Wednesday, January 31, 2007

frozen pipes

i woke this morning to frozen pipes. it was only the hot line to the bathroom but it prevented me from going to work this morning. i ran to the hardware store and purchased pricey heat tape. in the interim i plugged in the chick starter heat lamp and pointed it at the place where i thought the problem was.

during the fall some varmint dug into my insulated closure in the crawl (rather wallow/worm) space. the cold winter wind could penetrate the varmint exposed pipes.
i left the cold water drizzeling at the bathroom sink last night but that only protected the cold line.

when i returned i got out my high powered heat gun and managed to to melt through the frozen blockage. i then wallowed under the house to my navel and wrapped the plumbing in question with heat tape and bubble-foil-bubble insulation. i also re-insulated the little door that i made to cover the access point and closed the space back up.

i now have to go back to town to get a prescription for kassi. it seems that all the kids have strep-throat. toly has an ear infection. now, everyone is on antibiotics. we are a sorry lot. i have the go into work this afternoon so my my will be a busy one.

Sunday, January 28, 2007

getting things done

i spent the afternoon cutting down unwanted trees from our shaded pasture. i left all of the large trees, dogwoods and persimmon trees. i cut all of the huge grape vines plaguing the remaining trees and all of the dead wood i could manage. what remains are more than a dozen huge trees, two or three persimmon and a couple dozen dogwood trees. there is about a cord of wood sitting waiting to be stacked. i'll leave it stacked in the woods until next fall. it will be lighter once dried for a season.

this area is next in the queue to get fenced. this will be an alternate pasture for nimue. the barn is situated immediately between both pastures and will be easily accessible for milking and shelter.

tabitha started thirty six cabbage plants and a bunch of onions. everyone suggests that we'll have better luck buying onion sets when planting time happens but we have to learn some lessons for ourselves. we still plan to buy sets because a family like ours can never have enough onions. only one of bob's fluorescent lights worked. so i'll take it back and hope for better luck next time.

i am getting excited for spring and the garden. there is too much to do between now and spring. i need to cut enough wood for next winter. i want to finish the root cellar to act as a storm shelter before spring tornado season hits. i'd like to get the barn completely ready for the walls.

we have changed gears on the barn. since nimue is just-now getting bred back we have time to do the barn with straw-bale walls, earthen and lime plaster and skip using the steel siding. it will be a great test for our intended addition which we dream to do in straw-bale also. the barn will be a much better structure this way and we like the idea of straw-bale better.

sometimes i get down because of the amount of work that we hope to get done in the near future. i have to make a forced effort to look back and reflect upon all that we have accomplished. i get so caught up in trudging forward with the next project and several emergency fires that pop-up that i forget to notice that we are actually making real progress.

we were gifted some new mattresses. i seem to sleep better than i did on our futon. i have hardly wake in the middle of the night since their arrival. the house warming fire suffers a bit since it is barely embers after a long nights sleep. i imagine i need the "real-rest" that i am getting now. maybe i'll go back to my normal schedule once my body gets caught up.

tristan is trying so hard to read. the other morning he attempted to spell out everything that he would try to say to me. it was very impressive. of course he didn't spell much correctly but i knew what he was trying to convey. kassi is my wonderful princess. most times i forget that she is only two. she is her very own person and has a presence far beyond her years. toly is growing like a weed--a chubby weed. he weighs twenty pounds and is so tall that his special baby back carrier doesn't support his head any longer. he wants to play with the older kids so desperately that it tortures him. he adores both his siblings. he looks at them with such desire and connection that i fear we'll have another torturously early walker. kassi walking at seven months was too painful to watch and i don't know if i can bare to watch another of my children force their will so feverishly as to bruise their bottom from the repetitive stand and fall that occurred constantly for weeks before success was met. kassi and tristan love toly they continuously engage him and affirm their sibling bond.

stopping milking bothers tabitha a little now and then but this is the best time to get nimue bred back. besides, milking in the dark cold morning has to suck. she is suffering without dairy. milk, cheese, cream in the coffee, sour cream, the list goes on and on. it is surprising how little is made without milk. my sympathy really goes out for her sacrifice.

Saturday, January 27, 2007

sinus infection continues

i have been ill for too long. household tasks have been neglected and as you know blogging has screeched to a complete halt. toly has been extra needy--we speculate that he is allergic to dairy. tabitha has stopped eating dairy in attempt to make toly happy and well. when i have been home my attentions are directed toward entertaining toly and the kids. since the sinus infection has set in i haven't had the energy to attempt anything else. since my last post i did manage to cut down a diseased tree in the back yard and work it up into fire wood for the barnafactor. that transaction is now complete. he has picked up most of his barter share. tabitha has stopped milking in attempt to get nimue bred back and re-calf. nimue is a swollen sad mess. she seems healthy but unhappy about being cut off from alfalfa and beet pulp.

i tried to shut up the chickens early the other night and one was still out and dead in the morning. i was very sad. the girls are finally back to laying eggs again. boy we sure did miss fresh eggs for that month or so of molting. rosie maliciously chased and bit henne penny sally chicken yesterday. tabitha really got after her. she now seems to understand that chickens aren't to be chased. if not we'll have to get rid of her. that would be a sad day. otherwise rosie is a good dog and really tries to please.

work is going well for the state of missouri. i have been accomplishing many tasks. they seem to like me. i helped a friend do a bit of roofing the other day and now have two huge blisters on my hands. one of each type, a blood blister still intact and a popped and dried and bloody cracking regular water blister.

i just built a seed starting shelf. some of the peet moss starter soil is soaking for seeds as i write. we need to purchase more peet moss, probably tomorrow. i have been aching to cut some more wood for next winter. time is getting short. the winter wheat cover crop is still keeping it's germination a secret in the garden.

today has been a dreary day and being by the warm wood stove is barely a consolation. i haven't worked on my root cellar or barn for so long that i am embarrassed. the dull ache in my head from the sinus pressure keeps me from reading or computer work. i feel like i'm swimming against the current.

Thursday, January 18, 2007

feelin' puny

yet another affliction sinus headache for two days.

the kids are hold up inside playing the island of sodor.

they have been playing the same set up for days.

Friday, January 12, 2007

rain and freezing rain

we are getting a winter storm. it is only rain right now but freezing rain is expected. freezing rain usually means power outages. we have heat without power. we can cook without power and if it is freezing we can probably keep our food reasonably safe. i have 1200 watt inverter that i think can run our freezer. i don't really want to have to test the system though. a few hours without power won't be a big deal but more than that we'll have to take extraneous measures.

insulate the attic is on my hot list agenda. i hope tomorrow affords me the opportunity to get it done.

Tuesday, January 09, 2007

new job

yes i now have a real job. i work for the state of missouri doing maintenance. i started monday. it seems fine. things move kinda slow. people submit to a regimen of waste and bureaucracy. a few people really care and have managed to stick around for many years--which is a good sign. things are still revealing themselves. i generally like the idea. there really isn't enough physical work to keep three maintenance people busy but deluge of paperwork that envelopes every task means that three people aren't near enough.
my position is part time and allegedly will include benefits after a few months. yes you heard right (part time and benefits) the entire reason that the job seems perfect. i can still work for bob and at home for the lions share of the week and get the kids and tabitha health insurance.
flue, colds and general bad health have plagued us for the past month. tristan just got over rosiolia a week and half ago and now has a fever again. kassi has had a runny nose and general restlessness for as long as recent memory. tabitha has been ill and making the antibodies for toly. we are a sorry troupe. amidst all this the world carries on. our neighbor has a nice perspective on getting ill. it forces you to stop. it forces you to appreciate normal life. it forces you to purge your system. it forces you to look at how you take care of your health and look more closely at what you eat. we have great diets and are continually concerned with what we eat. the kids are the reason we are getting sick. their inability to keep from touching every filthy grimy thing in the grocery store is only second to the their compulsion to stick anything that appears like it might fit into their mouth. no amount of monitoring is enough to keep this from occurring. sometimes i just don't want to ever leave the house with the kids.

Sunday, January 07, 2007

back on track

my back is almost all better. on christmas eve i was carrying one of those rice bags filled with 150 lbs of crushed stone for the root cellar wall i fell and broke the water main. i needed to scurry to lowes and get the parts necessary. anyway a few days later my back started to hurt and got progressively worse until i could hardly pick up toly let alone wear him in the sling. a few days ago i went to the chiropractor and it felt a little better right away but it took until today before i could load the front porch with wood. i hate letting the wood pile get low. it makes me anxious.
meanwhile, i have been staving off the cold that kassi has disseminated through the house--but only with moderate success.

the new champion juicer that i got for the family for christmas has been a big hit with tabitha and myself. we both have been drinking huge glasses of carrot juice each morning--it is like an addiction.

i am getting excited about the garden. i have to build a seed starter rack. bob has offered the florescent lights necessary in exchange for transplant ready heirloom tomato plants. we have been making lists within lists and plans within plans lately. siting around laid-up has that effect. i am so ready to get back to getting things done around here i feel like a sailor standing in line to the gangplank after a six month cruise.

Monday, January 01, 2007

subtle changes in garden layout

the sweet potatoes are really going outside the garden. we will put them in a raised bed--location to be determined. probably just to the left of where the final map suggests. i have to cut down a dying mulberry tree that lives there.
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