The List is Long…the Dangers Real?

We have traded in our hiking boots (just for a short time) for hammer and nail, spade and rake, the thoughts of Julie Andrews in The Sound of Music, trekking through the mountains with birdsong all around, making us feel a bit nostalgic. Don’t get me wrong, seeing what we have accomplished in three short weeks at Terry’s parents’ home (some days my body feels like it’s been much longer), gives us a great sense of satisfaction but we sure miss the crisp mountain air and communing with Mother Nature.

As we look around, the list of projects is long and the dangers associated with them real for two who wouldn’t win any awards for being handy.  What we lack in finesse, we make up for with determination and Terry has discovered a new-found love for power tools.  Just give me a wheelbarrow, a spade, and an occasional pitchfork, and I can do some damage!

One of our initial projects, before tackling the weed-choked flower beds and prepping the back yard for a rather large garden (with dreams of fresh veggies dancing in our heads), was to install slow-rise day/night roller shades in our RV. For those who have ever dealt with the pleated day/night blinds and restringing them, God forbid, the smooth, clean lines of these roller shades were a joy I could barely contain.  The worst part of installation was the tight fit in getting the valances off to install these little beauties.  Surprisingly, there were no expletives shouted during this project, well, maybe one when I received a puncture wound to the hand by an errant screw.  And when the sun is shining (and I’m told it does in Ohio), these shades are worth every penny.

From here we moved to the outside to begin checking off the long list of projects needing to be done to get Terry’s parents’ yard into shape.  Prepping the garden bed was the first order of business, and when we began to feel the move from nomadic hikers to farmers.  We are experimenting with raised-row gardening this year after I stumbled upon Jim and Mary’s blog.  Fingers crossed that something grows as I don’t think I’ve convinced the folks yet that a rototiller is not needed in a garden.  The word ‘interesting’ keeps popping up in their vocabulary when they see yet something else that I have done with the garden.  I believe this translates to”are you nuts” or “this doesn’t have a prayer of working”!

The joy of recycling is very real to me and there is plenty of that to be done here, as I don’t believe Terry’s dad has ever thrown anything out, always feeling there may be a use for a stray board or piece of twine.  This is clear when you peer into his barn…scary.  The largest project on the list is cleaning out this barn and we have already reclaimed wood to make raised strawberry beds and a compost bin so we are slowly making a dent in this clutter.  We are finding the challenge of using what we have on hand here to be rather fun (yes, we are a bit odd!).

The purchase of two 275-gallon totes for watering the garden was a great find and recommended on the Old World Garden Farm site.  We have had enough rain to fill them and another 50-gallon drum and we’re considering building an ark next as we listen to the steady downpour of rain on our roof!

Cutting down a few overgrown, dead and dying trees was also on the list and a job best left for professionals.  One rather large silver maple, removed from the center of the circular drive, will hopefully allow for easier access into and out of our RV pad, once the driveway is enlarged.  Getting into our space initially was not pretty…ok, it was downright ugly!  The driveway will need to be enlarged if we are ever going to get our little home out of here.

The tree trimmers used their wood chipper once the trees were felled and we then used the resulting chips to add a nice finish to the flower beds and ground around the blackberry bushes…ahh, symbiosis at work!

As we look around at what is taking shape in the yard, it has not been without its dangers.  Typically there are several knocks to the head for Terry (don’t know why this is always the target).  A gash to the head for him, as I realized upon lifting a water tote off the truck that “hey, these are heavier than I thought”, many cuts and scrapes along the way, and two bruised knees for me.  Ok, in the interest of full disclosure, those were a result of me making a less than graceful entrance into the folks’ kitchen on a hardwood floor.  At least we have kept all our fingers and toes, not for lack of trying on my mother-in-law’s part, I muse, as I sit in a flower bed pulling weeds, with her wielding a hoe within inches of me. Mental note:  hide the sharp objects from two who feel the need to work right alongside the kids, a topic that has been discussed with them already, and will be brought up again many more times, we’re sure (sigh).

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82 thoughts on “The List is Long…the Dangers Real?

  • I’m so glad you have such a great sense of humor, LuAnn. What a joy to read about all of the work you are doing, then having a good laugh along with it. How big is this garden you are making? I love that you are recycling things found around the yard and barn. I can hardly wait to see the finished product. Every time I check the weather for there, I groan for you, when I see rain predicted so much. Keep up the good work and good humor.

    • The garden is going to be about 25′ by 50′, not a small undertaking. It does feel good to be able to stand back and see what you have accomplished at day’s end. 🙂

  • So what kind of feelings do you carry when you look back at all that you have achieved with your efforts in the farm? If you were to get this opportunity again, would you do it differently?

    Loved the energy and resolve in your post, LuAnn.

    Shakti

  • It looks like you guys are making some great headway. The garden-watering system looks particularly impressive. BTW, how are you going to keep the critters out of the garden? Also, I can definitely relate to DIY bumps and scrapes. Personally, I consider the project a success if there’s no blood.

    • I agree with you on the success of a project sans blood! You know, we haven’t decided yet on what to do about keeping the critters out of the garden. There don’t seem to be many around that will bother it but I’m sure we will soon learn what is lurking out there when the crops start to peek from the ground, that is if they do (lol).

      • LuAnn, probably the best thing to do is ask your gardening neighbors or the country extension person. We didn’t put up a fence, but used some “home remedies” that we read about. Deer don’t like the scent of humans, so we spread around human hair, and ummmm urine. You can imagine how we spread that. Also, apparently they hate the smell of Irish Spring soap. So we put up a string with bits of Irish Spring dangling. I must admit, that I probably sound like Mr. Haney on Green Acres, but this is really what we did. LOL. ~James

      • I love the suggestions. It sounds like neither deer nor mice like Irish Spring soap. May have to give this a try along with sending the hubby out into the garden when nature calls (lol)!

  • Just reading and looking at the pics made me long for those days when we had our own little yard where Steve and I would work all day long. I missed those days and your story made me a little jealous just a little:)
    Your reward will come in a couple of months and you can sit down and admired your hard work.

    • Well, the feeling is mutual, because when I read your posts, I am more than a little green with envy with all the beautiful sights you two are seeing. 🙂

  • Looks like your doing a great job. Do you have a link to those shades? would love to check them out. I think the garden will be a huge success. 🙂 I know the nature center here in CR sells cisterns that can catch the water out of the downspouts of the house and then it is designed to hook a hose for watering lawns and gardens. They came out with those after we sold our house or that is what we have done. Hope the rain stops soon and the sun comes out..

  • Fun post LuAnn….you’re looking good on that tractor. Perhaps you’ve stumbled upon a good balance between traveler and farmer (serious). I’ve been longing to dig around here but this darn snow won’t stop. Love the idea of replacing the pleated shades. I think we’ll do that when the house sells. Can’t wait for your photos of the flowers blooming and veggies growing 🙂

    • Thanks Ingrid. As far as the shades go, we love them! Like most things RV-related, Nina turns us on to them. She ordered MCD shades, which required her to measure all her own windows and place the order that way. We were anticipating doing the same thing, but when we took a tour of the DRV plant recently and went in to inquire about these shades, all we had to provide was the last 4 digits of our VIN # and they did the rest, shipping them to us within the week. From there we installed them. So much nicer than the pleated shades! 🙂

  • What a wonderful adventure…so well written. Not only do I learn “things” when I read your blog I find myself chuckling and … dare I say it ….laughing out loud at some of both your and Terry’s antics. I’m impressed by all you are doing and all you are learning. AMAZING! Love you both.

    • Thanks Les! The biggest challenge for us has been keeping Terry’s folks from feeling that they have to work right alongside us. There have been a few days when they have been exhausted and we sat them down a few times already to discuss this with them, telling them our being here may be hazardous to their health! It must be so difficult to see your independence slipping through your fingers as age sets in. How are plans coming along for the two of you to head further north? We would love to see you again. Hugs to both of you. 🙂

  • Thank you for reminding me why I will live in a motorhome forever! I do not miss one minute of yard work. However, before we moved into the woods at our last residence, I always had a vegetable garden which I loved. So I guess there is a little gardening I find fun. Make sure you include pictures of the finished vegetable garden. I get exhausted just reading your blog. Glad you are surviving and being careful.

    Don’t you just love the new shades! We had MCD’s put in this past winter while in Tucson. The day shade is my favorite…spying on the neighbor without them knowing…haha! No more pinhole light at night!

    • I did find gardening fun when I had a house. Now it is intended to supplement the folks’ food budget and carry them through the winter, as we will be freezing and canning vegetables, provided anything comes up! I’m tired just thinking about it!

      As for the shades, we absolutely love them! The day shades are my favorite as well…such nice clean lines.

  • First off…..we have to check out the shades. We still have the old pleated kind on strings we pull down and push up…ugh!

    I just love reading your post! You have a great way with words and I find myself laughing at my own memories of yard work and gardening days!

    • I would highly recommend the shades. One restringing of the old pleated shades and I was over them! Thanks for the kind words. Given this little sidestep we have taken with elderly parents, we find it best to see the humor in each day and count our blessings. 🙂

    • That’s tooo funny but I will have to look into it. BTW, if my aging memory serves me right, you had taken some time off to do some writing. If you aren’t writing a book, you should. You are sooo funny!

  • Your talking about strawberries made my mouth water and I went out and bought some. We have several farms in our area that grow strawberries. Yum!!!

  • We want MCD shades. We haven’t met a person who has regretted putting them in.

    I LOVE working outdoors. It sounds like you two have become very good farmers. The flower bed looks lovely. I am sure mom and dad are thrilled that you two are adding so much life back to the old farm. Great job!

    • Thanks Marsha. We drag ourselves into the RV at the end of the day, but it is nice to see the fruits of our labors. As for the MCD shades, they are wonderful!

  • What a shift from hiking to tree, garden, yard… projects. You look really cool on the tractors, LuAnn! I need to look into the totes for watering. Thank you for the information!

  • I am super impressed with what you’ve already achieved, LuAnn. It’s going to look amazing. I guess your parents feel they have to do their bit alongside you, bless them. 🙂

  • It must be wonderfully satisfying to see things take shape Luann.
    Chuckling at your mother in law nearly chopping your fingers off 🙂 Convincing them to lay off is going to be hard work! R’s dad refused to stop driving until he crossed 85, and only after we gently pointed out that it wasn’t him we were worried about 😀 He just upped and sold his car later that year to avoid all temptation!

    • I think it is going to take a little more with Terry’s mom when it comes to driving. I took her to the doctor yesterday and she got pretty feisty with him when he told her he would take the keys away from her. We try to drive them around whenever we can.

  • What a delightful read, LuAnn; you sound light-hearted and joyful; the (temporary) ‘stationary’ life seems to be doing you a treat.
    We are currently awaiting approval for a rather large shed we want built in our back-yard. Alongside the shed will be a water tank; it’s main purpose to water our garden (and the many ‘future’ plants we have in mind).
    I adore working in the outdoors, doing such like as you are now doing – yes, it is hard work, but can be soooo satisfying…!
    Here’s hoping the sharp objects wielding parents continue to have ‘good aim’… 😉

    • I think it will be wiser for me to keep my eyes open when I see her with any sharp objects (lol). Luckily I can move quicker than her. 😉

  • Lots o’ work.
    Everything looks great! I really like that rain water for garden water idea. Hmmm…I think I will look into something like that – smaller version for my yard. I will need a garden first. Hopefully – I will get to creating one this year.
    Enjoy & stay safe 🙂

  • I hope this reply gets to you, as I don’t know if I registered correctly. That being said, I envy you right now. I miss the farm and all the aromas that go with it. If I miss the aromas too much I go visit my son who works for a cattle company. lol Enjoy all of those fresh veggies and fruits when they start producing.

    • Thanks Joyce. I got this comment and hope you receive mine as well. If you get too lonely for the farm, you can always head over here. I’ll put you to work (lol) 🙂

  • We know exactly what you’re going through, for we have experienced the same here in South Carolina. Our sympathies and our prayers go out to you. You may not believe it but it will get better as you progress.

    • So good to hear from you and thanks for the encouragement. Have you two finally gotten settled? How are you enjoying your home by the water?

    • We also like this type of physical work, where you can immediately see the results and feel a sense of accomplishment. My plan is to raise a large garden while we are here, and can and freeze some vegetables that will sustain the folks during the winter months, when we take off for a warmer climate.

  • The midwest is a part of the country I’ve not yet visited, along with the south, and I so enjoyed experiencing a little bit of it through your eyes. The photo of you on the tractor is truly, truly priceless. I hope you have a copy framed out somewhere in your rig!

    As others have mentioned, I’m curious how the staying-in-one-place is, emotionally speaking. Today is day 9 of our 30 day rental, and for the first time I can feel the urge to move on beginning to rise. It’s a bit of a primal feeling, and I like imaging it comes from somewhere very deep with my ancient DNA. A long day trip will usually quiet it down, and I would imagine it’s the same for you and Terry. Looking forward to following along as you two explore this new-to-you part of the country.

    • We were also worried about sitting in one place for this long. We keep busy every day as the list of projects are long. Hopefully the sense of accomplishment we will feel at completing projects and the joy it is bringing to Terry’s parents will carry us through until we travel again. Like you and Mike, the wanderlust will never leave us. 🙂

  • I love how innovative you are in your ‘farming’ methods! A bit of internet research always helps. You are doing fabulous work! Not only in helping nature along in the garden and yard, but also in helping out the parents who can no long do this grueling work. Bless you for it all.

  • Yours is the first “blog” of it’s kind I’ve ever followed, but I can’t imagine anyone doing a better job. The different “slice of life” vignettes remind me of favorite reads like “A Year In Provence” or “All Creatures Great and Small” … only entirely different. I’m sure the book will be a runaway-bestseller but who do you think should play you and Terry in the movie version?

    • What kind of blog is this, I often ask myself. Now that we are sitting for a bit, I’m not sure what it will morph into. I have been doing some writing away from the blog but not sure how it would be received. As far as a movie version goes…how boring would that be?! For Terry you would have to find some serious-minded fellow and for me, someone at bit on the fringe (aka kook). 🙂

  • You guys are amazing and loving, and energetic, and intelligent (well unless your bonking yourselves, or falling, or scraping body parts or… honestly LuAnn I am so impressed with your accomplishments already. I do know the amount of energy required for your holistic approach, which is excellent. Can’t say enough supportive things, hope you can keep sharing your progress and yes I can hear his folks saying …”how interesting”! Do remember to take care of yourselves too! With much affection, Penny xx

    • Thanks so much Penny! This holistic approach is a challenge at times as the folks don’t quite understand it. There is a part of me that wants to hide all the chemicals and I feel that I’m always following along behind Terry’s dad to make sure he doesn’t have a can of something or other in his hands, ready to tackle the weeds (lol)! So far, so good. 🙂

  • This may have been suggested before, but have you ever thought of writing this into a book, your journeys are epic and your journey whilst staying on one place brings straight to your doorstep, the photos as always are great and I remain a huge admirer of your words.

    • I have been doing some writing away from WP and am right now trying to balance that with the plethora of projects to be done at the folks’ house. Thanks so much for your encouragement SteJ. 🙂

  • A wonderful post, LuAnn! You’re doing great work and donating your time and strength to a worthwhile cause helping family. My mother had a huge garden, and for the last 15 years before the dementia, she also added sections of raised rows. She loved it! She said she should have done it sooner. We’ll hope the same is true for you.

  • Not sure how this one slipped through earlier, but I love the shot of you on the riding mower. Reminds me of days past. Trying to put together a trip to Utah before it gets too hot out that way…. so, really in over my head at the moment. Still, had to stop by to see how you were doing. 😀

    • Thanks Gunta. I look forward to pictures from your trip to Utah. I have to tell you that I think your photography class really paid off! Love seeing posts from you! 🙂

  • Thanks for the super encouragement. Funny thing is that the workshop didn’t really do much other than provide the push I needed to start figuring things out on my own. The one I attended was really way over my head and too much for this old brain to follow, but it showed me possibilities that I’ve been tackling gradually on my own. The new software helps a whole lot, too. It’s marvelous for fixing the goofs in the original shots… amazing what it can do for some washed out skies, so that the pics really pop.

    I’m loving the stuff you’re doing with the garden and landscaping. Reminds me so much of what we did with our old house. It’s a whole lot of work, but so rewarding. Now that I’m on my own, I’m living in town and enjoying the change (except for the drone of lawn mowers all around me… I got me a push mower for my little patch of grass). 😀

      • Oh, that would be lovely! I drove cross-country to visit friends in Boston two summers ago. If I manage to pull another of that sort of trip together I might just have to stop in to see you! Not too sure about that, though. A long trip like that wore both me and Sissy out. I’m just not as young as I was back in the day when I crossed the country nearly annually (in my little VW bug with the Siberian Husky hanging his head out over my shoulder.) The good old days…… 😀 (1970s)

  • LuAnn, What an interesting post to read. Poor Terry’s head. As you start to see the fruits of your labors, what an encouragement that must be. Keep the photos coming! Do be careful!! All the best. ~Lori

  • i missed this the first go ’round but am glad that now, when i have a nice slice of unhurried quiet time, that i can appreciate what’s happening up there! i wish i could peer over your shoulders as you go through items in the barn! there are surely many items worthy of study, whether in pencil or watercolor or with camera!!!! good thing i am not there or i would be saying, ‘no! don’t throw that away, i’ll take it!!!!’

    i’m glad the accidents weren’t too bad.. at least you two are feeling totally alive at the end of each day, though you might be exhausted as well! z

      • how well i remember that after moving to costa rica! first i would be frustrated that the sun set so soon each day, but then after a shower and food, i collapsed w/a book, read a short while and then slept —- and slept well! i was then grateful for short days, as i had a balance between hard work and rest.

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