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-

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!

                          (shed in process of being dismantled)

PHOTOS MISSING! Since I lost most of my Photos of the Shed prep,....I put one of the finished Project at the bottom of this post. 

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.

Reusing all I can of this:

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?

              Reused the the siding by cutting it into 12" pieces
                                       And overlapped it 

...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.


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


  1. Sorry 'bout the snow slowing down your project, but glad the 'time off' gave you the incentive to start telling stories here. You really are good at it, I loved getting to know Mrs Hopkins; she was a good role model -- I'm glad you learned from her. Only have one suggestion for future stories: please don't make the font smaller -- it's hard to read for people who are way way older than old Mrs Hopkins probably was when you knew her!

    I've knocked a few nails out of boards myself during our remodeling projects and enjoyed seeing your progress before it came to a snowy halt.

    1. I'm gonna resize that font...I didn't even know it was that small in the editing mode it looks normal-I'm happy you enjoyed it. I love to write, but I've back off lately sometimes its just a word I hear or something I see that triggers the regurge of a story!!

  2. Even though you cant get on with the shed thinking different approaches and ideas through a few times can be very worthwhile. That tree will be a big job to get down as you may need ropes to be sure it falls the right way. What will you do with the stump? I used to drill them with holes and put "stump killer" in and then cover it with plastic to keep the rain off. But that takes time before the stump goes. I save nails this way too, probably because my Dad showed me how to straighten them..

    Your short story is amazingly familiar, because when I was little there was an old lady very similar to yours who lived in the next small holding over from us. Her name was Mary Fen, and she was pretty scary.
    I enjoyed the short story addition to the blog post.

    1. Thanks Dave! I def will use a rope and for the stump, after I cut the tree I leave about a 2 ft piece above ground...I will dig around it a bit and cut it below ground level, then I saw an X in it and hopefully it will die under the dirt. I have heard some people put salt on it to help it decay?
      I think as a child I made up stories in my head as I went about my day...I did a lot of talking to myself, and I still do!! I believe they call it daydreaming...When riding the school bus I had this Imaginary boy friend who sat beside me...and tho I didn't talk to myself on the bus (I knew better than to do that)I had these mental conversations with him on my scary ride home on the bus. Made me feel safe.

  3. WOW your weather is wintery isn't it. But your till making some progress with the boards.

    I loved reading about Ms. Hopkins, you sure can write a good story. I don't know how long this internet is going to last but sure hope it is fixed now.

    1. I just read your post...sure hope your internet worries are over! Thanks for your kind words, I think Hopkins was a very happy lady secure in her little world behind those bushes.


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