Sunday, October 12, 2014

Moving Along a Little at a Time

Moving Along a Little at a Time
The family visit was great! We didn't get the room cordoned off downstairs or loft or the bunk room completed as planned, but it didn't matter anyway. :) Everyone just basically camped out on the mattresses we'd bought, so everyone was comfy...well, except for hubby! LOL He gave up his side of the bed to my sister and slept on a fold-up roll-away bed downstairs with 3 of the dogs. My Hoodoo slept on the bed between my sister and I because he would not have cooperated downstairs.

Here is the family picture we took on the church steps. I had sooo wanted our Dad here as well so he could be sitting on the top step, but that just wasn't to be. But we did get everyone else. Yaaay! :)

My AWESOME family!
Su, Me
Ronan, Devon, DJ I

So, now to show the progress we have up to that point. We haven't done anything since as hubby is working to get the shop ready for "opening day", which is this Wednesday (10/15).

This is looking in from the front door. Behind the TV is a huge wardrobe that will be our closet. There will be an 8' tall wall between the two that will be open 3' from the window wall and about 6' on the other end. This will allow the room to still feel open, but give privacy for the bedroom.

This is looking back at the front door. You can see the cross-supports and beginning studs for the loft, which will encompass the area above the entry and sleep 2 people. The other door you see is the door to the bunk room, where there will be 2 bunks for more sleeping room.

This (obviously) is the bedroom. We had a special surprise for Amanda - a new bed! The surprise was on us...she hated it and refused to go in it. So for a week she moped around the house trying to find a place to rest. We finally returned the pen...Hoodoo & Gris-Gris weren't happy as they'd taken it for themselves. LOL

This is looking from what will later be the end of the wall over toward the door to the stairway to the basement (and future apartment). The desk will go to the shop and that area will be enclosed. It will still be where the computer is, but it will be turned to the right with bookshelves to the left. There will be a divider wall between the desk area and the laundry closet.

A (blurred but) better view of the desk and laundry areas. Oh and note that Amanda's pen is now gone. :D

Since these pictures were taken we have finally gotten curtains up on the big windows, and while our power bill has always been much lower than expected, the curtains have improved it by another 30%! It's not bad when you can heat & cool a 1200 square foot house for less than $100 a month!

 We did get a fairly good start on the bathroom. Hubby calls the tub my "Dr. Seuss Tub". So, with that in mind, we have decided to have a little fun with the bathroom!

 As you can see the wainscoting is black (this is only the first coat, there will be 3 or 4 coats by the time I'm done). The floor under the tub is white, the floor in the main section, and under the sink is black, and in the toilet room it is red. There will be a shelf around the top of the wainscoting. It will be red and there will be white corbel supports underneath all the way around, as well as white battens set vertically about every 8" - 10" all around the wainscoting. I can't wait for the final "look" to come together!

Before the sink was put in and the toilet but back in place. Looks kind of "odd" right now, but when it's completed it will be sooo cool!

The base of the sink is the main focal point of the entire room. It is a mix of plumbing parts all put together in a Dr. Seuss-style conglomeration. I had sooo much fun painting it!

Cell phones don't take the best pics, and the lighting in the room wasn't the best, but I think you get the idea! :D

So that's what we've gotten done so far. We're about to get moving on it some more very soon, so I will share more at that time.

Until then, blessings to you and yours in the coming holiday season!

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

A Few Updates

A Few Updates
We've been working hard at getting things done around here before my family arrives in 24 days. Last week it was over a hundred and very uncomfortable at night as well. The a/c unit isn't working, something about the sensor not doing what it's supposed to. So we're waiting for the a/c guy to come see what's wrong. Hopefully he can fix it before everyone gets here!

We got the bathroom floor pieced together and almost finished with the wood sealer to seal up some of the gaps. Since that part is being covered with marine carpeting, it doesn't have to be super perfect, just not too lumpy or it will show through the carpeting.

Hubby came up with the coolest get-up for the sink's pipes. It's all together now in one piece, so now all I have to do is paint it. I'll be working on that today.

Before it was cleaned up, faucet attached, and wainscoting on the wall behind it. Time to paint it! :)

Another set of projects are chairs. There were several old chrome & vinyl chairs here when we went through the pile of junk dropped here over the last 30 years. We (or I should say I) saved them and need to get them cleaned up, stripped down to the chrome frames and then recover the seats & backs. Otherwise seating around here will be at a minimum! :)

Here's the first one I'm going to work on.

Also, in other news...we were adopted by a very pretty little Calico kitty. We named her Sonya...and she's pregnant. We've had her for about a month now, and today, as I'm sitting here, she's very restless, letting out little cries every now and then, and I'm thinking we're about to have our family enlarged - again. :)

Pretty Miss Sonya Kitty

So that's it for the moment. I'll fill in more in a few days. Thanks for stopping by! :D

Monday, June 30, 2014

Drinks All-Around! WE...HAVE...WALLS!

Drinks All-Around! WE...HAVE...WALLS!
Yes, folks, we DO have walls! The bathroom walls and (almost) 12' high ceiling have been sheetrocked! I cannot believe it! (My arms and shoulders can, from putting in all those screws!)

So here are the pics of the completed installation, next I'll do the mudding & taping and the floors.

This is the "Toilet Room". The floor will be red (like the tub base), and the walls will be wainscoting, painted black with white upper walls & ceiling. There will be saloon doors at the Toilet Room entrance, so some privacy will be afforded. ;)

 The facing wall is where the cast iron & porcelain sink will be. The bottom of it is also painted red like the bottom of the tub. Black wainscoting on the lower portion of the walls and white above. The floor in this area will be black marine carpeting.

The tub area will be divided off by ceiling to floor red draperies. The black 4' high wainscoting will continue around this area also, and the white upper walls & ceiling. The floor will be re-painted a whiter white (the sealer we put on it yellowed it, so that needs to be stripped off).

But before we get to too much of the "decorative" part of this, we'll be putting up the sheetrock in the other part of the house first. We'll also be enclosing 1/2 of the basement to make a guest apartment.

So that's where we're at for the moment. But OH does it feel GOOD! :)

Monday, June 16, 2014

Granny Tackett's Healing Balm

Granny Tackett's Healing Balm
Several years ago, after spending months breaking up the ground for my first garden (we didn't have a tiller - ugh!), I desperately needed something to save my poor dry, chapped, and cracked hands. I love working in the soil, but I hate the "dirt" on my hands that dries up and sucks away all of the natural oils from the skin. (Yeah, I know "dirt" and "soil" are technically the same thing, but to me "soil" is something beautiful that nourishes and grows things, whereas "dirt" is dry and yucky and I can't stand it on my hands, in my fingernails, or between my toes. LOL

Anyway, after working in the soil breaking it up by hand, after turning first with a shovel, my hands were absolutely miserable looking and feeling. So I pulled out my "stuff" and went to work coming up with something to nourish and heal them quickly. This is what was the end result (after tweaking it several times over the next couple of years). ;)

I also use this balm for sore muscles. It has a warming & calming effect and reduces the pain.

Oh, and in case you're wondering who "Granny Tackett" is - that's me, my alternate ego. :)

Granny Tackett's Healing Balm

With plant materials pryor to letting "set" for several weeks before use.

Without plant materials, and after much use! ;)

Yes, the recipe calls for letting it "set" for a few weeks, but I used it plant materials and all for a while, at least until that planting season was over. Then I left it to "set" (for months actually), and then removed the plant materials.

3 Yarrow flowerheads (minimum)
1 Heal-All plant (including roots)
4 Plantain leaves**
1 tablespoon Rosemary Essential Oil
1 cup Vegetable Shortening or Coconut Oil
1/8 cup Vegetable Oil (olive or sunflower being the best choices)
Mortar & Pestle
Small pot
Clean jar with well-sealing lid

On a very low heat, melt the vegetable shortening (or coconut oil) & oil together.

Grind the yarrow & heal-all in the mortar & pestle. Most of it will powder, but some will not, don't worry about it.

Add the plant material and the rosemary essential oil to the melted oil in the pot, stirring to mix well.

Pour the mixture into the jar and let cool completely. The plant material will rise to the top.

Once totally cooled, stir thoroughly to completely mix the plant materials into the balm.

Store in a cool place for several weeks before use to "set".

After 3 - 4 weeks of "setting", place the jar in a double boiler and melt the oil down again.

Strain the plant materials out, squeezing out excess oil from the plants.

Pour back in the jar and it's ready for use!

Use for scratches, wounds, burns, as an ointment or on a warm, hot cloth as a poultice.

**Another excellent plant that could be added (which I didn't think of at the time), is plantain.

The yarrow, heal-all & plantain plants can be wildcrafted from just about anywhere - which is free. Drying them is free. Most people have vegetable oil & shortening for cooking, in their kitchen. The rosemary oil is optional, so if you don't have it, don't worry about it. And a clean jar can be found by saving a jelly jar or baby food jar when it's empty.

So the cost for this excellent healing balm is basically free!

Anesthetic, Anti-inflammatory, Antiseptic, Bleeding & clotting, Blood purifier, Colds & flu’s, Coughs, Fever, Headache, Pain killer

Antibacterial action, inhibiting the growth of pseudomonas, Bacillus typhi, E. coli, Mycobacterium tuberculi, which supports its use as an alternative medicine internally and externally as an antibiotic and for hard to heal wounds and diseases; Antiseptic, Eye wash for sties and pinkeye, Styptic

Antimicrobial, Anti-inflammatory, Blisters, Coughs, Cuts,Fever, Headache, Hemorrhage, Hemorrhoids, Poison neutralizer, Scratches, Stings, Styptic, Wounds

This post is participating in the Homestead Barn Hop (#163).

Monday, June 2, 2014

My 2014 Gardens

My 2014 Gardens
Spring means planting the garden, which I finally got the new garden area tilled, having moved it from where I'd planted last year. Previously it had been behind the church building, but the turbulence of the wind whipping around the building and between it and the windbreak really played havoc on the plants. So this year I'm trying it out in the field (lol, like every other farmer around here). Hope it grows well, otherwise everyone driving by will see an abysmal failure - and that would embarrassing! ;)

Our last frost date is May 19th. For those in warmer climates, you have no clue how frustrating that can be! LOL Last year, I didn't know the planting date and subsequently had to replant most of the garden. This year I was "a good girl" and waited, finally getting to plant on May 23rd. I would have on the 19th, but for several days we had winds that would just about blow me over. Sorry, but I'm not into fighting the wind while trying to plant seeds - yes, I tried before. Last year. NOT fun! LOL Especially when you end up with "mystery" plants growing in the wrong place. ;)

Here's the garden just after getting it planted last week. (That clump in the middle is a tree stump that we thought was dead, but apparently isn't, so I'll either have to figure out how to kill it, or just allow it to grow a bit, but only to bush-size. :) We'll see.)

So far I've got Cucumbers, Gourds, Cantaloupe, Watermelon, Pinto Beans, Radishes, and Sunflowers coming up. Now for the Tomatoes, Corn, and Herb garden to make an appearance. :)

View from the other end. My potatoes are doing great!

Ok, is it my imagination or do all seeds sprouting up look the same? LOL The top photo is of Cantaloupe and the bottom photo is of Radishes. Seriously?! If I hadn't marked the rows, I would have no clue until they grew up a bit more.
Ignore the weeds. I always wait until I know where they're actually going to come up before getting in there and really cleaning it all out. I find it quite therapeutic! :)

Last year I planted 13 Rose bushes and not one grew. They all died! Come to find out, since our front yard used to be a parking lot for 50 years, and then vacant for another 30 years, the soil under the blown in topsoil had been killed with chemicals. And back then the chemicals weren't so "nice" as what we have today. When they wanted to kill weeds, they killed them. They didn't have the regulations we have now regarding their toxicity or whether or not they were carcinogenic or whatever. So anything I plant into the ground, dies. :( So not cool!

This year I built 20 planters and planted 20 Rose bushes. Some are showing life, most look like dead sticks. I'm giving them until July before I dig them back out and take them back for a refund. I'm really irritated with this whole fiasco. I want my Roses! :) I've never had so much trouble trying to get a Rose garden going. Once they're finally growing, they'll be trained to cover the fence. Lots of reds, oranges, yellows, and corals! If it would grow, it will be beautiful!

Just after getting them planted. Lots of work went into those boxes and then the planting. It had better pay off! :D

I also spread Midwest Native Wildflower seeds from American Meadows all over the front yard area, but absolutely nothing showed up. I'm hoping that they've settled into the ground and will come up next year. Otherwise it was quite a waste of money, considering I purchased quite a bit of it since we have a rather large yard!

Last year's Buffalo Burs will not be allowed to return here on the property. They're interesting plants, but those burs were devastating to the dogs (and us). Never mind the thorns! These plants are also host to the Colorado Potato Beetle (which can be seen in the picture as well, and the close up of the larvae and adult in the next pictures below), and considering my potato plants are now growing and I'm fighting these suckers already, yeah, these plants (native or not) are not permitted to grow on my property! :)

Buffalo Bur (Solanum rostratum)
aka Kansas Thistle & Prickly Nightshade

 Colorado Potato Beetle (Leptinotarsa decemlineata)

Colorado Potato Beetle larvae

The Sullivant Milkweed has made its appearance, as well as the Wild Four O'Clock, the Purple Poppy Mallow & Scarlet Globe Mallow, and many others. While we have a good variety here on the property, I would very much like to see something new. I may just have to go out and wildcraft some seeds for that to happen. :)

 Wild Four O'Clock(Mirabilis nyctaginea)

 Scarlet Globe Mallow (Sphaeralcea coccinea)

Purple Poppy Mallow (Callirhoe involucrata)

Sullivant Milkweed (Asclepias sullivantii)

There are many others making their appearance that were very prominent last year as well. Some I know their names, others I have yet to be able to find out what they are. One in particular has very pretty little tiny flowers, but then those "pretty flowers" turn into a nightmare of stickers. So not cool! LOL The poor dogs and the goats really have a hard time with those...needing "Mommy" to "fix the boo-boos". :D

This is only our 2nd Spring here, so I know much will change over time. I just have to be patient and keep planning. Love the planning. Hate the waiting! LOL

Summer will be here soon (feels like it is already). So much more to do around here, so I'd better get at today's list. 

This post is participating in the Homestead Barn Hop (#161)

Monday, May 12, 2014

Hoxie Machine in the Making

Hoxie Machine in the Making
A few months ago we finally figured out what we were going to do with that huge church building. The downstairs (kitchen and meeting room/stage area) is my craft room and altar room. The upstairs is hubby's machine shop.

Hubby had come up with a company name, but it was too generic, so I suggested something that would endear and tie us directly to our little town of Hoxie, KS. So I suggested "Hoxie Machine", he loved it, and thus "Hoxie Machine" was founded. I designed the logo, the signs are made, and should be installed soon; one for each of the round vent holes at the peak of each end of the building. They'll be 6' in diameter.

So here are some of the before & current after pictures, and as it gets even more completed I'll share more.

Looking west, toward the altar area - soon to be the "dirty room" for sanding, grinding, etc.

Looking east toward the choir loft (which will probably be turned into an apartment later), the nursery on the right (soon to be the shop office), and the entry doors (which accidentally got destroyed - not in the best condition anyway - while putting in a machine with a telehandler forklift - oops!)

The above pictures were taken prior to our buying the place, and it pretty much sat this way until this past March, when we began clearing it out to get the shop started. The pictures below were taken in the last month.

The floor tiles are mostly removed, the lathe is in the center of the room for the moment, and the trash is pushed out of the way until it can go into the burn pile.

View from the choir loft (eventual apartment) down on to the shop floor. The north side of the shop, the main working part of it, is all in place. The lathe, then the keyseater, then the mill. The compressor will go in the room behind the lathe, to keep the noise level down. The large window will eventually be cut to the floor to make a large open dock area, and will be covered with a roll down door.

And this is the logo for the business, the round one is the signs on the outside of the building, and the rectangular one is for every other use (letterhead, website, etc.)

The official opening date is June 4, 2014. But as soon as the shop is really up - meaning completely cleared of debris, the office set up, and everything really going smoothly - then we'll have a "Grand Opening". We'll post an ad in the local newspapers, send fliers to businesses that could use our services, and let our neighbors know to tell everyone they know.

It will be good to be a contributing part of the community!

Meet the New Members of the Family

Meet the New Members of the Family
A few weeks ago I got a couple of baby Nubian goats. A little black & tan doeling, her name is Khloe. And a wethered buckling named Khnum. OMG! If I'd known goats were so sweet and lovable, I would've had them years ago!

Khnum is exactly 2 weeks older than Khloe. He was born on April 4, 2014, and she was born on April 18, 2014. They have a pen we keep them in on warm days, but at night and on cold days they're in the shop office (which used to be the church nursery - very appropriate). Today is cold & rainy so they're inside. I've been working on their house, but I really suck at building, so it's taking longer than I'd planned. But it will get done, and they'll then be outside all the time, and I can begin turning that room into the shop office.

So here are Khloe & Khnum.

They're favorite hang-out spot - by the gate waiting for me to come feed them! :)

On their first day out, introducing themselves to their pen and finding the Lilac bushes. Couldn't go around, had to get tangled up inside them! LOL

My sweet Khnum.

My beautiful Khloe, chewing straw, hanging out in a makeshift shade box - a re-purposed woofer box found dumped in the church building. :)

Khloe's favorite spot to sit - on my lap!

Either late October or next March, I will have Khloe bred. If she has a doeling, I will keep her, and if a buckling I will sell him. I'm not sure if I'll like goat's milk to drink, if I do, great, if not, no big deal. I will use the goat's milk for Goat's Milk soaps. Can't have too many sideline income generating ideas!

We found a better home (with lots of acres to play, woods, and creeks - just like in KY) for Ahri & Preacher (broke my heart to let them go), but now I have the goats to help fill that void. They're definitely much more affectionate, and capable of generating some income to offset any upkeep (a preference of hubby's).  :)