Cows in the Kitchen
Browsing Archive

January, 2017

AAAAAAAH! Fire in the pot!

By January 31, 2017 General, The beginnings!

Our pretty logs from our church~~we want to keep them pretty, you know~~

AND so. . . .we need to treat the logs, so the bugs don’t start eating them.

(BTW, we started on this a few months ago, and so, this is me working on catching the blog up to present times.)

So, there is a recipe for the treatment of our logs.

We went to get the ingredients.  One we had to order, the other of which is anti-freeze, and the third we could purchased when we went for the anti-freeze.

We had everything we needed.

OOPS!  We also need a LARGE pot to mix. . .and cook this stuff before we could treat the logs.

Here we go~~

Getting this started with our fire going strong.

Getting this started with our fire going strong.

Manning the fire~

Manning the fire~

It is starting to steam.

It is starting to steam.

Now this gets interesting!  We are heating this up, and it is supposed to get to a certain temperature. but we did not have a thermometer.  OOOOOPS!  So, let’s just make sure it is REALLY hot!

So, it gets really HOT. . . . and then YIKES! ! ! !

. . . it catches on fire!  The concoction is on FIRE!  AHHHHHHH!

OH MY GOSH!  

What are we supposed to do?  

Thank goodness my husband had his head on straight, and told me to put the lid on.

Simple. . . . quick. .  . AND effective!  Good thinking, hon!

Woohoo!  That works!  And now take it off of the fire.

I guess it’s hot enough??????

You think?

I DO.

HOT~~now let's add the other stuff!

Been on fire~~now let’s add the other stuff!  (hehe)

Adding the other ingredients~~

Adding the other ingredients~~

And we stir, and stir!

And we stir, and stir!

. . . and stir~

. . . and stir~

Is this working? I thought the other ingredients would dissolve quicker than this. . . .

Is this working? I thought the other ingredients would dissolve quicker than this. . . .

Back on the fire you go. . . .with a little fear this time.

Back on the fire you go. . . .with a little bitta’ fear this time.  eeeks!  Please “no FIRE!”

We FINALLY get this concoction mixed together, and now it just needs to cool.  So we move the pot to our open basement, put the lid on it, and add a weight (you know, one of the heavy pieces of metal that we unearthed) on the lid just so that no little curious creatures might be harmed.   Then we will mess with the spraying another day.

Just “Thank you LORD!” for keeping us safe, and letting us get our mix together, with a little bit of drama.

And, stay tuned.  Next, we had to get this concoction sprayed on our logs.

 

 

 

 

 

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Working on the outhouse in the meantime. . .

By January 29, 2017 General
IMG_3846

In the meantime, we started working on the outhouse some more.  In the picture above, Roman is learning to use the drill.  Pretty cool, huh?

We had wood we have scavenged along the way, and here are some pictures of us framing it up.

Little Isaac working on extracting some nails.

Little Isaac working on extracting some nails.

Framing up the walls. . .

Framing up the walls. . .

Working on some bracing here.

Working on some bracing here.

Some of the wood we had found on one of our trips to round of some wood to use, were pieces that we are using for strength where the seat will actually be placed (the black part on the base).

A different angle. . .

A different angle. . .

A couple of things to note here.  Kind of funny, (or you could say “AWKWARD!”), but we were building this right by the roadway.  Of course, our outhouse is not going to be placed there, but there were a couple of reasons we worked on it there.  First off, it was where we had unloaded the lumber/wood that we had picked up along the way, so the wood was handy, and. . . secondly a necessity was electricity, and we were borrowing electricity from our neighbor across the way, using multiple extension cords.  NOTE:  No electricity yet!

The way we were doing this was to built different sections ie. base frame, base flooring, walls, support frame for the seat, etc.  Then we were going to carry it in pieces to the spot where we plan to put it together.  It was working out pretty well.  I quite like it.  We are just wingin’ it really, but it’s not too bad, if I can say so myself.

And then to dig a hole, right?  But we have quite a few obstacles. . . Wait until you see this! ! ! !

Keep watching!  First obstacle.  Tree roots. . .

The beginning of a hole. . .

The beginning of a hole. . .

Yep~~beginning our little square of a hole.

Yep~~beginning our little square of a hole.

Next up. . . Metal pieces and parts of : What? Old machinery? tools?

Next up. . . Metal pieces and parts of : What? Old machinery? tools?

AND ANOTHER. . . .some were quite challenging to extract from the earth.

AND ANOTHER. . . .some were quite challenging to extract from the earth.

Can he get it?

Can he get it?

It's more work getting this buried metal out~~

It’s more work getting this buried metal out~~

And WE.GOT.IT! ! ! Now. . . What is THAT?

And WE.GOT.IT! ! ! Now. . . What is THAT?

It’s so much more exciting than just diggin’ any ole’ hole.  Who else finds this much. . . . . . . JUNK! while trying to build a potty????

Back to the hole. . . A little 'depth' going on there. . .

Back to the hole. . . A little ‘depth’ going on there. . .

Got him working . . . all boys love dirt, don't they? Unless they have to shovel it?

Got him working . . . all boys love dirt, don’t they? Unless they have to shovel it?

See our little hole growing bigger. . .

See our little hole growing bigger. . .

So. . . .I know.  REALLY?  I am showing you a hole????  But I hope you realize this was no easy feat.

It was getting late. . . I had to stop (even though I hate having to stop). . . and that was the first day digging.

Done for the day, but wanted to document how deep I had gone the first day, and this is what you do when you don't have a tape measure. It's almost up to my knee. I was happy.

Done for the day, but wanted to document how deep I had gone the first day, and this is what you do when you don’t have a tape measure. The hole is almost up to the height of my knee. I was a happy camper!

I hadn’t hit any rock yet. . . but oh, the JUNK!

Do you see this? All extracted from the area where the outhouse will be built.

Do you see this? All extracted from around the area where the outhouse will be built.

CRAZY, huh?

Crazy, huh. . .what we have dug up.

Another angle of what we have dug up.

Yes, he fits down in the hole that .

Yes, he fits down in the hole that has gotten a little deeper .

Now, it seems really junkie on our property, and there are about 3 spots they used for dumping (cringe here. . . at least that is all that we have found so far).  Keeps it interesting?

Right?

Anyway, we were back at it several days later. . .

Helpers hauling our pieces to our outhouse spot.

Helpers hauling our pieces to our outhouse spot.

Working on it again, and trying to get our base level.

Working on it again, and trying to get our base level.

One of the tools that we were using to dig this hole was a ‘stone bar’ we think it was called.  I think I was more concerned about working that day than getting pictures of the stone bar in action.  So Mark ran down to get it so I could take a picture.  And ‘voila’, this is the bar we were using to break up the thick rock that was in the way of the hole we were digging for our outhouse.  Kind of “HUGE”, huh?

The "BIG" stone bar. We weighed it, and it weighs 28 pounds.

The “BIG” stone bar. We weighed it, and it weighs 28 pounds.

28 lbs. may not seem like a lot to some people, but when you have to lift it over and over again, I was losing my strength.  I mean, I could lift it up, and drop it down in the hole, but by the time my turn was over, I mean. . . I could hardly lift the thing out of the hole.  My husband, who is much stronger, was jabbing it down with a thrust (vs. my ‘dropping’ it in to break up the rock) with more umphhh than I could muster.  He just let me do it for kicks, I think, because he didn’t mind having a break from it.  THAT. THING. IS. HEAVY!

There you have it!  So we are in the beginning stages of our outhouse.  That was a couple of months ago that we started on this.

Fast forward to yesterday:  We haven’t been down to the property much because of the yucky weather, but we did go down to the property to take a hike to the backside.    It was a cold day, and it has been RAAAAAAAIN-Y  for the past couple of weeks! ! !  And so we decided to check and see if the water was seeping out into the ground from our outhouse hole.  We have had a LOT of rain! ! !

UH. . . . NO!  It is not seeping out, so I wonder what that means?  Of course, when we are finished building it, the rain will not be able to get in the hole.  I’m hoping??   So we won’t have the rainwater to add to the compost.

The water is not seeping in to the ground.

The water is not seeping in to the ground.

Just “Thank you LORD!” for the things that we are working on as we wait patiently for our logs.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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THE VAN! Oh no!

By January 26, 2017 General

Well, after taking the logs from our church down to the property, and then proceeding to back the van with the trailer attached down off of our hill after we unloaded,  the trailer jack got stuck in the ground and wouldn’t budge.  I think my husband kept trying to move it with the van, but alas, the trailer jack won out!  It was stuck in the ground.

He ended up having to unhook the trailer, move it off the hillside, and then continue to back the van off the hill.  (All the while I am at the neighbors visiting for a few moments.)

During this process, something happened with the engine to the van.  OH MY!  It made the weirdest sporatic ‘winding up’ sound that it scared me to have it even started.  I just KNEW something was wrong with the engine.  Poor van!  We weren’t trying to drive you into the ground.

Okay, to the mechanics we go to see if our engine needs replaced!

Money, money, money, MONEY! (think jingle)

Money, money, money, MONEY! (think jingle)

We took it to the mechanics, and they couldn’t find anything wrong~~~~but said we might need our exhaust system checked soon.  WHAT?!!  Of course, it didn’t make the noise when they had it.  Back home our van came.

But I knew something was wrong!

AND. . .  it started with the that ‘weird’ noise again~ I am sure our neighbors must’ve been wondering, “What the heck is that?”  it was so bad, so~BACK to the mechanics with you, van!

They were able to determine that the noise was actually coming from the exhaust system and recommended that we take it to the local muffler ‘guru’~~Can you say:  “PRAISE THE LORD!”  ?  I can and I was!  WHEW!

Obviously, I know nothing about cars, right?

It was the muffler. . .

and the cost wasn’t astronomical.  

And our van is still in really great shape for the years and miles it has on it!  YAY!

YES, we can handle a muffler!

YES, we can handle a muffler!

But it did scare us enough into getting a truck for the heavy duty hauling, etc. we will be doing more of soon!

Just “Thank you LORD!” for covering that!  and humbling me in my knowledge (or lack thereof) on vehicles!  😉

 

 

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Church trees! and white pines at that!

By January 19, 2017 Blessings along the way!, Our log home journey!, The beginnings!, The Gatherings

Here is Roman heading out to where the trees would be cut down, with the tools loaded in the wheelbarrow, getting ready.

There were 3 pine trees that had been planted years ago at our church.  As they grew, they seemed to be in the way of the electrical lines, and had to be trimmed to maintain the distance from the lines.  That causes a bit of misshape to the tree, you could say.

It was time!  Our pastor wanted them taken down, and my husband volunteered.

Then I asked if we could have the logs once we felled them.  He said yes.

My husband isn’t in the log hauling business, so he was asking me how we were going to get them to our property.

UHHHHHHHH!  Yeah, I don’t how we are going to get them there either.  But we will work something out, right?

First they needed to come down though, and that is just what my husband did.  These weren’t terribly tall, but tall enough.

Gives you an idea of the height.

Gives you an idea of the height.

So, down they came.  YIKES, this is scary business.  I helped with the last one (that happened to be growing along and around the electrical wires, so that needed to be taken care of before they came down, snapping the lines in the meantime.)  So he sawed off the branches that would grab the wires on the way down, and then we went to town on them.

Starting to down this tree!

Branches trimmed off, and ready to fell this tree!

Wheelbarrows and boys! They go together!

In the meantime, wheelbarrows and boys! They go together!

No fun at all, right? This is training for learning to balance a wheelbarrow!

No fun at all~~ but this is training for learning to balance a wheelbarrow!  Right?  😉

Down came the trees!  There were some scary moments~~seriously!  Trees do have a mind of their own, and I know that.  I wasn’t snapping pictures of me helping to pull it towards me, trying to make sure it went down the right side when he sawed into it.   We survived it!  And . . . . .

 

And down it came!

. . . down it came!  This was the last one down!

 

Branches go over the hill! Great little helpers!

Branches go over the hill! Great little helpers!

 

No surprise! He started peeling the first tree!

Surprise! He started peeling the first tree, AND HE WAS GETTING THE BARK OFF!

WHOA!  YAY, this is how this works!  Go for it, little one!

And then we peeled~~it wasn't too difficult! But these hadn't grown their cambium layer~~still had sap running through them.

And we peeled~~it wasn’t difficult! But these hadn’t grown their cambium layer~~still had sap running through them, so easier to peel!

 

Pretty, huh?

Pretty, huh?

 

And G'pa came along, as always, to supervise!

And G’pa came along, as always, to supervise!

Then to haul them to our property!  We got the sections we wanted from the trees, because we could have never hauled the entire trunk.  We got them loaded, headed to the property, but~~

Not strapped down~~so . . .

they were not strapped down because they seemed weighted enough.  We were going to be getting on the expressway, and. . . .

I GOT SCARED!  YEPPERS!  Didn’t want tree logs flying off our trailer, and I am sure no one else wanted that either!

 

Seemed heavy enough to ride, but got kind of scared, and wanted to make sure they weren't going to go flying out down the expressway, so we stopped and made sure they were strapped down GOOD!

So we stopped and made sure they were strapped down GOOD!

Off we go again!

We got down to our property, and headed up to one side of the hill to offload these babies!  They weren’t light~~”Use your legs, Michelle!  Use your legs!”  when lifting, right?

See them sitting there~~I am thinking posts, and stair steps! EEEEEEEH! FUN!

See them sitting there~~I am thinking porch posts, and stair steps! EEEEEEEH! FUN!

We got some logs pieces from back on our property, and then brought them up to use to set the logs on (as a sort of rack)!

Next step~treat the logs soon!

I left then to go and say “Hi” to our elderly neighbor ladies, while he finished up and got the van and trailer off the hill and ready to leave.

I came back across and hopped in the van, and my husband says to me, “When I was backing the van down the hill, it kind of got stuck, and when I tried to keep backing up, it started making a funny noise.”  Nonchalant, he was!

And me! ! !  I am thinking, “WHAT?!”

I.do.not.like.the.sounds.of.that.at.all!   But there was no noise now, so maybe it was just a fluke thing, right?

Just “Thank you LORD!”  We got them there safe and sound!   Sound?

What was that noise, anyway?  (see the next post)

 

 

 

 

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Life happens!

By January 12, 2017 General

I’m doing a ‘blogging’ NO-NO!  I have no pictures for this post, but I need to just say that the last post I put on my blog was the night before one of my sisters passed away.  She was not that old~~~and it threw me for a loop!

You see, my father had passed away many years ago, and my mother passed away over 3 years ago.  When my mother passed away, I requested to be the guardian of my older (disabled) sister.  She was in need of someone to be an advocate for her.  I wanted to see that she was getting the best care possible.  My other sisters all agreed this would be the best thing for her.  Do you know, I had to go to court to get that?  Yes, I did. . . . and so I did.  So on April 4th, almost 3 years ago, I was awarded legal guardianship over her.  This was not custody, but it gave me the ability to help with her care, and look out for her best interest, and have a say in what would happen for her.

She was NOT happy about that.  I had taken the one thing she most prided herself on having in her possession~~being her own guardian, and making the calls about what would/wouldn’t happen for her.  Turns out, she was not making the best choices.

It was a hard thing. . . a delicate balancing act.  You know, the people closest to you are the ones that you sometimes disregard the most.  And she surely wasn’t going to let me control her life.  There were many challenges working with/for her.

I loved her!  I wanted her to get the best care possible.

In the short time that I was guardian, I was able to make changes for her that helped her.

I got (behind the scenes for months altering the grocery list to get) her menu changed to much healthier food, which helped with the problem she was having with severe stomach pain all of the time, and causing her to miss work.  We got the healthier meals working, and she no longer missed work.

I found a massage therapist that would come to her home to give her massages.  She absolutely loved Beth coming, and was blessed by that.  (If it has been a while, and Beth hadn’t been there, she would ask me when Beth was coming again.)  I know she liked her massages.~~I was jealous!  😉

I made sure they were putting the foot rests on her wheelchair, to support her dangling feet and weakening ankles.  She ultimately (albeit begrudgingly) let me know it helped her.

I got her a new wheelchair cushion, because her other one was in need ditching for practical purposes, and we got a washable cover so that her cushion would stay much fresher and cleaner.

We had her room in a ‘yellow’ that she chose, and was her favorite color.  Looked great!

I ordered PT for her more than once for a period of time, and it just was not improving her ability to get around.  SADNESS! but I tried~~

These were just some of the ways in which I helped to make her life more. . . pleasant?

Hopefully~~

But she still resented me. . . even though when I would ask her what I had done that she ‘hated’ or ‘disliked’, she couldn’t tell me a thing.  I was that sister.

However, I know, and she knew. . . that I was trying.

Sadly, her condition continued to deteriorate.  Her physical abilities continued to become weaker and weaker.  She just had no strength.

Her body gave out on November 19, 2016; and my hope is in the LORD that He has seen fit to take her home with Him.

It was HARD!

As much as she disliked LOVED me,  it was a challenge for her to show that.  I still told her I loved her, and she would tell me she loved me.   And I continued doing whatever I could/was able to help her with in spite of those “challenges”.

I don’t think I have cried harder, or had a tougher time at a funeral.  I cried more about losing her than anyone else in my life.  It was a tough loss.  But she is no longer suffering, and for that we are all very thankful!  (disclaimer:  I know that sounds like a cliche’, but she suffered with a epilepsy because of an accidental drop on the playground when she was 6 years old, and the seizures, with 5 medicines going for just seizure activity, never completely stopped the seizures from occuring.  She is now free!)

Thank God He fills our lives with many other blessings.  We grieve, and then we heal.  I am grieving, and I am healing.

And there was Thanksgiving to prepare for and celebrate during that time.

And then there was Christmas to celebrate.

And then we went out of town for a week.

Happy NEW Year!

NO LOGS YET!

insert “WHAAAAAA! ! !”

Okay, so the LORD is trying to teach us patience, or something else.  What is it, LORD?

We wait, and we pray, and we trust in HIM!  (I am sure we will look back on this time and say, “Oh, it’s a good thing we didn’t have the logs yet because _____________!”)  We know the Lord knows what He is doing.  We just don’t know what or why yet.

And now there is ‘Grandpa’ to take care of.   Although ‘Grandpa’ is really not related to us at all, we love him dearly as if he were related to us.  (You’ve seen G’pa in some of the pictures I have shared along the way.)

The story goes like this:  My oldest daughter asked him to be her ‘Grandpa’ (almost 9 years ago) because his children live out of town, and her grandparents either lived out of town, or had passed.  Is was a blessed and perfect match, and we haven’t looked back.  He has been to all of our holiday gatherings, every birthday, with us on our jaunts to Amish country or wherever, driving around to look at Christmas lights, random (just because we eat) dinners at our house, to the Cincinnati Pops symphony, to the farm tours we have taken, along to watch our log house being started, and many other numerous things.  He takes ‘the guys’ out to eat at Frisches’ often~~it is their thing.  He has taken our family out to dinner more times than I can count.  He has blessed us in more ways than I can say.  Our little fellows don’t even know the difference.  They have known only him as ‘Grandpa’.

This is the Grandpa that was 82 when he came into our lives, and is now 91 years old~~ still mowing his lawn as of last summer.  But all of that is changing.  He is a little more feeble.  He has taken some falls. And the arthritis in his shoulders is really starting to act up, and he is now needing extra care.  He isn’t driving right now for obvious reasons.  We are happy to do it, and thankful that my time to care for my sister is finished so that I am able to more easily help him.  And that we will do.

So now I am ready to get back to updating my blog.  I have many pictures, and many things that have been happening in the meantime.  I will try to be more regular.

Just “Thank you LORD!” that you do not put more on our plates than we can handle.  I am truly thankful.  I see your hand at work taking something off my plate, or moving it to another time whenever I am getting overwhelmed.  You are a good God.

 

 

 

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