Monday, October 31, 2005

"daddy, can we be best friends forever?"

tristan just came to me a little while ago and said "daddy, can we be best friends forever?"

I almost cried. he is such a great boy.

Sunday, October 30, 2005

chicken's new roost

the chickens have taken to the new wood pile for their roost. this little pile of wood besides the wood by the door is the only "dry/cured" wood that we have. this should last until the end of december. i hope to cut some more dry fell trees to last the winter.

kassi is so cute in her little wool diaper cover, pink converse shoes and tibetan dress.

coco, our rooster, has just started crowing. he is one happy bird he usually has half of his harem following him around at any given moment.

this is the area where our garden will be located. we are desperately looking at measures to keep the chickens out after we plant our precious years future next spring. those chickens ate all of our turnip sprouts this fall planting. we are looking at doing "wattle" style walls as in "wattle and daub". we can't really afford any other attractive solution. yes eventually we'll probably do earth-bag cob/lime plastered garden walls but we need an interum solution. i guess we could put in a normal chicken proof fence but they are ugly unless expensive.

Saturday, October 29, 2005

a social life?

a few weeks ago we went to a garage sale and met a home-schooling family. their kids are mostly grown but they are still active in the home-schooling community which i think might be synonymous with deeply religious community. anyway, they stopped by and invited us to a bonfire. it was nice. tristan went crazy finally being let loose with some kids. the little boy ignored tristan and wouldn't reply when tristan introduced himself. tristan didn't understand "daddy he won't hear me." i guess a six year old whom is approached by a younger kid is supposed to be aloof. anyway, after a while they were getting along famously. but as good things go, they all must end. while the other kids were topping out on energy level tristan was just getting warmed up. having months of still pent up energy to be released. then it happened....

stepping back a bit. i had to drive home, a short drive, to put up the chickens that were in mortal peril from the local fox family. i returned 5 to 7 minutes later and tristan had fallen into the fire and burned his hand. he was in the bathroom playing with ice in the sink. basically icing the burn area. then after a bit he wanted to go back out and play on the trampoline. he was acting very frantic and being quite rude. this went on for 20 minutes or so. we decided to leave. he started crying and wanted may-may (to nurse). tabitha refused not sure of the extended breast feeding climate. we got home and inspected his hand. maybe 15% of his hands total surface area was blistered or broken blisters. he was obviously in extreme pain and we were out of "blue vitamins" children’s ibuprofen. tabitha got out her fancy pill splitter and fabricated him a 55 milligram pill. he gobbled it up without hesitation (never happened before). he was shaking his hand and shivering and screaming. i put his hand in a dish of cold water and he kinda relaxed. he would fall into sleep and promptly wake when his hand would move out of the water. this went on for a while. finally, he fell into a deep enough sleep that when his hand came out of the water he didn't wake.

whew, he hasn't woken up yet so we'll see how things go this morning.

on a brighter note they also had a child kassi's age. he wasn't walking yet though. that seems weird to me since kassi has been walking longer than half her life already.

but the brightest note is that we have found a bulk food drop-point-group. they all are part of this illusive group that tabitha has been trying to contact since our arrival. sneaking in through the back door.

but the biggest question is: will they continue to be our friends if we don't attend their religious organization?
wasn't it Groucho Marx who said something like "I don't want to be part of any group that would have me as a member?"

Thursday, October 27, 2005

the first warm morning

last night we brought in 5 or 6 pieces of wood and stoked the fire. that lasted all night and the house was pretty cozy this morning. needless to say it is cold outside. but notice that yellow window on the right of the wood. i can reach out there from inside the house and get a few pieces of wood without exposing my entire body to the frigid temperatures. i don’t know if my lack of coffee contributed to my lack of courage but it was a nice little bonus to be able to just grab more wood from the warmth of our living room.

tristan wants to call the living room "the great room" because that is where his trains will soon get set up. great rooms, i think, need to meet some proportional minimums and ours definitely doesn't have high ceilings or any sort of vast expanse. i guess it is the largest room in the house and it will soon have tristan's great thomas the tank engine collection strewn about it.

the carpet goes down this weekend. we put the nailer strip and padding down yester eve. it changed the whole feel of that room. it will soon be a much more densely populated room having the only real heat source and a cozy carpet. finally, the whole house will be moved into. i'll start doing finishing touches very soon. there are still winterization tasks to be preformed. we need a some rigid insulation to close up the crawl space. the pipes could freeze if i don't get to that soon.

to all friends whom read and don't comment often. this is tabitha's blog too--for that matter it is also tristan's and kassi's blog. don't be shy. i'm not trying to solicit comments but we welcome you and we don't feel intruded upon.

my baby girl just woke and she says "bound bound bound weherup...." there is a cute little animation at the beginning of the incredibles movie. it is the best cartoon i have ever seen and kassi just loves it. she is staring to say sentances like "uh oh, book fell" does that qualify? anyway she is really making herself understood these days. although, tristan still seems to understand her the best.

Wednesday, October 26, 2005

fire fire fire

guess why tristan is crying?
does that cat look a little smug

we got the woodstove working but not until after the biggest fiasco from the online stove pipe seller. we learned a lesson in there somewhere. i just need to figure out what it is.

this is the little pile of wood queued for our heating pleasure

Tuesday, October 25, 2005

tristan went to work with me today

tabitha got sick and i took tristan to work with me. what a great, wonderfully behaved boy! he listened (mostly the first time) all day the only exception was when it was time to leave his new friends. there was great gnashing of teeth and capitulating but that is to be expected under the circumstances. my boss was great he even watched tristan for a little while (less than 10 min). there is a huge pile of leca (a mountain) that he climbed and climbed and climbed. then he climbed pallets stacked 6 high and jumped into the edge of the pile. he got so worn out that he slept the sleep of the just in the car ride to the next job.

we went to work on a chimney where there are kids of all ages and sizes. he really liked them they paraded him around their humble farm. he saw and chased baby cows, cats and the BIG dog chased him. he didn't like the dog very much especially since it was bigger than him and would keep him from going anywhere. it would make a U shape out of its body and herd him all the while tristan would be hitting the dog and the dog thought he was petting him.

he really had a great time.

but man was it stressful for me--keeping my eye on him and out of trouble. and worrying that my boss didn't appreciate the imposition. i'll call in (tabitha sick) tomorrow and stay home to watch the kids.

Sunday, October 23, 2005

heat, we need heat

here is a picture of our wood burning stove. notice there is no pipe coming from it for the smoke? the stove pipe hasn't come yet. stove pipe is the pipe between the wood burning stove and the chimney that i re-lined. given the tight confines of our house & placement of the chimney port we are forced to use double wall chimney pipe. it reduces the clearance to combustibles greatly but it isn't available at our local hardware store.

we ordered it online the day we got our stove. i needed everything in place in order to measure out the lengths we'll need. you can't cut this stuff and the adjustable pieces are ridiculously expensive. tabitha called friday and they still haven't sent it yet. i guess it is queued to be sent tuesday from kansas. that should be just a day or so to here. hopefully we'll have it by next weekend. in the mean time we are dressing very warm and trying to keep the kids clothed. both kids would sooner be naked and freezing than keep any kind of clothing on. it is a constant battle.

we bought one of those drier vent adapters that allow drier heat into the house as a interim solution. boy-oh-boy that heat is moist. i changed the laundry and started the drier a while ago and now all the windows are steamed up.

yesterday i cut and split a few loads of wood. ben (my boss) gave me a couple of missouri-mauls (splitting wedge with a handle) to try and choose one from. i didn't really like either of them. the handle while very light and made of fiberglass is perfectly round and doesn't feel right. a normal maul has an oval shaped handle which is surprisingly useful since it by nature of the "feel" informs you if the wedge is aligned perfectly to split the log. mike coined the term "the maul of the glancing blow" and is a perfect description of the design. i might try to get some friction tape and ovalize the handle to see if that solves the problem. modifying either maul would mean that i'd have to choose between the three-inch or the inch-and-a-half model. i might just give both of them back and choose the little kindling splitter instead. although i must admit that on those occasions that i hit the log squarely they usually fell apart like butter.

mike has a hydraulic splitter that we'll use when we go cut wood together but splitting my own wood has such an attractive tactile sense of satisfaction that i plan to split most of the wood around here myself. plus that kind of work is good for the physique.

Monday, October 17, 2005

Farmer Karl

Yesterday I helped mike load bales of hay onto his trailer. mike loaded a bunch the day before & had a sore back. in the morning he drove & I threw 65+ bales up & stacked them. then later that evening mike, nancy (his wife) & I went to the field. mike still had a bit of hay to bale on the other field so nancy drove & I bucked (loaded) 6 layers high 120 bales onto another trailer. mike came just in time to help haul it to the barn. we unloaded (stacked in the barn on edge) the trailer. then we went back to the field this time nancy drove & mike & I bucked the bales. 127 bales 7 layers high. the top layer mike threw the bales up & I climbed on top & stacked them.

needless to say today I am sore and stayed home from work I’ll shift my work week the tues, weds, thurs, & fri instead of having friday off.

today I cut down another fallen tree in our back yard. this one has been there for a while and was an eyesore. the to-be-burned brush pile has grown again to bonfire proportions.

I’ll finish cutting the logs & stacking the brush this weekend.

Sunday, October 16, 2005


my baby girl started going potty on the big girl potty! she is so magical--but rough and tumble. you'd think we beat her by the looks of her. she is just a girl with a big brother that she adores and must keep up with. she is constantly falling but seems to recover quickly--except the remaining scratches, bruises and general scrapes.

she has some strange affinity with animals they seem to love her and she them. the cat although she carries it in the most uncomfortable (sometimes abviously painful) positions the cat is almost always seeking more attention from her. the cows are strangely attracted to her and when ever we come across a dog they both usually fall completely in love.

Thursday, October 13, 2005

on the cover of the rolling stone

well, it's only the journal of light construction. but i did get the cover shot soldering some pipe to a solar collector on the roof of an old army base building in alameda. the funny thing is that it is just a snapshot i just ignored that guy and continued to work.

better yet, my test of the scanner worked perfectly. tabitha hooked it up perfectly.

today is my Friday! i have been working so hard this week that i have been sore every night and morning. tuesday night i had thigh leg cramps that wouldn't quit. i can use the rest. oh wait, i have to work really hard around here too. ;0

my job is kinda like going to the gym for 10 hours except i get paid to do it instead of the other way around. i am getting in really great shape though. i am probably stronger than i have ever been. when i come home more sore than i can remember all i need to do is look into my kids eyes and i can hardly remember the soreness or how i got it.

i like working outside. johnny cash said it best. "give me work that is open to the sky, make me a partner of the wind and sun & i won't ask a life that is soft or high"

this weekend=
fence, fence and general fencing work. oops, the woodstove is coming on saturday. that'll probably take up most of the day.

i need a gas can for my chainsaw to clear the fence rows and garden areas.

Monday, October 10, 2005

i finally finished that chimney liner

the chimney went along without a hitch. luckily i talked to wade about it on friday, he has installed several of these & offered me sage advice. his suggestions helped me side step several potential catastrophic errors. i trimmed the stainless liner "T" to the shortest possible size while still being safe and everything barely fit. in fact when tabitha was at the bottom (helping line things up) she said "it won't work, you'll have to come down and look at it." after some gentle persuading (no matt i didn't use the hammer) everything barely fit.

tabitha moved the fax/printer into it's new home & plugged it in. i'll install a new phone/dsl combo jack at that location later. i'll need to dig through my stuff to find one.

mike & i worked on the heat shield (almost to completion) i need to swing by & get the bricks and bring them here and put them in place. (at the last moment before installation else the kids will likely hurt themselves.

no, the wood stove didn't come this weekend (i was misinformed) i guess it'll arrive this coming saturday. if my source can be counted on this time.

matt, i answered your question in the previous post comments. thank you

Sunday, October 09, 2005

my girl is sick

5:15 am

She has explosive poo. I cleaned her up & gave her a bath which she didn’t want to get out of. She obviously is very sick she even pooed a bit more in the tub. she still wanted to soak after the mini shower and water change. Finally, she slowly got up and I dried her off, diapered her & put her back to bed with her sleeping mama.

She is so sweet even when she is sick. She hugged me really tight once I got her diapered. What is the deal between fathers and daughters? I find that I don’t want to say NO to her as often as Tristan over the exact same stuff. I don’t want to be partial but she is my little girl. She has her own little special heart strings that she knows just how to tug on. Maybe once she can fend for herself a bit more the situation won’t seem as disproportionate.

I love having kids. Tabitha wants another one. She is taking steps to get her cycles back day-weaning Tristan. He seems OK with it. I thought he’d throw a bigger fit. But he is three years old and probably the only people he’ll ever meet that remember nursing are his siblings, sad uh?

Today is chimney day I rue the idea of digging into that cement pipe snout. The liner that I bought is 8” and I have to enlarge the hole from the current 6” opening. This chimney fix should only be for this winter. Next summer I plan to tear down the existing chimney and make a new one with exposed rock in the bath room and living room. This should heat both rooms nicely after the rock warms. I am toying with the idea of incorporating a masonry heat chamber between the wood stove & chimney. This should not affect the draft of the stove but should add to the efficiency of our heating system. If I do this properly the thermal center of the entire system should migrate toward the back of the house. This will be especially important when we add a room (straw bale of course) to the back of the house.

The solar collectors are begging to be hooked up. But the new master bedroom (still dreaming here) will have the perfect roof to mount them on. I guess they will need to be mounted on a rack over the cistern until the addition becomes a reality.

Uncle Matt – here is the Trader Joes list
Lavender dish soap
Natural automatic dishwasher detergent/soap
1 or maybe 2 cases of “two-buck-chuck” he he…
Tabitha will append this list

Setting up the fax/printer should happen today also but it all depends on how the chimney goes.

Saturday, October 08, 2005

the new chainsaw

i purchased a homelite (used but in perfect condition) 240. we need to cut the wood from our fence rows before we re-strech the old wire & patch in new. i am excited about the saw it runs perfectly and will supply us with winter heating supply. it cost $60 kinda high but it came with a guarantee from the local small engine fix-it guy. he seems like a stand-up guy, so i think it'll be a great deal.

we now have dsl (a new development in this area) and i've been researching all the stuff that has been in my queue since arriving here in missouri. i'll get into a better routine of posting once i get caught up. (uncle matt)

we are looking for fencing material "cheap". iron fence posts are about $4 each retail and we need 200-250 of them to get containment we have the woven wire but still need a bit of barbed wire, two rolls should do.

i'm working on the chimney tomorrow HOHW (hell or high water)i have gotten some very useful info on the subtle tricks on how to install the stainless liner. i hope to pull it off without a hitch.

gutters and rainwater collection are next on my priority list. we have 10,000 gallons of storage and i'd like to make sure it is full of excellent quality water by spring.

bath time for the kids & me. gotta love bathing in peeeed water..........

Saturday, October 01, 2005

Tristan & Kassi got their shots

tristan & kassi both had Tetanus shots yesterday. tristan was first , i explained what was about to occur, he sat there and watched her put the needle in his leg, not a sound not even a flinch. then it was kassi's turn. tristan yelled "i told you not to hurt my girl" as the doctor cleaned her leg, he got really mad "don't hurt my girl". kassi cried from the poke and gave ME the look of betrayal. she quickly stopped crying but tristan stayed mad at the doctor and kept giving her dirty looks and saying i'll poke you if you hurt my girl. we nurture his protective behavior. tristan was measured and weighed the results were off the charts for height and weight. his weight is all muscle. his iron count was also off the charts--he is a carnivore. kassi was tall for her age and average for weight. tall and skinny there could be worse afflictions. iron count above average--omnivore, her favorite thing is cheese.
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