Monday, December 27, 2010

Since we've been busy getting ready for the return of our youngest from Spain, baking cookies, and decorating the house, we haven't had much time to really dedicate to the Compound. So I thought I'd get philosophical, since we're approaching the new year.

Here are some things I've learned in 2010;

1. Things are not always as they appear.

We planted trees this year, and as we started to dig the holes, we realized the previous owners buried old roofing barrel tiles. They are not easy to dig up.

Our water table is only 5'down, and salty. Who would have thought?!

2. While working at the compound, I will never again have good looking finger nails!

3. My husband, the Moose, is incredible! It doesn't matter what the project requires; heavy lifting, standing out in the hot sun reaching temperatures with heat indexes this past summer of 115 degrees, digging out roots, etc. It was his sheer will that got the compound to where it is today. It's awesome!

4. 2-1/2 acres is bigger than you think! Once you get started clearing land, and then have to mow it all, you know size really does matter. It takes me nearly 3 hours to mow. Yes, that's on a riding lawn mower, and I get that baby moving!

5. Heat/Sweat is measured by the number of t-shirts you change in and out of for the day. Our record day was 6 shirts!

6. Our car can lock it's own doors when you least expect it!

7. Alligators are fun to look at when they are in the water, 15 feet away, but not so cute when they come on shore to take a closer look at your dog!

8. You can build just about anything, even if it takes a couple of tries.

9. Just because it's Florida, doesn't mean it has to rain, or be warm!

10.Peace and tranquility make up for all the hard labor.

11. New ideas and plans never stop.. nor should they. It's what gives us drive and determination to finish the next project. It's even better when plans are shared and accomplished with those you love.

That's it for my philosophy lessons. Best wishes for an awesome New Year!

Sunday, December 12, 2010


Well, call us slugs. We didn't do much again this weekend by way of "work" at the compound. We lost our garden due to the cold last week, so most of that is being pulled out. We planted some replacement strawberry plants, as the first batch barely came up at all. Maybe 20 out of 100 plants. The company was nice enough not to argue, and sent us 100 new plants. Those are covered, awaiting the extremely cold temperatures we'll get the next couple of nights. We are expecting a hard freeze Tues and Wed. Yuk!

The Moose, our daughter's boyfriend Kevin, and I put our boat in the canal, and went for a ride on Saturday. It was a blast. We were shocked at how deep the canals are, and then all of a sudden, your in less than 2'. The sun was out, and it made for a great day! Since we've been blessed with daughters, the Moose is thrilled to have another guy around on occasion to help with the heavy lifting.

Have a safe week!

Monday, December 6, 2010

Cold, Cold

Well, nothing much got done this weekend. I was down for the count with a cold, and it's really cold here! Lows in the middle 30's this week, and highs only in the 50's. It's too cold for me!

Darryl spent some time on Saturday digging out the ramp for his boat. There was one there already, but it was not maintained. He thinks we can get our 17' boat in the canals, but the only way was to update the current ramp area. I'll get photos this next weekend, when I feel better.

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Nothing Much

Well, there hasn't been much to report out at the compound. We're still weeding, watering and picking in the garden. We've had some material brought in for the drive way area, which keeps down on the dirt and mud. Well, it will keep down on the mud, should it finally decide to rain! We're down over a foot here in Central Florida, which is not a good sign.

We hope to get at painting the container, and a head start on the chicken coop this next weekend. I'll keep you posted.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

All Clear

Well, the final section of property has been cleared, and filled in. No more swamp! At least not on our 2-1/2 acres. I hope the following pictures will give you a better look at the before and after so you can see how much work was actually done. Here's the before;

And here's the after;

We keep praying for rain, which has been in short supply in Central Florida. We need some in order to maintain the garden and trees through the winter months, which is typically the dry season anyway. We ended up with a dry rainy season this year. Keep your eyes posted on the news, Florida will be due for some wild fires in the coming months.

Have a great week!

Monday, November 1, 2010

Well, this photo explains our great day on Saturday. Food, family and lots of fun! It was a much needed respite. Weather was fantastic. We couldn't have asked for a better day.

If you've followed this blog at all, then you know, we just can't sit around and look at each other. We could stay home and do that. Projects need to be accomplished.

My Dad finished his clay pigeon throwing table. We found a $5 table at a yard sale, that he mounted the thrower onto, so it's higher in the air, easier to fill and pull. Works great!

The most anticipated project completion was Kevin's Gator Kegorator. This was an ingenious piece of work, and I'm sure the party goers in Gainesville will be well impressed. We expect to get some use of it out at the compound on occasion.

To our family and friends, you don't know what you're missing!

Monday, October 25, 2010

Ready, Aim, Fire!

We spent Saturday with my parents, at their community yard sale. Found lots of great bargains for the compound; rakes, hoe, machete, compound bow and arrows.

While I spent the better part of the morning weeding, and organizing the garden, the Moose decided to build the targets for both the new bow and arrow, and pistol ranges this past Sunday.

He also had to test the new machete to see how it would work on the Robellini plant. It was great. We still have a side to go, but it's already looking really good.

Monday, October 18, 2010

Strawberry Fields Forever

My Dad came out to help again this weekend, and I'm grateful for the help with the heavy lifting. When he works, he whistles. It took be back to days long gone, at my Grandpa's house in Wisconsin. He too whistled, while he worked. I'm not sure if it's a genetic trait, or a lost art.

Our projects for the weekend were to set up the targets on the shooting range. Dad used some old posts that were laying around, and came up with an inexpensive target; hinges of varying sizes. It works!

The other project was to expand the existing garden, to now include a strawberry pyramid. It's 8 x 8 on the bottom level, approx. 5.5 x 5.5 on the middle level and then 36.5 x 36.5 on the top level. We should be able to get around 50 strawberry plants in this small area. If planted the traditional, long row way, we'd have needed a 50' row in the actual garden. The original fence was cut out, pulled back and moved to new posts and supports. It looks awesome! I need to get my strawberry plants in the next week or so. I look forward to the harvest some time around Feb. of next year.

Have a great week!

Monday, October 4, 2010

Growing Garden

The garden has taken off. The corn, beans, peas, cucumbers, squash, lettuce, radishes and sunflower seeds are coming up. I'm not sure yet, if we didn't lose the rest to the massive rain we had last week. Parts of the garden look washed out. I'll replant some this weekend, if I don't see anything else coming up.

My Dad and Uncle came out to the compound on Saturday. They decided they needed to start cleaning out a huge series of Robellini palm trees, which really looked like a giant bush! What I found out later is that they needed to clear a path for their shooting range! That explains why three guys would head in to a very large, very dense and very thorny area. It will take some doing to get it all cleaned up, but it will look amazing when it's done. The funny part; after they cleared the section of tree, they realized there was a pile of stone still in the way, and that too had to be moved. I think the joke is on them!

I heard a baby alligator in the wild for the first time. It's a definite sound that only they make. I couldn't find him, but I could definitely hear him. We had 5 shoreline visitors this past weekend. I'm not comfortable with these uninvited guests, especially this many at one time.

Have a good and safe week!

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Position Filled!

A few posts back, I titled the page; Help Wanted: Rain. The position, I mean pond has been filled! For those of you tracking Florida weather, the area around our compound received between 7 and 10 inches of rain yesterday. Yes, that's in a 24 hour time period. As you'll see by the last photo, we're about 3/4 full! It's really amazing.

For those negative Nancies and Neds, who thought our pond was too big, and would never fill, eat your words. One itty bitty tropical wave took care of that problem.

The garden looks good, wet, but good. Corn, beans, squash, lettuce and cucumbers are already up. If we get some sunshine back, things will really get moving.

We expect to do some normal maintenance this weekend, nothing serious planned. We need to get home in time to watch the Gators take on Alabama.

Monday, September 27, 2010

Do It Big and Do It Right, or Don't Do It At All!

We had another long weekend. We accomplished more than anticipated, due to a shady day on Saturday. The heat index was only in the 90's and not over 100. It really makes a difference. Here's a quick review;

Well, we did get some rain, and the pond is starting to fill. We are expecting rain most of Tues/Wed and Thurs of this week. Things are looking up regarding water retention.

We finished the garden. It's completely planted, and the chicken wire has been placed along the outside. The Moose dug a trench, and then we buried a foot of the chicken wire in the ground before attaching it to the side of the existing wire fencing. We have a plethora of wild animals, that dig around the yard and the chicken wire will be an extra defense against the rabbits and wild pigs. We watered the garden from the pond, and it didn't look like we took a drop from it. Awesome!

It looked a little like Survivor Island for a bit on Sunday. We were overrun by huge fire ant hills. I don't care what the ads say, those expensive sprinkle on solutions do not work. They just relocate a few feet over. The only way to truly get rid of them is to burn them out.

The chicken coop is being put on hold until later in the fall. We need a physical break, so we're on to just cleaning up the place; mowing the yard, and weeding the garden. That's really enough work in normal circumstances, but as with all things, we either do it big and do it right, or we don't do it at all.

Monday, September 20, 2010

Sheer Will

Another blistering hot day on Saturday. We began at 7am, and didn't leave the compound until 7:30pm. It was a long scorching day. We took a 15 minute break for lunch. But, the stone that needed to be hauled and placed around the pond to hold the liner in place, is done. We probably shoveled and moved over 50 wheel barrels full. The garden fence, a 45' x 24' area has 14 posts, a gate and 6' wire fencing, is done!!!! The Moose, dug each post hole with a post hole digger by hand. And it was his sheer will, especially towards the end, that got these projects done.

Now, we have to finish tilling, add some compost, and start marking rows for plants. I have some tomatoes, cabbage, broccoli, cauliflower, celery and brussel sprouts started. I hope to have them planted next weekend, along with some others. We're in the middle of planting for the cool season.

Friday, September 17, 2010

Help Wanted: Rain

Wouldn't it just figure, now that we have the pond actually ready for rain, we haven't seen a drop all week. When we were trying to get the pond and the area around it cleaned up, over the past couple of weeks, it rained everyday, making the work even harder. It's Florida for cripes sake! There's no rain in the horizon until possibly next week Tuesday.

The positive to come from this, is we'll be high and dry while we sweat away again this weekend, placing stone around the outside of the pond to hold down the liner, and hopefully, finally, get to digging some post holes for the garden fence.

Monday, September 13, 2010

The Liner is In!

Our rain water pond is in! We had help from my Mom and Dad this past Saturday, which made the final placement of the underlay and liner go much quicker than anticipated. We even had time to finish the trench along all 4 sides.

The liner weighed a whopping 960lbs. Even though it was on a roll, it was not easy to move around. Now we're praying for rain.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

He's No Whimpy Tin Man!

It was another one of those overly hot weekends. The heat index was over 105 degrees, which made for slow work. We returned to the compound on Saturday to find that the pond was full of ground water. That's a bad thing, our ground water has a high concentration of salt. We are in the process of having some sand brought in, to fill in the pond back above the ground water level, which should be a foot or so. The sand, rather than the dirt and roots we took out, will make it easier to work with the liner and underlay. We played around with a couple of pond ideas this weekend, and never got around to the garden fencing. As with most things, one step forward, two back.

The liner should get here on Wed. of this week. It weighs a whopping 960lbs. It's going to take some effort to get it moved and in place. We're calling in the troops to help this weekend.

Well, the Moose is stronger than he looks. While we were clearing some more trees and roots from around the pond area, he broke our axe! This was after he out used the chain saw. He's no whimpy tin man...

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Digging, and Digging,...

Well, the pond has been dug! It's a whopping 45' x 35' x 5', and can hold nearly 60 thousand gallons of water. Yes, you read that right. We ordered the pond liner and underlay, and it should be delivered next week. This guarantees what project we'll be working on the following weekend.

We're hoping to get started on the fence posts for the garden this weekend. This has been a project put on hold for some time, due to the heat. We'll see what happens this weekend. There's always plenty to do. Have a safe and happy holiday weekend!

Monday, August 30, 2010

Should Have Stayed in Bed

Well, I'm sure you've all had those days, when you should have just stayed in bed. Friday was mine.

Our 40' container was going to be delivered, and per the company that sold the thing to us, they'd call us when the driver left Miami. That would have given us a 4 hour window. Well 9am rolls around, and since I hadn't heard from them, I called. "Oh we're sorry Ma'am, he left really early this morning, and he'll be there in an about an hour and a half". We dropped everything and ran out to the compound. I get a phone call from the driver. His first statement; "do you speak Spanish?". I knew I was in trouble. You see, I can count to ten, and from there, I might as well move to another planet. He hung up on me, and called his office, which in turn called me only to ask me for directions from a road next to my home in Orlando. The container company gave them the bill to address and not the ship to address. We had to wait another hour for him to show up. With that said, the container arrived, it's huge and in place!

We decided that since the driver was so late, and we missed a better part of our normal work day, we'd get a couple of other projects finished. We had our cooler in the back of the unlocked car. After I got out a cold drink, shut the cover, I shut the hatch. The car automatically locked itself. I'm not kidding. There we were, and you could hear the thing lock itself, and then the alarm went off. We were sunk! No keys, and especially no cold water. I did have my cell phone.

I called my Mom and Dad, who dropped everything, and stopped at our house to pick up another set of keys. They could not find the other set, they were in my purse, in the locked car at the compound. You can see where this is going. After a few more phone calls, my parents were off to the car dealer, where they purchased a new key, brought it out for us, and yahoo! we were back in business. What a hassle! I'm glad my parents now live in Florida and not back in Wisconsin.

I spent Sat. morning at the local nursery, learning all I can on Mango trees. It's amazing how much you don't know when you go to one of these workshops. My hubby spent Saturday moving stuff into the container, and building some shelving. Saturday, thank goodness was much less eventful.

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Rain Catchers

Well, we're trying different things out to help gather and store rain water. Since we can't use the water from the canal or from the well, we need to find an alternative plan.

We have a pond builder coming out in the next week or so, to dig our water catching pond. We hope to have it completed, as we near the busy part of the rainy season. We live in FL and usually we don't ask for rain this time of year. I'll be praying for it, so it can fill the pond. A pond 15x40x3' holds about 18k gallons of water, and my hubby decided today to make it even larger. I need a lot of rain!

Here's a picture of what the hubby tried, and it works. 4 posts, and a tarp. We've gathered nearly 75 gallons in the past week or so. We could easily expand on this idea, and likely will. It's one project at a time. We seem to get one done, and then add two more to the list. Oh well, that's life and we're loving every sweaty minute of it!

Monday, August 16, 2010

Clearing for Container

Well, we got one of two projects done this past weekend. It was just too darn hot to do much more. The heat index was over 105 degrees, and it seemed like the humidity was at 100% or better. For Darryl it was a 6 t-shirt day. He literally went through 6 t-shirts on this project. His nickname is the Moose. If you've ever watched him work, you'd understand why.

We had to clear a section of the property and level it off, so we can place a 40' storage container. Darryl decided to clear off another section next to it, just because. It's not as easy as it might look. Trees needed to be cut out, trunks and roots removed, then add in the vines, and thorny bushes, and it makes for a long hot day. We had some help towards the end from our neighbor Paul and his box blade/tractor leveling off the area with some fill dirt we had on site.

Two weeks from now, we're having a pond dug, which we'll use to catch and hold rain water for the garden. We hope to get to digging post holes for the garden and chicken coop in the next few weeks. It'll be a short weekend of work for us coming up as our daughter is coming home for a few days before she's off to Spain for the Fall semester.

Best wishes for a great week!

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

R & R

We took this past weekend off, for a bit of R&R. We spent the weekend in Ellijay, GA, in a mountainside cabin. It was awesome. I have a link on the side, should you want more info.

Now for this weekend... I think we'll tackle cutting out a section of brush, so we can place a much needed 40' storage container. We'll be able to house our larger and more expensive equipment. It seems each project requires a new piece of equipment, and it all needs someplace to go. We're also going to work on our rain catching system. A bit of trial and error, to make it just right. I'll keep you posted. Have a safe and happy week.

Thursday, August 5, 2010


For those that have kept up, we have been having issues with what turns out to be a high concentration of salt in our water. It actually has stopped the growth of our new apples, pear and peach trees and blueberry bushes. They were pathetic. I fertilized them two weeks ago, and we started bringing out fresh water from home. What a nice surprise today! All but one apple tree has totally new growth. I can sleep better tonight.

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Road Block, I Mean Water Block

Well, we had a well drilling company take a look at our situation, and unfortunately the content of salt in our ground water is too high for the garden and animals. Since neither of us is very good at taking no for an answer, we're on to plan B; dig a pond, and build a rain catching system. Both of which are totally OK, and way less costly than the well, and filter system we were planning on. *Sometime in the near future, the county will be bringing in "city" water. I won't hold my breath, since most municipalities are running with no money as it stands. Until then, time to build some more character, I mean muscles!

Monday, August 2, 2010

Are We Becoming Rednecks?

My question to you is; are we becoming rednecks?

*We bought a piece of property on a dirt road, completely surrounded by nature, and occasionally we can hear someone off in the distance having target practice. We've been known to let off a few rounds ourselves.

*We no longer care about the Jone's, or Smith's or whomever. We're living our life the way we want to. So family and friends, get over the fact that I AM GOING TO GET CHICKENS. The coop is here, and we've got the fence posts marked.

*We've decided to get back to a simpler life, not necessarily easier. We're reading up on gardening, composting, and canning. All of which are really making a comeback. I'm not sure if that's because this country is out of money, or others want a life filled with homegrown veggies that have no pesticides. Whatever the reason, there is great personal reward when a project has been completed with your own two hands. I really need a manicure!

*Fresh air and sunshine do make for a redneck, farmer tans and bug bites. Other than the bug bites, the sunshine and fresh air are wonderful.

So what do you think? Are we becoming rednecks?

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Drilling a Water Well

Just call us Jack and Jill, we're going up a hill to fetch a pail of water. This will be our first lesson in water well drilling, specifically a deep well. We've been told our area will need a well dug to around 200'. We'll know more tomorrow. It'll be nice not to have to haul water from home. Does anyone have any advice? What should we be looking for, asking, etc?

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Outdoor Shower

We completed the outdoor shower this weekend. We were excited to see this project completed, as it will keep the dirt and humidity out of the camper, and the water out of the holding tanks. We used lanscape posts, and galvanized metal for the surround. We had some concrete blocks already, and used them for the floor. The next ingenious item was a wooden pallet, which we picked up for free. It turned out fantastic! Another project to check off the list. Next weekend we start the garden fencing.

Friday, July 23, 2010

Outdoor Shower

We've decided to build an outdoor shower. That's our project this weekend. Since we have access to water off the back of our camper, we'll be able to shower outside and keep the dirt outside where it belongs. It'll also keep the camper cooler, and reduce the amount of water in the holding tanks. I'll post later with photos.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Completed Projects

We purchased this property back in May. Since then we've water proofed the dock, buried a holding tank, screened in the Tiki Hut, brought in gravel for the parking area, dirt for fill and our garden, planted 19 fruit trees and bushes, built a sound barrier for the generators, and cleared another quarter acre of property. This all could not have been done without the amazing back breaking efforts by Darryl and my awesome brother in-law Jeff in 90+ degree weather. You should see these guys sweat! There's never enough Powerade!

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

How Life Began

We began this journey back in early May. We purchased 2.5 acres of property on a canal here in Central Florida. Our main goal was to have a place to go to when SHTF, as well as a retreat. It has grown into a piece of property, that not only is a place to go in an emergency, but also to garden, fish, and raise chickens and turkeys. Yes family, you read that right. This 40 something city girl is getting chickens! I can't wait.

Here are a couple of photos from the beginning. I'll fill you in as we go.