Sunday, January 27, 2013

Winter is nearly over

At least here in the Ozarks, and I'm glad. The weather's slowly getting better, though it's still off-and-on pretty cold. Currently, I'm freezing my butt off sitting outside the library near the plant because it's the closest place with free wifi to the house, but unfortunately, they aren't open on Sundays, so it's sit outside and be cold in order to hijack the electric plug, lol. But it's not too bad - the area's fairly sheltered from the weather and wind, so if it gets too bad, I can sit in the car.

Things have been still kind of slow, though I did finally get a chance to price out the gear needed for the bailer bucket. Quentin's determined to "help" with the project, and I'm just as determined NOT to have his help. Not that I don't appreciate it, but he has the annoying (to me) habit of "modifying" things to "make them better" (his way of thinking), but which do not accomplish the task at hand the way I say I want it done. It gets done, just not how I envisioned it, and the windlass and bailer bucket are MY projects, so essentially, the worst part of getting them done is getting him to stay out of them. I love the man to death, but he can be a bit TOO helpful at times.

I'm getting my seed list together, and hope to start getting things ordered next weekend. I'd hoped to do it this weekend, but ... errr ... I kind of forgot my seed catalogs and I don't want to have to  hunt through seed catalog websites to find what I'd picked out, because I know me. I would end up trying to order some of every kind of heirloom thing they had instead of sticking to the plan. Me and books, yarn shops and seed catalogs go great together - as long as I have unlimited funds to spend.

A lot more trash got burned this week, thankfully, so the piles around the place are finally starting to look like smaller piles instead of these huge, unmanageable piles of junk that will never get cleared up. One of the first things I intend on planting is a few of those $6 butterfly/hummingbird garden flower strip things from the local Big Lots, because for just a few bucks, I can have pretty flowers pretty much guaranteed to grow, and it will attract a lot more of the butterflies and hummingbirds I saw some of last summer. I will say that there's one good thing about all the off-and-on freezing weather we've had, in that it's caused a lot of the ticks and grasshoppers to hatch out early, only to freeze to death when the next cold snap hit, hopefully alleviating some of the miserable conditions with the things we had last year.

It's hard to believe that it's been five months since we got moved, and nearly a year since we took over the property and started clearing it up. Sometimes, it seems like we've not gotten much done, but then I look around and remember what a total mess it was to begin with, and realize that it's more accomplished in a year, while working full-time, than most couples manage with only one person working full-time. The house is comfortable, we've got our entertainments, and plenty of food and clean clothes, and movies to watch if the satellite goes out for whatever reason, and goodness knows, I've got tons of knitting and crocheting and spinning to get done. Winter's nearly over and I've not gotten nearly the amount of needlework and spinning done that I wanted to get done, but I blame having to work, lol. It takes time away from all my fun.

I got a few pictures taken from the start of that afghan I mentioned I was working on, which is now about 20% done ... I have a long ways to go to finish it and use up all those scraps of mine. But here's a few photos of how I got it started, for those inerested.

This shows several stitches on the knitting needle already - I'm using a US7 60" bamboo cable needle so it's plenty big enough to hold all the stitches, and I can knit the 'ghan in one piece this way. I crocheted a starting chain around 275 or so stitches with an H hook, and the last loop for the chain became the first loop of "cast on" for the beginning of the afghan.

This one came out a bit blurry, but to pick up a new stitch, I insert the crochet hook in the back bar of the starting chain ....

yarn over, and pull a loop through.

I make the loop big enough to go over the end of the knitting needle ....

And then snug it down so it's at normal cast-on tension. Once I've worked my way across the crochet chain, I leave it and keep on working. It's very similar to provision cast-on, other than I don't use a scrap piece of yarn for the chain, I use the same ball I'm going to start knitting with, and work the chain as if I were going to do a crocheted afgahn. This just saves me counting and ripping and counting and ripping a lot on the beginning of the afghan, and also gives me a nice edge on both sides that looks like they are both knitted bind-off.

But it's getting chilly, and I have a lot to do before I go home and hopefully I can manage to get it all done before I freeze.  Haha. Till next time!

Sunday, January 20, 2013

Boring week ... HA!

When is homesteading EVER boring? I keep trying to find ways to come up with something to say this week. It's been a bit nutty, because work's kept us rather busy most of the time, the cold's kept us in the time we aren't busy with work, and there's not really a whole lot going on this past week. I'd hoped to have an update on the well, but it's just not happening as fast as I'd like. Ditto on clearing up the yard. About the only thing we accomplished is getting the trailer tagged finallly, and getting a cordless 18-volt drill for the hubster so we can accomplish things outside that need a drill, once it's warmer.

It has just plain been frigidly cold. Even hunkering down in the living room hasn't helped a whole heck of a lot. We had nearly a whole week of temps in the teens at night, and which barely reached freezing during the day. Too cold to snow, even, though one morning we did get up to some icy conditions, though not enough to worry about other than trying to NOT slide around on the deck and stairs. Good thing our work boots are non-skid, because it was pretty slippy out there! The house barely stayed warm enough for living in, and in the mornings when we'd get up, it'd be in the mid-forties. Yeeeeesh. BRRRR. But we made it, the days are starting to get warmer and longer again, and in a few more weeks, we can officially say we survived our first winter homesteading in a metal box.

Hopefully, we'll manage to get a woodstove going this summer. We found a boxwood stove we like in a recent Harbor Freight catalog of the month, but by the time we tried to get one, they had sold out, and it was an item they were discontinuing. Irksome, to say the least. Then we got lucky. We had to go to Miller Hardware in Harrison for something one day, and it turns out THEY have the boxwood stove there in stock all the time. So we have a choice of the small one for $200 or the big one for $300, or the one from Race Brothers for about $250. We don't know for sure which one we'll go with at this point. I'm aiming for the $300 model, as the eyes are set a bit further apart on it, so cooking on it or canning would be a lot easier, and allow me to do two pots at once with ease. The smaller one, not so much. The mid-size one from Race Brothers would allow it also, so I'm hoping I can talk Quentin into at least the mid-sized one.

I got my seed and nursery catalogs this last couple of weeks. It's been a while since I've had a garden in, so I have to start from scratch with getting on mailing lists again, and that means I'm kind of low on the totem pole for getting catalogs. Two favorites are Pinetree Garden Seeds and Stark Bros. Pinetree specializes in northern varieties of things, which here would be good. With a north-facing slope to grow on and the possibility each year of summer's heat turning into a drought that would kill a garden anyhow, short-season crops are pretty much a necessity here for the garden. I've picked out veggies and herbs, and the one flower I love to grow a ton of, marigolds. Mainly because the cute little buggers tend to help keep a lot of pests out of the garden.

We did have to help a friend from work get to the Huntsville tire shop Friday afternoon, and I got a surprise there. They have lots and LOTS of dead tires they give away sitting there. So if I need to, I can go there on a weekend when they're open and grab three or four, stick 'em in the back of the car and haul 'em home for more free garden beds. MUCH easier and cheaper than trying to get wood that rots eventually together to build the things, and tire beds heat up better in cold weather for growing in. Only problem is, hubby won't stop on the way home from work and let me put a bunch in the back of the truck. He doesn't want to mess up the truck, he says. *sniff, sniff* He's an old meanie, I'm telling you. And the truck is officially well below half-paid for ... we owe a whopping $1200 on it yet, but within four to five months, I hope to have it paid off so we don't have to deal with that money going out anymore. That's money we can use around here, or save up to get a third vehicle for backup in case one of the others goes down, once hubby is hopefully back to work at Tyson's and I have to drive myself to work again.

We got the battery for the car Friday, too, so now Victor is officially back on the road, and I can at least get to McDonald's on Sunday afternoons for a few hours to get mail and do things I need to do until somehow, stuff gets worked out at the house for internet. I hate to drag the laptop out and about on the mountain road and our driveway, but hopefully I can pack it up safely enough if wrapped in a bunch of towels for padding, that it won't bounce it too much. When we moved here, I stuck it in the middle of the big tote of clothes and it did okay, so I have hope. If I'd know that would work, and I surely hope it does as I write this, I'd've been doing that all the time after we moved instead of trying to get everything done through the library! Much as I love the free wifi there, they limit you to using it for an hour a day on their computers, and you can't always accomplish what you want to do that way very well.

The afghan I started a few weeks back is coming along, and with my ports working again, I can show you pictures of how I started it! It's pretty simple, really, and if you're an inveterate knitter like I am, but the technique I use can be confusing if you have no clue what someone means when they use knitterly terms. I've got several inches of it done, and it's coming along in a nice, boring, easy-to-knit manner. It's also slowly using up all my scrap balls of yarn that fill several medium boxes in the one corner of the kitchen right now. I've got one box nearly half used up, but when you have five or six boxes to go through, errr, they kind of take up a lot of room. Can't tell I like yarn, can you?

But now it's time for me to go finish pulling together so I can go to McDonald's and hijack their wifi for a few hours, get some research done and a bit of ordering of things done for the homestead. And Quentin, he's getting ready to go help the landlord and his wife with a horse and horse trailer that need moving, because their van doesn't have a trailer hitch and Sheamus does. He needs to get out and busy for a bit today anyhow, because he got a phone call earlier this morning from his cousin Ricky's wife, Cheryl - Aunt Jolene (the one who was married to Uncle Louie that died in the house fire right before Thanksgiving) is in a bad way. She's on 100% oxygen, in the hospital with pneumonia and her kidneys and liver are failing. She's got a lot of moments where she's not lucid right now, and keeps pulling out her catheters and IVs. We can't take time off work to go to the eventual funeral, but we'll be there in spirit, so hubby needs to get out and about to take his mind off it for a bit. Cheryl and I told the menfolk after Louie's funeral that Jolene wouldn't last too long - they'd been together so long that Jolene just kind of lost the will to live afterwards. She was alive, but not living, and it wouldn't be long before we'd lose her, too. It's sad, terribly sad, but we all know she'll be happier and in a better place once the inevitable happens. Cheryl will at least be mailing us a flyer from the funeral for the family scrapbook once that happens, so we'll have that.

And here I thought I didn't have much to write about this week. Wrong as usual .... every time I think I have nothing to write about, I have a ton of stuff to write about. But since things have to get done, including this getting posted, stuff researched and dishes done when I get back here, it's time to close for now. Until next time!

Happy birthday to my (our!) daughter - 1/12/13

This was what I planned on posting on the twelfth, as that's my (our!) daughter's birthday ... you'll see why I say "my (our!)" in the post itself, lol.

Happy birthday to my darling daughter. Excuse me, OUR darling daughter. Even though Quentin is "just" the stepdad to both my kids, they have a close relationship with him, especially DD. If you ask her about her father, she'll reply with something like, "I have two fathers. One's my sperm donor, the other's my Daddy." Daddy, of course, being Quentin. I may sound like I'm boasting when I say she's beautiful, talented, intelligent, amazing, incredible, etc., etc., but I'm not. She is all of that and more. (You try finding adjective to describe the most amazing young woman in the world that you know personally at 6 AM when you just got up on a Saturday morning, and see how well YOU do, haha.) She's twenty today, and it's hard for me to believe that she's THAT old. I keep seeing her in diapers, which lends itself to no end of embarassment for her. She doesn't live with us, she stays back home in Michigan with my Mom and goes to college (!!!) there, where she's studying for a degree in music. She wants to be a songwriter and/or singer when she gets done with things, and I can honestly say she's got the 'rent's drive and ambition, because she's lost a lot of so-called friends over her desire for her career and college and such, and she just shrugs it off with "Their loss." The kid's got a lot of smarts from us. Me mostly, as Q and I have only been married 2-1/2 years, but boy, you would swear on your life that if you put them together that she got my looks and brains, and Quentin's attitude and height. It's bad enough when your husband is nearly a foot taller than you are, but when your daughter is five or six inches taller, too, you really feel like a shorty.

I don't say a lot about my son, because he lives with his father and has since he was six. We are close, but not nearly as close as me and my/our daughter. Hard to believe he'll be sixteen at the end of February, though. I love the boy with all my heart, but he's never really been Momma's boy, so we never got nearly as close as me and my baby girl did. Anymore, I hardly know the young man, but I know he's just as smart and special and all the other good things as DD is, in his own way. Bad part is, he did NOT get a writing gene from me, as writing him letters means I MAY get one in return three or four times a year. Me, I write every month to him, and try to keep him up-to-date on what life is like for old Mom. He's got a reasonably good life, considering he's a city boy and never was much of a country kid, he just doesn't like to write. He's busy with living, and that's good.

Anyhow, enough about the kids. Life's been slow since the loss of the internet, and I miss it but I don't at the same time. We're working on getting it restored, but there's so much around here that's more important than internet at the moment. We've had to put another new tire on the truck (one more to go so it'll have a full good set with plenty of tread, yesterday's tire was to replace one that had nearly gone bald), and today we're (hopefully) getting the new battery for the car so it'll be back on the road finally. Quentin will be checking all the fluid levels and such before we start little Victor (my Aveo) back up. I'm lucky the battery lasted as long as it did, it's a 2006 Chevy Aveo, and pretty much everything on him is original parts, including the battery. So getting seven model years out of an original battery is darned good. He was running strong till one of the cells died, then we had to jump him if he sat for five or six hours, then after a few weeks of that, he had to be jumped if he sat more than a couple of hours, so that meant another cell had died and he now had to sit. Thankfully, that was literally the SAME DAY that Quentin had orientation at the plant, so we were lucky in that respect!

How did my car get a name like Victor, and I know I've mentioned the van is named Sheamus before? As far as the van, we both like wrestling. There's a couple of local indie wrestling groups not too far from us, and we also was IMPACT and WWE. Of course, there's The Great White wrester in WWE named Sheamus, and our van (truck!!!) is a Great White truck, so it kind of fit. As for my Aveo .... when I got him, Mom had bought him for me. My credit wasn't that great (still isn't, when you pay cash for everything or use the debit card, and have NO credit cards at all, you don't have a good credit score, not that I care, haha), so we had to do all the paperwork in her name. Mind, she can't drive a standard, only an automatic, so even though I'm legally the second owner, technically I'm the first, because she has never driven him. DD wanted to name him some variation on Victoria, since she'd already named Mom's Cobalt Victoria, and they're both red cars, so she wanted them to have similar names. I said it couldn't be a girl's name, because the car's a stick shift, so she popped off with, "Okay, his name's Victor, then." I was joking, she wasn't, and Victor stuck. He's such a good little car. If you need a compact car for daily driving that thinks it's a truck, get an Aveo. Even as steep as the mountain road is in a couple of spots, I just keep Victor in second gear and 10-15 mph and he climbs the rises like they're nothing. And despite being a compact, he's got a LOT of space in him. I can haul four regular truck tires in him with the back seat down. I know this, because here's a tire shop in Huntsville where we work that gives away all the junk tires for free, and before Victor went down, I brought a few loads home for raised beds for the garden. Waste not, want not, I say.

Speaking of tires, Jones Tire is the business, and they mounted the tire for us yesterday. We'll BUY our tires at Wally-World, because they're good, inexpensive tires. We won't have them mount and balance them, because they always screw it up. We take the tire elsewhere to get it set up and on the truck or car. Great fellows, and I asked about them taking the tires off crap rims, because we have several sitting here on the property that I want the tires for the garden and Q wants most if not all of the rims for projects he wants to do. One of them I know is going to become a garden hose reel, and another one or two are going to end up cable/rope/whatsis hangars when we get a toolshed built for him. Spray paint to cover the rust and a few bolts to hold them to the walls will do wonders for clearing them up and putting them to use. Him, he has no use for the tires and would junk them. I'd've scrapped out the rims. One's person's junk around here is truly another person's treasure.

Heck, I've found more things around here that he swears are broken pieces of crap that I can put to use for container gardening than he realizes, including a kiddie pool, some old buckets with cracked bottoms, and an old Coleman cooler. Punch some drainage holes in  the bottom of that thing and it's a good container for growing in, heehee. I do have a tendency to reduce, reuse, recycle, repurpose. Frequently.

I've not been bored or un-busy while offline so far, though. There's been so many little things going on, despite work keeping us mostly busy from dawn to dusk, leaving little to no time to do things outside here. We got a maul and wedge last weekend and started splitting some of the bigger logs, and this weekend, we'll get a logging axe for the tougher stuff like the pieces off that oak, so that slots can be put in easier for the wedge. Once we get the wedge in solid, splitting is a piece of cake. But some of that wood, especially the oak and the really dry stuff from the main drag easement, is a pain in the tuckus to get split with a splitting maul! It works, but it takes forever and a day and is awful frustrating. We need the logging axe anyhow, as Quentin's chainsaw gave out. It needs a new primer bulb, and that ain't gonna be an easy fix. Hopefully. over the next couple of weeks, we'll get the weedwhacker and the battery-operated chainsaw, too, and start getting a lot more clearing up done.

We found the wellhead, too. I did, by sheer happenstance. When we were clearing back the brush toward the house, while things were still in full leaf, if we'd cleared another couple of feet, Q would have either bashed it with the chainsaw chain or his knee. We were THAT close. So my project this weekend will be to take the plans from's old website version and get things up and running if possible to get a windlass built from one of the old bicycles sitting around here and build a bailer bucket from PVC pipe to go down the well and haul up water the old-fashioned way. I used a 2-1/2 ounch fishing weight, some clothes line and a small log to find the depth of the water. Easy peasy. Split the end of the line, force one bit through the hole on the weight, tie the ends together so the weight doesn't come off. Tie the other end of the line to the log so if I lost my grip on the line, I wouldn't lose it down the well. Drop weight in well and feed in the line. Pulled it out and measured the wet part of the rope, subtracted the guesstimated length from the length of the line, and voila.

Found out we have water 125 feet down and it's at least 75 feet deep of it, because the weight didn't reach bottom. That is a LOT of depth to pull water from when we get a real well pump going, and even now, it's pretty deep to bail up water out of. But it's better than hauling empty water jugs to town twice a week to fill six or eight of them at a time, and a lot better for me having a garden this year. I can haul lots of water to hand-water if need be, but doing it in gallon jugs (which I can handle easily) all the time would get old really fast if we had to go off-property for the water. Cost on the bicycle windlass and bailer bucket? Probably less than $20 and a few hours to put it all together. Hydromissions was something I stumbled on a few years ago, and they're a missionary type company that puts wells in third-world and developing nations and backwater burgs all over the place, with the idea that it gets clean, potable water to people so they don't have to deal with getting sick from goodness-knows-what in the local rivers. And they insist on using pieces and parts that just about any heart-of-darkest-Africa type village could get their hands on fairly easily and cheaply. We may not be a backwater village, but we still need potable water of our own, and since we've already got a well, we just need a cheap and easy way to get it up. I remembered Hydromissions, and off I went.

And in the dark hours of the evening, when we've gotten home from work and had some supper, and have the boob tube on for his entertainment more than mine (he's absolutely HOOKED on Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives, lol - better than having to suffer a zillion hours of his old addiction of House Hunters, though not by much) ... I sit here and have been organizing my computerized needlework patterns. I make a lot of doll clothes, for Barbie, American Girl, Dora, CPK, Monchichi (the little monkey baby doll) and reborns/preemies. I do a lot of socks for me, too, but the doll clothes I make and the patterns for them make me a little money now and then. I need to get a website going one of these days once we're back online, as I plan to put them up on there, connect the blog to it, add in a products page or three for stuff we use around here (so folks can know where to buy it themselves, and hopefully make me a commission off the stuff), as well as pages on the webstore for extra seeds and things I make around here, like lotions, and salves, and seasoning/soup/baking mixes, and sachets, and soaps, and all the good things I do that are all homesteady. Hopefully, this summer, I can have things going enough and have enough stock of things that I can do the Saturday morning farmer's market nearby in Berryville, and make some farm income that way. It's in the plans, it's just a matter of making things work for it.

I've gotten a seed catalog from Pinetree Garden Seeds (, because I've gotten a lot from them over the years, and always gotten good service. I've never been disappointed with their stuff, and while they're primarily a northern-seeds company, our property is on the north slope of the mountain, so we get a lot of sunny days, but not super-long ones, compared to our neighbors on the south slope or even up at the top (Eric and Bobbi and her family). So for me, it's a good idea to do short-season crops that don't require a zillion hours of daylight every day, because I just don't get it here. That means I can grow heirloom crops (and Pinetree notes in their catalog which ones are heirloom), in a short time, and have food for us and some extra to sell. I'm going to be concentrating mostly on things we'd eat ourselves if it doesn't sell at the farmer's market, because we don't want to end up with a bunch of stuff we hate sitting here going to the compost heap until we manage to get chickens and rabbits and such and can use at least some of the leftovers to feed livestock. (Though once we get some hoofstock, I'm planning on an acre or so going to mangels every year so I can turn the hoofstock out on it over the winter for them to dig up, keeping them warm, and let them eat it.) I'm also waiting on a couple of nursery catalogs, as we want to put in some fruit trees and such this year if possible to afford them. When a fruit tree comes to US$10-30 each tree, an orchard gets expensive fast.

And I'm knitting a little here and there as I can on an afghan. Quentin joked the other day, "Again?" I said, "Nope, a 'ghan!" It's all scraps, and I'm knitting it pretty simply. For those that knit, it's got a wide garter stitch border with a stockinette center. For those that don't knit, that means the border is wide and all the stitches are knitting on both front and back rows, making a bunch of ridges; and the center is knitted on the front rows and purled on the back ones so that it looks like the outside of say a sock or a sweater. No design in the middle, just plain knitting, so it goes a bit faster and I can do it while occasionally watching something I like on the telly without having to think about it. And yes, I manage to do it without messing up the border - knitting markers work wonders for that.

Oh yes, and on the upside, I got my USB ports working again! I have no idea how I did it, but suddenly they are working again, so I no longer have to use that annoying touchpad for the mouse, and can use my USB mouse again. Thank goodness, cuz I really don't LIKE mousepads! I know they're useful, and a lot of people have no problems with them, but I grew up with mice, not micepads, and I'm a bit of an old-fashioned stick-in-the-mud in that respect.

And here it is, 640 AM now, I have hubby still dozing next to me, trying to sleep off a cold he's picked up, and one of the boys is sleeping at my knees, half on one leg. Checking, it's Bouncer, and for a small tom, he weighs a ton. Racing around here with all the room the boys have to play, plus eating more with all that racing around and play fighting with Smudge, has packed some muscle on the boy. He's actually gained about four pounds since moving, so having him lay on my leg even partway means a numb foot in a few minutes. So now it's time for me to get some more stuff done on organizing my patterns I hadn't had a chance to print off yet, and try to get that done today so I can get busy re-writing them (the shorthand I use for typing them up doesn't lend itself well to a pattern for sale) and have them ready to put up for sale on Ravelry when I get back online. Till next time!!!

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Happy New Year!

And I hope it's a blessed and prosperous one for every one of you, my dear Gentle Readers. For me, it's going to start out a bit wonky, since the phone company messed up the billing and double-billed us, and wants it paid off before they fix it. sigh. Such is life, so after this Thursday, I likely won't have internet at home for a bit, till we get this fixed one way or another.

But it's still going to be a great year, I'm sure. I've got seed catalogs on the way, so I can plan for what I hope to put in this year as a garden. I've got catalogs on the way from nurseries, so I can plan out what we want to get in the way of fruit trees to try to get something started that way. I found the seep and cistern, AND the wellhead at the end of 2012, so one way or another, we'll soon have water. Maybe not running water to the house, but at least we won't have to go off the property to fill our water jugs any more, which means less water rationing.

The Merlot is slowly coming apart inside, and getting cleared up so that what's salvageable can be salvaged, what can be burned is getting burned, and what needs to be scrapped out is getting piled up for going to the metal recyclers. With it being a good-sized trailer, that is a LOT of scrap metal from the outside sheathing, all the wiring and nails and screws and various hardware like hinges, the window frames for the jalousie windows, and that's not even counting the steel base frame for the thing. Depending on prices for scrap metal, that's a few hundred to a few thousand dollars for the farm.

We found the barbed wire fence that the last tenant used for a horse pasture - and I'm apalled because you don't want to use barbed wire for horses. They're just dumb enough to get tangled in it and then thrash around to get out of it, and hurt themselves worse. There's a few trees down on part of the fencing that have to get cleared up, but a lot of the scrub brush we've been burning is now going to be repurposed to weave in the barbed wire and make a somewhat sturdier brush fence from it, so we can clear up the trees and rocks in the pasture and use it for a few goats or sheep or even a couple of feeder calves.

We've had a busy few days, with us working Friday, and me Saturday. Quentin would have worked Saturday, too, but had thrown his shoulder out at work Friday towards the end of shift, and it hadn't reduced itself by morning, so he had to take an unwanted day off. He could barely move the thing. Sunday afternoon, it finally finished fixing itself, and goodness that "chunk" was awful loud. Then we worked New Year's Eve, and have today off, before going back to work in the new year. Naturally, yesterday at the end of shift, the big fun was telling everyone, "See you next year!"

Today, not only is it the New Year, and we're enjoying a quiet day at home, since nothing's open, and we haven't yet decided what to do outside, if anything. Mainly because it's kind of chilly out, but also because it's awful darned foggy. It's so foggy, we can't even see the neighboring ridgeline, and we can usually see that if it's daylight. Not today. So we haven't a clue what Quentin will do with his day off. Me, I'm going to spend as much time as I can finishing up downloading some homesteading books and stuff off Baen's free library (if I don't already have it), and more ebooks off my favorite free books for kindle site, eReader IQ, because they have tons (and I do mean tons) of free (at time of  posting) books for the kindle. And since I have Kindle for PC .... well, I have around 4500 or so books from them, plus another 500 or so from various other sites ... I don't think that while I'm offline, that I'll be moping too much. Too many books to read, and as a friend put it to me privately the other day (paraphrased), intelligent people love books. Smart people read, pure and simple, and I'm a major reader, to the point the me, books and food go together. I have a hard time sitting through a meal without reading something, because I want my eyes to experience a joy like my taste buds are.

And in a couple of months, I'll be getting a new laptop. I love my little netbook, but Simon (yes, I name tech) is getting a bit out-of-date. He's only two years old, but he was kind of bordering on lack of usefulness when I got him on sale at Wally World. Now he's only a bitty netbook, and honestly, a 250 gig hard drive is plenty big for me, but the 1MB of RAM isn't near enough for some of the things I need to do, and the screen resolution at 800x600 isn't very good anymore. It means programs tend to want to hang on me a lot, if they run at all. This is getting to be a problem. I doubt I will like Windows 8, but don't have much choice in the matter. Though I do hope there's a way to change the desktop back to a more classic Windows layout, because the sliding and whatnot just doesn't really do it for me in the test runs I've made of lappys while figuring out what I want. It's going to have to be another Wally World special in order to be affordable, but I found one that will work, has twice the hard drive space and RAM as this one, a bigger screen (15.6" vs. 11"), a CD/DVD drive, and, while I don't need it, a separate numeric keypad. I got used to that with all my years of accounting I did, and having to type numbers on the alphanumeric keys just bugs me. I can't quite type them as fast as I can just key them in on a 10-key setup.

So, by the time I'm back online at the house, or shortly after, I'll have a new laptop. Then the fun begins of setting up my software all over again, which is a bit of a pain, as some of it really is kind of hard to make work even on this thing. I may have to figure out something different for some of it. Phoo. I do a lot of pedigree tracking for a horse club I've been involved with for 20 years, and the software I use for it already has problems with Windows 7, in that I have to run it in Win95 mode to get all the features to work. I can't imagine the problems I'll have with it in Windows 8. Microsoft should have stopped at 95 or even 97, because I could still make those do everything I wanted. These new versions are just getting ridiculous. The biggest problem for me will be if we don't have DSL back here, and have to go satellite, because I'll be limited in data that I can transfer, and while I've got most of my files backed up on my google cloud drive, it's nearly 2.5 gig of stuff, and if I'm limited to 10 gig a month, that's a LOT of stuff to dump down to a new computer. May end up having to take the new computer to McDonald's to get stuff dumped down for the bigger programs, my games and my data, so I don't run out of data transfer in the first couple of days.

So anyhow, life is quiet here on the Farm, winter has set in with a vengeance, Ozarks style, and we're quite comfortable hunkering down in the living room where it's warm. I'll post more as I can, and eventually there'll be photos again. With the USB ports messed up in this thing, it's not going to happen any time soon for photos. And yes, I've tried system restore - it turns out it's not the system, it's the BIOS that lost parts of stuff, and I'm not interested in shelling out a small fortune to replace the motherboard when this thing's going to get replaced in a couple of months anyhow. I'll just have to live about it, as my daughter used to say when she was little (she couldn't say "live with it" for some reason, so it came out that she'd say, "Well, I guess I'll just have to live about it." Heehee.)

And with that happy note, I'm out of here for a week or two, till things get organized a bit better or I get a chance to stop by the library and post something. Hugs and love to all - happy homesteading!