Tuesday, July 30, 2013

What not to do

In today's episode of "What not to do with your riding lawnmower," Stephanie and Abby use it to move a 5X7 structure from the pond area into the goat pen.  First, remove the roof....  second, carefully cut all of the supports from under the deck.  Third tip structure onto its side.  Fourth, place the lawnmower trailer beside the bottom of the structure.  Be sure to lock the wheels of the trailer.  Fifth, push the structure up and onto the trailer.  Sixth, secure the structure with temporary supports so it doesn't tip back over.  Seventh, hook up the lawn mower to the trailer.  Eighth, strap the structure to the trailer...  and set something heavy on the structure so it doesn't slide off.  A human being about Stephanie's size will do.  Ninth, carefully and slowly drive the structure to its new home.  Tenth, unhitch and dump the structure, remove the trailer and gently let the structure come to rest on the ground.  The end.  We'll put the roof back on when we decide exactly where it will live for all time.

Now a useless little deck thingy can be a useful goat house.



Tuesday, July 23, 2013

House face

This is the main cabin when I first met the house.  The porch roof hits the head of unsuspecting victims who are taller than 5'8" tall as you walk up the steps.  It's also dark and cavelike.  The porch steps were also about 3 feet wide which is no big deal, but for such a wide porch.... I made new steps that are four feet wide mainly because I found a heavy duty 8 foot long board and I cut it in half!

Before

First order of business complete!  Removal of the porch roof took lots of muscle, a bit of patience as we had to decode the original builder's methods.  We believe there may have been copious amounts of beer involved.  We could have just ripped it apart, but I wanted to save that huge roof for use as a barn.

Jim made the removal of the roof safe and quick.  It would have taken me a week to do what he helped us do in four hours!  I had already purchased materials to build the railing.  The 4 inch fencing was taken from the previous owner's dog pen which I immediately took apart.  I explained my design to Jim and he waved a magic wand...  In one day, he had the entire railing done.  There is actually a TINY bit left to do because I did not account for one little thing, so I need to purchase one more board to finish the job!

Stephanie and Jim take a break.

Finally, the paint.  I think this looks like home now.  I can't wait to find a small set of patio furniture so I can sit outside to enjoy my breakfast.

Home green home.

Saturday, July 20, 2013

Porch Improvement

Last night Jim took down the porch roof.  Stephanie and I assisted a little and cheered a lot.  The old porch roof will become a horse barn soon.  

This morning, Jim has been building the railing while I wash the house and prepare it for paint.  Color preview over where the railings meet the wall - St. Patrick's Day Green.  The trim will be white.  Open, inviting, clean, fantastic!!!

Friday, July 19, 2013

Blue Cheese dressing

My friend Rae Clark sent me this recipe.  I have not tried it YET, but if you look at the ingredients, how can this go wrong?!?!?  There are certain foods in this world that I just love so much.  Blue cheese dressing is one of those.  Maybe it should be one of your favorite foods as well.  Enjoy!

1 pkg softened cream cheese (I've also used reduced fat or neufchatel cheese to reduce some of the fat)

6 oz buttermilk

Garlic powder ~1/2tsp


Basil flakes ~ 1/2-3/4tsp

Black pepper ~ 1/2 tsp

8oz blue cheese crumbles

Mix the softened cream cheese to and buttermilk on low speed in deep bowl (a shallow bowl will splatter EVERYWHERE, trust me on this), adding seasonings to blend well, then add blue cheese crumbles until all mixed in. Makes about 2 & 1/2 cups of dip.

This recipe makes more of a dip than a dressing, which is my preference, however if you want actual dressing consistency, add more buttermilk a quarter of a cup at a time until you achieve your desired consistency. This will also mellow your blue cheese flavor out some as well, so if I am making actual dressing, instead of dip, I add more buttermilk and more blue cheese crumbles because I so love the rich tang of the cheese.

Saturday, July 13, 2013

Feminism

This word, feminism, has negative connotations to many people, but maybe it's time to toss the connotations.  The negative thoughts that come to us with this word are: 1. unshaven, 2. lesbian, 3. mean, overbearing, demanding woman (ie: a bitch), 4. kids optional, 5. husband optional, 6. protester, politically active, 7. man-hater.  That's basically it, right?  That's why we don't like feminists.

1. Unshaven.  The shaving thing is a tradition that should be a person's choice.  Maybe you think it's ugly, unsexy, unfeminine.  It's not your body.  Maybe your shirt is ugly.  It's an aesthetic, not a moral value.
2. Lesbian.  I'm not even going to address this except to say if this is what you think is WRONG with feminism, then you probably need to do more soul searching.
3. Bitch.  This is probably the biggest one for me.  I don't want to be a demanding bitch.  I want to be nice and sweet and kind.  I want people to like me.  When men demand to be heard we call them assertive.  We think it is perfectly reasonable for a man to say no, or ask for a raise, or make certain demands at the work place, home, or a restaurant.  I want us all to think very very hard about this one.  Maybe a woman being assertive is just that, assertive.
4. Kids optional.  What's wrong with that?  Our world is over populating itself.  There is nothing wrong with a man deciding not to have kids, but women are supposed to create a family.
5. Husband optional.  Again, what's wrong with that?  Are men afraid they won't find wives if all women become empowered to think for themselves?  Are men afraid we won't want to serve them if we create a world where we are paid on an equal scale?  What men forget (those who are concerned about these losses), women who are empowered are better partners and lovers.  There is not the same pressure for a man to provide financially or emotionally - it's about equality.
6. Politically active.  Women who are in this battle do get out there and get loud politically.  Have you ever seen public policy changed by being quiet and complacent?  Didn't think so.  To gain equality, someone has to get out there, get dirty, and often be loud and inconvenient.
7. Man-hater.  This is simply not true.  Equality is not about bringing down someone else, it is about...  equality.  Men are coming to understand this more and more.  I see more and more men standing beside women as they realize that it is good for our entire world for women to be powerful and productive.  This, however, is still the biggest misconception and causes the most anger and hate amongst men and women.  It's time to stop that.  Realize we are all on the same side.  Equality is not an overthrow (unless you are doing something objectionable).  Equality is about standing side by side when all other things are equal.

Aside from the stereotype, people frequently say, "Women ARE equal" or "My husband treats me well.  Why complain?"  I'll address this later with examples.  It's not about complaining or whining.  It's about equal rights, pay, and respect.

I aim to shoot down this problematic stereotype and the above over-simplistic statements.  I aim to be able to confidently claim and wear the label:  Abby Green, Feminist.
To be continued....

Tuesday, July 09, 2013

Mornings

It's summer in Texas.  It's summer in SOUTH Texas.  We have humidity and heat.  Our only chance at working outdoors os in the early mornings.  I hate mornings.  Well, I don't really hate mornings as much as I hate trying to think and converse in the morning.  I manage to get moving by 7AM, earlier if I absolutely must.  I slept well last night.  I drank water and ate well yesterday and this morning.  We began working right at 7AM.  It was no hotter than 80 degrees when we started but the humidity was outrageous.  As we installed the fencing, I had to stop and wipe the pouring sweat out of my eyes.  I took a break about every hour to drink more.  Each time I noticed that I was a little tiny bit dizzy.  I noted this and made sure to take my time and not over do anything.  We finished the fence line about 11AM.  My shirt was so soaked that when I took it off, I could wring sweat from it - it was as if I had been swimming in that shirt.  I checked the thermometer.  It still was not quite 90.

This is why we are not having any scheduled work-parties out here during the summer.  It is not safe.  I took a shower and ate a small snack before lying down for an hour.  It is not fun to have to care for yourself like this.  I certainly can not imagine having to care for myself and watch out for people who are enthusiastic about helping but aren't used to this type of heat and humidity.

Stephanie, the intern, and I are working to clean up the site and make it completely ready for animals and cabins.  Stephanie stands the heat a little better than I do, but even she admits to defeat on occasion.      Even Stoli comes in to rest in the air conditioned room.

For you few brave people coming out this summer, I'll have the air conditioning waiting for you :-)