Saturday, June 4, 2016

An Adventure in Putting Up Fence

About 2 years ago, we bought a large quantity of bundled wooden fence post at an auction. They sat next to the garage all this time. The plan was to use the gas powered auger to drill the holes. Didn't happen. Why?  My husband hurt his back - so bad his work let him go. There they sat.  Finally, we were able to purchase an auger to put on the the tractor last fall.  The intention was to start drilling holes before the ground froze and snow fell.  It was a good intention, but none the less, there they sat.  Then this spring, I put my foot down.  I wanted those posts in the ground - NOW.  We have 6 horses/ponies that need to graze and I was tired of throwing hay when they could be eating grass. 
Finally got the auger put on the tractor and in a matter of hours, we had 122 holes drilled.  It did not go smoothly however.  We broke 5 sheer pins - the first of which scared the crap out of me.  Sounded like a gun shot going off.  We ran over a nest of baby bunnies with the tractor.  That killed 6 of the 8 little ones.  I tried to nurse the 2 and they did pretty well for a few days, but they died as well.  Our son got jabbed in the arm with a Hawthorne needle.  We treated it, but it still ended up with a slight infection.  He's fine now.  This was on a Sunday.  On Monday, my husband had to deliver a Hay Hut to Cleveland, Ohio so I stayed home and set fence posts.  I did 34 by myself until I just couldn't shovel and scrape anymore dirt.  My arms had had enough.  The next day, it rained - all day.  The post holes filled with water.  We decided to wait a day and let the water drain out.  It didn't drain out very much.  We filled the holes anyway.  The corners got cement and everything else got lots of dirt. 
It was time to string the wire.  Over 7,000 feet of it.  Each post gets 5 staples and 5 strands of high tensile wire.  We went thru 2.5 coils of wire, 25 springs and 25 rachets and over 100 crimps. 

They are happy horses now.  We still a short section of fence to put up but that will happen in a few days after we get done with some hay baling. 

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

It has been a crazy year since I last posted.  I started that new job I was so excited about and I absolutely hated it.  Luckily, I left my previous job on good terms and he took me back.  I've been back since September.  Another reason he took me back was because 3 of the other employees he had working for him were also stealing from him.  They all got fired and he had me come back because he knows he can trust me.

 We had a really, really rough winter.  We had more snow this year than we have had in many years. It was also colder than usual.  Normally we have many days in the upper 30's and 40's.  This year we so many days in the 20's it was unreal.   We almost had another house fire due to a faulty furnace that was only 1 year old. Thank goodness we were home when it happened.  We got a completely new system, but our electric bills were WAY too high.  We are still paying them off.  We are getting wood cut for this year.   I want our woodlot too look like we will never run out.  Even the horses were struggling.  We had all the hay they could eat, but they were also looking for more so they started eating the bark off trees.  All those trees are going to be cut down.  The positives are that most of the trees they tried to eat were smallish so they will dry quickly and cutting them down will give the horses more room to move.

My grandfather went into a nursing home in December after a neighbor found him unconscious on the floor. He spent 5 days in the hospital then went to the nursing home.  We lost him March 19.  He was 97 years, 9 mos and 22 days.  I miss him terribly.  There's so much I still wanted to ask him, but the last couple of years, he wasn't always clear headed.  We are still battling with his daughter over the estate.  I have never seen someone so greedy.

We went to Puerto Rico for Christmas!  Wow was that a blast!  I cannot wait to go back.  I have been putting money back each week in hopes of saving for another trip.  We have actually considered moving there when Lliam is out of high school.  What a great place.  We stayed in San Juan, but are planning to stay in another town next time to get a more Puerto Rican experience.

We got into goats this year.  The first one we bought was only a few days old.  I bought him the day after Grandpa died. Sort of animal therapy, I guess.  He's an  Anglo-Nubian cross who is just as sweet as sweet can be.  I adore him. We kept him the house for several weeks until it was warm enough at night to put him in the barn.  We also bought Lizzie the same day.  She is a Nubian and was 10 months old.
We bought another goat a couple weeks later, but she was just as mean as mean could be. She was a Lamancha with no ears.  She was all white and ugly so we called her Ugly Betty. After she hurt the baby goat, we traded her for a different goat.
The goat we got was ill when we received her, but with some love, attention and help from my farmgirl friends, she's on the mend.  We named her Moonpie because she is brown in the front and the back and white in the middle.  She is a Lamancha with the tiny little ears.  She is just as sweet as sugar and gets along well with the other two.  She was giving milk when we got her, but we decided to let her dry up so her body can focus on getting healthy.  We will breed her later on so we can have more goats next year.  Loving goats!  

Lliam participated in his first school sport this year.  He was on the track and field team - shot put.  He did pretty well for his first competitive sport.  We have an award banquet next week.  

We started putting in the garden on Mother's Day.  So far we have planted tomatoes, potatoes, broccoli, Brussels Sprouts, onions, garlic, bell peppers, cabbage and corn.  We are going to plant beans, cucumbers, squash, beets, carrots, radishes, kohlrabi, watermelons, muskmelons and whatever else I can find room for.  Our goal is put up, dry and preserve as much as the harvest as possible to make our grocery bill as low as possible.   I have way more seeds than I have room for, as usual.  I also have a ton of flower seeds to plant too because I want a cut flower garden.  Good lord, what was I thinking!

We are even going to put in a plot of Einkorn wheat to make bread and such.  We bought a grinder and have ground some wheat into flour that we have used for gravy, breading and binder.  So far it doesn't seem like it has bothered my stomach at all.

I have some strawberry plants, but I don't think they are going to amount to much this year.  I think I need to move them to another location.  I have some left over wood I can make a new raised bed from - putting that on the "To Do" list.

We tore down the old gourd arbor that had, at one time, been a swing set.  It was reconstructed into a goat shed.  Third time recycle - not bad.  Saved a bundle of money too by not having to buy the 6x6's.  We are searching for something to use as siding next.  Super cheap or free is the goal.  We'll see what happens.

We have some new neighbors, but they aren't super friendly.  They barely wave when we see them.  I don't know.  We are going to have a party in July and invite them.  Maybe they will see that we aren't psycho like the neighbor north of them said we were.  His reason for not liking us is because I used to work for the Indiana State Police.  His son died of a drug overdose and he blames the cops - hence his hatred for me.  I haven't worked for them for over 4 years.  He still drives through our yard on occasion. Some people are just jerks I guess.

Teaka Golden Girl is heading to the breeders this week.  We are hoping to have a small litter of English Shepherd puppies to start with.  If you are interested in having a great dog - let me know!

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Looking for ideas...and my view on changing what you eat

Dear Readers,

I love those blogs that tell about how to do stuff related to country life, farming, homemaking and so on and so forth.  I would love to write about those things too.  There are so many topics to cover, I don't know where to begin.  So I will ask you, my readers, to share with me what you would like to read about.  I don't want to be just another country bumkin blog - I would like to put a different spin on it.  So offer up your ideas and I will see what kind of twist I can put on them.

One thing I think is very important is knowing about what you eat and where it comes from.  I haven't always been that way.  It wasn't until that last few years that I really started learning about the hazards of GMO's, toxic plastic, sugar overload, gluten problems, added hormones and antibiotics, etc.  I have even gotten my family to open their eyes to the peril that the American people are in regarding their food.  Stop and take a look at what the ingredients are in the foods that you buy.  Do you really want to put something in your body that you can't even pronounce?  I don't.
All those fun, sugary cereals and sodas that we consumed growing up are now related to obesity, diabetes and scores of other problems.  I am dealing with my own health problems related to this as well. I know its not just cereal and soda, its chemicals, fast food, lack of strenuous exercise and basically - not being aware of what's going on.  I am trying to change that.  No, my cupboards are not full of organic this and organic that, but we are trying - one product at a time, to make sure we are eating better.
I've said before that we are trying to grow our own food and we shop at farmer's markets.  We have almost completely quit eating out - especially fast food.  Every now and then, I look forward to someone else cooking the meal and doing the dishes, though.  I think Chipotle's has the right idea by showing on their menu what is GMO and what is not - that way the consumer can decide what they want.  I wish more places would do that so when we go on vacation or something, we know that we are doing the best we can to eat right.
One thing I am tired of is when I post/share something on Facebook about the dangers of GMO's and pesticides/herbicides and artificial crap, the cynics who have to have a smart ass comment back about how yummy it is.  Listen, dork, I put the information out there for people who really want to change how and what they eat.  I put the information out there so people who want to be GOOD parents can read and educate themselves and not poison their children.  If you don't like what I post, unfriend me, don't read it and keep you stupid ass comments to yourself.  I am doing this as a public service for people who really care.
     I care about my friends and family and if I can help just one person change their eating habits, then my goal has been accomplished.  If they choose to share what they have learned, even better.  I know for a fact that I have helped two of my friends become more aware.  One friend told me she reads everything I post, but was so overwhelmed with all the information, she didn't know where to start.
Start with just one thing.  For her, it was cutting out soda - diet and regular.  Huge step for anyone, especially if you have been drinking it for years.  Take a look at what is in your fridge and pantry.  What are you about out of?  When you make your shopping list, pick one or two things that you normally purchase and choose organic instead.  This is especially important with veggies and fruits.  Work this into your budget.  Next trip, pick a couple more things and so on and so forth.  Pretty soon, you will realize that you aren't eating as much 'filler' and you are getting way more fiber and nutrition.  Keep going.  You are doing great!        Choose meat that is grass-fed, free range, cage-free, hormone and antibiotic free.  Don't like your choices in the supermarket, find a farmer that will sell you a side of beef or pork or some chickens.
Ready to make a huge change? Try going vegetarian or vegan.  I, myself, am not that far yet.  We do eat more vegetarian meals, but (Sorry Jason!) I still like chicken and beef.  I was raised that way.  On a good note, though, we have a huge bowl of fresh fruit salad in our fridge and I have started a vitamin water jar in the fridge.
In closing, I just want to say that what you eat is up to you. Educate  yourself.  Do the research.  If you can see through the garbage and realize that most food in the supermarket is, well, artificial crap, then you can make better choices.  You can tell the grocer that you want better choices.  If you can grow something, do it.
If you get stuck and need help - ask someone.  We are all here to help each other.

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Saying Good-bye...

As my last day at my current job draws near, I have had some time to reflect on my time here.  When I started here in 2011, I knew very little about coins.  In nearly two years, I have learned so much more than I ever thought I would.  My boss calls me the foreign coin expert, though I don't think I know all that much.  I can look at most foreign coins and tell you if they have been devalued or if they contain any silver, but there is still so much more out there.
I am really kind of glad to be leaving here.  It seems to me that with the turmoil in the stock market and the fact that gold prices are lower than when I started here, the stores can't stay open if people aren't selling scrap jewelry.  I heard the boss saying just this morning that he was probably going to close the Pendleton store because it has been so dead for over a month.  He also closed his booth in the nearby flea market.  I had to pull all the jewelry out of it today and reprice it for the other two booths he has.  He also claims he is going to keep me on part time to keep those two booths filled with jewelry and other miscellaneous items he gets in now and then.  I'm not holding my breath, but the extra cash would come in very handy.
As far as the rest of the company goes, Tony is going to work out of the Fishers' store after I leave.  In my opinion, he'll pull his hair out trying to answer questions about coins as it seems those folks are a little more educated about collecting coins and Tony is not.
Bad Billy is going to continue to work out of the Anderson and Fishers (maybe some Pendleton until he closes it).  Weave will still work at Anderson and maybe Pendleton until closed.  Boss is going to work out of the Indy store mostly since he's putting Tony in Fishers and I won't be around.  Sherry is going to continue to work out of the Anderson store and do running for the company like I used to.  The last employee, whom I won't name, is looking at jail time for a past crime.  I also found out he's on the sex offender registry list for sexual misconduct.  Nice.  That would be the 3rd one Boss hired.  I am glad to be going.
Boss is going to sell the car that he let me drive for the last year and a half.  He thought is was worth way more than it really is.  Of course when you think it is one model with features it doesn't really have, that kinda changes things.  It's still a decent car that will make someone a nice ride, but has some issues like no dash lights at night, an odometer that can't be read, it uses oil, it's been wrecked (NOT by me), it has lots of rattles and vibrations, cigarette burns all over the place (again NOT by me), but it runs and will get you where you need to go.  I thought about buying it just for a fuel efficient option over my big white truck, but I really can't justify another payment and added insurance costs especially since I only have 2 more years left on my truck.
Do I feel bad that because I am leaving, Boss is having to completely re-evaluate his operations?  A little bit. Why?  Well, he let me in on his dream and because I essentially changed my mind about participating in his dream, he's not going to be able to go forward.  He's already talking about selling out this business and revisiting the cigar store/smoke shop business.  He's a smart guy, he'll figure it out without me.
It's been a trip, sometimes fun and sometimes sad and a lot of bizarre, but it was worth it.  I've learned a lot about myself, coins and buying scrap gold.  And no, I would probably not ever open this kind of business especially since the powers that be are constantly changing the rules that govern buying scrap metal.  I'll still sell whatever I find at garage sales though.

And now, on to my future....

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

The rabbit and a hare....

On May 14, 2013 our red San Juan rabbit gave birth to 9 baby bunnies.  I was so excited.  I just love baby bunnies.  On May 15, I found 2 dead in the cage.  On May 16, I found the last 7 all over the place - on the floor, in neighboring cages and some had bloody bite marks.  I tried  to put the babies back in Red's nest but she wouldn't have anything to do with them.  2 more died that afternoon.  Now, I have fostered puppies, kittens and chickens, but never bunnies.  I knew hand raising baby bunnies was usually not successful, but being the person I am - I just had to try.  I removed the last 5 from the nest and took them inside the house.  My husband just about flipped his lid, but one look from me and he shut up.  He knows better than to stand between me and animals.

I parked the them in the pantry because is has a door to keep the kitties out.  I put a heat lamp close to the nesting box to keep them warm but not hot.  I heated up some kitten formula that I keep on hand for just these kind of emergencies.  I started feeding them with an eye dropper.  Things seemed to be going well for a couple of days, then tragedy - 3 of the 5 babies died.  I was so sad.  What was I doing wrong?  Off to surf the Internet to figure this out before I lost the other 2.  After reading information from several different sites, I was able to determine that I needed to add heavy cream or half and half to the formula.  I didn't have exact measurements so I just eyeballed it.  It must have worked.

The bunnies are happy, healthy and full of spunk.  At the time of this writing, they are 44 days old.  They are eating pellets, carrots, grass, organic lettuce (I had some extra and thought I would share) and celery.  They also love the herb/weed known as plantain.  They are growing so fast!  Everyday, they get play time in the master bathroom. Why there?  It has tile floor (easy clean up of bunny messes) and I can close the door to keep stalker kitties and rough-housing doggies out!  They can run and jump to their hearts content without fear of being pounced on or used as a chew toy.

 I had to move them from the cardboard box they called home to a larger, better secured bird cage.  Now it seems it is time to move them to a more permanent home.  They need a hutch.  I don't have a hutch.  I am not going to buy a hutch because I think they are way over priced so I guess that means I am going to have to build a hutch.  It is going to have to built this weekend or next because I fear that they are going to get too big to get out of the cage!  I have to keep the cage door wired shut (unless it's play time or feeding time) because they can push it open.  Going to surf the net again to get some ideas then go raid the scrap pile to see if I have enough supplies.  I want to see if I can do this without spending ANY money.  I will post pictures of the bunnies as soon as my phone quits arguing with me.

Oh and the bunnies have temporary names Scratch -because of the terrible wound on his neck and his damaged right paw when he came inside. (which has completely healed and he has full use of his paw now.) and Spaz - I think you can figure this out.  My son and I want to change their names to suit their personalities, but they will still keep their nick names.

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Cha Cha Cha Changes....

Yep, things are changing.  I applied for a new job much, much closer to my home and I got it!  I had the 2nd interview yesterday which lasted for 45 minutes.  My new boss also mentioned seeing me on television.  I was embarrassed, but hey - it may have helped me!  He asked me what would make me stand out while he and his boss were going over the resumes.  My answer - "I'm the lady who isn't afraid to tie on the apron and get her hands dirty."  He was still giggling when I left!  I start July 8th.

This is kind of bittersweet though.  I had to face the fact that I had to tell my current boss I was leaving.  I know, I have complained about work for months, but I do like the work I do here.  Oh - I'm not getting wishy-washy - I am leaving.  I just find it difficult to tell someone who took a chance on me that I am moving on.  I thanked him for giving me a job, car and free jewelry, but also that it was time for me to move on.  We talked for about 20 minutes and he did tell me that because I told him in a professional way, didn't tell any of the other employees and that I was a good employee, I would be more than welcome to come back if the new job doesn't work out.  How nice was that.  No wonder I shed a couple tears.

As much as I dislike how he runs things and sometimes treats people, he has been a pretty good boss.

I am looking forward though, not back.  It is time for me to move on and that is exactly what I am doing.  I think it will be tough at first, until I learn the job, but I know I can do it and be good at it.  Thanks for the positive thoughts and prayers.  I am sure they helped me get this job.

Thursday, June 13, 2013

Feeling a bit nervous

I am having a CT scan tomorrow morning.  I am a little bit nervous about what it will show and what will happen.  Will I have to have surgery?  Is is bad?  Is it something I will just have to live with?  I guess most people have these thoughts when faced with the medically unknown.  I am hopeful though that whatever it is will not be terrible and if necessary can be fixed with a minor surgery.  Keeping my fingers crossed.  I know I need to stay calm and just let be what will be, but that is much easier said than done.  I'm a worrier.  Always have been.

And why are so many people in Germany reading my blog?