Wine, wood & paint

Saturday, September 19

It’s 6:45 in the evening as I sit down to journal. Today has truly been a homesteading kinda day. After our usual slow morning with slow coffee we ate a good farm breakfast of eggs, bacon, homemade hash browns, toast and home grown tomatoes. Once the dishes were washed we began bottling our blackberry scuppernong wine. It has finally been six weeks since it started fermenting. Just look at that color! It’s quite beautiful thanks to the blackberries…

These bottles will sit lightly capped for three days before we’ll cap ’em. (The one bottle truly is Pumpkin Cider. It’s almost time to pop it in the fridge!) We’ve not tried any yet but it smells like it’s on the sweet side.

After that we drove to our friends’ neighbors place and cut down a tree. There are lots of them for the taking. We have been fortunate to meet and find people that need some trees removed. Today we concentrated on the top of the tree which we’re going to use up in the cabin. They are the perfect diameter for the wood stove up there and CountryBoy cut them into short lengths so they’ll fit nicely. We cleaned up the limbs then worked our way down the trunk. From the one tree top we got quite a bit of wood for the cabin…

… and a good start on wood for the house…

We even got a few pieces for the fire pit at the cabin. It’s nice being able to plan for cabin fire wood this year. Last year we used quite a bit of our house wood for the cabin because we did not plan ahead. Quite frankly, we honestly didn’t think anyone would even want to book it in the dead of winter. So this year we are planning ahead which means we can use almost every bit of a tree with very little waste which is really awesome.

Also on today’s agenda was laundry. I managed to get one load done before we left and the last load is in the wash right now.

Even though today was all about homesteading tasks I am grateful for the modern conveniences that make those jobs so much easier and simpler. Like the chain saw and log splitter versus a hand saw and axe and a washing machine versus a wash board. These items allow us to get so much more done in a day. But is that really a good thing? Sometimes I wonder.

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Farm news: 22 eggs

Sunday, September 20

It was a busy day. Our guests left early so we jumped up and started cleaning the cabin and getting it ready for more guests. We got all but the dishes washed and the cabin swept before church. After church I quickly packed a lunch then headed to work. CountryBoy finished up the cabin and even spent some time working on the pop-up camper. He had to repair part of the ceiling that had some pretty severe water damage and rot. Soon after that he welcomed the guests. Just as I came home he decided it was a good night for some chili and was getting ready to make it.

After an extremely hot (and I mean spicy hot because an extra amount of our homegrown and dried crushed red pepper came out of the jar as he was adding it to the pot) bowl of chili we sat in front of a fire. The first of the season. Our 40 degree nights cooled the house off and our 60 degree days didn’t warm it up very much. I’m glad we’ve started getting wood!

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Farm news: 24 eggs

This evening the fella that cuts our lower field was baling the hay…

He cuts our neighbors field and asked if he could cut ours. It’s a nice field with good grass so we’re more than happy to let him cut and bale it.

Monday, September 21

What a day! Work started off smooth enough and then right after our noon deadline for this week’s edition people all of a sudden decided they wanted to place ads. Some we were able to accommodate, some we were not. Deadlines are deadlines. We try to be accommodating but once the pages are figured it becomes more of an ordeal to work those ads in because of the ads to content percentages and if it’s a Classified on whether there’s room on the page(s) or not. I managed to get it all sorted out enough to where I could grab a lunch around 1 o’clock then I was back at it creating a last minute ad. I did manage to get started on laying out the pages. Before I knew it 4:30 had rolled around. I do like those kind of surprises!

I stopped on my way home to get some more water and cereal bars for the cabin and some milk for us. I had to go to the bathroom but it was closed. Seriously? I don’t understand why bathrooms need to be closed because of COVID. If people would wash their hands and the store clean it throughout the day what would be the problem? Needless to say, I grabbed the milk and two bags of the best potato chips on the planet, Utz, on my way to the checkout lane and left. My usual 25 minute drive home was done in 20 minutes.

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We’ve had several days of nice, cool weather. To say that I am looking forward to the slower Fall and Winter days is an understatement. Trying to coordinate all the happenings, comings and goings, jobs, guests, and chores is starting to get to me. I am doing my best to truly NOT think about it and just do it. I have found that in doing so I don’t get as overwhelmed. For instance, I have to work tomorrow. We need chicken feed. My B&B boss needs CountryBoy to pick up some straw. There’s a guest checking out tomorrow. The cabin needs cleaned. We need to get more wood. And we need to coordinate all that around my jobs and one vehicle. I know it would be easier to get another vehicle but this busy-ness is just for a season. So yeah, I’m looking forward to the slower months ahead.

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Farm news: 19 eggs

Tuesday, September 22

It’s finally FALL y’all!!! This first day of fall dawned with temps in the low forties which resulted in coffee in front of a fire in the fireplace. yay! This is actually about the fourth night it has been in the forties but hey, who’s counting. It’s supposed to be warming up tonight and by warming up I mean temps in the fifties at night and seventies during the day. Perfect Fall weather if you ask me and we mean to soak up every bit of the nice weather before the temps plummet for Winter.

Work was good with no glitches and our pages were approved by 1 o’clock. I stopped at one of our local hardware stores to pick up the straw my B&B boss had purchased. She had called CountryBoy yesterday to see if he could get it but I was at work so I decided to pick it up before heading home. We had to go to Rural King for our monthly supply of feed and I knew we wouldn’t be back in town in time before the store closed. We were able to drop the straw off at the B&B on our way to Rural King. It all worked out and I didn’t get worked up at all about any of it because I’m just doing it and not thinking about it. I think that makes all the difference.

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This evening we tried the little mason jar of wine. It’s been lightly capped for three days so it was time to cap the bottles. We decided to try it to see if the past seven weeks had even been worth the effort. Well, it was really good! Not too sweet, not too dry and you could actually taste the scuppernongs and the blackberries. Apparently winemaking is in my blood. Unbeknownst to me until recently, my Dad was telling me that his Dad was always making homemade wine and trying different combinations. He said some were good and some were OK. He also told me that his Dad would get a truck load of different grapes each year so that he could make his wine. Who knew?! I must’ve gotten my brewing ideas and capabilities from my Grandpa. I actually enjoy the fermentation process whether it be fermenting food, fruit or Kombucha. Fermented foods are good for gut health. As with everything, in moderation of course.

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After weeks of diffusing Lavender, Lemon and Peppermint I’ve decided it was time for a change. In the diffuser tonight will be two drops each of Lavender, Cedarwood and Peace & Calming (a gentle, sweet blend of Blue Tansy, Orange, Tangerine, Patchouli, and Ylang Ylang) for some sweet slumber.

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We have two nights with no guests. It seems strange. In fact, when we came home my first thought was wondering how the guests were doing but then it dawned on me that there was no one up there. For three months in a row we’ve been booked three weeks out of the month. It’s been such a pleasant and wild ride! And each positive review leaves us happy and humbled. We just never knew the number of people that would be so appreciative of our little off-grid cabin.

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Farm news: 18 eggs

Wednesday, September 23

It has been one busy day for the both of us. Right after coffee we got to work replacing our mail box post since I didn’t have to be at work until noon. Just the other day it started leaning towards the road so we knew the post was rotten. We had picked up a nice cedar post for mail boxes at Rural King yesterday and just in time. The original post simply broke off so it would’ve been laying in the road before too long. The new post came with a metal rod that CountryBoy pounded into the ground then the cedar post slipped over the metal rod. The hardest part about the whole project was mounting our old mail box onto the wood platform. We finally got it screwed on and I put some mail in it and raised the flag. One job done.

CountryBoy took me to work at the B&B and while he was there he picked up the trash to take to the dump. He’s temporarily filling in for the guy that usually hauls trash. After that he picked up a few groceries and then finished cutting and splitting the tree we cut down last weekend and even got it stacked in the wood shed. We now have over two months worth stacked in there. Each row is about a months worth and there are two rows stacked floor to ceiling and we’re started on the third row.

He was plumb wore out after that. I had to call and remind him to come get me since he wasn’t there to pick me up at the time I had said I would be finished. Thank goodness we don’t live far away and thank goodness for leftover (hot) chili. I imagine we’ll both be going to bed a little earlier than usual.

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I did not love the diffuser blend of the night before. Tonight I will go back to one of my faves – Northern Lights Black Spruce, Eucalyptus Globulus and Wintergreen. It’s such a soft, soothing blend and we sleep really well with that combo.

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I received an email today of someone asking for another crochet basketweave baby blanket. I guess I’d better get crack-a-lackin’ on the first one so I can start the second one. I’m humbled that these blankets are so well loved.

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Farm news: 19 eggs

Thursday, September 24

My work week has finally come to an end. Actually, I should say that my work outside the home week has come to an end. Now, for the next two days, I will be busy working on something in or around the house. Hopefully some painting will be involved. It’s funny, I never tire of working at home no matter what the project is. There’s such satisfaction in it.

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Now that Fall is officially here we have been hearing all sorts of predictions about the upcoming winter. Here are just a few of the Appalachian Folklore of predicting winter that we’ve heard…

1. it’s going to be a bad winter if the woolly worm is solid black

2. if the center of a persimmon seed has a spoon in it it’s going to be a bad winter

3. it’s going to be a bad winter because the deer are eating more corn than usual

I did a little research (very little, mind you) and here’s what I found on the Farmer’s Almanac website about winter predictions and our experience since living here…

  1. the woolly worm prediction is actually about the size of the orange band in its center. If the band is narrow it will be a snowy winter; if it is wide it will be a mild winter. And, all black caterpillars are not even woolly worms. So, there goes that prediction. We’ve also seen all rust color caterpillars as well and I’m guessing they are not woolly worms either. I’ve only seen one actual woolly worm so far and I didn’t know about the width of the orange band. I’ll be checking next time I see one!
  2. Last year we opened up several persimmon seeds for fun and we found that most seeds were spoon-shaped and some looked like ‘sporks’. We had a mild winter with a few light snows. Here’s what the old Farmers Almanac has to say about the persimmon seed…
  • If the kernel is spoon-shaped, expect plenty of snow to shovel.
  • If it is fork-shaped, plan on a mild winter with powdery, light snow.
  • If the kernel is knife-shaped, expect frigid winds that will “cut” like a blade

3. Time will tell about the deer eating more corn than usual as nothing was mentioned about it in the Farmers Almanac.

In any case, it’s fun to hear the predictions and to learn that some of our Appalachian winter prediction folklore is mentioned in the Farmers Almanac. Since only the Good Lord knows what’s ahead we will continue to gather wood, stock the pantry and prepare for the worst. If it’s a mild winter we’ll be grateful and that much more ahead for next year.

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Farm news: 20 eggs

Friday, September 25

It’s been a busy day. I’ve injured my hand, wrist actually, while making one of the beds up in the cabin. Probably a pinched nerve. I’m going to do my best to type today’s entry while wearing a brace.

Since I didn’t have to go to work today we slept in. LizzieBelle and I were up around 6:45 and CountryBoy meandered downstairs a little after 7. As he headed to the barn to let the chickens out and feed Mabel one of the guests was heading down the road in the buggy. She needed a place to upload some photos to a client and had asked about a coffee shop nearby with Wi-Fi. Since there are none nearby we told her she could use our Wi-Fi so she came in and I set her up in the dining room where she could plug her laptop in and use the Wi-Fi to send the photos. I made her some herbal tea and we all had a nice chat as she worked. She has the coolest job – she’s a freelance photographer and a drone pilot. She takes architectural photos for individuals and commercially as well as creating videos and she travels all over the place. How cool is that? She talked about some of the scrapes she has been in while traveling and how people, strangers at that, have helped her out. We talked about all the good people around and that there were more good people than what we see the media portray. I’m not a fan of the media. Yes, I work for a newspaper but we publish local news and lots and lots of positive stories. Other media? I can, and am doing without most of it. Doing so has truly helped my outlook on people and life in general. Being informed is good but being inundated with news, both good and bad, I believe can be overwhelming. The constant bombardment of news though has helped our cabin business as many guests have stated they wanted to ‘disconnect’ and our place was the perfect place. And that, my friend, is the positive side of the bombardment!

I woke up with the intention and desire (which is half the battle!) of doing some painting in the dining room. These three sections (in the center of the photo) plus one more section (not shown) was today’s goal…

As soon as the guests checked out CountryBoy went up and grabbed the sheets and I started getting set up and vacuuming the ceiling to get rid of the cobwebs. So much for my Halloween decor on the dining room ceiling, ha! While he was at the cabin the guy that he’s been hauling construction stuff for called. As soon as he came back with the sheets he left for Lowes to pick everything up and drop it off. I threw the sheets and towels in the wash and started painting. I had this section finished by the time he got back.

I stopped long enough to clean the inside of the cabin while CountryBoy cleaned the exterior and hauled some water up for the one nearly empty rain barrel. After the cabin was ready I finished the one other section I had wanted to get done (the fourth section to the right)…

This was not easily done as my hand/wrist was really hurting from whatever I had done to it while making the bed. I was determined to accomplish my goal so I used both hands and got it done. I’m so thankful I’m ambidextrous.

I will tackle the remaining four sections another time as they require some prep work – removing the light fixture, moving the hutch – and then there will be lots of cutting in with a small brush around the rock fireplace. Then the entire ceiling will need a second coat. Second coats are usually easier as long as I can keep up with what’s been done and what hasn’t so that I don’t miss any spots. Maybe next weekend I can finish up the first coat. I’d love to wrap this project up before winter. Although CountryBoy is liking it and asked when I was going to do the rest of the downstairs. He’s a funny guy! I may save up and hire someone, ha!

I’m really liking the contrast of the white ceiling and dark walls. I think it brings the wood walls out so much more. I’m also liking how it is lighting up the room if even just a bit. We can use all the help in that aspect especially during the gray winter months. I was planning on painting the runners a rich brown to mimic wood beams. CountryBoy thinks I should leave it all white. I do like it all white but I also think that it would look nice with the faux beam look. Thoughts? Opinions? I’d love to hear them!

While I was finishing and cleaning up CountryBoy started supper. He was making lasagna. YUM!!! After the brushes and rollers were washed I went and gathered the eggs and fed Mabel. When the lasagna went in the oven I headed upstairs to soak my shoulders in a nice warm bath. Hopefully that will ease the soreness that usually comes the next day.

Tonight we are going to kick back and relax. I’m not sure if I can do any crocheting with my injured wrist just yet. I think I’ll give it a day or two.

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Farm news: 20 eggs

5 Comments

  1. omigoodness – another utz fan …! i thought i was the only one (i mentioned them at a recent family chat, and no one else had ever heard of them.). but i agree: best. chips. ever. for me, it’s because they aren’t as salty as all the million other brands. –suz in NE ohio

    Liked by 1 person

  2. here’s another folklore contribution: hornets’ nests being a gauge of the coming winter’s snowfall. the higher the nest is in a tree, the more snow you’ll have that winter, relatively. as it happens, hornets have been nesting in my backyard neighbor’s tall evergreen fence row along the property line, which parallels my much lower fencerow of “burning bush.” last year, the nest weighted down the evergreen limb it was built on such that it was snuggled into the top of my hedge (the nest had a nest ….), and it was only 8 feet or so above the ground. we ended up not having much snow last winter. i never had to shovel even once. so …
    this year, there is a new nest on a limb in the evergreen tree next to last year’s tree. and it’s MUCH HIGHER, probably 20 feet off the ground. so now i’m a little scared for this winter’s snowfall. –suz in ohio

    Liked by 1 person

    1. CountryBoy was telling me about the hornets and their nests after I had published the blog. We’ll see what happens but I’m inclined to believe folklore about animals & insects because of their instinct. I know one thing, good winter or bad, we’ll be ready. I hope you’ll be ready too!!! Thanks for reading and for taking the time to comment 🙂

      Like

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