Construction update

There has been a lot of work on our new lot, but it’s hard to see the difference from the last time. Some large piles of dirt and roots have been hauled off. The rough outlines of the house and garage have been marked; the bulldozer operator (who works for neighbor John) put plastic drink cups on the stakes so he could see them more easily. You might be able to see them here.


It was quite cold Sunday morning when I took these pictures, so I gave the dogs a short walk down Lavender Trail, across Fouche Gap Road, and then up the other side of the gap. When you reach the end of the road, you can see our lot.

lot from oppositeYou can see the red dirt, the wheat straw that was scattered to hold some grass seed, and the light-colored gravel that neighbor John spread on what will become the drive. The tree we saved is right in front of the gravel.

From the lot, we’ll be able to keep track of what’s going up at the end of the road where I was standing.


There is a bit of extracurricular activity at the turnaround. It’s fairly secluded, so some innocuous and not so innocuous behaviors take place there.

The major development is the delivery of our house plans. This is a draft of the main floor plan.

house plan

The house will end up not oriented precisely with the compass points, mainly to take advantage of the view, but I think we’ll still get some decent solar gain in the winter. This is the drafter’s conversion of my self-drawn plan into a computer drawing. She told me that if we lived in the same county where she lives, my hand-drawn plans would have sufficed with the inspection department.

We lack two items for a building permit. One is a site plan, which should have already been supplied by the surveyor. It will show the lot and the location of the house with respect to the property lines, so we can demonstrate that we meet the setback requirement. The surveyor has done his work. He was supposed to have delivered the plan more than a week ago. I can’t understand why people will do work and then procrastinate and delay their own payment.

The second item is soil testing for the septic system. There are apparently few soil testers in this area, so I was pretty much dependent on one man. He was supposed to have contacted me several days ago, but has not done so. He seems to have plenty of work. I assume he will be more prompt when it comes to getting paid for his work.


Catching up on sunrise

We had some nice sunrises in the first two weeks of February, but I haven’t gotten around to posting them.

This was February 1.

cloudysunrisefeb1You can see the plume from the Euharlee power plant on the horizon. I don’t remember the temperature that day, but on a cold winter night there will typically be a fairly large electric power demand, so the plants will work hard.

This was February 5.

skypano_feb5This is actually a vertical panorama. I couldn’t quite get everything I wanted, so I (actually, Photoshop Elements) stitched two shots together.

This is from February 13.

cloudy sunrisefeb13Since the sun is rising earlier these days, I don’t get out on the deck often enough to catch the sun right at the horizon. I usually see a good sunrise when I’m walking the dogs around the house first thing in the morning. The sunrise changes so quickly that I usually can’t get back inside, grab the camera and get out on the deck in time to get the most dramatic shot. That’s why the sun is so high in the sky in these pictures.






Friday Felines

“My Little Zoe” A Tribute to Zoe

Young Zoe

Young Zoe

It all started in 2003. The vets called me and asked if I was ready to get another cat. It had been a year since my Siamese Tabitha lost her life to cancer. She was such a great kitty cat. I got her from my cousin’s husband who owned a pet store in downtown Rome. She was a Blue Point and so special. She would ride in my car with me any time I left in it. She got up in the back behind the seats almost every single time I left. Oh I loved her. There will never be another one like her.

So I went to pick him up. He was the tiniest 8 weeks old kitten. He was just all fur and those eyes were the bluest I had ever seen. The story was that someone found him abandoned in the North Rome Piggy Wiggly parking lot. I lived with my parents and we lived in East Rome. My mother who is a big cat person just thought he was the prettiest she had ever seen. He was too pretty to be a male. At that time my mother had a cat who used a litter box, so Zoe used it too. That was simply horrible.

Then in 2005 Mark and I got married and moved to our present house. As I’m sure y’all know Mark is a dog person and me a cat person. The litter box was always a problem. Zoe was used to a box at my mother’s so I continued to let him use one. Of course I kept it clean but he did not know how to use one. It didn’t seem to be a problem at my mother’s where he went in and out but here it was like he was defiant. I don’t know why I was afraid for him to go outside here, but when he did, he would come in to use the box. It was like I was afraid that someone would pick him up because he was such a pretty cat. It seemed to always be a problem with me and Mark.

I had been taking him to a vet not far from my mother’s, and I continued for about nine or ten years. Our pet sitter, Liz, had been telling us about a vet she loved who was in our neighborhood in West Rome. Zoe had had a problem with vomiting and diarrhea. My first vets said to put him on dry food, and then it was wet food…nothing really seemed to work for him. He was also on medications that didn’t seem to work so we took him to the new vet.

Our visit went great. Mark and I both liked this vet. He seemed to have a rapport with Zoe, or maybe Zoe just put up with it. He put Zoe on a few new prescriptions and they seemed to work better than before.

The new vet did discover that Zoe had glaucoma and it would worsen into blindness eventually. The vet said that eventually he would have to be an indoor kitty with a litter box. Oh boy. He had just begun to go outside to relieve himself and was staying out all of the day and night. He just came in to eat, get his meds, have a little cat nip and rest up.

Zoe wasn’t a happy cat. There just weren’t many things he liked. He did love to eat but he didn’t care much for affection. I never had a cat like that before. Tabitha loved affection.

He didn’t like to be petted. One time I was feeding him and got down on the floor to pet him and he bit me. It’s no fun to be bitten by a cat. I had to have antibiotics in the butt for weeks. There was a second time, too. This time I was put in the hospital and an antibiotic drip for about a week. Maybe it had to do with how he ended up in the parking lot. Did his mommy drop him? Did someone put him out? Did someone lose him? I’ll never know. He just wasn’t happy.

Everything was going good on October 30th. Zoe had stared staying out at nights not because his sight had worsened but because he wanted to. I put him out around eleven o’clock. He was on the stoop in the garage eating. I told him good night and I would see him in the morning. He looked back and I never saw him again.

The hardest thing about this is not knowing what happened to him. Like anyone else, I have been torturing myself with guilt ever since he disappeared. I love him and miss him!




Poor little Mule

Doesn’t it look pitiful down there, the poor, little Kawasaki Mule?


I had driven it down the slope of our new lot towards Fouche Gap Road to get to a downed hickory. I failed to get enough firewood last summer, and this tree looked like a good bet. It had broken off a couple of feet above the ground but it hadn’t broken entirely off. That held most of it off the ground, so it didn’t rot. It seems pretty well seasoned. I took the Mule down on Tuesday with my chainsaw to cut it up and then back on Wednesday to haul the rounds up the hill and to our current house.

I got the Mule a few years ago to haul firewood, rocks and landscaping material around the yard. It was a little hard to justify then, but there is no way I could have brought the hickory up the hill without it. I expect to use it for firewood gathering in the future, and I think that’s going to make it worthwhile.

The slope down towards Fouche Gap Road is fairly steep; with the deep leaf litter on the ground, it’s actually hard to walk down hill. The Mule takes the slope down easily, although it was not particularly comfortable when I had to go across the slope a couple of times. I made it down to the tree and was able to turn around so I could head back uphill after putting the first load in the back. On the return trip, I got the Mule turned around, but it slipped downhill a little and rolled over one of the rounds. It was wedged in under the rear suspension just tight enough that I couldn’t move.

log_under_muleIt’s hard enough to get traction going uphill with all the leaves on the ground. With the log stuck under the rear suspension the tires just spun, even with four-wheel drive.

I tried to figure a way to dislodge the piece of wood, but there was nothing around to use, and the Mule is far to heavy to try to pick it up. I had no choice but to climb back up to the top and then walk home to get a shovel. Unfortunately, once I got back to the Mule, I couldn’t dig the offending round from beneath the rear suspension, so I had to go back home again to get a come-along and a six-foot tamper/pry bar. All that gear was too heavy to carry by hand, so I drove the truck.

I used the big pry bar to pound the tree section out and get the Mule moving again. I divided the remaining wood into two loads because I was a little worried about making it up with a heavy load. Once all the wood was at the top, I put it into the back of the Mule and took it home. Then I walked back to get the truck.

All that climbing and walking seems to have been a little more than my knees wanted to do. They’re bothering me a little tonight.

I made this panorama starting down towards Fouche Gap Road, then turning to look back up the slope towards where our house will be.


You really need to hold the camera level to make a good panorama, but it’s hard to do that on a slope like this. Photoshop Elements does a really good job of stitching the shots together. If you end up with blank areas like in this image, it will offer to fill them in. It can do a reasonably good job with something like sky or even water, but it can’t put trees in when they’re not there, so I just left the blank areas in the image.