Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Need to update....

I haven't checked in here recently, and it's obvious that I should update this site more often!

At the moment, I'm in Eads, Tennessee, for our holiday visit with Nathan, Wendy, and Cole. Given that the guys are heavily into football on television, I have the time to work on the computer.

I've made the semi-annual move from Missouri back to Texas. The goats, dogs, and Lonnie and I drove south in early November. The Texas Animal Health Commission had their check station up at the border, something we've never seen before. We learned that the health papers we obtained were expired, so we had to get all the goats inspected and certified healthy after arriving in Jackson County. Other than that, the trip went smoothly.

After arriving, we've been in project mode. Things that we've accomplished include:
- installing a septic system at The Office of Multiplicity
- building a buck pen
- paneling the milk house to keep the cold North Wind out
- getting the spa repaired
- getting a new pasture renter who replaced fence before moving in cattle
- getting the hurricane boards down
- cleaning out the old smoke house
- sorting clutter and disposing of junk
- sewing twelve sets of flip-flop pot holders for Sandra to give to her Bunco ladies

What a wonderful life!

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

What a day this has been!

Today was supposed to be a day of office work - balancing checkbooks, paying bills, etc. I did get some of that done, but the backhoe and crew from Kotlar plumbing showed up about 10:00 AM, and that was the end of paperwork.

While I was in Missouri, a major leak had developed in my natural gas supply line between the meter and the house. This required Center Point Energy to pull the meter, so when I got home to Ganado, there was no hot water, no gas for the range, and no gas for the dryer. Today was the day the line would be replaced.

The first thirty minutes or so, the crew and I scoped out where the digging would take place, discussed whether there were other water, electrical, phone, or drain lines in the area, and whether we were very lucky to have missed the full force of Hurricane Ike. After agreement was reached on all points, the digging began.

Digging took a couple of hours, as the gentleman from Kotlar took great care not to tear up excessive amounts of the yard, and he had to work between pecan trees, a power line, and a quite narrow spot where the meter would be.

After lunch, the new high tech gas line was set in place. The grey parts are the risers that are on each end, and the small spool of wire is a metal line that is taped to the poly gas line so that it can be located with a metal detector later, if necessary.

After the line was in place and tested, the crew repaired the pecan tree irrigation line that had to be cut in one spot. About that time, a representative from the phone company showed up frothing at the mouth about whether we had cut "his" line. I went in the house, got a dial tone on the hand set and brought it to him. He left.

The backhoe operator then began replacing the dirt. I was incredibly impressed with his skill. He filled and packed and replaced the sod that he'd skimmed off and set aside. He had even set aside the driveway gravel and replaced it carefully. You can see from the next set of pictures that there's not a hump of loose dirt, very little damage to the lawn outside of the ditch, and that he did a wonderful job.



About the time the plumbing crew left, one of my former students, Buck Schoneberg, showed up to look at the fence job we need done. He's going to prepare a bid on replacing the perimeter fence that Dan's father built about fifty years ago. The fence is so bad that the rancher who has had the pasture leased for two years won't put cattle on it for fear that they will get out on the highway. It's definitely time to do something, as he wasn't going to renew the lease. I should hear the amount of the bid in a few days.

As Buck drove away, Dustin came to help for a couple of hours after school. We again picked up sticks for the burn pile, and then, we started cleaning the garage. Unfortunately, Dustin got stung by yellow jackets under the tool rack. We scouted for more wasps, and we found three more nests, which we sprayed before suspending the garage project for today.

Today was a good day, full of varied work and many accomplishments. The only thing that I was hoping to get done that wasn't successful was scheduling the reinstallation of the gas meter. Due to the hurricane recovery, Center Point Energy is being swamped with re-hook up requests that require documentation of the line pressure test. Although Kotlar plumbing faxed the info in at 2:30 this afternoon, the information had not made it into their computer system today by 6:00 PM. I'll call again in the morning to see if we can schedule it.

I'll be looking forward to cooking, showering in hot water in my own home, and being able to fling a load of wet clothes in the dryer.

More to do!

Looks like I will be here in Texas the rest of the
month. The gas line installation is slower than I
expected. They called Monday to say I was on the
list. The owner of the company came by yesterday
morning to look at the project and step off the
length of the pipe. Two workers came by yesterday
about noon to pressure test the house and tell me
they couldn't get to it yet. The gas company has to
have documentation that the job is done and
re-pressure tested before they will even schedule
re-setting my meter.

My new crowns that they did the preliminary tooth
work for won't be back from the lab until Sept 24th.
I'm on the 'will call' list for an appointment
opening ASAP after they come in.

I have to get a new goat pen built, too. One of my
renter's brothers-in-law had to move, and their goats
are in our goat pen here till they find another place.

Luckily, the new girl working at the feed store was a
senior at Louise High School when I went to work
there mumble years ago, and she knew someone in
Louise (also a former student of mine) who now builds
fence. He's coming today to give me a bid.

So, the work continues! Wednesday is an office day
for me. Paperwork, paying bills, and filing. I
always feel good when it's DONE!

Saturday, June 28, 2008

Wonderful Work Day

Some interesting developments up here in southern Missouri. One of our neighbor's friends is a high school senior named Cody Gann. As Gann is my maiden name, and I've never met anyone outside the immediate family with that name, I was excited. I spent some time talking to his mom, Anette Gann. Her great great grandfather was n Irish immigrant trapper in this area. We'll be doing some work on seeing where our family trees merge.

Today, Lonnie, Cody, Patrick (a friend of Cody's) and I worked all day at The Outback. The list of accomplishments is long:

1. Lonnie and the boys replaced the broken window
2. Cody and Patrick got ALL the baseboards installed. This was a big job. Two living areas, three bedrooms, and LOTS of closets. They then started caulking the top edge next to the wall and filling nail holes.
3. Lonnie and I installed the lights under the utility room wall cabinet.
4. Lonnie and I re-hung the shelves in the office closets.
5. Lonnie varnished the other side of the office closet doors, then we hung them back in place.
6. I installed automatic toilet cleaners.
7. I painted the baseboards in the kitchen.
8. Cody and Patrick repaired a hole in the office wall.
9. I replaced a door knob on an outside door.
10. I checked the well house to make sure that a larger pressure tank would fit.
11. Lonnie and I re-hung the utility room cabinet doors and installed shelf paper in the cabinets.

Tomorrow's list is almost as long as today's was! Patrick may not be able to work on Sunday, so it will be three of us working. I hope things go as well!

Tuesday, June 03, 2008

New renters in The Outback

Like I said in the last post, things work out. I put an ad up for The Outback last Friday at the grocery store. No calls over the weekend. Then, Monday when we got back from running our errands in West Plains, there was a message from a lady named Angela.

I left her a message; she called back; we made an appointment for 8:00 A.M. Tuesday.

Angela and Izzy arrived right on time, and I liked them from the moment they drove up. We have a great deal in common, including a love of crows!

They have been looking for a peaceful secluded place to live. The Outback is most certainly that. While Lonnie and Izzy worked on getting the broken window out of the frame, Angela and I sat on the back porch watching the wind blow the grass like waves on the ocean.

Our new renters and their three girls are moving in at the end of the month.

One phone call. The right folks. We are all blessed.

Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Trust News

The Leigh Family Trust purchased the Hulvey homestead and 62 acres in the spring of 2006. The Hulvey's had reduced their selling price by substantially in exchange for staying in the home while they built their new one. It was a good deal for everyone. Except for some minor insurance issues, I've left them alone to get their home built. I am definitely a low interference landlady!

The spring trek to Missouri brought me here on April 28th. The next morning, I get a call from the Hulvey's. They have finished their home and will be moved into it on Wednesday. What fantastic timing!

With two phone calls, I have the electricity scheduled to go into our name. We'll be meeting with the Hulvey's today to get the keys and inspect the house.

As it's the end of the school year here, there will be new teacher and coaches arriving over the summer, so I hope to have it rented soon. I actually already have a lead on one potential renter.

Things work out.

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

April 29, 2008

We made the drive from south Texas to south central Missouri on the 28th. It was a good drive, starting at 5:50 AM, ending at about 9:00 PM. We stopped frequently, letting the dogs out of the truck on leashes to stretch their legs and take a comfort break. I offered water to the goats every time we stopped, but they didn't drink anything until 6:00 PM!

The weather was beautiful all the way - sunny and not too windy, thank goodness. A 700 mile trip pulling a trailer requires good weather.

Today was spent unloading the truck and trailer, putting things away, and getting re-oriented to southern Missouri.

After living in south Texas for the early spring, we had become used to 80 degree weather almost every day.

This morning, in Oregon County, Missouri, the low temperature was 31 degrees! It was stunning. The goats were shivering, the bunny built a nest down in the hay in his travel box, and the dogs thought they belonged on the couch rather than outside.

We made a quick run down to Thayer to get plants for the garden. We brought up tomato, parsley, and basil from Texas, but we needed the rest of the plants and seeds for a complete garden. We'll be planting beans, squash, radish, carrots, chard, more herbs, and sunflowers. For right now, the plants are in Lonnie's greenhouse. When we are sure the weather has warmed a bit, they will go in the ground. But... first we have to till all the raised beds.

There's a lot to do!

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Arielle Elizabeth Kaspar

Arielle Elizabeth Kaspar

Born Friday 15th at 4:59 pm, weighing in at 6 lbs 7.8 ounces and a length of 19.5 inches. Hair brown, eyes brown or blue depending on if you ask mom or dad. Dad may need his vision checked.

Saturday, February 09, 2008

Louise and Edna

On Thursday, February 7, just after lunch, our LaMancha goat gave birth to twin doelings. The birth was witnessed by me, Lonnie, and Jimmy. The black one is Edna, and the one with more color is Louise.

Princess and Edna
Louise, too

History of Louise and Edna -
Named after a daughter of Colonel Hungerford, Railroad V.P., Louise dates to 1881, the date the railroad came through. Hungerford had been a barber in New York City and passed through Texas en route to Mexico during the Mexican War. His beautiful daughters married well. Louise married a Mining Engineer who struck it rich in Nevada, and Edna married a European Count named Telferner. Together they formed a railroad company: The New York, Texas and Mexican Railroad. Construction began from both Rosenburg and Victoria. This explains the town names for Edna, Louise, Hungerford, Telferner and Mackay (Louise's Husband's name).

Monday, February 04, 2008

2/4/2008 Wonderful homesteading day!

This morning started out early because I thought it
was going to rain in the afternoon. I had nine
broccoli plants that I needed to get in the garden
first. Got that done, then worked up two more beds
and planted some old dry pinto bean seeds and some
flax seeds. If they come up, they will be goat snacks.

I was working on a new compost bin, which will bring
the total to three, when my phone rang. There was a
plumbing blockage at the Rogers Street house. Called
the plumber, but the dispatcher said it would be
Friday before they could get someone there. Went to
the store to get Draino. Seven bottles. Went to the
Rogers Street house, dropped off Draino, talked
plumbing, etc.

Bank, post office, feed store, Wal-Mart. Grabbed
some to-go lunch.

Worked in the office on paperwork for a couple of
hours, then headed back to the back yard to get in
dill and spinach seeds. That was interrupted by the
owner of the stray horse that's been living here
about six months or so. He had finally fixed his
fence and come to get her. He was worried about
whether she would load in the trailer, but she
followed me right in without a problem.

LaJoy, the new renter, brought back my pie plate.
Lonnie and I had made her family dinner last week.
She has a new baby at home.

Picked 20 oranges from the big tree by the garage.
Made orange juice. Gave some oranges to Lajoy.

Back to the garden. Got the seeds in. Then,
shoveled a wheelbarrow full of aged compost out of
the bins and spread it on the asparagus bed.
Hopefully, it will rain tonight. If not, I'll water
everything in the morning.

Milked the goat. Got a very full quart and a half.
Orange is keeping us in milk through the winter,
which we didn't expect. This is very very cool.

I think I'm heading to the shower now!

Friday, January 11, 2008

An absolutely perfect supper

We started a crockpot of stew first thing this morning.

I also made fruit salad. Banana, orange, apple, pear, raspberries, strawberries, kiwi.

This afternoon I baked Black Rye bread that turned out heavenly, even without addition, but we topped some of it with our homemade goat feta and some with Irish butter.

Oh my gosh! The perfect flavor combinations!

The bread recipe:

Black Rye

2 cups all purpose flour, divided
1 1/2 cups rye flour
1 envelope rapid rise yeast
3/4 cup wheat bran cereal
1 tsp salt
1 tsp coffee granules

1 1/4 cups water
1/4 cup molasses
2 Tablespoons apple cider vinegar
2 Tablespoons butter
1 square (1 ounce) unsweetened chocolate

Set aside 1 cup all purpose flour. Mix remaining
flours yeast, cereal, salt and coffee in a large bowl.

Heat water, molasses, vinegar, butter, and chocolate
until very warm, 120 - 130 degrees. Stir liquid into
dry ingredients. Mix in enough reserved flour to
make a soft dough that does not stick to the bowl.

Turn onto floured board and knead five minutes.
Shape into smooth ball; transfer to a greased baking
sheet. Loosely cover dough; let rise 40 minutes or
until almost double in size.

Bake at 400 degrees for 35 to 40 minutes.

(note: I'm not liking the results of baking bread at
400. The ends of the loaf are a bit blackened. Next
batch I'll do at 350 for an hour.)