Monday, December 31, 2007

Photos...

http://www.flickr.com/photos/22339837@N07/

This is a link to a few photos of our lot... not many... but will add to this album as we begin work on the lot & cabin.

End of the Year...

December 31, 2007

It’s hard to believe that today is the last day of 2007! Where has the year gone? Our family has undergone lots of changes this year… some good… others not so good. Just like every other family in the world I suppose. My philosophy is: CHANGE is GOOD! I like change… (and not just moving furniture & painting – for those of you who know me!) I understand that not everyone does… but I think change offers an opportunity for new things to happen in your life… and God is faithful… so we should rejoice in the changes life brings!

Winter has come in Nebraska. We had a white Christmas, which is unusual for us… at least in the past 15 years maybe. Our “big snow” is usually during State Basketball Tournaments. While we don’t have nearly snow Colorado currently has - it’s still plenty for us here.

The other morning I woke to Skeeter whining – obviously needing to go out to potty – and noticed that it looked really gray & cold… the neighbor’s lilac bushes were covered in heavy frost. Had we not been in the city it would have looked much like an Ansel Adams picture!

That aside, this cold is chilling me to the bone… how am I going to make it in Colorado?? I’m not questioning my desire to move… just wondering how many layers of clothes I’ll have to wear to be warm during the winter months! I’ve been cleaning out my closets… getting rid of clothes I no longer wear (still have a few I’m hanging onto for some reason) and will need to replenish said closet with thrift store sweaters, thermal shirts & sweatshirts. I look beyond the cold… look at photos I have of our property & the surrounding area… and am filled with anticipation!

Yesterday we had a family Christmas dinner. Our family goes beyond “blended”… we joke that we don’t have a family tree – it’s more of a family “bush”! Having a blended family makes it challenging for everyone to get together for holidays… our “rule” has been: here’s the date / time / place – come when you can during that time! It’s nice to get together, fun to see the little kids playing, and the big kids playing Pitch or Cribbage. Made me wonder… again… about Christmas “future”! I’m starting to think “Christmas in July” is a good plan – at least we wouldn’t have all the other family Christmases and weather (snow & ice) to plan around!

I have been jotting down some random things… as they come to mind… things I will miss about living in Nebraska… and things I will not miss! I’m sure this is not a complete list… that things can & will be added… but these come to mind now.

Some things I will miss:

v Hanging out with our family & friends on a regular basis! We are a close family… and our friends have become our extended family. I will especially miss my girlfriends!

v Meeting my military kids at the airport! (My daughter will be leaving Iraq in January ‘08, her husband will be coming home a few months later… and my son will be going back to Iraq for 15 months starting in May ’08)

v Going barefoot in the summer!

v Going to Husker football games! (Yeah, they’ve had a rough year… but we still love ‘em & bleed Husker RED!)

v Running to WalMart to pick up a “few things”! (It’ll be close to 50 miles one way out there!)

v Garage sales and thrift stores. I’m sure they’ll be there… but not without a good drive to get there!

v HuHot! Carlos O’Kelley’s, Mazatlan, Panera Bread, USA Steak Buffet, The Mill, Barnes & Noble, Popeyes, P.O. Pears…

v “Warm” Nebraska winters.

Some things I won’t miss:

v Traffic lights! Lincoln is horrible!

v Lincoln’s traffic in general (again, primarily due to poorly timed traffic lights – see above)… but especially on “football Saturdays”!

v Sirens! Ugh!

v Streetlights blocking out the stars at night!

v Loud neighbors & their big, loud trucks at all hours – again… on “football Saturdays”!

v Car alarms going off randomly… and unattended to! Ugh!

v People knocking on my door wanting to sell me stuff I don’t need or trying to convert me! Go away! I’ve already been converted!

v Barking dogs at all hours of the night! I’ll take the coyotes – at least they know when to quit!

v Squirrels! How can they be so darned cute yet SO destructive?

v Hot, humid summers… and sweating profusely.

v Ice storms!!

God Bless... and Godspeed! Have a Blessed New Year!

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Had to add a couple photos...


To the right is a photo taken from the road looking down at our lot. You can see that it has a pretty good slope. The cabin will probably be tucked behind the trees - we can use the shelter from the north wind.





To the left is a photo taken from the north lot line... that clump of trees is the same as the picture on the right. The road at the top is a right turn only... otherwise dropping off into some pasture land I think may be BLM








Will have to try to find some snow pictures! It's gorgeous! Did I say that?

Dog days of winter? and a dog named Skeeter!


I recently watched “Reading Rainbow” with little Hayli (she fell asleep). The half hour program was dedicated to dogs. The puppies they showed were SO stinkin’ cute & really made me wish we had one! We’ve not been looking seriously – just notice when there is an ad in the paper for free puppies. (My experience with spending money buying a pet has not been good…free is definitely better!) Anyway, seeing these puppies today really made me want one… or two! Part of me thinks we should get a puppy before we head to Colorado… and part of me thinks we should wait until we get there before making that commitment. I am really not looking forward to potty training! Geesh! After all these years I finally got Jerry house broken!

Well…. Just when I think things are moving right along… or maybe even settling down some…someone throws a wrench in things! My son Alex (US Army) has a 9 month black lab – named Skeeter - who is going to be needing a home ASAP. (Please refer to the picture of Skeeter in the upper left corner.) Alex will be deploying to Iraq for a second tour beginning in May ’08 and will be taking some classes that will require him to be away from Skeeter beginning NOW… so of course, Jerry & I are the obvious targets! Ha! He’s a pretty good dog… although we’re not fond of the name. Doesn’t really go with any of the dog names we thought we’d choose from if / when we got a dog.

A few years ago while driving back from Colorado (it was way after midnight) Jerry was having a hard time staying awake so we started talking about anything… everything… then finally… dog names. Here is a sampling of what we came up with:

  • Smith… and Wesson.
  • Remington - (Remy for short) – I really like this one!
  • Winchester – (Winnie for a girl, Chester or Chet for a boy)
  • Marlin. (Are you seeing a pattern here??)
  • Fred & Ethel, Ricky & Lucy, Ozzie & Harriet, Laverne & Shirley, Lenny & Squiggy… this list could go on forever! Ha!
  • Clifford (yes! As in The Big Red Dog – although this would really only work for a “red” dog I think!)

As you may notice… Skeeter is not among the names on the list. He’s been with us for a few days now… and I’m thinking his name should be “Mama’s Boy” as he follows me around and whines if he can’t find me or if I’m in a room & have the door closed. He is mostly house trained… has had a couple minor accidents… human error… and knows a few commands (the usual: sit, stay, lay down, potty?, outside?). I checked with a local pet supply store that has obedience classes to see if Skeeter can gain some socialization skills… he doesn’t play well with others (dogs, that is).

My daughter will be coming home from Iraq in January & will be taking Hayli home with her in February… so I guess we’re trading one pooping machine for another.

Just in case I don't get back on here for a while...Have a Blessed Christmas and a Safe New Year! Keep praying for our military... and remember...

When you're down to nothin', God is up to something!

Peace & Joy be yours! ^j^

Thursday, December 6, 2007

Projects

This morning we woke to a beautiful snowfall… it’s still snowing… big flakes... we’re supposed to get 3-5” according to the little man in the television. Beautiful is a relative term however. Beautiful as in – it’s beautiful coming down, beautiful on the huge branches of the pine trees. And beautiful tonite when the moon shines on it making it sparkle! But right now, most beautiful when viewed from my living room window while sitting under a warm blanket drinking coffee! That’s about it. In my opinion snow in Nebraska is not nearly as beautiful as snow in the mountains. We’ll see how I feel next year at this time! I wonder how much snow is on our mountain right now. Last year (Dec. 2006 to May 2007) the Sangre de Cristo Ranches area had 271 inches of snow. If I did the math right... that's just under 23 feet of snow! Yikes! and Brrrrr! (Note to self: get new snow boots & wool socks & long johns!)

Jerry is not thrilled with the idea of shoveling the driveway & sidewalk… but Hayli (2 ½) can hardly stand it that she can’t just go out in her pajamas & snow boots to play in it! Sounds like the neighbor has cranked up his snow blower! I think it needs a tune up!

In other news... I did a "case study" regarding toilet paper usage in our house! This study was done mostly to calm my nerves regarding how much toilet paper would be needed in the (hopefully unlikely) event of being snowbound in a cabin for 3-5 months. Based on using 2-ply, double roll toilet paper...during the month of November (minus 3 days in Kansas) two of us used one roll of toilet paper approximately every 4-5 days. Does this seem excessive to you?? Maybe we need less fiber!?!?

CURRENT & ONGOING PROJECTS: RESEARCH…and LOTS of it!! Jerry & I are both reading as much as we can about building, “solar systems”, composting toilets, water collection systems/cisterns, hunting (ok… that would be Jerry – I’m not into killing stuff unless I absolutely have to), winter gardening (starting plants in small containers in a sun room setting), canning & preserving food, etc. We’ve bought a few books (we’ll have quite a library by the time we move out there!). I’ve been reading online…random “living off the grid” & “green-living” sites and also blogs of people who are currently living off the grid and/or are building in the same area as we are going to be.

One gal who is in an MSN online group I belong to sent me three books… the Foxfire series by Eliot Wigginton… ever heard of it? Many thanks, Mary for those books! Recently purchased books include: “The Good Life” by Scott & Helen Nearing, “The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Solar Power for Your Home” by Dan Ramsey with David Hughes, “The Cabin” by Dale Fulfinger & Susan E. Davis and most recently “HOME WORK Handbuilt Shelter” by Lloyd Kahn. Thanks to my friend Angela for steering me toward the Nearing book… it is very interesting, especially so because the people lived in Vermont, self-sufficiently thru the years of the Great Depression.

WINTER PROJECT: When I was in junior high school I learned to crochet… simple stuff like hot pads… nothing fancy! Well… I got the itch to try it again after watching a friend crochet scarves. I went out & bought crochet hooks & yarn… and was pleasantly surprised at how easy it was… just like riding a bicycle… just jump back on & start pedaling! Anyway, in a couple days’ time I whipped out a lap-size throw which I gave to Jerry (Merry Christmas!). He loves it… says it’s very warm & encouraged me to do more! So… I bought MORE yarn & am currently working on a larger throw. This one I will give to my dad for Christmas (it's purple - as in Kansas State - but not that purple!) & make another for my mom. I can make one in a 2-3 evenings (plus Hayli's nap time) so it goes quickly! If I have time I’ll make scarves for my kids.

I’m also hoping to start sewing my first quilt/bedspread! I saw a picture in a magazine recently that sparked the idea. Although the type of fabrics that were used was not mentioned specifically, I decided to visit a local thrift store & buy men’s dress slacks… wool blends mostly. I was going to cut them into pieces, sew them together & then do kind of crazy quilt stitches (you can tell I know nothing about this, right?) as decoration. But I may use the “slacks” for border & put a large piece of flannel-type fabric in the center, cut out triangles to make trees (I think they call it “appliqué” in the quilting world). I thought I’d use something soft like micro suede for the back. I’d like the colors to be neutrals – browns, tans, grays, blacks – I suppose it depends on what I can find. I’m wondering about making this more of a duvet –type cover because I have a comforter that I thought was great when I bought it & now I’m not digging it so much… but I could cover it with this… and not have to spend money on quilt batting, etc. Anyway… I was counting on my mom’s expertise (and patience!) to guide me through this project. (In the last 25 years the only thing I’ve sewn has been beanbags! I should be embarrassed… but sadly, I’m not! ) Mom recently (Oct. ’07) broke her arm & is expecting about 6 months of recovery / rehab so I can probably count her out on helping me in a hands-on way… maybe just verbal direction. My good friend, Julie (who is also an expert quilter) just moved to North Carolina – so I can count her out as well for at-hand advice & help! Guess this will be a true test to find out what I can actually do! (Are you getting the sense that I don’t have a lot of confidence in my sewing abilities? Hmmm? You’d be correct!)

Also this winter we will continue downsizing… getting rid of furniture and “stuff” that we won’t need – or won’t have room for. We sold our sofa & loveseat to the son of some friends… he needed them more than we did… and we bought a couple recliners (smaller & easier to move). We continue to have a booth at a local antique mall and put stuff on eBay… small stuff mostly… things that are easily shipped. I had planned to have a garage sale this fall but the weather didn’t cooperate.

I put up our Christmas tree after we got back from Thanksgiving on the farm…no lights this year... just hand made and/or rustic looking ornaments. I put together a BIG Rubbermaid tote full of beautiful but fragile Christmas ornaments...things I no longer use now that I have only one tree (instead of 4). These will go with my daughter whom I know will appreciate them. Besides, I am pretty sure she’s been coveting some of them so she may as well have them!

I’ve been methodically been going thru our house making note of items for Christmas re-gifting and am finding the list is getting longer! WooHoo!! To go along with the re-gifting theme… I think I will wrap these gifts in newspaper tied with raffia!

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