Sunday, July 31, 2005

Seeing the stars through leafy tree branches

July 29th

Well its the end of another 12 hour day. I was really not in the mood for it today. I haven't been getting enough sleep (not do to worry or anything else, I am just not going to bed early enough).

I came home and put up some laundry which I pulled off the line yesterday and this morning. Its kinda been piling up on the red couch in the formal living room.

I wore a pair of Dennis boxers under a long pink taffeta skirt today (I made the skirt a year ago, its floor length with a draw string in the back and the fabric was only a dollar a yard) so when I got home I just pulled the string and let it hit the floor. Then I carried some clothes that were sitting in the washer waiting to be hung up outside and hung them up in the dark.

Dennis gives me a hard time because I balance the basket on my head to carry it outside. My reason for doing this is a basket of wet clothes is heavier than a basket of dry clothes. A woman's strength is in her legs, not her arms and its much easier to balance it on my head and walk out there than to strain my arms and back. Those African women know what they are doing.

The moment my bare feet hit the cool damp ground and the damp night air touched my bare legs and shoulders I felt all of the days stress drain completely away. I stood in the gully with nothing but starlight to guide me and hung up the clothes one at a time. The stars glinted through the leafy branches over my head and the night air was full of music sung by frogs and crickets and night birds.

Itsn't it amazing how beautiful something as simple as hanging laundry out to dry in the dark can be :)

July 31st

The dealer in Forth Smith has agreed to let Dennis work independently and if he can make 15 sales this month he will give him the office that Billy (former boss) opened and gave up on after a month here in town. Dennis made his first sale as an independent yesterday and made 500 dollars off of it.

Thank-you Great Mother we can pay the electric bill. Its a good thing to because we are out of charities.

My mother as it turns out paid both my June and July payments which means my payment is current. Now I only have the final payment to worry about. Goddess only knows how much that is going to be. I have had so many late payments. But if Dennis continues to make 500 dollar sales like that I won't have any trouble paying it off. Lets all keep our fingers crossed and our thoughts positive. Last night to celebrate the sale we decided to get a little drunk and enjoy ourselves (which is Dennis polite way of saying "Lets get drunk and screw"). So that's what we did. And ofcourse wouldn't you know it, today I have a urinary tract infection. Fortunately I also have some cystex (pain killer for the urinary tract) in my bag and an abundant supply of blackberry leaves to treat it with. I went out and picked a bunch more to replenish my jar. I hate to think of getting stuck in the dead of winter with an infection and no blackberry leaf tea to treat it with.

Dennis is at another Demo today. I am keeping my fingers crossed that he will blow them away as he does with just about everyone else and sell them too.

Despite my infection I have tried to keep myself busy. I don't feel its safe to go out into the heat and dig, but I have done some ironing, loads of laundry (including sheets and such), I harvested some mint and made mint syrup to make mint juleps with when we can finally afford to buy bourbon. I also pulled the frozen oregano out of the freeze (whole leaves) and put it in my little mini food processor and chopped it up really fine. I did the same with the frozen basil I had. I was having a problem with freezing basil. It tends to freeze in one big messy lump. So I took that messy lump out of the freezer and ground it up to. Then I laid it out on a cloth to allow the water to soak off of it a bit. When it seemed considerably less moist I put it back in the freezer again.

I also started a pot of Italian stew in the crock pot this morning using fresh herbs from the garden "ofcourse". I use Italian seasoned tomatoes in my stew and realized after reading the can the only herbs they use in those are garlic, oregano and basil. 3 things I grow "loads" of. Next year I am going to grow tomatoes specifically for making Italian tomatoes to can. I haven't canned anything in a very long time.

I sliced open a cantaloupe I have been allowing to overripen next to the front step. Mold on the rind was a good indication the seeds might be ready. Sure enough when I sliced it open the seeds were floating around in the juice and the flesh inside was a fibrous mess. The seeds cleaned off very easily. I now have a nice stash of dew melon and cantaloupe seeds for next spring. I also allowed a cucumber to ripen on the window sill, but I can't be sure the seeds will be viable. They look pretty flimsy to me. There are also peppers slowly turning bad on the plants which I intend to get seeds out of as well. Then maybe next year I can get a good mix of colors out of them.

A friend of our had her son for the weekend and we went to visit them today as well. I gave her gourd seeds back in the spring and today she proudly showed me her baby bird house gourds and sent me home with a bunch of Roma tomatoes. Those tomatoes are a lot better than my parents giant Brandywine tomatoes. Much better flavor. They taste a lot better with Parmesan and mozzarella cheese on them .

Earlier in the week Dennis went to pick up Chris from his friend Nicks house and Nicks mother Sheri (moved here from California last fall and is adjusting nicely to life in the country) gave him 18 fresh eggs from her chicken coup and the strangest squash I have ever seen. It was as big as a cantaloupe, white, and oblong shaped. I sliced it open today and cooked it up for lunch. It got sauted with a little pepper and salt on it. It was kind fibrous and had a texture that reminded me of sauerkraut. But it tasted awesome. I got to find out what kind it is.
As I harvest my mint today I contemplated uprooting some of it when the weather cooled down a bit. I have already been instructed by my mother that before I leave today I have to go down to the garden and pick some more basil. She might like having fresh mint to make mint juleps with next summer. . . I love having country neighbors!!!! Around here its not uncommon to leave every home you visit with a bunch of fresh veggies and herbs and in certain times of the year slabs of venison. You'd never get that in the city.


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Thursday, July 28, 2005

Another day

Well my mother paid a car payment for me so I can stop hiding my car for at least another 30 days. The mortgage which was supposed to be paid is not paid and the reason for that is the mortgage company. The charity which was giving us 300 dollars to help cover it is still waiting for the paperwork the mortgage company is supposed to be faxing them. And ofcourse I work for a mortgage company, I know how that goes. Nobody has noted anything or sent anything back. Is it really so hard for people to do the jobs they are paid to do. What is really pissing me off is this mortgage is in my parents name and the payment will be 30 days past due tomorrow. When a mortgage or anything else is 30 days past due its reported to the credit burues.
Dennis is insisting they are not going to do this because the charity has contacted them. He is wrong though. They will because they are large vindictive corporate bastards.
I am trying to not let it upset me.
The man running the large sales center in Fort Smith is going to pick Dennis up on the way to a seminar in Little Rock tomorrow to discuss the option of Dennis continuing to sell even though the local office is currently closed. Apparently they are the ones that are paying the lease on the office in the shopping center and they need someone in there to run it and get it going. According to Dennis they said if he can sell 15 vacuum cleaners in a 1 month period he can have the office and run it himself.
I really don't care how many dam vacuum cleaners he sells or what they give him to run himself. He just needs to bring in some damn income so we can pay the bills. Ofcourse Dennis is walking around talking excitedly of how much money he can make and doesn't understand why I am excited.
I personally could care less how much money it is. I don't care about money. I just care about not loosing our house or loosing my car that's nearly paid for and finishing a debt free earth bag house.
I stand back there in the woods and look around and I feel so completely at peace. I will sit as I sip water between digging and try to imagine living back here free of worrying about mortgages or car payments or how high my electric bill is going to be. Its a nice feeling. To bad its only in my head at the moment.


Tuesday, July 26, 2005

Hiding my car

Saturday marked the official 2 months past due point for my car. I have started hiding it when at home and at work. Yesterday I hid my car in the nearby wal-mart super center parking lot and walked the few blocks to work.

Dennis new boss (who we suspected really didn't have what it took to run a business anyway) has closed his office. That lasted a long time didn't it. Nearest office is in Fort Smith. Dennis has appointments this week and is going to try and talk them into allowing him be an independent dealer in this area. That would mean just him, no crew of people to worry about or boss to have to dress a certain way for. Just him and the vacuum cleaner.

I personally don't care if he works for himself or not at the moment. We need some money. The mortgage is paid thanks to contributions from a local charity, but obscures my car payment is not. He better make some money this week. My final payment is due in August and I am not going to loose my car after 6 years of paying on it.

I have been in a dumpy crappy mood the last several days. I visited the weed wise woman forum and learned that we are currently under a mercury retrograde. That explains my lousy tearful mood. Last night I went for a walk in the moonlight and absolutely sobbed.

The mother of one of Chris mom finished her copy of the new Harry potter book and loaned it to me to read. At last I can finally dig into a copy. I am already to page 350. LOL. The first 3 chapters were a bit slow, but its getting good now :).

My dad is back to work, LOL. He went back to work Monday. He still has a catheder!!!!!! Shaking head. I wonder if I inherited some of that toughness. It was 102 today while I was digging. The ground is dry down to six inches and rock hard. I dug 24 feet. But there is a 40 percent chance of storms tonight and 50 percent tomorrow. Hopefully we will get some rain to soften up the ground. And best yet Thursday its going to be clear and there will be a high of 83 degrees!!!!!!
I'll get to dig in 83 degree temps, LOL.

Saturday, July 23, 2005

Today's high will be 101 degrees

And today I will dig. Its already nearly one. My husband wanted me to wait until later in the evening. He and the kids plan to attend a new church (well new to them) called "The Journey". I ofcourse will not be attending. I have nothing against the church. They gave Dennis a video to watch a few weeks ago and I liked the church to, except ofcourse for the fact that they preach Christianity and I am not a Christian. I am a Pagan and a Witch. Dennis was kinda of upset with me for refusing to attend with the family. I told him I would be more than happy to attend any of the functions they put on, what ever they were, but I don't think I should be forced to listen to teachings that are not of my belief system. He and the kids will go and I will stay home and sink my calloused hands into that nice cold dirt. It will probably be the only thing that is cold back there today ;).

I came to visit my dad today who is recovering from his surgery very well. He got home last night and this morning (despite the fact that there is a bandage between his legs) walked out into the garden and picked tomatoes. He then went outside while I was visiting and did something else. It was roughly 95 degrees at that point.

I told my dad I was going to dig today and he informed me in his stern voice "No your not." Now I am well past the point where I let my strict father tell me what to do. Not to be disrespectful but if my dad can walk out into the garden when its 95 degrees and pick tomatoes the day after surgery I think I can take my very healthy and very strong body out into the afternoon heat and dig beneath the shade of my beautiful trees. His answer to this was "Well don't expect me to pay your hospital bill when you get heat stroke.

I didn't say anything. But I sat there thinking "My dad actually thinks I have paid my hospital bills."

Don't get me wrong if I had the money I would pay them in a heart beat. But so far all of my funds have been concentrated on keeping vehicles running well enough to get back and forth to work and working my way up to my final car payment and trying not to loose my house. I haven;'t been able to pay the ones that we acquired last summer. I certainly can't pay the ones from this summer.

I ran the whole sawdust toilet thing past my husband again. I described my idea of turning off the water to the toilets and putting the buckets in the basins, that way we could keep the lid closed after we used them. He ofcourse rejected the whole idea. I told him I had a feeling that 50 percent of the water we use is being flushed down the toilet. His answer to this was "today's toilets are more energy efficient and use less water. Balogne. I know that tank holds at least 2 gallons and its completely empty every time the toilet is flushed. When I lived with my ex husband we had a habit of not flushing the toilet when we did number 1. At least not at first. We would use it a few times and just keep the lid down. When it got really nasty then we would flush it or if we had to do number 2 we would flush it. We did this to save water, obviously. But not Dennis, hell no. You better flush that sucker every time you use it or its just "disgusting". That's why I continue to use a bucket behind our house . I am considering setting something up in a hidden spot in the woods and just not using the toilets in the house all together.

Well, I will continue to work on thesawdust toilet thing. It may end up being one of those things where I just have to turn the water off myself and put the buckets in there. Kinda like when I wanted chickens and Dennis said no. I just showed up with a box of them one day and he went out and built me a coup ;).

Just like with the house. We had talked about it and I suggested we start clearing right away. He ofcourse said no. So I just went out into the woods and started by myself. Sure enough he soon followed.

He has helped with the digging a little bit. Ofcourse he is once again recovering from surgery now. His eye looked better this morning. He's not at work, obviously. He was still pretty swollen when he woke up this morning.




Thursday, July 21, 2005

At moms again

Yes I am here again. Mom had to take dad to little rock this morning for surgery. He has colon cancer. They say its mild though and think he will do fine. I had to come over to feed her cat (darn thing eats like a pig).
Dennis is recovering well from surgery. His eye is swollen and a little pink, but not black like I expected. It looks pretty good considering they used a laser to burn off half of his eyelid yesterday and then sliced the remaining lid open to repair the damage.
As for me. I am tired. We had to do some running around today to get some stuff to a local charity to pay this months electric bill and we have heard of a company that could possibly help out with the mortgage.
Dennis plans to go back to work Saturday. Maybe people will be sympathetic when they see the stitches under his eye, LOL.
I am just tired. I feel worn out and stretched to thin. We turned on some music as we went to sleep last night that reminded me of music that a restraint ,my ex husband and I used to go to would play. I haven't been to a restaurant in a very long time. Then while riding around today we drove past a store I used to buy my clothes at. Back when I still bought new clothes.
Its not that I miss doing any of things, because I don't. Even if I had the money I wouldn't buy my clothes new and although I miss dining out a little bit I don't think I could sit there and enjoy my meal without thinking of all the crap the kitchen is wasting that could be reused. What I do miss though is the way I felt during those times. I felt more secure. The bills were paid before they were due. I didn't have to worry about anything.
Its not Dennis' fault. What has happened to us the past several years could have happened to anyone. But its hard not to wistfully remember better times.



Wednesday, July 20, 2005

Dennis' surgery

Went much smoother than he expected. The cancer was removed and left a good sized hole in its place, but no larger than a half an inch. They only had to make two passes with the laser. Dennis was concerned they were going to half to dig around under his eyelid to get it all but this turned out to not be the case.

He did half to have plastic surgery to repair it though. They did what the Dr called a mini eye tuck The incision over the repair is Y shaped and black and blue and swollen, but looks fairly clean from what I can see. We were back home by 2:30 pm.

I am off to wal-mart to see if I can get a basic TV Antaean for the TV's. If we can pick up a few basic TV channels I am hoping my family will be satisfied enough with it to not want cable again. Probably just wishful thinking on my part though.

This morning Dennis mentioned (without my prompting) that he should probably begin the forms for the doors and windows in the first dome since we suspect we have less than 8 weeks of digging left.




Tuesday, July 19, 2005

More digging, more tree trunks, more damn roots.

My hands look awful. My mother commented on them today. It doesn't really bother me that they look bad. But the callouses are darker than the skin on the rest of my hands and makes them look dirty.

I dug today as well. Its been a rainy couple of days and the humidity was extremely high. The type where it does you no good the sweat because it can't evaporate. I began to finish the outline of the 4th quarter which we started Sunday and found myself digging into some of the largest tree roots I have encountered yet. Using a shovel was not an option today. I found myself digging with my hands and managed to pretty much shred a couple of my cuticles. They don't hurt, but they look terrible. I used the ax for the second time today to cut through roots that were thicker than my calf. Using the ax gets my blood pumping a lot harder than using the pick ax does. So much so that I wore myself out on the tree roots and didn't get a lot of digging done. Maybe 10 feet.

I got a major shock today to. The kids came running down to the building site shouting excitedly today and Sharon stood on the edge of the foundation, hand on cute little hip with a broad smile on her face. She had on an adorable short plaid skirt with a big fat safety pin on one side. The kind that is considered fashionable. It turns out our Southern Baptist neighbors who have forbidden my children to come onto there property because they are Witches had given Sharon some clothes that no longer fit there daughter. I have to admit that woman might be a southern Baptist but when it comes to children's clothes she's got some style. Its not the first time she has brought clothing over, but that was when Sharon had decided she would rather be a Christian than a witch.

While Sharon was going through her Christian period she was always welcome to come over and play or go to church or go out to dinner with them. They even took her to Six Flags. Then one day Alli (neighbors daughter) said something rather nasty about Chris. Sharon has always had a short fuse and I guess this little comment went straight to her sore spot because she turned around and shouted at Alli that Christians were stupid and she was not going to be her friend anymore. They have since made up, but Sharon has decided she doesn't want to be Christian anymore, she is going to be a Witch like her mommy and told them so (outspoken, just like her daddy). She has since been forbidden to step foot on there property.

After that last argument and Sharon's sudden change of religions I really didn't expect anymore hand me down clothing from them. But today she brought over a whole bag full.

I sent her some hollyhock seeds. I don't appreciate her lack on tolerance, but plants are for everyone and I do have an abundance of hollyhock seeds.

I came up with an idea that would allow us experiment with humanure composites. We could turn the water off to the toilets and put shallow buckets in them. The sawdust could go in a bag or some type of container outside of the toilet. We could try it for a month and see how much money we save in water and see if it really doesn't smell like everyone claims.

I haven't run this idea across Dennis yet. I have to drive him to Little Rock tomorrow to get his skin cancer removed and I figure with that on his mind its not a good idea to run anything past him. He is still pretty panicked about being awake for the surgery. I really hope the removal is simple and he doesn't require plastic surgery.

I think Dennis is working late today as well so I will probably go back out and dig some more.

Oh yes and I have also added some more plants along Creepy trail. I dug up a clump of Shasta Daisy's which I decided I didn't like and put them back there and this morning I thinned my toadflax and put several clumps of it back there as well. Something about that name ""Toad Flax"". It just sounds very Witches Cottagy. I also sprinkled some Columbine seeds back there as well. They have to be wintered outdoors to sprout.



Saturday, July 16, 2005

An unbelievable 40 feet

That's right. I started in the rain at 9am and finished at roughly 2:30pm. Well I didn't exactly finish. Another thunderstorm came rolling up and my fear over the lightening overoad my need and desire to dig. Minus the 3 square feet of dirt with ragged roots hanging out of it that the storm chased me away from before I could scoop it out the 3rd quarter in finished. My poor hands look awful. My nails are worn to stub's. The callouses on my finger tips are slowly spreading down the underside of my fingers. My hands are also getting larger (I must be building up the muscles in them).

On another interesting note. My mother who this entire time has turned up her nose at the idea of using a sawdust toilet and composting humanure saw an example of what I have been explaining on "30 days" when two gas guzzling Americans were forced to live in an eco village called Dancing Rabbit for 30 days. My parents live in the river valley and due to poor drainage they have always had a problem with there septic tank. Every time we get a heavy rain the toilet will overflow into the floor instead of flush( for as long as anyone can remember when there has been a heavy rain my parents would load up in the car when it came time to go to the bathroom and visit the nearest gas station). They have lived with this since I was a kid. Nothing they have done has managed to change this. My mother has decided to suggest to my dad that they get a couple of buckets and sam saw dust and try out the humanure composting thing in the storage room on the carport when there is a heavy rain.

No time for a long post today. Its nearly 6pm and I still have those last remaining feet to cut out. Plus when Dennis gets home I am going to make him help me start cutting out the outline around the final corner. . . The final quarter!!!!!! Woohooo

Ofcourse, its only the final quarter of the first layer. After its complete there is still another 530 plus feet left to dig to get the foundation at the right depth and to make it level.



Thursday, July 14, 2005

Another day of digging.

My goodness I forgot just how hot my mothers back bedroom can get. And to think this used to be my room. Still has those dirty pink walls, LOL. Well, here we go . . .

More from July 12th

Well, after going to my mothers to upload some diary entries I brought the kids home, we put on an upbeat CD and cleaned the house together. Top to bottom. When we were done Sharon put on a Mia Jang CD (piano music) and settled down in the living room with one of my Harry Potter Books. Sharon read a book without being told to do so OMG!!!!

I started some laundry. After once again being held up in this process by the dryer which was once again taking two cycles to dry one load of laundry (60 minutes each) I decided it was time to put up a clothes line. Dennis was obviously never going to do it for me and once again, just as there is nothing stopping me from digging there is nothing stopping me from putting up that line. I found some rope in my closet, but no clothes pins, so I loaded Sharon in the car (who took her book with her) and we drove to the Dollar General where I bought a clothes line and two bags of clothes pins (50 pins each). On my way back from the dollar general I realized I still hadn't brought a litter box indoors for the new kittens like Dennis had asked me to (two babies from a previous litter we decided to keep). We moved all of the cats outside last summer (except when we let them come indoors to eat or to cuddle with (when the weather is cool enough to open the windows they come and go on there own though) and with it the litter box. It always smelled, no matter how clean we tried to keep it. Well I obviously don't want to buy cat litter. That stuff is expensive and bad for the environment and didn't really do the job anyway. Before putting it outside last summer I tried a combination of things, from earth worm castings to plain ordinary dirt, even oak leaves. Nothing worked. This time I drove over to the house of a man who mills cedar in his back yard as a hobby. This is the same man we bought the cedar plants from when we build our deck and walk way and the same person we will get the cedar planks for the second floor from in the new dome. Outside of his mill is a huge pile of sawdust, practically a mountain of the stuff. Cedar sawdust. I filled the general dollar bag with the stuff, took it home, and filled the litter box with it. We will see if that works.
I spent probably an hour or more untangeling the clothes line I bought before I got it tied around the trees. I chose to put it up in the gully even though it is shady there because it can't be seen there. The reason I don't want it seen is not because I am ashamed of the fact that I am doing this (in fact I am quite proud of it) its because every single pair of my underwear is ripped or stained in one way or another and are embarrassing.
The whole area is shade and patchy sunlight so it will probably take longer to dry. But I won't know until I try it.
On the way back from the cedar mill I pulled over and had Sharon grab some pine needles off of a small pine tree. All of my pines have branches that are 15 feet or more off the ground and to high for me to reach, even if I used a ladder. Those needles made the most wonderful tea.

July 13th


Sharon and I went back out and dug a little more before it got dark.. We worked pretty quickly and are guessing the days digging totaled 30 feet. I had the 3rd quarter outlined so the digging I was doing was just cutting off the corners.
ofcourse its back to work today. I did not get a wink of sleep. Dennis would not stop snoring no matter how many times I poked him or kicked him. At 5 am I gave up and went to sleep on the couch thinking maybe I could get an hours worth of sleep, but the kittens decided I was a jungle gym. No luck there either, so I get to spend 12 hours in front of a desk this morning doing very boring work and trying to stay awake. If I get to sleepy I "WILL" leave early though.
Dennis made his first sale yesterday. It was the first time he had been able to get out and sell because they spent two days in classes. He said the last class he went to is the one he feelsdid the most good. It must have been because the person he sold is a friend who insisted he couldn't afford to buy a vacuum cleaner. And Dennis told him that's fine, I just need 15 demos to get my salary. He liked it so much he bought one anyway, LOL. Dennis made 270 dollars off of that one sale. He has today left to work and make a sale to get a check Monday. They are ending the pay period strange.
They hired 26 people when Dennis was hired. Six of them showed up for training and then they lost 3 more of them when they did background checks. No type of buglery or assault charges are allowed.
They do the same thing where I work. You would think it would be no types of fraud charges since we deal with peoples personal info everyday. Social security numbers and such, but in fact they won't allow any type of crime period. . . . And I'm not talking about felonies either. I mean if you have any type of crime on your record they won't hire you.
This morning tea includes rose petals, strawberry leaves (tame ones, there aren't enough woodland strawberries to keep me drinking them every morning, but the tame ones have lots of large leaves) and some of the fresh pine needles Sharon harvested for me yesterday. My favorite tea used to be rose petals and blackberries, but these fresh pine needles are damn good :).
The laundry dried just fine in the shade of the gully. Time for my morning rituals.

July 15th


Well no sales yesterday for Dennis. He had to ride with the sales crew yesterday and it ticked him off. Apparently the girl they have canvassing for them doesn't really know what she is doing. He is going to ask his boss if he can drive himself out today. He feels he will do a much better job on his own. If his boss doesn't let him work on his own he says he may start looking for something else. . . I don't think the guy would be stupid enough to let someone with that much cold calling experience walk away. . . But some people are pretty stupid, LOL.
After he left I watered the veggies and some of my flowers and herbs that I thought might need it. I picked some peppers that were ready. 3 green ones and two purple ones. One of the peppers I thought was going to be purple has turned into a chocolate pepper. I wonder how long I would have to leave them on the plant to get viable seeds from them. I am sick of not getting an equal mix when I buy packages of mixed colors in the store. When I buy a package of bell peppers expecting to get different colors I expect to get an equal amount of greens, whites, yellows, reds, oranges, purples, and chocolates. Not two or 3 whites and purples and a whole bunch of greens. Last year I had the same problem with having a few different colors ones and a bunch of green ones.
As for me. Well, today I dig. And dig, and dig. I slept late so I was late getting started. I made it to 13 feet before the sun was shining on most of my digging area. I decided to not dig in the sun. I'll finish this evening when the sun is lower in the sky and its not quiet as hot.
I walked back to the house and took a shower. Then I started another load of laundry in the washer and took the others down off the line. It seems to me the laundry goes a lot faster when I line dry things, simply because I am not waiting on the dryer to finish. I may just boycott the damn thing all together. While waiting for the washer to finish I finished the ironing. I really hate to iron. When that was finished I hung the clothes from the washer up to dry and then started another load. Then I went in a cleaned the master bath. And Dennis says I don't do anything else on the days I dig. Ha!!!
Last night I dreamed about earth bags. It was a very strange dream. The foundation was finished and we were putting down the first row. But there was a floor already up and a roof. It was all very shakey and unstable though. And what was even stranger was it was all going to be blasted off into outer space. We were also in France. And I went shopping. The sales girls did not like me. Probably because I thought all of there clothes were ugly. But they were!!!!!!!




Tuesday, July 12, 2005

The Post after this One

The post after this one is a week worth of entries I have been making on a wordpad document on my computer at home. I have to come to my mothers to upload them now. I've also added a link to the diary list. "How many miles From Babylon". I like that guy :)



A weeks worth of post

July 5th

Well its another free day after a 12 hour day. Yesterday Dennis went to the back of the property with the kids and remeasured and cut my circle so its the right size.
He also went on an interview yesterday and got a job. He will be a lead salesman for a group of Kirby vacuum cleaner salesman. His talent has always lay in commission sales, particularly door to door cold calling. I think it will work out fine.
The rate at which I am working is bothering me. We will probably be ready to begin bagging the dirt in the late part of September. Once you began to get freezing temperatures you can't bag anymore, because the dirt won't harden correctly. The frost will constantly be trying to turn the compacted earth back into loose soil by freezing it. So that leaves the time period beginning in early September and ended some time in Novembers. Probably mid to late November. If we can get the dome under cover before the frost starts I could spend the time during the cold weather doing the floor and plastering the inside. . . Although I have a feeling the floor will end up taking up most of that time. Many of the rock tiles are less than six inches long and they will all have to be scrubbed free of dirt before they can be put into place. Even after they are laid out and grouted they have to be sealed with 6 coats of linseed oil and then there are two more coats of pine resin placed over that. That will create a waterproof mopable floor. And the linseed oil is supposed to really bring out the colors in the stone. Then ofcourse there is the fireplace, the shelves and bar for the kitchen, and the windows.
I am really looking forward to doing the windows. I took a stained glass class years ago and had this idea of using the broken pieces of glass from the local glass Co. And piecing them together with a saudering iron and leading along with some small pieces of stained glass and creating mosaic types of windows. They will have plain ordinary glass in them so you can see out without your vision getting distorted as well as some small chunks of stained glass.
I imagine its the details which will take the longest.





July 8th
As for me I dug 20 ft yesterday and my hands are really sore for some reason. The digging I did yesterday was to correct the size of the ring. In some areas we were 1ft and 1/2 off. But that's fixed now. We have an outline spray painted on the ground to go by and I will continue to scoop out square footage along the inside Saturday.






July10th, 2005
Wells its Sunday. My weekend is nearly over. Its always to short.
yesterday I went garage saling. I was looking for clothes for Chris and pants for Dennis. I didn't find anything for Dennis, but I did find two pairs of shorts and two T shirts for Chris. He doesn't have very many shorts. I also found 3 pairs of pants for myself. None of my bluejeans fit me well anymore and these were blue jeans 2 sizes larger than what's in my closet. I like my bluejeans baggy and loose in the waist so I got them. I also found 3 casual summer tops which I needed more of and 3 loose fitting long sleeved shirts for winter which are not annoying turtlenecks and will look awesome with a air of khakis or bluejeans..
Then I came home and spent 30 minutes going through my closet and getting rid of everything that doesn't fit anymore. A few things I have hung on to with the hope that they would fit again someday. I donated them to the good will. That cost me 4 more dollars because some money I had in my pocket when I went there fell out in the parking lot. As I was pulling away I noticed the lady reaching down to pick it up and I stopped and asked for it back. She swore up and down she didn't pick up any money in the parking lot. I know she was lying. That really pissed me off. Here I was doing a good thing, donating the clothes I couldn't wear anymore to them when I could have kept them and cut them up and made something new out of them (I donated them because they were not worn or stained and someone else could have worn them) and that bitch is going to steal my money. Grrrrrrrr
Then i went and bought some zip lock bags from freds and came home and stored all of the veggies my mother brought me friday. She brought me loads of stuff from her garden. Green beans, okra, onions, egg plants, squash, tomatoes, cucumbers.
After that i spent the day doing irioning and laundry. i never had the chance to dig at all. I was determined that the whole family would dig today, but then Mom came and picked up the kids and Dennis decided to make some ribs he bought on our first shopping trip with the food stamp card and used that as an excuse to not go out there. I dug 10 feet and got rained on. I was going to hang around and dig during the rain until i saw a flash of lightening and heard the thunder crack over my head. Having been hit by lightening i don't stick around in the woods when i see it.
I went home, took a shower and waited to see if the rain would stop or at least slow down, It did slow down and the thunder and lightening stopped so i went back out there to dig. Sure enough i managed to scoop out another 4 square feet when it came a downpoor. i was determined to stay and dig through the rain until i saw another streak of lightening cut through the sky. Ha, time to go home again. I gave up on the digging at that point. I took another shower and changed back into my clean clothes.
I got my period 3 days ago and just like last month i had not yet made any cloth pads like I had been planning on doing. So today I pulled out my needle and thread, found some loud fabric i bought at a garage sale (purple with dark and light pink lip prints on it) and cut out a pattern I remembered seeing on the net freehanded from the fabric. It was the one with wings. The way the cloth pads work are you sew a cover with a slit in the middle and insert an absorbant filler into it. I made one cover with wings and then cut up an old dish rag into 4 pieces. The instructions i read used velcro to attatch the pads to the underwear and the keep the slit in the top closed once the liner was in. Well I didn't have velcro in my bags, so i used saftey pins that were in my sewing box. I turned the pad upside down in my underwear so the saftey pin wouldn't irritate any sensative skin. Now i am on day three and its a light flow from here on out, but the pads are extremely comfortable. Much more than anything else i have ever used. They don't feel sweaty or stick to my skin. And there is a sense of security knowing i can use them over and over again.
Now for the second task. The wet bag. When using cloth pads you must carry the used ones with you and this requires a bag to carry them in. Using the same loud fabric I cut out a circle. Then I used a piece of ribbion i took from some flowers in a garbage can at the graveyard as my casing and sewed it to the edges. Then ran a doubled piece of reb satin ribbon through that and made a draw string bag. I put my unused liners inside the bag along with a plastic ziplock bag for the used ones. I'm very proud of how that bag turned out.
Breakfast this morning consisted of a few strawberries from the strawberry bed and some wild black cherries off of the tree behind the house. And yes i do eat them straight off the plant. Mom picked the kids up to take them to a movie and brought over more tomatoes and cucumbers. i had some mozzerella cheese preserved in water in the fridge from the mission and a little parmesan cheese as well, so i cut up some tomatoes and a cucumber and sprinkled them with salt, pepper, mozerella cheese and parmesan cheese and had them for lunch.
I ran across a recipie for making mozerella cheese a while back that i would like to try. Mozerrella is one of the few cheeses that doesn't require aging. Ofcourse it requires whole milk to make it and milk has gotten so expensive. Food has gotten expensive period. Especially beef i have noticed. i guess the increasing gas prices have caused the price of everything to go up. Once we get back on our feet i may have to find a god priced milking goat and order some rennet from online somewhere. I tried to look up a way to make rennet a while back. After all farmers made cheese before rennet could be store bought. It turns out it requires slaughtering an animal and I don't have an animal to slaughter.
Yesterday we got our yearly emergency instruction packet from Nuclear One. Its basicly a list of instructions for us to follow if there is an emergency at the Nuclear Power Plant. The instructions indicate that we are to evacuate to hector . . . . The strange thing is that the school would all be evacuated to Morrilton, which is a considerable distance from Hector. i wonder if we would be expected to dive from Hector to Morrilton to pick the kids up . . . That would be an extremely long trip, since we would have to make a large circle to avoid Russellville and London.
Even though its been a week since our movie channels and internet got turned off we still have basic cable for some reason. thats odd. They usually shut off the basic cable a day or two after the movie channels and internet are shut off. i am hoping they just missed our basic cable. I really don't want to loose the lower channels. i really enjoy my series'. The 4400. The dead zone. 30 days. This weeks 30 days should be really good. It involves two energy guzzling gas guzzling typical american going to live a life without electricity and other modern conviences. i am really interested in seeing this one. Strangely enough so it the rest of my family . . . hmmmm . . . wonder why, lol.






July 12th
Tuesday. Another day of digging. The cable company finnaly cut off our basic cable. They cut of the net and the movie channels first and then the basic cable. . . I'm not real concerned about it, lol. They can leave it off for all i care. Dennis nd hte kids I am sure will throw a fit and want it turned on as soon as possible. i think we should learn to live without it. The TV anyway, not the internet. The internet is to important. I miss my onramp to the information highway. They should really call it the information freeway though.
Ofcourse my computer is a major source of information for me. Its not like i am cut off all together. i can just go to my mothers and use hers is there is something important i need to know about.
I had to go pick up my husband at his friend donnies last night. The explorers starter finally quit on him. And of all places it quit in Fayetville while attending a seminar for his new job. Thats 2 hours away. Its still in fayetville to. Dennis borrowed enough money from Donny to buy a new started and will install it while down there for the second half of the seminar today. While i was at donnies i weighed myself and discovered that i still wegiht the exact same amount that i did before i started digging. i have to remind myselfthat muscle weighs more than fat . . . And i have developed a lot of muscle the past few months.
Today i used an ax for the first time. It as harder than it looked . . . either that or the damn thing was dull. There was a stump with a long tape root that was above ground and it was in my way. It was good exercise swinging it though . . . i could really feel the burn in the muscles under my arms (we ladies do have a problem with that area don't we).



Tuesday, July 05, 2005

Anemia

I seem to have developed an irion difficiency. The mission gives us mostly chicken and very little red meat so i guess I shouldn't be surprised. Everytime I get an insect bite and scratch it i end up with a big fat bruise.
My first bruises were on the inside of my thigh and made dennisthink I was having freaky sex with someone else because they looked like finger prints. Now we know why they looked like finger prints. It was because they were, they were my finger prints. It might also explain why my period is late. I'm sure stress is not helping either.
Yesterdays rain came today. A blessing from the mother. The Earth still got watered and we americans got to celebrate our holiday.
Dennis and the kids went to help me dig this afternoon. I also dug this morning. I think we dug a combination of 40 feet. i didn't measure. They only worked an hour and a half. We covered a lot of ground in that hour and a half, but ofcourse there were 4 of us. But it was agrivating to me because thats usually what i would dedicate to the foundation after an 8 hour day at work. On my days off 3 to 4 hours is not unusual. We could do a hell of a lot in 3 to 4 hours. Bit I have also been doing that for a month and I'm used to it. There not. And there certianly not used to working in the humidity and the heat.
Dennis is asleep now. He said his throat was sore. He has an allergy to mold spores and hot wet weather tends to agrivate it. I don't really have anything herbal to treat allergies other than a nettie pot (which he refuses to use). But when he wakes up i will convince him to drink a little orange juice with some echinacea tincture in it.
I am feeling a little beat up today. Not physically, just mentaly. I feel kinda like i am trying to climb through an electric fence. I'd rather just run back into the woods and forget its there.
I've taken a shower and cleaned up twice today, but I am considering going bak there and digging again.



Monday, July 04, 2005

These new fangled sparklers.


Sharon playing with one of those morning glory sparklers. . . . Remember when sparklers were a bit of wire with some funky stuff on the end. These are wrapped in bright colored tissue paper and turn 3 different colors before they burn out.

I expect them to shut off my internet soon so any posting I do from now on will probably be done from my mothers. Which means they will be fewer and farther in between. I also won't be able to upload anymore pictures unless they are taken with her camera Posted by Picasa




Sharon on the old fence


I like this picture. Sharon sitting on the fence a safe distance from the drunken idiots lighting the fireworks. Eric inherited this place from his grandparents. Its an old old farm house on 300 acres. Everything is like likethis fence, weathered, faded, and old. Posted by Picasa



Sharon and Erics Bay mare.


4th of July party. I think Sharon had more fun feeding Eric's gorgous bay mare than she did with the fireworks. She looked black in the sunlightPosted by Picasa



Fresh Eggs

My mother gets us fresh eggs from one of the patients in the clinic where she works. She brings me egg cartons full of white, brown, pink, green, and blue eggs. I am very jealous of this woman. I have bought chickens 3 times and each time the critters ended up getting them all.

Well according to the calendar I have been digging 4 and 1/2 weeks. Dennis was supposed to come back to the back yesterday and help me measure for the second half of the circle, but ofcourse he didn't. I have been trying to do it using only my feet as measurement and going out from the center point but I keep getting off somewhere. I mark my circle and then discover section of it are 15 feet and other sections are twelve feet. I have discovered the down hill end is actually two to 3 feet to long. Not that's its a problem, I can jut back fill it with gravel or something. But I would rather not accident's add a few extra feet again. After all that's more digging I have done that I didn't have to do.

Dennis has done some research online and discovered that his employer has broken a total of 5 labor laws. When he first went on medical leave they didn't have him fill out any of the necessary paperwork or advise him of the medical leave act which is legally required. Then ofcourse they canceled his insurance twice. The first time was a week after the surgery and didn't reinstate it until after he threatened to sue them. They tried to make it sound like they were just doing him a favor by keeping it. The ofcourse they fired him 3 weeks later and canceled it again with him having another surgery left. He also discovered a sexual discrimination charge. There was an instance a month before he went on leave when Sharon was sick at school and needed to come home. I am not allowed to receive calls at work so the school always calls him. His boss threw a fit and said "Your married, you should have let your wife handle it and it better not happen again". That apparently is sexual discrimination.
I was trying to not feel optimistic about this whole lawsuit thing. After all no one that has ever gone after these people has ever one. But this is starting to look a lot more promising. Ofcourse we won't know for sure until the EEOC releases it to go to court and we talk with our lawyer.

We told a friend what was going on when we went for a visit the other night. She smiled, patted us on the shoulder and said "Honey they just lined your bank account and don't even know it yet". I have allowed myself to daydream a few times about getting a big settlements, paying everyone off and retiring. But not to much. I don't want to think about money right now. I have to concentrate more on surviving until Dennis unemployment starts.

My pointy pepper did turn out to be a sweet pepper and not a hot one, so I chopped it up and added it to my bag of chopped peppers in the freezer. I don't think it is a bell pepper, but it wasn't spicey so I can live with it I guess.

I also have little tiny green cucumbers appearing on the vines no longer than my pinky nail. The tomato plants Dennis got from the mission when he went to get food are just kinda sitting there. Its was really late in the season to be planting those though.



Sunday, July 03, 2005

Sweet Corn


Mom brought over some sweet corn. They live in the river valley so it gets warmer quicker down there. I have noticed that in the spring by the time my tulip's start to bloom hers are starting to fade. I guess I shouldn't be jealous when hers produces faster than mine. Posted by Picasa



Half way there


Another view of the half finished foundation. Those piles of dirt just get higher and higher and harder and harder to dump the bucket on. Posted by Picasa




1 half of the first layer of the foundation is done. I like to think of it as being half way done. The reason for this is I have found once you get past the first foot the digging gets easier because the dirt is sandier and there are less roots. Posted by Picasa


Last years experiment


Last year as an experiment I planted some of my purple cone flower seedings in partial shade to see how they would produce. The ones in full son have thrived. This one has a single flower on it and the others haven't done anything at all. I am going to keep watching them though. Since our new home site will be nothing but partial shade I have to experiment with my favorites. Posted by Picasa



Drying a bundle of yarrow


Friday mornings storm blew a tall patch of mauve yarrow flowers over. They were smothering a clump of blue grass in the stream bed so I cut them (I rarely cut flowers from my garden) and hung them from a shelf in the kitchen to dry. I have dried lots of herbs in my kitchen, but something about seeing them hanging from that shelf to dry really made me feel good. Posted by Picasa



Does this look like a bell pepper to you?


Does this look like a bell pepper to you? This came from one of the pepper plants that came out of my package of mixed colored bell peppers. I have 3 plants with pointy peppers on them like this. I haven't tried to to see if its sweet or not. It was on the plant for quite a while without changing color so I am assuming its supposed to stay green. Any suggestions as to what this is?

I also have at least 3 that are producing white bell peppers (which my husband says are just cool) and at least 2 producing purple ones, and a bunch of green ones. I better get some yellow, oranges, reds and chocolates out of those. Posted by Picasa




Saturday, July 02, 2005

Another interesting link

Last summer Chris experimented by making a small clay pot with the local native clay. he made a small container and then stuck it in the oven and turned it on broil. It turned out with a look and feel just like a ceramicclay pot.
Today i found this link for firing clay pots in a pit in the ground. I think we may give this a try to.

Ground Firing Pots




Start a fire with a chocolate bar and a can of soda pop

I came across this very interesting web page this morning. I am definitely going to try this. Its another good one to teach the kids.

Lighting a fire with a coke can and a Bar of CHocolate

Friday, July 01, 2005

Bring on the rain

Yes indeed, it did rain. It started about 3am. The thunder woke me up, and then I heard the rain begin to fall. It rained off and on until 6 when I woke up. There is still more rain on its way, and some nasty storms moving in from Oklahoma.

We needed it so bad. The dirt was so dry, once I got past the tree roots it was sandy dust and rock.

I never did get back there to dig anymore. Dennis wanted to return a swimsuit we borrowed to Jerry and Kathy's and since she was coming back from Tennessee today (visiting her sister) he wanted to hear about her trip. You know Dennis, the social butterfly.

She talked about the Mennonites. I think the Amish and Mennonites are pretty interesting. I always have. Except of course for the whole strict religion thing. But I feel the same about strict penacostals. They have electricity and such, but the women don't cut there hair and always wear long sleeves and long skirts and no make-up. I think there beautiful.
I went through a period where I didn't wear make-up, because I liked the way my face looked naturally. And ofcourse I started wearing long skirts years ago because I like the movement of the fabric around my legs. I got mistaken for penacostal a few times. Forget the long sleeves though. Only in winter thank-you.

I read this quote on Path to Freedom this morning.

In our society growing food yourself has become the most radical of acts. Its truly the only effective protest, one that can - and will - overturn the corporate powers that be. ~ Jules Dervaes ~

I can think of another radical act. Hahahaha, dig a 530 foot foundation with hand tools and a bucket. I have been called looney, smart, practical, eccentric, brave, determined. I've been told it can't be done and that it shouldn't be done. But it will be done. . . .
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