Cows in the Kitchen

So we dug the hole, and then. . .

By August 6, 2017 General, The beginnings!
Take the plastic off of our hole, and there the water sits.

So we dug the hole for the outhouse, and we made sure it was plenty deep, or so we thought.  I previously posted pix of my little guy standing in the ‘latrine’ hole.  We busted our tail breaking up thick rock that was in our way.  (That should have been my first hint of what was to come.)

No kidding. . . We would pick up that 28 lb. rock breaker, and I would literally just let it drop in the hole to try and get another chunk of rock broken off.  My husband was strong enough to actually purposefully throw the rock breaker into the hole to break up the thick rock.  We would take turns.  I would drop it in. . . he would jab it in.  SLOW . . . and TEDIOUS!  SLOW. . . and TEDIOUS!  But you know, slow and steady wins the race, right?

We dug and dug. . .and then we had weeks of not working down there because the weather was awful.  Then we went back, and took a peek in the hole, just to make sure it was draining.

AND. . .

it . . .

was . . .

NOT! ! !

Take the plastic off of our hole, and there the water sits.

Take the plastic off of our hole, and there the water sits.

 

A close-up of how high up the water was in the hole.

A close-up of how high up the water was in the hole.

UH, can’t have an outhouse that doesn’t drain, right?  Also, a true indicator of the type of “LOVELY” soil we have~~NOT!  When soil does not drain, it means it is not healthy soil.

Back to the drawing board. . .

I have to say:  “At least we determined this before we had the outhouse all put together and were trying to use it.”  Right?  Right!

Just “Thank you LORD!” for bringing all of the rain to show us what would happen if we continued with what we had planned.  🙂

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Oh NO!  What are we going to do?

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Moving on here. . .

By August 5, 2017 Blessings along the way!, General, Our log home journey!
These look so straight and tall!

We may be slow, but we do catch on . . .eventually!

Moving on here. . .

No calls back from the logger we were working with, who has done a lot of work for us with excavating, setting up forms for our basement, and having the basement walls poured, having our basement floor poured, putting in our water line, excavating and putting conduit in for our electricity.  He has done a lot for us, and done it well.

We do have a lot done so far. . . however, no logs yet!  And quite frankly, that is why we connected with him in the first place.

But God had other plans. . .

We were supposed to be getting cypress logs (after the pine logs promised did not pan out), but we weren’t getting any calls back from our logger, and he hadn’t initiated calling us to let us know the cypress logs are ready.  Bummer!

Some people may think we did something to ‘tick him off’ or something, but actually, we were ‘warned’ (you might say) about him before we even started to work with him.

And then there is his equipment that had been on our property since last summer.

One piece of equipment we need to get moved.

One piece of equipment we need to get moved.

See in the background? ~~this along with the boom truck had wintered at our place, and they were 'springing' at our place too. They were not going to summer at our place.

See in the background? ~~this along with the boom truck had wintered at our place, and they were ‘springing’ at our place too. They were not going to summer at our place.

 

He needed to at least come and get his equipment from our property.   After many different attempts at asking, calling his number with no return calls, resorting to contacting his wife to see if she could help in this situation, contacting the police to determine how to handle this ~~ OH MY GOSH!  Just come and get your equipment already, and let’s be done.  BUT NO!  It was not removed from our property, and we need to get it out of our way.  So, the state police did go and talk with them to let them know they had a deadline before the equipment would be towed.  They understood.

AND STILL IT WAS NOT RETRIEVED FROM OUR PROPERTY!   Kind of weird, huh?

We had contacted a local towing business to make sure they could handle this, and they came the day after the deadline and towed the equipment away.  I really wanted to be there to see this take place.  We were headed there that afternoon to watch it all happen, pulled onto our road, and saw unusual ‘new’ markings on the blacktop.  (We were guessing all kinds of things as to why there were markings, like a black streaks ~~it’s hard to describe, but it looked like the markings were put there purposefully because it was a very consistent pattern.)   But alas, the towing company had gotten to our property, and the equipment had already been taken away.  WHAAAAA!  I wanted to watch this happen with my own eyes, (and document it happening with my camera).

I did ask the neighbor ladies if they saw it taking place, and they said, “Yeah, they actually didn’t tow the equipment.  They worked on them, got them started, and drove them off.”   WHAT?!?  Seriously?  So, turns out the backhoe was ‘limping’ as it had a huge flat tire, so it was scraping all they way down the road.   Ahhhhh, the black scraping from the backhoe going down the road!  Now it makes sense.

As I write this, there is sadness really at how things turn out sometimes.  So sad that people are not responsible, and you even have to do things like have their property removed from your land.  Ughh, but we had to do something.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

But I am not deterred. . .

So here I go. . .

I check online to find out where white pine grow more densely somewhere near our area in the United States.

I check to see if there are any ‘telephone pole’ suppliers locally.

I look at maps of where pine trees grow.

These 3 sentences above do not begin to describe the amount of work that I put in to looking for trees, and loggers of those trees, AND pine trees that we could get our hands on.

As I was researching, I came across this article. . .

Jack Swanner New Leader Of N.C. Loggers Group

www.southernloggintimesmagazine.com/jack-swanner-new-leader-n-c-loggers-group/

Jul 21, 2014 – Jack Swanner New Leader Of N.C. Loggers Group … developed, trained, and operated cable logging crews in western North Carolina.  . . . . . 

 

Okay, so it was an old article, but I was desperate, and so I clicked on it.  Here is a fellow who KNOWS loggers in NC, where I found pine trees grow and would be slightly close to Kentucky for our purposes.  At the end of the article, it gave a phone # to contact him, but as I said, the article was 2 1/2 years old at this point, and people change numbers like they change  . . . what?  what is a good comparison?  I was willing to try this # anyway.

I get my phone and dial the number, and guess what?  He answered.  It was the Jack Swanner live and in person.  Here I go, picking his brain for loggers, etc.  and asking him for help.  He proceeds to tell me, “Oh, you don’t want to get logs from NC when you can get them from Kentucky.  Let me give you some names of loggers, and lumber companies in Kentucky to call, and see if they can’t help you.”

Praise the LORD!  If we are going to build a log home, we kind of need  . . . .LOGS!

Like a mad woman, I am writing down (more like scribbling) as quickly as I can the names, and even some phone numbers of these loggers, as he is telling me the names and towns where they are located.  He even told me a story of one of the loggers whose wife makes the best cooked kale dish, and how they won’t let you leave without having some of the kale she has made. And he was so nice, one of the numbers he couldn’t remember, so he called me right back with the number.   NOW THIS GUY knows loggers! ! !

Gratitude expressed for his time and information, I get off of the phone with renewed excitement that it may be possible to find someone in Kentucky that can help us get logs.

The calling begins as I start on the list of names and numbers he has given me.   I am ready to start again.

So I start.  .  .

The lumber companies turn out not be be much help.  Either they don’t get much white pine, or they don’t get logs that are longer than 16 feet in length.  Oh.  (sigh)  One lumber company was going to check and took down my phone number to ask if anyone would know of any loggers that could help, but normally, they also do not get logs longer than 16′.  (I was sure that little piece of paper that my number was written down on would soon be pitched.

Then I try loggers~~multiple loggers, and multiple locations throughout Kentucky, and they don’t have white pine.  It is not a tree they log often.

A little discouraged at this point, but not giving up~~my husband and I decided we needed to pray about this and fast, and that is what we did.  We started on a 3 day fast on a Wednesday asking the Lord for help with this.

On Friday (day 3 of the fast), as I was walking out the door for a meeting, I got a call from an unrecognizable number.  I answered, and on the other end was a fellow who identified himself, and told me he is a logger.  He said that a lumber company had given him our number and told him we were looking for white pine.  He is logging a boundary, and has white pine on it, and did not have a need for it?

“Would we be interested?”

MUSIC TO MY EARS! ! ! !

Would we be interested?  Are you kidding me?  Would we be interested?  UH, YES! ! !

YES!  YES!  and YES!

WOWSA!  Here we are, finishing up our fast, and I am totally confident the Lord was hearing our plea for logs.

So, into our lives comes a new logger.

To make a long story short, we made plans to meet up with him.  We drove to the boundary that he was logging.  We hiked into the woods.  AND we got totally excited! (Okay, so my husband does not get ‘excited’ about much~~I get excited!)

Here are some pictures of our little trip~~

Some of the tall straight trees that will hopefully make our house a home someday.

Some of the tall straight trees that will hopefully make our house a home someday.

These look so straight and tall!

These look so straight and tall!

Hiking back up in the boundary with the white pine!

Hiking back up in the boundary with the white pine!

My husband took a 'selfie'? WHAT? I can't hardly believe it, but here it is. So cute of him!

My husband took a ‘selfie’? WHAT? I can’t hardly believe it, but here it is. So cute of him!

Talking with this logger about the possibilities and how it will all work out.

Talking with this logger about the possibilities and how it will all work out.

FINALLY!  We are onto a new logger who actually has a boundary of trees that he is actually in charge of logging, and has white pine he knows there is not a market for.

So the LORD had something else for us, and we needed to line up with His plan.

Just “Thank you LORD!” for leading us to this new logger.  Woohoo!

And if you compare the trees in this boundary (in these pix) to the trees (in the pix I posted back when we thought the logs were coming from a different spot) we were originally shown by the logger that did not come through, the difference is huge.   They would have been monster logs~whoa!  God knew we needed different trees for our purposes.

 

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OH, the issues with used vehicles!

By March 20, 2017 General
IMG_4370

You know that truck?

The ‘used’ truck we got so that we wouldn’t kill-the-van?

Yep, that one.  The one we have had for exactly 4 months now?

Yeah, well I think I’m just gonna just kill that truck!

CHECK THIS OUT!

I think we have driven it for purposes of hauling and building maybe 6 times in 4 months.  No, seriously!  It has been cold outside, and we really haven’t had a lot going on with the property.  We are not using it for everyday driving around.  We bought it to use for our building/hauling/farming purposes.

But here is the problem.

It has been in the shop more times than we have driven it.

In the 4 months that we have had this truck, we have had it in the shop, or there are still problems with:

1)the headboard cloth needed gluing back up  (that happened)

2) when they went to do that, the driver’s window would not open/close so that motor had to be replaced (took precedence over the headboard cloth)

3) the defrost on the heat did not work, and needed to be fixed (got that done)

4) when driving, the overhead lights would flicker on and off, so they just got disconnected.  (don’t like that solution)

5) the battery died because of some jimmy-rigged CD player that might have gotten left on and ran the battery dead (got that recharged)

6) the check engine light came on, and showed a problem with the transmission, so the transmission needed totally dismantled and reworked (got that done)

7) my husband determined a leak in the back window and has been trying to get a seal to work on that

8) the emergency brake does not work, and if you accidentally push it in, you have to manually pull it back out to disengage it (going in tomorrow for that)

Funny story (now it’s funny, but it wasn’t then):  I took the truck a couple of weeks ago to drive some wood chips down to the farm.

And here we are loading up the truck with the wood chips. . .

And here we are loading up the truck with the wood chips. . .(Look at my awesome helper!)

I parked the truck on a hill when I got down there, and what did I do?

It’s what I do every time I park a vehicle.  I put it into ‘PARK’ and put the emergency brake on.

OOOOOPS!  I didn’t mean to do it, I didn’t mean to do it, I didn’t mean to do it!

Yep, there it sits on the hill.  You can't see it, but the emergency brake is on.  LOVELY!

Yep, there it sits on the hill. You can’t see it, but the emergency brake is on. LOVELY!

I am thinking, “Oh my! Well it is broken anyway, so not big deal.”  Right?

After we are done with our work, I let the fellows pull out their bow and arrows.  First time they got to use them since Christmas.  They were excited, and had made their own ‘targets’, eh?

Prepping targets to use for practice.

Prepping targets to use for practice.

Getting the bows ready.

Getting the bows ready.

IMG_4557

I’m trying here.

IMG_4562

Tedious work, but I am acting like I know what I’m doing.

IMG_4566

“How am I supposed to get these arrows out of the quiver?” (Mom quietly snickering.)

IMG_4568

And here we have a few arrows hitting the target. Nice work!

IMG_4574

Nice form here, but the arrows were struggling to make it to the target for him.

IMG_4575

Very pleased with his shots here! If you could have only seen him jumping up and down for joy with each hit!

What a nice diversion from the truck woes!

But alas, I need to get back in it to drive it home.

I went to drive it off our property, and it seemed like (even if it was just my imagination) than there was some resistance because of the emergency brake~~not a ton~~but enough to make me concerned.

At that point, I call my husband who is sleeping at home with no phone next to him just in case he may hear another phone in our house ringing, or my girls may be home and get the phone.  No answer.  ughh~~Then I call one of my girls’ cell phone #, and she answers.  I explain the whole thing to her.  They are 5 minutes from home, and she will wake dad so he can call me and tell me what I need to do with this emergency brake situation.

So I wait, and wait, and wait, and finally he calls.  He explains how I have to open the driver’s door and get out.  I have to stand by the door inside by the emergency brake, lean down, pull the lever up, and then manually release the emergency brake, moving it back into the ‘released’ position.

WHICH I DID!  However, the emergency brake light stayed on the entire way home.  Go figure!

On with my list~~~

9) there is a lift kit on it that make it ‘feel’ very unsafe to drive and keep on the road (I want the lift kit taken off!-going to the shop tomorrow)

10) the doors automatically lock sometimes when you close the door, (so you better NEVER leave the keys in it when you hop out)

11) there was no bumper on the back, so we had to get a bumper for it (done)

12) the hood latch to keep the hood from flying up was not working properly, and so after the transmission was overhauled, and he was driving away, the hood flew up and he couldn’t see where he was going  (uh, big problem~~~had to take it right back to the mechanic, who straightened out the hood, and fixed the latch)

13) that battery that got recharged wasn’t worth a hoot~~actually too small for this truck, and so we had to buy a new bigger battery (done)

14) and the speedometer decides when/if it is going to work, or not!  (is it even worth fixing?)

Can you say “LEMON”?   OMGosh!

Seriously!  We have got to get rid of this thing! ! ! !  After driving it the other day, I had more stresses than I think I can handle.

I am throwing a fit here.  I do not like this truck here nor there!   I DO NOT like this truck anywhere!

We decide to get rid of it.

It isn’t worth the headache.

I talk to some friends about it.  They gave me all kinds of good advise truly.  And my husband talked to some friends about it too, and the one (really knowledgeable fellow who has owned over 40 vehicles in his 40 something year old life, fixing them up and selling them) told him to try to talk me in to keeping it.   (Isn’t that cute?) He says, “This particular year of Dodge Ram trucks has a really good engine, and since you have fixed some major things already, now it should last you a really long time since it has lower miles on it.”

At this point, I have calmed down and can hear what he is saying.   Who’s to say the next ‘used’ truck we would buy won’t have a multitude of things wrong with it?  Time has a way of settling things down.

I say that, but in all reality, my husband and I prayed and fasted last week, and asked the Lord to help us with some things.  The truck, the logs, as well as some other things.  God’s answer regarding the truck was that we agreed to keep it, and get these few last (who am I kidding when I say ‘last’) things~~I mean, few ‘more’ things taken care of, and hopefully it will last us a long time.

So, off with the lift kit, let’s get the emergency brake and overhead interior lights working, and the seal around the window fixed so it doesn’t leak.

Seems we go about things the hard way sometimes.  Yep, that’s us!

Just “Thank you LORD!” for unity in decision making because you hear our pleas.

Hebrews 4:16 (NKJV)

16 Let us therefore come boldly to the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need.

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Cypress logs?

By March 20, 2017 General, The beginnings!
Some of the cypress trees standing near the water.

Cypress logs for our log home!   Sounds good, doesn’t it?  And don’t those look nice, tall, and straight?

They are strong and rot resistant.  They are decay resistant because they sit in water the whole time they are growing, so perfect for a log home, right?  Also, because of some chemicals in them, the bugs don’t like them either.  I was going to try to explain why the bugs don’t like them besides the chemicals, but hey, I don’t really get it, so it was coming out sounding really badly here.

Why am I bringing up CYPRESS?  Well I am glad that you asked.

‘Our’ logger lost the option to get the pine trees that he told us he could get.  You know, the ones I took pictures of the day we drove for hours to look at them.  The trees we stood in front of and took pictures of.   Well, our logger wasn’t able to get them.

This was partly okay.  There really wasn’t anything we could do with the logs if we got them over the wintertime anyway.  No stress.

And as I blogged a month or so ago about the happenings in my life, you know there was a death in my immediate family, then we had the Thanksgiving and Christmas holidays.   A lot was happening in our lives, and then. . .

Our logger ended up in Florida.  He is a snowbird.  He goes down there and logs in the wintertime.  We can tell you that he never stops.

So, he tells us a few months ago that he is going to try to convince us to get ‘cypress’ logs instead.  And there are very good reasons that cypress is better.

I do my investigative homework, and. . .   Yes, way stronger!

The butt end of a downed cypress.

The butt end of a downed cypress.

And . . . . Yes, more rot resistant!

A shot looking up the length of a cypress tree.

A shot looking up the length of a cypress tree.

 

And . . . .Yes, more bug resistant!

A view of another cypress.

A view of another cypress.

Oh, and. . . .Yes, heavier logs!

Measuring the top ends so we can see the diameter of them.

Measuring the top ends so we can see the diameter of them.

Another diameter measurement of a downed cypress.

Another diameter measurement of a downed cypress.

Oh, and Yes, more EXPENSIVE!

But hey, he is going to get them for us for the same cost as the pine trees, since getting the pine trees ‘fell through’, and now all we have to pay extra for is to have them hauled.  Okay, so that will be an extra $4500 that we weren’t expecting.

But okay, we’re game.   Cypress will be better!  Maybe that is why we had to wait.  We don’t know God’s plans, and we don’t have the trees sitting on our lot, so we are trying to go with what we can get.

We are expected to start getting the logs in 2 weeks.  I have truckers set up to help with the hauling.  We call to make sure of when the logs are going to be ready.

NO ANSWER!  NO call back!

Next day, aaaaannd the next day, aaaaaand the following two weeks:  Call the logger, NO ANSWER!  No call back!

HMMMMMMM?!?

Not good vibes going on here!  The logger has dropped off the face of the earth.  Not really, but he had obviously decided to not follow through for whatever reason.

At this point,we need to move on.

A movin’ we will go~~

Just “Thank you LORD!” that our hope is in you.

Psalm 3:2-5 (NKJV)

Many are they who say of me,
There is no help for him in God.” Selah

But You, O Lord, are a shield for me,
My glory and the One who lifts up my head.
I cried to the Lord with my voice,
And He heard me from His holy hill. Selah

I lay down and slept;
I awoke, for the Lord sustained me.

 

 

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E-lec-tricity! ! ! the drama of this “shock”ing scene!

By March 20, 2017 General, The beginnings!
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Never thought I would be so excited about an electricity pole!   Isn’t that a cool picture of our electric pole!

REALLY?  Yes, pathetic as it is, I was excited that after all of the complications and delays, we had our electricity.

FINALLY!

And we had our meter hooked up too!

There's our meter sitting on the transformer base.  Oh my!

There’s our meter sitting on the transformer base. Oh my!

Then we got our first bill!  WHAT!?!

Yes, of course, now we are paying for the use of a meter, and electricity.

We HAVEN’T even used the electricity, and the bill was close to $100.  You have got to be kidding me!

I was shocked to say the least.  I had been told that once we got the temporary meter up, we would ONLY pay for the electricity that we used.

Which would be a $0 bill in my book!

So I call!  UGHH!

What is have is not ‘temporary’.    We are paying $65 monthly for the rental of this meter, since it is not a ‘temporary’ set-up.  Can you say, “I’m confused.”?

I was thinking that everything we had done was for the temporary service, and we were just connecting it underground because we ultimately did not want the wires above ground.

Whatever!

THEN, this is the kicker. . .wait.til.you.hear.this!  We got charged $25 for the base cost of the electricity whether we used it or not, and then they added on for the electricity that we used.  We got charged for one unit of electricity on top of the base cost.  No biggie, right?

WAIT!  We didn’t plug anything in to the outlets on this meter hook-up ONCE.  Not once!   So how is it that we are being charged for ‘using’ the electricity (albeit a teeny tiny amount) when we haven’t even used it???

I have to say this whole bill thing for our electricity was NOT making sense to me.

What’s a girl to do?  Call the electric company, of course.  So I did.

We decided to unhook the meter because we weren’t using the electricity at this point.  It was too cold to do any work down there anyway.  So why pay for it when we are not using it, right?

So unhook it already!   (After all of that, we want it unhooked~~  Yeaaaaah!)

I know, wishy-washy here, but there were some things not really clear.

To proceed from here, we had unhooked that ‘rental’ meter and determined to get a ‘temporary’ underground service set up.  That way, we don’t have to pay for the meter every month.  We just have to pay for the electricity that we use, and we will start using it soon, so . . . .

Here we go again.

1) We had a company put in our temporary underground service.

2) It has been inspected.

YAY, now we can use the electricity, right?  WRONG!  The meter has to be put on.  WHAT?  I thought that came with the temporary underground service.  WRONG again!

WHATever!  (note the cynical tone there!)  So. . .

3) I send the required paperwork to the inspector so that he can release the work so the new meter can be put on.

Then:

4)  I call the electric company to make sure everything is a go.  NOPE!  They tell me they are waiting on a check for the meter, AND. . .ba dum bum!  There have been tornadic storms in our area lately, and they are still cleaning that up, so they do not know when they will get to setting our meter up.

As I write, it still has not been connected.  It is okay.  We haven’t had a chance to get down there and do any work.  It has snowed, been cold rainy, and we have traveled on some other days.

Just “Thank you LORD!” that my trust is in you, and now I won’t have much to do when it comes to getting our permanent meter put on our house.  We are all set with basically everything!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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