I almost died this weekend

I almost died this weekend

So I almost died this weekend, and I wish I was being dramatic.

farm-land-love-Exodus-3-14

Hubby and I took Friday off to finish our wills. We had 1 easy correction, and needed to sign. So here we are driving down the highway when a black pickup decides he is tired of being stuck in a line of cars or something, and decides to pass not one vehicle, but two on a solid double yellow line on a curve. One of those vehicles was a semi-truck! I have never been so grateful to have God on my side, and a husband that is pretty skilled at driving.

It’s not uncommon on this stretch of highway to have cars pass in unsafe areas. It’s actually one of the deadliest highways in the country. But generally when someone passes when they shouldn’t, they try to force their way back into their lane. As the on-coming vehicle, you slow and drive down the shoulder mentally cussing (and sometimes it’s out loud) the unthinking driver, and continue on your way.

Friday’s situation was so far from the expected bad situation. The driver of the pickup realizes too late that we are there, slams on his breaks, apparently realizes he is still alongside the semi, and as my hubby is already braking and heading for the shoulder, the pickup decides that’s also his best bet for survival. Our vehicles are now still careening toward each other at a slowed rate of maybe 55 MPH now. Pickup continues to our shoulder forcing Hubby to steer back into the tiny space between the semi and the pickup neither of which has quite made it to the shoulder. The back end of the car breaks loose and we start fishtailing in a space so narrow I already wasn’t sure we would fit.

At this point, the only thought on my mind was “this is how it ends. My oldest is in class, and the rest of his immediate family is either taking a ride in the coroner’s truck, or a helicopter”. Pretty sure the infant in the 5 point harness will be the only one to get a ride out of here alive”. As I write this, that awful feeling still sits with me. We almost left 1-2 babies alone.

God gave Hubby the amazing ability to evaluate, react, and counter react so perfectly. He was able to switch between braking and heading to the shoulder, to braking and going back to center, to speeding up and powering out of a fishtail. Everything worked out so perfectly that of the 5 vehicles that almost collided that day, all of us drove away without a scratch of damage.

This whole scenario played out in the time it takes to go from about 63 to 40, and back to 60.

As we drove off, I made it maybe 1 more mile into safety before the tears hit. The irony hit me about the same time. I couldn’t decide if I wanted to laugh, cry, be angry, or grateful.  All of those feeling were right there at the surface. Once I felt safe and reassured we were all alive, I couldn’t help be laugh a bit at the irony of it all. 2 inches left or right at any point, and someone would be trying to decide if the intent of a will was enough. Here someone would have found a mess of legal paperwork on intended guardians, power of attorney, and healthcare directives all over in the front of the car. Guess if intent is enough, it would have been in a handy location.

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Building a Baby Swing

Building a Baby Swing

So I’ve had a unique set of obstacles with this new baby that I didn’t have with the first. Now, with my eldest, I thought he grew so fast. He was always around the 90+ percentile for his checkups, but his weight stayed around the 60% mark. Mostly, he was tall. Now as a new/1st time mom, I thought he was a bit of a handful, but I also knew he was pretty easy, and I was lucky. I’d seen enough of other babies to know I had it easy.

Baby number two, now he’s still pretty easy, but takes a bit more entertaining. And this baby, really is a fast grower. He started wearing 18 month clothes at about 8 months. Luckily, he’s still in 18 month clothes, but the shirts can be a bit tight depending on the brand.

Initially I planned to buy him a Johnny Jumper to hang in our dining room area, but I was afraid he would jump right into a sharp corner. Instead I decided that a new swing would be good, plus this summer I will be able to move the swing and use it outside too. Baby had gotten to the point he had exceeded the weight limit on his normal swing! I thought the motor had gone out as every time I put him in I would look over a minute later & it wouldn’t be swinging. Nope, after closer exam, it just wasn’t strong enough to move him anymore.

I searched Pinterest, because odds are someone else had already had the idea. I found a couple good options. I ransacked my fabric collection. Canvas had been suggested, but I didn’t have a color I would want hanging in my house. I did however have some black fabric I previously used to reupholster my chairs, and leftover fleece from his baby blanket. Hubby had the clip I would want to use to hang up and take down the swing. All I needed was the dowels & rope. I followed this basic process/pattern.

Hubby brought in clamps and the saw, and then shortly after, he checked back in to see if I needed anything else, I got the “look”. You know the “see your projects always become my projects” look. Now I highly doubt the ¼ in I was off on cutting would really have made that big of a difference, but the part where I never considered marking the dowels to make sure the holes I would drill would line up definitely would have.

swing2

Given I didn’t want to go back to the store; I was okay handing over the reins. I’ve come to accept that my projects become his projects, and I try to keep them small. But I am also developing a list of things I actually want to learn. I feel like I’ve learned some basics that may lead to not needing so much help someday. I may be old and retired, but someday I may finish a project start to finish all on my own.

Here is the final thing I learned in this project: Don’t wrap the rope decoratively on the swing. Baby will not leave it alone, and it won’t be cute, just chop the ends off & burn the tips to avoid fraying.

swing

Plank Photo Project

Plank Photo Project

Over this last year my sister has been slowly updating her home. As the sister, I get the privilege of being the main artist on her walls, and I try to make sure that whatever I give her won’t be something that is hung up out of pity. I prefer not to be the creator of the “look at that” art. The new look of her home is what I would consider rustic / country charm. She was interested in a print I did a couple winters ago, but I wanted to give her something more unique and fitting than a basic poster type print.

I saw an art print at Ranch and Home and really liked the reclaimed/rustic look of it. It seemed simple enough and of course I instantly thought “I can do that”. Sometimes I seem to have an inflated view of my abilities. But either way, I searched the internet (okay, let’s be honest, I searched Pinterest), and found a few posts on how to transfer pictures to wood. Again I thought, “see, can’t be that hard”.  So I make my list, take tips and tricks from a variety of “how to” blog posts, and set off to Lowes.

I wanted to make a plank board wall hanging, and I couldn’t find anything on how to do what I had in mind. I picked up a pack of wood planks, & some finishing nails (apparently my box of nails & screws is hiding somewhere with my hammer, and mutli-tool screw driver). I had some scrap wood I planned to use for backing, and hubby has clamps I could klepto (one of his auction finds – you can read about that here). I had the photo printed by Staples, I opted for the blue print option for printing. The best paper choice is as close to inkjet printer you can get.

As I start building the wall hanging for my project, hubby starts giving me the “you’re going to regret doing it that way” look and grunts. So of course, I respond with the standard “what?” To which he replies “where’s the wood glue?” You are using wood glue right?”

“Um, I wasn’t planning on it. Can’t I just push these together, and nail them to some boards so they stay together?”

“You can, but I wouldn’t. It’s not going to work like you think it is”.

This is where I remember his “your projects always become my projects” line, which in fairness, they do, but it’s because he is better at this stuff, and I tend to learn as I go.  But either way, I wound up going to Lowes for wood glue.

In the end, here was my process:

1. Line up planks as desired (here is what I bought). Then put a bead of glue in the grooves between each plank, and put them back as desired. Then clamp to hold in place for drying.

For diagram / printable directions click: how to – Wood Plank Photo Print 

2. Once glue is dry (the bottle will tell you how long it takes to set”, flip so the back side is up (choose which side will give the best result for your picture – try to choose the side with the cleanest surface- see step 3). Nail each precut support board approximately 3 inches in from the edges. The length will depend on the size of the board you choose to create.

3. Flip the board so it is face up. If there is any glue spots, try to sand them off, the ink doesn’t transfer well to dried glue.

boards-1

4. Coat with “Gel Medium”, it’s really called exactly that. I went into Joanne’s looking for this and really wasn’t sure what to expect. Here is a picture of what I used. Put a good coat on, think of paper mache, too much and the paper will get all nasty and tear, not enough, and the ink won’t transfer.

5. Put the print ink side down onto the boards, and smooth out wrinkles.

boards-2

6. Let dry overnight. If you’re in a hurry, you can wait just as long as it takes for the paper to be completely dry, but it’s similar to putting on a temporary tattoo, so if it’s not dry it will peal up.

7. Using a wet wash rag, scrub the paper off. I suggest getting a bowl, or small bucket of warm water, and have it sitting there to rinse the rag as you work. Another trick is to get the paper a bit extra wet like you would when putting on a temporary tattoo, and then try scrubbing. It seems to help pull the paper off better.

8. Once you believe you have all the paper off, let it dry, and re-evaluate. I had to go back a few times as paper would become noticeable again once it dried. The sky and light areas were the hardest for me.

plank-board-2

9. Optional: Once you are sure you have all the paper wiped off, coat with modge podge/ decoupage glue.

plank-board-1

Lesson’s learned:

  1. Ink won’t transfer onto wood glue
  2. Pencil will be seen through the picture – not sure how I didn’t notice it before moving forward and putting the gel on
  3. If you don’t get all the paper off, and then you coat it with modge podge, it will seal the picture, make the white paper EXTREMELY obvious, and you won’t even be able to sand that crap off. – start over
  4. If you want an exact image as you see when you took it, don’t forget to flip the image, otherwise it will be a mirror image
  5. When using the planks, keep in mind that there will be lines / gaps in your picture – placement may look funny depending on the print. You may not want lines / gaps through your loved ones face.

Print directions here: how to – Wood Plank Photo Print

Funny Farm & Auctions

Funny Farm & Auctions

Not too far away is an auction house, or at least that’s what I’m going to call it. It’s really a big chunk of property where a business is located that hosts several outdoor auctions year round. So my “house” comment may be misleading. Should you attend, and manage to stay for the entire auction, you will leave with either heat exhaustion or hypothermia. Usually the crowd is filled with farmers, ranchers, retired farmers/ranchers, hired hands, and the odd and end person that just enjoys auctions. You can buy anything from a combine to a pogo stick. The items always surprise me. We went as a family one day and my son wanted to bring home an old race car trailer. His logic was that there was also a bed it in, ummmmmm, no thank you.  It was probably a 1980s model, converted goose neck, with what would be considered by some to be converted living quarters. It was more junky mobile mechanics trailer than camp trailer. I wish I would have taken a picture. I can only imagine my son was picturing being a human version of Lightning McQueen. In fairness, the trailer was red.

lightning mcqueen

For obvious reasons, the trailer was not purchased that day. However, my son had caught the bidding fever. We told him that if he was good, then when it got to the toy part of the auction, we would see if we could get him a toy combine. Turns out there is a high demand for said toys. We stopped bidding at about $75 which was well past my comfort zone already. The bidding goes up, and my son who sees that I’m no longer throwing my hand up, starts to throw his up in an attempt to bid! Thankfully the auctioneer laughed, and I was able to hold his arms down, but we owed him a toy after we left. They ended up selling for $150 apiece. The catch was that you got your choice of tractor, and some were collectors.

tractor toy

This story was really not my point, but I got caught up. You’re used to that in me by now. Ha-ha.

My actual point is, that this auction also created an auction monster in my husband. He goes with his dad, and you never know what they will come back with. One auction trip they came back with a truck and trailer load. Of course when I looked at it I was mainly confused as to what the stuff would be used for. I was given explanations like, “well I really just wanted this, but it was on a pallet with all that, and it was too cheap to pass up.” Haha. Well then!

However, this last auction turned out great. I must admit, I was a bit concerned when hubby asked how much $$ was in the checking account. Now, kudos to him for remembering that I transfer any extra money into saving almost as soon as checks hit so that the money doesn’t get absorbed. I’m not sure how, but if I don’t move money to savings right off, it seems to just disappear. The comment/question still made me nervous. However, I should give him more credit. He bought fence posts (much needed), and a 20×30 shop-ish. We have plans to build a shop, but in the meantime he has stuff out in the weather (lawn mower, trailer he’s putting a new deck on, ect.). So this temporary shop he bought is actually quite perfect.

It will look something like this:

shop

With getting this, the shed he previously used is now getting moved and converted into a new chicken coop / feed storage building. We will be building a wall to split the shed in half so one side will be for chickens, and the other will have the feed stored (stay tuned). Plus there will be a trap door to reach through for egg collection from the feed room side! That is the part I’m excited about. Everything is getting re-vamped to be more user friendly. I’ve always been more partial to the hooved farm animals, so anything to limit my interaction with the feathered, peck at you farm variety, I love.

So far, we’re (like how I keep saying “we” – ya that may not be accurate) still in the early stages, but the shop has started going up!

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I took baby out of a field trip to watch daddy work. It was quite entertaining. He couldn’t bend at the waist well, so needless to say, he laid down for the sled trip. At 8 months, baby is wearing 18 month old clothes, so the baby carrier I would have used was too small when I got him bundled up.