Sunday, March 29, 2009

Chainsaws Are Hot

I helped with the tree for awhile, but then N came over and he had a chainsaw, which made him categorically more helpful. So I went inside and folded laundry.
Much to my surprise, when I looked out the window I saw this. It didn't look safe, but then again, I am sure that C and N had discussed ways to get that part of the tree down. Standing on it and cutting it at the same time must have seemed like the best solution.
He's still super attractive. I made him put on protective eye gear and he informed me that he had NEVER worn eye protection while wielding a chainsaw before. Yeah, and I say he's darn lucky that he still has both eyes. I really like those eyes!
That's N at the top of the ladder there. It looks safe, right? Right?!

Thought I'd show you the big picture. In my opinion, it still doesn't look safe, but they did get it down. That is the neighbor (who I think the tree belongs to, because seriously, who plants flowers around the neighbors' tree?) with C on the ground. If I was up there, I would have dropped the chainsaw twice and I'm sure it would have broken the second time.

Getting closer!

This was the secondary action taken to get this limb unattached from the tree. It worked! C took down the trunk of the tree last night and cut it up. We think we have friends that will grind the stump out and C's parents get all of the usable wood (they heat their home by wood only). Not exactly what we had in mind for the weekend. It is our first homeowners' claim though and it will meet our deductible. Bring on the hail, baby! We need a new roof!

Did We Need to Come Home to This? Darn Tree.

Apparently we have good neighbors. I don't know their names or anything (despite living here over two years), but I think C knows a few of the guys around us. As usual when we left for the weekend, C left his work truck in the driveway with the work number on the back window. So when a tree fell (due to ice or just rotting internally), at least three of our neighbors called C's boss, J, who in turn called us Saturday evening. We headed home on Sunday morning with a chainsaw (thanks, G!).

This is what we saw when we got home. Time to assess the damage.

The tree didn't really fall, just the top part of it. It took out the back fence.
Fence on the ground. Thankfully, chain link is difficult to really hurt and C had the fence up again for the dogs by Sunday evening. See how close the tree is to the shop though? Yeah.

See, the tree broke and fell over, but it didn't break all the way, therefore we didn't know how much of the weight of this break was being supported by the huge limbs gouged into the ground.

Inside the shop. A branch went through the roof. At least this was the only place.

The gutter was ripped off one side of the shop and the lower part of the metal panels were dented in places.

C got to work really quickly (also notice how quickly the snow melted). He cut, we stacked and piled, and then he cut some more. The backyard was so muddy, not to mention large chunks of turf missing due to the force of the falling tree/limbs.

Saturday, March 28, 2009

Shoot It to Kill It

Guns have been a endless source of conversation around here lately. No one seems sure of what the new president and/or his cabinet are going to do, laws have expired and others have been passed, and it remains true in this area that ammunition manufacturers and gun manufacturers have been seeing steady growth in profit since January. I don't need to get all political about this, but it stands to mention that one of the rights German citizens lost very quickly and somewhat quietly when the Nazis gained control was the right of private citizens to own and bear arms. I'm just saying. Anyway, I married into a gun toting family and I knew this from day one.
The boys returning from where they set up the target (this was when R was shooting his rifle, therefore, the distance).
C is just so attractive in his earmuffs, no, sound lesseners, no, what are those called?

Practicing with our pistol. Much better form than mine. Then again, he's an old pro.

R did a really good job too.
Gotta love the John Wayne stance!

Yeah, that's me. Maybe the John Deere stocking gave me some luck? I didn't do too badly and I could probably kill you if your hobby is home intrusion on our block. That is the point, right?

C Saves Baby Bull From Sure Death and Starvation!

Okay, maybe it was a little less dramatic than that. Maybe C went rabbit hunting in the pasture and saw something move and went to investigate. He did find a newborn calf (estimated time of birth: Saturday AM) tucked away under a tree with no mama cow anywhere to be found. In Farmer M's opinion (him being the owner of said calf), the mama cow had cleaned up her calf and fed him his first meal, when she most likely went to eat for herself. C did not see any tracks, so of course gave Farmer M a call.
Farmer M drove over, loaded the calf up, and took him home to his very own mudroom. We went over to visit! This is the baby bull (seeing as how he still had his testicles, for another couple hours at least). He was keeping good company with Farmer M's five granddaughters petting him. Okay, maybe I was petting him too while C and Farmer M discussed guns and gun laws. I was told that a bottle fed, or hand fed, calf is a lot of work and I mentioned that even if I could take him home, I wouldn't want to because I'd have to name him Hamburger or Ribeye. Eating someone named Henry just doesn't seem right to me.

Still, no telling what shape this little guy would be in if C hadn't stumbled on him. I was just surprised that any female creature pushes something that big out of her body (I am aware that there are bigger babies, but still). It was the heart-warming story for the weekend and C is such a sweet hero.

The Dogs Love Snow

We had the weekend in a big way. Five posts worth.
On the way out to the farm (C's parents' home & land). It snowed and iced Friday night and most of Saturday. Nose smudges on the window courtesy of Boris and Bella.

Boris is super excited to play in the snow out at the farm! He's a decent rider in the backseat of the truck as well.
Bella girl is waiting patiently because we are ALMOST THERE!
Low water crossing. The creek is so pretty when it snows!
C, because he is cute and there is snow in the background.


DITTO! AND I AM HAPPY! Let me eat all of the snow . . .

Loki, alpha female, protector of the pack, and as regal as ever.

As the sun warms the snow and pours through the trees, the creek from a different place. Natural beauty always cheers us up for some reason; as does snow!

Saturday, March 21, 2009

Desperation & Cupcakes & Hummus

Do you see the desperation in the little one's eyes? Boris and Bella were SO upset that their dad left in his truck without them. C took the boat to the lake and went fishing with N. These guys sat by the door for at least two hours after C was gone. They work themselves into a frenzy when they hear the diesel start up or when they hear it coming down the street.
Boris is pathetic and I needed to show C just how bad it gets when he leaves in his truck.

I, being completely insensitive to the dogs' angst, made yellow cupcakes. I tossed a few in N's truck for him and A to enjoy.

In the family I grew up in, we appreciate frosting, but not as much as everyone else. So we usually leave half of a cake, or a fourth of the cupcakes, unfrosted. Because sometimes you just aren't in the mood for frosting.

I made hummus and it tastes good! It is entirely thanks to K's recipes, that is super simple, and she was generous enough to pass along. The last time I made hummus, it was so awful that I had to throw it away. I just don't have good luck with tahini or something. This version does not call for tahini, but it does have cilantro, cumin, and curry in it - all of my favorite things! I still didn't quite follow the recipe correctly (I seem unable to do so), but it tastes great and I froze some!

Christmas Morning (Sort of . . .)

Here is the Wagoneer in all of its morning glory (and better lit). We were able to empty it all out Saturday morning to see what kind of goodies were in the back. Usually in these type of situations (and the boys will attest to this), you are lucky to find beer cans and a cat skeleton in the back (don't ask). But we had already peeped through the windows and knew there were Wagoneer parts back there - some still in their boxes.

First project on the to-do list: get the Wagoneer running. The motor is fine, even if it does have 199K miles on it and it sounded very soothing after we got a little bit of gasoline to it and bought a new battery. The transmission is junk though, so both are getting swapped with the motor and transmission from the maroon wagoneer (this is being done relatively soon, however, the plan changes if we can find a diesel for it). So, while this Wagoneer runs, it doesn't go anywhere yet.

The tailgate is a little lacking - it is missing the entire locking component. Which is kind of a problem because to manually open the back, you use the key to lower the window into the tailgate and then open the tailgate. Since something is disconnected (we're not quite sure what yet) and nothing electrical works, we had no way to get into the Wagoneer from the back.

The interior is just okay. The seats are covered and I don't even really want to get a good look at them because I'm worried about what I might find. However, we have replacement parts for almost everything else in this photo. That is new carpet you see on the floor, and in the back we found brand new gauges, door handles, locks, steering wheel cover, pedals, etc. While you may not think this is a big deal, the steering wheel cover alone is worth about $70.

The driver's side interior.

This is the back seat propped up and the cargo area all cleared out. Thankfully, there isn't much rust back there, but there are some concerning spots on the floor right inside both back doors and the passenger door. The driver's side floor looks like someone already did a patch job. C plans to cut out the floor on the maroon Wagoneer and replace parts in the blue one, or just use steel to patch.

Pile o'stuff unloaded from the Wagoneer: two A/C ventilation units, spare gas tank, extra wheel (I do have six total), brand new carpeting for the entire Wagoneer (most is already cut to fit), four door panels, new oil sending unit, assorted electrical pieces (to go with the all new gauges), new lock plates, two locking mechanism/contraptions for the tailgate, etc. The coolest finds: brand new wood paneling and trim pieces (I get my woody!) worth about a grand, brand new Jeep wheel caps, Jeep hood ornament, all of the trim-type things (Grand Wagoneer, Wagoneer, 4 Wheel Drive, etc.). Too much other stuff to name! Basically, we have the means to make the Wagoneer look nice when it runs well and is structurally sound.

Another picture of a lot of stuff.

A new grille, complete with headlight surrounds. And that extra gas tank again.

We have a lot of plans for the Wagoneer. We need to go back to where the maroon Wagoneer is and completely strip it - it comes with a ton of parts and pieces that we can use, store, or sell. It has a brand new rear window sitting in the back seat since its own was shattered. I will be taking pictures of that one because it is currently less stripped down (looks like someone was driving it not too long ago - it was tagged for August 2008) and I want to know where to put all the decals and pretty things back on the blue one. I think we have our work cut out for us.

In the grand tradition of naming vehicles, I am stuck between two names for the blue Wagoneer: Pidgeon or Lucile (for those were the names of the Wagoneer's first owner). Any opinions? It will probably end up being called the Wagon, as Jeep Grand Wagoneer is a mouthful, but a name name would be nice too. When Lucile bought this Wagoneer, the average income for a person purchasing a Grand Wagoneer was $102K - in the eighties. I found that interesting.

And while ours will never look this fancy, or be restored to these specifications, this website has beautiful examples of what a Jeep Grand Wagoneer can be. Yes, I do realize they charge $30K for a 20-40 year old vehicle, but look at them - they are worth it.

Friday, March 20, 2009

We Have Another Jeep

I drive a 2003 Jeep Grand Cherokee to work everyday. I love it and it has yet to have any serious problems, or anything that isn't super simple for C to figure out and fix. I've fallen in love with Jeeps. I've wanted a Jeep Wagoneer for about two years now and suddenly one fell out of the sky. It needs some work, but it, along with the parts Wagoneer are now ours. In fact, C should be pulling in the driveway with our new truck any minute now.

My new (to me) 1986 Jeep Grand Wagoneer. It's dark blue with minimal rust and the interior is full of new parts and accessories that a previous owner bought, but never installed. It might be a little bit like Christmas morning tomorrow when we sort through it all.

Side view: it has some issues. I was reading up on these and any Jeep Wagoneer made after a certain year in the 1980s had a defective clear coat of paint on it. There was a recall where a new paint job was offered, but that has expired and the paint used for the recall wasn't very high quality either. So, the paint was bound to have some issues. This truck actually has awesome wheels though, and I think we have six of them (not that we need six, but we have them).

This is the accompanying parts truck. I kind of like the aesthetics of this one better: the maroon color and wood panelling. It is not in very good shape. What C really wants to do is put a diesel motor in this one, slip some heavy duty axles under it, and call it a beast. If we can get the diesel and axles for a tidy sum, we will get the blue Wagoneer running, sell it, and build the maroon one into the truck of my dreams. We'll see.

Jeep it up. I think I am a die hard fan now. The interior isn't pristine, but it is in okay shape - nothing I can't fix with money and the internet!

This is me and my new Jeep. I should take a picture of me with my old Jeep, which is actually the newer Jeep, if you are following!

Thursday, March 19, 2009


It's not like I haven't blogged before; I am what they might call experienced in this art. This blog is about us, C and me, and our life now. We are renewing what it means to us to live in the here and now and thinking about what the future holds. Our life is full of friends, family, animals, vehicles, and whatever else comes our way.

Two weekends ago: March 7, 2009

C is trying to use both my cell phone (far superior) and his cell phone, but mine wins. I just thought this was a funny picture. For a country boy, he sure is attached to his phone.

He got the phone working, obviously. This may also be one of the few pictures of the Ham Shack.

Bella girl panting in the back of the Dodge Power Wagon, Boris around his dad's feet. C is still on the phone.

You've got Bella and Porter in the back of the truck.

G, C's dad, was so nice to lift Bella out of the back of the truck (she had surgery earlier this week). Unfortunately, she is an awkward 90 pounds or so, and G wasn't pleased with the time I made him carry her in order to get a picture. Boris and Porter just wonder what kind of game they're playing.

Good picture of the running boards and the rear fender of the Dodge Power Wagon. That blue heeler is actually Loki and she belongs to G.

G thinks he is funny taking a picture of me taking a picture. Also a good shot of the Dodge; Bella, Porter, and Loki are in the bed.

Complimentary photo of Boris the Blue Heeler.

Complimentary photo of Bella Girl.