Off Grid...Chapter 98
It has been a very busy week in the Mike and Lisa world...and Niki too. So let me tell you about our week.
Today was our least active day because we had to go to Kingsport for an appointment. Wow I can't believe how much hotter it is here. On our way home we stopped at our favorite exit in Bristol VA and went to Sam's Club.
After a long day we finally made it back home. Mike spotted some deer in one of the cow paths.
One of these days I would really like to get a better camera for distance shots like this.
Mike had to leave this morning for an appointment so I am home by myself which is highly unusual. Well it's off to work for me. I did some wash and hung it out and cleaned the house. Next I went outside to water my garden which is looking pretty good and then it's off to the rock in the ditch.
Mike dumped some piles of dirt on the side of the road that have to be laid out.
After I am finished.
Next I work on the small garden in front of our house. We have 3 plants that need to be planted. Here is my first hole being dug out.
And all 3 plants are in.
I go back up top and put the tomato cages on my plants before they get too big.
I am keeping busy but it is really really strange working without Mike. I miss my buddy.
Next I start to mow the lawn. It's looking pretty good and then I run out of gas. I check the building for gas but I'm not sure which ones are diesel and which ones are regular. I really have to get Mike to mark these containers Ok, so I check the 4-wheeler tank to see if I can siphon some gas...I don''t need much. But the 4-wheeler is really low. Oh well...I'll have to wait for Mike.
Woo hoo....my honey is home...with the Fed Ex man. We got our new replacement water pump. Mike puts that away as a back up.
Brian also shows up to work on the pond and the ditch. Here he is making a nice tapered ditch line from the spring to the new pond area.
I asked him if he cold take out a big bush using the track hoe. Gotta love machines. They make work so much easier.
Randy shows up to drive the dump truck. First Brian fills it up.
Then Randy dumps the dirt to make the pond wall.
Once Randy has a pile of dirt for the pond wall, Brian comes down with the track hoe to push it over and pack the wall. While he is on the wall he takes a tree out. This is so cool.
First he grabs it.
And then he just rips the whole tree right out of the ground.
Sorry...you should all know how much I love watching machines work. It must be because I know the alternative, digging it out by hand, is so much harder.
Since they got a late start they will have to come back tomorrow.
Brian digs out more of our hill which has some beautiful top soil.
The pond wall is starting to look good.
Today it's all about the pond.
BTW, our solar has been doing fantastic. We have been using the electric coffee. I gotta say, it's not as good as the stove top percolator but it is faster.
Mike and I go down to check the pond wall first thing. Oh no....there is water getting through and coming out the other side of the wall. It looks like we have a leak somewhere. We will have to wait for Brian to see if he can add more dirt and pack it some more.
While we wait, we get back to the job we have been avoiding...the dreaded ditch line. We start off just by hauling the rock up to the ditch. We have to load the bucket by the rock pile and then dump it along side the ditch. After hauling 8 loads of rock it's time to work the ditch.
We are up to the part of the friveway with the curve. We will have to seed the side, curlex it, and then add the rock. I start off by cutting any branches and weeds that are sticking out of the bank. Mike seeds it. Then we roll out the curlex.
Mike staples the curlex on the hill. This time we are putting in extra staples to protect it fro the cows. Hopefully it works.
We also broke a small piece of the curb this morning when we dumped the rock. We have to be careful because the curbs are fragile once it gets to hot. Luckily we saved the pieces and Mike can fix it.
He uses a torch to heat up the curb pieces and puts it back together.
The rock and the curlex looking good.
After that, Mike goes down to check on Brian and Randy. They have been here for a little while. Mike had Brian dig back the area where the leak was and they watched the water come through. Then Brian packed it some more but the water kept coming through....but it was clear water. The water that is filling our pond is muddy right now. Yeah it's not a leak. It's a spring that comes out in our wall. OK, that can be fixed. Mike goes into the barn to see what kind of pipe we have. He finds the old wind generator pole and another PVC pipe. That will work.....nothing goes to waste around here. He connected the pipes and added the PVC for an extension. Then they found the head of the spring and stuck the pipe in. We now have an awesome spring flowing past our pond and into another creek going out of our property into the main creek.
Our new spring.....almost like a running hose. Too bad that wasn't the spring feeding our pond. That is some crystal clear water.
Jimmy stops by to check on his guys. He can't get over how much top soil we got out of that one area...and we are using it for the pond wall, lol. Hey we gotta use what we have and it happens to be some awesome dirt.
It's almost time to install the overfill pipe. A pipe has to be installed at the top side of the pond so any water that gets close to the top will go through the pipe and out to our creek. Mike and I went to David's the other day and bought 2 10 foot pipes and an elbow. Now Mike and Randy are getting ready to install it while Brian packs the wall.
Next Brian digs out a small ditch so Mike and Randy can put the pipe in. Then it gets covered. A perfect fit.
We still need to make the wall higher on the far end but the guys are off for the Holiday. We'll have to wait until next week to finish.
That afternoon I got some essential oils that I ordered in the mail. Woo hoo. I am making my own cleaning products. I got lemon, lavender, bergamot & grapefruit, and peppermint which smells really fresh. Back at the house I made an all purpose cleaner, glass cleaner, dish soap, furniture polish, and air freshener. Well I can't seem to cut back on the bottles but I can cut out the chemicals.
Mike is determined. We want to get rid of the rock pile at the bottom so that we can have Brian grade that area. On our way down we check the curlex...and guess what? Yup, the cows trekked across it. Why do they do that when they have almost 40 acres? OK back to the rock pile. We load up and haul about 8 loads of rock. Then we get the seed, curlex, and staples out. Time to do another section.
Mike staples the next section of curlex.
And the 8 loads of rock are laid out. Looking good.
After that we haul up another 6 loads of rock. This is the never ending rock pile and our gloves are falling apart, lol.
Later that afternoon I made a trip to town. I stopped off at the extension office which was so cool. I got all kinds of info on gardening, plants, canning and more. Then I stopped at the nursery and picked up some yellow peppers, some more tomatoes, and one eggplant.
First thing this morning we loaded more rock....I think I see a light at the end of the tunnel...woo hoo. After 8 loads we took a break. On our second round we load up 7 more buckets of rock.
Almost at the end of the rock pile.
Yay...we have no more rock...at least at the bottom. Now it sits along the ditch line waiting for us to spread it out.
I planted the rest of my plants but they didn't all fit in the garden. So now I have a zucchini, a squash, a tomato, and the eggplant in buckets. Mike says.... didn't we make the garden big enough, lol?
Whew...it's been a long few days. I think we need to take a day off from rock work, lol. Brian stops by that night to check on the pond. He wanted to make sure the water didn't go over the top...which wold be bad because the wall isn't high enough yet. If the water goes over the top it could wash away some of our new wall. So far we are safe. Now if it just holds until he gets back on Tuesday.
Yay, we are not doing any rock work today. I decided to try and make a fruit roll using the apriums I bought at Sam's. An aprium is a cross between an apricot and a plum. Well I bought a box and unfortunately I didn't really like them so I had to come up with a way to use them. Fruit rolls are really easy to make so I deciede to try it. First I chopped up the fruit and measured 2 cups of fruit. I added some lemon and a little sugar and cooked it until the sugar dissolved. Next you are supposed to puree it but since I don't have a blender I mashed it with a potato masher...which made it chunkier than it should be. Next it gets spread out on a cookie sheet with plastic wrap. ( I know it looks a little scary, lol)
It is supposed to be finished after 6 hours in the oven at 150. We'll see.
Mike gets up and he wants to finish the front wall. Guess who gets to clean up is mess? We move all of the chairs out of the room, clear out all of the extras, and close off the doors. Next we cover the TV and the heater. Now we are ready.
Mike does a light sand on the wall. Thankfully it is light.
I hold a board underneath to catch the majority of the dust. Once we are done with that I decide to do a big Spring cleaning since we have the room cleared out. I start in the Living room and pull the couch and tables away from the walls. Then I clean the walls, the floor trim, and clean and dust everything with my new homemade cleaners.
The room is stripped.
Then Mike paints the front wall.
After that I check on the Aprium in the oven. The edges look dried but it is still a little wet in the middle. I sneak a piece and it's pretty good. Next time I might try blueberries....yum.
Here is the dried fruit out of the oven. Now it gets rolled and eaten....as long as you like weirdy stuff like do. Mike would never touch something like this, lol.
Well the house looks good and it smells like peppermint...and then Mike decides to change the bedroom around. If we are going to do that we might as well do a full clean. I strip the bed and start to wash the sheets and blankets. The pillows and comforter will have to get done tomorrow. We take the mattress and box spring off the bed and bring it outside to air out. Next we empty out armories and drawers.
Sure just when I "had" everything in the main area clean Mike makes a mess.
This turned out to be a big job. It took most of the night but we got the bedroom stripped and scrubbed, and the furniture moved. Now we just have to finish putting all of the clothes away. I'm done. The bed is remade and that's good enough for me. Tomorrow is another day.
Well that's our story for the week. We got a lot done and hopefully we will have another busy week this week, May has been a great month and we have a lot of plans for June.