Key Tasks

It’s all pruning, all the time. Get it done. Start with muscadines, because they’re the least likely to break bud early because of pruning. Roses at Valentine’s Day.

February 1


Good morning at church. We arrived early so Amanda could get refreshments ready and I could prepare the change in the sign. Then Holy Eucharist. Then I enjoyed Amanda’s refreshments. I spoke to the vestry about The Grid and then changed the sign. Then I cleaned up the kitchen as the vestry meeting finished up. When we got home, Amanda and I turned our attention to the presentation she will be giving to the Montgomery Garden Club on Tuesday, because we knew she won’t have any time to deal with it tomorrow (Monday). We watched the Super Bowl but didn’t really follow it.


I drove to Dadeville this morning for a fruit tree pruning workshop. Then a quick lunch and then down to Loachapoka for my autoharp lesson. Then back home. Lots of miles! This afternoon Amanda and I planted longleaf pines along the spine trail on the west side. Great to see longleafs going in over there.

February 2


Today was Mama’s surgery. We waffled right up until the last minute, but we finally decided it made sense for me to stay here and work while Amanda stayed with Mama through the surgery in Montgomery. I spent most of the day putting the finishing touches on the presentation she will give tomorrow to the Montgomery Garden Club on the Governor’s Mansion gardens. I also worked on the migration of Divorceinfo.com to WordPress.

February 3


Up early to do quiet work, then to Montgomery to provide tech support for Amanda for her presentation to the Montgomery Garden Club. Then we visited with Mama in her hospital room over lunch. Then a nap before going to St James to hear Adrian’s show choir kids do their rehearsal for the big Cabaret fund-raiser on Thursday. Home was COLD when I got back, but a cheery fire in the wood stove warmed things up nicely within an hour or so. #####2014

With Amanda gone to Montgomery, I concentrated on the leaking valve north of the barn. After digging it out all the way, I worked it back and forth and got it to a point where it won’t leak as long as it’s in the fully open position. Then I left it open to make sure it doesn’t start leaking again.

February 4


Amanda was in Montgomery all day. I stayed at the farm and at the church, uploading, tweaking, and adjusting LongleafBreeze.com and getting acquainted with its new look and feel. It’s fun seeing it come together, but it is extraordinarily time consuming.


This morning we recorded the podcast on longleaf pines. It ran long, but we feel good about it. We welcomed Skye here today to talk about chickens. She was encouraging us in our plans to use tractors. She thinks we should build them to be serviceable in hot sunny weather and just plan to wrap them or supplement them in some way on the few nights when it gets truly cold. Sounds like good advice. No problem with their needing to hop up 3-4 inches off the ground to reach the bottom of the ramp. This afternoon I filled in the dirt around the valve that had been leaking. Now it won’t leak, but I won’t have a cutoff either. After the dirt has a chance to dry out a little, I’ll push the gravel back over the hole. Dell is going to do a system exchange on my Dell E6500. I guess it’s the right thing to do, but I’m a little uneasy about having to re-install all my systems and data.

February 5


Yesterday I brought in the last firewood pallet and put it under cover ahead of the rain. It should see us through the fire season, but I’m surprised by how much firewood we’ve needed this year even with almost no entertaining in the lodge.

Today I brought down the first of four large oak trees just south of the clothesline. We’ve been knowing for a while they needed to come down to avoid shading the clothesline in the wintertime (they never really drop their leaves), but now we have a new urgency: we’re hoping to hear sometime soon from Starlink that we’ve been cleared for the Starlink beta, and these four trees would compromise Dishy. In addition, we need to grind a stump down for the fountain we’re installing up northeast of the lodge, and we know it would be more economical to grind the stumps for these four while we have the stump grinder here.


We had a large, competent crew today working on the redecking of the pier. Rod, Jennifer, and Jack Cater, Bobby George and Adrian, Amanda, and Lee, Tom and Martha Lynn and Ruffin and Cathy. We started at the edge of the pier and worked our way in until we ran out of boards. We calculate we need seven more 16 foot boards to finish up. We also learned that we are much closer to square than we had realized, so that’s also good news.

I am just about exhausted. Can’t keep up this pace.


Up early to continue polishing the web site design. Then I recorded the podcast, a shortened version because there was no interplay with Amanda! Then I traveled to the church to do the uploading and final changes to the site. It’s coming together!


First order of business was to take a picture of Lee and Amanda planting longleafs. Then I published the pobcast with it. Spent the better part of the morning preparing for EfM this afternoon. Stayed after EfM to print the bulletin and for an afternoon session. Late this afternoon I stopped by True Value to get a wrench to loosen the wire wheel on my grinder. The wrenches they had were too thick to do the job, but a helpful customer showed me how to just grab it with a gloved hand and twist it off. Yea!

February 6


In the wee hours this morning, I finished recoding the perennial calendar pages. With the help of Markdown coding, they’re now have the cleanest, prettiest code I’ve ever had on any web site. I’m excited about what this can mean down the road for Divorceinfo.com as well as for the future of the other sites.

I spent most of the morning at the church, where I had one long session and another normal length session. This afternoon I struggled with database connectivity issues on the Divorce and Family Law Blog. It was tonight by the time I was able to get the divorce blog working normally again. In the process I switched themes, but it seems to be working smoothly now.

This afternoon I harvested some Ozark Premier plum scions for use a little later on the rootstock that’s emerging from the Ozark Premier that died. I also placed the ladder out in the orchard so it will be available to Emily when she stops by tomorrow morning.


We got distracted this morning because Amanda’s phone suddenly lost all its contacts. It took us about two hours, but we eventually got them back by pulling them down from iCloud. We finished planting the longleafs this afternoon. We planted most of them along the trail on the west side, but we saved about 20 to plant on either side of the driveway close to the gate on Dark Corners Rd. New technician from Unisys came to work on my e6500 about 5:30. He was here until nearly 9:45 pm, bless his heart. Not sure he’s cut out to be a Dell technician.

February 7


Emily Campbell arrived at 6:30 this morning to harvest scions from several of our pear trees. While she was here, we had a nice tour of the orchard and the garden, and we also harvested cuttings for her from Amanda’s rosemary. Afterward, DGB and I had an extended conversation about his grafting party, scheduled for later this month.

I ran some errands in town and then did some downloading at the church. When I returned home, I harvested about 40 scions from the wase fuyu persimmons and got them secured in a Ziploc bag in the refrigerator.

I spent most of the rest of the afternoon redressing the Epiphany web site. I finished up late in the night but after my brain had gone to sleep, so I need to go back and check over everything and make sure it’s still working smoothly.

February 8


Spent many of the wee hours this morning putting the finishing touches on the design for the Epiphany web site. Then to church for Sunday School and then church. I left church after the Passing of the Peace so I had time to get ready for the show – I Love You, You’re Perfect, Now Change – at the Depot. Then a reception with the Depot faithful. Then to Mama’s for supper, and finally back home. I took several photos at the church this morning, so I’m eager to see how they turned out.

February 9


Amanda and I installed two joists and then redecked the pier landing today at the lake. It was cold and windy, particularly in the afternoon when we lost the sun on the pier. Tomorrow, Jennifer and Tom (afternoon) join us, and we will start installing the last few deck boards on the platform.


A rainy morning, during which I caught up on email and did some quiet work for a couple of clients. Then I turned my attention to Divorceinfo.com, searching for a good, reliable html editor. My hope is to go in to each page and identify the code that needs to stay at the top and the code that needs to stay at the bottom. Then I hope to clean up all the code that’s in between in preparation for migrating it to The Grid. By noon the sun was out.

This afternoon I changed the sign at the church. The Internet service has been turned off at the church, so now I’m going to need to find yet another way to work on the Internet. It sucks having no robust Internet service.

February 10


Jennifer, Tom, Amanda, and I finished the pier redecking today! Great to be able to put a period (exclamation point?) on that one. Now our attention shifts to Smoke on the Mountain, at least until we need to leave for LA on the 16th.


I now have a plan for getting Divorceinfo.com cleaned up, and I’ve decided to try it out on Letthesunwork.com. I had TechArk install WordPress on the site, which had the effect of wiping out all the data in the folder. Before I did that, of course, I swept all the data down to my hard drive. Once WordPress was installed, I rebuilt the site page by page, simply cutting and pasting the text from my hard disk version to the new web version. The process took several hours, but was finished within a day, even while driving to Wetumpka and back for a meeting and pruning all the muscadines. The key to the discipline will be to resist the temptation to edit as I build it. Just get it up there, and revise it later.

February 11


I worked on Letthesunwork.com this morning, and it’s coming together well. It feels good to see it coming back in shape after being neglected for these five years. I mixed up a batch of rolls this morning, using the top of the stove to create a warm environment for the dough to rise and then for the rolls to rise. I left the rolls rising in the pan to head to town. Lunch with the boys, then I lingered at Louie’s to continue the work on Letthesunwork.com before heading home. I have the menu working smoothly now. I never figured out how to put that menu up into the header bar, but I did figure out how to make the header bar go away, which is almost as good.

When I got home I locked the gate and did some pruning on the plum trees and the first Anna apple tree. Amanda called while I was pruning, and we used Facetime to give her a tour of her vegetables so she could tell me what she wanted me to harvest ahead of the freeze tomorrow night. She decided to harvest to cabbages, and I brought them in this afternoon.

This afternoon, near the end of the day, I had a most exciting conversation on Google help outs with a young man named Ramon Williamson, who was full of ideas not just about how I can write better copy but about how I can engage better with my audience, both on Longleaf breeze.com as well as on divorce info.com. I plan to use an email service called www.aweber.com, which provides an opt in mailing list service. In addition I will do a better job writing engaging headlines for my articles and posts. What I figured out in talking with Ramon is that when I start with an engaging headline it shapes the way I write, which in turn shapes the kind of visuals that we need to provide. So they all work together.

This evening I continue to work on Letthesunwork.com, primarily checking hyperlinks.

February 12


I got more carried away than usual working in the wee hours of this morning, and stayed with it from about midnight until about 430. During that time, I systematically checked and corrected all of the broken hyperlinks on let the sun work.com. There’s certainly plenty of work left to be done, but Letthesunwork.com is presentable now, and I am ready to shift my attention to divorce info.com and to the ideas that Ramon and I developed together.

This morning I registered with www.aweber.com and began receiving their copious materials. They want me to sign up and pay them $200 per year. That will easily pay for itself once I have web sites I’m truly proud of, but I’m not ready to pull the trigger just yet. Right now I want to focus on learning how this whole business works and how to write copy for it. I’m also exploring lower cost options.

I’m making good progress now with the plan for the Divorceinfo.com migration. I have created a sandbox site on which I’m going to practice creating the pages of Divorceinfo.com before we go live on 2/22. This will give me a chance to play with themes, plugins, fonts, and settings so I can keep that to a minimum when I’m live.

This afternoon Adrian and I enjoyed a nice walk over on the West Side together. Felt great to get out and stretch our legs. Then I returned and spent most of the evening processing comments with Amanda on the Advanced Master Gardener certification document.

February 13


Started the day developing a logo for Divorceinfo.com. I’m not happy with it, but it at least gets me started. Continued to work in the sandbox with various looks, menus, pages, etc. Then Amanda arrived for lunch, which we enjoyed together before adjourning for a walk outside, in this case over to the West Side. It was great to be walking together again. This evening I drove in to Montgomery, had a brief visit with Mama, and then Amanda and I returned to Mama’s house to spend the night.

February 14


Amanda and I planted about 130 longleaf pines this afternoon. We were anxious to get as many in the ground as we could ahead of tonight’s rain. For the same reason, late in the afternoon I sowed winter ryegrass (the only seasonal cover crop seed we have on hand right now) on all the spots where the chickens had been scratching.

Tonight we had dinner with Rhona and John Watson at Fire in Wetumpka. We rarely splurge like that, but it sure was fun.


Up early at Mama’s house to get Amanda on her way to the hospital. Then I had a delicious breakfast at Burger King and headed to the farm. Worked on AFLC business and washed and hung out a load of clothes. Then to Loachapoka for an autoharp lesson and Whistle Stop practice. Home to get the clothes off the line and to enjoy an early supper. I tried to work after supper, but didn’t have any energy left. To bed.


A nice hint of what spring might be like this afternoon, with ample sunshine and a high in the low 60s. Nice! I printed the bulletin this afternoon. I pretty much have my lines memorized now for Tecumseh. Now I can focus on polishing them and improving interpretation.

February 15


Good day. Amanda was in Birmingham most of the day. I made my list and started working it about 7:30. I cleaned up the rose debris from the microclimate bed. I moved the bluebird house several feet higher so Oddie won’t be able to harass the birds in it. I pruned the first row of muscadines and the cinched up the cable on the line. I cut and installed a slat from discolored Evergrain on the main fence leading up to the gate. I finished the day moving the chickens to a new spot.

Tonight we rehearsed and performed “Filling Station for the FUMC administrative board to promote Smoke on the Mountain.


I washed dark clothes this morning and hung them out. Then Sunday School and church. I stayed to change the sign, because the weather is looking distinctly iffy for tomorrow. This afternoon I struggled with a problem plaguing the Longleaf Breeze web site, namely that plugins can’t be automatically installed. It’s getting to be a constant problem.

February 16


Began the day indoors working first on a better logo for Divorceinfo.com, then on the evaluation form for tomorrow’s presentation. Prepared the shop so it’s ready for the chicks when they arrive. Then I called Asa to make sure he was open today (Presidents’ Day). I stopped off at the church and printed the evaluation form for the meeting tomorrow, and then drove to Asa’s in Tuskegee to pick up the chicks. Came straight back to the farm and placed them in their bin, where they are becoming settled in.

This afternoon I managed to get the logo to work using a nice serif typeface that mimics Cardo, with a nice san serif face for the tagline that mimics Opens Sans, the one I’m using on the Sandbox web site.


Good morning at church. Then I changed the sign. Headed home when Adrian called to ask me to pick up some lunch and bring it to her at her rehearsal at Seven Gables. While I was there Jeanna decided to run and block the first scene, so I now know what happens for that. This afternoon I pruned several apple trees. Holding the pears, figs, and stone fruit for later in the season. Went to bed early so I could be awake to greet Amanda and Adrian when they returned about 12:45 am. We had a nice visit over a glass of wine before we all turned in.

February 17


The much-discussed travel problems didn’t materialize this morning, so we had our CAMGA board meeting and membership meeting on schedule. Great program on the Wetumpka Impact Crater. Then Amanda and I had lunch together in Wetumpka before going our separate ways. This afternoon I spent most of the afternoon on web site issues, but I did make time to move the compost tumbler back up to the lodge per Amanda’s instructions. Late this afternoon I applied frost blanket on beds 15 (brussels sprouts and the remains of the broccoli) and 16 (cabbage). Tonight was Shrove Tuesday pancake supper at the church.


A good drying day. Amanda put on a load of darks. I think we have a system now on her towels. I put ALL towels in the dryer for 5 minutes while I hang out the other clothes in the load. The dryer is finished by the time I’ve hung them out, so I can then retrieve the towels and hang them out. Surely she will trust me to do that.

February 18


Got to the church early this morning to turn on the heat for the Ash Wednesday service, but it was not early enough. Too cold in the nave. I now know that if we have an odd morning service for which the thermostat is not programmed, we need to leave the heat on overnight.

Then lunch with the boys, then a meeting with the MCAC program committee (self-named) to plan for next season. Then home to batten down for the chilly temps and then burrow in, which I did.


Tim Ledbetter and his folks stopped by first thing this morning and installed the new faucet on the outdoor sink at the lodge. They also dug up the outside cutoff that I had inadvertently buried. We talked about the propensity of the west toilet to run and the probability that it’s caused by sand in the water line. We also talked about the procedure to install a cutoff inside for the outdoor faucet and the procedure to retrieve the bobby pin that we dropped down the lavatory in the west bathroom. My assignments are (a) to buy from True Value a box to put around the cutoff that we’ve recently uncovered and (b) to buy from Irrigation Mart two filters like the one we have now for the drip system. I will then dig up the place where I want to install them and have them ready to install inline with the pex tubing. Then I will call Tim when I think everything is ready for him. This morning I ordered the two filters. With shipping, about $200. I changed out the tags on the Corolla and the F-150, and I bought a box to cover that cutoff at True Value. While at True Value, I also bought a new short stepladder and had Barbara make me two duplicates of the key to the room where we store the letters for the sign. This afternoon I covered the hole I had left around the cutoff just north of the barn and smoothed over the gravel covering it.

February 19


The low temp this morning was 20, cold for sure, but not scary. I stayed comfortable overnight with the wood stove. Two sessions this morning.


We recorded the podcast this morning about fruit tree pruning. I had a little extra trouble editing it because the weakening battery on my Mac gave out without any warning and I had to redo a lot of the editing, but I got it done. Then to town for a Tecumseh rehearsal. I cleaned up several tools this afternoon with the grinder brush, and then Amanda and I took a nice long walk toward the end of the day. When we got back we took a little catfish feed down and threw it on the water to see if we could get any activity started. Just a few little fish, but we’ll try to do this every few days and see if we get any results.

February 20


Don Bryant texted me late last night with word that Dale Segrest was ill and couldn’t help with the barbecue this morning. Could I help? Yes, I could. So that was my morning. On my way back to the farm Caleb called to let me know he was headed my way with the Vespa. I hurried to get Tractor cranked (the easy part) and to free up the frozen transmission (much harder). I ended up building a fire in the smoker underneath the gearshift lever, which eventually did the trick.

This afternoon I had to wait for a while for the outdoor shower to thaw out, but eventually it did, and I got my shower (welcome, too, because I smelled strongly of the smoke of the fires we had been tending). The rest of the afternoon I spent on quiet work, mainly loading pages on the new Divorceinfo.com.

February 21


This morning I loaded a few more pages on the new Divorceinfo.com, and then we headed to town for Beans & Rice. We stayed after to change the sign, knowing that I wouldn’t be around Sunday or Monday. Then home. I cleaned up the mess from cranking Tractor Friday in the cold, then I fetched one of the trellis posts from over the apartment. Then I changed out firewood pallet #5 for #4, put the empty #4 up the hill, and moved #6 in under cover for the end of the season. Then I installed the trellis post on Bed #9. Then I changed out the chicks’ hay. By then it was time to come in.

February 22

2015 Today begins my self-enforced exile to the lake to work on Divorceinfo.com. It is my hope and expectation that when I return home on Thursday, four days from now, Divorceinfo.com will be complete as a WordPress site. It will still need a great deal of editing to freshen it up, but my hope is that it will be as good in WordPress form as it has been in FrontPage form, but easily editable and responsive. I’m excited to have this chance to put my head down and see this through. I know I will work more efficiently in this mode than I would trying to do a little here and a little there.

Finished the day feeling good about progress. Despite not getting started until after lunch and being delayed for an hour and a half to deal with a PhotoShop issue on the graphic for the Three Divorces, I was able to move through at a decent pace and was able to mount 37 pages on the new site. I’ll need to move faster than that, but I believe I will be able to.

February 23


Settled in at the lake. I started the day with 98 pages loaded and finished it with 199 pages loaded, so I loaded about 100 pages today. If I can stay on that pace, I should be able to get this thing done. Stay with it. Head down. Stop to exercise. Get up and walk around. Then get back to it.

February 24


Just a brutal weather day. Temps dropping, wind around 20 mph all day. Good day to be inside working on our taxes. Making good progress!


Picking up the pace now. I figured out how to have the old site and the new site side by side on my laptop screen. I also figured out a rhythm that allows me to be working on one side while the other side is processing, i.e., less time watching the processing happen. Started the day with 199 and finished tonight (after welcoming Amanda for a visit) with 385 pages done. So I mounted 186 pages today using less time than I spent yesterday. I now feel better about the chances of getting this more or less complete by the time I leave here Thursday afternoon.

February 25

February 26


Went live today with the new format of Divorceinfo.com, and after a brief interruption to get the database correction right, everything seems to be working more or less smoothly. BIG day!

Came back home this evening. It’s great to be back home and to be able to be warm again. No substitute for a wood stove!

February 27

February 28


Great day grafting fruit trees today at Dave Gray’s place. DGB had a wonderful assortment of apple scions assembled. I drove away with two Ein Schimmer and two Gala. I also have some really nice common persimmon root stock that I need to either pot up or lay in.

February 29