Monthly Archives: July 2017

Tasmanian Devil Mailbox Decoration

We put up another of our favorite cartoon characters – The Tasmanian Devil – on the mailbox today. This is the back of the piece.

 

And this is the front. We hope he gives people a smirk or laugh as they drive by.

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I Want To

I Love Reading Books via Cathy Ruggiero

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3rd Time?

the afterlife of billy fingers via cathy ruggiero

Now my husband wants me to add more yellow to the sun/moon piece with the air brush.

I’ve quit worrying now about whether its ‘good’ or not, and am concentrating on having fun with the air brush, plus making something my husband is happy with. I’m really enjoying the experimenting with a totally new kind of painting. We’ve ordered a set of air brush paint, empty bottles for each color we use, plus an adapter and hose so we can hook it to the air compressor in the shop, rather than having to use a can.

So far, we’re learning to clean the system properly, keep it going, and adjust the spray a bit. I’m hoping to find a video on YouTube so I can watch someone who knows what he/she is doing.

Learning a new technique opens up a whole new world of possibilities, making your mind race and your mouth water.

So, maybe the third time is the charm on the sun/moon metal wall hanging and maybe it isn’t. We’re having fun in the trying.

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Filed under Attitude, Challenges, Childlike Fun, Lewis Art, metal art

Incredible Quilts – Take 1

Patchwork & Quilting

 

My friend, Kay, is a master quilter. She usually has one she’s working on, or is planning. She’s very creative and a super-active lady, canning or gardening when not quilting. I’ve always admired people who quilt. Kay taught my friend, Linda, to quilt so that she could make heirlooms for her great grandbabies.  A good friend, Alice, machine quilts their creations. A very talented trio.

 

3D Baby Quilt – Pinterest

 

Pinterest

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Filed under Creativity, Embroidery/Sewing Art

Wild Animal Paintings – Take 2

Rebecca Latham

 

 

“Riding High” – Carol Cavalaris

 

Robert Bateman

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For the Love of Birds

“Gull 1” – Paul Militaru Photography

 

 

“In the Mirror” – Paul Militaru Photography

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Making Progress

We’re starting to see light at the end of the tunnel in a lot of areas with our training. We’re still not completely sure who is training WHOM, but we’re having an easier time.

  • Pulling on the Leash – The training collar we use with the leash has made the biggest difference. We’re old and not as spry as we used to be. Amber may be close to 50 lbs now, and she’s very strong. When she gets excited, she can easily pull us down, even when we think we’re paying close attention. The small shock she gets from the collar when she pulls sufficiently gets her attention. In fact, she hasn’t been pulling at all the last few days. She’s also transferring this to being on the dog run. She spent a happy half an hour on the run yesterday while we were working in the yard.
  • Waiting to be Fed – she now sits automatically when we have bowl in hand, ready to feed her. We put the bowl down, hesitate a moment or two, and then say, “OKAY!” And this way we can feed her without her jumping up on us or dive-bombing us when we’re trying to put the bowl down.
  • Sit – she is getting pretty consistent about doing this when we ask – at least, in the house.
  • Place – she is good about staying on the dog bed in the living room even when a cat – or Molly – comes in. She is also transferring this to the bed in the office.
  • Come – She is definitely beginning to do this, although it’s not consistent yet.
  • “Hurry Up” – she knows that this means getting business taken care of, particularly since she knows treats are involved. This is particularly good when the weather is not pleasant and we don’t want to be standing around for a long time waiting for her to find the perfect spot.
  • Off – she still jumps up, putting her feet on the top of the pet gate, which we’re trying to discourage her from doing, but when she does and we say, “Off!” she gets down.

___________________

We’re still working on a lot of things. She manages to catch me with an open-mouthed toss of her head and give me another reason for yet another band-aid. In fact, I’m trying to sell this as a new fashion statement, since people remark on my ‘decorations’ when we’re out. There is also still the initial run-and-jump-on-Molly problem. We’re discouraging this, and it’s over pretty quickly, but we really wish she would stop.

My favorite times of the day with her remain when she’s in her place and I go over to sit on the floor by the couch and her bed. She comes right over, nuzzling and licking me furiously. We hug and I stroke her. We laugh and smile at each other. We play with toys. We both enjoy it, and my husband smiles from across the room.

Inviting a lab puppy into your home is no small decision, but it’s one we’re finding very rewarding, band-aids and all.

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Finished for the 2nd Time…

This shows you the sun/moon metal wall hanging after I masked parts in order to use the air brush for shading.

 

Tracing paper is off. Finishing touches are ready to be done.

 

Offset ‘moon’ ready for mounting on the piece.

 

The piece is now drying. I’ll take a final pic when this is up on the wall in the office.

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Idea

Linda Meyers – Begin with Yes

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Filed under Attitude, Encouragement, Family, Favorite Quotes, Friendship

Year of the ” “

It seems like each summer we have SOMETHING descending on us.

One year we had ladybugs. We had our home on the market because my husband had lost his job.  We had a gazillion ladybugs – plus or minus one or two – mainly in our utility room and on the back porch. Since we had to be ready for the house to be shown at a moment’s notice, we literally had to VACUUM the ladybugs up right before the people arrived. We had SO many we almost couldn’t handle the problem.

Another was the year of the flies. We bought the flycatcher thingies where you mixed up some stuff in a plastic bottle to draw the flies. We had SO many we were emptying out the containers and mixing more stuff every day – and we had SEVERAL of the traps! We had to sit on the deck, each of us armed with a flyswatter, in order to be able to cook out. UGH.

One really scary year was the year of the scorpion. Living on top of a ridge line outside the city limits, you have to expect to deal with a certain number of ‘critters’ that give you the willies; such as centipedes, tarantulas, spiders, etc. We usually have several scorpions, mainly in the garage or the door to the shop. We just keep our eyes open and kill them when we see them. I spray like a thing possessed so that we see as few of these things as possible in our home or the shop. Each time we see one, I spray everything again. My husband goes into a whole song and dance about how over-the-top I am, but I don’t care.

This year is the year of the red wasp.

The Man of Science

I can’t tell you how much I hate wasps. My husband tells me that wasps are ‘good,’ probably eating or killing something else we don’t like, but I don’t care. I was fine when I lived under the illusion that they would die if they stung you. I guess that’s bees. Anyhow, when I discovered that wasn’t true, my fear redoubled.

This year I’m spraying

  • the metal flower we built that is tied to the telephone pole in our back yard. If we can finally kill all of them that have built a nest under the 3-D center of the flower, we’ll bring it in, refurbish the paint, caulk around the center so the wasps can’t get in there, and I’ll figure something else out on decorating the center, rather than the flat glass stones that keep falling off.
  • the electrical box beside the shop door – we took the front of the box off and found a big nest inside. We’ve now sprayed that, removed the nest, sprayed again, and closed the box. We haven’t seen any more there.
  • the ‘vested popadoo’ bird we built from a small propane can and scrap metal parts. For some reason, the wasps like his NECK. Every time we pass the bird, there are 5 or 6 wasps on her neck. I’ve sprayed that several times, too.
  • the door of the well house – my husband goes to the well house door armed with a can of wasp and hornet spray. I don’t know why this is such an attractive place to them.
  • under a hydrangea leaf – I started to pull out a weed tree that had the audacity to plant itself in the middle of a nice hydrangea plant in a planter at the front of the house. When I got close, I saw movement out of the corner of my eye, finding a small nest and 3 red wasps under one of the leaves. I sprayed it heavily, and will make sure they’re no longer there before I get the weed tree out.

You get the idea that they’re everywhere with a vengeance this year. I don’t know what caused so MANY of them to descend on our home and surrounding area this year, but I’m hopeful it won’t be repeated any time soon…

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Wild Animal Paintings – Take 1

Artist Unknown

 

 

Jurek Zamoyski

 

 

Lesley Harrison

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Secrets of our Own

Bibliophile’s Corner via Cathy Ruggiero

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Be the Reason

Begin with Yes

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“Steps to Discover Love”

“Steps to Discover Love” – Paul Militaru Photography

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She Made Such a Difference

We heard tonight that our long time treasured dental hygienist, Shannon Faulkner, and her husband died in a light plane crash last night. She and her husband loved to fly around the countryside, soaring like a bird, enjoying the weather, the incredible view, and being with each other.

We treasured her because not only was she competent, she was compassionate and showed it in so many ways.

My mom died of oral cancer. Shannon did my oral exam first so that I could breathe a huge sigh of relief and we could go on with my teeth cleaning. She remembered details my husband, son, and I told her and would ask questions as if it hadn’t been six months or more since we had seen her. She loved her patients and it showed.

I hadn’t been to the dentist in years and years. I insisted that our son go regularly. My husband went regularly because he had had trouble with his teeth and harsh care in the Marines. He wanted to be proactive about any problems and he appreciates the wonderful care we get with Wes Moore, DDS in Fort Smith, and his staff.

Finally several years ago, Harvey insisted I go. I can’t remember what he promised to do that I really wanted for his health, but my going to the dentist was what I needed to do in order to get his cooperation. I met Shannon, shaking in my boots. I was shaking so hard I could barely lie on the chair. Shannon was really, really kind. She was gentle, too, and, as I mentioned, compassionate about my fear of dentists and the possibility of oral cancer.

It was because of Shannon that I kept going back. I met Dr. Moore, a truly NICE man. I told him that I liked him, and enjoyed talking to him, but hoped I would never need his services. I DID need his services when I developed a problem with my wisdom tooth this year. He removed it for me, making the procedure as painless as humanly possible. Shannon came into the room to hug me before my procedure when she discovered I was there.

I can’t imagine ever lucking out again as we did in finding Shannon and being lucky enough to be her patients. Shannon will always hold a special place in our hearts. She made a difference to us, and many others. We’ll miss you, Sweet lady.

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Dancing in the Rain!

Free Spirited via Cathy Ruggiero

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Hooray! It’s Sprinkling!!!

Daily Express

We’re having a wonderful afternoon.

First, it rained overnight and it’s sprinkling again now. We’re thankful for every drop.

My husband is on the driveway pad working on drilling holes in the antenna spokes for the ham radio tower and running a new length of wire around it. He says the sprinkling rain feels super good. :0)

I just came in from doing three things:

Thing One: 

I harvested two of my first-ever spaghetti squash!

 

When I bought one from the store, I washed the seeds and dried them. This spring I planted a couple of seeds in the house in small pots just to see if they would sprout. Not only did they sprout, they did well enough I transferred the plants into my raised bed square foot garden. The plants continued to do well, making yellow blooms and vines. As the other things in the garden came out, I just let the vines go where they wanted to in the squares. I harvested these two today. They’re almost as large as the ones I buy at the store. I have at least three more in the garden, and this was from TWO seeds!  I also got a handful of ripe grape tomatoes to add to my stash. :0)

Thing Two:

My husband and I took Amber with us out to the garden and then into the shop. She was wearing the new electronic collar. The whole time we were out – from the house out to the garden (waiting while I harvested), then to the shop – waiting while we painted – and then  back to the house, passing one of the cats – she was zapped twice. It’s as if we have a different dog! It’s becoming a pleasure to walk with her, rather than a “paying- attention-every-second-trying-to-anticipate, second-guess, and retain-control-whatever-happens” time.

Thing Three:

We went out to the shop to experiment with the air brush in the redoing of our sun/moon metal wall hanging. I felt really intimidated, since I’ve never used an air brush before. This made me determined to at least TRY it. I used paint thinner to make sure that the air brush and tube in the bottle were clean and ready to use. The other end of the tube is attached to a compressed air bottle. We then switched the bottle to a black paint for the shading we were trying to do. I practiced on a cardboard box until I was achieving a reasonably uniform, light spray. I had used tracing paper to mask some areas I didn’t want any shading on. I was able to achieve a darker shading around the sun face and along one side of the moon, with lighter shading on the flames of the sun. My husband and I looked at the picture on the computer together, deciding where the next shading should be.

Tomorrow we’ll look at what we’ve done, decide if we need more shading, or if I can move to a repaint of masked areas.

So far, I think the air brush is really fun. I’ve seen some beautiful things done with an air brush. If I can just get a subtle shading technique, I’ll be happy as a clam!

I’ll take pics of the metal wall hanging soon and post them.

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Filed under Amazing Animals, Family, Gardening, Lewis Art, Lewis projects, metal art, Square Foot Gardening - Raised Beds

Mid Summer Blooms

In Arkansas in mid summer, plants begin to get stressed out. Even though we have an irrigation system and the plants are watered daily, when we get heat indexes or actual temperatures of 108, no amount of watering is enough. The poor plants simply broil.  I took some pics to show you our blooms before the heat gets to be too much for too long….

 

 

 

I love the volunteer wave petunias in the grass.

 

One of my husband’s favorite things is the periwinkles we plant in what we call our “emu” planters.

 

 

 

These zinnias have all come up THIS year voluntarily when they failed to come up when I sprinkled the seeds LAST year…

 

 

 

Volunteer Impatiens

 

 

 

 

 

We’ve gone from incredible humidity summer to what will probably be no rain and no humidity broiler summer for the rest of the season. We’ll be happy if anything survives. We sure have enjoyed our blooms this year, though.

 

 

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Ham Radio Tower Setback

After fighting to get the antenna on the tower and then jacking things up so the antenna could rotate and be tested, my husband found out that the antenna had been tuned for 11 meter band – which is CB radio. He needs it to be tuned for 10 meter – ham radio.

 

So we laboriously unbolted the antenna from the tower, carefully brought it down, and carried it to the driveway pad where my husband can work on it. Apparently, the trick is the length of the wires in the antenna. We need to shorten the wires so that we have an antenna that will resonate in the 10 meter band. My husband will need to measure carefully, drill holes into the arms of the antenna where the shorter wires need to go and then install them.

Once that is done, we’ll carry the antenna back around to the other side of the house and install it again, and then test to see if we got it right this time.  One step at a time…

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Solving the Pulling on the Leash Problem

I’ve read several articles on ways to stop dogs from pulling on the leash. Amber is food/rewards driven, but she’s so intent on getting rewards for taking care of business and sitting that I don’t think that option is viable for us right now.

My husband ordered an electronic collar that is one he’s been looking for a long time. It doesn’t come with a ‘remote.’ The collar IS the training aid. It’s called, an “Eltrex Walk’r”. It’s made by a company called, “Trail Blazin’ Innovations. The collar has a ‘stimulator’ built in. You attach the collar so the stimulator is in the front and the D ring is directly opposite on the back. When the dog pulls, she receives a small stimulation or shock. When she stops pulling, the shock stops (or several seconds, whichever comes first.

 

I’m usually averse to this type of training, but for a large puppy with no brain who is growing while we watch, it’s necessary. We got it today and put the collar on her. We took her for a walk, and she immediately started pulling. She got shocked, yipped, got upset, pulled a bit more, and then suddenly sat down. It was as if an epiphany occurred. We walked together (the three of us) out to the shop to turn on the a/c, got her a biscuit inside, and then walked back. We had her sit a couple of times and then start walking again. She didn’t pull once! We will keep doing short walks, giving rewards at the end of the time, but this looks like a miracle in the making. This is on the lowest setting, and it got her attention and she altered her behavior – already!

I reminded my husband that using it around the house and family is one thing. It’ll be like starting over if someone comes to the house or we’re out in public with lots of wonderful distractions.

We’re delighted. She may take several lessons for this to sink in, but it looks like, thanks to this innovation, we have a good start.

 

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“Intense Orange”

“Intense Orange” – Paul Militaru Photography

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Melding a Pet Family is Difficult

Melding our pet family has been challenging.

When we had only Bambi, our pit bull,

we felt he needed to lighten up. So we got Molly

to be his friend and make him laugh. It took quite awhile for them to accept each other. Molly was intimidated by Bambi’s size and demeanor. He ‘put up with her’ for the most part, in the beginning. Then they became fast friends.  We live on a ridge line so we can just let our animals out, rather than always having to have them on a leash. We learned the hard way to let out one dog at a time. If we did this, they basically stayed on our property. If we forgot, they formed a ‘pack,’ and had wonderful adventures, exploring. Sometimes they would be gone an hour or so before coming home, many times filthy and stinking, needing baths. :0(

After quite awhile, we added Abby to the mix.

We found her through an ad in the paper for a ‘lap kitty.’ She was slow to warm up to us, but is, now, indeed, true to the ad.

Then, I fell in love with a kitten at the vet’s that was up for adoption. My husband and I agreed that we didn’t need another animal. I kept thinking of her. I dreamed of her and named her Smoke. We went back and got her.

She’s headstrong. She and Abby fought for a while, hissing and spitting and swiping at each other. They finally accepted each other.  Smoke also freaked out at the doggies for a while. She finally realized they weren’t going to chase her or try to hurt her.

Then, several years later, Bambi suddenly went downhill fast. He was almost 14 years old, pretty rare for a pit. We had to have him put to sleep. We were all really sad, though we had known the day would come. We had thought about what we would do. We have learned over the years that getting another animal right away is good for us. It doesn’t lessen the hurt of the loss, but forces us to reach out to meet a sweet animal’s needs, occupying our time and keeping us from shutting down and imploding in our grief.

So we adopted Amber.

We’re almost too old for this challenge. Even though we plan ahead, things don’t go smoothly very often these days.

For example, I decided to let Amber in to the office with us for a while before we go to Lunch Bunch. She ran right over the top of Molly, knocking her down. She then ran into the office and I shut the gate door behind her. Suddenly she got quiet. She had apparently stood up, put her feet on the file cabinet, and got down a purple silk flower up there. She was busy trying to eat the parts…. Just now I had to bite my husband verbally for sitting in his chair watching her trying to eat a sheet of bubble wrap!  Next, he decided it would be good to let her chew a cardboard box into little bits. NOW he says ‘he’ll clean it up next time…’

_______________

Things are beginning to calm down now (other than the latest incident with Molly). The cats hide, go outside, or get up somewhere Amber has trouble reaching them. Molly either goes off by herself, or MAY allow Amber to nose her a bit, or sit on the bed in the living room with her. She can curl up in her bed under my feet in the office with Amber only bothering her a little bit.

The fish aren’t bothered by the dogs or the cats.

Amber is learning to co-exist with us, even though we’re old and slower than she would like. She enjoys being inside with us, and is learning to calm down (for a puppy).

We need a lot of patience, but things are starting to come together in melding our sweet pet family. I’ll be glad when most of the ‘drama’ of it passes. Otherwise, I may need a rubber room… :0)

 

 

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Sunset

Sergio Dardon Photography

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Filed under Awe-Inspiring Photography, Mother Nature

Berries, Cherries

“Wild Fruits in the Sun” – Paul Militaru Photography

 

“Cherries Time” – Paul Militaru Photography

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Learning Something New

Zen to Zany via Cathy Ruggiero

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Fire Break and Leftover Weeds to Kill

I’m feeling much safer from the threat of wild-fire now. Not that we can actually control when one breaks out, how bad it will be, how the wind will factor in, etc., but I’m feeling more proactive – we’ve acknowledged the threat, and have done what is possible to do to not lose everything if we have one.

Foy Brown did a wonderful job for us. I feel good that he’s willing to come back and redo this area twice a year now. As well as making us safer, he opened up our view of the valley below for us. We love watching the seasons change.

Things are about 98% +  better than they were. Molly and I surveyed the areas that need the weed killer when the time is right.  You can see more weed trees to the left of the picture behind the bird bath. I’ll spray those, and some other weedy type greenery.

 

As you can see, Foy got rid of a bunch. I’ll spray behind the telephone pole and to the other side of this picture, where the brush was in the rocks.

 

 

The weeds were above my head all around the metal flower when we started. Now there are just a few areas needing to be sprayed.  Rain is forecast for tonight-into-tomorrow, with temperatures still high (it IS summer) but humidity a lot lower this weekend and into next week. Maybe I’ll get a good day to finish this project!

 

 

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Filed under Gardening, Housekeeping - Maintenance

‘Destructo-Dog’ Strikes Again

After I fixed us lunch, I fell asleep. I think I got too hot and too stressed with our tower raising this morning.  I’m still feeling a bit as though I’ve been run over by a truck.

My husband, the Energizer Bunny, has been out and in and out and in again, taking measurements of the rotator and antenna with his analyzer. So far, he says it resonates at the wrong frequency. He thinks it was set up for a CB radio, rather than ham. He thinks he’ll need to make a part, though I really have no clue. With the heat index at 106 degrees F. right now, I’m encouraging my husband to stay out of the sun as much as possible.

When I got up from my nap to check on him, he was in the side yard and our puppy, Amber, was in the office. I checked the back porch and she had been busy –

  • I had left water in her bowl. She had played in it, pawing it all over the porch. It was wetter than usual, though, so, in checking around, I found she had knocked the water container we keep on the table, on top of her food canister, off, and had spilled most of THAT, too.
  • My husband’s work gloves had been pulled off the table, too, and had received their share of toothful attention
  • Every toy in her laundry basket was on the floor.
  • She had pulled the towels in her crate out through the holes and they were now on the floor, as well.

It’s amazing, when she has been out for walks two or three times today, plus spent time on her dog run, and in her kiddie pool, that she had time to do all that.

Lesson to us – nothing is sacred even in the middle of the table. We’ll have to move the food canister (a heavy-duty food grade canister with a heavy lid that screws on) into the pantry, since she’ll have it off the table, spilled onto the floor (if possible!) next…

“Destructo-Dog!”

 

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Overcast!!!

It was overcast when we first woke up this morning, so my husband grabbed the push around weed whacker and I mowed the yard.

My husband then decided that it was a good time to lift the tower up high enough that he can rotate the antenna on the ham radio tower, hopefully getting it turned in the proper direction to pick up the frequency he wants. He can actually test the system to make sure it resonates properly. This is Greek to me, but a lot of what we do is…

The sun came out with a vengeance, of course. The tower is VERY heavy now. My husband can’t lift the end any higher without some help. We ended up using a mobile jack, a 5 foot metal hollow pole he had in the shop, and some wooden vices to hold things together. He jacked it up a bit, and I tried to wedge one of our ladders under the tower, bit by bit.

The pictures show the antenna where it was before we began to try to lift it up.

At one point, the whole tower shifted away from us and the whole thing came down. No one was hurt, thank goodness, and the antenna seemed to survive, as well. We got another couple of ladders. I wedged one under the top edge of the antenna. I then wedged another one under the tower at a different point so that if it got away from us again, the ladder would catch it.

We took a short break at my insistence. I was rattled when the thing came crashing down, picturing all sorts of awful things that could have happened. Once the ladders were providing a bit more security, we tackled it again. We needed to get it up another 6 to 8 inches for the antenna to be able to rotate freely.

We think it’s up high enough now, and are taking a break to cool off and drink water. My husband is going to go back out in awhile and use his analyser on it to see what’s happening with the tower and the antenna.

Once we get it resonating at the proper frequency, we’ll figure out where the guy wire stakes should go. This may be another awful part of this project because the stakes won’t want to go into the rocky ground. We also have to do some chain sawing to get to the place the stake needs to go on one side.

Once the stakes have been pounded into the ground and the guy wires have been attached to the tower, we’ll be ready to ask our friend Dave to bring his special equipment over to help us stand the tower up and tie it down.

 

Here’s the way it looks now, before antenna testing. My husband used some weather-resistant duct tape to tie the wiring in increments to the tower.  You can see the jack in the middle of the picture.

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Paintings of Children – Take 5

Bart Lindstrom – Portraits by Commission

 

 

DayDayPaint.com

 

 

Pinterest – Artist Unknown

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Brush Hogging is Done

We look almost civilized since Foy did his hard work with his brush hog. He’s done all he can do now, since there is no way he and the tractor can get up on the pile of rocks in the back, but he’s performed a miracle.  You can now see my greenhouse from the house!

 

Isn’t this amazing? The weeds between us and the greenhouse were higher than my head.

 

This is behind the greenhouse, looking to the north.

 

And this is looking south.

_____________________

This is the area across the back where I’ve been trying to hack down weed trees.

 

 

 

The weeds around this metal flower we made were so high and thick you could no longer see the flower.

 

The only weed trees left I’ll spray with the weed killer.

We have penciled in for Foy to come back in the fall, and then in the spring, when the weather is much more cooperative and comfortable and he can work us in between jobs.

I feel a lot safer now that we have a clean break between years of greenery and our house, should a wild fire threaten.

 

 

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Ladies

“Total Relaxation” – Paul Militaru Photography

 

 

“Three Ladies” – Paul Militaru Photography

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