Self-Sufficiency Series

Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Chuckle du jour

A friend sent this.
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A Harley biker is riding by the zoo in Washington DC when he sees a little girl leaning into the lion's cage. Suddenly the lion grabs her by the collar of her jacket and tries to pull her inside to slaughter her under the eyes of her screaming parents.

The biker jumps off his Harley, runs to the cage, and hits the lion square on the nose with a powerful punch.

Whimpering from the pain, the lion jumps back and lets go of the girl. The biker brings her to her terrified parents, who thank him endlessly. A reporter has watched the whole event.

The reporter addresses the Harley rider and says, 'Sir, this was the most gallant and brave thing I've seen a man do in my whole life.'

The Harley rider replies, 'Why, it was nothing, really. The lion was behind bars. I just saw this little kid in danger and acted as I felt right.'

The reporter says, 'Well, I'll make sure this won't go unnoticed. I'm a journalist, you know, and tomorrow's paper will have this story on the front page... So, what do you do for a living?'

The biker replies, 'I'm a U.S. Marine.'

The journalist leaves.

The following morning the biker buys the paper to see if it indeed brings news of his actions, and reads on the front page:

U.S. MARINE ASSAULTS AFRICAN IMMIGRANT AND STEALS HIS LUNCH

You Might Be a Redneck If...


Here's another post I just uploaded to The Regular Guy entitled "You Might Be a Redneck If...

And yes, the accompanying photo was taken on our front porch.

A new look to my blog!

Wow, is this shiny and glittery or what? I've been tweaking with my blog layout and playing with some of the fancy-schmancy new options available. What fun!

More prep on the wheat field

Our tractor is still down. This has been frustrating a lot of our farming efforts, everything from filling the strawberry beds to re-disking the triangle pasture to prep it for wheat.

We don't want to spread poison on the pasture where we plan to plant wheat, so the best way to control the weeds and grasses is to keep turning over the soil. Hard to do without a tractor! This is what the field looked like yesterday morning.


Some kind friends actually drove their brand-spanking new tractor over to our house yesterday. We hooked up the disker and my husband re-disked the pasture. Whoo-hoo!





First pass.


This tractor has all the bells and whistles including - no kidding - cruise control. "Hey, I need one of these!"



After. Much improved!

Thanks, Mike and Judy!

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Chuckle du Jour

I lifted this off the WND jokes page. Anyone who's a classical music nut (guilty!!) will find this hilarious.
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The orchestra was playing Beethoven's 9th Symphony at a concert in the park. They were in the middle movements and the choir didn't have much to do. The basses, in the back, decided to run across the street to get a drink at a pub.

It was a windy day, so they used some string to wrap around their music stands to hold their music in place while they were gone. Once at the pub, they could hear the music and keep up with the progress of the piece.

After a few rounds, they decided to hurry back because the last movement of the symphony was under way. They stumbled back onto the bandstand and were fumbling with the string, trying to get the music loose. Unfortunately, they weren't having much success.

The conductor saw them and instantly figured out what was happening:

It was the bottom of the ninth, the score was tied and the basses were loaded.

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Mosquito repellent

Older Daughter has what virtually amounts to a phobia of mosquitoes. (This is obviously a detriment when you live in the country.) It's not so bad during the day, but at night if a mosquito is in her room, she literally cannot sleep. I've been known to come downstairs in the early mornings to find her sacked out on the sofa.

So we decided - purely for medicinal purposes, since she is NOT a frou-frou kid - to get her one of those dramatic mosquito nettings that drape over a bed. I started to price them on eBay when some neighbors kindly donated one they'd picked up at a thrift store. (Thanks, Enola!)

I needed to mend and draw together the center of the net where it hangs. I used first thread, then dental floss (it's stronger), then sewed a cloth tape to make a loop.



Don attached a hook from the ceiling. Our house started out life as a shop, so portions of the downstairs have eleven foot (!!) ceilings. That's why a ladder was a necessity.


Don hangs the netting.


Let the mosquitoes buzz. Ah, bliss!

Yet more random pix

More ravens. I suspect they're hanging around lately because they're finishing off the carcass of our rooster behind the barn.


Magpies. I took the photos from pretty far away at high resolution, then blew them up and cropped them, hence the grainy quality. Magpies are noisy, quarrelsome birds related to jays, and a lot of people don't like them...but I do. They're showy and dramatic and fun.





Math aftermath.

New blog!

My friend Enola Gay was having technical difficulties with her old blog, so she created a new one and moved most of her old posts over. She calls her new blog "Paratus Familia," which is Latin for "prepared family."

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She writes some of the best family essays and observations I've ever read. Hop on over and indulge in her wisdom!

Saturday, June 26, 2010

More random pix

Nebuchadnezzar, Smokey, and Pearly munch on the weeds I throw over the garden fence.




Awwwww.


Who doesn't enjoy a good backscratch?


Found this guy in the garden yesterday. I'm not savvy enough about snakes to tell you what species it is.


UPDATE: A neighbor's oldest daughter reports it's a garter snake.


I found a home for my set of Harvard Classics! There's a weird odd nook (and believe me, our house is full of weird odd nooks) behind the magazine shelf into which the set fits quite nicely.


Behind this wall is my office, located in a weird odd nook half-way down the stairs.

Don decided to tackle the grass jungle. The only option is a weedwacker and a scythe. He started with the weedwacker on the shorter portions of grass.


Major enjoys a little "quality" time with Don.


This is what the lawn looked like after he'd weedwacked the shorter portions. He had to scythe the rest of the grass because it was too tall for the weedwacker to handle (off to the left-hand side, out of picture range). Notice the lawnmower, finally rescued from the jungle of grass which had buried it?

Setting garden posts

We never got around to setting posts around the garden after augering the holes last month, because the weather has been so wet. So yesterday we accomplished that task. (Well, my manly man accomplished it. I didn't do much except help carry the larger poles.)

The poles are 16 feet long. With three feet sunk in the ground, we only needed eight feet above ground. So Don measured out eleven feet...


...and cut five feet off the ends. We can use the ends for other projects.


First thing he did was remove as much mud as possible from the holes using the post-hole digger. The rain over the last month collapsed some of the augered dirt back into the holes.



Hoisting a pole into place.





He used dry concrete mix, which he mixed with the water already in the holes and the dirt used to fill it, making a slurry that will dry and solidify into a good tough base.


Can you see the water in the hole? That's left over from all the rain in the last month.


Mixing in half a bag of concrete mix to make the slurry.


Tamping down the dirt.


Once the poles set, we'll be able to start fencing. It hasn't been too important to keep the deer out up to this point because, frankly, there's so little growing in the garden that it wasn't necessary. Nonetheless, whether or not we have a successful garden this year, a deer-proof fence is obviously critical.

There's a lot of unused (or inefficiently used) space in this area. The fence surrounds both the garden and orchard area. The orchard may not survive. We have a tough layer of clay about two or three feet down which seems to kill any and all trees we plant. All the apples have died. Two of the four pears have died. My four peach trees are not looking too healthy (one has peach curl, but the others are just so darned spindly). So we may segue our fruit-growing efforts into strawberries, blueberries, and raspberries rather than trees.

But regardless, there's a lot of unused room in this area. Over time we hope to box in raised beds for easier weed control and the chance of planting earlier in the season (the soil in raised bed warms more quickly in the spring). We can fit a lot of boxes around the fruit trees (assuming they survive), which will give us additional room for fruits or vegetables.

So - a garden fence is essential!

Chuckle du jour

A friend forwarded it to me. I gotta admit - I laughed til I cried. Tomato juice???
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WHY WOMEN SHOULDN'T TAKE MEN SHOPPING

Like a lot of women, my wife insisted that I accompany her on her trips to Walmart. Unfortunately, like most men, I find shopping boring and prefer to get in and get out. Equally unfortunately, my wife is like most women - she loves to browse. The other day my dear wife received the following letter from the local Walmart.

Dear Madame:

Over the past six months, your husband has caused quite a commotion in our store. We cannot tolerate this behavior and have been forced to ban both of you from the store. Our complaints against your husband, are listed below and are documented by our video surveillance cameras.

1. January 17: Took 24 boxes of condoms and randomly put them in other people's carts when they weren't looking.

2. January 25: Set all the alarm clocks in Housewares to go off at 5-minute intervals.

3. February 5: Made a trail of tomato juice on the floor leading to the women's restroom.

4. February 19: Walked up to an employee and told her in an official voice, 'Code 3 in Housewares. Get on it right away.' This caused the employee to leave her assigned station and receive a reprimand from her Supervisor that in turn resulted with a union grievance, causing management to lose time and costing the company money.

5. March 12: Went to the Service Desk and tried to put a bag of M&Ms on lay-away.

6. March 20: Moved a 'CAUTION - WET FLOOR' sign to a carpeted area.

7. April 2: Set up a tent in the camping department and told the children shoppers he'd invite them in if they would bring pillows and blankets from the bedding department to which twenty children obliged.

8. April 10: When a clerk asked if they could help him he began crying and screamed, 'Why can't you people just leave me alone?' EMTs were called.

9. April 21: Looked right into the security camera and used it as a mirror while he picked his nose.

10. April 22: While handling guns in the hunting department, he asked the clerk where the antidepressants were.

11. May 5: Darted around the store suspiciously while loudly humming the 'Mission Impossible' theme.

12. May 22: In the auto department, he practiced his 'Madonna look' by using different sizes of funnels.

13. May 30: Hid in a clothing rack and when people browsed through, yelled 'PICK ME! PICK ME!'

14. June 11: When an announcement came over the loud speaker, he assumed a fetal position and screamed 'OH NO! IT'S THOSE VOICES AGAIN!'

And last, but not least:

15. June 15: Went into a fitting room, shut the door, waited awhile, then yelled very loudly, 'Hey! There's no toilet paper in here.' One of the clerks passed out.

Friday, June 25, 2010

A little grim humor

BP's Final Attempt....

Random pix

It's the height of wildflower season here in north Idaho. The weather is finally moderating and we're having warm temps, so the flowers are popping like crazy. (So are the weeds in the garden - see below.)

These are daisies, my all-time, hands-down, bar-none favorite flower (they were even in my wedding bouquet). What a blessing to be surrounded by them this time of year!


The mix in our orchard/garden area - hawkweed, daisy, clover.


See all the pretty yellow flowers? Ug - every last one is western hawkweed, a nasty invasive species that takes over pastures and renders them inedible for livestock unless controlled. When we first arrived in Idaho, it was mid-June and I thought the yellow fields were breathtakingly beautiful. They're still breathtaking, but now I know better.


Temporarily bucketing the first batch of wheat out of the freezer. Some neighbors are planning on getting some 55-gallon food-grade barrels and said they'd bring a couple extra for us as well, and we'll store the wheat in those. Meanwhile, buckets work fine.




Lap dog in training.


Sacked out on Older Daughter's bed. What a life.




Younger Daughter found this outside a dumpster, being thrown away. We'll take it in to a sewing machine repair place and see if it can be fixed up. A superficial examination makes us think it's not in too bad a shape. Wow, what a find!


Quoth the raven, "Nevermore!"



My efforts at weed control. My garden may not be growing well thanks to our chilly wet spring, but it won't grow at all unless I get a handle on the weeds. It's such a massive task that I portioned off sections using rods in order to weed one section at a time. It's slow but at least I'm making progress.



Lots of worms, which is a good sign. (Sorry for the blurry image.)


Little by little.