Tuesday, October 20, 2020

Eventually Your Mojo Returns


I was getting kind of worried that I would never have the desire to sew again!!  This sewing room is still pretty unorganized.  I had the layout for my room in Indiana conveniently organized for sewing and to double as office space. I have determined that my sewing space here is just a bit smaller than I had in Indiana.  I HAVE taken some time to label drawers since everything is put away here but where?  Anyway, during some of my organizing I came across a 6 yard piece of fabric that I had planned to make into a wrap jacket.  Since I have more than enough jackets here I thought I would cut it in 1/2, turn under a small amount around both pieces and hand sew it into a binding. Ta Da, two blankets.  I think they will make great blankets for the boys who share a bedroom.

I brought my sewing table here but it is not useful to use as a place to set my machine(s).  This house is all cement except for the roof.  The electric plugs in my sewing room are on the same wall which is NOT where my sewing table is.  The side of the room with the electric plugs is all shelves.  So my fix is to get a nice surge protector with plenty of outlets and to buy a sewing cabinet.

This is a crazy house.  Very large.  I'd guess about 4000 square feet including the lower level.  It was originally built for housing for the workers at the gold mine I previously posted about.  The former owner added a huge addition which is now our living room, dining room and kids entertainment/play room. So anyway, the electric went out in our walk in closet. Terry knows how to fix such things as far as replacing circuit breakers etc.  But Corey overruled him on doing the repair and is having the electricians that did some other work here come to fix it.  However, it's the same old story about how long the drive is to get here so we are a low priority on having any kind of work done.  When they finally find the time to come out, I'm going to ask about adding outlets to my room, but honestly I expect it to be quite expensive with these cement walls.

I also need to find a hand stitching project.  Terry is having a heart test done that takes 3 hours so I need to stitch or find a book to take.  He is having some new issues that are pretty worrisome to me.  Keeping my fingers crossed that whatever is wrong will have a simple explanation.

Have you ever lost the desire to do one of your favorite things to do?  You know, sewing, reading, cooking......cleaning/ NOT!

Anyway, I'm glad she found me again.

xx, Carol

Saturday, September 19, 2020


I have mentioned that there are old mines on our property.  After doing more exploring, my grandson went OVER the top of the mountain and actually found wide roads large enough for BIG trucks to travel.  He went a little farther and found this mine.  He couldn't get farther away to get a better picture. There is much old equipment up there.  He found a sort of fuse box but that makes us wonder how they got electric up there. After doing a bit of research on Google, he found that this was an Iron Ore mine dating back to the late 1800s. At some point the miners discovered gold there and the mine was sold to a gold mining company.  The gold mine remained in operation until the 1930s when the mine began to cave.  The company still owns the mine.  We wonder why they didn't begin mining again with new and improved equipment.  We have found some gold nuggets in the creek. Nic spends his spare time "panning". There is an awful lot of iron ore laying around the land and paths on the mountain.
I have also mentioned that we have a donkey and a pony that my grandson bought from an animal rescue.  They are best friends and are always together.  The pony is rambunctious.   The donkey always looks sad to me.  He will always come to you to have his head scratched and to be talked to softly.  The kids love them both.  They are gentle creatures and the kids are learning that even large animals want to be loved.

The tarp is covering a large cage where Alyssa has quail.  I'm not sure why.  She is waiting for eggs and the chicks to be grown to be eaten.  I am not a big meat eater so I'm pretty sure I'll pass.

Our sow had 4 piglets and they are just so cute. Two boys and two girls.  Two will be raised to be sold, one will be kept and the other .... a future Sunday dinner.  Nic was so excited that we had piggies until he found out they are not pets.  I suppose it's a good learning experience for the kids.

I usually post something I am grateful for.  Lately I have been doing a lot of thinking about my life and the state of this world both physically and spiritually. When I think of something I am grateful for my mind immediately switches to the other side and thinks the opposite of it. Like "I am grateful I am not".  Not really thinking in the negative, just not how I usually think.

I was watching a science report that said two large ice burgs broke away from the ice plate. They are so large that it is thought that when they melt it could raise the ocean levels by 8 feet. That implies that the world will lose a lot of coastal land.  Well, there's something to be grateful for.  I watched something educational instead of a Gunsmoke rerun, lol.

Well, there you have it.  Life on the mountain.

Be well and be safe
xx, Carol

Wednesday, September 2, 2020

Max and Other Thoughts

You may remember that I have 3 dogs.  Two of them are Min Pins.  Harley is the black one and Max is brown.  When we lived back in Indiana I used to tell people about Harley climbing the maple tree in the back yard trying to reach the squirrels that would sit just out of his reach.  I could never get a picture of it.

The other day my grandson sent me a picture of Max climbing a tree that is near the chicken cages.  He also got a video of the climb which went a lot higher than this picture shows. It also showed that Max was reluctant to descend but ran down fast.  The red building on the right is one of the pump houses on the property.  The modular home in the background is one of two that came with the property.  Sometime in the future I'll tell you the plan we have for them.

I think in the future I'll be limiting pictures to one per post.  Blogger has made it difficult to post using more than one.

I have had a lot of thoughts since moving here.  So far we have felt the threat of two different wildfires, both within 20 miles of us. The ground vegetation is so dry it's no wonder that fires can easily start.  The past few years in Indiana it seemed like it rained all the time...at least too often and the humidity made being outside unbearable.  Here our days are HOT.  Triple digits a lot of the time. BUT there is almost always a wind of about 15 mph blowing and the humidity is really low so really the heat does not bother us so much.

Back home our house was cooled with air conditioning.  Here we have units called Swamp Coolers that are on the roof.  When a room is uncomfortably warm you just open a window and somehow the air flows through it to cool it off.  I have no understanding of how the system works but I do know that water is involved.  They are pretty common in mountain areas.

Before we moved we experienced a lack of certain items on grocery store shelves.  We have been spoiled in the USA to be able to go the store and find what we want.  Well, those sparce shelves are here in CA too. But beyond that I miss the brands that I used to buy in Indiana. I have not seen one of my favorites,  the Eckrich brand of processed meats. It was started years ago on a farm not far from where we lived and was always my first choice. I have not seen brunschweiger in the local stores here.  A google search shows it can be found in some stores in Bakersfield.  I'll have to ask Alyssa to look for it when she places her next pick up order from the store she likes in Bakersfield.

What you hear about prices in California (compared to Indiana) is true.  A gallon of milk and a loaf of bread are each about a dollar more expensive here.  I shop at Walmart and the prices of their house brand are only slightly higher.  Since we don't have to pay for housing, we have found this area of California to be affordable

Tehachapi must be some kind of tourist area because while there we have talked to many people that are "visiting". There is a very large selection of places to eat from Mexican to Mediterranean which really surprised me.  It's a town full of arts and craft gift shops and antique stores. It's a very comfortable town to do business in.  You can buy just about anything you need with stores including Home Depot and Tractor Supply.

I am outside almost every night in the wee hours to take the dogs out.  The sky here is marvelous, filled with so many stars I could never see in Indiana.  There is dead silence.  I know there are frogs and crickets but I don't hear them. Occasionally Ramone, our guard dog, will bark at some noise he hears but that's it.  I sit on the balcony watching the sky for a meteor.  I sense my surroundings and my place in the Universe.  In the dead of night I don't feel any different than I did back in Indiana.

I haven't blogged much since we have been here.  The new Blogger has not been kind to me and there are so many distractions here. The political health of the US is very unsettling to me. I stay off social media pretty much.  OMGosh, I moved from the most conservative state in the Union to what I think MUST be the most conservative county in CA.  Keven McCarthy is this county's congressman.

I read a blog where the author who writes to promote inspiration and creativity said that you cannot create if you don't feel safe and secure.  Physically I am safe and I am secure.  Mentally I am worried about how this government will effect my future. I just can't shake it.

Grateful:  I am so grateful to be living near my great grands!  The are a blessed distraction.

Please leave a comment.  Are you feeling the effect of the discord here in the USA?  If you don't live here, what do you think about the news of what is going on here?

xx, Carol

Monday, August 10, 2020

Where There's Smoke There's Fire

There is a pond on our property which is where I first saw a red Dragonfly.  I never knew there were red ones.  Since I first saw one, I have noticed them flying everywhere.  We also have the "blue" winged ones.

There is much written about the myths and symbolism of the dragonfly.

I have totem animals, but I don't have any special feelings about dragonflies.  For me, I just like to see them flitting around going about whatever it is they do.


People know that every single year California has wildfires.  Currently there is one they named the Stagecoach Fire.  Fires are named for a road or town where the fire started.  The Stagecoach Fire is north of us. The other day when the wind blew in our direction we saw this smoke which was just over the next mountain.  That looked awfully close.  Corey took the little truck and went up the mountain so he could see how close the fire was to us.  Luckily it was just the smoke blowing in our direction.  The actual fire is quite a distance away in a very remote area of the mountains making it hard for firemen to fight.  The evacuation areas are not close to us.  Planes carrying water and helicopters carrying deterrent fly overhead all day long.  There are areas in California where residents are required to make the area around their homes fire safe.  We are not in one of those areas, but we will definitely be cutting trees close to our home and whatever else is suggested we do.  Our entire home is cement except the roof. I suppose anything in the lower level would be safe from fire, however we could not survive there if we in the fire path due to the huge amount of smoke.  They are saying the creek will probably flood this autumn because of the vegetation that has burned.  We are taking precautions.  The previous owners just road out these disasters.  I have actually seen the previous owners in previous news reports of flooding I found on Google.  These people have so much money and other properties that they didn't seem to care about this one.  The last flood here was in 2013 or 2015 I forget which year.  The flood washed down a lot of tree debris and huge metal things that we have no idea what they are.  Corey has had much of the debris moved but those large metal things need to be cut and hauled out....eventually.  It's a big job.  When the excavation was being done a DNR officer visited to see what work was being done.  Some neighbor complained in fear that we were altering the creek.  It is illegal to alter the creek below the flood level.  We cannot alter the flow of the creek, or remove dirt to lower than the flood level.  Some neighbor two properties from us DID that and dug out a large man made pond.  They have been fined HUGE amounts of money that they are ignoring.  Hundreds of thousands of dollars in  fines must be paid before the land can change owners.

I'll be back in a few days to tell you what we are doing with this property.  Right now I am too frustrated trying to post more.

Be safe and be healthy.
xx, Carol


Friday, July 31, 2020

Where a Bear Sleeps


We have a Polaris mini truck off road vehicle to get around the mountain and also travel down to the post office, trash dump or just get around.  It's meant to be driven off road, but no one says anything about driving it on the road as long as you don't go onto the highway.

We have been exploring our mountain, as well as other paths that are not private.

While exploring a little way down the road when got off on a path that went to the top of another mountain.  We came across this "cave" that someone had boarded over as a place where bear hibernate.  The locals tell us there are California Brown Bear on the other side of our mountain which is Bureau of Land Development  (BLM) land.

There are for sale signs all along our road.  Most land is sold in 20 acre parcels.  If there is a house on the land, it usually is a rental property that the large land owners have rented out for years.  Most of the large land owners are elderly.  While traveling up this mountain we saw a lot of for sale signs.  Believe it or not these dirt paths have for sale signs on the property fences and each path has a street sign. (picture on the right above.)

This cow is on the mountain right next to our house.  The land owner that owns the cow owns 550 acres of land behind the next two properties next to our land.  We have a break in the fence at the top of the mountain and the cows some through it and come down the mountain to graze and to go to the creek to drink.  It's not unusual to see as many as 20 cows grazing or milling around on land next to the creek.  They also just saunter along next to the road.  We chase them off and sometimes sic one of the dogs to rout them out.  It's not mean to do so.  They leave large piles of dooky.  Also, they have come too close to our propane and water tanks and there is a real fear that they will do damage.  They have also eaten plants in the garden and various plants that Alyssa has planted, like palm trees and an orange tree.   Only one of our dogs knows how to herd them off the land.  The others get too close and we do worry that one will get injured but you can't keep them away from trying to herd cows.
  The trip down our road to the highway is a twisty turny journey.  I haven't driven it yet and usually let Terry do the driving.  We take the little truck down to the post office which takes 1/2 hour to drive just one way.  We usually go once a week when we go to either Tehachapi or Bakersfield.  Both towns are another 1/2 hour  either left or right once we reach the highway.  That makes a two hour round trip.  The highway is mountainous and it's a pain to follow the semis who much drive in low gear to make it up the mountains.  There is a lot of dangerous driving on that highway.  People just are careless drivers.  We have been in some close calls because of it.  I am often thankful that Terry used to be a truck driver and is ever alert to shenanigans on the road.

This little stone house is one we pass by on our road.  It looks to be two rooms and a back part that butts right up to the mountain.  We know that there are many gold mines that the government ordered sealed before this land could be sold.  I often wonder if this little stone building was a front for a mine at one time.  You can see sealed mines just about everywhere.  There are three on our property that we know of.

Most of the terrain along our road looks like this.  Mountains on both sides with the road snaking it's way around each one.  This is high desert.  There has already been a grass fire that encompassed at least 4 mountain sides.
This is our post office.  It has what I call part time hours since it closes daily at 11:30.  We had an issue with our delivery route mail person who didn't want to leave mail in our box on the road in front of our house.  She didn't like the box.  Not a good enough reason for us I determined that I would buy a post box at the post office.  The gal that works there is just too sweet and helpful.  I have talked to her many times while she resolved some of our mail situations.  I complemented her several times and she knows the sound of my voice on the phone.  The post office is not quite to the highway.

The train tracks run almost next to the post office.  I never tire of seeing that train go off and chug along the tracks that weave around the mountains.  the little towns around here were started to be near the rails.

In the picture on the left if you look closely or click to enlarge it you will see two cars sitting along the road.  We frequently see that because this is the point where one cell service or another resumes.  We have no service where I live.

It took me a while to get this post composed.  Maybe next time I'll tell you about our internet up here, lol.

Grateful:  I am especially grateful that I did not have Covid before I left Indiana when I was hospitalized.  Grateful that I live here and can enjoy watching my great grands grow up.  

Next time I'll tell you what is REALLY going on up here!!

Be Safe and Be Well.
xx, Carol

Sunday, July 5, 2020

Lots Of Changes In Two Months

This is 1/2 of the backyard of the house where we live now.  It is the only grassy area on 130 acres of mountainside.  Oh there is a grass of sorts on the mountain.  The cows love it.  But let me back up.

When I last posted, I wrote that we were preparing to move to a mountain property in California.  It's located in the Sierra Nevada mountains and is south east of Bakersfield.

I was packing boxes like crazy because a semi was coming on May 2nd to be loaded and my grandson was on his way to pick us up to drive across country to our new home.

Well, if something can go wrong, it will.  On April 30 I developed a 103 temperature.  My daughter called the ER to see if my husband could take me there.  The news has said to call the ER before going due to the Corona virus situation.  Upon arrival I was given a test and because of the high fever they admitted me to the ward reserved for the virus treatment.  They told me the results would be back the next day.  However, a local hospital had been having daily drive through testing which caused a backlog of test results.  My test took 4 days to return a negative result. Even though they moved me out of the ward to a new room, I really had to push to be released.  One thing I will say is that Elkhart General Hospital really did have what seemed to me to be a good system for keeping me and their employees save from the virus.

I went home to my family who worked diligently to finished packing what I had left undone. I had been allergic to the antibiotics that were given to me in the hospital which gave me a heck of a rash.  They gave me a different med to take at home with an order to rest and instructions to boost my immune system.

I have pretty much been off line because my computer stuff was last to get set up.  Then when it was unboxed I could not find my monitor cables.  I drove myself crazy looking and relooking in boxes.  Finally I just ordered a new one because I could not deal with the anxiety of looking anymore.  I miss Comcast.  We have Direst TV and Viasat which I will learn to live with.  Before we moved in Alyssa got Hughes and a Land Line so now we have two internet services but no cell service.  They tell us AT&T is going to put up a tower and if and when they do we'll have to switch from Verizon.  It's funny, if you have Apple can talk to others with Apple but no one else.

When the packing was done and the truck was loaded and gone off we went in a 15 passenger van.  4 adults, 3 children and 5 well behaved dogs.  Sounds crazy huh!  But it all worked out.  We traveled only a few hours each day and stayed in Air BNB houses along the way.  Our route took us through the Rocky Mountains.  My granddaughter in law bought Terry cans of Oxygen to use in the higher altitudes. I had never been west of Illinois so even though the trip was tiring, it was also exciting to see places I had never seen or imagined I WOULD ever see.

Meanwhile, the realtor was sort of overlooking some of the contracted work that was supposed to be done on the house.  Our land is a 1/2 hour drive off the highway on a twisty turning mountain road.  Two of the contractors that were supposed to be refinishing the floors in the entire house and painting decided to quit.  Our house is too far a drive.  There is a Air BNB house just down the road from our property so we contracted to stay there for two weeks after new contractors were located.

My grandson had electricians do several repairs and changes to the electric system. The seller had left a lot of things that had to be removed from the property.  The creek that runs along the road had flooded a few years ago washing a lot of debris from properties above us on the near mountains and a lot of that had to be removed.  The new contractor that was hired to paint and apply epoxy to the floors was way behind schedule and had done an inferior job so they were asked not to return.  We still have to put new cabinets in the kitchen.

Our home is built of cement and built right into the side of the mountain.  All walls inside are cement.  Needless to say I won't be hanging much on the walls.

Our bedroom is actually a suite.  An outside door opens into our bedroom which has almost an entire wall of windows that look out to a mountain across the road.  We have a 7 x 12 walk in closet.  There is another room off the bedroom that could be another larger walk in closet but I chose to use it for my sewing room.  There is a large bathroom.  All that is closed off for privacy with a hall way door. 

We have a large kitchen and will be putting new cabinets in and a booth kitchen table.  There is a laundry room and VERY large pantry off the kitchen with a door that opens onto the cement deck and walk way that surrounds the main upper level.  There is another bathroom which is smaller and a small bedroom that will be for the boys.  This hallway has the door to the lower level.  The hall and kitchen have doorways to the second living room which have yet to be refinished, though the walls are painted.  There are HUGE windowed sliding doors that open into another open room that will become the dining room.  It is open to what I call the Entertainment Room. We have a huge sectional and TV there and behind it the kids have a play area.  That room is about 25 x 30.

The lower level needs to be painted etc.  There is a HUGE room with french doors that open into a cover patio. (It is covered by the deck on the upper level).  This area has a bathroom and walk in closet and another finished room that could be another bedroom and also has french doors to the outside.

There is a workshop outside that is as long as the home.  There is a rather small grass back yard which is shown in the picture.  It only shows the left side of the yard.  It's the only "grassy" area I have seen.  HOWEVER, Terry and I have not been to the top of the mountain, though Alyssa and Corey have and plan to build a home at the top.  Our home is at about 2500'.  The top of the mountain is about 4200'.

We need to fix a couple breaks in the fence.  Cows from the land that is kitty corner from us (probably 600 acres) wander the road and our mountain.  They come to the side where one of the creeks are and hang out.  One of our dogs is good at chasing them off.  The other dogs except Tyson do a good job of dodging hoofs.  Tyson has learned to keep his distance.

These mountain people can be friendly but not friends. The custom is to keep your gate closed and locked if you don't want company.  We keep ours locked because we have heard since the Covid outbreak there are a lot of strangers around.  We have heard they are stealing mail.  Since Terry gets his meds via mail, we have taken a PO box.  A bit of an inconvenience since the Post Office is a 1/2 hour drive of twists and turns.   We got one of those Gater/Kaboto kind of off road vehicles but ours is a Polaris.  It's meant for off road driving but really, no one cares what you do up here on the mountain.

There is wild life here.  LOTS of different birds.  There are also mountain lions, coyote (which Max has already met and was smart to come back to me) bobcats and who knows what.  The other side of our mountain is government land.  I am told there are bears there.  We were driving the Polaris on the property and a just gigantic bird swooped down at our windshield.  Max was running along beside us and we think he might have been the target.  We didn't get a good look at what it was but the wingspan was huge.  It wasn't a condor because it had a yellow beak.  We are going to keep our eye out.  One of the first things I did was order a bird book for California.

We have been to Bakersfield several times.  It is supposed to be the eighth largest California City.  I don't like it much because of the traffic and don't like to navigate the Hummer in small car thick traffic.  But we have also been to Tehachapi.  It's the kind of small town Terry and I loved when we were younger.  But I do like the Walmart there better than Bakersfield.

Gosh, there is so much more to tell.  For now I just wanted to document some of my thoughts on being here and to let you know we are alive and well and loving living in isolation so far.

Grateful:  Grateful to be alive.  We have chickens.  We had two goats that wondered off and most probably became Coyote Supper.

xx, Carol

Friday, May 1, 2020

A Scene From A Book

This is how far I got on the May 1 theme before I had to get serious about packing for the move.  Can you tell it's the scene from Gone With The Wind where Scarlet gets the idea to use the drapes to make a new dress.  When I think about it, my mind sees the scene from the movie with Scarlet wearing the dress and hat. Missing here is Scarlet herself.  She is packed away in the project box waiting to be completed.

Gone With The Wind has always been one of my favorite books as the movie is too. I didn't read the sequel book because I just didn't think a different author  could capture the spirit of GWTW.

Being of the Baby Boomer generation, I grew up watching old movies.  I loved all the old actors especially the dashing Clark Gable.  I read ALL THE TIME.  One of the things I loved best about the book was exploring each character's personality.  What influenced the women to be the way they were.  I couldn't identify with any one of them.  There wasn't much about Scarlet for me to like.  My favorite line from the movie anyway was Prissy  saying "I Don't Know Nothing About Birthing Babies".  It's been my reply to many questions I have been asked.

I don't have much more to say about this piece.  My first start on this Challenge was Stephen King's IT.  I don't recall why I switched gears to GWTW. I didn't get stalled on it, but like a lot of people around the world right now, we had a lot of illness at home these past 3 months.  Terry's illness looked a lot like C19 virus. He really did think he was going to die.  I was then sick for about a week, but nothing as bad as Terry.  We both would have been tested if there was a test to be had here at the time.

Grateful:  REALLY grateful to be moving to a wonderful place to shelter in place.

Be safe and stay healthy.
xx, Carol