Cows in the Kitchen
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mdiesterhaft@twc.com

OH, the issues with used vehicles!

By March 20, 2017 General
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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.

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I’m trying here.

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

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

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

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

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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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Electricity complications! Ready. . No. . .Yes. . .OOPs! WHAT!?!

By March 19, 2017 General, Our log home journey!, The beginnings!
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*I wrote this post a while ago, and didn’t realize that I hadn’t published.  So, this story happened last fall, and I have the update on our electricity connection with the next post.*

We got the trenches dug out and the conduit placed in our trenches leading to the house.  However, the base that the transformer sits on was not placed where it was supposed to be placed.

But Jay thought that they (our electric company) would take care of that.

I called to let them know we were ready eons ago.  The field engineer told it would be roughly 7-10 business days.

No worries!  We are not in a big old hurry~~

10 days goes by~NOTHING!  So what do I do?  I call the next week. . .

Turns out they are delayed~~they had sent quite a few of their fellows to work on the electric lines down in South Carolina, and then we had storms locally in 3 counties where the electric got knocked out, and they were in the process of working to get power on for all of those people.  No problem.  I don’t mind waiting for them to take care of that.  Not at all.

Another week passes, and I call just to make sure we haven’t been forgotten.  OH, it wasn’t because we were forgotten.  There is something that I apparently had not done that I was supposed to do.  I have no recollection of being told I was required to do X-Y-Z.  So, I call the engineer back, and he returned my call after checking in to my concerns.  I was right (for once).  I did not have to do X-Y-Z.  YAY!  Victory for me.

He will let them know to come and get it done sooner than later.

Two days goes by. . . The engineer, who is as nice as can be, calls to let me know the construction foreman for the job to put the electric pole and underground wiring in just stopped out to our property, and noticed the base for the transformer was not placed down in the ground over the conduit like it was supposed to be.

YEP!  I THOUGHT SO!

Okay, truth be told~~The engineer had told me we were supposed to do that.  I passed the information along, and was informed that it was not necessary.  OKAY~~I hate these situations.  But I have to face them and deal with them.  And you know what?  It isn’t the end of the world, or the most catastrophic happening of the day.

If I cannot deal with these things, this build will be impossible.  Not stressing, but just not wanting it to be our fault that it is delayed, right?

I called Jay to let him know, and he was on it.  He sent a fellow (who knew what he was doing with this) out to our property to look and it, and then about 1 week later. . . Voila’!  we have our base set in with the conduit sticking up out of the base just like it is supposed to be (I think).   It is as I understand it should be, at least.

Did you notice the days and weeks passing for this electric pole and underground wiring to be placed?  It is taking –for. . . ever!

The engineer has been once called again at the beginning of the week, and hopefully it will work to have it hooked up.  some day.

Just “Thank you LORD!” for taking care of the electricity when you see fit.

Psalm 27:14 (NKJV)

14 Wait on the Lord;
Be of good courage,
And He shall strengthen your heart;
Wait, I say, on the Lord!

So we wait~~

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Spraying the logs~ Part 1! Or NOT!

By March 19, 2017 General, The beginnings!
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It was time to spray the logs, but we determined the sprayer that we had gotten (really cheap) would not work, and we had to get another one.  My husband found one online that looked good, and asked me to order it.  I think I ordered the wrong one.

But we were going to try.  It was new, what could go wrong, right?

So we take it to the property load it up with our ‘preserving’ concoction, and I get to go spray the logs.  So, I pump it, and try.

I got this! I can do this easy job of spraying the logs~~

I got this! I can do this easy job of spraying the logs~~

No I don't! HELP me!

No I don’t!. . . . HELP me!

Notice I have the directions that I am holding on to between my legs there.  They would’ve blown away otherwise. So, I was reading directions, but it still wasn’t working.

Coming to the rescue, he was!

Coming to the rescue, he was!

Trying anything to get this to work~~

Trying anything to get this to work~~

Even doing a dance, or were we just really praying at this point?

Even doing a dance, or were we just really praying at this point?

Yes, I was cold, and look like a stick stiff figure here.  But we wanted to get our logs sprayed! ! !  And here we are now. . .

Is there something wrong with the flow? Obviously, something was wrong, but we weren't figuring it out.

Is there something wrong with the flow? Obviously, something was wrong, but we weren’t figuring it out.

We tried over and over again to determine what exactly was NOT working on our 2nd sprayer that we bought.  All I can come up with is that the ‘concoction’ was not diluted, and had crystallized somewhat, and therefore was clogging up the sprayer, or too thick to get through the sprayer.

WE’RE DONE!

 

At least for the day!  No more trying to spray logs with a sprayer not working.  It’s okay.  Really, it is.  (I think I am still trying to convince myself.)

As it turns out, our 90 day return window for taking the sprayer back has come and gone.  We decided that we would try again with it after we heat the solution up again and dilute it.  So there you have it.  Part 1 ~Failure!  But we did learn that what we were doing was not working, and we have ideas about what to try next time.

In the meantime, we will have our little lunch at our little picnic table in our little spot.

 

Warm soup on a chilly day is always a good thing! Yummy!

Warm soup on a chilly day is always a good thing! Yummy!

And maybe we will just work on leveling the ground for the outhouse in the meantime?

And so we need a level spot for this outhouse~~don't want to be leaning in there!

We need a level spot for this outhouse~~don’t want to be leaning in there!

Looks level, but we still have a bit of work getting it totally level~~

Looks level, but we still have a bit of work getting it totally level~~

It was such a pretty evening that I took a picture of our hillside.

It was such a pretty evening that I took a picture of our hillside.

 

Oh, and BTW, our logs look terrible now.  What did I expect??

Yeppers, this is what they look like when you don't get them sprayed!

Yeppers, this is what they look like when you don’t get them sprayed!

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I still have hope.  We can clean them up, and then spray them.  We have to get on this!

Just “Thank you LORD!” for practices so that we have the chance to get this right before we get our REAL logs.

 

 

 

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