Sunday, January 31, 2010

The Unexpected Song


God give us rain when we expect sun.
Give us music when we expect trouble.
Give us tears when we expect breakfast.
Give us dreams when we expect a storm.
Give us a stray dog when we expect congratulations.
God play with us, turn us sideways and around.

~Micheal Leunig ~


*Sarah Brightman

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Stayin' Alive

Hey People! I think I'm still amongst the living and am feeling somewhat better. Thank you for all checking in on me and your concern. That made me feel better! Doctor said it was not strep but was some type throat infection and an ear infection on top of that. I still have my tonsils and have always had trouble with tonsillitis and ear infections if stuff gets my allergies fired up. So anyway, I got a big shot in the ass and some horse pills to take. I was beginning to wonder if even that was going to help but when I woke up this morning the swelling and pain in my throat was much relieved, thank goodness. Just got sore spot on my butt in return!
So, I haven't been this sorry in a long time. I've laid around and slept most of the time but today I did manage the energy to split some firewood. I actually split a little yesterday but it was basically only enough to last one night. Today I was splitting some more and Allen happen to come down to get a ladder, so he helped me, and now I have enough to last well into next week. Thank God for all those years of hard work that built me up enough to be able to do that kind of work even when I'm sick. I do have a gas heater that I can use, and I did when I was really in bad shape, but I'm getting a little low on gas and am trying to conserve that all I can. I still haven't heard if they are actually going to call me back to work so I am having to keep a very tight budget right now and propane is still pretty expensive. The wood heater has done so well this year as far as helping keep costs down. I normally buy 100 gallons 3 times per winter but this year I'm still on my first 100 gallons. I'll tell you what though; this summer I'm renting a wood splitter and I'm getting all that done and ready before next winter, so I don't have to keep taking time here and there to split more wood. That's a pisser.
We are supposed to get bad weather starting tomorrow, so I'm going to use that time to throw all those orders you people have put in for pottery. Sorry it has taken me so long to get started. I was going to throw last weekend but that is when this crud jumped me.
So, ya'll stay warm, I'll stay warm and hopefully spring will be here soon! Maybe I'll have something to post about in a day or two. Oh, last week sometime I sorted through old posts and categorized some that had previously not been labeled. For those new readers that were wondering about how I got my start etc., you can check out the "herstory" label for more info but I'm still going to do a post with more on that.

Sunday, January 24, 2010

I'm Sick Ya'll

Yes, that really is a song title and by the legendary Otis Redding, no less. So, anyway, I'm sick! I feel like crap. I guess that's what I get for bragging about how well I was doing back at the first of the week. I thought I was about over the problem I was having during the week and then this afternoon this crud started coming on. My throat is swelling and I feel like someone beat the hell out of me.
Before I started feeling truly crappy I did manage to go for a little walk around the place to check on things. We had some strong storms last night so I walked down to the road. Sometimes there will be limbs down (or even a tree) on the drive but everything was okay.
Oh, I also walked down to check the spring and I did see another deer scrape on a tree about 50 yards from that one I showed ya'll. This big rock is near the spring and I just love all the moss and little ferns that grow on it.
Here you can see where I have been adding to the edge of the driveway. I need to add a lot more fill on that left side there. Anytime I have a big truck come in they squeal and moan about that turn being so sharp. Sissies. They never come close to the edge though. But I'm going to fix it. It does need to be wider. I have cut the right side about 2 feet more into the hill but those large rocks keep me from doing much more there.
This is a great big ol' sycamore tree down at the road. Very pretty tree. I love it's white bark.
I believe these are beech trees. They will hold their leaves all winter and stay that copper-like color. It's almost like the new leaves of spring force these old leaves off the tree as they bud out. I think I know how the trees feel. Grendal has leeched onto me and won't let go. She likes to sit in my lap a lot because I naturally put off a lot of heat and she always acts like she is cold. Now that I'm sick, I guess I'm running a fever and am hotter than ever (quit your snickering, you know what I mean), so she has attached herself to me like that moss on a rock.

Well, I have heard stronger rumblings of getting called back to work. I hate to lose all the time I have to work on the house but I need the money to buy the last few big ticket items for the house. I really only lack the flooring, the kitchen cabinets, interior doors and the finish plywood for that wall, as far as big money items. I would also like to buy a decent couch and a new bed. I don't think that's too greedy. I also really want to start adding to the solar aspect of the house with a hot water system and maybe some panels but I've just got to finish the structure first.
In a way, I'm aggravated that I haven't gotten more done on the house since I've been laid off but then, in some ways, I do think I've made fairly decent progress. Ya'll know I'm not going to be satisfied with my own work until it's finished. But then again, they haven't actually called yet so I may still have some more time.

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Different People

A couple of the comments from that last post kinda took me by surprise. That is to say, I guess I've been doing what I've been doing for so long, that I find myself just thinking of it as commonplace. It's not until I get around new people or a group of just women and we start talking about our lives that I see that I'm a little unusual and that, to those people, running a backhoe all day wouldn't be boring. Or pouring concrete or something along those lines.

I've been amused several times to come across the blogs of other women that proclaim they are so odd and unusual and then when I start reading, what these women usually write about is raising kids, cooking, gardening, sewing etc. Now, I'm in no way belittling these women or making fun; I'm not. I just think it's kinda funny. They see themselves as so 'not normal' because they can the foods they grow or like goth music and I guess to some that is odd but to me, they sound pretty normal. Now, I'm interested in cooking and growing food, but I need to know what snacks can I stash in my nail apron because we are pouring 300 yards of concrete today and probably won't get to stop for lunch. And I'm interested in cleaning methods and such but because I need to know how to get dried blood and concrete out of denim. Or hydraulic fluid. Now, I do like shopping! Buying that shiny, new pair of steel toes really gives me a rush. I just love that new leather smell!

I'm also sure there are a number of readers that just stop by because of that same urge that makes some people slow down to see a car wreck. They can read about my life and say, well, at least I'm not as stupid/bizarre/mislead/ such and such as this woman and that's okay really. If it makes somebody feel better to laugh at me then that's fine. But I'm sitting on almost 20 acres with a house and it's all paid for, so I'm laughing too.
So, I won't be afraid I'm boring ya'll anymore and I will answer those couple of questions that I did get in the comments.

The great progress I was making at the first of the week crashed and burned about halfway. I have been having a little health problem for over a week and it finally got the best of me a couple of days ago, so I just crashed and slept a lot due to some meds I had to take. It was nothing major, and nothing with my heart, so I'm doing better now but I have not accomplished anything with the house since my last postings. So much for my new goals! I was going to work today but this morning I discovered a water problem again and spent the afternoon fixing that. As soon as I get a good break in the weather I'm going to have to do a major overhaul of the spring where I get my water. Then i had to split some more firewood because this next week is going to turn cold again. If it's not one thing it's another or just the same damn thing over and over again.

So, anyway, you guys...is this a deer scrape? I found this tree down by the spring and after searching, I finally found a couple of tracks near it. I've never seen a scrape before but have heard the guys talk about them. It's not very far from the house.

This is one of the tracks and what I'm poking at with the stick is where I could see the deer's dew claws made an impression in the mud. On the other track, the main hoof print was as long as my index finger. Now, I have big hands so it was a fair size track.
I was also very happy to see this! This is the little stream that is formed from the water that overflows from my spring and it is full of watercress. My spring is an artesian well; the water boils up out of the ground and about a foot below grade, there is a little overflow outlet that runs all year around. The watercress loves this cold, pure water and right now it is really going bonkers. Yes, I do harvest this, in case you are wondering. When it's small like this, it is great in salads. If you wait until it gets a little bigger it can get kinda hot!
The past couple of days that I've been in a drugged haze, I have thought of some new things I want to post about so I'll try to get on that soon.

*No Doubt

Friday, January 22, 2010

Don't Know Which Way To Go

For some reason I feel that the past week or so of posts have just been boring as crap. Am I boring the doodles out of ya'll? I just feel that they have been ho-hum, so I'm asking ya'll again; anybody have any questions or want to see anything in particular?
Did I answer all the questions from the last time I asked ya'll this? I thought I had but if I have forgotten something ya'll let me know.
So, c'mon, let's have some fun! Ask me whatever: work, technical, personal, philosophical, hypothetical, theoretical, just nothing mathematical!


*Eric Clapton

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Attitude Adjustment

I'm not sure what is going on but over the past week I seem to have developed a much more energetic and positive attitude about things. I mean, not that I've had a crappy attitude. Well, okay, (hush your mumbling..) occasionally I have but I just feel more like working I guess. Really working. I've just been kinda pissing around for so long now but I've got to make a stronger effort to complete things. I have decided a good goal would be that I must complete at least one project a day for at least 5 days of the week. And by project I don't mean really big ones; I just mean get something to a finished point. Like, I installed this skirt and drawer yesterday. Didn't take 15 minutes but it is one more thing done. Don't have to worry about that any more.
Didn't Mouse do a beautiful job on making this? This was his idea too; I didn't design it but after he showed me a little mock-up of what he was talking about it sounded great. I despise a lot of stuff on the counter tops and this let's me put most of my stuff in this little drawer, like that hairbrush sitting there which is now stowed in the drawer. He also designed and installed the drawer so that it pulls out at a slight angle, so it doesn't scuff the wall. Cool huh?
So, yesterday I also worked on siding and got this area almost done. However, right at the end of the day I discovered I had made a mistake in the top 4 pieces of siding. Ouch! So, I just put the tools up and first thing this morning I got up there and took those pieces down and corrected things. I did get this area topped out today and even caulked everything above the window. Tomorrow I'll need to go back and sand some places I patched. Well, the next day it's not raining anyway. I think we are supposed to have storms later.
So, finishing the west end has let me start again on the south side of the house and I began trimming out all the windows. I had to mill some more trim though and this takes a little while if you are doing it by yourself. I got a little further along than what this photo shows before the dark clouds opened up. It's so nice working off level ground too! I'll be so happy not to see that damn Tyvek anymore. The very first thing I did after getting the pick board set up was to clean those kitchen windows though! Gak! they were awful!
So, if it rains like they are saying I guess I'll spend tomorrow making pottery but that is a good thing because I owe several of you stuff. I haven't forgot! Just waiting for a rainy day.
The weather has just been incredible too. That may have something to do with my good attitude. It has been about 60-62 F the last couple of days so that makes for excellent working weather.


*Aerosmith

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Smooth

This cabinet does have a door but I want to make a very simple stained glass insert for it before I put it on. Mouse made this for me, along with the coolest drawer and 'skirt' for underneath the bathroom countertop. He is, by trade, a cabinet maker and does some really pretty work. I wanted a very simple wall cabinet for the bath so he made this from my description. I've had it for a while but really need to get off my butt and get it installed, so today I started with the first coat of finish. I am using a spar varnish, as I did on all the woodwork in the bath. It is the best kind of finish you can use on anything that might be exposed to water. Not that I expect to be flinging water all over the walls and stuff but you never know....just messin'. The humidity produced in a bath is reason enough to use a spar. Now, spar is a type of varnish, not a brand. It has a slight odor until dry but not overwhelming and imparts a soft, golden glow to most woods. You can easily see which areas I have applied it to in the photo.
Now, your finish is only going to look as good as the tools you use, so buy a decent brush! A Purdy or similar and make sure it is for the type of finish you are applying. Not all paint brushes are for paint! Some are only for varnish or oil-based stuff etc. It will say plainly on the cover what that brush is for and yes, you should only buy brushes that come in the cardboard covers unless it is just for some real messy something that you are not going to see later.
Sand your piece well and the last pass should be with a fine paper like a 200 grit. Then, go over the piece well with a tack cloth, or at least a lightly damp cloth, to remove the dust. Make sure it's as clean as you can get it.
Apply one coat (not too thickly) and make sure you don't have any runs. Now, after this dries and you run your hand over the piece, it's going to feel rough but that's okay. Sand it again with the 200 grit and clean with the tack cloth. Apply a second coat of finish. When that dries you can feel it and decide if you want it smoother. The more you sand and reapply the finish, the slicker the piece will get.
This is an old painter's trick to extend the life of your sandpaper that some of you might not know. If you don't have a sanding block this is a good way to make a stiff surface for your paper and not screw your paper up. Fold one sheet in quarters to crease it and then tear one crease only to the center of the sheet.
Fold one quarter up so the the paper back is together.
Fold that quarter (which is actually two) over so that the abrasive side of one is touching the paper back of the other half.
Then, just fold up that last quarter. The idea is that none of the abrasive sides should be touching, so it will not wear itself out. You can then refold the paper as one quarter wears out and it provides a stiffer sanding surface than just one sheet of paper would. Pretty cool huh?! Those old painters do know a few things.
I also put the last finish coat on the drawer and skirt, so I should install them tomorrow. I'll post pics when I get that finished.


*Santana

Monday, January 18, 2010

The Next Big Thing

I was going back through the blog and I realized, you know, I didn't really get a whole lot done on the house last year. I know I got burned out and was not able to get any time off from work so there were plenty of days I just didn't do crap. Then, there were a couple of men coming around distracting me. Dang men.
So, anyway, I did manage to do the following:
installed and finished more siding/ painted more rafters
installed permanent bath light fixtures
installed permanent bedroom light
installed bath base trim and towel bar
built strawberry bed
cut parking area and built stone wall and steps
waterproofed foundation wall and backfilled
finished stained glass window and installed
built and installed gable vent

See, I just don't feel like that is good progress for a year's time. So, I am determined to make better headway this year and hopefully not get discouraged or burnt out again. Obviously, I would like to finish the whole house this year but who knows what's going to happen. We do have one decent size job starting up in the next month and I have requested to be put back to work. Now, I don't know if I will be because we are about to be flooded with all those guys that have been working on that big job in GA. Since jobs are scarce right now, the men with families could get placed before me. I don't know if they will consider that or not. Daddy Rabbit is the superintendent and he usually likes to work me so I've got that going for me but the general superintendent could step in and override him.
At any rate, my main goals for this year are to:
completely finish siding and painting.
finish grading for back patio area and steps and install at least a partial patio
install permanent cedar posts and stone pilasters for porch shed roof
resolve stained glass problems and permanently install/ trim out
install all finish mill work in bath
finish pantry
finish all drywall in living room and tile wall around gas heater.
build hearth and install mantle

And there are tons of other things; it gets overwhelming. I know a lot of people have said, well, a home is something you work on your whole life and you never really get through etc etc. and I agree with this of course. I will always be working on my place. The discouraging part is that there are some things or parts that must be finished in a timely manner or the house can begin to deteriorate and that is what is so upsetting to me. It's not just that it's taking a long time, it's that I see problems in the near future if some things don't get finished quickly. Like I said, I know a lot of this past year was just me getting discouraged and burnt out. I would like to have time to have a personal life. Maybe go on a vacation or something. I would like to have time to devote to someone besides myself. I want to enjoy my life; not just work constantly.


*Ani Difranco

Sunday, January 17, 2010

And Scum Again...

Let me just add that my comments about Mr. Limbaugh and Robertson are really not based on politics or religion or my opinions therein, although I do think they are both idiots in those arenas also. What it boils down to for me is this: I don't care who the person is or what platform they control, anyone that makes light of, profits from or scorns the suffering of other people is a walking piece of shit. I don't care if they are a different religion, sex, race, orientation, profession or whatever or even if they brought it on themselves, the sight of another human (or even animal) in pain should provoke some compassion and if not that at least you should say, God have mercy lest that be me.

Scum

Of course, Pat Robertson has received a lot of attention for another one of his beyond-idiotic comments regarding the catastrophe in Haiti but I believe Rush Limbaugh has once again shown what a truly repulsive, vile, puke of a human he really is. By the way, this is not his comment about not sending aid to Haiti; this is another gem on the same subject.
There is no one on this earth I can say that I hate but Rush is a good example of one I could. I can only think that his one redeeming value would be that when he blessedly kicks off, his decomposed body would provide a large amount of fertilizer for the earth. However, in light of what we know now, it seems he would only serve to poison the ground itself, just like his words now poison the airwaves and minds of some.


*Dave and The Bad Seeds

Friday, January 15, 2010

All Fired Up

Does that make you feel warm!? Today was an absolute beautiful day and it was warm enough that I just wore a light jacket over one shirt! Wow! However, I am still having trouble completing the back filling behind the house because the freakin' dirt is frozen! I piled up a formidable amount of great topsoil for the top layer of fill but it's frozen solid. Hard as a rock. I can't even break it with the Bobcat. I scraped and pushed and banged...nothing. So, I had to find something else to do today.
I went over to the little valley where my power lines come in and did some clean up over there, pushing and dragging up stumps and trees that have been down for a while. It didn't take long to get up a good pile and start a bonfire. I had already gone through and removed anything that would have made good firewood and a lot of this was very rotten. It is so nice to have a machine to work with. Makes short work of lots of things.
I would like to keep that area cleared and sow it with nice grass and wildflowers. Maybe one day I will get time to fence some of my land and have a cow or two. I worked there until it got kinda warm and then the soil started to get very slick because it was thawing. I was sliding all over the place, so I went down the driveway and did some work there, widening certain areas.
There are 2 kinda sharp curves in my drive that just really freaks a lot of people out so I hauled mucho dirt from the old dam and did a pretty good job easing one of the curves. Now, even a big truck can get more straighten out before heading up the hill and around the next curve. I still have more work to do there but I was about to run out of gas, well, the machine was not me, so I headed back to the house. The Bobcat does not seem to be as fuel efficient as the mini-excavator. I wish I could get some pics or video of the Bobcat in action but since I'm on it, that's kinda hard to do.

I hate to not be working on the house itself on such a nice day but I also must take full advantage of this equipment when I get it and there is SO much I can do with it. This is the dilemma when you are doing it all yourself and sometimes I think it is hard for some people to understand. They think, well, you've got all that stuff to work with, you should have it all done. When my family came for Christmas, my sister bitched and complained the whole time that I was not finished yet. Well, why not? What had I been doing all this time? Why aren't the floors in or the kitchen? I get so frustrated and down sometimes because I just can't see any end to the work with it being just me. It just goes on forever. I have made progress obviously but it just takes so long. Yes, I could forget completely about the land and such but some upkeep to the drive has to be done and I really hate to let certain areas go because the power company will come spray vegetation killer on everything if you let trees start growing under their lines. I can't let that happen. I guess at least if my heart just quits one day, I'll croak here on my land and they can just push some dirt over me. Well, if the Bobcat happens to be here anyway!


*Pat Benetar

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Something To Talk About

The one thing that most people comment on when they visit me, is how quiet and peaceful it is out here. Even though I'm actually not that far from other people, and even subdivisions, the hills and valleys allow for most street and people noise to be blocked. It is very nice. This week however, it has been a little oppressive or isolating. I don't do well in total solitude for long periods. A few days ago I was watching a special on PBS about 'happiness'; maybe some of ya'll saw it too. It was very interesting. They interviewed a man who had been a POW for 7 years during Vietnam and he talked about how he and the other prisoners communicated by tapping on the walls of their cells. I was fascinated at the elaborate code system that they developed to 'talk' to one another. Now, I am in no way trying to compare my situation to the literal hell these men went through, but it occurred to me that, for me, blogging is a similar system. Tapping on keys to see if anyone will talk back. The desire to reach out to other people is strong and curious. Am I such a freaking loser (by not having anyone of my own to talk to) that just seeing words written on a screen by other folks makes me feel better? Maybe I've just read too many recent blog entries by women rattling on about how their husbands did this or that for them. Oh, he chops the wood, he built that stone flower bed, he builds everything for me etc. etc. Oh well, at least I don't have to cook supper if I don't feel like it. I can just eat popcorn and fruit if I want.

While I have the Bobcat, I went down to the old dam to gather the flagstone that is strewn about there. I'm going to use it to build a large patio and steps in the area behind the house that you see in the photo. The terrain around the dam is very rough and as I picked my way down a particular gully, I spied a perfect, very large piece of flagstone. It was beautiful; I had to have it. No problem except it weighed about 80 lbs. and was at the bottom. No other way but up and over to the waiting bucket of the skid steer on the other side. I got it almost to the top and then slipped in the muck. I had to laugh a little at the image of me and that huge stone rolling 'round and 'round but managed to stop it halfway down the hill and yes, it now resides with a stack of other stones behind the house.

The other day when I was installing siding, I could have sworn I heard chickens somewhere around the house, clucking and such. After a few minutes I walked around to investigate; I know I heard chickens. So, I started calling and clucking to see if I could get them to come out or at least talk back so maybe I could see where they were. If there were any, they probably saw me and said, 'let's get the hell outta Dodge, that woman's crazy!'

I did see a possum tonight. He ran up a small tree and tried to act like a limb.

Perhaps one day I'll unite with a man that loves to talk and then I'll long for the quiet again. Kinda hard to say.


*Bonnie Riatt

It's Probably Me

Well, apparently it is just me. For whatever reason, Blogger is not updating my new posts on other people's blogroll. I have checked Blogger's site and they are aware of the problem and say they are working to fix it. So anyway, you might want to check in regardless and not rely on those feeds to tell you if I have posted. Maybe they will have it fixed soon but apparently the problem has been going on for some since November.


*Sting

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Proving Ground

What is it with Blogger lately? Are they being a complete friggin' ass with everybody else, or is it just me? Nothing wants to work right. It took me forever to get these #@%#^%&^ photos to load right side up and it keeps wanting to underline everything I type!
So, this is how to install a proper French drain. And I don't give a flying shit what some residential contractor said, this is the way you do it and have it work.
When you get your footing and wall waterproofed (with an actual membrane, not just some paint on crap) lay your 4" perforated drain pipe down along the wall. Now, I put down a layer of landscape fabric between the pipe and the ground because the dirt was a little close and I couldn't get a full 1 foot of gravel all the way around the pipe.

I know many of you may have never seen this before and God knows, most residential builders won't go to the trouble to use it, but this is the perf pipe with a sock on it. Just a fine, fabric mesh tube that covers the whole length. If you don't use this type your pipe will fill up with dirt in about 6 months and then you just got a big, fat, solid worm of pipe laying there in the ground doing nothing. And again, I don't care what some contractor told you, if it doesn't have the sock on it, it ain't worth a crap. Do you want to dig this thing back up in a couple of years? No? I didn't think so. Now, you are going to have to go to a commercial construction supply to get this. Lowe's and shit don't have it. They don't even know it exists.

You can also get 90's and T's and such to make different connections and they just snap on, so it's really easy.

After you lay in your pipe with the sock on it, cover the pipe with at least a foot of gravel. You also need to use what we refer to as #57 stone. This is NOT 'crusher run' or similar. #57 stone is a stone of one consistent size and will allow water to freely pass through where 'crusher run' or #89-10 compacts solidly and doesn't allow water to go through as well.

Then, lay down another layer of filter fabric over the stone and start backfilling with dirt. This is a proper French drain and will actually allow water to filter down to an open pipe and be carried away from your foundation. Oh, I forgot to show how I ran the pipe around the corner and down the hill so that it does turn downward and allow water to run rather than just sit in the pipe. It ends down around the front of the house.
So, I'm in a little better mood now. Halfway through writing this post one of the guys called and I cried on his shoulder (so to speak) for a while. Everybody is all up in the air 'cause we have heard of a job starting in Birmingham.


*Widespread Panic

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Thank U

Thanks for all of ya'lls input! I will be going with the 5" header trim and Mouse got to rub it in a little that he was right. That's okay though! I'm always open to suggestions. And I appreciate all the other suggestions and ideas that you all commented on.
So, I'll be changing that piece of trim out soon but first, a little diversion. Since I have this Bobcat at my disposal, I need to get on with the work that I got it up here for, in case they come to get the machine before too long. I had to go into town today and buy a little more waterproofing membrane to finish the foundation/ retaining wall, so that I can finish backfilling and grading. After that is done, I will have a much better surface to work off to finish the siding on the west and south sides of the house. I have already installed the drain and gravel and will be able to start filling with topsoil tomorrow. Yea! But don't worry; I have taken photos of the whole process so you will be able to see what I did. I just wanted to have the whole process done and photographed before I started to show you. Anyway, it was a rough ordeal as you can see from this one photo below...

That drain pipe is fiendish but I finally got the upper hand on it! I am so happy to have this part almost completed because I think it is going to make things look further along, like I've actually been doing something all this time.
Every time I get into one of these bigger projects, even if I make good progress, I always get a little overwhelmed. I'm not sure why. I guess it reminds me that I still have many more, just as big projects to finish. But things are going well. I just have to keep pressing on and not think about things too much.


*Alanis Morissette

Monday, January 11, 2010

Looking For Changes

Now, I hope you all understand that much of that last post was written with my tongue firmly planted in my cheek!
Anyway, we got bigger problems to solve now! I need you all to speak up and give me your honest opinion on this dilemma. Look at the trim pieces on the top of the windows there; you see how the trim on the window on the left is more narrow than the one on the right? (the top edge of the trim is not at the same height as the other window) Now, because of the size of the window and spacing etc., I can't change the size of the trim on the sides but Mouse says I should make the header piece the same height as all the other windows, so that the top elevation of the trimmed out windows is all the same. This is as I have it now and.....

this is with a piece put on the header to make it the same as the other windows. So, this way I would have 2 1/2" wide trim on the sides and a 5" tall piece of trim on the top. I know there is a little notch missing there but just ignore that. What do you think? Do you think this makes the header look top heavy or unbalanced? I know some of you work in design, architectural and otherwise so let's have it....If it makes any difference, the bottom trim piece is the same as all the other windows.
I finished installing the siding all the way up on the wall to the right, so I just lack this side around the bathroom window and I can't go any further until I install the permanent header. I await your opinions.


*Paul McCartney

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Ain't Life Grand?

I know I have pissed and moaned on here numerous times about not being able to find a decent man to partner with and after reading a lot of the comments from that last post, I was deep in thought on the subject this morning as I made my hot tea. I mean, I'm a helluva woman! I shave my legs and even wear make-up when I go out. I'm a certified welder fer goodness sake! What man wouldn't jump at that?! Suddenly, the thought slammed into my head (they do that a lot- probably why I'm addled the way I am); if I didn't struggle with such situations and with building this house myself, I probably wouldn't write about any of the myriad of feelings and situations that I am in and ultimately overcome. Now, many of you have commented or emailed me privately to tell me how much I have encouraged you in similar situations and so on. So, maybe the purpose of my struggling is to shine hope and direction to those out there charting unknown waters. All my life I have gone my own way and done things that women were not encouraged to do but could very well succeed at. And then I thought, "what a pisser of a deal that is!" You all getting all empowered and encouraged and crap and here I am, straining my boobies off trying to hold up a 16' piece of Hardie board by myself! The hell with that! I've had enough. Fly little birdies

Or maybe I will win the lottery....I think my chances are about the same and Alabama doesn't even have a lottery.
Seriously, I do get a little frustrated about things sometimes but I am sure there are reasons for everything, we just are not always informed as to what they are. I also don't want to make it sound as though I see myself as some horrid casualty in the war between the sexes. I might actually feel a little chagrined if you all could see how much I am helped by men I know. The men I work with are just the biggest sweeties in the world and I really couldn't have built this house without them. I mean, they bring me Bobcats. There is probably no situation that could arise that I would not have at least one of them I could call for help. Whether it is 'come get me out of jail' or I need to borrow $300, one of them would be there. It's kinda like having 6 or 8 husbands at once. Except I don't get to sleep with them. Dammit.  And I don't have to wash their clothes! What a deal! I am actually quite lucky in a lot of ways. They bring me food or just take me out to eat. They let me borrow any, and I mean any tools or equipment they own. So, even though I don't have a husband, I do have (most) all my needs met and through companionship, having someone to talk to and occasionally helping them with financial matters and that sort of thing, I help them too. Maybe that's not such a bad deal after all, for this particular time in my life.


*Widespread Panic

Saturday, January 09, 2010

I Feel A Change Coming On

I have to say 2009 was a very odd year for me. I think it was The Year Of The Returning Man. You know it all started with Dale showing up after about 14 years. That was just mind-blowing and unfortunately didn't turn out well. Then, this summer I ran into a fellow I dated about 16 years ago. He hadn't changed much. Still about as worthless as he was back then. Not much on working but big on taking advantage of what he can. He did offer to come eat my food and have sex with me though. Not to worry gentle readers...it didn't take much to resist that offer. I was slightly impressed with his gall however. I mean, I remember 16 years ago and he didn't have that much to offer then, IF you know what I mean! I wonder sometimes just how desperate some men think women are. I just wanted to say,  Pfff! Get away from me before the construction worker comes out. And no..that's not the only thing I look for but he just had that smarmy, sleazy attitude.


Then, for the past couple of months, a guy I dated about 10 years ago has been calling persistently. He has visited and I enjoy his company but I'm not much interested in really getting back together. I gave it my all the first time and it didn't work out.
There were also several friends from years back to come calling. It was nice to hear from most of them but kinda odd too. When most of them found out what I did for a living and other such stuff about my life they quickly disappeared again. Kinda makes you feel odd, ya know. I mean, they contacted me. Anyway, it really doesn't matter.
So, it was a weird sort of year. Started out not being able to get any time off from work and ended up out of work completely. More people gone forever that had always been around. Allen is off in another country. He met a very nice lady from England he is apparently quite taken with. On the other hand, my family still gripes on me every chance they get. I don't think that will ever change.
I do have a few goals for the new year: I would like to completely finish this half of the house. Completely. I would like to have a successful garden this year and be able to get some chickens.
I don't think that's too much to ask for a year's time.


*one of the very few Bob Dylan songs that I actually like to hear him sing.

Friday, January 08, 2010

A Snowflake Fell

Alright, you people in Canada and those other northern, snowy lands, stop your giggling! To us thin-blooded southerners, this is cold! I know ya'll run around outside nekkid in 20 degree weather. And yes, I spelled that right. As the great Lewis Grizzard once wrote, "naked is when you don't have any clothes on, nekkid is when you don't have any clothes on and you're up to something."
We did get a little more snow than what you can see but it only starting laying about halfway through the snow event, as they call it now. It was snowing again when I got up this morning and I think we may get a little more later today. At least since Alabama won the National Championship last night it has taken their minds off this dribbling of snow and ice we got. I'm not sure which of the natives' reactions I am most embarrassed of; the game or the snow.
I spent most of yesterday outside working on the siding. After donning some thermal underwear it really wasn't that bad, other than having to change gloves occasionally when they got wet. Today however, is another story. I believe I'll spend the day working in the studio. I have some more stuff to glaze for another firing and a stained glass lamp to repair for a neighbor. Good day to accomplish both.

Work is not looking good for my industry or company so this has left me considering many options lately. I believe I may start seriously setting up to produce pottery again and once I produce a reasonable inventory, open a site on Etsy. Just to see how things go. I do not like being on unemployment and I believe I could easily match my state's meager wages. Maybe not, I don't know but I am going to look into it. It doesn't take much for me to pay my few utilities and insurance isn't too bad. Lord knows, I'm not a high-maintenance woman that requires new clothes and jewelry every week so I believe I can make a decent living and provide for myself. Yes, I know that many people have stopped buying 'luxury' items such as art and fine crafts but there are many people out there that still have plenty of money and are willing to buy good quality craft work, especially if it is functional. The web makes things so wonderful these days. You can reach so many people. In fact, I've often said I would love to be able to travel to all the places my pottery has! It has made it to Japan, England, Spain, Germany and all over the United States. I don't believe any of it has crossed over to Canada though....just saying.

So, ya'll keep warm (or cool! you Aussies!). I'll have some new house pics soon; I've haven't stopped working on it, just been sidelined a little here and there.

Wednesday, January 06, 2010

Soak Up The Sun

I know this has taken forever and I have been teasing ya'll with bits of photos here and there but the time has come. I finally installed the stained glass window. I was going to wait until it was completely trimmed out and everything to show it but I'm having some issues with a little moisture between it and the exterior piece of glass, so I may end up having to take the window back out and seal things a little better, then reinstall the stained glass.
However, if I have to do that I believe I will wait until we have a warmer spell come along because there is such a discrepancy between the inside/outside temps right now I think it would just make things more difficult. As it is, a tiny bit of moisture between them is much better than the one piece of glass that was sweating profusely by itself.
So, here it is. I am quite pleased.




It does add a beautiful feel to the bath. A lot of people have questioned me as to why I insist on adding such touches to the house, because it takes so much time. Hell, I've questioned myself as to why I insist on such stuff! But once it's there it adds so much. It's just a nice touch.


*Sheryl Crow

Tuesday, January 05, 2010

King For A Day

The Grendal of Christmas Present hopes you all have had a wonderful holiday season and will join in the Twelfth Night festivities. The date of Epiphany can vary, if you are going by certain liturgical calenders, but I am just counting straight from Christmas Day for my celebrations. Anyway, today or tomorrow is the date to have all holiday decorations removed from the house and general cleaning done.
Twelfth Night is a time of parties and celebration and many people wait until this night to give gifts, as this is the date generally associated with the Magi visiting the Christ child and presenting the gifts to Him. A 'King's cake' is often baked and decorated lavishly and a coin or bean is slipped into the cake at some point. Some divide the cake into as many pieces as they have guests and some bake it in. Anyway, whoever gets the token is proclaimed King for the day and gets to bless the house.
For the blessing you should have incense or sprigs of dried sage and juniper to burn and a small container of spring water, none of that chlorinated crap. You go to each room of the house with the items, sprinkling the water and saying a simple blessing, such as "Bless all who dwell within this house".
Since Grendal is pretty much Queen of Everyday around here, she extends her blessings to all of you and wishes you all a wonderful 2010. Though times are tough for many people right now, may these trials show us all what is really important in life and help us to hold them closer.


*Green Day

Monday, January 04, 2010

Little Bird

As I mentioned in the previous post, the last couple of days of Christmastide have a few, very obscure associations with them but not much that I could find would be a practical way to celebrate. However, at least one day of the twelve is devoted to honoring the creatures of the earth because they figure so prominently in the folklore of the season. I picked today to try and show the critters of my area a little extra kindness by setting out extra suet blocks and feed. Squirrels will enjoy a few piles of nuts they don't have to scavenge to find. I will also put out a loaf of stale bread and fruit that any number of animals would enjoy. I might even put out some corn for the deer, although some might say I have ulterior motives on that one!
There are loads of stuff you can do for all the critters, whether they are pets or wild. Lika and Grendal will get a few extra treats. Maybe I can find a new heating pad for Grendal to keep her off the floor vent. We are expecting some very cold weather here this week so I imagine the birds and such will really be happy to see more food.
While I was putting out the extra birdseed today I spotted this guy (or gal). I know the photo is crappy but maybe you can tell that the bird is bright green. Now, I have no idea what type of bird this is (Richard?) and I'm sure that it is a common breed but I was quite enamored with him. It was so brightly colored and I can't recall seeing one like this before around here. As far as I could tell, he was also the only green one. There were loads of little, brown sparrows, nuthatches and cardinals but this little one was by himself.
For some reason, the tale of Sir Gawain and the Green Knight kept coming to mind as I watched the little bird. Perhaps because the beginning of the story is set at Christmas and New Years, I don't know. At any rate, the brightly-hued bird made me think; maybe the Green Knight was bringing me a challenge.


*Annie Lennox

Sunday, January 03, 2010

In The New Year

I did not mean to disappear like that but things got kinda busy here over the New Year holiday. An old friend called and wanted to visit, so I cooked the traditional veggies and he brought the pork chops, which we grilled. He insisted on helping me around the house and although I hate to say, 'yeah, come work for me!', I was grateful for the second pair of hands and friendly company. Especially since he knows how to get a contrary Bobcat cranked when the battery in it has gone bad. We discovered that the battery had cracked and most of the water ran out. Not good. So, we borrowed the battery out of Oliver and ran the Bobcat off that. Yeah Allen, if you are reading, I'm going to put it back just as soon as I can get Tommy to bring me a new battery!
I insulated the new duct work I ran from the wood stove to the living room. Let me tell you, that makes a huge difference, so if you haven't done yours you might want to look into that. Just saying. Anyway, Grendal discovered the hole in the floor that releases hot air and now it's a challenge to keep her big butt off the thing so the room gets warmed.
More work continued on the window. I know this looks like a mess and ...well, it is. If you build a window using came instead of copper foil, you have to grout the joints where the glass fits into the channels. This makes the window weather proof and more structurally sound. The grout is a thick, black, oily goo that you just have to scrub into the joints with your hands.
Then you sprinkle the window with whiting and scrub again with a stiff brush. This helps absorb the oil and cleans up the excess grout. It also polishes the lead and zinc came and makes the whole window look finished.
With the Bobcat running, we went over to a neighbors pasture where they had a very large hickory tree fall on their fence. They had told me if I could get the tree off I could have the wood. He sawed it up for me and together we rolled the chunks down the hill and into the bucket of the Bobcat. The tree was so large we could only get about 4 sections of the trunk into the bucket at one time but we could then lift them right up and roll them out into the bed of my truck. I was grateful that he also split a good bit of wood but I will have to get out there and split some more this week as they are predicting a very cold week ahead and even more snow!!

As far as the 12 Days of Christmas, there are not really any traditions or such for the past couple of days but I do have one for tomorrow and of course, Tuesday, which is Epiphany. Although, according to the way some people count it, Epiphany is not until the 6th. At any rate, we are going to say it's Tuesday.

Friday, January 01, 2010

A New Hope

Happy New Year to everyone!!! I hope everyone out there has made it into the new year okay and will be enjoying time with loved ones today. I'll be having the traditional, southern new year's meal of pork, greens and black-eyed peas and just working around the house.
For today, I'll just leave you with the words from this ancient song:

God bless the master of your house
And the mistress also,
And all the little children
That round your table grow;
The cattle in your stable,
The dogs at your front door
And all that dwell within your gates
I wish you ten times more...


Oh yeah.....Switchman, if you can feel my thoughts...Happy birthday, sweetie.