Giving thanks for the morning. Not so strangely, I do this every morning with a cup of coffee and a prayer of gratitude for another breath drawn, regardless of what any calendar may say. I especially feel gratitude this morning for a life so richly blessed.

We will have a small portion of our family with us this evening for a meal. A gathering that will have an over abundance of fine food served in a warm and dry home. Clean, sweet well water and an assortment of nice wines made by our friends from the other side of the river valley. A wood stove with the smells of oaks and hickory adding to the pleasant scents of spices and a big fat turkey slowly roasting in the oven. My parents, both still obstinately walking against the drag of time and gravity, will be here. Mom helping in the kitchen, Dad throwing uninvited comments at mom from a perch not far from the action. His face cracking a slight grin at the tumultuous response from her.

So it is a national day of Thanksgiving. A day so closely removed from a week of turmoil, vitriol and disbelief. A week that has had me looking inside as images and words of my corner of the world are seething. I choose not to hate. I choose to pray for those who are in pain, fear or ignorance. I choose to pray for peace and to work for peace in all those who I have contact with. I pray for an attitude that will allow me to grow as a human being. A long time ago I was told by a very wise old man wearing a pair of bib overalls and peering at me over the top of his thick glasses that I would have to choose a life; be it a palace or a pigsty. It was a matter of choice. It is ALWAYS a choice. That choice is a gift from God. Freewill to choose just how I will carry myself as I trudge a road of happy destiny. Not everyone sees their choice. They are sometimes blocked from the light of day. I am blocked at many times in my life. I do recall with crystal clarity the faintest pinhole of light that eventually guided me to choose the palace. It was nothing more than a narrow beam shining through a keyhole in utter darkness in my mind. It led to a door. It led to choice.

Choose to love.

Happy Thanksgiving

Got Them Hanging

It was a little trickier than I had imagined getting my loft doors hung yesterday.  My brother came out and helped me get the monsters up without killing each other or destroying the doors.  I screwed down three two by six to the loft floor hanging out like a ships gang plank.  The extra three feet of floor helped us wiggle and walk the doors out and lean them back towards the building so trolley could meet track.  It all seemed so easy when I was scheming up a plan.  In practice, the weight and awkwardness of the door size made the whole deal a little more tense than anticipated




This is my favorite time of year.  Crisp cool days and chilly nights.  Perfect weather to have a few of our close friends and some new acquaintances out for a fish fry, bon fire and a truckload of music!  I’ve spent the last week trying to finish up some dangling projects and get the whole house and barn cleaned up to receive the onslaught.  If it weren’t for having guests we would never clean the house.


We were truly blessed with a beautiful days weather. I was so happy that one of our friends daughters got up and played and sang a couple of songs between the bands sets.

We fried up thirty pounds of fillets, put out twenty pounds of pulled pork and everyone brought a side dish.  We fed like cattle at a trough.

Not Falling Down

The past four or five years I’ve let time get away from me when it comes to putting my garlic in the ground.  I usually forget, or it’s too wet, or whatever lame excuse I can conjure up. The bulbs I saved had ended up getting planted in the last days of winter in the greenhouse and pulled in early June.  The quality of the garlic has degraded steadily to the point that I felt like throwing some money at some new bulbs.

I actually tilled and planted the new Music and some other dang variety I can’t recall, in the first bed upon entering our garden.    Got them in the ground and marked the rows and the rains came.  Perfect!  As soon as the peek out of the ground I’ll mulch the rows with straw.

This week I’ll load up our asparagus bed with a thick layer of straw to burn off.  We don’t cut back any of the ferns, just lay out a thick mat of straw, fluff it up and burn it off.  It cleans up the bed so pests and critters (rabbits) don’t have a place to overwinter and the weeds have been far more manageable.  The next day I wet down the bed to snuff out any hot spots, add a layer of compost and recover with another layer of straw.  Now I’m all ready for spring when I will again burn off the old straw and a layer of leaf litter.


Loft Doors

My last order of lumber has finally dried to a point that I feel it will be stable enough to get my doors put together.  I’ve played around with the layout of my cuts a little bit.  Not a whole lot differant than the main doors, but just tweaked the width of the rabbets so there is less of a chance to see an air gap in the panels.  The panels are free floating shiplap in the framework of the door, so I’m pretty sure that stretching the rabbet will give me a better look in the long run.


I’ve used some monster lag screws on all the joints in the frame of the doors.  The screws are ten inches long. so they are providing a lot more stability than what I had used on the lower doors.  Glued and screwed.   The lower doors have been hanging untreated with very little negative results.  I’m thinking that one more year of aging will give me the patina I’m wanting, before adding any wood preservative.


Now I’ve got to figure out how to hang these beasts without killing myself.



This past week I had a chance to go fishing on the river with a friend of mine from St. Louis.  We had planned on floating eleven miles of the Meremac from a local outfitters access down to my brothers farm.  One of the things that just drives me nuts about float fishing from open top kayaks is that these boats are made for the weekend floater who will have a small cooler strapped to the stern of the boat.  There isn’t any god place to stow a spare rod or small tackle bag/box.

I had seen a very expensive custom fishing kayak that had the rod holders but all of its storage was designed to keep gear dry. We’re not floating class one rapids on our local streams.  I want to be able to reach back and grab my tackle, a water bottle or a knife without pulling, screwing or having to untie some sort of lidded compartment.  Milk crates worked great for furniture for most of my life, why not for a simple fishing trip.

So I put together a pair of these simple racks for our trip.  

IMG_8275 IMG_8276 IMG_8277

After a full day of use I only have one modification I want to make to the design.  I want to add another pole holder.  Everything stayed where it was suppose to and the tiedown strap on the stern turned into a nifty handle for pulling the boats out to the truck after our arms were cast out.  Sadly the fishing sucked from the stand point of meal prep.  A whole lot of tiny small mouth bass and some goggle eye, but nothing worth keeping.



I had an additional week off after this years county fair that I used to finish up a few dangling projects.  The loft was originally planned to be divided so Theresa could have a studio for painting.  After we finished the shell of the building and started on insulating the south wall, discussions turned to leaving the loft open.  The north wall got the same treatment as the south,  insulated and sided.  Busting up the openness of the loft, even with a wall of recycled french doors and dormers would have really been a mistake.  We’re happy that there was absolutely no argument on the decision.



I was gifted a pair of sign lights that matched the other exterior lighting but wasn’t sure where, or if,  I was going to be able to use them.  When I set up the ladder to install the track for the loft doors I was able to put a tape on the subject and realized a perfect spot for the light.  I moved the diamond LX sign down about eight inches allowing the fixture the perfect purchase.


Everything is bolted up for the door trolleys.  Now I’ll just have to get the doors started.  The wood should be sufficiently dry now to complete the assembly of the doors.


July Garden

IMG_8088 An unusually cool and foggy morning for July.  It’s been very pleasant this whole week.  Most of our garden is doing pretty damn good with the exception of the cucurbits.  The straw mulching provides perfect hiding places for squash bugs and I’ve not kept up on spraying and egg squishing.  



We planted a second round of sweet corn the first week of July.  The sweet potato rounds are starting to cascade vine out of the rings and the bean arches are doing a half way decent job.  

Second planting of sweet corn.


Last of the spring cabbage.

The last of the spring cabbage.

Riley is all feet, legs and a fat head.

Riley is all feet, leg and head.  She’s seven months old and nary a brain cell between the ears.  She’s sweet and all puppy.  Her size makes me forget that she’s still just a baby.


Potatoes are ready to be dug in the foreground.  The bean arches in the back were moved this year.  half planted with Kentucky wonder and the other with a speckled drying bean that I can't recall.  It's not doing all that well.

Busted Flowers

Busted Flowers

I had always envisioned a grandkid kicking a soccer ball in the loft as the destroyer of the stained glass. Fortunately there wasn’t anyone hurt when a friend missed the last step down to the landing and fell shoulder first into the panel.

I think I’ll get a little learning done on the fine points of stain glass repair or maybe build something all together different. The part of the whole procedure that I least look forward to is getting the panel frame out of the wall. The stained glass is framed in a cedar surround and it was snuggly fit into the wall opening. It could be a real pain in the arse getting this damned thing down.

Lean On Me

Lean On Me

Over the weekend I managed to separate the rocks from the clay in a sufficient amount as to dig four footings for the lean-to posts. My arms feel so much longer now. Digging or setting fence posts where you want them is a crap shoot in our ground. We ooze rock from our soils.

After getting the Sonotubes placed and poured on Friday I started setting my posts and cutting rafters on Sunday. All went so much better than I had anticipated and I was able to start running the purlins. I was very pleased to get as far along as I did.

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