Sunday, November 12, 2006

Happy Veteran's Day Weekend!

I want to take a moment and thank all veterans of the U.S.A. for their service to this great nation - past, present, and future. For all it's problems, there is no greater nation on the planet and we owe this to the veterans who have given of themselves to make this country what it is. A big thank you to each of you.

Because it was Veteran's Day, Bernie and I had Friday off from work, so we were able to head out to the homestead on Thursday night. Thursday was an absolute gift of a day as far as weather goes during the month of November. It was in the 70's all day. By the time we arrived at the homestead it had cooled off to the lower 60's, but who can complain about that?

Last weekend was nice for November, but much cooler and a little windy. After such a horrible commute from work that Friday night, we didn't head to the homestead until Saturday morning. We got there, unpacked the truck, and spent the day just relaxing. We had a nice surprise Sunday when Tex, Charlotte, Eddie, and Gigi joined us for breakfast on the homestead. What a great day! We walked through the woods, sat outsided and chatted, and just enjoyed the day together. We even had a couple of friends (Jeff and Connie) from SC stop by for an hour or so. They were heading back home from a weekend in NJ and decided to visit for few minute. Jeff, Connie, Eddie and Gigi ended up leaving around 2PM, and Tex and Charlotte stayed until dark. It was really unexpected and really nice.

At any rate, this Friday was yet another absolutely gorgeous day - in the 70's and bright sunshine. We had planned to work on clearing some more land, but decided to head into town to buy a few items that we've had on the shopping list for quite some time (ie: fire extinguishers, blinds for windows, etc.). So after a hearty meal of biscuits, gravy, and sausage, we headed into metropolis of Woodstock to scare up the items we needed. We didn't get home until around 1:30PM or so, and by then it was really too late to start clearing out land, don't you think? OK, maybe it wasn't, but the weather was just so nice.... and how many days like THIS are we going to get in November? Plus we had a couple of rifles that were just begging to shoot at a couple of targets, so.... we ended up shooting for a couple of hours.

Bernie bought me the cutest New England Arms rifle/shotgun. It has interchangeable rifle and shotgun barrels. It is just the most perfect size for me and I love it. There's only one problem. I can't hit anything I aim at with it. And I'm usually a pretty good shot. Bernie is actually an expert marksman with a rifle, and he worked with it a bit on Friday and determined it really needs to be sighted in. So he messed with it a while, but we both got tired of running down range to holler back where the bullet hit, so we decided to wait until a time when we can bring out binoculars and make the job a little easier. We were there to have fun, and sighting that thing in quickly became very NOT fun. So we shot 2 of the rifles Bernie brought out and had a hoot doing it. We decided to work on clearing the land on Saturday and headed in to start supper.

Well, Saturday morning came and as usual, Bernie was up before me. As I stumbled in the kitchen for coffee, Bernie casually said "Remember that little Trail Wagon we saw yesterday? I was just sitting here thinking how much fun YOU would have in that thing. I mean, it has 4 wheel drive and could easily pull the saw mill, but I think YOU'D really like it. And you're always hauling stuff around here and you have to bungie it to the ATV. You could just throw the stuff you're hauling in the bed of the Trail Wagon. You could really use something like that. Just imagine how much fun you'd have driving that thing. I can just see you now. Anyway, I was just sitting here thinking about it."

OK, we've been married going on 20 years. I know this man. And even though I had not had my morning coffee yet, I easily figured out this was something he really wanted. My first clue was the fact that he was determined to convince me that I would really enjoy it and I really need it.

I simply replied "Yea, that was a pretty cool little vehicle" and poured my coffee. When I had finished about half my coffee and had some time to figure out our finances I asked "Do you really want that thing?"

"Well, I was just thinking how handy it would be for you." I looked at him sideways. "I mean, just think about how handy it would be." He proceeded to make his case and ended it with "You take care of all our finances, and I know we've been saving to buy things we need for this place, but this is something I think we really need."

So needless to say, we got cleaned up, scarfed down a couple of sausage biscuits and headed back to the great metropolis of Woodstock to rescue the Trail Wagon. I figured it would take a few hours. So much for clearing land today.

As it turned out, paying for and loading the Trail Wagon took only a matter of about 15 minutes. What ended taking up an additional hour and a half was the fact that we discovered our truck inspection sticker was dead. It was 1 month over due. So after we picked up the Trail Wagon, we hung out with a group of people who were as pleased as we were to spend a significant chunk of their Saturday waiting on their vehicles to be inspected. Oh well. We read up on the Trail Wagon and Bernie helped some poor stranded guy heading from NJ to GA who was broken down with a bad wheel bearing. By the time the truck was finally inspected, Bernie and Poor Stranded Guy had the bearing in and the wheel back on and Poor Stranded Guy wished us happy holidays and headed down I-81 for GA. I said a little prayer that Poor Stranded Guy arrive safely in GA.

We finally made it back to the homestead around 1PM with the Trail Wagon proudly riding in the bed of the truck. As we pulled up to the driveway, our neighbor rode by and her 3 little tow headed boys screamed out the window "It's Bernie and Penny!!!" like we are rock stars. These are cute little kids. They are 6, 8, and 10 years old and for some reason think that we are their best friends. It's really flattering and we love when they come to visit. They spotted the Trail Wagon in the bed of the truck and sure enough, moments after we unloaded it they came up to visit. We rode them around in the trail wagon, taught them how to make a whistle out of an acorn, fed them bologna sandwiches for lunch, and then sent them on their way. I'll put some pictures of the Trail Wagon and the youngins riding it on the website in "Homestead Pictures" area when I finish this post.

By the time we finished playing with the Trail Wagon, it was time to start supper. So much for clearing land this weekend!

It was a wonderful time on the homestead this weekend. No, we really did not accomplish a thing, but we had a relaxing and calm weekend, and we need that every now and again.

Next weekend starts our "vacation" - we're taking the week off for Thanksgiving and spending it on the homestead. We can't wait! We were scheduled to pick up bees next weekend, but we have an opportunity to pick up a few truckloads of building material from a most generous couple (Mike and Patty) who are giving windows, columns, insulation, and many more items FREE for the outbuildings we have planned. I met them through when I placed a want ad for any free building materials. If you have not checked out that website, I highly recommend it. I can't believe how very generous Mike and Patty are and we will be supplied with items that would cost us a fair amount to purchase. I put out a simple ad, and through personal emails back and forth, I've ended up with more than I ever could have dreamed of. It confirms what I've always felt very strongly about - Americans are good and generous people. If you reach out, there is always someone there to help out where they can. Too cool. I'll let y'all know how next weekend goes and what all we end up with. At the very least, I've ended up with a new friend!

Live Free,

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