Tuesday, July 31, 2018

Just work

I burned through half a tank of fuel in the weed wacker yesterday morning before I quit. It was getting warm and I was plastered with chunks of wet grass and weeds. 

So I changed into a pair of shorts and a lighter top and proceeded to start picking green beans until that got too warm too. I picked only a portion of what I should have picked but still ended up with nearly 3 ice cream buckets of beans.

I washed them and then set them on the porch to be snapped.

After lunch, Charlie supervised on 'his' rug while I snapped the beans.
He is such a good supervisor!

I blanched the beans and then set them in a strainer in the fridge to be vacuum sealed later.

I actually took an hour to myself and read a book until I fell asleep with Charlie on my feet on the couch. I figured it was a wise thing to do during the hottest part of the day.

I went out to do stock tanks and fell in love with the sky which was rapidly changing.
According the the NOAA weather, isolated storms were moving across the region.

I grabbed my Olympus camera and set up some Infrared Shots while I was waiting for the mule stock tank to fill with water.

I use a filter for the IR shots. The best photos in IR are from those cameras that have been set up just for that purpose.
I don't have cameras to spare just for that so I get along with a filter.

It does give the bright greens a different look and I left the pinkish hue in these shots on purpose.
Shooting IR is not easy and processing them properly is just as hard.

Most of my IR shots get tossed. I feel I am still experimenting.

This is the porch view of the sky yesterday afternoon when the isolated storm decided to move in. There was a lot of thunder but no rain. Sunday afternoon we had 1/2 of rain from one of the squalls.

Today we have an appointment for Rich to be evaluated for driving. He rarely drives any more and I will encourage the OT department to take into consideration the level of depression at this time too.
Perhaps they can evaluate him and then do a second eval in the spring.

I would hope that he be allowed to drive locally if he begins to feel better. The long drives are too tiring and even I am tired of them.

Big decision time. I have decided to go ahead and enter some photographs in the fair!

I'll let you preview them here. You can give me some feedback if you wish. I want honesty if you can!

Anyway, have a great day.

Monday, July 30, 2018

Sunday Stuff

I thought I had my day planned.
Sunrise with Charlie. That went well, we drove to our sunrise 'spot' and watched the sun come up. Yes, I DO use my Subaru to go find beautiful places to photograph! Indeed I do!

To fans of 'Ru's...
How do you Subaru?

Charlie did not get sick or drool!
I consider this a huge improvement. But I made it so he could watch out the window and get fresh air. Perhaps he is maturing or maybe I was lucky. Either way, he enjoyed his morning sunrise jaunt with me.

After chores were done, I drove to Genoa to drop off some photos to some friends. I'd taken photos last weekend of their daughter in the softball playoffs and thought they'd like them.

I had a few errands to run in town so it worked out nicely.

The road on the ridge is curved, the telephone poles are in a straight line.

The sky was amazing, one of those days where the clouds made you want to stop what you were doing and just sky watch.

After lunch it was time to see if the mules would like browsing in the forest section.

It was rather ho hum. They stayed on the ridge road first and then wandered down the trail to browse.

I decided to take some time for myself. Weed eating was on my list as was picking green beans and other garden items, but I decided to walk to the creek and get some quiet time in.

Our neighbor came down and started to cut up and brush out the two trees that Jeff, the bulldozer man knocked down.
Rich was in bed.

I couldn't resist taking some Bears along.
These two cooled off in the creek.

Rabbit and Bear.
Doing their thing.

An isolated thunderstorm moved in and my day was done.

Today is Monday.
The green beans are calling my name and as soon as the dew is off the plants, I'll be picking.

There are phone calls to make and phone calls to take.
Appointments to get ready for and ... it looks like my day of rest is over.

Sunday, July 29, 2018

All work and no Play?

This should be a day for me to rest up for the coming week...

There is always a but...

I think I am done with the 4 wheeler for a while now. The fence is connected and tested. I will release the mules into the forest later today...this afternoon so I can walk down with them and see how they react. They should be just fine.

I have learned quite a bit about fencing and electric fences from this project. I won't bore you with the details however it can be a challenge to get it to shock properly. As of right now a very minimal pulsing current is enough to keep my mules in. They don't even touch it.
The cattle respect it also.

I did find out that if we enter a very dry spell that the grounds get weak and the fence drops in its effectiveness. We are in that very dry spell, so I did some research and used a sprinkler to dampen the earth by the ground spikes.

Okay, that was pretty boring. But testing this morning shows my fence power is back to normal!

Last note.

When Charlie begins to disappear in the grass, it is time to mow.
I mowed yesterday and finished all but the weed whacking in 2.5 hrs.

I tried some motivation for Rich to get up and get off the farm today to go with me to see some kids and their fair pigs. I have a memory stick of photographs from last weekend's softball game to drop off to our 'hay' man and his family.

No such luck. Rich will generally jump at any opportunity to go and visit with Ed and his family.

There's always some reason
To feel not good enough
And, its hard at the end of the day
~~Sarah McLachlan
In the Arms of an Angel

Have a good Sunday. Charlie and I just got back from watching the sun come up on the ridge. The fog is pouring into our hollow now bathed in golden light.

I think I'll go start our chores.

Saturday, July 28, 2018

Gardens and Fences and stuff

Remember when I gave the neighbor kids a bucket of seeds to toss in the dirt next to the porch?
Well it is blossoming right now. Zinnias, cosmos, sunflowers, 4 o'clocks, and green beans all in one place.
The humming birds are swarming the flowers. No need for messy feeders. I can have coffee and watch the hummers fly in and then sit on the pine tree.

Yesterday I figured it would be a piece of cake to finish up the fencing project.

I guess my cake was in shambles.
I took some line we'd used already at one point and strung it out. It all went very nicely until it got tangled up in briers and multiflora rose.

I carefully got it untangled and it got tangled again. Solo fencing is the pits. It goes much faster with another person.
Oh well.

If you look carefully there is a little brown spot in the photo. Two small brown Teddy Bears.
They are my fencing pals. They supervised everything going on at the gate.

I was so excited to get both lines to the 'ridge' road finally!

However I didn't have enough to finish the project and it was time to go check on Rich anyway.  It was close enough to noon to have lunch also.

I put the one gate handle up and took a photo so Rich could see what I was doing.

To turn around the cart and the 4 wheeler, I have to take the yellow cart off and manually turn it around. Then drive the 4 wheeler to the creek where it is wide enough to safely turn around ... and then come back and re-attach the cart and go on my way. This method, while not perfect, has saved me so many trips of carrying heavy items.

I had to stop and admire the flowers by what I now call the Morris Garden. This is where Morris was buried. Flowers do help ease the pain. However, I do know this is where he loved to go first thing every single morning....
Funny how it is such a lovely spot now that he doesn't pee on it.

We had lunch and Rich put the mower deck back together for me. The good intentions were that I would quickly finish the fencing project and then jump on the mower and start on the yard.

I got an email from MIL's cousin telling me that I should go over to Folsom School and check it out. Her husband went there and was doing the painting and cleaning to prepare for a get together and school reunion.

I ran over and took a peek inside the school house.

It is a one room school that operated from 1880 to 1961. I found the little school chairs to be adorable. The atmosphere inside was one of hushed respect. I don't know why I got the feeling but I could almost hear the teachers talking to the classroom full of different aged children.

I wanted to linger but I knew that time was 'a--wasting' as my Grandfather would have said.

Back to the fence. What a job it ended up being. I had to go back once for more wire and then I had to get some of those heavy T posts and pound them in.
My neck and back were feeling the effects of a heavy lifting 'work week' and too many hours driving back and forth to the VA in the car.

Finally! The last thing I have to do is connect the wires to the other fence so the electric pulse will follow through the wires ... and I am done with a project I started over a month ago.

I plan on finishing the work this fall and winter along the barbed wire fence all of the way to the creek and revamping the old fence that Rich had put up somewhere around year 2000.

I consider this a start at least.

After supper, I decided it was too late to begin mowing. So I picked green beans and some pea pods.
I froze 12 packages of green beans and the plants have just begun!

Friday, July 27, 2018

Morning Mists

Not a lot to say but I'll just put up a few photos from my walk with Charlie the other day.

I have had appointments of one kind or another all week long.

I do love my morning walks with Charlie! He likes them also and doesn't mind getting soaked through from the morning dew.

...and of course ...
Rabbit and Bear.
I found a little wicker chair for Bear.
I wonder how it will work out.

Tuesday, July 24, 2018

Brawn and Brains

The picnic table will get the chainsaw treatment...safely by my neighbor. This was project #2. The ancient glider that was rusted through.

Hubby bought this in 1998 and it was aged then. I painted it a few times and finally just gave up on it. For several years it has just been moved from spot to spot to mow around. No adults really sat in it ever. The kids love it and after the last time kids nearly tipped it over, I figured it needed to be dismantled.

I got out the handy dandy 7/16 inch wrench and 3 got bolts off. None of the other nut thingys would budge. With quiet determination and lots of rolling sweat, I began to saw and rip the old wood away from the bolts.
Charlie supervised.
No cuss words.

Now to bend the metal at it's stress points and make it smaller so I can toss it away.

Next on my agenda was fencing in the forest. I need/want to stay busy and productive.

The 4 wheeler loaded with fencing supplies and a partial bucket full of pasture grass seed. I'm seeding the 'ridge road' that was re-dozed by my farmer friend.

I want to get the mules into the forest to browse on the undergrowth. I used to have donkeys, mules, and horses in the forest but after 2007, the repairs were just too overwhelming for my husband.

My idea is to do a bit at a time. I'm using electric braid fencing which is easy to manipulate and string. The hard part is pounding the t-posts and carrying the post pounder along with all the posts into the woods.
Hah! I now know how the 4 wheeler operates so I can use the trailer to transport the items I need instead of hiking back and forth, I can use my time more wisely.

Bless the person who invented these little pound in posts. That means a lot less pounding of the T-posts and less pain to those arthritic hand joints. I must laugh though. Yes it hurts sometimes a lot. But my OT person said "Use it ... or Lose it."
I'm using those hands.

I had a round about discussion with my neighbor regarding fencing and straight lines. I argued that yes...he could saw down a tree if it was in his way. However, I'll use that tree with a temporary nail in insulator and make my fence according to ease of use and the lay of the land.

My idea was to use my brains to make things easier for me. He wanted [as my husband used to do...] perfect straight lines. I argued straight lines are for line fences and not 'sections'.

He promised to help.
I got this too.

I'll take a photo of this area after the mules have been in for a week or two and see if you can spot the difference.
Tomorrow, if it isn't pouring cats and dogs, I will string the soft wire.

I must be getting much stronger. A year ago, I couldn't squeeze the hand break on the 4 wheeler, I'd given up all thought of ever operating it. My Occupational Therapist told me to work my hands. I did. Out of necessity I've worked my hands, elbow, and shoulders. I'm stronger now than I've been in a few years.

Yesterday I unloaded 50 bales of hay and stacked it in the shed. I felt fine after that. However I did take breaks often.

Tonight was another story. I couldn't for the life of me, sit inside the house after supper and let daylight fade away.
I went out to the garden and picked.

I tossed weeds over the fence to the mules. They liked it.

I picked an ice cream pail of green beans and set them on the porch.

I asked Rich to come out and see the beans. He hesitated, I told him the temperature was fantastic on the porch. He and Charlie came out.
I started to snap the ends off. I have time tomorrow afternoon to blanch the green beans and freeze them.

Rich surprised me by sitting on the bench that my Kenosha Gang made for us...he asked if he could help with the green beans.

We spent an hour in silence. Listening to the birds, the cattle, and the mules all make their evening noises as we silently snapped beans together.

And it was good.

This is a plus in my book. He is taking interest, he is participating. He doesn't see it as a big deal, but I do.

Charlie observed.

So I count this day as a good one.

It started with a gorgeous sunrise....

And ended with a warm and loving sunset...

No act of kindness no matter how small is ever wasted.

Monday, July 23, 2018


My husband is notorioius for not organizing his tools. He just drops them on a piece of plywood on top of a couple of saw horses.
Yesterday I need one tool as my project was to take apart the old picnic table that had rusted through.

After not being able to find what I needed, I started to unload the plywood and place it on the shed floor so I could see what we did have and didn't have.

I found screw drivers that I have thought I lost while fencing. Obviously they went back into the messy pile to be buried under debri.

When I asked hubby where he may have a 7/16 socket wrench ... he simply lay on the bed and said it was on the 'tool bench'. I said show me...he said, 'It is there.'

While searching [I never found the proper socket] I did find some other items of interest.

Broken things. Things of no use. They were also stacked on the 'table'. I sorted through some things and tossed them on the floor. I realized that I needed to find the tool I was looking for and not get sidetracked by the messy table.

I did find a 7/16 little hand wrench thingy... it worked. Along with a sledge hammer and a pry bar, I spent a few glorious sweaty hours dismantling the old picnic table.
I had to get creative as some of the bolts wouldn't unscrew, they were frozen in rust.

In the end I completed the task.

At one point Rich called out the kitchen window asking if I'd found the tools I needed. I motioned for him to come out and help.
He disappeared from the window but came back to the kitchen window and called out...

"You didn't mess up my tool bench did you?"
Ahhhh, I love how he thinks sometimes.

Mean old me. I pretended I didn't hear him and used the sledgehammer and the pry bar on a particularly difficult section. I then used bolt cutters to get the job done.

No cursing, no swearing, and no blood was spilled in the dismantling of the old picnic table. But one more job that had been on his list for over a year was now done.

I may get sidetracked the next rainy day and actually organize that horrid mess of a table. As of now, he has no interest in using it.
Getting him to leave the house is a monumental effort one I fight with every day.

However I should say he has fed the donkeys for two mornings in a row. I consider that an improvement.

Next up, the broken glider.
If I could only operate a chainsaw safely. All bolts on that are frozen/rusted solid.

Oh...what happened to those bits and pieces of 'saved' broken stuff? They went into my bucket of things toss away. I am cleaning up junk...one small bit at a time.

I have a full schedule for this week. But still plan on finding time for a couple of projects.

I imagine if I clean up the 'tool' table, it may come as a nasty shock to my husband.
I think I'll do it anyway. I'm still looking for that socket wrench.....