Cows in the Kitchen
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September, 2016

Our footer has been poured. . .~WHOA! ! !

By September 20, 2016 General, The beginnings!
Hoping the 3 strands of rebar do a good job~~walls and logs are a LOT to support!

Already?  Yeah, I am in shock too!  Things are happening fast around here.  At least right now they are.  It will slow down to a crawl ??? when we are peeling our logs.    But for now, it is moving FAST!

Anyway, I am catching up on my blog, and there are so many things that have happened, but I am trying to fill you in.

The day we were framing up the footer for our house, Roman had finished with his schoolwork, took a break from playing, and saw the footer was framed up.  He looked at the space, and asked, “Is this how big our house is going to be?”  I replied “Yes.” and he looked at it a bit more, and said “Where are we going to put all of our beds?”  Just so cute!  It is fun to see how they process things.

I have been told that when you see it with the footers in, it always seems smaller than it turns out to actually be.  Roman was the voice of that mindset that day~~

With me trying to catch up on what is really going on, I am keeping it short.

Story of that day though~~They formed up most of the footer, and left an opening so that the cement truck could pull in to pour the back wall first, and then he was going to leave, and then they could form up the opening ~already prepared~and then he would come with the second load.  So, the fellow pours the back wall, and is backing up, and OH. MY. GOSH!  He is sliding because of the sloppy clay from the rain we had had, and HITTING THE INSIDE WALL OF OUR FOOTER FRAME and KNOCKIN’ IT OUT~~IT WAS NO LONGER SQUARE!  I am watching this, and freaking out (inside, of course!)  And everyone else is seeing it happening too, because the cement truck tires were so close to it, and he was sliding so much, that he didn’t have great control in that area. And everyone is trying to tell him which way to turn his tire while it is pushing against our frame.   UGHH!  I didn’t like it!  I did not like it one little bit!  (Think Dr. Seuss The Cat in the Hat when the fish kept hating everything the cat was doing.)  So, the cement truck driver is basically sitting there with the tire pushing against our frame, and there is no way he can move without making it worse.  Finally, I suggested that we saw off just enough to free up the form, and one of the guys hopped to it, sawed it off, and it was just what was needed for the cement truck to get out.  And then, it basically snapped back into place -SQUARE- if you can believe it! But now our framing had to be altered because the standing form was now shorter.   The cement truck left, and we formed up the rest, and filled in the spot that was sawed off.  YAY!  YAY! YAY!  (No pix as I was too stressed to think about getting the camera, AND I am sure they all appreciate that I am not snapping pix of the problems they run into.)

Kind of got sloppy for a bit. Clay and rain make for slippery concrete truck movement!

Kind of got sloppy for a bit. Clay and rain make for slippery concrete truck movement!

Getting it in order!

Getting it in order!

Sloppy mess to work in~~ughh!

Sloppy mess to work in~~ughh!

Looking at the footer once set!

Looking at the footer once set!

Trying to get different angles~ Looks good, doesn't it?

Trying to get different angles~ Looks good, doesn’t it?

And entertainer, and an entertained!

And entertainer, and an entertained!  How many tomatoes can I put in my cheeks, and how much will you laugh?

AND, here he goes again; entertaining with the apple.

AND, here he goes again; entertaining with the apple.


So nothing major to report, except our form was basically  messed up, and also that things are progressing way FAST! ! !  

I truly can’t imagine how we would have gotten all of this done ourselves.  It would have taken us~ by ourselves~ FOREVER!

The thought crosses my mind that with all of the people praying for us and our build, that God stepped in knowing we couldn’t do it ourselves, and is sending the help we need.  Can I say “It is humbling.”?   I like to think I can do many things, and I can, and we could’ve gotten to this point in the build perhaps, (like in a year’s time  😉  ).  But man. . . . This IS WAY BETTER!

Just “Thank you LORD!” for sending the help that I didn’t know we needed.



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And me? I am learning. . .

By September 18, 2016 Blessings along the way!, General, The beginnings!

to drive a big piece of equipment.  How fun is this?  I am loving these toys.  First my little DR bush hog, and now a big excavator type machine with a bucket on the front.  (Is this a bulldozer~~I don’t know ~but something akin to a dozer.  It has a big excavator bucket on the front of it.)

Yeah, I know that these huge pieces of equipment are NOT toys.  I know this.  AND I am being extremely careful driving them, (because I have 2 little ones running around our build and I love them, and I don’t want anything to happen to them~~that would kill me!) but it has been a blast learning how to drive it, and I have been driving it with a purpose.

I didn't think anyone would believe me, so I had Roman take a few pictures!

I didn’t think anyone would believe me, so I had Roman take a few pictures!

For those that don’t know me well, I’m not too frivolous of a person.  My older girls will even tell you that I am quite practical.  Not to my face, but they might also tell others that I am ‘too’ practical.  They remind me that my birthday and Christmas should be times for me to ask for ‘fun’ stuff.  BUT I WANT PRACTICAL stuff!

It makes me think of a story.  My dad once called all of children into the bathroom at our house, and talked with us about how much toilet paper we were “allowed” to use.  With 7 kids in the family, you can’t have wasted commodities, so you have to put the limits somewhere, right?  That has never left me.   Years and years later,  a friend even got me a HUGE bag (think BIG birthday bag size) filled with t.p. so I would not be so wound tight about the t.p. being used in our house with my now family.   Kind of funny, huh?  But, I don’t like to see things wasted.  (Done with my embarrassing tightwad story.)

Point being. . . I wouldn’t get in and just drive around in a dozer for the fun of it~~seriously, that’s a waste of gas (diesel?), and it would be a waste of my time.

Another interjection story (kind of long):  The fellow (a.k.a. our logger~how do you like that?  ‘Our’ logger!) is also a jack-of-all-trades. He is the one putting in our footer, basement walls and floors, and also our gravel driveway.   I think that he could do almost anything.  He is one of those people who has a lot of irons in the fire~~one of those people who get things done because they are focused, and have contacts and they know how to get things done.

And he likes Craigslist too!  You gotta love a guy who is about getting us some good deals!

He is also forming up our walls with new plywood that we can also repurpose for our subfloors or our roof.  Okay, so I think that will work as both, and also save us some money.  Both of which are important in this build!  Totally!

He is fully aware of our intention in wanting to build it ourselves so as to save money.  (God also is more fully aware and knows it would take us mega months and even more headaches to do what our logger has done in days, and so he sent our logger into our build and our lives.) Yes,  I want to help with our build, and he is letting me.  So cool!  There were builder fellows that we spoke with who were like “uh, we have our own guys.  The forms are too heavy, blah, blah, blah. . . . ”   So, I am stoked that he lets me help.  That saves both of us money, right?

Back to my story:  I did ask up front if he would let me learn to drive his excavators and cranes.  He nodded his head with a grin.  Probably not everyday that a woman is asking to do that.  (Hopefully, you already know that I am not your typical person.  I like to try new things, and I am a little bit crazy!)

Back to me driving the big piece of equipment!   First off, he showed me how to operate everything except the bucket on it, and then he let me practice by driving over all of the excavated basement area to pack it down.  This jaunt being after he had already leveled our land for the footing.  He did all of that.  I was just packing it down.   That allowed me to get a grip on the movement of the machine (for the life of me, I cannot remember the name of the type of excavator it was~and it’s kinda driving me nuts because I don’t like blogging ‘machine’ for it~but that is all I have), and the forward – backward – turning of it.  That worked, and I got to do that while he was doing other things.  I LOVED it!

Then, the next day, he let me drive over the CrAzY big ruts leftover from the cows being on our property over the winter (even though the ground was extremely dry and not budging) to try to smooth them down.  Try as I might, even though he had filled the bucket up with dirt to add weight, just going in reverse and forward was not working out the ruts.  So I started to kind of shimmy the “machine”.  Side to side, kind of weaving, as I moved forward and back.  And don’t you know, that started to break up the dirt.  YES!  This is a good thing, and I was really kind of having fun.  It was better than working in the hot sun, even though I did get kind of hot in that glass box.  I can’t complain~~Sitting and just moving your arms isn’t too hard.  Pretty cushy!

So, I was learning how to drive one heavy piece of equipment.   It is something I have always wondered if I could do.  Now I know!

Just “Thank you LORD!”  for this opportunity!


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Let the excavation begin!

By September 18, 2016 Our log home journey!, The beginnings!
Bringing in the 'big' machine!

It seems weird!  Here we were planning to do this ourselves.  And then we got an offer for help with our basement from ‘our’ logger!  He had built his basement you know, under his log home, and he has all of the BIG machines needed to do it.  It is just another of his trades~~

We talked it over, and decided that yes, it would probably be a good idea to get the help.  Funny how things change so quickly.

Here I have stewed over using ICF’s all this time, and now we are going to get a poured walkout basement.  Okay, so why use ICF’s if the ground is going to be covering 3 sides of the basement?  The plan now is to use the polyiso on the exposed wall and then cover it with the rock for some good insulation downstairs.

My husband and I had marked off our 35×35 square, and squared it, which normally takes a long time, but it happened amazingly quickly for us!  (THANK YOU God!)  It was the same distance from corner to corner as from the other corner to corner.  BIG shocker and WOOHOO!   The picture at the top of the post has our stakes in it where we ultimately placed our house.

So let the excavation begin!  The equipment was brought in, and off loaded, and here we go!


Here we go!

Oops! Don't move that thing with the boys in it!

Oops! Don’t move that thing with the boys in it!

Taking the top off for the driveway!

Taking the top off for the driveway!

Intriguing to our little guys!

Intriguing to our little guys!

And starting on our basement!

And starting on our basement!

WHOA!  This is happening way fast!  WE. ARE. HAVING. OUR. BASEMENT. DUG. OUT!  (Do you hear the shock in my text?)

Starting the topsoil pile!

Starting the topsoil pile!

Doesn't it look sweet with the church in the background?

Doesn’t it look sweet with the church in the background?

I have 'two' kings! of the hill.

I have ‘two’ kings! of the hill.

And we want to make sure it is level!

And we want to make sure it is level!

It's getting deeeeeeper!

It’s getting deeeeeeper!

He dug it out, and I think I am shock still!  I cannot believe our basement is dug out already!  Way sooner than I ever thought it would happen!

My thoughts on this are as follows.  There are a few ‘unorthodox’ things that are happening in our build.  Some things that make me feel a little uneasy or anxious, you might say.  Nothing to ‘write home about’, but I knew I had to offer this up to the Lord.

The Lord tells us in Phillipians 4:6  “Do not to be anxious about anything. . .”  Whoa~~kind of a hard thing to grasp, right?  But, it goes on to say “. . .but in everything, by prayer and petition with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.”  Okay, so this verse has truly been a ‘heart’ saver for me.  I start getting anxious about different things going on in my life, and my mind starts reeling, and you know, it is fear and worry and STRESS!  But God wants us to have His peace that He offers.  I know this.  So, I call out to Him, and it looks like this!

I turn the radio off in the van on the way home, and tell the boys that I need to pray and I would like them to pray with me.  They graciously oblige.  So, I start in and begin letting the Lord know all that I am thankful for.  I am thankful for the beautiful day. . . . and I just keep going thinking of everything  I am thankful for.  And you know what happened?

God revealed to me that our basement is dug.  It is finished (the digging part), just like His dying on the cross finished it for us.  We don’t have to strive to get to heaven.  Jesus paid the price.

So, our basement was dug out level in just a matter of hours.  There was no stress in the learning how and the leveling of it.  No headaches.  No trying to figure out how deep to dig down for just the topsoil pile.  No unknowingly making a dirt pile with our top soil and clay mixed together.  No disagreements with my husband about how to deal with the ENORMOUS rocks that we ran in to.  And no waiting for months to get to just this point in our build.  Just done! . . . and ready for setting up for our footer.

“Oh. my. goodness!   You are so good, GOD!   And here I thought I was stressed.  You just saved me from a ton of stress!”

Yes, in my thankfulness, God revealed to me how He has this covered.  Albeit may be costing us more, I know the Lord knows what he is doing.


Isaiah 55:8-9 (NKJV)

“For My thoughts are not your thoughts,
Nor are your ways My ways,” says the Lord.
“For as the heavens are higher than the earth,
So are My ways higher than your ways,
And My thoughts than your thoughts.

Just “Thank you LORD!” that you know better than me.

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Look at our free picnic tables!

By September 18, 2016 Blessings along the way!, General, The Gatherings

Yes, one of my long time friends and previous roommates from years ago contacted me about a picnic table that she had and no longer wanted.  Was I interested?  You BET!

She sent a picture of it so that we could make sure that we actually would be interested~~it is a bit older, with some bowing in the bench section, and weathered.  It is older after all!  But my husband was not deterred, and so we headed over the next day to get it!  Then she offered us a second one if we wanted it, and sure, we’ll take it and use it too after we get it in shape.

Get this!  When we got there, she was sitting in one of those ‘floating’ lounge chairs, and threw that in the deal.  Now, it was like brand new, and we were wondering why she was getting rid of it.  She just didn’t want to keep stuff.  They had gotten more thinking their daughter would use it, and she wasn’t using it, and so time to pass it on.  We were the blessed recipients!  Woohoo!  I was thankful!

My husband strapped down the picnic tables after my friend and I helped to load them.  And then we were headed home.  What a blessing!   Soooo. . . we were planning on going to the property the next day, and needed space to load the bush hog on the trailer (the tables and bush hog would not coexist in the trailer).  It was decided to go ahead, take the tables to the property that evening to off-load, free up the trailer, and while there, have a little Labor Day picnic.  (It was one of my daughter’s ideas.)

Off to the property we go. . . .


They made it down in one piece. Woohoo!

They made it down in one piece. Woohoo!

Heading out to set up for the picnic!

Heading out to set up for the picnic!

A little tug-of-war action!

A little tug-of-war action!

Our little campfire for our beans and weanies! and even S'mores. YUM!

Our little campfire for our beans and weanies! and even S’mores. YUM!

And, I even got to enjoy looking at the stars from my 'floating' lounge chair! (forgive the horrible picture pls)

And, I even got to ‘chill’ and enjoy looking at the stars from my ‘floating’ lounge chair! (forgive the horrible picture pls)


Then the next few days while I was ‘having fun’  😉  bush hogging, my husband replaced the most of the benches on the picnic tables (what!~you used the wood purposed for our outhouse??~~~just joking!) and managed the little guys while they sanded and stained them.  FINALLY, something the guys could do to help out!


The picnic tables have new benches!

The picnic tables have new benches!

Learning to sand~

Learning to sand~

Yep, he is learning too!

Yep, he is learning too!


Let the staining begin!

Let the staining begin!


I think the green stain makes them look great! and now we don't have to lug as many chairs back and forth!

I think the green stain makes them look great! and now we don’t have to lug as many chairs back and forth!

Our ‘free’ picnic tables have been refurbished, and are ready to use!  Woohoo!  Love it!

Just “Thank you LORD!”  for blessing us with the tables, and allowing the boys to have productive work (besides just school work) to do!  And thank you for your amazing stars that you placed in the sky!



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Cool window~~

By September 18, 2016 General, The Gatherings

Found this really cool window on Craigslist!  What a deal!  (or is it?)

I had one of my daughters drive down to pick it up~~kind of a hike to go get it.   But I am so very excited to just add this window in the front gable area of our house!  I hadn’t even thought of that originally~~

How fun, right?  It even has a screen and opens up, but how will that ever happen being up so high in the great room?  Such a dilemma!

That very morning, for another reason (thinking maybe of having a bookshelf up higher in our home) I was actually perusing websites looking for the ways to build a ladder that rolls along the wall, and studying how they work.  I found it very interesting~~not too complicated actually.

Then later that evening, after my daughter brought the window home, she happened to mention to me that the fellow who sold us the octagon window had asked her if I wanted a ‘library’ ladder.  She knew I wasn’t interested in anything like that, so she told him ‘no’.

WHAT!?!  NO way!

Then it hit me that “Oh, a library ladder would be a great way to reach the window.”  DUH! !

I told her I was actually looking at how to build one that morning~~isn’t that ironic?

So, I called the fellow back, but the ladder was only about 6′ tall.  Not going to work.  Once I climb up it, and still have leverage so as not to fall off backward, I will not be high enough to do what I was hoping to do with it. Bummer!  But it gives me hope that there are some out there that may work.

So, you want to know something funny?  This window has been in my garage now for a couple of weeks, and I have been so excited to use it when we build, and I am catching up my blog, and VIOLA!  I just realized that I. CAN. NOT. put this cool window in the front gable of our house.  I have a roof support pole going up in the middle of the front wall of our house that will totally block a centered window.  I AM A DORK!  What was I thinking?  Okay, God you are funny!  You knew I was going to have to put that window somewhere else all along.  hahaha

Just “Thank you LORD!” for the treasures, and the surprises!




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