Saturday, February 28, 2009
I have been somewhat reluctant about blogging this week. I'm not sure why. I don't know if I'm aggravated or pissed with things or what. I've noticed in the past couple of months that my hits have gone up substantially but my comments have gone down and that I have lost a couple of long time readers (that I thought were pretty good friends) for some reason. Now, I'm not really whining about the comments, if you've don't comment much or at all, that's fine. I suspect that posts about some personal things has put some people off, and I know that is a tricky subject because you can't always explain everything fully, so I have tried posting about a variety of topics (even ones of your choosing) but there is still a lack of feedback. And maybe I'm just being boring on everything, I don't know. My thoughts are not really coming well to me right now; I've got a lot of other stuff on my mind but when I can organize some and get a coherent line of thought going I will explain things better.
As I said earlier, things have gone fine with The Man From 12 Years. It has been wonderful to see him again after so long. We have talked and talked about so much (one reason for lack of time lately) and this is what I meant when I said that I had been 'busy' in the comments from the last post. That's another thing, I think some people may have gotten the wrong idea about some things from my comments. But that's my fault for not wording it better. Anyway, I don't know if there would ever be anything more between us, even though we have had a great time just buddying around. He is still having a very difficult time and somehow got it in his head that if he could find me it would help him. So, I have been trying and that is a very tricky undertaking also, but there is no way I can turn away from such a heart as his. I thought so much of him when we worked together because he helped me out so often back then and have thought of him many, many times over the years.
So, that's that and I will get back to posting and replying to comments and emails soon. Please forgive me for taking so long on those things.
Tuesday, February 24, 2009
He has revealed quite a lot in the last couple of conversations and well, this is looking very, very interesting. It still is just astounding to me that this man has gone to the lengths he did to find me. Turns out it was not that he just happened to run into my former boss etc. and all that. So, we shall see what happens tomorrow.
*Carly Simon/ 'course, ya'll knew that
Saturday, February 21, 2009
Our growing season is pretty long, generally April thru late October, but during the coldest part of our winter I don't actually have a lot growing. I don't have any cold frames or a greenhouse yet (I know, shame on me!) so I am at the mercy of the weather for most things. I think I planted the cabbage a little late this past fall and it has not done really well. I managed to get 2 heads and 3 harvests of Brussel sprouts from the plants but they seem pretty bitten at this point. So, when I passed by the local hardware store and saw they had their first shipment of plants in last Thursday I had to stop. I bought another batch of cabbage starts and am going to see if spring does any better for that crop here. I should be able to go ahead and plant these now. The variety is supposedly very cold hardy. I also bought some leeks, which I have never tried before and so am anxious to see how that does.
Our last average frost date is somewhere around April 15 so, I will be setting out my potatoes (gonna try Caribe) around the first of April and onion bulbs the first of March. I would also like to try hulless oats as a cover crop. These are planted in the early spring or late fall and can be harvested and processed to eat and the stalks incorporated into the soil for enrichment.
After our frost date you can go for it, as far as growing just about anything. It warms up so fast, spring lasts about 2 weeks it seems, that I just direct sow most things. Peas, corn, okra, green beans, watermelon, cantaloupe and squash. Except for tomatoes, which I try to get started early. Of course, I usually get two lettuce and spinach crops a year, one in spring and another in the fall. I have also built a raised bed for my strawberry plants which I will transplant as soon as it gets a little warmer.
I don't feel that I have a lot to offer in the gardening information because I just haven't had much time to devote to that these few years that I have been in this location. But it's getting better and each year I add a little to the garden. And learn to extend my season just a little more. Previous to living here, I had virtually no experience growing anything during the fall or winter months.
Oh, in the photo above you see the lavender plants I started and the cabbage and leeks. Allen bought two grape plants for each of us. We'll see who's does better! He got us each a white seedless and a purple seedless. I know very little about growing either but am going to try hard to get these to live. Right now I'm trying to find a suitable location for them. I am also going to order two apple trees this spring (already have one established) so to add to that variety. I love apples; baked, raw, dried, you name it.
OK, so the lavender cuttings seem to be doing well. I let them soak in the willow water for about 5-6 days and then planted them in a small pot with regular potting soil. They stay outside unless it is going to get below freezing at night and then I will bring them in and put them out again in the morning. So far, so good. They seem healthy and vibrant. I gave them just a little fertilizer in their water today. I'm tempted to kinda dig one up to see if there are any noticeable roots forming but have contained myself so far from doing that. I'm very excited that this seems to be working because I'm gonna have scads of lavender plants if these transplant well!
So, next post I will try to make on some of my art and related questions. Thanks for all your questions.
Thursday, February 19, 2009
Tuesday, February 17, 2009
what do you have for a food pantry? Do you have cold storage, root cellar?? Are you a prepper?
This photo shows what will soon be my pantry. Due to the fact that I'm still building on the house, I do not, at the moment, have all these items mentioned but do plan on all those things. So, I'll just have to show what I have and discuss my plans. My pantry is an 8'x8' room right off the kitchen. There will be a cased opening leading into it (no door) and it has one small window. I am trying to finish the side to the left so that I can at least set the base cabinets on that side and pour the concrete counter top. Above the base cabinet I plan on having open, wood shelving that extends up to the ceiling. The shelving will probably be five-quarter pine or cypress, 12" deep, with a natural wax finish. Both base cabinet and shelves will be wall to wall. That side will be used for storage of food and other items that I do not want to receive direct sunlight. On the other side of the room I plan on having a chest freezer and it also has a small broom closet behind the electrical panel. The kitchen and pantry will both receive cork flooring.
At the moment I do not have cold storage or a root cellar but would like that. I plan on installing a sand-set brick floor in my pump house (which is partially earth sheltered) and with the addition of shelving, can use it for some cold storage. The pump house stays about 35-45 degrees F. in the winter and I think it would be okay for storing canned food.
As far as the root cellar, that's a little trickier. On the front of the house, which is the north side, I plan on pouring 4' high concrete walls to form planter boxes. This will cover the concrete block that shows now also and help the house appear to 'sit' lower to the ground. Of course, once finished, the planter boxes could possibly be used to grow some food or herbs and medicinal plants without fear that the deer would chow on them. I would like to form a vault of sorts within those planters that would serve as a root cellar. The roof of the vault would also be concrete and it would be covered by the earth and plantings above. Also, since they are on the north side, it always stays cool there. A small, insulated access door would allow you to get to the food from either the outside or inside of the basement. I hope my description is clear and I explained all that well enough. This is one frustrating part of the house because I know what I want to build but it is just taking so long. I'm plugging along though and getting some stuff done. I'm hoping warmer weather will give me a boost of energy too!
As far a s being a prepper, not in the way most people define that I guess. Due to just the lifestyle I like to lead (rural living) and what I do for a living, I do have or employ many of the tools and supplies that preppers do but that's just circumstance more than a conscientious effort for prepping or belief that a great disaster is imminent. Now, don't get me wrong, everyone should keep a decent tool supply, certain supplies for emergencies etc. and I certainly believe that a disaster, whether natural or man made, is possible these days. I am short of the food supply just due to the fact I have not finished constructing my storage areas. I do have some dry goods stored and a good selection of heirloom seeds for growing more food. I have several fruit trees planted already and am adding to that selection and hope to acquire chickens this year. So, I hope that answers that question somewhat.
Oh, btw, this is the enlarged 'cartoon' of the finished design for my bathroom window. I have actually started the window! but haven't gotten real far. I have discovered I need to order glass pretty soon also. I'll try to show what I have of the window soon.
Btw again, I have spoken to the Man From 12 Years Ago a couple of more times since I first told you about that. I asked him to go to dinner with me. He accepted enthusiastically. We'll see.
Saturday, February 14, 2009
Friday, February 13, 2009
Anybody want me to post about a particular aspect of the house? I still have not finished categorizing everything on that.
Anybody want to see a post about a particular aspect of my real work?
Anybody want to see a specific home project demonstrated? Carpentry? Masonry?
Anybody want to ask me a question on pretty much any subject? And hey, I've been a construction worker for 15 years; there's not a lot I haven't been asked already.
I don't know; gardening? conserving? rural living? home life? my art?
I promise I won't be offended by anything (or if nobody asks anything!) I just feel like I've been boring lately. Or being a drongo!! Not much to offer. So???
Thursday, February 12, 2009
Wednesday, February 11, 2009
Well, I've been musing over this man that called me last weekend and I have to say I'm perplexed. How bizarre (I know that has become a theme with me) that this guy would call after 12 or 13 years. I mean, I remember him well and we were friendly but I just never got the impression back then that he even paid me much mind. And now that his wife has passed away he wants to come see me? OK, I'm not stupid, I know what that sounds like that's all about but I hate to say, I'm suspicious. If he is anything like what I remember, he shouldn't have any trouble finding a woman. What's he want with me? I think he is actually looking for someone else. Trying to get in touch with somebody else we worked with back then or something. It's also funny that he just happen to be working on a job for one of the very few superintendents that has my phone number and knows how to get in touch with me. Ugh! I think I'm going to become a hermit (hermitess?) and get, like 50 cats to occupy my time. So, even though I tried to be very friendly on the phone and sound honestly like I would like to see him, I don't think he will call back. I probably said something really stupid or sounded like an idiot to him. I perfected that technique with the Switchman. I really think I have been a rough ol' construction worker too long and am not fit for polite society anymore.
Sunday, February 08, 2009
Well, I've been working on the house some, specifically the window for the bathroom, but don't have much to show for it. I should say I have been working on the full size pattern for the window. I'm almost done with it, I believe, so should be able to actually start the glass today. I just need to pick some general idea of colors and make sure the proportions of the window look OK. Sure enough, last week the BFA was browsing the blog and spied my design. He hated it, of course, and promptly sent me his design that he had been sitting on for months now. His is quiet complicated though and does not lend itself to clear glass and light colors, in my opinion. It would be very nice in bold, rich colors but I'm trying to avoid that in order to take full advantage of the sunlight. So, I'm going to go with my design. I think it will look nice. It's very difficult to make an ugly stained glass window. Now, I have seen it done once or twice, but for the most part colored glass is just magical somehow.
I had a very unusual phone call yesterday afternoon also. A man that I have not heard from or seen in about 12 years called me. We worked together waaay long time ago on a couple of jobs but then, as is common in construction with subcontractors especially, we just never ended up on the same job again. He is an operator for an excavation company. So anyway, he said he was recently working on a job with a superintendent that used to work for my company. In fact, I used to rent a home from that boss. So, they got to talking about this and that and I guess this guy asked about me and got my phone number from the super. I was so surprised when he called. He thought I still had my studio downtown and said he wanted to come see me. Then he mentioned that his wife had passed away about a year ago etc., 'cause all the time I knew him he was married. And no, he's not that old, it must have been something unexpected. We talked for just a short while; turns out he was raised here in this town and doesn't live too far away. So, I suggested that, even though I don't have my studio anymore, he come visit me anyway. Actually, I suggested this a couple of times! Now, like I said, I haven't seen this man in 12-13 years but back in the day he was gorgeous. Stiff competition for the Switchman I'll tell ya! Well, maybe...hehe. And as far as I know, a real nice guy. Kinda bashful but very nice and very well kept. So, he said one nice, sunny day he would ride his Harley out and come see me. So, we'll see. He'll probably never show up.
I took my truck to a detailer yesterday also and had it cleaned inside and out. Man, it looks so much better! Anyway, another buddy of mine had dropped by to chat and tell me about the sorry state of our work right now, (we lost at least 2 big jobs just this week) and he said he would take me to pick up my truck. This buddy worked with me over at the RR (and knows that whole story) and as we were walking out of the place, he picked up a price list and started laughing. What's so funny? He showed me the paper and pointed to the address of the business. Such and such Railroad Street. I had not noticed that before. And btw, my company has recently given that RR prices for some additional work at that same location. Apparently, they want to put in another, larger sand silo and extend a concrete slab and so on. So, we may go back over there to work before long.
Well, hopefully I will have real window pictures to show you soon. Hope everyone is having a good weekend. The weather here is absolutely beautiful.
Saturday, February 07, 2009
Thursday, February 05, 2009
"Tomorrow you need to wear two pairs of socks if your feet are so prone to get cold" the boss said, unsympathetically.
"Well," the switchman replied dryly, "if two pairs of socks are warmer than three, I'll take one off."
Well, I thought it was funny....
The real Switchman told me that one last winter. Of course, he told it as a true story but I suspect it is just one of the old standards that exists in many of the trades.
Wednesday, February 04, 2009
Sunday, February 01, 2009