Times have been busy. It would have been fun to leave this diary dormant for a few months, with the last post titled "We bought a farm", but I am attached to the idea of the kids having a record of what their childhood was like.
We listed the blue house on Craigslist, and Alexe broadcast it to her network of fans on Facebook; less than two weeks later, we have a contract for the asking price, closing on December 1. (Knock on wood.)
That has allowed us to move a few more things to our farmhouse, since we no longer have to stage the blue house for walk throughs, and it alos frees up some capital to start the renovations on the house here.
We had plans to take it slow here, but in this dark house, with no windows looking out over the wonderful views, the old Kagan&Alexe nownownow is kicking in, and last night we were already stripping the ceilings in one of the back rooms to expose the original wood.
There will be porches. And lots of french doors. Soon.
In the meantime, we're working/playing/relaxing into our new spot.
Alexe took Annaliese on a girl's day out, and they bought costumes. (Store bought, I know, but Square Books Junior was having a 30% off sale on all the Melissa and Doug stuff, as Alexe keeps telling me.)
The kids gave their costumes a dry run yesterday. Annaliese picked out a hairdresser outfit for herself, and a policeman's outfit for her brother.
I had a very relaxing haircut from one while being handcuffed by the other.
I have been tearing around the place freeing trees and hillsides form decades of scrubby growth. This is down near the pond looking back up towards the house, with two little kids in costumes working their way down the hillside.
A week ago you wouldn't have been able to see the house from here for all the vines and saplings.
The pond is silted in, and my fleeting thought of digging it out with the tractor amended after a short foray into axle-deep squishy mud. Took some time using the bucket to slowly lift and push myself back out. The spring that feeds the pond is flowing nicely.
We carved pumpkins a week or so back. I thought this design was hilarious, nobody else did.
Family Day! Our weekly schedule leaves all of us pretty zonked Monday through Saturday, but on Sunday we go on adventures as a group. It was a church day, something we try for every other week, and Alexe and I enjoy the forty minutes of quiet time sitting together in a pew while the kids are off doing art or playing games in kid's church. We had a short nap, then suited up and headed North to the zoo, with a short stop at the tractor supply store, a very tasty vietnamese restaurant for dinner, and a starbucks run for hot chocolate.
The Memphis Zoo was having its Halloween extravaganza, trick or treat stations throughout, special decorations and exhibits, and a hefty cover charge. ($60 for the four of us.)
We didn't pay all that much attention to the ads we saw, so both the cover charge, even for zoo members, and the costumes everyone else was wearing, were both surprises to us.
We did come prepared with warm clothes, and suited up before handing out the hot chocolate and heading in.
The zoo did a nice job.
The place was packed, and this was a Sunday night.
We've been missing this busy girl. Nice to have her all to ourselves for a day.
These three kids decided to go on the twisty-ride. They loved it. And Alexe got a kick out of seeing me turn green, just from watching them.
A warm up session in the reptile house. I've been spending some quality time with snakes at our new place, turning them up in the barn, and every time I dig up the roots of a shrub or smooth out an unnecessary hillock in the fields or near the pond. It was nice to have them behind glass.
Some of the progress being made around the homestead. After taking down the 30 ft deep border of crap that has grown up along the edges of the fields, you can see right into the lovely oak forest. One small section below the house done, several acres left to go.
The crew I met earlier this Spring at a community design and revitalization workshop brought a class up from the college in central MS to explore the town, and work on designs to turn an empty lot downtown into a walking park. They came by the BTC for dinner, a first for the BTC serving at that late hour, and Dixie and Alexe put out an amazing spread.
After the crowds left, Alexe and I still had time on the babysitter clock, and some delicious leftovers, so we headed to the quiet blue house and kicked back for an impromptu date. T'was lovely.
The barn has lots of potential, and I've decided rather than ripping off the back section, I'm going to remove the second floor that has mostly fallen in, and turn that section into a drive-in shelter for the tractor.
In the process of doing that I ran into a pile of old bottles. This one is my favorite: "made from flavors specially blended in the traditional hillbilly style"
The kids were going to have their own bedrooms, but with the accelerated timeframe for the renovations, they're sharing this room while we work on the other section of the house. The seem to like it.
The one redeeming feature of the dark, cramped kitchen is this gas stove, with a built in griddle. I love cooking on gas.
And there we are. I need to take some time to focus on getting in firewood. The wood stove does a nice job of heating the whole section of the house we're sleeping in, with a nifty blower that pulls a lot of hot air over the insert, and a well sealed firebox that will burn for most of the night without being re-stoked. However, we don't have any firewood, and any you buy locally was cut up a week ago and is close to water-logged. We have a few fallen oaks on the edge of the woods that are pretty dry, I just need to get to them with a chainsaw and splitting maul.
Did I mention I'm happy?