Here is "TLA" taking aim with her new toy. Nope never thought I would be buying firearms for "The Lovely Angelia". But since she will be alone on the homestead when I am off at work and a mondo sized guard dog isnt scheduled until later we need to address security. Both of us want to ramp up her skills with a weapon.So a great starter gun for practice and varmint control is a 22. Thing is she loves shooting it.Took her a little while to master the scope but after that she did quite well. Groundhogs planning to pilfer our gardens should beware.
But Dicks isnt the only new shopping destination for this years holiday giving. Never figured the majority of my shopping list would come from Tractor Supply . But alas thats where I was when I bought 2 pairs of boots (1 didnt fit) and some hot pink insulated overalls (didnt fit either). Look I tried but they dont size stuff like they do at the Mall clothing store.There will be a learning curve here.
I guess the point is when you plunge headlong into a fundamental lifestyle change there is a ripple effect that you might not see coming.
Milestones: Officially our new land is classified as farmland. But there is no barn and the only suggestion that there ever were any crops are a couple of forlorn abandoned tomato cages.So when I fired up the new Yard Man rear tine rototiller (obtained via Craigs list) and broke ground on the first new gardens it was a first step towards tapping the growing potential here. "TLA" wants to be able to walk out her front door and step off the porch into a massive herb garden. So before Christmas I hacked up what most people would consider their front lawn for two herb gardens that have more square footage than all of the gardens we have whittled out here at our "Knox Box". It is rather ironic how I have come full circle on lawns.When we moved into our current home in 06 I really didnt care about growing anything. My transition to a vegetable gardener is chronicled in earlier posts. But the first warning signs that was coming should have been how I suddenly became obsessed with our front lawn after year one. You see here in our little sub we have these "neighbors" (stricly determined by proximity not attitude) who go to great lengths to make sure their ill mannered dog doesnt go to the bathroom on their own lawn.I mean why do that when all those acres of green neighbors lawns call out to you.Yes they think its just peachy to take "Cujo" up and down the street to let him relieve himself on other peoples lawns. Now there are a couple of problems with that. You see it isnt just one pee per day. "Cujo" wants to mark. That is to piss on every lawn to let other dogs know he has been there,That causes every male other dog (including our poodles) to try to mark on his mark. When you combine this with the fact that "Cujos" urine seems to be as toxic as dehydrated hung over frat boy pee the net result is brown spots that refuse to regrow. I mean "agent orange" in VietNam was a waste. If you want to defoliate anything just chopper this pissing machine over the jungle and there would be nowhere to hide. And other than having to deal with this moronic mutt there would have been no lasting after effects for the VA to deal with.
So suddenly I was faced with these nasty brownouts in the grass.Patch fixes didnt seem to work so I tore the whole thing out (including cratering and refilling the major brown urinal spots) and started over. Somebody wiser than me should have pointed out to my stubborn self that after all that work,money,seed,fertilizer and water I couldnt eat what I grew.In fact all I had done was remodel the "canine bathroom" (no they didnt take the hint). Today I couldnt give a rats butt about lawns. Any cleared area in our new place needs to do one of the following:
1. Feed us
2. Feed the animals
3. House infrastructure such as septic,well,roads or wood storage.
Lawns or any form of decorative grasses are an endangered species at our new homestead. And I will be quite proud of myself if when we are leaving this neighborhood for the last time I resist the urge to relieve MYSELF on "Cujos" owners lawn :) In any case we now are well on the way to at least 5 different garden plots planned for year one at the homestead.
Preparing the shelter: "TLA" and I love to read about those pioneering homestead types like Jackie Clay who writes for Backwoods Home Magazine.Her story titled "Starting Over" is an amazing tale of fortitude in starting a homestead in winter using a mouse infested camper trailer and an ice fishing shanty for her family's primary shelter.No really I am not exagerating this. You need to check out this book the next time you get the urge to start whining that one of your hot tub jets is broken. Well in the US its very popular to make sure your misery and challenges are considered more daunting than the next guys. Only we could invent a "feels like" index for the weatherman (Its 72 outside but it "FEELS LIKE" 105) so we can all be assured that we are justified in whining about our present conditions. Dont worry we wont paint that picture here.Jackie would be appalled but we have HIRED people to do most of the work. Time constraints and my total lack of most fundemental building skills make that essential. Know your limitations. That being said we have taken on certain tasks even I can (with help) contribute to. This weekend it was stripping the wallpaper
Here is "TLA" tearing into the master bedroom decor. Wallpaper...especially cheap vinalyzed wallpaper was somebodys cruel act of revenge.Whoever invented this stuff had a grudge that was satisfied royally. I actually asked everybody I could find and searched the Internet for the magic pill to make this stuff peal in large junks. This Satudrday we started and I came armed with:
1. Diff a commercial wallpaper remover I got at Home Depot
2. A mixture of vinegar and water suggested in hushed tones by the checkout girl at Home Depot when she saw I was buying Diff. That should have been my first clue to put the Diff back.
3. A mixture of cheap Wall Mart Fabric softener and water suggested by my Double Wide remodeler.
The verdict.Nothing makes this crap come off in huge seamless panels.This stuff hangs on longer than Al Gore. In the final analysis Diff was a waste of time. The fabric softener mix did the best job on the primary application (after scoring the paper with the $6 wheel the Diff bottle suggested) and the Vinegar mixture did a good job on the glue layer left behind without the "slime factor" of the fabric softener. All in all the fabric softner smells way better than the vinegar so if you go with only one it would be my choice.
Saturday we got most of the master bedroom. Sunday we went after the dining room.Thankfully these are the only walpapered rooms in the double wide. Sunday I had to go and get the title to another single wide trailer on the property (more on that in another post).So "TLA" was left holding the bag for a while.Luckily my inlaws and niece showed up while I was off the job site and jumped right in (this is one reason I love them) to help. It really had an Amish barn raising feel to it in a damp paper with a vinegar and lavender smell kind of way.
Above you can see the whole gang pitching inSorry Jackie..I admit it I am a total lightweight
Meanwhile we are making progress on other fronts...Our remodeler has torn out the carpets,most of the kitchen cabinets, and located a busted pipe while trying to restore water.He has also pulled out the two old toilets that ,while structuraly sound ,were covered with a crud we decided not to do battle with. This means we are toasty warm working inside and with one toilet set it only takes a half bucket of water to have a flush available (this is BIG with "TLA"). We have a new wider front door with a deadbolt we have the key to. The old window air unit has been trashed.Two broken windows have been repaired.The HVAC guy came by and a new thermostat and a relay later we had heat and air eliminating a huge potential replacement item from the budget. There is a rumor we might be painting by this weekend!!!!
Well thats all for now..there is a lot more to tell...But that is for another post...
The Bald Man