Thursday, March 10, 2011

Ice Ice Baby!

I can't believe I skipped the entire month of February! I suppose I was too busy celebrating my birthday. I got to go on an awesome trip to Niagara Falls - it was quick, but really, there's not much to do there short of looking at the falls. I'm definitely not into all the kitchy entertainment offered. My kids were dying to do all the crazy stuff, of course, but we kept pretty much to my idea of fun. And really, how much fun can a 40 year old be? Anyone for Denny's?????

The frozen-ness of everything was incredible! I'm from the deep south so we really don't get to see snow like what we experienced. I'm grateful that there was no snow falling from the sky while we were there, we got to see PLENTY of it piled all around us and floating atop the Great Lakes and the Niagara River. There was about 10 or more feet of ice floating on top of the river just under Niagara Falls, everything around the falls was caked with ice and the portholes behind the falls were completely frozen shut. We still paid to take the Journey Behind the Falls (at a much reduced rate because of the frozen portholes) which allowed us to go down and peek out near the bottom of the Horseshoe Falls. It was pretty cool.

What the heck?? I think it's a Boy!

I chose to take my kids on this trip, something we would not normally do during the school year. We took them out of school because I wanted them to be with me to celebrate - I hope it will be a great memory for all of us. I know that I am so grateful that I was able to take the quick trip and enjoy my celebration with the people I love the most!

Back to reality. We recently purchased two horses! The horses are residing at their regular barn until we can get some fencing done around here. We've had horses here before (20 years ago!) and things have become run down, broken, rusted, etc. from non use. There are several trees in the woods that have fallen across areas of the fencing that need mending and we've got tons of new fence to add. We took down a lot of the old fence over the years! Gah!

So here are my new kids - Magic and Hazanny. Magic is a Quarter Horse and Annie is an Arabian. They are sweet as can be and I think will be a lot of fun for my girls (and ME!). I'm totally a horse girl and I have missed my horses soooooooo much. I'm so excited to have this new opportunity. Of course, I am married to a city boy who has barely even touched a horse so I'm on my own with this adventure. Hunk is happy to pay for the stuff, but he's not so keen on the involvement of it all.

Today was probably one of the worst days ever, it's not life threatening or anything, but got totally blindsided by life altering news. I needed some time to pound things out today, so I spent a majority of my day in our old barn. I haven't been down to the barn much at all in the past 20 years since the other horses left. The barn is a good 300ft. away from our house, so it's kinda out there. It has become a catch all storage unit for my dad's tools - in fact, he converted the stalls to a workshop, which means we need new stalls (blergh). We've got various yard appliances parked there and who knows what else. The barn needs a lot of attention with the impending arrival of my new girls so I decided to get started today. I forgot how much I love being in the barn, it's big and airy and it still smells like hay. It was very good therapy for me today, that's for sure. I also unloaded a trailer full of fencing wood - it was heavy and very labor intensive, but I got to throw stuff around, make a lot of noise and just get some of this crap out. I feel better, but damn, this just sucks.

Monday, January 17, 2011

What a week!

We've had a ton of snow here - it started LAST Sunday evening. Hunk was at the airport sitting on his plane when the first flakes began to fall. The airline said they were going back to the gate because the de-icing line was so long, this turned into sitting at the gate for over an hour until ultimately the flight was cancelled. Unfortunately, all that waiting had allowed the heaviest snow to move in completely which made for a horrible ride home for him. I'm surprised he made it. There were hundreds of vehicles that he passed already stranded on the roadside, but thankfully he had no big issues and made the drive safely.

Monday morning we awoke to 5-6 inches of snow, more than we have seen in many, many, many years. The thing is, usually we get snow, then sun and everything melts within a day or two - no biggie. This time the temps stayed down and here I sit 8 full days later and I still have areas in excess of 1" thick solid ice. School was cancelled for an entire week - add two weekends to the front/back of the cancellation and today is a holiday so we have had 10 full days at home. Needless to say, I'm more than ready for Tuesday morning to finally arrive so that the kids can go to school and I can try to restock the house!

We had great conditions for sledding and of course, we got some great photos and videos! I've included a photo of the treehouse project - it is a full deck now and I'll be adding the walls/roof and fun stuff once the weather warms up.

Right now my focus is on my birthday which is looming over the horizon...yes, the big 4-0. I've got a fun trip planned in a very limited opening of freetime that I will have, but I'm still trying to psyche myself up. It seems like such a milestone, mostly because everyone makes such a big deal out of the number itself, but I just am kind of blah about it. In reflection, there are so many things that haven't happened yet, things that I thought for sure would be fond memories by now. I'm not unhappy with where I am in life, but I don't feel all grown up or anything. It's kind of surreal.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010


That Bakerella has got nothin' on me....nothin', I tell ya! I made these cutie cake snowmen for my GS troop. They have no mouths - it would be baaaaaad for little girls to hear these pricks repeating the string of cussing that was coming out of my mouth while working on this project. Bakerella makes it look so easy. They weren't really too difficult, but mine are lumpy, bumpy and my lack of patience made them....meh. Alas, they are for little girls, and they will think they are perfect!!
That treehouse thing - yeah, it's toooooo cold to proceed. It is a full tree deck with rails and a slide, just no "house" yet. We did decorate it for Christmas - lights and giant candy canes. I should take a picture!! It's playable, so that's what matters right now.

Thursday, November 18, 2010


The treehouse is underway. It's not as I had envisioned, but nevertheless things are moving along.

I've tried to design the thing twelve ways from Sunday by using tree bolts and having the design be completely within the tree. I think that would be SO cool. BUT. I want a larger platform and I'm working around 4 trees, so it's been challenging. Plus, I'm not a builder so there's that. I was worried about my house not having enough support to handle my kids plus their friends, so plans ended up changing. I'm a little irked, but in the end my kids won't care - it's still a treehouse to them. For me, it was a personal challenge that I didn't win. Oh well.

I consulted my dad on the supports, etc. and he suggested that I build the treehouse with 4 stilts - basically a deck surrounding the trees. It's the exact opposite of my vision, but I'm moving forward. Got the stilts set today and my dad came and helped get it squared - a difficult thing to do when you can't use your diagonal (the tree is in the way!).

An interesting thing about my tree is that it has a barbed wire fence that runs through it. There was a fence running near the tree WAY before I was born and the tree grew over one of the wires and eventually absorbed it. The fence has been gone for more than 30 years, but there's still a spot hung in the tree. I'll be trimming it soon, but I don't have the proper tool yet. This tree has obviously been through some stuff, so maybe it's a good thing I'm not drilling into it.

My building inspector came by today, just to make sure everything was going well. And to take a pee on a pile of fresh dirt. Can you believe how big my kitten is!!?? She walked along every piece of wood today, walked the entire square like it was her own personal balance beam.

It looks like lots of boards, but all the angled boards are just there to keep the posts leveled while they set - I made concrete today - yeah baby! I'm also all splintered up.

Tomorrow the floor frame is going up! That will be it for a while since next week is holiday week and we have a lot of plans.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Being Thankful

Yesterday I took my girls & our troop downtown to deliver warm items to the homeless. We made 100 lunches and tied over 200 fleece blankets to give away - we hit the areas where folks are set up fairly permanently and visited those under bridges. It was quite an experience for the kids....ended up taking 12 girls along. The attitudes washed away and the girls spent some quality time talking to the people who we served. I've got tons of great photos, but can't share them because of the girls in them. They all gained a new respect for the comfort they live in. A great way to enter into the Thanksgiving season!

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

My head is in the trees

All I can think about lately is the treehouse - I'm ready to get started, but I have yet to get my first big necessity.....attachment bolts. I didn't find what I wanted at the local big box home improvement stores so I'll be ordering online and spending more than I had planned to. Oh well, what in life doesn't cost more than you wish it did?? I'll feel better about getting the bigger, better attachments - especially since I'm a novice builder. I'll post a picture of them once I get them in hand, I think they are going to be huge.

I've been working on design ideas and I keep changing my mind, something that I am definitely going to add is a widow's peak. It will be a small lookout tower that will rest high in the trees above the actual tree house. This project keeps growing in my head....

In other news, I'm dealing with a lot of crap in general - first, my grandfather. He's been someone I've always looked up to, but lately it seems that he is just pissing me off. I don't agree with his ideals, his morals or his view in general. It's really hard to start seeing someone without the filter after so many years. I want him to be my hero, but honestly, he is a racist and a chauvenisitic pig. That's hard to say about him, but I'm just being real. He is old and he is easing his way into dementia so I'm just riding along as usual and playing nice. I wouldn't want to ruin our relationship before he passes (at least, ruin it for him - it's already gone for me). I hate that my memories of him are now shrouded by what I've realized is his true personality. I can think back and see it all along, but as a child I just wanted him to be a hero and I looked past so many things. He was so completely rude to me a few days ago that I left his house in disbelief. He is just selfish. Period. Selfishness is something that I detest.

My grandmother on the other side of the family is slowly going down hill - she now has home healthcare and really just stays in bed most of the time. She has lost her desire to be on earth, but she trys to keep it positive on the outside. I'm inheriting her dog. I'm not a dog person, we have 3 cats. I've been spending a lot of time with her dog so we can all get used to each other - judging by the amount of dog bling I've purchased I could be getting converted. The kids are excited to get him - he is a black lab, very big. He has been an indoor dog his whole life, but that is not an option at my house. I'm kinda worried about the cold weather and how we will handle that. I'm hoping for the sake of the dog that grandma doesn't give in before the spring. The dog can stay in her house as long as she is there.

Funniest thing about the dog - I've always seen the cartoons where dogs bury their bones, etc. I thought is was just a cartoon thing. NOT. I gave Bo a rawhide and then he disappeared into the woods - near the treehouse spot - once I eyed him I saw him digging a hole. He dropped the rawhide into the hole and proceeded to cover it up by nudging dirt and pinestraw with his nose! It was the cutest thing ever! I'm anxious to see if he will actually remember where it is in a few days!!

Tuesday, October 26, 2010


Boy, *the* Twitter sure has affected my desire to blog! No excuses, but it has definately changed things. I've never been a frequent blogger by any stretch, but it just seems like I can keep up with everyone on Twitter. Unless there is something lengthy to report 140 characters seem to work just fine for me! Of course, there isn't a lot to report about in my life - it's regular old day to day around here, EXCEPT...when I get a hairbrained project in mind.

I tend to have a LOT of ideas for projects. A LOT. I'm constantly brainstorming about what I "could" do with my house, my kids, my pets, etc... I have some great ideas and many that are questionable. I usually think BIG and I truly believe that I can do ANYTHING, so that makes other people look at me sideways when I suggest something huge. Let's add another garage! Let's extend the kids' rooms! Let's build a tennis court!! And it goes on and on. A recent idea - I want to install about a mile of fencing around our property (and I think I can do it). Now, I DO NOT want to dig holes, I do draw my lines somewhere. Those can be hired out, BUT I can set posts, mix concrete and nail up the slats. Why not? It's not too terribly "out there", is it? I think the hardest part would be the leveling. It would take a long, long time to complete - yes. But I could do it. We are planning to get two horses next summer and I could finish the project by then, I really think I could.

Do you see why Hunk thinks I've lost it? Honestly, I'm saving him money if I try to do it. I think he hates my ideas most because he would feel the need to help me if I was doing it while he was home. He is not an outdoorsy type, he is not a project type, unless it involves architecting (is that a word?) a server room, or a data center, or a virtual environment...things that happen behind a desk, in other words. I DO NOT have a problem with that, I knew him before I decided to keep him. I'm not trying to change him, but I don't see why MY outdoorsy, crafty, do it yourself inner self must be stifled because he is not interested. I simply do not want to hire out everything, I find it more fun to DIY.....and THEN hire out to fix what you screw up! :)

So my newest obsession is a TREE HOUSE! Last year we gave away our huge outdoor playhouse/swingset to a single mom with younger kids. It was a GREAT set, but in all honesty my kids didn't use it. Of course, now they miss having an outdoor hangout so I think a treehouse would be a really cool thing. I also think that I can build a treehouse. I really do. There will be heavy lifting, but once the main deck is on I can get the parts placed up there and I can do the rest. I have big visions of Robinson Crusoe types of structures, but I am going to try to keep it simple at first with the options of adding on features later.

I've read up a lot on the ins and outs, the safety, etc. and I still think I can do it. Here are some pics of my scouting out for spots. We have a lot of land, but I want to stick to the front so I can see it from my front porch. Plus, it's mostly pine trees in the other area - not good for treehouses.

I had a treehouse growing up and I can't believe we have gone this long without one. I'm so excited to build one, too. I *hope* it turns out as fun as I imagine it will be!

If you have built a treehouse for your kids I'd love your opinions on my spot choice. I'd also love any tips anyone wants to pass my way. I've been first and foremost doing my research on how to minimize the stress and damage to the trees. I plan to put one bolt in two or three trees and use a sliding frame. The Garnier Limbs are expensive as all get out (special bolts) so I think I'll be going with 1"x12" lags if Home Depot has them - and then I'm a bit confused as to how to attach knee joints. I'm going to keep reading though.

Did you have a treehouse growing up? What was the BEST thing about it?? Give me ideas!!