You ever just had one of those periods in life where it seemed that no matter how much you wanted to get someplace, for every step forward you'd wind up sliding back two or three? That's been my life for that last several weeks.
I had goals dog gone it. I had a timeline. I had a plan that was going to get me from point A to point B to point "goal completion." Really. I did. Don't you dare laugh 'cause it isn't funny Kaij ... though I could have definitely used some of your really weird graphics to make me laugh.
Well, life's little gremlins heard about my goals and the plans I had to reach them and decided to pay a little extra attention to me. Wonderful. Lovely. It has left me feeling like a dog that is chasing its tail only to find it doesn't have one. So I've decided I just have to go with the flow for a while. If I get a chance to eviscerate a few gremlins along the way all the better but I'm not counting on it. Gremlins are like hydras and dust bunnies ... no matter how many you knock off, they multiply as soon as you lop off their heads.
One good thing is that my parents' health is improving. Slow but steady. Although apparently my dad's gall bladder is now acting up. Geez, if it isn't one thing it is another. Hubby and I have vowed that we are going to take better care of ourselves rather than wind up with the health problems of our parents' generation. Hmmm. Better find some wood to knock on or that vow could come back and bite me some place painful.
My real life has kept me pretty busy but some good stuff has come out of it, I've just had to commit to finding it. We did some land clearing at our "retirement home" and my parents will have plenty of hardwood firewood for the coming year. By selectively clearing some areas the large, sprawling live oaks will grow even larger and be healthier for it. We are re-seeding areas that have become matted with leaves, decaying acorns, and oak sprouts. The mast is pretty thick in places and the wild life has been thinned out the last couple of years with all the hunting so we are a little worried about fires. To address this we cleared some trees back away from the house that were closing in after ten years and we widened our fire break, as well as the road in a couple of places so the tractor and bush hog could get down it safely. And when I say cleared I mean we got rid of a lot of stumps and root balls along with the above ground trees. Borrowed a root rake to do the job right as well.
Next project for up there is to bring something in that will help with the erosion and "pudding" that the road turns into by our gulley. The gulley is the narrowest part of the road in and there is no way around it. It is fine when it is dry but when it is wet I had to drive on it. We are trying to decide between more lime rock which would be better for the bush hog and mowing or gravel which would be better at preventing erosion - maybe - but bad for mowing. The base of the road is clay and lime rock so there isn't a permanent fix no matter what we do. We didn't have a problem until the property next to ours repurposed a bit of their land into an ATV track. Now water runs a different way and winds up pushed into the base material of our road. A clay bed prevents it from draining down faster than it gets wicked up. Basically a mess that didn't have to be, especially now that the neighbor has abandoned the ATV track but decided it was too much work to level the ground back out. Oh the joys of sharing a property line.
Here at our primary location we had drive way issues as well. It has taken almost a month but we have finally finished installing a new driveway made out of thick pavers. No more roller coaster when driving up to the house. We had to use almost 30 tons of base material ... about 6 tons more than we expected to ... but we had to dig out a lot where we cut back the roots on some trees and the dip down at the road took some careful crafting. Now we have to seal it. And the weather is not cooperating. We can't even drive on it for at least another week. That means parking outside the gate in the right of way. It's a haul to get groceries to the door I can tell you that. Picture isn't the greatest but it should show some of the scope of what we've been doing. That's Darth Molly. She isn't sure she likes the new driveway or not yet.
All of these projects and unexpected life happenings (the gremlins) has led to an unwelcome result in one area. My pantry has ginormous holes in it. Oh, I have a lot of LTS foods that could keep us going and my freezer is about three-quarter full (of stuff that needs to be canned naturally) but the mid-range convenience foods like commercially canned meats and veggies have taken a beating from an inventory standpoint. For the first time in roughly ten years I don't have a stack of tuna cans that could be turned into a child size fort. That's not the only thing I am short on and it will take a lot of playing with the budget numbers to get things back up to my preferred stock level. I could blame a lot of things but the buck stops at my desk and I let my house managing duties slide too much as I attended to others things. Lesson learned.
And lest I forget there is a mound of dirty laundry that is beginning to take on a life of its own and I worry that it is going to creep out in the middle of the night and do foul things I wouldn't otherwise approve of my clothes being part of. Looks like I'm going to have to keep the dryer running whether I want to or not because we are expecting a significant amount of ran for the next four or five days. And if it isn't raining the sun definitely won't be shining leaving out using the clothes line.
The rain also means I have to wait to clean up from the first freeze we've had in three or four years. So far the only two things that really took a hit as far as I can tell is one of my papayas and one of my mangoes. I'm pretty sure both will come back but they aren't pretty right now at all. One of my carambolas (star fruit) also got nipped but the rain should actually help get it back up and growing.
The "gremlins" running amok have made writing difficult. I just couldn't focus on the stories that I had meant to write on but for some reason "Georgie" was jumping up and down yelling, "Look at me! Look at me!" So I did and surprisingly enough the story finished out in just about a week and is novella length rather than a full epic as some of my stories have turned into. LOL. I am editing the chapters as quickly as I can and posting them. The first four are already up. I hope to get at least another one or two posted before I go to bed. With luck and grace the whole thing will be up before a new week starts.
I hope in the coming days to get some more chapters of the established stories up as well. Let me get Georgie up and under the completed heading and then I'll get going on what really needs work.
Today's vids are really a reminder to me on how to make Star Fruit Jam (aka Carambola Preserves). You'll recognize the fruit right away because of its distinctive shape. I'm hoping to get enough of my own to do this but if not I plan on getting them at the farmer's market when I can find them.