Thursday, January 29, 2015

Ugh! They're everywhere!


CONTENTS:
COMMENTS
TENNESSEE LIFE
PETS
BOOK REVIEWS
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COMMENTS:
Just thought I'd respond to some comments I receive. I really enjoy seeing the comments.

LG: LG is hoping to full time in the future. She used to live in the country, so she enjoys both parts of my blog. Thanks LG. I hope your full time dream comes true. It's a very odd feeling to  have "been there, done that" and check full time RV off my bucket list.

JOHN & CAROL of 5th Wheel Wanderings blog liked my end tables I made. They have been full time for about 5+ years. They just bought a park model, so now will be sort of snowbirds.

I think if we didn't have the urge to still foster and rescue dogs, that we may gone the same route. At the end of 3 years of full timing, we were ready to slow down. Settle someplace for the Winter and travel the rest of the year, but staying longer in places instead of just 2 weeks. But the "need" to have a huge yard for our Setters overruled the RV life. As I've said over and over, we may return as we hopefully downsize the breed of dog from 60-80 pounds down to 10-30 pounds. If that ever happens, I think we'll be on the road again.

MERIKAY of Merikay's Dream also liked my end tables. I'm quite envious of her time she has been spending in the Florida Keys this Winter. We never made it down there because it was so far out of the way and we didn't want to deal with the high prices and hoping to get reservations and excuses, excuses.

SUSAN of Beluga's Excellent Adventure comments regularly via email. They have recently sold their large farmhouse and are building a cottage on the lake. What a great compromise! RVing and a cottage to come home to.
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TENNESSEE LIFE:
We have finished our fencing. Total about 2 - 2.5 acres. We have quite the hodgepodge of different fence types. Some we did ourselves, some we had professionals install, some was existing. The dogs are really enjoying the extra freedom. Poor Ella, a recent foster/adoption is about 8 years old. Well, she just loves to run and try to spook the birds out of the huge magnolia tree/bush. She forgets her age, until she tries to get up in the morning and has a difficult time moving...at least until she spots more birds outside.

Before the cold spell, we were clearing some of the forest to make it more walking friendly. Right now it is quite dense with many small trees, sticker bushes, vines, cluttering any pathways.  What a difference between NJ and TN. In NJ, anytime we had to clear weeds, trim trees and bushes, we had to separate them for garbage. The weeds needed to be in a separate garbage pail and the shrubs and trimmed branches had to be tied in bundles no longer than 3 feet long. Now, we have 7 acres, mostly wooded. There's plenty of places to put our cuttings, and we can even burn them if we want!
I finally did make a clearing to walk to our water. Unfortunately, we have the ugliest view. Ugh. But, the good news is, our neighbor has no problem letting us walk on his property to get to the water and his view is much much nicer.
Our neighbor's view
Our view looks basically like swampland. Sigh....

Our wood stove is installed and keeping the house cozy! I love it! We will no longer have the roaring fire in the large fireplace, but we will also, not be losing all the warmth up the chimney and using so much firewood for so short a time of beauty from the fire.

I am happy with the glow from the window of the wood stove, knowing that is easing the workload of our heat pump and allowing us to keep the house at a more comfortable 70-74° instead of a chilled 67-68°. I haven't been taking as many photos as when we were traveling. So no glowing fire photos for now. Maybe I'll remember to take a photo one of these days.
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PRODUCT REVIEW:
Rating: 4 out of 5 stars
Now that we have a woodstove, we will need firewood more consistently, so Scott bought a Powerhouse 7-ton log splitter. He loves it and says it works beautifully! Fairly lightweight. We could probably take it along in the RV if we planned to have a lot of campfires!
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Our address is fairly rural. Our street is about 1/2 mile in from a main thoroughfare (2 lane road), then our house sits up on a small hill about, I don't know 300-500 off the road so we are not seen from the road and we don't see the road. And still, we were visited by Jehovah Witnesses! You first have to specifically come up this street with homes well distanced apart. Then you have to go up our driveway, no knowing what you'll find up there. Then you need to pass by a fence and open the gate and hope our 5 dogs don't knock you down. I saw this minivan in front of our garage with 2 guys in suits. It's either the mob or JW. Then I see two "church lady" types holding their bible or whatever they use as a guidebook come out of the car. I walked out to the gate to "greet" them. Didn't even give them a chance to get to the gate. "Not interested, good bye", and I turn around.. Then they play the guilt trip and let me know I have a nice piece of property. In NJ, I just would not have answered the door.
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PETS:
Having 5 dogs seems "normal" now. Our puppy Ryan is about 7 months old & 55 pounds! He has settled nicely into a routine with the other dogs. Now if I would just stop taking in puppies in need of homes. Yep, I did it again. This is the 3rd puppy in as many months that I have taken in to find a home for. This time, it's not even an English Setter! But because of networking among the rescues, the pleas for help are widely circulated.
A 5 week old black lab mix puppy dumped in a church parking lot. A good samaritan and neighbor of the church found the pup and took it in. She has two dogs of her own and a special needs son, so really couldn't take on another responsibility.  An email was sent to me because I live in the same state. I send out to my contacts to see if someone wants to adopt a puppy. Sure enough, someone in NJ. So I take the pup in.

Only 5 pounds!!! Still had the blue eyes of a young pup, so the good samaritan called her "Blue". So, I'm back to sleeping in the guest bedroom and waking up multiple times per night to let the pup out to do her business. Sigh. She is too young to travel right now, so I'm stuck, oops, I mean I'm caring for her until she can travel to NJ.

Luckily our vet is very inexpensive! No appointments needed and most times, office visits are not charged, just the service completed. I brought Blue in for vaccines and to see if she had worms and health check. Total $24.!!!! She has a clean bill of health and not even worms, but we worm her just in case.



The good samaritan didn't have a crate for her, so she lined a box with felt, covered and stuffed cardboard with fake fur to make a soft bottom for her to feel safe in.

She also gave us this cute pillow that had slots inside where she put info on the dog, a couple of toys, an adorable little paw print baby blanket, some chewies, and a nice card. I felt like I was having a baby/puppy shower!

So our big goofy Gordon Setter puppy is trying to learn how to play "easy". Little Blue is easily knocked around by one of his paws. Ryan, our Gordon Setter puppy, likes to put Blue's whole head in his mouth!





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AUDIO BOOK REVIEW:
MudboundMudbound by Hillary Jordan
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Racial prejudice. I will NEVER understand it nor accept it.
Newlywed wife (white) becomes a farmer's wife instead of a city wife as expected.
This is a time when blacks are still trying to own their own land and be self sufficient. Black family living on the farm are sharecroppers, meaning they help work the land , but must give a share to the farm owner. The white and black families seem to get along, but individuals around them cause prejudicial problems.
2 soldiers return home, one from each family. How are they treated? Very differently, but there is a bond of the war between them.
How are the wives dealing with the families, how do the husbands respond?
After writing my review, I changed my rating from 4 to 5 stars.

BOOK REVIEW:

All My Love, DetrickAll My Love, Detrick by Roberta Kagan
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

If you are a true history buff, this book is probably not for you. This book may not be spot on accurate historically, but I'm not reading a history book, I'm reading a romance in an historical time period.
Wonderful love story.You get just an inkling of the horrors of this time period of Hitler, living as a Jew and as an Aryan. You want more accurate history, read a nonfiction book.
My only complaint is there were too many chapter breaks when totally unnecessary. But that did not detract from the story, so my 5 stars stand strong.

My rating: 4 of 5 stars
I originally listened to this as an audiobook. HATED IT! Couldn't finish it. Boring and the main character seemed like an idiot. My husband read the book and  loved it and has read many more in this series loving each one. Every time he reads another in the series he encourages me to try to read this. I really hated the audiobook. I trust my husband's judgement. He knows my taste in books.
The written version is so much better. The character I thought was an idiot, is now very endearing. Set in very rural Montana, we are exposed to the mindset of a different type of world. We have men that hunt for a living, we have a ranger trying to keep the balance between preserving nature, yet allowing them to be hunted. Greed vs. love of nature. Facing the gov't workers who don't give a crap, can be bribed, yet our main character pushes on facing which is the right next step.
I look forward to reading more in this series. I'm a convert.

Breaking Up with Barrett (The English Brothers, #1)Breaking Up with Barrett by Katy Regnery
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

A typical nice romance. I enjoyed reading it, but nothing special. Reminded me of "Pretty Woman", but just an escort, no dirty business. Male character was in the same business as the Greer character in "Pretty Woman". Typical, expected ending.




Monday, January 12, 2015

Clip Clop

CONTENTS
TENNESSEE LIFE
PET PEEVES
CRAFTS
PRODUCT REVIEW
BOOK REVIEWS
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TENNESSEE LIFE:

I have met the neighbors on either side of me. One neighbor is far enough away, we can't see the house, the other neighbor can be seen in the Winter, but barely seen through the trees in the Summer. Both seem very nice. I have not met the mysterious ones that own a small section of land on the lake sort of behind us. Luckily no trouble from them, but haven't heard good things.
I also haven't met our neighbor sort of across the street from us. All this is relative to the area. Across the street in our NJ town, was literally, 50 feet from our front door to theirs. Here in TN, is go down the hill of our 200 foot driveway to the main road, turn right, a few more 100 feet, then up their long driveway. When we first were looking at our house, we thought "Southern Serenity" as our neighbors call their spread was a retirement community. We saw a large building that we assumed was the activity center. WRONG! Southern Serenity is a private residence that trains Tennessee Walking Horses.
Weighted shoes

Caustic chemical damage

There is much controversy about the training and abuse of these beautiful horses for winning shows. Some trainers cruelly put caustic chemical on the horses ankles and wrap with plastic wrap. This causes pain and makes the horses lift the feet for the special gait/walk these horses are known for. Others cut the tendons, so the feet can move unnaturally. What may look to the audience like a happy horse prancing is actually a horse flinching -- the animal lifts its legs higher because putting them on the ground is painful.
Of course I've read by defenders of the breed that this abuse is not necessary to win titles. I don't know enough to judge and I don't know how I feel about my neighbor.
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PET PEEVE:
Grammar:

I vs. me
The mistakes of using these two pronouns has bothered my Father more than me. Mainly because I did not know the correct "rule" for usage. The link above goes in depth to explain and I feel much more educated about these two words. I still have to think before I type I or me.
"Simply"...
"I" is a pronoun that is doing the action.
"me" is a pronoun that the action is being done to.  If you are really interested, Click the link above. It's nice to learn something that has bothered me for years.

ask vs ax



to vs too

across vs acrost or acrossed

Visit Grammarly for more "exciting" tips on grammar.
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CRAFTS:
Yes, I've been knitting away here and there. I've been enjoying Mystery Knit a Longs again. I'm trying very hard to not purchase yarn. So far so good. I'm using what I have on hand.
Nina Cowl


































Hitchhiker scarf

2014 Year of lace scarf

Don't Ruche Me Scarf

Don't Ruche Me (close up)
These knitted items are beautiful (if I do say so myself). The photos do not do them justice at all! I am at the point in my knitting that I just can't wear all of these, especially when I don't go anywhere. Anyone interested in any of my pieces, let me know. Maybe I'll gift them to you or ask for a donation (you choose amount) to the charity of my choice.
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PRODUCT REVIEW:
I am officially hooked on the Kindle. While I was doing some local sightseeing at Parker's Crossroads Battlefield, I pick up a paperback book "When I was a Slave". It was only $4.50. Today I began reading it. I am so spoiled about not needing to use reading glasses to read the kindle and not have to have the bedside lamp on while reading, that it is difficult to go back to a printed book. Out come the reading glasses, the lamp has to be on and when I'm ready to fall asleep I now have to reach for the off switch of the lamp and hope one of the 4-5 dogs in bed with us, decides to roll into "my spot". For only 99 cents, problem solved. I downloaded it to my kindle. Yes! It's worth the extra $1. spent for the convenience of kindle paperwhite ease of reading.
I've had my kindle paperwhite for a year and am still very very pleased with this wonderful reading tool.
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BOOK REVIEW:
Bluestone Homecoming (Welcome to Bluestone #1)Bluestone Homecoming by M.J. Fredrick
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Very enjoyable quick read. The characters were likeable. Set in a small town the is trying to be revived. Some characters left for larger cities, some stayed and wondered if they should leave. All are drawn together with the goal of reviving this sweet little town.
A nice romance, with some tough decision making. No silliness, a couple of hot sex scenes...oh my. A happy ending, but things left incomplete to make room for a sequel.

When I Was a Slave: Memoirs from the Slave Narrative CollectionWhen I Was a Slave: Memoirs from the Slave Narrative Collection by Norman R. Yetman
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Book is just as the title states. It is many narratives from former slaves. They tell it like it is. Nothing fancy, no  "artistic license" to make it read better or flow better.
Most of what is written, I've read before, but there were a few new things that were new to me about the life of slaves. Interesting to read, but does get quite repetitive with many similar, very sad tales.

Did you know there was a concentration type camp during the Civil War in the South? It was the Andersonville Civil War Prison in Andersonville, GA, The Commander of the prison was actually convicted and hung for committing war crimes.

Take Two and Call Me In The Morgue (Bennington, #2)Take Two and Call Me In The Morgue by D.W. Ulsterman
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

An intense drama. Quite frustrating because it is dealing with politics, government agencies, health care and all the fatheads in those fields that think they can play god.
A cure for cancer? Possibly, if greed doesn't win over true caring.
A wide variety of characters that hold their own. Because they are all unique, it is easy to keep track of who is who.
Bennington P.I. is a likeable character. I think the author was trying for an older Myron Bolitar. A sarcastic, irreverent, PI. Being a woman of 58, I can relate to this older Bennington and his aging body and trying to keep up, and yet learning to accept the consequences of growing old.
I will be reading more from this author. This title was a free Kindle download.

AUDIOBOOK REVIEW:
The Kitchen HouseThe Kitchen House by Kathleen Grissom
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Excellent mixture of history, a touch of romance. The author did a lot of research to write this book. At age 7, an orphaned girl becomes an indentured servant & lives in the main house as part of the kitchen help. She is white, but through the open hearts of the slaves is brought in to their lives as part of their family.
The book follows this girl into womanhood, marriage, and old age, along with the Master and his family and the slaves that raised her and loved her.
Excellent narration also.


Sunday, December 28, 2014

Greetings from Oregon

CONTENTS
TN LIFE
CRAFTS
BOOK REVIEW
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TENNESSEE LIFE:
Nope, we're not in Oregon. But we might as well be with the weather here in Tennessee. We have only had two days of sunshine in the past couple of weeks it seems. Rain, dreary, overcast, more rain. Muddy floors, chill that I can't get rid of.

My mood is definitely being controlled by the weather. I'm blah. I need a nice, soft, comfy, warm bathrobe to wrap around me. That is another item I purged for the RV lifestyle. A bulky bathrobe took up too much room in the closet. I sure miss it now. One of these days, I'll go into the larger town to a higher quality store than Walmart and get a thick bathrobe.

With faceplate
Our heat pump is running all the time, yet I'm still chilled. We have a large fireplace that we've been enjoying many fires, but it is definitely an energy waster. We had a roaring fire the other night, but the room didn't go above 71°. We are going back and forth about a wood stove. Do we sacrifice the beauty of a roaring fire for the efficiency of a wood stove? Wood stoves have come a long way and have more glass area for a better view of the fire. The wood stove, accessories, and installation will run between $4000. - $5000. Ugh! It will take us about 5 years to start seeing the savings. But the house will be toasty in the Winter. Is it cold enough here for a wood stove? We rarely get below freezing here so far.

Rustic without faceplate

Another question...should Scott install the chimney tube part? I just assumed we would pay for installation. I am at a stage in my life, that I'd rather just pay someone to do it for us. Scott still considers it a doable challenge that will give him a sense of satisfaction. My thoughts are we're dealing with fire, high temps, etc. I don't want our house burning down or being smoked out. Leave it to the pros.

Opinions please: Do you prefer the wood stove with a faceplate above or more rustic on the left. I THINK I like the more rustic.

Christmas as with really all holidays, birthdays, anniversaries, etc. is a non-event for us. We stopped exchanging gifts and now even cards years ago. I don't feel cheated. I don't feel unloved. I don't feel unappreciated. We both feel relieved to not have the pressure of having to buy gifts. Again, we are at that point in our lives where if we want something, we just go get it. What can we give each other for Christmas, etc? Love is enough.  If anyone feels bad for us, then just pretend that the bedroom chests I bought were a gift to Scott.


Another mail order purchase. We love our 2 chest of drawers, made from cedar. These items were purchase from JHE's Log Furniture Place.

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CRAFTS:
With all the free wood on our land, I'm hoping to be creative. I've got a scroll saw. I just purchased wood carving tools and a "draw blade". A draw blade is a blade that you pull along the raw tree to remove the bark. I don't plan on doing large projects, just small branches, small creative pieces. We'll see. Right now with the blah weather, I barely get off the couch!

I did make a simple set of bedroom end tables. My goal this time around living in a house is to keep the dust, dirt, clutter under control. That means a lot of vacuuming. Vacuuming means a lot of moving items around. So the less items on the floor the better.

What do you think of my idea? It may not be the best wood working, but it'll do and fulfills it's purpose. We have end tables, without dust collecting behind them or having to move them to vacuum. I am very happy with them.
I took 2 12" x 10' boards, screwed them together, curved the corners, sanded and stained. Slip these under the mattress. The mattress holds the boards and the ends stick out for the table. I hope to add a 2nd tier to the table, but for now, it'll do nicely.
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BOOK REVIEW:
Always With YouAlways With You by Andrea  Hurst
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

You get involved with who you shouldn't, the heartache is your own fault. Nip it in the bud.
On and on, sneaking little secret touches, on and on about this is the love of my life, but I can't have him/her.
A romance book and I actually skipped over much of the romance. I was more interested in the workings of the little cafe and what new creations would be served to the customers.

Our Travels