Monday, December 31, 2012

Goodbye 2012

Winding down the year of 2012 with a small supper with The Wife and Youngest Boy. Don't know if we'll be up at the stroke of midnight. Well I may be up, waiting on the Oldest Boy to come home from his night out.
Here are a few observations/news/notes from the past year:
  • President Obama re-elected to a second term.
  • Neil Armstrong passed.
  • Super Storm Sandy
  • Curiosity lands on Mars
  • Newtown, CT
  • Whitney Houston passed
  • A 1955 Mercedes-Benz 300 SL Alloy Gullwing sold for $4,620,000.00
  • The Mayan's missed their mark
  • Costa Concordia runs aground in Italy
  • NY Giants win the Superbowl
  • Putin wins presidential election
  • James Cameron dives to Challenger Deep
  • Michael Schumacher retires
  • The Summer Olympics
  • Apple 1 computer sells for $374,500.00
  • South African police fire on protesting miners, killing 34
  • Jerry Sandusky and Joe Paterno
  • Giants win World Series
  • Chewie became a Murray
Interestingly seems there's always more bad news than good being sent to us over the airwaves. That's something that needs changing. 

Last sunset of 2012 for us.

Happy New Year kids. 

Let's make this next one better.

Friday, December 28, 2012

Good Week So Far

Chewie update!
He's still with us. The woman who picked us to foster hasn't contacted us about getting him back so we are just now contacting her to find out what's going on. But for all intent and purposes he's staying. He and The WOF have now been playing in the yard together and now seem to get along great. And as I type this they are both asleep and The WOF is snoring good.

I started framing up another bedroom upstairs a few days ago and have made some good progress.

Start (ignore the crap in the back)

After day one. My Father in Law helped me with this work. 

Yesterday I got the closet framed in, two cubby holes framed in, and set all of the boxes. 

I am going to start the wiring this weekend then will probably wait to finish the rest until after the new year. There is a lot to do and I can do most of it myself which saves a lot of money. This room will eventually be for The Youngest Boy plus help with overflow when family comes to visit. We can actually add another bedroom, a rec room, and a bathroom. The builder already installed the rough- ins for another hvac unit and plumbing so that will help in the future. Long road ahead on these projects and they will get done when I get the time. I've yet to get the garage ceiling finished but it's too cold to do that work now. I have a lot of items on my "To Do" list which seems to get longer and longer. 

Watching Northern Exposure again and The Wife is on me to post this so there will be another one tomorrow. 

Monday, December 24, 2012

Merry Christmas and Happy New Years!

We're getting close now. Christmas Day is almost upon us and we're as ready as we can be here on the homestead. The homestead has actually gotten larger by one. We have picked a 'temporary' addition to the house in the form and name of Chewie. 

Go ahead with the Star Wars sound effects. That's The WOF on the left above. The Wife and I went shopping a few days ago and found him in a chain pet store. They were looking for a home for a few days so we brought him to ours. Things between The WOF and Chewie have been surprisingly smooth. He's a six year old mix and knowing that most people won't look towards older dogs near his age, we took him for fostering. He'll more than likely stay as he's a good dog. 

Well, Shop Around the Corner is on TCM so off to watch it and order seeds tonight. 

Merry Christmas Everyone!!!!

Sunday, December 16, 2012

Christmas Movies

Sitting here today watching The Santa Clause 2. I love Christmas movies although I am partial to the classics, back when they didn't try to make too much nonsense out of the season. This one is a good if you like Tim Allen. 

One of my favorites is It's a Wonderful Life.

Jimmy Stewart and Donna Reed. Great movie! Also high up on the list are Miracle on 34th Street, The Shop Around the Corner, The Bishop's Wife, The Bells of St. Mary's, A Christmas Story. The best though.....

A Muppet Christmas Carol.

Monday, December 10, 2012

Christmas is Coming to the Dogs

And it is at a record pace. And I have been gently kicked in the arse for not posting for a while so I'll let everyone know what's going on in our neighborhood.

Well this past Saturday The Wife and I cruised out to do a little shopping and to see what's what. My main objective was to go to a pet adoption "show" at a somewhat local mall. I wasn't really interested in the shopping but we did get some done. We have been kicking back and forth about adopting another dog for the family as we are dog people, and since I lost my old cat years ago I don't think one could ever replace her so off to the hounds. I had originally started out looking for a Golden Retriever puppy, but we don't support puppy mills nor dog breeders that want $600.00 for a puppy. We are pound people, plain and simple. So at the adoption "show" we saw a few (they had a total of 5 dogs) that we really liked. Actually being said we'd taken all of them. Just the house couldn't take them! These people would take dogs and foster them out as they are a no- kill organization. Great people. We had a nice long talk with one of the foster's and he helped us in the right direction for adoption. What brought this on in the end? I found an older gentleman of 9 years named Bucky. Gray beard, probably a slow gait, needed a house with a ramp. My kind of guy.

Just found out that this great guy is being given a home. Sorry, we love dogs. We'll keep looking.

On the Christmas front things have been busy around the house. The Wife got the inside decorated with her 50,000 Santa's that she may share with you. It's kind of creepy sometimes. I worked on some of the outside and got it looking somewhat good. Not truly up to my usual standards but pressed for time. 

I got some planting done this weekend of Pansies and checked on how the cabbage was doing. 

That's Kale with a few Pansies thrown in. 

I do have a better post coming with more info but right now I need to get back to work. Oh, WOF of the Week. Long time for this so I'll let the picture do the talking. 

It's about what we are all feeling right now. Until next time (which will be real soon) keep your tails wagging. 

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Clark Griswold and Other Holiday Cheer

Well November has come and almost gone so that only means one thing.... my favorite holiday! I have already seen some houses decorated in the festive joy of lights outside and Christmas trees in the living room windows. I actual was so enthralled with one house's display two nights ago that I passed the road leading to our neighborhood. All of this brings me to my buddy Clark. I can say that he's a kindred spirit in a way. I love to decorate the outside of the house and yard. I get a kick out of it because I know young kids like seeing the holiday lights and dream for December 25th. There will be no lighting the eaves of this house though as the roof pitch is about a 7 on 12. I have gotten smarter with age in some aspects and the thought of falling off of the roof is not very appealing. I will probably do the front porch, bushes in front, and lay lights in the yard. I have done the yard lighting before and it provides an alternative to the whole house scheme and looks cool to boot!
Now The Wife has an obsession with The Big Guy. I don't know what her Santa count is up (80?) to but I know it's a lot. She does a great job on the inside and this past weekend we got a few pieces from the thrift stores to add to our collection. Tree will be had this Saturday for the main room and she has her separate Gone With the Wind and Military trees. Santas will be everywhere! Maybe I should get fat too just in case?
The discussion has been going back and forth on whether we want to go north right after Christmas to visit and I am finally to the point of just staying home and having a quiet time with just us. I travel so much for my job now that the idea of traveling during that time is so unappealing. I just want to relax and watch the continual airing of A Christmas Story all day. Great movie, right up there with The Muppet Christmas Carol (a personal favorite.) I have seen previews to A Christmas Story 2 but it does not look appealing. I think we'll skip it.
We pretty much have the gifts needed picked out waiting for their purchase. Got to get some nuts and eggnog. And I may have a surprise for everyone this year :)
I'll get some pictures this weekend of the holiday congress at our home for you. Until then, remember to check all of the bulbs!

Sunday, November 25, 2012

2013 Garden

Well, I finally have sat down and made out my seed list for the year of 2013. A work in progress for sure but pretty close to what I want.

Items in this color are new for me.

Mortgage Lifer
German Johnson
Large Red Cherry
Abe Lincoln
Amish Paste
Cherokee Purple

California Wonder
Yolo Wonder

Sugar Ann Snap

Early Prolific Straightneck
Dark Green Zucchini

Scarlet Nantes

Marketmore 76
Boston Pickling Improved

Utah 52-70 Tall Improved Celery
Red Creole Onion
Texas Early Grano Onion
Yukon Gold Potato (I'll get these tubers from the big box store)

I did some searching last night and made this list primarily from a company called Sustainable Seed Company. They deal with heirloom seeds only so if I have half a mind I'll be able to save some from these crops for the following year. They also carry Safety Seed Packages if you're in to the Prepping thing. Maybe not a bad idea.  I have noticed a lot of the seed companies have started carrying these.

The standard plethora of herbs will be planted as well. Basil, Oregano, and Chives to name a few. I also have my packages of flower seeds I got at $0.10 a piece. And I have an idea about my cracking vegetables. I believe they have been getting too much sun. My beds are in an open field with no shade whatsoever. This year I will build a trellis over the beds to see if that will help. I also need to get a small building up near the beds so I don't have to trek stuff back and forth. And my cold frame construction has to start. A lot to do so it's good to plan now.

Watching Alaska; The Last Frontier right now. Decent show. I like seeing the landscapes. Maybe move there so day. Off to eat some ice cream and veg.

Thursday, November 22, 2012


Thanksgiving from us to You.

We left the house Tuesday afternoon and headed to our destination with hopes in our hearts. Spent the night in a hotel. Left that morning to where we needed to be and with anticipation waited for our delivery. Not today we were told. Delayed! Ahhhh! Booked another hotel room and waited again.

It was definitely cold this morning, this day of Thanksgiving, but shared our warmth with others in the same situation.

Finally a sign.

Mother got the first hug, then the Grandparents.

Youngest boy got in too.

Turn in rifles and other gear.

The MUST picture by his banner that his girlfriend worked all night on!


The Oldest Boy is home from deployment from 'that' place.


We haven't had turkey, mashed potatoes, gravy, green beans, or anything. Our meal was McDonald's on the way home. Maybe we'll have something tomorrow.

Thanksgiving. We have a lot to be thankful this year. We're all together.

Hope you kids have a happy one too.

Monday, November 19, 2012

Next Year I Plan to Do.....

Well, this is something I have given a lot of thought about lately. We've settled in fairly well here at the homestead and now have a good handle on this house's energy usage (read: bills) plus other costs associated with keeping it up. So my plans for next year are,
1. Go through the entire house and see where we can insulate more. Insulation is the best money you can spend on your home in my opinion. Spend some up front but it pays dividends for a long, long time.
2. Programmable thermostat. I bought one and already have it programmed for the heating and cooling on the house. I need to change the settings a little more to make it more efficient for our needs but not to the point of huddling under blankets in the winter and sweating in the summer. Happy medium you would say. There are two bad parts to this house; the main living room and The Wife's bedroom have vaulted ceilings which are a pain to maintain a decent temperature in. This will hopefully change for one though but more on that another time.
3. Gutters. Why are gutters all of a sudden options on a house? Anyway I plan on installing a few sections of gutters so as to capture some rain water to use for the gardens. I can get some cheap barrels around town for next to nothing. Lowering the water bill.
4. Energy- efficient bulbs. These do help a lot and last a lot longer than the regular incandescent bulbs.
5. Greater variety on the garden and pay closer attention to it. I gets hard to watch it when I travel so much but I need to buckle down and stay on top of it. I am also going to try some direct planting in the ground to see if I can get anything to grow in this soil, maybe even by adding some dirt. I have a good idea on seed list but that's another post.
6. Tighter household budget. A big definite this coming year. Would like to stay more on top of this as well.

There are some more ideas and things I'd like to get accomplished next year. What brought this on? I picked up a copy of Mother Earth News today and did a brief skim through it it at lunch. Main headline- Guide to Self- Reliance and Country Skills, Winter 2012 issue. A lot of good ideas in it for sure. Plan on a good read this weekend.

Well, that's it for now. Exciting post coming up soon. Until then start planning! 

Monday, November 12, 2012

Secessioning, Prepping, and ing

OK. So now the petitions are circulating from at last count 22 states wanting secession from the United States of America, my state included. Really. Do they think this would turn out well? I made a big blurb about it on FB earlier and I will not bore you with it now. Let's just say that in my normal smart- ass way I think it is a waste of time. If you feel that bad about they way things are going, Mexico or Canada. Either way and you'll be happier. So will I.

Which brings me to prepping. New season starts this week and as part of my blurb I added the prepping theme into my post. What the hell, I'll put the post at the bottom. And if you haven't seen this show, check it out.

Gardening. Took some pictures of the garden today. Lettuce doing real good, more than we can eat actually. Had The Boy pick the remaining peppers so I can cut them up and freeze them when I get back in town. The red cabbage is growing albeit slowly as is the broccoli. All of the plants got a good freeze on them so time to pull out the remaining stuff except the cabbage and broccoli. Shoot, I also picked some carrots today. Not many as they didn't really seed right but they are good.

Mole-ing. I have a nice surprise for my resident moles. I looked for the poison worms by Tomcat but they don't ship or sell in NC I guess. So it is off to a more inhumane way to rid myself of these things. Let's just say it has spikes. I crushed down a lot of tunnels today to see which ones are active then I'll set it up.  They are doing a number on our yard. 

Election-ing. Now that the mess of electing our nation's leader is over I hope we move forward (and yes, I voted for him.) I am a Democrat but I am a very conservative Democrat. Probably a moderate Republican can also describe me but my Dad would turn over in his grave if he knew I switched sides. Never voted straight party ticket, never will. So now it is up to our congressional leaders to do their job, which is to work for us. I don't agree with everything President Obama has done and hopefully everyone up there can get their heads together and work this out with him. Just tired of the nonsense. 

Here's my famous/infamous FB post if you want to read it. Until next time get prepping kids. 

Now, we have all seen and/or heard about these petitions from numerous states wanting to secede/withdraw from the United States of America and start their own government. Here's mine from NC- 
OK, so you want to leave the USA and start The Independent Republic of North Carolina? Do the people "signing" these petitions actually know what the end result would be? Here in TIRoNC the "Government" can barely get out of it's own way and can't be trusted with the money they receive in the first place. Granted we do have a large number of military bases here so we should be safe for a while, available land for farming and livestock, we are starting to frack the hell out of the ground so hopefully natural gas will be plentiful (forget the regulations please; those get in the way), technology centers everywhere a
nd research parks out the wazzoo, and a diversified workforce with talents beyond recognition. I now see may taxes in the mid 40% range from now on, gasoline going to $15.00 a gallon, groceries rising by about 50%, my insurance disappearing since I won't be able to pay it, and my friends leaving to go to The USA! From 1950 to 1991 NC averages 14 tornadoes a year, and in that time frame there have been 12 hurricanes. Looks like I was low on my tax estimate. Good ole USA won't be helping us now. Or would it be an aid package? Hmmmm. Watched several episodes of Doomsday Preppers last night. Thought these people were a little on the crazy side but now I am starting to see their logic. I'm not going to be trying to save the family from solar flares, economic collapse (close though), the US Government taking my guns (which they might now), nuclear weapons or another rogue government trying to take us over (again which they might now since SC has their own petition.) I'm going to try to save the family from the people signing these petitions. Now I have to get a damn passport. And a word to the people of SC............ stay out!

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Winter's Coming.......

You know it is, there's no way around it. When I was a young lad I loved going outside in the snow, sleigh riding all day, snowball fights, and just plain goofing off. Anymore, if it hits 50 we're in blankets or our Snuggies on the couch.  After seeing some of the pictures from my old home state, I am somewhat glad I am where I am now.

That's a picture of the WV Turnpike. Pain in the Ass road to drive anyway but no way I'd want to be there now. And I'm always kidding The Wife that we are going to retire to Alaska. I suppose if you lived there you'd get used to it. I'm kidding. 
Now if it snows here where we live now, look out! Pandemonium (had to Google that word) will ensue. Being from the northern climes we can drive in snowy conditions but the southern folk can't at all. Plus the highway departments aren't really equipped to deal with anything more than a couple of inches. More than that call off work because you're not getting there. For days. When I first hired in to the company I work for, a couple of the other project managers told me that the year before they were coming back from a job site when a freak ice storm hit. They were stranded on the highway for 6 hours before getting out and walking to a friends house, kids had to stay overnight at their schools, and the city basically shut down for 4 days. 
So winter is coming. Last year it was pretty mild but I think we're going to get hit several times this year. Time for that generator! We know Sandy has made a mess of things up north so hopes for everyone up there! It's coming kids!

On the vehicle front. So The Wife and I voted this past Saturday morning to get that out of the way and I say afterwards "Let's go down to that Ford dealership and take a look around before I head to Raleigh and trailer that POS back to the house. Your car's transmission feels like it is going to go, the Neon is down and The Oldest Boy is taking the truck. We need to do something." So down we go looking around the lot. Sat in a Taurus, but from outwards appearances it seems big until you get inside (we are back seat people as The Youngest Boy is 6'-2" at 14 so we have to take him into consideration on the vehicle purchase) and then it was cramped. Same for the Escape. Then we looked at the new Fusion. Nice. Roomy. So we talked to the sales guy for a few minutes before I had to leave to get the previously- mentioned POS. We told him we'd be back. Well, first of all we didn't go back. After I got the Neon taken care of we cruised down to another dealership to take a look at some opposing vehicles to get a better idea of what's out there. Steered The Wife away from the Mini Vans (Lame) so we tried out a Charger. Nice. Then a Chrysler 200. Nice but not as nice as the Charger. Then for shits and giggles we tried a Dodge Ram 1500 crew cab. Really Nice. Quiet, roomy, big, mean looking......

But we ended up with the Charger. You didn't think I'd get the truck? It also had a BIG price tag! This thing is roomy, has a cool key fob thingy that I always play with, and The Wife likes it which is the main thing. It costs money but we'll drive the wheels off of it before we look again. The Taurus has 147,000 miles on it so come on! And The Oldest Boy now tells me he's not taking my truck, he's buying his own car. So I get to keep my truck and all is well. We'll give him the Taurus to use as a trade in on whatever he wants. 

On a sadder note a young boy was hit by a van not more than 2 miles from our house trying to get on the school bus in the morning. He went to the same school as The Youngest Boy. The family had no means to pay for his funeral so a fund was set up to help the family cover these costs. An initial goal was $7,000.00 which, believe it or not, is the basic cost of a funeral. I posted the link on FB and had several of my friends donate as well as us. The $7,000.00 was surpassed within a day and a half so any more contributions are being setup for other families that are in the same situation. It is called The Adam Kempf Memorial Fund We can only imagine the family's grief during this time, to lose a son at such a young age. Donate if you can. 


Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Now on the Gardening Front, and Moles, and Cars....

Finally decided this past Sunday to get off my ass and work on the beds as I have neglected them too long. Soooooooo after sleeping in a good while (10ish) it was off the the garden to see what damage I could do.  I picked what tomatoes were left and started pulling them all out. The weather is really starting to change here and I saw no point of leaving them up any longer. After pulling the 20th tomato stake I said to myself "I really didn't think I planted this many?" Another 20 stakes later and I was done. After that came the weeding of the wire grass (damn stuff.) I dug all around each bed, digging deep and pulling because, if you don't get the roots you're wasting your time. And in doing this process I unknowingly ran into a nest of fire ants. Now, for those of you that do not have the pleasure of meeting these fine creatures let me clue you in. They like sandy soil, are small, swarm like crazy, and when they bite you know it.... for days afterwards. I got some good bites on my left wrist as proof. Welts and blisters is what they leave. I hate them with a passion. Back to the garden. I had planted a row of red cabbage and some lettuce mix that surprisingly has done well. Time for a trim and more growth.

That's carrots to the left of the lettuce. They are so so right now. I have picked most of the bigger green pepper but still have a lot of small banana peppers to pick, so we'll probably freeze those.

Eggplant. Anybody need eggplant? I tried to grow this stuff at our old house with limited success. Now I keep pulling these things off left and right. Need to find a way to preserve them if I can. I picked three Sunday. 

Well, after all was said and done I got all of the beds weeding and cleaned out that I wanted to, leaving the peppers and eggplants to their own devices. Sprinkled Preen on the newly weeded beds and there you have it. 

I am considering adding a few more beds next year and even toying with the idea of getting some dirt and mixing it with the soil we have and doing direct planting. I still have a few things to iron out and some positives.
  • One is that my tomato's skins always split, on every one of them! They grow too fast on the inside for the outside to keep up so my only guess is soil nutrients. 
  • Corn. For some reason I must be the only person in the south that can not grow corn. They came up good but that was it. Nothing but dead kernels. 
  • Bad year for cukes too. I think they get too much sun so I'll have to build a big greenhouse near their bed to shade them :) After the pool, I know honey!
  • Peppers have done really good this year. Not the big plants I'm used to but they have done well.
  • Eggplant: Nothing else to say about them. 
  • Beans: So, so. Their dying  off still baffles me. 
I have a list in my head for next year that include potatoes and onions that I never got around to this year. I also have a window pane that I plan on turning into a cold frame. And I have to build an upstairs bedroom, bath, rec room, finish the garage..................................

Something else I found that likes our sandy soil.

Moles. We found a dead one on the road next to the house last month but there's apparently more. I thought about putting chicken wire in the bottom of the beds but I didn't. Now I wish I had. Now for some mole repellent on top of the fire ant killer!

Cars. Driving to the office late Sunday afternoon in my speed mobile (Plymouth Neon, don't ask) a car cuts me off on the beltline (the circular highway that surrounds Raleigh.) So I hit the brakes and my foot hits the floor. Nurse the car to the office only to find a busted brake line on the rear. Great! Something else to do. We really didn't want to spend the money on a newer vehicle right now but we know it's coming. I hate buying cars. So I'll try to get this one fixed and pray that The Wife's car holds out for a while. Ahhhhhh! The oldest boy is due back from deployment soon so he'll be taking my truck (after a modest fee he'll have to pay which was part of the agreement that we worked out, and that I am  now regretting) so I know it will be soon to head to the motor mile. Ahhhhh! again. We are looking with trepidation on what we need. All I know is that I don't need this right now. 

The youngest boy has gotten me into paintball and I actually really enjoy it. We have a course that is literally 4 minutes from our house that we go to. He's got his gun setup and I got myself a basic model and we have fun. And in playing this sport I have found the younger people that attend and play are really good kids. I haven't yet seen any problems as everyone seems to get along together and tries to help everyone out. Surprised to be sure as you hear of so many troubled youth nowadays. 

Foot still hurting and paintball didn't help it so The Wife talked me into orthopedic soles for my shoes. Hope this helps because I look like the Hunchback of Notre Dame walking around right now. It hurts.

No WOF of the Week as I really haven't had the time to catch her stupidness lately. 

Until next time keep your feet moving. 

Sunday, October 14, 2012

The Peep Has Left the Building

The Mountains Are Calling And I Must Go. John Muir

DuPont State Forest was the trip for today and it did not disappoint, except for all of the Yankee tourists. It seemed overnight that the trees said "Shit, we'd better start changing colors now." There was definitely more color today than yesterday. It was also a little cooler and damp so to me that's the ideal day. I'll just post the pictures.

I toyed with a black and white shot of these falls too.

The last picture was of Corn Mill Shoals on the Little River. It was a hike to get to this area but we were alone when we got there. Another situation developed that caused me (and still is) pain was I started having heal spur pain on my left foot. I hobbled to this area and back out and continued to hobble for the rest of the day. Still hurts tonight. 

Anyway a good trip although too short for my taste. Next time we'll definitely stay longer. And hopefully this has brought out the inner outdoor explorer in the family. I enjoy getting out but never make time for it. The boy used to like going but has other ideas now. Raven Rock State Park is not too far from us so we're talking about going this coming Sunday. Get off our rumps! Get out!

Back to work tomorrow, sigh :( That's it for tonight kids so off to bed. Get your peep on.