Category Archives: CHANGES

Cattle Working Pens

Hubby and I spent most of February tearing out our old loading pen.  It was well over 50 years old and was worn out.  Instead of repairing like we normally do we decided to start over with this section of the pen.  The far end with the working head chutes and calf pens are on the opposite end and were redone three years ago.

This is the working part of the pen we completed three years ago.

This is the working part of the pen we completed three years ago.

Head chute for medical and castrating.  We consider this one of the best investments we've made in regards to working our cattle.  Hubby is less likely to get hurt, less stress on the calves and our daughter is learning to use it too!

Head chute for medical and castrating. We consider this one of the best investments we’ve made in regards to working our cattle. Hubby is less likely to get hurt, less stress on the calves and our daughter is learning to use it too!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The boards have been torn off the posts and cut up for kitchen woodstove firewood.  We recycle as much as possible.  The old posts will be cut up for the big woodstove.

The boards have been torn off the posts and cut up for kitchen woodstove firewood. We recycle as much as possible. The old posts will be cut up for the big woodstove.

We’ve rehung some gates, tightened up some posts, and put in some posts.  Now, we wait for our lumber to arrive which has been an unexpected delay.  Most of the private lumber mills in the area will only cut for commercial folks.  Here’s some pictures of the work we’ve done so far and I’ll post more as we get the work completed!  I’ve definitely used muscles that have been lazy for some time!!!dscn9079

Fence posts dug, posts placed, quikrete poured and hardened.

Fence posts dug, posts placed, Qickrete poured and hardened.

Heavy equipment used to set some gate posts that we didn't replace.

Heavy equipment used to set some gate posts that we didn’t replace.

Rotted off gate posts at scale house.

Rotted off gate posts at scale house.

Area of most work yet to be done.

Area of most work yet to be done.

Some of the existing gates that we will use again.

Some of the existing gates that we will use again.

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We rehung these gates after we replaced the posts.

We rehung these gates after we replaced the posts.

Generator used to drill the hinge holes in the posts.

Generator used to drill the hinge holes in the posts.

Kubota tractor we used to drill the holes for the posts.

Kubota tractor we used to drill the holes for the posts.

We used our milkcans to haul water for the Quikrete

We used our milkcans to haul water for the Quikrete

The Massey Ferguson was used to haul in the new fence posts and hauling the pallet of Quikrete.

The Massey Ferguson was used to haul in the new fence posts and hauling the pallet of Quikrete.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

NOW WE WAIT!!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Graduation 2016

Our beautiful granddaughter has grown up and graduated from high school!  We’re all so very, very proud of her and know she can accomplish anything she sets her mind too when she wants to.  I want to share our evening watching her walk down the aisle and get that diploma.

Scholarship awarded

Scholarship awarded

Diploma from high school principal.

Diploma from high school principal.

Parents, Victoria, and maternal grandparents.

Parents, Victoria, and maternal grandparents.

She's holding it together pretty good!

She’s holding it together pretty good!

Victoria and her two best friends, Rachel and Amber.

Victoria and her two best friends, Rachel and Amber.

I leave my granddaughter with this quote from Steve Jobs:

“Your time is limited, so don’t waste it living someone else’s life. Don’t let the noise of others’ opinions drown out your own inner voice. And most important, have the courage to follow your heart and intuition.” – Steve Jobs

Victoria Elizabeth, we love you and are very proud of you!  Nana

Smokehouse cleanout

Smokehouse

Smokehouse

This building has been on my bucket list for cleanout for the last three years.  It is so full of junk, metal, useless tools, boxes, jugs of all shapes and sizes, feed sacks and more junk.  We hauled off to the landfill a 8 ft pickup truck load to the landfill.  The old chest freezer sitting in front of the building is at least seven feet long and four feet deep.  We filled it completely up with scrap metal mainly consisting of rusted nails, bolts and things of that sort. We also got a huge wooden box full of brass.  All of the metal will be taken to a recycling center.

Freezer full of scrap metal.

Freezer full of scrap metal.

The building was so full we just had a path to get through from one end of the building to the other and it’s a really long building.  It has sections in that were built to hold feed on one side and a corn crib and small smoke room on the other.  There’s one small room in the building that Eddie will convert to a reloading room that he can lock up.  It took an entire day to clean out the junk and the section that were initially for feed now hold all types and sizes of lumber that has been cut on the farm and seasoned.  The rafters are full of 12 – 18 inch wide boards.  I would have loved to have seen the trees that lumber came from.  The rafters also hold a major abundance of bee supers and hives.

It looks so good now and have plenty of room to use for working up our deer meat.

Wide open space in the smokehouse.

Wide open space in the smokehouse.

We can get to our freezers more readily now.

Two of our three freezers.  One is full of meat and the smaller one  is full of fruit and vegetables.

Two of our three freezers. One is full of meat and the smaller one is full of fruit and vegetables.

I stacked enough deer antlers that amounted to a four foot high stack.  Now, I need to find a way to repurpose them.  You can see the antlers on the left corner at the back of the room.

Antlers stacked beside to feed barrels and an old wood stove.

Antlers stacked beside to feed barrels and an old wood stove.

Front to back cleanup!

Front to back cleanup!

AND, Roscoe is now living in the rafters of the smokehouse.  He watched the entire cleanup and came down to check things out near the end of the cleanout.  His bedbox is in the corncrib and that’s where we keep his feed and water.

He is so much fun to watch.

He is so much fun to watch.

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Roscoe's old bed in his new house in the grainery attached to the smokehouse.

Roscoe’s old bed in his new house in the grainery attached to the smokehouse.

Season changes and colder weather

The porch is covered with dried firewood.

The porch is covered with dried firewood.

The yard is covered with leaves.

The yard is covered with leaves.

The perennials are black, wilted and almost gone.

The perennials are black, wilted and almost gone.

The trees are getting bare.

The trees are getting bare.

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                Fall colors on the farm before the first freeze.

Fall colors are red one minute.

Fall colors are red and golden one day.

Apple trees are bare with a few red apples left hanging.

Apple trees are leaf bare with a few red apples left hanging.

The flower beds are empty.

The flower beds are empty.

The trumpet vine covering the gazebo is no longer green.

The trumpet vine covering the gazebo is no longer green.

Little mountain is brown instead of red and golden.

Little mountain is brown instead of red and golden.

I love early fall but after the first freeze everything changes.  We’re actually shocked that the pasture and hayfields are still as green as they are and the yard.  Old man winter is touching us in many way but thankfully not as hard as last year when it started bitterly cold in late October and didn’t let up.

Bundle up and get out and walk in the woods while you still can!!

Grape arbors

We have four arbors on the farm.

Definition of ARBOR: a shelter of vines or branches or of latticework covered with climbing shrubs or vines.

We don’t exactly have the latticework but have “different” styles that our grape vines grow on.

Last fall and early spring, hubby finished building a new arbor that gets sun all day and we have five different grapes growing on it. They are a red grape, white grape, and three Concords.

New grape arbor wtih five new vines started and three varieties.

New grape arbor wtih five new vines started and three varieties.

I was told to pack old hay under the arbor to kill the orchard grass. That DID NOT work!

I was told to pack old hay under the arbor to kill the orchard grass. That DID NOT work!

The other arbors all hold the same grape but we’re not sure what kind they are. They’ve been on the farm for years and still produce gobs of grapes that are about the size of a normal marble and sooooooo sweet! They make wonderful grape juice, jelly and wine.

Grapevine on back of woodshed

This vine is an old white grape and they’re so sweet. I plan to start some young vines from it. It runs from the backyard and around the wood house.

Grape vine in back yard.  I started this one after the old one finally died.

Grape vine in back yard. I started this one after the old one finally died.  It’s on the end of the trellis toward the house.

Old Grapevine on west side of house

Old Grapevine on west side of house, this vine trails up into a paw-paw tree.

We have two more on the farm that include one at the sugar house and another on the back porch of the mansion.  This one was the only one that had a lot of grapes on it this year but they rotted from all the rain we had during the summer.  Hopefully, next summer will be better since I’ve had so much to can this year anyway.  I’ll get them all trimmed this winter after the sap goes back in the ground and we’ll get bigger and better in 2016!  I’ll try some new mulching methods this winter and next spring and hope the varmints don’t eat the tender bark on the new ones.  There’s not going to be a lot for rabbits, coons and deer to eat this winter and they take whatever they can find.

Walking through a wildflower garden

Fall is here and so are the fall wildflowers.  Here’s a few I took photos of just along the driveway from the house to the mailbox.

Wild touch-me-nots, blue mini daisies and more.

Wild touch-me-nots, blue mini daisies and more.

I love these but don't know what they're called and they remind me of liatris, I think??

I love these but don’t know what they’re called and they remind me of liatris, I think??

They're not bluebells but the bloom is somewhat shaped like them.

They’re not bluebells but the bloom is somewhat shaped like them.

Shaped much like blackeyed susans but different.

Shaped much like black-eyed susan but different.

Goldenrod, gorgeous but sure does mess with my nose.

Goldenrod, gorgeous but sure does mess with my nose.

These aren't as blue as they normally are and our neighbor has a field full of them.  When the sun hits the field in mid-afternoon the entire field looks blue.

These aren’t as blue as they normally are and our neighbor has a field full of them. When the sun hits the field in mid-afternoon the entire field looks blue.

Chicory is popping up everywhere.

Chicory is popping up everywhere.

These little orange jewels bloom and then have a pod that when touched pops open.  The driveway is full of the huge plants this summer/fall.

These little orange jewels bloom and then have a pod that when touched pops open. The driveway is full of the huge plants this summer/fall.

Tons and tons of bloom and full of teeny tiny  bumblebees.

Tons and tons of bloom and full of teeny tiny bumblebees.

Queen Anne's lace is huge this year and maybe due to all the rain we received spring and summer.

Queen Anne’s lace is huge this year and maybe due to all the rain we received spring and summer.

Goldenrod at it's most beautiful.

Goldenrod at it’s most beautiful.

I don't know what this is but most of it is white with yellow centers like a daisy but much smaller and abundance of bloom.  I've also found the same plant but blue with orange centers.

I don’t know what this is but most of it is white with yellow centers like a daisy but much smaller and abundance of bloom. I’ve also found the same plant but blue with orange centers.

Once the weather cools a little and I can get out in the sun there will be an abundance of wildflower and nature photo ops.

Enjoy the summer as long as you can because that cold weather is just around the corner.  How do I know??  My hummingbirds have left!  😦

Bath Re-do

Our home was built-in the early 1800’s and is part of the 200-year-old family farm we live on.

Our home 2015

Our home 2015

I have a very small bathroom and it’s the only bathroom in the house. We don’t have a bathtub and our shower is an antique surround of metal which is in bad need of repair. I would like to buy a new shower but the old one sets up on a concrete foundation and is embedded with concrete. Until we become rich (NOT) we’ll make do with what we have.

You have to remember that our house has been in the family for at least four generations and the bathroom facility was put in when hubby was a wee one, 65+ years ago, we think!! YES I DO LOVE OLD THINGS! Anyway, here’s what it looked like before I made some minor repairs/touch-ups a couple of months ago:

Exterior of the shower walls is being sanded and reinforced for strength and to keep the water in the shower.

Exterior of the shower walls is being sanded and reinforced for strength and to keep the water in the shower.

Interior lower corner is being reinroced with a cement solution.

Interior lower corner is being reinforced with a cement solution.

Corners of the shower are rusting out really bad and hubby found a cement solution to reinforce the metal framing and it's waterproof.

Corners of the shower are rusting out really bad and hubby found a cement solution to reinforce the metal framing and it’s waterproof.

Flooring is gray tile and very outdated.

Flooring is gray tile and very outdated.

Tools needed to sand and rebuild the metal shower.

Tools needed to sand and rebuild the metal shower.

Soap dish molded to the shower wall is rusting and will take detail sanding to repair and paint.

Soap dish molded to the shower wall is rusting and will take detail sanding to repair and paint.

Shelving unit I put in right after we moved in is now rusting and needs to be replaced.

Shelving unit I put in right after we moved in is now rusting and needs to be replaced.

It took two weeks and the changes are not major but it’s much nicer taking a shower in what is new to me.

Clean, white, no rust.

Clean, white, no rust.

New tile, fresh and clean.

New tile, fresh and clean.

New shower caddy and curtain.

New shower caddy and curtain.

Made new curtains and changed some decor.

Made new curtains and changed some decor.

This was a pretty good start to my retirement and now on to bigger challenges.

 

Had enough. . . time to retire

I’ve been working at Virginia Tech since April 2011 and last July moved to a different department on campus. I loved the job, especially loved the students and worked hard for my department.
I will be 62 in December and my workload and the stress have been getting worse over the last couple months. By the end of most days I would have a headache that seemed to build until I started home.  And no matter what anyone says, you can’t leave at the office.  I would dream about my job and work issues.

I used to love my job but on Tuesday of last week I decided I just can’t take this anymore!  It’s just not worth it!!  I worked all day and when I prepared to leave for the day, I decided then it would be my last day.  I packed up my personal belongings, locked up the files and left my office and file keys in the desk with no intention of coming back.
I came home and talked to Eddie about my decision and he’s behind 100% and was surprised I stayed as long as I did. I feel like the weight of the world has been lifted off my shoulders!!
I drafted a resignation letter that night and attached it to an email to my supervisor and department head of the center where I worked. I copied my children and best friends on the note!!
I slept better that night than I had for several months and consider myself one of the luckiest women in the world.
I will have to find some odd jobs to help pay for the “dreaded” health insurance because ours will run out on the 31st of July and we can’t be without health insurance living on a farm.
The odd jobs I’m looking for will be light housekeeping (including washing windows, I love doing that) and home/office organization jobs. Organization seems to be my forte and I did housecleaning when my kids were growing up for extra cash.

WISH ME LUCK!!!!

Patience

Definition:  the capacity to accept or tolerate delay, trouble, or suffering without getting angry or upset; the state of endurance under difficult circumstances, which can mean persevering in the face of delay or provocation without acting on annoyance/anger in a negative way; or exhibiting forbearance when under strain, especially when faced with longer-term difficulties. Patience is the level of endurance one can take before negativity. It is also used to refer to the character trait of being steadfast.

 

 

 

 

 

 

In the Epistle of James, the Bible urges Christians to be patient, and ” see how the farmer waits for the precious fruit of the earth,…until it receives the early and the late rains.” (James 5:7-11, NAB).

I’m patiently waiting for spring and the first sign of spring on our farm is this little bird.

One problem, I don’t have the patience I used to have!!

Good intentions and New Year revelations (not resolutions)

For all my friends, whether close or casual, just because. One of the shortest posts I will ever do.. and the most real, too. Everyone will go through some hard times at some point. Life isn’t easy. Just something to think about…did you know that people who are the strongest are usually the most sensitive?

Did you know the people who exhibit the most kindness are the first to get mistreated?

Did you know the ones who take care of others all the time are usually the ones who …need it the most? Did you know the three hardest things to say are I love you, I’m sorry, and Help me?

Sometimes just because a person looks happy, you have to look past their smile and see how much pain they may be in. To all my friends who are going through some issues now,  I may not always email, call or write to you but I am thinking about you and praying for you. 

The revelation of all of the wonderful family and friends that I have, came to realization this past year and I want to make a concerted effort to reach out to all of you in a letter or card in the coming months.  I gave up Facebook because of all the whining, politics and “just bad news” posted on there.  I want to get back to that one on one friendship that everyone needs.  SO, be on the look out for the card or note that lets you know that I am thinking about you!!

Weight loss update

On the 25th of March I posted about starting over on my weight loss goals. It’s working!! I’ve started keeping my food journal again and though I may not walk everyday, I am walking at least twice a week during my breaks at work and working in the yard or with the animals on the weekends. I went back for a weigh-in on the 9th of April and had lost two + pounds. I’m meeting with my weight coach every two weeks again.  The two new pair of pants that I had bought were size 14 and were starting to feel too tight to wear again.

Gloria Vanderbilt jeans in a size 14.

Gloria Vanderbilt jeans in a size 14.

The size 16’s were feeling very good but knew that wasn’t how I wanted to deal with this and I’m working really hard to get back on track with this weight issue.

My weight coach is wonderful and so encouraging. When I was dealing with my younger brothers health issues the anxiety was unreal and I didn’t want to burden my family with what I was feeling so I ate and didn’t exercise at all.  I guess one excuse is as good as any!!

I also have three friends at work that listen to my troubles, walk with me, and encourage me to keep working at it. Carol, Gwen and Kathryn make me laugh and feel good about myself. You guys are my weekday lifeline and I love all three of you!

My best friend that lives on the eastern shore it my other lifeline. We talk, cry, scream and do all the things that best friends do together, even at a distance, to get through the “bumps” in our lives. I love you Margaret!!

I went back to my weight coach Wednesday and have lost four more pounds in the last two weeks.  I was so excited!

I just wish the weather was more comfortable to walk in.  The wind wreaks havoc on my sinuses and I’ve gone all winter (KNOCK ON WOOD) without getting sick and don’t want to push my luck.  I will continue to take short walks a couple of times a day while taking breaks at work and definitely walk or work at the farm to get the exercise I need to lose more and replace the fat with muscle!

Hubby told me last night he could tell a difference and I know I feel better.  I really think the exercise, the food journal I keep and the not eating after 7:00 p.m. is the results of the weight loss.  My goal for the next 8 weeks is to lose 10 more pounds and I’ll be the happiest girl in the world.

Keep me in your prayers!!

Family room is complete

Not a lot of words. Just a few pics of the final results of the my family room remake. The first pictures are of the bedroom it used to be. I had so much fun cleaning and re-decorating it. I love to sit in here and read or watch chick flicks in the quiet.

First, as a bedroom:

This room is right off the kitchen with a large closet on the left that will store our winter coats and outer apparel of our guests.

This room is right off the kitchen with a large closet on the left that will store our winter coats and outer apparel of our guests.

Exterior door that's not used much in the winter but open a lot in warm weather.

Exterior door that’s not used much in the winter but open a lot in warm weather.

It's a long narrow room with lots of light.

It’s a long narrow room with lots of light.

 

Now the makeover into a family room:

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Chairs reupholstered by me and my best friend.

Chairs re-upholstered by me and my best friend.

Peaches, parakeet, lives in family room.

Peaches, parakeet, lives in family room.

Comfortable recliner

Comfortable recliner

Entertainment center

Entertainment center

books and antiques

books and antiques

The family

The family

Eddie and I

Eddie and I

The kids then and now

The kids then and now

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I think it’s a wonderful place to relax, watch movies, read a book, or just chill!!

 

My New Family Room

Now that the addition on the house is no longer a bedroom but a family room I’m working on creating a cozy family room.  It’s not a large space but it allows us to entertain in a cooler environment away from the wood stove in the main living area.    I want to keep it warm, friendly, country and “my style” and will turn the main living area into a man-cave type decor so that all of hubby’s friends that visit can sit around comfortably and admire his trophies and talk of old times.  The man really is a hunter first and farmer second.   The man-cave reveal will be in another post and today I’ll show what I have to work with and what I have completed so far.

It's a long narrow room with lots of light.

It’s a long narrow room with lots of light.

Exterior door that's not used much in the winter but open a lot in warm weather.

Exterior door that’s not used much in the winter but open a lot in warm weather.

This room is right off the kitchen with a large closet on the left that will store our winter coats and outer apparel of our guests.

This room is right off the kitchen with a large closet on the left that will store our winter coats and outer apparel of our guests.

There are two small windows on the south wall that let in lots of light.

There are two small windows on the south wall that let in lots of light.

Most all of that furniture has been removed and I’ve done the following arrangements for now.  I want to add lots of seating that’s easily arranged so that when little brother comes for weekend visits I can bring out a fold away bed or futon.

Clean walk through to kitchen.

Clean walk through to kitchen.

Entertainment center with lots of shelving and little nooks.

Entertainment center with lots of shelving and little nooks.

Seating for three so far.

Seating for three so far.

Shelving for our huge assortment of DVD's.

Shelving for our huge assortment of DVD’s.

Simple and warm but wait until I add my country touch to everything.

Simple and warm but wait until I add my country touch to everything.DSCN4697

View into room from kitchen.
View into room from kitchen.

 

Some rugs and wall decor makes a world of difference.  I want to add a futon or small sleep sofa and some hassocks because when the whole family is here, we need the seating.  Not too bad for  a country girl using hand me downs and years of family treasures!