Monthly Archives: October 2011

Solved: The Case of the mystery prints

Awhile back, I mentioned that we discovered some large hoof prints in our field and we couldn’t figure out for sure what they were.  People have animals in our area but all of them are well fenced.  I had suspicions that we had a cow on the loose but there was no evidence beyond the prints.  If you know much about cows, you know that they leave evidence.

The mystery footprint

We went up to the property both Saturday and Sunday this weekend.  On Saturday, we found the evidence.  Only one marker turned up so I figured we had a single wild cow on the loose that was roaming the wilderness looking for greener grass to eat, living the life of a free bovine.


On Sunday morning, we pulled up and noticed a small herd of cows.  So much for the single renegade cow.  It was a herd that was on the loose!  I figure one got loose a few weeks ago and tasted the sweet grass over our way and finally, on Sunday, convinced all of her girlfriends to bust out and enjoy a wild day away from the field…on another field.  Anyhow, the group of them left many markers so I am certain that this was the first day they had all come.

The girls...

Tails in the air means big fun is about to erupt!

We drove up slowly thinking that the girls would spook but they were calm standing under our cabin-to-be.  Isaac wasn’t too interested in petting them but he was interested in figuring out how to claim them for his own.  He said, “why don’t we just build a fence around them?  Possession means everything, right?”  I suppose we could have rustled some cattle but I don’t think it would have lasted long.  Their owner came riding by on a 4-wheeler and tried to herd them home.  Having no luck, she ran back home for a bucket of feed and the ladies traded their freedom for the elusive pail-of-promises.

Until next time...

I am sure they will always remember fondly that day they all made a break for it and lived the life of care-free cows, not a care in the world, the wind on their udders and sun on their hairy backs.  Ah, yes, those were the days!

We were framed

We only got a chance to work on the cabin on Windday…I mean Sunday.  We framed a lot of the walls when my family was here last weekend so we started putting them in place this weekend.  Our plan was to attach the OSB sheeting and then set up the walls already covered.  We sized the walls so we could lift them with OSB already in place.  The wind, however, said differently.  We started to set up the first wall and nearly flew off the back of the platform.  I don’t know what the wind-speed was officially, but it was ridiculous-miles-per-hour by my reading.

So, Plan B…We decided to set up the walls sans OSB just so we can say we made progress.  There is a fair chance we will regret that later when we have to go back and hang the OSB, but doggone it, we have walls up!  Emily’s granddad came up to help us.  He’s been around the sun 86 times but you would never know it.  He was a huge help in getting these walls in place and we couldn’t have done it without him!

Poppaw...86 years old and we couldn't have gotten the walls up without him!

You may notice that these walls look a little different than most walls.  Good eye!  We are roughly following the Advanced Framing Technique.  What that means for us is that we are building with 2×6 boards rather than 2x4s.  We are also building on 24 inch centers (the space between boards) rather than the more typical 16 inch centers.  You can read the details on the link, but we are excited about the potential savings in materials costs and the potential for improved energy efficiency.  That and we like the weird looks people give us.  It sort of flies in the face of traditional house framing which makes it all the more appealing.


Building a wall…and the view out the front door!


Abigail surveying the scene…that’s as far as we got!

So, anyhow, we got the hardest walls set and plan to work more this weekend on getting the remaining walls up.  We will need to get the OSB started too.  I figure we will set up some elaborate pulley system to get the wood in place so we can start on the roof.  If we get wind again this weekend, I am going sailing.  Let’s see, I will need to get that old washtub and some sheets…what else do I need to build a sailboat?


See all of the progress on the cabin

We are Broke

Well, it’s not so much that we are broke…more like Isaac.  And, really, Isaac isn’t so much broke as his collar bone is broken.  He plays on the middle school soccer team and the game last weekend was pretty rough.  During one play, the other team was breaking away with the ball, headed for our goal.  Isaac got on an intercept path and beat the other player to the ball and cleared it.  The other player, however, was close by and got tangled up with Isaac.  Both of them went down, head over heels and did a great couple of rolls. It was pretty awesome, really.  Isaac said he got up and thought he was just a little stiff from the fall.  He did a throw-in and heard bones grinding and that’s when the pain hit him.

He made it to the sideline and the coaches looked at him.  They called us down and a doctor friend who was there looked at it and said we should head to the hospital.  When we looked at it, it was clear something wasn’t right.  His shoulder just didn’t look quite right.  His one side was a little caved in and definitely not straight.

The broken collarbone

We had x-rays at the hospital and the doctor confirmed that Isaac’s collarbone was broken.  I think it is pretty obvious in the picture.  Let’s play, “Spot the broken bone”…ready class?  Do you see it?  Click the image to enlarge and see if you can see it.

We followed up with a bone doctor and they told us to keep it in a sling and it should be fine in 6 weeks with full strength and movement returning in 8 weeks.  We pretty quickly discovered that a broken collarbone makes many things really tough.  Isaac can’t really carry his books very well.  Getting help with books isn’t too bad.  He also has trouble with buttons and zippers.  Button and zipper help is not really an option though so we have been sending him to school in gym shorts and warm up pants.  You catch my drift I think.

So, we got some pretty snapshots of the boy’s internals and closed out of soccer season for the year.  He really enjoys soccer, so this was not an ideal end to the season but I think he is pretty happy to wear gym shorts all of the time.

The Eastern time zone

When Emily and I lived in Nashville, we used to go to bed at 10:00.  We were on Central time so prime-time TV started at 7 and the news came on at 10pm.  It seemed natural, you know…turn on the news, ignore it…brush your teeth…then off to bed.  I don’t know about you, but I am asleep before my head even hits the pillow.  So, in Nashville, we were asleep by 10:30 and we got up at 5:30.

Here in WV, things are a little different.  We still ignore the news when we bother to turn it on and we still brush our teeth, but it seems like the only consistent thing in our nighttime routine is the fact that we don’t go to bed until 11:30.  We still get up early at 5:45 so I have no other option but to blame our lack of sleep on the Eastern time zone.

I know that getting six and a quarter hours of sleep isn’t really ideal.  It may shorten our lives a bit even.  The only way I see to handle it is to leave the Eastern time zone or to start paying attention to the news.  I am not sure that I like the taste of either option so I will just have to live on the edge in the Eastern time zone.  EDT/EST baby!

Product placements

My parents and brother and sister-in-law came into town this weekend to watch the kids play soccer and to help us work some on the deluxe shed.  We pretty much finished up the sub-floor before the visit so my goal for this weekend was to get some walls built…and that we did!

As we always do, we loaded up the van with the generator and all of our tools, drove to our place and unload them once again (I can’t wait to be able to leave some stuff up there!)  I didn’t notice it at the time but in looking over the pics, many of which my Mom took, I noticed that we were like a product placement extravaganza!  See how many different brand name/logo shots you see in these pics…it is like we were setting it up!




Anyhow, my brother brought a propane framing nailer and it was amazing!  I have never used such a beast before, but basically, it is a cordless nail-driving machine.  With a regular hammer, it takes, I don’t know, 5 seconds to drive a nail, another few to get the next nail and set it, etc  Each nail and swing of a hammer takes a lot of energy so things go slower with each nail one drives.  This nailer drives maybe 5 nails a second and I never got tired.  Incredible!

So, we discovered another crazy thing as we all worked away.  It looks like a cow must have gotten loose in the neighborhood.  The prints were from a hooved animal but they were far too big to be a deer.  It looked more along the lines of what I expect an elk print would be, size-wise but I don’t think there are any elk around here.

In addition to getting a lot of work done, we got to goof around together which was nice too.  We talked about a little bit of everything and nothing is better than working on a common goal!    We also got to see, once again, just how beautiful our WV mountains really are.  The leaves are coming along nicely and will probably be at their peak next weekend.  I couldn’t take a picture that did it justice but it’s just amazing!

See all of the progress on the cabin

We are Falling

We were cruising along pretty well with the summer bit.  The sun was hot and the leaves were green.  Each morning we could pretty much count on wearing short sleeves and shorts.  We were in Summer until Friday.  Rains came and wind came and Isaac had a soccer game.  The temperature got down to somewhere in the 40s and that’s about how many inches of rain we got too…40.  Not really of course.  Isaac ended up being ball-boy for the second game after the game he played.  He was soaked through to the bone after the second hour in the rain wearing only his uniform.  Emily and I were only slightly better.  I was shivering like a 5th grade boy at a Sadie Hawkins dance.

Well, all of that is to say the Fall is here.  Some parts of Fall suit me well.   I love the colors and cider and finishing up the garden.  I hate cold and all things cold related though.


I thought it was probably good for my own mental well-being to find some pics of the awesome things of Fall…you know, so I don’t drink my sorrows away in a vat of apple cider (which by the way, is almost ready to be made!).

I have been collecting pics of our travels out to the bee farm and some of them really feel like Fall to me (minus the cold and misery).  I am not sure what makes them feel like Fall.  Anyone else have things that just seem like Fall?