Over the fence chat for 7/22 to 7/28

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I hope that I'm not stepping on anyone's toes by starting the chat this week, but I wanted to let you all know about my visit with Diane this past weekend.

Boy that diane is some hostess, Martha Stewart had better watch out! She was so concerned that I have an "Authentic Homesteading Experience" that she actually arranged for severe thunderstorms to move through the area and knock out the electricity for most of my visit! Off-the-grid and homesteading experience all in one trip! :)

Actually, I had a great time. I got to milk a goat by flashlight and I didn't break a teat off her or any other disaster! I got to eat some "real" eggs and yummy goats milk ice cream. We spend a lot of time out on the porch swing just visiting and talking about the rest of you! Diane's property is really wonderful, it has woods and flowing water on 2 sides, and it has this incredible peaceful energy to it that is so grounding. I didn't want to go home! I'm taking Keith up there next Saturday for a quick visit on the way to my parent's house. She may never be able to get rid of me! hehehehe

My head is so full of idea now that I've seen my first "real" homestead. I'm starting to know just how much I don't know! I'm even more fired up to make this work, but I realize that I need to take it slow and do things right. When the time comes I can find some property even half as nice as Diane's place I'll be happy.

-- Anonymous, July 23, 2001


That is wonderful Sherri! Loved the thunderstorm idea Diane! It is great to be able to visit places like this before you make the big move.

I got my winter hay in, nothing as nice as a pantry full of food and a haybarn full of hay. Am waiting on my last two does to kid, my kidding dates on them leave alot to be desired! How about July 19th to about August 5th and maybe Mindy had a nasty tail to kid on the 27th? :) At least it is just 2 and not a barn full. I have everyone sold that is for sale this year, making for only 11 freshening for early spring. A nice amount, not to big. My bucks are looking wonderful, they are on a heavy lease schedule this year plus being collected this late fall, so tried to get alot of weight on them. I miss gardening more than I thought, especially being able to go out any time I want and picking stuff for instant salsa! Hoping all of you a great breeding season, and think of me when you are all sweating out in the garden, I am eating fake jarred salsa! Vicki

-- Anonymous, July 23, 2001

What a beautiful picture you paint Sherri C!! I kind of thought Diane's place would be like that. Just look at her picture!...Kirk

-- Anonymous, July 23, 2001

Sherri C, Sounds like you and Dianne had a wonderful visit. That's nice. What an encouragement that must be for you.

Dianne, your place sounds wonderful. With this heat we are having right now it made me feel cool and refreshed just hearing Sherri's description of your property with "flowing water".

-- Anonymous, July 23, 2001

What fun you two must have had -- now I'm jealous! ;-) I guess I missed it somewhere, are you not very far away from each other?

We're getting cooler (and LESS HUMID!!) air moving in now, so hopefully in a few days it will be moving in for those of you east of here. We did get a HEAVY rainstorm yesterday as I was driving back into town from the family meeting, but to my dismay, when I arrived home, it had bypassed my area! But, it rained nicely later in the evening. Yay! Don't have to water the garden!

The dog survived the stay in the kennel just fine. She likes people so much, it's kind of hard to tell, but she seemed to be a bit more excited to see me than anyone else. She's so sweet, I don't know if I'll ever be able to tell if we've really bonded. My mother spent the night, and yes, I told her about the dog (she disapproves of every new animal Julie or I acquire). She was less annoyed about the dog -- probably because she likes them. Now Mom has headed home (same town as Julie), and I am on my own, and back here with all my friends!

-- Anonymous, July 23, 2001

HUH? Toes? Stepping on toes?! Who's toes? My toes?!! No way!

I'm just grateful someone is picking up where I'm slacking off! I don't think I even realized that yesterday was Sunday and that it was time to start a new OTF chat; so Sherri, thank-you kindly ma'am!!

Things have been whacko around here; and thank-you to everyone who has e-mailed to ask if I'm okay - I am, just really swamped lately. Being gone to KY for the 3+ days, coupled with my insane work schedule has got me way behind here at home. Then, on my only day off in an 8 day stretch of 12 hour days, I come home from work to find Pop sicker than a mule; and of course the contrary old varmint refused to go to the doc or ER, so I was getting up every half hour to check on him. He had a TIA, or mini-stroke; no residual effects; he's up and going just the same as always....well, I think he might be even more contrary than ususal; but that's just MY opinion!! Operating under a severe sleep deficit leads me to be just a tad bit cranky on some occasions; so I hadn't wanted to say much in case I snarled at someone inadvertantly!!

The garden looks like heck - in fact, I'm getting ready to go out and pull most everything out of the raised bed one. I'll clean them out and get them ready for next year with a big helping of composted cow flops, crushed egg shells, sand and other additives. I'm getting ready to take down one of my compost bins (got gourds growing on the other one) as I don't really need compost bins 'cause the chickens take care of all my vegetable scraps.

Oh, Chickens!! Cass e-mailed me and said she wanted to cut down the size of her chicken flock and I leaped at the chance to increase mine! I drove over to her place and picked out 6 Rhode Island Reds and 6 Barred Rocks to add to my flock. Ummm, by the way Cass, remember saying you didn't think you had any roosters? You probably don't - now! Apparently one of those Barred Rocks is a rooster!! That's okay, don't worry - I won't tell Hubby how to find your place!! He hasn't really started crowing yet, but Hubby informed me that he was "clearing his throat" this morning at about 0500. I'm not really too worried - Hubby is calling him "Stripe" (Quick everyone - it's a name the rooster contest!!) so obviously he isn't TOO upset!

I'm so glad, Sherri, that you had a great trip to see Diane. I keep telling Hubby that we should plan our vacation this fall to just go visit other BTS folks - we're hoping to get back over to KY to see Sharon and Nick; and Cindy and Steve. Isn't it great, like Cindy said - to find out the people that you talk to on here are REAL!!

Since I haven't had time to tell all about my KY trip, I'll do so now! We headed out on a Monday morning after I had worked the night before. Driving through So. Illinois was pretty dry and mostly typical Illinois landscape, so I napped part of the way while Sis drove. The landscape became more rolling as we went on through So. Indiana; I saw several places that I would like to take a closer look at, but since our objective was to get to KY and see Ryan; I just marked them on my map for later. Going through Louisville with six lanes of traffic at rush hour with a 17 year old at the wheel was quite an experience!! I finally shut my mouth and opened my book - actually she did a better job than I would have, I hate city driving! Sis loved it - now she wants to move to the big city and play in the traffic all the time!!

We finally got down to Radcliff and got into the motel right as Ryan got off duty; so we had plenty of time to spend with him that evening. Poor kid has been out in the field all day, every day and eating MREs - Yechh!! He wanted fast food, so we got him a chili dog. And a double bacon cheeseburger. Large fries. Milkshake. Soda. Half my sandwich. Cookies and candies from home.....LOL!!!

I got to talk to Cindy for a long time on the phone that night, and we made plans to meet on Wednesday. Tuesday morning, I got up and headed across the state to Sharon's. Beautiful, beautiful country!! For a flatlander from dry, parched Illinois; to be driving up and down the rolling hills along side those rocky cliff areas with the water trickling out of the rocks was manna for the soul!! I met up with Sharon at a local diner and we had breakfast, then she drove me on to their place - operating under the very correct assumption that I would never find my way back by myself! WOW!! I tell folks that I live "out back of beyond"; but Sharon and Nick are really way back in the hills. She says they live in the foothills - those sure looked like mountains to me!!! Their place is gorgeous!! Hills and hollers and creeks and trees and pasture and they even have their very own waterfall!! Sharon drove me all over their place - scared me silly what with the angle of the hills she was driving up and around!!, but I fogot to be scared when she would stop and we could see for miles over the valley. I didn't want to leave!! (And in fact, was almost 4 hours late getting back to the kids!!) I had the perfect spot picked out to sit with a book and an apple - a big flat rock perched over the stream before the waterfall; mostly shade with a bit of dappled sunlight, close enough where you could dangle your toes in the water to cool off, and a beautiful view of the valley below the waterfall.

Nick and Sharon were everything I expected and more!! (Even if Nick didn't geet me by running around the yard nekkid with a cleaver like Sharon promised!!) They looked "just right" - to fit with their on line personalities. And they are just as smart and funny in person as they are on line. I'm not sure that we ever stopped talking for the 7 hours I was there! And yup - we talked about you all! (I'd tell ya, but then I'd hafta kill ya!) We talked sitting on the porch, and walking in the woods, and in the garden, and up in the wild critter plots they are establishing, and in the truck, and while eating a delicious meal Nick prepared and just everywhere! It was really great! I hated to leave, but knew the kids were counting on me to be there to take Ryan back to base; and I didn't want to leave Jes alone in an unfamiliar area. (Next time, I'll just call Cindy to go get her!)

The next day, Jes and I rested and did some local running around. Cindy and I played phone tag, then finally got ahold of each other and made plans to meet at a local all you can eat buffet (had to feed Ryan again!!) Wed. night before we had to leave. The hostess sat us back in a corner - and it was probably a good thing, as we were laughing and talking a mile a minute! I don't know how that big pile of dirty plates got over there on the end of the table, 'cause I'm not sure when we stopped talking long enough to eat. Cindy is a ball of fire and Steve is just a hoot! We didn't get to spend nearly enough time with each other either, as the kids needed to spend some time with each other, Steve had worked a long day and Cindy had a crisis going on on the farm, but they have promised to show Hubby and I a good old Kentucky time if we can get back down there this fall! I can't wait to get a look at their farm!

We headed back home at midnight Wednesday night; but not before taking Ryan to Wal-Mart and loading him up with 2 big sacks of snacks for out in the field - granola bars, fruit roll ups, peanut butter crackers, kool-ade - what does that Army think they're doing anyhow - not feeding my poor boy right! (Oh well, he'll be home in August for me to fatten him back up; then back to Texas where I can resume my bi- weekly care packages.) All in all, it was a great trip; just much too short!! I highly recommend meeting other BTSers - we are just the neatest folks!! (For a bunch of elitist snobs, that is!)

-- Anonymous, July 23, 2001

That's right Sherri........don't tell them how you brought the rain, the thunder, lightening and now it WON'T GO AWAY!!!! hehehehe Couldn't plug in most of the day today because we just had one big thunder squall after another all day. Dry a month and now we drown.

Sure had a wonderful time getting to know Sherri.....we walked and she taught me about the herbs that I actually have growing wild. (I found and recognized some St.John's Wort in a different place today Sherri...aren't you proud of me!!!) She gave me lots of information on soap making and I am just hardly patient enough to wait until I get a break in the gardening. Really looking forward to meeting Keith on Saturday. It is so neat that we are on the way to her folks cause now that we have met I am hoping that they will stop often.

Getting ready for the mother-in-law to visit tomorrow, she is a sweet lady but I never feel quite "good enough". I hope everyone had as wonderful a weekend as I did.........take care,

-- Anonymous, July 23, 2001

Aha! Pollyborgwog spills the beans -- get ready Sharon, we're all moving in!

-- Anonymous, July 23, 2001

Yeah, it was a lot of fun meeting Polly! Plus Steve and I love to eat, even as skinny as we both are, we sure can pack it in! We do suprise allot people at the amount of food we consume. I didn't want them to leave without getting to meet Polly.

Sherri, your visit sounds exciting, at least Diane had batteries in her flashlight! I don't think I even have any. Diane and Sharon have flowing water and I want some now. We're too high up on this hill for a creek.

I was so scared yesterday afternoon. We had a big storm come up fast, too fast. The heat index was 105 and I was trying to keep all the dogs and animals cool, making sure they were all ok. We don't have air, but a fan. I had the dogs laying the the back room after wetting them down. Man was it hot, that's unusual for here. Anyway, it got black, thunder started booming, and I was scrambling to open stall doors, shut rabbit doors, ran in the house, unplugged the PC, and the thing hit. I had only 2 dogs in the bathroom, the others were still in the back room. The lightning was sooooo bad I couldn't walk thru the house to get them. At least they were in the house.

I sat in there for 30 minutes as the lightning hit all around here really loud. I could hear the claps, like clapping your hands together, right outside the house, then booooooommm. Over and over. My bathroom has 2 roofs up there as it got added on to years ago. A little house inside a bigger house, so it is the safest place we can be really. That was the loudest thunder I've heard for years, it sounded like planes crashing to the ground, and each one lasted a long time. Whew, that was not fun. We were allright, but scared for sure. Then the sky opened up and we got buckets of rain again, it looked like a river out there! It poured for 30 minutes.

Anyway, walking around afterwards, everything was allright. I was suprised I couldn't see anywhere it hit. That's 2 days in a row we got soaking rain, and we sure needed it. Supposed to have storms again today. I'll have to unplug again like Diane! But I am so thankful for the rain. I'm still here, just really busy this week. I read the threads last night, but I was so tired my eyes were trying to shut. I think my goats milk is frozen in the pan in the freezer this morning! See ya all later.

-- Anonymous, July 24, 2001

I cann't stay connected this morning more than a minute, the phone lines must be wet somewhere between me and E-Town. Hope they dry out.

-- Anonymous, July 24, 2001

Thanks, Polly for your enthusiastic description. We certainly enjoyed having you over.Polly is a smart,funny,well grounded, wise person.You need good advice,ask Polly. And we look and dress alike,too! Except she is short and I'm tall. So Imposter Polly is now Minnie Me. And,Nick and Polly certainly did exchange war stories. My,oh my.

Now remember,Polly,Nick did say it was too hot to run,maybe next time.And I promised you we wouldn't tip over.You want scared,you should travel some of the so called roads I was on when I still worked.Or,next time I'll take you on the Dipsy Do Road. Then again,maybe not.I vowed never to go down that series of ponds masquerading as a road ever again for as long as I live. Even I was scared, that little adventure.

Glad to see you are OK.I was about to check on you. Hope your Pop is,too. I'm send him good thoughts.

The rest of you folks,don't even think about it. Coming here to live.Ha! If you do manage to get past the well camouflaged deadfall pits with pungi sticks in them you definitely won't get passed the motion activated flame thrower.(handy for fixin'some tasty BBQ'd "whatever happens to cross it's path today",too) See,we live here specifically bc there are no other PEOPLE! Let's just keep it that way. Best for all involved,I would think.

-- Anonymous, July 24, 2001

Ha! She's teasing folks; just don't get too close to the edge of the waterfall if she's behind you - that is one heck of a drop!! I'd be more worried about the vicious attack coon hound - he darn near loved me to death!! Though there are plenty of places to hide the bodies....

Well, how about if we all move in next door instead of with you? Your lane is too darn long to run up to borrow a cuppa sugar anyhow! Though not to long to run up for a cup of tea ;o)!

-- Anonymous, July 24, 2001

Oops sorry about the rooster Polly!! That must be the one I don't hear when I walk past the chicken house door anymore. I never really heard him crow, just more sqwauky than the others. If you want to bring him back that's okay...or you could eat him!! =)

-- Anonymous, July 24, 2001

Joy, Diane lives about 3 1/2 hours north of me. My parents live about 5 1/2 hours away and I pass right by Diane's place on the way there.

I think it would be fun if we had a map of the USA on the forum website and everyone could put a star in the general area where they live.

-- Anonymous, July 24, 2001

Hmmmmm. I wonder if we could do something with MapQuest. Ya know how you can put a "pin" or "marker" onto it? Any of our computer gurus know?

-- Anonymous, July 24, 2001

I could make a map in Paint Shop Pro, would have to be kinda big to see the states I guess. I can put dots or pins or whatever on it and update it all the time. Your names too. Maybe 3 separated maps would be better. West, middle, east. Or, maybe just a map for each one of us? Could be zoomed in closer that way. Or I could do it where you click on the name, and it pops up a closer map. It's very easy to do. I'll just need a good source for maps on the web, where I can right click and save, and it be allright to use them.

I am right in the middle of moving my website, worldlife.net, over to Liquidweb, has been down a couple days, that's why my inserted pics are missing right now. I could just make some pages over there for BTS member maps.

I've redone the homepage, and am starting a web hosting business. I have my first customer, a fellow in TN who has Borders. 10 dollars a month to maintain his site for him. Dosen't sound like much, but it will help pay for the site. I bought the domain from my son, since all my stuff is there and I've linked to it thousands of times, and I cannot go back and un-link them all. So really the easiest for me was to buy the name. I wanted Solid Rock Websites, but I can't change the name, everything with solidrockranch.worldlife.net would be lost forever as my son lost interest in his charity work. (sad face). Will let you all know as soon as it is up. They say 3 days so should be today.

-- Anonymous, July 25, 2001

I think it would be fun if we had a map of the USA on the forum website and everyone could put a star in the general area where they live.

I LOVE this idea, Sherri! Great, great, great! I hope others like it, too.

Cindy: If you find the time to do this I think it would be fantastic! BTW, my location on the map would be Winnebago, Minnesota (I actually live about 4 miles straight west of Winnebago).

-- Anonymous, July 25, 2001

Well, its hotter than hot here. The deer are eating everything that the netting isn't thoroughly covering. I am hot and tired. Did I mention hot?

Anyone else catch a movie (its air conditioned there)? We went to see Jurassic Park III last night. Between that monster movie and the reallife black bear family at our end of the road, I don't wonder the woods anymore.

I love hearing about folks getting together in 'real life'. Here's to gentle cooling rains for everyone.

-- Anonymous, July 25, 2001

Hey , the map idea is cool! Put me southeast of Columbus Ohio, right south east of Lancaster on Duffy road. Hey but if you are gonna stop by will you send a maid out two days before you get here. Just kidding, well sort of. grinTRen

-- Anonymous, July 25, 2001

Cripes, the rains are coming and not expected to be gentle, with flash flood warnings. Hope the roof holds out since we're still getting estimates for a replacement.

-- Anonymous, July 25, 2001

We got some huge boomers last night about midnight. What a light show! I've had to re-connect 5 times this morning. Hope it stays on now. Tons of rain, we'll take it all too.

-- Anonymous, July 26, 2001

Well I've been having the farmyard sale here this week; was supposed to be just Friday and Saturday, but in true country fashion people have been calling and dropping in since Monday! They all have some sad story about why they can't wait till Friday, and I give in, and end up spending all kinds of time with them that I should be spending getting the sale ready. Followin them around while they point to a hundred different things askin "How much ya gotta have fer that?" Or "Is this for sale?", and I have to think of a price, and we yammer on way too long, but its fun. I gotta be careful not to get too frazzled and sell stuff I'm not supposed to. I already did that once; sold my round ring, to be picked up the next day, and that evening realized it was supposed to stay with the farm, so had to embarrass myself. People are buyin things I completely forgot I had! It's amazing how much stuff one accumulates on a farm, that I won't be needing any time soon. Hope there's some left for the actual sale!

To me, being an introvert means I get my batteries charged when alone,and discharged when around people, so although I'm enjoying myself, I am so exhausted come evening I fall asleep at nine 0'clock.

Weather here is gorgous this week, after all that hideous heat and humidity we've been having for weeks. Didnt plant a garden this year of course, but my raspberries were so plentiful and delicious we've really appreciated them. My orchard will be loaded with apples come fall, after we're gone, and the hundreds of trees we planted five years ago are just starting to come into their own. We will leave this place much better than when we arrived, which feels good, and helps with the pain of leaving.

Barnyard looks like ghost town.......still have my bull, pony stud and mini-donk stud to find homes for.......nobody had claimed my sweet boys yet!

-- Anonymous, July 26, 2001

EarthMama, thinking about you, change is always so hard,but often takes us where we are soppose to be. Huh, Many Blessings! Love TRen

-- Anonymous, July 26, 2001

Of the Storm

God came by yesterday, and chased the somber mood away.

He roared and stomped and shook his fist.

What an awe, to witness this.

On front porch, front seat to the rain, I was hot and tired,

and so glad that he came.

He washed and he blew and his river came down. I watched pine trees bend to the ground.

At times I thought of running in, but was hypnotized by the power of him.

So I stood and I watched and I was transformed, by this, the ebb and the flow ,of the summer storm.

Beating, cleaning, blowing, flowing, as if God to Mother Earth , his love was showing.

Watering her thirst, healing her hurt. IN a flurry of passion between heaven and earth.

Today the ground is watered, the sky so blue, the air has cleared, because God came through, and loved his mistress Earth, anew.

-- Anonymous, July 26, 2001

Very nice, Trennie!!

-- Anonymous, July 26, 2001

We got 2 more downpours yesterday. It has rained so much I had to take the shovel and make ditches for it to run off! I can't believe all the wonderful rain, it's fantastic, and more to come. I was soaking wet yesterday. I just didn't want to come in last night, the weeds were pulling out like butter. I dug allot of dirt yesterday, putting it inside the new dog building to raise up the ground level. Digging is soooo easy now. We had a break from the hot humid weather yesterday too. In the 80's. OH boy is it pretty!

-- Anonymous, July 27, 2001

I would like to be more optomistic about all this rain, but I spent last weekend down in southern WV (Mullens) where the flooding was the worst. Over 5 1/2 feet of water came through and left as much as ten inches of sludge in buildings. Roads washed out, etc. Down in Anawalt they had to evacuate again yesterday. I cannot imagine the emotional toll this had. I did meet a pretty neat group of folks called United Animal Nations (www.uan.org) that set up a domestic animal shelter at Twin Falls State Park. There is a real nice news release about their work in WV on their website.

-- Anonymous, July 27, 2001

Yippee!!! I just found out that I've been accepted into Massage Therapy school starting in September! My first step in escaping the corporate world is happening!

-- Anonymous, July 27, 2001

That's great Sherri..........CONGRATULATIONS.........one step at a time it is possible to get the life you want!!!!

-- Anonymous, July 27, 2001

Yay! Do we all get to be your practice victims, er, clients? I suppose that will get me a snarky fine . . . I would LOVE to be a victim. My back would thank you!

-- Anonymous, July 27, 2001

Sure Joy! Anyone else want to volunteer? :) I'm heading back to Michigan again this weekend. Sunday is my parent's 40th wedding anniversary, so we're throwing them a party after church. The original intent was to make it a suprise party, but as my sister Shelli put it, "Mom and Dad would be suspicious if you just came home for the weekend, and when you went to church in the morning they'd KNOW something was up!" We're also going to make a stop by Diane's place so she can meet Keith. I was so proud of Keith the other night. We went out to dinner with a friend and she asked why I was going to massage therapy school. I explained that I eventually wanted to quit my job and do herbs and massage full-time. Then Keith added "Yeah, and by that time we'll be farmers too!" :)

-- Anonymous, July 27, 2001

Sherri, I've been working as a LMT for the past 8 years. E-mail me if you want and we'll chat about massage. My family seems to be the last on the table, there are always other things to do together! Either way, good luck with school.

-- Anonymous, July 28, 2001

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