Tuesday, July 30, 2019

New corral

Sorry for the blog silence! We've had a lot on our plate now that the house is officially listed. Funny, we seem to be busier now than ever before, trying to get all kinds of last-minute projects done.

One such project was our corral fence.

Our corral, right off the back of the long barn, is an integral part of our homestead. It's been a nursery for endless baby calves.

It's sheltered pregnant animals about to give birth.

It's held animals about to be transported to new homes. It's provided winter quarters for our dear old Matilda.

In short, this corral is a necessary part of the livestock infrastructure of our farm. And -- it was falling to pieces. In many places, the rails had fallen down and we tied them back in place with baling twine.

So in mid-May, Don ripped off all the rotting boards. The uprights were in great shape so he left those in place.

Soon all the rails were down.

The cows obligingly cropped down all the vegetation.

That's all we did with the corral until last week, when Don and our young helper CJ went in and rebuilt the corral fence.

They used stout 2x6s...

...secured with bolts.

The result is a splendid and sturdy enclosure.

Hopefully the new owners will have calves in it someday, or use it to offer shelter to a much-loved elderly Jersey cow.

Thursday, July 25, 2019

Casting call

Here's an email I received. Just passing it on....
Hi Homesteaders,

My name is Chris Repp and I am a casting producer at Aberrant Creative in LA. I am reaching out to you after stumbling across your website thinking you might be able to help us find the impossible...

We are casting a new show for a major network where we want to follow U.S. or Canadian FAMILIES as they are beginning their journey to a new way of living remotely anywhere in the world! We are looking for outgoing families with plans for unique or primitive home builds and I was wondering if you might know of any personally who are about to the make the move in the very near future. 1-5 months or so. It can be a mud home or a multi-million dollar project! This is not your typical home show, as it focuses on the challenge of the remote build and the transition to a new way of living.

Attached is a flyer with more info, and it would be amazing if you could share this with your community (on social media perhaps) and I would love to discuss any other options to make this possible. There are more details I can discuss over the phone if you like, such as network and compensation/incentives. Happy to set up a call. Hope to hear from you soon!

Chris Repp
Casting Producer
Aberrant Creative
SKYPE: live:chrisbrepp_1

Friday, July 19, 2019

A mountain of books

Right now we have two bookshelves in our living room.

These are, literally, the only books we have on display at the moment, and they represent maybe -- maybe -- 10 percent of our total collection. The remaining 90 percent are packed away in the barn for the time being -- a veritable mountain of books.

This is because we're emptying our house of all personal possessions except what we need on a day-to-day basis, and what we need to display a handsome and spacious structure to prospective buyers. But wow, do I miss our books.

Because we don't yet know where we're moving, nor of course how our future home will be configured, we made the decision to get rid of all the bookshelves Don made over the years to accommodate our library. After all, these shelves were built according to the particular configuration of our house, meaning they probably wouldn't fit as well in our future house. Besides, we didn't want to move them.

Nor did we want to burn or trash these shelving units. Instead, I loaded the shelves into a trailer...

...and made a little sign:

Then I drove the shelving units to our nearest dumpster and dropped them off. We have no garbage service in rural areas of our county. Instead, the county places dumpsters in strategic locations. Whenever someone has an item in good shape they wish to pass on to someone else, they drop it nearby the dumpsters for anyone to take.

So that's what I did with our shelving units. I put them near the dumpsters and taped the sign on them.

They were gone within an hour. I hope they bless another family's book collection!

Tuesday, July 16, 2019

More Facebook creepiness

Older Daughter, who as most readers know works as a nanny in New Jersey, has a Facebook account. She seldom posts; it's more a chance for her to keep up with distant friends.

She just posted the photo below:

"I just got an ad for this here on Facebook," she noted. "It's so monstrous that I almost feel obligated to order it."

"It just shows how creepily dialed in their marketing is..." replied her aunt, my sister-in-law.


UPDATE: Reader Jeff in Idaho sent the following from the Terms of Service (click to enlarge and READ EVERY WORD):

Holy stinkin' cow......

ANOTHER UPDATE: Reader Jeff pointed out how the above Terms of Service is from FaceApp, whatever the heck that is. But apparently Facebook is far worse. See this link: Think FaceApp Is Scary? Wait Till You Hear About Facebook:
Facebook has nearly 2.5 billion monthly active users to FaceApp’s 80 million. It, too, applies facial recognition to photos that those users upload to its servers. It also actively pushed a VPN that allowed it to track the activity of anyone who installed it not just within the Facebook app but anywhere on their phone. When Apple finally banned that app, Facebook snuck it in again through the backdoor. And that’s before you get to the privacy violations that have led to a reported $5 billion fine from the FTC, a record by orders of magnitude.
Apparently Facebook's Terms of Service includes the following:

"[W]hen you share, post, or upload content that is covered by intellectual property rights (like photos or videos) on or in connection with our Products, you grant us a non-exclusive, transferable, sub-licensable, royalty-free, and worldwide license to host, use, distribute, modify, run, copy, publicly perform or display, translate, and create derivative works of your content (consistent with your privacy and application settings)."

And Facebook and FaceApp aren't alone. Creepy creepy creepy....

Monday, July 15, 2019

Today's the Big Day!!

Today we officially listed our house for sale! (Kinda scary, really.)

We submitted a For Sale By Owner listing to Zillow (it needs to be verified before it will go live). We also have a listing on Survival Realty (here) and SurvivalBlog was kind enough to mention it as well.

We've spent the last few months remodeling and renovating the house and property, and we're still in that process (the bathroom is the current project, for example). Most of this beautification has fallen on Don, and his skills and creativity have resulted in some absolutely beautiful interiors.

I invite everyone to come see our dedicated webpage which has a full description and dozens of photos. Please send this link to anyone you know who might be interested in relocating to North Idaho. We would appreciate it if everyone would post it on their own blog, FaceBook page, or tweet it out to friends.


Friday, July 12, 2019

Is Facebook really this bad?

I have very little experience with Facebook, since I refuse to create a page or post anything (I tried once, it didn't work out, and that was the end of my interaction with them.)

But Facebook, it seems, is getting creepier and creepier. I know someone, for instance, who posted a group shot of herself and some friends while they were out on a hike. She did not include any names or anything, just posted a photo. But when the posting went "live," Facebook automatically supplied names to every face without her permission or request.

Eewwww. Creepy.

This morning I saw yet a new reason to never, ever set up a Facebook account. On a forum, one fellow posted this:

"Beware of a new Facebook policy. When you log off for some time or have issues getting on, you now must scan and provide a real ID or they won’t allow you to log on. No way will I send my ID to them."

Is this true? If so ... ewwwww. Creepy indeed.

Tuesday, July 9, 2019

Failed, but with class

Here's a little gif we came across recently. This young lady failed -- but failed with class.

Notice her leg pop up after she hit the mat. Her toes are even pointed. That's class, folks.

Friday, July 5, 2019

Painting the house

Here's a huge project we needed to tackle before our move: painting the house. We hadn't added a lick of paint to the outside in the 16 years we've lived here, so it was a long-overdue task. We decided to stick with the original theme of white with barn-red accents.

First we need to go back in time to last November, when we had some work done on the siding. The south side of the house -- which faces the prevailing wind/weather direction -- was getting somewhat battered. It didn't help that we had some red-shafted flickers -- woodpeckers with powerful bills, a subspecies of northern flickers -- wreak havoc with the siding a few years ago. We'd stuffed the holes with spray-foam insulation which worked very well to keep rain out, but as you can imagine it looked like kaka.

So we hired some local contractors, who completely removed the siding and replaced it. These guys were fast and efficient, and had the job done in a day.

We were pleasantly surprised to find the insulation beneath the siding in excellent shape (we were braced to have to replace it).

The material they used to replace the battered siding was a different color (beige) which actually looked so nice we thought about painting the whole house to match it, but in the end decided to go with the original color theme of white and barn-red.

That's all we did until a couple weeks ago, when we tackled the job of painting. This was a task we did ourselves because we were quoted a staggering $4500 a couple years ago by a professional painter and nearly choked at the cost.

To this end, however, we did purchase a professional-quality airless paint sprayer. It was pricey, but worth the savings in time and effort (especially when compared to the professional quote we received).

We waited until we knew the weather conditions were right: dry, warm (but not hot), calm.

Sadly, Don had to remove the heavy growth of Virginia creeper that had, true to its name, crept up onto the front porch roof and twined itself around the porch railings. He trimmed it back to ground level, otherwise we would not have been able to paint the porch. (It's already starting to grow back.)

Then we completely cleaned off the side porch.

While Don figured out how to work the sprayer...

...I started taping newspapers over all the windows.

The inside of the house was very dim as a result.

Before starting on the house, Don tried out the sprayer on a board to get the hang of things.

We soon got into a rhythm. He sprayed, and I followed behind and rolled with a extension roller brush. My goodness, that sprayer was fast. We progressed far quicker than we anticipated.

The dingy look of the house was replaced with fresh, bright paint. Looked lovely.

Speaking of dingy, this was what one of the inside portions of the side porch looked like before painting. Grungy, no?

What a difference!

While spraying near a window, we surprised a very scared frog who had been resting on top a window frame. Poor little guy got paint all over him. I hope he survived.

Here's the south side of the house with the new beige siding.

Soon it became white.

With the main house rough-painted, we turned our attention to the long barn, which had a similar color scheme (white with barn-red trim).

We hired the teenage son of a neighbor (whom we'll call CJ) to do handiwork for us. My goodness, this young man is a treasure. He works and works and works and works. Here he's on a ladder scraping wood on the long barn before priming.

Gee, what part do you suppose will get painted red?

Don started spraying, and I followed with the roller.

He worked carefully around this one part that has swallows nesting under the eaves. The parent watched anxiously as Don got closer. Don kept the sprayer at least a foot away from their nest, and I was able to follow and roll the paint all around the opening without disturbing the babies.

Once the white sides were painted, CJ climbed a ladder and started painting the trim red.

Don tackled the trim on the upstairs windows of the house.

(He still has the little window in the loft to do, as well as some overspray cleanup.)

Don and CJ are still working on the painting details of the house and barn, but so far the results look splendid. A new coat of paint. Who'da thunk it could make such a difference?