Sunday, July 12

It’s actually Monday evening now. There are some Sundays that I find it difficult to sit down and write because Sundays are, unfortunately, quite busy days for me. Yesterday was one of those days. It started out like any other day drinking coffee and admiring the outdoors. Then there was a big ‘ol breakfast to eat. After that I headed upstairs to do a little sewing repair work for the B&B. No sooner did I finish it was time to get ready for church. I dread getting ready for church because from that moment on my day becomes non-stop until I finish some time in the late afternoon or early evening at the B&B coming home exhausted and ready to just sit down and do next to nothing. But, church was a blessing and I came home with much to think about and ponder. Maybe some day I’ll share.

Work was hot and busy. There were lots and lots of sheets to wash, dry and iron as well as washing, drying and folding towels. It’s truly a good thing though cuz that means that business is good at the B&B. After supper I wanted to write but I just didn’t have it in me to get started. We sat on the front porch and enjoyed the coolish air instead.

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After church CountryBoy drove the side-by-side to one of our neighbors nearby to inquire about mowing their yard for them. They are egg customers and she had shared with us some of the things they are dealing with right now and being able to keep up with the mowing was a great concern for them. We told her to let us know if we could do any mowing for them but if there is one thing I’ve learned in my fifty plus years is that even though CountryBoy and I do not flippantly make that offer most people will not call or they think that you don’t mean it so he just went over. Their backyard had been mowed so he’ll go over tomorrow and do the front yard.

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This evening I walked around and checked the pond and my flower garden. We have our first inhabitant of the pond (besides a gazillion tadpoles and frogs!)…

a turtle! I think it’s a snapping turtle. It amazes me how wildlife just shows up.

Speaking of the pond, the feller stopped by for some eggs and said he’d be back in a coupla days to drain the pond and make it right. Guess the turtle and frogs will have to relocate for a bit.

My flower garden has more weeds than flowers right now but I did discover that some of the first seeds I had sown in it months ago have now come up. Part of the reason there are so many weeds in the garden is because I refuse to pull them until I know what type of weed or plant they are. I’m so glad now that I waited because I have a beautiful zinnia getting ready to bloom…

It’s so exciting! I’ve looked around and I believe a few more of the original seeds are coming up as well. woot! But, I do need to take care of the actual weeds and grass that is trying to take over so I finally chose and ordered a hoe with a V-shape double serrated edge that allows you to get in close to the plant. I’ll let you know how well it works once it comes in.

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As the evening progressed the storm clouds rolled in…

We got a nice, albeit short, rain – enough to water the gardens so that was good.

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Farm news: 30 eggs

CountryBoy picked a mess ‘o green beans – enough to fill a gallon bag. He blanched them then stuck them in the freezer. He’ll keep doing that until we have enough to can a batch of ’em. We’re pleased with how the green beans are producing and the cowpeas are promising. On the must-do list and SOON is pick, pickle and can the larger beets.

Monday, July 13

The weather the past few days has been truly wonderful! We have been able to have the windows open during the day and enjoy the front porch in the mornings and evening. It is short-lived though as the forecast is calling for temps in the low to mid nineties for the next ten days. Let’s hope there’s some rain here and there to water the gardens and cool things off a bit.

My drive to and from work is simply gorgeous this time of year. The mountains are lush and green. Many mornings the mountains are covered in fog and it captivates me as I navigate the windy roads. And on the drive home the smell of freshly cut fields is intoxicating. Someone needs to figure out how to distill and bottle it so I can put it in my diffuser. Wouldn’t it be lovely to inhale the sweet smell during the dead of winter? I am fortunate to live in one of the most beautiful of places but there really is something beautiful no matter where one lives, don’t ya’ think? I believe now more than ever we need to look for any and all things beautiful in life.

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The morning was slow at work. I quickly caught up on all the emails and finished up my Classified pages. I filled some time putting labels on envelopes and then read a little bit about the history of our county. Wow! It was a happening place even shortly after it was founded back in 1808. My how things have changed. I would love nothing more than to see the empty store fronts open for business, the historic hotels up and running, the infamous Estill Springs Lodge rebuilt or something similar that would be a destination spot for tourists, and the list goes on. If I had money the things I would love to do for our town. Anyhow, the afternoon picked up once the pages were figured. I placed the ads for both papers and got started on layout for the local paper. I ended up working a full day.

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CountryBoy went to the neighbor’s as I was leaving for work to finish up the mowing for them. They have several people from their church who have offered to mow as well so between all of them they should be covered during the busy mowing months. That’s what being neighborly is all about. It’s one of the things I’m pondering – should we (in general) be so busy that we don’t have time to help someone in need? I don’t think so. I often think of life in the olden days where people were busier than ever, often working from sunup to sundown because they did not have the conveniences we have today and yet they had, or maybe they made the time to help their neighbor. Today we can push a button to make coffee or turn a knob to roast our store-bought chicken or push some buttons to do the laundry and yet we are busier than ever with no time left on our hands. It’s one of those things that boggles my mind.

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My lavender has bloomed again…

I need to read up on how to harvest and store it. I like to add lavender to a nice cuppa hot tea.

My zinnia is making progress…

As I was meandering around taking photos I noticed some potatoes above ground in the garden so I harvested a few of them while waiting for our supper to heat up…

CountryBoy picked some more green beans for tomorrow’s supper and I picked a few more sugar snaps and pulled up the spent plants.

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CountryBoy’s tool belt and battery are still on the barn roof. We finally have someone coming to check out the much-needed patch job on the barn roof tomorrow afternoon. Let’s hope he’s willing to do it and for a reasonable price.

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Farm news: 26 eggs

Tuesday, July 14

It’s been a fairly smooth day. I left for work a little early so that I could swing by Save-a-Lot to pick up the bologna that did not make it home with me yesterday. It was the one thing I had stopped for but I came home with a bunch of other stuff but not the bologna. I even glanced at the bag carousel and it looked as if I had everything. Nope. I carried everything in one trip from the truck to the house and plopped it on the counter. As I started unpacking everything the bologna had disappeared. I called the store asking about the missing bologna. The girl that answered said she would check with the cashier and that I could come back for it. Well, that ain’t happenin’ as we are thirty minutes from anywhere as my brother likes to say! I’m thinking the person that was in line after me got a surprise when they got home and unpacked their groceries. Anyhow, she told me to bring my receipt in the morning and I could get the bologna. You’d better believe I’m going to check more thoroughly from now on.

It was a nice short day again with no problems getting the pages laid out and sent to the printer. Thank goodness. Each of us practically holds our breath every Tuesday as we’re working on the pages and crossing our fingers and toes that the server does not crash before we’ve finished. We all fear it’s just a matter of time.

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The guy that was supposed to check out the barn roof this afternoon never showed. I’m tellin’ ya, I’m getting sick and tired of that stupid barn roof.

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Farm news: 25 eggs

Wednesday, July 15

It was a short night. Our guests arrived much later than originally anticipated due to circumstances beyond their control. It happens. But once they were settled in the cabin we called it a day several hours past our usual bedtime. It’s been a long time since I’ve woken up tired. I surely needed those mugs o’ coffee to ward of the sleepiness.

I went to work but there weren’t very many sheets to iron or to wash so after a good breakfast shared with my boss & coworkers I tackled the sheets and was outta there in two and a half hours. I made it home just in time to bid the guests farewell. That is, after they met the one and only Miss Mabel! Mabel was sleepy and didn’t bother to get up and greet her guests but she did talk to them thanking them for rubbing her belly. She’s simply too much!

Being home so early I was able to help clean the cabin for today’s guests. It goes so fast when we’re both working on it. I typically concentrate on the inside and CountryBoy takes care of the outside stuff. It was hot today so he even hauled some water up while I was finishing up inside. Team work makes the dream work.

Speaking of guests, today’s checked in mid-afternoon so we seized the opportunity to make a run to Rural King. We’ve been out of cracked corn for two days. CountryBoy has been slinging their feed into the paddock in the mornings but I’m sure he wouldn’t be able to get away with that very long before they would have it all figured out that they weren’t getting any cracked corn. They love that stuff! I suggested changing it up a bit so we got them some scratch this time which is also a treat they really enjoy.

As we were getting ready to head out the door to Rural King the feller working on our pond came by to drain it…

The frogs and turtle are going to wonder what in the world happened.

The water is gushing out and it’s nice, clean water. That’s good to know for when the pond is actually finished and we want to jump in. I can’t wait!

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Still no one has come by to patch or even look at the barn roof. sigh.

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The hoe I ordered did not come in today as expected. Maybe tomorrow.

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After five years of water bath canning I finally purchased a proper canner. Rural King had this nice big stainless one for $39.99…

We’ve been using a stock pot which has worked great but we’re limited to pint jars only and seven pints at that. We’ll be able to do more pints and even quart jars now. Yay! Just in time too, as canning season is upon us.

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Farm news: 27 eggs

Thursday, July 16

We were in bed last night before 9:30. However, I did not fall asleep until after 11 o’clock. Our neighbor had his field cut for hay and they came back yesterday evening to start baling it. They continued to bale until almost eleven o’clock working by the tractor lights. As the headlights would flash through the windows each time they turned towards our bedroom I was more concerned with the noise bothering the guests and it kept me up. Once they were finished and gone I quickly fell asleep. I slept good and woke up feeling better and more refreshed than the previous morning.

Speaking of sleeping and waking up, tonight’s guests are not going to arrive until after 12:30 a.m. Is that OK? they ask. No. No it’s not OK. Thankfully, they’ve both driven a side-by-side and I gave them a brief rundown of what we usually go over with our guests regarding the cabin and its amenities via email. I also asked them to please read the cabin guidebook which is full of how-to’s for the off-grid nature of the cabin. If this was a typical on-the-grid rental we wouldn’t be concerned but there are a lot of items in and around the cabin that people may be unfamiliar with so we like to talk to them and feel them out to determine if they will be OK up there or if we need to be available to answer any questions or possibly assist in any way. Thankfully it worked out this time.

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When I left for work the remainder of the water was being drained and the feller was on the dozer…

I came home to the finished pond…

It’s nothing like we had envisioned but where we wanted to make the curve and round out the end the feller hit shale.

Apparently it’s not good to have shale in a pond as it tends to seep out. That’s OK. Sometimes nature dictates the final results and it will be just fine. At least the bottom is no longer lopsided! A couple weeping willows, a bench, a dock and the grass grown back and it will be beautiful. And we will finally have our very own pond!

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I have come to realize that I am very much a project-minded person. I thrive on having a project to plan and work on and see it come to fruition. As soon as a project is done I’m ready for another one. If there is not another one in the works or in the foreseeable future I get antsy. On my days off I flit from one thing to the next all day long accomplishing a few minor things throughout the day but nothing that’s really satisfying. Now I know I can’t have a steady stream of projects because, well, there’s just not enough time and there’s certainly not enough money. It’s those in-between-project times that I need to learn to not be so antsy and to savor what’s already been accomplished. I’m trying. I really am. I think CountryBoy would like me to get a quicker grasp on that concept. ha!

Tomorrow’s project is a necessary one – canning green beans and making pickles. CountryBoy picked another gallon of green beans today and I went over to the neighbors to get some pickling cucumbers from them. We picked them fresh off the vine. I offered cash, eggs, green beans or all of the above and they just wanted some eggs. I love a good barter. It’s a win-win for both parties.

CountryBoy spent the day snapping green beans, cleaning the cabin, cooking beets then pickling and canning them. He got a dozen pint jars and that’s a drop in the beet bucket as there are lots more in the garden waiting to be picked. The new canner is working out nicely. After the last batch of jars came out he started on supper – chicken fajitas and Mexican rice. yum! I think it was just as hot in the kitchen as it was outside!

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My hoe came in. I tested it out in my flower garden and it works great. It’s still a strain on my shoulder but it’s easier than chopping with the normal type hoe.

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Last night I had planned on publishing this blog post but by the time I finished with the day’s entry I was tired and it was time for bed. Now another evening has gone by and it’s after 9 o’clock by the time I finish my entry but it’s time for bed. Proof-reading takes a while. It’s amazing the mistakes I find or the paragraphs that don’t make much sense and need some clarification. At any rate, I NEED to publish this one tomorrow before it’s classified as a novel, teehee!

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Farm news: 26 eggs

Friday, July 17

After getting out of bed this morning I went about my usual routine – turn the burner on to get the coffee percolator going, feed LizzieBelle, feed the cats and check the cabin email. I discovered we had three more bookings during the night which pretty much filled up the rest of July. We’ve had a booking for August and one for September already. unbelievable!

We are searching for a solar powered ceiling fan for the cabin. We found one and are trying to inquire about it. I’m not a fan of websites that don’t allow you to purchase from their site. So, I have sent an email to the address listed on their site. We’ll see what happens. Meanwhile we’ll continue to look. We did put a small table-top fan in the cabin but it requires using the power bank which is OK but it will drain it rather quickly and will require recharging each day which takes a bit of time. Take today for instance, last night’s low was 74. That’s still pretty warm and doesn’t cool the cabin throughout the night. It is currently 92 with the humidity at 55%. There’s the tiniest of breeze right now so hopefully that will help keep the cabin from getting unbearable. During the winter months the fan will also help push the warm air from the wood stove down. We really like the looks and the description of the fans from the company we have reached out to so here’s hoping we can get in touch with them and find something suitable..

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Right after coffee I started in on the canning. I made four pints each of spicy pickles, kosher dill pickles and sweet pickles. I still have some larger cucumbers left over so there will be plenty for salads and what-not.

While I worked on the pickles CountryBoy went to town for a culvert, some lamp oil and some black pepper. I was finishing up the second batch of pickles when he came home.

After a bite to eat I started in on the green beans. A gallon and a quart bag of green beans made up four quarts. There’s still a gallon in the freezer and lots on the vine. yay!

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With temps in the nineties and the kitchen in use all day we’ve left the AC’s running. I had to run the dehumidifier this morning and we turned the downstairs AC on and left the bedroom AC running as well. They have helped keep the house fairly comfortable. Over time we are learning the best ways to cope in a house with no central heat or air.

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Late afternoon, after the jars were pulled out of the canner we walked around and inspected the crops and I, of course, headed straight to the waterless pond only to find that there were a couple of puddles in the pond…

We’ve had no rain yet so this is what’s seeping up from the ground. We are in desperate need of rain to water the gardens, plants and trees as well as to just cool it off. It will also fill the pond rather quickly so I said a lil’ prayer for a nice rain. Me and the turtle (who was last seen heading towards the creek) will be happy to have water in the pond once again.

The lack of rain has not slowed the purple hull peas one bit…

The peas are nice and big. It won’t be long till these will be turning purple then it’s time to shell peas. We both enjoy shelling peas and you will certainly know when we have done so as our fingers will have a nice purple hue to them, wink.

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The hay bales are still hangin’ out in the field waiting to be speared and hauled away…

Farm news: 21 eggs + 13 found in a secret nest

We kept seeing a chicken from time to time out and about in the middle of the barn. We weren’t sure how she was getting out but she would always go back in so we didn’t think much about it. This morning CountryBoy cleaned the coop and put fresh hay in and that’s when he discovered the secret nest of beautiful blue eggs between the hay bale and a stall wall. Sneaky girl!

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