Sunday, March 15, 2009

Harbinger of Spring

Ah, I know Spring has sprung when I hear Mr. Cardinal singing his song. He doesn't nest around here that I know of but every spring he takes his place in several of the trees and sings his heart out for his beloved. I thought perhaps having a sunflower seed feeder helped draw him in this year but then thought again...he always shows up in Spring.

I took my bike for its first ride of the year. Not far, just to the end of the road and back since the roads are soft, the tires need air and my butt needs to adjust once again to the seat. Now that it is lighter perhaps I'll start riding it to church rather than go to my usual church 1/2 hour away. We will see how the weather holds. It can be quite fickle until mid-June.

Afterwards the dogs and I took a walk through the southeast pasture. It is hilly from glacier deposits eons ago. We live right on the edge of where the glaciers stopped and along the edge of the statewide Ice Age Trail. I love traipsing the hills because it reminds me of home.. It is otherwise so flat and open here. It took me awhile to get used to it, especially when storms came.

This is our road looking towards our driveway by the row of pines. That is my older dog, Tex waiting for me. The younger one is in the lower left hand corner of the photo. He thinks he needs to walk behind me all the time.

Saturday, March 14, 2009


I took this photo tonight. I just really like the colors in it cast from the setting sun.

This morning I had my old mail route again. I zipped through it but my car was running hot so rather than go to the tack swap as planned I ended up coming home in hopes of finding some antifreeze. With three "men" here though chances are slim and I was right. So dh ran to get some and in the meantime it took him an hour so that shot my plans for the swap.

I played online a bit, started a facebook page for my model horse hobby since everyone else was. Why not. See what comes of it. I then went out to see my ponies and discovered little stinker Spotz the calf has messed my fence up again so it is shorting out. That little stinker. Dh says she was in there this morning. She and my two foals have a love affair going on and I wish they could play but my stallion doesn't like cows and chases them off. Meanwhile dh didn't fix the fence nor tell me about it. That makes me nuts as he does it all the time. If I don't check it daily all it takes is a few hours for it to be torn down and a lot of frustration to put it back up when just untwisting some wires could have prevented the problem in the first place. But husband wasn't raised with a farm ethic as I was and it shows. Don't tell him that though. He thinks he's the bomb when it comes to farming (gag).

So that wasted my grooming time and it was getting dark by the time I got everything back to working. Now while everything is wet is the best time to have the fence working because the animals get zapped good and learn respect real fast. Some day I would like real fences but unless I win the lotto it isn't happening in the near future.

Friday, March 13, 2009


We have lived in this house now going on 13 years. It was built in 1921 and hardly a thing had been done to it except to turn the pantry into a bathroom and the bare necessities of electricity added when the rural area was electrified. The paint was peeling, floor joists sagging as the place had been flooded and no one lived here for 10 years.

Vandals had smashed out every one of the windows or as we discovered most likely the previous owners as even the day we signed for the purchase they claimed someone "broke in" and stole stuff. We found out later when the insurance company wouldn't insure us that this house was their cash cow. Need money, wreck the house. So we patched a few of the 14 windows up, enough to give us light and air for the first year, replaced the kitchen half of the floor joists and moved in.

We then every year replaced a few windows as we could afford. There is over 10K in glass in this house. Only the basement windows need replacing. We have them but dh hasn't gotten around to it yet.

DH used to have his own construction company so I figured this house would be nothing for us to work on. I don't know much about construction but I can fetch and clean and do all the grunt work along with learn. But it was like the minute we moved in he lost all motivation. He'd patch things or add things like a heat register. I kept saying we need to put the money into insulation (house has no insulation), not more ways of heating. He wanted to get LP (we heat with wood) and again, we need insulation first dear. Why heat the outdoors?

On cold days this house struggles to get to 45*. That makes winters very difficult. Most the time husband is at work so he doesn't realize really how cold it is here. My dish soap coagulates. Water turns cold faster than I can wash the dishes. I hole up in the 10'x12' bedroom where we have electric heat and cannot move. So this winter being as cold and miserable as it has been perhaps was a blessing with him being laid off. He gets a taste of what I deal with every day.

Suddenly this motivation to do the hallway and now it is going into the attic/upstairs too. He said to me on Wed. that we should pull some money out of the savings and do the bathroom too which is a disaster. For 10 years I have looked at a wall of pink and yellow insulation behind a sheet of plastic dotted with dead flies. Real attractive. The walls are sloppily plastered because this is the room that used to be a pantry and whoever did the work was definitely and amateur. Dh is tossing ideas around and I said do whatever you think and I will live with it. I have long lost my enthusiasm for renovating. Just do it. I don't have to help much because he has the three boys who are loving it.

So I may be getting my bathroom finally too. I won't hold my breath. I learned a long time ago that I cannot live while not breathing. Time will tell.

Route 2

I had route 2 on Wednesday, a mail route I was trained on over a year ago as a back up sub. I had done it three times and not since so although I remember some of it I still asked for a route description just in case I got turned around somewhere. You know how it is. If you don't have it you will need it. As it turned out I didn't really need it but that is because I had it.

That route is a bear. 112 miles of washboard roads, a good hour of it in the forest down tiny dirt tracks that weave between the old tornado destruction and through swamps. It is nothing to travel 3 miles between mail boxes and the worst of it is some people STILL don't have their name or number on the box so if I guessed wrong it was a LONG trip back to correct the mistake. Of course that is partially the regular carrier's fault. She should be insisting those boxes have numbers and if they don't, writing them herself inside or outside the boxes. She knows them like the back of her hand but when someone is newly trained (like her now new sub replacing her old one) or someone such as myself who only does it once a year it is confusing and maddening and frustrating. Not what you want in a sub!

I did get to see some deer. One leaped over a six foot fence which is always quite a sight to see. It was a cold -2 day with 30 mph winds so nothing much was moving. My heating blower stopped working for almost two hours so that was a cold bit of run. But it kicked in again on the last hour. No heat for the 1/2 hour drive home though.

I ended up bringing back some mail because I was not sure on one stretch of road who was who. So too bad. Rather than make a mistake it came back with me.

That run surely made me appreciate my route! Mine may be lots heavier in mail volume but I know it well. Additionally, the roads are much better, not so many that are washboards or potted with potholes that one cannot avoid despite trying to weave through them.

Saturday I am back to my original route out of my old PO as my neighbor the carrier has a funeral. Her nephew passed away and so I am glad to do it. It is a smaller one, they call it an H route. I will be done by one and then can go to the tack swap in the city and still make it before they shut it down. I like doing my old route. Last Saturday I did it and it had been a year since I have done it last but I know that one by the back of my hand too. Plus I live here so I know most of the people. Aside a few change of names and additional hardships and two dismounts, easy as pie.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009


Meet Odda, our new house kitten. Why I decide that one wonderful cat isn't enough is beyond me. I so enjoy my dear Tabby that I thought two would be double the fun. Um, yah. So much for that. Ok so I am sorta' kidding. She is a lovely kitten and is getting the routine down pretty good, ie: no playing all night long. She has decided her place is between hubby and I in the bed. I have rolled over on top of her and she doesn't move. I feel for what I am on and here it is the darn cat! Yes, she is something else.

Tabby can't quite get used to her though. Oh, it is much better than it was and Tabby will even now tolerate Odda sleeping on the same piece of furniture. But sometimes out of the blue Tabby will take Odda out for no reason I can see. I am sure Tabs has her reason though.

Well tonight Odda decided she wanted to go outside. When she went out it was 40. She disappeared around the corner of the house. Now it is getting late, winds have picked up so much I think my windows will blow in on some gusts, it is sleeting icy pellets and no Odda to be found.

I called the here kitty kitty to no reply. But suddenly there she was, climbing the living room window screen yowling up a storm "LET ME IN!!". I had hubby shine a light out so I wouldn't break my neck. She decided she needed to hide but a minute or so later came out and was rescued.

I bet she sleeps real good tonight and now I can too!

Come On In

Don't worry about the mud on your shoes. We are used to it. Or perhaps I should say I have been forced to become used to it, being the only female in the household with three men. I had to choose between putting up with it or going mad. Took me 19 years but I chose to ignore it.

Mud season is trying to arrive in earnest, fighting with Old Man Winter who refuses yet to let loose his grip. Tomorrow we plummet below zero again. Such is life in north central Wisconsin. The garden catalogs had arrived along with the Christmas Cards and are long recycled because clutter is another problem I am trying to beat. Garden catalogs should come NOW when the long winter is wearing us all thin, we have cabin fever and we are looking forward to some color and fresh veggies off the plant.

I see the pretty seed packets in the store but do not stop to look. I cannot start seeds in my house as it is too dark and until I come up with some sort of lighting system and a place to do so there is no sense in looking.

My husband has been laid off for five months and finances are getting tighter every week. For the first time yesterday I realized I didn't have any money to get groceries. The last three unemployment checks went out to pay farm insurance, our few bills and school needs for our youngest. He is a senior in high school and so things like yearbooks and a lock-in have come up that need paying for.

We have aprox. 30 acres that need planting this year. Another 70 or so are on their last season for hay before they need to be replaced. But we worry about that next year. It is this year we need to plan for. We try to do one large project a year here. Last year it was a new well. Our little hand dug collapsed and we went all last winter without running water in the house. That was when I decided fighting dirty floors was a waste of my time.

The year before it was a new roof.

So far this year I have gotten my hallway insulated and drywalled. Husband finally had enough of laying around and did it. I told him he's much better looking when he's doing something! Ha ha. Here is a before of that mess (with my eldest son and my "adopted" son).

I will get an after photo when they get out of there.

I lost my wall I used to hang my horse gear on. Perhaps that means I will actually get my BARN this year. In the meantime I need to find another place to hang it all.