Good Bye to Pokeberry Hill...


Sunday, February 8, 2009

Early Weekend Morning

The Pre-Dawn time of day is a nice quiet time in my home. I learned to enjoy it back when my children were very little. Becoming an early riser changed my life, I get more done in a day and have more peace. When the heat of summer comes I enjoy some of my pre-dawn time outside, walking about and giving plants a deep watering before the sun begins to bake them.

This early morn, as usual, my two little parrots Bubba and SweetPea are watching me from thier cage, sometimes calling out a bit, "Honey! Hello!" They spend the morning eating some and stretching and preening their pretty feathers.

This is my getting it together time of day. I get the wash going, clean and tidy and plan my day and set down with my coffee to think and to write. For many years I kept a journal on paper, now I mainly write on my blog.

Today at some point we are going to the new house again, to continue to insullate. I also want to try to start getting the basement floor clean so we can put up some shelfs for things. I want to start to haul storage items there. I'd like to get a jump on our pending move--which probably won't be for several months yet, but I'd like it to be easier.

As I dejunk the house we are in, I clean. I am doing spring cleaning in the rented house as we work on preparing the new one. This will make my final clean up--later--after we move, much easier. Friday I cleaned out our master bedroom walk-in closet. Now there are many things pulled out in my bedroom that need to be gone through.

Another thing that needs to be done soon is we must find room for our youngest son to move back in. His bedroom became an office after he left. Now we need a bed and room to put it in again.. in and out these kids! We are too crowded here now, it would be a good time to start hauling things to the new place.

I have a small room built on to the basement in the new house. The former owner built it as a hurricane shelter. We really do not generally have severe storms around here, but who knows, maybe some day? He was very concerned with storms for some reason. He put hurricane ties on the roof --so if a strong wind tries to take the roof it will have to take the house as well. This room is all shelved with wood shelves and I think would be pefect as a root cellar type of pantry--except that it is a bit too damp. Water does seep into it. Hubby and I have been talking about how we might be able to stop that. There is a great deal of ground water on our new land. There is a stream at the bottom of the hill, which I took some photos of too. Walking about the land the other day I noticed that there are some soft spots where I think there may be an underground spring. I am wondering about landscaping possibilities in the future--a pond perhaps?

Water on the land is good and bad. Our well likely will never run dry--that's a definite good thing. The well we had up in Wisconsin was drilled very very deep and produced very little water. Here the water flows quite freely. The trouble with all the water though is that a root cellar really ought to be fairly dry and cool. The room being underground will be cool--but it will also be damp. I am thinking of solutions both outside to re-direct water away from this room and to protect it, but also solutions inside the room to help keep things from being too damp.

One of my co-workers, a wonderful lady from Czechoslovakia, mentioned sand. Her mother used to store carrots and things in sand for the winter. Yes! some big boxes of sand would be useful for storing root veggies, even celery. I think that will be one of the things I will do. The former owner of the house stored his canning jars in that room--included canned foods. It was not the best idea, his canning jars, that I saw all had rusty lids. I would not even have eaten that food! I am thinking the jars might do better with a bit of cloth over each lid.. that might help prevent that. Other things I am thinking we might try are a sump pump--if we can't solve this problem outside, or a dehumidifier. I'm leaning against the dehumidifier as I think it would cost too much to run and also would heat the little room too much to make it useful for a rootcellar. We won't know if we need a sump pump until later on, after we have worked on grading the land and routing the water away from the house more--so we can see if there is going to be a need for that.

Anyhow this is a topic to explore further and I am doing so. Always something.

Another thing we are looking into right now is heating and cooling. That is our next big purchase. We need to be careful with it. We had planned on a heat pump with ac. Now however I am hearing from people that this really doesn't tackle the highs and lows in temperature very well here. Folks say they run non-stop when it is overly cold out and you are not warm in your house, they also say they do not cool enough. Now we are thinking of dual systems and zone systems.. we need to do more research.

Well, the sky is just starting to lighten a little bit now. The birds outside are in full force with their singing, more so than usual. I am sure they love this warmer weather too!

Hubby just called me to another side of the house to see the sun rise. The sky was pink all over! Won't it be nice to see it all from our new house some day, where we are perched up on the hill surrounded by the trees. Our house will face the sunrise every morning! I can't wait!

Often on weekend mornings Hubby and I make a little breakfast together. It is the one morning of the week we don't have to rush and can be together. He has got my homemade maple sage chicken sausage patties out and is making those with some bacon. I guess I need to mix up some pancake batter, time to go. :)


  1. Those sausages, bacon and pancakes sound delish!!!!!

  2. Yup, they were pretty darn good. :)

  3. We have temperature extremes here in the high desert of Oregon, too. We have a heat pump system for heating and cooling in the house. The heat pump has a set point that is often higher than our outdoor temp is, so it can run long and hard in the winter (but the air-conditioning is wonderful!). We have added a propane heating stove in our great room/kitchen/dining area - we have a 250 gallon propane tank that we get filled usually once a year - and we use this stove for early morning warm ups in the area we spend the most time. We also have an antique wood cook stove in the family room - I am sitting by it right now, and have french toast cooking - it provides warmth and a way to prepare meals. We use the fan system from the furnace to distribute heat to all the rooms as it builds up from the various heat sources.

    We also have a propane on demand water heater that we put in our shop/guest quarters. It is really great - no hot water tank sitting and heating in an area that is used only part time.

  4. Now that is very interesting. What sort of summer heat do you get? We get humid high 90s for several months. I could easily supplement in winter--that is not my big concern. We have plenty of wood so a small wood burner would probably manage the heat well enough, or propane. I'm just really worried about heat. I don't mind being hot outside--I get in the pool and cool off. Once I'm in the house though I want it to be comfortable--especially as a gal in her 50ish years. I've heard from co-workers that a heat pump won't cool enough-but I'm open to more opinions!

  5. This is our second home with a heat pump, two different climates, both cooling wonderfully. Tramp's Camp sits in the high desert and we can have weather in the upper 90's to lower 100's - low humidity. Our other home is in the Willamette Valley and the temps can be the same but with much more humidity. We have a woodstove insert there to supplement the heat pump.

    An electric heat pump puts out coolish air in the heat mode - it is all about pulling ambient heat in from outside but if the temp outside is too cold, the heat strips come on and you get warmer heat - and you also get a big electric bill! Having three heat sources at Tramp's Camp allows us the luxury of using whichever ones seem to be the best for the current energy prices. And for us, the gas stove with a thermostat is a great backup unit if we are out of town and our heat pump were to stop as it can get below zero in the winter. (We also have a propane cooktop, so that has us with three different appliances on propane.)

    Ditto on the age bracket...

  6. I think the humidity is a killer. We are in a sort of subtropical climate here so it can be intensely humid--usually is for I'm thinking almost half the year.
    Even when we had the exceptional drought it was quite humid. That tends to make it feel even hotter than it is. The pool was such a wonderful thing last year! Well worth the money and work to put it up. Its not a big pool but it did what we needed it do do. I think-- if a heatpump system can't do a good job cooling hot/humid air--I'll need to find a different solution--but we shall see.That is our next big purchase and we are talking to everyone we meet here about it--to see what they do in this climate and how it works for them.