Monday, April 27, 2015

reflections down memory lane

It's been a long time since I've blogged.  Mr. Blue is fine, he's growing and is a handful! But he's a sweetie.  I say he's a smart dog.  Kevin says he's not very smart but what does he know!

I'm kind of in a reflective mood today...on Saturday, My Mom, myself, and my Aunt Sandy (Mom's sister) went on a trip down memory lane.  More their memories than mine, but it was fun.  I drove them down to their Grandparent's homestead.  It's on the Oklahoma border, on the Oklahoma side.  It's now owned by someone outside of the family, but they were kind enough to let us go and explore.  My Great Grandfather settled the place in 1912ish.  (I add the ish because I'm not sure of the exact year they bought the place.  And I think all 12 of their children were born there...probably 10 of the 12 were now that I think about it...)  But I still think they moved there in '12 because my Great Aunt Leatha wanted to hang on to the place so she could be a century landowner.  She was the last person in the family to own the place.  I just wish she'd put some money into it and had taken better care of it...but that's another story for another day.

Mom spent quite a bit of time at her Grandad's place.  The youngest Aunts were 7-10 years older than Mom, and she had 5 older cousins who were there often to play with.  Of course, by the time Sandy came along (10 years after Mom), there were more cousins for her to play with (all boys).  So really, both girls have lots and lots of memories.  I have a few...a very few.  By the time I came along (I'm 10 years younger than Sandy is,) the family had spread out and didn't come home for holidays.  Grandad lived there still with Aunt Florence and she was raising 2 of her grandchildren by then.  Mike and Oleta were my age, so I remember going down and playing with them a bit.  So my memories are very limited compared to Mom's and Sandy's.  But, we walked through the house and they remembered where Grandad's chair sat, where the piano sat, how little the house was for 14 people!  Grandad had built a small "house" right outside the kitchen for the boys to sleep in.  It's called "The Boys house."  It was built on top of the cellar.  But they also had a basement under two rooms of the house.  I know when Grandpa was a boy, all the kids slept some in the basement, until they built the Boys house.  Then the girls got two bedrooms inside the house.  Grandad and Grandma slept in a screened in, unheated porch.  My Grandma said when she first started going there, they still had a dirt floor in their bedroom... (this would have been 1939-1940.)

The doorway to the cellar is starting to fall in now.  In fact, we were careful about going down due to the falling in brick and because of the 6' snake who wanted to stay outside sunning, but kept going into either the brick or down into the cellar because we scared him.  (hey, he made us nervous too!)

We also walked back to the garden areas.  Grandad had built 4 or more dams that he used to irrigate his garden and orchard.  I'm guessing 10 acres of garden and orchard.  Both Mom and Sandy remembered the gardens and the fruit trees.

It was fun for me to listen to them talk about their memories and adventures.

After lunch at Mom's house, we then drove out to where my Grandparents lived...where Mom and Sandy grew up.  Grandpa leased it, but they lived there for 20 years before moving in to town.  Their own house was small...4 rooms.  Let me repeat. FOUR rooms.  A kitchen, the "north" bedroom, Grandma and Grandpa's bedroom and the living room.  Notice the missing bathroom. Mom and Sandy spent a great many years of their childhood without indoor plumbing.  In fact, Mom shared that w hen they moved into this house, they didn't have running water.  Grandpa ran water to the house, but it wasn't until after Sandy was born that they had Hot water.  And the water went to the kitchen only.  (Remember, no bathroom.)

The girls talked about how much stuff grandma had in the kitchen.  Her Hoosier, kitchen cabinets, stove, washing machine, sink and table.  It's not a 10 x 10 room...  Then the girls laughed about every time Grandma added something to the kitchen, something got put in their bedroom (the North bedroom).  Like the Refrigerator, later the freezer, the cream separator, etc.  (In my memories, the North bedroom had those items, but was also where Grandma kept her ceramic supplies.)

I can remember having Mom, Sandy and Grandma taking me out to the Outhouse as a little girl.  But when I was 3 or 4, Grandma and Grandpa finally got a bathroom--by moving in a trailer house and using the bathroom there.  (In those days, you only needed a cess pit.)  And, you know, the kitchen drained through a long pipe outside the house that drained somewhere out in the trees.  (Steve and I used to sit on that pipe, or do flips around it...but only until Grandma came out and yelled at us to get off it!)

The Chicken house has fallen in...the brooder house was still there.  And we walked out to the barn.  I don't have many memories of playing in the barn.  But Mom and Sandy did of course.  My only memory of playing in the barn was when Steve and I were playing in the fleeces of wool--and getting in trouble for it.  The barn is falling down now, but it really was a cool design!  I'm going to take Kevin out.  He'll get a kick out of how it's set up.

We ended our day by finding the trash pit and digging around in it some.  Found some glass jars and other treasures that were partially covered by years of dirt and weeds, but we found it!

I really enjoyed our trip down memory lane and laughing and wondering how our memories meshed and differed.  There are 20 years between the 3 of us...and it was funny what we remembered differently.  For example, we each remembered Grandma's garden in different locations!  And we are all correct because they did move the garden over the years.  But Mom and Sandy argued about if the Windmill was there the entire time.  Mom says yes, I said yes, but Sandy said no.  There is one there now, but it's a newer "model".

My reflectiveness revolves around those who could answer all our questions.  Those who aren't here.  I'd love to ask my Great Grandfather about building those damns.  I would ask if they went dry during the 30's.  I'd ask about why they built a separate building for the boys bedroom instead of just adding on.  Heck, I'd ask WHY they built the house down in the hole instead up above where it was more accessible during bad weather!  I've got a million questions for my grandparents.  It's funny...I asked millions of questions.  That's my job in the family, to ask questions!  But now I have a million more and they aren't here to answer them.  I miss them...

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Meet Blue

I have a new man in my life.  Meet Blue.
This was taken three weeks ago, when we brought him home.  He's an Australian Shephard.  Kev knew a lady who gave him to us for free.  Usually Aussie's sell for big bucks.  He's from working parents, so they could have gotten a lot of money for him.  Instead, they generously gave him to me to love.
We haven't had a puppy for 10 years, since Midnight came to live with us.  I'd forgotten what a new puppy means...  Taking him potty, taking him out to poop, taking him to the pen.  To bed, to play.  I'm sleeping with one ear open again, waiting for him to let me know that he needs to go outside. Just like I did when my kids were babies! Oh for the oblivion of a full nights sleep again!
But it's short term...right???




 Here's Blue today.  Yes, he has a sore, red eye.  The vet is pretty sure he's going to lose it.  I mean, he'll lose vision in it.  If he hasn't already.  We're not sure if he jabbed something in it or if he just had an infection.  He did have a goopy eye for a week, but I just thought it was something like my cats get...Not.  So, on Monday, we brought him to the vet.  We got antibiotics and eye ointment and have been trying to save his eye. Because he has to have his medicine 4 times a day, he comes to work with me.  (Yes I cleared it with my Boss.  And if he gets too rambunctious, we'll stay home.)  After seeing the Dr. again today, we're pretty sure he's going to be blind in this eye.  (And it was his BLUE eye!)  Still not sure if he poked it with a stick or something or if it's just an infection.  If it isn't better on Friday, the vet wants to sedate him and look to see if there is something in there somewhere.

At this point, I don't care if he loses his sight.  I just want him healthy again!  He and I can deal with blindness.

He's been such a good boy.  He has gotten carsick two of the past three days coming to work.  Today, I didn't give him as much dog food.  Which must have worked--he didn't get sick today!   But I bring a little "diaper bag" for my baby.  It has a baggie of food (in case he got car sick again.)  Some snacks, a rawhide chew bone.  Water, a towel, and sock that he likes to chew on and drag around and his wolf beanie baby.  And his blanket.  See, it's a diaper bag!

He comes in on his leash (and at 12 weeks, he's young to do so well on a leash.)  He makes the rounds of the library with me to open up and then he comes in the office and lays down on his blanket and sleeps.  We go out to potty and then it's time for lunch.  I've had some errands at noon lately, so he just rides with me.  Today, he felt well enough to run around and "chase" me outside.  Then he either takes a nap, or checks out the college kids.  When we get home, he goes with me to let the big dogs out of the pen and he chases and runs with them, mauls the kittens, and hangs out.

I'm hoping we can leave him home again next week... and we can if his eye heals enough that we can leave off the cone and if he doesn't have to have medicine 4 times a day...

Regardless, he's my baby and the new man in my life.

Friday, October 10, 2014

Siding part 2

Siding is complete!
Not painted yet, but it's up!
Not Caulked yet, but up!

Kim and Bob came out to help us finish the east side.  The four of us work well together.  Kim did most of the cuts, I was the gopher and I was the third ladder person for those high sections. (I did better than I thought!)

 Here's the house looking towards the front.  We're looking Southwest.  If you check out the last post, you can see how much grass has grown in the last 7 years!.  It's fall, so it's not green, but it's not dirt either!
 The East side of the house, showing the rock area.  We installed the big bay window at the top.  Right below that, the long skinny window was where we'd taken out a set of French doors.  We just didn't see the sense of having them with the entry door, and that's where we put in the pellet stove.
Another shot of the front...There's only one door on this end now, the sliding doors.  There used to be another door on this side also.  (The person who built this house must have had a thing for doors!)

We're still debating colors...We looked at shades of brown--similar to cedar.  We looked at grays.  (Kevin then veto'd gray.)  Now we're considering green.  An Olive green?  Grayish green?  We haven't decided yet.

This weekend we hope to get it all caulked and some trim put back up along the roofline.  I'm guessing paint won't come until spring.  We're getting late in the year to think about painting.

It's done, and it looks so nice!  Can't wait to see the difference in our heating bills!

Monday, September 22, 2014

The Siding Project

Kevin and I have been re-siding our house.  It's been an adventure.  In exhausting adventure.  A real work out.  A slow process.  Here's some "Before" pictures.  This first one is WAY before.  Because all that bare dirt?  It's now grass!  And the three windows at the top?  They were replaced by a bay window.  Gosh...I really need to take some updated pictures of our place!


 The "old new door" has been replaced.
The garage doors are staying. Because they were a project from a few years ago.  Still work beautifully.  But that siding?  It's all gone.

 Right now, the house looks like this!

Right now, the North side is the only side with intact siding.  (it was probably the easiest side to do!)

Kev and I have debated for over a year about what kind of siding we wanted.  I really wanted to put up siding that looks like logs.  He vetoed it simply because of the maintenance it requires.  We discussed the merits of vinyl, or cement fiber board.  We discussed if we wanted to stay with the current look of our house, or change it.  We discussed hiring the job out, or doing it ourselves.  Anything you can discuss about siding, we did.

Finally, this year, we decided we couldn't put off the decision forever.  So, we bit the bullet and decided to go with fiber cement board siding.  Why?  Well, a big factor was it's fire resistance.  We live in the country, surrounded by pasture and wheat fields.  Prairie fires move fast.  Cement board is fire resistant.  It is also relatively cheap and very durable.  

We picked the width we thought we liked and bought it.  But there was one issue that stalled us.  We felt like the east side (the walk out basement side) needed something...more.  It was such a huge span of space that we felt it looked...bland.  So we then debated whether to go with a stone facade, or something else.  Whether to go with stone panels, or individual stone blocks or faux stone.  We priced it, and gave up, finding it would cost as much as the actual siding.

But then we walked through our favorite store, Menards, and found a siding display that used stone.  Paving stones.  What a novel idea!  We priced it, and discovered it was MUCH more affordable.  So that's what we did.  We put the stone (above) on the walls stopping three feet above the ground.  It took a while--a long while--to install, but we love it!   (and yes, that's a new front door!)

We intended to start and finish the project over the labor day weekend. Oh, we were so naive.  We had help that first weekend.  But we got to the point you see here.  We discovered the old cedar siding was brittle and just shattered and splintered as we pulled it down, taking forever.  

Our house had never been wrapped, so we wrapped it for a better weather barrier (and to hopefully stop the breeze that blows under my bathroom cabinet.)  After our help went home, Kev's only help was me.

He and I have spent every weekend this month working on the house.  (Well, except one weekend, when he had to work at the hospital.) Yesterday, we finished the West and the South sides.  All we have left is the East side, above the basement level.  It's a side I'm not looking forward to doing.  I can do ladders, I just don't like to!  Hopefully, our help can come back next week and help finish this final side of the house.

So, how good of help am I?  Well, I've gotten better with the nail gun!  Lifting and holding the siding isn't an issue, but carrying 3 to 4 pieces very far very often gets tiring.  And I have this hitch in my hip that really has objected to the activity.  Today, I hurt! I can say, with complete confidence, that I don't ever want to earn my living by installing siding...all the measuring and math to figure where to start each course on each side is frustrating. We've stopped working every night exhausted.  Kev asked if it was because we're getting old, or because it's just simply hard work.  I voted for the hard work.  

But, we're getting it done.  It will look nice (once I pick out a paint color and paint it all.)  It should make our house more energy efficient.  I just hope we finish before the snow flies.


Wednesday, September 10, 2014

I lied

I lied.

I said I was going to stitch "Glory in the Morning."  Instead, I started this one:

It's by Blackberry Lane Designs and called
"Nativity Story Square Table Topper"
Three colors, Navy, Yellow and Gold.

I bought the pattern and the fabric five or six years ago. I also bought some hand dyed thread to use instead of using DMC floss.

Just to try something different ;)

I'm working on the star first.  Of course the star consists of the yellow blended with the metallic gold floss.  Which is reminding me why I hate stitching with metallic floss.  I love the end result, but hate the actual stitching.  Metallic floss just twists and knots and doesn't lay as flat as it should. Thankfully, the star is the only place I'm using it!

I will stitch "Glory" it's just when I started getting ready to pull the floss, I found I really just didn't want to do it.  This project jumped out and said, "stitch me, stitch me!" instead.  You should always listen to projects that beg to be stitched.

When I bought this, I thought I'd frame it and hang it above our couch at Christmas.  Don't know if it will be finished for this Christmas, but the thought has entered my mind that this might make a nice Christmas gift.

We will see what my instincts tell me to do once it's finished.