This year has kicked our asses in many ways, so I'm taking control and moving forward despite the insanity. I lost my brother, one cat (Jack) a month after losing Doug, a chicken to a terrifying 115-degree day, another cat (Diego) only a few weeks ago, and one week after suffering that loss, our kitten Mia was also at the vet fighting for her life.
The excessive heat this summer in the western half of the U.S. absolutely killed anything we had growing outside. It's always hot here, but that was just too much. The Delta variant of COVID swept the nation, and landed here in Douglas County full-force, so the vaccines couldn't come fast enough for us. We were all fully immunized by April, and now Charley and I are triple-shot up... but our numbers are still 50+ cases a day, and I simply don't trust most of the people here with this. They do not choose in favor of protecting others, they only think of themselves.
BUT.... we had so very many good things happen this year too -- Forest Night and Charlotte Moon joined our family in March after Jack's passing. Rescued from a cat hoarding situation along with 16 adult cats, they were just tiny fluffy dots. Now they are ginormous Maine coon kittens with huge paws they have not grown into yet by any means. Joining them is Mia, a sleek orange tabby girl who came home in May — Emily wanted a calico, we went to the shelter for the calicos, come home with Mia, a ginger. Gingers rule, man, what can I say.
We stayed employed all year, because of the tremendous generosity of our friends with their time and backhoe, we smashed the old garden flat and have built a new one on top of the ruins. The bed structures will be complete by spring, but I could start planting winter veggies anytime. One good thing about this area — we can garden all year.
Before Delta, we'd planned a trip to St. Louis and southern Illinois to take the girls to meet their family on my side they've never met. We had such a whirlwind blast seeing everything from the Arch to the zoo to running all over Belleville looking at my old stomping grounds. It was very weird to be there without my mother and brother there, though, but I'm glad we went.
Of course, while we were gone our house sitter noticed water gushing from the side of our upper shop driveway. We assumed it was the well line, so had her turn all that off. Nope. it was our community water system. So, 15,500 gallons and 2,000 miles later, we found ourselves home with no water. Luckily, we have a well. Unluckily, we really didn't know how "safe" it was for drinking. Then I felt horrible because I've been giving it to the animals and plants outside for years. But it tested fine.
We were on well water in the house for a month while we figured out what to do. We thought about digging an entirely new line, but the trench would have been 460 feet long and cut across the entire front of our property and would have crossed the asphalt driveway in two places. We decided to just find and fix the leak. Of course the people who installed the original water system used the absolute cheapest PVC pipe they could find, so it won't be the last break. An elbow joint had just slipped out of its fitting. That's it. It wasn't even cracked. Lord.
Water fixed, our attention turned to the sky. We thought about our $266 a month we pay for power and decided to have our home evaluated for solar. Fast forward to now -- we will be getting a whole-house solar panel array system that will totally replace our need for Pacific Power's power. So there. And we'll be saving around $40K while we're at it. Boom. Next!!!
We need to repave the driveway. Our soil is this horrible thick clay that moves in sheets, like plate tectonics and it's like living on a slow-moving ocean. It rocks the house and upends concrete post footers from the ground — and is causing the driveway to fall down the hill, cracking apart in giant cavernous cracks that will end up swallowing the UPS man if we aren't careful.
And we still want to terrace the front acre and plant lavender.
The list is long, but what else do we have to do, am I right??
Oh, and I'm writing again. Finally. I want Treetangle Publishing and Rosemary Hill Gardens to really sing in 2022, so I'm laying the groundwork now.
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