Sunday, October 31, 2010


I guess you can tell by the look on Grendal's face that she was not really happy about posing for this Halloween photo. I'm not sure why...she normally gets a kick out of pictures but maybe she was mad because I didn't get her a good costume! lol! I had to bribe her with kitty treats to get just a few photos.

Anyhoo, I hope you all have a nice All Hallow's Eve, however you choose to observe it, if at all. If nothing else it's a good time to enjoy this harvest time with warm, comforting food and friends.

*there have been several versions of this song.

Friday, October 29, 2010

Fight For Your Right

I recently ran across this article over at Homesteading Neophyte's and was disturbed enough to want to share this. Our government is apparently on a mission to control all of our food and destroy all small, local farmers. Please check this article and information out and contribute if you are able and feel inclined. They will not stop unless we resist. I, for one, refuse to get my food from nasty, drug-laden factory farms anymore and these small dairies and farms are increasingly becoming a major target for the FDA. Money talks you know, and Corp. Food and Big Pharma yell the loudest apparently.
Please share this and get involved before they take away all our rights to even feed ourselves.

*The Beastie Boys

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Life In Technicolor

I realized very late last night that the title of the last post I made was appearing on several of ya'lls blogrolls, depending on how you have your settings. (For some just the title of the blogs appear.) I didn't think about that when I made the post and immediately chastised myself for doing that. I know I have several religious people that read and link to my blog and you probably don't want such language appearing on your page. I apologize for this oversight and will try not to let that happen again. Sorry.
It did however, cause referral hits to my blog to almost double. lol! Maybe next time I'll title one "Great Big Knockers" or some such! Ha! just kidding....

As is usually the case, things have improved and I am not in such a horrible mood. You know how it often is that when things seem to be going really well, something else will come in and try to cause it all to go straight down the crapper. But, like I said, things are better now.


Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Crazy Bitch

Well, this is certainly a night for the Halloween season. Storms moved in this afternoon, reflecting the overall mood that pervades this place. At one point lightning illuminated the house on regular intervals. A light show specific to solar houses; especially those that don't have curtains. Even with many of the windows open, the air is still thick and heavy. Not much of a breeze blowing despite the foul weather.
I think I shall name this land The Valley Of Misfit Things (a homage to The Isle Of Misfit Toys) and I will be Queen MoonRacer. Queen of all Fucked Up Things. I will scour all of the local animal shelters and only take in creatures that are deformed like me. You know, 3-legged dogs, 3-legged chickens.... beings that no one else wants. And I will take care of them and give them a full life. Well, the chickens might eventually go in the freezer but they will be happy up until then. Makes sense to me. We can relate to each other. You know, animals seem to understand things about people even though they can't speak. It won't matter to them the way I am. They will be my children since I can't have my own. They will be my companions since I don't know how to maintain such a human relationship.
And Grendal can be Second-in-Command! I may even make her a little hat to wear! She would probably get a kick out of that. Now I must go and ready the projectile turtles and man-eating goats*. (long time readers know) Even I have sense enough to know when I'm whipped.

Monday, October 25, 2010

Quiet Times

Hey folks! I'm still around. Things have been a little slow around here but I have managed to get a few things done. Jack and I worked in the garden some more (mostly Jack) clearing overgrowth and brambles and have actually got it in pretty good shape. I have started the new layout and sectioning for the area but don't have any pics for you as I misplaced my camera. I think I left it in Jack's truck but I will get some new photos up when I get the camera back. I also planted cabbage and broccoli after amending the soil a bit more. That seems a never-ending chore. I may ask my next door neighbor, who rents her pasture out for cattle, if I can do some poop scooping around the barn. Aged cow manure is great for the garden and yes, I will make sure it is well aged.
I am installing a gravel walkway around the perimeter of the garden with the planting area sectioned up into quarters. I believe this will help me keep it in better order and make it easier to control weeds.
Lately though, I have been in kind of a funk again, due to a great extent to having some real issues with my back. It's not so much my back but another internal problem that is causing pressure on my back. Long time readers know I have an abnormality with an organ and an issue with this is causing some severe lower inflammation, which is affecting my back. I went to the doctor this past week and have decided to have a small procedure next week that I believe will relieve the problem. For now, regular doses of a prescription anti-inflammatory are keeping it manageable but I abhor such drug use and don't want to continue doing that.
It may be quiet around here until I get to feeling better but I will try to continue to post some. I have been feeling quite isolated here lately also, so I don't want to disappear all together. I enjoy the contact with my readers, distant though it is. So many people my age, or thereabouts, have families and are super busy with them, so it's hard for a single person to socialize with them. Of course, I'm rather used to spending time alone though, so it's not a great hardship.
I'll be back soon.

Friday, October 22, 2010

I Shoulda Known

Ha! The office called today about me coming back to work. Seems they have something of an 'artsy' type project they feel would be something just for me. Actually, it sounds interesting and possibly something that would be fun. The general superintendent also mentioned that after I complete that project, one of the other supers has been asking about getting me on his newly started job. Blah. And to top it off, the job is in downtown Birmingham. Not a fun place to work. But, we'll see. None of it may come to be anyway.
In other, more important news, I have almost completed the clerestory area. Just a tad more touch up on the paint and install a little metal trim on the roof.

This shot better shows the newly sided end, although that bright spot blocks out how well the siding matched up between sides. Oh well, you get the idea. I did a real good cleaning on the windows also and removed the screens, which are on the inside of this type window. They are dark colored screens and I thought it might possibly give me a slight bit more solar gain if they were not there. The sunshine does seem brighter inside the house and those windows won't be open now anyway, so no screens are needed.

The local farmers' market is closing this week so I made one run there yesterday and picked up a few things to put up for the winter. I am drying some onions now, per Karl's example, and will probably get some more. You are right Karl, dried, those things are like candy! I also put up some green beans and have several pounds of apples to dry or put up some other way. From what I have been reading lately I believe we may experience some really high food prices this winter in the grocery stores, so I am trying to stock up on some stuff now, while the prices are good. There were so many problems with many countries wheat and corn harvests this year that many things could be affected. You have to keep in mind that much grain is used for livestock feed, not just our consumption as bread products, so the price of meat, milk and eggs, etc. could go way up.
While I was putting up food and cooking a really nice dinner, Mouser Jack cleaned the garden up for me. I know, it still looks like shit but that is because I let it go so long, not because he didn't do a better job. I actually have two tomato plants that are still producing and two cayenne pepper plants that may never stop! Those things are the most prolific plants I have ever seen. As a matter of fact, if anyone would like some seeds from these cayenne just email me with your address and I'd be happy to send you some. I'm not sure the exact variety but they are very robust to say the least.
My blueberries and raspberries are still doing well it seems although I had one of my best apple trees to die suddenly a couple of weeks ago. Not sure what happened there but I need to replace it pronto. I really want to have some producing fruit trees as soon as possible. The garden needs some major work soon because I have some cabbage and broccoli starts that need planting, along with maybe some spinach and lettuce. I really want to try to keep some crops going all year around and with our relatively mild winters I believe I should be able to. If I can keep my brain focused on it.
Well, I didn't mean to babble on this much but anyway, that's the deal! lol! There town is having it's annual Covered Bridge Festival tomorrow so Jack and I are going to hit that for a while and see what's up and maybe roam around looking for some yard sales.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Did You Ever Have To Make Up Your Mind?

Alright folks, ya''ll can be honest with me....I know my posts lately have been just absolutely boring as hell. I know it, I know it. *sigh* I've just seem to have had a lot on my mind since returning from out west and I've had a heckuva time trying to put those thoughts into words. There are many things that concern me right now and many things that I feel may not need to be put off much longer.
Of course, work is a concern but that may have answered itself. I have heard through the grapevine that the company has gotten a couple of new jobs but whether or not I will be called back remains to be seen. It doesn't look real promising and the issues with my back may help persuade me to seek another way to make a living. In the past I have made a decent living off my art and this may be possible again. Maybe. The economy was in much better shape back then but, on the other hand, the exposure of the Internet was not as available either. I have just seen so many people put off living their life the way they really wanted to in order to work some other job just a little longer, or until they had a certain number of years or whatever and then right about the time they achieved whatever, they dropped dead or something else came up and they never got to do what they really wanted to.
Perhaps I have always fallen back to construction because I fear I will not succeed as an artist or fear the amount of self-promotion that will require. There is a certain amount of comfort in what you already know.
However, I really feel this 'now or never' kinda mood over me. I'm no spring chicken as Daddy Rabbit has reminded me. How long am I going to justify putting off what I claim to be what I want? Did that make sense?

I am thinking more and more these days also, that a more self-sufficient life may be quite prudent. Things are not going well for our country, I don't care what the government or media keeps telling us. Now, I do not consider myself to be a 'doomer' or some such but I do consider myself realistic. The repeated incidents of food supply contamination along with the mounting power of Corp. Food and Big Pharma leaves me a little more than wary of store-bought food and any other industry that claims to have our best interests in mind. I don't want those people dictating what I eat and I don't want to participate in the continuing suffering of animals raised under big corporation standards. Or lack of standards I should say. I've bitched and ranted about all kinds of stuff on here and feel that it is way past time to make a concerted effort to live out what I talk about. I have the resources and I can do better than what I have been doing. Things will not change for us socially or economically until we get involved and quit allowing ourselves to be herded like sheeple to the slaughter. Big Corp. owns our country now and I don't want any part of it. It's going to be a tremendous amount of work for me to turn this place into a working farm but I feel that is what I need to do. Perhaps I will have some help; perhaps not, but it doesn't really matter. As many of us who can need to work against what is happening to our food, our health and happiness.

Monday, October 18, 2010

One Step Closer

So, all of the siding for the clerestory area is finished! Now, I just have a little bit left to install on the east end gable and it will all be done! Yay! Of course, I still have to get up there and finished painting everything but that's not too big a deal. I do have a little roof trim to finish up there actually. That's embarrassing that I have let that go so long but....whadya gonna do? Just the best you can I guess. And I have a couple of little decorative touches I want to install but that shouldn't take too much. At any rate, I am getting closer to finished overall and that is the main thing. You just have to keep plugging away at all the little things.

After I finished caulking the newly installed siding I took a break from that to split some firewood. The caulking would need time to cure anyway before I can paint it so I went on to something else that is much needed. Capt. Jack has been chomping at the bit to split some wood on a large scale so we broke out all the mauls and axes and such and worked until evening on that project. This stack is probably 10 feet long and is barely even a decent start to how much wood I need, but you got to start somewhere. I've got plenty of trees that were felled last year or so that are ready for splitting, so it is just a matter of summoning the gumption to do it. It looks like I will be laid off for a while anyway so I should have plenty of time. I still think a mechanical splitter will be a good idea for the future. My back is just not what it used to be.

Oh, for an update! Capt. Jack finally prevailed over the mice. He had used peanut butter, as a couple of you suggested, but these wily mice were able to lick the traps clean (twice even!) without springing them. I could tell Capt. Jack was becoming a little frustrated. How embarrassing for a former Marine to be outsmarted by two little mice! Ever determined though, he resorted to more drastic measures. He finally wired an almond to each trigger of the traps. The mice would have to really to some serious maneuvering to get the prize off this time and sure enough, they tripped them. Capt. Jack was gracious in his victory however, giving the mice warriors their due praise for a good battle. He saluted their courage and ingenuity. He has however, now proclaimed himself Capt. Jack the Great White Mouser so I don't know how long I'm going to have to suffer through that.

Well, I know I have not had any interesting house posts in some time and I hope to remedy that soon. Ya'll bear with me. I have so many projects going on it's hard to concentrate on one but I am trying to finally knock some stuff out completely. I have taken some time lately, as ya'll know to get out and have some fun and enjoy life a little, and I really have enjoyed myself. It has been really nice but I really need to buckle down now and finish some things. I have really been putting some serious thought into work too. Do I really want to go back to construction? Can my back take it really? So, we'll see. I have so enjoyed the past few weeks and am really feeling it is time to just work for me, instead of 'the man', as it were. I really need to get things together here at home. Get the garden really producing, some animals and my art going again. I mean, with everything paid for and not really having any bills, I should be able to work at what I want. That was the whole point in doing this anyway! Or at least that's what I thought.

Saturday, October 16, 2010

On The Road Again

Well, actually I am already home again but I did go off on another short trip over to northern Georgia. . The area is beautiful though. I have been to Helen several times but had never been up towards Dillard etc. In a lot of the 'touristy' areas you could see lots of big trout. Couldn't catch them however. We also explored several craft shops and found this one gallery that supported several potters. Most of the work was of really beautiful quality. And yes, I do occasionally purchase the work of other potters. I really need to get back to throwing myself. And build a wood-burning kiln. 

I also hiked up to Anna Ruby Falls, which is a very lovely area. The trees were more in color over in Georgia than they are here and the weather was gorgeous! So, I have actually been working on the house and have made some decent progress on the siding. I just need to run two more small pieces on the last side of the clerestory and put the final coat of paint on and then done, done!! Well, I do have one other really neat project I want to make for the clerestory, which I will show ya'll soon. I think it will add a sweet little touch to the house. I have discovered that I have mice in the basement also.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Don't Know Why

Hey Folks! well, sorry I haven't been posting much since my return. I guess I've got a case of the 'blahs'. Post-vacation letdown? Maybe I'm overwhelmed by all I need to do around here? Nah, I don't think that's it. It's kinda odd to be alone for such extended periods of time. Well, at any rate, I just haven't had much to say. I'm still cleaning and caulking and getting ready to finish the painting on the siding. I discovered yesterday evening that I'm out of the siding stain color, so that's a trip into town today to get more. I need to buy groceries anyway.
So, that's the exciting lowdown for today. Pffft. The leaves are starting to turn here and that's always kinda somber. I love the feeling of fall but I know it will only bring winter, which means awful cold, and that sucks. I do not do well in cold weather. I know you northerners are laughing at my idea of cold but now, our winters are miserable cold due to the high humidity. It's a wet, penetrating cold that you just can't shake.
And I have still been having awful pain with my back. Got to find out what's going on there.

So, blah. What's going on with ya'll? Oh, I am trying to clean up the basement/ studio and get back to throwing. I have many clay projects I want to start on soon, especially if I'm going to stay laid off.
Hey Anon, that left the comment on the really old post: I did get it and reply to it! Thanks for writing!
Anything any of ya'll want me to post about? Any projects or whatever ya'll want to see?

*Norah Jones

Saturday, October 09, 2010

Back To The Grindstone

Okay folks! I swear, no more photos of vacation, talk of vacation or reminiscing of vacation! I shall not inflict any more of my travelocities on you lest I start losing readers!

Anyway, things are pretty much back to normal here. Just working around the house. I have been on a major cleaning spree since returning home and have already taken yet another load of stuff to Goodwill. I reorganized and added shelving to my one existing closet so that it is easier to access. Now, to just put a door on the thing. I really need to hang the interior doors but when you live by yourself that just doesn't seem like much of a priority.
I seem to have a fair amount of motivation since returning and am eager to get some projects finished around here. Like the siding. Geez! I must finish that crap, painting and all!
So, when I have a few pics of my projects I'll be back, which will hopefully be soon. I know none of this stuff is particularly exciting so I'm not going to foist my caulking expertise on you either! lol!

Oh yeah, I know several of you have left comments of late concerning Lika. Here's the deal. Lika doesn't live here anymore. He got real bad about wanting to wander off and I felt he was bored and lonely here by himself because of how much I work. At first, he just went over to the next door neighbors to play with their dogs and they didn't mind, so it was okay. But then he started to go further and I can't afford to install a fence of any kind. Plus, to me that is kinda cruel, to make him live alone; dogs are very social creatures. I also refuse to keep a dog in the house; which again, is keeping him alone. I know this will probably get me some ugly comments but dogs are meant to live outside in my world and Lika did have a nice doggie door for the basement with a nice bed. So, I let him go live with a couple in town that have a fenced yard and another dog. He just wasn't happy here and I was not able to spend enough time with him.

Thursday, October 07, 2010

A Thousand Beautiful Things

Well, I didn't buy a thousand things but it was hard not to! There was so much art everywhere out west I just wanted to go wild. Alas, the reality of my bank account took hold and I was able to contain myself. Now, I know I preach all kinds of anti-materialism and anti-STUFF stuff but now, real art is another matter! lol! I did want to pick up a little something from most of the major sites we visited and sweet Capt. Jack bought me a couple of things also, so I have several nice objects to decorate my house with. I have been very conservative over the years about buying decorative stuff because I didn't want to fill the house I knew I was going to build with a bunch of junk that had no memories or meaning for me. I want to be able to look at most anything in my house and say, "oh yeah, I remember when I went to so and so and we did this and so on....."
The clay lizard I picked up at the Riverwalk in San Antonio. He's kinda kitschy but I like him. He is going to be displayed on the wall. The necklace and earrings were made by Navajo craftsmen and I got those in Taos and Santa Fe. Also, the bundle of sage and juniper which they use for smudging as a sort of purification ritual for your home. The small clay pot I bought from an old Navajo lady at one of the entrances to Canyon De Chelly. There are half a dozen Navajo that will set up at all the drives into the canyon and hawk their stuff to the Anglos. Now, one thing about getting in or around any of the reservation land is that the poverty that exists there is mind-boggling. The poorest I have ever seen here in the south still have way more than most you will see on a reservation. In the white man's eyes, these people have nothing. Less than nothing. And perhaps because since I was a small child I have felt for the gross injustice and cruelty these people have suffered over the centuries, I will buy any quality work from them that I can afford to. The lady told me her son made the pots; I don't know and it really didn't matter. They are handmade and I know she needed the money. It's not much but maybe it will help some and I know what it is like as a craft person trying to make a living.
The print is from the Grand Canyon. I really liked this lady's work. She also designs the t-shirt for Phantom Ranch, which is at the bottom of the canyon where you can spend the night. I think you can only get the t-shirt if you actually go down there.

Now, this, is my prized possession. This is Honan, the Badger and you can tell by the claw marks on his cheeks and his two, upright, feather ear spikes. He is an authentic, Hopi katsina. Most anywhere you go out west you will find Navajo kachina, even, to my great disappointment, at the gift shop at the Grand Canyon. See, the Navajo versions are counterfeits and I meant to spell that the way I did. 'Kachina' is just the corrupted Anglo pronunciation of the Hopi word 'katsina'. Katsina are not part of the Navajo belief system but they have no problem ripping off the dolls to make a buck. The Hopi however, still use the katsina in their everyday life, so they are not marketed to outsiders much. Often, if you want one, you must go to them. The dolls are simply a physical representation of the spirits that guide the Hopi way of life and are used to teach the children the lessons. For half of the year the spirits abide on top of the San Franciscan Mtns. near Flagstaff but for the other half, they come down and dwell among the Hopi on the Mesas, teaching them the way to live. The katsina appear during dances held monthly, sometimes weekly, during the spring and summer. Of course, they are the men of the village dressed up as the katsina but the men wear masks, so you are not sure who is who.
You can find the dolls in some knowledgeable shops sometimes, but you will pay A LOT of money for one there. Fortunately, as I said before, the Hopi are very friendly and gracious people and if you enter their land with respect and some knowledge of what you are looking for they will help you. Of course, they want to make some money but they appreciate someone who appreciates their work also. It also helps, if you are looking for a specific katsina, if you ask for it specifically by name. Like Honan or Kweo (the wolf). Honan the Badger is a healer and I became intrigued by him because there is a badger that lives near the road at the beginning of my driveway. Now, all my life I have lived in Alabama and have never seen a badger, until I moved here. I have only glimpsed him a few times, as they are quite fast, but I'm sure that is what he is. I have seen his striped face. The interesting thing is that this land I have is filled with medicinal plants of all kinds and the Hopi believe that the badger shows the people how to treat themselves because he digs in the ground and knows all the roots. I had a herbalist friend of mine visit a couple of years ago and he was astounded at the variety of helpful plants here in my valley. So, I thought Badger was an appropriate addition to my place.
And, if you are ever on Second Mesa on the Hopi reservation, stop in a little shop called Tsakurshovi and say 'hello' to Janice and Joseph, the owners. They have an amazing collection of katsina, many carved by Janice's nephew, and many other items and books and they will tell you all about the best local sights to see. They are an absolute fountain of information and hospitality.

*Annie Lennox

Tuesday, October 05, 2010

Sweet Home Alabama

Okay, ya'll knew I was going to have to use that song now, didn't you? lol! We are home finally! We had a great time but it is so good to be home and sleeping in my bed and bathing in my wonderful shower with it's non-chlorinated spring water. We stopped at a grocery store near the house to pick up a few things and I swear, when we walked in, the store was playing 'Sweet Home Alabama' on it's sound system.

I put together a few fun facts of our trip I thought ya'll might like:
*We traveled through 6 states (not including AL) for a round trip total of 5,426 miles.
The states included Mississippi, Louisiana, Texas, New Mexico, Arizona and Colorado.
*We visited 9 National Parks or Monuments and hiked somewhere around 22 miles total within these parks.
*The parks included Big Bend, Carlsbad Caverns, The Petrified Forest (which includes part of the Painted Desert), Wupatki/ Sunset Crater, The Grand Canyon, Canyon De Chelly, Aztec, Mesa Verde, and Chaco Canyon. Sorry guys, but we did not stop by Palo Duro. We didn't make it to the area until around sunset and the park would be closing soon so we just kept going. Maybe next time.
* We just happen to stumble upon 2 festivals going on in 2 towns. An art fair in Taos and the big Hot Air Ballon Festival in Albuquerque.

. I have several beautiful mementos from this trip. I'll show those to you in the next post and maybe some more scenery photos.
It really was a trip of a lifetime.

Saturday, October 02, 2010

Homeward Bound

Sad but true folks, we are on our way home tonight. We visited Chaco Canyon yesterday and hiked around that area for a while. (I just realized the above photo is not from Chaco but from Aztec; oh well) It was very interesting and it made for some thoughtful reflections at times. I'll write a bit more about that when I get home but for now just a quick post to let everybody know what's going on.
We are worn out basically and ready to go home. I'm tired and tired of my nose bleeding for the past two weeks. Apparently this drastic an altitude change has affected my system quite a lot. It has not been drastic nose bleeds but it's gross and I won't say any more. The dry air has wrecked havoc with many things, let's just say. I feel like those little lizards I have seen in the desert out here! lol!
Anyway, we are on our way back while things are good. And while we still have some money. We are both out of work too, you know. I miss my shady valley with it's clear running creek and the cool mornings I know are waiting for me there.
So, we are in Lubbock, Texas tonight and are going to try to hit Louisiana by sleep time tomorrow. Whether this is possible or not I don't know but we are going to hoof it. Therefore, I probably will not post again until we arrive at my home. I will see ya'll then!