Saturday, August 29, 2009

Staying Home & Making a Vanity

After Steve's tiring week at work (3 days in the city, installing cabinetry) we decided to stay home this weekend. We still haven't made a vanity for the farm bath, so that is what we are doing today. We are starting with rough sawn hickory, leftover from a job we had a couple years ago. The people had it cut down so Steve could make a piece of furniture for them. They didn't want the extra wood so now we get to make something from it. It will be a mission-style vanity with a laminate (left over from another job)top. We purchased a sink for $5 at a re-use it shop in Elgin. I did order a new faucet though. We couldn't find one that we liked used. Here is the hickory.

Steve is cutting it as I write. I will help him sand it & apply the laminate later.
It will be so nice to have a working sink in the bathroom. We use the basement utility sink for all of our washing right now.
This week I emailed & talked to Center Stove & Fireplace out of Richland, WI about getting the wood stoves moved before winter. We bought a used soapstove stove last fall. We have a soapstone one in the area we live in right now & want to use that one in our new living area. The used one will go in it's place. We will be building a base for the stove after we get the electric run in that area & should be ready for the wood stove then. We will probably wait for spring to put stone on the walls behind it.
The windows we ordered came in this week. We now have enough to do the whole barn. We were going to wait but there was a great sale so we went ahead with the order for all of them. Maybe by winter, we'll have the front ot the barn done. It will look so nice!
We have also been discussing what to do about heat when we aren't there. Right now we have 2 hot water solar panels that take care of the needs for the house. We would like to have radiant floor heat too but don't want to spent the extra money right now for 2 more solar panels. We are talking about using the existing panels for the floor heat in the winter & switching it back to the water heating in the summer. We have a hot water heater so that shouldn't be a problem. We'll have to talk to Johnny Murphy from Greenhome Solar .
He put in the other panels.
Tomorrow we hang out with family at my brother's house for my niece & nephew's birthday.
I'll post more pics when we get the vanity done.
Have a great wekend!

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Can you say "Girl"?

Yes, it's a girl! They'll be pink everywhere! Can't wait until January to see our little granddaughter. Now I have to learn to knit booties...

Catching up

Where has the summer gone? I now realize that I am NOT a good blogger in the summer. So many things to keep me busy. I'll try to catch up on a few...

A couple weeks ago I spent a week at the farm & got some things done. At the end of the week, the kids came up to visit. Shane has been there before and helped us with projects but for Kristin & her husband Tim, it was the first time. We decided to take the weekend off from working on the barn & enjoy ourselves. Everyone got there on Friday afternoon/early evening so we had a relaxing time at the farm. Saturday morning after a big breakfast, we went to town to the farmer's market and walked in town. For lunch, it was the co-op for sandwiches before heading to the Kickapoo Valley Reserve.
What a beautiful area that is. The reserve was created from a previous dam site that never happened. The boys went out for a short hike while Kristin & I sat on the deck of the visitors center enjoying the view. It was one of the only truly hot days we've had this summer. The heat was sapping our energy, so home for a nap before going out to eat at The Driftless Cafe.We always have a good time there and the food is excellent! After stuffing ourselves with pizza, we walked over to the Green Man Music Hall for a concert.

I know. Goofy name for a band but they were really good. It was a fun show with talented musicians playing all sorts of instruments. There was even audience participation. See the guy playing the jug?
There was even a washboard for a couple of songs. (When we got home we had our own makeshift band with a washboard, lid & wood block :-)

Sunday morning came too soon. Another big breakfast, a tour of the farm groundsand it was time to head home to Peoria for Kristin & Tim. Being newly pregnant, Kristin needed to get her rest before work Monday.

Putting more stakes on the tomato plants. Yes, that's our "garden of neglect"

Steve, Shane, Kristin & Tim

We left a couple hours later and headed into a storm front which was pretty scary. Tornado warnings, high winds, heavy rain, yuk!

It was beautiful before the storm hit

Drove right into the storm after Madison but still made good time getting home.

Since then, we've been up to the farm a couple more times. Steve put in 3 more windows (2 next to the other new one & one downstairs) Still have the door to replace on the downstairs then the new living area will be winter-ready. We will eventually be getting new garage doors, too.

We also took measurements for moving the wood stove into the new living area and put up wood strips on all the walls to add extra insulation. We want a thermal break between the wall studs & the drywall. We will be using the blue jean insulation over the existing insulation.

Some of this weeks produce

This coming weekend will be a short one. We will be leaving early Sunday to come home for our niece Lindsay & nephew Andy's birthday party. It is only supposed to be in the low 60's. Kinda chilly for the last weekend in August but that's the way the summer has been.

The garden hasn't been producing like it did last year. I'm sure that not having it weeded is not helping but we also have gophers this year. They have been snacking on all the ripe tomatoes they can find. I think that is what ate the seeds of about 5 squash/pumpkin/gourd hills I planted. And then there's the cool summer. Oh well. We still have enough to eat. Just not much to give away. I did start selling garlic & onions yesterday at work. We'll see how that goes. I'm also selling hand stitched felted wool dryer balls. I'll post more later about them.

Hope everyone has a good week!

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Could karst study kill mega dairy?

NORA, Ill.-- They've said it before, and they'll say it again. Only this time, they'll do so officially.

On Thursday, four Illinois State Geological Survey scientists published a state report that said a large-scale dairy near Nora sits atop an unstable section of land.

The technical classification, they said, is karst. This is a section of land that has cracked and formed sinkholes or caverns that allow surface contaminants to drain into the underlying aquifers that provide drinking water.

The message is not new. Ever since California dairyman A.J. Bos proposed building his facility in Nora, geologists associated with this report have said the land is karst. They testified as such at a preliminary injunction hearing last year, which pitted Bos against the nonprofit organization Helping Others Maintain Environmental Standards, or HOMES.

A Jo Daviess County judge granted the preliminary injunction, and a permanent injunction hearing is scheduled for November. This report should bolster the plaintiffs defense, said HOMES attorney David Albee.

"The data just released should put to rest any contention by developer A.J. Bos that his site is some sort of non-karst island in a sea of karst," he said. "And since the infrastructure already on the site has none of the safeguards mandated by Illinois law for facilities built on karst geology, it should never be allowed to operate."

For now, the dairy cannot operate with more than 100 cows, and Bos' dream sits idle with an estimated $15,000 daily loss.

The study is called "Identification and Characterization of Karst Terrane in Illinois' Unglaciated Region: Results of LiDAR Imagery and Ground Penetrating Radar in Jo Daviess County, Northwestern Illinois." Samuel Panno, one of the scientists publishing the report, headed the project, and the study is based on the field testing conducted by Panno on Feb. 17 and 18.

Panno and his co-workers determined in the study that the dairy "and the surrounding area overlie karstified carbonate bedrock that constitutes a karst aquifer." He went on to say that "if there were spills, leakage or a catastrophic breach in the waste lagoon's containment system, the crevice-karst network would allow the contents to rapidly enter the aquifer and create widespread contamination of groundwater and surface water as well."

While Panno testified at the preliminary injunction hearing that karst existed on site, several experts for Bos countered that opinion and said no karst was found after a team drilled to find aquifers.

Bos did not return a call from the TH.

This article was published on TH Online news site. Yes, it's about Illinois, but still a ray of hope, looking at the big picture. This is the same geography as our area in Wisconsin. So, more good news.

Sorry I haven't posted much. I will get my act together & post about last weekend at the farm soon. The kids were there & we had a lot of fun! This week I got together with a friend I haven't seen since high school. She is going in for brain surgery next week in Pittsburg. Please put your good vibes out there for her.

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Pics from today...

Lunch: cucumbers & cherry tomatoes out of the garden,
grapes from the co-op & herbal sun tea
A full wagon of hay. Not so good a view for the boy in the back :-)

Another beautiful sunset

Weeded most of the day. Made a dent in the blueberry & strawberry patch. I love being in the garden. Such peace among the plants.
Tomorrow should be a sunny, warm day followed by a chance of rain through the weekend. I plan on getting all the outside chores done that I can. Thursday is my birthday & I plan on going into town to window shop & Friday is a cleaning day before the kids come up to visit. Wish I could slow the days down a little. They seem to fly by up here. I miss Steve though. We talk twice a day or more but it would be more fun with him here. I think Mia misses him too. She usually sleeps on his side of the bed. She is downstairs hunting for mice right now. She has caught two this summer so far. I think the word is out now though. She hasn't had any luck this week.
Off to read "Driftless" by David Rhodes. He is a local author from Wonewoc. It's a great book if you get the chance to read it.
Hope to get up early tomorrow. We'll see....

Monday, August 3, 2009

Sleeping In, Weeding & Mowing

That about says it all for today. I can't believe I slept so late. Steve called at 10am & I was still in bed. I guess I needed it! When I finally woke up, I went out to the garden to weed. Being busy with the windows over the weekend took priority over the garden. Anyway, I knew I would be here all week to take care of the garden. As I progress (I hope) with the weeding, I'll post some pictures. Right now, it's hard to see anything in there. :-) We had rain showers overnight & into this morning. That helped with the weeding. Everything was much easier to pull.
As the day warmed up, so did I, so I ate some lunch, watched the neighbors mow the wheat & decided to mow, too.
A little more weeding around the bushes & flowers & I called it a day.

After a supper of blueberries, I took a drive to take some pictures. On the ridges in Vernon County, you can see forever. The conditions weren't that great for pics tonight, so I will go out again later in the week.

As I sit here & type, a peach colored almost-full moon is rising. It will be a bright night as the moonlight streams into the room.

Do full moons make cats hunt? If so, Mia will be up all night tonight.

What Mia did all day

Sunday, August 2, 2009

Some Progress Made on the Windows

The 2 windows on the far left are the ones we worked on

We worked hard this weekend to get a new window put in the living area. Two old windows were removed, the hole from one was closed off & the other hole moved to be more centered with the other windows. See pic above to check out the window spacing. We are putting a wood stove in the corner of the living area so we eliminated the one furthest to the left. The next one was moved over a bit toward the left.

The scaffolding worked great

Next, a new piece of siding was put into place & trim was put up.

Only eight more to go!

The rest of the windows should be a lot easier. It is a matter of taking one out & replacing it in the same hole. Except when we get to the smaller window that is also not evenly spaced. We only plan on replacing three this year (the 2 others next to the new one). They are in the new living area. Next spring we'll see about buying replacements for the rest of them. We have so many other projects to do to make it livable, which I'll keep you updated on.

While Steve worked on the window, he only needed my help sporadically, so I began applying polyurethane the windows we already have installed in the rest of the room.

Even though we would have liked to get all three windows in, it was a good feeling to at least get the hardest one done. We had visitors on Saturday so those breaks backed us up a bit. It's a good delay though when people visit.

I can't tell you how much difference it makes to not have the dreaded CAFO hanging over us. To work on a project & not have the thought in the back of your mind that you may never get to live out your dream is great! Back to making plans for the future.

They'll be farm news all week so stay tuned...

Bringing in the hay