January 16, 2011



Yesterday afternoon when Sonny and I went to check on the chickens in the coop we heard something we have not heard since last summer.  Coyote’s.  We went out a little earlier than usual at about 4:00 and surprised to hear them.  Dusk or later is a more apt time to hear them.

In the not so far distance, we heard 2-3 giving a howl type barking sound. It was a creepy sound that sent chills up and down my spine.  The ghastly howls echoed around our mountain soup bowl, but we figured they were just on the other side of the hill behind the chicken coop.

We listened for a few minutes thinking they might move on, but they continued.  Sonny went into the house and brought back his 2o gauge squirrel shot gun.  He handed it to me and showed me how to chamber a round which I quickly did and shot it out toward the woods.  The howling barks stopped immediately, but I shot another one for good measure.

We don’t want the coyotes feeling comfortable coming too close to the farm.  They can keep their distance.  As disturbing as the coyote howls are it is a mixed feeling of that’s creepy and that’s cool.

Sonny did one more honey do job this afternoon.  He crawled under the house and wrapped some of the water pipes that we had missed with insulation.  We are expecting the temperature to get down to 14 degrees tonight.  Don’t feel too sorry for him having to go under there because he had hot out of the oven chocolate chips cookies and coffee waiting for him when he came in.


January 15, 2011



When I went to take care of the chickens this morning I was surprised at how warm it felt outside.  Although it wasn’t bathing suit weather, 35 degrees felt practically balmy after the many snowy and below freezing days we have had.   The sun even peeked out for a while to help ease some of the winter doldrums supply sone sunlight to the solar panels to charge the batteries.

Sonny also got the kitchen sink plumbing repaired.  He replaced the whole piping system, trap and all.  Last week was a doozy.  The temperatures dropped down to the single digits at night and I thought I had the sinks dripping enough to keep the pipes from freezing.  Apparently not.  I had to call my cousin John to come over and he had a small heater to place under the house and the problem was temporally fixed. Sonny still needs to get the water pipes insulated.

Well, I made sure that night that I had the drips on the sink set well.  We have had a problem with the kitchen drain pipe leaking a very small amount all summer and I would just put a bucket under there to catch the water.  But, the next morning I stepped on a kitchen rug and heard a very distinct squish.  There was water all under the vinyl floor.  Our cabinets are raised sightly so they weren’t wet inside but all underneath.  I had to pull out the stove and get the piece of vinyl flooring up.  It was a scrap piece from when we did the floor in the mudroom, but was big enough that it was a pain to lift out.  A mop, a bucket and my back, got the flooded mess cleaned up.

The other issue from this week was our wood stove.  It seemed that every time that I opened the door to put wood in smoke would billow out.  Well that would indicate that there is a draft problem.  Sonny had to go borrow a tall ladder, ( on the list of must haves yet to be bought) from cousin John.  Sonny had to sweep away the four inches of snow and an inch of ice from the roof before he was able to climb on it.  He then removed the cap from the chimney pipe and there was the problem.  The screen around the cap was clogged with ash and creosote.  John ripped out the screen and if any birds happen to get in there then I guess we will have squab for dinner.  Now the problem is fixed and we have a good draft. The house is warm again.

Last week the log tongs that Sonny ordered came in the mail, so he and John just had to try to them out.

When they select cut the timber on this property before we bought it they created a pile of log butts.  It is well seasoned wood, but a log tong was a tool we didn’t have until now.  Sonny clipped the tongs onto a large log and then connected a chain to John’s flatbed 4×4 truck Festus.  Festus tried to do the job but the wheels did more spinning than pulling even with four wheel drive on the snow.  The logs were frozen together in the pile.  They managed to pull out two logs but we’ll have to use the tractor when the snow melts.  Even so, they made short work of the big log butts by using the chain saw and log splitter.  The logs are now neatly split and stacked in the woodshed.

These types of things can be frustrating when they happen, but when you own an off grid house way, way back in the holler you learn how to deal with it and come to expect it.

I know that I have slipped in keeping up with the blog but I have been spending my time editing and fine tuning a novel that I wrote a few years ago.  A best seller?  I won’t hold my breath but hopefully it will be entertaining to those who read it.  Keep in mind that this is my first book and hopefully my writing skills will improve as I go along.  I have a few other novels started and will attempt to finish them.


January 10, 2011



I know it has been too long between blog entries. Linda and I have been busy with many things. We have had several rounds with the phone company but now after 5 months we now have voice mail up and working.

We have started running below my comfort zone with our firewood. So the last couple of weekends we have been cutting up trees that we downed several months ago. I ordered a pair or wood “tongs” that will be used to pull a bunch of “log butts” that were left over from when the place was timbered a couple of years ago. The logger made a pile of left-over ends and it will add up to at least 5-6 cords of wood. We plan to use the tongs, a chain and my Jeep to try to pull them into an open area to let me cut them up and then I can hit them with the splitter.

Last night at about 0400 the water froze. Linda tried the hot and cold faucets but nothing. At around 8:00 she called John and he and Carol came over with an electric heater. Now remember that our solar-powered house and electric heaters are not really compatible due to the power consumption. So we fired up our spare gasoline powered generator and put the electric heater under the house. Several hours later we thawed the pipes out and were back in business. This weekend I will get on my insulated coveralls and get those pipes insulated to the max.

Oh, and the good news. I found a publisher to publish Linda’s book. It will go to Amazon and iBooks first in ebook format first. When I told her I needed it smoothed she went into panic mode and has been combing over it for the last week 12 hrs a day. She is nearly finished so I can get it uploaded. After she gets back to normal when will get back on track with her current project that she is about half way finished.

We have had about 10 inches of snow over the last week. Tomorrow we expect to be hit with several days of snow but we are ready for it. The food we canned last summer is still stock piled, Winter is here.


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