A Place For The Future Past

Staying the Course
April 30, 2006, 8:28 pm
Filed under: Fun on the Road

JoAnne here.

Without a doubt the hardest part of this journey has got to be finding the discipline necessary to continue in the face of adversity, setbacks, or just plain no news. I spoke with Maria a couple of days ago, who reported back that there was nothing new to report. Not bad news, but not good news either. Add to that dealing with time-sucking crisises like plumbing (fixed now — more or less, temporary at best), lost car keys, slow work week, unplanned expenses (truck needed $200 of maintenance work) and first of the month responsibilities (shop rent, mortgage, horse board, etc) and I didn’t want to get out of bed this morning. It’s alot for one person to handle.

Sure, I employ all the usual hunt-for-the-silver-lining tricks (good thing I bought that truck three days before losing car keys, good thing I’ve got the truck for hauling water, etc, etc) but there are times when it can be oh-so-overwhelming.

The old mantra of “It will SO be worth it in the end” falters at times, under the overpowering doubts and stress associated with keeping everything juggling and ready to go at a moments notice. Clients to sew for, meals to plan, bills to pay — as well as large chores that are too large to handle all at once — endlessly loom before me. Huge tasks — such as barn cleaning — must be done a little every day, until they are done and set aside, ready to turn and tackle the next one.

It’s a pleasant diversion to pull out the plans for the Project, except for the frustration of the delay in the process which is often stronger than the pleasure of planning. Life has taught me, through bitter experience, not to invest in fantasy. Or, not to invest more than I can afford to waste. And these days, waste is a dirty word.


Precious Cargo
April 28, 2006, 1:26 pm
Filed under: Community On The Earth

JoAnne here.

It’s time to clean the goat barn. OH BOY!!

Ah, but what to do with all that good stuff?? Well, if one is into saving odd things — like the empty 50# grain sacks — one simply fills those empty bags with loverly odiferous goat poo to set aside for next years garden.

Luckily, I am into saving my empty feed sacks. 😉

The newly filled bags are coming with us to The Project, the stuff inside just as precious as anything else we’ll be moving. Why would anyone throw away such treasure?

There are thousands of web resources on ways to transform waste — goat or other — into usable garden soil. Here’s just one: http://journeytoforever.org/compost.html

Why pay big $$$ for bags of manure, that may or may not be infused with whatever is fed to today’s mass produced food animals? And if you do not have your own manure makers, there are hundreds of folks around here who have horses. If they have horses, I guarantee they have a manure pile somewhere. Which they will probably let you load up with and haul away, just for asking. Oh, you don’t have a garden of your own? Join a local neighborhood garden patch. Or start container gardens on your (or a friends) balcony or porch.

What are you waiting for?

Mobile Homes Suck
April 27, 2006, 5:08 pm
Filed under: Fun on the Road

JoAnne here.

My apologies to those who are advocates of mobile homes.

But when I was putting forth my wish list of homes on properties, there was one stipulation that was non-negotiable. NO MOBILE HOMES.

Yes for some they are wonderful, to plunk down on a parcel of land, for living out of while the REAL home gets built. But afterwards, they become a liability as they decay. Because mobile homes do NOT appreciate in value, they DEpreciate, they become literally more trouble than they are worth to maintain. So, when an agent sent me a MLS of a place, I always scroll down to see what kind of home it there. If it says “mobile home” I don’t bother to read any more about that place.

Today, another cheap water pipe blew. Cheap plastic pipe, used throughout this mobile home in which I live now, have lived in for nearly twenty years. With that pipe went today’s schedule —-KABLOOEY. When Mom was not here, I could race out to the shut-off valve at the street, twist it closed, and leave it until I could deal with, later. But with Mom here, it becomes a high priority to fix it immediately. SIGH

I first became aware of a smell of fresh water. Yes, smell. After poking around a bit, I discovered a tiny dribble, coming away from (naturally!) a hot water pipe, located right off of the hot water heater. Just a dribble? It could be postponed. I very lightly ran my fingertips over the spot, then went to Mom to report that we had a situation developing. As I was gently explaining (Mom tried to assure me that no fear, I could use her bathroom instead. SIGH. No, Mom, I have to shut off the water to the WHOLE house) I could hear that pipe blow. Suddenly I was racing to the toolbox, grabbing a crescent wrench, then out to the madly spinning meter. A quick twist and our water was shut off.

I KNEW I was on borrowed time with these cheap crappy plastic pipes, and it was part of the plan that once we got moved out of here, I’d have to shut the water off and replace the pipes pretty much through the back part of the house (both bathrooms) before selling this place. But with the new property deal dragging endlessly onward, I was becoming more and more fearful that sooner or later I would throw those mobile home dice and crap out.

I think there should be a board game called Home Sweet Home, where a throw of the dice dictates how many trips to the home improvement store a project or crisis will command.


Off I go, to get plumbing supplies…..

Modular Goat Barns
April 26, 2006, 7:38 pm
Filed under: Fun on the Road

JoAnne here.

How strange, you might think. Maybe even a little crazy. No, no, hear me out…

While we are waiting, my future land steward Emilie and her husband have been scavenging and storing good waste lumber and stuff. While that will continue, he has come up with a rather brilliant plan: pre-fab goat barns. Small units that can be combined to make larger units, but more importantly, mobile. So that they can be pre-built, small enough to fit in the back of a pickup truck and moved to the new site, then set up in temporary pen, for immediate housing for our precious, over-domesticated caprines. The idea is based on the surety that when moving day finally arrives, the list of things that must be done will be about a mile long, maybe two. And the faster we can get the goats safe and comfortable, the sooner we can then turn to the other items on the list.

Also the idea is to make their new pens temporary, because the goats will have a job to do too — brush and blackberry clearing, without having to resort to tethering them. Once they clear (and fertilize) a designated area, it will be simple to move the fencing and lift the barns to the new spot, leaving a cleared and fertilized area to prep for gardening.

Like I said, brilliant!

In the meantime, here I am on baby watch. Lady and Lulu’s due date approaches — May 1st. They are both getting truly huge, but I think Lulu will be first to freshen (goat talk for have her babies). I think she is carrying two kids, maybe three. In anticipation I am pulling together the delivery kit : old clean towels, scissors and string, iodine (for navels) molasses (for mom). I’m glad the date will be soon — Lulu’s feet are terribly overgrown, but it’s too near her due date to trim them now, the stress of getting their feet done has been known to cause early births and with a gestation period of five months, every day counts. Once she is up on the milking table (and secured) it will be a simple matter to do a foot trim as well.

In the garden, the spinach leaves are the size of quarters and the asparagus is coming up (in their temporary bed). Also the peas are coming in strong. Radishes, too…..

Garlic, anyone?
April 25, 2006, 3:30 am
Filed under: Fun on the Road

(JoAnne here)

There's nothing new to report.

The last we heard from the other side was two weeks ago, when a number was presented for the larger parcel with house. A number that we are happy to accept. Then they assured us that the number for the second parcel would be coming from their accountant in "a couple of days".

To understand what that means, you have to understand the speak of these people. The whole thing was only supposed to take four to six months. Now, we are approaching the full year later mark. So "a couple of days" actually means "a couple of weeks….maybe" SIGH

So today I have given my agent a poke, who will then call the other agent and give him a poke. Not that it will produce anything, just a poke to let them know we are still here and very ready.

The waiting is the hardest part. Work, chores, repairs, repeat. Tend the goats, sew for clients, tend to Mom, visit the horse, vary the schedule slightly here and there. BOR-ing.

So to give myself a break, I allowed myself a little garden time. I love my garden, it will be hard to leave it behind. I am basically fixing it up for the next owner, whoever that may be. As part of the pre-move, I have been digging out and potting some of my older treasured plants (roses, artichokes, strawberries, etc) as well as hundreds upon hundreds of garlic plants.

I hope everyone likes garlic…..

Roberta’s Words
April 21, 2006, 6:58 pm
Filed under: Community On The Earth

(Donna Barr, here — I'm pasting in Roberta's original email before the blog was set up).

Hi, all. I have just recovered from Norwescon, had to go home Monday and put together a lesson for my Tuesday class…. It was great going out and looking at possibilities. I love your vision, JoAnne! Please keep me posted.  I find I work much better sometimes with exponential energy, with others who are on the same page or have the same ideas…. it feeds more energy.

Contrast that to being around people who are negative, draining, discouraging.There are personal projects that take individual focus, shutting out all but the creative task immediately at hand, and we all know those, but then there are other times I find I thrive (and hopefully contribute) with the energy and ideas of others. I can do all sorts of things, even the muckiest. Donna will tell you, I am NOT squeamish… well, when my little greenling was thrashing its life away in the grass I was about on the verge of tears, so I probably should NOT try to kill anything. Other than that…. or once it's already dead…. I am still thinking about that ram-roast!!A good roof is important. Claire was saying Yelm got a whopping amount of rain compared to Seattle. Other than that….Here is a link to Ravencroft Garden's  website… theyhave things like herb classes, workshops, high-end products, etc. It may be inspiring….  Raven Croft Garden.

So who the heck am I?
April 21, 2006, 4:56 pm
Filed under: Fun on the Road

My name is JoAnne Kirley. I run a little costume shop I started from scratch some 24 years ago. My two children (Janette and Michael) have grown and moved out, now my Mom lives with me, so my caretaker duties continue. Not that I mind — I'm very happy to be the soft place for my Mom to live out the rest of her days, she and Dad (who passed in 1989) were always there for me.

I've known Donna for years and years, mostly through the sci-fi/fantasy conventions. I'm usually invited as a pro costumer, she's in as a writer/artist (just to name two of her talents). I like to dress up at these conventions, usually in elegant and beautiful period costumes. The exception is fun too. I can recall with fondness one Rustycon (too many years ago to count except to remember my son was no more than thigh-high at the time, now he's 6'3"). The Friday night theme was a casino, so a couple of friends borrowed slinky, glittery 20's costumes and I chose to be their escort wearing a man's three piece pinstriped suit. Black fedora, black shirt, white tie — and makeup designed to repel. Dirty with a five o'clock shadow, mustache — and a nasty scar that travelled across my nose and down my cheek. Eeeeuuuuwwww.

Being an actress at heart, I soon perfected the walk and talk and manner. Spying Donna across the hall, I oiled my way over to her. With my sleeziest grin, I intoned "Hey baby, how's ya doin"

She gave me a single appalled look and expertly scooted safely away from my clearly disreputable self. You have to do that at these cons, it's a survival skill. She disappeared in seconds, and I went on to creep out my next victim. It was a fun night (grin)

The next day, now more elegantly attired, I approached her and was hailed heartily with a "HI JOANNE!!! When did you get in?" I reminded her that we had met the previous evening.

Blank stare.

So I repeated "Hey baby, how's ya doin'" (I tried to repeat the body language as well but it was tricky while wearing a Victorian corset)

Bingo! The light went on! OH MY GHOD THAT WAS YOU?????

hehehe I just love doing that ;-D