Sunday, June 23, 2024

Freezer fiasco, hay hauling, and horsing around

I'm too pooped to party tonight, but maybe I can manage sitting in my recliner and typing on my laptop.

Today saw the conclusion of a game of musical freezers. Our dead one sat in the basement until Rick and Brian got back from Texas and could move it out, load it up and haul it off, then pick up an old freezer someone wanted to get rid of. Rick plugged that one in, then bought a new one for the clinic to replace the old one there, plugged it in to get it cold, moved the fruit he'd salvaged from our dead one into it, then loaded it and hauled it home to keep fruit frozen until we could move the used freezer into place – only to discover that although it made running noises, it wasn't cold. So we decided to keep the new one (loaded with our food) for ourselves and get another new one for the clinic. Rick and Brian unloaded it, moved it into the basement, plugged it in . . . and Rick noticed the ground fault interrupter outlet was tripped and needed to be reset. In other words, we may have paid to trash a working freezer after scrambling to salvage all that we could, gone to the trouble and cost of hauling, cleaning, and then trashing a dead freezer, and then paid for, loaded, and unloaded a brand new freezer. Ouch. Lesson learned; ALWAYS check the GFCI buttons!

The next heavy-lifting job we needed to do after the Texas trip was haul hay; our local producer has had first cutting orchardgrass waiting in the barn for us. Fortunately today was a not a scorcher for the job, and between the three of us we got 150 bales moved from trailer to barn. We still have quite a bit of last year's hay to use up, but fortunately the sheep are eating it almost as well as the horses. Good; that means we can buy more first cutting, which costs less per bale, and less second cutting, which costs more.
last year's hay on the left; lovely 2024 hay on right

official hay inspector at work

Between two loads of hay this morning and one this evening, Rick and I went to watch the tail end of a big hunter/jumper show at which some of his clients were competing. It was quite the set-up, and lovely weather for it. Stella would not have fit in; all the horses I saw were calm, tractable, and mellow. Still, I planned to ride later, but by the time we moved the last 50 bales into the barn all I could manage was a photo.

At least the same person who wanted to get rid of her old (dead) freezer also had some tomato cages to give away. There were two big "wire snow cone" types, which always seem to topple over when the plants get big and heavy with fruit. There was also six of a type I've never seen before. They fold flat for storage, but unfolded make a sturdy square cage, quite an improvement over any other tomato cage I've seen. I replaced all my flimsy little "snow cone" types, moving them to support the peppers and eggplants that never get as big.

A couple miscellaneous 'treats' follow. First, the swelling buds on my littlest orchid (which just finished blooming), with the big bouquet on my African violet in the background:

Second, I got to watch a female hummingbird work over a fuchsia at the adult care home where a friend of mine is living:

That's it for now from . . .

Tuesday, June 18, 2024

What goes in must come out

The couch provides better scale; they don't look so big on the wall!

After driving ~1700 miles straight through by taking turns at the wheel, my guys got home at 11:00 last Friday night. Saturday night Rick brought in two of the three things on my list to bring back – the bigger set of longhorns and an antique German wall clock that had hung in my parents' living room (item #3 is a four-drawer file cabinet; our two-drawer file cabinet has long been insufficient for our record-keeping). We knew where the longhorns would go, and installing them was quickly accomplished. The wall clock needs some work, but we know where it will likely hang. That left the vast majority of the truck and trailer contents to be unloaded Sunday so the rentals could be returned by Monday morning, so for Fathers Day, Rick and Brian worked on that. Brian loaded his pickup with tools to take to work, Rick stored a few things here and there, but a lot of it is now taking up his parking bay in the garage. At the end of the day, Brian invited a couple friends out to drool over his 'haul,' and they started a campfire under a fiery sky:

In order to move the file cabinet upstairs to the bonus room I needed to clear the way. First, the stairs. All three of us have put books there instead of carrying them up to the library shelves (along with papers to file, etc.), but the shelves are full to overflowing already. So I pulled a bunch of books to take to GoodWill, along with clutter from elsewhere like old toys and sports equipment; the first load got donated on Monday. Next I cleared off and around our two-drawer file cabinet so it can be moved out and the four-drawer can take its place. I'm hoping that will happen tonight, so tomorrow I can file a lot of papers lying in stacks around the bonus room. Step-by-step, my One Big Thing of 2024 is moving forward! Here are the before and after photos of the stairway:

We had another cool, wet weekend (Sunday didn't reach 60°!) that's transitioning to summertime temps in the upper 80s. My garden doesn't seem to mind the roller coaster; everything is growing well. I took progress photos of both this morning, pulled some weeds, and ate some delicious parsley and tender kale for my efforts.

I'm getting excited about Black Sheep Gathering coming up the last weekend of this month. It's the 50th anniversary of the event, so several "Jenkins junkies" (those who love to collect and use Jenkins Turkish spindles) are making a special effort to come, and quite a few of us are making up 5g bundles of fiber as trading cards of sorts. I'm proxy-shopping again for those not fortunate enough to be able to shop for these special spindles in person, and providing transportation from the Portland airport to Albany for a 'junkie' flying in from Germany. We might even swing by here on our way so she can meet the sheep. ๐Ÿ˜

That's it for now from . . .

Thursday, June 13, 2024

Let's hear for the boys

Tuesday I trimmed hooves on a dozen sheep (all but the lambs). I don't handle the boys much, so haltering each was a good opportunity to remove coats (Sanson needed a bigger size), look them over with a critical eye, take photos, and evaluate how well they reflect my goals.

First up is Bijou, one of Blaise's 2023 twins. He is reserved by the fine-fleeced, polled Shetland breeder from whom I got Spot. We plan to trade sheep; I'm hoping to get a katmoget from her.

Next up is Sanson, who I got in trade for a ewe lamb last year to replace Spot as my new flock sire. All the boys are in excellent flesh, but Sanson is bigger in size and build, as befits his almost-namesake Samson.

Finally there is Bench (I traded his twin sister Bailiff for Sanson). Bench strongly resembles his sire Spot, and his micron test results from this spring blew me away: his AFD is 20.6ยต, and his 'Comfort Factor' is 97.3%. He is for sale, as he is too closely related to all my ewes but Bridget to use here. But if he's still here this fall I'll happily use him on Bridget and let him keep Sanson company. (Sanson's test results aren't far behind, at 22ยต AFD and a CF of 96.6%.)

The other 'boys' have been busy in Texas this week. The huge pile in the back yard is trash from Dad's shop to be hauled away by Mom's wonderful next-door neighbor. What's left in the shop may well be sold with the place (to the same neighbor), but at least one can walk through it now. As I feared, though, the 'candy shop' proved irresistible. They filled a 16' box truck with 'treasures' to bring home and left late yesterday afternoon, only to suspect they were overweight. Sure enough, they had to turn around and spend another night at Mom's. But did they jettison some of their load to get down to the 12,500 lb. weight limit? No, they rented a trailer and are moving the excess weight to it! ๐Ÿ˜ณ๐Ÿ˜ณ๐Ÿ˜ณ Heaven help me (I'm going to need it).


On my way home from work Monday, I noticed a 'committee' of eight turkey vultures along the road, one of them in the horaltic pose; so cool! I took a photo from the car but the light was behind them, so I drove past and turned around. That made them move, but not far. 

First daylilies blooming outside,

and an explosion of blooms on my African violet inside:

My littlest orchid's blossoms have finally shriveled up, but it has new flower spikes growing. Encore! Encore!

Trying to accentuate the positive at . . .