We had not planned to go back up to the house in Arkansas until Thanksgiving week, but Bud surprised me when he mentioned going up there over the Labor Day Weekend. He wanted to winterize the pipes in case it freezes before Thanksgiving.
It was a nice surprise. He even took off work on Friday. We drove up there on Friday, worked for two days, and then we drove home on Monday. It is such a very long 10 hour trip. That part is not so nice, but it’s worth it once we finally arrive. I can’t wait until we are up there full time.
Though they were extremely disappointed, we did not bring the chickens with us this time. We left them with Shelby, one of Bud’s students. Thankfully, they like Shelby a lot and she is extremely conscientious and loves animals.
When we got there, everything was pretty much as we had left it, except that the grass was overgrown and the bugs had moved back onto the premises and back into the house. The spiders were full-on spidering.
The Daddy Long Legs we saw this time had a red body. Most of the ones we saw last time had a smaller black body.
Over the summer we had the chickens with us, and they combed the area around the house thoroughly. Last time I didn’t see many spiders, and we really didn’t worry too much about the snakes, either, knowing that the chickens probably would have spooked them out of the area.
Bud has been very eager to get the toilet and shower in. Much of the trip this past summer was spent getting out rotten wood in the floor and repairing joists. Putting the floor down was one of his goals for the Labor Day Weekend trip. He is hoping to install the toilet and shower over the Thanksgiving Holiday, so getting the floor in over Labor Day was critical.
He put in the floor, and continued working on getting old wood out,getting the insulation out of the walls, and the plywood on the ceiling out. This area is actually going to be two rooms: the bathroom and the utility room. The utility room will house the washer, dryer, pressure tank, hot water heater, and maybe even the freezer if it will fit.
Bud got the joists up for the new load bearing wall (the old one was partially rotten). He also put up the joists for the wall between the bathroom and utility room. This is the only picture I got. I’m sorry it’s blurry, and the dimensions look skewed, but you get the idea. At some point, I’ll post a picture of what the new floor plan will look like.
Bud’s ‘work station’ is outside. He has re-purposed the old bathroom counter to use for a work table.
Since I started this blog, I’ve had several people ask me to post more pictures of myself (BLEH!). Bud is the handsome one in this outfit. When you are the picture-taker, you don’t get pictures taken of yourself unless you ASK! Most picture-takers are behind the lens of the camera for a reason! We don’t like being photographed. Besides, I always feel sort of vain when I ask someone to take a picture of me.
At one point, Bud was coming outside to do some work, and he graciously allowed me to take a ‘selfie’ of us. (Is it still a ‘selfie’ if there is another person in the picture? I have no idea. I don’t keep up with social media or the terminology anymore.)
In spite of it all, there is something about this picture of us that I really like.
I was very tempted to pull out my photo editor and erase that canyon between my eyebrows, to whiten up my teeth a little bit, and to take off that smudge on my left cheek, but HEY. It’s me. At some point, some of you will see me in person anyway. If you see how I really am in photographs, then you won’t be so shocked and have a heart attack when you come face to face with the full, raw and real force of me.
There truly must be an art to this ‘selfie’ thing. I took the one above, and I cut part of myself out because my arm is not long enough. Bud took this one:
After we got back and uploaded the pictures, we noticed that Bud had dirt all over his face. That’s because he had just taken the ceiling out of the bathroom area and was showered by dirt (or something). We did notice a HUGE Mud Dauber nest in the attic above the ceiling he had taken out. The nest had about three layers to it. I wish I had taken a picture. I’ll try to get one next time. It’s truly impressive! They were pretty angry at being disturbed. Thankfully the wasp spray has something like a 20 foot range.
Since we only had a few days up there, we decided not to set up the tent this time. The inside is cleaner than it was, but still quite dirty, and the house still stinks. There is also still a gaping hole in the floor between the new bathroom floor Bud just put in, and the ‘new’ kitchen. We still don’t know how bad the floor will be under that area, nor have we decided what we are going to do with the floors. We are trying to keep our eyes on one task at a time, because if we don’t, the overwhelmingness of it will pert near kill us. Maybe I should say kill ME. I get easily overwhelmed. Bud has inherited the male gift of ‘compartmentalization’. Oh how I wish I had that gift!
I had mopped the living room floor the day before we left during the summer. Since we were going to sleep inside this time, I swept the floor in the living room again, and then made up the air mattress. I so missed the outside noises of sleeping in the tent. We had all of the windows open in the house this time, but it just wasn’t the same as sleeping in a tent. We also had the floor fan going and it was very noisy. I also found that I did not feel as secure in the house.
I had planned on just leaving the windows curtain-less since there are no neighbors that can see us (unless they drive by), but that night, as I was trying to fall asleep, I freaked out and was paranoid that someone was looking in, so I woke Bud up and asked him if he would help me hang some old curtains over the windows in the room we were sleeping in.
I was also worrying about what might crawl up through that big, gaping hole in the bathroom area (pictured above), and I was also worried that some Mud Dauber might revive from the throes of death to seek revenge. This is not to even mention the spiders.
It’s crude, and dirty, and ‘make-shift’ but I thought it was kind of cozy.
The air mattress has been pretty comfortable.
We went to the river one afternoon to wash off some of the sweat and dirt. When we got back, we found a home grown watermelon on our porch! There was no note with it or anything. We put it in the spring to cool down and ate it the next day. It was just the perfect thing on a hot summer day.
The following day, I looked out the window, and the Burgers and Shower lady drove into our driveway. I was so happy to see her. I gave her a big hug! Turns out that she is the one who left the watermelon. She had left it there while we were at the river. We sat on the porch and talked for a while and then she left. She invited us to come over for Thanksgiving Dinner when we are up there during that week!
The only other neighbors we saw were the Seller and his Wife. He stopped by on his way to work to say, ‘Hey’ and brought us the local Sunday newspaper. (Oh how I’ve enjoyed those newspapers he has given us. It’s a wild glimpse of what small town living is really like, and I LOVE what I read. That’s another post for another time).
I would not have seen the Seller’s Wife unless I had not jumped in the car as dusk was approaching and zoomed up the hill to see her on Sunday. I was glad I did, as we had a nice chat, and lo and behold, she gave me a mason jar full of watermelon “for our dessert”…”because everyone needs to have watermelon over Labor Day!”
I am so looking forward to country living and my good neighbors.
I did not see the Mennonites this time around. I think they are shunning me. It must be my short hairdo, as well as the fact that I have worn shorts around the place. My shorts are modest (IMHO), but I still must have exposed too much skin. I also confess that I have worn sleeveless shirts. Our house is right on the road there. I have read about ‘shunning’ amongst the Amish. You have no idea the depth of heartbreak this causes me. I had hopes of learning things from them, like quilting, and secret recipes and techniques of simple living.
So what did I do the whole time Bud was slaving away, sawing and nailing stuff? Well, I cooked the food, I cleaned the place up, I hauled off rotten wood and burned it. Though you might not be able to tell, I cut a path to the ‘loo’ with a weed scythe. We didn’t want to take the time to mow this time since we were only going to be there for a few days. We wanted to cut down the weeds a little so that we could watch for snakes, and hopefully avoid chiggers. While I was using the weed scythe, I got blisters because I was rebellious and did not use gloves.
The Path I cut:
The burning pile:
There is an old log cabin on our land that is full of stuff that has probably been there for 50 years. We haven’t even begun to touch that yet. It was built by the Seller and his Father, with the intention of it being a storage building of sorts. The seller said that his Father wanted him to have the experience of building a log cabin. This was interesting to find out, because when we first saw it, we were wondering if the ancestors of whoever was building it were midgets and lived in the log cabin at one time because it’s not very tall. Even ‘Five-Foot-Two’ here would probably have to bend down to get through the door.
If you have waded through this post to the end, I apologize that I have not been posting more regularly. I’ve been struggling with the some physical problems that really wipe me out and steal my zest and motivation for just about everything. Thank you for sticking with me!