Sunday, October 26, 2008

What a difference a day makes.

This morning started off sunny, then clouded up and we had a white

Seemed to clear up for a while and then back it came. So now we have frosting on everything. Jim started the furnace and the house has been warm and cosy all day, even with the wind blowing. I think the new storm windows on the front have made a difference, not more breeze blowing in. The animals all found spots on the floor and stretched out. With the radiant heating under the floor they love it. We found out more about putting in the wood stove, we have to insulate the pipe that we are putting in the chimney. Jim found a place on line to buy the parts so soon we will have that as a way to heat and use the gas boiler to supplement. Another good thing will be that is the power goes off we will still be warm. I was unable to sign up for the budget plan for the gas, it would have locked a certain price in. Now it looks as if it was a lucky break as the price right now is lower then the bargain price. I do want to use the gas as little as possible, we will see how it goes.

I think Charlie is looking so handsome, this picture does not do him justice too late in the day. Miss Molly is growing by leaps and bounds. She is a little stinker,lol. For the most part she is doing well, she now sits and downs on command and pretty much comes when calls. I do need to do some leash work, the heel stuff , etc. Hopefully this bit of snow is a fluke and we will have some more clear days. I am still trying to cover plants and get my mind in the winter mode. I picked the last of the broccoli this afternoon and made it for Jim's lunch. I roasted some chicken breasts and seasoned them with herbs from the garden. I know for sure I am going to plant much more broccoli next year. I will try the two plantings so we can have lots to freeze. The flavor is so wonderful when the vegs come right from the garden. I have baskets of apples and tomatoes in the basement and was able to send some with Jim.

Best to you, Barbara

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Harvesting Time

The soybeans have already been picked and now they are harvesting the corn. The machines they use amaze me for the size and also how they work. This tractor goes along side the combine and the hopper is filled. Then the tractor loads the semi and off the corn goes to become feed or ethanol. Don't they look like some sort of space equipment?? The combine cuts the stalk, removes the corn, takes off the husk and the kernels leaving onlybits and pieces in the field.

The girls were curious but the machines scared them and off they would run. They had to come back and see what I was doing out there. This is the new area we closed in, you can see how they have cleared most of the weeds. If it were earlier in the year and the weeds were still green I imagaine they would have cleared that also. They are busy working on the small trees in the background. Those are all volunteers and need to be cleared so we get two birds with one stone. We figure by next year we should have the fencing all around the back part of the property and the girls will clear out all the underbrush and weeds. Not only will things look better but it will give me access to clear out and plan how and where I want to plant things.

I am finally having to breakdown and have Jim turn on the heat. It has been pretty chilly, the last several days have had high winds, rain and cold, yuck!!! Until we get all the insulation in the wind just cuts right through the house. I have a space heater in the birds room so they are warm. Finding the dogs were shivering convinced me I needed to turn on the heat. I put their coats and sweaters on them and covered their houses at night so they were happier. I have a heated matress pad on the bed so you know where the cats were. The installation of the wood stove is turning out to be more complicated then we thought. We found we need to put a liner in the chimney to protect from carbon monoxide poisioning. The chimney is in great shape but after all these years it is possible the fumes will leak into the house. They you start checking out prices and find it can run into the thousands. Again we have a break that we can do it our selves. Jim found online a kit for around $1,400.00. I do not even want to try and imagine what we would be charged if we had someone do the work.

I need to leave soon to go help with parceling up the share packages. Share is a wonderful program that allows people on fixed incomes, large families or unemployed people to supplement their food supplies. For a small sum they receive a variety of food stuffs, it works out that it is half price over what they would pay in the stores. I have been part of similar programs in other states where I lived, some times they were called co-ops but the goal was the same. Getting people in need some help. What amazes me is the amount of resistance in this area to this program. We have small grocers who look at it and say it will cost them money. My argument is that by helping these people with the basics it will allow them to spend money on extras that they could not afford other wise. Why? I have so many ways to finish that question, it just boggles my mind. Why are we selfish, narrow minded, short sighted, etc!!!

Best to you my friends, Barbara

Friday, October 17, 2008

Yesterday was beautiful, the perfect fall day. The sky was blue, very little wind and the sun shining. Unfortunately I spent most of it inside at my job, the upside there is that I was earning a tad.

We had a freeze so now I must shift into overdrive getting my plants covered and protected. I still have about 2/3 of the hay wagon to unload, I have been lazy. I need to stack those bales around the girls stall and at the openings to try and keep as much of the wind out as possible. It will also act as insulation as I plan on stacking all over the place as well as putting all the tarps back up. My friend Carol in MN said that they always stacked hay around the foundation of their old farm house and that it helped. So I guess I will try that also, looks like I won't have to worry about going to the gym!! Being here is keeping me active which is so good, and I read that weight lifting is good so I've got it all.

My friend Debby, who I have known since the late 70's, is going through a rough patch so if we could send her some positive energy that would be great. She is a strong woman and I know that she will come through this with flying colors. My feeling is that she will be in a better place once this is put behind her. She and I have been through a lot over the years and have always managed to come through the fire.

I so hope that each and everyone of you are either in a good place or on your way there. I know that with all the things going on in the world it sometimes feels as if we will never get there. I worry about our retirement and the fact that what we have been through has wiped out all that Jim had acquired over the years. I am pinning my hopes on having a home business that will generate income over the years. Our plans for solar and wind power and being able to heat with wood are all part of the future so we won't have to worry so much about utility bills. The new skills I am acquiring with the vegetable garden and canning will also help with the food bills. I have also been toying with the idea of growing herbs to sell to restaurants. From what I can see you do not need very much space and if I can get a deal on a small greenhouse I should be able to grown them year round. Since they can be dried I could also sell them over the Internet.

Time will tell how well these things work. I just know that we will need supplemental income as SS will not cover it all. Jim's mechanical skills keep our cars going so we do not have car payments, which I hate. My feeling is that the amount you have to pay is not worth that small rush you get from having a new car. Once you drive off the lot it is a used car and you have years of payments ahead of you. You also have a car that looks like everyone else's, when I drive one of my old cars around it gets lots of attention. I need to invest about $3,000.00 in my 85 BMW, she needs paint and an engine rebuild as she is now at 250,000 miles. If you check the price of a new BMW you will see that what I will spend will be equal to a few months payments. I love driving her, she still is full of spunk and purrs right along, lots of fun.

I also have a 75 Torino Elite, you remember those cars with the hood the length of a football field? We already have the engine rebuilt but now she needs lots of body work. Where she was stored kids vandalized her so a complete repaint is needed, plus a couple of windows and all the lights. I am hoping the upholstery will clean up or else that will need replacing also. This is also a fun car to drive and when it is finished I want to take her to car shows for fun weekends. Jim has his 75? Bronco that he loves, he had it started the other day and the grin on his face was priceless. My daily driver is a 92 Nissan Pathfinder that Jim found for $500.00. It has some electrical issues which Jim is working on fixing, but it starts each day and gets me where I want to go.

I feel blessed with all we have, still being able to function. Blogging has turned out to be a joy, so many super people out there. Some times it seems the world is only populated with bad things, greedy, selfish people. Being able to reach out and be touched with so many great people, meeting challenges just as I am and conquering them and moving on. I think we can inspire each other, boost flagging spirits and cheer each other on. Thank you for being my blogger buddies!!


Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Oh, my gosh, it's October!!

Good morning my friends. Apparently I have been in a bit of a funk, I realized this morning I have not taken any pictures or written in my blog. Maybe it is fall when so much is ending that got me. Could be that so much is left to do on the house, we have accomplished quite a bit but none of it the "pretty" stuff. So this morning I had a talk with myself and said "get over it". In the big scheme of things that I like to talk about we are good. We have each other, the house has more insulation and we are still moving forward. We were able to find a good used wood stove that should be great for heating the house. We have our own wood and the health to cut it. Jim has most of the attic insulated and the holes drilled for the blown in insulation on the front of the downstairs. He found a storm window on sale for $35.00 and put that up on one of the living room windows. One was missing and it was amazing the amount of air that came in. I can not say enough how lucky we are that Jim can do so much by himself. On Good Morning America they showed two ladies who shared hints for saving money. One lady paid her mortgage off in 5 years, then did all sorts of home improvements by herself. She goes on line and finds the directions of how to do things and then jumps in. She had never used a lawnmower or power tool before, just shows what we can do when we try.
My friend Ellen spotted an ad for a free kitchen stove, so we went and picked it up. Needed a heating element which we got for $35.00, Jim took the cord off the old one and we ordered the front glass on line. So we have a glass top stove with lots of bells and whistles for about $150.00, how cool to have a stove where all the burners work and the oven keeps an even temp!!! Ellen is such a blessing, always ready with some information I need or finding bargains. How we met was such a fluke, makes ya know someone is looking out for us. Just sometimes we don't get the hint!
My little part time job is in the same spot she is working on weekends and we kind of cheer each other on. It is a bit of a challange sometimes, so much negative energy. Kinda sad when the only thing people have to talk about is each other or the customers that come in, and 90% of it seems to be bad. I refuse to join in and try to change the subject or make it something good, kind of like using a teaspoon to bail the ocean. Seems such a waste of energy and human spirit, guess I have a habit of trying to look at things through rose colored glasses. I just figure that none of us had a choice as to our parents, our birthplace, our social standing so to look down on each other is a waste. What we had when young was due to our parents hard work and their luck, nothing we did. What we have now is due to the choices we have made, luck and drive. Some have more some less, but I don't believe that makes us better or worse, just lucky.

Well must go to work, I have missed you and will do better at writing as I do enjoy it. Barbara