Archive | March, 2010

The Evil Deer

March 29, 2010

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I’ve mentioned many, many times before that we have a deer problem here. Which is really weird, because I live in the busiest part of my small town, and I’m only a few miles away from a city. These deer eat EVERYTHING. I hate them, I do. They are eating machines on springy legs. If I could hit the backside of a barn (and was allowed to in town), I’d plug these critters full of lead and have them all for dinner.

OK OK I’m exaggerating!!!

I’d eat ONE of them for dinner. And give the rest away. Gah! These deer make me mad.

I was upstairs a few days ago, at dusk, and looked out the window. What did I see? These mangy varmints!

Deer2

I counted TEN of them! The photos are poor, sorry. But can you see their evil, glittering eyes? They have intentions of eating everything I plant, they do! Then they leave their dainty little droppings alllll over my yard– the NERVE! First they chew up all my precious vegetation, then insult me by using my yard as their Toto toilet.

Deer3

DEER1

Unbelievable. I’m beyond upset. What the heck do I do?!

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Find the Kitty Friday 3/26

March 26, 2010

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UMMMMM. She’s not been working with me here, peeps.

FTK 2.26

Haha, that was one morning I deviated from our morning routine and did not pull up the roller blinds. Poor baby. Nature beckons!

Here’s another Find the Kitty: where’s there’s a sunbeam, there’s a kitty! She looks so relaxed.

sunnycat

Anyway, I’m still going gangbusters these days, scrambling to write all my articles for various companies. Just think, two months ago I had no work! Now, I’m scrambling to keep up! I’m very blessed despite my busyness: every dollar saved is going toward my business expenses and then toward the new kitchen. Early estimates are that my kitchen will *probably* cost me $3,000 to $3,500. Yikes!

I will have the plumber in for estimates in a week or two… then there’ the vegetable garden that I must begin… and of course, my writing job goes ever on… then comes the demolition… πŸ˜€ Progress, AT LAST!

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You Can Do It, Yes, You Can!

March 22, 2010

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In my recent post about my new textbook, Lin from duckandwheelwithstring.blogspot.com asked a question in her usual elegant and poised manner:

Head gonna ’splode. Are you seriously gonna do that yourself??? Wow.

Hee hee!

I thought I’d post my response here (rather then have it buried in the comments), because I realized that a few of you “newer” readers did not go through the excruciatingly crazy time when we gutted our living room, in the summer of 2007. It was SUPPOSED to be a simple tear-down-the-walls-and-slap-news-ones-up-again job.. but my house is 150+ years old. I guess that kind of project never happens with old homes.

When I opened up the walls, I found a few surprises. One, noggin– noggin is brick, installed in the studs. We’ve no idea why the original builder did that; it was rare even back then. We suppose it was to help keep the house cool. And it does… both summer AND winter. :S

tn_more-noggin

I also found mouse-chewed wires, and quite a few bare wires. And a disastrous mess of mangled wires. Oh Lord, it was a disaster. Long ago, the previous owners ripped off the flooring to the second floor, installed wiring, and put the floors back on– basically encapsulating the wiring. And this is what it looked like, 70 years later when I opened it up.

Bad Knob Wiring 1

You can read more about the craziness if you click the links. I had no intentions of doing the wiring myself, but I couldn’t find an electrician who would do one room– well, I did finally get one quote, but he wanted $1500 for it. I decided to study at night and do it myself.

Electrician Shock
Why My Electricity Won’t Work
Things Looking Brighter
The worst part was going into The Attic [insert creepy organ music]
It was a very frustrating job at times.
I also installed Cat5 ethernet wiring for the living room.

ALL MY WORK PASSED Codes Inspection! I was so happy.

tn_cb-panel

Besides the living room, I installed wiring in my daughters’ bedroom above, light switches for two bedrooms upstairs, and separate outlets for the washing machine and sump pump. However, half the house still has no electricity. After seeing the condition of the living room wiring, I was too terrified to turn the rest of the old wiring back on. I disconnected everything I could. It’s been almost three years, and I’m hoping praying I can get electricity into the kitchen, dining room, stairwell, and upper bedrooms very soon. This year, we’re tackling the kitchen. The dining room and bedrooms will have to wait, unless a miracle happens.

This is our living room. ALL MODERN wiring!!!

lr-today

You can read more about the House History and Our History here and all about Our Story of renovations up to now. After the massive 2007 renovation, which was the largest project we’ve ever accomplished yet here, I got a job blogging, and life just got hectic. I haven’t done anything else besides garden work around here. I’m praying the kitchen will be accomplished this year because it’s almost unlivable now. Please keep us in your prayers! I’m a little older now (40s) and rather out of shape because of my desk jobs for the past three years. I’m a little apprehensive about the physical labor involved. But God willing, it can be done. πŸ˜€ Thanks for reading.

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My New Textbook

March 22, 2010

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Here it is, came in the mail today:

newbk1

It’s not a thoroughly extensive book for wiring, but it addresses the basics. Plus, there is some very good information on wiring ethernet and other digital stuff throughout the home. I am definitely going to wire for ethernet throughout the house. Eventually, I’ll set up a small control panel in a special cabinet in the kitchen. It will look like a typical matching cabinet, but it will actually be a small service panel, disguised. I like to make the kitchen the “central” place.

Back to the book: diagrams like this as in the photo below are helpful, too. My next goal is to create a schematic. It is important to map out all the wiring and lighting fixtures, so that I can keep track of the circuits and make sure one circuit does not have too great a load.

newbk2

So I’m preeeeeettty busy these days! More to come.

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Why I Need a New Kitchen

March 22, 2010

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Click the image to enlarge, if you need to.

PrincessPerchKitchen

I’m getting nervous.

I’m in the process of making a materials list and getting a cost estimate for the new kitchen. Oh dear. It’s adding up! And adding and adding and adding! The flooring alone is going to cost me over $600… and that’s *just* for the kitchen. I was hoping to possibly renovate the dining room, too, but I am getting pretty squeamish by these numbers. The flooring and the drywall prices have me a little nervous. Thank God the dining room has all new windows (we had them installed when we moved in, because they were broken), but the kitchen needs two window replacements…

So to prevent me from crawling back into the procrastination cave, I’m reiterating to myself WHY we MUST renovate this kitchen THIS YEAR. We MUST. Our insurance policy is due for a renew this summer, and it will never get approved if they see this kitchen, never. The dining room still has no electricity, but at least the plaster isn’t falling on our heads in there.

And my darling princess, Livvy, needs a neat and clean place to perch so she can stare down at us while we cook, lol. I can’t have her breathing in all that plaster dust! But oh dear what an expensive cat perch this will be… and I haven’t even figured in for the cabinets and countertops yet…

*grit teeth, deep sigh*

I love renovating, I do…. except that paying for the blasted process is sooo painful. πŸ™

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Diatomaceous Earth for Human Consumption

March 20, 2010

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NOTE: This is NOT a health blog. I am NOT a medical professional or nutrition expert. This is an experiment I’ve been trying. My post here is NOT medical advice. Get the advice of a professional before taking any kind of ANYTHING, OK? You might hurt yourself!

It came! Four big jugs of food-grade diatomaceous earth!

diatomearthpowd

We’re incorporating it into our daily diet. Food-grade diatomaceous earth, also known as Fossil Shell Flour, is supposed to be good for you, I hear. I got it for the animals who have regular problems with worms and ticks (we live near a wooded area and there are a ton of stray animals around here).

Apparently, according to various websites the silica in diatomaceous earth supposedly helps strengthen bones and the joints, cleanses the digestive system and also keeps it clear of parasites, and cleanses out the blood of fatty deposits. Now, I don’t think it’s a miracle, wonder-working infomercial fix that will make you leap tall buildings in a single bound But it is natural . The food grade kind is supposed to be OK for consumption. And we’ll never get worms, that’s for sure! LOL. Right now, we mix 1/2 teaspoon in with orange juice every day. You can’t taste it. Eventually, we’ll work more of it into our diet– it can be sprinkled into soups, stews, oatmeal, etc. It has no taste and it’s the consistency of flour. I’m thinking I’ll mix it into the canned cat food for the cats, too. In case you are interested, I bought my diatomaceous earth at Earth-Works Health.com (not a paid link and they are not a sponsor in any way, shape or form).

In other news, I’m checking out refined sugar. I just found out that one website says that refined sugar is processed with dead cattle bone ash! That is DISGUSTING! Is this true?! I never liked refined sugar before, anyway. I wish sugar alternatives weren’t so darned expensive, but I’m not getting refined sugar any more. We’re trying out stevia for the coffee. I don’t know what I’m going to do when I start baking… I use molasses a lot in a lot of recipes, but it won’t work for many things. If any of you guys have any ideas, be sure to let me know.

UPDATE: Well, we took the DE and I didn’t notice any big change in my joints. It did cause a bit of constipation, so we had to drink tons of water. We have stopped using it in our OJ for now. I sprinkle DE around my patio furniture to keep insects from nesting in it.

REMEMBER: This is NOT a health blog. I am NOT a medical professional or nutrition expert. This is an experiment I’ve been trying. My post here is NOT medical advice. Get the advice of a professional before taking any kind of ANYTHING, OK? You might hurt yourself!

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Find the Kitty Friday 3/19

March 18, 2010

4 Comments

I *finally* took her outside the other day. Her whining was getting on my nerves. :S

I had to go to the grocery store, so I took her along for the drive. I opened the windows just a little, and she absolutely loved it. She sat in the front passenger seat of the van, with both paws on the door as she peered out the window, trying to soak everything in.

You should have seen the people on the street as we passed by! They did double-takes, haha! But she loved it. And as soon as we got home, she ate some Friskies and fell fast asleep! Thank God!

OK… can you find her?

FTK 3.19

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Feeding Squirrels… and feedingand feedingand feeding them…

March 17, 2010

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Rodents- BAH!

Photobucket

I don’t INTEND to feed them constantly. My goal is to feed the BIRDS. We’ve been enjoying all the birds coming to my yard, including some beautiful cardinals and chickadees!

sparwfeed

But apparently, the squirrels have discovered the feast that is in my bird feeder. I filled up the feeder three days ago, and now it’s bone dry! Unbelievable! I thought perhaps we had an influx of hungry birds, but my son said, “Oh no; I saw the squirrels dumping seed all over the ground so they could get to it.”

😐

From what I hear, squirrels are almost IMPOSSIBLE to deter from bird seed feeders. The only solution is to get a squirrel-proof feeder. *sigh*

Well, it’s a good thing I like Buy.com so much. I spotted this nice feeder for $32 at Buy.com. It’s called the Heritage Farms Birds’ Choice Squirrel Proof Feeder! How’s that for a name. And it’s birds’ choice! lol. I like the old-fashioned green paint color. That would match my house and yard perfectly. It looks pretty high-tech! What do you think? Think it’ll be the birds’ choice? It had better not be squirrel’s choice! Next thing you know, I’ll have to get an air siren to scatter all the dang rodents and deer that are infiltrating my yard! SHEESH!

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Building Supply Comparison Shopping

March 17, 2010

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Now that the snow is just about gone, I feel invigorated enough to start some planning for the new kitchen, and do some supply comparison shopping. I had this amazingly bright idea when I visited my local Big Box Home Improvement Store— take a camera to snap photos of the products! And to think I used to write it all down on paper with a pencil! No one in the store seemed to mind one bit. Maybe everybody does it, now?? It is extremely helpful to snap photos of the stuff. I can look at the photos and compare with other products online or at other stores.

Sheetrock prices are still steady. I have to find out from what country this stuff originates– I won’t buy Chinese-made sheetrock because of all the health problems it’s caused. I wrote a post about that here, if you are interested: Chinese-Made Drywall Causing Headaches.

drywalsle

I have determined to get Traffic Master Allure flooring. I LOVE the stuff, LOVE it. I wrote more about it, here.

Traffic Master Allure

allure

Of course, I have to plan all the electric, too. Wow, prices have really creeped up on this stuff. I will also *hope* to be getting some help installing the electric this time. I did the Living Room and girls’ bedroom all by myself, but the kitchen has special needs. I’d appreciate an expert or two for this. And just think– soon my entire house will FINALLY have electricity!! It’s almost too good to be true!

electrc

Yep, I’m installing Cat5 Internet wiring in EVERY ROOM. I dislike wireless. I’ll have to build a control panel somewhere, to accommodate for all the ports we’ll have.

cat5stuff

So that’s the latest. I’m really, really getting excited about this. I’m working very hard while it’s still winter, to earn enough money to pay off my bills and save some for this project. I’ll probably have to get a bank loan to fund it all, though. :-p But Lord willing, everything will fit into place. I’ll be sure to have loads of posts with photos as we progress. I am n the process of making the electrical, plumbing, and furnace duct schematic. I figure I’ll start demolition sometime at the end of April or mid-May.

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Deer Repellent

March 16, 2010

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Now that the snow is melting, I can walk to the backyard to access the winter damage done by the deer and snowmobilers. :-p

My poor apple trees. My poor grape vine!! I could skin those varmints alive, I could.

chewedvine

My grapevine didn’t get it as bad as the apple trees. The busted post is from the Husband varmint. πŸ˜‰ He accidentally backed into the garden fencing when working on the brakes, lol.

But my apples trees! πŸ™ πŸ™ :(! Ever year I go out to access the damage, and every year it’s the same– the trees are half eaten by those STUPID DEER!!!!!!!!! I hate them, I do.

chewedapptr

chewedtree

By the way, that goofy string on the limb is my hokey version of deer repellent. Well, it WAS deer repellent. Well, actually, I guess it wasn’t. It didn’t repel anything!!!! GAH!!! It was a bar of soap hanging from the string. The soap (so I heard) repels deer. MY deer are SO nasty that they even eat soap!!!

*cries*

I have to go high tech, I think. I can’t sit back and watch my beautiful trees chewed up and devoured by critters that deserve only to be made into stew. I hear coyotes repel deer! mauhahahhahaha!!!! But… coyotes repel ME, too. So…. next best thing is to get….

COYOTE WHIZ!!! Yes! Well, technically it’s called “Coyote Urea.” *adjusts glasses* I really don’t care WHAT the durn stuff is, as long as it makes those deer high-tail it outta my yard. Buy.com has some of this stuff for under $15. It’s called Shake Away Coyote Urea, and one application is supposed to last up to 90 days. That’s better than anything else I’ve have ever seen.

So, I hope my problems will be solved… now I need to figure out how to repel the blasted snowmobilers that tear up my yard…

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