:family time:

My parents and mother-in-law all came together for a visit this week, so our days have been spent playing board games, weeding the garden, letting them see a bit of the kids homeschooling days, and eating. My mother took one look at me and decided I needed to gain back the weight I lost when we were buying the house. I feel like she is definitely trying to making it happen in the week she is here! LOL.

Really, we have just been here at home most of the time, enjoying the beautiful weather. California has delivered on it’s reputation with sunny days and cool nights. My mother-in-law has also helped identify some of the flowers and trees on the property.

Tiny (blurry!) grapes.
We took my MIL to Santa Cruz to see the Pacific Ocean. The flowers were a riot of color and she absolutely loved it.

 

SaveSave

:the well:

Hello, lovelies! This has been an event filled week.

I said I would write up what happened to the well, so here we go….

Last Saturday, I was in the midst of putting the kids’ new beds together, when there was suddenly no water. Nothing. Nada.

Doug and I went out and started troubleshooting. We ended up in a hard and fast education about our well system. We checked the one thing. It wasn’t that. We checked another. Nope. Not that. And so we worked our way from the tank to the well until we realized that the power to the well had not been turned on! The system had been shut off during the sale because the house has sat empty for a year. We had assumed the system was turned on because the house had water (city-slicker waving!). Hope was high we had found the problem, but no. Doug checked control panels and pressure switches. All of it seemed to be working. the only place we had not checked was down in the well. Replacing a well pump is hard and expensive. We had eliminated everything else.

By this point, we already had a neighbor coming to help us, and were on the hunt for a water truck to come fill our tank so we could function in the meantime. My real estate agent (bless her!) lent us the key to their old house (on the market) and let us shower there. She also got us some extra drinking water.

There were calls made to the sellers. Neighbors offering advice, tools and helping hands. This is when you learn that country living really is about the community.

Finally, Wednesday morning the water truck showed up and filled our tank. The driver was local and super nice.

IMG_0016
Water truck giving us a fill

Then, Doug and I got on our farm clothes, and pulled the well pump and line up 120 feet. No winch (flex pipe, so no need. YAY!). We pulled up the ten feet of PVC, and then I walked that down the vineyard as Doug hauled up the rest of the line. It was hard, intense labor. It felt like a brutal CrossFit WOD, talk about functional fitness.

Finally, we had what we suspected was the culprit, and low and behold…the pump worked! The problem was the water line had come undone. Please note: after we pulled the pump, we had professionals come up with a pump and all the fittings in case the pump was broken. They were the ones who checked the pump and reattached everything. We saved ourselves some labor by pulling it up. They saved us an $800 well pump. We also watched everything they did so if we need to replace the pump in the future we can do it ourselves. Doug is pretty good with electrical systems, but he’s still not a pro.

IMG_0021
The pump.
IMG_0020
See Connor aaaaaaall the way down at the other end of the well line?

And here was the problem.

Moving into a new house always exposes problems. Always. This is our third house, we know this. It’s just that country homes expose issues that most people don’t think about.

And it also exposes the community who lives around you, and we are in a great one.

:more downs than ups:

So, I had a post I started to write, between putting together Ikea furniture for the kids’ bedrooms (Am I the only one who likes doing that? It’s like giant Lego sets!) and getting the house cleaned up for my parents’ visit next week….

….and then the water stopped running and we realized the well was not working.

Right now I am just too tired to say anything more. We got everything working, and I will write it all up once I get a chance.

On the up side of things, I finished my Rikke hat. YAY! Nights here are going to be in the 40s next week, so it will be great to wear it while I drink my coffee and watch the sun rise over the vineyard.

IMG_0014
Talk about a game of yarn chicken! That tail is all that was left of the skein.
IMG_0015
So cozy! (Excuse the bed head)

:thursday:

Thursdays are always the day I put the most time in behind the wheel. By the time dinner rolls around it’s all I can do get something on the table. This is tonight’s effort, a fry-up. I cannot remember where I learned to make this, but it’s a lifesaver when your too tired to be creative.

fullsizeoutput_2
Eggs, breakfast sausages, tomatoes, and kale.

When I called them in from the dinner, my boys came in bearing a sprouted chestnut they found out in the side yard. We have two chestnut trees in front of the house. They are beautiful and big, but I haven’t a clue about what kind of chestnut tree. Chestnuts are not native to California. The American chestnut is actually called the “Redwood of the East” and is native only east of the Mississippi. In trying to figure out if mine are American, Japanese, Chinese, European or a hybrid I’ve become fascinated by these trees.

The day we came to the open house, and first saw what would be our new home, we had to wait for the selling agent to sweep a path from our car to the front porch due to the thick carpet of chestnut burrs all over the ground. The trees are only just now starting to show signs of waking up after their winter sleep. Green is peeking out from the buds here and there.

I’m looking forward to roasting chestnuts for yule at the end of the year. If anyone knows anything about chestnut trees, please help me figure mine out!

fullsizeoutput_3
The kids want to plant it. 

Have a lovely night everyone.

 

:getting dirty:

Thank goodness for California’s long growing season. I am just starting to set up my vegetable garden. The area set up for the kitchen garden is quite a generous size, but I just do not have it in me to go big right from the get-go.

As I have said before, there is just too much to do.

So, we are going to go this year with a no-til or no-dig garden. It was Doug’s idea. He found a blog on permaculture gardening, and we figured why not give it a try.

The weekend after the move, we took a bale of hay we found in the little hay loft, moved it to the garden and covered the area we were going to plant. Then we let it sit.

The theory is to cover the ground with straw or cardboard. Then build rows or mounds of soil on top of the straw, and then plant. The straw suppresses the weeds and as the plants grow the roots dig down through the straw and anchor themselves. This is supposed to keep the soil from becoming weaker (especially season after season) from disturbing the soil’s ecology.

This morning we started building the rows  and mounds where we will plant.

IMG_0008

It won’t be the prettiest garden in the world, but I’m so happy to have it!

I am by no means an experienced gardener. I was raised in the suburbs, and my mom always hired someone to do the yard work. My experience consists of a small garden in Georgia, some five gallon buckets I used to grow pole beans and tomatoes on my balcony when we first moved to Cali, and helping my much more experienced neighbor plant a big (for me) garden which produced beautifully that year.

It was a glorious way to start the morning!

Then the rest of my day consisted of chauffeuring the kids to their activities…and knitting while I wait.

IMG_0009
Working on my Rikke hat. We are getting a cold snap next week, and I am so looking forward to a last bit of cold before the heat of summer hits.