Tag Archives: organization

Spring in the Mountains

My Facebook memory from last year that appeared a few days ago was a light ground cover of snow and we had a dusting again this year just last Friday.  My memory today was a blog post from a year ago today and the weather had turned springlike, but there were no leaves showing on the trees yet.

It has been in the low 80’s day before yesterday and yesterday and mid 70’s today with seasonably cool nights and a bit of rain last night, just enough that I don’t have to water the baby trees or the veggie starts and peas.  The veggie starts have been on the back deck for several days and nights now and the houseplants have been put out on the porches for the season and to get them away from daughter’s family’s house cats that seem to like to go after several of them.

Driving home from preschool delivery, I noted the pale green haze of tiny leaves appearing up to about our elevation on the mountain so the warm winter has us a couple weeks ahead of last year.  Taking the back way home where I know the trillium bloom, the white ones are in full glory.

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They are such a pretty flower and protected.  They don’t grow on our property that I have found, but would love that they did.  Usually when the trillium bloom, the Virginia Bluebells bloom also.  A walk up to the mouth of the cave is in order, but with a better camera than my phone.  The photo I took last year just didn’t show the blooms and with a fence around the open mouth of the cave for safety, getting closer just isn’t going to happen.  Maybe we will not have a late frost this year, but it is always a possibility, our last frost date is the second week of May.

Last night at dusk, when the chickens were being locked up and the chicklets coop end covered, I spotted my first produce of the season.

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A single asparagus shoot sticking up through the spoiled hay.  It was cut and eaten raw as soon as the picture was made.  While cutting it, the hay was pulled back gently from the bed and there are many more beginning to show.  There may be enough for the family for Easter dinner with ham and deviled eggs.

Today has been rest day, letting the stiff, sore back have a day off from the fencing and gardening.  The major task today has been to try to clean up my workbench so there is a place to work and to try to find a couple of missing tools that were buried under the piles of items that had been laid down instead of put away.  My tool box is actually a 5 gallon bucket with a tool apron on it that sits on the back of the bench, but SIL’s tool box is also there along with the garden bucket, 2 sprayer tanks, and two broken wind chimes.  One just needs to be restrung, the other needs new wooden disks, restringing, and a new weight to swing the chimes.  One is mine, the other is daughter’s.  Perhaps that is a job to tackle on a rainy day. The space behind the bench need a low shelf to hold the cans and tins of drill bits, locks, files, and other miscellany that don’t go into the tool bucket.  There is plenty of wood available to hang as a shelf, but no brackets in the house to hold it.  Since some gate hardware is on the shopping list, perhaps a couple of shelf brackets should be too.

With garden season here, things need to be in their places so that they can be found without having to spend a lot of time looking for them or having to purchase a new one as I had to do with the needle nose pliers to erect the fence.

Spring time on the farm in the mountains is a favorite time.  A time of new beginnings, temperatures conducive of working outdoors, flowers, and baby birds.

Happy Chaos

Our household is in turmoil, but happy, giddy turmoil.  About a dozen years ago, our very young adult daughter left Virginia and moved to Florida.  The why is unimportant now as are all of the ensuing dozen years.  For a few years now, she and her family have longed to move back to Virginia, this time away from the coast and to the mountains near us.  Much has had to be done to allow this to happen and much still must be done for all of them all to be here, but daughter, two grandskiddos and the dog will be here before school starts up again after Christmas.  SIL will stay in their house and his jobs until they get a firm offer on the house and then he will transfer his job here as well.  For now, daughter and grandkiddos will live with us, and though we have the extra bedrooms in the house, we have been using most of both closets for storage.

Yesterday, in delighted anticipation, I tackled a major clean out and reorganization, finding items that we moved here 8 years ago and didn’t even remember having.  Large shopping bags were lined up in the hall and items I never use went into a bag for donation.  Party items that are rarely used were relocated by reorganizing the hutch, jelly cupboard, and kitchen cabinets to find places for it all.  One of the closets held the boxes of Christmas decorations.  When we moved in, they were stored in the basement, but when the basement finishing began, they moved to that closet and have stayed there.  The under-the-stairs closet in the basement was cleaned up and space made to store those boxes back down there, empty now of their decorations, but full after the holidays.  Dresser drawers that held seasonal linens were emptied, some of them stashed in another big plastic bin in the basement closet, others such as table cloths and napkins folded and stored in part of the hutch.  A shelf is going to be added to one of my base cabinets in the kitchen to allow for more organization.

Bags and boxes were donated yesterday and more will likely follow.  Closets and drawers are being made available.  Holiday decorations that were being neglected are being displayed.  Excitement is in the air.

We hope for a quick successful sale of their home so SIL can come up too, for a job opportunity that has evaded daughter in Florida will come up, that we will get to know those grandkiddos better than twice a year visits have allowed and we are grateful that all three of our children will be back in one state.

Yesterday and today have been perfect weather for working in the house.  The sky is like a dark curtain hanging over us, raining off and on for days now.  The creeks are roaring.

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The chicken pen, having a slight downward slope from the gate has been treacherous to enter to let them out and close them up.  Though it is gray this morning, I uncovered one of the huge round bales of hay and threw down a layer from the gate to the pop door of the coop and a fresh layer in the coop.  This is always new entertainment for the chickens as they scratch through it looking for treats and spreading it farther and farther away from the gate, but at least I will be able to enter the pen without fear of falling.

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Two days ago, we came home to find this…

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half of the wood that Son#1 and I stacked in the snow at Thanksgiving had toppled.  I don’t know if something tried to climb it or if as he suggested, the ground thawed in the rain just enough to cause it to shift.  It has been much to wet to want to go out and re-stack it.  If we get a dry day, I may begin on it . . . or wait for him to come back at Christmas to help me.

For now, I must get back to household preparation to keep my excitement under control.  I booked a flight after Christmas to go down and help her drive back with the kids, the dog and a trailer of kids clothes, toys, sports gear and hopefully bicycles.  The rest of their goods will be moved upon sale of the house.

Spring cleaning has commenced

Yesterday, after my sleepless night and waking to hurricane force winds and blowing snow, we took the pups to doggie camp for 24 hours and drove 2 hours north east of here to meet some friends from Virginia Beach.  The goal was for the guys to test ride a motorcycle or two at Demo Days at a Harley Davidson dealer.  As we trekked, we drove out of the snow on our ridge and then about 45 minutes from our destination, drove into a blizzard with rapidly accumulating snow and wondering what on earth we were doing out in it.  At a rest stop, there were 4 inches wet snow on the ground.  When we reached our destination, there were flurries, but nothing on the ground but it was cold and wet.  It looked like the ride wouldn’t happen, but the roads dried off and indeed they left with a group of about a dozen riders on a 12 mile test run and came back in like popcicles.  After a delightful, late lunch with our friends, we each headed off in opposite directions to return to our homes.

This morning, we retrieved the pups and treated them to a car ride and their favorite hamburgers while we waited to see how warm it would really get today as they were predicting mid 60’s.  Once home, Jim took off on his motorcycle and I set about on spring cleaning, starting with the garage.  This winter, it has housed the motorcycle, the chicken tractor,  a lawn mower, the back deck furniture, the huge black animal water trough that held firewood until the chicks needed it as a larger brooder and the random tools, scrap wood, etc.  It was a disaster and there is no way to work on the workbench much less park a car inside.

I started by selling a couple of weeks ago, the Husky workbench that had been in our Virginia Beach house before our move to the mountains.  As eldest son had built in two very beefy workbenches at different heights, the other one was not only not needed, but added to the clutter as it became a place to set more things.

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That is the only time since it moved to the mountains that it was empty.  Today I started on the lower built in as it had all the tools and boxes of items removed from the workbench I had sold.  Our garage is a log structure that has logs that match the house in appearance on the outside, but have a flat interior surface.  Son took advantage of that and added many hand made hangers, hefty shelves, and nails for tools that didn’t go on the workbench or have cases.  I added a few more nails, moved 4 wooden crates of scrap wood off the beefy shelf and started organizing.

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The scrap wood is now on the floor pushed up against the wall where it can actually be reached for small projects or fire starter wood.  The boxed tools were put up on the shelf, labeled on the end so I can tell at a glance which DeWalt box is which and a plastic tub was placed up there with all of the loose sandpaper in it.  It a tool didn’t go into my tool kit, it got hung on the wall, stone masonry tools and painting tools were put in plastic totes and pushed under the workbench along with the compressor.  The longer scrap wood was neatly arranged up against a huge wooden platform that son built for his artist wife but doesn’t have room for at his present apartment, the dog cages were folded and placed hard up against the same wall.  The chicks who were making a mess of the basement in the wire dog cage were put in the huge animal trough with their food, water, a couple of perches and their heat lamp.  They can’t get out, the tub holds the heat well and they seem happier, I know I am.  Chicken feed was moved out from the space in front of the workbench and I can actually access a surface, my vice and my handtools.

Tomorrow is supposed to be another great day, so I plan to purchase a couple more rolls of fence and a few more fence posts and finish the chicken run as they can get out of the less secure part that I did not complete two weeks ago, try to install a gate and move the chicken tractor out of the garage for the cull birds, giving me enough space to try to clean up the taller workbench as well as organizing the garden tools that are hung on the side wall where the build in shelf unit and tall workbench are located.  I currently have all of my garden tools and all of eldest son’s.  I may separate them and put his in a big plastic garbage bin and put them in the back of the barn to store them and see if I can get some other unused items out of the garage.  It would be nice to be able to park at least one car in there with the motorcycle.

Somewhere during these efforts, I need to plant my peas in the garden.

Return to Normalcy?

Last night, instead of sitting home like a pair of old fogeys, we used the internet to find a party at a hotel in a nearby town with a buffet dinner, a comedy show, then a DJ with dancing and a champagne toast at midnight. It took the DJ an hour or so to realize we weren’t 18 years old and he finally found some rock and roll music that got more folks onto the floor including an 87 year old partier who danced with all the gals.

Our New Year’s day tradition starts with huevos rancheros for brunch and the beginning of the packing away of the holiday trappings.

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The tree has been removed, the needles vacuumed and the furniture returned to its usual seating configuration.  The shelves dusted, all the Santas carefully wrapped in bubble wrap and stored in their large plastic tote.  The windows and sills have been wiped down, the Christmas linens washed, dried and folded for storage for another year.  One guest bed linens have been laundered and the bed remade.  The basement guest bed still remains to be done.

The Christmas leftovers were removed from the freezer and tonight we will enjoy hot turkey sandwiches with mashed potatoes and gravy with one of the green vegetables that I carefully froze and packed away last summer.

The helter skelter of the holidays is behind us to be remembered and savored until next year.  The winter calm is settling over the house.  The farm chores are returning to our daily schedule and it is good to be getting our own eggs again, instead of them leaving with the neighbor that cares for the chickens when we are away.  We are glad to be home again.

Life is good on our mountain farm.