted.  I ordered the seeds and plants.  If this weird weather holds, I will spend tomorrow cleaning out the hoop house and repairing the cover. Also cutting back the figs before they poke through the roof.  I'd rather do that while I can work in flannels and jeans comfortably.    As soon as the weather gets bad again, I'll go back to working inside - hanging the curtain rods and closet organizers, now that i finally have a working drill... assuming I can find my toolbox with the drill bits.

More positively, we are back to the ONE NEW ANIMAL PER YEAR RULE (thank goodness).  This year it will be chickens.  I'm disappointed about the bees, but money is tight right now, and will be until May.  I will still set up some swarm boxes just in case we get lucky.  And I'll start saving the cash to order at least three hives next year.  I just fail to see any efficiency in working fewer than that.  And six would be better.  Anyway, we had a bit of a discussion on all the stuff we MUST get done this spring before we can even deal with pig stuff, and I think I finally got across the idea that I was feeling set up to fail by having too much on my plate this first year here.  So, we will get chickens this year and pigs and bees next year.  I hope.