Last night, we picked up 4 solar panels at approximately 1/2 the regular price. Jeffrey found them used on Craigslist. They are only 2 years old and came from a solar company, we have a guarantee on them. This was a huge find. We've been able to find a solar hot water heater (that we had to sell before we moved) and have seen solar panels listed before, but that is rare. When we found them previously, the seller was either too far or the timing was bad. We've been looking and looking lately and there haven't been any. We thought it would be a good idea to go ahead and get started on solar out at Crooked Creek while we had some money and the need to start building out there. Then the day before yesterday they appeared on Craigslist and the man even met us closer in so we wouldn't have to drive so far. We are going to build an animal house/ building supply storage/ Garden & power shed first. Since we aren't in a huge hurry, we can take our time and wait for the great deals and they are out there. It's amazing what people will get rid of. We already have roofing material from our old roof, some lumber left over from construction and other items we can used that we've picked up along the way. Now if only I could find a good, used grain/ flour grinder I've wanted!
A fierce, short storm blew through yesterday. A giant branch the size of a normal tree blew off of a big Locust. It fell right onto the highway blocking 75% of the road. The storm was still so fierce and the locust had branches to spare so we couldn't run right out to get it. It was too dangerous. I was afraid someone would hit it and they did, but just the tip and they were fine. The wind and rain were blowing so hard, most people were driving slowly. As soon as I could, I ran out to see if I could pull it out of the road while Jeffrey went to the garage to get something to cut it up. I pulled as hard as I could and the limb wouldn't budge. If a car had been passing under the tree when it fell, I believe it could have killed them. Then our neighbor showed up out of nowhere with equipment and pushed it off the road. A short while later our other neighbor came walking quickly down the highway pulling on his gloves to help. Sometimes it's great to have neighbors. It ripped the awning off of the RV.
My cell phone contract is finally expiring and I called to have it officially turned off as of August 16th. That will save a good bit of money every month. Since we still have to drive and are at the other property so much, I promised my mother I would get a cheap pay as you go phone. I did like getting the occasional quick text message from my brother Jared, but maybe I can get him to text to my email. I checked yesterday and I can get one for $10 and just put some minutes on the phone in case we need to give each other a quick call or there is an emergency. When I called to cancel today, it took 20 minutes and 2 "high pressure" service agents to get it done. Both "tempted" me with, "Would you be interested in an upgrade? We have some really cool phones out." Both read from the same script and I felt ridiculous having heard it, I can't imagine how ridiculous they felt reading scripted casual conversation. I had just told them that I never use my cell phone and am reducing all unnecessary household expenses, why would I want a new phone? Then she finally informed me that I would have to call back since the cancellation date was more than a month away. My contract expires August 16th, no Ma'am that is not more than a month away. She said they traditionally like to cancel service at the end of a service period which takes me to the end of August. I told her I went through 2 people and 20 minutes, no I am not calling back again later. I told her she could just figure out how to cancel it on the 16th. They canceled as of the date I requested and I'll be free of them soon.
Yesterday I received in the mail a fantastic card from my niece! There is a pink peony on the front. I just fell in love with them this year when I saw them for the first time as they bloomed from some prior owner's planting. Then she wrote me a note telling me she missed me and that this is her first drawing from her new drawing book. She made me two cutouts that I can use as bookmarks. One is a beautiful "Garden Talent Fairy" with flowers in her hair and purple wings that she made with a kids computer program and the next is where the fairy lives. I ALSO got a card from my Mom that says "Care and Kindness" on the front. This put a lightness in my heart and a huge smile on my face every time I look at them.
We've had to keep close watch on the garden for bugs every day. The collards and broccoli had some damage, but Jeffrey is out picking off bugs every day now. The tomatoes are doing great, though some on my forum are convinced that pruning so severely is a very bad idea. So, I'll see how they turn out. I was warned they may not be as sweet and will do more research on that. So far I can't find anything warning me that I'll loose sweetness. Right now the plants are full of healthy tomatoes and the leaves that are there look fantastic. They are sturdy and weathered well in yesterday's storm. The herbs were beaten down a bit and some of the pea plants, but they will make it. The Brown cappuchin or snow peas appear the same as they did before the storm, their tendrils held tightly to their string path. The Snap Bush Beans were knocked over some by the heavy rain, but will be fine.
I was doing a lot of bending over & looking down while putting the garden in and when I worked on a computer all day, I did a lot of the same. Now that I'm out scything more and the garden is in, I find I am doing a lot more looking up. Think about how many times you look up, we mostly look straight or down. I love to look up at the sky, birds, clouds, planes, spiderwebs, storms and stars. I think about the difference in my posture and how I hold my shoulders and neck when I look up, especially if I am walking. It tends to straighten me up. I've always fought slightly hunched shoulders and really work now to keep my back straight. When I'm outside I try to look up when can, especially when I'm walking slowly or right after I've cleared a path. Of course glancing down occasionally so as not to stumble. It seems to help and then when I look straight or down, it is easier to keep my shoulders straight for a while. So look up!
Here are a picture of the peas at the small garden and the card my niece made for me: