Saturday, January 14, 2017


 NOT a good week for US here!

Since the snow last weekend, we have had beautiful weather 70's and even 80's, sunny and beautiful!! So why am I not posting progress on my shed project you ask?  
Life has a way of knocking the wind out of my sails and sends one challenge right after the other.

This past Tuesday evening my Mom fell at home and broke her left humerus right up below her shoulder joint.  She uses a walker full time in order to walk without falling, (supposed to stop her falling, but did not) She has fallen 3 times while using her walker. It is a balance problem since she has peripheral nueropathy meaning she has very little feeling in her legs, so she can't sense her feet too creates horrible balance that is the problem exacerbated by having 2 hip replacements after spontaneous fractures due to osteoporosis. When you live to be 92 you will not go out with sound mind or body, trust me on this one. 

So she had her walker but she hung her toe on something and down she went her upper body slammed into the door frame on the way down and that fractured her arm...then she realized her "life line alert," I've fallen and can't get up button, was NOT on her neck...she had taken it off in prep for bedtime, she was not able to wiggle due to her arm being broken to get to the phone or the button....soooo

I was of course next door in my house, asleep...but I got up at 1:30 to shut off the ice maker which is quite noisy in my kitchen, saw her lights on and that is how I discovered her...she had been in the floor for 3 hrs! 

... I got her up but realized she had all the signs of a broken arm so took her to the ER and they verified it.  The orthopedic next morning said they don't normally do anything except put the arm in a sling for a humeral neck that's all the care she received. 

Then her entire arm turned black and blue and swollen.  Since she can't walk without a walker and now she can't use a walker with one hand that makes her balance worse, she is pretty much out of commission, and she can do very little for herself.  I did get a wheel chair and that has helped ME to get her from bed to chair to bathroom etc...but now SHE depends on my help for everything...

My sister came down to give me a weekend break I go back to Mom's house tomorrow, I sure am happy to have the break...since the time frame is: the first 2 weeks are the worst, and then it's a 10-12 week healing process.

Just taking each day as it comes right now...I just want my mom to recover and hopefully be able to start walking again, she can walk as long as I am right there to insure she doesn't fall while using a quad cane, I can't hold her up by her left arm due to the break, so am using the tricks I learned while watching her in rehab before, a belt at her waist that I hold onto.

When something like this happens you start to second guess how the events could have been different, only if.  But we can't change anything that has already happened all we can do is go on, and wish for a better future. I know it could have been much worse, so thankful for that.

Hopefully during the coming days she will get used to doing things a little different, and I will feel like I can step outside to work on my project and get some well needed exercise and fresh air while she watches her westerns and naps in her recliner chair. 

Till then its a challenge to be cooped up inside.  

Eleanor Roosevelt: You must do the thing you think you can not.

Sunday, January 8, 2017

First Post this year!

What happened to the Sunny South?  It almost never shines in winter anymore when I look back through my blog and emails to friends I see over and over yr after yr how I comment on the gloomy weather!  No wonder I can't make any progress on my shed project I should have started in October but it didn't cool off this yr till a week before Thanksgiving! NOW this-

Image may contain: people sitting, plant, tree, table, outdoor and nature

And the high today will be 32 with a wind chill making it feel like 22.  I guess all you can do about the weather is complain, and it won't do any good! Did see a couple sweet birds come in for food...

pine warbler

Between the rain and snow I got through the pile of 2 x 4's and pulled out the nails, saw off the rotten ends etc. and stacked them is a neat way...this is before!

these photos are low resolution so hope you don't mind the fuzzy...trying to stay within my "data"confines... I went through the pile some got the toss....others I pulled out the old nails and sawed off the rotten ends if it had any...some are good all the way.  Here is a tip if you ever find yourself needing to bang out old nails..
First I lay the board on my workbench and hammer the nail back through the board so it looks like this with the head up.

It's easier to pull them out if you have them on the ground...more leverage that way and the longer your crowbar, the better! (TIP: if you have a piece of metal pipe longer than your crowbar that will slide over the handle of your crowbar you can make it longer and pull out LONG -- BIG nails with ease)  I use a wood scrap about 28 inches long to hold the board down with my foot on it and put it close enough to the nail I get even better leverage by putting my crowbar on top of the board like this...

you can pull it out with very little effort using this method....and if there's any nails on the edge of the board,  turn it on edge and do the same thing....holding the leverage board down with your foot really holds the wood steady for you to pull the nail out easily with the crowbar!

No Nails!!

Now, I've been known to straighten a nail and reuse it, not hard to do just lay it on a smooth wood surface you can hammer on, and put it with the arch of the bend UP rolling it with your index finger until it is firm and then not too hard hammer it till the crook is gone and it looks straight.  
Another tip for sawing off the rotted ends: to me the chain saw is fast and makes a straight cut! SO that's what I used on the 2 x 4's I will be making another cut when I determine which ones will be used where in the project. 

here is a rough draft of my "blue print"  The part on the left is where the riding mower will stay so I want a brick ramp for ease of driving it in and out..I have old bricks here and there probably enough to do the project and if not I know where an old house burned to the ground! The mower area is where the sliding barn door will go.  

I have "felled"one more of the big trees that had to be cut down...There is ONE more shown here that may have to go I'll see when I lay out my foundation...I think it's going to interfere with getting the tools in and out of my "Office" as I call it where all my yard tools will hang on the right...So you got your Right Wing where things get hung and Your Left Wing where things are mobile. Pun intended.....Cutting this tree will be tricky see how its bent... that's a 10 ft ladder in the it is really tall. probably 60 ft?

...and now a new idea for my blog I enjoy telling stories, so this is my first installment of 2017, it won't be an every blog thing but heck it could be--probably should be another blog altogether but it will be as a footnote when one pops in my head for now.  You can or you don't have to read....
story time

I find myself thinking of Old Ms Hopkins a lot is her part in my life...
When we moved to SC from TN I was just a wee girl of 6-ish back in 1960  We played a lot with the two boys who lived next to the duplex we rented.  Just across and down the dirt road a bit was a house covered in grey asphalt siding, a little house surrounded by shrubbery, fruit trees, and a fence.  You could not see much of the house for the overgrowth. Inside this little tangle lived old Ms Hopkins. She had 2 daughters already out on their own, who came on weekends to visit their widowed mother. 

 They took her to church and brought in some necessary supplies. She was for the most part, a self sufficient woman. She had no car. What she did have was a large vegetable garden, a flock of laying hens, a well for water, and a simple existence.  She worked from sun up till sun down on her two acre place every single day even on Sunday...chopping wood, hoeing the garden, feeding her chickens, canning in the summer, and doing repairs around her place. She did all her wash by hand and hung it on the line about twice a month.  

Rumors of area kids stated, she is a witch!  She always managed her daily chores wearing a straight formed dress belted at the waist that hung well below the knee, a scratchy looking grey cardigan sweater, (way too big for her), some type of woolen hosiery,  and a sweat stained straw hat...she reminded me so very much of my own Grandmother back in TN who dressed the same and worked harder than any farm hand ever did. 

When we kids went veering through the shrubs to see "the witch" she would always yell the same thing, "GO SCAT YOU KIDS,"  and we ran as if she had a blasted us with that shotgun we knew she kept by the back kitchen door. We knew that because on occasion if a snake or a stray dog got near her hen house she would go a blasting till the danger was gone! I witnessed her kill a rattler with her hoe, then toss him into her chicken yard for the hens to eat!

We thought she was an evil witch, but when that duplex we rented caught fire and we lost most of our clothes, (a bedroom fire) she was the only neighbor who came with a cardboard box full of clothes that had once belonged to her daughters. My sisters and I worked on hemming, taking up sleeves, and making the odd bits of hand me downs work for us! I wore my share of those clothes for several years to come. Ms Hopkins was the only neighbor who understood the immediate need of three sisters of meager means who had school to attend and just lost the very clothes off their backs.

 Every time I hang up my work hats I think about Ms Hopkins, I wonder what ever became of her? Just in case you're wondering about who my role models were growing up...she was one of them.

    my work hats 

Eleanor Roosevelt: You must do the thing you think you can not.

Saturday, December 31, 2016

A Year in the Life

Looking back to my blog early this year I was busy putting in the bathroom...seemed to take months to get it done.  It has worked out pretty well....over all.  Did have a couple small leaks I had to deal with. 

Gloomy weather does a number on me...It sets the mood to hibernate...rather than the busy bee I normally am, in the gloomy winter weather I am more like a Grizzle Bear, moody and sluggish. One thing is chocolate! I rarely buy chocolate but then come Halloween, and BAM its everywhere till New Yrs is over. I'm suffering  a chocolate hang over--

I'm trying to make this a look back post..and I was about to say lets "Burn 2016 to the ground!"
 Lost so much this year... my son and his girlfriend of 5 yrs broke UP! That means I lost my step grandchild...and the hopes of his marriage and settling down any time soon...sigh.  But look at what I gained...the year was not an entire wash....actually if I cut myself out of other equations of family, friends, and country my personal year was okay....still I grieve with the collective over certain things. 

January: Had me working in the house, shooting the moon,...and shooting off my mouth about the Malheur take over...what a crock that was!!


February: found me in Florida for 2 weeks.  St Augustine, Merritt Island, Canaveral National Seashore, Ft Myers to see the Flamingo, Big Cypress National Preserve, Shark Valley, the Everglades, and the Crocodile, Casey and I camping along the way!!

American Flamingo

American Crocodile

March: Day Trip!  birding down at Bear Island WMA, had a wonderful day there!  So many shore birds I really couldn't ID them all.

 April: zoomed up to NC and along the Blue Ridge Mountains hoping for early spring birds, didn't hit it just right but had a glorious time anyway 4 days of camping and being out in the wilderness, hiking. Did see some awesome birds, rivers, and landscapes!

Gotta Love a Black Throated Green Warbler in early spring!!

yellow prong lower falls

 May: I moved into my house! Still a work in progress but I've had 7 months so far to enjoy settling back into my place...

June: Went to NC to see the Brown Booby another rare bird then we crossed to Eastern NC to wander around Mattamuskeet NWR a combination of camping and one night in a motel.

the brown booby

imm white ibis at Mattamuskeet

July: I found out I was descended from not one, but 2 accused Salem Witches, got my deck built, Mom and I did some Town trips that we hope to get back to doing soon, and then finally my sister came to help out...Annie and I took off for a week after we found out she had a tumor!  

Aug:  Annie and I head  once again up to the Blue Ridge Parkway, the VA section this time for a late summer camping trip, then onto Shenandoah NP, the wild flowers, butterflies, and black bears were amazing, then up to Harper's Ferry WVa, on to the Laurel Highlands of PA for water-falling and camping!  

flowers of the blue ridge parkway VA

our camp at Otter Creek VA

black bears in Shenandoah NP

being tourists @ Harper's Ferry W.VA

Cucumber Falls Ohiopyle PA

New River Gorge Bridge W.VA

Then we went back home for 2 weeks for Annie's surgery and recovery ALL GOOD!

AUG: Later: Soon as Annie was well enough my Sis and I left for a long weekend in TN to celebrate what our family calls Graveyard Decoration, its a get together to remember and celebrate the memory of our past loved ones, and its way to raise money to keep the Cemetery up..

                                                   the Walling Cemetery

Sept:  I went on  the epic Journey that took me through 10 states and added Canada to my Travel List....Since those blogs are fresh in your memories I won't repeat them here!!  The mileage on that trip was about 4,500 and I enjoyed each and every mile...

crossing into Canada 

Oct: We went to Ocean Isle Beach to Celebrate our Birthdays, and to enjoy the ocean! 

                                            Ocean Isle Beach, NC

November: I VOTED, it didn't count, then I started on ripping the shed down, and the Holidays crept in, I made Thanksgiving dinner for most of the family some of then went AWOL to Colorado, the dogs and I  had our first fire of the season...

                                            Casey enjoys the fire

Dec:  and then before I knew it the Red Kettle was up in front of the Food Lion where I shop for food.  I always give a little, not much, as I am on a tighter budget than you would think!

             Image may contain: christmas tree and indoor
sis's tree

Altogether I camped 56 nights this year, logged about 8,888 miles,  moved into my house and continue to work on the projects I envisioned,  was able to catch up with and visit extended family I hadn't seen in a long time,  added a ton of stamps to my National Parks Passport books, added a whole bunch of turned pennies to my collections, added 14 new lifers to my bird list, and visited some nearby towns I had never been to! All of the above are how I enjoy spending my time,  these small things make me happy and make my life worth living., and I spent another birthday with my mom and my
personally for me, it was a good year. 

I have some goals for 2017, I will try to outline in the coming blogs. 
Happy New Yr. to all!!

Eleanor Roosevelt: You must do the thing you think you can not.

Monday, December 26, 2016

Getting shed of the shed!

Many of you probably awoke to a white Dec 25th, if you got it hope you enjoyed it... I got up and opened the windows!  66 degrees.  I drove, with my son,  over the river, and through the woods up to my sisters house where Mom is until New Yrs, for the day and a meal prepared by my German BIL.  He did a great job! 

Not often you can dress like this on Christmas Day, my son at rest area opening a vending machine cold drink.

One year we had snow on the 26th...bummer.  So the Holiday is behind us whew...
I asked Santa for a new shed I drool over those catalogs that arrive in the mail with glistening new pole barns and sheds of every description size, and shape,,,,but then I check the price tag....the same ole' thing..."No Sondra, there is no Santa Claus".   Just like anything else in life if you want it bad enough you will make it happen with wit and sweat.  But first I have to destroy the old one!! 

It comes down in the reverse of how it went up..the siding,  then the roof, then the framing...

The girls watched from a safe distance and wiggled in the dirt!

...then up on the ladder, it was the hardest part taking off the tin roofing...I didn't want to damage it too bad as I plan to re-use it!!  It has a nice patina don't you think? Or you might just call it rust...

...then I noticed in the bushy holly a tap tap tapping! A yellow bellied sapsucker busy making his own world a better place!

those little holes in the tree trunk is what he is busy doing, they drill a little hole, the sap seeps into the holes then bugs and such also get into the its like a juicy sappy bug snack. You can see he has a red throat patch and red forehead, the belly is a buffy yellow and the back is black with white/tan specks and white on his primaries! A very attractive bird!

So I had to get a few shots of him before continuing...soon all the tin was off.  

then I just tied a rope to the remaining frame,  gave 3 hard tugs and down it went!!

                                                  Now you can see the house!

It was easy to pull all this apart with it on the ground...and now Im salvaging what I can of the timbers, the tin is def usable, some of the rafters are good I pulled out the nails, and some of the 2 x 4 's have rot on the bottom end so I'll saw that end off I can make my walls 6 inches shorter.   This is not rocket science...

So Im using my circular saw and cutting the old siding into 12 inch wide pieces and trimming off the rotted parts and Ill use it like lap siding on the back and on the inside wall...nothing will go to waste. 

 one load of debris went to the dump...and Ill probably have one more small load to haul away,  SO a lot is being reused, recycled, and re-purposed!! 

I have removed one of the trees as planned and soon the other one will be on my firewood pile...its not a healthy tree so it will help to heat the house!
I do plan to plant more trees in the wood lot, some evergreens....since my woods never get the benefit of fire...the under-story has disappeared and all the trees are tall and not reseeding very well! Planting some evergreens  like Eastern Cedar and Holly will help give a green under story and replenish my wood lot. 

Next step is to start getting the foundation of the NEW shed in place!! Hope to start that as soon as I get all the 2 x 4's ready to reuse.   And I got a Lowe's Gift card for Christmas!! Yippie!  Later back inside,  I'm trying to perfect biscuit making what tips do you have for me? Don't forget I use only non animal products.   

these were good crispy outsides and soft inside.

Eleanor Roosevelt: You must do the thing you think you can not.

Tuesday, December 13, 2016

Waiting on the World to Change

My World that is!! most regular readers know I am trying to get my home and grounds back up to snuff after many years of neglect started in 2012 after the divorce decree!  So next on the list (altho it needs a new roof and a new HVAC unit), Im going ahead and doing some of the things I can do on my own or with minimal help and investment.

The shed is an eye sore! This shot shows how close it is to the house...its not normally THIS junky around  it I'm dragging stuff out in prep for the "TAKE DOWN" 

Its currently about 9 x 9...with a lean-to side of an additional 8 ft x 12 ft. an "L" shaped building I don't need it to be that big. I used to have 2 riding mowers one died so its gone, I have 2 bicycles I only need one, so one is going soon...and there is more of my X's old cast off stuff that is going now that I am ready to tackle this job.  

As the house grew, with the porch addition, the shed got closer, and it blocks the view of the trees out back from the screen I've decided to make it smaller and move it. My new plan is for it to be 8 x 16 and rectangular in shape. One end is only a 3 sided affair as the mower and bicycles, wheel barrows etc go in there, I think a sliding barn style door will enclose that part of it and make it more weather tight.

 This is a big project.  I had hoped to actually rip it back to the studs and pick it up and move it over and turn the door so it is facing East. It currently faces the house! So I removed all the "stuff", the contents, and its now scattered all over the place and it looks like I'm having a huge rummage sale!! Tarps of every size and color are attempting to keep my gotta keep stuff under cover. It is a hideous mess. It may be too rotten to safely move so may have to completely dismantle it. I put most of the Stuff in storage containers to keep it dry. 

The new location is over to the right, and the gable/door end currently facing South will face East it will rotate 90 degrees. I want to keep it close to the house so when  doing yard maintenance or working on projects it's close enough that its not a deterrent from getting chores done.  In other words I don't want to walk a mile to get a screw driver!

when moved it will occupy this space (above).  I have to cut 2 trees, not a problem as one is bent at a funny angle and one is small--- will do that as soon as it quits raining!!  I have made  progress, now we have had several days of rain and drizzle, so Im stuck inside waiting on better weather to work in.


the end is all open now

the front is almost gone

these 2 large camellia trees, will stay although they are blocking some of the view maybe a trim back to shrub size is in order (?), it will be a change for me to get used to as the shed being where it is has also offered more privacy, but I'm ready to make that change and open UP the view around the back.

I can already see daylight!

Eleanor Roosevelt: You must do the thing you think you can not.