Everyday Activities, Photography Posts

Homestead on the Plains Photos (Spring and Autumn 2020)

Checking fences and saw an armadillo butt
Praying Mantis
The end of the day
Found some bones.
Rain Clouds
Sunrise
Sunflowers
Wildflower
Crepe Myrtle in bloom
Sundown and Sunflowers
🌻
Anole Visitor
Orb Weaver
Have you ever seen calf udders? Aren’t they adorable
Loaf of bread (it was super tasty )
Bread bowls (they were delicious)
One of my toads.
I made sub rolls (and another loaf) they were freaking amazing.
Hummingbird
The girls
Controlled burn getting a bit too close for comfort
The night sky
My new stove 😍😍
Miss Mia
Fizzgig being snuggly
Gizmo sitting in the window in my sewing room
Fizzgig
Gizmo
He thinks the highchair is for him and loves to curl up in it.
Sunset
Sunset and Cows

Until next time….

Advertisement
Chickens, Everyday Activities, Journal Style Posts

Chick Update

The chicks are getting so big. They are fully feathered out and going outside during the day and back in at night.

It was super gloomy the other day and rain was on the forecast, but I didn’t want them stuck inside all day so, I sat outside and when it started sprinkling, I gathered them up and brought them back inside.

They really seem to enjoy all of the space in the run.

Hubby brought me a tire crate home. The gate is made from the top and bottom of the crate. I still need to paint it white to match and repaint the shed. The coop got a fresh coat of paint.

It looks like there is no fencing at all and there are two layers. One layer is chicken wire and the other is hog fencing. Hubby also built them a swing.

This is one of the sides of that tire crate. They are rather large tires. When he called and said he had something for me, I figured it was another window shipping crate. Nope, he brought me readymade fencing. πŸ˜‚ He had no idea what I would do with it, but he knew I would have been upset if he had told me about it later and hadn’t brought it home. They seriously just break these apart and toss them in the dumpster. The wood is heat treated and I make sure he doesn’t bother with anything that doesn’t have a HT stamp. Chemical treated wood is useless to me.

I took a close up of the fencing. It really is two layers and the green fencing is buried 2-3 feet under the ground, to prevent anything from digging under the fencing and getting into the run. The coop is built, but I am still working on security and don’t want to take any risks. I will be laying huge stones around the coop itself to prevent digging even though the coop has a solid floor and pallets underneath the floor. The floor was raised to prevent flooding because of water runoff. I am EXTREMELY protective of the chicks because our friends put their chicks out and lost every single one within a weeks time. They had 50. I only have 15. I am taking my time and making absolutely sure that NOTHING can get in.

I also got the bird feeder out and it doesn’t swing in the extreme winds here. I secured it to the tree with electrical fencing wire. It was heavy duty enough for the job. We also finally mowed the property for the first time this spring. (still need to weedeat). We also took down a HUGE tree branch that was threatening the powerline from the old dairy building to the stalls. I will get some pictures of that later. Oh, I almost forgot, I started painting the planter boxes (window shipping crates.)

They still need holes drilled in them, but they are ready to be drilled, filled, and planted. Hubby also bought me roses. Three bushes. I LOVE roses.

Two will go in the large window shipping crate and the third will go in a large planter that was used for tomatoes a few years ago. (It’s pretty large. I can’t lift it when it’s full.) I made sure to get three different kinds of roses. I know one is Oklahoman, but I can’t remember what the other two are.

Until next time….

Chickens

Ladies and Gentlemen We Have Cheep Cheeps.

I was a bit worried last month when I went to the local lumber store, which is a hardware store and asked when they were getting their chicks in, since I have no way to pick up chicks to be mailed now that hubby has changed his schedule. (I can’t drive for medical reasons.) The man who runs the hardware store is friends with hubby and I and he had terrible news. The main supplier of chicks for Oklahoma went out of business. We were calling everywhere and then, I received an email from Tractor Supply (an awesome little farm store) They were getting chicks on April 1st according to the email. I was giddy. Well we had to pick up Def fluid on Monday and we were already in Lawton so, we went to Tractor Supply because they carry Blue Def (Def is diesel exhaust fluid) So to explain this for anyone who has never had a diesel vehicle, Def fluid is burned off periodically and it clears out the buildup in the exhaust system. It smells funny when it happens. This is NOT the cause of diesel vehicles that pour black smoke from their exhaust. That is referred to as rolling coal and it is terrible for the engine. Anyway, we were in Tractor Supply and I heard cheeping. I honestly think hubby was more excited than I was, though he will NEVER admit that. I started picking out chicks being sure to pick most from the pullets and only four from the straight run chicks. I have a selection of Rhode Island Reds, Black Sex Links and Ameracauna (at least that’s what the paper sign said for Ameracauna) I am doubtful about the Ameracauna chicks, but we shall see when they are bigger. I got 15 chicks total and only four are straight run.

I have only named one chick. His/her name is Chicken Little because this was the smallest chick in any of the tubs and I wanted it. The guy looked at me like I was insane when I said I wanted the teeny tiny chick. They all have wing feathers so, I am uncertain of exactly how old they are. The guy who helped me guessed about 3-4 weeks.

Hubby took video of me taking them out of their little cardboard boxes.

I apologize for the red photos in advance. I didn’t want to use flash too much and traumatize them. All 15 are still doing great on day 3.

This is Chicken Little and I have some size comparison pictures. I will label those. Chicken Little is also in the first and second photo below.

Yes, I was careful where I put my hand. They are in an extra large dog crate with the plastic pan liner the cardboard is between the pan and the crate so it will not get wet.

Here are the size comparison pictures.

So tiny. 😍πŸ₯🐀🐣

They were vaccinated at the hatchery and are currently drinking a mix of probiotics, electrolytes, and vitamins in their water.

Fizzgig is terrified of them and Gizmo is only mildly curious. Miss Mia has been coming downstairs before I wake up and sitting next to the crate to watch them. She gets upset when they start cheeping loudly and goes to check on them. I will try to get some clearer photos they are just so fast.

Until next time…

Adventures, Chickens

Chicken Coop Round 2

Last year, we set up the coop and the run and right after I placed an order for chicks, we had a nasty storm that wiped out my run. I am EXTREMELY grateful that the company I ordered chicks from was kind enough to allow me to cancel my order since the chicks hadn’t hatched yet. We decided to watch what the weather did and how it affected the coop and run over the year and update designs and ensure that the chicks would be completely safe once they were calling the coop and run home.

This photo is OLD!!! This was taken of the coop and run when we built them last spring. The storm did a number on the run, the cover was ripped halfway off and almost got taken away by the wind, three of the PVC arches were ripped off of the fence posts, and 2 fence posts were ripped out of the ground completely. We fixed the fence post issue with concrete during the Fall. it isn’t a ton of concrete, so we will be able to remove the posts, if we decide to widen the run or move it completely.

This weekend, we put the cover back on the run. For those of you who haven’t be here since the beginning, the cover for the run is a dump truck cover, normally used to keep loads of sand, soil, and gravel from blowing out of the truck. Hubby brought me home two that were destined for the dump because they had EXTREMELY minor damage such as small holes or a rip or two that could easily be repaired. (I did patch all of the holes and rips and it took exactly 15 min.)

So, the cover is back on, this time we used hose clamps instead of lacing wire. We ran out of hose clamps halfway through so, I am waiting for my order of hose clamps to be delivered by UPS before I can finish securing the cover. We had some nasty wind so, I know it is secure this time and definitely not going anywhere this time.

It looks really nasty out, but it was 68Β° F (20Β°C) and perfect weather for what we were doing. Hubby and I also decided to take an old screen door from the dairy building (I have a bunch of windows and doors in there from the house being updated) and it is now the door to the run. We mounted it on the back side of the coop because it seemed like the best place for it. I didn’t take pictures of the door yet because that section of fencing isn’t completely finished yet. I will continue to take pictures as we complete tasks.

After the cover was secured, we started on fencing. When the companies that sell fencing seal up these rolls of fencing, they wrap them in lacing wire and then in plastic. The problem with this is that the lacing wire blends in with the fencing and is very difficult to see. It took longer to open the rolls of fencing than it did to secure them to the posts.

Again, I am waiting for hose clamps, which will also be used to secure the fencing to the posts properly. For the moment, zip strips and lacing wire is holding the fencing in place. This is not just a single layer of chicken wire. There are hog panels behind the chicken wire on the inside of the coop. It is coated with green plastic so, it just blends and looks pretty much invisible both in pictures and from the back porch.

It really did look like it was going to storm. We didn’t get any rain, just a bunch of brutal wind. If you look closely at the photo above, you will see weird rectangles in the grass. Those are hog panels. I told you, they blend. 😁 Hubby also wants two strands of electric fencing set at 1 ft and 3 ft as a perimeter around the coop. Our friends have lost every chicken every time they start laying eggs. I keep reminding him that they don’t secure the coop entrance and the door from the coop to the run is just a doorway and not secure at all, but he wants electrical fencing. I figure it will come in handy when we eventually get calves (this is going to be a while because neither of us know anything about cattle and we are doing research and talking to people who raise huge herds.) Also, he’s male and from my experience, every guy enjoys cool things like electrical fencing, tractors, and 4 wheelers. So, I am looking at electrical fencing as his part in the whole aspect of having chickens.πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚ If it keeps them safe great, even if it is a bit ridiculous in my mind. The shutoff switch will be on the front of the coop and the fence will be about 2-3 feet away from the fencing on all sides, so don’t panic, the chickens won’t get zapped. (That was my concern too when he said he wanted it.)

Currently we still need to secure everything once the hose clamps arrive. (I ordered a pack of 100) Then, we have to finish enclosing the run. The end of the run is still open above the fencing so, that needs fencing, the area where we put the screen door needs fencing and the door itself needs fencing because it currently has plastic screen installed. We need to add a few screws to the roof where wind has peeled up the roofing a bit and then silicone to seal where screws are added. Then, cinderblocks around the run at the bottom of the fencing (it is buried, but cinderblocks add more protection). I still need to install roosting areas and nesting boxes. Then, a raised floor because water flows right through the coop when it rains so we will let the water continue its natural course and raise the floor by adding a floor of pavers with plywood above them. This will keep predators from going under the coop to try to get in while supporting the raised floor. I will also secure fencing around the base of the coop, buried of course. Finally, I need to order chicks again.

Once chicks are feathered out and living in their new home, I will get to work on the shed next to the coop. It will become a second coop and it will be sharing a run with the other coop. We will move the door, add another dumptruck cover from the end of the run, over the coop, and attached to the shed roof. We have already fenced in the back side of the area between the two buildings because we used the white metal fence to support the new fencing. It just seemed logical to go ahead and fence it while we were installing the fencing. I may add another building on the end of the run for ducks, but I haven’t decided yet. I definitely want ducks, but they obviously need a water source and I don’t know if I want to sink a kiddie pool that close to the house. I may put them on the back side of the chicken coop and run. I will cross that bridge when I get to it.

Until next time…

Holidays, Homemaking on the Homestead, Journal Style Posts

More Decorating…

When I married my husband, we both decided to get rid of our decorations and such from our previous marriages. We had both been married once and those marriages ended badly. I kept a handful of things that belonged to the kids and he did the same. The rest was tossed. I bought our tree during our first deployment together. I remember when I told him about my purchase, which happened after Christmas during one of those sales where EVERYTHING is marked down super low because the store needs it gone to make room for the next holiday or seasonal shipment. He went into full panic mode because it was pre lit and he was absolutely terrified that I had bought a tree with colored lights. I grew up with a real tree being put up each year and colored lights. I don’t like real trees because it takes like seven years to grow them that size. Then they get chopped down for someone to put in their home for a month and then tossed in the garbage. It’s like cut flowers, wasteful. I prefer white lights on my own tree, but I don’t think colored lights are ugly. They just don’t match with silver and purple, which is my theme for our tree.

The tree is 7 feet tall and it was pre lit. Over the years, the pre lit part stopped working and now it’s partially lit. I add extra lights each year, but we plan on buying another tree, without the pre lit feature, during this year’s clearance sales.

I have added bits and pieces here and there, never really adding too much because moving with the military meant you were only allowed a certain weight for your entire house. I was terrified of the contents of our home being over that weight limit.

He is retired from the military now and we own our home instead of renting or living in military housing so, I have started replacing our furniture, since I was never allowed to have heavy furniture because of the weight limit, and collecting seasonal decorations. We went out on Friday evening to get salt for the predicted snowstorm and I wandered down the seasonal aisle. I sought out penguins of course and found a few, but the real treasure I found was Fall themed.

There were exactly six of these adorable Fall themed placemats left in the clearance section. I paid $.60 each, for a grand total of $3.60 for six cloth embroidered placemats. I was giddy about this and my hubby couldn’t understand why I insisted on buying something for a season that had already passed until I explained how much they would have cost me if I had bought them when it was still Fall. He quickly understood and decided we were going shopping after Christmas for decorations. He did let me buy placemats and a table runner that wasn’t Fall themed.

Fizzgig launched himself across the table so, the tablecloth was wrinkled. (I fixed it so it’s straight again.)

My mother in law brought me a bunch of old table linens and such when she came to visit in May. This placemat was part of a set of 4 and came with foam coasters too, butI have 6 chairs and only enough for 4 spots so, I have to find another way to display them. I was determined to have at least one on the table because she took the time to pack up all of these lovely old linens and some quirky placemats and bring them to me when she came to visit. The white tablecloth came from hubby’s great grandmother and the white napkins match the tablecloth. They soaked in oxiclean for a week to get them bright and stain free again.

I am deciding on a centerpiece, but until I do, the placemat stays. I need to get out to Dollar Tree for wine glasses and charger plates so, I will likely use upside down wine glasses as candle holders with ornaments or glitter ribbon inside of the glass itself as a centerpiece. This blog has some examples of what I am thinking of doing, but I will make it match our style.

I put my tabletop tree up in the living room and did remember to take a few pictures, but I didn’t take one after hubby put the topper on this tree. I will take a picture of that tomorrow and add it in the next post.

Fizzgig of course, had to check it out and sniff it to be sure it was not harmful. This tablecloth is also from my mother in law. I love old linens.

He also had to taste it by chewing on a branch. I guess he didn’t like the way it tasted, because he left after this picture.

I got it all decorated with jingle bells, snowflakes, and a strand of acrylic crystals because I don’t light this tree. The crystals reflect light. The topper is on the table next to it.

A closer picture of the penguin behind the tree.

This little box holds everything that goes on the tree, except the topper. It doubles as a decoration because it’s cute.

One of the kids bought me a penguin snow globe one year.

Throughout the house, I have random little decorations such as this adorable little guy.

This very round snowman is next to the router for the wifi.

This snowman is on the other side of the router.

I have penguin potholders for every season, but this picture is about my aloe plant. It is in a perpetual state of confusion. It bloomed about two weeks ago and I was waiting for the bloom to die back so, I could cut it back and it bloomed again….IN DECEMBER!!!! You can see the old bloom next to the new one. It has to be senile or something because it is cold outside and that window is a greenhouse window, but it gets cold because it is cold outside. So, now I’m waiting for this next bloom to die back so I can cut them both back. I hope it doesn’t bloom again.

Finally, I have these on the door and I just got a new door hanger with bigger bells so, it will be extra jingly.

As for that huge snowstorm we were supposed to get with about a half a foot of snow, well, we got about a half an inch of ice and a little bit of rain. It was rather disappointing to say the least, but this is normal for Oklahoma forecasts. One day it will be 70Β° F and the next day, 20Β° F. We are supposed to get some snow on Thursday so, hopefully we do and I can go find some critter tracks. I adore finding animal tracks in the snow. This is how we discovered we had a fox living in a little den under our willow tree near the back of the property. We never noticed until I was following the fox tracks and they led to a small hole near the tree. I started watching the tree at sunrise during the spring and got to see kits running around with their momma.

Until next time…..

Holidays, Homemaking on the Homestead, Journal Style Posts

Holiday Decorations Have Begun

Fizzgig was so excited to see a gift bag that he could play with.

Gizmo immediately claimed the tree skirt as her own.

She got quite comfy.

That is, until Fizzgig decided she needed to share it with him.

This is my elf. He goes on the front door. I haven’t finished decorating, but he has been hung. I don’t hang outdoor lights because we have a two story home and I don’t like heights and neither hubby, nor myself want the electric bill that comes with hanging oodles of lights. We may get some led lights that don’t use a lot of electricity in the future, but as of right now, we decorate indoors and a few things hang in windows or on the front door, but behind the storm door. No decorations on the porch because I have not figured out how to keep them from blowing away or falling over from the wind. Eventually I will figure something out.

This was before hubby came home from work and added the tree topper and before I had finished. This is important because the final version looks different.

A bit better view from the side with more lighting. (Again, not even remotely finished)

My dining room table is covered in decorations and GLITTER!! πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚

My daughter made this in elementary school. It is made using a coat hanger and plastic sandwich bags (no zippers, just the fold ones.) Then you just add ornaments. Over the years, ornaments have fallen off or broken because they were super inexpensive plastic ones so, I added some ornaments, a stocking, and some silver glitter ribbon because glitter makes everything better.

Hubby put the tree topper on and I set up my penguin. Fizzgig ran under the tree as I was taking this and knocked over one of my stuffed penguins that I had set at the bottom of the tree. (Have you figured out my chosen theme yet? Penguins 🐧🐧🐧)

There are quite a few on the tree. I took some close up pictures of them.

I mailed this one to Iraq during one of the many deployments. He shockingly still has his tag and is in perfect condition after being mailed to Iraq every time Hubby was there in December. He made the trip 7 times.

This is our first penguin ornament. We buy at least one penguin each year. Sometimes we buy a few.

One of the kids even made a penguin foam ornament in school. There are two in this picture because they were right next to each other.

This is our disco penguin. He has a switch on the bottom and he flashes colored lights when turned on.

This one came with a pair of fuzzy penguin pajamas my fabulous mother in law sent me one year. There is a year on the back, but I didn’t think to take a picture of it.

Another penguin and a sprint car ornament. (Hubby races sprint cars on dirt so, the sprint car ornament was rather necessary. I bought it on Etsy and it is a Matchbox car.)

I told you we have a lot of penguins. And these are just the ornaments so far.

Sometimes it is EXTREMELY difficult to locate a penguin ornament. So, sometimes they are rather small ones. Other times they are large.

This one makes noise every time the cats go under the tree. (It has a jingle bell on it) I have quite a few bells too.

Not a penguin, but how many people do you know who have a batman ornament? πŸ˜‚ Batman belongs to Hubby.

This one came in a boxed set with penguin ornaments and silver glitter ornaments. They are hand painted and glass so they are up high and I have them on special hooks because Fizzgig liked to climb the tree last year. (I will find the pictures of him in the tree.)

One of the stuffed Penguins I was talking about earlier.

This is the one that was knocked over when Fizzgig ran under the tree.

One of the kids won this one in a claw game machine and gave it to me.

And this is the final tree for this evening. (I still have ornaments to add, another tree to decorate, stockings to hang, etc. etc. )

Miss Mia in her antlers last year. She ran and hid upstairs when I pulled them out this year. πŸ˜‚

Found it. Fizzgig playing in the tree. Oh this reminded me to get candy canes. There were some amazing ones last year, hot chocolate, salted caramel, and Espresso were the assortment that I ate every single candy cane from. My son loves the ones that taste like skittles, sour patch kids, or starburst. I had different curtains and almost forgot about them. Hubby went somewhere and came home after dark and realized he could see right into the house and was not thrilled about that so the lace curtains came down and the plaid ones went up. (The plaid ones block the cold from the windows so, it’s quite toasty in the dining room now.)

A friend of mine made these for me last year. Aren’t they adorable?!

I also hung some of the cards up. In the entryway to the dining room. It isn’t a doorway because there are no doors. So, I guess it’s an entryway. My son was laughing because I used cinnamon dental floss to hang them. He said, ” Mom, why didn’t you use plain floss? Is it because it is red and you think red is more festive than white?” Nope, it’s because I couldn’t find my kitchen twine and that was the flavor I had in my purse. πŸ˜‚ It worked. I will get a close up of my tree topper tomorrow and take more pictures as I continue to decorate.

This is what my weekend looks like. Just a half a foot of snow expected. Nothing major. If we get that much, you will also get oodles of snow pictures. I love going out and looking for animal tracks. I especially enjoy the barn kitty tracks because the tracks tell me where they go when they aren’t close to the house.

Until next time….

Everyday Activities, Homemaking on the Homestead, Journal Style Posts

Life Happens Sometimes.

I apologize to all of you for being missing for so long. So much has happened so, I will do my best to bring you all up to date in a single post because tomorrow is decorating day and I plan on making an entire photograph post for that.

If you have been following along, you know that so many things have broken and been “repaired” and then been broken again. Well, the air conditioning is fixed. The heat is working just fine and we are looking at snow and ice this weekend, which I am hoping doesn’t knock out the power. If it does, we will be just fine. We have a generator and an amazing kerosene heater, which I can place a pot or pan on top of and actually cook on it. They would be simple meals, but hot food is so much nicer than eating whatever I can quickly cook on a crappy hot plate plugged into the generator. I can also use an outlet on the generator for my crockpot so, we will be eating like normal. I just prefer to have my oven and stovetop.

The well pump was acting up prior to my hiatus and that turned out to be a MAJOR issue. It wasn’t just the pump. We ended up replacing all of the PVC piping from the basement to the well, the pressure tank (we upgraded to a 100 gallon tank from a 45 gallon one), the pressure switch, the pump itself, and all of the wiring from the basement to the pump. It rained just before the pump went out and I am so glad it did because it made the rock hard Oklahoma clay soft.

This is the old pressure tank. We replaced all of that PVC because it snapped when we removed the tank.

This is the new pressure tank and that funky looking piece right next to the tank makes it EXTREMELY easy to remove the tank. The end allows for drainage in case of sand building up in the tank. We will switch to a different filtration set up next summer.

This picture shows where the wiring was originally going through the well housing pipe. As you can see the hole isn’t very big and it was shredding the insulation on the wiring causing shorts to happen. We drilled out this hole and added a fitting so the white PVC pipe fits snugly and protects the wiring instead of shredding it.

Originally there was some metal conduit coming from the basement wall and when the pipe from the well to the house sprung a leak, water flooded through the metal conduit hole into the basement. The wiring was coming from the house through a hole and about a foot of metal conduit the rest of the wiring was just buried without protection and there were so many electrical tape patches. We replaced the wiring and it is now inside of the white PVC pipe. The black PVC is the water line. It’s flex pipe not rigid pvc so it is an upgrade from the random bits of patched together pipe that was in the ground. No wonder it sprung a leak.

This end is where the pipes meet the basement wall. As you can see, no more metal conduit. (Inside the white PVC, is a copper pipe that fits through the basement wall and the space between the copper pipe and PVC has been sealed with silicone so, it is water tight, but the pipe can be easily removed if needed.) The water pipe is connected to the old metal pipes for the house, which are original to the house, but most of the pipes in the basement have been replaced. We just didn’t want to cut a hole in the cement block that makes up the basement wall so we left this metal pipe section in place and connected it to the flex pipe with copper fittings, which have hose clamps as a backup measure for securing the copper fitting inside the flex pipe. I wish I had taken a picture of that fitting because I know that’s confusing. There is a screw in side going into the metal pipe and the side that goes inside the flex pipe has these ridges that dig into the flex pipe if you attempt to remove it. We just weren’t taking any chances and added two hose clamps for extra peace of mind.

So, that’s everything for the well that I took pictures of and still have the pictures. It took almost a week to complete everything since hubby still had to go to work every day and my son still had school. We had water except for one full day. Hubby had everything situated for temporary measures since we got muddy daily working on the well. Showers were a must.

Next up is the drafty doors. I REFUSE to get rid of the original front door. It is absolutely beautiful. I was tracking up thick blankets each year making the front door unusable and the back door, it’s a French door and while new (previous owners put it in) it has a serious draft and the glass just allows cold to permeate the living room. So, blankets were not cutting it for me or hubby. They looked terrible and we were forced to use the mudroom for coming and going. It was not fun.

I decided on a more permanent solution, which blocks the drafts and cold, but we have use of the doors and it looks much nicer than a blanket.

Okay, this is the back door. As you can see, theres a blanket still partially tacked up over it. (I think those are called French doors. Both open.)

This was my solution. (This is the front door) It is a sliding glass door curtain and it’s thermal as well a a blackout curtain. So, it’s pretty thick. There are single pane windows that are decorative and they don’t open, they are just panes of glass, which surround the door. It is lovely in the summer because it let’s in a ton of light. So, the curtain needed to cover all of that glass as well. (The glass is also original and I am not destroying the history of my 100 year old home.)

These are the best pictures I have of the front door and the surrounding windows. I don’t normally take photos of the doors because they aren’t exactly a needed thing usually. We discovered that Fizzgig knows how to climb a ladder while installing the curtain rods and the curtains. I do normally take a ton of pictures of my animals. So, these give some idea of how much glass is actually there. I am currently searching for someone to actually fix this door as well as searching for a solution for all of the single pane glass. I was thinking about using clear film as a bit of insulting. (Like tint for car windows, but it is clear) I am just not sure how it would hold up to the Oklahoma sun.

Finally, if you have made it this far, I am grateful for your patience. I will now reward you with some cute pictures of the critters.

Gizmo has claimed my fabric basket as her new bed.

Here she is checking out the tree, just after it was brought up from the basement. (Yes, I know the lights are uneven and it is completely crooked. I will fix it tomorrow and I will fluff it back out.)

Fizzgig sleeping in the empty fish tank, which used to house my Guinea pigs. I put an old sheet in there for him to snooze on once he learned how to get inside of it. He is dreaming about being a catfish.

This one is a bit older but they were both snuggled up to Miss Mia and it’s adorable.

Time for daily ablutions while nestled in hubby’s sweatshirt. Fizzgig loves coating his clothing in luck fibers. (Aka fur)

He also has a thing for heater vents and doesn’t care if we freeze as long as he is toasty and warm.

Miss Mia supervising the Chewy.com delivery. This is where I buy their food, treats, kitty litter, sometimes toys, and even the new leads I got for Miss Mia to go outside alone since she can get through all of our fencing. It’s just not safe for her to be outside without a lead since she will holt after a squirrel or rabbit and chase it for miles. We live on a state Highway and semi trucks are a real danger. She has 100 ft of freedom and she gets to explore the rest of the property on a leash with us taking her for walks.

Tomorrow, hopefully I will get my decorating completed and get the pictures posted tomorrow night. I will do my very best.

Until next time….

Adventures

Treasure Hunting on The Homestead

Today, I decided to take the metal detector around the driveway after spotting an old rusty nail on my way back from the mailbox. After my first handful of random metal objects, I went inside and grabbed a plastic grocery bag from my collection in the pantry. I have and use reusable bags, but I still have the grocery store bag my produce in plastic bags. This way, I have plastic bags for cleaning out the litter boxes or for picking up poo or vomit from the indoor animals. Accidents happen) Anyway, in 10 minutes of sweeping the gravel driveway with the metal detector, I had quite a bit of metal picked up.

The shell casings are from firearms we own, the actual bullet is not from one of ours. All of these bits can destroy a tire. I took a break to reapply sunblock and down a bottle and a half of water since the temps were at 109Β° F today. After cooling off I went back outside. Hubby was replacing the intake manifold on the youngest kiddo’s truck.

The manifold is replaced and the truck is back up and running. It still needs some love, an oil change, new serpentine belt, spark plugs, and new coolant as there is a mix of water and coolant in the radiator at the moment just to get it started back up.

I continued sweeping the driveway with the metal detector. I didn’t dig for anything and only retrieved metal objects on the surface because I didn’t want to put holes all over the driveway.

I couldn’t believe how much metal I found. The roof was replaced before the purchase of the house was finalized because it was uninsurable. (It was shingle over shake.) So, we got a new roof and apparently the roofers didn’t clean up after themselves.

This is all of the metal I found in a total of one hours time. I am certain that there is more, but it was far too hot for me to stay outside looking.

I cannot believe that all of the vehicles haven’t gone through multiple sets of tires from the number of nails that were in the driveway. Hubby managed to pick up a nail in the sidewall, but he did that in town, not the driveway.

I really hope this insane heat ends soon. I don’t think I can handle much more of the triple digit temperatures. It would not be so bad, but meds make me photosensitive so, it is more like 200Β° F instead of 115Β°F. I dehydrate far too quickly for my liking, which results in a serious migraine and if I don’t reapply sunblock every 20 minutes or so, I turn into a crispy critter. I cannot wait for Autumn to arrive. It’s my favorite time of year. I will be taking oodles of pictures in Autumn of fires in the firepit, the trees without their leaves, pumpkins, and whatever else strikes my fancy. I can’t wait. Until next time….

Homemaking on the Homestead, Journal Style Posts

General Homestead Update

It has been an eventful few months to say the least. The air conditioning is fixed. (It freezing up was probably caused by the fact that the unit was trying to go from 78Β°F to 65Β°F and it just couldn’t keep up.) We shut it off, set it to 72, then to 70, then to 67 and left it at 67. We haven’t had an issue since. I received an email from Sears parts direct about the lawnmower deck, low and behold, its delayed until September now. I couldn’t help but laugh when I opened that email. Hubby is going to check out a riding mower on one of the local buy, sell, trade Facebook pages tomorrow after he gets off work. As long as it’s running, not a piece of junk, and isn’t smoking or something, he will buy it and I can go mow. Then, we will have two riding mowers, which will make 10 acres go much faster.

I haven’t even bothered stressing over the dishwasher. It phased me the least. I don’t mind doing dishes by hand and I do them immediately after cooking dinner. Once everyone has eaten. I finish putting food away and clean everything else.

Because it was so hot today and will be even hotter the rest of the week, I have been doing my normal spring cleaning routine because Miss Mia started blowing her coat and there is fur everywhere. She has been brushed, washed, and brushed again. there was so much fur, but after her bath, it was the same thing all over again, fur everywhere.

During my deep cleaning, I had hubby move the entertainment center so I could clean the fur from underneath it. I cant move it because the TV is too heavy for me to hold it from tipping over while I move the entertainment center. (It really is awkward and I’m too short to reach the top of the TV.)

I made the most amazing discovery when he moved it away from the wall. There were about 40 AA and AAA batteries under there, which I immediately threw away because of how they got there. So, here’s some of what we found.

He looks so ashamed. (And he looks super tiny. He is a normal sized cat. He looks like a kitten.)

He looks normal sized again and of course he can’t resist batting at a toy. Yes, that is a beauty blender. He steals those constantly so, I hide them now.

He was thoroughly excited to see his lost toys again. I walked out of the room and Hubby said that he immediately started picking them up in his mouth and putting them under the loveseat. He’s so weird.

The above video is of his absolute favorite toy. He adores bouncy balls. They are really difficult to find unless I want to buy them in bulk, which is crazy. So, I hit gumball machines at every store or fast food place that has them. He goes crazy when he hears the ball bounce.

The video was taken in the entryway. (There is a curtain over the door, but it’s a sheer curtain) the wood floors and the staircase to the left, which is also wood are original to the house. The front door and the wood and glass surrounding the door are also original to the house. The whole downstairs is wood flooring aside from the kitchen, bathroom, and mudroom. I despise wood floors because they are so difficult to keep clean and shiny. I will probably end up carpeting the downstairs (it will help keep it warmer in winter) but I will do so in a manner that protects the wood floors. I walk barefoot and I can’t stand feeling sand, dirt, grit, etc when I walk through the house. I don’t allow shoes to be worn inside, but Miss Mia doesn’t wipe her feet so, dirt, sand, grit, and sometimes grass are all tracked indoors. Also, stickers are the bane of my existence. I loath stickers. I always seem to find them with my bare feet. We have goat heads and sandspur type stickers. Goat heads are evil. They always break off into my feet when I step on one. I realize many of you will suggest slippers or shoes indoors, but I hate shoes. They make my feet feel like they are being strangled. Instead, I sweep, then vacuum, then use a dustmop, then, after all that, I mop the floors. Every single day, just so I can be barefooted and a bit crazy. πŸ˜‚

I realize this is insane, which is why I want carpet. The floors are beautiful, I fully appreciate that, but I still hate them and they are brutally cold in winter, no matter how high I turn up the heat. I grew up in an old house with wood floors and skeleton key door locks. This was one of the aspects of the house I fell in love with when we first saw it. It felt like home. It still feels like home. The upstairs is carpeted with double padded, hideous hunter green carpet. It’s in great condition so, we will keep it until it needs to be replaced. Another thing I want carpeted is the stairs. I love the stairs, but they don’t love me. I slip and fall down them on a regular basis. So, I want, not full carpeting, but the long runner held down with bars. I honestly dont know how to describe this. It looks like this, but not that pattern. Just enough to keep me from falling down the stairs so often.

One day, perhaps I will take a photo of my purple kitchen πŸ˜‚ No. I did not paint it purple. It came that way. Previous owners had terrible taste in color schemes. Until next time…

Journal Style Posts

I Knew It Was Too Good To Be True

Upstairs ac is definitely NOT fixed. Woke up to the upstairs being sweltering HOT. The unit is still freezing up. I have no idea why either. I talked to the company and they will be back out next week to get this thing fixed properly. We thought it was just low on freon. He added 3 pounds of freon so it was definitely low, but it is still freezing up and that’s NOT good especially since it will be 105Β° and possibly higher this weekend. We will be letting it thaw every couple of hours and turning it back on in order to keep it cool enough upstairs to be comfortable.

The downstairs unit is working perfectly. No complaints there. We are going to inspect a riding mower tomorrow to use while waiting for the new deck to arrive. It’s an older model mower, but not ancient. As long as it runs and cuts the grass, I don’t care. It’s cheap enough to lay out the funds without having it hurt our budget. Also, having two mowers means two people can now at the same time, making 10 acres worth of mowing happen MUCH faster.

I honestly don’t mind mowing. I put in my earbuds and play music while mowing. I zone out and the only negative is the possibility of sunburn I wear pants and long sleeves because mowing makes the bugs angry and I don’t enjoy mosquito bites. Plus, the long pants and sleeves protect me from projectiles like pebbles or small sticks that were missed. I have been hit by pebbles wearing shorts and it’s not fun.

I am trying really hard to not stress myself completely over this whole air conditioning issue. It’s not easy since I thought it was fixed and it was no longer an issue. I seriously hope this is the end of the breaking spree. I will probably start smashing things myself if anything else breaks.

Another lovely thing happened today. We set up an appointment with a company that sells and installs water softeners and whole home filtration systems. We have well water, which means we have hard water and even with a really good carbon filter, we still get sand when filling the tub sometimes. (usually after heavy rains)

Well, the appointment was for 5:00 pm because this company would only make the appointment if my husband was home, even though I handle the finances and I am the final say for all expensive purchases. (Only because I make the budget and know whether something will cause us to struggle financially if purchased at that time.) Well, Hubby was home, he was a bit irritated by the sexism exhibited by this company, but he agreed that it was worth looking into a different option for filtration and softening our water. 5:00 rolls around and the technician is now late. 5:15 and the technician is now a no call-no show. So, I call the company and they had canceled the appointment yesterday without informing us. Um…. okay….

The representative starts to ask me about rescheduling, but another technician won’t be in my area until December. Then, this was the kicker, they wanted me to mail a copy of the deed for our property to prove we owned our home. I started laughing at the representative. I went ahead and told her to remove ALL of my information from their system to include my name, phone number, email address, and my address. I told her we would DEFINITELY NOT be rescheduling this appointment and that this was both unprofessional and highly discourteous of their company to cancel an appointment without contacting the customer to inform them. I also told her that there was no way in hell I was sending a copy of the deed for our home, especially when that information is a matter of public record and can be pulled up on the internet in less than 5 minutes. Proving ownership by providing a copy of the deed to our home is absolutely ridiculous and I sincerely hope people don’t actually do that.

We found out about this company from one of those scratch off game mailers. I didn’t care about the mailer, we actually wanted to see what we could do to improve our water quality. I drink the water from our well daily. It tastes amazing and I filter it a second time through the fridge. (I don’t want to have sand in my cup.) This company offered to test our water at no charge, which was a major bonus considering that test costs anywhere from $150.00 to $350.00 depending upon the number of contaminants they actually test for and if you test both before and after filtration. Our well was tested last year and aside from minerals and sand, it is safe to drink, it’s just hard water.

In case you live in Oklahoma, I don’t recommend this company at all. I started reading reviews online after the technician never showed and apparently this is common practice for this company. It’s just shady and unprofessional in my opinion. So, we will purchase the kit to test our water, then, we will find a water softener and maybe another option for a whole house filtration system at Home Depot or Lowe’s, the small hardware store in town, or even the Co-Op. We have a whole home filtration system in place and I just purchased a new type of filter for it, which is supposed to filter all solids, bacteria, and contaminants. We will test the tap water and the water from the well prior to filtration. I want to know if the well is contaminated in any manner because it isn’t difficult to decontaminate a well. I have to pour chlorine or bleach into the well every time we have an extended power outage or when the well has broken in the past to decontaminate it so, I know exactly what decontamination consists of. The bleach or chlorine is flushed through the lines and the well pump by opening all of the faucets after allowing the chosen form of chemical to sit for a specific amount of time, which is based off of well diameter and depth, and then letting the water run for like 10 minutes. So, not only is the well sanitized, the plumbing for the entire house is sanitized at the same time. We test the well every year just to be safe. Our neighbors have a well that is not as deep as ours and they have dealt with contamination multiple times since moving in. Ours is over 100 feet deeper than theirs. So, flooding does not affect our well as much as it affects theirs. That is definitely a bonus. We also do not have a well house, everything is in the basement. We have not had any issues with pipes freezing up or anything of that nature because the basement isn’t as cold as it is outside in a well house. I did teach my awesome neighbor my pool noodle trick (they work rather well for quick pipe insulation and are much cheaper than the black ones at the hardware stores) she also knows how to avoid a burst pipe in case it does freeze. They are new homeowners too and have never dealt with these issues either. We learned these tricks from the guy who has fixed our well when it broke in the past and from simply talking to people about having a well.

In case I never specified, this is the first home I have ever owned. For hubby, this is home number two. However, even his first home did not have a well, a propane hot water heater and an electric one, multiple ac units, and acreage. So, this is all new to him as well. We are learning as we go. When I registered our basement as our storm shelter with the city, they handed me an entire packet with well decontamination instructions (including a chart for determining how much chemical to dump in and how long it needs to sit and be flushed through the lines.) numbers to call after a tornado for assistance in removing fallen trees or other debris, radio stations to tune to during tornado weather for regular weather updates, television channels, web pages to visit if you still have internet, resources for clothing and food if your home is destroyed or damaged during a storm, and all sorts of useful information. They had an option to donate to continue producing this packet, I donated. I was amazed at how much information was included. One of the best things was a map that shows the topography of the surrounding areas (it is a county map) it shows low lying areas, higher ground, water sources, etc. As someone who is constantly trying to be better prepared for every possible scenario, this map is amazing. I have several maps of Oklahoma and one is a topographical map, but having just our county, enlarged, is really nice.

I registered our basement because I want to make certain that emergency services knows that we may be in our basement after a tornado. They keep a list in ambulances, firetrucks, and police vehicles. All emergency response vehicles have a copy of the registry. Because there is an old storm shelter just behind our home, which floods, and is NOT safe to use as a shelter, I registered our basement because I don’t want to be trapped and they are assuming that we were not home because the other dilapidated shelter is empty. That would suck.

As it is tornado season, hurricane season, and monsoon season in different areas of the United States, I would like to remind anyone who is reading, that having a storm kit, 72 hour kit, or a grab and go bag, can save your life. I highly recommend having all three, with 72 hours of supplies for everyone who lives in your home, including your pets, as well as an extra kit or two for anyone visiting your home when an emergency happens. Even if you don’t have visitors, these extra supplies will come in handy during an emergency situation.

If you don’t know where to begin, I have written three posts on emergency preparedness and they can be found at the links below:

Emergency Preparedness Part 1

Emergency Preparedness Part 2

Emergency Preparedness Part 3

It is always a good idea to be prepared for every emergency situation that happens in the area where you live. Those emergencies may be different than they would be here in Oklahoma, but a majority of the supplies are the same. Seventy-two hours worth of food, water, and clothing, sources of light, warmth, ways to cook, things to beat boredom and to ease anxiety, a source for news and weather reports, and first aid. Specific items for different emergencies such as ways to stay warm during a blizzard or severe ice storm are definitely necessary. Pay attention to the seasons and make sure that you swap out children’s clothing often as they grow quickly. I recommend using clothing that fits loosely for children just in case you forget to change out the sizes. For example sweat pants for winter, two pairs can be layered for extra warmth with a pair of tights/long John’s for girls or long John’s/baseball compression pants for boys. Do your best and starting somewhere puts you one step ahead. I began with my storm kit. Then, I made 72 hour kits for everyone, including our animals, then, I made those 72 hour kitsch into grab and go bags, which have everything already to go in case of emergency evacuation. Don’t forget the sunscreen year round and bug spray in summer.

I realize I tend to start my posts talking about one subject and tend to end up on a completely different subject by the end of my post. There is a reason why this happens. I write a blog post the way I would speak to someone. I write in a conversational manner. Some posts will stay completely on subject, but others will fall under journal style posts and they will go from subject to subject because I am writing them in a specific manner. I do hope this doesn’t deter you from reading my blog. Until next time…