Saturday, June 27, 2009

Doing Battle

Here's a picture of our 20x30 foot garden with he eight foot high fence. We cut the pine poles from our land, had the steel posts (not all are in yet), and bought the 4' high chicken wire that runs around the top. We haven't completed the gate yet so it's makeshift and tied to the poles. Until it comes time to weed, I don't need a gate anyway. I sit the hose on a sprinkler and place it on top of a pole and it waters the entire garden. Deer were investigating last night. There's a trail of tracks around the garden but thus far they haven't broken through.

A neighbor has lots of stories of trying to keep deer out of his garden and away from his dwarf fruit trees so we're heeding some of his advice. We don't have a back door light or yard light but I'm thinking of stringing Xmas lights around the fencing and placing it on a timer. The deer spook at lighting of any kind, according to the neighbor. Just a thought.

Twice this morning someone was parked across the road just inside the treeline so that the SUV was exposed only to the front window. I finally got the binoculars out and took a peak. Someone was looking back through binoculars at us. Sweetie was standing near the pole barn so I told him about it. He started walking across the front yard (it's about 300' to the road) and they took off. I couldn't make out the license plate due to the road dust and angle of the SUV. Jack asses want to know something they can come and knock on the door. Or maybe I need to do some target practice.

You know, with private property and road easement laws you can't LEGALLY tell someone to get the hell out of Dodge when they're parked on the road. We're certainly not used to this kind of thing. Out former home was the same distance off the road but our drive turned a few times and except for a small yard, the land was tree covered. Even in the winter, not all of the home was visible because we had a lot of pines. You can bet we're planting and transplanting pines to the front yard. At one time trees obscured the home but the former owner had most of them cut down. GRrrrrrrrrrrrr.

Well, time to run the weed whacker. It ought to be comical as I'm once again walking like a drunken sailor.

Keep aware and keep prepping people, Treesong

Friday, June 26, 2009

Now Would Be a Good Time...

It's Friday so I wonder what banks will be closed today. With the news of Micheal Jackson's death swamping the headlines and the masses ga-gaing over his demise for weeks to come, it would be a good time for the Fed Gov or other assorted well-connected crooks to make a few more bold moves. you know they'll offer lame excuses later, as usual.

Now would also be a good time to hawk any Micheal Jackson crap you have - especially if you need a few bucks. May as well profit from the insanity and increase your preps or pay down your debt. Myself, I never fell into the whirlwind around him, so I'm as broke today as I've been in awhile and I'll be as broke tomorrow.

Now would be a good time to invent a new mosquito/deer fly killer as we can attest to. We've tried hot sauce, bleach, listerine, lemon juice, Dawn Dish soap, Cutter, Raid and a few combinations of some of the aforementioned. All to no avail. I have not been so scared since I fell off a porch roof into a thorny ornamental bush as a 14 year old adventurer. In fact, I think poison ivy would be preferrable. Maybe.

Now would be a good time to get yourself a blood pressure machine that runs on batteries or plugs in. Sweetie got a little wake up call after taking his blood pressure yesterday.

Now would be a good time to put in more firewood if you live in any climate that gets snow. I just suspect we're in for a long, cold, snowy winter. And here I am complaining about the humidity and bugs and it's not even the Fourth of July yet. Crazy maybe. But being prepared trumps any other plan, believe me.

Now would be a good time to stock up MORE than you ever have before before prices increase or shortages occur. So what if the stores seem full now? So what if you think you have enough. What about all those infrequently used items that you've neglected to stock or tell yourself you'll get to later.

Now would be a good time to shut off the power, which in some cases shuts off the water, and live that we for awhile. You'll get a real education on how ill prepared you are for a vast array of situations and everyday routines will take on a whole new meaning. And hopefully you'll appreciate what you have and conserve more, not less.

Well, enough preaching. I'm going to enjoy my dinner and water our garden. Treesong

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Beware of People Who Ask For a Fee!

If the bank had not required it for our mortgage, I never, ever, ever would have bought title insurance. Instead, I would have spent however long it took doing my own research.

Every time a piece of land sells - whether it's transferring said parcel from one seller to a buyer, to splitting it up, to ADDING to the existing parcel, the deed and property description change. It took us all of one and a half hours to review the various deeds (thus the history) of our land to discover some errors. We're convinced the title company employee simply copied the previous deed and that was that. So now we'll talk to our banker and a few other people. Tried to today after being at the courthouse but no one was in!!!!

One very helpful person at the courthouse provided us with a copy of a map of this entire section. It indicates EACH lot size- and they are NOT all 100x100 feet. There is additional information contained on the map which we'll talk to an attorney about. Were it not for a long time court employee who recalled seeing this map in the Equalization office, we wouldn't have it now.

On another matter. It seems Wretha has received a threatening letter from a government agency regarding her blog, I believe. Big Brother in action once again. If you still have your head stuck in the sand and believe that the Fed Gov doesn't monitor what we say, how we spend our money, and a zillion other activities, think again.

Then there's the matter of trolls visiting blogs. Guess they have nothing better to do with the time God gave each of us. Of course, some of them are likely Fed Gov operatives. Until now, I've always posted all my comments. Not anymore. I know it's easy to sign up online as anyone. Hell, I could be a troll myself, writing this blog from Cancun or the Alps instead of Michigan's Upper Peninsula!!!! If you're a real techie savvy person and have my email you can trace it back to my ISP. That much I do know, though I don't claim to be computer literate! Some of my blog commentators have been around awhile and I feel I know them personally. Others, well, maybe they live where they claim they do and do what they claim they do. But I have strong suspicion that an "Anonymous" commentor is a troll. So I'll no longer post Anonymous commments. Give yourself a name and come out from behind the curtain. ONE of your comments gave away a bit too much so I know you're close by. Have the nerve to come and introduce yourself. If you know the Upper Peninsula it's not hard to figure out where I am.

To the rest of you, if I sound paranoid or pissed, well, I am - pissed. I hate sneaks. I hate people who gossip while forgetting all their own history. I hate people who play games and pretend to be a "friend" while gathering information to twist and dispurse to other sickos. Your lives must be terribly boring and unfullfilling to have to mess with others' lives. Your very breath is wasted and someday you will have to give an accounting of it.

Enough said. I'm going outside to work in the yard. Stay current of what's going on with Wretha because it will likely be a lesson from the Fed Gov for the rest of us. 1984 has been here a long, long while...

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

We've Discovered...

First, we've discovered that part of our driveway is not on our land. The good news is, the landowner has given us a recorded easement. The bad news is, the title insurance company MISSED this. So we'll be talking to them shortly.

Second, we've discovered that the land to our north (which part of our drive crosses) is a 10 acre parcel that is for sale. Of course we'd like to have it but, being poor people, it will take a miracle.

Third, we've discovered the easement was recorded FOUR years ago. I read through the Title company paperwork today, just to check on "exclusions" and be prepared for a trip to the county courthouse. We'll research things further before visiting the title company - which charged us $733 for inaccurate information.

Did you know that, at least in this state, most title insurance companies only "research a deed" back 30 years. If you want if further back than that you really get reamed as far as charges. How this company missed a four-year-old easement is beyond us but we're both just in the right mood to ask!

Fourth, we've discovered we're about the poorest people in the neighborhood. Whenever anyone mentions a boat, four-wheeler, extra vehicle, groceries, firewood, etc. they assume we're just like them and can spend the money with no thought. From what we gather, most of them would get a loan to finance the vehicle, four wheeler or boat. We'd be saving and selling whatever we could to do the same thing.

No wonder that two places in our neighborhood were sold at a tax sale in the past couple years - each for about $800. Gee, I'd like a deal like that this year! In fact, we have our eye on two lots that adjoin our acreage. The place is a dump and rotting lumber, firewood and cement blocks litter the land. I'd wait until we had six feet of snow on the ground and light a match...

Fifth, we've discovered if you're not a drinker you'll seldom be invited to any neighborhood function. Makes them feel uneasy, I guess.

Sixth, we've discovered the guy we bought from "cleaned up" the junk pile we mentioned in our purchase agreement by delivering the tires and car seats to our land ACROSS the road. Jackass. Someone got on him about this (not us) and he removed the tires but the seats remain. Perhaps someday they'll appear in his front yard...

Seventh, we've discovered that, as the new folks in the area, we're watched, analyzed, critiqued, and waved at. But hardly a soul stops by. It may have something to do with geography. Our land is acreage compared to their lots and our home sits on the northern most edge of our parcel, i.e. away from and behind all the other homes. Our drive is off the county road while theirs are off private side roads. But then, it's new to us to have neighbors. The three homes we could barely see from our old place were seasonal, at best and set on a minimum of 15 acres.

Oh well, time will tell.

Well, I brought in the dry laundry and now it's time to sit and commune with my cat.

Monday, June 22, 2009

Strange Times

We're back online after an electrical storm knocked out our external modem last week. Sweetie's son, the supposed computer tech, neglected to hook us up to the surge protector. And us two trusting people assumed he had as the wiring, etc. is out of sight behind our desk! It took some effort to locate another modem here in the back country but we're good now. Me thinks his son was too focused on trying to get TV reception after the digital conversion. He was going through withdrawals not having BOTH high speed Internet and satellite TV. Poor man.

We came home a couple days ago from town and discovered a surveyor had marked our south line and part of our east line. Took a ride through the small lots that adjoin our 12 acres and found a few more survey pipes in the ground with orange flag tape on them. Asked a few neighbors about it and they all assumed it was done for a lot being sold on the SOUTH end of the platted 40 acres - in other words, clear to the other side of our place. But today, we took a ride to the south end and found NO markers on the lot that's being sold. Then we talked to another neighbor who said he had questioned the surveyor when his lot was marked. He got an evasive answer so today we sat at his kitchen table and called the survey company and got more evasive gibberish. Next, we contacted the person who's buying the lot and were told they had NOT ordered a survey, nor had the real estate or title company.

Something's fishy for sure. The only upside of this is that our south line is now defined every 100 feet and the neighbors realize they have stuff to move back onto their lots.

Another strange happening is the state police and county sheriff officers patrolling this road which is about two miles long. He, he, maybe they have information that a radical prepper has moved into the area. I dunno.

In other news, we have learned that the nights here are almost always cool, so certain crops do better than others. A neighbor grew cauliflower larger than a basketball last year and claims that tomatoes have to be grown in tires so the warmth collected by the rubber gives off heat at night.

Neighbors have also thanked us profusely for cleaning up the debris on this land. If we had bought when all the snow was melted we would have written the removal of several dump piles into our purchase agreement. Oh well...

We have half jokingly decided to call this place Half Done Ranch because there's not a thing the former owner did that's finished. I wanted to call the place "Someday..." because we're always saying, "Someday, we'll do this," or "Someday, when we have the time or money..."

We had a Father's day dinner here with two of my children, the grand kids and my Dad. Fixed baked Alaskan salmon flash frozen and shipped in to the local market. My second oldest granddaughter wrote a four page story about my Dad and my youngest granddaughter read it. By the end, we all had tears in our eyes.

Well, tomorrow we're back outside (if it's not raining) and working on the garden and the pole barn. Progress is generally made each day so we don't lack for exercize.

I was reminded today that the best laid plans get hijacked and good intentions are often misconstrued. I guess the best plan is to tell yourself each day that you'll do the best you can and keep a positive attitude regarding your own responsibilities and goals. If it doesn't get done today, well hopefully you'll still have time.

That's all for now folks. Keep prepping. Treesong

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Since Friday

Turnout at the fishing derby was down a bit and the cars parked along the road didn't quite make it to our driveway. A few litterbugs did but otherwise it was peaceful. We enjoyed driving along the lake watching the people out for the Free Fishing Day, especially the children. Twice we ventured down to the boat launch to watch them come in and out and compare the various boats. When we're able to get one ourselves we've decided on a pontoon with a bimini top. This suits us better as we both need to stay out of the sun.

I've exhausted myself unpacking and organizing and the end is in sight! Just in time for Sweetie to arrive from downstate with the flatbed trailer that broke down over a week ago. Ninety nine percent of what he's hauling goes into the pole barn but it's a disorganized mess so he'll park it beside the barn and keep it covered.

Until we get the garden fence up my plants will remain on the front deck. A raccoon and two deer were walking through the garden spot this morning, sniffing around at the scraps I've been throwing out there and pawing the ground in search of something better. I've been too tired to start a proper compost pile. Another project that I'll get to "someday."

Life is even more peaceful without television. Our converter box hooked up to the outside antenna has no reception unlike downstate where we got seven channels. Summer shows are mostly reruns anyway and we've got other priorities. Besodes, we're unwilling to spend the $40 plus for satellite TV. A few of the neighbors here have no reception either - the nearest TV station is 100 miles away - and some of them are LOST without television. Just goes to show you what some people consider a necessity - basically, a mind control/propaganda box that they must now pay for!

All the preps I've unpacked and organized will have to be moved when we finish off the front shed (entry). It needs an insulated ceiling, a window, a ceramic tile floor and a few compartments and shelves built before winter. We have much less cupboard space in the kitchen, so ALL groceries are in the shed. Oh well, can't ever claim there's nothing to do!

I've hung most of our paintings and photographs and they too will come down when I get enough ambition to strip the hideous wall boarders and repaint. I'm a blue/yellow/white decorator and we have a deer/turkey wall boarder in the living room; an outhouse wall boarder in our bedroom (believe it!!!); and a palm tree one in the small bedroom which serves as our sewing/guest room. When we first looked at this place much of the boarders were falling off in the unheated space. Now that it's been warmed up in here, they've all reattached themselves and NONE appear to be strippable!!! Grrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr.

We've both had similar ideas about what to do with various spaces and little has changed since moving in. However, it's always a good idea to live in a place at least a few months before remodeling. And though we like the jetted bathtub, we've decided to remove it and build a walk-in shower with a built in seat. It's better use of the space and easier access for two aging people. We're going to tile all the bathroom walls and floor for easy cleanup and slope the floor slightly toward the shower drain for any water leakage from the washer. I had this set up in a former home though the washer had its own floor drain because it was new construction and code required it.

Well, I've been sitting here munching on a soft shell taco and writing but it's time to get moving again. For a change of pace, I'll go outside and work in the yard. It's a sunny 62 degrees with a gentle breeze - perfect conditions for raking and hauling brush.

Take care, Treesong

Friday, June 12, 2009

Food Storage - It's Insurance

I have spent most of the day unpacking our food storage and organizing it on shelves. Not anywhere near done yet but it sure gives me a warm, secure feeling. We have much more room here for our preps and eventually we'll take full advantage of it. I think I'll go to bed tonight dreaming of more shelving and a rolling ladder to access the high spots!

My oldest son stopped by while I was organizing the food and he could not believe it. When he made his usual snide remarks about my "obsession" I told him it's insurance against inflation, snowstorms, vehicles not running, illness, bank failures, and plain lack of motivation to go anywhere - especially as The Greater Depression deepens.

Somewhere along the line, something I said must have struck a chord because he seemed to think I was no longer obsessed but, "maybe wiser than other people." I'll agree!

Sunday is the annual fishing derby at the lake and we've been warned that cars will line the main road and any other bare spot they can from sun up 'til well past sundown. Sweetie does not approve of people turning our front yard and driveway into their person space so he used the tractor to drag huge logs across the front. Tomorrow night he'll park the tractor at the end of the drive.

I was going to plant today but decided to put it off. The nights are still cold and we've had heavy fog for the last four nights.

Well, I'm bushed and supper is calling. Take care

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

We Have Arrived

I think today is Wednesday, June 10th. I'm so tired I cannot sleep. I lay there with my eyes wide open and my body aching and nothing gives me relief.

We left Lower Michigan at 7 p.m. Saturday and drove ONE mile before having to turn back. Sweetie's blessed flatbed trailer was over loaded. Imagine that! I won't go into all that is wrong with it now. Suffice to say, he's still intent on hauling it up here - on his next trip.

After parking the trailer in his mother's pole barn we started out again in a terrific downpour. Half an hour later we stopping for a fast food supper. By the time I received our "to go" order it was 8 p.m. I handed Sweetie and his son their portions and climbed into our truck thinking I was going to sit there and eat my chicken pieces. Nope. Off he drove, signaling me to follow. A trip that normally takes 7-1/2 hours to our new home took 8 hours and 20 minutes. We got here at 4:20 a.m. and the rain was still falling. By 5 a.m. we were zonked out but woke up at 9 a.m. to a knock on the door. Neither of us are amused by solicitors, proselytizers or politicians. Sweetie gave the guy an ear full and crawled back in bed. I asked who it was and he very plainly, "I told you I'm not interested!!!"

We woke up again about 10 a.m. to my Dad calling to ask if we would meet him in town for a late breakfast. It's a 22 mile drive one way and fortunately it was me who answered the phone. I made coffee and called my oldest son to ask when he and his brother could be here to help unload. Noon was the agreed upon time so I showered, ate breakfast and drove to town to pick up my oldest granddaughter. By this time my Dad had shown up at her house and decided to tag along. Fine with me as I was now walking like a drunken sailor and my left foot kept falling asleep.

It took until four p.m. to unload everything - most of which just got shoved into the pole barn. Slowly I have been dragging boxes into the house and unpacking. Monday we drove 40 minutes to pick up a sofa, two dressers, daybed and desk chair that I bought on Craigslist. They are the best money I have spent in a long time!

We've discovered the washer has a leak; the window crank on one of our bedroom windows is stripped; there's an additional button or some such thing that needs to be operated to restart the well pump after changing the water filter; and grocery prices will break us within six months if we don't plant a garden soon.

Today I went in search of bedding plants as it's too late to start things from seed. At the first three locations the plants were either frost bitten (despite being in greenhouses) or sold out. At my fourth stop I found Roma and Beefsteak tomatoes, butternut squash, green pepper, zucchini and cucumbers. They were all quite large plants and cost $3 each. I spent $99. By the time I got home Sweetie had spread the topsoil we purchased a couple weeks ago. Tomorrow I plant and hopefully we'll get the garden fence up too.

It has either been in the 40's or raining here every day since Sunday. This weekend it's supposed to get into the 70's. I'll believe it when I see it.

We have dial up Internet that is only connecting at 26K and we receive two TV channels with the antenna and digital converter box. Come Friday - the deadline for the digital conversion - we will receive more channels. I dunno.

Our ground is covered in blueberry bushes with prolific blossoms, so I'm going to curl up on the sofa and dream of blueberry pie.

I have read or watched little of the news and assume it's the same craziness anyway. This dial up is so slow I expect to post about twice a week. I've sent a mass email to my contacts asking them to NOT send me any silly emails that people expect me to forward. I no longer have the time nor inclination to bother with them. Guess I'm paring down in more ways than one.

And before I forget, Sweetie and his son are returning to Lower Michigan Monday. I am NOT going. It would be painful enough to have three of us crammed in the front seat of the truck let alone watching him struggle with the trailer and cleaning up the rest of his mess. His son will be relieved to return to "civilization."

I expect my time alone to be pure bliss while he's gone!!! God knows I love the man but I need a break from everyone and everything. I'll be 22 miles out of town with no vehicle. Maybe we'll have a black out or off season snowstorm and I can really hibernate!!!! It is possible as I recall watching a July Fourth parade in a snowstorm.

Take care everyone, Treesong

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

And We Are STILL Here

We arrived back in Lower Michigan last Friday, as I said we were scheduled to. Every since, it's been one step forward, three steps backward, and sit and wait - on Sweetie. Though, to be honest, I have a few other descriptions of him on the tip of my tongue and none have the word "Sweetie" in them.

We are a classic match. I'm the "get 'er done" gal and he's the "now wait a minute..let's think about it" guy who procrastinates over everything but his cigarettes and candy bars. No wonder his STUFF is NOT out of his late mother's pole barn - after being asked to do so nine years ago!!!

So, since Friday, reserving the 26' U-Haul has been changed/delayed three times! Today he finally started loading his flatbed trailer - with my help as he changes his mind about what goes on it and I load and unload the stuff.

Closing on this place is THURSDAY with possession on the following WEDNESDAY and he's about to change that too because he thinks he may not get it all loaded by next week.

I tell you, if I outlive him, there will be one hell of a load of junk going to the local landfill.

And yes, I'm ranting. Better than taking a swing at him with the rotting 2x4 that he wants to take with us!!!! God help me, I love him dearly, but in all my moves I've never dealt with someone who can't make up his mind, procrastinates over every detail and then gets discouraged and sits down to smoke yet another cigarette and eat another Snickers bar. No wonder he has no energy - emphysema aside.

So the barbecue planned for our new place this coming weekend is cancelled and I'm the one who's had to contact everyone.

I suggested this morning that I pack the remaining boxes and two dressers and my wing chair and ottoman in the back of the truck and run them up north. Basically, that would be doing what we did last week. But he said, "What would we do a crazy thing like that for? What a waste of time!"

Last week, when it was his idea, it was a "go." This week, when it's my idea, it's a "no." Go figure.

So I open up my Facebook account and a friend sent me some silly "drinking request." I click on it and discover I've received 15 requests and could click on each drink to "consume" them. Fifteen virtual drinks later and I don't feel any different.

In other news: did you know that the "First time home buyer" program currently making the rounds is available for people buying on a land contract? Yep. So our buyers are applying for it and they will be sending it on to us to get their place paid down quicker. Guess if Obammy's gonna stick us with more taxpayer funded crap, I may as well get some of it back. Then we realized we qualified for it on our new place because none of us has bought a home in the past 36 months. So there's another check on it's way which will pay down this place sooner. The program ends in November for those who may be interested.

Well, he's gone outside and started up the tractor so I best get out there and see what miracle is happening. Love you all for putting up with me, Treesong