October 2008

   I have to tell you how relaxing I find it here.  It will require a story. . . no eye rolling from those who know me.  Okay I’ll try to be short.  My stories do have a tendency to go on. . .

   We have a boat.  Not just any ordinary kind of boat.  She’s a trawler.  When we bought her we brought her up to the Carolinas by water.  The trip took 10 days and was over 1,000 miles.  It was much less expensive than hiring a tractor trailer to haul her.  She wasn’t and isn’t new by any means.  She was originally built in 1980 but has had a number of upgrades.   We keep her docked at a marina on the coast about 130 miles from us. 


   So how relaxing is it to go to the boat?  Well, we both work for the government.  DH travels and has since we married.  We’ve taken trips in her all around the Carolinas for the past 10 years.   When I get aboard this boat, the rest of the world disappears.  It’s almost a magic relaxing place for me.  Not that it’s not work.  I cook, clean and navigate aboard.   And I help wash her down every time we take her out.  (The Captain says we have too!)  It got to be that I HAD to go down to the coast.   I needed to let the world float away on the water. 

    Well, I’m finding that being out here in the country is as relaxing as that boat.  When I sit out under my tree and feel the breeze on my face, the rest of the world disappears.  There are no political worries, no anger, no traffic problems.  It’s amazing!   

    If we ever can find the time to get to the coast, I wonder if it will be as relaxing as it is here.


   I don’t know how many of you have heard quiet lately.  Not silence, but the quiet of the country.  It’s more than just turning off the TV or radio and leaving the keyboard alone.  when I take the dogs out for the last time in the evenings, it’s really quiet.  There may be a breeze int he air and a car may drive down a distant road, but other than that it’s quiet, peaceful. 

   DH has built a small bench and put it under the big pine tree behind the house.  sometimes I sit there and just listen to the quiet.  It’s wonderful.  (Especially when there hasn’t been any rain or dew to wet my BE-hind! ha ha…)  But seriously, it’s one of the best things about being out here. 


   And the oddest thing is that when DH is away as he was last week (and will be again next), I don’t feel uncomfortable.  initially when we moved here I felt a bit vulnerable.  Heck I was in a gated community with neighbors 20 feet away!  Or was that 30?  Anyway, I figure that the odds of someone trying anything here is much lower than in the housing development a mile away.  So I’m feeling much better about it. 

   But this post is about the quiet.  I think even the dogs like it when there is less noise.  Oh, the smells are still here.  My guess is that there are more and better ones than in “the compound”.   That was the nickname given to that community by a few of us.  It sort of fits; but for another post perhaps. 

   Even today it’s somewhat quiet.  It’s Saturday morning about 1100 (oh, my military background is showing)  11:00 for the civilian crowd.  It rained a bit yesterday and the ground is quite wet.  I don’t here any tractors and if RFD TV wasn’t on in the living room it would be nicely quiet.  Maybe I’ll just go and turn it off!  I like the quiet of the country. . .


   For most of you the ritual of picking up the morning paper is a matter of walking out to the front porch or the driveway a few feet away and picking it up.  Or maybe you have trained your buddy Rover to fetch it for you.  I’ve seen that done. . .

    When you are in the country, the paper is a bit farther away from the house.  Our mailbox is about a quarter of a mile from the back door of the house.  I decided that I wasn’t interested in “fetching” the paper from the end of the driveway everyday and so I did not get a subsciption to the paper when we moved here.  If DH wanted the paper he’d start it himself!

    While I was on a 3 week travel for business I returned to learn that DH had started a subscription to the weekend paper.  It shouldn’t have surprised me.  Now, I couldn’t wait to hear how he intended to make that run to pick it up early in the AM. 

    Well, I have just witnessed quite a sight!  Let me digress a bit first. . . In April of this year, just after we moved to the farm DH and I found, through good friends, a 1955 Farmall tractor.  This machine had been loved and worked a small farm for a man for years.  It still ran, but needed some repairs and a bit of paint.

Before Restore

    DH and RS, the man next door, sand blasted, painted and replaced parts for months. It was apparently one of those “man-cave” tasks that they bonded doing. I took them water, snacks, sometimes lunch. In the heat of the summer they toiled. I took photos; I”m so helpful. . .

     It turned out very nicely! They are so proud of themselves. DH would like to take it to the fair and show it. He has joined an antique farm equipment club.  That is a story for another day. . .



     I suppose by now you have figured out my DH’s mode of transportation to and from the newspaper in the morning. His ritual is now set. It’s not as though DH and I couldn’t use a bit of aerobic exercise. Well, I suppose it is a way to ensure the old Farmall gets run weekly. I just wish he didn’t run it so early in the morning; it might wake the neighbors!

  Some of you may know that I am not the most organized person in the world.  (Okay most of you know it. . . )  No snickering from the peanut gallery, please!  So it is with a great deal of struggle that I am reorganizing the den and kitchen spaces in this “new” home. 

   One of the things we did while emptying the old house is to bring over the den furniture we had left there.   There was some in the attic and some in the den.  All the telephone books I had stored above the desk in the kitchen can now be brought into the den.  And the books we had boxed up for months have now made there way onto the bookshelf that is also in there. 

   My goodness where do all these books come from?  Some DH picked up at airports while traveling.  Some I have collected from my departed brother, John.  He loved to read.  Well, they have to be gone through.  If I have already read them, I’ll give them away or take them to the used book store in town.  I’m already in the middle of two books and haven’t finished listening to the audio books I have.  Tempus Fugit (time flies).   I’ll just have to designate one evening a week as a reading day.   Maybe before we build or premanent house, I’ll have finished them all. 

  The hard part about organizing is deciding what to do with all the little thumb tacks and pads of paper, pens and whatevers that don’t have designated places. . .  It’s so hard being a disorganized person!

    DH has done a lot more on the entrance to the Root Cellar.  I hope I can add a picture.  He’s doing a great job since as he says “I don’t know what I’m doing”!  It sort of reminds me of my Aunt Marie’s root cellar.    It’s much higher off the ground though. 

   The door at my auntie’s house was one of those slanted close-to-ground-level doors.   It was one of those mysterious places I hardly was a little nervous about.   It was not very inviting and I could smell the dampness when the mystery door was opened!   I seldom ever saw anyone use that door until I was in my teens. 

   Anyway,  our doors face South.  (I hope that is a good thing)  It may not look like much, but it is a heck of a lot better than what was there two days ago.  And there is now a nice set of strong steps leading down to this hole in the ground.  There is a dirt floor and a few cinder blocks.  I suppose we can put boards on them for shelves.  No one will be able to stand up in there, unless they are less than 4 foot tall.  But we should be bale to store some jams, jellies and whatever down there.  I’ll just have to read up on root cellars and see what will work here in the South.   It’s a work still in progress.  Once it’s finished I’ll paint it and we’ll post a better picture.  DH will probably not be happy that I put this shot in the blog.  He would probably want me to wait until he cleaned up a bit.  Oh well. . . he won’t read this anyway! 

    I hope you’re day was as sunny and pleasant as ours was here.  It must have gotten into the 70s but the breeze was so nice I didn’t notice how warm it was.  See you next time!

   Today DH worked on the door to what once was a storm shelter and now will be a root cellar.  Or so we hope.  He couldn’t find anything in his wood working books about building the doorway, so it is sort of being built “by the seat of his pants”.  It really looks pretty good so far.  I’ll just have to get pictures! 

    I had a dentist appointment so we didn’t work in the old house today.  But we’ll be back at it on Friday.   DH is working tomorrow, so I have other appointments to deal with.  Dogs to get bathed, take the tiller to the shop and, if I have time, a hair cut for me.   Of course the first two are miles apart from each other.  No one ever said life would be easy.  Or all shops would be close to each other!

    Hello from Smiling J Farm!  We purchased this 10 acres in April 2008 and have been making improvements to make it farm-worthy.  Once I learn how to post photos, you’ll see the new barn, fence and my meager attempt at blueberry shrubs and other green growing things.   

   Smiling J Farm is dedicated to DH’s father, Julian, because he loved to work in the dirt and loved selling his wares at the farmers markets in Florida.  We wish we had been able to buy a few acres while he was still with us.  But since we couldn’t I felt a need to remember him.  So I suggested we name it after him.   I like to think he’s smiling down on us as we work, thus – Smiling J Farm! 

  Although we moved here by the end of April, we are still removing “stuff” from the old place.  This week we’ve taken vacation to clean out the closets, attic and cabinets.  Then we hope to make the needed repairs and repaint what needs it.  Then it’s on the market.   Since this is a military area, the market is not as soft here as other places.  So we HOPE that the old place will sell soon.   That would take a real weight off our shoulders. 

    It’s quite a change moving from a gated community where we had lived for just over 15 years.  When we first moved to that community there were only 200 homes.  This year the count is over 1000, so it was getting to the point that there wasn’t much elbow room.  We also felt the pressure to figure out what we wanted to do when we “grew up” or retired whichever came first!

    So it looks as though we’ll be growing veggies and maybe a few head of Dexter cattle.  Dexters are the smallest pure breed beef cattle, so they should do well on our small place.  We expect to get them in the spring as 5 month olds so we can learn about them before we breed them. 

    I look forward to sharing our experiences this new adventure with you.