:9/30:

My heart breaks for the people of Paradise, CA.

Here we are dealing with the smoke from that fire. Those in the valley have it worse. I don’t even want to imagine what the people in Chico are dealing with. My family have been calling and texting to check on us. I have to assure them I am fine. California is as big as three other states put together, so these fires are not near us.

Still, my heart breaks.

:6/30:

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: fall is my favorite season.

There is just something about the colors and the crispness of the air and the the still warm sun that lifts my spirits.

Even before I found knitting again, I have always lived for fall.

We moved to Miami from Philadelphia when I was in fifth grade, and the loss of the seasons made me hide from the sun and the brutal heat. SoFLo has a never-ending summer that took me years to become used to.

Where we live now is at just enough elevation to feel the change of season slightly love than the valley.

It is glorious.

I love the fall.

:5/30:

Good morning lovely people!

This morning I was so excited to get up and play with the watercolor set I got myself. It is the Sakura Koi Pocket Field Sketch Box. I’ve heard it recommended by quite a few planners, art journal keepers and artists on YouTube. The best part was using a 50% off coupon. This one is the 24 color set and it looks to have more than enough to keep me going.

I’ve been using my Tombow markers, but this is something I wanted to learn how to use, especially since it gives me a greater range of color saturation and dilution. I only have three of the Tombow sets and it does limit my color choices.

I took a little time this morning swatching all the colors on some Fariano dot grid paper I have.

Yes, ‘Lanta spends her morning napping in my lap while I do my planning and journaling.

Today is one of my favorite types of days. I get to spend the whole day at home, just working on the property and the house.

I really am a homebody. I swear, if it weren’t for the kids activities, I would only leave to go grocery shop once a week.

We are still in the thick of harvesting chestnuts and cleaning up the fall leaves. The trees are only half through shedding and the it is a daily job keeping up with it. To top it off, the wind has really kicked up over the past week.

What we need now is some rain. There is currently a 17 acre fire burning on the other side of the range from where we live. Even a heavy fog would be welcome at this point.

What about you guys, have you had a good fall? Have you started something new? or is the approaching holiday season the only thing you are gearing up for? Please post to the comments. I’d love to hear how others are spending their fall.

:alien pods and UFOs in the yard:

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For some reason, the open chestnut pods we have starting to fall look like Predator faces or Alien pods. My fingers can attest they are just as dangerous! OUCH!!

And Conn found this moth on the doorstep. I have not been able to ID it. Any guesses? (Ignore the second insect at it’s head.)

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:car days:

Theses days are a necessary evil. Homeschooling means shepherding the kids to classes and activities in town. It also means sitting in traffic in the Bay Area.

Usually it’s not so bad, since we drive try to avoid rush hour, but on days like this….On days like this I just want to be on my mountain.

The heat in the valley is a muggy eighty degrees. The high temperature up at the homestead is sixty-four and has that bite of fall I love so much. It’s also humid, but it’s the kind of humidity that makes me want to pull on thick socks and wrap a hand-knit shawl around my shoulders, tea in hand and kitten in my lap.

Sitting stopped on I-85 really makes me appreciate the quiet of the vineyard, the crowing of Helios and Turkey (our roosters) in the early morning, even our only partially paved road.

:how i spent my summer:

Actually, I’m pretty sure you don’t want to know. My summer…my summer was a bit on the horrible end of crazy.

Now, how I ended my summer. That’s worth a read. Here on the Grace Homestead I’d like to introduce you to our two newest members.

Hercules (A.K.A. Herc or Boo Cat), who came to us at four weeks old and in the mouth of our kill-everything dog Cassie. I was shocked when D sent me a text asking be to bring home kitten formula and some litter. This is the only cat Cassie-girl has not tried to kill on sight. He came from our neighbor’s property (the had two stray litters), and due to an injury we figured we would keep him and nurse him back to health. Farms do need a cat after all.

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and Atalanta (A.K.A. ‘Lanta), from the other litter on our neighbor’s property. She’s three weeks younger, and the mom abandoned the whole litter. We took her and the rest went to a neighbor down the street who works with kitten rescue.

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We have also added our flock of chickens back into the homesteading dynamic.

The business of raising orphaned kittens and caring for a flock has given this place a bit of a boost as far as how our days are spent. The garden ended up producing a little bitty zucchini and three giant yellow squash plants. We have so much squash, I don’t even know what to do with it!

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As far as the writing front goes, I am getting back into the swing of things. I did a ton of reading this summer, and it has fired up my juices to get back to my story.

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I’ve got my BuJo all set up to get back into the swing of our regular school year and to make sure I start looking at my work as a writer as my WORK.

: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.

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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.

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The pump.
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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.

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