Tuesday, March 21, 2017

Treasure Hunting

We have a persimmon tree that self-seeds fairly easily, so we told a neighbor he could come dig up some up the small trees and try to transplant them on his property.  When he started digging, he got more than he'd expected.  Turns out the hillside where the persimmons are growing was a dump site for the old homestead that used to be on our property.  He dug out a number of bottles from under the tree roots.  Many were broken (there were a few old boots in there, too), but some where unharmed.

I have only cleaned up the front center bottle, with the white residue inside.  It has Norwich on it, and is an old Pepto Bismal bottle.  Once I get time I'll clean up the others and see what Google can tell me about them.  Several appear to be liquor bottles, and one at first glance looks like Pepsi to me.

Hard to say what else has been  buried on our land all these years.  Prior to us moving there in 2000, no one had resided in the old (now torn down) house since the mid 70s. 

Tuesday, March 14, 2017

New Fence Line

Last year when we did that overnight backpacking trip with the boys, a big storm blew in and blew a fuse in our electric fence.  The horses got out and were running all over, and no one could reach us because we were in a region where there was no cell phone service.  Once we found out, we drove the two hours home, and I was terrified for the horses the whole way.  I already knew that Phoenix was limping.  Luckily, I was able to get them home (they were about a mile away from our house, up a mountain) and Phoenix's injury, while painful, was treatable.  I NEVER want that to happen again.  So I've been saving every cent I get from Christmas or selling stuff online towards building at least one very secure pasture.  With no electric!  That means three board fencing for most of it.  With the cost of wood right now, it's a pricy endeavor.

We've been working on this stretch since Christmas.  We hit a number of obstacles, including a broken nail gun, a post hole digger that didn't want to run, and post holes that dipped into an underground stream and were filling with water.  Not to mention all the rocks we had to dig through!  Happily, we now have a big stretch done.


This pasture already has wood fencing on two other sides.  So now three sides are fenced with wood.  We only have the back stretch left.  Because the final side is by a river (and may need adjustments as a result), and cannot be seen from the road, I will probably try to use high tensile fence wire with a mixture of wood posts and t-posts.  It should go in easier than the wood (with having to dig less holes) and hopefully will be cheaper.  After that's done, I will start saving again - I still have a couple of other stretches of wood fencing I want to do.  I do love seeing the fence lines once they're done!

Tuesday, March 7, 2017

Cort and Reid Make Great Pyramids

If you have a truly excellent memory, you may recall when Pierce made a pyramid from Legos for Social Studies in second grade.  Cort and Reid have reached that point in their studies.  Both of them were eager to start their pyramid project.  The only guideline was that it had to have a square base and four sides.  I think they each wanted to do something unique.

Reid decided to work with Sculpey clay.  He created a little scene with two pyramids, including lots of pots and treasure.  He even made the Nile river.  We baked it in the oven and then after it cooled he painted it with acrylic paints.  On the base piece he painted Elmers glue and then sprinkled sand from his sand box over it.  He spent a long Saturday creating his scene to perfection. 

Cort is really into rocks and gems, so he decided to build his pyramid from cardboard and then hot glue "gems" to it.  He also glued a layer of bright patterned paper before putting on the gems (which I got from the dollar store).  He made a pyramid that really POPS.


They were both really pleased with the results, and couldn't wait to present them in school. 
Readers, how would you make a pyramid?

Monday, February 27, 2017

The HAM Radio Operator

Last fall, Pierce got hooked on Morse code.  He'd memorized it and was going around 'speaking' in Morse code.  I mentioned (casually - I had no idea where this was going to lead at the time) that HAM radio operators used Morse code sometimes.  Next thing I knew I was having to tell Pierce every bit my (very limited) knowledge of HAM radio. 

Pierce started studying for his license exam (issued by the FCC) in December.  He used a computer program that the local amateur radio club put on my laptop for him.  For Christmas, he got a small, handheld portable HAM radio.  He was able to listen in but wouldn't be able to talk on it until he passed his exam.

In January he sat for the test, which was offered at the Red Cross in Roanoke.  He was so excited when he passed at the technician level.  He is hoping to take the general level test at some point in the future.  But for now, he can finally talk on his radio.  He went to a local field day in January, where he got to try to make contact with people all over the nation.  He talked to people in places like Kansas and Tennessee.

It's kind of funny to look over and see your kid (who still likes to wear footie pjs) reading magazines on HAM radio for fun.  I think it's the sort of hobby that he'll be able to enjoy for many years to come. 

Monday, February 20, 2017

Fermenting

My parents got me a fermenting kit for Christmas.  It had been on my wish list for a very long time.  I have some old crocks that were my great grandmother's, but they have dangers of lead paint, so they no longer recommend these for fermenting.  This method is safer, plus it prevents mold from becoming an issue.  I took this picture right after I filled it up:
My first attempt was sauerkraut.  Sauerkraut is excellent for digestion, and is loaded with good bacteria for the gut.  I took at least a week for it to get the flavor I wanted.  Once it did, I capped off the top and moved it to the fridge. 

The boys love this.  Who would've thought?  Readers, do you have any good fermentation recipes for me?

Monday, February 13, 2017

Around the Garden

I've been trying to prep the garden some during the milder days.  I layered some sand in the area I plan to plant carrots this year (very excited - I ordered some purple ones).  I have been putting down hay and mulch, and hope to bring down some manure from the rabbits as well as my compost ball. 


I couldn't find any gardening gloves one day when I was pulling the last of the fall weeds, so I borrowed some from the boys. 

I installed a bean tree for my beans to grow up (last year's bean climbing devices left a lot to be desired.  And I ordered this year's fruit trees.  I think our self-pollinating pear from last year didn't make it, so that is being replaced for free.  In addition, I ordered another peach, two plum, and a cherry. 

Readers, have you started thinking about garden plans yet?

Tuesday, February 7, 2017

Strange Guitar Happenings

I was sitting on the couch reading a book. 

It was quiet.

The boys were at school. 

It was a milder day than usual, so even the cats were outside. 

I'd done my chores for the morning and was deep in a novel when the guitar on the wall across from me plucked two notes. 

Two notes.

One right after the other.

I looked at it. 

No one was around.

No cats.

No boys.

No stinkbugs.

No earthquakes.

No explanations at all.


I googled for scientific explanations.  Was it the atmosphere?  We'd had a lot of rain.  I didn't find any logical answers.

I remembered my maternal grandfather always used to tell a story of attending the funeral of Uncle Bill and hearing a banjo play 2-3 notes at the wake.  I asked my mom if this was one of his tall tales.  She said no, that she was there too when that happened.

So I actually have a genetic heritage of hearing guitars play notes on their own.  It's in my genes.

How's that for scientific explanations?

Readers, you got any similar strange happenings to tell me?