Saturday, February 23, 2008

Saturday, February 23 - The little things in life

We're settling in here, still living somewhat out of boxes, with bureau drawers which should hold clothes actually holding glassware. When we packed, both from Maine here, and from Butchertown to Alum Springs, Barry ingeniously packed the glassware in my CLEAN socks. I have so many, that he had enough to pack each and every breakable piece we own, and I still had enough left over to wear. I guess that says I have too many socks.

The artwork, photographs, paintings -- all those things in frames, I packed in tee-shirts. Again, I had bags left over after the packing was done. Too many? Well most of them are souvenirs of trips, so no, not too many, but more than I need or can wear. What to do?

Little things -- matching up all the now glass-ware-free socks. Well, most of them anyway. I'm convinced that almost no one in the world has ever matched every single sock. Unless all you own is one or two pair. Some how, the sock gremlin that lives in the washing machine "steals" one, leaving you with an orphan. Every time you do a laundry, you lose one more, creating a massive pile of unmatched socks. So you throw those out, and, VOILA, the sock gremlin deposits all his singles in your sock drawer -- so now where you would have had matches, you once again have singles.

It's a conspiracy, I tell ya!

It has been icy here, schools closed, hundreds of accidents -- none serious so we hear though. I'd rather drive in Maine's snow than in Kentucky's ice. At least snow gives the car some traction. Except on KMD in Waterville, which it seems is NEVER plowed anyway. Last night we had a terriffic fog, which has frozen into drizzle snow. When cars get out on that, it's wet and packs down into -- guess what -- ICE. If it were a weekday, most schools would be closed for the 2nd or 3rd day this week. I honestly don't know how long the school year is here, nor how many storm days schools allow, but they MUST have used them all up at this point. I mean, by Labor Day, some schools had used 2-3 "heat" days, when the temps were over 100, and some of the older schools aren't air-conditioned! Having taught in a classroom that was 90+, and actually suffering heatstroke while teaching, I wouldn't want to do that here! There is NO learning when temps are much above 80.

Barry is on the internet researching peach trees. Lowe's garden center was packed yesterday, and people are getting antsy. One gal the other day was complaining about the "long winter." HAH! Tell that to you guys in Maine who are waiting for the snow to melt enough to reveal where you parked the car! Maine has two seasons -- Nine months of winter, and three months of damned poor sledding. Or, Winter and the Fourth of July. Or Five seasons, Spring, Summer, Fall, Winter, and Mud.

Anyway, it will be time to rototill the garden within a week or so, and then we can get the spinach, peas and chard planted. Those can probably go in now. More tender crops will have to wait until March or even April. But now is the time to plant fruit trees, hence Barry's Quest for the Perfect Peach!

I haven't "blogged" much lately, partly due to the move, partly due to the lapse in internet service, and partly because "Blogger" wouldn't recognize my old email address so I couldn't log on. Also, I haven't wanted to bore anyone with the mundane ramblings of a retired teacher, but I guess blogging is like a diary -- if all we wrote were the earth-shaking events of our lives, we'd only have a few entries. In a diary, everything is important.

Even matching socks.

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Tuesday, February 12 - Just waiting now ...

The new picture on the main page is the view from our carport at Alum Springs. It was taken Feb 11, and shows some of our bovine neighbors and the Salt River which flows just to the east of our property. The Salt is one of the major rivers in Kentucky, the others being the Kentucky, Licking, Tennessee and Cumberland. We're about a mile from where the Salt River rises. As it crosses under the road near our house, it's only about 2 feet wide!

It's been messy here -- sleet last night, and this morning, freezing rain on everything, though just a few miles north and west of us, traveling is much more treacherous. We're lucky I guess. We were supposed to get the moving van today but the weather postponed that until tomorrow when the driving should be better.

At Alum Springs, we'll have a phone as of Friday, Dish network as of Sunday morning, and Internet as of Monday afternoon. We expect that tonight will be our last night in Butchertown, though we will still have to move the last of our things over to Alum Springs Thursday, and possibly even Friday. But we will be DONE!

That is all assuming that we can even GET a moving van in here. The owner of the property said she would repair the culvert at the end of our driveway by Monday (yesterday) -- but nothing has happened, nor do we expect it to. I can get my truck out, but Barry's car bottoms out, and a moving van will NOT make it. So we will have to go through the owner's mother's driveway, if we can get past their garage. I've measured and it looks OK, but it's going to be close. So much to worry about -- we will be SOOOO glad to get out of here!

When we're out, I will email close friends and relatives and will tell you all about everything that has gone wrong with this sale. Our realtor here has seen nothing like it in her entire career!

Looking on the bright side, the neighbors at Alum Springs have a very old, blind-in-one-eye female beagle who greets us every time we drive in. She's a delightful animal, and we hope our cat will make friends with her! We can clearly hear the cows next door, so it'll be like living on a farm, without all the problems that entails! Plus Barry should be able to get all the manure he wants for the garden!

I won't be posting for the next few days at least, as we will be on the move! TTYL.

Thursday, February 7, 2008

Thursday, February 7 - Tornado update, and tidbits

Seventeen confirmed tornadoes (seven dead, and maybe more of both once all the data are in -- 3rd worst outbreak in KY history), including one only about half a mile from Old Fort Harrod, about 20 miles north of here as the crow flies! The destruction, while totally tragic where it exists, is not widespread. We went to Danville and the new house today to begin moving and we saw absolutely no sign of anything unusual. But the Mercer County Sheriff's office was patrolling the streets of Harrodsburg 7 miles up the road trying to keep sightseers away from the torn-up grandstand at the county fairground, and the now roof-less elementary school.

OK, some geography. We live about where the bottom yellow cell is above the "T" in "Tornado". See the nasty red-orange little cell just at the KY/TN border above the second "0" in 2008? THAT was the killer cell that hit Nashville, Jackson, and several other TN towns before crossing into KY and killing 4 in Allen County. It passed just east of here, and Barry and I were watching the lightning from it. Dumb Yankees, I'm sure people around here would call us -- and so would Maureen for sure -- but until the sirens went off, we weren't in any danger, so we watched the light show all around us. And again, I reiterate, major cities lost power, yet here in the woods beyond the hills over the knobs in the outback, our lights only flickered, slightly, a couple of times!

Most of the schools around here and to the north and east are closed, some having been closed since Tuesday. Flu has hit with a vengeance -- attendance is below 85% in some, thus making them "failing schools" according to NCLB. Plus the tornadoes (schools and churches seem hardest hit), localized flash floods, widespread power outages, etc., will mean kids down here will be going to school INTO June! And that's almost unheard of. One county out east has already lost 10 or 11 days, and "winter" isn't over for another month what with ice in February and March. Those kids will be going to school as long as Oakland kids are! And here they started between Aug 5 and 12 for the most part!

Check the NOAA weather page from Feb 5-6 to see what was experienced here in Kentucky that night. Look in particular at Hardin County (Elizabethtown) where there was massive damage at the high school, Muhlenberg County (home of the Everly Brothers -- remember them?, 3 killed there) and Allen County (where 4 were killed).

But also find the article on the 11-month-old toddler whose mother was one of several killed in Castilian Springs, TN; after rescuers had already combed the field once, he was found ALIVE 150 yards from the house by a rescue worker who thought he was a doll blown out of the house. They're calling him the "Miracle Baby" -- a story to bring tears for sure.

On another bright note, Barry and I began the move today, as I had said earlier. The water and electricity at Alum Springs are now in our name, and the phone will be tomorrow. Internet will take a few days though, so we're not closing anything out here in Butchertown until the last possible minute.

Barry will also be ordering some Fraser Fir trees -- like a Southern version of Maine's Balsam Fir, 'cause Maine trees probably wouldn't grow here. We have quite decided what will be going in the garden -- peas, chard, lettuce and spinach should go in soon but we don't want to rush things too much.

There's potentially some good news on the house sale back in Maine, but I will post no details so as to avoid jinxing the deal. I've become "gun-shy" about telling everyone all the good news only to have it turn out bad, so y'all are going to have to wait!

Time to think about bed. Moving more stuff to Alum Springs tomorrow, Sat, Sun, Mon, Tues, Wed, Thurs, Fri, etc., you get the drill!

Thursday, February 7 - Beginning the move. AGAIN!

Today we'll move about 27 bags of composted manure and topsoil over to Alum Springs. We had bought the 40 pound bags thinking we'd improve the soil and garden area here, but we never opened them, so they're the first to go. The current residents won't be out until Saturday but we can move outside stuff over any time.

We'll have the electricity, phone, and water changed over to us tomorrow, and the big move will begin Saturday. We'll make several trips a day until we're in -- unlike moving from Maine when we had to load the whole house in trucks and move all at once. This is only 15 miles (4 as the crow flies, but we're not crows), instead of 1400!

I may be out of touch for a few days until we can get wireless internet service through Kentucky WiFi. Of course, I could always take the laptop over to Starbucks and use it there! If the service can be set up before we cancel our current provider, there won't be a lag. HOPE! HOPE!

OK, Barry's coming back from Danville, and we've got to load dirt into my truck!

Wednesday, February 6, 2008

Wednesday, February 6 - Update

Seven people died in Kentucky with this latest round of killer tornadoes. A family of three near Central City (where the Everly Brothers are from) and another four in Allen County, southeast of Bowling Green. Barry just told me that now 50 people have died in all -- mostly in Tennessee. Thoughts and prayers go out to all.

There was extensive damage in Harrodsburg, only 30 miles north of here, but NO injuries (see the link to the Danville Advocate-Messenger below). Elizabethtown was without power this morning and the county schools are closed for the rest of the week -- evidently the Central Hardin County High School was directly hit.

After we finally got to bed about 2:30, there actually was another tornado warning for the southern part of Casey County, about 4:30 this morning, but it didn't affect us. All we got was a bit of wind and a few periods of heavy rain. Barry hears the rain more than I do because the bathroom off his bedroom has a skylight that just amplifies the sound, plus I'm more of a sound sleeper anyway. I probably wouldn't have heard the tornado sirens! We WILL hear them in over in Alum Springs because they're only a mile down the road!

At 1 AM, we were standing outside on the front porch watching the lightning over towards Louisville (about 50 miles northwest of us), and over Stanford (about 6 miles east as the crow flies). The temps were in the low 60's -- which would have been a comfortable evening in August back home in Maine. And that was precisely the problem -- that much warmth, combined with moisture off the Gulf of Mexico, and a strong cold front to our west, caused all the trouble.

We still have a high wind warning here for up to 60 MPH gusts, and it is a bit breezy but nothing unusual yet. As I look out the window I see a mixture of bright blue sky, sun, dark gray and bright white clouds. You can read the news of the storms throughout Kentucky at The Lexington Herald-Leader, or in our area in The Danville Advocate-Messenger, our local paper.

In the meantime, we're still waiting to get started moving. We've packed about everything we can, and are living out of boxes and bags now. The people from whom we're buying have until Feb 18 to move, but we're still hoping to get a call from them soon saying that they are out and we can begin moving in -- IF we can get out of here with the nearly-washed-out culvert at the end of our driveway. Since we're now renting, it's still the landlady's responsibility to keep the drive open, but if she doesn't, there may not be much we can do other than withhold rent money, which still wouldn't get the culvert repaired. Barry is losing sleep worrying about the whole issue -- it's really complicated -- but I think it will work out. Trouble is we won't have much time to wait ... we'll see.

Wednesday, Feb 6 - 2AM - Taking shelter from a tornado

A tornado touched down in Bethelridge (the same cell that passed through downtown Nashville TN earlier), about 15 miles south of here about 1:30, and there were warnings for Casey, Boyle, Lincoln and Mercer counties -- all surrounding us. Sirens went off in Moreland, 5 miles east, and we could hear them -- frightening at 1:30 in the morning to say the least. So Barry and I and the cat headed for the pantry with a flashlight. Not that we would have been saved by the Campbell's soup cans, but at least there are no outside walls there.

We were in there about 15 minutes, listening to the wind and rain, but couldn't tell whether the sirens had stopped. We had been told that the sirens only go off when there has been a tornado sighted on the ground.

Now maybe we can get back to sleep...others in Kentucky aren't that lucky -- three people killed about 40 miles west of here, so we hear...our prayers go out to all who have suffered damage, injuries or death...

Sunday, February 3, 2008

Sunday, February 3 - We have a visitor

He (she?) had visited before, at night, coming up onto the front porch, but he had disappeared before I could get the camera, so only Barry saw him. Well today, he came right out in the open, and this time I had the camera!

Now the only way I had seen this particular creature before was as road kill. They are kind of ugly but almost in a cute sort of way. This particular oppossum may well have been sick, because they usually only come out at night. In any event, he moved very slowly, and Barry managed to coax him up into a tree so we could get some really good pictures!

With our Loretta Lynn cookbook, we actually have "possum" recipes, but I think the "Cuban Sandwiches" Barry is fixing for our Super Bowl party will be better. Patriots 17-0? Giants fall in huge New England victory? Let's hope.

Barry is buying seeds, and having gardening dreams -- planning to plant some items that just will not grow in Maine -- like ambrosia melons, collard greens and okra. We probably should get the peas in the ground as soon as we move to Alum Springs -- within the next 2 weeks!

The roses are on sale at Wal-Mart, and the ice in the pond will be history by morning. It's 56 degrees out, with temps not going much below 32 for the next week, and reaching 68 by Tuesday. The buds on the trees are swelling, and it looks very much like mid to late April in Maine. We're beginning to hear different bird calls lately -- we expect the northern migration will take place soon, and that we'll see our first robin shortly. The dark-eyed junkos which winter here will head for Canada, but our Northern Cardinals will stay with us.

It's "mud season" here now, officially. The driveway is wet and soggy, the lawn is wet and soggy, everything is wet and soggy -- and it's going to rain more tonight!

We have a new cell phone -- our old one was in the 606 area code, our new one is in Danville in the 859 area code -- we didn't want to have to make long distance calls from home (which will be 859) to our cell so we decided to change that too. If we haven't emailed you with the number (and our new MAILING address) yet, we will. Just remember that as long as we live in the Knobs, you MUST call us when we're NOT home! OK?

Friday, February 1, 2008

Friday, Feb 1, 2008 - Nothing happening yet

Well, not really but on the house, nothing. The current owners have until Feb 17 to move out, though they gave the people whose house they're buying until the 5th, so we're hoping to begin moving next week. We'll see.

In the meantime, we have new insurance quotes -- anywhere from $600+ to $1200+ for the same coverage. Guess where we'll go.

Barry moved 18 bags (at 40 lbs each) of topsoil and composted manure. We were going to put it in here, but we need to move it over to Alum Springs. He came in last night, soaked to the skin, having moved all the bags by himself! Boy, did I let into him! What the h*ll are you doing moving that by yourself? Don't you EVER do that again!

We got our cell phone changed over to a Danville number, so we wouldn't be calling long distance from the land line in the living room to the cell phone in the kitchen! You should have received an email from Barry with our new number, or will get one from me.

We're looking forward to Klaus (former Colby student teacher, and now a friend) visiting from Maryland by way of New Hampshire -- but only for a little over a day? Klaus, we can't take you to Churchill Downs, Maker's Mark Distillery, Keeneland, Butchertown, Woody's, Old Fort Harrod, Reno's, Perryville Battlefield, and all the other places in just ONE day! Well, we will make the best of our time together.

It's snowing here -- like that is news in Maine -- but ask Barry about our attempt to get out of Butchertown last weekend -- they do NOT sand or salt the roads here, and we almost ended up in a 10,000 foot ravine! Well, maybe not that serious, but a 180 degree turn with guard rails and a huge drop into the valley and another vehicle coming DOWN the hill toward us, and we would have been history! I can joke about how people around here panic with an inch of snow, but now I'm not joking. I've NEVER been so scared in my life. I will apologize now for the language I used as Barry was trying to get out of the sideways spin he was in. Imagine me trying to push a Honda Civic UP a hill with solid, glare ice on it! Anyway, we DID make it, but now I understand why schools close with 1/2 inch of snow down here.

We will be sure to notify everyone of our new email, phone, cell phone, and mailing and physical address as soon as all is set -- we hope that will be SOON! Barry's already getting ready to order seeds and buy trees -- and mud season has arrived which means that Spring is right around the corner!