It’s Monday

It’s Monday, which is normally my Saturday.

I know, it makes no sense.

I normally work on Fridays and Sundays, which makes Friday my Monday and Sunday my Friday, and Mondays are usually my Saturdays. However, I worked every day this past weekend, and I’m working this morning. I don’t know what day it is supposed to be for me.

I’m tired. I slept the sleep of the dead last night, and I’m still tired this morning.

I’m supposed to be learning to can jam today or tomorrow, and I don’t know if I have it in me. I have too many other things on the list, and I only have so many spoons. I am going to have to prioritize, which is easier said than done. I need to flash freeze some backdoor fruit, but I have no room in the freezers. If I made jam out of the blackberries, I’d have room in the freezer. I have a garden that I need to walk through and harvest what’s ready, but I have no room in my fridge because there’s too much backdoor fruit and squash from the neighbors in there. Even if I did have the spoons, I don’t know where I would even start.

side note: making jam would be the obvious choice. It would free up a lot of freezer space and get these cases of canning jars out of my way inside my house. Then I could flash freeze all this shit in my fridge. After that I could harvest stuff from my garden, at which point I’d have to start the cycle all over again.

I’m starting to talk in circles, aren’t I?

Let’s start a new circle, shall we?

Household chores. Thank heaven I cleaned this place within an inch of its life last week. It means I can hit the high spots this week and pray that next weekend doesn’t turn out like this past one so that I can get some rest and be ready for my own life next week instead of having to be the only adult at the produce stand. Laundry is so backed up it’s scary, and I actually managed to get a load done over the course of the last three days. Now I just have to fold it before I head to work this morning. Sunshine just brought me over a gallon of hydrogen peroxide leftovers that he bought for a job cleaning some mildew stains off of some very light colored stone columns; I’m not sure what the fuck I’m going to do with that shit but I am sure that we shouldn’t have to buy peroxide for the next millennium.

I’ve got to squeeze in an appointment with my primary soon, too. I still haven’t gotten a call from the mental health provider to get me started there, so I’m relying on my primary to keep me in meds until I can get in at mental health.

I’m completely ignoring the elephant in the middle of our house build site. I just can’t think about that today. I’ll worry about that tomorrow; after all, tomorrow is another day.

Nazca Lines

I wish I had an airplane so I could get an overhead view of the scope of the mess we have on our hands here.

I’ll start with a quick explanation of why we have so much of the property dug up at the moment.

french-drain-hose-does-not-work-for-field-lines

Yeah, that would be a section of french drain hose. That french drain hose is what was originally used (NOT by us; rather, by whatever idiot thought that was a good idea at some unspecified point in the past) to make the leach lines or lateral lines or field lines or whatever they’re called for the septic system here. French drain hose does not make an adequate field line. The entirety of it had been compromised; in some spots, it was so bad that there was always standing water above the breaks. Even worse, the entirety of the field line system was french drain hose. About 3′ of pvc pipe extending directly from the septic tank was all that was NOT french drain. Who even does that shit?

While Mr B was digging up all of that nonsense, he decided that now was the perfect time to dig up every project we had put on the to-do list for the entire year. Which led to about 2316844321 miles of trenches being dug on the property.

We added a water line to the garden

 

 

We added the water line for our little house

12-february-newest-waterline-trench

We had to replace all the field lines for the septic system

view-from-the-burn-pile

This pond will be getting filled in at some point, probably starting with a lot of the clay we dug up.

the-front-pond

 

Like, the new driveway is ruined in so many spots. Also? The gravel from these ruined spots got used for filling in under all those pipes we put in the ground.

that-massive-driveway-is-ruined

we moved dirt from near our little house site to shore up the berms around the tornado shelter

 

it’s a giant mess for sure

Like, I can’t even begin to explain adequately just how much shit got dug up this past weekend. I also can’t even begin to guess how long it will be before mother nature works her magic and covers these scars up with something green that will require a lawnmower, which is probably a good thing considering last year’s struggles with the out-of-control lawn. At least Mr B has been a busy little bee and immediately got on the task of using his giant orange toy to start pushing dirt back in all those fucking trenches. Most of them have been covered back up; the rest will be covered ASAP (just as soon as the rain ends).

Somebody please come save us from ourselves. Please?

Finished Projects

I’m pretty sure we haven’t actually finished anything we started this weekend.

We got the electric cable run from the future meter location to the future breaker panel location. I can’t call the task completed yet because we still need to add the upright portions of the conduit and we need to tape off the ends before this rain shows up tomorrow. Sunshine is supposed to be grabbing the pieces-parts he needs on his way home from work. The trench is partially filled in; Mr B will complete that part of it when he gets around to it with his big orange tractor that specializes in moving dirt around.

12-february-electric-line-is-in

side note: I got to be a stagehand for about an hour. It made me remember why I had to quit. I can still do it, and I can still do it well; I just can’t do it fast anymore.

We have a functional septic system again even though it isn’t buried yet. Mr B has to go get some pea-gravel and put it in the trenches before he can put the dirt in there. He actually did the final digging on these trenches last night. I woke up to even more mess than was out there when I went to bed Saturday night. Look to the left, you can see it.

12-february-a-bigger-mess

 

side note: in typical Mr B fashion, he has changed the game plan halfway through the play in progress. He is now going to take a lot of that ridiculous, stupid, horrible, no good clay that came out of those trenches and use it to start filling in the front pond. We have only seen it full for a very short time after all those rain bombs last year and we don’t like the idea of all the snakes that hang around water. Also? Mosquitos.

First thing yesterday morning, Sunshine dug up the trench for our water line that will service our little house. If you look off to the left here, you can kind of see the mess Mr B made after dark last night. Just to the right of the chicken house you can see the trench for the water line to our house.

12-february-newest-waterline-trench

 

side note: I would give anything to see this place from a plane right about now. I would imagine it looks like some crop circles or Nazca lines or some shit.

We also have run a water line up to the front fence line to make it easier to water the garden in the future. We’ve gotten the pipes in the trenches for the water lines, but we won’t be connecting them until we have time to chase down any leaks there may be.

I’m just glad that the weekend is over and we can flush the toilet as many times as we want without fear of raw sewage leaking all over the yard around the deck of the pink house.

Now, my ass is off to make a meeting. My body is achy, which means I really need to feed my spirit.

final note: I’ll grab some more pictures of the mess today and share them with you tomorrow.

Mission Impossible?

So Sunshine and I were given a bunch of cast iron cookware by the neighbor as she cleaned out that house she inherited. It was part of the wonderful generosity she exhibited, and part of the stuff she wouldn’t take cash money for since I helped her with the estate sale.

I brought a few pieces of the cast iron into the magic bus and got them ready for use. I left the rest in the pink house because I thought Mr B would get some use out of them (that man is one hell of a cook, y’all).

In all the confusion of the kitchen renovation over there, all that cast iron got put outside and left there overnight in the rain. It also got some paint overspray on it. I collected it all up and brought it into the magic bus to prevent further damage.

Yesterday’s Jenga collapse and subsequent cleaning/organizing marathon brought the cast iron cookware to the top of my to-do list. This stack of skillets and pots desperately needs to be rehabilitated and put away in a proper cabinet so that I can start using them.

I need steel wool. And oil to season them with.

I also need a light colored shirt that I want to distress, because I’m pretty sure that this process is going to ruin whatever I’m wearing while I’m working through it. It’s going to be messy.

final note: I’ll be back in the near future to report on my progress, and any cool new trashed garments that can be added to my dystopian collection

 

It’s so quiet here

It’s quiet here in the middle of nowhere. No sounds of traffic, of people rushing to and fro, no sirens, no planes/trains/automobiles, no offensively loud music…

side note: well, the offensively loud music part is sometimes a lie. Sunshine has a habit of blasting the local “rock station” that seems to think that rock music quit being a thing in the 90s. If I have to hear “Back in Black” one more time, I may pull out my hair. Not that AC/DC wasn’t great, but for fucks sake I burned out on them in the late 80s. I even vaguely recall going to see them live once in the late 90s, but that might have been KISS. I don’t remember, there were a lot of mood/mind altering substances involved back then… I digress.

Even though it’s quiet, it isn’t silent out here in the country fried middle of nowhere. The wind doesn’t seem to quit blowing, ever. The cats are always up to some mischief. The chickens make their chicken noises as they wander the yard. There are dogs yelling back and forth at each other all day. My dog barks at the cats on the roof and at the wind all night. The coyotes sing all night. Sunshine and Mr B putter around a lot, working on this project or that one. There’s always some sound hovering just under the surface, kind of like the hum of electricity as is races through the wires buried in the walls; not annoying, almost not noticeable until it isn’t there at all.

This last couple of days, with Mr B out of town to help his daughter move home, it’s been more quiet than usual. Part of that has to do with the absence of the family B, and part of it is because it’s so fucking cold. Nothing is stirring around much, not even us.

I’ve read a bit about people living simple lives, homesteaders, and the like who often struggle with the down time during the winter. There are no gardens to plant or tend, it’s too cold to work on projects, and so on…

I thought I was prepared for it, but the reality of it is rather jarring. I don’t think the fact that I’m sick is helping the problem any; in fact, it’s probably making it worse. I don’t feel up to doing much, even though there is a whole list of things I could be doing to keep myself occupied in little ways. There is the matter of my closet–I’m sick to death with having to do so much digging to get dressed every day, sick of the disorganization, sick of the climbing and contorting involved with choosing an outfit. There are the crochet projects I want to take on, most of them personal rather than gifts for others; they would clear out some of my stash and free up space for me to start hoarding yarns I want to work with instead of placeholders that I acquired when I cleared out somebody’s stash. There are plans for the small house that need to be fleshed out, and cabinets that need to be reorganized. There are piles of leaves that have accumulated outside.

You get the point.

So many ways to stay occupied, yet here I am fighting some illness that has my throat feeling like it got rubbed with ground glass and my head feeling like it could explode. I’ve spent some time getting into the Winchester brothers of “Supernatural”, but I can only couch potato so much before I start to hate myself for becoming a lump on the sofa. Even Mollie doesn’t want to do much; she sticks her head out her little Mollie-door and discovers that it’s still cold and grey and gross, turns around, and heads for the warmth and comfort of the couch again.

I did manage to do some research on what needs to be planted soon if we want to have a garden this spring. It didn’t take long, and now we are just waiting on some consensus on what to plant and the right timing to plant it. It’s time to transplant blackberries, but who wants to do that when it’s so cold and involves a lot of prepwork anyway. I want to practice with my bow & arrow so that I can graduate to Sunshine’s crossbow, but that involves going outside and it’s just too cold.

(side note: perhaps I should stop binge walking teevee shows: the Winchester brothers have given me an interest in flannel, and “The Walking Dead” has given me an interest in learning to shoot a crossbow and a rifle; but at least I’m not doing like Sunshine and pulling a Tony Soprano on a fish with a .22 handgun–long story short somebody caught a big fish and was going to kill it with a spoon to the head but Sunshine said it was too big and a spoon wouldn’t do the trick, so when he was handed a .22 to deal with the fish he unloaded the magazine into it because “it wouldn’t stop staring at me”) and I think I have digressed again. Being sick sucks because it’s so hard to hold onto my train of thought.

I don’t know if I can stand another day of straight couch potato-ness, so maybe I’ll attempt one of those projects sitting in the bag next to the couch. There’s a lot of leftover yarn in there that I’ve committed to using up before I start on the stash in the craft chest. A lot of the yarn will be used for projects that I can do while I catch up with the Winchester brothers, so it’s possible that I can kill a few birds with one stone while I’m stuck on the couch sick as shit during a cold snap that threatens to bring us some snow.

final note: don’t get excited about the possibility of snow. This is Texas, and it’s a part of  Texas where any snow will quickly turn into a slushy mess that coats the roads in ice and causes drivers to grossly overestimate their skill sets. I think it’s a good thing I’m stuck on the couch sick as shit; it gives my car a chance to survive the impending demolition derby that is heading to the roads near me.

 

Not today. Not like this.

I noticed my throat was getting sore last night. Fucking great. Sick is something I do a lot, but can ill afford due to my COPD. I’m hoping this (whatever this is) stays away from my lungs. I’m not prepared for that right now. I’m really not prepared for some shit with a sore throat right now, not when there’s so much shit I really need to get done before it drives me batshit crazy.

side note: when am I ever prepared for chest congestion? When am I ever prepared to be sick? never, that’s when. We have very little cash on hand, I still owe the doctor for my last visit, Sunshine’s truck is in the shop and the deductible will have to be paid before we can reclaim it, we won’t be able to pay the deductible until he has the truck so he can get to work…. OK, now I’m freaking myself out proper…

I’ve got a to-do list a mile long. A lot of it is inside work. We need somebody to research gardening so that we know what to start getting ready to plant. It seems to have fallen on me, since I have already done some research on gardening back when we planted our raised garden bed.

I desperately need to finish the massive clean-up that I started yesterday. I cleaned the everloving hell out of this magic bus yesterday and I woke up to chickenshit in the floor this morning. Thanks Sunshine; you just had to walk back in the house with chickenshit on your boots before you traipsed out into the woods to hunt, I suppose.

side note: I am sick to death with cleaning animal shit out of my floors. It’s been a never ending battle this last week or two and I am officially over it. Unfortunately, it doesn’t look as if it will stop anytime soon, so it appears I’m stuck in this nightmare of continually cleaning shit out of my floor. Thank heaven Mollie isn’t contributing to the problem by shitting where the animal shit has been tracked through; I think she is as disgusted by it as I am.

I’m guess I’m about to go make the bed and get dressed. Maybe it will help motivate me to do some of the things on my to-do list even though my throat feels like somebody rubbed ground glass into it. And I am definitely going to have to try ad get on the closet situation ASAP, because I am tired of the constant struggle to find anything in this magic bus.

final note: I suppose it’s a good thing that I have a chronic illness. It’s taught me to persevere no matter what. I can get these things done in spite of being sick today. I just don’t want to. However, if I delay it, I’ll hate myself more tomorrow when I feel even sicker and the to-do list has grown even more.

Winterizing

I hate to abruptly switch to posting about something so boring and practical as preparing for cuper-cold (for us, anyway) weather, especially after Tia’s wonderful DIY post yesterday. But this blob is supposed to serve as our record of what we tried, what worked, what didn’t, and how frustrating it can be at times. Today is one of those days when it just ain’t simple to live simply, and it needs to go down in our permanent record.

Sunshine is out of town working. He’s hoping to be home tonight, before the hard freeze sets in.

side note: hard freeze are some frightening words to RV dwellers. We’re not insulated as well as a house, and shit is so hard/expensive to fix when it goes wrong in an RV…

Sunshine took care of a lot of stuff before he left; he really did a good job of setting me up for success. He winterized all of our vehicles. He switched out the propane tank that feeds our stove and furnace for a full one so I don’t wake up in the night with a furnace working overtime to warm a house that is being pumped full of sub-freezing air by that same furnace.  He leak proofed the windows again, as the brutal Texas sun and heat had destroyed the sealant we had previously put around them. He got our hose heater plugged in so that the hose that supplies our water doesn’t freeze. He even put his Jeep in front of the RV, with jumper cables at the ready in case we lose power and I have to jump start the bus to get the generator going so I can have heat and shit. He thought of just about everything.

side note: we had previously put all those giant foam blocks around the bus to serve as skirting to keep the wind out, and I feel like I can already tell a difference even though it hasn’t gotten below freezing yet this winter.

There hasn’t been a lot left for me to deal with alone, which is why Sunshine is a total keeper in spite of the fact that his hoard takes over all the available space.

That doesn’t mean that there hasn’t been anything to do. It’s a misty, drizzly day, which means that the roads could easily turn to shit tonight. If he isn’t on the road early, I’m hoping he plays it safe and stays at his sister’s for the night again tonight and heads home after sunup.

side note: not that Sunshine can’t handle shit road conditions. He did grow up in the high Uintas, and he’s been driving on Louisiana roads for decades. Still, I’d rather face the hard freeze alone than risk his safety.

I’ve gotten out and found a way for the cats to stay plenty warm tonight. I snatched up that travel kennel that Mr B wound up with after he brought us those 6 kittens and 4 chickens in it. I brought it up from the distant reaches of the backyard; I put it in between our magic bus and the pink house. It’s snugged up to the house as close as I can get it, covered with a blanket, and facing so that the door (that I fixed open so they can come and go as they please) isn’t in the wind. I layered the bottom with some old sheets and blankets that Sunshine’s kid took home from hospital last year. I’m laundering some old towels to stuff in there for them, too. I feel assured that the cats have a way to stay nice and warm tonight.

side note: this is where my interest in weather has come in handy. I know that our prevailing winds are from the south around here. When the weather changes, the wind can shift and come at us from the north, sometimes the west. We almost never get winds from the east, so that’s which way the opening on the cat house is facing. I did make sure that there is stuff to block the wind, just in case; but I’m figuring it’s not likely. Science is useful, y’all.

I’ve rolled another half sized foam block over close to the magic bus so that I can use it to plug the one gap we still have. It’s going to have to wait until just before sundown, since it will block my access to the tank dump valves. I’m going to need to dump both holding tanks so I can leave a drip without overflowing any tanks (because even the grey tank stinks like hell when it overflows).

I had to climb a ladder with a push broom and sweep the water off the top of our slideout living room. I do NOT need water freezing and damaging any roofing or seals at openings.

I’m certain I’m forgetting something, and I’ll keep wandering around looking at shit and thinking about it throughout the day. I’m concentrating on the magic bus first, because later on I might have to help Mrs B with the pink house and their RV. See, Mr B is out of town also; he seems to think he’ll be back before nightfall but who knows what can come up to change his plans, right?

Later, before it gets too late, I’ll make sure to get both the electric and stovetop coffee makers ready for the morning, just in case we lose power overnight. I don’t really want to go fire up the Jeep to get the generator going before coffee, so I’m preparing for anything and everything.

final note: if we really do lose power overnight, my ass will be quickly opening up our low point drains and heading into the pink house, where there is a woodburning stove ready to crank up and save us all from hypothermia.

And that, folks, is one of those things I was sure I was forgetting. I should make sure we have plenty of shit to burn in that wood stove, just in case. Off to the treeline I go to gather limbs and sticks that I can chop with an axe by myself. Shit that isn’t bois d’ arc or cedar, because we can’t coat the chimney with sappy stuff that could catch fire itself in the future.