Sunday, September 25, 2005

Hurricane Rita 's wind and rain

Yep, its full of water again. To the left you can see the step up to the next level we started this week. We decided to make the foundation split level to decrease the amount of digging we have to do and to keep it from being 3 and 1/2 feet deep in the uphill section.

Her ragged remains began clouding our skies just before sunset Friday evening and the rain arrived late Saturday afternoon.

Local weather reports advised us to prepare for 10 to 12 inches of rain over the next 24 hours. So I made sure the drains for the pond overflow were clear and Dennis pulled everything up off of the shed floor (which will flood with only a few inches of rain) and we picked up the tools that could be damaged by the rain from the dig site as well as pulling the chairs out of the lower half of the foundation. We even splurged and rented some movies to entertain us during the coming rains.

It did rain. . . It stopped sometime during the night. The raised walk way in front of the house was dry when I got up at 7:30am. The skies were clear by noon. We had some strong winds. Sitting into the hillside the way we do we rarely feel the winds (but we do hear them). We lost a few trees that were already dead. I left my buckets turned up right on the foundation so I could get an idea of how much rain we actually got. Maybe 3 and 1/2 inches. Possibly 4.

Not much has happened this week. The rain ofcourse. More digging. I may have located a possible spot to put my herb garden at the new house so that it will be near the kitchen and in full sun.

Earlier this week I did yet another full moon ceremony. I absolutely love doing them. I dress from head to toe in luminous ethereal white. A long sleeved light weight tunic like shirt and a long full white broomstick skirt. I have a white pillar candle I always use. Its burned down low enough now that I can walk with it lit without the flame going out and that the candle appears to be glowing because of the flame burning within it.

I must be quite a site walking through the moonlit forest in flowing white, my hair down, my feet bare, followed by a slew of animals carrying a glowing white pillar candle.

I would carry my athame with me, but its a very large double bladed dagger which is extremely sharp and I am afraid to carry it for long distances in the dark, and doing the ceremonies near the house where I can see electric lights just doesn't have the same effect on me.

My ceremonies are simple. My white clothing, white like the moon. My bare feet against the cool damp forest floor. My hair down, the night wind rustling gently through it. The animals that have followed me (an assortment of cats and my great white beast Commodore . . . When I still had chickens they followed me as well) find a place to sit or lay down at and wait until I am ready to leave. I cast a circle with my index finger in a sacred space which was chosen by the forest, not by me. I low myself to the ground and put down the candle, then I place my palms flat on the ground and wait as my skin begins to tingle, pulling up the energy there, Then I stand up into the goddess pose, raising my hands and eyes to the moon shining above me. I chant an incantation which is known only to myself and the animals that join me. Then I sit in one of the lawn chairs on the site, bathed in the moonlight that's shining through the trees and whisper my thoughts and concerns into the night air.


We have had some wonderful "autumn" themed dinners this week. Tuesday we had ham. Dennis made it. It had a brown sugar glaze on it and pineapple which he stuck full of cloves. To go with it I made mashed potatoes with white gravy made from the fats and juices saved from a chicken I roasted the week before and some absolutely wonderful sauted Apples, Onions, and Pears. So peel the apples and pears and slive them into wedges and the onions into rings. Then you saute them in a mixture of white whine, sherri, and honey. Its awesome. Later in the week I roasted another whole chicken. I have a special way of doing it. I work my hands under the skin so that I loosen it from the body but it still stays intact. I then slip whole fresh herbs under the skin. I sprinkle the outside of the skin with garlic pepper and roast it uncovered in the oven so that it browns and gets crispy. You can see the patterns of the herbs under the skin. Then Saturday night Dennis made steaks with white corn and twice baked potatoes . I am making myself hungry just writing about this stuff.

I am nursing the first real injuries suffered since the digging began (except ofcourse for sore muscles, bruises and blisters). The first and most annoying is on my right foot. The skin on my feet is dry and cracked and looks truly horrible. Well it was itching at work the other night and I tried to scratch it by running it across the carpet. One of the cracks caught a loose piece of carpet and the skin ripped back. It bled a little, but its swollen and hurts really bag when I walk on it. I have been walking with my heel off of the ground all weekend. The second injury is to my left wrist. I am not really sure what I did to it. I just noticed as I dug Saturday that it slowly got more and more painful. It feels as if I pulled or strained something, but it starts at the big fleshy part at the bottom of my thumb and extends six inches down my wrist. It only hurts when I am lifting something heavy and trying to push or pull on something. I lifted a large pot of hot water off the stove after canning my pickles this morning having forgot that I had hurt my wrist and it was so painful I actually screamed!! I don't usually scream when something like that hurts. I have a pretty high tolerance for pain, but that was pretty bad. I didn't drop the pot though. It still made it to the sink.

Saturday, September 17, 2005

A weeks worth of posting

The wood salvaged from a construction site recently
The foundation, with 3 inches of wtaer in it after recent rains. The water is gone now, but the mud is still there.

When I am talking about worm tracks in wood these marks are what i mean. There actually made by termites eating under the bark. But I prefer to call them worm tracks.


September 12th


I made a bottle of pancake syrup. I also thawed the overipe bananas and attempted to make another batch of banana nut bread muffins but they didn't turn out right. I either got to much milk or something happened to the bananas when they froze because they came out dark brown and didn't taste very good.

Dennis finally picked up the earth bag book and read some of it. His reading comprehension is not so great so I had to explain some things. He is very concerned about the plumbing and thinks it should be in place before we do the walls. I explained we could leaves holes at the bottom for the plumbing and figure it out when the time comes but he is not convinced. He also read the section on electrical and decided it was suppopsed to be in place before the walls went up as well. Once again I explained that it can be attatched to the walls itself and simply plastered over. After all were dealing with earth. In Becky Bees cob book she simply buries her wires directly in the wall without any type of protective conduct. That was what I had planned to do for this place.

Were going to have to get a book on wiring and plumbing though. Dennis knows enough to do simple repairs, but not enough to set up an entire system, and I am clueless about the entire issue.

September 13th


Dennis dug yesterday. Last night he proudly flexed his hardening muscles. LOL. He didn't get as far as I do when I dig, but I will give him an A for effort. He also borrowed a neighbors wheelbarrel which will make moving the dirt from the dig site to the sides of the dig site a lot easier. At least it did for him. I can't get the darn thing up the plywood ramp he build for it and am still using the bucket


Dennis has also agreed to a living roof. At last, LOL. I was sure he was going to insist on a solid covering. I plan on buying a few flats of gold dust ivy. This is a species of ivy that has bright green leaves sprinkled with golden flecks. Its very pretty, and evergreen. A flat is about 25 dollars and contains 36 plants.


A friend of ours brought over a bottle of watermelon wine last night. Its been aged a year and is very stout stuff. Its good though. I definitely want the recipe.

There is a recipe for cherry brandy I remember reading in a romance novel. I don't have the book anymore. I really wish I had kept the recipe. In the book they packed the jars half full of cherry and half full of sugar and let them ferment for 6 months. I suppose that would work. I've wanted to try that recipe for years.

Watermelon wine would be a good one to make though :). I love watermelon.


September 14th


Monday morning during my morning ritual I summoned rain. Everything is dry and withering, to the point where leaves are dropping from the trees before they change color. The air is dryer, I suppose that's the reason it has dried out so quickly.

When I checked the forecast Sunday we had nothing put partly cloudy skies all week and no chance of rain, then on the way to work Monday a sudden chance of rain had appeared for Wednesday. Tuesday we got the remaining salvaged wood under cover as it sprinkled on us a little bit. Then this morning just before dawn I woke to the sound of thunder and brilliant flashes of lightening. It rained heavily the first 15 minutes of the storm and then slowed down to a gentle shower which had stopped by the time I drove Chris to the bus stop. Its still not over. The chances of rain increase for the state through tonight.


Dennis began cutting down the skinny trees on the other side of the property to complete a trail we started two years ago on that side. It follows a trail someone cut through the woods maybe 10 years ago. There are only saplings growing on it. None of them older than 10 years. He managed to complete it before the chain jumped off of his chainsaw. The woods is still laying thre though. We didn't want to do any major burning until after the rain. Were still not going to burn off all of it. The trunks of the trees will be cut up as firewood since there all small, but the limbs will be burned in a bonfire this weekend when we have some guests from deeper in the mountains come down. There not Ozark folk, one is from Chicago and the other from Oregon. Yankees. I may try that new trick I learned for cooking potatoes in the coals of a fire.

September 15th


Well so much for getting anything done on my day off. Although I summoned the rain and we did need it badly and we got just the right kind of rain to give everything a good soaking I was still disappointed at not being able to work outdoors today. It cleared up before my dinner break at work so I was hopeful, but it began raining again this morning. I work to the sound of Thunder yet again.

Dennis got the kids up and then made me breakfast. I went through our closet and pulled out some stained clothing I no longer wear, not even to dig in and Dennis old uniform shirts from work that he didn't return and began shredding them. They will be some colorful additions to he rag bag.


We also finally decided on the size of the dining room. Its will be 12 by 14, which will be large enough to fit our king size bed into while were building the rest of the dome. The windows for the dining room will cost 500 dollars. Also rather than having a glass roof I have decided to use the cheap sheets of galvanized metal I saw at Lowes a few weeks ago. This came about during work Wednesday. I like to eat my meals outdoors and the only place to do this is in the smoking area behind the building. There it a metal roof over this area and the sound of the rain pinging on that roof was wonderful.


And we have a spot for a veggie garden. Dennis swears I picked it out a long time ago. I vaguely remember this. Its in the woods, but has been cleared out by nature. The few trees that are there are thin and sickly, or dead. It will have to be fenced to keep the deer and rabbits out. That takes care of veggies, now if I can just find a sunny spot near the house for my herbs. Those will have to be moved before we move in the spring. And ofcourse the rose bushes and daylies and other perennials I refuse to leave behind.

Today

I have done very little useful today other than laundry, shedding some more stained shirts, and picking some mint and another small batch of lemon cucumber. I have a total of 3 peppers slowly turning red on the plants and one yellow one. I also started the pickles in the alum water this morning. Tomorrow I believe is the final soaking, this one in the spices that make them pickles. After I leave here I go to the hardware store to get a waterproof adhesive for a pool liner some friends gave us. Dennis is going to attempt to patch the rain barrels with this.
I will also be picking up some ingredients for a "cold" soap recipe I found. No more store bought bars for us thank-you very much.

Sunday, September 11, 2005

getting closer

Yes indeed as you can see from this picture we finished the first section of the second layer. i was really beginning to have my doubts. I never dreamed it would take so long. Hopefully the rest of this will go quicker.

There is something wrong with the sites spell checker today so nothing above or below has been checked. Now you can see just how bad my spelling and grammer really are.

The refugees at the church Dennis attends have all been placed in homes. last night while visiting two of our neighbors that also attend that church i heard a story about a woman there who is complaining about the "free" apartment she was given to live in until she can get on her feet. Apparently she considers it quite below acceptable standards.
You know if i had lost everything and was given a free place to live i don't think i would be complaining.
The past week has been very hectic for the whole family. We all pitched in, even myself helping out at the church. A few people has asked me if i have reconsidered going since i have been helping out and got to meet some of the people there. Once again I patiently explained that i am a Pagan and i "will not" attend a Christine church. Just because i was volunteering to help those who had been through a natural disaster did not mean i was no longer a pagan, shesh.
I started my 14 day pickles yesterday. i still have not found time for the mint jelly yet though. I need an ew candy thermomater anyway.
The other day i did find a recipie for home made tortias. Today i think i will look for a recipie for homemade refried beans.

i came across this article the other day on backwoods Home. i am going to begin putting many of these steps to practice in my own life. Them na who wrote this artcile has been living in an old 1968 VW van since 1988 so some of what has been written here is to allow him the most mobility. This man prefers a gypsy like lifestyle. Not all of us are comfortable with that. Myself for example. i have a strong desire to put down roots and keep them there.

1. Dispose of, give away, or sell off everything that is not useful, or anything of mere sentimental (we call this semi-mental) value such as knickknacks, souvenirs, and that dearly beloved whatchamacallit. Toss out all those things you “might be able to use someday” such as wood and metal scraps, junk, old spare parts, defunct equipment, that machine whose sole purpose for the past five years has been to keep the garage floor well greased, unfinished projects, and any unnecessary books, clothes, pots, pans, dishes, and furniture.
"" I have a real problem with what might be usefull some day .""

2. Do not buy anything you cannot afford. Do not take out any loans. Cut up all of your credit cards. Close out your checking accounts and use cash or money orders for all transactions.
""hehe, this one certianly isn't a problem anymore. The Past 3 years of bad luck have turned my credit into a mess. i couldn't borrow a dime if i wanted to.""
3. Do not keep any animals. They only tie you down and cost you money. However, if animals are a must with you, have useful animals—deadbeat pets belong in the stew pot.
""Well my pyrenese is usefull and the cats have helped keep the mole population down. We had a real problem with moles when we first moved here""

4. Do not own a vehicle which has been deliberately designed to be impossible for you to maintain or repair. Do not own any piece of machinery which is smarter than you are.
""Easier said than done there. I couldn't repair a car to save my life.""

5. Get rid of toys that you do not use nor enjoy nearly as much as you think you should. Bid adieu to such things as the motor bike you rarely ride or the exercise machine you use as an obstacle course to the couch. Even if you are actually using one now, it will become obsolete because exercise is the natural result of mountains, valleys, snow, open spaces, trees, and children. Sell the motor home and luxury liner you use two weeks out of the year—try a tent and a canoe or row boat and stay away from campgrounds.


6. Downsize your living quarters. You can waste your entire life away planning, building, cleaning, repairing, and adding on to a house. This not only makes you subject to government controls and hassles but also restricts your mobility. Put that time and effort into the enjoyment of your children, your spouse, the countryside, hunting and fishing, horseback riding, or whatever thrills you.
""I have wasted a lot of time taking care of this place. It always seems to need to be cleaned. And something always seems to need to be done on the outside. Dennis and i spent 3 hours this morning cleaning up messes that have been accumulating over the last '3' days. i still have not figured out how just a few years ago i couldget away with cleaning once a week and now it needs to be done every day. This one is a work in progress""

7. No one can deny that children complicate life but most people find them irresistible so I will not try to talk you out of having them. If, however, you are young, do not be overly eager to become a parent. If or when you have children, listen to and observe them. They are full of vital information such as where grandma is most ticklish and they are “simple” wise. They can tell you: A picnic in the woods is far superior to a fancy restaurant dinner. Mud pies are more interesting than statistics pies. Time is more precious than money. Egg tosses are more fun if the eggs are putrefied. Life is a continual exploration. Trails are for followers and conformists. Your butt is for sliding. Bees like to pop balloons. And one big black beetle in the hand is worth 20 television documentaries about insects.
"" I don't understand why so many young couples are in such a hurry to have kids. i have someone elses kids now. Someones who should have never had kinds in the first place. I do my best to care for them but i will never have chidlren of my own.""


8. Do not work a full-time job. If you presently have a great paying job, after simplifying your life and reducing your expenditures to a minimum’s minimum, you might want to work for a year or two saving every penny you can possibly save and then quit. When you need money, make things to sell for cash or barter; find odd jobs or seasonal contract work. If you do contract work, keep it simple. If after three months you have enough money to last the rest of the year, do not take another job simply because it is available. It is time to go play.
"" This one is one i am trying hard to put into works. Once i can get rid of the mortgage hanging over our heads i can start working full time or even quit.""
9. Stop trying to function within the system. Do not try to run a business unless it is something very minor and involves no government intervention (a virtual impossibility these days). Homeschool your children. Do not join a union. Do not work for the government, accept any government monies, or participate in any government programs. Once you buy into their game, you have to play by their rules which are anything but simple. If you think you stand to gain something by entering into partnership with the government, just ask any trapper what it has profited the animal who has taken the bait. Acting against one’s conscience is also a complicated, tangled web. The government acquires money through legalized extortion. But, unless you allow the government to determine your values, you probably still live by the old-fashioned adage that stealing is wrong. Therefore, do not let your greed convince you that it is okay to rob your neighbor simply because the government is holding the gun to his head.
"" i have up on the system long ago. I want to Dennis to go back into business for himself, but its a business that requires very little work. 1 or 2 days a week on the road. Maybe a few weeks a year out of state (but those can be turned into vacations)""

10. Avoid clocks, radios, telephones and, most of all, television like the plague.
""I don't see the problem with clocks or radioes and i think a telephone would be important for emergencies. Tv i can live without that. The computer is a bit different. Its a very important source of information. Without it many of my recently learned skills would be lost.""

11. Never forget your own mortality. This will make every minute precious. You will feel the urgency of living each moment to its fullest, of enjoying your family rather than wasting time bickering, and of doing what you want to do now instead of some surrealistic time in the ethereal future. Your values will change and you will transform from a sedentary haver-observer to an active experiencer-doer.

12. Marry your best friend.
""did that already""

13. Stop trying to be someone else’s notion of success
""Ah yes. his would mean stop trying to be what my father wants and what my mother wants and convince Dennis to stop trying to please his mother.""

Everyone in the house but me and the dog are asleep right now. i am still trying to figure out what exactly they did to require lengthy afternoon naps. Dennis did help me dig yesterday and he isn't used to it so i guess i can excuse him. but still. i don't stop moving from the moment I get up until i go to sleep and you don't see me taking an afternoon nap.
the last time I was this active was right before my last divorce. i worked 50 hours a week at a very stressful job and at the same time was expected by my ex husband to keep the house spotless, have dinner on the stove or waiting for him in the fridge when he got home, keep the laundry done, do the grocery shopping, and maintain a daily exercise routine. Not that I needed the exercise with all of that on my plate. i rarely had time to sit down, let alone eat anything. But he insisted that i did. When i finally got divorced and quit my job I weighed 112 pounds and had not slept in 4 days.
I enjoy the things i am doing now, even though at times i feel like i am worn a bit thin. i am eating healthy though (unlike before when i wasn't eating at all) . My body is full of solid muscle from my shoulders to my ankels. Only my stomach remains flabby. Well, they do say your stomach is the last part of your body to get into shape, don't they.

Thursday, September 08, 2005

Posting at a friends house

Tonight I am posting at a friends house while Dennis watches the first football game of the season. He has DSL so it should be pretty quick. Unfortunately his computer sucks so I can forget about uploading the pictures I have taken this week.

We went salvaging at construction site this morning and got enough from one site to do any forms we might possibly need. We got loads of good ply wood and lots of 2x2's 2x4's 2x6's 2x8's. We have also salvaged another rain barrel and a Franklin stove.

I have noticed while digging that the sun is leaning more toward the southern horizon now instead of directly over head. A sign of the changing seasons and the lateness of the year. For this reason only the farthest northern portion of my dig site are in the sun at all and then for only a short time of day. This will mean I can dig pretty much any time of day since I won't have to be standing in sunshine to do it.

We went to see shrew yesterday and got another 18 eggs. She gave me some fresh rosemary as well. I asked her if she wanted more fresh basil and she answered yes immediately. I plant on thinning my biggest oregano plant soon as well and I will give her a few plants for next year. A woman in the country should always have plenty of perennial herbs. Its been 2 weeks since I cut them back last. I put together 3 bags of leaves. One for shrew, one for my sister, and one for Rhonda (southern Baptist across the street). I still had plenty left for myself. My mother grew basil herself this year so I doubt she needs any. She may have given Kim plenty as well. With the nights cooling down I might get 1 or 2 more harvests off of them. If memory serves me correctly basil is not as cold tolerant as other plants. I love having enough to share with my neighbors :).

I have several lemon cucumbers on the vine that are nearly ready to pick and several more baby ones that I hope will be pickable before the weather gets to cold for them to produce. I got one off of the plants this morning and have 3 I can probably pick tomorrow. One more day in the sun and I think they will be ready. I have 5 in the crisper now and after tomorrow I will have enough for a couple jars of pickles . . . I think, LOL. I have never made pickles before.. I am still kicking myself for not getting those damn things in the ground sooner than early July. I am not sure if they will be as cold tolerant as the bell peppers were. Those suckers kept producing up until the end of November last year. The mint will do the same.

I came home the other day and decided I needed to get the house cleaned up. I couldn't remember the last time I mopped the floor and the fronts of my cabinets were a horrible mess. I decided this would be a good time to get rid of all of the negative energy that is skulking around here. No doubt left overs from the events of the past several months. Plus its said a witches energy is much stronger during her moon cycle.

I made a magik floor wash of the following ingredients

1 gallon of water
Black Peppercorns (Exercism)
Patchouli Oil (Money, we could all use a little more of that)
Bay Leaves (protection and strength)
Lavender (Peace and Purification)
1/2 an apple cut from the side so that the sacred star in the middle shows (Love)
Rose Petals (psychic Powers)
Vanilla (Mental Powers)
Yarrow (courage)


Think I missed anything??? LOL I am pretty sure I covered all of the bases. It had a nice smell. The apple made it a little cidery smelling, I also added a cup on ammonia to help it clean better. I scrubbed everything in the kitchen that would stand still. Cabinet doors, counters, appliances, and finally the floor. I also added a little to each load of laundry as I washed the rugs and place mat's and then the dish rags I used. Its clean now and smells nice. There is a soft glow to it again. The glow of light colors in a north facing room. I love that soft glow. I need to fill a spray bottle with it and walk around the room misting the carpet.

Sunday, September 04, 2005

Not enough time in the day

Dennis is back from "Fire on the Mountain" which was the bike rally at dog patch. He came back with a new tatoo that he traded for, some free t shirts, and he managed to get a nice leather hat for a dollar to replace the canvas one that he hates. He has to wear a hat now. Doctors orders since the eye surgery. Chris has also decided to close the store. Well that's fine by me. Dennis will get unemployment until the end of January and I think he can file for it again. I will have to check on it for sure. But he will have more time to work on the house now.

I made some banana nut muffins this morning with Sharons help. I had 4 bananas on top of the fridge that were over ripe so what I didn't put into the muffins I stuck in the freezer for later. I also used pecans from one of the many pecan trees at my parents house.
They were so awesome I will have to make some more later. Combined with the honey butter I made last week they were a big hit.
This morning I also finished the outline for the 4th quarter of the foundation. Finally!!! I swear it feels like it took forever. Ofcourse I must remember the outline is the hardest part and since its the first outline I have to outline all 3 sides instead of 2 or 1 like the other quarters and we are digging much deeper than we were before.
So deep in fact that I have decided I might make the foundation 2 levels. We will be 3 and 1/2 feet below ground level once we reach the other side of the foundation and I really did not want to dig that deep. I think I will leave the second half 1 foot shallower than the rest.

Thursday, September 01, 2005

Today

Well I got up earlier than usual today and watered the peppers and cucumbers. Got 2 green peppers, one pointed and one round. I found one lemon cucumber hiding and several others growing. I think I will keep them in the crisper and make pickles this weekend. The peppers got frozen. I am still waiting to pick the basil.
I have dropped the speed I travel on the interstate to 60 miles an hour and quit running the AC in my car. I seem to be using less gas. I try not to think about how high its going to go.
The disaster relief calls started pouring in at work yesterday. I got to hear lots of sad details directly from the victims. Its quiet sad how bad things have gotten with the evac. According to MSN people are now carrying guns, looting by using inflatable air mattresses, getting food by taking it from peoples houses. People are trying to get in to help but the relief workers are afraid of the people waving guns at them.
Today I look for a recipe for tomato soup since my last trip to the store revealed condensed tomato soup at $1.30 a can. I am sure increasing gas prices are going to make groceries go even higher.
This is a short post. The library is short on puters and this on has a sticky space bar
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