Good Bye to Pokeberry Hill...


Monday, April 6, 2009

Dogwood, Whipoorwills and Indoor Plumbing!

Saturday night I drove out to our new house after work and met Hubby for our 'overnight' adventure.

He had a campfire going and some wine ready. He had also worked on a little surprise for me-- indoor plumbing in the form of a working toilet inside the house! I brought ice and some peanuts to eat and toss the shells in the fire. :)

The new toilet was an exciting extra! Gosh--it really is the 'little things' in life that matter isn't it?

I had been a bit worried as our 'bathroom' while working our house is in a shed across the yard from the house and since we planned on sleeping in the house I could imagine myself trekking in the dark to find the facility sometime around 3 am. Nope--no need.

All the light switches work in the house now so I could just flip a switch and find my potty room. :) These little things made the whole prospect of sleeping our house much more comfy for me.

We gathered some cut logs from our woods and piled them by our fire and sat down and watched the fames. The moon wasn't full but it was big enough to give plenty of light and the shed has a little porch light so we had that on. We watched a bat fly around high in the air and we heard a whip-poor-will calling from place to place in the distance. He seemed to be almost circling us as his calls came from first one area, then another. I wonder if the whip-poor-will had babies, I have read that they time their nesting so that eggs hatch out when the moon is waxing--this way they have maximum light for hungting since they are 'sight hunters'.

Another sound we heard some acres away was a group of hounds baying and howling. Perhaps there was a coon hunt in progress? Or maybe they were just out for a run?

A little hop toady came near in the dark and seemed to look at us. I invited him to visit my garden, I love toads in the garden! I wonder if he understood because Sunday morning I did indeed see a toad about the same size nestled into a crack between the rocks lining one of my new flower beds. He matched the rocks almost exactly. I worried about him then, just a little, as I know that large black snake likes to come and lie in the sun not too far from that spot. I suppose toads know to be cautious though. Hubby says snakes won't eat toads. I tried to find out if he was right, all I could find is that 'hognose snakes' eat toads almost exclusively. I couldn't find out if black rat snakes eat toads at all--some snakes can't eat toads, some can. So dunno..

Speaking of the snake in the garden. I guess I thought maybe it was two different large snakes that were in my garden the other day, as they looked different. When I saw the snake the first time it was all 'kinky looking' the next snake to come along looked different. I now realize it could be the same snake in different postures--which it probably is because it came to the exact same spot.

Black Rat Snakes it seems sometimes look like unironed ribbon when they are laying still.

On the dark side of the shed near the woods there is a very old gnarly, fat trunked, really weird looking tree. # 2 Son says it has a face and that it is a 'talking tree' or an 'Ent'. (Tolkien) Anyhow, this tree we think has to be at least 200 years old. It needs some pruning as there are dead branches, as well as some that are live. I am not sure what kind of tree it is yet--I'll have to wait for the leaves to grow. It has some holes and cavities in it. The big black snake lives in this tree. It can climb very well and Hubby and the kids watched it go up the tree and into one of the big holes. The snake is not afraid of people, and comes right up to us--but we did notice it is about to shed, so its eyes are dim--they get a sort of film over them when its time to shed. (we've had pet snakes in the past) Anyhow, we think maybe it just doesn't really see us well enough to be worried. I think it needs a name--obviously its 'ours'. I suppose some name out of Tolkien would be appropriate.

The snake's epic climb into the old tree was one of the things we chatted about around our campfire.

We spent the night in our new dining room on a $44.00 Coleman air bed. I got it at Walmart, along with an electric quick pump. If you like a firm mattress--I have to say this one was great. I had worried that Hubby wouldn't like it. He's not a fan of air beds. I was glad when he declared it was more comfortable and firm than our real bed--so that was great.

I chose the dining room to sleep in, rather than our actual bedroom, because it has so many big windows and I wanted to see the stars all around before I drifted off to sleep and the sun in the morning. Turns out it was a bit overcast early in the morning so I didn't see sunrise, but I did see stars.

Sometime before dawn I began to hear birds singing. Lots of birds singing! Just like here at our rented house in Charlotte. :) A new voice however that I don't hear around here is a rooster. At about dawn a rooster began to crow from a neighbor's house and it was a nice enjoyable sound to early risers like us.

The morning was just a little chilly, not bad. I made coffee and pancake mix, Hubby started the fire and made bacon and some sausage. Why is it that bacon always smells better cooking outside? We had a delicious breakfast at our little campfire and got busy working. Hubby cleaned out an old water heater that was in the shed--left by the former owner--he then hauled it to the basement and hooked it up--sure enough it works! We tested later and found we had hot water in the house now! And free! I love that we have been able to use some of the things the former owner left us-- not all of it was good, but some has been handy.

Hopefully next weekend we will have a shower. If so I think we may sleep there for the entire weekend. We'll see.

I worked mainly on my garden and also on organizing the shed better, I also did one of my weekly 'clean ups' inside the house-- picking up stray bits of wiring and scraps of dry wall and sweeping piles of dust and organizing tools and supplies. Hubby loves it when I tidy the work areas, it makes it much easier for them to find things and do their jobs without all the mess in the way.

Much progress has been made lately. All our dry wall is hung now--except where a different type needs to be used to build shower walls. We're going to have to change our plans for the showers at this point-- tile is out for now-- we're too close to the edge on our budget so we will be using a less expensive material for showers. We can re-do showers in the future sometime, no need to have things perfect right now. The kids have been taping and mudding and I think the upstairs and part of the downstairs are ready for sanding and painting. :)Very cool! I plan to just do this 'plain'. We'll use a stock eggshell or antique white for the walls and probably do the wood work with white paint. I guess we could stain it--but much of the trim wood is 2ND hand and I'm not sure it will all match up well so paint can cover sins quite nicely. Besides I like painted woodwork--its easy to clean and looks fresh to me.

I began to make a bed for my future strawberry and red raspberry patches. The plants will come in the mail in about 2 weeks. I am putting them on the hillside near the top. I find I can terrace a little at a time, pulling up the wild wooly weedies as I go. The ground is fairly easy to dig in--unless there are tree roots nearby. I find that if I keep my little hand pruner with me I can snip roots as I dig--if need be.

After we had worked awhile, Hubby cooked some hot dogs over the fire and we had lunch, sitting on that big pile of concrete blocks that the former owner left us. I teased that Hubby looked like the monkey king in the jungle book sitting up there. I took a perch just slightly higher than him and pronounced myself monkey queen. :)

After lunch we went for a little walk and gathered some more nice rocks for my garden beds. We also dug up some baby trees. Some maples for Hubby do more of his bonzai experiments with and some dogwood runners for me--I am hoping these will all take. If so I will have about half a dozen little dogwood trees--white ones. The one I purchased is pink. I love dogwoods!

Hubby smashed several very large fire ant hills as we walked. He and I have a common loathing of those insects and I guess we take a slightly perverse pleasure in watching them run out of a ruined hill. I doubt it will be a permanent setback to them--but still... you just gotta do it.

I enjoy walking in our woods particularly right now because it is spring. This is the time of year when little plants appear on the ground and when trees begin to leaf out. It helps me see more what I have. The various maple species are beginning to get leaves now, oaks and hickory are slower. Some trees of course I don't know at all--so I get to do more investigating.

Every place we have lived I have learned new things. My daughter says I'm kind of a hermit because I don't have a huge social life outside of my job. I suppose, I've travelled so much, it hasn't been easy to maintain friendships the past several years, however-- I have a very enjoyable life. I do have friends--just don't see them much. Instead, my free time is spent observing nature and studying things. I suppose you have to have a sort of abnormal life in order to find time to look closely at things and watch patterns and learn. That's ok with me. :) It seems to suit Hubby just fine as well.

Speaking of friends though, I do have a little frugal friend who likes to garden as I do--she has been working on landscaping her yard for a few years now. It is a fairly new house built on land that is filled with rocks. She has to work very hard every time she digs a hole to plant something. We do some plant trading. She has some pampas grass I gave her last year, this week I'm planning to visit her home and bring some more plants--maybe a baby pine tree or two and I will get back a little of my pampas grass. :) So-- there you go Daughter--I'm not a hermit afterall. ;)

Well the weekend trip came to its conclusion when we got back home. Hubby got to work cleaning out the pool and getting it ready to use soon. The water was bright green yesterday, now it is more of a dullish blue green, soon it will be blue and clean as the chemicals do their job. I wish it were time now! We're going to have a dip in temperature tomorrow--down to frost level! yuk! But it will warm up after that.

I haven't set out any plants yet that can't take a frost--although I did take all my pots out of the garage yesterday that had overwintering things in them. I don't know how much of that will survive yet. It is in a sheltered spot on the carport-patio so I don't think frost will be a problem. Hopefully some of those plants will recover nicely. I see already the purple heart and all the succulents are ok. Not sure about the rest yet.

Today I am staying home, tomorrow I must work. Wednsday however--I hope to be free to go to the new house and work again. This weekend for sure--as I will have 3 days to work there. :)

Things are moving along, hopefully before we know it we'll be in our house.

1 comment:

  1. Can't wait to see some pictures!!!!!

    Your camping adventure sounds like a second romantic being out there spending time together and studying nature!

    I have gotten more like you...spending my time doing what I want, rather than having a lot of friends...I have one close friend, and other than that just my immediate family. I am happy with this.

    Love my time alone...I guess becoming more of a hermit...but what is wrong with that? I work with people all day...I just want solitude when I get home!!!

    Consider giving us a few little photos of the new place! I have such a great vision in my head of what it must be looking like! :)