Scrambling in the new year

Friday, January 1, 2021

How strange to type the year 2021. It seems likes it’s been a long time coming but in looking back the year 2020 actually flew by. Life for us stayed pretty much the same. I continued to work both jobs and with the exception of a few months at the beginning of the year the cabin stayed fairly well booked. Even with me working and guests coming from all over we stayed healthy. We were blessed beyond measure during the year and we are grateful. We hope this year continues to be good and for those of you who had a rough year we wish a better and healthy year.

Speaking of hope and health, we (namely I) are going to concentrate on bettering our health and maintaining our immune systems through our diet. We already eat very little processed foods but we definitely have room for improvement. I have a few ideas such as eating cleaner foods (no preservatives, nothing hydrogenated or homogenized, etc.), eating more fresh food and simply eating less (which is not always simple when something is so yummy!). With the aging process comes the process of metabolic changes so I’m going to do some more research and look for more healthy food options to boost metabolism, immunity, energy, and so on. I truly believe that we are what we eat and nowadays it’s becoming more and more difficult to find real food that has not been tampered with in some way. Our bodies simply can not handle all the tampering. And hope? I’ve heard many who are putting their hope in the vaccine or in a human being and there is only One who can give hope and that is God. My prayer is that people will put their hope and trust in God this year and not live their lives in fear. I pray they will ask questions, choose to better their health and lives through wholesome food and nature, and that, in general, that the hands of time will turn back to a simpler life where people and community are priorities and not the addiction of technology.

Speaking of technology, I had to get behind the laptop to update the cabin listing by removing the mention of the wood stove in the description as well as deleting a photo that had the wood stove in it. We also have four guests who booked a while ago that will be coming after the remodel so I sent a message to them stating our intentions and hoped that the remodel would not deter their desire to stay with us. I’ve already heard back from one who said it was no problem and that they were still excited to come and thanked us for letting them know. We felt it was important to let them know so that there weren’t any surprises. Once the remodel is finished I will take new photos and update the listing once again. Four more days!

CountryBoy took the last load of wood up to the cabin for today’s guests. The last load – yay! They are staying for three nights so he stocked them up. As soon as they check-out on Monday it’s game on for the remodel. Another yay!

While he tackled cleaning the cabin I started taking down some of the Christmas decor, vacuumed, and started cooking a pot of navy beans and caramelized some onions. The beans turned out quite tasty I might add. I had soaked them overnight, rinsed them, then used a quart of ham stock we canned several years ago, a quart of hot water (swirling and rinsing out the jar) and threw in some pieces of country ham and left it all simmer for several hours until the beans were tender. YUM! We just finished a bowl of them to hold us over until supper.

Speaking of eating, we started the new year off with turkey eggs, hog jowl bacon, and homemade biscuits – a very small batch of biscuits so that we didn’t overeat. For supper we’ll have the rest of the new year tradition of black-eye peas (homegrown & canned, yum!), greens with caramelized onions and cornbread.

That should complete all the new year foods we traditionally eat. Do you have any food-related traditions to start the new year off?


A new year usually brings about resolutions and goals for the upcoming year. My only resolutions for the year are to concentrate on healthy eating as previously mentioned and just taking it one day at a time. As far as goals, we’re not really going to set any this year. We’ll continue to improve the farm and/or house as money permits but otherwise, I think we’ll just play it by ear and do our best to roll with the punches.


Our guests have arrived. We have two and a half days of freedom! I’m not sure we’ll know what to do with ourselves. I suggested doing some sight-seeing tomorrow. Maybe we’ll just do nothing but it’s nice to have options..


Farm news: 16 eggs plus a turkey egg. Speckles has been laying quite regularly the past few weeks. I wonder how long she’ll lay?

Mabel has had a few more random raw spots appear. They don’t stay raw long after being treated but we need to figure out why they’re appearing in the first place. Thankfully they don’t seem to bother her.

Saturday, January 2

We almost didn’t know what to do with ourselves today! No work, no cabin duties, no projects, no nothing. However, as we sipped our morning coffee and talked about the upcoming week it did not take us long to decide that we needed to start working on a few of the smaller projects for the cabin remodel and pick up a few pieces of lumber to frame out the base of the fireplace. If we knew the dimensions of the unit he would do it ahead of time but since we don’t know it will have to wait. When he made the appointment he didn’t allow himself very much time to get everything done so I came up with a game plan that will help make the project go smooth and hopefully, fairly quickly. The gist of the game plan is that after the guests check-out on Monday CountryBoy will start dismantling the wood stove and pipe. There will be a gaping hole in the side of the cabin that will need to be sealed off. He’s going to cross that bridge when he gets there. After I get home from work on Monday I will help him bring the stove down and we’ll move a few things around to make room for the gas fireplace install Tuesday morning. CountryBoy will be assisting the install when necessary and making sure it’s in the right place. He’ll also be working on the base then building the surround. When I get home from work I will do some cleaning and start rearranging. Wednesday we’ll finish everything up (fingers crossed) because we have guests arriving Thursday. Easy-peasy!

So we went to Lowe’s and picked up some 2×4’s, some 1×4’s and some paint. Somewhere in the above game plan we’ll have to sneak to town again to get a few more materials once we know the dimensions that we’re working with. After that we went to Hobby Lobby and picked up a couple of pictures (one will help hide the gaping hole repair job and the other will mirror it) and we found a couple of shelves that will be perfect to use beside the beds as a night stand. Saves CountryBoy from making them. While we were out we also stopped at our neighbor’s health food store and picked up a couple half gallons of milk.

After we got home I started the laundry and did a small paint job on the night stand shelves. In between I gathered the eggs, doctored and fed Mabel and did some knitting while CountryBoy made a batch of banana bread and watched a movie. Another day has flown by.


Wellness news: I’ve started CountryBoy back on a couple ounces of Pomegranate juice daily (helps flush out the arteries) but we’re still trying to finish up the gifted Christmas goodies which is definitely counteracting the good stuff we are eating. However, we are still being mindful of the meals we eat and doing our best to eat less.


Farm news: 12 eggs

Sunday, January 3

CountryBoy did not get a very good night’s sleep so we opted to stay home from church. I went in to work an hour early thinking I could get home earlier but that didn’t happen. Besides doing laundry and ironing, I updated one of our favorite newsletters and scheduled it for delivery then I chose to stay and help deliver the dinners to the guests since the regular gal was off that night. It seriously takes a team to keep the inner workings of the B&B running smooth.

I came home to find out that our guests had left and did not stay for their last night. They had done all they set out to do so they decided to head home. That was OK with us since we still get paid for all three nights. It gave CountryBoy a chance to get a head start on the cabin remodel. He pulled the stove pipe off the wood stove and moved the table (which is where the gas fireplace is going) out of the way. He also stripped the beds and brought down any dirty dishes. It was nice having those few extra hours to get ahead of the game.


We spent the evening watching the old movie ‘Wagons East’. It was enjoyable to watch then we were off to bed hoping for a better night’s sleep for CountryBoy.

Monday, January 4

Neither one of us had a great night’s sleep. I did fare better than CountryBoy but LizzieBelle let me know that she needed to go outside to tinkle some time in the wee hours of the night but I managed to fall back asleep. CountryBoy, however, was having all sorts of things going on which kept him up most of the night. My immediate thought was too much sugar. He was doing so well and sleeping well up until Christmas when all the goodies and chocolates started arriving at the house. Most of it is gone and he’s going to stay away from it so guess who gets to finish it up?! Like I need it, too. If all the pains disappear or at least become tolerable again then we’ll know for sure what the culprit was.

CountryBoy took me to work this morning so that he could stop by the propane shop and measure the unit we’re getting. After that he was going to head to Lowe’s to get the remaining materials he needed to build the gas fireplace surround and shelves. He spent the afternoon painting the boards and managed to get all but the wood for the shelves and the top painted. That’s a huge time-saver and easier on the body to pre-paint the wood. I can go back and do any touch-up paint if necessary but that’s no big deal. While he was at the propane shop he mentioned that he had to ready a place to set the tanks and they told him they would do it and that he didn’t have to do a thing. Hallelujah! So tomorrow all he has to do is concentrate on building the surround and remove a couple of the underpinning boards so that they have access to run the gas line.

As we were on our way this morning CountryBoy mentioned that we needed to make a run to Rural King some time this week. sigh. With all the goings-on at the cabin and a guest arriving shortly thereafter I wasn’t sure when we could squeeze it in before running out of chicken feed. I figured our best chance was this evening after I got off work since we were already about halfway there. So that’s what we did. I left at 4 o’clock and we all headed to Rural King. Once there LizzieBelle spent most of our time there sniffing the mulched areas in the parking lot and reclaiming the good spots that CountryBoy was already done loading the feed onto the cart and was heading back up the aisle by the time we got in the store. We still needed to pick up the woodpecker seed blocks and some creosote burning logs for the fireplace so LizzieBelle did manage to get to ride around in the cart for a little bit. I tell ya, she has come such a long way since we first got her. I would take her into Lowe’s and she would shiver from sheer nerves and was in a state of panic. Now? She sits on her blankie in the cart like a champ and even lets people pet her. I really think she likes all the ooh’s & aah’s of how cute she is!

After getting home CountryBoy unloaded the feed while Belle and I walked up to the house. I got her supper ready, put away the dishes, got into some comfy clothes then started washing the sheets and towels from the cabin. I have a feeling that as soon as they come out of the dryer we’ll be calling it a night.

Thursday, January 7

Tuesday and Wednesday’s were busy days. Tuesday morning I saw the propane guy headed our way as I was on my way to work. CountryBoy said the install went well and was completed by 11 o’clock. He spent the rest of the day on the fireplace surround and shelves. He was working in the Dremel shop at the barn and quickly became chilled. Since he had just brought the wood stove down from the cabin he temporarily set it up in the shop and fired it up. Even though one side of the shop is open to the barn the fire kept him from getting chilled. One day we’ll permanently set it up in there.

I spent the better part of the day at work then came home to try to get the cabin deep cleaned and rearranged. Here’s how the cabin looked when I walked in…

I’ll be honest, several minutes went by as I looked around trying to get a handle on the situation and figure out where I needed to start. Once I finally got my head together I chose to start in the corner where the fireplace used to reside. I’m glad I did because it ended up being the worst. Once I removed the fire-resistant mat I was faced with a mess…

ugh. Apparently liquid had been spilled and seeped underneath the mat and when I pulled the mat up there were bits of the underside stuck to the floor. I stood for another several minutes trying to figure out how I was going to clean it up and wondering if it would even clean up.

Since it was half an inch thick in some spots and moldy I decided to use a plastic scraper to remove as much of it as I could. After sweeping up what I was able to scrape up I then sprayed it with Young Living’s Thieves Household Cleaner (which works great on mold!) and thankfully the rest of it came up when scraped again. And the dusty ash in the corner? No more, yay!

After sweeping, vacuuming and mopping that corner, moving the ladder shelf and the table I moved one of the beds over there. I also had to manhandle the white cabinet to move it out to the deck and out of the way since it wasn’t staying in there. Once I did that the rest sort of just fell into place however I was quickly running out of daylight. I stopped Tuesday evening with the back half of the cabin cleaned and both beds in place. We also placed the table and the ladder shelves in their respective places then called it a night. Literally. After heating up the last of our store-bought pizzas (no more after this) we crawled up the stairs and into bed and it wasn’t even 7 o’clock. However, neither of us slept very well because we both had ‘cabin’ on the brain.

Wednesday was more of the same. I went to work at the B&B and CountryBoy went to work in the barn on the fireplace surround. For some reason he was having a hard time wrapping his head around the design. By the time I got home he had ditched the base idea due to height issues and had the side shelves built. While I went to work on making the beds, stocking the ladder shelf, hanging shelves, Shaker peg racks and a picture…

he brought up the shelves (still wet from paint) and started putting it all together around the fireplace…

It was already looking good! Again, we quickly ran out of daylight so we called it a night and headed down to eat some tomato soup and grilled cheese sandwiches. I spent the rest of the evening updating the cabin guidebook with all the new changes.

Just before we headed up to the cabin one of the two chairs I had ordered arrived. I’m not really sure why both weren’t delivered at the same time but they weren’t. Apparently the second delivery was attempted at 9:43 last night. Are you kidding me? The lights were out long before that, ha! That night we both had a good night’s sleep now that the cabin was well under way and would be ready before guests arrived Thursday afternoon.

Today, I spent the day at work so it was up to CountryBoy to finish up the surround (he had to paint and install the top), clean and mop the rest of the cabin, take the one chair up and put the final touches in place before the guests arrived. I left work a half hour early and stopped at our local hardware store to pick up another smoke & carbon monoxide alarm. The one we had in there disappeared. How it disappeared we have no idea. Our guess is that it went off while trying to get the wood stove going and rather than setting it outside for a bit until it stopped beeping it was heaved into the ravine. That’s just our guess as it is nowhere to be found. Now, with the gas stove that shouldn’t be an issue anymore.

The second chair was delivered this afternoon so CountryBoy took it on up. Since our guests were arriving later than originally expected we took the smoke alarm up after supper and turned a lamp on. I also wanted to see it all put together. The cabin looked SO good! With the removal of the wood stove we gained a lot of useable floor space. There’s now a living space, dining space and sleeping space all in 209 square feet. It was totally worth the effort.

Also delivered today was an indoor solar light. There wasn’t enough time to install it so we’ll do that tomorrow. It charged this afternoon and is really bright. We are going to hang it over the table where it will provide some good light to eat or play games by. I have been looking for something like this since we built the cabin but never found any. We’ve used oil lamps which were wonderful but too many glass globes were being broken and they’re just not safe in an all wood cabin. The battery operated lanterns and lamp are OK but they quickly go dim and there’s all the batteries to purchase and dispose of. Now, all of a sudden, here are some solar indoor lights that actually look good and there were several to choose from. It’s another exciting addition to the cabin which will help create a cozy and comfy stay for our guests. Heck, maybe some day we’ll even get to hang out up there! I’m still keeping an eye out for a solar ceiling fan. Maybe one day I’ll have several to choose from as well.

Tomorrow, once the solar light is installed and the cabin cleaned and readied for this weekend’s guests I am going to take some photos so that I can update the photos on our Airbnb listing. Currently I am having to write a little extra blurb to the guests that are booking before I can get the photos. Thankfully everyone has been more than OK with it. I will share the photos here as well because I know many of you are interested.

Still left to do is remove the exterior stove pipe and patch the hole. That will be done the beginning of next week when we have the cabin blocked again due to the side-by-side being in the shop.


Wellness news: I was excited to find several Wild Caught seafood options at Save-a-Lot the other day – shrimp, salmon, whiting and cod. Seafood may be our staple for a while until I can find a local source for beef. Now to find some yummy recipes!


Farm news: we’re still averaging 14 eggs or so daily. Each day as the daylight hours lengthen maybe we’ll start getting a few more eggs each day. We’ve also discovered what’s been causing Mabel’s raw spots – the chickens. While CountryBoy was working in the barn he heard Mabel making a different sort of noise, more of an aggravated grunt. He peeked over her door and discovered a chicken pecking on her. He immediately shooed all the chickens out of her pen and closed the opening. Unfortunately, that means Mabel is stuck in her pen but I don’t think she cares since she doesn’t go out much during the winter months. She has her own water and a comfy bed of hay and gets served breakfast in bed. Plus, no one’s bothering her so yea, she’s good!


  1. i just love your newsletters – it doesn’t matter what you’re doing or what project you’re completing, it’s all so interesting. and i love the tips along the way – we have save-a-lot here, too, so i will check out the seafood. i’ve heard aldi is a good place to get salmon, but they have it only once a month or somesuch, and i’ve never really checked it out. congratulations on the remodeling – it’s looking so good so far. best wishes in the new year, along with good health and good weather. –suz in NE ohio

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you for such kind and encouraging words! Sometimes I wonder if I’m boring people with all my chatter, ha! I hope you’re able to find some wild caught seafood at your Save-a-Lot. It will be in the frozen section. In ours it was by the desserts and ice cream. There’s an Aldi’s in the bigger town that we like to frequent every now and then. I haven’t checked their seafood but now you’ve got me thinking I need too! Thanks for reading and taking the time to comment šŸ™‚


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