Monday, November 28, 2016

Hunting Season

The girls had no school today in honor of the first day of rifle season in Pennsylvania.  JP, my dad, and I all sat out for varying amounts of time.  The first week of deer season in our area is buck only, and none of us saw any eligible males!

This guy was hanging around the girls' swing last week, but I never saw him before or after.

I sat in the tree house this morning, and watched the sun come up.

Lizzie joined me after awhile, as she typically does.

This afternoon, I sat out in the old chicken barge, so that I could scan the woods to the east.  It didn't prove to be an advantageous position either.

J went to a movie with friends on Wednesday night, we had a nice Thanksgiving dinner with my parents on Thursday, met up with old friends for Mexican food on Saturday, and had our honorary 3rd daughter, C, out on Sunday.  Our break was packed with comings and goings.

Tomorrow we are going back to school and work after a marvelous 5 1/2 days off.  That thought  makes me want to be independently wealthy so that I can have a manservant and lounge around all day (I have been reading the "Jeeves" books by P.G. Wodehouse.) 

Seeing as I fill the shoes of manservant the best around here, I guess I should get off my butt and pack some lunches for tomorrow.

I hope that your Thanksgiving breaks were equally lovely!

Sunday, November 20, 2016

Tis the Season

It always seems that Halloween ushers in a flurry of activity that lasts through the end of the year.  It has been no different this year, although I think we had a single week with nothing happening after school except for music lessons.

Last week, L began having Basketball practice 2 nights a week, but they begin right after school, so I only have to drive out once to pick her up.  Last weekend, we also attended a presentation of "Little Shop of Horrors" in one of the neighboring cities.  (It was fun, but the venue was not great and we didn't get good views of the stage.)  The following day, we had Mom & Dad over for a meal (homemade pasta, turkey meatballs and sauce) with cake and ice cream for dessert for Mom's birthday.

Yesterday was J's 14th birthday.  She was not feeling well - and has actually been somewhat under the weather all week.  She rose to the occasion, however, and managed to enjoy a tiny slice of cake and opening her presents when Mom & Dad came to join us after dinner.

Next week we will be celebrating Thanksgiving, and since JP is on call, we will be staying home and feasting with Mom & Dad.  Hopefully we will be able to meet some old friends for a meal later in the week as well. 

The Monday after Thanksgiving is the first day of Rifle Season in our neck of the woods, and I feel woefully under prepared for hunting anything this year. 

I just received notice that we were approved to hold L's Birthday party at the HS pool on December 10th, which is really just around the corner.

That will be followed by my thyroid surgery, which is scheduled for Dec. 22nd, and will involve an over night Hospital stay.  At that point I will need to be completely ready for Christmas, and L's REAL birthday (Dec. 27th), since it will literally be hours away from my discharge.


In the meantime, we are still having to haul all of the water that we use, as we have not had any progress on our new well yet, although the "PA One Call" folks were out to mark the buried electrical and telephone lines.  I spent 4 hours doing it on Friday, when the weather was a lovely 70* and sunny.

Today it looks like this outside, and we received an estimate for the well (which is higher than my guesstimate that I was HOPING was high, and does not include the actual pump.)  Good news though - he may begin work next week.

It's November 20th, and I'm already stressing about the Holidays.  Sheesh.  I think it's time for a cup of tea!

Wednesday, November 9, 2016


In light of the Presidential election results, I am sticking to the policy: "If you don't have anything nice to say, don't say anything."

Monday, November 7, 2016

Deep Thoughts

"If trees could scream, would we be so cavalier about cutting them down?  We might, if they screamed all the time, for no good reason."  - Jack Handey

The title of my last post reminded me of the "Deep Thoughts by Jack Handey" segment that  used to run on SNL back in the day.  I had to go look up some "Deep Thoughts" and have a good chuckle!

The well driller came out last weekend and has selected a spot to drill for a new well.  Unfortunately, he will not be able to start for another week or two.  In the meantime, I've called the "PA One Call" number, and expect people out to mark the buried electric lines next week.

Three of the four vehicles are now in working order.  I take the van in to the Toyota place this week.  I am pleased to say that I was able to tear out the old glove box and surround, and then install the new one in the Subaru by myself!

Ole Bessie returned from the Ford Service department last Friday, and my dad was able to use her to haul water on Saturday.

We have really been trying to conserve water, and it seems to be working...a full cistern is lasting the 6 of  us almost a week.  In the meantime, we have become proficient at the 3-4 minute shower where the water is turned off while shampooing and soaping.  It's a bit chilly doing that some of these mornings, but luckily the weather has not turned super frigid yet.   We are sticking to the old adage "If it's yellow, let it mellow.  If it's brown, flush it down."  Please don't be offended if you stop by to use our bathroom!  In addition, I have been waiting until I have a really GIANT load of laundry to run the washer, and I try to repurpose dog, cat, rabbit or chicken water for the plants.

Chaz went out for a stroll in the clover this weekend
It is amazing how much we take unlimited running water in our homes for granted.  I know that I will do a little happy dance during each shower once I am able to leave the water running the entire time!

L's final soccer game was on Sunday afternoon.  It will be lovely to be able to observe "Girls' Night" again tomorrow evening.  (JP works late on Tuesdays, so the girls and I usually do something fun, like playing Wii, watching a movie, or going swimming in at the HS pool.)

The weather has been so lovely lately, that she, the dog & I had a great time playing in the leaves yesterday afternoon.  I've also been able to spend more time in the garden in the past 2 weeks than I have in the past 2 months!

The girls have a 4 day weekend coming up, and we are looking forward to it!

It's all sunshine and roses up here on the hill (watered only with rainwater & tears.)

Wednesday, November 2, 2016

Deep Subjects

We are no longer getting any water from our well.  We think that the pump is burned out - probably from trying to run when there is consistently little water to pump.  In any case, we are needing to haul water more frequently than in the past.  I discovered this issue a week ago when the cistern was frighteningly low.  Long story short:  we have a well driller coming this weekend to start the process of digging a new well.

We have also had consistent vehicle issues, which is driving me crazy.  I have spent one or more days every week for the past 4 weeks at one or more auto repair shop.

Ole Bessie:

Key wouldn't turn in ignition & eventually got stuck.  Dad took it apart and suggested ordering new lock cylinder.  When parts arrived from Ford, Dad discovered more bad parts.  Called AAA and towed to Ford Service Department.  This is bad news cuz she's our water haulin' truck!  Due back this weekend.

JP's old Pickup, "Monty":

This one just sits under the lean-to most of the time, but I had to jump it to start it to take it in for state inspection last week.  The guy doing the inspection had to jump it to get it into and then out of the garage.   I returned the battery (just over a year old) to Autozone yesterday, and they read it as still "good", but replaced it anyway as it was still under warranty.  With the new battery, it started right up, and I drove it to Autozone to check the alternator & starter, and they both read as "pass."  Guess this one is fixed for now.  Good thing too, cuz this is now our water haulin' truck with a trailer in tow.

Electra the 2 year old Subaru:

L broke the glove box out of the car last summer while throwing a temper tantrum.  Gorilla glue held for almost 4 months.  Ordered new glove box last week.  Installed yesterday, but still not staying in place.  Took car back to Subaru place today, where it took 2 specialists to discover that she also broke the part of the dash that the glove box connects to.  Ordered more parts.

Minivan "Rhonda":

JP walked into the house last night holding the handle from one of the sliding doors.  I called Toyota to order new parts.  They suggested that I bring it in to find out if any parts inside the door need to be replaced.  I guess that's my Friday outing.

All this is getting mighty expensive.  Let's hope that the current round of repairs lasts for awhile and that we can get a new well drilled and operational in short order!

Saturday, October 29, 2016


Just a quick picture of my potato harvest:

Friday, October 28, 2016


It is definitely Fall in our neck of the woods.  Last week, our route into town looked like this:

Last weekend, we got 3 more inches of rain, which emptied many of the trees of their leaves, and leaving it not quite so pretty.  The evenings have been cool, however, and we've had some overnight frost in the low lying areas a couple of times.

Consequently, I have been working hard in the garden, trying to get everything harvested and weeded before winter sets in.  It is coming along fairly well.  All of the tomatoes are pulled, so I am FINALLY done with the weekly canning/cooking of tomatoes!  Same with the peppers, although I still have a bag full in the fridge, waiting to be chopped and frozen - I already have about 3 gallons frozen...should never have to buy another pepper for cooking!  Half of the cornstalks are pulled as well.  I dug the carrots, and they were fairly nice this year...there are still a few beets to dig.  Most of the basil has been harvested, and I plan to make Thai Basil Chicken for dinner tonight.

Unfortunately, October is the month when 2 of the vehicles need to go for inspection, so I have spent a lot of time at the Auto Repair Shop over the past 2 weeks.  JP's old truck, which mostly just sits around these days, has had issues with the battery draining over the past year.  Last year we bought a new battery, but the thing died again.  This time it cut out on me in the driveway (luckily I was on the way home.)  I also had to take Ole Bessie in a few weeks ago, as it died while Dad was hauling water - had a cracked fuel line.

On Tuesday, I happened to check the cistern on the way back from the garden.  It was distressingly low, especially given that Dad had just hauled 6 loads (1200 gallons) 5 days earlier.  I cleaned up slightly, and jumped in Ole Bessie to go haul some more, and the ignition was locked - key wouldn't turn at all.  Unfortunately our Fix-It-Man (Dad) was out of town for a couple of days, so we had to break down and get a truck of water delivered...much more expensive. 

JP messed with it a bit that evening, and ended up with the key stuck in the ignition!  Dad was able to remove the key lock cylinder (with the key still stuck inside) yesterday, and it is my job today to take it back to the Ford dealership to try to get a new one ordered.  Yesterday I was at the Subaru dealership to order a new glovebox, which L destroyed back in the summer when she was having a temper tantrum in the car all the way to the next town.  I Gorilla glued it, and it limped through the past 4 months, but now it is done for.

So...sigh...there is still the question of whether our well is also done for, and the water hauling truck is still out of service.  I am getting a bit weary of all of these extra worries and expenses.

Luckily we had some fun stuff going on that lifted our spirits!  As relative "newbies" in town (we've been here over 13 years now), we are still trying to wrap our minds around the strange custom of holding Trick-or-Treat festivities on the Thursday BEFORE Halloween.  It makes no earthly sense!  In any case, that happened yesterday.

J was informed last year that she would be too old to go this year.  Instead, she and a friend took her friend's little sister around.  The 2 of them dressed as "Spice Girls."

J had this spice bottle pinned to her shirt.  She was
 "Cayenne", and her friend was "Curry."
L walked around with some friends in town.  She was Hermione this year, and one of our friends was Harry Potter.

She and I made our Jack-O-Lanterns last night.  Alas, J was too busy with Geometry homework, so perhaps she will do hers tonight.  We used the volunteer pumpkins from the chicken yard.  Mine had a hole in the top from insects of some sort.  JP suggested that I use it as a bullet hole, so mine ended up as a sad, deceased JOL.  L's has a deathly hallows symbol (more Harry Potter stuff) amid many flourishes.

I hope you all enjoy your Halloween festivities....when it actually rolls around!