Wednesday, April 26, 2006


We have been watching with intrest and amusement a family of wild turkeys in the hayfield. There are five hens, a jake and a grand old man. We first saw them after we had the dogs inside all day because of the rain. As the hayfield gets higher, they get closer. The shorter grass near our house must make finding bugs easier. Yesterday they were just on the other side of the fence that surrounds our yard. They scatter and retreat for the woods with any sign of noise or movement from our yard, but seem curiously ambivilant to cars going by on the road.
There are precious few places where you could so easily observe wildthings just living their lives. I consider it just one of the blessings our gulch has bestowed upon us.
Last winter it was not unusual to look out first thing in the morning and see deer in that same hayfield, some came as close as the creek that runs behind our house.

Small things perhaps, but huge pleasures for us.

Friday, April 21, 2006

Before and After

This is a view of the dining area, before.
Can it get much darker? Note the sun is shining outside.

This is the working area, before.

Dining area, after.

Working area, after.
Jeff2 added under cabinet lighting!

April Showers

may bring May flowers, but it turns the garden plot to mud.
It rained off and on all day yesterday, so much for getting out and mowing the yard. It is supposed to rain again today. One of the good things though is that it adds water to the cistern, since this is our water supply, it is a very good thing. And our world is getting greener every day. The view just keeps getting better.
I spent part of the day yesterday watching wild turkeys in the hayfield. Since the dogs were in the house most of the day the turkeys ventured very close. They are entertaining to watch, and it is turkey season here, but all I saw were hens and it is not legal to take them in the spring.
It appears that the grass is growing by inches everyday, so when I am able to get out and mow I may need a haybaler............but at least we don't have to worry about drought conditions.
I guess that I will have to find some more indoor projects to keep myself busy and I am in the mood to bake. Unfortunately with just the two of us here, it is very easy to go into overload of freshly baked goods. Anyone want some fresh bread?

Thursday, April 20, 2006

A day at the gulch

Yesterday started with a fantastic thunderstorm. In the pre dawn with the sky just begining to lighten it was easy to see the black clouds rolling in. The flashes of lightning were piercingly brilliant and the thunder crashed and reverbrated back and forth between the hills that guard this valley. There was also some wind to go with the rain. What a show to go with my morning coffee!
The storm moved on as quickly as it blew in and before noon the sky was clear, the temperature rising into the upper 70's and we had a lovely breeze.
Unfortunately due to the morning rain, the garden didn't get turned, but we needed the rain so it was all good. We are just about ready to get the garden planted. Jeff2 has done a great job with getting it ready and I am looking forward to getting the seeds in the ground.

We also replaced the storm door on the front of the house with a screen door. It was lovely to have the breeze come in through it. It will be nice when the summer heat is here to have that large opening for the air to move through.

After we had finished installing the screen door the old timer that stops and chats with us stopped by. He always has intresting stories and infomation to pass along, and it is enjoyable to chat with him. He had had a tough Sunday. His four wheeel drive truck had quit on him, his horses had gotten out of their pasture and his dog had died. He spoke fondly of his old friend and had added that would not get another dog. He left with an invitation for us to stop by and see him. I don't think I even know this mans name, I am sure that he introduced himself to Jeff2, so I will have to ask him.

The grass has grown amazingly quickly, especially after yesterdays rain, so I will be out mowing later this morning. And so another day begins.

Sunday, April 16, 2006

Choices and Consequences

The young man lay dying. He knew this to be a fact, he knew he was mortally wounded.
An older man approached him, this surprised him as everyone he knew was either dead or dying, and this man was in perfect health.
"Who are you?" the young man asked.
"I am you." the older man answered simply.
"How can that be, I am dying......I won't live to be old."
The older man settled down beside the younger man, and made himself comfortable before replying.
"Because in a different life you made a different choice."
"You're crazy" the younger man replied "How can that be, I am right here, and I know that I am done for."
"See, what you don't understand is that you have had this choice before, and you chose differently." The older man appeared to be lost in remembering.
Then a great saddness came over him, an almost visible weight that made him appear even older.........
"Because in my lifetime, you chose to live. You decided that being alive was more important than being true to yourself. You decided that it was better to believe whatever you were told, instead of thinking for yourself." the old man replied.
"I don't believe you." the younger man answered "I wouldn't do that."
"You decided," the older man continued as if he hadn't heard, "that no matter what you had to do, you would live."
The older man was quiet for a moment and tears came into his eyes.
"You betrayed your friends, your morals and even your family. You turned a blind eye to what was really happening, as long as you could live. You watched as the world turned upside down, caring more for yourself than for anyone else. Your fear of being different, of being noticed, of what "they" could do to you was more important than finding out the truth. It was more important than acting on what you knew was right. It was more important than protecting your friends and your family. It was more important than taking responsibility for yourself. Of standing for something. "
The old man stopped for a moment. Wracked by sobs, he was having trouble speaking.
Finally he began again, "So you lived a long time. But you lived without your friends and your family. You were totally alone, but you were alive. It took a long time for you to realise that there is so much more to really living than just drawing breath. All of your life it was others who told you what to do, where to go and how to live. Finally, finally you realized that what you had bought when you sold out was existance, not life. As a result you became a slave, a certified numbered, poked and prodded piece of chattel."
The old man shifted his position, wiped his eyes and cleared his throat.
"Then you began to remember and to think. You remembered your family and your friends. You finally felt regret. You finally remembered that standing up is better than being led. That being alive doesn't mean a damn thing if you sell out. "
The old man shifted his position again so he could look the younger man in the eye.
"You finally remembered that you had a choice, that your life didn't have to be an empty and meaningless series of days and routines. So you went back to that moment when you made that choice to sell out, to save yourself. You and your friends decided that to sacrifice yourselves to save your families was the only moral and meaningful decision. So, here I am............ here I am again, but with a different choice. In my lifetime all this was swept under the carpet, because I sold everyone out, and no one knew what happened here."
The old man shook his head and pointed, "Look around you; you and your friends gave your lives to save others, to save your families. This time this will not go unnoticed, things will begin to change, because with your sacrifice you gave people hope. They will see that change is possible, and necessary. Oh, not all of them, but enough."
"So what are you going to do?" the younger man asked.
Quietly the older man answered, " Do what I should have done instead of being a selfish coward. I will die here with you."

More Springtime stuff

I spent most of yesterday mowing and doing laundry.
The yard is filling in so well, and we have wonderful patches of low growing violets covering the yard. We were going to put out some weednfeed, but I can't bring myself to probably kill off those beautiful little flowers. Fortunately they are low enough that they don't get cut off with the mower. We have dandelions as well, but they are bright and colorful, so we will just live with them. Unless they decide to take over........
The yard looks so pretty after it is freshly cut. That deep green accented by the wonderful purple of the violets is truly one of natures works of art.
I mowed both inside and outside the fence that surrounds the yard, then Jeff2 used the tractor and bush hog to mow the pasture. Ahh, the scent of freshly mowed grass in the sunshine. The leaves on the trees are getting bigger every day, and even the walnut trees are begining to wear a veil of new leaves. Walnut trees are usually among the last trees to leaf out in the spring.
We had, once again, a marvelous breeze and it really helped to dry all the laundry on the clothesline. I am probably certifiable, but I love to hang out the laundry and see it flopping in the breeze. And the clothes smell so wonderful dried this way. It is a fragrance that just can't be put in a bottle.
When we were planning on the move here, I knew that I would enjoy it. I never dreamed how much I would fall in love with a house and the land surrounding it. Even all the blood, sweat and tears we have put into it so far pale in comparison to the love I have for this place. It makes all the work of fixing, painting and the like so very worthwhile. It is incredibly easy to lose track of time and dates, those things just don't hold the significance that they used to. We eat when we are hungry, go to bed when we are tired and get up when we are rested. Right now we are just lovin' life.

Saturday, April 15, 2006

Warmer Weather

I think that spring has truly found us. Our world is turning green and the thermometer hit 84 yesterday. There was a wonderful breeze that streamed in through the windows and kept the house comfortable.
The garden is almost ready for planting, and I am looking forward to getting the seeds in the ground. In my minds eye I can see it all growing...........

We had a nice visit with Jeff2's dad and stepmom. They really liked our little gulch. It was nice to see them and visit with family.

As I sit here in the pre dawn, I can see the beginnings of the daylight steal across the sky and hear the signing of the birds. It goes well with with my morning coffee, and is a nice way to begin a new day.

Sunday, April 09, 2006

Day off

We spent yesterday at the Knob Creek machinegun shoot. It was a wonderful experience, even though the day started off overcast, cool and very damp.
We arrived around 10 am and there were already lots of people there, we tramped through the mud to the range and one of the first things that I experienced was the distant sound of gunfire. As we got closer the smell of spent gunpowder was thick in the air. What an exciting aroma......
In between the shooting exhibitions we wander aroung the myriad of stalls selling everything from guns, ammo, holsters and the like to clothing.
Even though it was crowded, there was no pushing or shoving, if someone did happen to push against you there was inevidably a "pardon me" or "excuse me". I am definately not one for crowds, but I didn't mind this at all. For the most part people were friendly and polite.

I think one of the best things I experienced was when they were firing the Howitzer. You could not only hear it, you could feel the concussion. There were many targets for the shooters, everything from buckets, to cars, boats, large kitchen appliances and an old semi-trailer. It was fun to watch them all slowly dissapear from being hit with different caliber rounds and flame throwers. The trailer caught fire from being hit with tracers and lent a smoky atmosphere to the rest of the targets.

The sun came out around noon and really helped to take the chill off. It was shortly after we had lunch that we were able to get closer to the fence that seperates the shooters from the audience. So we had an excellent view of this round of shooting. We were also a lot closer to where the Howitzer was. It was so very cool to watch it being loaded and fired!

All in all a very good day. This is an event that I look forward to attending again.

Saturday, April 08, 2006

Kitchen Floor

We got the new floor tiles installed yesterday. It really looks great. We still need to do the baseboard, but that is a minor thing next to the flooring. The kitchen is almost complete! With such minor things left to do to it, I am proud to say that it looks wonderful. When it is completely done, we will post before and after pictures.

We also had some rockin' thunderstorms yesterday. While taking a break, we watched as quarter sized hail fell amid the flashes of lightning and claps of thunder. It was a wild weather afternoon, and we got some more thunderstorms later in the evening. It is supposed to be much cooler today, then start warming up again. The trees are all beginning to leaf out, and I am anxiously awaiting how our valley looks with everything green.

We are taking the day off today, then we will be back to doing more stuff. Jeff2 is going to be building the shelves in our "media room" to house our movie collection. I am looking forward to having that done and getting rid of some more boxes. Hopefully we will have that done before his dad and step mom are here sometime next week. They will be our second visitors since we bought the gulch.

Have a good week end!

Thursday, April 06, 2006

General Things

We have been working on some general stuff here lately.
Jeff2 has been working the soil almost daily in the garden plot. There was lots of grass and weeds to be dealt with since the land has sat idle for over a decade. It is really looking good now. Hopefully after this latest cool spell we will be able to start getting seed in the ground. I am looking forward to seeing vegetable plants springing up. We are planning to do planting of some things in stages, so that not all of one crop is ready to harvest all at once. It will make the process of picking, canning and freezing a little easier not having to deal the total volume all at once.

The yard is really begining to look a whole lot nicer as well. Many years of semi-neglect had left it in need. Over grown bushes by the house have been trimmed, the one hugely over grown monstrosity taken out, strange looking things growing in front of windows cut down and a general clean up have made such a difference.
The grass is filling in nicely, and has already become to difficult to mow with the people powered lawn mower. So I had to admit defeat and get a gas powered lawn mower. That was a blow to my ego since I didn't want to have to depend on having gas to be able to mow the yard. I am still aching from the side I did do with push mower. I spend more time on that small section with the push mower than I did on the whole thing with the gas mower. It did n't help that I had to go over what I had already cut with the push mower because the cut was so uneven. But I got over my angst when I saw the finished product. It looks great.

I was going to go out this morning and do some more mowing outside the fence around the yard, but Jeff2 just looked at the radar and the rain that was expected this afternoon is already moving in, so that will have to wait until later.
I guess that I will have to find some inside things to do today, not that there is any lack of those things to do either. I have touch up painting to do, both in the kitchen and in the hallway. It has been a little while so the "sick of painting" syndrome has eased quite a bit, and I do want to see the touch ups done.

Sunday, April 02, 2006

Local Flea Market

We had heard on our local radio station that one of the flea markets was due to open for the season this last Saturday. I love flea markets with the endless variety of goods, everything from junk to fresh local produce. So it was with much anticipation that we went. We were not dissapointed.
Saturday was a beautiful day with lots of sunshine, warm temperatures and a slight breeze. The flea market is held at the local drive in movie theater. ( The theater is due to open on the 14th )
Some enterprising souls had been busy in their greenhouses and there were fresh tomatoes and the like in one of the stalls. Then we came across a couple selling fresh, free range eggs. Just an unassuming little stall with nothing but cartons of eggs for sale. Curious, I asked how much they were selling the eggs for, and was surprised when they replied, $1.00 a dozen. I bought two.
We moved on looking at all the other stuff. Jeff2 found an older brace, which the stallholder sold to him for the price of $3.00.
A little further along the way we ran across another stall that had quite a variety of general stuff. I spied a canister set that was made to look like old milk cans. They are ceramic and generously sized. The price sticker said $6.00. As I picked one up to have a closer look the stall holder came up and said if I wanted them she would let them go for $5.00. Sold. Upon further inspection they were made by a local craftsman with their initials carved in the bottom. They are things of beauty. We will definately be going back there again, and often.

This morning I had some of those fresh eggs for breakfast. It was with much anticipation that I heated a pan over medium heat and then melted some butter in it. The eggs themselves were glorious, large brown objects of beauty. I cracked the first one open and was rewarded with a thing of true culinary joy. True to it being fresh it did not spread in the pan, and the yolk was a wonderful golden color. The other egg proved to be just as much a work of art. Carefully I seasoned them with kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper. I flipped them over, ever so gently, not being a fan of sunny side up. I had forgotten just how much flavor there is in fresh eggs. The palate does truly remember. I had not had fresh eggs since I left home lo those many eons ago.
For years I was not a fan of eggs, and if I ate them they were camoflaged in as many other flavors as I could come up with. These were fantastic with just the compliment of salt, pepper and butter. After the first incredible bite, I didn't just eat them, I savored them. Slowly. The only other thing I ate with them was some whole wheat toast with butter.
It was one of the best breakfasts that I have had in a very long time. I will be buying my eggs from now on from these people. At least until I have chickens of my own.