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Wednesday, July 1, 2020

Wedding and other stuff

Cullman,  AL


Not much to write about lately.   Well, a few.    Many of you know we are Country Music fans.  This is one we had to pass up.


Alan Jackson came to town a few weeks ago.  Not far from where we live.   He proposed a drive-in show with some profits to go to the local food bank.   A maximum of 2,000 cars.  We would have loved to have gone but was afraid it would be too hot for us old people sitting in our car or tailgating on the truck.   As it turned out, it was a mild night.    Of well, we saw him once when he did a concert in Atlantic City.  Would have been nice to have seen him again.

Our boy Biscuit does not miss a thing.  I saw him tracking something in the front yard.


He kept his distance.  I don't know if he ever saw an Armadillo before. 

We left home on June 18, spending the night in Laurel, MS and arriving at Len's brother Royce and SIL Susies on June 19.   Biscuit is treated very well there.

On June 20 we attended the wedding of Nephew Scott and his sweetie Natalie.


They decorated the Vinton VFW in grand style.



It was nice to visit with our Louisiana/Texas family.

Daughter Cassie with her Jeremiah


Cassie's oldest, Hunter who just graduated High School and her youngest Jeremiah




On Sunday we drove to Pearland Texas for the day to see with Daughter D'Juana, SIL Joe and grands Alex, Jared and Lindsey.     Always a nice visit.  And great steaks too!

We left Louisiana on Monday June 20 again over-nighting half way home in Laurel,  MS.

Last Thursday Leonard had an appointment at UAB regarding his bad shoulders.  They took x-rays of both.  The right arm is almost as bad as the left.  The left he can't use at all.   An appointment is made for late July to see the orthopedic surgeon and talk about surgery.   Provided he continues to improve with his heart/lung situation he will be able to have one shoulder repaired.

I had mowed our grass two days before we felt for 5 days.   That was one week before we returned.  It looked like it had not been mowed for weeks.   Then the rains came.   And continue to come.   I did get most of it done over the last couple of days between showers but it looks like it needs to be done again ASAP.   I stress over the yard and pond not looking nice.   I enjoy mowing.  Crazy, eh?

Last night we had about 5 minutes of frightful wind.  I was on alert for tornado warnings as we had a few days ago.  But no sirens this time.     This is what I saw when I looked out as the wind whipped.





Limbs were broken off a pine tree.   That tree looks like it had been hit by lightening.  Next to it is an oak tree with several large branches broken off.

We had been wondering how to get the apples off the high branches of the apple tree.  Problem solved.



Until next time.

Sunday, June 7, 2020

Leonard feeling better .....doing stuff

Cullman,  AL


For the last several months Leonard has had a difficult time health wise.   We are now seeing a change.  We were told when he started his medication (Adempas) that it would take a while but hopefully he would see an improvement.

For months he had sat in his recliner, often all day in his PJs.  He would come to the table for supper.  Breakfast (if he had any) and lunch would usually be in the chair.   He had no strength.  Slept most of the day. 

The last couple of weeks we have seen a noticeable improvement.   He still tires.  He is still on oxygen (as he will always be).  He still can not lift a lot.  He is able to do more.    But he does not vacuum.   Well, can't blame on his disease.  He never did. 

My bag-less vacuum gave up the ghost.  Had lots of Biscuit hair wrapped around its beaters.  Motor started smoking and quit.    I went online and found a Bissell for pets.



What a job it did.   I used it on three area rugs (office, dining room and living room) plus the wall-to-wall in our bedroom.   Had to empty 4 times.  Glad we only have one dog.

A couple of weeks ago I was working in my flower bed and came across 4 duck eggs.  The work of our Muscovy Elsie.    I made the mistake of taking all 4.  So she moved her egg laying nest.  We didn't know where.    Three days ago I found the nest in a wooden area.   She had been busy.


I marked and left two of them and took and other 10.  We are now eating duck eggs.  Not bad.  Len looked yesterday and there were 3 eggs.    Yesterday working in the yard we had come across a few cracked open shells.    Raccoon?   Possum?   Today I checked her nest.   Only shells there.  Time for her to move again.

When we had ducklings Len made a cage from them.   It now sits by the pond but the grown ducks have not been using it.    This afternoon I saw this.


Look closely.   There is Elsie sitting inside looking out.    About an hour later I walked over to it.  An egg!    I left it there hoping whatever has been taking her eggs don't see it.

As I said earlier, Len is up to doing some work.  We have a cedar tree and a magnolia tree that had low branches I would have to fight when mowing.   Solution.   Len put the forks on his tractor, lifted a wooden pallet with the forks.   Then put a generator on the pallet with his electric chain saw.  He put a safety belt on and trusted me to lift him.


Cutting the branches of the cedar tree


Now I can easily mow under it.  And don't get itchy cedar needles down my shirt.


Cutting the magnolia branch I would conk my head on.


Much better.  And out in bloom too.



One last thing.   When we bought this property there was a double wide trailer out by the shop.  The owners mother lived in it.  We did not want it there so they sold it and had it removed.   That is where we have RV sites.     The water hook up and spigot was low to the ground.   Two years ago I was mowing and hit something.   I thought gosh, what did I hit.   When I turned the mower around it looked like Old Faithful Geyser.   So that I would not run over it again, Len raised the whole thing and added a 4x4 post so I wouldn't miss it.


Got to report last Sunday I didn't miss it.  I hit it straight on.    A flood.   After turning the water off at the road Len started digging down.   We quickly knew he wasn't able to do this.   He does not have the strength to dig and if he got down on the ground to fix it he would have difficultly getting up.

I called Ashley and Gary our nearest neighbors.   The sweet couple came right over.  After going to Lowes for a part, Gary fixed it for us.    We are blessed to have people nearby always willing to help.  Gary told Leonard he would cut down the branches.   We saw Gary yesterday and he just shook his head when Leonard told him he had done it.   I think he was proud of himself.

Until next time.

Thursday, May 28, 2020

Cleaning up Part 2 Plus NOMADS visitors

Cullman,   AL


We always love visitors so we were more than happy to receive a phone call a couple of weeks ago from a couple of NOMADS.   As a reminder we were once NOMADS.  (actually still are but inactive).  Not only were we Nomadic by living full time in an RV and traveling the country but we were members of  NOMADSumc.org.    This is a mission of the United Methodist Church.   It is folks who travel in their RVs to various parts of the country as volunteers doing rebuilds, improvements, etc at church campgrounds, colleges, retreat centers, churches and  community outreach.  They also do disaster relief.

To get back to my story..... we received a call from a couple we had not met that were traveling from Florida to Indiana and asked about using one of our RV sites on our property.   They were told about us from a mutual NOMADS friend.   We are always available to any NOMAD passing by this way, being less than 8 miles from Interstate 65.

Carolyn and Gene were leaving Florida early Sunday and expected to get to Cullman in the afternoon.   In the meantime our mutual friends Gary and Sharon called and asked if they could come to the house to visit with all of us.   YES INDEEDY.   They live about an hour away.

As we always do, when campers are expected we prepare a meal.  No one likes to cook following a long drive.    And we enjoy the company.    I had a salad bar, pulled BBQ chicken sandwiches and salsa and chips.  Sharon bought a fabulous chocolate pound cake.  Best I've ever had.  We all ate, then spent the next few hours talking, talking, talking.

Here is Gary:


And left to right is Gene, Carolyn and Sharon


And Carolyn and Genes RV parked at one of our sites.     Not a bad way to travel I say.



In my previous blog I told you about Len cleaning around the creek and came upon a large pile of refuse.   We knew it was too much for us to handle so I went on the  Home Advisor site.   I had used this service in finding the company that recently removed trees.   This time I searched for someone who would haul away trash.   Just like before, I got a call not long after the request.   Andy made an appointment to see us later the same day. 

We showed him what needed to be done.    He got in touch with another man and they both checked it out.    We were given a quote that we could live with. 

Last Friday the job was done.  Andy asked if there was anything else we needed hauled away.   Sure was.    We have an open shed where we have tossed metal fence posts we had removed that were everywhere on the property. Also some tin sheets, DirecTV dish, vacuum, fencing.   He gladly loaded them on his truck.    And most everything else that he could sell for scrap.


Today I swept it out.   We use this shed for the bucket, forks and bush hog when not being used on the tractor.

On to the big job.  First came this that the crew rented:


To clean up this and more:


Actually there was a lot of scrap metal mixed in.   Andy had a truck load by the time it was done.  He will get a few dollars for it as he waits until the costs go to a point where he is satisfied.

They cleaned out to the creek




Eventually the area was cleaner



As it looks now.



When done a lot of top soil was left.   Len will move the dirt to an area by the pond that is low and remains wet in rainy weather.   We will toss grass seed in both areas.   We still want to remove more trees and brush from in front on the creek.  In the above picture note the darker area beyond the trees in the foreground.   That is where the creek runs.

As I write Len is out doing one of his favorite things.   Bush hogging the tall grass in the back that has grown in the last few weeks.   Tomorrow it will be me mowing the grass again.   It's a cycle.  Mow, Rain, Sunshine, Mow, Rain, Sunshine, etc etc.  I mow sometimes twice a week.

Until next time.





Sunday, May 17, 2020

Cleaning up.... no more surprises please.

Cullman, AL

As long time readers of my blog might remember, two years ago we started clearing the back portion of our property by removing brush and trees. 
This is part of what we found.


Not only small stuff but larger items also.


Two scrap metal collectors were glad to take away some items to make a bit of money.


The area now


We have a narrow creek that runs about 600 feet the entire length of one side of the property.   We have been slowly clearing out brush that block the view.   We knew there was another pile of debris in one area near the creek.   Had no idea how much.  This week we found out as Leonard started removing more trees and brush that had blocked the view.

When we moved here the brush came all the way up to next to this shed. We cleaned the area over the last couple of years now was the time to continue.   We did not see that trash that lay beyond.  Here he had just started to pull out some of it.


Some closer looks.


The creek lays just beyond this pile.



Leonard can not do much walking or any lifting but Praise the Lord with the help of his Inogen Portable Oxygen Concentrator he can still spend hours on his tractor.    It  helps.   Both his attitude and the yard.

We are not able to do anything more with this mess so we've hired a service to come this week to dispose of it.     I don't mind mowing and I don't mind weed-eating around the pond and along the creek but I don't want any more trashy surprises.

Until next time.


Friday, May 8, 2020

And the work continues

Cullman,  AL

Yes the work continues but it wasn't us doing the work.

When we bought the property there were lots of brush and trees that needed removing.   We did some.  We had a tree service do some.    That was two years ago.     We have realized that we are no longer able  to take down the bigger, nuisance, ugly trees that were planted as a barrier.

They were probably planted in the early years.   This house was built in 2001.  Chances are they were planted within a few years.    At the time they were planted they were staked.  The owners never removed the stakes and these fast growing trees wrapped around the stakes and the bottom of the stakes became entangled with roots.

Time of clear these away.

Yesterday was the day.    The tree service arrived in the morning and got right to work.


One man operated the Bobcat while the other the chain saw.




They filled the dump trailer 3 times


In total they took out 12 trees.

The stump grinder arrived in the afternoon.   He had ground stumps for us two years ago.  Business must be good as he had a new truck and a box trailer.    In a short period of time he had ground down the 12 trees just felled plus 13 stumps from trees we had removed.     We are amazed at how easy his job is.    All done by remote control.



After taking away the three full loads, the 2 man tree service crew returned to clean up the yard.  Leonard told them to just dump the branches and wood chips on to our burn pile.  We had burned the pile last week but have since built it up again with brush and smaller trees we had removed from the area near the creek.  They were a wonderful job cleaning up.

A few stakes were left.   We will have to dig down around them to get them out.  This was taken before the stumps were removed.




Before and after.

Looking from house toward the road and shop.   At one time the row of trees completely hid the house from the road.  We like looking out from the porch.   The trees hid our view of the field across the road.

 Before


The tree left standing is an apple tree.   The apples are really sour.  The deer don't mind.  The bush on the left is a fig tree.   We like the figs.  So do the bees and birds.

After






A row of trees ran along the side of the house to an open shed.  Hated mowing this area.

Before




The tree on the right in both the before and after is a pear tree. We like these pears.  So do the deer.

After



Near the mower shed.   The tree in the middle was completely dead and brown.

Before


Makes it easier for me to find the where the mower is kept!

After



One more project accomplished.  And we didn't have to lift a finger.   Well that's not quite right.  I had to write that check.

Until next time.

Friday, May 1, 2020

Trim and Fire

Cullman,   AL



This blog proves how exciting our life is now.   Several reasons we don't do much or go anywhere.   Feeling really old, COVID-19 and a few physical limitations. 

Last fall we continued our clearing away brush project.   So far this is a 3 year project.  Not done yet. At one time this cleared space was as thick with growth as the background.



We piled the brush with the eventual plan to burn.   Today there was no wind to speak of and hey, we can't go anywhere.   So why not.   I was concerned that no bunnies were living in this pile.  We had seen 3 a few weeks ago.   None ran out this time.  Guess they moved on.



My (ex) firefighter husband set the fire.


This always makes me nervous.   He likes to get as close as possible pushing brush into the flames.   I'm always afraid he will make an ash of himself.





As least he has the sense to take off his Inogen Portable oxygen concentrator when getting that close.


Most of the brush burned.  The rest is smothering.   We have cut a path into the woods along the small creek.   The trees and shrubs that Leonard dug up or knocked over will go on to the pile for future burning.


Last night I started trimming the shrubs that are on 3 sides of the house.   It was the first time I used electric hedge trimmers.    I was nervous as I am clumsy. I FALL A LOT.   Len told me not to worry as the thing shuts off automatically if I let go of the switch.   I was still a bit nervous.   Ok .... I had reason to be.   I tripped over a hose and I went down.   It did shut off.   But I have a deep cut on a finger from the rock I landed on.   I soaked three bandages.   I still have it wrapped up.  I was afraid I needed stitches but all appears fine 24 hours later.  Did I mention I have a habit of tripping over stuff?

So back at it today.  And no falling.    This is one side of the house, I will get to it tomorrow.


This is the side that is done.



One half of the front of the house is done.   The other half I will do tomorrow.   Can't believe how much easier an electric trimmer is than the lobbers I was using.     But they are probably a lot safer.

Until next time.