Monday, December 11, 2017

Culvert and Clearing

Our first week.

We arrived in Florida on a Sunday night and checked into our favorite rv park for a month.  We will use this as our home base until we can move over to the new property.

Monday morning we closed on the new property.  On our way to the property we picked up a gate for the front and dropped that off.  Then it was off to M&J's to have our tractor towed to our new place.  We also brought over our other trailer with the small lawnmower.  As soon as we got there Mike and I started mowing.  Mike on the tractor with the bush hog and me on the small lawnmower.  We had a lot of clean up to do since the property was really overgrown.  The back area had small 6-8 foot trees on it that made it impossible to walk through when we first saw this place.  Mike is able to knock them down with the tractor and bush hog.  I'm kind of jealous because I know he is having loads of fun just plowing through the trees, lol.  I'm just getting covered with dusty debris from sitting so low on the lawnmower.  Really now that we have flat land Mike really needs to teach me to drive the tractor.

We spent about a week cutting and clearing.  Sadly I lost all of the pictures from that time because my camera was lost.  I still haven't found it.

Tuesday October 17-

We are going to do as much of the work ourselves as we can.  Mike using the tractor to dig out the area where we need a culvert:

We were a little busy wrestling the two 10ft culverts and the collar in the mud to take pictures.  Mike and I got enough of a hole dug, him with the tractor and me with the shovel,  for us to drop the culvert in place.  Then we added the collar and put the second culvert on the other side of the collar.  We had to do some wrestling to get the two culverts locked together.  But we did it.

Mike digging:

Digging the sides a little deeper for the water to flow out:

Covering the culvert.  Now we can have a gravel delivery:

We got quite a pile of trees and debris from our clean up round.  We called for a burn permit and started our first clean up fire:

Mike pushing the outer edges in with the tractor bucket:

We called for a couple of truckloads of gravel.  Gravel is a lot different here in Florida than in the mountains.  Since we don't have a choice we had a truck load of Millings delivered which is crushed up recycled pavement.


First truck load coming in:

Mike using that tractor again:

Cleaning up by our entrance.  Getting ready for big trucks to come in:

Our new gate:

We had a rainy day so it was a good day to get our permits.  The ladies at the county were fantastic.  They helped us draw up the plans and apply for our septic permit.  They also helped with the 911 address information.  Even though it was raining we got a lot done.

We had another truck load of millings delivered and Mike spent his time smoothing it out.

Yesterday was my birthday but with Mike and I it's always work before play so we went out to dinner today to celebrate with M&J:)  M is very thoughtful and gave me a pair if work gloves and cream for my hands.  We have a lot of vines and poison ivy/oak here so the gloves will really help(and have:)).

Of course there were many other things going on this week that didn't require pictures and since I lost my camera I lost all of the pictures of us clearing the back 2/3 of the property.  Each day we spent more time mowing, cutting and clearing. I also made multiple calls to contractors to get estimates...we will see who calls back, lol. We did hire our well and septic man.

Next up...ordering trusses and getting a concrete crew.

Tuesday, November 28, 2017

Our New Property...and The Fun Begins

As many of you know Mike and I thrive on projects.  We have been looking for a house to remodel in one of old neighborhoods in FL for many months now.  Sadly we have had no luck in finding any deals so we had to broaden our search requirements.  Since we have traveled and stayed in many places in Florida we are familiar with a lot of areas.  Mike thought we might like to do a small farm this time. Maybe settle down, ha ha, and have some animals in the future.  So in September we started scanning the real estate ads for a piece of property.  Since we have very nice friends, M and J, close to the area we are interested in they will be checking on some properties before we travel down.

Our requirements are 5 acres or more, a paved access road with some trees on the property.  You think that would be easy but it's not.  Sadly many properties in FL that have any acreage are on lime rock roads and those are awful to live on.  They are a big dirty dusty mess and your car and vehicles will constantly be filthy.  Also for whatever reason a lot of property here is completely cleared which offers no privacy.  

There are two properties we are interested in.  This is the one we think we will like best. 

And the entrance:

M and J drove by to take pictures for us:

After hurricane Irma they went back to see if there were any water problems.  As you can see there is a small "pond" by the road caused by not having a culvert and a place to flow out:

The future neighbors, lol, and more water:

The entrance is pretty wet:

Right after Irma, Mike and I contacted the realtor and drove down to Florida to see the two properties that interested us.  We stayed a few nights with M and J and drove around looking at property.   The one that was closest to M and J is the one we liked best so we made an offer and scheduled the closing for mid October.

Then it was time to get back to TN and make arrangements for another big move.  We are going to need just about everything we own to get this new job done.  We have 30 days to get moved.

There are two things we need right away, an enclosed trailer and a bush hog.  We lucked out and found a nice enclosed trailer and bought a new bush hog from the Farm Supply.  Of course Mike wants to take the tractor so we had to call transport companies and wait for quotes.  Sadly none of the places I called came through so I called our local towing company and asked the owner if he could do it.  He said yes but the cost would be too high and I should try uship.  What an amazing site if you need to transport cars, equipment or anything else.  You actually place a free ad and it goes out to haulers.  You tell them what you need hauled, to and from and give them a price.  Private haulers will contact you if you fit their schedule.  Anyway we got a man who makes regular trips from our area in TN down to Florida.  He was excellent and we will use him again.

He picked up the tractor a few days before we were leaving.  We met him at the store in the morning and he loaded up.

He contacted us every few hours with an update.  He arrived at M and J's house at about 8pm.  They sent us a picture of the tractor and bush hog.  All safe and sound.

Mike and I loaded up and heading south:

Next up...the new adventure begins.

Monday, November 20, 2017

Finally...Our Wedding

The time has come for our big day.  Mike and I have known each other for over 40 years and we have been together for 20 but it's a 365/24/7 kind of together so we can probably add another 10 years to those numbers, lol.  We have always introduced ourselves as married as the only difference was the actual paper and the legalities of it.  Mike promised that we would do the real thing by the time he was 60.  So this is how we made our wedding plans.

While sitting in an rv park last January Mike said I should look online for places to get married.  He was leaning towards a cruise wedding that we could get married by the captain.  Well we must have gotten that from tv, lol, because that's not the way it happens.  You actually get married at the dock and not on the ship.  Ok that didn't sound like fun so I did some more searching.  Of course we wanted it to be unique because Mike and I just don't do things the "normal" way.  After some searching I found that we could get married(say our vows) in a helicopter over Niagara Falls. Hmm...that sounded pretty cool so I made the arrangements.  Mike picked the date of 7-7-17 so he wouldn't forget it ha, ha.

I booked the wedding using The Falls Wedding Chapel.  They would make the arrangements for the minister, the helicopter, and the pictures.  Then I made reservations for the second hotel and dinner for our wedding night.  At the time we also had Niki(our pug) to worry about.  Niki stayed at a kennel one time when she was very young and she did not do well there.  That was the last time for Niki and kennels.  I found someone outside of Buffalo to watch her in her house for 2 nights.  This lady also had a pug so I thought it would be a fun time for Niki.  I used a site called which is a fantastic solution to find caring people to watch your pets and it is also very reasonable.  Sadly this did not happen as Niki passed away in April but I highly recommend that site.  So now all of our arrangements are made.

Flash forward 6 months and we are ready for our trip north.  We have to be in NY state 48 hours before the ceremony to get our license.  Since it is a holiday week and we don't want any problems with our plans we decided to leave on Monday July 3.  We drove through Virginia, West Virginia, and Pennsylvania.  We stayed over night in PA and then early Tuesday we went to the small town where we would get our license.  We drove through early and planned to go back after breakfast.  We found a nice spot on Lake Erie at a marina to relax until we could check into our campground for that night.  Then we got the "call" from one of Mike's sisters on Long Island.  His father had a heart attack and was admitted to the critical care unit at the hospital.  We didn't know what to do.  Was he going to be ok?  How bad was he?  At that point we were 8 hours away on the 4th of July.  Not a good time to try to get through NYC.  We talked to another sister and also his mother.  In the end we decided we had to go.  We hit a parade on our way to NY and luckily not too much traffic.  We made it to the hospital by 8:30 that night.

Mike's father was sedated and had a breathing tube doing his breathing for him.  I postponed the wedding plans.  After a few days of watch with all the siblings things "sounded" better so I made new plans for 7-17-17.  In the midst of all of this everyone felt bad about our wedding plans so we decided to go from the hospital and at least get our marriage license on our original day of 7-7-17.

On July 13 Mike's father died.  He was 87 and had a full life.  Out of respect for my mother-in-law I won't go into details.

We postponed the wedding for the second time.  We set the new date for 7-25-17.  Not quite the same but it will have to do.  We stayed with Mike's mother for 3 weeks to help her out and just be with her after Mike's father died.

With license in hand we can now get married.  We didn't have quite the same excitement as before but it was still going to be our day.

We checked into the first hotel on the 24th.  We spent the night and got ready for our wedding the next day.  The only good thing about Mike's father passing is Mike had to buy a suit.  So he wore a suit for our wedding and looked quite handsome:)

We met Sally at the chapel inside the hotel.  She and her husband took care of the paperwork and off we went to the helicopter pad.

Here we met the minister.  He told us how it would happen.  We would get into the helicopter, put our headsets on and we would say our vows almost immediately as we were right at the falls.  Then we could enjoy the rest of the ride.

Here were are with the minister:

Mike took the pictures from the helicopter:

And now we are Mr. and Mrs:)

Pictures after the helicopter:

We had a 20 year trial run and we are still doing great.  That says a lot in itself, lol.  We must be meant to be together.  We always thought we were soul mates:)

Next up the beginning of a new adventure.

Sunday, November 5, 2017

In Memory Of Niki The Princess and Best Little Supervisor

The time has come for Niki to be at rest.  It was a heartbreaking decision but I had to do what was best for my girl.  Here is what I wrote on 4-6-17

"My Niki girl just turned 14. She is old and has many old lady issues. I watch her closely and know at some point I will have to make one of the hardest decisions for her. I just don't know when that is. I guess I am looking for some guidelines.

The good....she can still see and hear pretty good. She barks when I come into the house and will howl when I dance around. I think she enjoys that. She still likes to be with us when we work. Actually she just wants to be close to me so I drag her towel around wherever I am whether I am painting, gardening or cooking. She still eats, actually her appetite has increased. She doesn't cry or whine.

Here are her problems. She has a herniated disc for the past 4 years. Her back legs don't work so well anymore. She falls a lot and has trouble getting up. I help her up to get her steady. Once she is up she can wobble around. She has more accidents in the house...thankfully it is just pooping as the vet told me she can't really feel much in her back end. Luckily I or my DH is around most of the time so she is never stuck for long. Sadly if we are not around she could end up laying in her poo...and she is miserable. She stays in her bed most of the time and sleeps a lot. She cannot stand it if I am out of her sight. She barks a lot if I leave the room. She cannot make it through the night. I get up with her 1-2 times every night to let her out....although I am the same way, lol.

She just doesn't seem to be happy anymore which makes me really sad. For two years I thought it was close for her and I even told the nieces in NY to say good bye...just in case. So far Niki is hanging in there. She is just not happy anymore and her problems will not get better. When the weather breaks I will take her for some more car rides as she likes that....or she just likes the bone I give her in the car, lol.

Sorry for the long story. I guess I just know her time is close and I really don't want to "have" to do anything...but her quality of life kind of stinks. I'm just sad and kind of confused about what to do."

So that was on April 6 just two days after her 14th birthday.  It was not happy times for my girl anymore.

THEN on April 11, 2017 I had to be the one to make the call.   She fell on the  side driveway and slid backwards.  She was not able to stop herself and Mike had to jump off the roof to help her.  I was up top.  By the time I came down I doctored her scrapes and cuts as best I could and decided to wait the night to see how she did.  She had another bad night and by morning I had Mike call the vet for me.  I knew I would cry through the call.  The vet was incredible.  They told us to bring her in within the hour.  We took Niki for her last ride and gave her a bone on the way down.  She was not scared because she was familiar with the vet's office.  I was able to hold her while she had her shot.  I also held it together until she was gone and then I couldn't stop the crying.  They gave us an Angel bag to take her home in.

Niki was born on April 4, 2003.  We got her when she was 6 weeks old.  I didn't pick her she picked me.  I was sitting on the floor when all of Niki's siblings were all over.  Niki was the one who kept coming back to me.  She is the one who got to come home with us.

Niki has been a part of the Mike and Lisa world for 14 years now.  She has had a wonderful and exciting life.  I'm not sure many people get to do as much as she did, lol.  She loved to go boating and even liked her vest.  She thought she was hot stuff that she could walk down the ramp at one of our houses and jump into the boat.  Some nights I would take her down to the boat and we would just sit on it because she liked it.  Mike thought we were crazy, lol.  She also used to love taking a walk with Mike while he fished.  She thought there was nothing better than when he caught a fish and she could smell it.  She got to travel the country with us, see many rv parks, meet many people and also meet many dogs.  At one rv park I swear she had goo goo eyes over a Great Dane, lol.  She was also the best little supervisor during all of our remodels and became a very big part of our Off Grid in TN story.  She is missed every day but I know she is not in any pain.    

I'm glad her time came while we were in TN.  I found a beautiful spot for her overlooking the valley:

And just some memories:

Rest in peace little girl.  It is quiet on this new project without little pug!!