Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Christmas joy is nine feet tall

We are officially in the new house, though most everything is still in boxes and a lot is still at the old house. I can't find my toothpaste, and have been using the awful stuff that LJ prefers. It's exceptionally foul, and tastes like baaad cough syrup... bad cough syrup that BURNS! It also destroys my taste buds, and makes it impossible to enjoy coffee for an hour or so after brushing. Blasphemy, I know. Must find or buy toothpaste, but the stores are so scary this week. I may have to hit a gas station for a travel size to get me through the holiday.

We did get out to buy a Christmas tree this last weekend, and are taking full advantage of the vaulted ceilings. We brought home a nine foot tree. For me, accustomed to 6', the extra 3 is insane and fabulous! I actually had to use a ladder to decorate it. I don't know why, but that just makes me smile. I walked around with perma-grin all weekend. I love that the house smells like Christmas tree and wood smoke. Reminds me of going to my aunt's for Christmas when I was a kid, which gets me thinking of the pogo ball I got one year. Pogo balls were awesome if you had blacktop or concrete to use them on. We had dirt and rocks. Required a lot more coordination.

I love the holiday season! I like giving people presents. I like the get togethers, the food, the smells, and the music. Other than the crappy traffic and overcrowded parking lots, it is my absolute favorite holiday. I've stocked up on enough peppermint roca to get me through summer, and enough peppermint stick ice cream to get me through February, I think.

The one thing that bums me out a bit is that I didn't get the chance to make any presents this year. We just haven't had the time. Last year I needle felted two ornaments for LJ's mom, replicas of her two jack russells. They were fun to make, though my fingers were tattooed with needle pricks for weeks. I'll post a couple pics of the finished product if I get a chance to get on a real computer someday soon. They were a lot of fun to make, and not too difficult. I just bought the needles and wool and winged it. I may need to make Easter presents next year to make up for the simply purchased presents this year. More likely, I'll forget and just try to do better next Christmas.

Monday, December 13, 2010

How I love this dog

Truthfully the best dog I've ever had!  Henry was a rescue, found abandoned at about 7-8 weeks old.  We added him to the family just a couple days afterward.  Best we can figure, he's an American Pit Bull Terrier / Pointer mix.  He is truly a blessing.  The most cuddly pup I've ever had, he loves attention and is actually more attention driven than food driven.  He needs to be right next to you, if not on top of you (or under your chin, or in your lap, or behind your head).  At the same time, he can entertain himself for hours outside, or in his crate with a couple boxes to shred. Our dogs sleep in our bed, and provide lots of warmth during the colder months!  (Which is good, as our woodstove is sooo not going to heat the bedroom)

Currently, Henry is on my legs, putting them to sleep, and snoring to beat all.  LOVE this dog!  We're so lucky to have him!

We love him begging...

We love him during summer sprinkler funtime...


We love him doing the kung fu frisbee splits...


We love him watching for squirrels...


And we love him posing...


We got a good start on teaching him to flush grouse this last fall (he's a natural... go figure).  Can't wait until next year!

We have heat!

Woohoo! No more electric heat! With the help of a couple strong friends, we managed to get the woodstove installed on our partially finished hearth. It took three of us and a furniture dolly, but it is in. Finally. The first fire was a bit smoky, and completely blacked the door glass on the stove, but we soon got the hang of it. I learned that we don't have a single cleaning product in the house that will remove that black. I also learned that a damp paper towel dipped in ashes takes it off in no time flat. Go figure. The stove is incredibly efficient. I only used a few small pieces of wood this weekend, and it kept the house at 70+ degrees. A little too warm for me, but impressive. Extra bonus, it keeps a teapot just under the whistle. Perfect.

I got a lot of stuff moved this weekend. With the woodstove finally installed, we can now move in. We finished dividing the dog kennel into Henry and Cammi sides. At about 11am yesterday, as LJ was heading off to work, the power went out. Again. It ended up being the fault of the same stupid people as last time. The property at the head of the road is owned by, we think, developers. They've started logging the overgrown mess, and are doing a nasty job of it. The wahoos doing the work dropped a tree on a line a month ago. This time, one of the dead trees they've left standing, now unsupported by the living trees they've logged, came down on the line during a brief wind. This is all in addition to the blackberry vines snaking across the road from their property. I wish I could report their idiocy to someone, but don't know who I could tattle to.

I hauled gravel to driveway low spots for a while, and did what I could in the house without power. By 3 we still had no lights, so I gave up and drove to the old house to get another load of stuff. I got back out at about 5, and was happy to see a power truck. The guys were very nice, and they even moved their truck so I could get to the property. I got inside, got out my oil lamps, and did what I could in the dim light. The power finally came on about 30 min later. Idiot that I am, I put the lamps away and went in the library to get more unpacking done. Of course, lights went out again. You wouldn't believe how dark it is out there. Completely black, without the slightest hint of doorways or walls. I stumbled/ crawled over boxes and cases of flooring, and finally made it to the kitchen where I groped for a lighter and got the lamps out again. Note to self... We need a generator, and a flashlight in every room. At least I had heat!

Friday, December 10, 2010

We'll see how it goes...

Where to begin? I had the bright idea of starting a blog to keep track of the progress on our new place. Unfortunately, I've been too busy to do anything on it yet! We're in the process of moving from 1/3 acre in town to 40 some-odd acres (of blackberries, scotch broom, and other brush) well outside of town. Some friends think that's awesome, and others want to know why we'd want to do something like that. Why? Many reasons. We are both country kids who like our privacy. We love the idea of not having a direct line of sight to our neighbor. We want to raise our own meat and have fruit trees and a big garden. Why quite so much property? Can you say "land owner preference hunting tags"?  I'm looking forward to clearing some game food plots for next fall.  Oh yeah!

We've been struggling for 3 months to make the place livable. We've installed all new flooring, built a hearth for our new woodstove, painted all the walls and ceilings (I stopped counting at 25 gallons), built a huge dog kennel with fully insulated dog house, built a huge woodshed, repaired everything and anything, cleared a ton of brush and dead trees, and so on and so on. The constant back and forth has been wearing on us, but we're hoping to finally move in next week! Cleaning up the place has been an adventure... Everything from finding huge piles of broken glass, dragging the magnet to pick up pounds of nails/screws and other random bits of metal, and general cleaning. I've had a few yuck moments. We are getting there, though.

Here's to hoping I can keep this blog updated. I want to be able to look back and see how far we've come. We'll see how successful I'll be.