Rest in Peace

Danny's mother died at 7:17 this morning. She was 76 years old. Please keep her husband Aubrey, her children Deena and Danny, and her grandson Sam, in your prayers.


Keep on Keeping on

Lots of health and other issues going on right now. Blogging is low on our list of priorities; we're just trying to get through right now.

When things settle down or get better, I'll be back.


For All The Special Snowflakes

From National Review:
Look, people. Comedy is not supposed to be a “safe space.” That’s what’s so special about it. The implicit permission to offend is what distinguishes it from other forms of communication and makes it a unique part of our cultural dialogue that we can’t afford to lose. If you can’t handle it, fine. Go watch a politician’s speech or an evening newscast or any one of the other 9 billion bleached forms of communication out there — but please, for the love of God, don’t think you’re so special that our entire society needs to change to make you feel more comfortable — Katherine Timpf



You will be missed.

Sir Terry Pratchett.
28 April 1948 – 12 March 2015

How do they rise up, rise up high?


Bigger Things to Worry About

As some of you know, our property here isn't exactly what you would call "flat."

Appalachia being what it is, we live in a holler with a creek running down the bottom of it. The land itself is best described as "steep." I usually describe it as "vertical."

Before I bought the farm and moved here, I didn't quite understand the non-horizontal nature of Appalachian land. Having grown up in the central valley of California, where you can drive down the street beside a levee, look UP, and see a boat sailing along above your head, I made a point of asking the realtor if the house here was in a flood plain. I was worried about flooded basements and such-like.

He laughed at my question and replied, "If that house floods, you have bigger things to worry about!" When I finally saw the house for the first time, I understood his amusement. The house sits about 250 feet upslope (a vertical rise of probably 75-100 feet) from the creek and well away from any drainage culverts. Anything short of a Biblical flood wouldn't even wet the foundation. I felt a bit silly for even asking the question.

Until today.

Danny slaughtered 4 chickens yesterday. After letting them rest in the fridge for 24 hours (makes the meat tender and keeps them from being stringy--they're all year old roosters) I sliced the breasts off of them to use for other meals, bagged the rest of the carcasses to boil up later and gave them to Danny to put in the basement freezer until I had time to process them.

A few moments later, he was sloshing through water at the foot of the basement stairs.

There are no underground pipes anywhere near where the water was pooled. Our immediate assumption was that the water had leaked under the basement door, even though the floor between the growing pool and the door was dry. Danny got a bucket and a manual siphon pump and started trying to clear the water.

15 buckets of muddy water later, it finally dawned on all of us that this was no ordinary leak. In fact, it wasn't technically a leak at all.

Remember reading Macbeth in school? Remember the part about the prophecy that Macbeth would rule until Birnham Wood came to Dunsinane Castle? And Macbeth was certain that could never happen, because Birnham Wood was 'way downslope of the Castle?

Just like my creek.

Just like Macbeth never imagined soldiers cutting down trees in Birnham Wood and using them as camouflage to storm Dunsinane, it never occurred to me that Biblical floods weren't the only way to flood a basement halfway up the side of a hill.

A spring has opened up in my basement. We're hoping it's just a result of the water table rising due to the rain/snow we've been having. With any luck, once the ground dries out, the spring will quietly do the same.

But as of right now, the spring is producing about 1-2 gallons in less than 5 minutes. We have a sump pump merrily sucking up the water flowing into the basement. It's spitting it out through a garden hose into the gutter/downspout overflow that discharges into the drainage culvert. Unfortunately, the spring is flowing slower than the pump pumps.

We have to let the pump empty the depression the water is flowing into, shut the pump off, let the spring refill the depression and turn the pump back on (it doesn't have a float.) Danny and I are sleeping in shifts to monitor the pump. I'm half-way through my 2-am-to-6-am shift. Later today, we're going to see if we can rig up a manual siphon so we don't have to monitor a pump.

I guess the realtor was right after all.


New Computer

I've been lost in the no-man's-land of a dead computer.

Couple of weeks ago, my computer decided to give me not just the blue screen of death, but the multi-colored screen of death. Admittedly, it had been going downhill slowly, so its death wasn't exactly unexpected. In fact, there were times I felt like hastening its death...like the time Word ate the same paragraph for over an hour, freezing after each attempt to save it. Or the times my cursor would suddenly go walkabout, leaving me to resort to a hard shut down. Or the times that it randomly shut down on its own, dumping my work. So I wasn't exactly heartbroken to see it go. It just died at an inconvenient time...although to be fair, there really isn't a convenient time for a computer to die.

Thanks to tax returns and Best Buy, I am now the proud owner of a new computer. Let me re-phrase that: I am the proud owner of a new RED computer! (I feel like such a girl saying that...) Complete with shiny, new version of Office!

It's good to be back.

P.S. It's still cold. They're calling for around 3 inches of snow tonight. I am SO done with winter!


Note to Self

1: DON'T get the flu on New Year's Day. Just...don't.

Now that we've covered that subject, here's what I really wanted to say:

I finished the book!!

Okay, when I say "finished" I mean first draft, but...still. It's done. Plot holes, disappearing characters, bad syntax...that's all "editing". The "writing" is done!!!

If I were a puppy, I'd be wagging my tail hard enough to clear the coffee table right now.

And to continue the theme for 2015: It's cold (10* and falling). I'm going to bed.