Grab a drink – six days to catch up on!

Thursday, July 23

We got rain!!! Some very much needed rain not only for everyone’s gardens but to cool it off a bit. I enjoyed the downpour from my window at work and CountryBoy enjoyed it from his recliner. He had planted the last of his salvaged tomatoes this morning so they got a good watering. They were pretty pot-bound so maybe they’ll perk up even more now that they got a good nourishing waterin’ and have room to spread their roots.

Speaking of rain, today’s rain just about filled the pond up…

And, it’s still lopsided. Our neighbor’s Dad has a backhoe and she’s going to check with him about finishing it out and how much it would be. I really don’t want to drain it again. We’d like to be done with it so that the land can begin to heal.

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Work was steady today. I like steady days. They go by much faster and I even stayed for the whole day. After work I went to the bank then stopped to get some spring water for the cabin then went next door to the grocery store to get some milk as ours had soured. It’s very rare that our milk spoils as CountryBoy loves it and drinks a lot of it.

After supper I wandered around the farm checking the creek bank, the pond; I got distracted by some ripe blackberries that needed picking and I ended up in another one of my favorite spots on the farm…

… the path beside the chicken paddock. It seems incongruent with the farm but the trees, the moss, the dappled sunlight – I just love it! That was one of the things we loved about our last house in Florida – we were smack dab in the Withlacoochee State Forest and it was wonderful! Not good for gardening but it sure was peaceful and beautiful. That’s probably why I like to surround myself, especially indoors with plants, and lots of them. They’re good for the air quality in the home and they’re good for the soul.

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In my quest to organize my work/office once and for all I’ve come up with a plan. I heard y’all sigh and roll your eyes – just like CountryBoy did when I told him my plan. ha! I plan on taking more of the tongue & groove flooring from the burn pile – running them through a planer (once we get one) and using them for a long and narrow desk in the dining room which is where my office space is. I’m currently using a table that CountryBoy made but it is too wide for the space and the surface is cramped with the laptop and the printer and a small lamp on it. The majority of the surface will be at desk height but then I plan on dropping the section under the window sill below it so that I can over-winter some of the tender potted plants. I’m thinking two shelves on one end to hold my camera equipment and miscellaneous stuff in baskets. The desk can also be used as a buffet should we ever need it when entertaining. I think it will be a nice, practical addition to the dining room.

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Farm news: 31 eggs

The sun setting on another day at the farm.

Friday, July 24

I was up at 6 o’clock wanting a nice, long day off. So far, I’ve enjoyed my mugs o’ coffee, repotted the salvaged dumpster herbs and we hung a shelf in the greenhouse so that I could set the repotted herbs on. The spearmint is in a hanging pot. The guests just left so now it’s time to clean it and ready it for today’s guest. We’re hoping to squeeze a trip to town in between.

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The cabin is cleaned and before 12 o’clock even. A comforter was in need of washing and CountryBoy is hauling up some water. Once the comforter is back on the bed it will be ready to go. I’m not sure if we’ll be able to get to town. All depends on the guests approximate arrival time.

Speaking of arrival time, we were talking to some neighbors yesterday evening that had come to buy some eggs about the cabin and how well it was doing. She commented that we needed to put another one up. I said nope! That seems to be the most common statement from people when they hear of the success (so far) of the cabin and it seems obvious that we should add another one. But here’s the thing… first off, we don’t want too many strangers milling about the property and two, and it’s a biggie, is not just the work involved in cleaning and maintaining the cabin but the fact that our lives are either disrupted or put on hold depending on when the guests arrive and when they leave. We try to squeeze in things like mowing and bush hogging in between guests or when they’ve left on some adventure for the day; we make sure we are available to greet them when they arrive so that we can give them a brief rundown on the ins-and-outs of an off-grid cabin and answer any questions they may have; we try to touch base when they leave to make sure they enjoyed themselves and to give their stay that one last personal touch; and, sometimes we have less than three hours to clean and ready the cabin. Most times it doesn’t take very long because most of our guests leave it as clean as can be for a cabin in the woods but there are times, like today, when a comforter needs washing or the power bank needs charging or just something needs tended to that’s not typical and may take extra time. Can you imagine having to do all that with another cabin? Again I say nope! One is manageable. One’s enough.

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I threw the comforter in the wash and emailed our guest about an approximate arrival time. We hadn’t heard back even after throwing the comforter in the dryer so we decided to take a chance and go to town and hope that we would be back before the guest.

While in town we went to Lowe’s to get the top for my desk. We decided against using the tongue and groove. We also picked up some polyurethane and a couple foam brushes. We already have everything else needed to build my custom desk. I’m hoping we can get started on it tomorrow. After that we stopped at Tractor Supply to pick up some wet food for LizzieBelle since we were down to one can. We swung by Dairy Queen for a chocolate shake and a Heath blizzard as a reward for surviving the heat, ha! The last stop was at the pharmacy to pick up a couple meds then we flew home wondering if there would be a strange car in the driveway. Luckily there wasn’t one. We were back with an hour and a half to spare. whew!

The comforter needed a little bit more drying and the grill racks needed washed. While they were both drying CountryBoy graded the cabin road to smooth out the ruts that were created from the last rain. After that we headed up the, once again, nice and smooth road to finish up the cabin.

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This big ol’ hawk has been hanging around our back yard…

We think it’s been cleaning up after the cats – dead mice, moles, a few birds and who knows what else that are sometimes left in the yard. As long as it stays there and doesn’t mess with the chickens or my birds (I have enough problems with the twins in that department) we’ll all be fine.

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The rest of the afternoon and evening was spent scrolling through Pinterest, gathering the eggs, weeding the flower garden and reading my Bible. CountryBoy picked a handful of purple hull peas, shelled them and put them in the freezer.

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Farm news: 28 eggs

Saturday, July 25

It’s been a busy, productive, non-stop day since we finished our coffee. Backing up to our morning coffee in the greenhouse we enjoyed a lovely fog over the mountain across the street. I always hope that our guests are awake to see it and wonder if they love it as much as I do.

Just before the sun peaked over the mountain I ran out with my camera to capture the beautiful hibiscus plant with its flowers in full bloom…

It’s hard to believe that it disappears after every winter and completely starts over from nothing but its roots and turns into this big, beautiful bush.

As the day progresses and the heat builds up the flowers will shrink up so I knew I needed to capture them first thing in the morning.

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The main project of the day was building my desk. We headed to the barn and got started on it while waiting for our guest to check out. It took both of us to cut the 4×8 plywood down to 16″ strips. Then we split some 2×6’s down to 2×2’s. CountryBoy took it from there and finished cutting the rest of the pieces that were needed. While I was doing a spot test on the plywood for stain our guest came down and checked out. After determining that the wood would not accept stain since it had been primed with something (it was the cheapest ‘finished’ plywood which is why I got it) I headed up to the cabin to strip the sheets, grab the towels and the trash and took a mental note of what needed to be brought up. I threw the sheets and towels immediately in the wash because we were going to put them right back on the bed and on the towel racks. Now that that was done it was time to decide how to finish the desk top. My original plan was to stain the top of the desk a light summer oak and paint the legs white to coincide with our dining table. Since that was no longer an option I decided to just paint the whole thing white. With our dark wood walls one can never have too many white or light pieces of furniture around so it will be just fine.

I was back and forth from the barn to the house several times while painting to check on the laundry. My feet are now grumbling at me. I should probably wear more supportive shoes than just flip flops but I just can’t bring myself to wear anything else when meandering around the farm during the warm months. If I even wear shoes that is, wink!

Once the sheets and towels were dry we headed up to clean and got it ready for today’s guests. Although they weren’t arriving until early evening we wanted to go ahead and get it done and have it off our minds.

After that I went back to painting. I like to pre-paint the pieces whenever possible because it’s just easier physically to manhandle one piece at a time rather than doing the limbo and all sorts of precarious moves that one my age should not be doing when trying to reach all the hidden spots once it’s put together. Now we’re just hoping all the pieces fit, ha!.

It was after 4 o’clock by the time I finished up. Hot, sore and tired. After I cooled off a bit and caught up on the cabin email we ate a sandwich for supper. I had planned on giving CountryBoy the day off from kitchen duty but since the painting took much longer than I had anticipated that didn’t happen. Thankfully he doesn’t mind cooking or making us a bite to eat. After we ate he gave LizzieBelle a bath and I headed upstairs for mine. A nice, cool bath. It was wonderful! I feel human again.

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I was behind on writing reviews of our guests so I sat down to do that while waiting for our latest guests to arrive. I managed to get two of them written and they showed up. After giving them a brief rundown on the cabin I finished the other two reviews. I’m glad to be caught up.

Now I’m trying to catch up on our laundry this evening. Thankfully I had washed our sheets first thing in the morning and made up the bed while the bath water was running. Multi-tasking at its finest, ha!

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CountryBoy picked some purple hull peas earlier today and this evening he picked some green beans. Somehow I think we’re all going to sleep good tonight – LizzieBelles included (bath days are exhausting!).

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While waiting for the laundry to dry we watched a movie and were up way past our bedtime. WAY past. It was a cute movie though and I am now caught up with the laundry.

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We’ve decided to leave the pond as is. We think it will be just fine for its intended purpose. We really don’t want to tear up the land anymore than it already is and we don’t want to have to drain it again.

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Farm news: 28 eggs

Sunday, July 26

And just like that it’s my Monday. My weekend FLEW by. And I mean F.L.E.W. Much of the reason it flew by was because it was a busy but productive weekend as you just read. I don’t mind weekends like that – I just wish they would last longer, ha!

However, today felt like an extension of the busy weekend as it was a non-stop day as well. After coffee we went to the barn to start assembling the desk. We soon discovered that we needed to cut a few more pieces that were forgotten yesterday. Once the pieces were cut they needed a light sanding then painted. Since our guests left before we even got up so that they could get on the road and continue their journey home I went up to the cabin to strip the sheets and get the trash while CountryBoy was cutting the pieces. We didn’t have anyone checking in today but I took some sheets up and went ahead and made the beds. All that needs to be done before the next guest is wiping everything down and sweeping and taking up the goodies. When I came down CountryBoy had everything cut and was painting the new pieces. We had twenty minutes until we needed to head to church so I sent him on in to shower (it was dreadfully hot already) while I finished up. I came in and took a quick sponge bath, threw on a skirt and blouse and out the door we went. When we came home we carried the desk in and found out that the shelf was on the wrong side. sigh. It’s always something ya’ know?! Thankfully it was an easy fix but I had to go to work. I came home to my cozy little office space in the dining room. I can’t wait to show you but I’m too tired tonight to get a photo. That’s pretty bad, huh?

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It was a long, hot day at work. In between loads I took the laptop to the basement (where my iron is) and I began to work on editing our Rates & Description sheet that we email to potential guests. I managed to get everything edited but I needed to create a new collage and description for one of the newer cabins that can be rented. I was so hot, hungry (my only food of the day was a cereal bar on the way to church), and exhausted that I knew I didn’t have it in me to continue working on it. We made plans for me to stop by on my way home from my other job on Tuesday. After getting home I threw the cabin sheets and towels in the wash. As soon as the towels are out of the dryer I am collapsing into bed.

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While I was sweating, I mean ironing, CountryBoy worked on the benches up at the cabin. They were custom made by a local and they work great. The problem with them was that the wood was old, rough cut barn wood and they were hard to wipe down. The rough cut wooden legs collected all the hair, dust and lint from the broom when sweeping around them. CountryBoy sanded them down and now we’ll be able to clean them better if necessary and hopefully the legs won’t collect debris. It was a dirty, dusty job in this terrible heat but, this is the first day we’ve had a chance to grab them since we didn’t have any check-ins today. The other project is installing a 12V ceiling in the cabin. CountryBoy thinks he’s figured out how to install it without it taking away from the cabin’s ambiance. It’s not the fan itself but the wires that he’ll try his best to conceal. He also has to figure out how to install it so that’s it’s easy for the guests to use. It’s going to be a nice plus in our little off-grid cabin.

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Farm news: 31 eggs

Monday, July 27

It’s definitely been a Monday. As I pulled up to the light in town to turn into the parking lot at work I saw a fella leaning against one of the massive columns of the newspaper building. It was apparent he was waiting for someone to unlock the door. I unlocked the front door and greeted him. He followed me in and bought a copy of last week’s paper. From that moment on the phone and email were non-stop wanting to get an ad in before the noon deadline. After the noon deadline it quieted down. Thank goodness! I managed to get a jump start on laying out some pages before leaving for the day.

I came home and saw the buggy parked as if we were expecting guests to arrive. When I left for work this morning we didn’t have anyone scheduled. CountryBoy said someone booked it around noon and wanted an early check-in if possible. There wasn’t much left to do so it didn’t take him long to have it ready for an early arrival. They were already there when I came home and were able to take their own vehicle up.

While I was at work the feller came and placed the culvert again. It should work just fine now…

Again, that’s from one rain. Now you can see why the barn would flood every time it rained.

CountryBoy spent some time leveling and spreading the dirt after the culvert was placed. We can’t wait until the ground heals and the grass grows back.

I spent the evening ‘moving in’ to my new desk in the dining room…

It’s nice and narrow but long and roomy. I love it!

We think it blends in rather nice with the existing furniture in the dining room.

I needed to print more labels for the banana bread and it was so easy to access them as well as accessing the printer. I’m really pleased that the only thing purchased for this desk project was the plywood for the top.

I feel like the space is cozy and I feel inspired and want to be there. That’s good because there are some days when the cabin email is blowing up with inquiries, reviews, and bookings and it takes a while to get through them all. Might as well have a nice space to get it done! I even put one of our diffusers on my desk. What am I diffusing? 5 drops of Stress Away, 4 drops of Lemon, 3 drops of Peppermint. It’s supposed to be the Williams-Sonoma signature smell. I’ve only been in a Williams-Sonoma store one time, maybe twice, (too rich for my wallet) so I wouldn’t know how accurate the blend is but I do know it sure smells pretty good! Do you diffuse? I like being able to change up the essential oils creating all kinds of various good-smelling scents for just pennies.

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Just before bedtime we got a brief shower. These brief showers are great for watering the gardens and keeping things looking nice and green. We sat on the front porch and listened to it falling on the metal roof. So nice and relaxing.

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Farm news: 30 eggs

Tuesday, July 28

It’s been a day. Two jobs in one day. Thankfully both went fairly well with only a few hiccups. First, the server acted up a couple times this morning. One was right off the bat and we all were thinking ‘oh no’. Then there were moments of extreme sluggishness. We thought ‘oh no’. The server acted up again. Another ‘oh no’. Luckily it came back each time and we were able to get the pages sent to the printer around noon and got the approval a few minutes later. whew! I stopped at the B&B on my way home to work on some computer stuff – the stuff I was unable to get to Sunday evening. After finishing one of several tasks the boss wanted to change the layout of a few of the collages. And, rightfully so. Each cabin has its own collage with pictures and a brief description but the way some were designed we felt it was difficult to distinguish between the cabins. I had inherited the collages when I took over the social media position and have made a few tweaks in them here and there but I’ve always felt they needed to be a little more consistent and the change I made today was definitely a good change. Now all the cabin names are at the top of the collage for each cabin making it easy to distinguish between them in the newsletter we email to those that are inquiring about staying. Thankfully, it didn’t take too long to shift everything around. The other tasks were simple changes to existing documents then saved to be emailed to a local printer.

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I’ve received several phone calls recently at the newspaper job from people trying to research something or looking for an article or legal ad. We don’t really have the time nor the staff to help these people although I do what I can. It got me to thinking about the times I had to go to the public library to do research for a paper during my school years. I remember scanning through the microfiche from papers of long ago trying to find something I could use. I began wondering if our public library kept newspapers and, if so, how long did they keep them since microfiche is a thing of the past? I asked our editor if she knew and she did not. I told her we could probably send the pages we send to the printer to the library as well and they could catalogue them however they desired. She thought it a valid question and was going to ask the lady in charge of the library. I would love to be able to point people to utilize our public library for their research. Well, once it’s open. It’s quite the story… our local library began renovating one of our old buildings in town last year – a bigger, brighter building that they made even larger and then the Corona virus hits. They are completely moved into the new building now but unable to open. They are checking out books and cleaning them when they come back but they’re still working the kinks out of how to sufficiently keep the library and its contents clean during this pandemic. I am anxiously awaiting the opening. I want to see the renovation and explore all they have to offer. I have also been saving dimes for well over a year now that will be used for the children’s department. The container they gave me is almost full. I’d love to be able to hand it in at the time of the opening.

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I came home to the smell of spaghetti sauce simmering away. I brought a mini quiche home from work but I think I’m going to take it right back there tomorrow and eat it for lunch. Yum!

We are waiting on our guest to arrive while supper cooks and I’ve thrown the cabin sheets and towels in the wash. I’m hoping that once the guest arrives I can kick back, edit this extremely long blog post, and relax. The past several days have been non-stop and I’m ’bout ready for some down-time.

Speaking of non-stop, I think I have been fairing well throughout these busy days. I am intentionally NOT thinking about each day’s agenda and it has helped. I just go from one thing to the other without dwelling on what all needs to get done or where all I need to be or what all I have to do. It’s working well for my mental state. I also know that this is only for a time – a short season of my life – and one day things will be different. For now, I am grateful for my jobs – grateful for the money they bring in – grateful I’m able to do both jobs – and grateful we are able to finally do some of the things that needed to be done around the farm because of those jobs. The day will come, when the time is right, that I will be able to slow down and focus on the things at home more.

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If you want your guest(s) to arrive just sit down to supper and ‘bam’, there they are! Works every time, haha. Anyway, we have eaten and they are getting settled in. I went to the barn and got the last of the eggs, fed Mabel, emptied a 50 lb. bag of feed into the chickens feed can and gave them a bit more to eat. They seem to be eating a LOT more during this heat wave than usual. Maybe not but it sure seems that way. I’m glad to be able to do a few of the farm chores while CountryBoy cleans up after supper. Gotta love that man o’ mine! He’s probably glad for the break but at any rate it’s a win-win.

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CountryBoy cleaned and readied the cabin then tried to connect the ceiling fan before our guests arrival. Long story short – the 12V ceiling fan no longer works. I’m thinking the motor burned up somehow. There were no instructions with the fan and we tried it on several different type batteries to see if it would work and it did. He tried to hook it up to the power bank today and after that it didn’t work anymore. He ended up taking it down. Although it would be nice to have one I’m not going to try to find another one. We just don’t know how to get it hooked up.

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It has taken me much of the evening to finish and proof read this long blog post. As I’m trying to proof read and edit I see Sissy coming towards the house with something dangling from her mouth. great. She set it down and directly I see it hopping away. It was a baby bunny. I ran out to get her so that the bunny would be able to escape. It ended up taking both of us to find the bunny and distract the cats because now Missy had shown up and thought ‘what a fun game’! CountryBoy managed to catch the bunny and he took over to the ditch by the barn – far away from the twins. sigh.

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Farm news: 30 eggs

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