Monday, July 10, 2017


July should be the beginning of the thinning of the pines in Alabama. It also means they will be completely clearing the 40 acres we recently purchased as well. It will be cleared almost entirely. Only a few of the largest trees will be left, and only the healthy ones of those.

In preparation for the following months, when the remnants will be burned and the new trees will be planted we went ahead and made a purchase of just over 40 trees that will also be planted out at the same time. Most trees go dormant in the fall and young trees even more so. Once they go dormant we will be planting them in several sections of the entire acreage. These plants are meant to not only feed us, but also help keep the feed bill down for the deer, hogs, and turkey we feed year round.

A few of these specimens will find their way into the orchard, but the vast majority will be planted around the perimeter of the larger fields. We managed to get a great deal and we purchased the following:
8 keiffer pear
3 gala apple
5 crabapple
3 Fuji apple
3 Arkansas Black Apple
3 Fuyu Persimmon
3 American Persimmons
2 chinese chestnut
3 Chicksaw plum
2 Paw Paws
and also 4 white oaks, and 4 saw tooth oaks, for the 40 acres to spread out the acorn availability.

So I have my work cut out. Now I have to figure out what varieties are being planted where and how many I can pull up to the orchard to protect them, and try to actually get a decent crop for us as well.

We have been up twice in the last few weeks to prepare for the heavy equipment that will be coming through the homestead. We need to make sure we keep our roadway system as intact as possible and that the crew don't damage things that we think are essential.

Next trip I will get some before pictures, and then in fall I will post after pictures. It will be sad to see the trees grow, but as the new growth takes place it will be lovely to see the changes that happen to the land then.


Tuesday, June 13, 2017


June is always a busy month. What with the rainy season looming if not already in full force, the garden production at full tilt, but not for much longer...the kids getting out for summer and of course figuring out what to do with the kids, where they will be who they will see. There are Grandparents, Aunts, Uncles and others that want to see them and visits to the farm, coordinating everything with work. *SHEW*

This June has been busy just like any other, only more so. This June is competing for the busiest on record. Our first born graduated High School and we took him on a trip to celebrate. Cue the massive picture dump...

So proud of my boy.

He even graduated with Honors. As soon as he actually takes his English class he will have a year of college under his belt as well. A great start to life as an adult.

Don't mind the sour face on girl child #2. She's just jealous. She wants to go on the celebration trip, too. Sorry girly.

So to kick off life as an adult we took the boy to the Bahamas. This has always been one of our favorite places to travel to. The clear aqua waters makes for superb fishing and snorkeling.

Turtles, turtles everywhere. We swam with them, fed them, pet them. So awesome

 And did I mention that we also swam with PIGS? Too cool. These are domestic pigs. Dropped off on a tiny uninhabited  island. Just perfect for people to pet, feed and the locals to harvest annually.

Did I mention that it is spectacularly beautiful?
Seriously. Addictive.

We were not on the main island(s) we were on an out island. No touristy things to do. Actually it was hard to even find a souvenir, but at the local watering hole there were a few items available.

The weather was idyllic the first day, after that we had a lot of storms and cloudy/rainy weather. That's OK. We are form Florida and while the sun shines every day it also rains most days.

The cloud coverage helped with keeping the sun of our faces and the rain was much needed for the area. This particular island utilizes almost entirely rain water catchment. The main method of travel is golf cart, or (non motorized) bikes. There was not a siren to be heard, no arguments, none of it. Serenity at it's best.

So an incredibly busy month. in 2 weeks we will head back up to the farm and we are hoping, praying, and doing the NO RAIN dance so that we can finally get a sump pump into that basement and try to fix the water issues. Once. and. for. all. Wish us luck!


Monday, May 15, 2017

And then Some.

Some dry weather we've had here lately. Typically, I don't write about dry weather. But not because I don't like dry weather necessarily. Because it just doesn't happen often. I live in a swamp. Well, technically I live across the street from a swamp. But one thing about swamps is, they really don't like to be dry. 

Because it's been a good 6 weeks or more without any measurable rain the bogs are all dry. The most amazing thing happens when you dry a bog. It's flammable. Seriously. 

So the past 2 weeks my home has been surrounded by wildfires. We spent an entire week packed and ready for mandatory evacuations. Luckily that never happened to us, but across the street it did.

It's truly unnerving to look out your widow to see this sight. I could actually see the flames for 2 nights, and I didn't sleep much either. Now we wake up to the smell of fire every morning and as the morning warms and the breezes kick in the haze lifts. It's not so scary any more but we all know it wouldn't take much for this to happen again.

I am so thankful for my wonderful life, for my home and children. Believe it or not thousands of acres burned and no homes were lost. A few outbuildings, but no homes, and all humans remain safe as well.

Hope you are all safe.


Monday, April 24, 2017

Shutting off Vs. Shutting down.

I thought I would shut this space down. I thought by now it would be gone. But, I was wrong.

It's been well over a year since my last post and by some insane twist of fate my blog appeared on my screen today. I started typing something and hit enter, without even looking at the screen. Next thing I knew I was staring at a picture of the cabin in Alabama. I found myself wondering why I never post any more, and then looking back at the last few posts.

I know why I stopped posting. I was caught up in the devastation of how many hours, days, months, years - how many thousands of dollars and how much hope I had for this next adventure in my life. I knew it would cost sweat, tears and yes even blood. I didn't expect the emotional toll that it would take.

That beautiful cabin is still unfinished. The contractor fell very ill. (Passed away in February) He was unable to finish the job and his son stepped up to try to complete our project. Instead he left us worse off. We are yet to finish the basement out. It floods every other time it rains.  We have plans to beat this, but we have planned before. Each time I think will be the last, and then it rains, and floods again.

Because we are spending so much time and effort on the basement, things like painting the interior and finishing the trim work, all are falling to the wayside. I haven't gardened properly since this all started and now my garden is so far gone. I will be starting over. A new plan is under way to make the space usable again, but like all our projects it's second fiddle to the cabin.

So my day to day life grinds on with all of the normal ups and downs. Life is busy, work is busy, kids are busy, but it's just an excuse I used to turn it off.

So - here I am again. I need a new outlook, and I am hopeful to continue in this space once more. I think my first few posts will be updates. It hasn't all been bad after all. There has been plenty to share, I was just not thinking that way.


Wednesday, December 16, 2015


Sent from my iPhoneIt's finally coming together. The next 2 -3 weeks promises a whole lot of blood sweat and tears. We will be doing the floors, cabinets, doors, baseboards, painting and I am sure the million other things that will come up between now and finishing this project. I'm looking forward to finishing this up and at the same time I am dreading the work that must be done to finish it.

Thursday, October 29, 2015


The progress may be slow on the cabin, but meanwhile at home there is a lot going on...

The travertine tile we chose arrived. it was 5 crates and just enough room to get it into the garage and still be able to pull the mower in.

After we got the delivery we went right into destroying renovating the house. While some parts were fairly easy, just time consuming, like pulling up the carpet and the tack, Other parts were quite a bit more difficult.

After several days of back breaking work trying to lift the old tiles out with a hammer and a chisel we finally rented this machine. It was kind of a mini jack hammer and that make the work much easier. Not that holding up a 40 pound jack hammer and chipping away tile is easy, but it was better than the weeks that it would have taken us to do it by hand.

Unfortunately once we got the tile broken up we found a few things that we were not all! First and foremost the concrete was not poured evenly. For the most par this was fixed with varying the amount of mortar used under the tiles that were affected. In one instance we were left with a 'hollow' tile. That isn't pleasant sounding and may last a long time, but will be more susceptible to cracking and breakage in the future. Unfortunately at the double doors you can see in that picture there is a 6-8" gap that will have to have concrete poured in. Thank goodness for the easy DIY self-leveling stuff at Home Depot. We haven't done it yet but it's one of the next things on the list.

We have already laid the majority of the living/dining area (first picture w/couches) It's not complete yet, but getting there. It looking like another 2-3 weeks before it will be complete. Because the tile is being laid in a pattern I can't go tile the bathroom from the back forward and you can't tile from the front back because you are not supposed to walk on the tile. That means I have to do about 4 ft in and then one side leave it until the following time I can spend on it and then fill in around the toilet, bath, etc and only walk on the side that is set. There are a few areas like this otherwise we'd just work through it and finish this weekend.

I like the variability of the tile and when we are finished laying it all it will need to be grouted and sealed. The sealer will enhance the color. I imagine it will make it look more like the night time photo once complete. The grout lines are super fine as we abutted the tiles as much as possible but there are also small holes that will need to be filled. I think I'm dreading the grouting more than I did the demolition.

Needless to say the garden is still sitting on the back burner. I'd love to pay attention to it but there are not enough hours in the day. Of course right now even if I had more hours, I'm completely exhausted so I wouldn't be accomplishing much else anyway. The lemons and limes are coming in steady and nothing else is producing right now. I pulled up all the sweet potatoes. We had such a wet summer that most of them rotted. The ones I did pull up are already gone. I didn't let them cure this time, just ate them.

Tonight I go to a play my sons been working on N3RD and tomorrow the birthday fun begins for my twins. They will have the classroom cookies/cupcakes and a fun night of BINGO at school. Saturday will be spending dinner and the evening with the BFF and Sunday is church pick up pizzas & cake and then their party. 

Call me late for bed! It's only just after lunch and I'm pooped already. *sigh*

See you soon!


Tuesday, October 27, 2015

3 more weeks, and still slow

It's been another 3 weeks and things are still not moving along. The only thing that has really gotten done is the back porch, and the window framing for the picture windows near the roofline. But otherwise construction in general is just not being done. We were there for 3 days and saw the guys for a total of 2 hours. The 2 hours directly prior to dusk, and of course that ruined the one opportunity we had for archery season. Ah well. Rifle season will be open next time.

3 weeks ago...............................................................................................This weekend

So some tar paper is the only difference in the front.
But the back is showing a bit of progress finally! The porch is on, YIPPEE!! We have stairs now to access the house and no longer have to climb a ladder or scaffolding.

In addition to that, the ability to sit on the porch and dream is a God send. It's really easy to get lost in the day to day of the construction when you are waiting so that you can do your portion of the work. We were told it would be done by October and then one delay after the next and we are looking at being lucky if it's ready by the end of November for us to do our part. That stinks because it will put a major damper on hunting season. Then again it will only be one season, right? RIGHT!?!?!?!  Yes. This I am sure of. So there might be a few less pounds of meat in the freezer but the home being complete...will make it all worth it. :-)

We are traveling up every 2 weeks now because the final stages need so much input. How many sockets, where will they go? Where should we wire for this lighting or that lighting, what fixtures will we use, etc. It makes it feel exciting until the fixtures have been sitting for 3 weeks. Looks like they will still be there 3 weeks from now as well. So I'll update again soon. Hopefully the roof will be finished and the walls will be up at least mostly by then. *Crossing fingers*

See you soon!


Tuesday, October 6, 2015

Still progressing

The building has suddenly taken a turn for the slow. As in it's been on the back burner for a while.

The only thing that has managed to get done is the roof structure. Last time I posted pictures the frame was going in. Now 3 weeks later the tongue in groove is on, but so far the insulation plywood and roofing materials have not been finished. While the weather hasn't been helpful it also hasn't been the only reason things aren't getting done. I know that everyone who has ever built a home has some sort of horror story to tell and I consider myself lucky that so far at least what we have been dealing with is comparatively minor. But the contractor actually ran out of OlyLogs. Olylogs are the fasteners used to hold the logs together. Yes, the logs are jointed and there is a male side and a female side to make the fit perfect by itself, but these fasteners make the home just that much stronger.

Here is an illustration of the D logs that have the male and female joints. It's like putting together a giant jigsaw puzzle.

So needless to say not much got done without those fasteners. The building supply house couldn't get them in for 2 weeks and essentially it shut down all productivity.

Gripe over. things are beginning to move along again and here are the latest pictures.

Here is the view looking up from inside the cabin. The wood interior isn't going to be stained. We plan on simply sealing the wood. We absolutely LOVE the look of the wood just the way it is. The sealer should enhance the tone and knottyness.... Is that a word? I don't think it really is. LOL The floors and the exterior of the cabin will be stained and then sealed but we wanted to keep the interior as light and bright as we could. 

The parents are heading up this weekend and we are hopeful they will bring back good news with them. Meanwhile we will be going up in 3 weeks. I can't wait. It's time to take measurements in the old cabin to figure out what is going where, and also time to pick our light fixtures and other such necessities for the new place.

See you soon!


Monday, September 28, 2015

Harvest Monday 9.28.15

So many eggs I started experimenting with baking. Some things have flopped but other are a hit. My favorite but not the kids is a savory crust less quiche type dish. I made it in my cast iron skillet. It fluffed up like a soufflé and taste like a cross between soufflé and quiche. A keeper for sure.

This weeks harvest is actually much larger than it looks but it does consist of only these things. Lemons lines eggs and the very last beautiful yummy avocado.

Wednesday, September 16, 2015

Sept 16th

It's been 2 weeks and progress was slow recently. A bad pattern of raining during the week and not on the weekend led to a large amount of down time on the cabin.

However - they were able to get the structure walls framed and they have begun framing on the roof. If it stays dry they'll be able to seal the concrete this week and get the dirt back around it.

Another 10 days when we go back and things should be buttoned up. We'll see. We are already past the original due date and as I stated to begin with I thought it was a ridiculous timeline. I just want it all done by October 20th so we can start working on getting the flooring started and cabinets installed.

Things are looking good!

The view is from the back of the house.

The "T" structure is made out of 2x4's for an idea of the size of the beams. They look little from here, but they are actually quite large.