Good Bye to Pokeberry Hill...


Sunday, February 15, 2009

Recycled Valentines Day Weekend

Well, I greatly admired and enjoyed sniffing the lovely roses one of my co-workers received for Valentines Day from her Hubby. If you'd like to see what I got this year, just feast your eyes upon the lovely 2ND hand kitchen sink. ;)

Hubby and I spent the day working out at the house. We detoured on the way and went to a Habitat for Humanity ReStore where we found a kitchen sink for $20. That's my Valentine! I managed to produce a gift for Hubby too.

I was clearing a spot to build some large compost piles where the chicken coop used to be--a perfect place I think since it already contains a hefty amount of biological materials-- anyhow beneath the oak leaves and straw and chicken residue I found a nice sturdy little pick axe, which I cheerfully gifted Hubby with for Valentines Day. He loved it as I do my sink. ;)

Other recycling we did yesterday-- well I worked on insulating the ceilings in our house--mainly to keep down noise. One of our son's enjoys guitar playing so we wanted to be sure to put a noise barrier around his room, and if possible under all the bedrooms. We purchased fluffy brand new R-13 insulation for all our outer walls, but for the extra sound proofing we are using 'freebie' recycled insulation that was left in one room by the seller. It was a bit of a job picking through this stuff, I bagged about a dozen contractor size trash bags with pieces I couldn't use, but I ended up with plenty that was decent--for free. I learned how to apply it to the ceiling and push little metal wire thingys up to hold it in place. That worked well.

Hubby and I sat down at yet another burn pile and rested after our work. He used his 'new' pick axe to chip away some mortar from a few of the recycled concrete blocks that the seller left us. My understanding of this is that the seller knew of a church being torn down and they let him have all the concrete block. He used a great deal of the heavy duty stuff to build our 10 foot tall basement--an incredible task considering he chipped mortar off it all first using an air chisel! This guy obviously didn't spend anytime watching TV. I'm still amazed whenever I go to our new house at the things he did on his own.

Left behind on our land are some giant piles of concrete block. They are stacked in like piles and the scene reminds me alot of some old movie that I remember seeing a scene of some temple ruins in a forest that had been taken over by monkeys. There are leaves piled up all over the 'ruins' and so there it is-- raw materials used once for one building to be re-purposed for new projecs.

There are perhaps 800 small light-weight blocks! Surprisingly the old mortar chips off quite easily and the block is still very sound. The block part of our home has been in place since 2001 and all the inspectors to come through say it is just fine. We were concerned about the use of recycled block there--but they say if has lasted this long it will not fail now.We've had 3 separate expert opinions now, so I guess I'm good with that.

The smaller block I hope to use to build new garden beds. The larger block I can barely lift and Hubby wants to use those to do some terracing projects in order to prevent erosion on our land and perhaps also to build a foundation for a garage in the future. There are probably more of these blocks than we need and they are 'uglee', but for now, we are at peace with their existence on our land as we know they will be valuable materials for us. When we have used what we need we will put them up on Craigslist and see if anyone wants to come get the rest.

Today, our recycled Valentine Weekend will continue. We are taking the chainsaw out out to the house to clean up some felled trees. One project I have in mind for that is to use log slices for stepping stones in garden paths. Freebie!

Doing things yourself is fun, but its alot of work, I sometimes look at the land and all our plans and just feel way overwhelmed. But then I just say--well--its not got to be done today. Hubby thinks we will be ready to move in June, maybe in May. Sometimes I think it looks more like Christmas to me, but he knows better than I do how much he is able to do in a day, week or month. If it were all me doing the work--this would take more than my lifetime I'm sure!

Inspite of my being less helpful than some of the family, I think I was useful yesterday. The kids are gone for the weekend and I know they are far more muscle bound than Mom, but I did manage to do a great deal of cleaning up and organizing and a bit of insulating too.I also made us a nice lunch in my new 'kitchen' in the shed. I cannot do the same things repetitively for a long time like the kids can. I have to change up activities. Its OK, it just means I keep busy going from one thing to the next and back. Over the course of a day's work, much is done. I enjoyed it. :) I started a new compost pile, cleaned up the old garden some more, picked up a few things in front of the house, fed our fire with more odd pieces of rotted wood, insulated under the rafters, bagged up over a dozen huge bags of trash and yucky insulation, swept up and organized tools and parts. A good day!

Other news of the new place? Well I have been visiting the various grocery stores in the area when I'm there. Right now the surprising fact is that Food Lion is leading in my esteem in our new neighborhood! I can barely stand the Food Lion in our present neighborhood--so that is quite a surprise. I'm somewhat disappointed with the Harris Teeter down there, it is also too far away. Bi-Lo is the closest store but I am not at all happy with the Bi-Lo. Yesterday I picked up some deli meat that I ended up throwing away after lunch--it was so dry and 'old'. I also didn't like the idea of sale priced tomatoes for nearly $2/#--that's a sale?? They should be garden fresh for that price! Oh my, this is going to be quite a change. I guess you cannot paint all stores in a chain with the same brush. In any case I think I will do my shopping at Food Lion near the new house today--depending on what comes up on my Grocery Game list which is due at 8 am. Otherwise I will visit Harris Teeter in our current town tomorrow when I am at home.

New wildlife spotted at the new place--well nothing I've 'seen' but Hubby and I could hear quite alot of frogs on our land as we were working yesterday, it was a pleasant noise! We have a very nice rock lined stream at the bottom of our hill which is officially called a 'drainage easement'. Apparently it is a spawning ground for frogs. Its actually much prettier than you would think a 'drainage easement' would be. It is lined with large granite and quartz boulders--kind of hidden by trees. We want to find a way to landscape to take advantage of that view--someday...

I have yet to see any little flying squirrels. I guess we just don't stay at the house until it is dark enough. I've seen photos though and they seem awfully cute.

Well, things to do today, including spending another day working on The Dream.


  1. You certainly had a good day at the new house. It is great that you were able to get your sink at the Habitat for Humanity ReStore! When looking at the picture of the nice axe you found, I noticed all the beautiful trees you have on your property - especially the pine trees - do you know what variety they are? And you have frogs, so wonderful - we have what we think are toads here at Tramp's Camp but they are in hibernation right now. And only juniper trees here for us - you are so fortunate to have all those wonderful deciduous trees that offer you shade in the summer and then drop their leaves to clear the way for the warming sun in the winter.

  2. Yes the entire weekend was great--I want to write more this morning about yesterday--we cleared an area of debris and brush and out of place scraggly trees/vines. It was a wonderful day. The trees--well I've seen at least 2 very lovely types of pine. 1 or 2 types of cedar maybe--which are a bit scruffy looking. Lots of oak, some kind of nut is in the woods, It may be hickory not sure yet. There is a lovely brown shaggy barked tree--which is currently leafless so I don't know what that is. I think by the stream there are possible some kind of birch, maybe some kind of willow and elm or poplar. It will be fun to watch the leaves come out so we can ID things better.