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Neat eco-house in Wales

A low-impact woodland home

The above site was linked from an environmental newsletter we got; it’s a really cool house and we wanted to share the link. The site also includes links to other similar projects. This would be a really cool thing to do someday.

Welcome to the neighborhood, Copper… not!

We had a bit of excitement last night around here (you know, because we can always use more chaos) in the form of a visitor on our porch. The animals were all sacked out in various places in the living room and we were just about to begin getting everyone settled in for the night, since it was around nine or so. I happened to glance over at the patio door, and then did a quick double-take — there was a face staring back at me! At first my mind couldn’t quite process what I was seeing, and I thought it was the reflection of one of our animals inside, but then the logical part of my mind reminded me that (a) everyone was asleep and (b) we don’t have a red and white Boxer.


He was standing there with drool hanging down from his lips looking like he really wanted to come in. I went outside to assess the situation while Joy got Maggie hustled off to her crate — up until this point none of the animals had actually realized that there was a strange dog standing on the porch. The dog was very friendly, well-kept, unneutered (which we’re sure is what led to the wandering) and decided I had come out to play. He was wearing a leather collar with a brass plate, and on the plate was a phone number. It was a Raleigh area code, so we were a little skeptical that the number was actually still good, but at least it was a lead to follow…

I called the number and after several rings a rather sleepy sounding guy answered. I explained why I was calling and there was a befuddled silence, then he acknowledged that his brother did have a red and white Boxer but he wasn’t there. “I can’t come and get him right now. Could you bring him to me?” I am not sure he grasped the logistics of our being about 6 hours away and was annoyed that he’d expect the people who found his wandering dog to actually bring it back. So I sicced Joy on him.

The Voice of Animal Control Officer was employed and Joy told him that we had six animals of our own to deal with, were not going to deliver the dog, and he needed to reach his brother ASAP. Within two minutes Joy had extracted the fact that his brother had a cell phone number he could be reached at, and a promise that he’d call it right away and give his brother our phone number. We received a very relieved-sounding call a few minutes later and within ten minutes “Copper” was picked up by his dad, who had recently moved to the area and had been very worried when Copper wandered off while they were grilling outside. So this ended very well (no thanks to the brother) and more importantly, we didn’t get stuck trying to figure out what to do with a 55 pound-ish unneutered male Boxer at nine O’clock at night.

From the ‘Hood to the Holler

I meant to post earlier and let everyone know we survived the move, but on top of everything else going on we were both hit with some sort of nasty cold last week and in my case it decided my lungs were a nice place to settle in for the long haul. I finally had to take a day off work yesterday and just stay in bed to try and fight it off. Still coughing a lot, but much better today.

So we are moved in and slowly getting settled. The weekend we moved we couldn’t use the tub until Monday but the rest of the plumbing was operational and we have a brand new tub. The plumbing is now connected for the washer, but the hot water doesn’t work so we’re using the laundromat for some stuff while we wait for that to be fixed. The old tub and all the other crap torn out of the bathroom is still on our front porch, but we’re trying to be patient about that.

Joy’s recently repaired Jeep seems to have the ‘hiccups’ when accelerating and we still haven’t had a chance to get the Ouchlander looked at. We’ve made at least a dozen trips to Lowes and Home Depot, mostly to buy and return the same couple of items over and over that we just couldn’t find in the right size (stove burner insert pans for the old house and new) and the new house came with both fleas and ants. Hopefully things will settle down soon.

It’s been a huge relief to get away from London Road, which has a speed limit of 30 MPH but has a constant flow of delivery trucks, cars with loud bass, motorcycles, and 18-wheelers, all going between twenty and fifty miles over the posted speed limit. We’ve got one neighbor at the new place who has kids that zoom up the road with an ATV and a dirt bike, which is annoying, but it’s not the constant barrage of noise and exhaust smell we lived with before. We wake up to the sound of roosters crowing instead of sirens screaming now. Running out of milk or realizing we’re missing a recipe ingredient is a bit of a pain; no more quick trip to the grocery store as the nearest one is five miles away — but I suppose it does cut down a bit on ‘impulse munching’ as well. We’ve got a resident chipmunk that lives in a rockpile on the property, and lots of cardinals, blue jays, and other birds. It’s neat to sit on your back deck and hear cows and geese (or ducks? we aren’t sure) off in the distance.

On a sad note, we had put Wednesday to sleep last week. She was in an increasing amount of discomfort from both the rapidly growing tumor on her back, and the bladder stones that could not be treated, and we felt her quality of life had deteriorated to the point where it wasn’t fair to ask her to endure any more. Her passing was as peaceful as we and the vet could make it, and at least her pain is over. Coming in the middle of so much other chaos, I think we’re partly still numb over it, and I half expect to see her come walking into the living room every morning.

First pics at Candler house We’ve taken a couple of pictures and started a small gallery of the new house. The animals all seem very happy there and are enjoying being able to see out all the windows and bask in sunbeams (we loved the last house, but except for one room, it didn’t get much sun) and we’re slowly putting things in order… We did end up renting an “emergency storage locker” at the last minute on moving day, when it became apparent that all our crap was not going to fit unless we planned to live with boxes stacked to the ceilings. How the heck did we accumulate this much stuff? We’re making a serious stand on clutter and have made several trips to Goodwill with boxes. The idea is that we’ll bring the boxes out of storage a few at a time and anything we don’t need/use/wear on a regular basis just needs to go. It’s ridiculous for two people to haul around this many material ‘things’ – especially as often as we seem to wind up moving.

Goodbye, Fatty Lump-O-Cat

Wednesday sleeping

AKA Fatty Lump-O-Cat, Kitten-Boo, Baby Kitten
July 1998 – September 13, 2007

Today is moving day… we think

Well, in just a few hours the guys we hired to move the big heavy stuff will load it up and take it to the new house; whether we move in or have to camp out here with no furniture for part of the weekend will be dependent on whether or not we have plumbing by the end of the day.

This entire experience has been a nightmare. Moving always is, but this has been especially horrible. Part of that, I know, is the fact that we were happy in this house and didn’t want to move to begin with… but then there was the epic house hunt that nearly left us at the end of a 30 day notice with nowhere to go, the house we almost rented until the creep of a landlord tried to charge us $3670 up front to move in, and then the surprise we got when we took a good close look last week at the house we had actually rented.

By the time we looked at this last house we were desperate and so grateful to just not have a door slammed in our face once we mentioned all the animals, that we completely missed the sleight-of-hand whereby the outgoing tenant managed to completely divert us from taking a good hard look at the bathroom. There was a rug on the floor, the seat was down, and a brightly colored opaque shower curtain hid the stall itself. It was teeny-tiny, that much was obvious, and she was in the middle of packing her stuff and very nervous, which at the time we assumed was just due to having people tramping through while she was in the middle of moving.

Last Tuesday we went to pick up the keys and look our new house over. The carpets were supposed to have been cleaned — they clearly hadn’t been. Everything was shabbier and dingier than we had remembered, and when we opened the bathroom door, we freaked. The shower stall was a filthy rusty nightmare, with a huge crack in the floor that went all the way through to the sub floor underneath the tub, only one faucet handle, plastic strips peeling off, black mildew, just plain NASTY. If you ran the water, you could see it drip down into the basement. The sink and toilet were filthy, the seat was gross, the linoleum floor split and rotted where the water from the tub had been oozing. We could have cried. OK, I’ll tell the truth — we did cry. The place smelled and there was a rotten sinking spot in the living room corner and all I could think was “what have we done?”

The lease was signed, the landlord had seemed nice, but now we were faced with having to tactfully report this and pray that he’d do something about it, because if he didn’t we were flat out stuck. How could we have been so stupid as not to look in the bathroom? I don’t think he believed us until he finally saw it for himself, and then was as horrified as we were. We were so relieved that we hadn’t misjudged him and that he was going to take care of the mess… of course, this meant we had to postpone the move a week (we were very lucky the two leases overlapped) while the tub was replaced. We spent the three day weekend last week having the rugs professionally cleaned, scrubbing windows, walls, and the kitchen, and replacing the nasty man-pee encrusted toilet seat. We even managed to touch up the very worn oak parquet flooring in two areas with some furniture stain/urethane. It really is a cute house, and looks worlds better now.

As of yesterday evening the new tub was in place, but not connected yet, and the sink and toilet were disconnected and set in the office still. The water is turned off. We’re really hoping it will be finished today. We just want this move to be done and over with. While all this has been going on we’ve been dealing with Joy’s Jeep breaking down and costing $266, our jobs have been hellishly busy, my brakes are going, me having to go to the doctor’s again with another asthma crisis, my back keeps going out, and of course there’s been the usual never ending animal drama. Cricket and Wednesday are still with us. We didn’t think either one would make it this far, in fact are now facing the fact that we’ll be moving in with a dog who is not on the lease because we didn’t think she’d live past the end of last month. We’ve been trying to find a home for Maggie, not because we don’t love her but because she’s young, healthy, sane and therefore adoptable, and it would be one less mouth to feed. But we haven’t had a lot of luck with that and part of me (not the part with any common sense) is relieved. If we could just get moved, get settled in, and have the vehicles and ailing animals stop bleeding us dry, maybe we could actually get ahead.