Friday, June 29, 2007

More well problems

The guys came out to "fix" our problem only to find a new one.

The pump isn't filling the tank because there is no water in the well at the level with the pump. Best case scenario is that the pump was only dropped part way into the well and all they need to do is add a few lengths of pipe. Worse case is that the well needs to be drilled lower. Absolute worst case is that a whole new well needs to be drilled.

We won't know anything until Monday morning when the workmen come back to pull the pump out of the well. At that point they will be able to determine the actual depth of the well. Right now, using the sonar equipment, they say there is water at 150 feet. Since most of the wells around here are deeper than that (300-600 feet) I hope it's the first scenario.

Otherwise we are gonna have to learn to be even more careful with our water usage and our chances of ever selling this place are frightening...

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Well and Stuff

The problems with the well are almost resolved. The guys came out and fiddled with the wiring, which we were informed was substandard, and found that it was "only" a switch. It turns out the saver switch was turning the well off before it could fill the tanks. Our 2500 gallon tank was almost empty, so this has been going on for some time. Of course we found out this evening that the float wasn't hooked back up properly and the storage tank isn't filling up at all. Tomorrow Paul will have to call them back out to finish the work.

The cost wasn't as much as it could of been but it was still a bunch. Luckily our son has enough saved that we can borrow and pay back over the next six months or so.

Along with the well excitement my mom and stepfather arrived for their visit. We will be picking up my grandmother next week since she is going back to Washington with them.

We had another visitor this afternoon as well.

Malachi ran in while I was cooking dinner to tell us that there was another rattlesnake under the deck. In the above picture you can see the rake Paul used to pull it out from under the deck.

Here you can see what happened to it after it was pulled out. I hate to kill these things but it's too dangerous leaving them around. The kids run around with the dogs and cats and don't always keep a sharp eye out. Since all 3 of the snakes we've found recently have been in the same area under the deck I think we may have a nest under the house. Not a very comforting thought!

Life is never dull around here. Someday maybe I'll get a few days in a row without excitement...

Well problems

I'm trying really hard to be calm and not weep uncontrollably.

We have no water. Everything was fine this morning and then nothing. There is power to the pump but it's just sitting there not even trying to pump water. The best guess is that the pump is dead. It took a few hours but we finally got in touch with the well pump place in town and they are going to be here within an hour. I'm hoping they have some kind of payment plan because we don't have much saved and we don't use credit cards.

Of course my mom and stepfather will be arriving here for their visit at the same time and I'm out of chocolate! I keep telling myself to breathe deeply and relax but it's not working...

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

There is no utopia

Why do I get the "bloom where you are planted" speech when I least need to hear it?

It was a slightly different version but it amounts to the same thing. I've noticed that I hear it the most from people who are happy and don't have to struggle all that much. Even if they are correct, which I'm not willing to admit at the moment, it's really hard to take from someone who is in a comfortable place and is enjoying success.

Without making this a complete downer of a post, I'm just wondering... Since there is no utopia can we say that there are better places? What I mean is, is it possible that there could still be a better place to be?

I'm so tired of struggling. I'm mentally, physically, and emotionally exhausted. So the last thing I want to hear from someone is that if I just change my attitude that things will get better. Easy to say when things are going well. So hard to put into practice when there is no end in sight to the daily struggle.

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Bye Bye Sun!

I'm not a morning person. I can get up and function if I absolutely have to but I don't like it, so I don't enjoy the sun streaming into the bedroom morning in the summer. During the winter it's not that big of a deal because the position of the sun is such that it doesn't come directly in and it warms the room up.

Since our temperatures have been hoovering around 100 degrees for the past two weeks or so the last thing I want is the sun warming the room. Plus the sun has moved so much that it peeks straight through the window right into my eyes at the horrible hour of 6am! So I finally got around to putting up a curtain.

One of the benefits of living in a semi-rural area is that our nearest neighbors aren't close enough to see in the windows. That allows me to keep pushing curtains to the bottom of my to-do list. But the sun can see in and I decided that I couldn't tolerate it any longer.

Paul and I hung the hardware over the weekend. I've had this stuff left from the last place we lived, sometimes keeping stuff around is worthwhile. I admit the first 3 days I had a robe hung on the hooks because I just couldn't get up enough motivation to change the thread color in the sewing machine (I'm in the process of sewing a black suit for Malachi). But it's done and I'm gonna be much happier in the morning when I wake up and the clock says 8am instead of 6!

I wonder how long it will take me to finish the rest of the curtains for the house. In previous homes I've finished and hung curtains just as we sold the house and moved. Maybe I should start sewing faster!

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Light Reading

This is one of my favorite times of the year.

As frustrated as I was last time I ordered I still look forward to receiving the Rainbow Resource catalog in the mail. I will spend the next few months looking through almost every page, dreaming of everything I would love to order. I will make out one large list, add up the total, pick myself up off the floor and start to selectively cull items that I would love but can't afford. It will literally take me months to get the list down to an amount I can afford. I don't actually order until October or November. By then the worst backorders will be over and they will have most things back in stock.

It never fails that at least one thing will take months and months to get here. The worst backorder we've experienced was 10 months but that was a publisher problem. Hopefully this time I won't have shipping problems like I did last time. I've decided that as much as I enjoy ordering online, it's too difficult with our address problem, so I will go back to calling in the order and repeating all those pesky item numbers.

Since I haven't decided which math program we are going to, the timeliness of the arrival of the new catalog will allow me to peruse what is currently available from them. Just as an aside, it has now been over a week since I emailed the MUS rep with questions about the classic curriculum and I have yet to get a response. *Sigh* In all but the rarest cases, good customer service is a dead art.

I'm off to find a chair and curl up with my new best friend!

Sunday, June 17, 2007


Our little valley is getting a Starbucks! It's not a free-standing one, it's in the Vons, but it's still a shock. I hate coffee so it doesn't affect me much. Since it's in the Vons I'm assuming it's trying to cater to the tourists, most full-time residents shop at the locally owned markets. The only reason we found out was because I really wanted ice cream and the Rite Aid was closed so we were forced to shop at Vons.

I'm really hoping that it doesn't affect the little locally owned coffee shop down the street from Vons. It's owned by a non-denom pastor and his wife. They are super nice and sell their stuff a lot less than Starbucks does. Paul was given a pound of Columbian coffee that needed to be ground. He stopped by the local store and they were happy to grind it for him! There is no way Starbucks would do something like that.

Friday, June 15, 2007


Malachi received a wheelbarrow as a birthday gift from some friends. Along with the wheelbarrow he received paint so that he could decorate it.

He spent a few days thinking and planning. He is now on his 4Th day of painting, touching up the stripes, it started out black. He is very serious about this project.

At least we will always be able to find his wheelbarrow!

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Shortsighted California Politicians

If you haven't heard about the bill that recently passed the California State Assembly and is in the Senate that will require pet owners to sterilize their pets you can read more about it here.

Since I think that the government already intrudes in our personal lives too much, it's no surprise that I think this is a horrendous bill. We are really hoping that it doesn't make it through the Senate. It's typical of CA politicians, either they don't care about the unintended consequences or they know what's gonna happen and they are supporting it anyway. I've heard a number of places having to import adoptable animals, and not just in CA (the area we lived in while in CO sent dogs over to Denver all the time, they couldn't keep up with the demand).

The current costs in our area to fix a female dog are $140, we checked because we are considering getting one of ours done. There are some places that offer low cost clinics but they aren't everywhere. If this law goes into effect they are going to have a lot of people relinquishing their pets because they cannot comply. We already pay 4 times the amount in licensing fees in order to keep Hannah, she is our only unaltered dog. Unfortunately Californians as a group can't think. they won't see the problems with this until it's too late.

I haven't read about any vets who are for this, although I'm sure there are some, because it will seriously affect their practices possibly causing many to go out of business. The economic costs could be far reaching for some areas. Not only could the vets go out of business but the stores that furnish supplies and the groomers could be seriously impacted. In the more rural areas it will be harder felt than in the cities. People around here don't just have one dog most have several. They support 2 vets that have small animal practices and at least one pet store. Since we don't have a low cost clinic to alter pets in this county, many have unaltered pets which they would have to give up. That kind of monetary loss for the businesses in this small area would be serious. I also wonder what this will do to the rodent populations, with fewer cats would we see a serious rise in diseases caused by rats and mice?

One more question- Will this affect tourism? How many times have you seen older people with their little dogs in their car from out of state? If these people have dogs that are not sterilized, they will find other places to vacation and spend their money!

Why can't the state just go after the people allowing their animals to roam and get pregnant? Why should everyone be punished just because a few people are irresponsible? Grrrrr, can you tell this is one of my hot buttons right now?

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Math Books

We are finishing up the Intermediate book in Math U See this week so I can't put off ordering Lorna's next math book much longer. We did take a few weeks off to do drills using Calculadder, but there is only so much of that the kids can take before they get frustrated and bored.

You would think that after 6 years of homeschooling I wouldn't fall into the trap of looking at a new curriculum, but I have. I'm just not sure I want to continue with Math U See. I like the old version and I'm not sold on the new one. We bought the first two sets back when we used to attend homeschooling conventions so we had the time to look at it and I didn't have to pay shipping. The cost of the new books is more than what I remember paying for the old ones and is going to be a strain. Each of the older texts took us about 3 years to go through, spread out I think I spent less than $40 a year. I also made Lorna write out her problems on a sheet of lined paper so I could reuse all of the books with Malachi.

So now I'm considering if we should try something new. I'm leaning towards something more inexpensive to get us through until Lorna is ready for Jacob's Elementary Algebra which I've used for tutoring and I love. I really like the idea of the Keys To series of books but I haven't seen them in person.

As if I didn't have anything else to do with my time, now I'm spending hours looking at reviews of math books! Decisions, decisions...

Monday, June 11, 2007

Garden Update

We had this visitor today.

Lorna found him while watering the neighbor's property. He's been making holes at the base of her rose bushes, which the neighbor is not happy about, so Lorna brought him home so he could live with the one who hangs out in front of our house. We have too many bugs and pests for just one toad to handle so the reinforcements should be good.

Here is the view of some of the front squash plants.

This is the one we have been talking to in hopes that the squash will mature faster.

This is the tub where I'm experimenting with square foot gardening. The melon plants are doing wonderfully but the peas have been struggling. Even the bush beans haven't been doing all that well. Next time I'm going to ditch the tub and put all the soil into a wooden raised bed. We have pallets that we've been scrounging so that we can start that in the fall.

These are some of the squash plants in back of the house. These limped along at first which explains why they are so much smaller than the front ones. Now they have been taking off and producing their own flowers. We had a couple of stray pea plants shoot up here, they also didn't do well as you can see.

These are a few of the tomato plants we got out of all those seedlings. We have about 3 green zebras, 2 pearsons, and 15 grape tomato plants going. We do have about 5 or so that we aren't sure about since the seeds got mixed up. We lost a lot when we replanted them and have continued to lose a few every week. The heat was unexpectedly bad for a few days after replanting and some just didn't take root. The loses have finally tapered off and I think we may only lose one or two more.

All in all, it wasn't a bad first try in this new area. We have a lot more work to do on the soil. I need to add a lot more peat moss and compost before next year but I'm not too disappointed with the results. There is always next year ...

Friday, June 08, 2007

Healthier eating

I know that this subject has been beat to death on the Loop (Lutheran homeschooling list) but we've been working on trying to get healthier over the last few years. I reached a new milestone this week, I've finally cut back to 2 sodas a day and I've increased the amount of water I'm drinking to about 100 ounces a day.

We started cutting back on processed food awhile ago. We no longer eat boxed Mac & Cheese, which was a staple in our diet. I gave up buying store bread about 5 months ago when I had bread that didn't mildew for over a month, it really made me wonder what we were eating! Today I'm making my first batch of wheat bread. Up until now I've only made white since it was the cheapest thing to make. I was able to pick up 5lbs of wheat flour last week when I was at Walmart. As much as I dislike Super Walmart I do miss shopping there, we were able to eat a whole lot healthier. We have 2 partially finished stores that have been sitting for over 2 years while they go through court battles over the environmental impact of the stores.

I also made up a batch of granola this week, which is now gone. I used to make it on a regular basis a number of years ago but fell out of the habit with all the moves. One more thing I've been able to do is make sure we are all eating at least one serving of fruit or veggies a day. It doesn't sound like much but it's a start. That will increase to two or more servings once the garden stuff starts to ripen. It looks like we will only have 2 types of squash, lettuce, and tomatoes. The bean plants have all started to die without producing more than 2 beans a piece :( I think it's the heat.

I'm trying to decide what we can do next. I've looked into buying raw milk but at $12 a gallon there is no way we can even buy one gallon a month. More fruit may be the next step if I can find a decent place to get it.

Thursday, June 07, 2007

Changing Seasons

As the season changes so does our local community. I've noticed a growing tension between the residents of our valley and the tourists. The letters to the editor of the local paper have started to show frustration. The visitors come, play, and leave their stuff behind for the residents to pick up. Not only do they leave their junk for someone else to pick up but they have no idea how to drive in a small town. They tow these monster trailers weaving in and out of traffic, refusing to use the turnouts provided, and showing no regard for those around them.

Along with the larger community, I've noticed a change in our immediate neighborhood. If you walk or drive around the streets at different times of the year you find very different environments. As the people who own vacation homes once again start to visit them, we find our little streets crowded with boats, ATVs, and dirt bikes. Since we live up a one lane road, trying to get in and out is becoming a major problem. During the week you will find people getting over for one another and waving as you pass. Once the weekend or holiday arrives you find the complete opposite. The dirt bikes ride up the major access road around blind curves as if they own the place, putting everyone in danger. They ride these same bikes up and down the roads all hours of the night.

Sometimes I wonder if this is all due to radically different outlooks. I would say a good portion of our full-time population in the valley, and specifically in our neighborhood, are just trying to get by. Their goals are to get through the day, week or month. They aren't looking at the new boat or trailer or dirt bike, they are trying to raise a family and just survive. Contrast that with the people who come up here to play. They feel they own the roads since they pay taxes on their vacation property so they should be able to do whatever they want (yes, I know I'm making generalizations on both sides). They don't see this as a place that people live and work in. Being that they do own that second house and all the toys I think the differences in everyday life further compounds the problem. The disparity between these two very different worlds is just too much and it causes friction. I know there are exceptions to this, but on the whole I think this explains the tension that you can almost feel right now. I've spoken a few times to people that live in our area, they like the area except at times like these. The main complaints are the noise and traffic, followed by the garbage that litters our town after a long weekend. I can agree with all of that and add one more, I miss the friendliness that disappears when the tourists appear.

The whole reason this came to mind was because Paul and I were discussing how difficult it is to interact with people who's life is focused on different things. When I was reading through the letters in the newspaper I realized it wasn't just me, it seems that we all have that problem. That doesn't mean we can't live together but it may mean that the best we can do is tolerate each other since there seems to be no way to really understand the concerns of one another.

Wednesday, June 06, 2007

Email problems

If you've sent us email in the last few days don't be frustrated if it takes us awhile to answer. Our satellite internet provider has been having hardware problems for a few weeks and currently our messages are trickling really slowly. Sometimes we don't get them for 24 hours or so. We aren't ignoring you!

Tuesday, June 05, 2007

Riding Lessons

On the heels of my post a few days ago, I can report that Lorna is no longer the isolated homeschooler! Today she started horseback riding lessons in the hopes that she will gain confidence with her own horse.

I am very excited about this opportunity that she has been given. She has a job watering the neighbors flowers which pays her almost enough for one lesson a month. Her grandparents have all offered to help out with the expenses so that she can have 2 lessons a month. Thank you grandparents!

The instructor is a very nice younger woman with loads of experience. Since the lessons are private she can adapt to what Lorna needs and work with her strengths. By the end of the lesson today she had Lorna riding with her hands raised and eyes closed, which is a major accomplishment!

Monday, June 04, 2007

Clothing for girls

Yesterday, after trying yet another church, we decided to head over to Walmart before coming home. We don't have a Walmart in our valley so I don't get to go very often. We needed napkins and I wanted a bag of chips to go with the chicken we were having for lunch.

Since we were already there I thought we should look for some shorts for Lorna. She's outgrown the ones we bought last summer and really wants a few pairs since the temperatures have been climbing into the high 90s and even reaching 100 lately. What we found was frustrating. All the shorts were really short and tight. They didn't seem to have any of the shorts that I remember buying as a kid, the kid that were not form fitting and came down to just above your knee.

Last year we had a difficult time finding shorts too. We ended up buying ones that were labeled "school shorts". They were made so they would conform to school dress codes but could be altered on the weekends to be shorter. This year we haven't been able to find anything even remotely like that within our small budget. So I guess I'll have to go through the fabric we have here and make her some. I really enjoy sewing but can't seem to find enough time to even finish what I have cut out, let alone start a new project!

Friday, June 01, 2007


I think the kids had a little too much time on their hands today.

I'm really glad that Buster is such a patient dog! I've noticed that the little ones are a lot more tolerant than the larger dogs. Maybe they figure they can't do anything about it so they should enjoy the attention no matter how silly they end up looking.


We saw the movie two nights ago and I have to say it was even worse than I expected.

If you read the book and enjoyed it, don't bother with the movie. If you like movies that are a quick jaunt from point A to point B with no character development, than you will enjoy this movie.

They left out major characters and events, more than was necessary to condense the story for a movie. It was like watching the third Harry Potter movie, but not even that good!

What a disappointment...