Thursday, September 16, 2010


Time for a project update. We have so much going on that sometimes making these lists for the blog helps me organize and prioritize as I write.

What are we up to?

1. The gasline--we met with our neighbor last night to discuss how and where to put the furnace/AC unit and how to run the lines for stove and hot water heater. I want a tankless hot water heater if we can afford one because they take little space and are more energy efficient. Here's an example of one at left, although this one is for LP (Propane) gas.

Putting in the gas is a complex project. First Larry had to determine the route to run the line from the well, which is about a half mile away. Then dig a trench and bury the line, put in a drip tank and a regulator. The company that  drilled the gas well hooks our line up to the well and I think puts in a meter--even though the gas is free there's a limit to how much we can use. Then we had to figure out how to run the ducts and the lines so they don't get in each other's way. I think we've got this part figured out, and rather than try to do it ourselves we'll hire our neighbors who do that kind of work to do it. That's a big relief. Then there's my old stove to install.

2. The log cabin. It's still coming along. This weekend we hope to have a few family members to help take down at the logs on the top floor. And we need to arrange for a truck to haul them, although we might not get that part done this weekend. We'll see how it goes, because this weekend we also plan to...

3. Make cider. (picture from a past year) Larry has already started and has 10 gallons made. We're out of freezer space so we'll be storing it at Derek's or canning it. And we need to focus on eating from the freezer for the next month so there is room for the turkeys! Those birds are getting big.

4. Make apple butter. To do that we need about 3-4 bushels of apples. My apples are ready now, but we don't have time to make apple butter right this minute. What to do? Make the applesauce now and can it to use later when we will have time to cook the apple butter. So that's what I'm doing. I have about 25 quarts ready, and need 60. So I have a ways to go.

5. Get firewood. Even though we hope to have the furnace in by cold weather, we still want wood for a backup and for the fireplace. So wood-cutting won't leave our lives entirely.

6. Clean up the gardens and put them to bed. Larry has been working at this a little at a time. He planted turnips but with no rain the seeds have not germinated. Some things are still bearing, like the pattypan squash, broccoli, and yellow pear tomatoes. And the sweet potatoes are still in the ground and little pumpkins on the vine. The rest needs to be cleaned out. Today he is supposed to plant garlic, multiplier onions, lettuce and radishes. If something else doesn't come up and get in his way.

Beyond house and home, I'm busy with storytelling projects:

1. Ghost stories--two new ones in development and coming along nicely.
2. Children's ghost stories--a program in early October has me planning an hour of stories not too scary, kind of creepy, very participatory and a lot of fun. Mix in a few songs and puppets and we're ready.
3. WV Storytelling Festival--I want to tell a new story, but which one? So I'm thinking and planning for the festival, which is for mostly elementary students. Should I tell about my mail order shoes? about running away from home and the WWI veteran who gave us sugar cookies? or about Larry's best friend Junior Estep who was right beside him in all sorts of trouble? or maybe a folktale, like the Twelve Swans or Thousandfurs? It's time to choose and practice.
4. CD promotion--it's the month to really get my CD of ghost stories out there, but will I have time to get the mailings out?
5. Grant final report--the week at the Augusta Heritage Celtic/Irish workshops was stupendous and the grant from the WV Commission on the Arts made it possible. Now I have to do what they need--write and file my final report and budget.

Those are the top five on my storytelling list, although there are many more minor or longer-term projects also on the fires. Then there is the family to-do list: a wedding and several birthdays coming up, my sisters and I are planning our fruitcake weekend and of course the holidays will soon be upon us. This is the fun list, isn't it?

Right now, it's not about finding something to do, it's deciding which something to do. I have this feeling that when I retire we will be living anything but a retiring life. Which is exactly how I want it to be.


mamabug said...

Sounds like you got a whole lot on your plate girl! Hope you'll blog on making apple butter sometime soon. Nobody does that sort of thing here in FL, some do make cane syrup though.

Granny Sue said...

I'd like to know about cane syrup, mamabug. Is it sorghum, like we make here?

mamabug said...

Yes, very much so. In our neck of the woods they just call it cane syrup.

Susan at Stony River said...

How are you doing all this?? I'm tired just reading it - but the apples look scrumptious.

For the storytelling, I like the idea of telling a personal story about one of you, much better than the folktales.

Good luck with the wedding and birthdays - today is my niece's so I'd better get offline and start dialing!

Granny Sue said...

We do it together, Susan. And we don't have small children with special needs who require constant attention. Larry is home alone all day so he gets a lot accomplished. I am the planner and organizer, putting together the to-do lists and budget. For the storytelling, much of it happens in my head, almost subconsiously really, especially the personal tales. I will have a story idea and it will mull around up there, then suddenly emerge as a story. Folktales take study--finding different versions, studying them finding how I want to tell the tale. It's a hard process to explain and much happens to the story on stage as I gauge audience understanding and reaction.

Tipper said...

I'm jealous of your apples : ) My usual source didn't come through this year and I'm hoping I find to find someone else with to many apples to use themselves.

Great idea about canning the applesauce to use later for applebutter.

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