It has been quite cool in the mornings. We’ve heard it’s been in the 50’s, and that it’s very unusual for this time of year. Thankfully, we brought a quilt and a small blanket, but it has still been uncomfortable at night. We finally broke down and bought sweatshirts at the Walmarts, and it has been much better. It’s slowly warming up each day.
Each morning we have been sitting out on the front porch, talking, watching the chickens and their antics, and listening to the sounds of nature. It’s so peaceful out here!
The chickens have been doing great! No problems at night, except for the one time I thought I heard something clawing on the wire mesh we put down on the floors. Bud went out with the flashlight and looked around for a long while. He said he saw what looked like some kind of animal traveling back and forth across some boulders from his burrow to forage and back. In the morning we found Eula on the floor behind a nesting box and she had laid an egg, so it could have been her scratching on the wire mesh as she set up her nest. We also found that one of the roosts, which we have wedged in place had slipped down, so it could have been that, too. Regardless, it was a bit of excitement. Bud rearranged things, and also built some new nesting boxes. He made them out of two drawers from the cabinets he ripped out of the bathroom. The cardboard boxes just weren’t working out.
They love the new nesting boxes, in fact, we are getting more eggs than we have for a while. The chickens are loving their wide open spaces here. They are finding so many bugs, slugs, grubs, worms and snakes (!) that they have barely eaten any chicken feed. Yesterday, Henrietta, the smallest black hen, caught a small grass snake. After she was sure it was good and ‘daid’, she swallowed the whole thing in one bite!
Timbalie Bodine has been doing okay, too. He sleeps most of the day and night (which is about par for the course for an 18 year old cat) and seems to be adjusting. We have kept him inside. I have all of his bedding, scratching box, litter box and food in one room and that’s where he stays for the most part. I have put him outside in the cage several times, but he hasn’t wanted to stay there for long. Later, after he learns that this is his new home, I’ll let him out. Otherwise, he’ll run off and head for home in Houston.
The neighbors here are all so friendly. Everyone waves as they drive down the road past our house, and we wave back. One morning, the Mennonite men stopped by to say ‘hi’. They own a business close to Harrison and were on their way to work.
I’ve determined that their sect believes in driving cars, cell phones and electricity, but the ladies wear dresses and head coverings. I haven’t learned much about them beyond that, but they have all offered to help in any way they can. I have felt very self-conscious with this new, short, unfeminine hairdo. They have treated me nicely, though. I have only seen the ladies that one day when they came by.
There is a surprising population of Mennonite (or something similar) in this area. I have seen them at the Walmarts every time we have been there, as well as in Jasper at a little shop.
Day before last, another guy (non-Mennonite) who lives a couple of miles down the road with his Mom and Sister and her family stopped by and sat on the porch for several hours shooting the breeze with us. Later his sister and her family stopped by and joined in. They stopped by yesterday and we met the Mom. She offered to let us come shower at their house, and they also offered to let us go into town with them to watch the fireworks. We declined because we have been so tired. The fireworks didn’t even start until 9:30 or so, and it’s about a 30-40 minute drive into Harrison.
The neighbors have been so nice. We have met and talked to more neighbors here than we have in both of our previous suburban neighborhoods. Patsy, the seller’s wife, stopped by yesterday evening. They are still using our spring until they can drill a well, so she had to come turn the pump on to fill their tank. She sat on the porch with us for a good while and talked with us. She, too, offered to let us come take a shower at her place.
The work we have been concentrating on so far has been to rip up the flooring and to take the paneling off the walls. In most rooms, there have been two layers of vinyl flooring, a layer of particle board, two more layers of vinyl flooring and then the wood sub-floor. Our original plan was to take the oak planks off of the wall to use for the flooring, but e are considering just refinishing the wood sub-floor. It’s oak! Due to the termite damage, there are boards that will need to be replaced, though.
We have found more termite damage than we were expecting. We didn’t receive a copy of the report until closing. At that time, we found out about it, and also, that the sellers are paying about 1500 dollars to get it treated, and to add vents to the crawl spaces, which should help vent the place of moisture which is supposed to help as far as termites go. That will not, however, cover the damage that has already been done. It has been depressing. We are making progress, though, and the smell that was in the house is considerably better! I have gotten a lot of the mouse droppings and dead bugs cleaned up, too.
Bud worked on the bathroom. He fell through the floor several times. It was that rotten! The plumber that was supposed to show up on Tuesday never showed so we are back to square one. Regardless, once the plumbing is fixed, the floors will need to be fixed before a toilet or bathtub/shower can go in.
We have been to Harrison several times to go to the Walmarts for supplies. We have also found that Sonic has ½ price shakes after 8:00 p.m. and we have grown very fond of ‘Strawberry Banana’ flavor. That’s about the time we have to go anyway, because we always have to make sure the chickens are locked in and tucked in before we leave. So far during the day, I haven’t been too worried about them.
We do not have cell service here for phone calls. The phone rings, we pick it up and try to have a conversation, and it breaks up so badly you can’t understand what the other person is saying. We can, however, send texts and emails with enough persistence, though it can sometimes take all day to get a signal for it to ‘send’, and we can receive voicemails if the wind is blowing just right. It’s strange. It’s not like you can walk to different places to get better or worse reception. It can change while you are standing in one spot. We have to drive up the hill to have an actual conversation on the phone. The view is gorgeous up there!
Edit to Add: I found some free WiFi at the Laundromat and sent two blog posts. This post didn’t send properly so it allowed me to make a few changes.
Much love to you all! Until next time…