Sunday, December 28, 2008

Christmas 2008

Christmas 2008 was a wonderful holiday. Due to my company having a 'holiday shutdown' every year, I was off the whole week. As evidenced by the previous posts, the farmer and I have been working hard on the farm. We used the beginning of the week to get a couple of projects in full swing. The display pen has already gotten some attention. My favorite project is the barn walls and doors, stay tuned for more on that.

Here's our tree with all the presents under and around it.

Christmas eve we had Tim, with puppy Rei-Rei,

Andy, with girlfriend Karol and Karol's pup Snuggles.

We all snuggled around the beatiful fire, put up our stockings and waited for Santa.

Christmas morning we got up, took down our stockings, and then had a tasty breakfast of cinnamon rolls, orange rolls, and biscuits & sausage.

Then we all got dressed and started opening gifts. I have to say everyone in my family has a talent for choosing thoughtful and fabulous presents for each other. There were some big presents. The biggest suprise came from Tim, who decided to give me a plasma TV! Incredible picture, great sound, all the fancy inputs!


We also invested in a big family gift. We now have a Wii console, and to go along with it a Wii-fit balance board. With this we are able to do all kinds of fitness work in the living room. Yoga, strength training, aerobic training, the list is endless as to what you can do with it. It came with Wii-Sports, so we can golf, bowl, play tennis, etc. In addition, we got Rock Band, and Rock Band 2. Rock band came with a guitars, drums, and a microphone. We spent a lot of time playing with this over the remainder of the week.

We all worked on fitness this week, we are all planning on making use of this to help us get back in shape! Here you see Tim and Andy rocking out!

Another Christmas Break Project.

More farm work. This week we also had a goal of getting another pen put up. This one is in the side yard. The idea being that noone really know that we have goats for sale, so now they are on display.
The day we put this up, the temps were in the freezing range. The only thing that was good about that was that all the muddy ruts were frozen solid.
Now that the leaves have all dropped, we can see our shitake mushroom logs! They are dormant for the winter, but come rainy spring, we will have mushrooms galore!

Barn Work

All during the Christmas break, John and I have been working on getting the big barn finished. As of this writing, we have the back wall completed, with a solid wall and two large rolling doors. This will allow us to drive the motor home in, which is the major reason for this barn.

The first part of the job was constructing the beams, with 2 x 6 x 12 braces, and a double set of roller tracks. Once this was constructed, it needed to be lifted into place and bolted in. Huge undertaking. John ended up borrowing a block and tackle from a farmer friend, totally the right tool for the job.
In this picture it kind of looks like Farmer John was confused, was he trying to grow panels? Wrong crop! The point here was that we set up all these panels and the 2 x 4's below and prepainted them with their first coat of barn red paint. We will go back and roll them again, but we wanted to get a first coat on before they were up.

Next we constructed the doors out of 2 x 4's and panels. The first 2 doors are up, and the solid wall. In the daylight I will go out and get some more pictures.

Monday, December 22, 2008

Christmas Tree 2008

Saturday, December 13th, we went out in search of a tree. Of course we headed north into Virginia to cut our own. Tim came over Friday night, and first thing in the morning, we headed out for some breakfast at Clarks. It was pretty cold out, we all had gloves and hats on.

After breakfast we hopped back into the truck and headed north. Christmas tree farm, here we come. We watched the temperature fall as we went further north. Finally at our destination, it was 23 degrees. We wandered over hill and dale until - yes - this is the one! I know you suspected it, but now you know, I'm a tree hugger. Yes, I confess to signing work email with a "please consider the environment before printing this email."I just know you are thinking, if you are a tree hugger, why are you cutting this tree down? At the close of the season, this tree will become winter foodfor all the goats. Browsers have to subsist on hay when greenery is out of season, so before the first of the year, they will be chowing on this tree!The final pick - let's take this one home!

We set it up and gave it a big drink.


And before Tim headed for home, he cut the twine and let the tree fall open.These trees always end up being bigger than I thought they would be. Couldn't wait to get the lights on this one.

Oooooo, ahhhhh, lights!You can also see (sort of) that I have lights strung outside as well. John got my Moravian star working too, and it hangs over the very front entry to the porch. Looks fantastic.

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Mini-Vacation

The farmer and I took a little mini-vacation. The Friday before Thanksgiving, we got in the motorhome and headed north. John wanted to take me to Amish country to see where he went for the exotic animal auction.
We had a great time. It was a very peaceful vacation, slow paced. We got a lot of sleep. Friday when I got home from work, I hopped into the motorhome and we got on the road. From that point on I was relaxed. It started snowing the evening before we went home, so I had to get a picture.
Thanksgiving dinner was really nice. We had Ken and Val, both boys, and Andy's girlfriend Karol. Just today polishing off the rest of the leftovers.