Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Crazy cats and crazy weather and Dixie horns

Quentin got the stupid Dixie horn installed in the truck a few days ago, moving over from the defunct van. That he sets it off constantly for any reason at all - he's asked to, we drive by motorcyclists, we drive by someone with an American flag flying, etc., is annoying me to no end. That he is showing off the install job to all and sundry who ask is an unending source of entertainment, because he often forgets how loud it is and asks me to "reach over and set it off." Despite knowing it is going to sound off, he jumps every time. Last night after work, he didn't ask, but was showing it off to a friend of his. So, while sitting in the truck with an upset tummy, waiting on him to hurry up so we can get home and I can get some mint tea in me, I casually reach over and off goes the horn. He jumped a foot. Everybody outside who saw it laughed. I'm still laughing at the memory of the look on his face. WORTH IT for him saying he'll get me back.

The weather is nuts. Typical fall weather. Warm days and cool nights. Ought to make for a great show of color this year! The fall garden is going crazy on me, so lots of last-minute goodies getting busy getting eaten. Greens, radishes, baby carrots, pearl onions, etc. Loads of salad goodies.

And the kitties are being silly. The weather and flea treatment has the boys feeling frisky and happy, so they are racing around the house like they're nuts. The girls are feeling snarky as well. Every morniing, when I head outside to feed them, I'm met at the door and kitty-screamed at. MEOW!!!!! I get stereo nagging from Tink and Raffles, because apparently, I'm not nearly fast enough with their breakfast!


Monday, September 29, 2014

Progress and repairs

Minor repair job that has to be done soon. A spot on the floor near the front door is a bit soft and hubby needs to put a piece of board over it and screw it down to block us from stepping on the soft spot and going through. It comes of some age on the trailer, and also from prior tenant's having as many as thirty-five (yes, I said THIRTY-FIVE) small dogs, mostly Chihuahua's and Chi-mixes in here at one time, and letting only two of them out at all. So yeah, the place still reeked when we first came up here, because the carpet was permeated with dog pee. Which is why the carpet got all ripped out. The damage to the floors was done, though, so there are some soft spots, and whenever one is found and is deemed of the "walk on that thing too much and you'll go through the floor" variety, it gets a board slapped on top of it. I don't think we'll be here long enough to repair the whole thing, unless we buy the place (not likely at this point), but you never know. Stranger things have happened.

As for progress ... cleaning up around outside is coming along in bits and pieces. The girls are getting so used to me that they are about ready to come in on their own without first being captured. That would make crating them for a trip to the vet's for spaying much easier. They love being stroked and scratched along their backs, and both will now arch up into my hand while I pet them at breakfast. Tinkerbell is still extremely head-shy, but Raffles permits head petting and ear rubs if I'm careful and slow. They don't just sit on the stairs and wait to be called anymore, either. They are always sitting on the deck. Raffles is always by the stairs and Tink is right by the door. Both yell at me to hurry up, they are hungry, Momma! when I come out with the food. Silly kitties. I think once the weather starts to get chillier, and they feel the warmth coming out of the door when it's opened, they'll be happy to come in on their own. Cats do like the warmth, and not only is it kept reasonably warm in here, it's shelter from the wind and weather for them. They can join the boys in relative comfort indoors, with lots of squishy furniture to curl up on.

And Mom's lap quilt top made some major progress yesterday. All the vinework in the middle is finally done, and I'm back to working the outside edge vinework. Six more sections of that, and it's all butterflies from there on out to finish stitching it up. Then there's making up the backing, cutting the batting to size, basting it together, quilting it, sewing the edges, and sewing on the satin ribbon edging. I may see about an inexpensive sewing machine for the quilting and sewing parts, because those would take a lot of hours that I may not have. And I do miss my sewing and other needlework hobbies a great deal. Work is necessary, but it sure takes time from my fun, I'm telling you. Part-time homesteading is a lot less fun than full-time, but it's better than none at all.

So it's back to work today to earn the money to pay off the non-homestead crappy debts and save up for buying a place, and all the other goodies that are going on. Yay me!!!! I get to go play with raw chicken again! Woot, woot!


Sunday, September 28, 2014

Sunday Guest Post

Protect Natural Resources, Utilize Solar Electric Power
by: John Daviz

(Typos and grammar corrected by me, Heather.) 

Solar energy, wind energy, geothermal energy, hydropower and biomass are some of the renewable sources of energy. Usage of renewable sources of energy is good because these sources offer an environmentally friendly option rather than utilizing fossil fuels. There will be an improved energy security and energy independence if people use renewable source of energy. Also renewable sources of energy are the cleanest and safest energy sources. 

The most well-known source of energy, which is solar energy, is an environment-friendly and endless renewable source of energy. Solar power doesn't result in the emission of harmful carbon dioxide unlike the use of fossil fuels. The sun is an unlimited source of energy and with the right technologies, can provide sufficient electricity that could be used in every single household or even in commercial and industrial properties. 

The use of solar power has a positive effect in the environment because taking advantage of solar energy does not contribute to climate change, acid rains or any kind of pollution. When transformed from solar radiation, solar energy may possibly be converted to thermal energy or electric power. This may also be employed in a number of applications like in agriculture. At present, solar power is being utilized in two areas; namely for the production of thermal energy which can heat up water and the production of electric power by utilizing the photovoltaic cell. 

Photovoltaic cells or PV cells capture solar energy then transform it into electricity. These cells convert sunlight into electricity by employing the energy developed when photons from sunlight push electrons into a greater state of energy. Yet solar power is not only limited to thermal energy and electricity simply because currently, numerous devices which are powered by solar energy exist in the market. 

Solar energy is an excellent source of supplying power to homes and companies and by utilizing solar power you are not merely protecting the environment from becoming polluted but also you are saving the rest of the earth's natural resources. Capturing solar energy does not contribute to pollution and does not harm the atmosphere. One of the factors why many individuals are still hesitant to make use of solar power is because it is expensive. The initial investment of installing solar power system for a home is expensive and aside from that solar power still wants to boost its efficiency. The need for a large space for panels is another reason why people aren't taking solar power 
into consideration.

Pleasant Sunday

It's lovely weather out, chores are completely done for the week barring getting the trash together and burnt. It's just a bit muggy, but otherwise, it's not bad at all. So what am I doing? Spending time working on needlework, haha. Quentin needs to get his butt in gear and get busy cutting some firewood, as we have an order for a cord, which the guy's willing to pay $75 for a few hours of cutting up stuff that's already down around here. We don't even have to split it, just cut it to stove length. My only problem with things is still trying to get used to the bifocals, as my eyes tire easily with them on sometimes. I'm getting to where I can wear them all day for work, but weekends, when I do almost all close work, I still have to have my readers. I think next time, I'll get two pairs instead of bifocals - one for driving that can stay in the car, and one for general everyday wear, so I can read and do needlework easier. Kind of hard to homestead if you can hardly see what you are doing!!!

Also, here on the blog only, we are starting a new tradition on Sundays - Sunday guest posts, in addition to the regular babbling from me, Heather. Don't worry, I've got plenty of guest post material lined up for y'all!


Saturday, September 27, 2014

What a fun evening - NOT

When I got home last night, I did my usual thing of sitting down with supper and planned on reading a bit of one of my ebooks. Didn't happen. Apparently, Windoze crashed while the laptop was hibernating (I let it go to sleep while I'm at work usually) and it did a whole thing of "Hey, ummmm ... I had a problem here and had to restart. Check online later for this thing to find out what happened." Twice it tried to restart and failed. So, I pull the battery and power cord and force a restart and it works fine, but it's time for the monthly Windoze update. Oh joy, a bunch of them, and on installing the third, it hung up for far longer than it seemed it should with no end in sight. So it's back to forced restart, even though that's generally not a smart idea. Then it finished installing, going from 35% to 100% in about five seconds and has been fine since. Sometimes, I think computers are almost not worth the trouble they are, but I'm kind of dependent on this thing for business, so it's suck up and deal.

On the other hand, errands went well today, and I didn't have to spend nearly as much as I thought I would have to, so that was good. Got extras of a couple of the colors I'm using in Mom's lap quilt, because despite what the pattern says, their numbers are NOT enough. The quilt's coming along nicely, too. I've long had  the wording for the butterfly variety names done around the edge, and I'm about half done with all the vines, then I can do all nine of the butterflies. With my new lap stand and the 10" hoop with it, doing the butterflies as one insect rather than bits and pieces will go much faster.

This week, the batting arrived, along with the material I ordered for the backing, and a few pre-quilted kits (two crib blankets and a pair of bibs) to stitch up for sale. The batting is sized fine on one side, but the length is a bit long, meant for a twin-sized quilt, so that will have to be cut down once things are basted. The material for the backing is only a yard long, but it's 108" wide, meant for a very large quilt! For the backing, I'll have to cut two pieces and stitch them together to make a full backing. One piece will be 48" x 36", and the other will be about 14" wide, because I need seam allowances to put the pieces together and to turn under the selvage and stitch the front and back together once I have it basted. Then it's quilt it, and blind stitch on the satin edging ribbon which I still have to get, and it will finally be done. There's a long ways to go on it yet.

The crocheted afghan is going to be waiting a while until I get the lap quilt done, because the quilt is for Christmas for Mom with any luck, and the afghan is for here. I don't really need another afghan here, but I have so much scrap yarn laying around, I might as well do something with it that's pretty and functional at the same time. The nice part about today is, it's only 6PM, and everything barring putting away the still-warm laundry is done. I say still-warm, but realistically, it's still pretty darned hot, and I prefer not to burn my hands while putting it away. I couldn't get at it right away anyhow. Bouncer's decided that warm, clean laundry in the basket is a nice place for a kitty to take a nap, and I really hate to wake him up when he looks so sweet.


Friday, September 26, 2014

Just books today

Because my brain is fried and I'm pooped and need a nap. I'll write more in the next day or so. Hugs, all.


Thursday, September 25, 2014

Happy birthday, Grampa Max

My grandfather would have been 89 today. He passed in 2007. I still miss him so much. He was special to me and to so many others (the church was crowded as all get out for the funeral), and I have many fond, happy memories of him. He served in World War II, fathered four children and adopted nine more, was a pastor (ordained Pilgrim's Holiness, preached Baptist and boy could he preach), and a chef. Grampa Max was just about the best person I knew growing up. I could write so much more about him, but I'm a bit touched for time with having to bum a ride to work with the hubby instead of using my car for a while.

In more positive news, the girls are about to come in the house all by themselves. Tinkerbell is still extremely cautious and won't come past the door all the way in. Raffles, on the other hand, got rather curious this morning and snuck in while I was heading out to feed the girls, and ran around exploring for a few minutes, until she got spooked. I happened to see her when I shut the door, and yelled, "Hey, honey! We have a little visitor!" He asked who it was, and I said, "Raffles came in by herself." He was excited, because he loves her looks and really wants her for "his." He got ahold of her, scared her something fierce, and got himself clawed up pretty good for his efforts. I tried to tell him not to pick her up. But he did get her on the back of the couch, where she crouched, pretty scared. He did pet her for a few mintutes to settle her down, then we let her back out again so she could settle down. He got to feel how soft her fur is, and she is truly soft for a feral kitten. The boys were more curious about her than anything else. It may end up we don't have to trap them, they may end up coming in and staying all by themselves.

The fall garden is doing nicely. The tomatoes are happily putting out the last batch of red globes for my enjoyment, and the rest of the salad stuff I put in is coming up like crazy. So I will have some yummy last-minute-before-cold-weather salads in short order. Hugs, all!


Wednesday, September 24, 2014


And it's only Tuesday, with over three hours towards overtime already. Whew. I need more sleep, haha. Ain't gonna get it till the weekend, as usual. Actually, what I really need is for the business to take off (which ain't gonna happen for a long time, I'm sure), so I can avoid leaving the house. I'm getting a rather asocial in my middle age, and finding I'm happier staying home than leaving it, lol. Social interaction and I are not doing well. Still no word from HughesNet on a bill for this month, so I think once Quentin is outside mucking about with the truck to try to get the driver's crew cab door unstuck, I'll try and muster up some energy to call them and see what's going on with the bill. Then I'll finish getting together for work and nap till it's time to leave. Maybe nap in the truck, too. (Mainly because I love to sleep. I'm a snoozeaholic - maybe I should have been born a cat.)


Tuesday, September 23, 2014

What a day

And it looks to be "what a week." With breakdowns and all at work, it was 3AM when we got done. It's okay, the overtime would be nice, and it's back to cooler weather, so folks are eating more chicken (too cool to spend a ton of time grilling outdoors), and that means more work for us. All in all, it's good. We are supposed to work Saturday again, but there are also rumors of it getting cancelled. Either way, I'll be in good shape. If we work, it's plenty of extra overtime. If we don't, I get my whole weekend to do stuff, relax and sleep. Which I need more of. The stress the last few weeks is starting to bleed off now that the truck is back on the road without the stupid heater core leaking, and while we have no heat in the truck, at least we have no antifreeze dripping, either. I'll deal. Especially if I can get Bouncer to quit climbing into my arms, curling up and purring at me and making me sleepy, haha! One good thing about riding to work with Quentin is that once we are at the plant and parked, I open my window and sit there and stitch on Mom's lap quilt. I have eight more bits of vinery in the middle, five or six slightly bigger bits on the outside edge, and then it's time for nine butterflies. Whew. The batting and backing material have been ordered and are on their way (along with a couple of bibs and two pre-quilted crib covers, to make for sale), so once it's stitched, I can baste, trim, sew, quilt and edge it, and it's done. I still haven't figured out what to get dear daughter! Anybody know of any inexpensive, but interesting or neat piece of musical-themed necklaces for a music major? I'd say "jewelry," but she doesn't have pierced ears, and doesn't wear bracelets much that I know of, but I do know she likes necklaces. For now, though, it's time for a book hunt!!!

Oh yeah, and apparently, Amazon's sharer thing hates sharing to the farm's Facebook page now, so I have to individually post the links, or I have to tinyurl them. I don't like using tinyurl. It's free and relatively painless, but it is time-consuming to copy the link, paste it into the shortener, wait for it to shrinky-dink, copy that and paste that in where the original link was. If I could figure out why Amazon will share to my personal page and the freebies group I run, but not the farm page, it would be great.


Monday, September 22, 2014

It's Monday again

Yay, I get to go back to work. I did get a lot done on Mom's lap quilt yesterday, surprisingly enough, and a few other things got done in the way of writing and such, just not nearly as much as I would have liked to do. I need days that are about a 1000 hours long, lol. I also need a nap, as I didn't sleep too well last night, but there are things to do, so they'll have to get done first and then I can nap in the truck on the way to work. Gosh, I want my car back. Hugs, all.


Sunday, September 21, 2014

Truck's fixed, now for the car

And the truck was an easier fix than it was thought it would be. Putting the bypass elbow in took all of ten minutes. Have to keep an eye on the temp guage for a few days to make sure the hoses and clamps seal on it properly, but otherwise, it seems that the truck is fixed to hold it until the car is fixed enough that the truck can go in the shop for the heater core replacement. That's a tiny bit of stress gone. The car? That's a whole nuther kettle of fish, as it needs at least the radiator, tires and alignment to get it back on the road enough to allow the truck to be fixed correctly. The shocks/struts, rear taillight assembly, and new rear rims are going to have to wait till at least spring. Oh, the joys of driving a car that has no bounce at all when you hit a bump, just a thunk of the skid plate hitting the whatever. (Of course, that the car sits about six inches off the ground normally means that it is going to hit pretty much any bump hard anyhow.)

The garden is pretty well dead. The beans are harvested, and the tomatoes are getting pulled up in the next few days, as what blossoms were starting up again have decided to fall off. No sense letting them keep going, right? The radishes are still blooming, which is insane, so more seed pods are setting and I am letting them keep on going till the pods dry, as my seed saving guide says to.

Needlework is coming along. Mom's butterfly lap quilt top is a lovely piece, but I'm getting tired of all the vine work. There's a lot of it. Pieces of it all around the outside edge, just inside the lettering which names all the butterflies, and then SIXTEEN of the same thing in four diamonds all through them middle of the darn thing between butterflies in the middle two rows. Those don't take long, but that's why the greenery is tiring. So I started on a pair of baby bibs that I'll be putting up for sale for a bit of variety when the greenery gets to be too much. Plus there's always the scrapghan, if all the leakage of the antifreeze didn't ruin the yarn entirely.

And things are slowly going up on Etsy. I had a bit of a scanfest the other day, and got a bunch of small stuff scanned in, then spent a couple of hours editing the resultant pictures for size and such, and am now slowly putting all those goodies (mostly Barbie doll clothes) up for sale. I still have a 20-gallon tote of stuff to get better pictures of to put up. That's not a lot, overall, but it's a good start of things to get done.


Friday, September 19, 2014

Waking up is hard to do

When you've got Chronic Fatigue and Fibromyalgia ... but you do what you gotta do to make it through. Really wishing I could get my disability to go through, but since I can work if I DON'T take medications for my issues, according to Social Security, I must be just fine. Yeah, that's why I am exhausted so much most of the time that I can barely keep my eyes open. Given the opportunity, I'd sleep 10-12 hours a day just to feel awake. Today is one of those days, but I have to work, and we're scheduled for at least a half-shift tomorrow. I'm not complaining about the money I'll make, but I sure would like to get more, and more restful, sleep than I do. Which means not a lot is going to get done today before I have to be ready to leave 90 minutes earlier than I like to, just so hubby can get "the perfect parking spot" at work ... bah. At least I can take my needlework with me and sit in the truck once we get there, and work on Mom's lap quilt. I got a little bit done yesterday after we got there, but man, I'll be so glad when the car is back on the road (which will be a while - a new radiator alone is going to run nearly $200!!!) Time for other stuff and maybe I can snooze on the way to work.


Thursday, September 18, 2014

Busy day already

Hubby's off to Harrison to run a few errands, and he'll be back in a while to finish getting ready for work so we can both head in. I'm grateful for my job. It may be boring as all heck, but since they moved me to a different section of the department, I don't have to worry about aggravating my tenonitis, so it can heal up, and I also get to keep working while avoiding both doctors and surgery of any kind for a good long while if not permanently.

Scanned in a bunch of the small things I want to put on Etsy so far in about a 45-minute spree. This allows me to just set up listings over the next couple of weeks at one or two a day without having to set up the printer all the time. Love my little Canon, as it prints, copies and scans. Doesn't fax, but since I don't have a landline anyhow, who cares? With having had to do the picture spree this morning, I may or may not have time to do some actual stitching on Mom's lap quilt top, but since I'm riding with Quentin all the time now, till the car is fixed, I am taking that crocheted afghan with me to work on in the truck and for a bit after we get there, till I have to go in to be ready for shift. I don't see the point of going in way early just to get a better parking spot and socialize.

I'm not against socializing, but we don't hardly ever see these people outside of the plant, barring maybe five minute in Wal-Mart now and again, and we don't spend time with them outside of the plant, so why go in and be all sociable with them before work, and talk about our life's story? I'm rather introverted anyhow, and that just kind of annoys me that Quentin wants to go in hours early like that to socialize and "make sure he's not late." Seriously, he needs to get a grip. Getting there two and three hours early ensures he's there on time, but also that he has no life. Silly, you ask me. So I'm of the stay home and get things done type, go to work only long enough to work, and come home. Most of the folks I work with, I have nothing in common with besides work anyhow, and the majority of them don't like to do much but gripe about work when they do socialize, so to me, there's really no point to it all. Go in, work, go home. End of story. I have lots better things to do than gripe about my job, especially since I like it.

So, a bunch of stuff scanned, other things getting done, little by little. Yeah, my life is pretty good today. Hugs, all - I need some brunch!


Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Vehicle woes and musings

Well, this is turning out to be a week for the record books. Now the car is broken down. Ok, realistically, it's been working towards this for a year. The shocks and struts are shot (believe me, driving on the rough mountain road is not pleasant on the butt), the tires are almost to needing replacement, and it really needs an alignment. But ... today, I was actually grateful hubby didn't feel well and took the day off. (He has a bug that's floating around the plant, to which I am generally immune, thankfully.) I got about two miles from the house, to near a church with a paved rear parking area. I figured with the alignment off, I should probably check for wear and so forth on the tires on level pavement. While doing so, I noticed a wisp of steam escaping from under the hood. NOT a good sign.

Upon popping the hood for a quick look, I discovered that the spot we've been patching for a year with Bars Leak has gotten to where that won't cut it now. Right where the passenger side of the fan shroud meets the radiator ... just a tiny pinhole, but it's bad enough that I didn't feel safe driving like that. I could easily blow the radiator and then poof, scratch one compact car. Called hubby, and for once he answered the phone instead of me having to call several times. Told him what was going on, and that I would limp back home. Temp guage wasn't getting over half anyhow, which is normal for the Aveo. He pulled together to drive me to work, and we made it with five minutes to spare. Of course, this meant he also had to come back after work to pick me up, but hey, at least we still have one really good running vehicle, and one we can sort of run if we keep an eye on the antifreeze levels and all ... though mostly, my car is going to sit until we get him running again properly.

I can't complain though. He's got nearly 140,000 miles on him since he was made (2006 model, so nine model years old), primarily due to the multitude of 90-minute one way road trips I had to make years ago for various things every other weekend. (Pickup and dropoff for my son's father to have his visitation - which I never could understand why he wanted it, because he usually spent it working and left my son with his wife, instead of spending time with the child.) Make those kind of round trips the equivalent of every weekend, and it racks up the miles quiiiick. But most of my car's parts are all OEM off the showroom floor, and with wear, tear, and general time, it's about time for some mechanical issues to crop up other than brakes once or a tune up once in a while. Now we're going to get into the big stuff, little by little. Once repairs start costing more than a car payment would, it'll be time for little Victor to retire to car heaven. So that's car stuff. Thank goodness we got the Dodge, because it is going to be our primarily/only working vehicle for a while!

As for musings, I tend to think that my life is pretty boring. I got a number of private comments on yesterday's post, all saying how exciting my life is. I don't see it myself, but hey, if my life is that exciting to you, more power to you? What amazes me, though, is all the people who say they wish they could live like me but that they never will because ...

Really? You say you'd love it and you're going to excuse it away? Sorry, not buying it. If you'd love it that much, you'd find a way to make it happen. If you can find excuses, you are romanticizing it, and not understanding the reality. The reality is, my life is a freaking hard slog most of the time. A day off is a treasure, because I get to run errands and play catchup on all the things I don't have nearly enough time for during the week. I get maybe half an hour a day to an hour tops for "hobby" stuff, like my needlework, and the rest is work, eat, sleep and do my darndest to build up my business. Easy life? Not a chance. It's a lot of work, and it's exhausting. But it's worth it to me, to have the things I really enjoy.

We're not talking the latest and greatest cellphone (heck, mine is a flip phone, for heaven's sake, and I'm probably lucky it has a camera in it!), I cook at home, I do puzzles and puzzle book and needlework to relax, I work my fanny off cutting woods and weeds and clearing trash and doing housework. Sweet talk yourself into it all you like, folks, but the harsh reality of it all is, the great majority of you wouldn't last a month living the kind of life I do. It's just "too hard" and has "too many deprivations and disadvantages." I'm not saying that to discourage you.

Indeed, I encourage everybody to put in a garden, learn a useful skill, etc. You never know when stuff like that will come in handy. But please don't romanticize my life, or that of any other homesteader or farmer. It's not romantic and all happy-happy, joy-joy. It's WORK. Pure and simple, it's a lot of work. You think a regular 9-5 job is hard? Try homesteading and add that on top of all you have to do as a homesteader. What I wrote yesterday about a typical day for me? Yeah - try all of THAT for a week or so and then tell me how easy I have it. I'm not bitter about these kinds of comments, really I'm not. But like most-well meaning commentary, it's critical and unkind in a backhanded manner. Anyhow, I'm actually doing this one before I head to bed, since my days at home will be noticeably shorter now. Hugs all!