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.

Tuesday, September 1, 2015

3 more days.

I'll get to see it for myself in 3 more days. Meanwhile the builder took pity on us and sent some more pictures. Good thing. I was so anxious to see the color and texture of the planks. Now at lease I have an idea.

Of course now I've gone from wanting to see the planks to wanting to see the walls up. Can't please me, huh? hehe. Really though I'm just excited because this is the part of the build where every single day shows a drastic change. Once the walls are up and the roof is on the changes will happen slowly and there won't be much to look at. I mean, really - how exciting is it to see a plumbing doing our rough in? It's when the toilets and counters and tub goes int hat will make the difference. Same with the electrician. Wires? Big whoop - Light fixtures? COOL!

So since he let me see the last few days progress, I shall show you. Aren't you glad? ;-)
OOOhhh.... I can smell it from here. That fresh cut wood scent is intoxicating to me. It ranks right up there with the smell of leather and horses. Pure Bliss.

The dirt is still moved away from the cinder block/basement portion and I'm a little in the dark as to why. I thought they sealed it already, but I could be wrong. I'll find out on Friday night or Saturday morning I guess. 

Just look at those teeny tiny windows in the basement. It makes me nervous for just how dark it's going to be down there. That and the fact there are a DOZEN columns through the basement... Eh it's supposed to be a safe room and storage mainly. I must remember this. Trying to make it somewhat functional is going to be challenging.

See you soon!


Thursday, August 27, 2015

EEK! It's wood, isn't it!?

Haha. What you see is the delivery of the planks.


The builder must think I have a sense of humor here, because it’s just about killing me to see that wood he’s got under the tarps. Surely I won’t have to wait until  next weekend, right?


Oh- and check it out. The plywood and framing you see is our FLOOR… well the subfloor anyway. It’s also the ceiling of the basement. *Big cheesy grin*


I’m stoked they were able to deliver today instead of tomorrow, but really? Is it too much to ask to actually get a picture of the actual wood?




This month has been a heck of a whirlwind. It started with me coming home to find this little sweetheart of a pup stealing the show at home. He's a doll, but has some serious issues with mouthing and nipping at us. All puppies do and I know it's just a phase, but it is a painful one. He's learning and growing and I'm glad he's part of our family. So far he's more than doubled in size and I think the ears may have even tripled in size. ;-)

We also had a weekend trip to Alabama to see the progress on the basement. That went well. It was the pups first road trip, of many more to come I am sure. This is how we found out that he doesn't actually NEED to go to the bathroom every 10 minutes, he just wants to. We only had to stop 3 times so roughly every 2 hours. We also introduced him to the ATV, UTV and tractor. He may make a farm dog yet.

Mid month was a massive rush of getting ready for the first day of school. Hundreds of dollars worth of school supplies and clothes and shoes. I'm still feeling quite poor because of it. It also meant meeting this teacher, that teacher and oh- the AP courses have their own orientation. BUSY BUSY time.

But now the kids are back to school and things are settling back into the pattern of getting the kids up at 7, dressed by 7:30 downstairs by 8 - eating breakfast, walking the dog and catching the bus. Typically during the first few weeks of back to school we also manage to get in a swim or some gymnastics after dinner and before it gets dark. That will only continue until the time change, but for now I am taking full advantage.

This weeks project was to reinstall a barricade to help hide our pool pump... When we painted the house over the summer the original lattice was pulled down and even though we intended to save it to reinstall, the painters chucked it into their trash. So when a home that went into foreclosure finally sold down the road we spied a white vinyl picket the new owners were replacing with privacy fence. We stopped by to talk to them and they let us know that one of the workers wanted to take it. Oh well. They did say though that if the fence was still there the next day we could pick it up. Well - low and behold the next day it was still in the driveway.  Since i had already gotten permission from the owner I stopped and filled up my truck with all that it would hold. Purloined with permission. :-D Oh I was happy. Did I mention it was the day before our Alabama trip? No - well that did make things a bit difficult and we worked well into the night to get the truck unloaded and the fencing stacked into the back yard.

Guess who helped dig? (Can you see the dirt on his nose?)

The kiwi plants were already beginning to topple over without the support even though I had cut them back to the ground when I had to remove the lattice.

GROSS. This fence was just disgusting. I  don't know what in the world they did to it, but yuck!

So I put in the posts, checked to make sure they were level, installed the bottom board....and quickly realized this is nothing at all like dealing with a wooden fence. Ho, Hum. I did manage to finagle it in, but I had to had cut a few of the pickets in order to get the top rail on. It works, and you can't see the cuts now that it's all together but the second panel went in SO much smoother once I figured out NOT to install the posts first. LOL
Eh- as these things go it went pretty well. A little time consuming until I knew better what to do. but all in all I would call it a success. 
The kiwi are much happier and I am too because now I don't have to look at this!

It's definitely been an eye sore for the last few weeks but the kiwi will take over the fence before winter and then I won't have to worry about it any more. I'm also hoping that the fresh start for the kiwi will help it to produce some flowers next year because if it doesn't at least attempt to produce fruit soon it will be replaced.

I still have a few small things to do to wrap this project up. A sprinkler head needs moved, and the brick to protect he base of the vines needs redone. But for the most part it is done. I've washed the fence once (See last pic isn't as bad? But it needs at least one more attempt. It's still fairly grungy. I can't even tell you how bad it was.

So this project got put ahead of the wall for the blueberry planter and the wall for the main garden but those are still on the radar. We've just dealt with a ton of rain recently and when we've been able to dedicate any time to it we haven't been able to due to the standing water. This I knew wouldn't take as long and was quite a bit easier to do by myself. Thank goodness because it's starting to seem like the projects are piling up faster than we can do them.

See you soon!


Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Egg basket

Sent from my iPhoneLooks like the ducks got jealous that I was talking about the chickens. Now we have yet another new color to add to the egg basket. :-D

Monday, August 24, 2015

Harvest Monday 8.24.15

Avocados are still the main harvest. However they will only be the focus for another week or two. All of the fruit I can reach is nearly gone. I may have another 10-12 out there and that's it. They've been great this year but I am still unsure if freezing smashed avocado will work and if it does how handy it will be.

Also this week I have harvested the last pomegranate. The tree is dead and I am not sure if I will replace it because I don't know what killed it. Boo!!!

Waiting on the bananas now. This is the first year I will get a small harvest

Also the new chicks are officially hens. They are all laying now. I've got a beautiful nest to pick up each day.

Things are moving quick around here and while some projects (Like the new garden) are on hold for a while, others are getting started and some are even getting finished. So I'll be posting a bit the next few days. Then again, I always say that and i have the best intentions, but when I want to post I never seem to be able to.

See you soon!


Friday, August 21, 2015

Still building!

Of course we are. It doesn't happen over night. It does however seem to be going very fast. We had a slight bump in the road when the rains came and a small tornado took out the local Walmart. Since then it's dried back up and the masons have completed their work. We were able to capture the basement walls about 2-3 days before completion.

The walls are now complete and the floor joists are set. The floor boards are being installed now and over the weekend the staircase should be placed and framed in.

Our exterior wall boards are due for delivery on either Wednesday or Thursday depending on weather and when we return in 2 weeks we will be able to see the walls partially finished and hopefully the roof started.

Best news of all? So far my little (OK not little) apple tree has survived! Just look at my little sweetie there standing tall near the corner of the foundation! :-) It still has to make it past the installation of the boards and the grading. That's the dangerous part. If the grading is too high it will suffocate the bark and it will get infected. The smaller tree that was transplanted went into shock (completely expected) but seems to be holding it's own. The unpredictable rains did help in that matter. I'll still need to find another fairly large apple to adorn the opposite side of the house for symmetry, of course. ;-) and good taste.

 The walls are 9' high. I had forgotten we requested the taller basement and by the looks of things the home will be MASSIVE> Now I'm glad we kept it to under 1200 ft. I can't imagine it being any taller or bigger and we still don't have the cabin walls up!

At the back of the house the basement walls will be approximately 18" above ground to allow for a small window for light. At the front of the house the basement walls will extend roughly 3'. We will one day come back to put a rock facade over the block but for now we'll seal it and paint it complimentary coloring to the stain...

Oh the stain. *GULP* That is what is scaring me right now. What a big decision. It's not like paint where you live with it for a year or two and simply repaint it to a color you like better. Stain is for better or worse. Once it's sealed it's pretty well done for 5-10 years.

So while I'm debating on putting the colors into a hat and drawing one, I'm also dealing with the back to school rush. The kids met their respective teachers this week and while my twins will have separate classrooms it seems like they each like their teachers. That's one relief. Next step - getting them to the bus stop Monday morning. LOL.

See you soon!


Friday, August 7, 2015

Basement update

The footers were poured this week, and now the block mason is out squaring the corners so that his crew can move in and finish the walls. It's all so exciting.

This was the picture we were sent last week.The footers are completely dug and the vapor barrier is down. The rebar is laid in the footer panels and all was ready for the concrete truck. He was scheduled out for Thursday.

We went up last weekend and saw the first half of the pad with the footers in place. It was so hot that the concrete cured before they could finish it. Now a portion of it is rough and will have to be ground down to get a decently smooth surface. That's important to us because we plan to paint the floors with an epoxy and just use a few throw rugs rather than finishing the floors. Unfortunately due to the way the first portion of the slab set up they put the second half on hold until Monday so they could try to get a better finish on the rest.

So we only saw half the basement floor finished. 
Here hubby inspects the work and shows little B what is going on. Seriously, I know more about building than he does so this is somewhat comical. Note the 6' ladder in the rear right corner. It shows the true depth of that pit. It's hard to believe that it is that deep until you get inside and look up. 

The next picture shows how the rebar is run under the pad to strengthen it and through a block inside the footer pad for stability.

By the time we left on Sunday they had the rebar uprights ready for the masons arrival.

From the ground level it just doesn't seem that impressive.

But look over the edge and suddenly you realize it. These are the pictures I took last weekend. This weekend the walls for the basement should be up and if all goes well they will be sealed and the floor joists for the cabin will be started. Fingers crossed we stay on schedule because I only have 1  3 day weekend after the construction is scheduled to be finished to get in the cabinets and plumbing. Once that is done we can take our time getting the flooring done and other chores. It just needs a basic bathroom and electric so we can 'camp' there until we get everything ready for move in.

We will be heading up again in a couple weeks and then things will get REALLY exciting. That is the time they are scheduled to start the LOGS, EEEP!

See you soon!


Monday, August 3, 2015


Sent from my iPhoneAck! I completely forgot it is Monday. Harvest report time! This week brought the first of the muscadine a and a table completely covered in avocado. Not bad.

Thursday, July 30, 2015

The footer!

Things are heating up in Alabama. I mean literally. It's a feels like temp of 115 most days, and i'm sure down in the pit it feels worse without any air flow. Then again the dirt itself should be somewhat cooling. All I know is that it makes me happy that I'm not the one in the hole digging and scraping and prepping the footer. It looks great. Yesterday they laid the rebar (Sorry no pics of this) and today the concrete trucks are scheduled in to pour 16" of concrete that will become our basement floor, the footer and the pads for the foundation columns that will support the floor of the house.

You can see the general layout in the picture to the left. The bedroom/bathroom of the master is the closest to you, then the area that will become the living room/kitchen/dining room and finally the third section that will be  the mudroom and bathroom.

The picture to the right shows how at the front of the house the area that is the living will extend beyond the bedrooms creating a nice area for the windows that will be the focal point of the front of the house.

Today the trailer is gone out of the pit and all the tools have been picked up. The only thing that remains is the form for the concrete. Well, that and some rebar to reinforce the concrete in the footer paths.
Meanwhile, summer vacation is more than half way over. I've kept my promise and the girls are finally learning to sew using my machine. It makes me nervous, but proud. So far we are keeping it to simple zig-zag stitches in a straight line, but today I hear rumors that they will be making the new pup a toy. THAT should be interesting. He's a really strong chewer so it's likely that the toy won't make it more than 10 minutes, but here's hoping!

Awww, just look at my little homemaker there. Now, if I can just teach her to clena up after herself and do MY laundry we'll have something going! She has also been helping to cook here and there by stirring the ground meat as it cooks, getting pots of water when I need them and measuring things. Had either of them been born as a singleton this would have taken place a long time ago but with 2 in the kitchen at the same time and only 1 me to supervise I decided that waiting to nurture that particular skill would benefit all of us with less accidents and Momma not getting as grumpy when things do go wrong. So far it seems my instinct was right on with that because even last year if there was a big mess in the kitchen I would have been much more vocal and anxious about it. Now they are big enough that they can clean up 90% of their messes and they are much better at taking turns doing the small tasks I assign them.

*SIGH* Growing up too fast! Now- can we get the pup to grow up faster? The mouthing and nipping and chewing on us is making life more than interesting. He did make it through the night again last night without an accident so there is that! Itty bitty baby (puppy?) steps.

See you soon!


Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Surprise. It's a BOY!

I made a quick trip up to Jacksonville and into Georgia this weekend. While I was there I got to spend some quality time with part of my family I don't see too often. I took Troy up to see his grandparents. I'm really glad that they get along well and that Troy enjoys spending time there.

Teaching the art of the selfie to ones parents is a bit daunting. Luckily I had my phone and didn't have to worry about it too much. As you see below Troy has that mastered. ;-)

 So, we hung out on the water for the day.
 Saw loads of widelife including porpoises, a bald eagle and a plethora of other water birds. THe water was beautiful, if a bit chilly for this gal. The weather was absolutely perfect, and the day was wonderful.

But, I found a way to beat it.

The night was absolutely perfect. The skies were clear, it was 80*, the water was calm and the food was absolutely fantastic.

The ferry coming and going was pretty cool, too.

So we also hit a few shelters looking for dogs while I was up there. I checked 2 counties in Georgia and 2 here in Florida. Not to mention that the 3 applications for pups at the shelters I put in around town the last couple weeks. I also contacted 2 cocker spaniel rescues and have yet (14 days later) to hear anything from them. I finally decided that I was going to chalk it up to wrong place, wrong time and try again in a few weeks when things settled down a bit and I would be able to just watch the rescue sites and see what came up from there. 

Well, apparently other people (my husband!) have other plans. I walked in the door the next day to find this:

Aww, he is just a little baby, and he's cute as can be. But, I'm willing to pay this pup off in shoes to chew if he'll just quit biting US. HA! Yeah- just remind me that I said that because you know that inevitably he will get ahold of my shoes. Then I'll be crying about that.

He really is learning quick and he's a pretty good pup. He woke us up at 5 am the first day and 4 am the second, but this morning it was ME who woke him up. Not only did he not whine or cry over night - he also didn't have any accidents! Potty training may still be a ways off to completion, but it seems that he wants to try at least. I know plenty of people that have pups that just don't care.

So, yesterday we took him up to the local shop and got him a few bones, a couple soft toys and this

His very own tag. He's microchipped, too so that's good. In case he ever manages to get away from us without his collar any shelter that picks him up or vet that treats him would be able to scan his microchip and get my information. What a great insurance policy.

Best news yet? Rich and I have finally settled on a tile for the downstairs. We'll be pulling up all the carpet in a few weeks well, really over the next several months and even replacing the tile in the kitchen. It will be nice that it should coincide with less puppy pee accidents and the floor will be fresh and clean. I'll only have to deal with all the sand and grass brought in by those massive paws.

Speaking of - he's supposed to be 'only 20 pounds' but the paws on this boy are really phenomenal. When he walks he has to flop them out in front of him so he doesn't trip over his own feet. As it is he'll trip over his ears when he's sniffing around. He also falls over every time he scratches. It's rather like watching a cartoon. A cute, floppy, sharp toothed cartoon.

When do they stop teething and biting on you? I'll let you know when I find out. I'm hoping it will at least be curbed in the next few weeks. I'm sure you'll be seeing a lot more of this cutie around here.

See you soon!