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Monday, March 29, 2010

I'm a BAD Blogger

Now that things are getting interesting I have not been posting very much! BAD BLOGGER! Land purchased, work commencing. I drew up a couple house floor plans and we arrived at one which was workable. Small passive solar ICF construction, very open living space. Three bedrooms, 1 3/4 bath, built on a slab so we want/need a concrete 'safe room' for tornadoes. The plan I workd out has 1150 square feet-no walk in closets or master suites here!

The idea is to really force us to pare down our 'stuff'. I have been taking steps along the way to get us to 1200 sq feet (plus garage!). Many, many trips to donate at Goodwill, getting rid of holiday decor that is not special to the family. The homemade nativity set made by great Grandpa Carl stays, the plastic, plug-in, snoring Santa and outdoor light displays are gone. I'm down to 4 boxes of christmas stuff, 1 box for Easter (mostly the kids baskets) and 3 for Halloween; but I know I can do even better than that! I also got rid of my clothing dresser last year. All my clothing fits in 1/2 (okay, okay 2/3) of our standard sized closet with organizer. The little house will be a challenge as our possessions have grown to fill the space we occupy now -about 2400sq ft -including partially finished basement and 1 car garage.

Anyway, we signed on Friday and met with the builder on Saturday. He will turn my grid paper scribbles into a real code upholding floor plan for the loan officer. They will then loan us 75% of the assessed market value. The assessment and paperwork usually takes 3 - 4 weeks during which time I will be arranging well drillers, septic system installation and the public utility to run electric from the road. When we get the go-ahead from the bank in the beginning of May I can be ready to pull the trigger -so to speak.

I also talked to the real estate broker I wish to list with and told him I would like to list May 1st. So now I (WE) have 4 weeks to pretty things up. It is certainly do-able but this will not be a house to pass a 'white glove' test. It is what it is, a decently maintained older ranch in a really sweet family neighborhood in a great school district. It is lived in, has a butt ugly kitchen, a kick-ass deck and yard, its a HOME not a showpiece. Hopefully we can price it to sell before our new mortgage kicks in!

The beautiful pictures I had in my mind of the land have faded a bit with the realities of the work in front of us. It is a 10 or 20 year marathon -not a 2 yr sprint, I continue to remind myself of that.

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Thursdays at Home

I have post at HWW today about homemade taco seasoning and why our family has taco salad at least every other week... :)
It's another Thursday at home and some how the whole morning has gone and I haven't even begun to clean up the house or bake bread or (insert boring chore here). However I DID have brunch with my father and his girlfriend/partner (hmmm Stoney what do I call you?? -live in spiritual advisor??). We haven't talked for a while and it was really good to do that! They were ale to help me with floor plans and lessons learned from their experiences building in the boonies!
We sign (and pay for) our land tomorrow. Four acres for cash and the remaining 15 on a land contract with Mr Nice Farmer. Saturday we are getting together with the builder. The loan officer (construction loan) will be out of town until after Easter, so hopefully we can have drawings submitted to her the first or second week of April so she can begin the process of securing our construction loan. That process will take 3-4 weeks. Even thinking positively it will be middle May before funds are released for us to build. Garage and well first, then list house. Whew.

Thursday mornings we do Dr meetings at work. They always depress me. It should be a collaborative team building session, but increasingly I'm finding myself wanting to not be on this team. The most meaning I am getting from work lately is the paycheck, it's a nice paycheck and interesting work most of the time -but the small animal-pets as children -best medicine model is crushing me. I want to help people by helping their pets not cover my ass all the time.
Acck, time to knead some bread, open the windows and let the spring air blow through the house.

Monday, March 22, 2010


The 160 lbs of potatoes we stored in the basement root cellar (ie closet) are sprouting; some just a little, others alot!

Time to use 'em or loose 'em. Sunday I peeled, sliced about 1/4 inch thick with the mandolin slicer (-best $30 I ever spent!) and dehydrated about 3 quart bags full of finished product (plus a large crock of scalloped potatoes for supper later this week). I read many different techniques for avoiding brown dried slices. I noticed that of the 4 potato varieties in our cellar-one was consistently more brown than the others-problem is I don't know which one. I can say for sure the Yukon Golds did NOT brown with this method...

Peel potatoes, place immediately into pot with salt and lemon juice added. Dump dirty water (I didn't wash potatoes prior to peeling), refill with salt and lemon juice. Slice and immediately put slices back into pot, have small helper feel around bottom of pot to find all hidden whole potatoes! Rinse to get rid of lemon juice (no SOUR slices!). Place on dehydrator racks (110 degrees for about 4 hours ??) until crisp.
It didn't take many potatoes to fill up our 4 rack American Harvest dehydrator. I see this being a project which I repeat every few weekends! I also see the need for a solar powered dehydrator to store the much increased garden produce I have planned :)

Sunday, March 21, 2010


Unstuck in a big way. Friday I finished the artwork I blogged about last time. My art=life metaphor followed suit. On Friday I met with the attorney to finish the land contract stuff-we will be signing on the dotted line next week! This weekend I was finally able visualize what the garden for this year would look like and I sat down with my seed packets to draw out the garden plan. DH finished the grow light/seed starter/potting bench unit (I promised to devote a post to his {carpentry and design} prowess later this week). 'IF' has been replaced by 'WHEN'.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Finish What You Start

I have a problem finishing things. I love to see the possibilities in things. But sometimes when you finish they are crap; all possibility is gone, the potential is never realized.

This winter I began art lessons-one hour a week with my Mom. I am a pretty talented amateur artist in my medium of choice-charcoal. I have been wanting to try something with vibrant color, so we began working with oil pastels. At first I felt as if I was coloring with my kid's crayons, but I have stuck with it and am on the verge of creating what I would consider art (something which would give me pleasure to hang on my own walls). But I have frozen, I don't know how to go forward without wrecking the potential.

This is the metaphor for my life right now; on the verge and afraid to go forward-what if the reality doesn't live up to expectations, what if I really suck at this? What if I never try-that would be the worst. This is a piece of art I will finish (both the pastel and our homestead attempt), even if it is not a magnificent piece of art -it is me trying and not giving up.

Some of my previous art-currently gracing the walls of our home:

In other news: we may be land owners next week!! Now I can START to think about calling the real estate agent, well driller, and the building contractor. I also let the bunnies have a 'date'. We should have a litter of Florida Whites in 30 days. The female got very fat over the winter-I guess the girls were doing a very good job in feeding her. A fat bunny doesn't usually have sizable litters-hmm we will see what happens. I figure her litter will be about 6 weeks old when school gets out for the summer and we move to the camper on the land, they should be able to handle the stress of a move at that age. Spring is here-I'm just not quite ready for it.

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Master Baking Mix

Good Morning!
Following in the Real Food Challenge theme, today at Homemakers Who Work, I have a post about creating a store of Master Baking Mix. A nice Sunday project to make your week go a little smoother!


Saturday, March 13, 2010

Dumping the 'have to's'

The snow is nearly gone, the sap is running, we are having consistent highs in the 50's. My blood is singing with thoughts of planting pasture, baby chicks and the Grass Works Family Farm. The land purchase contract is agreed upon. We are now working on a maintenance agreement for the driveway. The land we are purchasing sits back 800 feet from the road. We are buying a strip of driveway 800ft x 33ft. This will satisfy county code requirements and allow us to build on this 20 acres. The problem is the easement; the driveway the only point on ingress/egress for the neighbor to the north (Mr Nice Farmer's Dad). He has 160? acres of farmland adjacent to us which he leases for manure spreading and crops. We will share our driveway with a stready stream of heavily loaded manure tank trucks for 2-3 days each spring and fall, as well as the ginormous tractors, combines, etc which go along with big ag.

We thought long and hard about this before offering to buy this land. We are choosing to move out here and will not protest the realities of country living. It's only a few days each year. However if we build a driveway so my little Saturn can navigate the snowcovered hill- these trucks will squash it(the driveway -hopefully not the Saturn!). So we are working on an agreement that basically says if you break it, you fix it back up.

Part of me is really hoping they will just say-aw heck, lets just forget this fussy driveway and create a new track on the other side of the field. It's not a deal breaker but it sure would be nice! We are already planning a thick brushy row of trees and grasses to serve as a visual barrier/wildlife corridor/manure run off barrier.

I have also realized that I cannot try to think about selling house/building house until the land deal is done. That is PART of what was driving me off the deep end. Too many 'what if's'. Land first, then house stuff, then career stuff.

Ruth and Ms Effie both mentioned career choices (in their own unique ways!) as a way to a healthier mind and body. For the past year I have been allowing myself to picture alternate career paths. I am becoming resentful of the responsibility my career in its current form entails, it is too much pressure for me. I sometimes want to scream when I hear the phone ring or hear the door chimes ring-GO AWAY, I can't fix anymore problems, I'm empty, I have nothing left for you. Not a good feeling. When I am 'full' I love to help people; it gives me such pleasure.

I will find that happy place where my life is not full of should and have to but want to and love to.

Friday, March 12, 2010

Still Kicking

I'm still here, still kicking. It was a rough week but I am on the up-turn. I need to use the correct terminology, it wasn't a funk, it's not moodiness, it's not SAD, or pre-menopause; the correct word is depression. There, I said it, I suffer from depression. Not every day,not every week, sometimes I am unaffected for months and months-but it is a part of me every single day, like my left-handedness or freckles. I need to acknowledge it and take steps to prevent it from taking over.
That is all for today. Back to your regularly scheduled programming tomorrow :)

Thursday, March 4, 2010


*** Nothing to see here folks just some blog venting instead of seeking professional help-ha***

I am in a funk (again), this is such a recurrent theme for me. I'm up, I'm down; repeat weekly, daily, even hourly. While this is a pretty normal thing for me,this yo-yoing up and down feels like it has been increasing in amplitude over the past few (years?)(months?).
A few contributing factors:
*Realizing that I don't like being the boss. I'm an indian not a chief-or maybe it would be better if I was the chief of a smaller tribe :). Sorry not a very PC metaphor but it's all I got. Our clinic is growing and profitable but I do not feel connecting to it -it makes me tired and pays the bills. Although I do enjoy being 'somebody' in the community.
*I think I may be in pre-menopause. I have begun getting my period every 2 1/2 -3 weeks. Yuck. Along with the 'get out of my way I am having sugar RIGHT NOW' which accompanies above mentioned period. I will go in for my annual exam -i am overdue (by about 12 months!)
*Then there is the moving/lifestyle change we are attempting. Really won't it be the same lifestyle just with a longer commute, a new school district, and fewer neighbors/resources to draw from. I am seeing that our vision for this place hinges on one of us being home alot, can we afford that? What if our house doesn't sell, how long can we pay two mortgages (indefinitely-IF i work more-but that isn't the point).

I am being whiny and scared but this is REAL, not one of those glossy pie in the sky blogs. And I am a REAL person- not super mom, veterinarian of the year, blah blah blah.

Some pictures to make me smile and remember what this is all about:

It's working -feeling better already. These are all pictures of the things which are most important in my life. That is the hopefull idea I will hold on to, which will give my the courage to go forward and be brave!

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Crockpot Yogurt at HWW

Posted yesterday at HWW about making yogurt in the crockpot. I love it, the kids smile and roll their eyes at me. But it was fun growing stuff in my own kitchen. Oh, my poor OCD germ phobic mother! First the 'home-captures' sourdough starter now this!