Cows in the Kitchen
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August, 2016

We got some fire bricks! ! !

By August 31, 2016 General, The Gatherings
And viola!  this is the load of fire bricks that we got!  SCORE!

So, it wouldn’t have been worth our while to get all of the fire bricks from the torn down kiln (see previous post) we will possibly need for the masonry heater that I keep planning on.  The need to make sure they are all clean of debris, and sound for building this huge structure, and getting enough. . . AND making two trips to even haul all that we would need. . .  It just wasn’t worth it!

But, we got some fire bricks!  I couldn’t see letting these fire bricks go when I know I have been wanting to build an outdoor earthen oven for a year now.  And my husband had thoughts of making a couple of fire pits; one being in the way back of our property to be able to enjoy a fire in the peaceful solitude of the evening with no one nearby.   Sounds nice, doesn’t it?  And myself? Well, I would really like to use some for building a nice big outdoor fireplace someday after we are finished building the house!

So off we went back with our handy dandy trailer to the homestead with the kiln.  We were ready to pick up what we could get, and use.  Love this find off of Craigslist, and the history behind these particular fire bricks.  Sweet, huh?

Hooking up our trailer to their Rhino so that we can get our trailer up near the bricks to load.

Hooking up our trailer to their Rhino so that we can get our trailer up near the bricks to load.

God's creation showing off for us while we waited!

God’s creation showing off for us while we waited!

And the boys, well they like trying to catch the chickens? oh no!

And the boys, well they like trying to catch the chickens? oh no!

And viola! this is the load of fire bricks that we got! SCORE!

And viola! this is the load of fire bricks that we got! SCORE! off-loaded and on a skid on our property!  Waiting for the storage barn~~~

Just “Thank you LORD!” for your good gifts!

 

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Night moves . . .

By August 31, 2016 General, The Gatherings
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Okay, so I posted pictures of when we found some scrap wood for the express purpose of building an outhouse.  But none of the wood was long enough to make walls with.  So, my husband called someone he knows that has a company, and they use large (a.k.a. longer) pallets for the products they receive in shipping.   AND yes, they told him we could come and help ourselves.  (Kind of normal~~most companies don’t want to have to deal with them when they are done with them.)

What do most people do on a date?  or after a date?  Go rummaging through pallets behind buildings in the dark looking for good boards (Look at the 2×4’s in that picture!) to make walls for an outhouse of course.    Don’t you?  What is wrong with you?  hehe

Yep, don the gloves and the flashlights (if necessary), and load ’em up, right?

Well, truth be told, we eat dinner (a.k.a. supper) at our house normally (and I am dead serious about this one) between 7:30 and 9:00.  Every once in a blue moon we eat at 6:00 or 6:30, but that is totally rare.  Yes, we are doing dishes and cleaning up normally by 8:00 or 8:30, or later.   So when we were going out that evening for dinner, we weren’t leaving our house until about 7:00, and after we ate, and by the time we got to picking up the pallets we wanted, it was getting darker and darker, mind you.  Right on par for us and our dinnertime.  YEP!

 

Here he is, strapping it down.

Here he is, strapping it down.

 

Okay, I 'hate' taking selfies, but who else was there to do it? I was the lovely assistant.

Okay, I ‘hate’ taking selfies, (because as you can see, I am terrible at it)  but who else was there to do it? I was the lovely assistant.

I know it doesn’t look like I am doing anything, but how do you think those pallets got in the trailer?  I was a bit concerned about my shirt getting torn~~I wasn’t really dressed for ‘pallet lifting 101’ that night!

But we got them loaded, yes we did, and off we went.  Fun date, huh?  Us sleuths working in the night!  Working for a ‘free’ outhouse, right?   Isn’t that funny?  working at night for a free outhouse??  Okay, I think I am cracking myself up here too much!

I know it~~CRAZY!  (with ALL capital letters), but we have always loved little adventures like this.  hehe

And then there is the fun of breaking them down.  Just a sneak peek at hammering boards ‘apart’ mind you!  The boys were getting into it!

Roman working hard to get those residual nails out!

Roman working hard to get those residual nails out!

Our little set-up~~I was working with Isaac using the sawhorses.

Our little set-up~~I was working with Isaac using the sawhorses.

 

Just “Thank you LORD!” that we are in this together.

 

 

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Life keeps happening!

By August 31, 2016 General
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Yes, even though we have a large project looming in front of us, life just keeps happenin’, you know?  Did I think it would slow down?  maybe? can I at least have delusions of grandeur?  HA!

So, no!  We have just a few things happening!  in addition to meeting with and planning on a log home build!

The boys got baptized!  Not only is this totally special to our family, (and the LORD’s,) but what made it even more cool was that it happened the same exact weekend 5 years later from when we brought them home from Russia!   God is pretty cool, right?  Timing is everything!

Roman getting baptized!

Roman talking with pastor before he gets baptized!

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Isaac about to get baptized!

Then we did celebrate the boys’ 5-year “Gotcha” day! (but the pix from that are on the computer that has the ‘mother board’ that failed us again!  Thank goodness for companies that stand behind their work, right?)

And Dawn and Helen from Kansas coming to visit while traversing in some of the mid-eastern states~

All of a sudden the boys found stuffed animals they had, AND played with them! Hmmm?

All of a sudden the boys found stuffed animals they had, AND played with them! Hmmm?

Fast friends after spending a couple of days with Helen!

Fast friends after spending a couple of days with her!

The garden growing ~~(albeit VERY poorly!)

 

Being goofy and sharing a cucumber from the garden!

Being goofy and sharing a cucumber from the garden!

Spending a week in theatre camp and putting on a play! (featured pic at top with Isaac tied up is part of the play too.)

Spending a week practicing for a play, and putting it on!

Finale song at the end of the play!

Experiments with dad along the way!

Working on the volcano for an experiment!

Working on the volcano for an experiment!

Yep, he had a volcano too!

Yep, he had a volcano too!

My girls came home from their trip out west, but still have their busy lives going, hence fewer pictures of them.

However, the one was playing tag in the dark with the guys a few weeks ago; and then the other set up camp in the back yard just the other night, and not only slept out there with them, but helped them make waffles (pancakes) and eggs over the fire the next morning.  Pretty cool sisters!

Look closely, or 'zoom in'~there they are sleeping in the makeshift tent!

Look closely, or ‘zoom in’~there they are sleeping in the makeshift tent!

They did come inside for necessities, like 'breakfast'!

They did come inside for necessities, like ‘breakfast’ fixins!

Mal tending the fire to heighten their campout experience. Woohoo! Take note in background of air mattress and partial teepee?

Mal tending the fire to heighten their campout experience. Woohoo! Take note in pic of air mattress and partial teepee?

Teamwork for breakfast~~love it!

Teamwork for breakfast~~love it!

I also helped with a weekly sewing class, and this picture is of a few the girls  that participated, who decided to sew the shirt that I had chosen to teach as my project!

They all did a great job!

They all did a great job!

And we took the boys to some programs put on by the local park.  Here they are working on some science experiments.

Something about 'acids'?

Something about ‘acids’?

. . .and 'gases'.

. . .and ‘gases’.

Life is good when it is full!  and it is as it should be!

 

Just “Thank you LORD!”  for giving us life!

 

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“WHAT A (great) DAY!”

By August 26, 2016 General, The Gatherings

I don’t know exactly how this day was orchestrated, but it didn’t turn out the way I had thought it would go.  The plan was to do school with the boys, and later in the afternoon, go check out the fire bricks that we had found (on Craigslist, you know)!  HOWEVER, it has been nothing but rainy days here (sorry California), and so it makes it a tad bit difficult to get things done.

We decided to take our bushhog to the property, try it out, and clean up the overgrowth since it wasn’t raining!  Once we decided to go, I wanted to get a good jump on this so I wasn’t working out in the HOT heat of the day!  But alas, we have a pool, and the rain has been doing a number on the water~~algae was showing it’s ugly face, and my husband wanted to ‘nip that in the bud’ before we headed out.

Breakfast, working on the pool, prepping lunch for at the property, doing some school, finding some schoolwork to take on our journey and back, hooking up the trailer, grabbing the misc. stuff we needed, etc.  We didn’t leave our house until 11:30!  That is NOT what I consider getting a good jump on our day!  UGHH!

We had planned to stop at Harbor Freight for some misc. items, but it was already late, and the ‘items’ were not necessities!  It was going to be 12:30 by the time we got there, and the sun was shining bright!  HOT and HUMID!  At least it wasn’t raining!  😉

So here we go!  Heading to the property!  Books on CD are great, especially when you home school, and you have kids that get carsick if they are reading or looking at books.  How did that happen?  Getting car sick, especially when we are going to be driving back and forth to the property 40ish minutes each way, isn’t going to work well!!  Oh well!  Flexibility~that is what I need~~hence the books on CD!  YAY for books on CD!  So, they were listening to The Sign of the Beaver on the way.  It is a good story for boys, especially boys that are going to be helping to build a log home. You know the little boy in the story helped to build his family’s log home!  How cool is that?

We got down there, and our journey began!  I took a lot of pictures along the way, so that is what I am going to use to tell my story.  Here goes:

So here are clean boys heading to their 'fort' for a while. The weeds are high!

So here are clean boys heading to their ‘fort’ for a while. The weeds are high!

Starting out! Okay, so I make this look difficult here!

Starting out! Okay, so I make this look difficult here, and it’s even self-propelled!  What’s wrong?

So, I thought this was was going to be fun!  Remember, in my post about buying this, I was looking forward to using this?  Seriously!  I know I am weird, but I was literally excited to use our new toy, the ‘bushhog’!  I couldn’t wait to see what would get accomplished using this machine.  So I started out and was really trying to do good with it.  It was doing a good job cutting, but it was wiping me out.  AND THE SUN WAS BEATING HOT!  Besides, I was finding the bushhog extremely hard to maneuver and turn.  I wanted to make good progress, so I put it in 4th gear,(you know, faster) and that thing was pulling me along, and whipping me around.  I was kind of runnin’, you know.  THIS WAS NOTHING like I thought it would be!    I am thinking and talking to God,  “Lord, how am I going to build a log home if I cannot even push this thing around?  I am so wiped out.  Please Lord!  help me to keep going.”  I’m telling you, I was dying!   And I wasn’t happy about it.    UGHH!  I so wanted this to be fun!  AND.IT.WASN’T.FUN!

Time for lunch~~was I ever glad to take a break for lunch!  Lunch was fun!  And boy, did I need it!  (BTW, notice the long sleeves~~we didn’t want sunburns or bug bites, and ‘they’ (whoever they are) say that long sleeves keep you cooler?)

What refreshment to get lunch after that monster beat me up!

What refreshment to get lunch after that monster beat me up!  Look at my handsome husband!

Smilin' for mom!

Smilin’ for mom!

Roman enjoying one of his sandwiches.

Roman enjoying one of his two sandwiches.

So, while I was finishing eating and cleaning up from lunch, my husband started bushhogging, and he seemed to be just moseying along behind that thing, and getting along just fine.  Make. me. sick!  No running. . .  not a struggle to turn it. . . or maneuver it.

What is wrong with me?  Obviously, I was doing something wrong here.  I wanted to look like he looked behind that thing!  ~~okay, so I realized he was not in 4th gear.  He wasn’t in ‘run’ mode behind it!  And he wasn’t poking along either, so he must’ve been in 3rd?  (I did take a nice video of him, but it is too long for me to download.)

Note to self:  Be in 3rd gear!  So, when I went back to it, 3rd gear it was, and it was much betta.  I could walk behind it. . . I didn’t have to run, AND it wasn’t whipping me around (not really, but kind of) when I was turning a bend, AND I had energy to maneuver it.  AHHHHH!  Food in my belly!   This is more like it!  Yes!  So there you have it!  3rd gear and food in my belly~~world of difference!

Can I start having fun now?  Yes, I was a new person behind that thing, and I went for it!

Slowly making progress!

Slowly making progress! BUT,  I had learned at this point that I don’t have to strain to make it work!

Working on weedeating!

Working on weedeating!

Looks TONS better, heh!

Looks TONS better, heh! I know, you can’t really tell, but we can!

Almost done for the day, and I went to visit my neighbors before we left!  I chatted with them a bit, and then head back to load up!  But I don’t see the boys?~~then my husband points them out to me!   Remember now, I told you we had had rain!

What I found after I came back from visiting the neighbors!

What I found after I came back from visiting the neighbors!

Back and forth between huge mud puddles! Just keep watching~

Back and forth between HUGE body size mud puddles! Just keep watching~

Purposefully falling!

Purposefully falling!  Can’t beat those smiles!

Sliding in!

Sliding in! Yep, totally going for it!

One falling in! And the other heading back!

One falling in! And the other heading back to do it a-gain!

Sliding in to second!

Sliding in to second!

Our neighbor, Miss Edna~~She loves working on her puzzles!

One of our neighbors, Miss Edna~~She loves working on her puzzles!  I had to go back to show her what I had found!  She loved the pix of the boys in the puddles!  (I’ll get a pic of Miss Evelyne next time.)

Still going to it! Yes, they are a MESS!

Go back out, and yes, they are still going at it!  AND,  Yes, they are a MESS!

Priceless! You can't buy this kind of fun! My FAV!

Priceless! You can’t buy this kind of fun! My FAV! (If you can, ZOOM IN on Roman’s smile!)

Time to be done! Now what to do with soaking wet boys and their clothes? ? ?

All good things must come to an end! Now what to do with soaking wet muddy boys, and their clothes? ? ? (Notice the difference in the color of their shirts from the beginning  picture in this post~)

You have them strip down, of course! (Note to self: Bring extra change of clothes!)

You have them strip down, of course! (Note to self: Bring extra change of clothes!)

We had to get going because since we had to go check out some firebricks for our masonry heater.  So, we got home, cleaned up some little boys, and a big boy, and a mama, and were on our way again with grandpa this time!

Next stop - BRICKS! and plenty of them!

Next stop – Fire BRICKS! and plenty of them!

And MORE fire bricks!

And MORE fire bricks!

It is really cool~~these fire bricks actually came from the largest bourry box wood kiln in Ohio.  Pretty cool, huh?  (if I previously wrote that it was the largest or the oldest in the nation, forgive me, I think I misunderstood the information I had received, but later found that is was the largest in Ohio~)

Here is the really cool part!  There is a house on the property with this kiln that had been dismantled.  It just so happened to be a log cabin with a stone wall basement, and an awesomely cool one at that!

Wait ’til you see these pictures!

Now this is a sneak shot of one side of this cabin!

Now this is a sneak shot of one side of this cabin from under the kiln canopy! (could.not.wait.to.see.the.inside!)

Check out the front doors and the rock floor with the wolf paw print in it! the stairs, the walls, the ceiling. . . .

Check out the front doors and the rock floor with the wolf paw print in it! the stairs, the walls, the ceiling. . . .

What a beautiful monster fireplace! ! ! !

What a beautiful monster fireplace! ! ! !

Man~ a sweet kitchen!

Man~ a sweet kitchen!

And the other side of their amazing log home!

And the other side of their amazing log home with the stone foundation!  Sliding barn doors. . . .so much character!

Peel me from the house! Jennifer was so kind to show us around it.  It even had a pizza oven on the other side of the fireplace in the kitchen!  WOWSA!  I just wanted to soak it up~~but we graciously (hopefully didn’t overstay our visit) left.  But before that, we got a recommendation to eat at the Green Kayak or Skippers on our way home after our jaunt out there!  So, we headed to Skippers~~sweet place on the river!

The suggestion of the restaurant on the river was a great one! They loved feeding the ducks~

The suggestion of the restaurant on the river was a great one! They loved feeding the ducks~

And we spotted some ducks coming in for a landing! ~sorry kind of blurry~

And we spotted some ducks coming in for a landing! ~sorry, kind of blurry~

Do I need to state the obvious? Besides the fact that God is amazingly creative!

Do I need to state the obvious? Besides the fact that God is THE amazing Creator!

And Grandpa went with us! He loves joining us on our journeys~~

And Grandpa went with us!
He loves joining us on our journeys~~

A little sun from our work day? You bet! What a great day!

A little sun from our work day? You bet! What a great day!

All that I can say is that it was a GREAT day!  Yes, I was thankful for all that we had gotten done in a day!

Have you noticed that the Lord keeps taking us to homes that are built with logs?  HMMMMM?  I find that curious and interesting, don’t you?  No coincidence, I am sure!

Just “Thank you LORD!”  for blessing us so!

 

 

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Being a ‘creeper’!

By August 25, 2016 General, The Gatherings
RFI1

Okay!  Not REALLY!

Well. . . maybe!

Not a ‘bad’ creeper though!

So, about a month or so ago, we had done a little homework, and spoke to a person ‘in the know’, and found out that there is rigid foam insulation made literally within 3 miles of our home. (What is foam insulation, you might ask?  Well, it is a thick insulation that is used to well. . . insulate.  It is a solid material (unlike the rolls of pink fiberglass-filled) insulation they used to put in the roofs and walls of homes.)

SIP on roof

I kept seeing tractor truck loads of foam insulation driving along  our local ‘Industrial Road’; and I had told my husband that I was going to hunt down one of the semi drivers one day when I saw them with a load of the stuff!

That day happened!  I was driving home on Industrial Road (you know, where there is a lot of industry~surprise~, and they make things at manufacturing plants all along the road there), and I saw another semi hauling a whole load of the stuff, so I thought “Here is my chance!”  But I was heading east, and NORMALLY I see them heading west, so I was wondering how this was going to work out?

*Yes, I am crazy!  Yes, it is bizarre to hunt down a semi driver.  I am well aware of that~~but you have to have known my mother.  She would do things like this~~trying to be resourceful!   I know, kind of a creeper kind of thing to do, right?  I know, but how else am I going to find out what I am wanting to know.*

I had already slowed down my speed, and started planning out my strategy!  Then as I passed him, I could see (the PI in me) that the right turn blinker was on~HA, HA!~ that he was turning to head East!  So then I REALLY slowed down.  This was starting to work.  He was going to be following me.  YES!

I was paying attention to the stop light ahead so I wouldn’t catch the light, and he miss it, you know!  I didn’t want to actually have to pull over and jump out of my car, and make a huge scene for him/her to see what a huge creeper I really was!

So that light changed to yellow~~YIPPEE!  He was right behind me at this point.  But I was in the left side left turn lane and he was in the right side left turn lane. (make sense??)  We were both turning left, which was good mind you, but his stopping point for the light was way beyond mine.  So there I sat at the red light, and what did I do!  I leaned way over to try and get the driver’s attention.  He noticed me, but I am in a short little Honda and he was sitting in a big high semi truck.  Not working too easily, I might add!  I  could not lean over far enough to get his attention.

Had to do the next thing a crazy person does.  I unbuckled, and leaned over even further.  He could see me out of the corner of his eye, and he was kind enough to look down at me.  I rolled down the window, and he took the hint!  What a nice guy!  He rolled his window down too, looked at me inquisitively, in anticipation of my question.

“Hey, do you all ever have any extra of that stuff” (and I proceed to point towards his load) “that you can’t use and just throw away?”  He nodded his head affirmatively, and from there told me to go and ask about it in the office.

WHAT?  Okay, so I do not want to count my chickens before they hatch, but WOOHOO!  There is a possibility of  getting some of the stuff without paying an arm and a leg.  YES! ! !  That would be nice~~

Hence, my little ‘creeper’ story!  I guess we need to go in the office and ask about it.

Maybe a bit weird, but I am not really a ‘creeper’, right?

Just “Thank you LORD!” for possibilities!

 

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