Archive for May, 2014

TIME OUT—AND REMODEL

May 30, 2014

TIME OUT—AND REMODEL

Sorry I can’t get the photo to turn. Please view sideways-I haven’t accomplished a miracle by remodeling off the wall.
Apologies to my readers, I’m running out of things to say about pioneers and will have to switch subjects soon. Right now I want to take a side trip to a personal happening in my life and invite others to sound off, if they like.

My life for the last four months has been consumed by remodeling a bathroom. Now that it is finished I’d like to take these few lines to discuss remodeling. Most of the physical work involved in this project was performed by my talented son and daughter. My job was to make decisions and wait. My husband’s job was to complain. Everyone did their job well and (if you are filling out a rating sheet) “above expectations.”

The remodel was necessary, not optional. The first thing to go was the flooring, a wood laminate installed a few years ago when someone we knew had some “leftover.” Trying to eliminate gross details, the toilet had taken to backing up at every opportunity, leaving the laminate to peel in disgusting layers and – smell. Enough said about that.

So out went the flooring and the offending toilet. Then a conference was held. We had to make decisions about whether we could install a laundry chute (We couldn’t—too many pipes in the way.), whether to remove the bathtub ( I hadn’t liked the off-beige color for sometime), and what to do about the vanity ( a sentimental favorite with me since my father had constructed it when we built the house). I lost on the laundry chute and vanity, but won on the tub which I considered a major victory.

In case you are wondering, my husband’s Christmas gift was a new toilet, so at least one of the necessities of the remodel was waiting in the spare bedroom for installation. The tub had been sitting in my yard for ten years (a story for next week), and I ordered the new sink from Amazon.com. Amazon is a wonderful website only equaled by Ebay.com.

One final note to close out this installment of the remodel story. The day the ugly beige tub left my son had to smash it to pieces to get it out of the room. I plugged my ears, ( I really hate destroying something that someone else might use.) while he swung away with a sledge hammer. Even in pieces getting the old tub out of the house took my son, daughter, daughter-in-law and I lowering it down a set of stairs and into the pick-up bed. It easily weighed 800 lbs.

(More next week.)

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PIONEER RECYCLERS

May 23, 2014

 

“Use it up, wear it out, make do, or do without.” I’m not sure who came up with that little ditty, but for pioneers it was certainly the rule—not the exception. Broken plow shears were saved and turned into teeth for the harrow, dishwater ended up watering the garden, and even cornhusks were used as mattress filling. Potato and carrot peelings became chicken feed or compost for the garden. Very little ended up being “trash.”

Modern day residents seem to think that farmers and ranchers are a wasteful drain on the environment. I’ve heard folks complain about land and air pollution but a quick trip to any rural auction might change that impression. These auctions are a treasure trove of old used material held for the “some day” when they might be needed. Commercial farming aside, family farms have been using up and wearing out equipment and materials for hundreds of years.

Recently I heard a story about subdivision resident who was concerned about a piece of “junk” at the bottom of a ravine. For the former farmer/rancher the junk had a purpose—stopping the ravine from further erosion by holding back flood waters. The “junk” probably won’t meet the approval of various governmental agencies, but it served the purpose. The ravine now contains large trees and brush which over time will totally “heal” the ravine.

Perhaps modern man needs to stop enjoying “modern” conveniences and start wearing out, making do, or doing without.

THE MODERN BATHROOM

May 16, 2014

Ah the wonders of indoor plumbing! Despite what my readers may think, my blog is not going down the sewer. Since I am in the final stages of a bathroom remodel, it’s difficult to ignore the wonders of the modern bath facilities. Since we tore out all the plumbing in January, you can imagine how ecstatic family members are becoming about being able to use the facilities. Yes, we have a half-bath with a shower, but the tub is calling.

Most homesteaders were thrilled to move from the wash tub to a modern “bath tub”, and right now I understand completely. Our previous tub had more in common with the wash tub than it did a bathtub. Subjected to a 1970’s tub, the idea of a luxurious stretched out soaking was impossible. I’m not sure how “long” the tub was, but I can tell you that I was never able to unbend my knees and I am 5’5″. I am looking forward to a long soak in the century-old 5 1/2-foot tub. I can only imagine how those early 20th Century residents must have felt as they stretched out in this tub. Some of you may have the convenience of a hot tub, so you know the enjoyment gained from easing sore muscles into that warm water, for me it will be a new and delicious experience.

Having the rest of the bathroom might be the most important part of this remodel, but for me enjoying the convenience of the cast-iron “inkwell” tub is unsurpassed. As for me, I’ll be soaking.

A VICTORIAN TEA

May 9, 2014

This Saturday the National Writers Association Foundation has their annual tea.  TEA is probably a huge misnomer, because we do have tea, and we try to carry on the Victorian heritage, however the group is larger than the two or three ladies who might have gathered in that earlier time period.

The Victorian ladies may have experienced a bit less food than their modern counterparts.  Many Victorian ladies were to treated to biscuits and jam while the ladies at our tea will be feasting on smoked salmon and French macrons.  The tea will be decaffeinated to allow or attendees to experience a full night’s sleep rather than pacing the floor at midnight after imbibing in a full cup, or more, of Earl Grey.

But the friendship and camaraderie will be there.  We’re scheduled to play some Victorian games which ought to be fun and, of course, there will be no lack of lively conversation…after all that’s what TEAS are really all about.

So enjoy some tea, or if you insist, coffee, and talk to friends this week.

(A quick note to my followers: Thanks to everyone who put out good thoughts on my blogs being finalists in the Colorado Authors’ League Contest.  I didn’t win, but being a finalist was a big honor.)

A SIDE TRIP

May 2, 2014

Think of today’s blog as a quick trip to the future. Hold on to your hair so the winds of the future don’t blow it entirely off of your head, and follow me. There’s a connection here to what we’ve been talking about, it’s something that pioneers possessed in huge quantities. It’s called—GRIT.

It took grit, guts, and fearless courage to “pull up stakes” in the civilized East and travel across a thousand miles filled with rattlesnakes, hostile natives, and blinding rain or dust storms to build yourself a new life as a homesteader. Loneliness by its self would be enough to discourage most modern humans. But the pioneers “sucked it up” and persisted.

What’s all this have to do with anything? Well, here’s my point. Some of you reading this are aspiring writers and right about now your thinking of quitting. You’ve had your fill of rejection slips, nasty editors, and “writing friends” who are hinting or downright telling you that maybe you don’t have what it takes to be a writer. There were probably a lot of “friends” and relatives telling pioneers they’d never make it out there on the plains, too. But they stuck it out and they proved up on their dream.

Sometimes things take longer than you think or expect. If you learn from your mistakes and the criticism, you get better, and eventually you succeed. Today, the paperback of my first thriller novel, HIDE & SEEK is available as a Kindle book and on Amazon. I wrote it in 1983. It came out in hardback in 2007, but I had to wait until this year to get it into an affordable paperback. It took a while, but it was worth the wait. PERSIST!