Friday, November 2, 2018

And the Wood Stove Won't Even

We went to clean out and get our wood stove winter ready and this was discovered. A broken ceramic sleeve for the metal tube that takes the smoke up the chimney.

Yes this is broken and not safe to use.

This was caused by our house settling. So we have no one around us who can fix this. We have called and no one wants to drive 3 hours to get to our place in the Ozarks to repair this. And the cold is coming next week. Around here people just do it themselves. But I am not a chimney sweep. So we called the guy who originally put this in for his advice but that answer will have to wait until tomorrow. Supplies we got and the store 45 minutes away has the fireplace cement. So it is looking like I am going to do this myself. Will have to post what happens in the next few days.

And while this is happening, we also have a leaking new pressure tank. The guys who put it in have not returned to fix this leak. This is the 3rd plumber who has not returned to our place in the last few years. Apparently, this is a common thing with some repair people in the Ozarks so I have been told by several locals.

Scary Halloween

My husband was having bad headaches last week. Then one day he got up, picked up the cat and almost fainted and dropped the cat. Then the headaches got really bad and affected his sleep. Nothing else seemed wrong with him but the episode with the fainting got us in to the our doctor the next day, Halloween. We then were told we needed to get a CT of his head stat. So we drove a hour and a half away to the imaging center that was under our insurance. I got to go in the CT room with him as he got to stick his head into the big magnet. Took only a few minutes to see it all, then go home and wait for the doctor to call. And I got a copy of his scans on a CD for my Christmas cards this year. That Halloween night the doctors wife called us and all looked fine. But the next morning we talked about the next step involving contrast and possible side effects (Chuck Norris wife had some). The headaches were subsiding and nothing was seen by the radiologist nor the doctor. We think after lots of tooth work from the dentist might have caused all these problem. He has not had as much dental work as I have. And I am used to living with many forms of pain over the years. We think his jaw nerve might have triggered these spasms of pain and fainting. As of today no more headaches and no more fainting. He is much too young to have these problems. It was a good scare and I prayed for everything. I am grateful nothing was found and happy he is no longer having pain issues.

Restoring Raggedy Ann

 A friend recently took down her old house to make room for her new one. In the attic she found her long abandoned childhood 36 inch Raggedy Ann doll. The clothes were gone and the doll was in a bad state. So she threw it into the washer and it got worse for the doll. She knew I restored quilts, furniture and bones and asked if I could restore her doll. Sigh. The only good news was the eyes are still made if you hunt around for them. The bad news is that the fabric is very fragile now.

The face stain is from the original cardboard behind the eyes. It was also a metal ferrule under the  wet cardboard.

Eyes are sold in lots and not pairs.

Looks better with the new ones.

Hair is matted up thanks to her dryer and pulled into a knot.

Opening the neck to pull out stains.

Had a tear on the face as I worked.

Moth holes covered with black tulle and fabric bond.

Eyes are now in, tear is stabilized and now I am working on the hair and stuffing. After that the dress needs to be sewn and fitted.

Saturday, October 20, 2018


One night it was hot and muggy and rain was on the way. All the amphibians decided it was date night and got out and got busy.

This is a ringed salamander and quite rare to see these days.

This is one of many feisty frogs.

Very large and heavy toad.

Under Pressure

Last week our water alarm went off in the basement. Water was coming from our 16 year old 32 gallon pressure tank. We drained it and released the pressure in the house. I decided to use up the rest of the auto epoxy and fiberglass we had to repair the UTV. It was dry in 10 minutes and holding pressure. So we applied faux cork and then a truck strap to hold the patch. It worked for three days when the plumber could come out.

After he removed the tank we found a 2nd pin hole under the strap. The tank was rusted from the inside and needed to be replaced. But the auto epoxy with hardener and fiberglass worked. It smelled and we had to open windows until the smell left. But we were able to use the tank till it could be replaced.

October Harvest 2018

These are purple hull peas I planted in August ready to harvest green and dry. Very nutty taste, fast growing bush pea that can handle poor soil. I got about 5 pound of green fresh peas and dry beans for next year grown on a 20 ft by 4 ft plot. I bought a vintage pea sheller that needed a lot of cleanup but works for the green peas not so well for the dry pods.

Puff is here helping with the harvest.

Surprise self sowing tomatillos found in and among the beans.

Monday, September 24, 2018

Fall Beans

This is seven quarts of  bush green beans from just the first harvest last week. 

My canning pressure pot and hot water canner. Been a very busy September of canning before winter comes.

Basil and Thyme Jelly

When you grow a lot of basil you can make some jelly.

 I made several batches of basil and thyme jelly. It is great on a biscuit or sandwich.

Filtered and pretty.

Fall Harvesting

What my neighbors grew this year.

Biggie Squash

This is a volunteer Cushaw squash that grew over a bent cattle panel in my garden. I have three veggie gardens and this grew over the bunny yard. It weighs 34lbs. The boots are for pasture work and snake protection in my gardens. Jeans are a must even in church.

Not the most flattering photo of me on a Monday but that is farm life. No makeup, no mirror time just jeans, boots and go. Had to get milk, drop off eggs and cartons and pick up pumpkins for baking out of the field.

My farmer friends who weighed the squash for me. 

Yes, we live very rural here. This is how we roll in the Ozarks. The squash seed has been requested to be saved by fans who want to grow one like this. 

Saturday, September 8, 2018

Back to Black

Our Kenmore Elite from Sears has been a problem from day one 3 years ago. So after many months of research, showrooms and calls we ordered our Maytag from Lowes 2.5 hours away. Drove out, picked it up and got busy. Pulled out the old one and installed the new one ourselves.

Cotton doing inventory.

Having a meeting.

Happily working Maytag in black. Never will get stainless steel appliance ever again. Stainless is hard to keep nice looking. Black does not show dirt. As our dishwasher is the most used appliance next to the clothes washer on our farm simplicity and durability is a must. And this Maytag is quieter than our Kenmore. We make all our meals from scratch and the kitchen gets used a lot.

Roasted Strawberry Rolls

I make most of our meals from scratch. While I make many protein, veggie and meat meals making sweets are rare. With only two of us it is a waste. But I needed to make a large quantity for a potluck. After trying out this recipe ,I was happy with the results. I had to test my yeast to make sure it was still viable being the fridge.

The yeast lives! 

Rolled, punched and ready to rise.

These are 2015 frozen strawberries picked/grown by the Amish locally. Ready to be used and very fresh thanks to vac-u-seal.

After roasting the berries in the over I cook them down.

The messy part is rolling them with the berry mix. Here they are rising again before baking.

Very tasty and fresh rolls better than you can believe. Store bought never comes close to this treat. Worth the time, cleanup and effort to make these.

Wednesday, September 5, 2018

Springfield's Wonders of Wildlife Aquarium

It is about $27 per person to go to this aquarium. But it is big and has lots to see. It does have boring parts whole halls of famous game fishermen and women and their gear, photos and awards, yawn. If you do not sport fish you will not care to see these 3 halls of stuff. But the animals are very cool. Tons of tanks and staff and things to see and do.

They do prattle on about Johnny Morris and all he has done for Bass pro and this Aquarium. I got lectured to from some docent Dr. Bob guy gushing about who Johnny Morris is and all does (he is still alive). Never met the man and never will. I do not care for Bass Pro. Fancy overpriced stuff will not make me fish and shoot better. Can't worship some guy, just wanted to see the beauty of the underwater world he had built. And it is.

It is handicapped accessible through out the place. Elevator and escalator and scooters if you need them. Plenty of bathrooms and eating cafes. It is still under construction but tons to see. Go during the week, hardly any kids and not crowded at all.

Very knowledgeable staff (marine and conservationist biologist) to answer the millions of questions I had about the filtration, tanks and waste management. There are birds, gators, snakes and fish. No labels on most of the small cages nor static displays and the computer pads are slow to refresh the info. Some of the gofer holes for kids were dirty inside but are padded well for cool things to do.

Love the benches and watching the jellyfish.

At the end of the tour you can go and feed and pet the stingray real minnows for $3 a tiny ketchup sample size. But it is fun to do. This was only the aquarium part we saw. There is a whole other part filled with stuffed animals and taxidermy stuff that we did not buy an extra ticket to. We only wanted to see the tanks. We did get to see beaver, bear and birds. There are live penguins but they are in the stuffed animals part of this exhibit. It is pricey but is much better than the aquarium in New Orleans. And after you can go and walk around the Bass Pro if you want to. We got there at 1 and walked at slow speed and left at 4:15. Lots to see, sit, photo opts and things to do. Could have spent all day feeding the stingrays.