Saturday, December 22, 2012

Update Christmas 2012

I know it's about time I updated for the people following this blog. There has been a lot going on lately. One thing is that I am in the process of adding on to my tiny house. I am adding a 10 x 12 bath/laundry, also a little sleeping nook.
I have also had quite a few trees cut down, around 20 so far. I loved my shade but I also want to have some sunshine so I can grow a garden. Also, too many giant trees right against the house makes for a scary time when the wind blows hard in these mountains.
With the new addition and the sleeping nook I will have 472 sq ft of luxurious room! I have a few pictures to post of the outside but there is a lot going on inside that I can't get pictures of yet. I have a great carpenter helping me out part time. Work is progressing very slowly this time of year especially what with the cold or rain and Christmas. Hopefully it will be done by Spring!
I was in a very serious car accident August 24th. A lady decided to turn left right in front of me on a two lane highway and hit me head on. I was driving about 50 mph. I had taken my mother and my grandmother for the day to Asheville NC and we were within 2 miles of their house on the way back when we were hit.
My Grandmother passed away about 3 hours later. My Mother and I were airlifted to the University of Tennessee hospital. My Mother died on August 30th after struggling very hard to survive. I was released from the hospital on the day my mother passed. I was the lucky one,  my injuries were not life threatening. I sustained 8 broken ribs, 2 fingers were completely bent backwards but surgery fixed them and I had a severe head injury with brain bleed. I am doing fine, still recuperating and unable to go back to work, but all will be well.
I was left a small inheritance by my Grandmother and decided to use it to work on my house. She loved it here and would have been delighted to see what I am doing.
All of my lumber has come from a local sawmill and the cost is ridiculously low compared to what I would pay at Lowes or Home Depot.
I still don't have running water, but I am working towards that. Building a bath and laundry was the first step.
Check out the photos and I promise to post more as we progress.

You'll notice a tree inside my room. That was going to be left there, until I found a treecutter that said he could get it out for me.He did an excellent job, taking out the very top, then sawing off one log at a time till he got below the floor. That tree was about 80 ft tall.  We were going to just build around it, but I am so glad to get it out of there, it gave me a lot more room. Turns out the tree looked nice and healthy till he got to the bottom and it was hollow so it's a good thing we got it out of there. The tall bald guy is my son Casey, he's been helping my carpenter, Lorenzo.

Now we're getting the roof, fascia and window trim added

Here are some close ups of the trim. I used live edge cedar for windows and live edge white pine for fascia. I've used 12 inch white pine siding and will add the battens later after it's had a chance to dry.

My old porch is being taken off and we're adding a new porch. I had used lumber from the sawmill to build it originally and it was rotting. New porch will be pressure treated. The left corner is where my sleeping nook is going, it will be an 8 x 8 space.

The new porch will match the porch on the addition with Trees for posts. I will also have a new porch all the way around the front. All fascia, roof and window trim will match.
That's about all I have to show you right now, other than the mess in my yard from cutting trees. I have a neighbor that wants the logs and firewood, so I'm waiting on them to come clean up. It looks like a bomb went off in the meantime, and these are only a few of the trees on one side of the house!

Till next time, Roxy

Saturday, April 14, 2012

Time Flies

Well, it's the beginning of year four in Persimmon Glen. Lot's of things have been done, lot's undone.
I worked this winter to get walls built inside putting in a small closet, pantry, kitchen and a loft, which I'm using for storage. That's always a nice thing to have. Also managed to add a window in the kitchen. love it!

Still no running water, who would have though anyone could get along in this day and age without it, but I manage to make do.
In the last couple of weeks I've been working on making a garden despite all the shade. I'm getting a few small trees cut down and that is opening up some sunshine, hopefully it will be enough to make the garden grow.
I took a trip to Colonial Williamsburg, Jamestown and Yorktown, and was inspired to try a colonial style garden. That is, instead of plowing and digging the ground, you simply use a hoe, remove rocks and roots and pile the dirt up. Then you build a primitive fence to help keep small creatures out. It looks terrific. It had never occurred to me how the colonists made a garden without plows until I saw how it was done in Yorktown. Brilliant! Especially since I don't own a plow either!

Small, manageable plots, just my size!
So, that's how my winters been.
Today I scoured some of my cast iron cook ware, relaxing in the shade, and just put on a pot of black eyed peas for supper. Anyone want to join me?

Thursday, December 30, 2010

Taming the Wilds

As I was scraping snow off of the porch today with a dust pan, I started wondering who was taming who?

I started with a raw piece of land three years ago come April 1st and this is my third winter here.
Seems to me I'm the one that's been tamed.
Sure, I've carved out a small corner for my home and even dug out a few terraces for when I have company, a place for a table and chairs and of course the firepit. I had a driveway made and brought in a storage shed, but thats about as far as I've gotten.
The weeds up the hill tend to take over now, after trying to battle them every year, I kind of gave up on that. After all, I reason, I don't spend a lot of time there. It's all I can do to keep the weeds down from around my yard. Gave up on grass. Tried to plant some special shade loving grass and that didn't do too well. Of course, I didn't try to help it along either once I got to thinking about having to mow it.

The driveway I had put in that goes to the area on the hill where I eventually want to build another small cabin is getting washed out by the runoff from the top of the mountain. Oh, well, I think. It's gonna be a long time before I can start another cabin, and in the meantime, I hardly ever drive up there anyway.

My first year here, I spent the whole spring,summer and fall raking and burning leaves and cleaning tangled vines and dead leaves off of the 500 rock wall. I cut back weeds and claimed an area as my yard space, making it even bigger the second year. By my third spring and summer here I decided that raking leaves goes against nature and decided to let them go, gently raking only a small area, and after all, how big of a yard do I really need?

The first year here, I made a twig fence with character, now it's starting to crumble away and I'm planning on rebuilding parts of it next year. I started out with a 12 ft pond, digging and digging it out, then filled it in and settled for a small tiered one about 3 ft across.

I had all of these grand plans, and still do, but my land has taught me that it's more important to learn it's rhythms and work with it rather than against it. I have learned to slow down and listen and stop fighting to tame this land. It has been here a long time and will be here long after I'm gone and nothing I do to change it is going to last anyway.

I have learned patience from my trees. I tended to want everything now. I wanted all of my visions for this land to happen as soon as possible and it doesn't work that way.
I am building a life here, trying to keep it debt free and unless you have some deep pockets, it doesn't happen overnight.

So, next year, surely I will get my room addition done, after all, I've had the floor down since last summer.
Next year, I will finish my porch, after all, I got a good part of it done last summer.

Next year, I will have my own indoor shower if I manage to get the addition done.

I have found that I am the one that has been tamed. I have fallen in with the rhythms of nature, hibernating in the winter, looking forward to the warmth of Spring and the new green shoots popping out of the ground, slowing down in the summer heat, and relaxing on the deck in the crisp cool autumn air.
The day is warming and the snow is melting in the sunshine. Why keep shoveling it off when I can let nature do it's own job.
Think I'll make some snow cream instead before it all melts away.

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Old Fashioned Christmas, Radical Idea

Being the time of year it is I feel the need to pass along a few thoughts that are rolling around in my mind.

I wander around the local malls, stores, the television and the world wide web and am surrounded by Christmas. Songs coming from every corner of every room I enter, lights and
decorations abound. Buy, buy, buy is the message everywhere.

I happen to live in a tourist area and this means it is multiplied with the commercialism of
bringing tourists in to shop, shop, shop. Christmas is everywhere you go this time of year.

Debates get hotter and hotter as the 25th nears over the commercialism and the meaning of
Christmas. The Christians are mad if a manger is left out of holiday decorations, the Jews
are mad if a menorah isn't displayed, we now have state regulations for decorations in all
government buildings, was Jesus really born on Dec 25th, is it a Pagan or a Christian
holiday, is it 'Happy Holidays', or 'Merry Christmas', ad nauseum..

As the years pass I see the meaning of Christmas going away and being replaced with a lot
of hatred and anger, stress and depression. This has become the time of year when more
people commit suicide and feel bad about themselves based on what they DON'T have. The haves and have not's are brought into sharp relief.

If you don't have the latest gadgets and hottest toys under the tree we feel sorry for you,
so we drop gifts in the Toys for Tots box at the local department store or we pick a name
off the angel tree and buy some warm socks for you. The churches ask for food donations to
give to the needy.

I can't help but notice that when giving to others, no one is purchasing a Wii or an MP3
player to drop in the box. It's usually the most basic of needs we stick in those big boxes that is supposed to light up the eyes of a child at Christmas.

Poor kids, they aren't getting a Nintendo for Christmas so lets give them a cheap plastic
firetruck and maybe that will make them feel better.(or us)

Poor homeless, they don't have a Mcmansion decorated to the hilt and relatives coming to
impress with how much they can spend on the holiday, so let's give them a can of spam and
hope that makes them feel better about themselves.(or us)

Poor lonely people, they have no family, so lets visit the nursing home and act like we care
once a year.

Charity after charity beg for your money, after all, it's almost the end of the year and you
can write it off your taxes.

Do your 'Christian' duty and give, give, give....

Let's face it, the holiday season has become all about money.

The reason people are so sad this time of year is because of all the commercialism. Spend,
spend, spend, and if you don't have it to spend then there's something wrong with you.

I think there's something wrong with buying into all of the commercialism.

Think back on your own childhood. Do you remember every present you ever got or do you
remember the time spent with family and friends more? What is it that made the holidays
memorable for you? Maybe THAT is what we should be passing down to our children.

If we could stop the madness and try having a holiday that involved a good meal shared with
family and friends, singing some carols together, perhaps sharing some handmade trinkets,
and celebrating what is really in our hearts and important, whether religious or not, maybe
the world would be a kinder, gentler place the rest of the year.

No one would feel inferior, no one would feel left out and lonely.

Spread the giving throughout the year. Everyone still needs a warm meal, a hug, a kind word

and a warm coat after the holidays.

Try having some backbone and standing against all the hype. Who knows, maybe it would spread and catch on and then we could really remember what we got for Christmas...

A bad case of the warm fuzzies... Lol!!!

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Yule time

Well, I think it's time to wake this blog up again. It's December and I'm not too busy this time of year working outside. Time to settle in for the winter and enjoy catching up on inside activities.
It's snowing outside right now and that never fails to make me want to curl up with a good book and spend the day being lazy.
I have stocked up on herbs for medicines, made an Elderberry tincture for colds and the flu, put up a few Yuletide decorations and now looking forward to hibernation. If I didn't have to leave the house to work, I would be one happy bear. I think it's good for me though, not just for the money, but I tend to become a hermit and I need to get out and be around people.
Over the last year I have managed to accomplish a few things around the homestead. I will be posting some pics in the coming days.
In the meantime I do have a few new pics of my tiny house on my Facebook page, this link should get you there...
I have added siding, and expanded the deck, I also have the floor done for a 10 X 12 room I'm adding on. That will be a bathroom and closet. Can't wait till that's done! I have the materials waiting for the walls and roof, all from the local sawmill.
I am also in the process of putting cedar shingles on the roof which looks pretty nice, better when it's done.
The Winter solstice is Dec 21st, on the night of the 20th there will be a full lunar eclipse, mark it on your calendar, those don't come along very often!
Thanks for hanging in with me, and thanks to my followers for asking where I've been. I will get back to posting regularly now, and have some new pics for you.
See ya soon!

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Spinning Wheels

You know, sometimes it feels like the wheels are spinning, but I'm not getting anywhere. Life has a way of doing that to us sometimes, and the only one we have to blame for that is ourselves.

The last few months have been that way for me, seemingly all due to the state of the economy. I'm certainly not the only one that has been out of work before and I definitely won't be the last, it's just tough when it hits home.

Life has a way of looking up in direct proportion to your attitude. When you keep your eyes on the sky, the sky has no limit. My wheels are spinning and I'm starting to go somewhere now. Thank God. Really.

Persimmon Glen hasn't seen a lot of changes in a while. I managed to add a roof to a short portion of the porch, with plans to get that enclosed by winter, and I put in a new stone walkway and laid out pathways through a rather large shade garden with a few plants being added.

The small vegetable garden I put out was thoroughly enjoyed by the rabbits and crows. The only thing left is the garlic and a couple of pepper plants. Ah, well, there's always next year.

Work has picked up and now I'm confident I'll be able to start getting more done around here. I have three days a week off, plenty of time to work on various projects, and I am so looking forward to that. Question is, which one first?

That is usually answered by how much help I get. It's hard for one person to get some jobs done, but I manage most of the time. I have friends and family that show up sometimes and help to put their stamp on the land along with me, and I appreciate every one of them.

I'm still looking for that one special guy to come along and be a permanent helpmate for me. Been looking for a long time and I always have high hopes. It will happen someday, in the meantime I'll keep chugging along...

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Busy as a Bee

Morning Everybody. I've been real busy lately. Working, looking for work, working on the yard, working on the house. Do you sense a recurring theme here?

Spring heralds a lot of work. We come out of semi-hibernation when the temperatures go up. Just like the local black bears, we are driven by the need to eat. Humans also seem driven by the need to improve their surroundings. Take a trip to Lowes or Home Depot on a sunny Saturday and you'll know exactly what I mean.

Carts are loaded with building materials, flowers and garden plants. I managed to get a small garden started with onions, garlic, lettuce, carrots, radishes and potatoes and will be expanding as I put in tomatoes, peppers, cataloupes, beans and squash. The ground here in Persimmon Glen is soft and friable and easy to work, thank goodness. I've been tilling by hand and luckily it hasn't been hard. I hope the little seeds agreee with me.

Tomatoes are going in this week and I will plant them the way I always have, on their side. I have had great results planting tomatoes in a trench and will continue to do so. I've made several terraces in my sloping yard, built a new firepit and grill, added an eight foot section of roof to the porch (cost $50), planted grass seed, waited for the pond to fill and raked leaves.

I have officially been here a year as of April 1st. When I think back to all the things that have been accomplished in that time I wonder how I've done it. Who would have thought I would have been able to make do just fine with no running water? My composting toilet system works great and now I can't imagine having it any other way.

Now I can sit on my porch and wonder what the next year will bring. I have so many projects on the table and hopefully I will manage to get each one accomplished by winter. I bought a small woodstove at a yard sale for $20 that will heat the house this coming winter instead of electric heaters. I should also have a permanent bathroom built on with a shower, so I won't need the outdoor shower anymore. I might turn that into a hen house for next spring.

Whatever the year brings I will be content and happy, making do with less....