Thursday, December 24, 2009

First holiday season at The Farm!

Greeting us from our picture window this morning.

Ok, you this snowman giving us the finger?
((Click on photos to enlarge.)

We awoke this morning to this greeting outside our picture window. (Obviously Denny has too much time on his hands.) Kathy opened the blinds and didn't notice the Holiday Greeting from across the fence. A little while later, with more daylight, Bonnie exclaimed, "Is that a snowman at the fence waving at us?" Kathy got the binoculars out and said, "I don't know if he is waving or giving us the finger." You decide.

Bonnie leaves this morning for Iowa to spend a couple of days with son, Scott, and granddaughters, Maya and Nala. Kathy plans on spending part of Christmas Day with her mother and will be celebrating her birthday at the same time.

We currently have freezing rain...nothing Bonnie wants to drive in. She may turn back if conditions worsen. Kathy will stay home and pet-sit, read and watch movies most of the weekend.

Not much going on. Bonnie still drives to DuPuy and does not expect to be offered a permanent job when her contract expires.

Kathy is working extra hours over the holidays as staffing is down at the library due to vacations.

Oops! Forgot to mention that Bonnie received an A in her cultural anthropology class. She got 100% on her paper and must also have aced her final, which was a take-home exam.

Sunday, December 6, 2009

And did she ever return? No, she never returned...

...and her fate is still unlearned.
Looking south.

Looking north.

Looking east.

On the wrong side of the tracks.

Kathy went caching last weekend in Marion and got trapped in a small park on the wrong side of the tracks. Just as she was getting ready to leave the park and go over some steep tracks a train came along. It blocked the tracks for hundreds of yards and there was no way out. She got out of the Pilot several times to walk to the front of the train to ask how long the train would be parked. Each time she thought she saw the engineers get into the engine to leave and each time they didn't. The walk to the engine was over a steep grade and Kathy was concerned about falling. She called Bonnie to let her know her status and took photos and played solitaire on her PDA while waiting. Finally the train began to move and Kathy and the Pilot scooted home.

The park was something out of a 20s movie set and Kathy could picture Zelda and Scott playing tennis on one of the courts. This was a very small area that looked like it had been a private tennis club. There were at least 4 courts (nets still up), what was once a very nice gazebo (electricity had been run), two buildings, one of which looked like it could have been a bunk house/cabin. It was like stepping into another era...or maybe The Twilight Zone. Spooky, yet very intriguing.

News: Bonnie is currently working on the paper for her cultural anthropology class and Kathy hasn't done much of anything (read Possum's cat blog).

Representative coyote

Kathy went to her mother's this past Wednesday and got only a few hundred yards from the cottage when she spied what she thought was a huge fox in a corn field heading toward a wooded area. She stopped the Pilot and the two had a stare-down before it dawned on Kathy that she was looking at a coyote, possibly one that she heard howling many weeks ago. We are keeping a more vigilant eye on our dogs when they go out.

Social Security finally contacted Kathy about her award that will begin in February. It, at last, shows the additional she will receive as a divorced spouse. Glad to have that settled.

We had our first casualty of the loft rail walking this morning as Possum lost his footing with the help of Tacumwah, and tumbled to the dining area. Kathy and Bonnie watched helplessly as the chubby little guy managed to hit every counter and banister on his way to the bamboo flooring below. He got up and walked away from it, but he has been telling Kathy that he hurts, and he has been favoring his right front leg. Bonnie hopes he has learned a lesson and will stay off the railing. Possum tips the scales at 16 pounds while his brother, Marquette, is lighter by 2 pounds.

Kathy has been bringing home items from the villa, visiting it on her lunch hour or before work, and loading up the Pilot. On one trip, while emptying 1-3- and 5-gallon carboys of wine we never quite got around to finishing and bottling, Kathy was greeted by the wonderful aroma of Concord grapes. She found a wine glass for a sample and proclaimed the wine, though no longer primo, still very good to drink. And there are 1 or 2 more jugs of it!

Kathy also went through her closet and took many things to Goodwill. She saved a few shirts for work and wore one of them on Friday. Three people told her that this very old shirt she had on and had purchased at Goodwill was really neat. And here she thought she looked like she was wearing some Harley rider's bandanna!

Kathy hasn't seen much of Denny and nothing of Barbara recently. She misses her visits with Denny. Soon Denny and Barbara will be off on an extended vacation with their new camper to warmer climes.

Speaking of climes, Kathy hasn't decided for certain about taking a class this winter. It doesn't look like Bonnie will be taking a Sat. class with Kathy, and the best time for Kathy to take the Climate and Weather class appears to be Tuesday evenings after work. So taking a class is still up in the air with Kathy though Bonnie will definitely be taking one of several she is interested in.

Christmas plans call for Bonnie to travel to Iowa to visit her son, Scott, and his two daughters. Kathy will spend part of the day in Logansport with her mother.

Sunday, November 1, 2009

A visit from Mom and Aunt Jane

The barn and deck are complete
and we can finally use our kitchen door.
(Click on photos to enlarge.)

The north side of the deck.
New storm doors at kitchen and basement.
Pet door in L French door.

Deck from South. Stairs on South side of house.
Pet door can be seen at walk-out.
Fence to be added later.

Entry door and window are to Bonnie's winemaking shop.

We apologize to everyone who has been waiting for an update on the work here at the farm. All of the contracted work has been completed with the exception of the storm door on the front of the cottage. Menard's gave us the wrong door so we had to take it back and exchange it. Mike will be out soon to install it. He also has one more garden post to set. Bonnie is considering her next project which may be the insulating/finishing of her winemaking room.

The barn is great. Both vehicles fit and Bonnie has been installing heavy-duty shelving. We are slowly taking things from the basement to the garage to free up space in the basement, and we are also bringing a few things from the villa to the farm. Will take some interior photos soon.

Bonnie taped lines on the garage floor to make it easier for us to line up the cars when driving them in. Works perfectly.

The deck is wonderful. The two stairways from the deck were made from recycled lumber from our deck at the campground, adding a dose of nostalgia to the project.

After Bonnie's shop is insulated, our next project will be to finish the basement. This may be followed by the last major building project - a master bedroom off the north side of the house.

Bonnie was offered and has accepted a job with DePuy in Warsaw where she will be a scheduler. It is a 6-month contract and begins this Wednesday, November 4th.

Kathy's son, KJ, got snowed in at Laramie WY this past week on a trip from CA to MI.

Bonnie's son, Scott, completed a NCO training program in Ft. Lee VA where he graduated with honors.

Kathy had her yearly evaluation at the library and it looks like she will have a job for another year. She is on vacation this week and is trying to log enough caches to get to 2000. It is certainly do-able.

Kathy's mother finally made it to the farm today, bringing her sister and Kathy's aunt, Jane. We were busy cleaning house for two days...things that we never cleaned when we moved in. The bamboo flooring cleaned up very, very well.

Marquette hid in Little Bear's kennel with Little Bear during most of the visit, while Possum spent several hours hiding under the quilt on the futon in the sleeping loft. Tacumwah had to be shut on the front porch with Little Bear and Marquette because she was making a pest of herself.

Denny's building project is nearing completion for this year. He needs to bring in some more gravel, but the car/camper port looks nice. He used some extra siding he had from the previous building and took the sides all the way to the ground. Next year he will put doors on each end. Will try to get a photo.

Kathy is very pleased with her storm doors. The doors at the front and kitchen have retractable screens which are very cool.

Thursday, October 8, 2009

It's all about the barn.

Pouring the concrete.

Builder Mike.

Framing. Window in Bonnie's shop (back of building) is in.
Click on photos to enlarge.

Mike and his crew continue to work on the barn. Next they will build the wrap-around deck on the back of the house. Lastly, they will install the storm doors Kathy purchased which are awaiting pick-up at Menard's by Denny and Kathy. Kathy has priced fence panels for the area we hope to create for Millie and Gizmo at the walk-out.

Bonnie has a job interview tomorrow for a contract job that would last 6 months. She is enjoying not working and it would be nice if we could figure out a way for her to not have to work. She loves school and wants her full-time job to be "student."

The vines still have leaves. We are supposed to have a hard freeze this weekend and that will probably be the end of the leaves. The vines are much healthier going into the winter this year than last.

Denny is still waiting for the delivery of his enclosed carport for his camper.

We hope to hear that the Pilot is ready to pick up tomorrow. They said it could take a week and Bonnie took it in on Monday. Bonnie is enjoying the rental car -- a Hyundai Sonata.

Kathy heard from the local SS office the day after she applied online. She was grilled about her work record and then told she had to send in an official copy of her marriage license and divorce papers. Checks are not issued the first month you are eligible but the second, and the date they are mailed is based on your birthday, so Kathy's checks will not be deposited until the 4th Wednesday of each month, and her first check will arrive in February and not January.

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Barn raising!

Posts are set.

Floor is ready for cement.

Bonnie will have an overhang into her shop.
Rex has a floor drain ready.
(Click on photos to enlarge.)

Work has been steady on the pole building this week and the cement floor will be poured tomorrow. Rex was out today and set a floor drain and pipe in place which will be cemented into place tomorrow. We are hoping that while he is out here working on the barn he will have time to put the wall heater in the basement. We have a free-standing electric heater for the basement but purchased a heater that mounts on the wall between studs. Rex will be putting it on its own circuit. Kathy and Rex also need to fire up the gas fireplace on a nice day when the windows can be open and Bonnie is gone so that we know it is working ok for the winter should we lose power.

The Pilot goes in for repairs on Monday and Bonnie will be taking it in and picking up a rental car.

Today was a big day for Kathy. She finally spoke with someone at Social Security and got all of her questions answered and pushed the final online button to apply for early SS. First check will be deposited in January though she has no idea what it will be because she doesn't know if what she would receive as a divorced spouse will be more than what she will receive on her own work record. Hopefully it will be.

And speaking of early SS, Bonnie had a birthday yesterday and will be following Kathy into the land of Social Security in a year.

Kathy also has her application ready to apply to IPFW for the Spring semester. Only one course for her...Weather and Climate. She is watching a kids' video now on clouds. Not very informative.

Not getting much done on Kathy's days off. Tomorrow she will be off to Hessen Cassel for some caching. Bonnie will be meeting an old friend after class for lunch. The major excitement will be the pouring of the concrete.

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Senior Citizens?

Bonnie eating ribbon fries at the Pioneer Festival
at Hier's Park in Huntington.

Kathy finally got everything taken care of re. repairs to the Honda Pilot. The estimate is over $1700 and does not include a rental car or damage not seen under the door panel. We are waiting for the check to arrive from the insurance company of the lady who ran into it, and will get it in quickly for repairs.

Bonnie received a B on her first exam which she was happy with considering she had missed a class. She is busy now planning her paper which must be 5 pages long and follow the MLA style sheet.

We ordered the storm doors last week and they will be here a week from Wed. Mike will be back this week and will pour the slab for the pole building.

Denny and Barbara took off in their new camper which they are pulling with their new truck. Shortly after they return they should have the materials for the new building Denny will put up to house the new camper.

Kathy needed a new cellphone so off we went to the AT&T store. They no longer offer the Motorola Razr and Kathy was quite dismayed. She found another flip phone she liked and the young man waiting on her said, "That is a very popular phone with seniors." So Kathy calls to Bonnie, "Bonnie, come look at the new senior phone I like."

Like it or not we do have silver hair and could easily be mistaken for senior citizens. But we are only senior citizens on the outside.

Yesterday we went to an apple orchard in Huntington where Bonnie picked up some apples to make into applesauce. We stopped at Evergreen Park where Kathy collected a cache. Then it was off to The Forks of the Wabash to tour the museum and Richardville house which was followed by a stop at the Pioneer Festival at Hier's Park where we walked around and ate. Kathy tackled a huge pork tenderloin while Bonnie ate some pork barbeque. We shared some ribbon fries.

It is a beautiful day so we really should get outside. Kathy, for sure, needs to work in the vineyard.

Friday, September 18, 2009

Builder Mike is back!

Driveway was extended to back of cottage on NW side
between N side of cottage and veggie garden.

Location of pole building N and W of cottage.

View from where pole building will be of walk-out.
More back-filling was done and gravel spread at walk-out.

Gravel pit west of Huntington on US 24.


Builder Mike has returned to the farm for our next project...a 24x32 pole building to house our vehicles, lawn equipment, bikes, etc., and a winemaking shop for Bonnie. Kathy is also going to have him put up some storm doors, and who knows what else we will ask him to do?

The drive has been cut and graveled to where the building will go, and gravel has been spread between the retaining walls at the walk-out. The grading has been done and the extra dirt was put up against the outside of the retaining walls. We will try to include some photos before we upload this post.

Bonnie got her car back from the repair shop today and it looks great. But the Pilot got smacked into on Tuesday when Kathy was trying to turn into the Scott's parking lot near the library. We will be getting estimates and scheduling repairs for it. Not cool. Kathy LOVES the Pilot and Bonnie had just paid it off!

Barbara and Denny now have a brand new 5th wheel to go along with their new Toyota Tundra. They had to have a 5th wheel hitch put in the bed of the Tundra. They may take off for Michigan to test things out this fall and expect to head south for a month or so in January. And, of course, they now have to have a new enclosed carport for the camper. Anyway, the camper is gorgeous, and we are excited for them. Kathy has volunteered to help with the carport if help is needed.

This weekend there is much to do. The grapes need to be sprayed with GreenCure, an organic fungicide formulated by a professor at Cornell that Kathy spent a lot of time researching. We want to spray a couple of times before winter. The staking and tying of the vines is all done and we put up two more rows of hi-tensile wire on the native grapes. We still need to screw in the earth anchors and there are more catch wires to run. We hope to get the earth anchors in yet this fall, and the catch wires can wait until spring.

There is mowing and trimming to be done this weekend and Kathy would like to finish what she hopes will be the last hoeing of the season. Between the Sea Magic foliar fertilizer, the GreenCure, and the nematodes, we are hoping to have some organic controls in place for next year. A routine spraying schedule will need to be implemented next year.

Our new tree is still alive. We haven't killed this one. We have faithfully watered it, but we just don't understand why it has been red all year. It is supposed to have green leaves that turn a beautiful red in the fall, but it has been red all summer. It will be interesting to see what color the leaves are in the spring.

Bonnie had her first exam this week and thinks she did okay. She will be busy "supervising" Mike and his young men when they get back out here and start pouring concrete and raising the barn. It is a good thing we all get along!

Bonnie has been busy brainstorming how to replace Kathy's income when she finally fully retires (which she is not considering at this time). Once again the possibility of becoming a boutique winery is being considered.

Kathy has begun geocaching again (as time and gas money allow) and the two scenic photos above are from her travels the past two weeks.