Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Kevin's Been Busy

Finally, after many a month, Kevin spent the icy day yesterday updating the website with a baker's dozen of new articles from the both of us. As winter continues, we both going to try and do our best to add articles at least on a monthly basis. You can always look for new posts here.

Yesterday was Arkansas's first ice storm of the year. Not a huge event, (we didn't lose power) but it will take a day or two of the promised warmer temps to thaw everything out.

The kitchen remodel is almost done. Watch the website for pictures and videos of just how much it has changed. It's absolutely beautiful.

Beyond that, we've both just been writing a ton of articles, (alas for other people) and working on the mill and yard. We have entered a few screenplay contests, so keep your fingers crossed for us.

And the boy, that wonderful grandson of ours, is just about to turn two. Time flies, especially with a growing child.

Saturday, August 09, 2008

Back At It Again

Okay, so it’s been months and months, but to be honest, I’ve been busy. Between the content writing I do, the garden, the harvest and everything else, I’ve spent little time at this blog or on the webpages. But, that is changing. Kevin has posted several new articles to Backwoods Living and I’ll be doing the same in the coming weeks.

Plus, we’ve started something new. Zayden’s Toys – old fashioned, folk art types of real, homemade wooden trucks. Why? You ask. Simple, we saw (and actually purchased) one of the cheap, plastic trucks that are on the market today. Does Zayden like it? Well, he likes the noises the steering wheel makes, but that’s about it. And one of his action figures can fit in the cab. What more could a little boy want?

From the time Kevin brought in his ‘new’ dump truck, it became his favorite toy. Why? Because he can stack his wooden blocks (also homemade) into the dump bed and dump them all over the living room floor. He can also push through a wall of blocks that he stacks himself. (For some reason, this seems to be great fun.)

We decided that if Zayden had so much fun playing with his dump truck, other little boys would too. We expanded the line to include the dump truck and a flat bed with push blade, a crane truck that will hold a small load, and a huge tractor trailer rig. So, Zayden is a happy boy and hopefully there will be many more happy boys around the country enjoying their trucks too.

So stay tuned, folks. All of our websites are undergoing updates; Lo Gap Woodworks, Little Red Cedar Mill, the new Zayden’s Toys and continuously on Backwoods Living. Check them out if you get a chance.

Friday, February 22, 2008

On Dead Modems and Backup Laptops

Okay, so I finally caught up with this century a couple of months ago and retired my trusty ThinkPad 600. In its place, I bought a ThinkPad T42. It has everything, wi-fi, wireless radio and a host of other features I don’t need, plus it has XP Pro on it. That, I finally figured out, I did need as it allowed me to access software and some websites that Windows 98SE couldn’t touch.

But three months later, the DVD/CD-R died. IBM/Lenovo replaced it within three days. On Sunday, the modem just up and died. One minute working, the next minute gone. No back-up modem for the machine either.

So what did I do to meet writing deadlines? Pulled out the 600 of course. Met all the deadlines and remembered why that laptop has lasted me six years. It is one tough computing wonder.

I could send the T42 back to IBM/Lenovo and have it fixed. But I didn’t really want to be without it – I’ve come to really like the feel of it for writing, surfing and a host of other computer stuff. So, instead, I bought a couple of PCMCIA modems and now I’m back in business. With a double backup – extra modem. And the 600.

I had thought about selling the 600, but now I know for sure I’m going to keep it. I’ve formatted an extra hard drive and now it will be my DOS machine. It flies. And when I’m serious about writing, well, there’s no World Wide Web enticing me to procrastinate.

Best of both worlds, me thinks.

Monday, February 11, 2008

Severe Weather Again

Rain, lightening and thunder. Wave after wave. The weatherman just said Clinton was getting hit with walnut sized hail. Just what we need. More bad weather. With any luck, it will all be gone by morning. At least, so far, there aren’t any tornadoes associated with this storm. And while we get rain, a few miles north of us, they are talking ice storm. I suppose I should count my blessings.

Kevin is at work and my wonderful grandson is here, asleep in his bed. The girls are asleep beside the sofa. I think the storm has them slightly nervous too. Me, I’ll be perfectly content when Kevin gets home in a few hours. I hate it when we have bad weather and he’s in one place and I’m in another. Heck, I hate that anytime, but even more at times like this.

Tomorrow will be a week since the tornado hit town. I still haven’t gone to look, I saw enough on the news. And from what I hear, town has enough gawkers anyway. Daughter dumpling told me a marine stopped her as she came through town coming here to drop off Zayden. Once she explained where she was headed, he wished her well and sent her on her way. They do have a curfew imposed in town, but it must be really bad if they have to call in the marines.

And now, I’m just about out of battery power on my trusty laptop. So, while the sky is quite, I’m going to post this ramble before the next wave hits.

Wednesday, February 06, 2008

Too Close For Comfort

By now, most everyone has either seen the news or read about the tornadoes that ripped through Arkansas, Kentucky and Tennessee last night.

Kevin and I sat riveted to the television screen as the first killer tornado fired up in central Arkansas. We watched as it followed the road down the hill—really only about 3 miles away as the crow flies. We got our bug-out bags together and put them in the closet, along with his wallet and my purse and extra drinking water. We didn’t know how close this one was going to come. We watched the weather. Thankfully, Channel 4 (KARK) never went to regular programming and stayed with the weather until it was no longer a threat.

The rain poured from the sky and as darkness took over light, the sky lit up with shards of lightening. Thunder followed, but that was as bad as it got—here.

The tornado stayed on the ground and made its way into Clinton. Then continued to the next town and then the next. Over a hundred miles of devastation.

Next, came worrying about the kids. We have both a son and a daughter that live or work in the area. And then, there was Zayden - our precious grandson. I paced the floor for hours while waiting for word - finally we heard daughter dumpling and grandson were fine. Sigh of relief.

This morning, the news showed us how lucky we had been. The boat factory, where Kevin and I met, worked together and fell in love, is gone. What they showed on the news was nothing short of unbelievable. Yet, I know it’s true. Almost a dozen people tried to find shelter inside the offices, most escaped with cuts and bruises, some were more seriously injured and one young man lost his life.

On the news, I see across the road to where the dentist’s office once stood. A building made of solid stone; gone. As was the little clubhouse at the golf course where I used to occasionally walk across the road to buy lunch. Not a trace.

In the end, over seventy homes are damaged or destroyed and three people in the county have lost their lives.

Son child finally called this afternoon - he's okay too.

It all just serves to remind me how temporary we, on this earth, really are.

Today, before Kevin left for work, we walked outside. Our purpose—to decide where to build a storm shelter. We know the closet is no protection for something like this. It's time to get serious.

Then we took a walk around the property. We found shingles, we found metal, glass and wood shards; every bit debris from who knows where but, all signs of just how close that tornado came to us.

Today, we feel blessed.

Sunday, February 03, 2008

Rain, Rain, Yuck and Muck

Okay, really it only rained for a little while this morning. But they are calling for rain for the next two days. Outside everything is muddy. And then there is the fog. So thick I can’t even see the dog yard from the greenhouse door.

But the worse thing of all is the mud. The ground hasn't recovered from last weeks snow, it is totally saturated. As they do the work to put the gas pipeline in across the front part of the property, every thing is a muddy mess. I went to the mailbox yesterday and had to hike my jeans up, my feet sunk so deep into the muck. Hopefully, they will, at least, lay down a layer of gravel across the drive once they are done.

On the plus side, once they are done, we have new garden space that we didn’t have to clear. As long as we don’t plant anything deeper than ‘plow depth’, we’re good to go. We’re looking at lots of squash and possibly garlic in the space. So, that’s a good thing – neither will be taking up space in the actual garden. Based on past experience, the deer do not like munching on either one. But, we’ll have to wait and see on that.

Tomorrow with any luck, we’re going to begin starting seed. Peppers and eggplant first since those are the hardest to get going. Then on to tomatoes. This year, we have at least 600 tomato seeds of I don’t know how many varieties. If this year’s harvest is anything like last years, canning season is going to be very, very busy.

So there you have it. It’s what’s happening here in the backwoods.

Saturday, February 02, 2008


We get asked that a lot. Why do we live so far from town? Why do we grow food (after all, YOU CAN buy it from the store, ya know)? Why don’t you have satellite? (This one comes mostly from the kids.) Why this and why that. The one thing few understand is our desire to live simply.

On the other side of the coin, I’ve been writing for eHow for around four months now. The articles that get the most views are those, similar to the website, that try to teach how to get back to the basics in life. Simple stuff really, but in today’s world almost a lost art.

I guess it just surprises me in some ways. In a world that is becoming more uncertain every day (at least in regards to the economy), I would think that those who really know us would want to learn more about how to cut back and make their money go farther. Instead, it’s the anonymous readers both on the website and eHow that seem to be flocking to the information.

But, this I know…if our working situation changes, we’ll be okay. I don’t know about other people, but to me, that is a comforting thought.

Sunday, January 27, 2008

Updating the Web Site

After months of being too busy to do much with Backwoods Living, I’m finally beginning to put a few updates together. So far it’s nothing but a few venison recipes and the beginnings of our new venture – growing shiitake mushrooms.

If, and I say that with a big IF, things continue they way things have been going, I should have time to post a couple of new items on the site every week. But since life is real good at throwing me curve balls, I make no promises.

The weather is finally warming up—at least for a few days. They are calling for snow or ice on Thursday, but until then I’m going to enjoy the 50 degree days.

Tomorrow it’s back to work on the kitchen. More new cabinets to assemble and install along with an exhaust over the stove. I’ll be updating the web site with pictures of the new kitchen as we go along. I’ve got to say though, that the cedar island is absolutely beautiful. Maybe I should show pictures of the old kitchen too – let everyone see just what a hillbilly kitchen looks like and how it can transform into something straight from House Beautiful with a smart man designing and building the cabinets. Did I mention that smart man is Kevin?

So stay tuned, you never know what you may find here or at the website.

Saturday, January 19, 2008

New Year and I’m Already Behind

Or at least, I feel like I am. But then again, that’s nothing unusual. Between my writing assignments (which have been very profitable the last couple of months), the work on the house (we’re remodeling the kitchen), and taking care of my grandson, I just feel like I don’t have a lot of time for the little things I enjoy so much.

We have some things accomplished though. Our garden seeds for this year are ordered and, in fact, half is already here just waiting for the first signs of spring. After years of ordering from this place and that, we finally decided this year we were only going to order from the companies owned by Jung Seeds. Of all the places we’ve ordered from in the past, we’ve had the most success with seeds from them.

I have the faucet for my new sink in the closet and now only waiting on the pot-filler for over the stove. Funny thing about growing older is that the canner gets heavier every year going from sink to stove top. Yep, getting fancy here in the country.

Darling grandson is a walking dynamo. While he’s not quite talking (real words) yet, he chatters up a storm every waking minute. The looks he gets on his face when he knows he attempting to get into something he shouldn’t are absolutely precious.

The girls are still growing. At 11 months, they both weigh in at more than 150 pounds and stand at least 26 inches at the shoulder. We built them a huge yard at the side of the house and they love their outside time, but heaven help any chicken or cat that enters their space. No, they wouldn’t kill either, but they’d love to play with them for a while.

It’s finally winter here in the Ozarks. Temps this morning were in the teens, with wind chills around zero, and the high today is still supposed to be below freezing. So water is running in the tub and the wood stove is cranking. And me, I’m not going outside unless I absolutely have too.