It’s never as easy as it seems

Finally something blog worthy – last year I sort of rested on my laurels (or my fractured spine) and didn’t get much done.  This is the year of catch-up.

I’ve been here 4 1/2 years (really, doesn’t seem possible) and never had the septic pumped.  In fact, I have a general idea of where it is but I’m not really sure.  I call the guy who did it before as I have the old work slip.  They give me a song and dance of how I need to have it dug up for them.  Hey what???  I’m 64, fractured my spine last year and I’m not going to go out and dig around anywhere from 2 to 6 feet to find a square foot opening.  Then they quote me an outrageous price to come do it for me.  I’m like well, let me think about that.  She says she will check with her boss to see what they can do.  Shouldn’t these septic things have a lid sticking up somewhere that you can see?  Most I’ve seen do.  I traipse on over to my neighbors to see what theirs is like.  Yes, they have a ring and a cover and blah, blah, blah.  Ok, I want one of those when they come and pump it.  My neighbor recommends the company who does the school.  Just look for the big red truck.  I give them a call and with no hesitation at all the guy says, “I’ll be out tomorrow and find it and then it will be the next day the come pump it.”  The guy comes and is such a nice guy.  We yammer while he’s poking around with a long pointy pole.  I have a general idea where it might be and it took all of two minutes to find the end of the box and he strikes gold on the first dig.  He says his guy will come pump it Wednesday and he’ll come install a ring and lid on Thursday.  After running around on Wednesday I come home and the whole thing is finished.  Yea!!  One more chore done.  Isn’t this lid the most exciting thing you’ve seen lately?  That’s what I think until I get my next chore done.

Last year my hydrant was leaking or at the least I had a natural spring forming about a foot and half from the pump faucet.  I called around to see who could fix it and got a few someone else can do, I won’t do it, or I’ll charge you and arm and a leg to do it.  It was a very slow leak and it was interesting to see what pond plant would start growing next.  Very interesting to see what kind of seeds are still in the ground hundreds of years later.  I had some plants that looked like they belonged in a swamp.

So, I’m going to the Rockies game and invited a friend from up here to go with me and we’re talking and she said “you need to call Kester in New Raymer”.  She says, “you can’t forget him because it’s pronounced like keester” and we both agree someone’s keester needs to call me back and help me get my pump fixed.  Woo Hoo, another person to call who probably won’t call me back.  Well, I look him up in the book because I can’t forget his name and call Kester in New Raymer and he calls me right back.  Hallelujah!!  He recommends another guy who could come out and dig it up as it was a smaller job.  I guess there are pumps and then there are PUMPS.   “Just call Monty and he will be able to do it for you.”  I give Monty a call and leave a message and think, well, I’ll have a couple of months to wait for him to call.  He calls me right back and says he can do it no problem.  Monty is 25 miles north of New Raymer so he would like to wait until he has another job out here and that’s fine with me.  It’s only been a year and a half that it’s been leaking so no problem.  Monty does the work at the school.  I’m getting a picture that if I need something done I need to check who does it for the school as it seems they are the only ones who will come out and do it.

The phone rings around 7:30 am one morning and it’s Monty saying someone else has sprung a leak and he’ll be out to do the job.  Thanks Don Sheller for having a leaky pump.

There is a knock on the door and it’s Monty and he’s here to do the job.  Woo Hoo.  Let’s get er done.  Lucky for me the 16 ft of fence that blew down is still down because the next thing I know is there is this big ass thing rolling into my yard.  Holy crap – I was expecting a little Bobcat digger.  This thing means business.  Now I’m thinking, oh dear, compacting the leach field, compacting the leach field.  I show Monty where the septic is and we have a discussion about how the septic guy said he had no idea where the leach field is.  It can go this way or that way or straight or be hooked to a Y.  We check to see where it looks greener and decide to come in from the west side as to not disturb the field is possible.  The digger starts digging.  Wow, I’m fascinated by this big huge piece of machinery.  Scrape, scrape, scrape, dig, dig, dig.  Oh wait, what is that?  Ummm, I think it’s the perforated tube for the leach field.  Oh double crap.  How much will that cost me?  Oh no, oh no, oh no.  Well, that will be another problem so let’s just continue and get the pump fixed.  The pump is finally dug up and there are two lines, one plastic running to the south and one metal going to the west.  I run down in the cellar (I only have half of my hazmat suit on to enter the cellar and wish I had more as there is a fresh dead robin one of the cats has drug down there) and shut off the water.  Hey, why is the water still running?  What?  It appears the pump doesn’t go through the main into the house.  No wonder there isn’t a shut off valve for it.  Ok, I run in the house and call Jerry, the water board president.  In the meantime with it running full blast I take advantage and water all the new lilacs I planted last year.  Jerry runs over and shuts off the water at the water meter and sure enough the water stops.  Monty is like, “I sure hope it’s not coming through that plastic pipe because those are not the best option”.  We turn the water back on and Monty says &*(&#*&#*&#(*.  Well, to tell the truth that was my thoughts as well because it’s coming through the plastic pipe.  Who knows what fun you will have digging up things that could be 50 years old or more.  To make a longer story shorter Monty rigs up some pvc pipe thing that will compress the line so he doesn’t have to dig back three feet to get enough bend in the plastic pipe without cracking it which would be a whole new problem.  The job is finally done.  Hurray!  I have a brand new shiny red hydrant faucet.  Turns out it wasn’t the hydrant that was leaking, it was the connection but the new pump is really purty and might as well replace it since it looks like it might go at any time.  Oh boy, the old one will make a cool garden accent.  You know a product is good when you look at who made the old pump vs the new pump and it’s the same company and you know the old one has been there for fifty years or more.

Ok, heavy sigh of relief that is fixed and pray plastic pipe will last forever.  Yes, it will I’m sure of it.  That would be a wild goose chase to find out how that line was laid.  Now, what are we going to do with that leach pipe?  It’s not wet at all so we’re not even sure it’s the current working pipe.  It could be from an old one long ago.  It’s discussed whether we should backfill it with rock or try to put it back.  It doesn’t look like it was hooked to anything.  Oh wait a minute, yes it does.  Ok, let’s put it back.  Monty measures it from where he caught it with the backhoe and digs down and keeps scraping away until we’re just about where it slipped out.  Monty’s wife Sandy who works with him gets a shovel and pokes around and finds the end of the pipe still in the ground.  Hmmm, it’s really dry here so maybe it’s not the working pipe but I just had the septic pumped and it’s not full yet so who knows.  Monty digs across for the length of the pipe and lays it back in and reconnects it where it came off.  Hey, looks ok to me.  It came from there and is going back to there so if it is working it should keep working and if it’s not working it doesn’t matter.

Three and a half hours later it’s time to load up the big machine and get on to the next job for them.  It’s just never as simple as you think.  I really enjoyed meeting them.  Nice folks and his wife and I had some fun conversation about gardening and who knows what else we yammered about.

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Septic pumped, ring and lid installed, check.  Leaky hydrant fixed, check.  Now, if I can get someone to come put in some new posts for the fence and convert one of those panels to a gate that will be another chore finished.  MUST get the frame part of the house painted this summer (at least that and then stucco needs lots of patching and repainting).   It may take me all summer to find someone to do those.  Hmmmm, I wonder who does it for the school?  Oh, and I still need to get the last room painted in the house (the kitchen). And then have someone come take a look at the wall where the stairway is.  I have someone on the lookout for someone they know that could take a look at that.

 

 

 

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I Love a Parade

Now, I’ve got that song stuck in my head.  “I love a parade”.  The bad part is that is the only phrase I remember and it keeps going around in my head.

It was such a nice day yesterday.  60 degrees and the wind died down.  I got up and got around because today was the last day my friend’s daughter Jordyn is barrel racing.  I want to make the last ride of the competition.   I know today will be the day to get “the picture”.  The arena is pretty dark but with the time change and a bright blue sky I’m hoping the light will be better inside the building coming in through the windows.  Awards have been won the first two rounds of the competition and hoping for good results today.  We take off with the big truck pulling the trailer.  We drive to Ft Collins to the CSU equine center.  Lots of horses and trailers today.  Jordyn won money the first two rounds so hopefully today when all is said and done her overall average over the three competitions will win her a buckle.

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The horses ran well today and there was no trauma except a bra getting caught on the saddle horn and ripped off.  Times didn’t put her in the money today and no buckle was awarded but two out of three runs won money so hurray for Jordyn.  Great job.  Lots of practicing, expense and dedication to this sport.  A scholarship in the making!!

I run home and rescue the pot roast in the crock pot.  I bought a roast from John and Denise who bought the steer and fed the steer and watered the steer in zero weather sometimes.  Wow, is it tender and great tasting.  Nice knowing how the beef was raised.  Oh well, I throw it in the fridge.  No time to eat it.  Eaton is having a parade!

I drive over to Denise’s (next door to where I was an hour ago).  We hop in the car and take off to Eaton to see the Parade of Lights.  Oh boy, this should be great.  I love small town parades.  Tractors and vintage fire engines and snowplows and front loaders and semis all loaded with beautiful lights.  How crowded will it be?  When will we need to get there?  Well, no problem there.  We get there 20 minutes before the parade starts and we could have driven right up to where it passed but we parked a couple a little bit away and walked a few blocks up to the parade route.  That was nice.  Lots of houses decorated in Eaton so was a nice walk.  Just another benefit of living in a small town.

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MERRY CHRISTMAS TO ALL!!

 

 

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Flowers Bloomin’ and Bees Buzzin’

Wow, the summer has almost come and gone.  I just looked and it was May last I posted.  Where has the time gone?

Did I get any painting done?  NO

Did I replace the cellar door? NO

Is the hydrant fixed? NO

The main activity this summer is how to get around the construction on the main road in and out of here.  Lots of detours and planning on when and how to go somewhere.  Even if you find a way around there is always something to stop for.

 

Last I posted I had just picked up the bees and put them in their new home.  Yesterday I get up and think “man, I really need to get another box on the beehive.”  At the end of May which was one month after installing the bees in their new home I inspect the hive.  They have a few frames with brood and comb.  I decide it’s time to put on the second brood box.  This will be their winter store of honey to make it through our cold winter here.  I get the second box and put it on the hive.  I come inside and decide to look and see if it was the right time to put on a second box.  Oh no, the first box should be 70% full.  Was it?  I don’t think so.  Maybe I should take off the second box and wait a little longer.  I go out and there are already bees all over and inside the box.  Oh well, guess I’ll leave it and I’ll find out later if I made a mistake.  Two weeks go by and I go take a peek and ye gads, the second box is almost full of comb.  I guess it wasn’t too soon.  I have one honey super that I haven’t used before so I put that on the top.  I’m so excited.  Sometimes when you have a new colony of bees it takes them all summer to make their winter store so there is no honey to be harvested the first year.  I will have some honey  Hurray!!   If they are making honey that fast I need to be prepared to add another honey box which I dont’ have.  I make a run to Copoco’s in Ft Collins and I get another honey super and 10 frames and foundations.  While I”m there I am asked if I would like to do some honey comb.  Well, heck yeah, why not!!  I get five regular foundations and five foundations for honey comb (meaning they have no support so when they are filled with comb you can cut through them and box it or however you would like to package it).  I get home and I paint my super and I put the frames together (no easy task I find out).  Then I go to put the foundations in.  The regular ones are a thin plastic coated with beeswax with metal supports on the end and they go into the grooves really easy.  The honeycomb foundations have no support at all.  It’s just a thin rectangular piece of beeswax.  Well, how am I supposed to get that to stay in there?  I dink around and think if I can get it in the top groove maybe it will hang straight.  I take one out and put in the box to test it.  Hey, I need to run to the store.  I go to the store and when I get back the sun has melted the foundation out of the frame.  Well, dang it.  Now I have to go get another one.  All the way to Ft Collins again to spend $8 in gas for a $1.60 piece of beeswax.  Ok, I get it home and I’m going to try and melt some beeswax to hold the foundation in place.  I melt some wax but it hardens so quickly before I can even get it in the groove.  I get the foundation in the best I can and hope that the bees are smart enough to use it.  I’m sure they are smarter than me.  Anyway, I get the box ready, put my bee suit on and go out and put another honey box on the hive.  I know I’ll get one box of honey.  If I get two I will consider myself fortunate to get any the first year.

Here’s the picture from May when I first installed them and what it looks like today.  Those ladies are busy, busy bees.

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Lots of gardening going on here.  I take a little walk around this morning and everything is in bloom.  Feverfew, hollyhocks, red crimson clover, foxglove, shasta daisies, black eyed susans, purple asters, tansy.  All the annual and petunias I planted in the Spring.  The roses and hibiscus are doing great.  The veggie garden is producing the obligatory baseball sized zucchini and I’ve got some acorn and butternut squash coming on and tomatoes and peppers.  All the new plants I’ve put in over the last three summers are looking good.  My cats are gardening cats.  They help me all the time.

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In May I showed a picture of the pollinator garden I put in.  I am wandering around and I can’t believe how well the garden is doing.  I think out of about a hundred plants that I planted I lost three.  One Autumn Sedum is still alive but one stalk broke off and the other is sad and there is a little one coming up but it just won’t match up to the one on the other side so I go to Ft Collins nursery to the perennials sale and get a really nice one half off.  I got all my plants at Al’s Pine Garden.  I needed so many and it was the only place I could find that sold starter size perennials.  After planting I think, well, this year they won’t do much so I can’t wait until next year.  Wow, all the plants are big and blooming.  It’s beyond my expectations.

This is what it looks like from May to now.

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Oh, did I mention I did all this with a fractured spine?  The day we went to a plant sale my back sort of hurt.  We ran around a few days buying plants here and there.  I didn’t think much of it until I was doing this garden.  It kept hurting more and more.  I couldn’t really bend over.  It took me two weeks to do the garden and I called the doctor and went about three weeks after it started hurting.  We thought I had pulled a muscle or something and it would heal within six weeks.  Seven weeks later I had an x-ray and I broke off the tip of one of my lumbar.  Grrrrr.  With the help of my chiropractor the last three weeks I am starting to feel like I don’t hurt all the time and can bend over a little.  It comes and goes but I think I’m on the total mend.  I hope so because there are always weeds to pull.  The dreaded bindweed is ever present.  Hopefully I can get back to Master Gardening again.  My main project is working in the demo garden and it’s hard to do when you can’t bend over.

Here is how to do a pollinator garden in six minutes on my youtube channel:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Br4sim4VgDY&feature=youtu.be

 

 

 

 

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Busy as a bee

It’s Spring!!  A lot going on around here.  Mostly play and no work but sometimes it’s hard to tell the difference.

I can’t really report I’ve been working around here much.  The yard hydrant still has a leak but it’s not costing me money so…..  I call a guy and ask if he can come out.  “well, we’re going to have to bring in an excavator and then I’ll have to charge you $90 each way to bring it out and blah, blah, blah”.  I’m thinking while he’s talking “yeah, yeah, yeah, you’re just telling me that so I won’t ask you to come out.”  He finally says if you need this and that and the other it might be $500.  OK, never mind.  I call Duane in town and he gives me a name of someone local who just might come out and do it.  One guy in town has an excavator but he retired and word on the gravel road is “nope, I’m retired.  Never touching the thing again.”  That was a couple of years ago so maybe he’s softened up by now.  I go outside and stare at the puddle.  Yeah, I really need to get if fixed because it’s becoming the cats watering hole.  They’re all sitting around it like they’re migrating through the Serengeti.

I go outside in the morning and there are two cats intently doing something over by the chicken coop.  Is it a mouse?  Is is something worse?  I go over and say, “Hey, what’s going on here.”  They all jump up and there are four cats.  What the heck?  Oh drat, there is still one female in town that isn’t fixed?  Three Toms are trying to have their way with her.  Poor thing.  You couldn’t even see her there were so many cats after her.  I chase them  all off and they go streaking off after her.  PLEASE, don’t let her get pregnant.  Yeah, right.  I’m pretty sure Mama San has had babies in the cellar again.  I haven’t taken the time to look.  She’s hanging around a lot though and hissing at other cats so I’m sure there’s some down there.  I wish we could catch her but she’s one savvy Mama.  Just can’t get near her.  There’s just too many cats around here  I had 10 in the back yard at one time the other day.  It’s time to find some barns that needs some cats.

Karen and I take off one day and go to Yarn Fest.  Wow, so much yarn candy to look at.  There is only one spinning/weaving place in the center.  We watch a spinning demo on how to Navajo Chain and ply some yarn.  I lust after the blending boards and decide I can’t afford one right now.  I get some cool funky yarn to weave a scarf and some nice fine cotton to weave a bed throw.  The lovely cats are keeping my bed spread filthy laying around on it so I’m going to weave a throw for it that will be easy to throw in the wash.   I haven’t started either of those projects because I found some cool roving to spin (oh gosh, have I done that yet?).  I’m sitting her and can’t remember if I have done that yet because I went and found some other cool  Noro wool and I spun that and then I decided it would make some great fabric for a jacket so I went and bought a really pretty fun yarn to ply it with and I’ve been spinning the alpaca with the merino wool blend and I went and got my fourth quilt block and got that done and then I had some material for Kidz Quiltz and I made a quilt top and then I started knitting some slippers (why? I ask myself).  This is where it gets hazy if I’m working or playing.  Of course I’m doing all this while I look at the kitchen and say “I really need to get this painted.”

Finally some tulips have bloomed.  I’m still waiting for the iris to start popping up some blooms.  Lots of leaves but not much else yet.  Every year I put a little more out and every year it looks a little better.  The clematis I planted last Fall is really going to town.  I’m looking at the other one and it appears to be dead.  Oh no, wait, what is that little tiny green nub I see.  I think it’s going to have a leaf.  Now, it’s about 4 inches tall and really sprouting up so hurray, both survived.

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Those apple trees out front are hanging by a limb.  Last Fall I decided to really go to town on one of them to see if I could save it.  The main trunk is dead for all practical purposes.  There are some new branches coming out above the root ball to maybe there is some hope.  I cut off a bunch of dead limbs and branches as much as I could with a small hand pruner.  I go to Jax Farm Store and I see a nice tree saw.  I’ve really been needing one so I get it and come home and cut the dead top out of the tree.  Doesn’t look too bad and it’s blooming up a storm now  I might even have some apples (if the freezing weather we had a couple of days ago didn’t freeze them).  Hmmm, there’s another one that I hack up but it’s a little late to see if it will do anything this year.  Dang it, as I dig around near the root ball I notice it’s in a plastic bag.  None of the other plastic bag trees lived.  Oh well, I’ll keep working on it and it will either live or die.  It’s got a few blooms and some nice new branches so maybe it will make it.

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Hey, I actually ordered a tree and some shrubs from the Greeley Conservation District.  I’ve been meaning to for three years now.  I barely put my order in on time but the day comes to go pick them up.  I go over to Karen and Bob’s and we head on over to the building on 392.  I get my Native Plum and 30 Lilacs.  I bring them home and admire them.  They are really good looking lilac bushes.  Really green and healthy.  Now, where shall I plant them?

Ok, it’s time to do some real work.  I get up early and get outside.  I’ve decided to plant a pollinator garden so I decide the plum tree can go over in that direction.  I am going to have my two seater glider there, and I brought up my shepherd’s hook that I hang my chimes and bird feeder and decorative fun art ball thing that looks like it’s spinning up and down which is really just an optical illusion (hmmmm, how much crap can I hang on one hook?), and my bird bath (with the handy dandy solar powered pump that I thought was broken but I figured out it had a battery and I replaced it and it works, yea!!).  Oh, and not to forget the cool iron headboard I found at Uncle Benny’s (see previous blog).  I get the plum tree planted and decide I will use four of the lilacs to provide some protection for the beehive I am setting up.  I head on over to the corral and plant four where I think it will provide a wind block for the bees (and hopefully some afternoon shade).  I get those planted.  Then I hand water them with water from the two rain barrels I put out (see previous blog).  I thought it was never going to rain and fill the barrels but it finally happened.  As always it’s a little bit of beauty surrounded by chaos.  Every little bit will help to get rid of some weeds. OK, tha’s only four out of 30 lilacs.  What the heck, I will just go hog wild and plant a whole row of lilacs along the corral fence.  When I finish I’ve planted 15 of the lilacs along the fence.   Karen gave me a clump of tansy.  I split it into 6 clumps and those are my first plants for my pollinator garden.

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Hurray, it’s bee day.  I go over to Karen and Bob’s and we head off to pick up our bees.  We have to go to Evans to pick them up and our time is at 8:00 am.  It’s snowing today of all days.  No snow most of the year but today when it should be warm and sunny for our ladies it is awful weather.  We drive 40 minutes to go pick them up through the snowstorm and when we get there we find out the bees have been delayed.  They had to stop at Silverthorne due to the snow so they won’t be here until around noon.  Well, what to do other than go to breakfast.  We go to the Sugar House in Eaton and have a great breakfast.  Then we head off to Ft Collins so I can get another candy plug for my queen (I got one and promptly misplaced it).  We were told we could stick a mini marshmallow after uncorking our queen (and then the attendants eat her out of the cage because she’s a new queen and if she gets out to quick they will kill her – bees are totally fascinating) but I went to Copoco’s in Ft Collins and they had some candy plugs that I was told should have come with our bees too.  We head back over and the bees have arrived.  We are worried because we have to keep them in the package overnight instead of releasing them in the hive.  It should be warmer and sunny and tomorrow will be a much better day.  We are going through angst and trying to figure out how to keep them warm enough overnight .  At Copoco’s I tell them of my dilemma and they say, “Oh, easy, just take this cardboard box and put your deep in it and put the bees inside the shed and they will be fine.  Well, they were.

I get up early the next morning and go out and the bees are just fine.  They are swarmed around the queen’s cage trying to protect her or at this point maybe trying to kill her if they could get to her.  Until she releases her pheromones and the bees spread it through the hive she won’t be accepted.  I get my bee suit and head over to Karen and Bob’s.  I want to watch them put theirs in their hive.  I get there just in the nick of time.  They are just about ready to put theirs in.  I watch as they take their queen cage and pull the cork out.  You have to put your finger over the hole quickly otherwise the queen will fly away and that’s a whole other problem.  Karen has her finger over the hole and then the candy plug will be inserted so she can’t escape and the other bees will eventually eat through the candy and release her.  This will give them time to get used to her and accept her.  There is a lot of anxiety making sure the queen doesn’t escape during the process.  No, not yet, she at this end of the cage.  Shake her down and try to get te plug in.  No, wait, she crawled back up.  Ok, finally the queen is at the bottom of the cage and the plug is put in.  Then they pound the pack of bees on the ground and the swarm drops and they pour them in the hive.  Hurray, now on to my house.  I get my pack and we go through the same process.  Whew, what a relief that is finally finished.  They are not supposed to stay in the pack too long and with the weather and the delay and on and on we are all glad the bees are finally in their home.  Bees are so fascinating, I could stand watch them for hours.  Just a few guard bees out in the morning in this picture.  I put it on the north side of the chicken coop to protect it from the north winds and hopefully the bushes will give protection on the south.  I will put up some boards on the fence in the meantime while the bushes are growing.  The blue box is their brood box.  As soon as they fill a few frames with comb I will put on a second box.  Those two boxes will be their winter food and where the queen lays all the new bees.  The white box is a top feeder that I put sugar syrup in to feed the new hive.  They’ll need that for a while until they get going.  IF (a big if) they fill the two top boxes I will put on a honey super and possibly get some honey this year.  I”m not rushing them.  I really do it more for the pollination they provide but the honey is a bonus.  I can’t have chickens so the bees are my livestock.

Well, that’s a little of what I’ve been doing around the homestead the last month.  It’s never ending!!  Now,I have to go out and watch my bees.

 

 

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Nothing says silent auction like an insemination syringe

Well, well, well.  Time to blog.  Such exciting things happening.

Around the homestead this week:

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I get up one morning and take Denise for breakfast for her birthday and we decide to go to the Greeley museum.  They have some cool stuff and then we head down to the research library.  We ask for stuff for our little town and there is a ton of old articles and we have a great time going through them.  Lots of stories and pictures of all the old buildings and stories of the boom town it used to be.  We don’t get nearly through all of them before it’s late and we’re pushing out luck for not getting a parking ticket.  It will be fun to go back and continue reading about this area.

I need to get up early this morning to get ready to go to the yarn fest.  Wait, I don’t need to get up at 4:30.  Why am I waking up so early and why do the cats think I need to get up this early  I say “leave me alone” and stick my head back under the covers.

New little Squeaky is such a boy.  I’ve never had a boy cat.  They are definitely different.  Every time I turn around I am saying, “stop dragging around the stopper from the sink, you are such a boy”; “stop scratching the chair, you are such a boy”; “stop spreading the litter all over, you are such a boy”; “stop pulling the drape ties off the drapes, you are such a boy”; over and over and sweet little Sweet Pea just sits and watches.  She won’t go anywhere without him now though.  They are buds.

Squeaky has outgrown his innocence

 

Well, now it’s 6:00 so I can get up  It’s still dark though.  I peek outside and it’s drizzly rain  I can’t complain because we need it to quench the dry thirsty land.  It’s been too warm, too soon.  Wild fires destroyed a town two hours away.  So sad.  Two homes lost and barns full of farming and ranching equipment and the poor cattle.  Surrounded by fire with no way out had to be shot and land owners losing all.  Hay needed for the cattle who survied because the land is burnt.  Thank you for the rain!!

We head out to the yarn fest and it’s really foggy and cold.  Not supposed to be this cold today and not this soon.  Sheep and yak and alpaca oh my!!  Tons of cool yarn and stuff to look at.  I pick up just a couple of things to spin and weave with and then we stop at a great BBQ place for lunch and then on back home.  It’s time to light a fire.  I haven’t had one in a few weeks it’s been so warm but definitely need it to kill the chill today.

We just went for an adventure to Nebraska to the Brown Sheep Wool Mill and I made a wool rug from the yarn I got there.  Turned out pretty nice I think.

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Next morning it’s still raining and drizzly.  It was supposed to snow, then it wasn’t, then it was.  Turns out it didn’t.  Still really cold.  A good day to stay in.

This week I lugged an entertainment center thing from down below.  It’s my prize cash and carry $20 heavy wood cool old thing I bought years ago.  When I get it up here I can’t get it around the corner of the stairs to get a straight shot up the stairs so I give up and call Denise.  I’m sure it will take like 5 minutes to get it up the stairs.  She doesn’t answer so I think she’s gone to town and that takes all day because of course we are 30 minutes from anywhere.  I decide I can take the bolts off the outside and take the shelves and the outside up the stairs separately.  Wow, this thing is really made well.  These bolts are about 6 inches long at least and how many, Oh, I need to take out 15 of them.  Ok, how hard can that be?  I get out my ratchet set and get to work.  Man, have I ever looked to see if there is a ratchet set that fits my drill?  This is taking longer than I thought.  I finally get the bolts out and then I take my rubber hammer and whack out the shelves that are so nicely fitted into the grooves.  Ok, I am getting tired.  Let’s just get his up the stairs and get it back together.  I get it up the stairs and put the sides back on and then I have to lift the inside shelves and get them back in the grooves.  Wow, they came out a lot easier than they are going back in.  I huff and puff and finally get the shelves pounded back in and I get to work putting the bolts back in.  Three hours later and sweating like a pig I finally finish.  Right as I am almost finished the phone rings and it is Denise.  “Hey, I’ve just been sitting here all day, I don’t know why I didn’t hear the phone ring.”  Well, I have been needing to get that up here for a long time and now it is over  Yea!!

Even though it’s a little dreary out I want to head over to Uncle Benny’s salvage yard.  I hear it’s really cool and they have lots of vintage doors and windows and all sorts of cool stuff.  I want to look for table legs to make a table to put my flat file on so I can maybe use it as a work top.  When I get there I can’t believe what I’m seeing  It’s a couple of acres of nothing but STUFF.  Lots of beetle kill wood, old stained glass vintage windows, tons of old doors.  The first thing I spy is an old half of a bedstead.   There is a lone headboard that looks like it might have been a footboard.  Nice heavy white iron with brass knobs.  I have to take a picture and trudge all the way up to the front to show them because it isn’t priced.  They name a price that sounds good to me so it’s mine.  It will be cool in the garden with a vine growing up it.  That is the new pollinator garden I’m going to put in.  I sit and weave and look out the window so I decide it’s a great place for a garden to watch the birds and the bees (I am getting the hive ready to set up again and have my bees on order and just got all new frame foundations for my hive and now I need to decide where to put it – ok I digress).  I see and old ringer wash and I just have to know how much it is.  I take a picture and trudge up front to see how much it is because I don’t see a tag.  Oh man, that’s cheap.  I find table legs but they don’t do much for me so I don’t want them.  I have to drive my car around the loop to go to where the washer is and they load it up for me.  WooHoo.  I get home and plug it in and the motor actually works.  I haven’t fully checked it out yet but if it does work I can wash blankets with cat pee in it and if it doesn’t work I can use it in the garden and plant flowers in it or something.  It’s totally cool.  Picture to come later.

Recently I drug some stuff from my backyard up here that I will put in my new pollinator garden.  My big shepherd’s hook and my Woodstock chimes and a cool art thingy with a ball that when it spins it looks like the ball is going up and down even thought it isn’t.  My dragonfly bird bath is set out there now and it took me an hour to pound the shepherd’s hook into the ground.  I hope it doesn’t take the wind five minutes to pull it out.  Some birds have already found the bath.

I ordered 30 lilac bushes and a native plum tree from the conservation district.  Every year I say I am going to order and I forget but this year I was on time (well, almost, the last day to order).

I’m sitting here contemplating what’s for dinner and Sandy calls and says there is a Rocky Mtn Oyster dinner in Grover for the FFA.  Hmmm, do they have anything else to go with that?  Yes, chicken (just in case).  I head over to Grover with Jerry and Sandy and Ada and I actually eat a few.  Not as bad as I thought they would be (if you don’t think about what they are).  I had more chicken than oysters but thanks to all the new steers who sacrificed their manhood for our dinner.  In the schools up here they have pictures of all the graduating classes back to when the school first opened.  Ada showed me all of her grandkids, great grandkids and it went back as far as when her husband graduated so I saw a picture of him when he was 18.  Her great grandson graduates this year the 100th year of the school so they are honoring the generations of the family that have gone to school there.  Cool!

Along with the dinner is a silent auction.  Now, I just love things up here the way it is just a different set of values and a different way of life.  Some auction items are:

Kenworth t-shirt and bag; Murdoch’s bag; Welding gloves; Peterbilt pink t-shirt and hat; pliers (nice, I could use some of those big ones); a really nice knife with a bone handle; 2 alfalfa bales; Lead Ropes (no, not metal lead, lead ropes for animals); a jack; fishing rod; welding helmet; 2 rolls of barbed wire; trailer hitch; gopher bait; and last but not least, my favorite – an insemination syringe (I’m sure I could figure out a way to use this in an art project if I think long enough).

Well, the yard hydrant has sprung a leak in the line.  My next big project is to find someone to come out here and dig a hole to China to fix it.  Hopefully it’s not costing me much.  I’m forming my own little spring.  If I step just right I can see where the water is bubbling up.  If it’s not one thing, it’s another.

How much more exciting can it get?  Oh yeah, Connie and Jack’s goats had 6 sets of triplets and their final total I think is 32 kids.

Good thing tomorrow is a day of rest.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Congratulations, it’s a boy!!

I got up this morning to snow.  It’s beautiful out there.  I could do without the extreme cold though.  Tonight it will dip down into single digits and tomorrow night into the minus.  If it’s the usual deal it will be way worse or not as bad as they say.  If the wind doesn’t pick up that will help.  That last wind was trying to blow down my fence.

I went out and looked and some screws have popped loose and I don’t think the poles are in the ground very well.  Who knows, they may have broken off at some time but it doesn’t look like it.  I’ll probably find the poles underground someday.  They are not square, they look like tree trunks that were used for poles.  This should be easy, I’ll remove the screws, move the poles and put the screws back in.  I try to move the fence but the next pole need to be moved first.  I get that moved a little and then go back to the other panel.  I try to move it and then the other one bends back again.  I pull the fence way, way towards me so it’s going towards the ground and then I slide one pole back and then go back and the other moves ok but something is just not quite right (actually I did this four or five times).  I try to go to the other side of the fence but the  gate was blown to the wrong side of the latch (not sure how, maybe when the fence came apart and shifted?).  After going around the whole house two times I finally decide I need to fix the gate because it’s taking me way too long to keep walking back and forth.  I have to unscrew the latch from the fence, kick the gate as hard and as high and I can to get the gate back on the right side.  The bottom hinge was ripped out of the fence post by the wind (and it not being on the right side).  I can’t get one little part of the gate back on the other side so I go get a crow bar type thing yand try to pry it back on the other side.  I get it wedged in and with a few good kicks it finally goes back to the other side (that took me a half hour).  I screw the hinge in that has come loose and put the latch back on so now I can get back to the fence (maybe an hour later after starting this endeavor).  I take a shovel and tromp through the snow ( around my cute little white picket fence so I have to walk all the way around, I can’t just walk over to the spot I need to fix and why don’t I have my boots on?).  I remove all the screws that are screwed into air because they have ripped out and remove the outer boards, remove the screws, put the boards back and do it again on the other pole.  The snow is piled up against the fence from the storm so I shovel it all out so I can move the fence back further and walk all the way back around again (thank God I fixed the gate so I don’t have to walk around the whole house).  After two more times of trying to bend the fence over and move the poles back and walking back and forth to the other side of the fence I finally get them back to where I think they originally were.  Who knows.  It looks somewhat straight and is far back enough now that it doesn’t look like it’s falling down.  I take the 2 X 4’s and another old broken pole I found lying around and prop them up against the fence.  I go find some bricks to try to reinforce the poles so when the wind blows hopefully the will not move again.  Whew, that was a lot more work than I thought it would be and after two more trips around the house and then two more back and forth around the little fence I think I got my workout for the day.  So, that is the kind of wind we had up here.  Here’s hoping it won’t be that windy again until Spring.  I think there were gusts up to 70 mph.

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My wood stove is burning away.  Soon I will be able to turn the gas down because it does a really good job of heating the house.  As long as I don’t let it go out.  I get busy putzing around and then all of a sudden I realize I need to put more wood on it sooner than I did.

It’s going to be a great day to stay in and do some fun things.  I went out yesterday and picked up a few pine cones (the neighbors tree hangs over on my side so there were only a few to pick up).  I’m going to dip them in wax and make fire starters.  Maybe I’ll put a touch of cinnamon oil in them.  It will be a test to see if I can actually smell them or not.

I made suet for the birds yesterday.  I just looked out and there are a bunch sitting on the electrical line up above to hopefully they will find it soon.  They will need it during the next two days. My favorite suet recipe is:

In large pan melt 1 cup lard with 1 cup chunky peanut butter over medium heat.  Add 2 cups quick cooking oats, 2 cups cornmeal and 1 cup flour.  Yesterday I didn’t have any flour so I added a cup of bird seed.  You can get creative with it but the lard and peanut butter is a good base.  Put it in the fridge to help harden it. 

I usually use an old square ziploc container (sandwich size) to put it in the fridge to cool.  I only had one so I used one of those, a 16 oz sour cream container, and I needed something else so I took a large size coffee filter and put it in a bowl.  Today when I put it out I just peeled the filter off and threw it outside on a stump for the smaller birds that are more ground or flat feeders.  I have a wire cage that I hang to put some in and cut the square into chunks so it filled the round cage.

Just looked out and I think they’ve definitely found it.

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Thursday last we took cats in to be fixed.  It’s time to take my new little Squeaky (Meow sounds like a squeaky toy) that came in during the blizzard and minus degrees.  It weighs four pounds now and is almost 5 months old so definitely time to get it in and get the deed done.  I’m sure it’s a girl.  It’s so tiny and we held it up the other day and don’t see anything growing.  Denise has her two barn cats she got a few months ago.  They are females and she was pretty sure way out where they are that no male would find them.  She opened the barn door Wednesday morning and a black cat came streaking out.  It had been trapped in their barn overnight.  So apparently they are not too far away from anywhere for the males to find them so she decided it was time to have them fixed.

It’s about 5:30am.  I’m ready to go and decide I will load up Squeaky in the carrier around 6:00.  We need to get going by 6:30 because it takes 45 minutes to get there and if you get there after 7:30 they may have to reschedule so don’t want to be late.  It’s 5:30 and Squeaky is eating up a storm.  She usually doesn’t eat much in the morning but go figure.  I load her up in the carrier so she’ll stop eating.  Sandy has an appointment for 3 or 4 if she can catch that many.  I have an appointment for three, mine and two of Denise’s.  Denise arrives and she has hers in a large carrier.  We need to transfer them into two smaller carriers because each cat has to have their own carrier or they won’t work on them.  I can see why.  Denise and I are in the kitchen and I tell her we need to stay inside until Sandy comes over so I don’t interrupt her.  My phone rings and Sandy yells, I need you right now.  I have Sylvester (a female but named before it had its first litter) trapped but she won’t come out so I need you to come beat on the house (Sandy found these cool houses she put out to insulate and put the food in bad weather) to try and get her to come out.  I don’t know what the neighbor catty corner across the street thought but we were out there at 5:30 pounding on the roof and sides of it to scare the cat out and there was a little more than some swearing going on.  She finally tried to get out and realized she was running to a trap so ran back in the corner.  I found a big branch for Sandy to try and get her out.  Finally after about 10 minutes we got her in the carrier.  She was not a happy cat.  We loaded her into Denise’s car with her other two and I loaded up Squeaky and we headed off to Sandy’s to put Denise’s two cats in the small carriers.   We got that done and Sandy said she wanted to try for one more cat so Denise and I took off and Sandy would be right behind us.  Whew, we got our cats to the rescue spay and neuter clinic and Sandy called and said she was right behind us with another cat.  Yeah, at least she got two.  It’s not the four she wanted but better than none.

We go to have a cup of coffee at our favorite coffee/bookstore in old town Ft Collins.  Bean Cycle.  It’s owned by a brother and sister and they roast their own beans.  Great little coffee shop.  We stroll around to the kitchen store and then it’s time to move our cars.  Parking in Ft Collins is a pain the ass.  Denise takes off and Sandy and I roam around town all day.  When it’s time the clinic calls and the first thing they say to me is “Congratulations, it’s a boy!!”  We could have sworn Squeaky was a girl.  Just personal preference I like girl cats more than boys.  You don’t have to worry so much about them getting their wangers plugged up with the wrong food etc.   Now if he doesn’t go outside and run away like Brother did to Sandy’s house I’ll have another cat.  Since it’s winter and cold outside he’ll most likely get used to being in here so won’t leave.  I would leave too if someone ripped my nuts off.

I smashed my favorite milk bottle on the tile floor this morning.  I’m upset because it was a cool old milk bottle from Longmont Dairy. It had cows on it.  I like to put my milk in a glass bottle instead of leaving it in the carton.  I’ll have to start trolling some antique stores to see if I can find another half gallon bottle.

Well, that’s all the excitement happening here.

 HAPPY NEW YEAR!!

 

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BRRRR – It’s beginning to feel a lot like Christmas

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For purple mountain majesties above the fruited plain, America, America.  Man was it a gorgeous sunrise today.  I am sorry to say it was one day I didn’t throw my camera in the car when I left.  I’m sorry I didn’t .  Stupid me.   To the west the mountain were a gorgeous purple with pink clouds above and to the east there was a yellow line with pink and purple clouds.  When the sun rose the sky turned this incredible violet color.  It’s ingrained in my brain.  I left before light this morning to go down south to Denver and it was a beautiful drive.  OK, that picture was not taken this morning but it’s the best I can do.

I really need to remember to take my camera with me.  I just never know what I am going to see.   Two weeks ago I came up behind a wagon pulled by horses.  A few days ago I was driving down the road past the windmilll and there was a bald eagle sitting on the top blade of the mill.  Last week I had to stop while a flock of chickens crossed the road.  Now, you know I’m going to say it because I thought it at the time.  “Why do the chickens cross the road?”  They were going away from their home.  Stupid chickens.

I finally gave in and put the heater in the cellar.  It was going to dip into single digits at night and then below zero so I felt bad for the cats so I decided I should do it.  I think the lowest one morning was -21.  There is only on little kitten left from the last litter.  In fact, the last two litters from three of the others have all died when a few weeks old.  I brought the last one inside when it was going to be so cold.  It’s getting awfully comfortable already.  It’s taken over Sweet Peas sleeping spot.  She is Sweet Peas constant shadow.  So far so good.  Her other three siblings all died within a week of each other.  She was so tiny and bony.  She is getting a belly now so I think she is going to make it.  She has grown leaps and bounds within the last week.  She was so tiny and now she is jumping the fence.  It’s a rough world out there.  This is Sweet Peas sister or at least half sister.  Notice she has taken over Sweet Peas bed.  When she looks up with that face………  I’m trying very hard not to become the cat lady.

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I’ve been weaving up a storm.  I got my new loom and I made four rugs for Mom for Christmas plus the placemats and table runner.  Oh darn, I forgot to take pictures of the placemats and the runner.  Here is the loom and one of the rugs.  Sitting in front of that window for so long I decided I am going to put a garden outside the window and put the bird bath and feeders there so I can watch the birds and the garden while I’m weaving.  I really need to get that garage/studio built.

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Hmmm, what other exciting thing have happened?  I was sitting at my computer and got a horrible pain in my foot.  For some reason (even thought it was too cold for them) a wasp got on my foot and stung the heck out of it.  I don’t have many white blood cells and after three days it was really ugly so I had to go on antibiotics.  It’s still not cleared up.  Where it stung me is still sore nad red around it so am supposed to be soaking it more than I am.  It’s been a month since I was stung.  There were too many wasps this year.  Stupid wasps.

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I hung up my Ken and Meg wreath again this year.  It’s so windy up here and Ken figured out how to wire it to the door so it won’t blow away.  So sad, Ken had just retired and passed away last January.  I will treasure the wreath.

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Looking back I did accomplish a lot this year.  Got the living room and bathroom painted.  Put in a pathway, expanded some gardens.  I have been quilting every first Tuesday of the month making coverlets for Kids Quiltz to be distributed to disaster areas.  I have been volunteering at the library.  I’m getting more involved in the community.  Started Spinning and weaving.  I went to Wyoming for another FirstLight Workshop (which I really, really needed).  I got the field and brush mower and trimmer which makes life and mowing easier.  The Barn Cats Ladies Society had 16 cats fixed.  It sure cut down on the amount of kittens born but it seems like there is always more.  I feel like I played more than I worked this year but all work and no play makes Patty grumpy.

Everyone have a Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays and a Happy New Year!!

 

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