: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)

: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.

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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!

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The kids want to plant it. 

Have a lovely night everyone.

 

:greeting the day:

A new morning ritual

Cassie-girl loves it out here.
Cassie-girl loves it out here. 
I love having my morning coffee out here.
I love having my morning coffee out here. 

The lilacs are blooming.
The lilacs are blooming. 
This old tractor was set up at a lawn ornament by a previous owner. I just love it! We also have a few other antique farm pieces around, some of them we can’t even recognize.
This old tractor was set up at a lawn ornament by a previous owner. I just love it! We also have a few other antique farm pieces around, some of them we can’t even recognize. 
The first fruit in the orchard...I just wish I knew what it was! I guess we’ll find out soon enough.
The first fruit in the orchard…I just wish I knew what it was! I guess we’ll find out soon enough. 

 

:saturday list making:

Hello, dear readers!

Today was a day of making lists and seeing just how much work has to be done around here. Doug and I walked the property, taking turns pointing out to each other the buds and new leaves on trees and grapevines, wondering where this irrigation line runs to, and whether that section of fence will be easy to repair. It is almost overwhelming when we look at it. Then we take a deep breath and grin at each other like loons.

There is nowhere else we would rather be than looking a years worth of work.

One of the things on my list is to go see what the library has on growing grapes. I’ve grown a vegetable garden before, but wine grapes are totally different. Thankfully, I just need to let the vintner who tends the vines do his job, and then I get to enjoy the fruit of his labor, as it were. People have asked me why I don’t make him pay be, but to have a knowledgeable vintner tend the vines and then give me cases of wine as payment is more than a fair deal. Heaven knows if I had to do it, these vines would be in a sorry stated and there would be no wine! However, I do think I need to educate myself on what grows on my land.

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List, list, lists! Today was trying to get it all down on paper. And, yeah, that’s my trust Lamy. It’s ruined me for all other pens. 

Today I also met a neighbor. I have to say, I have never lived anywhere where the people actually came out to meet you. We have met five neighbors on our road so far, and most of them went out of their way to come welcome us. Despite the fact that we are so close to the city, it really is rural living here. I just love it.

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The gorgeous Cali sky through the budding branches of one of the big chestnut trees. 

Now we are going to watch a movie together. I hope your Saturday has been as lovely as mine!

Good night. 🙂