Friday, July 22, 2011

Last Photos of the View? (Week 11)

National news is all about the heat wave on the east coast and yet shockingly, it's going to be "cool" here in Louisiana all week.  Cool for us in July means it's going to be high 80's and barely 90's.  Anytime that it isn't in the mid 90's or worse in July is pretty strange in south Louisiana.

Yesterday was my day to ride the big tractor and get the pasture mowed.  Throw in a little work on the electric fence and cleaning the stalls was about the extent of what I got accomplished outside.   In the spirit of being a multifaceted woman, I painted my toenails (love that Opi "I'm Not Really a Waitress" color for toes!) and gave myself a french manicure.  It isn't all John Deere and grunge around here even with Joe away!

This morning I was partly through mowing the yard areas with the riding mower when a thunderstorm blew in and sidelined me for the rest of the morning.  I'm reveling in the first year in ages of no summertime drought and so I don't mind in the slightest being inside and watching the rain fall.  

I might be expecting a marriage proposal from the DirectTV repairman who was out this morning and was rather impressed with the weeding, pruning, mowing, pool maintenance and mower deck repairs that were going on while he was working on our dish.  Apparently his current wife isn't quite so handy in the outdoor department!

My last post left Joe besmirched for his failure to send photos of the new house and so I'll admit that he zapped them across the internet shortly after being taunted, but it's just taken me a little time to get them up on the blog.  

I can't wait to see the main floor walls go up but at the same time, it's disheartening to think that soon our beautiful view will be hidden behind the first floor of the house.  We'll have a 10' deep porch that will go across the entire back of the house and half way up each side so the view will still be there, but it won't be seen from the front yard area (I think).

View of the basement from the front:

And the view from the down below in the back ....
the two windows with the white paper around them are the guest room windows....just so you'll know where you might be staying!

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Blog Blather.... Tweaks and Facebook!

I've spent hours "fiddling" with my blog over the last two days.  I've got the freedom to stay up guilt-free until all hours of the night because Joe is in Virginia again.

He's been up there for three days.... with my camera, I might add.  But have I seen any photos of the new house?  Noooooo.  We've talked regularly, but he's forgetting that a picture is worth a thousand words!

He is susceptible to internet peer pressure so I'm betting that within a few hours, I'll have pictures in my mailbox.

But back to my blog fiddling.....  I've had a couple of people (don't worry I won't tell the world who you are!) who can't seem to figure out how to post comments because they don't have Google accounts.

They email me directly that they think they've finally succeeded and then nothing comes through, they lose their posts and after several attempts they get frustrated and give up.

I love comments, it's the only way to know who's out there.  Strangely enough each of the people having trouble with their comments are pretty active on Facebook.  Hmmmm.... okay, this was the nudge I needed....

I cursed Mark Zuckerberg and vowed never to watch The Social Network while I spent several tedious hours creating a Facebook Page for the blog.  Facebook is a pain!!!  It's not intuitive and the privacy settings practically require a map and a PhD in logistics to understand.  

How in the world my Comment challenged friends can have trouble with the three easy steps to get a free Google account and yet can maintain their Facebook presence is beyond me!  :)  

Atta, Noel, Mr. Biggs and I stumbled off to bed around 1AM too tired to even watch mindless television.  

There's now a badge in the right hand column that will link you to the News From The Hill Facebook page. You brave Facebook literate souls can click on the badge and post comments to the Facebook page if you don't want to sign in under a Google or OpenID account.   I'll be learning the ropes and monitoring the Page.  Wish me luck!

I agonize over photo sizing and layouts so I refuse to put posts on Facebook that would get compressed and mangled.  Because of that the posts there are partial feeds, but it will serve well as a landing point for Facebook users, or a way for them to Subscribe/Like, and also to comment.

We'll see if anyone "Likes" me who isn't already a "Follower"..... such a lot to learn!

Goodness this was a technical post!  And to think I remember when Joe brought the first black and white computer home and I had to learn how to click and move the mouse!

Sunday, July 17, 2011

More of the Book Backlog: John Le Carre/ Our Game

I finished this one about 6 weeks ago in a quest to whittle down the "unreads" on the bookshelves and when I first sat down at the laptop tonight, there was NO memory of what this book was about.  Nothing.  Nada.

That implies one of two things:  either I really need these "book report" posts as a part of the blog because my memory is so weak that I might forget the plot of Goodnight, Moon (Wait, is there a plot to Goodnight, Moon??) or else this book was such a bit of fluff that it wasn't meant to be remembered by my selective brain cells.  I'm going with the later possibility.

Our Game is another book that somehow wandered onto the bookshelves and I have no recollection of where I found it or who gave it to me.  I'm hoping this isn't a kleptomaniac symptom!

After flipping through the pages again, the storyline began to come back to me like a dense fog rolling in.... Tim is "retired" British spy living with a mysterious artsy younger woman and trying to be "mainstream" by running a winery in the British countryside.  Convinced of the plausibility of this yet?  He wakes up one day to find local police knocking at his door and learns that his protege in the spy world has gone AWOL along with millions of Russian dollars/rubles and Tim's squeeze.  The authorities suspect Tim of being involved but he's as clueless as the rest of us.

Not a thriller;  more of a slow smolder of activity but it was a diversion.  The ending was utter hogwash.... Tim decides to join the Russian insurgency and the final scenes are him heading off with the locals through the mountains.

I've heard that Tinker, Tailor, Soldier Spy is LeCarre's finest work and maybe one day if I find a free copy I'll give it a try.  Otherwise I'm  not actively searching for anymore of his novels.  Sort of like having a bad meal at a restaurant..... there are too many other places to try.

I'm about 6 books behind on my summaries and determined to catch up!

~~My standard book review disclaimer:  I'm not writing reviews for anybody's benefit other than my own.  I'd love it if you see a book that strikes your fancy but I've no pretense of being a literature expert....this type of post falls into the journal aspect of the blog.  Nothing house or family oriented here.... just a book report to help me remember the details of what I've read.  Who am I kidding?  Details??  I need these summaries to help me remember that I've even read the book period!  

Friday, July 15, 2011

Cloud Update

Getting a photo of her is a bit challenging..... here I'm zoomed out as far as I can go.  She literally fogged up the lens with her breath! 

She's  discovered the joy of rolling in the dirt and mud.  She especially likes to get sweaty and then roll in the dirt thereby creating an instant mud shield over her entire body. 

When you have to give a bath BEFORE riding, you know you're dealing with a dirty horse.  

She and Sarge are getting along like old buds.

Well not quite like old buds.... Sarge spent so long being Number Two under Bree that he's trying hard to be the top dog now.  They graze near each other and touch each other hesitantly, but there is still the occasional pinned back ears and nasty look from Sarge that will send her moving away.

After taking the above photos, I walked around the house and there were a pair of the "short-tailed" horses grazing by the barn.   They sauntered away when I walked closer, not even bothering to duck into the woods until they reached the other side of the pasture. 

There hasn't been much riding going on because it seems that whenever I've got free time to ride.....

Glorious rain!!!

This is the wettest July that we've had in years!  It's almost like the old days when we could count on daily showers.  For the last 5 summers we've had to water the pasture with sprinklers just to try and keep some grass growing.

So while it may be cutting into riding time on Cloud, I am NOT complaining! 

Thursday, July 14, 2011

The Props Assist The House

The Props assist the House

Until the House is built
And then the Props withdraw
And adequate, erect,
The House support itself
And cease to recollect
The Auger and the Carpenter --
Just such a retrospect
Hath the perfected Life --
A past of Plank and Nail
And slowness -- then the Scaffolds drop
Affirming it a Soul.
                                                                                     --Emily Dickinson

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Basement Progress! (Week 10)

Photos from Virginia!!

Hopefully Tom knew that I was only kidding about my reluctance to pay our latest draw until I had extorted some photos from him?

We've got wood!  Doorways, window openings and rooms!

Monday, July 11, 2011

Easily Amused

Sunday was Joe's birthday and we celebrated with a trip to Greece!  No passports required and civil unrest wasn't a problem!

Joe stretched out the celebration to cover two nights.  On Saturday, Clark and Raeanna came to town and I had barely recovered from the chips, Margarita and big meal at Superior Grill that night when it was time to go out 24 hours later with the "usual" Sunday night dinner gang.

We got a little giddy taking photos in front of the mural at Serops and joking about our whirlwind trip to Greece.

Snapping away with our assortment of cell phones, we had a hilarious few minutes posing for our "travel photos" after dinner. I'm sure there were a few snide looks from more stuffy diners but we paid no attention!

Building the new house means that a Greek restaurant is the closest that we'll come to the Mediterranean!.... And that's really okay with both of us especially since we spent the evening with dear friends!

Now that I think of it,  Clark and Raeanna also took a European trip of sorts this weekend!  They participated in the Running of the Bulls on Saturday.

How did they get from Pamplona to our house in only a few hours?

Only in New Orleans would 10,000 people dress up in red and white to run through the streets at 8 AM in the July heat.  Though the Mimosas and Bloody Mary's apparently make the early hour and temperature bearable.

And the bulls?  Well the "bulls" are over 300 Roller Derby Girls on skates, wearing huge horned hats and swinging plastic bats. Yep.  That's what I said.  I'll say it again.... Only in New Orleans!

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Domino Effect


               I know I really shouldn't be sleeping here on the rug.

                But Mr. Biggs is touching my bed.

                I can't sleep on my big 48" dog bed and ask him to move if he's touching the edge

                .... because he's sort of in charge.

               Even if I do outweigh him by 85 pounds.
               So I'm on the rug.

               It's easier this way.

Mr. Biggs: 

       I'm sleeping in the crack between the two beds.

       I'd rather be nestled in my little plaid bed.

       But someone else is in it and I don't want to touch her when I sleep.

      A few years ago, I would have made her move.

      Now that I'm 15, I'll take the path of least resistance and let her alone.  

       It's easier this way.


Noel:  I'm very comfortable.

Dogs, schmogs.

Orvis should market these as Cat Beds.


Saturday, July 9, 2011

Still Building and More Showings

The Virginia house is still moving along.  Joe should be headed back up there in a week or so.

We've threatened not to pay Tom (our contractor) until he sends some photos.  He thinks I'm kidding!  Apparently he doesn't know how serious I am about this blog thing and documenting the progress of the house!

Really I am joking (sort of), but I'd sure like some photos.  :(

We've had several showings here in the past month with two definite possibilities.  One couple (no kids.... our age) says they want it, but their home has to sell first.  Their house is already on the market and priced in a lower range than ours, so who knows?

Today's showing was to a younger couple with 3 kids; finally a family with kids, Hooray!!!  Of course it was the standard "They loved it."  But apparently they loved it enough to be spurred into putting their house on the market in the next two weeks.

Both couples were told that we wouldn't accept a contingency offer so the race is on to see which of their houses will sell first, or if a dark horse will swoop in unexpectedly and take the prize.

I'm hoping for the young family with kids, but Joe is being much more pragmatic and simply wants a clean offer from someone still breathing and able to hobble in to sign the papers at closing!

Thought I'd share a snapshot from one of the kitchen windows; I marvel at the fact that my knees never protested when I laid all of those bricks!  I'll miss my little garden shed when we finally move!

Friday, July 8, 2011

Introducing.... Cloud!



A few weeks ago, I saw a posting on a chat board for Competitive Trail that B & C in Arkansas (not sure if they want their real names used on the internet!) were selling one of their Missouri Foxtrotters.

It's funny how things sometimes work out.... After a weekend CTR (Competitive Trail Ride) in the Ozark National Forest two years ago, we stayed at their house overnight before heading back to Louisiana.  We saw Cloud out in the pasture;  her coloring was pretty unique and memorable, but as I had a hale and hearty horse, so I didn't think to pay more attention to her because I might one day own her!

After putting Bree down last month and seeing how unhappy Sarge was about being alone, Joe and I began considering hauling Sarge up to Virginia and boarding him.  The drawback to this was not only the expense, but also the likelihood that Joe wouldn't be riding or visiting him regularly because who knows when the house will sell etc.

Then I remembered the blurb I saw last month on the internet board.

So I emailed.

And called.

And a few days later we hooked up the trailer and drove to Arkansas.

Just to see.

The opportunity to buy a mare from someone that I knew and could trust to be honest was huge.

I would go see.  Just see.  And come home empty handed if necessary.


Does anyone reading this believe that there was much of a chance that I was coming home without her?

She probably could have dumped me off, scraped me through trees and trampled me and I would have still  brought her back!

She's younger and has less training than my "ideal" horse,  but during a long "test-drive" in the Ozark NF (well it seemed long to me as I'm so woefully out of condition) she showed me that she had the potential to be a good trail partner.  While she's not yet rock solid, she's far from spooky.

After a couple of hours on her back, I agreed with B's description that she was immature .... not immature in a pitch a fit and act like a spoiled middle schooler way, but immature in that she just hasn't had a lot of experience.

Sort of like when you're just starting out at a new job and you aren't sure how to talk to the boss.  She wants to try, but isn't sure that she's doing the right thing.

Doesn't she look sweet?
She's four years old and with some crazy coloring!  
And btw Sarge is very happy!

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Be Prepared

When driving 8 hours to see friends who also "happen" to have a horse for sale, a wise person brings along their horse trailer.

Just in case.

 Because you never know who you might find wanting to come back with you!

Will post tomorrow after we get home and settled!

Friday, July 1, 2011

She's Not a Water Dog

My unsuspecting prey, busily doing one of her favorite chores around the house:  herding the pool sweeper.  

Oh no!  She's seen the instruments of torture.

And retreated to the door to try and get away.  

You can run but you can't hide.  And the suds don't taste too bad!

Time for a frolic after the grueling ordeal is over!

Even though Atta isn't a fan of ANY shampoo, we're loving the Cloud Star Buddy Wash (Lavender and Mint) that we've been using for a couple of years now.  It's soap-free using a coconut oil base and it's so thick that I usually dilute the shampoo in order to not get too much on at once.  Leaves the pooches soft and smelling nice but not overpowering.  I've seen a combination product that must be new, but I use the separate shampoo and conditioner.