Just pictures ;)

I have been taking advantage of all the almost perfect weather (it’s been a bit windy) to do  a bit  A LOT of gardening.  Suddenly I realized that it has been two weeks since my last post!

So, without further adieu,

I share my progress with you!

In no particular order…

Want the weeds to go away?  Leave the oak leaves in place!  Herbs, roses, and old-fashioned posies all vie for my affection.

I have forgotten this little girls name, but I love her simple pink petaled face.

The geese chewed this one down to the ground, and look!  You’d never guess!

Even my chicken yard is sporting roses!  They make a nice foil for the ugly storage shack in the neighbor’s yard, don’t you agree?

The native bees were finding these delightful in the morning

Look at all those buds!  The Mermaid is going to be stunning for the first time since I planted her!  Covered in big, yellow, seven-inch blooms everywhere!  She has wicked red thorns…

But the chickens find her shade inviting!

Well, it’s chicken and goose thirty and I need to get busy!  I will post more tomorrow…


What’s growing in your garden this spring?

Repairs to the Farmlet

When we moved here three years ago, I walked in and could feel the love in this house.  The previous Lady of the Farmlet and her husband had been working so hard to make this a home for their family of five beautiful children.

Then, much to their joy, they got the dairy farm they had been wanting to get for so long and had to move.  Let me hear you say it dear friends… “Awww!”

Well, let me back up a bit, I had taken a red-eye flight on a Friday to get here and look for a new home for us to move into at the end of my contract with Pomona Unified.  My real estate agent Sarah George, met me at the airport and had me lined up to see about 8 houses in a 200 mile view-a-thon ending with the house across the street from the Farmlet.   After looking at all those homes I felt somewhat like Goldilocks and/or Dorothy from the Wizard of Oz…

“Too big, too small, those neighbors must be related to the dukes of hazard, too run down, are we kidding, they want that much for this dump?”  My head was spinning folks, and I was tired.

So we had just looked at the house across the street and it was one of the “too small” variety in the kitchen department.  A great home, but I could not cook in that kitchen.  I just knew!  So we walked out the door and there it was.  The for sale sign on The Farmlet.

Sara and I walked over and inquired about the cost, square footage, land size, etc.  It certainly wasn’t as big as the other properties we’d seen, but the floor plan was more to my liking and the kitchen/dining area was simply put, palatial!  (I guess when you have five children you really need room to move in the kitchen.)

Like I said, I could feel the love when I walked in.  I was also looking at the home with the eye of someone who would have a budget to refine the rough edges post-haste!  But, then of course, the economy quashed my plans by making it impossible to find work as a teacher here. (Bygones.  Really!)

Well, we had made sure when we moved that, no matter what, we would have a roof over our heads.  We used the equity from the sale of the old house in California to pay cash for the Farmlet AND to pay off all of our previous debts incurred there.  It was a clean slate.  A blessing in the making.

So, although we would be able to live on Bob’s salary, we would not be able to just jump in and spend money like water to make all the rough edges go away overnight.  One of the major, and most expensive, overhauls had to be done the first year.  A new HVAC system needed to be installed.  You can imagine that was expensive.

Hence, three years later we are finally able to start patching, painting, and fixing!  Now about that new HVAC system…

Removing the old system and putting in the new one meant that there were some issues in the hallway.

Like a hole in the wall that went through to the bedroom closet, and then right down under the house!

Granted there was a grill here for the return, and…

a galvanized housing to connect this hole in the floor to the one in the wall…

Now, we didn’t have the money to pay someone else to do this, nor do we have the skill to fix the bracing, or young enough bones to go crawling under the house with the spiders to do that job.  So this meant we had to come up with another plan.

Our plan?  Lay in some plywood cut to fit the whole floor surface of the closet, then put the shoe molding back in around the edges.  Now, laying the same shoe on its side with the rolled edge facing out, and voila, a nice smooth edge facing out.  We painted the new floor on the inside of the closet with several coats exterior grade paint to allow a more durable finish.


My camera was behaving very badly, but you get the idea.

We also had to patch the other side of this hall because we took out the old gas wall heater.  This wall was is a nightmare.   Many moons ago there was a pot-bellied stove in this hall, and the stack was attached to the chimney that ran right up and out the roof ( inside the wall here).  Well this is what we had…

The weight from the wall heater was pulling the wall board out and away from the studs in the wall! 

And now!

I’m pleased…

Of course, there was one problem that will not go away with any amount of patching.

The arrow is pointing to a giant lump in the wall (and its shadow on the door casement)  and friends, there is no amount of plaster that will make that go away. It is the flange that the old stovepipe fit into, and it is firmly attached to the crumbling brick stack in the wall.

The old chimney is collapsing within the wall and will have to be removed… but that is a project for another day.

Next stop?  The guest bedroom!  This room should be much easier and faster, clean, patch, sand, paint done!  This should be a three-day project instead of two weeks.  It is taking a bit longer due to unforeseen electrical issues, but we’re getting there…  Then I can move the furniture in!


(Can you find the kitty in this picture?)

I have to finish unloading (read getting rid of) all the stuff that we’d stored and accumulated in the now empty spare room.

Why do I feel like an episode of HoArders?


Like Children at the Mall

Interior of a typical department store. This i...

Image via Wikipedia

I imagine that most of us have stories of getting lost in the mall or department store when we were young.  As children we were easily distracted from our parents warnings about getting lost, and could be stopped in an instant to look at the latest bright and shiny new toy.  Then looking up we suddenly felt fear, followed by tears, and finally the joy of being reunited with our parents…

Early this morning I went out to let the geese out of the barn and being in a hurry I did not want to make a return trip to freshen up their bed.   So instead I took the time to do it right then.  Grabbing  a flake of straw I quickly shook it out onto the remains of last nights damage.    It took all of about three minutes.  Then, walking out of the roll up door I see…


Now the gate to the back yard and the path we take to the goose side of the world is about 20 paces.  Each and every day I have to convince Polly and company to actually pass through instead of stopping to eat the goosegrass that happens to be growing nowhere else on the Farmlet but there.

(Picture compliments of Aggie Horticluture, click the photo to be taken to the site and learn more than you ever wanted to know about this species)


And so it was, that I mistakenly counted on them running to the goosegrass to keep them preoccupied while I put the fresh straw into their bed.

Silly me.

Listening I hear them out front on the lawn.  They are busily grunting at each other and nibbling at some fresh new delight they have found.   I walk towards them, they move further away.  When advancing three more times produces the same results, I decide that divide and conquer is the best method.  Circling a wide berth around them I single out Polly.  Polly is so much more submissive and obedient than the Hueys.

Arms outstretched I heard her back around  to the gate and watch as she casts nervous glances over her wing at the disobedient Hueys.  She keeps waddling however and for her obedience I give her breakfast right away.  As I turn to leave I hear some terrified squeals from the front yard.  Seems that the Hueys have discovered they are lost!

I call to them, “Pip-PIP!

Their reply in triplicate, “Honk-Honk-Honk –  HEEEAH!”  And although I can’t see them, I envision them running back round, wings outstretched, to find Polly and me.

Polly, on hearing the ruckus, has forgone eating for the moment and comes from behind the well house to find out what’s going on.  Seeing them from across the yard she runs to them, with neck outstretched, giving a scolding and sounding eerily and every bit like your mother when you were young!  The scolding elicits the same cries of relief and remorse from the Hueys, as similarly you’d have done on seeing and hearing the scolding mother gave.

When finally the scolding and remorse have subsided, the four of them turn to waddle into the goose yard and to their breakfast which is waiting.

That’s better!


Translation“HEEEAH” is the goose equivalent of a scream.  I think it is a sound that you would have to actually hear to appreciate.