Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Tuesday, August 28 - Working in the heat

Barry was up early this morning, and took some photos of the lunar eclipse. I haven't looked at them yet but I'm sure they are stunning. He walked down to the mailbox before dawn, at 67 degrees, felt SO good and cool, to get yesterday's paper. It doesn't come until late afternoon -- we almost canceled today -- but we'll give them a bit more time to get it right.

We worked in the shed today, organized the garden tools, and cleaned out. We've got a "shed" that is the size of a small garage. With the trailer/cart I bought, we can now take the trash down every Wednesday morning without putting it in my truck. Now if I wear Barry's bib overalls and a straw hat (he threatened to get a picture of me doing it but he'll have to get up AWFUL EARLY to do that), I should look like a local -- yeah, right.

Anyway, I have space for all my woodworking tools and Barry has a space for a potting bench - garden center. Everything will fit in nicely, the shed is electrified so we have light and fans, can put a radio or a TV in it, maybe an old sofa, a couple of beds upstairs -- wait a minute, it's a SHED, not a spare room!

Someone (I think Mike across the road) is bush-hogging the tomato patch down near the road. He's asked if he can bush-hog our field -- wonderful -- he can use the hay and we can use the work so we can start a garden for this fall and for next year.

We're going down to see what's happening down by Carpenter Fork, the "official" name of the stream at the end of our driveway.

Alison, PLEASE be sure all the kids on Flagstaff Team have my email and blog addresses. I want to keep in touch, particularly if they have any questions about how living in KY is different from living in ME. I also see that Aaron and Matt D's great-grandmother died -- pass on my sympathies -- I left a note on the Sentinel's obituary website. Also saw where Roberta D's mother died -- again pass on my condolences.

Maureen, call or email me so I'll know you're still alive!

OK, going out to be nosy neighbors now. Look for a pic of Farmer Mike in the next blog -- unless I can get the camera away from Barry!

Monday, August 27, 2007

Monday, August 27 - Another restful day

I had to go into Danville to run errands while Barry stayed home and made some delicious peach cobbler, and worked on various Christmas presents. Not gonna tell you what -- you all will have to wait.

We heard the our neighbor, Ron, had returned from the hospital in Danville, so I stopped at Cutter's to tell Thelma, his wife, that we would look in on him just to be sure he's ok. Thelma is 65, and works basically full-time running Cutter's. Her mother, Laura, 85, is opening up a fast food place on the way to Danville, so they can use all the help they can get looking after Ron, who -- typical of males who don't want to be told what not to do -- will simply do whatever he wants. We'll keep an eye out.

Larry and Joann (sp?, Hurschell's daughter), our neighbors, stopped by this morning and gave us a locally-produced candle -- Goose Creek (click on the link) is the name. They also invited us to a cookout and sing-along down in Middleburg this coming Saturday. Sounds like a fun time, so we'll probably go, just to be sociable, and have a good time. Also, Middleburg is near the Amish and Mennonite settlement here, and there are some great small farm markets and craft shops down there. I'm thinking Christmas again -- and my stomach, of course!

To go along with our lawn tractor, I bought a 10 cubic foot trailer -- will be useful for hauling firewood, plants, garden implements, manure from across the road. It was the last one in the store (Tractor Supply -- what you need out here - click on the link) at that price, and it'll fit our needs perfectly. Mike, across the road, is going to come over and bush-hog our field -- he can use the fodder for his cattle, and it will save us the trouble of haying or mowing, especially since we will probably locate our garden there this fall or next spring.

Speaking of garden, Barry planted collard greens, carrots, spinach, and swiss chard (Thanks, Alison!) and we should get a crop before frost. It has never been lower than 32 here in September, so we will NOT get a frost until October at least, more likely November. I bought more freezer bags, just in case we get a bumper crop of greens, to carry us through the winter -- or at least what people around HERE call winter -- 2" of snow, 20 degree temps for a few hours overnight.

We should have enough firewood to get us through the winter, and thus save on heating costs. Electricity is 6.8 cents per kw (compared to about 16 in Maine), but still saving on that will help. If we keep the thermostat at about 65, the sun should warm things up during the day, and seldom are temps below 40 anyway, even in the dead of winter.

Tonight we watched Pharoah's Army, with Kris Kristofferson, which was largely filmed around here. Mike, mentioned earlier, saw Kristofferson jogging along Butchertown Road back in 1995 when the movie was made, and offered him a ride. The scenes in the movie could have been filmed in our back yard, or at least in the clearing in the hollow out back! In fact, many Danville area people, organizations, and businesses are credited in the movie. It's not available on Netflix, so I bit the bullet and bought it through Amazon.com. It's about a small troop of Union soldiers who stop at a Confederate farmhouse in the Cumberland Gap area (southeastern KY) to get provisions. The interaction between the captain and the wife/son of the confederate soldier really show exactly why Kentucky joined the Confederacy AFTER the war was over -- the way people here were treated by the Union has a great deal to say about how they reacted. Kentucky did NOT join the Confederacy, yet it was treated by the Reconstructionists as though it had.

One doesn't see many Confederate flags around (only 2 that I can recall on the way to Danville), but the sentiment is there. Casey County in 1860 was 25% black, mostly slaves -- some families in this very neighborhood owned slaves. Yet by the 2000 Census there were only about 150 blacks out of a total population of 15,000 (and that was up from 1900) -- they had been driven out by the "Regulators" (read Klan-like) after The War, so that today there are more blacks in Waterville than in this whole Southern county! The War goes on, although less obviously than in other parts of the South, or even Kentucky (like Paducah). It's just not talked about apparently.

I got a call from the gal who works in the education division at Historic Perryville -- I had asked about volunteering, or maybe even part-time work. She called while we were visiting Ron, but she'll get back to me later this week. Wouldn't it be cool if I could actually USE my teaching experience at Perryville, the site of the largest Civil War battle in Kentucky? The re-enactment is coming up the weekend of my birthday, and WE ARE GOING. Alison, I'll send pictures you can share with the kids on the team.

OK, seems like a ritual now -- fish are fed, I'm showered and squeaky clean, so it's off to bed. We'll see what tomorrow brings!

Saturday, August 25, 2007

Saturday evening, August 25 - The Riding Mower

OK, so at first it was a bit jerky, neither of us had EVER used a riding lawn mower before, and we both felt it was going to tip over when we got to the edge of the lawn, but we actually got it going today. We bought it two weeks ago, a 42" Yard Man from Wal-Mart, but it hasn't rained enough here to mow since we moved in in late July, so why waste the energy and the gasoline, plus taking a chance on further damaging an already burnt and parched lawn.

Barry went out into the shed to pull "Monster" out into the sunlight and to fire it up. He read over the directions so carefully I thought he was studying for a test. Well, wouldn't you know -- Barry lifted the hood to put gas in it, but it didn't have a gas cap. Quick trip to Wal-Mart -- when you're out in the Knobs, that's an hour out of your day IF the traffic isn't that bad and Wal-Mart isn't that busy.

Back home, gas cap in hand, and gas in the tank, we managed to wheel it out backwards -- once we figured that we had to take it out of park in order to move it. Hey, we're learning here. Anyway, fingers crossed, Barry fired it up, and as the "Fifth Dimension" 60's song said, "Up, Up and Away" Barry went. A few passes and the front was done, then it was down over the hill to mow around and between the trees. We hadn't established a mowing pattern yet, and it will probably be awhile before we do, but once that's done, the lawn will be finished in a jiffy!

Of course, after Barry had done the front lawn, it was MY turn. TERROR STRIKES! I almost tipped the mower over, or at least that's the way it felt, several times, but once I got used to the feeling of riding off-kilter, it wasn't all that bad. Of course, I also had the feeling that, mowing downhill, I wouldn't stop until I reached Gravel Switch, a town about 10 miles west of here. However, I did find that there was a brake/clutch, which I proceeded to ride almost all the time.

At least "Monster," and the lawn survived my first attempt. Once I got started, I really went to town, mowing the huge piece of lawn to the west of the drive, and the smaller piece to the south of the house. By the time that was done, I think both Barry and I would have qualified for the "Butchertown Community Lawn Mower Race," (which really does NOT exist) or at least we could START one!
Well, the fish have been fed (both inside and out), the dinner dishes are done, and we're both tired from our battle with "Monster." So a quick check of the email, and it's off to bed.

Hmm, I wonder what we can mow TOMORROW?

Saturday, August 25 - Settling In

There's not much different to report since my last Blog except that Barry's son, Rick, visited from Thursday afternoon until Friday. We meet him at Woody's in Danville for lunch, stopped at Burke's bakery (one of our favorite stores here -- I might have mentioned that bout 100 times), then over to Kroger's (grocery) to pick up fixings for dinner. Rick cooked us some rib eye and flank steak -- topped with soy sauce and bleu cheese -- delicious! The flank, which I had understood was about as tough as shoe leather, was fork-tender. Rick had marinaded it in pineapple juice, and it was great.

Before going to Danville to meet Rick, I got into the boxes with paintings and posters. Those are now mostly up, at least the ones that already have frames. We're trying to use all the nails the previous owners had in the walls, but in some cases I had to add some new ones.

With Rick's help, we finally got the DVD, VCR, TV, stereo and Dish box working so we can use them all. Problem is, that we now have FIVE remotes plus a universal remote we never DID figure how to use. Basically we just hung around the house and relaxed -- Rick can use that break, due to the pressure and stress of law school, and I'm glad he had a chance to unwind a bit!

Last night we had a "wicked awful" thunderstorm. Only a small one, but the lightning was practically frightening it was so bright and frequent. It probably only rained less than half an hour, and I don't think it dropped much, but at this point every little bit is useful.

Helen, thanks for the kind words to Barry about my Blog. It was so pleasant visiting with you and John. Our wishes are for good health to you both.

OK, coffee is done, so I'll catch you all later.

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Wednesday, August 22 - Tobacco Harvesting

Barry was talking with a neighbor, Larry, yesterday, and he invited us down the road to watch the tobacco harvest today. That's Barry holding just ONE leaf.

Whatever your feelings about tobacco, it is a major cash crop here, and fifty years ago, most of the families around here, and in Kentucky in general, supported themselves with the weed. Anyway, we took Larry up on the invitation.

The plants are chopped off at the base with a tobacco hatchet (not sure what it's really called, but close enough), then impaled on a stick. The sticks, with about 5-7 tobacco plants are then gathered up on a tractor and hung in the tobacco barn to cure. Temperatures, humidity, and ventilation have to be just right for the tobacco to cure properly. It seems to be a community event, as much as a farm harvest. The tobacco, after curing for 6-8 weeks, is then taken to auction in Danville, where it will become whatever brand cigarettes are produced by the company that purchases the tobacco.

These tobacco plants are hung up in Mike's tobacco barn just across the road.

I've decided to start taking pictures of Kentucky barns - like this one just to the northeast of us. Yeah, I know -- everyone who owns a camera has pictures of barns, but I'm fascinated by them, and they are so varied, though many are tobacco barns, that their character makes each one of them unique. Maybe I'll start posting the photos on the internet somewhere.

Went for ice cream at the local (3 miles away) soft-serve-we-have-24-flavors place, then back home to feed the fish. Too dark to really see them, but they certainly devoured 4 cups of fish food in record time!

Rick is coming over tomorrow from Pacudah -- it seems SO strange that he's only 3 hours away, after being 17 hours away for so long. If only the rest of our families were as close, we'd love to have company any time.

OK, bed time. It was nearly 100 again today, and will be even hotter tomorrow, so the A/C is on and will stay on.

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Tuesday, August 21 - Rain, an Invitation, and Grilling

Got up early this morning to rain. It was our third storm in two days, but the other two only dropped about 1/2 inch of rain. This one was more substantial. I don't know but I'd guess 2-3 inches, over a period of maybe 6 hours, so it was relatively slow and steady with some bursts of heaver rain -- not enough to wash out the gullies, as this area is SO prone to erosion. We discovered that the dining room window leaks -- not a major problem to fix, and that the gutters on the front, though better than before, still need some work. Flashing and drip-edge should take care of the problem.

Barry walked half a mile (down and back) to get the mail, and while down at the mailbox, he met one of our neighbors. They got to talking, and Barry mentioned that later this week we were going over to Lancaster to a tobacco-cutting contest -- just to see how it's done. The neighbor instead invited us to our own tobacco-cutting, just 1/2 mile up the road. He said we're more than welcome to see how it's done, and maybe even grab a knife and do some of our own. Would I look like too much of a geek if I videotaped it? The tobacco from that field is stored in a barn just to the northwest of us -- I'll try to get a picture of a real tobacco barn, since it's just around the corner. The sides MUST allow air to flow through, so there are "shutters" on the side which can be opened. The pic will show those...when I can get a good shot.

Rick, we finally got the grill going. The T-Bone steaks we bought down in Liberty last week at half price got cooked. OH, man were they good and tender. Either it's just that they're cooked properly, or the beef down here in Kentucky is SO much better than the shoe leather we had in Maine. I "invented" a "potato burger" to go along with the steak -- basically mashed potato, garlic butter, cheese, barbecued onions, molded into a burger shape then broiled. Those were good, too.

I bought Barry a book on Kentucky wildflowers which arrived today. He's in the living room now reading it -- maybe I'll see him tomorrow! There are so many different flowers here, and we don't know most of them. Next of all is a book on butterflies -- I saw one the other day that was absolutely beautiful -- deep black with a bit of turquoise on the bottom of its wings. I thought it was a mourning cloak at first, but cloaks are huge down here and this one wasn't. I'll have to go on the net to identify it I guess.

Time to feed the fish. Even the bluegills are now responding to my "Here, fishy" call, and we feed them inshore and the catfish offshore to see that the bluegills get at least SOME of the food -- the cats are notorious vacuum cleaners, as I think I've noted. We did lose a carp that we had stocked about 10 days ago -- at $10 each, that one hurt. Oh well, that's the way things go I guess.

Monday, August 20, 2007

Monday, August 20 - Possibly a closing?

Called Melissa, our realtor, today about the property lines -- we have a few questions and don't know to whom to go for answers (how's THAT, Alison). Anyway, she said that we might actually have the closing this coming Wednesday -- we already have T-Bone steaks and Rick's grill ready to celebrate -- and plenty of Maker's Mark Bourbon...The owner of the property has been great, letting us live here rent-free for a month, but when the closing actually happens, I'll have a mortgage, so that'll crimp me a bit financially -- it is SO worth it though. We have another month at least of summer, then 3 months of fall -- probably no frost before mid-November, and Barry has planted carrots, spinach, swiss chard, and collard greens in every available plant pot! We WILL get enough to freeze.

The cat has been going out regularly -- so many new sounds and smells to absorb -- yet he comes in just fine when he's tired or scared or thirsty or hungry or needs to use the litter box. It's SO different from the South End in Waterville, where we didn't DARE to let him out.

We got some RAIN last night, about 1/2 an inch, but that's more than we've had since the day we moved in. We'll see if the grass grows enough to use our new riding lawn mower -- no sense in mowing grass that isn't growing.

I finally got my stamp collection unpacked, and it's all in one place -- for the first time EVER! We're still emptying boxes and bins but we're getting there. Eventually the very last box will be emptied and the last bin sorted, and we'll be done. Celebrate!

The barn across the road is opened -- ends and some side sections -- it's a tobacco-curing barn, and the first crop has been harvested and put in for curing. We're planning on going to a tobacco-cutting contest this next weekend, and there are so many other things we NEED to do around here, it boggles the mind. An Amish restaurant 12 miles south of here, a whole Amish community there, a Civil War re-enactment in Richmond, the apple pie festival in Liberty, so much to do, so little time to do it. We'll enjoy life now...

OK, dinner is ready, the Maker's is gone, so it's time to close...Love to everyone back in Maine -- where I understand you had a FROST ADVISORY last night...what's THAT all about????

Saturday, August 18, 2007

Saturday, August 18 - Another lazy day...

We went out to dinner last night at one of our favorite restaurants in Danville, Woody's. Once again, I had the steak -- SO good, flavorful and tender just about everywhere we go around here. It seems that this area of Kentucky has about 5 cattle to each horse -- it's like living on the range in Texas at times! Of course, with the lack of rain, pasture and hay are become severely short, so many of the growers-ranchers(?) are selling off the herds -- hence the price of beef is much cheaper here than in Maine and the quality is so much better. Now if Kentucky could just get good Maine seafood at reasonable prices ... Wal-Mart has lobsters for $11.95 a pound (down from $24.95 earlier), but I'll bet they're NOT from Maine!

Just got the electric bill. We've been cautious on the A/C, not turning it on unless we really need it, and even then, not turning it on very low. We're comfortable, thankyouverymuch, and it really isn't good to go from 102 outside (we broke the old record of 99 on Friday) to 70 indoors repeatedly. So it's about 75 inside as a rule. Anyway, the bill in Maine would have been at least $185 -- here it was $86.06! Can't wait to compare heating costs here with $3.00+ a gallon heating oil in Maine this winter! I was paying nearly $70 a month for electricity PLUS $255 a month for heat last winter. Of course, we have a fireplace and wood here, so even heat should be reasonable.

With less-costly electricity, vehicle registration ($77 in KY vs $120 in Maine), gas and food prices, I can see how people around here can easily get along on 20% less than Mainers earn, and yet they seem to have everything they need. Many jobs only pay $7 per hour, but if the cost of living is 25% less than in Maine, that would correspond to about $9 per hour in Maine.

I just figured out how to convert all our old cassette tapes to CD's -- I downloaded the necessary software, and just have to get the right cables now. What a great winter evening project. I'm still working on Casey County census and cemetery records -- a never-ending project, but it is useful and needs to be done, plus it's fun (do I need a hobby?).

Another winter evening project will be to scan in as many of the family photos as we can get done -- ONCE I find the power cord to my scanner! It's hiding somewhere, although most of the boxes are now unpacked, emptied, or otherwise occupied, and most of my clothes (at least those that still fit) are hung up. Oh, we DID finally find the kitchen knife set, but are still looking for the portable phone. Any ideas where we should look for THAT?

Barry is working on setting up the electronics in the living room -- satellite dish receiver, TV, DVD player, VCR and surround-sound stereo. So far, I have been NO help since there are just too many plug-ins all over, and I'm not sure I understand how it should be set up anyway. I'm still working on programming the VCR -- let alone learning how to record from the satellite using the DVR set-up.

For the first time in 39 years, I'm not spending the month before school preparing for school. Psychologically, that seems totally weird, but even though it's mid-August, climatologically it still feels like mid July in Maine, so physically I'm not ready to start school -- still too much sun, too much heat to be close to school opening. Schools around here had to cancel recess and outdoor marching band and sports practices, and one county actually used 2 "heat days" this past week.

OK, enough babbling -- got to get back to work on something useful -- downloading more census records.

Thursday, August 16, 2007

Thursday, August 16 - Looks like rain!

Last night, we drove over to Bardstown to see "Stephen Foster - The Musical." We had tickets last week but the heat index forced the production inside, so we took rain checks. The production this year wasn't quite as good as it was 2 years ago (pics are from that production), but considering the heat, the actors must have had one awful time dealing. The singing of "My Old Kentucky Home" was just memorable, considering where we now live.
When we got home, we never noticed where the "Bluegrass Cat" (our new nickname for Ramses, named after one of our favorite Kentucky race horses) was hiding...see if you can find him...

Today, we drove down to Liberty (the county seat) again. Barry's voter registration card had apparently been misplaced, so he re-registered. We vote for governor here in November, and it's a hotly contested, highly electric campaign. We also stopped at the Casey County Public Library to drop off 3 cartons of books I had not culled before moving. They use the funds from the book sale to provide the Library with needs not met through county taxation, so it's a good cause. Plus it'll mean I won't have to buy as many bookcases to take care of the books that are left. We had a nice chat with Tom and his wife about living in Casey County -- they said when you move here you need to turn your watch back 50 years -- it's that casual, relaxed, like things seemed to be when we were growing up. The Casey County school have an orange sale -- they sell fresh Florida oranges for $16 a case in November -- cheaper than our going down to FL to get our own -- though it's only a day's drive to St Augustine (one of our favorite cities in the whole US) -- maybe we'll go down there anyway.

We then went over to Southern States co-op to get more topsoil and composted manure. Imagine my little truck carrying 12 bags of 40-lbs-per-bag topsoil over the knobs, when I have to shift into 2nd anyway...

Temps got up to 103 degrees in the SHADE today! We just got in from outside where we had one heck of a wind storm -- I'd guess 40 mph gusts, lightning, thunder, but -- as of yet -- NO RAIN! GRRRRR.

We're really hoping for rain. Beef producers here are selling their cattle because there's not enough food, hay is $55 a roll (usually $15), but for consumers, that means that beef prices are dropping -- had a ribeye steak sandwich at BJ's Bar and Grill in Bardstown last night for $7.95 -- SOOOOOO good.

OK, the wind has died down -- I guess that was a false alarm. Millicent Matilda Grungetta Fred II took quite a hit, but she didn't lose a single leaf. Tough gal, that one. The wind was actually strong enough to move the old humidifier case we're using for a giant plant pot. Oh well, maybe next storm :{

Dinner calls. Must eat. Too many mint juleps on the front porch. AH, Kentucky!

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Tuesday, August 14 - Errands

Today was just a run-around day, picking up a few things and lazing around home. We went into Danville, stopped at "Save-A-Lot" and we sure did! Their prices are great, and, as we found out down in Liberty, they have the best selection of frozen fish around. We took the cooler today so we had something in which to put the frozen food -- BUT we need a bigger cooler if we're going to shop there very much.

We stopped at Burke's Bakery again -- we've spent over $50 there in pastry since we moved here, but their Persian Rolls (Rick and Laura - those were the rolls we had for breakfast Sunday) and Spice Bars and dinner rolls and bread are the BEST! We don't even ask how much -- the whole thing came to just over $12.00 today.

Then we went to Southern States to pick up some more composted manure and topsoil. We don't have good gardening soil (I think I might have mentioned that a couple of hundred times) so we're making our own. Barry is going out around the place trimming and caring for the plants which had been somewhat neglected -- though the LACK OF RAIN hasn't helped much. He must have bought 2 dozen 40-lb bags of manure and topsoil so far, but it's working. Mother's Rose, which we brought from Maine, has blossomed -- see the pic. And the grape myrtle (red flowers with yellow centers, see the pic) though small and neglected, has just blossomed beautifully! With a bit of TLC they both will do fine.

Barry also planted some spearmint we got from Rick and Laura. Seems strange -- back in Waterville we had ALL kinds of spearmint, but here we only have this one plant pot full.

While we were at Southern States, we met a gal (actually we had seen her there several times before) who is related to most of the people on the road. She knows exactly where we live, and was telling us some great stories about the neighbors -- all good, of course! She said they're basically "salt of the earth" people who will help you if you need anything at all. Seems nice to have neighbors like that.

Speaking of neighbors, this was hanging around on the foundation. We've seen him/her/it several times but this was the first time he/she/it has hung around long enough for me to get a snapshot.

I'm going to be sorting through some more of my books tomorrow for the book sale at the Casey County Public Library. Seems that even though I sorted, pitched, donated and otherwise disposed before we moved, there are still more here that I really don't need. ALISON, if any will help you teach this year I'll mail them up to you -- or bring them up when we return this fall.

This evening, as usual, we fed the fish, watched the bats feed, and in general, enjoyed a nice warm (though not that humid) Kentucky evening. It got down to about 68 last night, so before long we'll be able to open the windows at night and save on the A/C costs.

That's about it for now. More tomorrow -- unless we go to Bardstown to see "Stephen Foster - The Musical." We had tickets last week but the heat index forced the production indoors -- no fun for us -- so maybe we'll try Wednesday or Friday. If not, we'll use the tickets next summer.


Monday, August 13, 2007

Monday, August 13 - Still unpacking

Went to Paducah Saturday and Sunday to visit Rick and Laura, and have dinner with them and Buel. What a feed -- as usual! That man knows how to cook. Every time we go there I think Barry and I gain 10 pounds!

Rick, thanks SO MUCH for the grill. We'll certainly get a great deal of enjoyment out of it once the temperatures on the back deck drop below 90. Now we can really do ribs right.

Today, we just messed around at home -- Barry got the spearmint planted which we picked up in Paducah, I'm beginning to unpack books and put them on bookshelves -- great news, the Casey County Public Library is having a book sale beginning Thursday -- what a great time to cull once more and put so MANY of my books to good use -- providing for childrens' needs in the library.

The siphon system from the cistern seems to work well. It gets water down the hill near the pond, so Barry doesn't have to lug it much, plus it pulls water from where it is to where we want it. Just open the hose nozzle, fill the bucket, and we have water. The great advantage is that we're not PAYING for the water in the cistern. We need to get a real pump though, so we can use the water anywhere, not just downhill from the cistern.

I've uploaded a number of new history and genealogy books to my Kennebec Publishers website. There are many, many more to upload, but there's time to do it now. My hope is that KP will become a supplementary income now that I'm retired, so I can work from home, yet still have the $$$ for us to travel somewhat. Not Tahiti this week, but maybe the Gulf Coast soon.

None of the fish we bought on Saturday have come to the top -- dead. At least none that we've seen, so maybe they all made it. We bought four sterile carp and about a dozen bass, to go along with the catfish and bluegill we already have. Of course the little critters had to fend for themselves on Saturday and Sunday 'cause we weren't here to feed them. But they've gotten along fine for three years without us, so maybe two days won't kill them. We'll feed them tonight.

Rain -- well, we got maybe a dozen drops. It's so dry, even the WEEDS are dying. Good thing I got that cistern siphon going. Talk about making the most of our space -- Barry planted carrotts in with the Schefflera (remember Millicent Matilda Grungetta Fred II?), beets in with something else, and is looking for a place to start some Swiss Chard. We don't have good growing land so about everything will have to be in containers, or in areas where we add topsoil and composted manure to the soil. But RAIN is essential! We worked on the gutters, cleaning them out, adding holes for drainage, etc., but with NO RAIN to test it out I don't know if it's going to work or not!

OK, time to eat. Haven't been away from the house today -- only the second day I think, since we moved here.

Friday, August 10, 2007

Friday, August 10 - We Bite The Bullet

After mowing with the walk-behind mower yesterday, and cutting maybe half an acre of grass, Barry and I decided to join the rest of the world and get a riding mower. It makes sense, particularly with these hot days (high temps have not been below 90 since we moved here). We can use the exercise of a traditional mower, but we can't afford the heatstroke or heart attack that could result from mowing all 3 acres by hand.

So we went to Wal-Mart. The one we had looked at yesterday, a 38" mower, had sold, but the Wal-Mart in Harrodsburg had three left, so we high-tailed it up US 127 to the oldest city in KY. When we got there, we found that the price was about $150 more than in Danville, and that we could get a 42" mower in Danville for $10 less than the 38" in Harrodsburg, so we got it.

Problem -- it doesn't fit in my truck. No problem -- the gal who manages the department is delivering it (on her own) tomorrow morning. Then we'll finally be able to mow properly.

This drought is having an effect. Fields and lawns which were green when we moved here are now brown. I bought a water pump attachment for my power drill, to take advantage of the cistern out back. This place has only had city water for 2 years, and prior to that the cistern provided all the water one could use. So by engineering an irrigation system based on my drill, we'll have plenty of water for plants, without paying for it. The electricity should be negligible, as water costs more than electricity around here.

Tomorrow, we're going into Danville to buy some fish. Not for the aquarium, but for the pond. Sterile carp -- they'll eat the algae and keep the pond clean without reproducing and taking over; bass -- only $.80 each so we'll get maybe a dozen or so, good eating. We have to take pails and plastic bags for them to survive the drive back to Butchertown.

After that's done, we're heading to Paducah for the weekend. Rick (Barry's son) has lined up loads of ribs for us, and he's giving us his grill. We'll pick up some boxes we had left there back in April when we first came down here looking for property. Then we'll be able to grill AND do barbecue (it's a noun down here, not a verb). "Barbecue" is any form of slow-cooked meat, often 24 hours or more (check out "Gone with the Wind for references to barbecue). "Grill" is to cook it over an open flame.

OK, dinner calls again. It's only about 96 out but the humidity is down, so it's not unbearable. Early to bed tonight, lots to do tomorrow.

Thursday, August 9, 2007

Thursday, August 9 - Not much interesting today -- yet

We both got up early today and went outside to get some yard work done before the temperature shot up. There's a heat advisory out and we wanted to avoid the hot sun of mid-day. Besides we had appointments in Danville in the afternoon anyway.

I mowed part of the lawn -- maybe half an acre. Sweat rolling down, but our self-propelled mower did the mob just fine. Barry weed-whacked around the pond, and I really don't want to discuss the sweat situation too much, but let's just say it nearly took a sand-blaster to get the grass clippings off us!

We just decided that, since Wal-Mart has riding mowers on sale, we're going in tomorrow to get one. It really doesn't make sense to mow 3 acres of lawn with a walk-behind mower, although our Craftsman mower is doing a wonderful job.

Neither of us has ever used a riding mower -- must be a great deal like using a golf cart -- though neither of use has ever used one of THOSE either! We'll find out tomorrow.1


Temps got up to 100 on the front porch -- that's in the shade! The A/C is set on 80 and that seems downright COLD compared to outside. But we're minding it a lot less than we thought.

Barry set up the weather-alert radio today. I had it set up in Waterville, but never read the directions (because the tigers would have gotten me). Well, he did it the right way, and the first thing we heard was a tornado alert for Indiana -- maybe 200 miles north of here.

Went to the doctor today -- to establish a new relationship -- they were SO funny. Barry and I have the same doctor -- and the gals in the office call us "The guys from Maine." I told them about the lack of difference between a hank of rope and a fish -- "cod" and "cod" in Maine.

Dinner calls, and the fish will be hungry again tonight. I'm working on Casey Co cemeteries, still -- with 184+ of them, it will be a long time before I can even get a complete list -- if ever. Many people here were simply buried in the back yard due to the heat and lack of mortuary facilities in years past. Many of these cemeteries, and the records and stones that might have been left will never be found. SO sad that some people could have lived full, rich, albeit normal humble lives, and be left with no remembrance of what they did in life. Is anyone familiar with the website, "Find A Grave? That's where I plan to submit most of the information I will be gathering (once the heat abates).

Wednesday, August 8, 2007

Wednesday, August 8 - Down to Liberty again!

This morning I was working on Casey County cemetery records -- I have a road map that shows most of them -- 108 at last count -- but there are some that are not on the map, so I'm actually compiling lists from various sources to try to come up with as complete a list as I can. A gal from Phoenix, AZ is working with me (she shared HER map with cemeteries marked off) and several others -- community effort! While I was working on that, Barry called the Casey County Public Library and got some information on a county history that contained hundred of pages of cemetery records, AND it's on CD! Would I surprise you if I told you I bought it? I also joined the Casey County Friends of the Library -- I can actually volunteer now that I'm retired.

Needless to say, we drove down to Liberty to buy a copy. It is a very nice, and apparently well-used library for a county of only 15,000 people, and a VERY good genealogy/local history collection we perused a bit. I'd say the library overall compares with Waterville's, with a history/genealogy collection that's 3-4 times as extensive.

We took a back route to get to Liberty -- we were told it was a short cut -- it wasn't really, in fact it was longer and took longer. But it went through some nice country, and it IS beautiful around here. We're getting out and exploring more and more, and as we do, the drive up Butchertown Road doesn't seem as long and tedious any more -- at least not like it was the very first time we drove out here.

Then we went grocery shopping for the second time in Liberty, this time at a place called Save-A-Lot. Boy, we did! Dry cereal (cheerios, bran flakes, rice crispies -- store brand) was at most $1.99 a box, so we stocked up. Meat prices continue to astound us, and the selection of frozen fish there was even better than the IGA's selection the other day.

On the way home, we had to stop for two school buses. Lincoln County (through which we have to pass to get home) must have started for kids today. Casey County schools start next Wednesday, Boyle County (Danville) has started, and Mercer County (Harrodsburg) started August 1! I can't imagine school districts in the Oakland area starting 15 days apart from one another, but things are different here.

When we arrived home, due to the heat index, we didn't do a great deal. Real temperature on the front porch was 100, and the tomatoes we had put out on the back porch to ripen actually cooked!

After dinner, we did our usual fish-feed. We're feeding the little critters around sunset or later now since catfish feed more and are more active after the sun sets. Tonight though, for the first time, we saw some of the bluegills. They grabbed the fish food before the vacuum cleaner catfish got to it, at least at first. Barry dropped some fish food right on the shore of the pond, and the catfish practically came out of the water to get it -- one little pisces was at least 75% on land! We sat down by the pond until it was dark enough to see some other locals -- bats. There were maybe 3 or 4 swooping down over the pond, dipping into the water, eating bugs, and in general making pigs of themselves (I wonder if they're related to vacuum cleaners or catfish?)! In any event, everyone got fed just fine this evening -- catfish, bluegills, bats, Barry and me.

We have the A/C turned up to about 80 (to conserve electricity during this heat wave, AND save money as well) and it feels downright cold compared to outside -- yet even then it's running constantly just to keep temps as cool as 80. We had been running it about 74 or so, and will do so again. After this hot spell, temps of 80 outdoors will seem very nice indeed. Oh, we noticed on the Weather Channel that it'll get down into the upper 40s in Caribou tonight. I doubt it's THAT cold in the refrigerator here.

Well, early to bed tonight -- last night it was midnight, and nearly 1AM the night before -- VERY unusual for someone who's gotten used to being in bed by 9 or 10 at the latest. Tomorrow is another day.

Tuesday, August 7, 2007

Tuesday, August 7 -- House news, here and in Waterville

OK, so it's been awhile since I even thought about the house in Waterville. But my realtor called today, and the young couple who looked at it awhile back have applied for a loan. It actually looks as though I may sell the place at some time in the future! When that happens, Barry and I will have to trek back to Maine to clean out the rest of the cellar -- mostly tools and gardening items, the stuff that wouldn't fit in the truck we rented to come down here.

Speaking about "down here", the agent who is selling this house called today to ask for an extension on the sale date to August 31, and the problems with the title apparently are on the way to being solved. So about the time I sell the place in Maine we should close on the place in Kentucky.

After dinner and after the agent left, we took a trek around the knobs. We drove about 26 miles in a circle over near Gravel Switch, past Penn's Store (though we never DID find it -- that was our destination originally), then back around through Maxey Valley and Gordon Lick Road to home. As weird as it may seem, a "lick" in Kentucky is a place where salt has accumulated from the erosion, and deer are attracted to it, to "lick" the salt. It has nothing to do with licking Gordon, whomever he may be! Most of the roads here in the Knobs are barely 2-lane, and Maxey Valley Road was no exception. If I had encountered another vehicle anywhere along the 9 mile road, someone would have had to back up quite a ways! But all we encountered was a deer, a few rabbits, and three dogs which chased the truck about a mile. Kentucky doesn't have leash laws -- or at least in the Knobs, there are none.

I'm continuing to work on locating the cemeteries of Casey County. I have a very detailed road map that shows most of them, and I have a list of 180 cemeteries that are known. Now all I have to do is to see if I can match the list (which sometimes gives latitude, longitude, and a map) to the road map. Then I can check which ones have been transcribed and photographed, so I can help finish the project. It's quite massive, and I'd estimate that about 120 cemeteries are done already.

I said I'd get some photos of the fish -- here they are. The pictures can be clicked to see our "pets" nearly full-sized! The catfish are trained now and they vacuum the surface cleaning up about 3 cups of fish food in 7 minutes! Sounds like me at dinner!

We got a call from Bardstown this afternoon -- the heat index for tomorrow night's performance of "Stephen Foster - the Musical" will likely be so high they're moving the performance to the auditorium at Bardstown High School. Now that may not sound like much, but we decided to cancel, since the major "thrill" of seeing the performance, is seeing it outdoors, with cicadas chirping, people fanning themselves, and everyone singing "My Old Kentucky Home" and hearing it echo from the sides of the outdoor amphitheatre. Anyway, they're mailing the tickets to us and we can use them for any performance this year OR next! We will pick an evening when the temps aren't 85 degrees and humid.

It got to nearly 100 here today, but as the heat rose, the humidity dropped, so it actually wans't that bad as long as one only sat and read -- as I did -- "The New History of Kentucky" -- which I said I WILL finish this summer, though I understand the school buses are rolling now, here in Casey County, they began a week ago in Harrodsburg.

Oh how I miss the opening day workshops on 27 and 28 August -- NOT!

OK, bedtime now -- I'm getting silly.

Monday, Aug 6 - Nothing really eventful, just HOT

Today we just did errands -- too hot to do much else. It was already in the upper 80's by 9AM and it just got hotter, though the humidity actually dropped as the temps went up. On the back porch, it reached about 106, but the high on the front porch was only about 98. I thought I'd mind the heat, but, as Barry says, coming from air-conditioned everything out into the heat is probably worse than just staying out in it.

We went into Danville, looked for a china cabinet, got some composted manure and topsoil ('cause we don't have much real "soil" here, just broken bits of shale and limestone -- a great disappointment to the guy who made the South End of Waterville bloom), stopped at the post office, Barry got a job application, we got some new short-sleeve dress shirts (job interviews coming up, we hope!), and Barry got a pair of bib overalls -- now with one of my straw hats and his KY license places, he'll fit in with the locals just fine.

We then dropped down to Liberty, the county seat -- about 20 miles away, and I got my truck registered and got my new KY driver's license (pics here aren't any better than Maine. Barry had gotten the thoroughbred plate, so I got the cardinal plate, so we wouldn't get confused as to which vehicle is the car and which is the truck! Just kidding -- I ain't THAT stupid! I'll upload pics of both our plates as soon as I get the chance. My truck inspection consisted of the county sheriff walking out to the truck, checking the VIN number, odometer and registration, and that was IT! Plus, including the cost of the special plates and registering the truck for 14 months (registrations expire here during one's birth month and mine's October), it was about half the cost of registering the truck in Waterville with the same old chickadee plate everyone else has!

We also found out that Kentucky's environmental laws aren't exactly as strict as Maine's. If we want to burn garbage and toxic waste in an old oil barrel out in back of the house, a friendly call to the volunteer fire department might be appreciated. In Waterville, we had to call the fire department every time we wanted to grill a hot dog! Of course we won't burn mercury or uranium, but it would be nice to be able to burn the slash pile from trees, and an occasional cardboard box as we empty it. Of course, in cities like Lexington, or even Danville, if everyone did that, the air here would be unbreathable, but out in the "Knobs", quite a few places actually DO have the oil barrels, and they are used.

Then we stopped into the IGA grocery store. Now keep in mind, Liberty has only about 1100 people which makes it about like Belgrade Lakes! But the IGA's meat prices in particular were great, plus we actually got some frozen haddock, shrimp and scallops! Haven't found those yet in Danville.

When we got home, we fixed the haddock -- or at least Barry fixed it and I ate it (mmm, mmm, good). We fed the fish -- seems weird eating fish then going down to the pond to feed the fish -- is that some sort of cannibalism?

Anyway after that, we headed out on Butchertown Road, turning left at the end of the driveway for only the 2nd time since we've lived here -- looking for the Butchertown Cemetery. We drove up nearly to the Boyle County line (not far since we're only about 3 miles from it) and didn't find anything. Well, on the way back, Barry spotted a stone up on a hill between some trees over a ridge 500 feet off the road! This guy is going to be amazing, helping me find the 184 cemeteries in the county. I've volunteered to photograph the stones, and to transcribe the records of some of the others here in the northern portion of the county. Anyway, we looked around, and I was quite amazed at how well-kept a place it was, being literally in the middle of absolutely nowhere (wait a sec -- isn't this where WE live?) So one of these days when the temps drop below 90, I'll take my camera and go back. This fall as temps cool even more, I'll venture out even more.

Well, it's late, I'm tired and it's time to upload this novel!

Sunday, August 5, 2007

Sunday, August 5

I forgot to mention in the post yesterday. We came across a huge snapping turtle on the way home from Cutter's, as well as a 3-foot long snake crossing the road. Herschel said that people around here LOVE snapping turtle.

SPOILER -- if you have a sensitive stomach, DO NOT READ FURTHER.

Apparently, after one cuts the head off (just below the ears), one takes a hose, sticks it in the neck and blows the shell apart with the water! The meat is tender and white! Or so Herschel says...I'll stick with the "Mater-serves", thank you very much!

OK, you can open your eyes again.

Today we didn't do much except re-arrange the computer room. We were tripping over cords and cables, so it was time to do something. Plus I was able to bring in a bookcase for my stamp collection, and get the printer off the desktop. Much neater and more useful.

This morning when I got up about 6:30 I went outside to see what the weather was like. It was only about 75 degrees, but the humidity was enough to knock your socks off -- luckily I wasn't wearing any. As the day progressed and the temperature rose, the humidity dropped, so now it's bearable. Except for Barry using the weed-whacker on the overgrown grass, we've been inside all day, but we will have to go out to feed the fish.

With the hot temperatures on the back deck (110+, MUCH higher than the actual air temp of about 94), the small 2 inch tomato plant that wormed its way into the begonia pot from Waterville has now grown to about 2 feet, and will need to be staked up within a day or two. We're not sure what kind of tomato it is, but anything would be wonderful. In the unpacking I found bunches of seeds from Maine -- Alison, I haven't yet found the seeds you gave me at our retirement teachers' meeting but I SHALL!

OK, Barry calls for dinner, so I'll go now.

Saturday, August 4, 2007

Saturday evening, August 4 -- Herschel and the "Mater-serves"

Today was work around the house day. The gutter on the front wasn't draining, at least not as it was supposed to drain, so I worked on that, got it cleaned out and now it works just fine. Of course, it's minus the end-cap now, but...

Then it was the turn of the front lawn. Now we have 3.5 acres of "lawn" here, and it took me about an hour to do 0.25 acres before it simply got too hot. Tomorrow I'll try to get more done earlier in the day -- it was 90 by 10 AM -- too hot to mow, with the humidity!

I stopped mid-day to sit on the porch and read. The "New History of Kentucky" I had started back in March is about half-read, and I WILL finish it before the end of summer. I also spent much of the day working on my eBay business, while Barry continued to unpack boxes and do laundry. Tomorrow I have to work in the den to get that a bit more organized.

We went to dinner at the local hot-spot -- Cutter's Whistle Stop, in Moreland. It's the restaurant owned by the gal from whom we're buying the place (no, we haven't closed yet). Meal was great, prices reasonable, nothing fancy, just good food at a good price with friendly service.

When we got home, we were getting out of the car when a neighbor, Hurschel M., drove up on his 4-wheeler. We had met him before, like the day we moved in, when he came to introduce himself. Herschel is 78, has a Kentucky accent so thick it's difficult to understand what he says. But he's full of those stories one can only get from the "old-timers." He was born in 1929 on the other side of the knob on which we live, and has always lived on either that side or this. He was telling us stories of working for $.25 a day plus meals during the depression, how an 80-acre farm was traded for one horse, and how hickory trees could be burned to make ashes for leavening for bread when one couldn't afford yeast or other leavening! He's a wealth of information! All his kids live within 10 miles -- and several grand-kids, too. They populate most of Butchertown, apparently!

He asked us if we had ever had "mater-serves" which translates into standard English as "tomato preserves". We of course had not, so he trotted down the driveway on his 4-wheeler, and up the road, home to get a jar. He brought back the "mater-serves" and some home-made apple butter -- he makes those, plus blackberry preserves, strawberry jam, pear preserves and -- get this -- watermelon preserves, made with the rind! Barry opened each jar, and spread some of each on a slice of bread -- using my truck hood as a serving table -- SO cool!

Eventually I hope to be able to understand more of what Hurschel says -- as my ears get used to the thick, "holler" accent of people out here in "the Knobs." He's such a delight with whom to talk!

Saturday, August 4 - Amazed that the heat doesn't bother us

It got up to 98 in the shade yesterday, and it was humid as well, yet it didn't seem to bother at all. Oh, it got a bit moist on this old bald head when I was up on the ladder cleaning out the gutter that is so clogged that rain pours out over the side instead of down the drainspout, but...then again, it could have been the hose I was using to clean.

Barry spent most of the day trying to apply for jobs online. He spent over an hour at the Food Lion website, then lost everything somehow. Now I know why there are so many unemployed -- you MUST apply online but you CAN'T apply online or it takes the whole day to do and then you LOSE it! What ever happened to the old, "Can I get a job application" line? Maybe it's just better to look for jobs where one can deal with real live humans.

Speaking of applying -- I put in an application to teach part-time for Eastern Kentucky University (headquartered in Richmond but they have a Danville campus too). They're looking for part-time faculty to teach in the curriculum and education field. Maybe something will turn up there for me. I'm also going to apply at Centre College in Danville.

We discovered that feeding the catfish in the pond later in the evening results in a feeding frenzy. We must have had 2 dozen of the little critters crawling over and fighting with each other to get the food. They practically crawled up onto the shore, and I actually got wet from the splashing.

Harrodsburg (Mercer County) schools started this past Wednesday. There were so many parents picking up kids that the school buses couldn't get through. Some kids didn't get home until 6PM! Read about it in the Advocate-Messenger. Could that actually happen in Oakland?

We're going over to Bardstown Wednesday night to see "Stephen Foster - The Musical" for the second time. First was two years ago when we were down here. It's a nice musical, though the historical inaccuracy makes me CRINGE! There's not a shred of evidence that Foster, who wrote, "My Old Kentucky Home", was EVER in the state! But I'll chill and enjoy the program anyway -- it IS a good musical.

Well, that's it for now. Time for coffee cup number 2.

Thursday, August 2, 2007

OK, here's my blog. I've tried to avoid it but I guess everyone and his/her brother has a blog website. Anyway, I'll post reflections on moving to Kentucky here.

Kentucky is a whole different world. Everyone says, "Sir" or "hon" around here, and prices for things like computer repair are probably half of what they are in Maine. Of course, big pick-ups with "hemi" engines sill crawl up your tailpipe -- especially when there are Maine plates on my truck -- that will be changed in a few days I hope!

Prices in general seem to be a bit cheaper than Maine, especially electricity. Gas is down to $2.59 -- remember when that was a crime, not a sale?

The catfish in the pond are responding to our training. I go out every night and call "Here fishy, fishy" and the seem to come to the edge of the pond. Last night they really roiled up the water as though they had never been fed. We will be going down to the pond about 8PM to feed them every night, and hopefully, before you all come down to visit, we will have catfish enough for a real feed!