"On the plains of Oklahoma, with a windshield sunset in your eyes like a watercolor painted sky, you'd think heavens doors have opened."
Fly Over States

Saturday, September 25, 2010

The Mellow Ride Before the Plunge

We are now past the Autumn Equinox and losing the length of our days at a breakneck pace.  In our neck of the woods (the sunbelt), the sun rises about a minute later every morning, and sets up to two minutes earlier.  Three minutes of daylight doesn't sound like much until you add it up and realize that is about fifteen to twenty minutes a week.  And it won't slow down until after Yule (the Winter Solstice that falls just before Christmas). 

Today, we have just about 12 hours of daylight.  On Yule, there is only 9 hours and forty-five minutes of daylight (up north, it is about an hour shorter than that!).  By the time Yule arrives, the leaves will be off the trees; we may have had one to three skirmishes with snow; the weather man will be talking in terms of "wind chill;" I'll be setting out birdseed and suet; the toads will be gone; and the dew on the ground I see, today, will be frost. 

I always refer to this time of the year as "falling into the abyss" and it starts to feel that way, come mid-November.  But today and in the next few weeks, there is a sense of excitement and contentment at the cooler temperatures, low humidity, the sparkle in the dogs' romping happily in the yard, the smell of indoor cooking, and the opportunity to lounge on the patio to watch the sun rise and set.  It is my favorite form of worship. 

Oh heavens, I missed these sunrises while I was away on the East Coast.
Sometimes I feel a bit guilty about "wasting" so much time on my patio this time of year but remind myself that it won't be long before the weather drives us indoors.  In a matter of weeks, by the time the sun rises, the day's work will have long started and I'll be too busy to sit and glory in God's creation.

I think, overall, the perfect weather is a sunny day with a high in the low eighties and low in the fifties.  I wouldn't want that all the time because I love the changing of the seasons, but you just can't find a lot of fault with that particular weather forecast. 

Once the temperature begins dropping into the fifties at night, the leaves dropping from the trees won't be far behind.  And another rite of autumn are the attempts by vermin to move indoors.  We didn't see any mice in the house, last year, but I set out traps in the barn, yesterday, to nip that in the bud if the little varmints get any idea that they are welcome. 

Husband just came in from the barn and announced "no mice!"  Good. 

There is a bathroom and two sinks out in the barn that are currently un-useable because the water is shut off.  Unfortunately, the valve to turn on the water was nowhere to be found when we bought this place.  We figured - rightly as it turned out - that the original owner had marked it but since there are no gutters on the barn roof, dirt washed over in rains and hid the cut off valve.  The original owner has long passed away and no one remembered where the shut off valve was located. 

The ground had softened from some showers earlier in the day so I played in the mud by taking a shovel out to the pasture near the barn to dig until I found the shut off for the water.  And there it was, in the bottom of a bottomless bucket that was buried beneath the surface and had filled with dirt and mud.  The valve was about twenty inches down.   I found the pipe by water witching, taught to me by my father-in-law.  It really works!! 

The valve handle was rusted off and we decided that rather than try to turn it on with pliers, we'd have our plumber come out, repair/replace the valve and put in a professional cut off area.  We were afraid that we'd turn on the water and be unable to turn it off.  We know that at one point there was a water leak in the barn (they cut out part of the wall to replace part of the pipe) and the last thing we wanted was to find out that the pipe was leaking and we couldn't shut off the water.  Ron, the plumber, is coming out, next week.   I am afraid that once we get a bathroom out there, you won't see me in the house, anymore.  I also want to put in a refrigerator but those cost a lot to run and might not be worth it.  There is a heavy duty heater out there, too, but I may opt for oil heaters and just heat one or two rooms instead of all four, this winter.  I expect I will just use what is out there because it is well insulated and doesn't take long to heat.  I wish the windows were insulated, however.  I probably need to put in something to stop any drafts and may whip up some over the next few weeks. 

With the economy being the way it is, we are concerned that the federal debt is going to increasingly make our savings less valuable.  Because of that, we are trying to make longterm repairs and improvements on the property while our money is still worth something.  We've got a call in to get the roof on the barn replaced and plan to add gutters to it.  We are still waiting for the fencing guy to call us back and may need to find someone else.  We're also looking for some farmland/ranchland to sink some money in to protect our savings as best we can.

Photo of a barn window where I keep some of my longarm thread:
 Ms. Evelyn:
 Pasture, this morning:

We had a bit of drama, yesterday while I was out putting out mouse traps.  I left the girls in the yard and Pearlie started pitching a fit, a bit unusual for her.  I figured she was just unhappy that I was out in the barn and/or that I could just hear her better since I'd opened the windows to air it out.  But no.  When I came back to the house, she had "something" on her chest and was freaked out.  Apparently, the sticky, nasty flytrap that we hung on the patio fell off and attacked her.  That stuff is disgusting, not water soluble, and full of dead flies.  Ewwww.  I ended up having to cut away a lot of her coat in front.  See the whiter parts of her chest?  That is where the old fur was clipped away:
She is wet from the dew, this morning.

Yesterday while out shopping, I spend a few minutes (actually, more than a few) wandering through the [grand] baby aisle looking at baby clothes and dreaming. 

Good times...

Enough of this lounging around.  I have a quilt to work on. 

Happy Quilting, Penny, Evelyn and Pearl


BilboWaggins said...

Aren't sunrises like that just a blessing?

Empathise with getting the property fixed up - we're aiming to do everything major here before Management retires but with our economy in as bad a state as yours, neither of us know when that might be. I do know it will be a lot more years away than he would like.

Florida Farm Girl said...

Seems my schedule is getting me up earlier and earlier. I've actually had a couple of days when I've been leaving the house just after sunrise. Course that's near 7 a.m. around here these days. But even so, I don't get to see the colors on the far horizon like you do. Lucky girl.

Carol Twister said...

The draft stoppers are easy to make. I fill mine with kitty litter, makes them heavy so they will stay in place. Don't fill with rice if you think you have mice. I cannot find my pattern for it right now, will hunt again tomorrow. I make a tube out of muslin for the kitty litter then a another pretty fabric tube over that. Can measure your windows to get an exact size.

Miriam said...

Well done on finding the water shut off valve. My Dad used to be able to devine water. I tried but was never able.
Our days are gradually getting longer here. Today was the first day over 70 for over 130 days.
Happy window shopping for the grand baby!! :)