31 December 2008

Christmas - New Year's Present

Let's go back a few days. it's Christmas Eve. I've been out most of the day running errands and then having dinner with our good friends Ted, SuAnne, Doug, and Loretta. The roads were iffy, but there was no trouble driving with Russ' all wheel dive vehicle. Home about 8:30 I debated about going to Christmas Eve Liturgy at ten o'clock. I had this nagging refrain in my head....

"I'm gonna die!"

No, it definitely wasn't the unborn Baby Jesus talking to me. I figured it was just me being nervous about driving at that hour, knowing I'd be comming home at maybe two in the morning. So, plucky gal that I am deep inside, I bundled up and conquered that fear. The roads were actually better than an hour before!

Getting home at a wild-and-crazy 4 AM-ish (I helped clean up after the feast) I discovered that it wasn't me worrying about imminent death. Apparently refrigerators have souls too! Think of a quiet version of the sound of a truly dead alternator that still acknowledges your request to get the car going...




Nada. No cooling, no light, no high-tech readout. Just, "Wuh..."

Christmas Day... Clear out what's worth keeping, pile a bunch of snow into the cooler, and worry about it later. Not like there'll be anyone at the Sears call center! Or the only grocery that sells dry ice.

On the 26th I finally bought nine pounds of solid CO2, learned not to touch it even through the bag, and cleaned the fridge interior. top to bottom. CO2 works just as well as one can hope, by the way. That bit of chicken had to moved down to unfreeze it.

Today... New Year's Eve... I finally got the repair man out. Good thing the fridge is still under warrantee. I presumed the problem was my compressor. That's what usually goes out, right? Not at all. It was the motherboard! Didn't even consider that it had one of those. Wow!

Russ... buying the extended warrantee just saved us about $500! The part was nearly $300 by itself. But for you.... nada. And now we have a working fridge again.

And we now know it takes about nine pounds of CO2 a day to keep the fridge cold.

29 December 2008

not as planned - the solution

As Carl and I rambled over this and that, an extremely deep, almost below hearing frequency (at least for a geezer like me) rumble seemed to come and go in the wind - it was the Harmon Towing truck cautiously winding down my driveway. Good reader, you would not believe the size of this behemoth - 67,000 pounds and 14 tires (you can click on the image to enlarge it - note how small the men look). It was like a scene from a Science Fiction movie where the viewer has been struck by the nefarious "shrink ray" and is now only a foot tall but all else remains at the original size. Two men descended from the lofty cab of this iron and steel giant of the roads: Jeff, the supervisor, and Russell, his assistant, walked up to size up the situation.

Jeff studied that mired truck with no less skill and experience (and intensity) than Minnesota Fats reading the pool table for a three-rail corner pocket, game winning shot. The air nearly crackled with the processing going on in his mind. He read the situation, considered it, re-read, re-thought it, and soon had the solution- a small push forward for the trailer.

This monster tow truck was as complex as it was large, and clearly Jeff could play it as masterfully as a prodigy could play a Steinway. The rear boom was deployed and with gentle manipulation of a panel of levers, the boom effortlessly pushed the CCX trailer forward and out of the hole. Then Jeff pulled out a large wooden block from one of the multitudinous storage compartments and wedged it into the hole.

Now, reader, study this picture of Jeff at the control panel. It is barely evident- but can you see the black box sitting on top of the panel area? That is a remote control, like those used by those flying remote control model airplanes - except it can control each and every function of the tow boom. Now Jeff took the remote in hand and with the boom now chained to the trailer, walked around in front of the CCX cab. Why use a remote? Because from where he could see the hole and the tractor, he could not see his tow truck. Using the remote, he manipulated the boom, shortening it by several feet, which pulled the wheels of the tractor and trailer backwards past the holes. Viola, extrication.

All was not finished yet- Carl had to back the tractor/trailer up and execute a difficult maneuver - a controlled jack-knife - to head it down the driveway. It was a tough set up - the trees, the soft ground and a retaining wall left him no room for mistakes. After a trial run, he put the CCX truck into reverse and precisely completed the move. If this had been an ice skater performing a triple reverse axle in the Olympics, he would have received a 9.9 from the judges. Maybe one judge would even have awarded a perfect 10.

With that, the two trucks rolled into the fading light. It was now after 5:00, the library was closed, maybe I could still make a grocery run, but first, since I never had the opportunity to eat lunch, a stop at EL CHARRO was needed. And then come home and write this tale while the details were still fresh in my mind.

Carl, my sincere apologies for causing you to get hung up in the drive and waste nearly four hours. I owe you one. A BIG one.

And Jeff and Russell, since this was a money maker for them, I don't owe 'em a thing - but hope to see them again over a luncheon special at the Blue Ridge Cafe some day. Russell's last name is STOUT, and the that's a family name on my mom's side. And you know what? Russell's people are from eastern Kentucky. We need to figure out if we're twelfth cousins!

Not quite as planned - the set up

Yesterday was a beautiful day here in Virginia, with a sky every bit as deep and blue as Santa Fe. In fact, given the Albuquerque air pollution that blows up when the wind is from the south, perhaps it is clearer here. I will also attest that the night skies are darker than Santa Fe as there is no light pollution here and with the clear air, the constellations are as beautiful and radiant as they were in Santa Fe perhaps 20 years ago. Bluebird and Roz drove up from Charity to loan me his old Ford pickup - now I can make a much needed run to Christiansburg for items that will not fit into the wee Morris Minor (thank you!).

Today, the plan was to spend the morning organizing and cleaning. Between 1:00 and 3:00, Conway Freight (CCX) was due to deliver the white pine floor planks from Carlisle Flooring. after I unloaded the 1,000 pounds of wood, then a trip into downtown Floyd to get my library card, grab groceries, post office (yes, I am in full holiday card mode at last), etc. The morning went precisely as planned. Carl, the CCX driver, called right on the money and said he was a few minutes away; I speed walked up the driveway to meet him at the farm gate.

A cautious driver, educated by experience, he was somewhat dubious about getting his 28' trailer down my driveway and back out again. "No problem," I said. As he approached the house, I showed him where to stop, back the truck up and line up for an easy exit. A look that said "does this guy know anything about tractor-trailer geometry" shot across his face and then disappeared. His truck was empty except for my flooring and I truly thought the ground would hold his 25,000 pound tractor. You may already have guessed who had the better read on the situation- Carl. The truck sunk in the very soft ground and was quickly stuck (for those who have not never looked at these truck tires - they have very little tread compared to a normal vehicle - and he simply lost traction). After attempting various schemes to extricate the vehicle, he wisely gave up and called Harmon Towing in Christiansburg.

Carl was a saint under these bad circumstances - here is a portrait after he had thrown in the towel and called Harmon. Never a cross look, never an exclamation, just quiet resignation. and bless his heart, he handed me every one of those boards. while waiting an hour or so for the tow truck to arrive, we got to talking and I'm pleased to say, I hope that another friendship from the area has been forged.

26 December 2008

Scotland of the South

Yes, this has been an entire day of Scottish weather, reminding me of Fife and Perthshire. It began by drizzling at 0C soon after sunrise (or at least I think the sun was up - not visible). By mid-day there was a fine fog and by late afternoon, beautiful deep azure sky.

I spent the day sanding window and door trim, touching up spackling, and ripping down the remaining crown molding in the living room. Slow progress. Maybe enough energy will remain after supper to write a few holiday cards.

Hopefully everyone had a fine Boxing Day.

25 December 2008

Celebrating Christmas

I declined three invitations to gatherings today in order to spend time on the farm. Tomorrow night will mark the end of the third week on the farm and yet there have been only two opportunities to walk around the farm, neither for more than twenty minutes.

To mark the holiday, I decided to spend a couple of hours just walking around the farm. The day proved spectacular (especially in contrast to Santa Fe) with a high of 51F, dead still and not a cloud in the skies all day long, perfect for a wee perambulation. The front half of the farm is fairly well known to me so the trek was to the back half. Deer tracks were virtually everywhere. Howell Creek (aka Long Man) is the southern border of the farm.

Rather than bore thee with more blether, the images will speak for themselves. Remember, good and devoted reader, that you may click on the images to enlarge them. The final image shows my walking companion, Ginny, made by Brian Anderson in the style of a c. 1765 Virginia flintlock rifle.

The bedroom

The 'master suite' is cavernous with a cathedral ceiling, When we looked at it, we were unable to calculate how to use such a large space as a bedroom. Moreover, it has windows on three walls, all with fine views, and as April observed, it would be a shame to use that gorgeous room when our eyes are closed. So we picked one of the small bedrooms to use.

It is a well proportioned room with two well placed windows looking out at right angles onto the forest beyond (conducive to sleep!). It also has a door directly into the bathroom, something Russ will often utilize at night... but the room was, well, boring. What to do? Well, that 1991 carpet sure might do better in a new location.

We contacted our old friend, Wayne Dunlap, of Dunlap Woodcrafts, right here in Virginia. Wayne founded his business to provide fabulous woods for blackpowder gunmakers. Eventually, he diversified to musical instrument makers in America and Europe and flooring; we were amongst his very first flooring customers in 1998 when we added a second floor to the Santa Fe casa. Wayne sent us beautiful figured maple for that upstairs addition. We knew he knew his business and he would deliver as he promised.

Last Friday night, Wayne rolled into the driveway with a rental truck and our 'character' prefinished solid walnut floor. It took us about 40 minutes to unload it then we ventured into beautiful downtown Floyd to listen to Celtic and medieval Spanish music and songs at Oddfellas restaurant. Oh, and we consumed a delightful repast whilst enjoying the voices and notes.

Saturday morning saw Wayne headed homeward and Eric Johnson arriving. Eric was our realtor in purchasing the farm and he is also a contractor. He demolished the 'closet' in the little bedroom, then we removed the baseboard molding, tore out the carpet and its underlying pad. I spent several hours the next day removing the track strips and hundreds of staples (which held the pad in place).

Eric returned on Tuesday to lay the floor; Wayne would have preferred that we let the wood acclimate for another two or three days but with the holidays, that was not possible. I carefully selected the boards and ferried them to Eric's waiting saw to be trimmed to precise length. Wait, you say! Selected? Couldn't the boards just be pulled off in sequence? Of course but then, some of the most beautiful figure night end up under the dresser, too many light or dark boards might end up grouped together, and there is a fair amount of decision making regarding the board widths (there were 4, 5 and 6 inch widths in random lengths).

By being thoughtful in selection, the figure would be easily visible in the room, the widths randomly distributed, light and dark boards randomly placed. Selection is also a key to minimizing wasted 'trim offs.' The proof is in the pudding, as they are wont to say: the waste was less then three board feet (see picture).

Alas, we were unable to finish the job; the baseboard molding is only partially installed. Until it is finished, I cannot place anything in that room. More in another post on why that is a problem.

Merry Christmas to all!

I received my Christmas present early, on Tuesday to be precise- dear friends from Santa Fe came by for about twenty minutes. April (Big April) and Chris went to college with April Young (little April); she is from the next county east of Floyd and they were home to visit her family for a few days. With Chris and April was April's younger sister, Jenny (in the centre), who also lives nearby here. What a sight for sore eyes they were. Thanks for taking the time to swing by, it really made my week. Come back and stay once the house is organized.

Happy Christmas!

Love and Joy come to you.
And to you your wassail too!

It's Christmas and the wee wyfie is drunk on joy!
May you feel great joy today all always!

Thanks for reading!

23 December 2008

Meanwhile, Back in the Land of Enchantment...

Hi Honey, what did you do today?

Well. sweetheart, Eric and I worked on getting the bedroom floor laid down and then your old college buddies drove down from Roanoke for a wee visit. How was your day?

Did you get the snow pictures from this morning?

Oh yes... I can't believe you got ten inches in Santa Fe!

We got two or three more after I took those pics. I shoveled snow most of the day. We have a looooonnng driveway, you know! I'm awfully glad I broke your old shovel. That new ergonomic one sure made it easier.

Why did it take you all day, sweetie?

I shoveled the whole drive... The snow is too deep for the Honda to push through. I feel pretty good about it... even managed to beat the trash truck at two! Good thing too as last week's snow was on trash day too and I didn't beat the truck then. Oh, and I cut a path to the wood pile and cleared the turn around too.

I bet you're glad you can spend the evening curled up with the kitties enjoying a nice fire. We finally got Mom's big buffet moved away from the fireplace here. It took all five of us... Forgot just how heavy it was!

Sweetie... I cleared that drive and I'm gonna USE it. Those cats wouldn't even come out and keep me company. Not even Grover. He's turned into a snow wimp. I mean, the high was a balmy 32 degrees. Didn't even need my coat once I got going. I'm gonna take a shower and go to LV's party tonight.

Drive safely.

I will. And I have a box of bird seed in the back in case I need traction. We're not supposed to get more snow until the wee hours, so I should be Ok.

22 December 2008

Wild weather

So, dear reader, you think that the Virginia climate is warm and temperate, do you not? Let me disabuse you of such notions. At sunrise this morning, my weather station reported +7F with a chill factor of -6F. The wind howled from the west almost all night and I now know that these windows all leak air badly where the window meets the sill.

The data points are still few but it appears that when the air is damp and rain imminent, the temperatures are more or less moderate for the season; when the skies clear and the wind active, very cold temperatures are possible. Tuesday is forecast to be as cold as today; on Saturday, it was 61F...

20 December 2008


Our little farm and the farms surrounding it (indeed the entire county) are teeming with deer. When April and I initially looked at the farm in March, we saw 27 deer in one day. So far I have only seen six in one day but, alas, I have been so preoccupied with the house interior that perhaps whole herds pass by.

Deer are virtually a pest here, demolishing gardens and the bucks kill trees by marking their territory by rubbing the bark away. The 1991 builders of our house built a tall cement wall around the garden to keep these pests from gobbling all of the produce. The wall does little to deter the raccoons and chipmunks who still feast on the new plants each spring.

(If you're wondering what that tall thing is on the deck, it is a weather monitoring station. A farmer needs to be acutely aware of the weather...)

18 December 2008

the reliable Ford

Its a good question whether or not the Detroit automakers should be extricated from the deep hole they dug for themselves over the last few years. Ford, in particular, relying almost exclusively on its F-series gas-gobbling pickup trucks for profit, refused to diversify or even look to see if there might be 'writing on the wall.'

When Henry Ford still breathed, he breathed innovation into his company. Ford sold their first tractor in 1917, a tractor as revolutionary as his automobile. It was small and affordable, just like his cars, and was greatly successful (Stalin's farms could not have produced without them). When Henry died in 1947, his son Henry II took over the business and soon introduced a new model, the 8N, built in Dearborn from 1947-1952. It was soon succeeded (due to patent infringement litigation with Ford's old partner, Ferguson, and now its major competitor) by the 600 series, made 1954-1957. This tractor, dear reader, was the vehicle I learned to drive on...

Lest you think I am on a paint-fume induced ramble- we own a slightly more modern version of the 600, a three-cylinder diesel 1710, made 1983-1986. It is just about the same size as my childhood's venerable 600 (barely more than one ton in weight) and even about the same horsepower (25 real horsepower). One tremendous advantage- it has four wheel drive. But it wasn't made by Ford, it was made by Shibaura, a Japanese firm. Ford was already delegating their tractor manufacture. Will it ever become a classic? Not likely.

We have a bush hog for mowing, a constant warm weather task here, and a blade (in the photo) for pushing snow and grading the very long driveway. You cannot have a farm without a tractor (unless you are skilled enough to be a teamster and have a place for the horses). This is ours. Eat your heart out, Tom!

17 December 2008

New molding

My friend and fellow chunk gun shooter, Bill Burtt, was here from Indianapolis for four days to rip off the ugly window and door trim on the ground floor (kitchen, living room and dining room) and replace it with molding he crafted in the shop here. The 1x4s are local pine and purchased at Wills Ridge Building Supply, a great place about six miles away. After years of seeing mostly junk wood in Santa Fe, I was totally amazed to see 14 foot long boards without a single knot or defect. and the prices were very, very reasonable. Besides his work in the day, Bill was great company for Lily and I - and perhaps it was his presence that finally brought her out of her funk. Bill did the interior woodwork in David and Jane Wright's fabulous house in Tennessee and worked his magic here. The entire house looks better for it even though I haven't painted the new trim yet.

The Cord is Found!

Yes, devoted audience, the necessary cable linking ye camera to ye computer has been discovered and thus photographs shall be included.

These three men from Philadelphia arrived with all 85 bits of the remainder of our life in Scotland on Monday morning. The driver, the man in the centre, with great skill, backed down the entire length of the driveway (1,000'+). They were fine gentlemen and very efficient in their craft- unloading boxes & furniture at the rate of one a minute. Not only is the house filled with boxes that I brought from Santa Fe but now 85 new pieces of flotsam and jetsam, from mattress to tea caddy. Importantly, there were winter clothes amongst the contents; a most welcome addition. After months in storage it is fair to state that the textiles are a bit fusty (thank you for teaching me that word, Daisy) and now this house has 'that odor.' Oh well.

16 December 2008

a proper cuppa

Glory be! The moving truck from Philadelphia with our household contents from Scotland arrived this morning. It took two mistaken boxes but on the third try, one with tea pots was found, the precious treasure unwrapped and a proper cuppa brewed. After a fortnight of making tea in an aluminum pot on the stove top, it was a moment for quiet celebration and thanks.

The weather today has been about 38-40F and a steady drizzle, a "Scottish mist" if you will. The clouds are so low they are brushing through the tops of the trees. That view and drinking from one of our Cupar teapots and a Macphails' cup has put me in a melancholy, missing our friends there.

Images will be posted if and when I ever see the cord that connects the camera to the computer again. It's here somewhere...

15 December 2008

Floyd County Welcomes You

Well, after a very tedious journey, Miss Lily and I made it on Friday night, Dec. 5th, right after sunset. We were both pretty traumatized by the trip; she had the luxury of being able to run and hide. The Strattons were still moving out, taking things not removed by the moving men. Indeed, ten days later, there are still Stratton possessions herein. They took me to dinner at the local Mexican restaurante, where we had to wait about 15 minutes for a table - I didn't think I could remain vertical that long...
Neither Lily nor I slept well that night. A bed might have helped me and a big dose of catnip might have helped her...
Saturday the 6th was a morning of cleaning. I have a new title: King of the 409 (cleaner). The house was left pretty 'unkept' and all of the kitchen cabinets needed to be vacuumed and 409ed before priming and painting the interiors. A local landscaper had offered to lend me three of his men (all from South of the Border) to help me unload at noon. Well, they got lost and I had to go find them. Nonetheless, they were highly efficient and very careful- the entire truck was empty in less than 90 minutes (oh, had the loaders in Santa Fe been half as good...). I now had a mostly dirty house filled with boxes on the ground floor and in the basement.
It was too discouraging to face so I took an hour off and went to WINTERFEST at the Jacksonville Art Center. There two different people offered to give me a ride back from Blacksburg on Monday when I needed to return the rental truck. All engendered good cheer and I returned to the farm, reinvigorated. It was quite cold - I think the high was 26F, a little colder than we had imagines Virginia... checked the propane tank when I got home and HORRORS! The needle on the gauge was flat on ZERO. No propane, no heat, on a night forecast to be 16F. Oh my.
It was time to find and read the manual for the fireplace/furnace. The Strattons had left me with plenty of high BTU oak firewood so I knew at least part of the house would be warm! I read and re-read the manual, loaded the wood and built a fire as it instructed, letting it burn to coal and then loading the firebox with unsplit logs, cutting off the air supply and nearly closing the damper. I was more than a little apprehensive... but it worked as promised and poured out heat until after 6:00 a.m. Saturday night Lily and I both got to sleep on a mattress and did so with gusto, me under a pile of blankets and her on top.
Sunday morning the temperature had fallen only to 20F and the furnace had kept the house at a tolerable temperature; certainly no risk of frozen pipes. It was gusty with a sharp wind from dead north (which has arisen in the wee hours of the morn). The propane truck from Stuart arrived not long after sunrise and son there was enough gas pressure to use the stove to heat water for tea and take a hot shower! Oh, thankful for small favors. I spent most of the day unpacking, vacuuming and 409ing until 2:30 p.m. when it was time to head into town for the holiday parade.
It was hard to guess what sort of parade a village of 450 could muster; one would not be expecting fez-topped Shriners in their funny little cars... As with nearly everything else, Floyd rose to the occasion: the parade lasted slightly longer than 45 minutes (whilst I froze in a chill factor of 18F). The sheriff had both the east-west and north-south state highways closed the entire time. There were homemade floats by civic and church groups, floats sponsored by local enterprises, the antique car club was out in all of its glory (Flora, our Morris Minor convertible will be there next year!), the antique farm tractor club (ooooh, can I puleeeeaaase have one, April, purty please?), the local bands, all of the emergency services, steam engines, Red Rider wagons populated by wee ones in elf costumes being pulled by Moms, etc. It was a wonderful experience - that left me unable to feel my fingers... afterward, guess what? 409, vacuum, box knife. Lily and I both imploded that evening, it had all caught up with us, the adrenaline was long dissipated, as were we, and we fell into deep dreaming about 7:00 o'clock.
Tomorrow I'll detail Monday the 8th and all of the activities of that day; eventually we'll get caught up - me with writing and you with reading.
No cat pictures in MY part of the blog, I promise, well, unless Lily gets us a deer... right now she needs a cuddle and so do I. Bye for now.

13 December 2008

Snow In Santa Fe

Today, 7:15 AM
Mr Grover geared up to play in the new fallen snow.

10 December 2008

We've Cleared Customs!

And that means our things from Scotland are now on their way from the Port of Baltimore to our new home in Floyd! Now to make some room for it as the Strattons aren't completely moved out yet. Russ can tell you more about that.

09 December 2008

Chet discovers what happens when April has no ornaments for decorating. Thank goodness she found the little, lighted, plastic tree!

08 December 2008

Monday With the Movers

The best place to spend that afternoon.... hiding in the storage room.

OK, I've recovered enough from the trauma of loading up the rental truck last week to show you a few pictures. I (April) spent the morning madly packing some of Russ' flintlocks and Russ finished up last minute inventory items. At 11:30 we drove down to the Penske place to pick up the 16 foot truck, car trailer, and two bundles of moving blankets. On the way home I stopped by our favorite sandwich shop... which seemed to have a sudden revival of business that day. Lunch didn't find its way home until after 1 PM so you can guess where our blood sugar was headed when we finally ate.

Here's Russ standing in the chaos.

The movers were due at 2 PM so Russ called the company to ask where they were at 2:20. Apparently they were at the furthest point of the area and not quite done packing that truck. At 3 PM they finally arrived. True to tradition they were both dim bulbs who didn't really know how to move furniture. We learned this straight off when they decided it was a good idea to push Russ' beautiful desk across the floor because it was rather heavy. Not lay it on a blanket and slide it but just push it across the tile. Not exactly good problem solvers. At least the one knew how to pack a truck. Apparently nothing shifted on the drive.

Here's Russ and our "crew" when they finished loading about 5 o'clock.

The guys were supposed to pack the truck in a two hour period but we had a little problem. The folks at Penske forgot to give us our blankets. Guess who got to drive into town and pick them up? That's about an hour lost. My going in was probably a good thing as I think I would have flipped out on the goons. As it was, I got home, parked the car, brought in a handful of blankets and officially quit for the night. I might have laid down ont the bed but it was covered with the stuff I'd declared could not be boxed before the movers arrived and really ought not to be where it could be trod upon. Instead, I joined the Cat Clan for a cuddle. Boy were they pissed about being locked up!

After half an hour I decided I'd calmed down enough to make a cup of tea and take some pictures for you. Here's Russ and Goon #2. Nutmeg is helping out and REALLY enjoying all the excitement. You know... Nutmeg... the dog who's terrified of her own heartbeat.

Isn't that a truly crappy picture of Russ? Here's another, just to prove the sun set before the loading was done. After this, the chap in the truck backed the truck around for us and got the trailer place. (Russ attached the trailer.)

He's Arrived!

It's official.... Russ & Miss Lilly are living in Floyd, Virginia. Russ froze his fingers off to take pictures of the Winterfest parade. True to what we were told, he mentioned that he needed a way to get home after returning the truck tomorrow and two people he'd only met twice offered to give him a lift home from The Big City (Christiansburg.)

In all the moving craziness... and open doors... the propane (which we knew was low) ran out Saturday. Russ filled the fireplace/furnace thing and enjoyed a reasonably warm house overnight. 6:30 AM Sunday morning saw the propane guy filling the tank... 450 gallons out of 500... and advising us that it was going to be an unusually cold and snowy winter. Now we know why Cold Bringing Woman Katchina came into our collection. Surely she was watching out for him when the propane guy said he'd come out first thing on a Sunday in Church Country!

Here's another picture Russ sent me from the parade. Aren't those kids cute? They don't look like they know the high was below freezing!

04 December 2008

End of Day Two

Stop number one... Oklahoma City.

Stop number two... Hurricane Mills, Tennessee.

Home of Loretta Lynn's Ranch, her Coal Miner's Daughter Museum, and a Days Inn with a cheap pet rate, free breakfast, and a supposed high speed internet connection.

Day two of the journey ends soon for Russ & Lilly. Hopefully the kitty will decide she's thirsty and drink something. She's touched neither food nor drink since yesterday morning. Guess she's heard those old folk songs one time too many...

Russ sounds much less frazzed than yesterday. Except for construction near Memphis, it's been a much easier drive. Barring the unforeseen that means they'll be rolling up to the new place tomorrow afternoon.

Wednesday Was Move Day

We never thought it would all fit, but somehow it did. We are now officially, really, truly, no-kidding, you betcha, uh-huh, this-ain't-a-joke MOVING.

Russ and Miss Lilly are on the road between Oklahoma City and Nashville as I write. I took the day off yesterday and just bummed around town. Today it's all about getting things back into some kind of order in preparation for an orderly packing of our masses of stuff. What that means is: I get to fix all the little thing that went skew-wiff in the past two days.

That's a true 16-foot truck packed to the roof and you'd hardly know it looking inside the house. We had the movers out to pack the thing on Monday. I'll write about the experience later. For now, enjoy these pictures of a more peaceful, gentle part of the moving experience.

Goodbye Russ! I'll see you in a few weeks!

The cab was loaded up with all the necessities for the cross-country journey.

And one really unhappy cat rides shotgun!

A final check that the little car is well attached.

Off They Go!

01 December 2008

It's (mostly) Loaded

Today we picked up our 16 foot Penske truck and trailer for the car. The goons arrived at 3 pm... right on time for Santa Fe... we were scheduled for an hour earlier. Three hours to load, a trip back to the truck place because they forgot to put the moving blankets in the truck, and an implosion for April... but all is now well. The dish-washing woman, the cook, and the packer have all quit. We are negotiating for their return at the end of the week but we're pretty sure there will have to be concessions...

Tomorrow Russ tries to tie up loose ends, pack some lenses, and decide which clothes to take. Early Wednesday morning he pulls out with his favorite kitty, Miss Lilly, for company. He expects to arrive at the new house Saturday mid-day.

As you can see from the picture, Miss Lilly is quite excited about the move. Well, she's excited about all the boxes at any rate.

28 November 2008

Move Update... the (first) big day approaches

We've been giving treats in Miss Lilly's travel crate for about a week. April put in her pillow today now that everyone has gotten used to the box. A few hours on and we're having a dispute about who gets to sleep in the new prime location. (Lilly eventually won the showdown.)

In other news, April managed to sprain her left thumb fighting a recalcitrant tape dispenser. It hurts like mad and she can't bend it but she'll survive and plow through the next hundred boxes or so left to be packed before the truck is loaded on Monday.