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mdiesterhaft@twc.com

Haulin’ junk away. . . .

By January 16, 2018 General

We acquired this old farm land that once had cattle roaming, but was no longer being taken care of.  It was part of an 88 acre farm that was subdivided.  We fell in love with it, and knew it would fit our bill for having space (not needing an exorbitant amount of land), and farming, and living in the country, but also close to the expressway to hop on and get into the town that we are used to.  But what we didn’t see, or I don’t remember having seen before we bought the land was the junk in a ‘holler’ that they had just dumped.   For those of you that do not know what a ‘holler’ is, it is an Appalachian alternative way of saying a ‘hollow’ which that means a small valley between mountains.  ~~Okay, so we don’t have mountains, and this isn’t really even a small valley.  It is more like a very small ravine on our property that could easily be fallen into.  It really may not be a ‘holler’?

Yeah, anyway there is land erosion there, and there is space there where you can fall into it if you are not careful.  (Actually, Grandpa did fall into it one day when we were working to clean it out~~scared us to death, but the boys started calling him Ninja Grandpa because he fell so well. . . actually onto one of the big round haybales, feet up in the air, and slid off gently.  WHEW!  That couldn’t have gone any better.  He came out unscathed.  Thank you LORD!)  Back to this ravine:  There it is, and full of junk.  I am talking an old metal desk, parts of a refrigerator, an old cast iron kitchen sink (which BTW, was extremely heavy to extrude~thank heaven for my strong husband!), and loads and loads of misc. broken and rusted out parts of farm machinery, bags and bags worth of emptied cans and jars (Nestea Instant Tea to be specific ~~they must’ve drunk that A LOT!)   look down ~~You get the idea.  That’s what I’m talking about~~

Yep, does anyone remember these? My mom drank this too!

Yep, does anyone remember these? My mom drank this too!

 

Oh, and there were tires!

Oh, and there were tires!

What is this we are extruding now?

What is this we are extruding now?

Yep, we haven't a clue, but our best bet is some part off of farm equipment.

Yep, we haven’t a clue, but our best bet is some part off of farm equipment.

Can you figure it out?

Can you figure it out?

 

It is loaded with JUNK!

We were cleaning it out a ton when we were first working down there, before all of the building started to happen.  But it just didn’t seem like we were getting rid of the junk.  It was getting stacked up on the land next to the ravine.  I kept letting my husband know when the ‘dump’ days were so we could take it and get rid of it, but it seemed there was always something that stopped us from doing it.  So there sat the piles, and they sat, and they sat. . . you understand.  They weren’t walking off on their own~~NO Sirree!  They just kept sitting there.

Until one day~all of the conditions were right.  We had the trailer with us.  The ground wasn’t soggy so that we could drive the truck over there.  It wasn’t raining.  He was off work.  The deck wasn’t stacked against us, and we went for it.

Just one of the piles.

Just one of the piles.

Yep, this is it loaded up.

Yep, this is it loaded up.

Offloading and being FREE of some of the 'junk'.

Offloading and being FREE of some of the ‘junk’.

The pile is beginning to go down.

The pile is beginning to go down.

So that is the beginning of getting rid of some of the junk.  I wouldn’t quite call it fun, but some things are a necessity, so there we go.

And this was probably a boring post, but it is part of us getting things in order there.

This is just more of the junk that we unearthed and got rid of.  Woohoo!  I am thankful!

Just “Thank you LORD!” that we do have places to take this kind of stuff to, and can even get gas money to get it there.  HA!

 

 

 

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And then we looked for an RV~~

By January 4, 2018 General, Planning
Yep, here is the picture of whole kit-n-kaboodle.

The plan is to sell our house, and move into a temporary living space.  And so then we looked on. . . you guessed it. . .  Craigslist. . . to find an RV of sorts.  We needed something we could live in until we can move into our home.  We were searching and searching, and this is what we landed on.

No, unfortunately, it wasn’t free.  Sadness. . . but I guess I can’t get everything for free, huh?

We went to look at it, and we took pictures.  Here they are.

Going to check it out~

Going to check it out~

We are novices when it comes to these things, so we are getting shown a few of the ropes! My #1 son sitting in a chair~not like him.

We are novices when it comes to these things, so we are getting shown a few of the ropes! (Our #1 son sitting in a chair~not like him.)

Yeah, I think that he may have been in time out??

Yeah, I think that he may have been in time out??

Looking toward the back from the doorway of the main sleeping area in the front.

Looking toward the back from the doorway of the main sleeping area in the front.

Looking back toward the front of the trailer from the back bedroom space.

Looking back toward the front of the trailer from the back bedroom space.

So the door has taken a hit when it was being transported at a point it seems. We can handle that.

So thise door has taken a hit when it was being transported at a point it seems. We can handle that.

The narrow closet space behind that door.

The narrow closet space behind that door.

The slide-out with the dining table and couch. Nice space for the recliner too.

The slide-out with the dining table and couch. Nice space for the recliner too.  You can see the bedroom in the front of the trailer past the recliner.

The shower ~you can see the sky light light coming in.

The shower ~you can see the sky light light coming in.

The kitchen area across from the dining table and couch.

The kitchen area across from the dining table and couch.

I think we are going to own this trailer in a few days.

I think we are going to own this trailer in a few days.

I think I am, as I write this post, trying to convince myself that I like this travel trailer.  There are worse.  I know that.  There are much better.  I also know that.  I did not want to pay for an expensive one.  It is just temporary.  We will live in it for a short while, and it will be motivation to keep rockin’ on the house.

I will show you pictures of getting it on our property next.  But this was our visit to see it, and decide “Yes, we will buy it.”

It also means that our girls will not be moving in with us.  Although we have space for 9 people to sleep in this travel trailer, we DON’T have space for 6 people to live, actually live ~with all of their belongings~ in this space for any length of time.   Especially when our girls are 21 and almost 23 and have tons of clothes, belongings, etc., and our boys are only 8 and 9 yo.  It will never work out.

It is with sadness that I write the reality is that our girls are basically going to get ‘booted’ out, and thankfully, they are not upset with us about it.  I think they might even kind of be excited for what is ahead, even though we all know we will miss each other dearly.  They know we need to take this step of selling our house.  We need the equity from our home to be able to finish our log cabin debt free.  That is the goal.

Just “Thank you Lord!” that you provide.

 

 

 

 

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Working on building our outhouse!

By October 1, 2017 General, the outhouse
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.

We just had to come up with something different for our outhouse workings because you can NOT use something like what we had planned when the hole you’ve dug for your outhouse will not drain~~AT ALL!  Kentucky clay at it’s finest!    Huge kind of ‘outhouse’ problem, right?   (Side note on the lack of drainage:  Anyone that comes to work on our property informs us of just how bad the land, or soil, is.  Nice, huh?  I plan to remedy that with permaculture, but in the meantime, I have a log house to build, and an outhouse even before that, that I am currently having difficulties with.)

I had heard of something called a ‘composting’ toilet, and the internet has so many great ways to find out information about things you never knew you never knew.  I wanted to see if that might be an option.  My daughter had known of one on the farm she worked on several years ago, and said there was never any odor.  So I decided to check it out.

What I found is that it isn’t a “composting” toilet because the refuse does not compost there in the toilet (a.k.a. a bucket).  A truer name for what I was looking at is a ‘dry toilet’.

The concept goes like this:  You use a bucket for your refuse, and then when you are finished with each trip to the ‘dry toilet’, you pour damp sawdust on top of the excreta (nice, huh?) and then you are done.  Except at some point the bucket needs to be dumped, but then it can be put to work composting and make fertile soil for down the road.  It is not a quick process.  It takes roughly a year before you could even use it on a garden, and that year doesn’t start until you have quite the “load” (I really did not want to say that.)  So, in reality, it can be a good thing.

So, I know the owner of a local company that makes stairways.  They have a continual supply of sawdust.  I contacted him to see if we could get sawdust from him, and he was fine with it.  It is good to have connections, right?  for sawdust~~hehehe!

And now that we have the outhouse finished, I am going to post the rest of the pictures so that you can see the work we did to get it completed, and how we determined a name for it.

 

 

Oh, and a bucket such as this will fit nicely in the spot we will need it to go.

Oh, and a bucket such as this will fit nicely in the spot we will need it to go.

. . . with a few pictures added in for kicks that have nothing to do with an outhouse. . .

Two brothers hangin' while mom and dad work~~gotta say I think this is the cutest! Love that they are best friends!

Two brothers hangin’ while mom and dad work~~gotta say I think this is the cutest! Love that they are best friends!

Now we had to fill the hole back in that took us forever to dig out.  Next, we needed to support the spot that was the opening for our hole from the outhouse, and then cover it to make it level with the rest of the floor.

Watch as we make the changes to our outhouse plans.

Here is the hole filled back in, and ready to be covered over.

Here is the filled-back-in hole below the floor opening, and now the floor of our outhouse needs to be reconstructed.

Had to add supports under the sub-flooring that we needed to add on.

Had to add supports under the sub-flooring that we needed to add on.  (Kind of hard to see, but he is adding some 2×4’s in that area.)

Here is the cover after we put some support boards under here.

And here is the cover after we put some support boards under there.

Trying to get the base level.

Now, we are trying to get the base level.

Digging, digging, just a little bit here, and a little bit there.

Digging, digging, just a little bit here, and a little bit there.

Does jumping on this and wiggling it help get it level? I'm trying here.

Does jumping on this and wiggling it help get it level? I’m trying.

It has to be level, right?

It has to be level, right?

Screwing on the subfloor to our little ol' outhouse.

Screwing on the subfloor to our little ol’ outhouse.

Up goes the back wall, with G'pa to the assist.

Up goes the back wall frame, with G’pa to the assist.

Next we are putting up the right side wall frame.

Next we are putting up the right side wall frame.

Grandpa was just a huge help as we put this thing together.

Grandpa was just a huge help as we put this thing together.

Getting the frame of the third wall up. Woohoo!

Getting the frame of the third wall up. Woohoo!

Next, the frame for the front wall section with an opening for the door. Good practice for squaring so a door will fit.

Next, the frame for the front wall section with an opening for the door. Good practice for squaring so a door will fit.

Starting on the roof supports.

Starting on the roof supports.

Loving getting moving on this.

Loving getting moving on this.

Oh, and we had a monkey up in our little tree.

Oh, and we had a monkey up in our little tree.

And a shot of the bracing we put in for squaring up the frame of our outhouse.

And a shot of the bracing (the diagonal board on the frame) we put in for squaring up the frame of our outhouse.

And bracing on the other side.

And bracing on the other side.

Have them working on clearing the brush from the coverage.

Here is the little one working on clearing brush from the trees surrounding the outhouse.

Love that smile for sure! He is working getting brush from under the bushes.

Love that smile for sure! He is working getting brush from under the bushes.

One of the pieces of roofing that was salvaged, and we were planning it for the roof of our little outhouse.

One of the pieces of roofing that was salvaged, and we were planning it for the roof of our little outhouse.  Not perfectly blemish-free, but doable.

My 'mighty men' bringing the door that we got over for the outhouse.

My ‘mighty men’ bringing the door that we got over for the outhouse.

 

I would love to say we were rockin’ this as fast as I am getting these pictures put on the blog, however, you will notice the change in seasons and the change of clothes we are wearing.  We are slow, and this proves it!

 

Continuing in our build. . .

 

Our neighbors were throwing away some tile they had pulled up in their house. It was the perfect amount to salvage for our outhouse floor. Lovin' FREE!

Our neighbors were throwing away some tile they had pulled up in their house. It was the perfect amount to salvage for our outhouse floor. Lovin’ FREE!

Love his kind of 'CRAZY'!

Love his kind of ‘CRAZY’!

Working on the measurement for the roof.

Working on the measurement for the roof.

The roof plywood (I don't know what to call it~) is up, and now it is time to secure it to the frame.

The roof plywood (I don’t know what to call it~) is up, and now it is time to secure it to the frame.

Screwing it down!

Screwing it down!

Then we put the rubber covering over the plywood, and I ultimately glued that down.

Then we put the rubber covering over the plywood, and I ultimately glued that down.

We brought the door back home to scrape it off~~sometimes we do double the work, but they worked hard on it.

We brought the door back home to scrape it off~~sometimes we do double the work, but they worked hard on it.

Was the lead in that old paint getting to them, or are they 'crazy' like their dad??

Was the lead in that old paint getting to them, or are they ‘crazy’ like their dad??

 

Pause here for a ‘big’ holiday for us~~Easter~~and some pictures from that day.  I know I am really delayed in getting these pictures posted.  Really, we have been busy, but I hope you enjoy the progress we’ve made, even if you are seeing it delayed~~

And just to add a little bit off topic, I had to throw in some pictures from Easter. We can clean up sometimes. (wink, wink)

Our little guys after church.  We can clean up sometimes. (wink, wink)

Even we don't look to shabby all dressed up!

Even we don’t look to shabby all dressed up!

Yes, we do live in Kentucky. I like my bare feet, and I guess our girls do too!

Yes, we do live in Kentucky. I like my bare feet, and I guess our girls do too!

Dad clownin' with his girlies!

Dad clownin’ with our beauties!

So, back to the outhouse pictures~~~

The door is back, and needs a bit more touch up~~

The door is back, and needs a bit more touch up~~

Starting to get the walls up.

Starting to get the walls up.

Another shot with the front walls on the frame.

Another shot with the front walls on the frame.

A all of the walls are on the frame. Making progress here~~we are just S-L-O-W!

All of the walls are on the frame. Making progress here~~we are just S-L-O-W!  (**Notice the white dot on the back wall of the outhouse.)

Working together to make a few extra braces for strength.

Working together to make a few extra braces for strength.

Notice the braces in the back frame now? Not equally put in, but strong and for goodness sake, it's an outhouse, right?

Notice the braces in the back frame now? Not equally put in, but strong and for goodness sake, it’s an outhouse, right?

The all important toilet seat!

The all important toilet seat!

And a close-up of the 'salvaged' flooring!

And a close-up of the ‘salvaged’ flooring!  It fit like a glove~~

We purposefully used the plywood that was saved from when we built up our house foundation forms.  But. . . all of the drywall pieces had holes in them for the purpose of the support braces when our foundation was being framed up and poured.  (You can go back in the blog, and check that out in a previous post when we were building the foundation, OR just take my word for it.)

Now, what to do about the holes in our walls?  (to be continued. . .)

Just “Thank you LORD!” for the progress we are making along the way.

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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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