>> Friday, January 30, 2009

Darryl and Anne are away for a couple of days and the grandkids are staying with us. The boot tray is overflowing with all of the boots.

Jan     29th=30th 007 The kids have insulated snow boots. I don’t believe I ever had any boots of that nature as I was growing up. All I can remember having were 4-buckle overshoes. I haven’t seen any for years but doing an internet search I find that they are still being manufactured and sold. The boots fit over whatever shoes you have on. My dad had a pair of 2-buckle overshoes, a low-top version. They kept your shoes dry but wouldn’t allow you to wade water of any depth.

He always had a pair of rubber boots, much like the ones of mine in the picture above. We always called them “gum boots,” which I found by doing an internet search, is a term used in several countries. In South Africa the mine workers which wore these types of boots to keep their feet dry in the wet mines even originated a “gum boot dance.” Many examples can be seen in various You Tube videos.

I found a rather humorous article pertaining to wearing gum boots that you might enjoy. Just click here.


I’ve Kept It All These Years

>> Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Reminisce Magazine, which calls itself “the magazine that brings back the good times” is written by its readership.  The articles and photos are about earlier times, the depression, WWII, the 50’s, etc.  One feature they run each issue is one entitled “I’ve Kept It All These Years.”  The short notes are accompanied by a photo of some object the writers have kept over the years.  Many may be of toys or items from their childhood.

I have an item that I have had since my early childhood, my first plate.  It is more like a dish and is made of enameled metal.  It is now hanging on the wall in our dining room.  I’m not sure where my parents obtained it but I suspect it was inexpensive since it has a flaw in it.  There is a rounded area missing from one side.  I know that it didn’t keep me from eating a lot of meals from it.

Jan      27th 008 This photo shows the plate hanging on the wall.

Jan     28th 003 Here, sitting on the table, you can see that it is fairly deep, much like a dish.  With the rim it was easy for a small child (that was me!) to hang onto.


Toby Likes Popcorn

>> Saturday, January 24, 2009

Toby began getting excited while Connie was popping the popcorn.  He really likes popcorn and has become quite good at catching it out of the air when it is tossed to him.  I tried to get a picture of him catching some but the best I could do was to get him up in the air as the popcorn was coming down.

Jan      24th 020


Cutting Firewood

>> Thursday, January 22, 2009

Since all of us here on the farm heat with wood we must spend some time cutting firewood.  We have cut almost no wood from the wooded acres here on Cedar Ridge Farm since we have been able to obtain wood on neighboring farms, primarily the tops of trees that have been cut down for the saw logs.  This Fall and Winter we have been getting our wood from a neighboring farm that had approximately 40 acres logged so there are lots of good hardwood tree tops laying there for the cutting.  These have been down for a year or two so the wood is already seasoned.  Darryl and I cut and hauled in a truck load of wood this morning.

Jan    22nd 003 This picture is of the area we worked this morning.

Jan    22nd 006 Here is a photo of Darryl working with his chainsaw cutting limbs into stove wood lengths.

Jan    22nd 016The larger pieces were split using our splitting mauls.

Jan    22nd 018  The truck has been backed into position and the wood is being thrown into the truck.

Jan    22nd 019 The truck is loaded and we are ready to head home.

Jan    22nd 020 Using the dump bed the load is unloaded.  And, all of this was accomplished in 2 and 1/2 hours.  That was from the time we left the house until we were back and the wood was dumped.  It should keep some of us warm for a few more days.


Tired, or is it Retired?

>> Wednesday, January 21, 2009

I’ve often said that I was tired yesterday and I’m tired again today so that must make me re-tired.  It has been said that you know you are getting older when it takes half as long to become tired and twice as long to get rested.  I mentioned in my profile that I’m not retired, just redeployed. 

But, the tired or retired I’m talking about now is what I did yesterday.  I took our van into town and got it “tired” or maybe that was “retired.”  I bought a new set of tires.  We bought the van over 4 and 1/2 years ago as a used vehicle.  The tires that were on it were nearly new but since that time we have put several thousand miles on them and they were needing replacement.

So, what was it? Did I get the van tired or did I get it retired?  It’s making me tired trying to figure it out.


Drinking Water—Part One

>> Tuesday, January 20, 2009

We may hear from time to time about people in third world nations drinking dirty, polluted water and think how fortunate we are to be able to go to the faucet and get a glass of good, pure water.  But, do we ask just how pure and good that water is?  Do a little research and you will find that it isn’t as pure and good as we might imagine.  In some areas the water is “purified” water taken from rivers or streams that raw sewage or partially treated sewage is dumped into.  Various chemicals are added, supposedly to make it safe to drink and for our benefit.

One chemical that is used in most municipal water supplies is fluoride.  We have been told that it is to help prevent tooth decay.  But, is it?  Perhaps you aren’t aware that there are two types of fluorides.  One is calcium fluoride that naturally occurs in water but this is not the type that is added to our drinking water.  The fluoride that are used are of two types.  Silcofluoride is a by product from the phosphate fertilizer industry and sodium fluoride  is a waste by product of the aluminum industry.  This last product is also used as an insecticide, fungicide, bactericide and in rat poison!

Charles Elliot Perkins, a research scientist sent by the U. S. government after WWII to take charge of the I. G. Farben chemical plants in Germany discovered that “The real purpose behind water fluoridation is to reduce the resistance of the masses to domination, control and loss of liberty.”  In his report to the Lee Foundation for Nutritional Research in October of 1954, he said,  “Repeated doses of infinitesimal amounts of fluoride will in time reduce an individual’s power to resist domination, by slowly poisoning and narcotizing a certain area of the brain, thus making him submissive to the will of those who wish to govern him.”

There is much more that you can research on your own but suffice it to say that I do not wish to ingest fluoride from my drinking water, my toothpaste or from any other source.  And, it can be successfully removed through distillation, reverse osmosis and a few other filtering units.

We used a water distiller for a number of years.  Since it was an electric unit the energy cost was significant.  A few years before moving to Kentucky we installed a reverse osmosis system, which we were quite happy with.  We left the unit with the house we sold but we purchased another unit and installed it in our home here.  The following photos show a little of the system.

Jan    19th 002 The main unit is under the kitchen sink.  Our unit is a 6 stage system, which means that in addition to the main membrane there are other filters.  1st stage is a 5 micron sediment filter.  2nd stage is a granular activated carbon filter for chemicals.  The 3rd stage is a 5 micron coconut carbon block for chemicals.  Stage 4 is the main membrane.  The 5th stage is a demineralization by ionization cartridge for super clean water.  The final and 6th stage is a granular activated carbon filter for taste.

Jan    19th 001 Also under the sink is a three gallon pressurized storage tank.  This  makes it possible for there to be purified water available as needed as it does take time for water to go completely through the system.  We have a separate faucet for the RO water, as shown in the picture below.

Jan    19th 005In part two I’ll tell you a bit about another water purifying system we have recently obtained.


Our House—The Walls

>> Sunday, January 18, 2009

Many new homes have drywall.  Putting up the sheets of drywall goes pretty fast but taping and mudding the joints, sanding them down and doing a second and maybe a third application of mud takes a lot of time.  And, it takes some experience to get the joints done so there is no indication of a joint after the walls are painted.  We just didn’t want to go through all of that on any more walls than necessary.  We did put up drywall on two walls in the kitchen and in the bathrooms.

PDRM0013 The above picture, taken during our construction, shows the two walls in the kitchen that were drywalled and painted. 

We decided to put up pre-finished paneling on the rest of the walls.  Installation isn’t much more difficult than putting up drywall but there was no further finishing necessary.  However, we did incur a bit of a problem with some of the paneling.  What we felt we could afford is not real wood but a synthetic material and is quite thin.  Most likely due to the humidity we have here some of the sheets tended to warp.  Perhaps had we put up drywall and used a panel adhesive this would not have happened but that would have nearly doubled the cost.

By the time we were ready to do the walls in the addition we had come up with another idea.  We discovered that Lowes carried a product made by ABTCO called Knotty Barnboard, a textured panel siding that came in 4’ X 8’ sheets and was 1/2” thick.  It is manufactured for exterior use so we were sure that there would be no warping.  It did require painting but no taping and mudding as with drywall.  And, if we decide we want a different color we can paint it with the new color.

Jan    18th 004A Above is a close-up of a section of the barnboard.  The color isn’t quite true.  We painted it Antique White but at least you can see the texture.  On some of the areas you can see “saw” marks as if the board had been cut on a circular saw mill.  We wish we had known about this product earlier as we would have used it throughout the house. We were told by some of the folks at Lowes that many people are using it in their homes.  We toured some log homes a couple of years ago and found that the folks in one had paneled all of the rooms in their basement with this product.

Jan    18th 011 This view is of a section of wall in our living room.  If you click on the picture you can get a larger view and can see the individual “boards” in the panels.


Making Butter

>> Thursday, January 15, 2009

Growing up we had cows, or a cow, and always had lots of milk, cream and our own homemade butter. My mother had a big Dazey churn which would hold 2 or 3 quarts of cream.

images I can remember turning the crank until the butter formed and it became difficult to get the paddles to move. There were times when we had only a small amount of cream and it was hardly worth getting the churn out, then we used the method that Connie and I employ now. And, that is putting the cream into a quart jar, filling it only about half-full and then shaking it until the butter forms.

Jan  7th 003 The whole process begins with skimming the cream off of the milk which has sat for 12 to 24 hours in the fridge. Sometimes the jars of cream maybe kept for a day or two before making butter. When we are ready to make butter the jars of cream are set out of the fridge to warm up.

Jan  7th 004 Pictured here on the left are 4 jars of cream sitting on the table near the wood burning stove warming up. If the cream is cold it can be whipped but it won’t make butter. If it is warmed up to about “room temperature” it takes only a very few minutes of shaking for the butter to form.

Jan  7th 007 As can be seen in this photo the butter has formed. However, the process is still incomplete. The buttermilk must be poured off (and can be kept for cooking—buttermilk pancakes, etc.) and the butter washed. If any of the buttermilk remains in the butter it will allow the butter to become “strong” in taste and will smell bad. Generally it takes several washings with cold water to wash out the milk.

Jan  7th 018 The butter needs to be “worked” to remove all of the moisture. In the picture on the left you can see that Connie is using a butter paddle in a bowl. We don’t have a wooden butter bowl but this bowl works well. Moisture that is worked out is poured off. Toward the end of working it there will be small “beads” of moisture that appear. They can be removed by dabbing them with a dry paper towel. The lump of butter can then be formed into a usable shape. One can purchase a butter mold but we don’t own one so it will be shaped using the paddle or put into a small dish of some kind.

Jan  7th 019


Our House—Floors

>> Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Jan   13th 001 When we started working on our house we were planning on putting down laminate flooring throughout.  The house had the sub-floor down, old floor boards taken from the old Moccasin School which was located about 1/4 mile away.  Over this the one building the “cabin” had nailed down 1/4” masonite type material.  When walking on it there was a soft, mushy feeling to it.  I definitely didn’t want that.  Something more was needed.  I removed the material that had been put down and installed 1/2” plywood as an underlayment.

I had purchased some laminate flooring, enough for at least one room.  A friend that Darryl had made had built a log home and had put down 3/4” oak hardwood flooring.  Due to a change in plans they had 700 square feet they wanted to sell and were asking only $500.00.  I didn’t believe I could turn that offer down.

PDRM0009 In the kitchen and dining area the hardwood was put down on the diagonal, which took a bit longer but looks very nice.  In the computer room and the hallway it was laid straight.  All of this was finished with a polyurethane finish, which has a “plastic like” look to it.

PDRM0012 Pictured to the left is the floor in the computer room with the finish on it.  When I put down the oak hardwood in the living room, which is in the addition, I had decided on another type of finish—genuine tung oil.  I was unable to find it locally, as a matter of fact I could only find it at one place, The Real Milk Paint Company.  When it was applied per the company’s direction it left the floor with a more natural look, not at all with the “plastic” look of the polyurethane.

Jan   13th 002 I know that it is difficult to see the difference in a photograph but in the photo to the right is the living room floor.  The 700 square feet of oak was not enough to do all of the floors so we did use laminate in both of the bedrooms.  It is nice but lacks the warmth of the real wood.

Jan   13th 004 Pictured here on the left is the floor in our bedroom, which is laminate.  The laminate is fast to put down and doesn’t require the sanding and finishing that has to be done on the real thing.  We put down vinyl tile in the bathroom and the pantry.  With the dust and dirt we have around us we didn’t want carpeting.  Still, we remove our shoes when we come in from outside.  Our grandchildren also follow these rules, so at times there is quite a pile of shoes or boots beside the door. 

Although our floors turned out differently from what we originally had planned we are quite happy with how they turned out.


Abraham Lincoln

>> Saturday, January 10, 2009

This year, 2009, is the 200th anniversary of the birth of Abraham Lincoln, the 16th president of the United States.  Having grown up in Illinois, “The Land of Lincoln,” I heard a lot about Abraham Lincoln.  While yet in grade school we took a field trip to the Lincoln Log Cabin State Park near Charleston, Illinois.  This restored cabin and buildings was where Abe’s father and step mother lived after moving to Illinois.  Later I got to visit Lincoln’s tomb in Springfield and the restored village of New Salem, now a state park, where young Abe ran a store.

I hadn’t thought a lot about Abe Lincoln’s life before coming to Illinois.  But, here in Kentucky we have a number of “Lincoln sites.”  About 50 miles from where we live is his birthplace and the area he spent his earliest years.

Lincoln Birthplace The “Sinking Springs Farm” where Abe was born is now a National Historic Site.  A small log cabin, probably not the one he was born in but one similar, is housed in a memorial building on the site.  The original spring is still there and a small museum has been established on the grounds.

Lincoln Birthplace (9) To the right is a picture of the memorial building.  The small cabin is inside.  To the left out of the picture is the location of the spring.  The Lincoln family had to move from this location while Abe was very young.  They moved about 10 miles away.

Lincoln Birthplace (74) There isn’t much to be seen at the Knob Creek Farm location.  A small log cabin sits at the site but not the one the Lincoln family lived in.  It is from the same general era and came from nearby.  In  the town of Hodgenville, Kentucky,which is between the birthplace and the Knob Creek Farm, a Lincoln museum has been established and it houses many interesting exhibits. 

Lincoln Birthplace (157) Lincoln Birthplace (146)There are additional Lincoln sites within the state.  But, these are definitely well worth visiting if you are ever in the area.


Milk Cans

>> Friday, January 9, 2009

Jan   9th 007 When I was growing up, in the late 40’s and early 50’s, my dad was milking 4 or 5 cows and selling the milk to a local cheese factory.  The milk was strained into 10 gallon milk cans, cooled in a tank of cold well water and picked up by the “milk truck” about 3 times a week.  The empty cans from the previous pick-up would be returned when the full cans were taken.

Late in the 50’s we had only one cow and her milk was for our own use.  Later, probably in the 60’s, my dad had no milk cow at all.  The 10 gallon milk cans were stored away.  In 1987 Dad sold the farm and had an auction to get rid of over 50 years of accumulation.  Those cans were going into the auction.  I asked my dad if I could have one, which he gladly gave me.  We have thought for years we should paint it or do something decorative with it but it still sits on our front porch.  You can see the number “54” painted on the can.  That was my dad’s number and all milk in cans with that number were accredited to his account.

If you have any suggestions as to how we should use this can please leave a comment.


It’s Snickers!

>> Thursday, January 8, 2009

We often refer to Snickers as “our old lady cat.” We obtained her in May of 2000 from some friends. She and her litter mates were born on March 15th of 2000. The rest of the litter looked much like any other farm cats, but Snickers decidedly looked like a Siamese.

IMG_0156 The photo to the right shows her in one of her most common poses, taking a nap. She is an “inny and outy” cat. She likes to be outside when it is nice but when it is cold or nasty she hates to go outside.

IMG_6755 One of the most irritating things she does is to get up onto the roof and/or climb a tree and then won’t or can’t seem to get down. She has spent a couple of days stranded there without her getting down on her own.

IMG_6787 Some have said that when a cat gets hungry they will climb down. However, I’ve searched a number of websites and have found that actually many cats can not get down. They, if not rescued, will eventually fall from the tree. I went up this tree pictured above and to the right. If you look close enough you will she her right in the center of the picture. (I’m too old to be doing that.) Darryl got her down from a tree behind his home by using his long extension ladder.

The picture below illustrates what we feel is her secret activity once everyone is in bed and sound asleep!

cat at computer (Not!)


Homemade Yogurt

>> Wednesday, January 7, 2009

We enjoy yogurt and since we have goat milk most of the year and at present plenty of good cow’s milk from Darryl’s cow, Josie, we make it regularly.  The following photos and comments show how we make it.

Jan  7th 008 The first step is to place several spoonfuls of yogurt into the 1/2 gallon jar.  (A quart jar can be used if a small amount is desired.  We make 1/2 gallon at a time.)  When first starting the process we purchase plain yogurt from the supermarket.  Once started we use yogurt from the last batch made.

Jan  7th 009The jar is filled with freshly strained milk that is still warm from the cow.  Or, milk that has been cooled may be warmed up but it can’t be hot.

Jan  7th 010  The filled jar is placed into our “yogurt maker,” a soft sided ice chest, along with 4 quart jars filled with hot water.  The water is from the hot water faucet, as hot as it can be.

Jan  7th 011 For extra insulation we wrap an old quilt around the ice chest.  We usually start our yogurt of an evening and let it stay over-night.  By morning we remove the jar and we have delicious fresh yogurt.  It is still warm so we place it into the refrigerator.  It will stay good for many days and we use it on cereal or on fruit.  Although it is generally quite thick it can still be poured into a glass and drunk.  It is very good and is an excellent food.


Whole Wheat Flour

>> Tuesday, January 6, 2009

One doesn’t have to do a lot of research to discover that the white, enriched and bleached flour most of our breads and baked goods are made from is not a healthful product. There are many good articles on the internet but you might just read this one entitled the Ugly Truths About White Flour.

We have used whole wheat flour for many years but much of that time it was flour purchased at the grocery store. Even that has it’s problems. More recently we were buying our flour through a food co-op and getting the flour made from organically grown wheat. Wheat prices and flour prices began to skyrocket this past year. We found that buying the wheat was more economical than buying flour. So, grinding our own flour became something we felt we needed to do. We also found that using flour that has been ground fresh we were getting more good from the natural nutriments in the grain.

This past summer we purchased a grain mill so we could grind our own flour and our own corn meal. We bought The Family Grain Mill with an electric motor and received a hand base with it, which allows us to grind by hand if electricity isn’t available. Below are some pictures of the mill in operation.

Jan  6th 010 The wheat berries are poured into the hopper on the mill.

Jan  6th 001Flour is being ground into the stainless steel bowl.

Jan  6th 011Here is a close-up of the flour coming from the mill. Part of this freshly ground flour went into the biscuits we had for supper.


To Buy or Not To Buy

>> Sunday, January 4, 2009

I presently have a Dell computer that is six years old. The main complaint is that it is lacking in memory. I can add memory. To take it from the present 512MB to 1GB will cost less than $40.00. Or, I can buy a new Dell with 3GB of memory.

I presently have the Windows XP operating system and the new computer would have the Vista system. I’m told that the adjustment wouldn’t be too difficult. But, my main concern is with my word processing program. I have used Word Perfect ever since I first started using a word processing program. As far as I can determine the Word Perfect Version 10 that I currently am using isn’t compatible with Vista. Some internet sites I visited indicate that there may (or maybe not) be a way to get it to work. I know I could learn Word, which we have a copy of, but all of my files are saved in Word Perfect. My limited experience in the past was that in a conversion there was a loss of some of the formatting.

Since I have a book (my autobiography) and numerous articles written and saved in Word Perfect I really hate to change to Word and even attempt a conversion. An updated version of Word Perfect is over $100.00, which I don’t really want to have to spend.

To buy or not to buy is the question.


Indian Relics and Artifacts

>> Saturday, January 3, 2009

As a child I “collected” various items; rocks, buttons and so on.  One of my collections was of “Indian beads.”  Indian beads were not literally beads made by the Indians, although they may have been used by some.  They were trilobite fossils.  I would spend hours searching through the gravel we brought up from the creek to put onto our lane.  It was while doing this that I found my first arrowhead.  That began a new collection.  Over the years I found many arrowheads or pieces of arrowheads.  My dad had some he had found that he gave me as well as some that he had obtained in boxes of “junk” he had bought at a sale somewhere.  I have found a few since reaching adulthood, even a few here in Kentucky.  Many Sunday afternoons were spent with my cousin, Marvin Kirby, walking through fields hunting for arrowheads.  And, I also hunted alone.  I still have my collection, the better ones mounted on a board, pictured below.

Panorama Today Darryl, his boys and I spent a bit of time at a small show featuring Indian artifacts.  Darryl had gotten acquainted with one of the fellows showing and we especially wanted to see his pieces.  He was good enough to come out to the van before we left to look at my collection.  He said he is always happy and willing to look at what others have collected.  Below are a couple of photos of some of the items being displayed at the show.

Jan  3rd 002Jan  3rd 004As you can see many of these pieces are stone tools, not just arrowheads.  The amount of work that went into making many of these items is hard to imagine, especially using simple stone tools.  A lady showed us how a hole was bored through stone to make a pipe.  The pipe apparently had been broken in the process but with it was a stone core that came out of the hole.  She said that the process was to use a hollow reed and sand.  The reed was turned and the sand was the cutting agent.  Amazing!

(Remember, if you would like to see a bigger view of these pictures just click on the picture.)


An Old Kentucky Home

>> Friday, January 2, 2009

In addition to an older mobile home and the unfinished cabin (that became our house) that was on Cedar Ridge Farm when Darryl and Anne purchased it there was “an old Kentucky home.” Just down the hill from where our house stands was an old, dilapidated log cabin. Apparently it was still being occupied as of 25-30 years ago. The picture below was given to Darryl by the tax assessor. At the time it was taken the cabin was still being lived in. However, there was no date on the photo.

IMG_1332It was becoming quite unsafe to have with small children around and since it is near where Darryl is building his new home it needed to come down. On March 18, 2007 Darryl and I spent the morning cleaning out a lot of junk that had been stored in this old cabin. Most went directly onto a burn pile. The picture above was taken after we had gotten it cleaned out. If you look close you will see a chain that is hooked around the logs just above the doorway.

IMG_1334In this shot you can see Darryl’s Chevy Suburban hooked up to the chain and about ready to pull. It didn’t take much of a pull.

IMG_1340This shot shows the building beginning to fall.

IMG_1341And, it was down. All that was left was the clean-up. Several of the big hewn logs are still quite solid and Darryl hopes to be able to use them somewhere in some of the future building that will be done.


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