Moving Heaven & Earth


Weather was yucky for most of March, so we focused on things indoors. My big job was cleaning an original oil painting that I’ve been lugging around for decades. Cleaning an oil painting means working with a Q-tip and swabbing/cleaning one spot at a time. Since the painting is 5’x3-1/2′, it took most of the month. The first picture below somewhat shows midway the difference in the colors. The second is the final result.

The painting looks drab in the photos, but the colors are actually subtly vibrant.

Now that it’s finally warmer and non-wet, we figured out where our garden is going to be this year. It will be a 40′ x 20′ area for our first year.

I’m working the soil in the way my grandfather taught me — and the way his grandfather taught him, even though its a lot of work. Instead of attacking the area with a rototiller, this old method means digging in with a shovel and manually pulling out the weeds and sifting through the dirt, breaking up the clumps, and eliminating all roots from the soil.

Leaving the roots (whole or broken up), invites weed production later.

After the entire area is cleared of the weeds and their roots, then I will throw on top all the compost I’ve been making all winter and rototill everything together. Then let it rest for at least four days or until the next waxing moon (whichever is last) to begin planting. Here’s the before and after of one tiny corner.

I will be planting the Three Sisters together in the traditional manner, but all the rest of the veggies (onions, tomatoes, etc) will be more-or-less in the modern rows. I’m debating whether to plant perenials like garlic in the garden area or in the herb bed or in a separate area near our planned barbeque area. What do you think?

Hate to admit this, but after cleaning that one little patch (shown above), I felt like I had been run over by a steam roller. Gads, I am soooo out of shape! Of course, my aches have nothing to do with the fact that I’m almost 70 years old — it’s just that I’m out of shape!

Warm Weather Begins


It’s no longer a mild Arctic region — temps in the 70s & 80s most days. I’m loving it! On one of the warmer days we were using the hoses to start softening the soil in preparation of gardening efforts. Well, one of our porkers (Wilbur), who is solid white with a few black spots, pulled a Houdini and got out of the chicken/pig run. Not a problem, except he wanted to cuddle after finding those great wet spots …..

Anyone want to cuddle?

We finished sealing the dining room ceiling and have painted it white (versus dark colors). The room looks so much bigger, the drafty feeling is gone and it now echoes in there!

The debate has begun as to what color to paint the dining room walls. Really kind of funny. I jokingly suggested lime green with flourescent orange trim. My poor hubby. Thought his eyes were gonna leave the sockets. I’ll take pictures to show the end result later!

Our other big challenge has been installing a door on the bedroom. To my delight, Jim put in a French door — am so excited about it. I’m almost done crocheting a curtain for it, which I’ll proudly show off when done!

Almost done installing!

Next on the agenda is finishing up the kitchen, then the living room. By then it should be warm enough to do the roof. In between all that, prep and plant the garden.

I keep telling myself to not worry about the shopping list of to-do’s but focus on one thing at a time. Anyone have hints on how to productively exercise patience?

Let There Be Light!


We have been focusing on finishing up the base coat of paint on anything that doesn’t need patching. Just the blah-white base coat is brightening things so much.

Corner of kitchen

This is one corner in the kitchen. You can see where we’ve put down the base coat — the vomit violet is still visible around the area that needs patching. Behind this wall was the busted water heater we took out. As soon as the wall is done drying out, we will be able to patch it.

While I was putting base coat down, Jim got busy with the wiring. A lot of the wiring was done wrong, so he redid the wiring in the kitchen ceiling, installed a huge light fixture, and set it up so it has an on-off switch instead of a pull cord hanging off a light bulb. Wow — talk about a major difference! The fixture has wood trim, but it’s hard to see against the ceiling (which will be completely replaced one day).


Soon the piping for the stove will be redone so it will be against the back wall instead, and then, we will repair the wall by the wood-burning oven.

We have also temporarily set up the bedroom with a cot and a few amenities. This way we can come in to work, spend one night, and the following day work until late afternoon. We have animals to feed, so we can’t be gone that long!


Jim has also been rewiring everything in the bedroom. There were light switches that didn’t work, exposed wires hanging from the ceiling, and a bare bulb with a pull chain in one corner.

He’s installed an old hanging lamp he had in storage that works with a dimmer switch! It’s perfect for us in the bedroom. And, yes, we still have newspaper taped to the windows. We haven’t finished painting yet, so there was no point in removing the paper.

My seedlings should be ready to plant next week, so we’ll probably focus a little on rototilling the garden plot next time we are there. I’m so excited to start on our crop of veggies!