Saturday, August 27, 2011

Trees and tractors

As we are getting ready to move to Ak, my "TO DO" list is long and daunting. Our friend Eric was on leave this week and helped us for 2 days. He says I am a slave driver, but we got a lot done! Eric and his family have helped us with many of the things we have here, barn building, house remodeling, plumbing, tree cutting, log splitting, probably some roofing, the list goes on. He helped us Monday with landscaping, we pulled out an old creeping evergreen in the back patio landscape bed that was dead long ago and he and Tad trimmed back a flowering tree next to that bed.

Then we carried all the brush and branches to the burn pit, and Eric and Tad cut down/cut up a tree. Eric cut it down and then helped Tad use the chainsaw to cut some branches. Eric has a saw that goes on the end of his weed eater, its like a tiny chainsaw. It is a wonderful tool that I think I need, oh wait I need ALL of my tools again!

Many low branches were cut, as I couldnt brush hog under the trees with low-hanging branches. Eric said that we could move all of the old dead trees (they were the parts that were too large for us to cut with our small chain saw and split with our tiny log splitter) to one big neat pile. We did this with the tractor, Eric (sometimes with the help of the children) attached them to the bucket with rachet straps and then I followed his directions on when to raise/lower/tilt the bucket, back up/go forward etc. He is a good ground guide. There were only 2 times that I covered up my ears. For me, covering my ears signifies fear or worry. I hate the sound of things breaking, cars crashing, loud people, I have always covered my ears even when what I fear isnt a noise. I did fear tipping over, because I mean-the tractor DID go up on one side but as Eric explained, it wasnt going to tip over. The tree would right it when the tree hit the ground, because it was wider than the tractor. Which is reasonable.

I still covered my ears the next time it happened. One log was so heavy, we couldnt lift it so I had to drag it backwards, and then turn hard right when Eric said and deposited the heavier tree in the pile of other trees. Then Eric flipped it over. Alone. Which made the tractor feel a LITTLE bad about her abilities!

Nathalie is always bummed that I wont let her use a chainsaw, not even the tiny chainsaw on the weed-eater, and she cannot drive the tractor. But people, honestly, she cannot drive a barbie car without hitting at least 2 trees. She did find plenty of things to do though, she manned the fire after getting the hose, helped with limb pickup and got to help attach trees to the tractor. Oh and ride on the brush-hog. No, the PTO was not engaged. That would be irresponsible parenting.

Wednesday will be shown in another blog post, Eric helped us (he and the kids did the work) finish most of the drywalling in one bathroom, and all of it in the other. Tomorrow I am off to lowes to get the tools and supplies that I need to finish the bathrooms and paint in the rest of the house. I have a good landscape post as well! I was given a quote of $2300 to do half of the landscaping that we needed done, so I spent $75 so far, and MANY man hours and am about 3/4 done with all of the landscaping. It will cost around $200 total so thats better than $4600.

Thats all in updates. I missed a lot, blogging has fallen by the way-side with the move. Am sorry for that!

Tuesday, August 23, 2011


I have a lot of photos to show you of a yard work day with our friend Eric. I have uploaded them, but I am too tired to get them in order. We got a lot done, which is great because we are trying to list the house.

My TO DO list is longer than both of my legs plus my arms. I am hopeful that it will shorten, either by my hard work or my hard work and some good karma.

We have done school for 2 days, some book work was completed, 2 museums and much work.

Also, I just wanted to say this. Not to complain just to let you know.

If you have a tornado you may lose your children's birth certificates as well as their consular reports of birth born abroad. Someone may steal their social security card along with a few of your leftover belongings.

When they catch the guy, they will tell you he is in jail but we cannot give you the ss cards. They are by law his property. Justice.

If you do not have a shot record AND school record OR photo ID you cannot get a new ss card. You cannot get a mil ID for a child under the age of 10 (N), and homeschool paperwork doesnt count as school records.

You cannot get a birth certificate without a consular report of birth born abroad. I need both parents signature for this and it takes 8 wks. I have only one parent here.

I can get new passports because I have their expired passports, as long as I have birth certificates or consular reports etc. Which I do not.

So... I went on post and got a temp ID card for N, and a permanent for T. Because I do have shot records, and deployment orders. They put the date wrong on Ns. It is already expired. I have to go all the way back to base. But at least I can get an ID for her, for now. She cannot have a permanent until age 10.

I can now get SS cards when I get her card fixed.

I will send off tomorrow for a consular report, this will need signatures, so I have to have mine notarized. I spent 2 hrs today filling out paperwork and finding answers on this. So 8 wks from tomorrow, I will have this report and can get their new passports with the consular report. Then I can send off the consular report to obtain new birth certificates.

When everything comes in (bit by bit as some bits are needed for other bits so cannot be sent off for next bits and still other bits need the bits that the one bit has been sent off to get), I will have birth certs, ss cards, consular reports, passports and ID cards (T now, N temp but a regular one in a few mo) on my children! Hopefully in time to move. Because it is guaranteed that DEERS will lose their info, AGAIN and we will have to RE-ENROLL them in Tricare, which means we need ss cards, and bcs.

And to cross Canada, we need passports. That is easy for mine, I have my expired but for children under 16 even with expired its a whole new process... or a long one at least.

Now really, I am not complaining. It is a lot of confusing work but at least someone else will have a hard time "becoming" my child, at least some care is being taken despite the thief-criminal being able to keep our ss cards. At least I have time to get all of this done!

Monday, August 22, 2011

First day!

This is our back patio-all of these stones were grown up in weeds, some of them were spiny and hurtful. We have been pulling the weeds, and scraping heavy piles of dirt (from using it as a seed starting spot for my pots which eventually spilled), and relocating all of this. The area around the AC and under the purple flower bush will be mulched today to prevent the problem again. (growing up of weeds in unwanted area). The areas in between each stone has been/will be salted with rock salt as you dont grow things between patio stones on purpose. No other landscape beds will be salted, just layered with ground cloth and wood chips so a new owner can always plant in the beds.
This is just one of our many outdoor endeavors in preparation for selling. We worked 8 hrs a day the last 2 days, Tad and I on landscaping/mowing/brushog and Nathalie on house cleaning, errand running/water fetchign and cooking/cleaning up from both lunch and dinner.

Tad's first time weed eating, we have a very heavy weed eater. It was a bit more expensive,we wanted a 4 cycle engine (no mixing, just separate oil and fuel) and we wanted it to edge. Its edging capabilities are amazing and it is easier to use than other edgers I have tried. However, being larger and stronger makes it heavier and Tad cant use it for long before his arm is numb. This kid will work until he falls over, I have to require breaks! He has cleared nearly an acre of weeds/reeds by hand with a machete and a hedger. Sometimest he hedger isnt usable and he has to do it by hand. We are getting the whole 6 acres mowed, cleared, cleaned, brush hogged, landscaped, trimmed, edged etc. It will look wonderful for photos and be a good starting point for new buyers.

In other new today is our first day back to school! The kids are not quite excited, its nearly 10 and they are just getting ready for the day. We have always schooled year around, we didnt this yr and they are having to adjust now. Our school day will start in a few minutes adn looks like this:

History: story of the world on disk, work book questions read/answered out loud.

1 history topic chosen by turns that is researched and read about. Today's was done during breakfast-Nathalie's first question was "where did dog tags originate and why are they called that.

Science: Apologia Zoology of flying creatures 4-5th grade. I read the text they do some fun hands on work book stuff. Tad gets to choose the science video today. (we have DVDs and also use Netflix/National Geo and watch sci videos/series)

Handwriting: brushing up on cursive, will be for first month of school.

Spelling: Sequential, on board with me.

Math: Mammoth for Nathalie (she is in 4th this yr and is 3/4 way through with Singapore 4th grade starting to struggle so backed up to do a few mammoth's to get back on track) Tad is finishing up 4B in Singapore.

Reading: Mcguffey

French: Rosetta Stone, some days we also watch a DVD from other sources.

Bible: definately not last, but we do this at night. We have our bible reading in the evening because we always have. We are right now in Egypt, Moses is leading his people out of Egypt starting tonight.

So thats it! We are off to start, and then we have chores ahead of us. Tomorrow we have post first, to get ID cards (Tad is 10), and passports updated to go to Ak. So school is tomorrow afternoon.

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Vacation photos

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These are all pictures from being on vacation with our best friends. There are many more pictures, this was mostly from the day that Nikki did henna tattoos on all of the kids. Tad loves Faith's hair and spent much time braiding and brushing it. Manny and Calob do not pose as often... I dont have a lot of pictures of them alone. Faith took many pictures of the other children-many of these are her work. We had such a wonderful time, it may have been the best time I have had in years. the only thing lacking was my husband, and we all missed him terribly.