Tuesday, April 27, 2021

House Tour and Other Happenings

As promised, I filmed a tour of house. 

I apologize that I move the camera around too fast and am not good on screen. 

The things I forgot to talk about in the video:  When we refinished the floor we stopped at the hallway and did not do the kids' rooms due to the fact that we will be tearing down walls and renovating.  That's why the floors look so bad still in their rooms. 

The little kitten that I said is available has since found a home.  Ember's babies however will still need homes.

The  day after we got Lucy and Lance home we noticed that Lucy was having diarrhea and acting lazy and lethargic.  Then she stopped eating.   We took her to the vet where they did a Parvo test on her and unfortunately it was positive.  The treatments started a $600 with no guarantee she would live.   I told the vet we would have to put her to sleep.  Thankfully, the vet also runs a non-profit for animals and because of Lucy’s adorable cuteness, she said she would take her and treat her and adopt her out if she gets better.   It was so sad to sign her over to the vet.  It’s crazy how attached I had become to that sweet little girl in the few days that we had her. 


The vet office was so kind.  They didn’t charge me a dime for the office visit or the parvo test.  The worst part about the situation is that Parvo is incredibly contagious and therefore Lance could get it too.   So far he has been fine and but I told the girls not to get anymore attached than they already are.

In other news, we accidentally caught a racoon!

 It was so fun to see a raccoon in real life.  None of us ever had.  This little guy was very docile and asleep when we found him.   We had to deliberately wake him.   He was confused and happily bounded into the woods when we released him.   The last cat is still on the loose.  He taunts us and watches our every move.  

This week we have been concentrating our efforts on building garden beds.   The soil here is good but because we are on the tail end of the Ozark mountains, it is chock full of rocks.   It would be impossible to have an in ground garden.  Well,  when we explored the barn a little while ago,  

we discovered that under the 3 inch layer of rat feces, there is a large amount of raw milled planks up in the hay loft of the barn.  (I have extensively googled Hanta virus and I believe we are going to live)


 We used them to build our garden beds along with some spider ridden tin that we found on the property.  (I have extensively googled brown recluses and I believe we are going to die.)  So far we have made 5 large beds. 


That is all we will do this spring.  We will add more later.   Filling the beds can be expensive (I know from my tiny container garden in AZ!)  I couldn’t justify buying soil so we came up with a solution.   My dad uses the tractor to get a load of dirt from the many piles on the property, 

 he made a sieve and he shovels the dirt into while we sift the rocks out of the dirt.  

 The good dirt falls into the wagon below where it gets wheeled to a bed and unloaded.


The large rocks are thrown in a pile to be used around the culverts my dad is making and the rest of the rocks and gravel are shoveled into the wheel barrow and used to fill in the pot holes and low spots on the loooong circular driveway out front. 


 We were about to spend hundreds of dollars on gravel but feel very resourceful killing 3 birds with one stone,  all for free from what we have on the land and little hard work. 

All the kids pitch in one way or another. Everyone feels satisfied after a good day’s work.    The only money we spent on them was for a truck load of compost that we drove to Little Rock for and that only cost $40 bucks for enough to top all of the beds.

Several times now, we have all been busy with various tasks and one of us will realize that Jack is missing.   We call and call, and start to get worried and search for him just to find him fast asleep somewhere. 

  Apparently he just gets tired and puts himself to bed!

We have been soaking in the warmth and beauty of the season. 

Skipping rocks,

Picking flowers,

And beautiful walks.

I am in love.


Friday, April 16, 2021

Projects, (O)Possoms, and Puppies

Another week has flown by!   It is so strange how fast each day passes here.  We barely get started on school,  then suddenly it’s lunchtime. We go “to town” to run an errand or pick something up, and by the time we get back it’s time to start dinner.  

This week my mom and I re-tiled the entry way. 

Tile cutting level: Master


My mom is no stranger to a tile saw and we have tiled many a bathroom together so this job was easy but still took forever to get everything level and perfect.  (as perfect as possible when the subfloor has a high spot and the existing space for the tile isn’t plumb to the door.)

The kids are having a blast.  They spend so much time outdoors.








Dandelion chopping.

Throwing rocks into puddles (I realized that they have never had the opportunity to do this before!)


First time gardening.  Paige is so funny, she wears her overalls EVERY SINGLE DAY.  I try to wash them at night for her.

 Reassembling the playhouse from the move and planting flower seeds.


Deer in the front yard.

More trash collecting, sorting, and wood burning.

One evening, after it had rained in the afternoon,  I looked out the window and saw fog!  Just laying there on our field!  It is was spooky and magical at the same time.    The pictures don’t do it justice at all.


Ember is still pregnant.  She is like a ticking time bomb and whenever she disappears for a little while everyone looks for her hoping she is off having her babies somewhere in the house.   She is really a wonderful cat.   (better than the two we brought with us!)

She likes to sit on pillows.

We moved the mother cat with her babies from the chicken coop to inside so the babies will grow up around us and be friendly.   The mama, Missy, is happy to be inside the house I think – even though she is contained to a cage.

Our feral cat issue is ALMOST resolved.   We have caught all but 1 on the wild cats.  The remaining male is very sly.   We have not been able to outfox him since he last escaped one of our cages.  We are rigging up a snare trap with a net.   I am excited to try it out and see if we can get him.

We did catch a large opossum in one of the traps.  Wow, what ugly little creatures they are!   This guy was fun to look at and then we let him go.   He quickly lumbered off into the woods.    I am afraid that one of these nights we will catch a skunk.

Because of our cat trapping endeavors, the fine folks down at the Hot Springs Animal Shelter know us well.  I have driven there and have interacted more with them than anyone else in AR yet.  They are super nice and it's a great shelter.  We have been very impressed with them.  Because we have frequented the shelter so often, we saw that they had a group of puppies that were very cute (and very inexpensive!!!!)   They were too young to be adopted when we first saw them but after waiting a week and half they were available for adoption yesterday.   Josh picked out two and brought them home!  They are not from the same litter.  The brown is a female, hound mix and the black is a male, lab mix.

It has just been decided that their names are Lance and Lucy.

This little girl has stolen my heart for sure. 


Chickens and goats, here I come! (It will be a while still,  we have too much going on at the moment)

Our house has a huge wasp problem.  Years of neglect or perhaps complacency, has resulted in several, and I mean several wasp nests in the eaves of the deck.   Perhaps I am na├»ve but I refuse to accept that there is nothing we can do and just let them rule our outside space. We are to subdue the earth, not let it terrorize us!   I went to battle and killed over 30.   There was probably more screaming and ducking than I care to admit.  The kids cheered me on. 

I feel like we made a good dent in them that day.   I sprayed their nests and have seen very few since.

My mom and I went to a Goodwill, they don’t hold a candle to the AZ Goodwills but they are better than the Tucson Goodwills.  While there, my mom bought this power wheel for the kids.  (The ones that can’t drive the Mule, ha)  They love trucking around the yard.  Man, these kids are spoiled!

Very soon I will post a video blog tour of our house and land.  I want to be able to document the progress and show anyone interested what we’ve got going on.

Wednesday, April 7, 2021

We made it!

 What a week it has been!

We left our house in AZ in tip top and spotless condition and put it on the market the night before we left.,1

We had several showings over the weekend and accepted one of the offers that was over asking price.  We are still in escrow but everything is going smoothly and we are set to close at the end of the month if no issues arise.

It was strange pulling away from our house that last time knowing that in just a few minutes showing were scheduled and strangers would be walking through it.   I loved that house.

The drive out here went as well as could be expected,  uneventful and the kids were good but it was brutal.  It's just SO LONG.   We stopped at Flagstaff, the petrified forest, Cadillac ranch and for a quick parking lot visit with Josh's friend near Wichita Falls in Texas. 

The cats traveled well but Gandalf did go pee in Josh's car.

We finally arrived at our new home on Sunday mid morning.  (we had left AZ on Friday morning)

My parents arrived to the property a week earlier and set up their temporary home until they are ready to build.   They had been sending us pictures of different things so we knew that the house is in  rougher shape than we had seen/remembered from our quick walk through last month

Nothing terrible but just, dirty and old and needing replacing... and trash, the prior owner left a TON of trash!  We've already had big bonfire.  There will be many, many, many trips to the dump. It is beyond our comprehension at the way the people just throw threw their trash out in the forest.

I knew before that the floors needed help but upon our arrival we decided that they need help sooner rather than later and since we had a few days before our moving trailer would be delivered, I decided to save a few thousand dollars and rather than replace the floors with vinyl plank( which I had in our old house and loved) I would just sand and re-stain the existing wood floors. There are, or were, huge gaps between some of the planks that my mom and I painstakingly whittled down shims to custom fit each board crack to fill in the gaps.  Besides replacing, this was the best way to repair as caulk, or wood putty would crumble and break down over time.  It turned out well I think..

Taking out the yucky tile entry.

My mom and I got up early the next day,  drove to Little Rock to rent a floor sander and started right in on it.   It was a LOT of work to sand these floors. Claire, my dad and Josh all took a turn when my arms couldn't fight that thing anymore.


 Staining them was easy and putting the polyurethane coat was pretty easy too.   We ran into some hiccups and ended up needing to put down a second coat of the satin finish but I am so glad we did.  I am pretty happy with the results however,  I do not understand why people glorify wood floors. 


They are so fussy.

There are MANY home improvements that need to take place soon. Apparently the people before us either didn't have a level, or the level they did have was broken.

After the floors were finally done,  I had a chance to explore outside a little and we have spent some time exploring our land.

This little cat, that is yet to be named, had kittens our first day here. 

 We moved her to inside the chicken coop to keep her safe from coyotes and to keep her with the kittens.  I am not interested in bottle feeding kittens right now. 

We gained another sweet cat,  Ember, we call her.  She is a sweetheart and a prissy princess.  She is also pregnant and will have her babies any day now.  Josh is sure she will have them on our bed. She loves to sleep ON Josh in bed.   If anyone in the area happens to be reading this and wants a kitten,  please let me know. 

The outside cat problem is worse than we thought.  We counted at least 13 wild feral cats.  My mom and I got some traps from the county animal control and caught 7 in one afternoon.  We had to stop because we ran out of cages to put them in. We took them to the shelter today and then caught 2 more when we got home. 

The kids are loving the property.   They run around and play more than they ever have before.  They are sleeping in a lot later too!

Claire is the most excited about the Mule.


(It's my parents' but she chooses t o believe it is hers)  She drives that thing any chance she gets. 

  She is always eager to drive the trash to the bin by the barn and gives rides frequently.   This is a trip to the barn where the trash and mailbox are,  and then she drove on the road beyond on the main road.

My dad, (Poppy) has been enjoying the tractor and has been mowing, clearing brush, and collecting trash and junk from the various dumping sites and cleaning up the property.  

The previous homeowners ended up keeping the dog that we were supposed to take.  We found out later that he was a naughty dog and the electric fencing that is all over the property was to keep him in!  We had assumed it was to keep coyotes out!   We decided that this was a blessing and now Josh can choose any dog he wants. 

The weather here has been glorious.   It is chilly in the mornings and warm in the afternoon.  It is raining today which means we have had more days of rain since we arrived here than we did the entire year in Phx.   I can't believe that we have bulbs growing in our yard!


My favorite time of day is just before dinner, about 6:30, everything is warm and golden and beautiful. 

Well,  that's all I have pictures of for right now.  Next up; exploring the barn, putting in upper kitchen cabinets, re-tiling the entries, snake control, pond dredging?,  well water testing,  more cat escapades.  Further down the line, (but not too much further I hope!) gutting both bathroom showers!