Sunday, October 30, 2005

Coyotes Halloweeny party

Well Coyote and his friend Nick had there first successful party this evening. They had a Halloween party. It was a good turn out. I am guessing 25 to 30 kids showed up. They had music, they did a haunted forest, a bonfire with weenies and smores.

Coyote got real friendly with a couple of gothic Wiccan girls who by the end of the evening were calling him there slave. One of them had a bull whip with her and showed everyone how good she was with it. I was really surprised when I saw her swing it over her head once or twice and then snap up a tin can that was laying on the ground near by.

Bear was out cleaning carpets for Dominic yesterday and Coyote was at Nicks getting stuff ready for the party so I had to take Mouse with me to the Library. ofcourse she got bored and kept bugging me about leaving so I didn't get much downloaded. Although I did find a really cool free long crotchet vest from coats and Clark. Its one of those cool light weight ones that falls to your knees. Its a strong crotchet, but I have been wondering if I could do that with very thin cut rags.

I've been doing more with my balls or rags than making a rug. I've been making headbands from the different colors as well. The kind that are a couple of inches wide. My hair is so thick and heavy that it takes a good heavy duty headband to hold it all back.

I've also been searching the net for information on making cheese without using bacteria cultures or rennet which I can't currently;y afford to buy. Rennet I believe is made from an animals stomach. Since I don't slaughter farm animals it would be difficult for me to make the stuff myself. I already new that lemon juice would cause the curds to form in the milk but I have only seen that used when making simple lemon cheese. I have a recipe for mozzarella using vinegar to cause the milk to curdle and yesterday online I learned that an infusion made from he leaves of the stinging nettle with also cause milk to curdle. I can probably buy the dried leaves from the natural food store here in town for a buck or two. She is very reasonable on her herbs, I know I have stinging nettle growing here on my 7 acres because I have come home on more than one occasion with the itchy white bumps on my leg. My problem is that they tend to look like a lot of the other under canopy plants suck as monks hood and caner weed before they bloom.

Since it would be easier for me to get my hands on stinging nettle than an animals stomach I think I would prefer to use that.

Making cheese has been something I have been pursuing for a long time. I bought a book about it and ofcourse the book uses bacteria cultures and although I found those cultures online I was never able to purchase them so for a long time I give up on the idea. Recently my wheels have been turning and I realized that way back when cheese was made during the pioneer days they couldn't t have possible had prepared bacteria cultures. So far I have found methods for making ricotta cheese, cheddar cheese mozzarella cheese, cream cheese, cottage cheese, and sour cream without using. Bacteria cultures.

Now I just have to convince Dennis to stop buying 2 percent milk and start buying whole milk. That probably won't be very difficult.

Saturday, October 29, 2005

Halloweeny Costumes

Ok so I have given the holiday my own special name, :).

The sun is up but not above the trees yet. It doesn't appear there will be a cloud in the sky this morning.

Tuesday we dug a little. This time Bear injured a muscle in his chest. It seems pretty painful. He wanted to keep going but I insisted he stop. Even though I could do the pick axing myself and he insisted it didn't hurt to bad to do the shoveling I said no. I remember when I first hurt my wrist and decided I was just going to keep going. It got worse and worse and I spent the next 3 days in agony, barely able to grip even a lightweight object.

We sat down and discussed our recent injuries. Isn't it odd how neither of us had a problem doing this work until the weather began to turn cold. I got hurt on the very first cold day I worked on. We discussed maybe doing some stretching or some type of warm up exercises before starting to dig each time.

Still, despite having to stop an hour before we wanted to we still managed to take out a nice chunk of dirt

Last night was parent teacher conferences. We didn't go to Mouse's because we hate her teacher and aren't interested in anything she has to say. Coyote's we went to. He scored in the top 1/3 in the nation on his standardized testing, but got c's d's and 1 F in everything. Well, he is grounded for another 9 weeks. I've told Bear what the problem is repeatedly. He's bored. There not teaching him what he wants to learn about.

But other there isn't much I can't exactly quit my job and home school him now. And he is already taking a significant interest in a subject I can't tech him and that's band. He was recently awarded first chair in the clarinet section and his band teacher bragged about him extensively. So did his art teacher. He is very excited about learning to make pottery later this year.

Not to long ago I found instructions on the web for building an in ground firing pit for pottery. If I can afford it I'd like to get him a wheel for xmas so he can use some of the red clay we have dug up to make pottery with and then learn to fire it in the ground. He has been begging me for some of that red clay since he first saw it back in August.

Thursday . . . Bear's pulled muscle is still very painful. Dominic has set him up with a carpet cleaning job on Sunday so I told him it would be best if he rests until then . He is going to need that muscle. So today I dig alone. Its been a while and I think I need the exercise.

Friday night I come home to a quiet house. Coyote is at a monthly dance put on by one of the local churches . Tonight he wore the costume which we made together. He went as "One of those we do not speak of" from the movie the village. We told them around mid month there simply would not be money for costumes this year. They were at first horrified. Halloween without costumes. I then put on my anti commercialism hat and started preaching. I told them that when there grandparents were kids people made there costumes, they didn't run to wal-mart and spend 15 to 30 dollars per costume on them and if they wanted to dress up for Halloween they should make there costumes. I then stated that from now on costumes would be made every Halloween. No more going to Wally World and buying them.

Coyote borrowed the rubber mask he will be wearing and made some paper claws which I painted black and spattered with shiny tulip T shirt paint to resemble blood. Then I found some red fabric I bought at a garage sale for a dollar a year ago and made a red cape with it for him.

Mouse got a cheerleaders costume in some hand me downs from the neighbors daughter and decided to be a dead cheerleader for Halloween. I told her hers would be easy. We would just do some dead looking make-up and get her costume real dirty and make a mess of her hair, maybe put some branches and leaves into it.

There both very proud to have made there costumes this year.

Ofcourse I wanted them to go as Blodeuwedd and the green man, LOL. Maybe next year.
I explained my idea to Mouse (although its way to late to start making that type of costume) and after she learned that Blodeuwedd was a goddess of spring and made of flowers she agreed to the idea for next year completely. I have decided I can make her a simple dress, probably from some cheap dollar a yard fabric or an old sheet and cover it with silk flowers taken from the garbage cans at the grave yard (that's where I get all of my silk flowers for decorating ); Then I can paint flowers on her face and put flowers in her hair.

I am sure talking Coyote into being the green man next year will be much more difficult than talking Mouse into being Blodeuwedd .

I started a tradition when I moved out of my parents house 10 years ago. (yes I was 22, I tried to leave sooner but they wouldn't let me, LOL). I started buying a Christmas ornament to represent a significant event from the passing year. I made a little ref felt tag with the year painted in gold glitter on each one. I am missing a few years. I didn't have money to buy one for 2004 and I think I might be missing another year or two.

I have some good ones though. I got a carousel horse the year the mare I grew up with had her baby. A fosselized looking dragonfly the year I chose my Pagan name. There was a year where Dennis and I partied extensily and I got a martini glass and shaker for that year. A little wood house for the year I bought my first home. A Santa clause ornament that looks a lot like the holly king for the year I became a Witch. The year I got married and we had our honey moon at the crescent hotel in Eureka Springs my first marriage) I got a crystal crescent moon. But my absolute favorite is for the year Dennis got custody of his kids. I remember walking into Lowes and seeing it on the shelf. It was perfect. Its a big fat snowman made from glass. There are two kids with there arms wrapped around it. A little girl with long blonde hair that reminded me of Mouse and a dark haired little boy who was a little taller than the girl that reminded me of Coyote. And ofcourse you know who the big fat snowman in the middle reminded me of don't you ;).

Thursday I was walking through the new Super Wal-mart looking for an idea for 2004 and 2005. I was pretty lost as to what to get. After all how to you pick an ornament to represent the brokest you have ever been. I spotted a pair of Feathery angels wings (wings only) for $1.97 and it just clicked suddenly "A wing and a prayer". Ofcourse I didn't want to spend $1.97 for the ornament. Then I remembered that bag of chicken feathers I still have in the cabinet and decided I could make one that was just as nice.

2005 I finally came up with last night at work. A little shovel, ofcourse, LOL.

Thursday, October 27, 2005

a dim view of what will be the view from our bedroom. The smaller trees under the canopy will have to be thinned to get a better look at it
Thje view from the bedroom without the trees in the way. I had to walk further down the hill to get this shot. Our view will be from higher up.

We've gotten a little bit farther since this picture was taken. We took out the square chunk of earth you see at the bottom which we have been using as a step to get out of that section more easily. As you can see we have created another step in the area that the back door will be in, also to make getting out of the foundation easier. Its two feet deep in that area.
The sun is up but not above the trees yet. It doesn't appear there will be a cloud in the sky this morning. We have cut back to where the wheelbarrell is sitting in this picture since it was taken.

Dennis injured a muscle in his chest while digging Tuesday. It seems pretty painful. He wanted to keep going but I insisted he stop. Even though I could do the pick axing myself and he insisted it didn't hurt to bad to do the shoveling I said no. I remember when I first hurt my wrist and decided I was just going to keep going. It got worse and worse and I spent the next 3 days in agony, barely able to grip even a lightweight object.

We sat down and discussed our recent injuries. Isn't it odd how neither of us had a problem doing this work until the weather began to turn cold. I got hurt on the very first cold day I worked on. We discussed maybe doing some stretching or some type of warm up exercises before starting to dig each time.

Still, despite having to stop an hour before we wanted to we still managed to take out a nice chunk of dirt

Dennis is still pretty sore today. I told him he can stay at the house and I will dig, unless he just wants to sit back there and keep me company. I haven't dug on my own in a while anyway.

Tuesday, October 25, 2005

A recap of the week

Isn't this pretty. The pumkin was a gift from a lady at work. The canna lily in the background i started from seed in Febuary of this year. Itscalled a "Black Night". The mums in the background I started from some i rescued from my mothers compost pile and ofcourse thats Ash sitting in the background watching me.

We dug Saturday. Coyote had 2 friends over and Saturday morning we put them to work as well. It was nice to not have to shovel after he pick axed. I moved back another portion of the smaller piles of dirt instead.

Sunday we didn't dig at all. My wrist still hurt and I had it wrapped up and Bear was pretty sore. He didn't even go to church. Neither did the rest of the family. I shredded a few shirts and did some laundry as well as some light weeding. I harvested and ate the last two lemon cucumbers I will probably get off of my vines. I pulled out the Halloween and autumn decorations. The plastic window stickies were soaked in hot water to get the wrinkles out and then stuck to the doors and windows. I drew a face on the pumpkin a lady at work gave me and set it out on the deck. Then I pulled out some jack-o-lantern candle holders and fall silk foliage as well as a few other items and placed them around the house. When I ran out of decorations I walked into the garden and cut some mums which I sat in a few cobalt blue coffee cups around the house. I realized as I decorated that I haven't had the Halloween decorations out in two years. When I decided that there was enough seasonal color in the rooms I went outside and watered the peppers. At one point during the morning I walked to the back of the property the check out an area I had been looking at for an herb garden. A few skinny trees will have to come down to provide enough light . . . I think. A guy on night shift at work suggested I plant my herbs on my living roof. Although this seemed like a good idea at first I have had experience gardening on a steep slope before and its difficult. I think it would be easier to just plant them on the ground than to try and maintain a garden on the roof.

Tuesday we dug again, wiping out a huge chunk of ground thanks to our neighbors son Carl who came over to help out. Although I wasn't wrapping my wrist it was still kinda weak and would have been easily re injured so I was grateful for the help.

Thursday I moved one of the larger piles of dirt 3 feet away from the foundation in preparation for the expansion. We also dug a small amount. We are going to be digging down hill now, which means there will be less and less cubic feet as we dig. Than-you goddess, finally.
Saturday we dug some more. We didn't dig much. Maybe 10 square feet total, but its still fairly deep where we are digging. Bear pulled a muscle in his back while emptying the wheel barrel and had to stop for the day.

Sunday I dug a small amount on my own and then moved back another large pile of dirt. At least most of it. I wore myself out trying to move it and made Bear come down from the house and finish it for me.

Now for the bad things that have happened this week. Friday night at work someone stole my green sweater. I got it at a garage sale for 75 cents so its not a big loss, but it was still my favorite. Bear's explorer breaks down. Then yesterday I was making homemade tortias on a griddle on my flat top stove. I finished and got ready to clean up and what do I find after I removed the griddle but an enormous series of cracks running along the entire stove top.
Well Sunday at chruch Bear was telling squirrel (a neighbor, that really is the name he uses) what had happened to the explorer and he said "I think I know what wrong with it". So he came over and took a look. It cost 23 dollars to fix it. My mother went and looked at Lowes to check out the prices of new stovetops and while she was there found one identical to mine on clearance for half price. She put it on her lowes card and brought it over. Then yesterday our friend Dominic comes over. He is the guy who owns a carpet cleaning business. We've been friend with him for 7 years now and when he needs some help lately he comes over and gets Bear and pays him cash for the work. When Bear walked outside to great him he found him standing behind the explorer looking at Bear back tires (which are bald). He told Bear one of the tire places in town owed him money for cleaning there carpet and to go over there this morning and get two new back tires.

We have had a lot of unexpected visitors lately. It seems like everytime we turn around someone else we haven't seen in ages is pulling into the driveway. A lot of them are very curious about the project going on in the bag and very impressed at the work we have done by hand.
"I can't believe you have done all of this buy hand!!" is the response we usually get One person actually said "You are a better person that I. I would never work this hard."
Another friend who say the project in the very beginning when I was the only one doing it and had dug maybe 30 square feet came back to look at it last weekend "You know," he said"When I first saw this and you told me what you were going to do I kept waiting for the little bird to come out of your foreheads and sing 'cookoo cookoo.' But this is actually starting to make a little more sense now."

Thursday, October 20, 2005

I've been evicted!!!!!!

From my desk at work, LOL, scared you didn't I.
A section of the company has expanded and decided over flowing into our area was the best thing to do. We are now shoved into a much smaller area with another customer service group. The move is not that bad. The little island of cubicles I am at is near the large plate glass window in front of the building and I can see the sky as well as the top of an ancient oak tree across the street. But it is a bit warmer up there. I suppose it will be colder in the winter to. But colder will be fine with me, since the rest of the building always seemed way to warm in the winter.

The problem with moving into this new area is my body has to adjust to the onslaut of new chemicals worn by the new people sitting near me. New perfumes or what ever it is started irritating my eyes at once. I soon felt a soreness in my throat and found myself craving willow tee as a headache started to form. I suppose this adjustment will take several weeks.

The above picture is another chunk taken out of the foundation. Our neighbors son, who is also unemployed at the moment came over Tuesday to help dig. That was just fine by me because my wrist was still feeling pretty delicate. They dug while I moved back another pile of dirt 3 feet from the foundations edge.

This morning I moved another larger pile and Bear and I took a smaller chunk off dirt out. The worst (except for expanding the hole darn thing 3 more feet out) is over now. Were digging downhill at this point. Its the one that is behind the spot where Bear and Carl are sitting in picture 3.

My second batch of soap came out beautifully and there are square chunks of soap with rough edges in every shower and on every sink in the house.

Coyote is going to make dinner for us tonight. According to Dennis its going to include fish sticks, Macaroni and cheese, and canned corn. Well, he is making what he knows I guess, LOL.

Saturday, October 15, 2005

My soap never traces

Dennis built this earlier this week, completely from recycled materials and ofcourse, completely free. Even the firewood and kindling in the box. Were going to try and rely as much on our fireplace and oil powered space heaters as we can this winter to avoid the soaring winter time electric bill.
Dennis is very proud of this. He brings all of his friends out behind the house and shows them. He even brags that everything he used was free.

The digging continues. i have started trying to move sections of the dirt piles 3 feet away from the foundation each time I dig so that hopefully when we reach the end and are ready to begin digging the additional 3 feet Bear wants added the piles will be mostly if not all moved.

I have made 2 batches of homemade soap this week. I used to make it all of the time and just stopped for some reason. Last weekend I bought some lye and decided it was time to start making it again. The first batch I made came from a larger recipe and I had to cut it way down to get the portion I wanted. I have had various problems with my soaps but nothing ever like this. Usually a problem batch will separate leaving a skin stinging clump on the bottom and layer of oil on the top. Often the lump will be full of pockets of fluid that will burn holes in your skin if your not careful. The first batch I made however never did anything. It didn't even separate. My only guess is maybe I didn't add enough lye water to it. Thursday I added some more to the lye and oil mix hoping it would do something to harden it. What I ended up with is a liquid soap so strong it will dry up a layer of skin on your hands that proceeds to peel off over the next few days. Well, I poured it into a jar and used it to make laundry detergent instead.

that's also a first for me this week. Making my own laundry detergent. I must say it worked far better than what I buy and at 39 cents a gallon compared to the six dollars a gallon I pay at the store.

When I first told Dennis was going to make it he complained about it "as usual". He said he was going to tolerate the line dried clothing that felt like cardboard on his skin but no way was he going to wear clothes that smelled like some homemade detergent. Well my homemade detergent smells cleaner than the stuff we were buying at the store. After I told him how much if cost to make he decided it would be wiser to use it.

I made a second attempt at making mint jelly tonight. I don't understand it. I use Sure-jel. I follow the instructions to the letter and my jelly never turns into jelly. I end up with jars of syrup.

Sunday, October 09, 2005

The one hundred pound rock. That's my sandal covered foot in the picture to give you an idea of how big it is.
6/8's of the way finished. Well, sort of. Dennis has decided it needs to be bigger. He originally thought we needed an additional 4 feet all the way around. I new it needed to be bigger, but I thought two additional feet would be plenty. We compromised with 3ft. But that will be dug after we finish digging the rest of it. As you can see we have also started the second step up.
This is my hubby in the kitchen. He was making a dish he got from his mother years ago. A nice fattening thing which creates horrible gas called "baby quiches". They are extremely addictive. He made them for his mens group tonight.
The pile of rocks gets bigger and bigger.

I have noticed a lot of people use online names when discussing there family in blogs. I kinda like the sound of it so I will start doing the same. I will call them by there wiccan names which are also there native american totem animals. I am obviously Dragonfly. Sharon will be Mouse. Chris is Coyote. And Dennis is Bear. Dennis chose his himself. He even has a claw from a black bear that he wears. I really think a Fox or Possum would be more fitting his personality.

Coyote: the trickster, devilment

Dragonfly: Illusion - Transcendence, vision quest, refined skill

Bear: power, healing (doesn't exactly sound like Dennis does it)

Mouse: scrutiny, order, organizer (I am about to change hers to a Moose)

There is not to much to note this week. I made 6 pony tail holders this week from old stained clothes I am cutting up to make wars rugs with using the elastic I salvaged from a few of the items. 3 for me and 3 for Mouse.

I did finally cook the ham bone. I made a large pot of veggie soup with it. We had some for dinner and I canned the rest.

While on the way home one night last week I realized that Dennis was getting more to live on in grant money while going to school than what I make. That made me think about going back to school. I flipped through the book for a little while looking at the list of courses and then decided I really did not want to do anything that required that much brain power, LOL.

Thursday, October 06, 2005

Thursday, the weekend gets ever closer

Well its not like 3 days a week is that much work anyway, even though those 3 days are 12 hours long.

I didn't dig Tuesday. Monday evening I re injured my wrist at work opening a bottle of rootbeer. I guess since I re injured it so easily it never was completely healed. I am going to dog today though, right after I clean the bathroom. Its pretty disgusting. I can't remember the last time Dennis or I cleaned it.

I woke up to grey skies today. It looked like it could rain at any minute, but it didn't. Now that I am in town and can get a better look at the skies I think it will be very unlikely that it will rain. Even the local weather says chance of rain is only 30 percent.

obscures that didn't stop Dennis from rushing me outdoors to get the laundry off the line, LOL. Imagine his frustration when I hang up the darks I started this morning before leaving.

that's about it for now. Nothing new has taken place . . Oh except that part of Dennis collage tuition paid for by grants includes a brand new laptop computer with all the fixings. And Dennis got his vaccinations Wednesday, causing his arm to swell up really bad. He still managed to finish cleaning up the stuff pulled out of the closet and get the house spotless before I got home. He even pulled out my old copper ball fountain, scrubbed it back down to its shiny copper finish again and fix the rusted out parts inside. Its tinkling pleasantly in the formal living room now on a weathered timber stand he built. I am pretty lucky to have a man that is so clean and crafty.

Tuesday, October 04, 2005

Hey ya'll, look, its Tuesday, and I am at the library!!

Dennis is here filling out grant applications online. We just finished up at the financial aid office and learned he will be receiving a total of 4k per quarter for living expenses. I told him I am going to insist that a quarters worth of mortgages are paid with each check from the grants. That is still my biggest concern. I can't remember if I mentioned it or not but Dennis has decided to pursue a bachelors in computer science.

He has also mentioned that he qualifies for student loans as well. I would like to avoid those, but I we need them I guess we need them.

I had to take my car to the shop for my dad to replace a tire today. He fixed the starter last week. Its really burning me up to do this because he refuses to speak to Dennis and I am still pissed at him, but without my car I can't drive to work and it would not be good to be on the interstate at 10pm one night and blow a tire. Especially since I don't have a cell phone to call for help. Well i managed to leave my floppy disks in the car so now I have nothing to download information on. I am kinda ticked about that.

We had absolutely no phone service at all now. Our cell phone broke a few weeks ago. We can hear fine on our end but the person were speaking to can barely hear a whisper. It sounds as though we are very far away. We didn't see any reason for getting the service renewed when the darn thing doesn't work anyway.

Dennis had to go talk to the people at the furniture store because we were 2 payments behind and didn't want to loose our stuff. They said if we can just pay them 100 a month they won't take the two remaining pieces of furniture we have left that are not paid for. There not important pieces. Its a big beautiful bright red couch in the formal living room and an armoire that was a repo we got for 600 dollars (value is 2300) . Its not like our bed or dining room table or anything, ut I still love those pieces. I was planning on putting the red couch in the kitchen dome, near the fireplace in there.

When were finished here, which I hope is soon because I am starving, we are going to check and see if the public library is open again because I never got my library card and certainly haven't heard anything about the book "Grey Water Oasis" that I asked for. I have also added some books to the list that I would like to read. Such as "A Living House" and something more detailed about bread ovens and masonry fireplaces.

Sunday, October 02, 2005

Another weekend has passed

That rock that you see sticking out of the undug part ended up being 1 1/2 foot across and 3 and 1/2 feet long and weighed we are guessing close to 100 pounds. I couldn't budge it once it was dug free and Dennis could only role it. Its still sitting inside the foundation.

I had to work Saturday so I didn't get much of anything done, other than some laundry. Dennis started working on the closet Friday and was still working on it Saturday when I got home. We have gotten the "declutter bug" with the prospect of moving to a much smaller space in the next year or so. We managed to get rid of two bags of clothing that was still salvageable and add even more stuff to the rag pile. There are a few bags of craft stuff that I don't have a place to store but they were good deals at garage sales and I can't throw them out.

I also have an increasing problem as far as where to store my recycled glass jars and bottles. I'm running out of room quickly. I think when it starts to get to cold to dig (I have given up on the fantasy of having the digging done before the cold weather hits) we may start working on some storage buildings out back. Then I could get a lot of the stuff I am keeping in preparation for life on the back of the property stored somewhere where it will be out of the way until its time to use it.

I've been looking for a simple "Dark of the Moon" ceremony. I've never done one before. Opinions differ as to the purpose of the dark moon and the full moon. I have always felt that the new moon is for bringing forth. Perhaps that is part of my problem, I am always bring forth and not emptying out. The dark of the moon I think it best for banishing. So the ceremony should be directed toward it. A black candle, black clothing, the same sacred space. That moon will be completely black tomorrow at 10:27. I will probably end up just making the ritual up. All that I have found are to complicated.

Its very frustrating to have so little time to write here. Things seem almost insanely busy at home.
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