Friday, November 16, 2012

Good Night Nine Trees (and Halloween Pics)

Time has once again flown by in its usual way.  Mid-November has arrived, and is emphasizing the difference between our farm in Eastern WA and our home in Western WA.  Here in Gig Harbor, the trees have mostly lost their leaves, a few hard frosts have arrived, and winter seems to be tapping at the door.  On the farm, winter has "done ready come".

We made our last journey to the farm for the winter (delayed by a few weeks while AdventureDad was playing in "the box" at Yakima), and put in a very productive four days.  The bulk of our time was spent putting French drains around 3 sides of our barn, in an effort to keep the dirt floor inside a little drier and channel the run-off from the roof (no gutters).  AdventureDad got to put in a couple hours running and excavator, which always makes a fun day for him.  The fun pretty much stopped there though... we worked in a driving snow storm as the mud got goopier and goopier, as only clay can.  However, we got the ditches dug out, and the gravel and pipe laid in, so we will see how effective it is in the spring!   In addition, AdventureDad winterized the tractor, and I tucked the orchard in for the winter with some dormant oil and burlap. 

It is funny, because despite how filthy, cold, and tired we were, we still enjoyed our time on Nine Trees.  (The girls are already begging to go back!)  It was amazing to see the storms come in.  We are on a high ridge in the foothills, so we can see the clouds sweep up the valley, and suddenly, they are around us.  This time it was an almost solid demarcation between storm and no storm.  One minute we were in the sun, and the next we were in the middle of a fleecy cloud with 5 feet of visibility and driving snow.  Pretty awesome!

Another awesome thing was seeing the well sitting there.  We ended up having to drill 890 feet, which is very deep for a well.  Most in the area are closer to 750 feet (still very deep), but we didn't hit much flow.  As I insinuated in my last post, we were pretty stressed.  With a well that deep, we were close to the end of our available funds, and the flow of 4 gallons/min was barely enough to claim a viable well, much less run a household.  However, the traditional method of measuring flow via pressurized air displacement is not as accurate in deep situations, so we opted to pay for a more expensive pump test.  Boy are we glad we did!  The pump test yielded a flow of 15 + gpm (probably over 20 but the driller's generator went out).  More than enough for a household.  Yay! and HUGE sigh of relief.
To wrap it all up, we hauled the camper home for the winter, where we can winterize it better, and I can clean it more thoroughly with the amenities of power and running water.  We felt really lucky, as this was probably the very last weekend that we could have gotten our work done before things freeze solid.

Of course before our jaunt to the farm we celebrated Halloween.  AdventureDad was able to come home 2 days early from his training exercise in Yakima to celebrate with us.  It was a pretty big deal, since he has only been home for 3 Halloweens (counting this one) since we have had kids due to deployments.  We had two little mermaids this year, which was incredibly adorable.  The city closes Harborview drive here every year, and all of the quaint little businesses stay open to hand out candy to the kids and cider, cocoa, etc. to the parents.  I will really miss this tradition when we move. but I know we will make new ones.

Overlapping all of this was an unfortunate knee injury for me.  I was washing our little horse trailer before parking it farther away for the winter.  I stepped off of the fender, as I had done several times already that day, but apparently my trajectory was wrong.  I felt my knee shift, heard and felt a loud pop, and fell the rest of the way to the ground.  I immediately knew something was very wrong, but all I could do was lay there for a few minutes and gather myself.  Livvy was cluelessly playing a few yards away, M was in school, and AD was in Yakima.  Needless to say my mind was racing as I suddenly felt very helpless (our house is in the country and isolated from our neighbors), although I had a feeling that I knew what had happened.  I managed to limp to the house (with Livvy solicitously and adorably holding my hand), take some ibuprofen, tuck her in for her nap, and rack out with some ice and an ace wrap.  This was only 2 days before Halloween and AD's return from Yakima, so I roughed it out until then, with my knee looking like it ate a cantaloupe for breakfast.  Of course as soon as AD returned from the box, he did an expert knee exam (one thing he's seen plenty of!), and confirmed my fear that I had done more than just sprain it.  An MRI early this week seconded it; a completely ruptured ACL and MCL, and compression fractures to my upper tibia.  I am currently impatiently working the military medical system with AD's help, which started with getting my robo-brace today (thankfully, as my knee has randomly and painfully been going out).  Next comes physical therapy and an orthopedics consult to decide when surgery will be (the sooner the better as far as I am concerned... I really want to just start the healing and rehab, a 6 month process!), but knowing this system, I doubt anything too exciting will happen until after Christmas.  Of course full updates will appear here :-).

And that is about that.  We are preparing for a much-anticipated journey back to Nana and Grandpa's house for Thanksgiving, where we will be sharing our thanks with my parents, my brother and his family, and in an extra-nice surprise, my Aunt and Uncle that I haven't seen for several years.  Of course more posts will follow that adventure!  Happy Thanksgiving to everyone near and far.

The Mermaid Sisters

The Start of the Snow on Nine Trees

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