My Country Quest

Follow along our journey back to the land. This is where we will record our thoughts, musings and dealings with terrible dragons right here for your viewing pleasure.

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Location: Missouri, United States

Wednesday, September 07, 2005

Here is our pier foundation building plan:

September 6, 2005

Oh yeah - did I say “knitting”? Yes! I have finally mastered the knitting stitch! Soon I will attempt to learn to “purl” too so I can make some really wonderful things. Shawn was sweet enough to buy me a pair of knitting needles and the most luscious pink yarn for a Christmas poncho for our little niece Grace. If her’s turns out alright then I have 3 more to make. For our 3 other nieces! I heard from a fellow blogger that these books are great for teaching oneself to knit and I couldn’t agree more. If you’re looking to learn to knit check out these 2 books (in order) :

One little tip for fellow knitters: If you’re just getting started like me, and are intimidated by all of the big projects in the pattern books why not try your hand at making doll-sized pieces? I taught myself to “increase” using the above book and ended up with a pint-size doll shawl! I added fringe (another skill needed for adult size projects) and there I did it! And it won’t end up in a scrap pile either since Abby’s American Girl doll will look adorable in it for Christmas. And casting on and getting a really good feel for the yarn and needles in your hand is fun when you end up with a something useful. I have a couple of dishcloths now too made from cotton thread I had been crocheting with. The knit ones are so much nicer looking. I just can’t stand to “practice” things like this. I truly can’t stand the waste of such a notion. So I have to MAKE something from the VERY beginning of learning a new household skill. I just have to. :) I’m sure some of you out there can relate. :)
She seeketh wool, and flax,
and worketh willingly with her hands.
Proverbs 31:13

Isn’t it interesting that 5 of the 31 verses in the beloved Proverbs 31 passage speaks of skills using cloth or fiber of some kind? That’s almost 20% of the passage on godly womanhood devoted to sewing/creative skills having to do with USEFUL items!!!! WOW! Learning to knit takes on new perspective huh?

September 6, 2005

We bought a manual post-hole drill and gave that a try... for about 15 minutes. WOW. This old gray mare ain't what she used to be! I only made it about 5 turns! The ground is clay, hard-pan, never tilled at all so it is VERY hard to say the least. We gave up and rented a motorized drill this morning. Shawn and Austin drilled all 15 holes in about 3 hours. That's pretty good time! So now the post holes are dug, posts sticking in them and ready to be leveled and tamped in place. We are debating whether or not to use the electronic level thing-a-ma-jigger that John (our brother-in-law) has or to do it the "old fashioned way". Seeing as how the latter isn't all it's cracked up to be sometimes, we might wait for the weekend when he can help us with the leveling. He says he can do in 2 minutes what it would take us 2 hours to do. I believe it. :)

I have a picture of them drilling... they looked so cute out there, sweating, working together. I pray this was the first of many such mornings that they will spend together working the land. Austin said that he can't believe he is going to know how to build a house of his own some day. And that Dad will help him do it. :) The boys and Shawn made great time - they really did. Austin and Shawn ran the digger and Abby and Joshua dug out the loose dirt from the bottom of the holes. Then they hauled the posts over to the holes (they really honestly begged to do this - we weren’t slave-driving them!) and put them in.

I’m embarrassed to say that I did very little other than snap pictures and keep Luke within eye sight. I helped haul a few logs but mostly I offered encouragement and sat down and knit between holes. Not that I dug any or anything (Shawn wouldn’t let me try) but I would walk over after each one and smile and nod, offering a drink of cold water, fixing up a make-shift canopy for some shade... stuff like that. I did get to be the one to set in the four corner posts. I “YIPPEEEEEE’d” at the top of my lungs let, me tell you, when that was done! :) That’s right neighbors, Mr. & Mrs. Nut have officially moved in!

Everyone worked together so wonderfully. I had my doubts. I mean really... this whole thing sounds great in my mind but how is it going to work in real life? If today is any indication then it is going to be just a good if not better than I imagined it.

September 4, 2005

Sunday here. We stayed home from church and held services here early so Shawn could go to the auction. Yesterday Shawn was there and bought a front door and back door for the house. Both brand new and at less than half the price at a lumber yard the day was well spent. The front door is steel with raised panels, at the top is a half-circle window. I love it! The back door existed only in my dreams until yesterday. It is a large double French door! Now, when we walk into the front door, we will be able to see out into the back yard and have an unobstructed view of the back pasture! I am so blessed... I wanted one of these doors SO badly but didn't even dream we could afford one. We bought it for less than half the price at a lumber yard. Both doors are brand-new, tags and stickers still attached. :o) Also, he bought a stack of 25, 14ft. long 2x10's for the floor joists at less than half price as well.

The original plan for yesterday went awry but it has turned out to be a blessing. Shawn had reserved a power auger for digging the holes for the piers. When he went to pick it up Friday night after work they had rented it out to someone else by accident. So he came home rather dejected seeing that we had planned to drill the holes yesterday. It being a holiday weekend everyone else in town had their rented out. With that plan stopped cold he went on to the auction and was able to purchase the doors and lumber at a drastic savings. God is faithful and again, we have proof that:

And we know that all things work together
for good to them that love God, to them who
are the called according to his purpose.
-Romans 8:28

I pray we remember this the next time something goes "wrong".

September 3, 2005

The nay-say-ers and dooms-day-ers have been arguing the point for years with little or no resolution. Y2K came and went leaving little more than a pile of kerosene heaters in it’s wake. I wonder though, whether all of those emergency preparedness stuff hasn’t had a positive effect even though most of us haven’t personally experienced any “emergency”. This year alone we have had the tsunami and more recently the Hurricane Katrina in the gulf shores... the latter being dubbed the worst natural disaster our country has ever experienced. And of course, a pile of rice and bottled water won’t do anyone much good if one’s house gets ripped from the foundation and into 2 pieces in a matter of minutes. But in a broader scope I wonder if it has changed anyone else.

For me, when we pull in to a gas station and pay $3 or more a gallon for gasoline it is reality! Not some Y2K maybe-it-will maybe-it-won’t scenario. And the cost of food gets higher and higher too. We can no longer afford to buy beef. I never thought I would see that happen. Now it’s chicken or turkey almost exclusively on our dinner table. Our milk has been paid for by my working on a website for our “Goat Lady” (AKA: Julie Miles of See For Miles Farm). That has been a huge blessing. I can’t imagine being without it now - fresh milk that is OR visits from our Goat Lady and her crew. :) We have come to enjoy ALL of them so much!

Speaking of meat for the table, we are still holding out for our meat rabbits. The projected return on that project has been stretched out into the fall now. I did not anticipate how hard the heat of summer is on the buns and after seeing it first hand I didn’t have the heart to breed them through the hottest months. It’s probably good that I didn’t. We lost our herd buck and a litter of almost butchering age to the heat last month. It was sickening. I’m still looking for a buck to replace Mr. Mighty. with no luck so far. I’ll have to start digging into the 4H crowd soon because we really need to get them going before much longer if we hope to have meat by winter. We NEED it. It is hard to get by on $35/week of groceries for a family of 6. Very hard. We aren’t hungry by any stretch of the imagination but we are bored. :) Oh Lord - I pray that is the closest we come to real hunger.

The young lions do lack, and suffer hunger:
but they that seek the LORD shall not want any good thing.
-Psalm 34:10

September 1, 2005

The gravel was delivered today. That is good and bad. We honestly forgot that we needed to have some grade work done to put in the culvert before we bought gravel. So, the nice gravel man "Tony" explained that he would pour the driveway and leave a pile at the end of the drive for the grader to spread after he has covered the culvert. We are doing this driveway thing backwards it seems. No doubt not the first of a series of mistakes we will make. I pray that the ones we make in the future will be as painless as this one.

The cost of lumber is promising to skyrocket because of the devastating Hurricane Katrina in the Carolina's and Louisiana. There is an auction here this weekend (Labor Day sale) that has a few building supplies. We have already rented the post hole auger or we would go to the sale and try to save a bit of money. I hope we can get our lumber bought before it gets much higher.

August 31, 2005

I hate Murphy. It rained all last week- buckets of rain. I would have loved it a month ago when it would have saved the tomatoes. But now, when all it's doing for me is ruining my plans I find myself hating it. And getting depressed because we can't start yet.

So it's almost Friday again and we are "planning" to get the gravel and posts on Friday. We will see. Murphy seems to rather assertive lately.

With all this time on my hands I do have the building plans all laid out and finalized. That gave me a headache for sure! But it's done. The pier foundation is going to be exciting to build. Yeah, everyone thinks we're nuts. It's ok. Like I said earlier. We like nuts.

August 23, 2005

It would appear that we are going to really build a house! Last night we had a long conversation with “our builders” Adam and Ben. We hammered out the roof line and decided on a 9 pitch - very steep but easier to do than a gambrel which is what we thought we wanted. We were wrong about that.J We will be on our own for the foundation, and Adam made no promises for putting on the shingles. He’s just not a roof man.

“I will fall and die. I can’t do it.”

We all had a good laugh over that one. Well, all of us except Adam.

The driveway is scheduled to be put in Friday but it has rained since Monday morning. If Murphy’s Law proves true in this situation, this will be the first August in history where it rains for the entire last week and into Labor Day. If it doesn’t stop raining by Wednesday then it’s going to be too wet for the gravel truck to get in. Our driveway is 200 feet long + parking area so it’s a lot of gravel. I hope it stops raining today.