Cows in the Kitchen

Our (not-gonna-kill-the-van) truck!

By February 15, 2017 General, The Gatherings
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A truck again!

My husband was a scrapper.  Yep, you heard me.  He was someone you would see driving around in his pick-up . . .picking up the metal left for the trash man, and make money off of it.  And then there were the people that would call him to pick up their stuff so it would help both of us out.  And then, you know, there is Craigslist where people list things they want to get rid of if a scrapper wants to come pick it up. This was when the metal was worth something!   It was a little market, per se.  Or was it?

We got smart.  The truck ate more gas than the money made from the metal that was scrapped.  And besides, the truck kept breaking down.  Something about this just didn’t work?

And then there is the time.  It takes time to go perusing for the scrap metal, and then to ‘break it down’ so that the recycling business will take it.

YEAHHHHHH!  ~~

NO!     

That truck was put up for sale.  We couldn’t afford the time or the money this truck was taking.  So, see you later truck.  I was not too disappointed, and actually, neither was my husband.  It was a little venture he had tried.  And now it was done.  So there.

And then comes along this log house venture.  We have a little Honda hybrid (great gas miser for trips to the property) and a van.  As you know, we got a hitch kit put on it for pulling the trailer that we bought to haul the stuff that we need to take down there.

Then there were the logs that we got from our church.  The three white pine trees that my husband  felled from the church we belong to.  We hauled them down to our property.  After the incident with our van after hauling them, my husband determined we needed another truck.  A Dodge Ram at that.  Nothing else, and he was getting advise about what year, etc. to get.

Looking, looking, looking pursued.  Some calls.  Some tests drives.  Climbing under and checking them out.  No~~ No~~ No~~

And then finally he found the one that he thought would be it.  This after calling and searching for weeks/months.

He took our boys, AND our handy dandy mechanically-minded neighbor, and they drove down into Kentucky to look at this truck.  Seemed well enough for an older truck.  It is a Dodge Ram 1500 4×4~surprise!  with an extended cab and an extended bed.  It has a lift kit on it, and those ‘fog’ lights that are apparently blinding (quite hilarious for us 50 somethings to be driving around).  It has low miles, and a remote control for a CD changer (hehe~no lie), and it is mostly in good shape for a 2000.  It has lots of power, no problems with the transmission that we can tell.  But there were/are some other features, I mean ‘issues’ that come with an older vehicle.  The roof lining of the cab of the truck was coming out.

We have a friend, Art, who is also a car guru,  who offered to help with that ‘issue’.  He has a lot of the adhesive needed for that exact purpose.  YAY!  So glad he can help.

Oh, and there is no bumper.  Need to get a bumper.

And oh, when my husband was pulling the truck into Art’s garage, scared to death it would hit the top of the garage because of the lift and the lights, he tried to open the window to talk with Art, and the window would not open.

You know, some things you just don’t think to check.  And would it be a deal breaker if a window doesn’t open?

Does it matter now?  NO, it just needs to be fixed, so before they could start on the lining for the cab roof, they had to take care of the window problem.   AND so they fixed both things.

We took it to the property to haul some stuff around down there.  And I convinced my husband to test out the 4WD.  He did, and we drove all around the area of our property that has been cleared.  It’s not like we were 4 wheeling like ‘crazies’, we just wanted to see this truck work!  And it did great.

Then as we were pulling out of our driveway, he changed it back to 2WD, and we got stuck!  It is funny to think about now.  Like, it would not pull us out.  We have mud at that part of our driveway, and it is down lower than the road, so there we sat.  I was not impressed.  We both were thinking it was still in 4WD, because that is what it showed on the dashboard, and here we are stuck in our driveway.  When it was actually in 2WD?  Yeah, I’m confused.

Seriously!  Not joking~~UGGHH!

But we weren’t stuck for long.  He had to back it up, and get it going a little bit faster out of the driveway.  (The driveway still needs more gravel on it~it just has the base right now on a good portion of it.)

But then there are some other features~~oops, I mean issues.

Like the ‘check engine’ light that just recently came on.

Then my husband says, “Remind me to stop buying old vehicles, and just get something that doesn’t have a lot of problems.”

YEAH!  I am thankful that our van and car do not have issues.  He takes good care of them.  We were in our van over Christmas (that has 161,000+ miles on it) and headed to Wisconsin.  It was running great!  Although we were getting beat up by the wind.

My point being that the truck we got isn’t a show truck, it is going to be a work horse.

But, just, “Thank you LORD!” for this truck.

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Bushhogging? ME?

By February 11, 2017 General
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Still catchin’ up. . . .this is from back in November when we were still having some warm days. . . . And so it goes. . .

 

My husband’s most recent pet name for me has been ‘Bushhog Mama’.  I guess I do love that thing.  I like what it does.  And so, I had some time, the weather was good and I wanted to get our fields cleaned off before it got cold.

Gettin' it done!

One section done!

One of the boys working on his schoolwork as I bushhog. Way to use our time, huh?

One of the boys working on his schoolwork as I bushhog. Way to use our time, huh?

Here I am going for it~~the weather was still good, and the sun hadn't gone down.

Here I am going for it~~the weather was still good, and the sun hadn’t gone down.

It started to get late though, and I had to quit.  I do.not.like.quitting. when things are going so well, but there is dinner to be made, (although I need to give my daughters credit in that they make dinner many nights when we are coming home late~~and I don’t take picture of that) and the rest of the family to come home to, la la la.

And so I must quit.

I load up the bush hog, bring it home, and we left it on the trailer all hooked up because I was planning on going back the next day.

Then it hits me that night.  UH, the key is still in the bush hog, and it is sitting out in our driveway.  Now, we do not live in ‘crime’ city, but it is good to take precautions anyway.  RIGHT?

My husband agreed and ran out to take the key out of the bush hog and bring it in to the house.

Next day, I get up and I’m rearin’ to go!  Woohoo!  The weather is great for being late November, and I don’t have much to do to get on the road, since the trailer was still hooked up and the bush hog was still on the trailer, etc.

I just needed food and water, and to gather school work for the boys, and we were on our way.

YES!

I drive all the way down to the property, open the hatch to get out my gloves for the day, and I am thinking, (no lie)  “Thank you God.  It was so easy to get our day together and get down here.”

I put on my gloves, close the hatch, go unhook the ramp to our trailer and lower it, un-ratchet the straps we use to hold the bush hog securely on the trailer, and I climb up in the trailer to start the bush hog, and. . . . . .

THERE.IS.NO.KEY!

OH NO!

THERE.IS.NO.KEY!

Do you hear me?  UGHHHHHHHH!  I drove all the way down here, and there is no key for my bush hog.  We took the key out last night you know, and NOPE, I totally spaced out about grabbing it to have with me.  DUH!

What now?? ~ ~ ~

I can salvage this, but first I have to call my husband to let him know this ‘lil’ bit of information’ about my ‘slightly’ wasted trip down to the property.  You see, he was supposed to be sleeping because he worked all night the night before.  But I called him because I knew he might still be up, and he was.

Here is my call:

Me: “Hey Diester!  You’re never gonna’ believe this.”

D: “What?”

Me:  “Remember when you took the key out of the bush hog last night?”

D:  “OOOOOOH no!  You forgot to get the key.”

Me:  “Uh, yeah!”

D:  “Do you want me to bring it down?”

Me:  “No, I know you have to sleep.  I just wanted you to know what happened.  I can work on digging out the outhouse hole.  I have other things I can do for a while.”

D: “I’m sorry.”   (I really appreciated that.)

Me:  “Yeah, I just had to tell you.  I hope you sleep good.”

And that was basically the end of the call.

Well there I was~~~ trying to regroup.  And then the thought hits me:  Remember, I had just been thanking the Lord for making it so easy for me to get it together that morning?  He was probably chuckling the whole time.

So onward I go.  Boys, today we are going to work on digging more for our outhouse spot.

And I start. . . . digging, digging, diggin, and then 45 minutes later. . .

I look up and my husband is driving in our driveway. . .

to

 

bring

 

me

 

the

 

key.

AWWWWWWW!  So sweet!  AND, I am so thankful!

He didn’t stay long. .  .  he needed to get some sleep, and this cut into his sleep time by roughly 2 hours.  He was my knight in shining armor that day.  WOWSA!

So, here I go again.  I will drop the shovels any day if it is a choice between diggin’ and being “Bushhog Mama!”

Got another large section done. . .

Got another large section done. . .

and another. . . .

and another. . . .

and another.

and another.

There were some really rough spots on this hillside.  We had those ‘cows in our kitchen’ you know, before we decided to move where our kitchen will be.  And so, the terrain was kind of crazy sometimes, but I was rockin’ it.  And I was burning up.  One of the neighbors’ nephew came by, and was working at the church a bit, and offered me a water.  A COLD water.  It was so good!

And I had the hillside almost completely done.  WHEW!  What a day!  I was getting things so cleaned up, and it looked good, if I do say so myself.  That DR Field and Brush Mower (a.k.a. Bush Hog Mama’s bush hog) is the best.  I have been using that for days and hours on end, and it works like a champ.  I know it has a Brigg’s and Stratton engine.  I have never messed with anything that has that brand of motor, and this thing rocks.  The smaller trees that it takes out are down in no time flat.

Can you say?  GREAT Craigslist find???

Time to load up my baby, and my boys, and take them home.

Just “Thank you LORD!” for my husband that will spare some sleep to allow me to be able to bush hog, and for a bush hog that rocks it!

 

Note:  It was really too dark when we were leaving to get a good overview picture, but let’s just say, “It was looking so good!”   EEEEEEEEH!

 

 

 

 

 

 

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AAAAAAAH! Fire in the pot!

By January 31, 2017 General, The beginnings!
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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
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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
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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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