Schmidt Homestead

Our new home in Woodburn, IL

Monday, September 17, 2007

We had a busy weekend. The weather was gorgeous. Saturday we went to the Carlinville Festival. We looked at tractors, watched some guys run a sawmill (Steve’s favorite), watched the blacksmiths & visited craft booths. The yarn spinning ladies were back with their angora rabbit. I wasn’t willing to fork out $65 for a skein of white angora/alpaca – oh, so soft & pretty – so I bought some undyed soft wool. There were some people making kettle corn in a giant cast iron pot on a wood fire & a paddle for stirring. They couldn’t make it fast enough. There was a constant line of about 20 people waiting, and if you wanted to get more than a paper lunch sack of kettle corn, you had to put your name on a waiting list & come back in 45 min! We decided to get some based solely on the fact that so many people were willing to wait so long, so it must be good. It was VERY good – almost like caramel corn. We stopped to talk to a pottery guy (Bowls By Bob) and buy a pot from him. We told him that we were from Woodburn, and he said “I have a friend from Woodburn. She makes soaps and sells it here – Carol Smith.” I thought for a second and said “You don’t mean Carol & Bob Smith?” He nodded. They’re our next-door neighbors! We didn’t know they had a booth, so we went and found them to say hi. In addition to the yarn, kettle corn and pottery, we left with homemade soap, jam & spices. We just LOVE the Carlinville Festival.

On the way home, we stopped at the Bunker Hill Festival. It’s much smaller, but still fun to go to. We ran into the Fire Chief (who also happens to be my boss’ best friend and business partner), so Steve got to meet him for the first time. He agreed to come by our house on Sunday to take pictures and see if it will be suitable for training his guys. We bought some local honey, and Steve talked for a while with the beekeeper. It turns out he’s also the mayor of Bunker Hill! I love small town life!

We hung out in the popup with the kittens for a little while. We gave them some de-wormer and let them play. We decided to name the grey one Oliver and the orange one Murphy. Oliver is completely NUTS! He ran and peeled out and slid on the floor while Murphy sat on the bench beside us and watched. We laughed so hard we had tears in our eyes. Oliver tried to get Murphy to play by climbing on him and biting him. Murphy was interested, but he didn’t move nearly as fast or as much as Oliver.

By Sunday morning the de-wormer had obviously begun to take effect. Murphy had a new twinkle in his eyes. When we took them out of their cage, they both purred for the first time since we’ve had them. Oliver was acting so well with the dogs that I squatted down while Steve held onto the dogs and let everyone get acquainted. The dogs got right in his face and he just watched them. He held his arms up with his claws out, but he only gently patted them on the noses. When we put them in the popup, Murphy still wasn’t too interested in playing, but he found a perch on the back of a cushion where he could look out the window. Oliver was all over the place like usual.

The Fire Chief came by and took pictures of the house. He seemed excited by the prospect of training there because we have narrow stairs and many different rooms for them to use in search and rescue. He said they’ll blindfold the guys and make them go in to find something. All the trash on the floors is a bonus, because he said “You never know what you’re going into.” He wants to burn our house this fall, so it looks like we could still get it down this year. He said that because our house is a good training house, he may do a 2-day exercise. The first day they’ll do search and rescue, and the second day they’ll burn it. He said that the trees and other structures wouldn’t be a problem, and anybody who wants to come watch is welcome as long as they stay out of the way. We asked him lots of questions about being a volunteer fireman. Steve will probably get more information, so he can decide if it’s something he might be interested in doing. Personally, I think he’d be really good at it, since he already has many of the required skills, and he likes to help people. Plus he’d meet a lot of great people.

We let the chickens free-range yesterday afternoon – outside the tractor AND the fence. They had been complaining every time we walked past them all day, so we finally let them out for a bit. They LOVED it. We had to tie the dogs up though. They (mainly Zeus) like to chase them, and the chickens don’t like it at all. We also canned some spaghetti sauce using some of our tomatoes with a packet of seasoning from the grocery store. We mixed some ground beef with a jar last night for supper, and it was excellent! Steve even raved over it, and he’s usually not a big fan of spaghetti sauce. I’m getting another pack of seasoning today, so we can make another batch as soon as we have time. I finally found the time to tie up my sunflowers yesterday. They had sat in the wagon for about two weeks, and a few of them had begun to mold some. I got about half of them hung in the barn, and I made sure the others were spread out to avoid more mold. Now I need to drape an old sheet under them to catch any seeds that fall out while they’re drying.