Over the Fence Chat for November

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The past few days have been so beautiful here. I have been getting alot done.

I am soooo sore right now. Friday I cleaned out the goat shed. That's 10x20 with about 8" of crap in it. And to make it worse, it is fused together with hay. AND I have to throw the one half onto the second half in order to get it to the manure pile.

The next day, a trucker brought 6 tons of rock dust for the goat's floor then got stuck while trying to back down my gravel drive. After about 4 hours of piling stone under the tires (as he was saying if his axel was working he could have gotten out) he finally dumped it where he was, which happened to be on the fence. BOING! Fence flattened but he's friend was able to tow him out so I didn't have to pay for a recker. I had to move a pile of wood Glenn had in the way for nothing...twice no less. (once off the pallet, then back on once it was moved)

Started wheelbarrowing the dust into the shed, spreading it, tamping it down, realizing the trucker was right and it wasn't the stuff I wanted. I really wanted shale dust, not rock dust and should have had rock mixed in. (I asked too, never trust the receptionist's opinion) Glenn came home and saw the mess that I would have finished if we didn't get stuck. I wouldn't let him help me but he had to raise a gate and since I put it up in the first place (wrong) he couldn't get it off. (We don't listen to swearing anymore)

The next morning I got Gary to work late because I couldn't sleep since my chest hurt. Always does when I smell desiel exhust. Stayed up the whole night because of worry. (even though I knew it was the smell) I finished moving the dust. It got firmer after I wet it and tamped it down again. (Gary helped me tamp the day before) I put a layer of hay on it and let the goats back in. The next morning they had moved the hay in a few places and dug up the dust to lay in. Never fails.

Today, the physical therapy place we go to complained that we are always late. I orginally told them we would be because I take Gary out of school before his last class (which is gym anyway) and was told it would be okay. The only other time was 3:40 which would make it late. What would we do, go home, turn around and come back? Finally, I told them if it wasn't acceptable, we would have to go someplace else. Suddenly it was okay again. Then Gary reminds me he has drivers education so he can't leave early anymore and have to change the appointment. As I'm figuring that out, I remember Gary also has an orthodontist appointment we had to run to.

I took a hot shower but would really like to be laying in a tub of linament right now. Ohhh, it would be so nice to have someone rub linament in....

Hope everyone is doing well.

-- Anonymous, November 03, 2003


Gosh Dee I'm exausted reading your post! Guess hard work doesn't scare ya much does it?

Well we had our first hard rain and some snow so I raced upstairs to see where my new concrete roof would leak and behold only one small spot!! So far...I'm working on the inside walls. Cutting, stripping, and setting 8 foot logs in place every 3 feet. The idea is to fill between the logs with papercrete. Big experiment. Once I get the walls finished I can start on a big water tower. Pump the water to the tower then it gravity feeds back to the house. Walla!! Running water! Someone set this very clean cook stove on the sidewalk in town so I promply scarfed it up! All I have to do is convert it to propane and I'm in business! I want to cook a turkey when my daughter comes out in May. Progress huh?

Last week I found this radio program of the old "War of the worlds". The program that scared the heck out of everyone in 1938. It was fun..Oil lamps glowing, woodstove crackling and an old radio show!!! Life is good in the mountains......Kirk

-- Anonymous, November 04, 2003

Dee, did you get your idea for the stone dust from Patty over at the dairygoats forum? I'll be interested in hearing if you still like it in the spring. I think I'll end up building some sleeping platforms in my barn to help keep them out of the damp in the spring, the area I'm planning on using for pasture has a little higher elevation so it won't be as muddy, I hope. This past spring/summer was the wettest in 100 years so what I've seen in the fields is the worst-case scenario, hopefully the water won't get that high for another hundred years.

I got an offer on my old house on Monday, but it was a real lowball. I counter-offered yesterday and she has until 6pm to respond. My agent has talked to the buyer's agent several times in their secret real-estate code and apparently the buyer was just testing the waters with this first offer and that my full listing price is still within her comfort zone. We'll see what happens. My mortgage company is being a huge PITA. I want to get a job in their customer service department so I can be as snotty as I want to be. I'm at their mercy right now and boy the chick on the phone didn't let me forget it.

We have had fantastic weather the past two days, with temps in the high 70's. There's a cold front moving in today and it's only in the 50's and rainy. It is November so I guess it's allowed to be cold. :) Keith found the grate for the upstairs fireplace stuck away in the barn so now we can have a fire if we want. The grate is rusty so I'm going to go at it with a steel brush and then maybe paint it with some of that high-temperature black spraypaint.

-- Anonymous, November 05, 2003

My buyer got a case of buyer's remorse and backed out. I'm ready to cry. :(

-- Anonymous, November 05, 2003

Sherri I'm sorry things aren't going so well with the other house!! My aunt is a rel. agent and she's doing decent right know say's home buying seems to be improving!! So maybe some good luck will come your way!!!!

Blessings, Sandy

-- Anonymous, November 06, 2003

Wow Dee!! I'll bet you're STILL sore! That's alot of shoveling for one day...all by yourself. My goats pen is only 10x12 now. Used to be 10x24, but I gave half of that to my horse!! Harry usually helps me shovel out in the spring and we bring our little riding tractor w/trailer right in the barn and fill it up two or three times (depending on how much hay the goats have wasted over the winter!!). The goats aren't too pleased with the noise it makes...but geesh, it's only once a year :-)!! I just keep telling them to take a chill pill, Ladies!

We're having a wet week here. Not too cold yet...just wet!! We finally put some insulation up in our new garage addition. This new addition is 26x30 with a 30 ft. roof (gives us room for the lift). We went all last winter with no insulation and consequently had a pretty good heating bill by the end of the winter!

We still haven't put our garden to "bed" for the year!! We've got dead weeds, rotten tomatoes & squash and fallen down bean poles all over the place. Looks like crap!!! Glad none of you folks can see it. I just don't know where the time goes...especially on the weekends. There's NEVER enough time for NUTHIN'!

Kirk...the thought of sitting around the woodstove with the oil lamps burning while listening to the "War of the Worlds" really, really sounds wonderfully relaxing!!! You and Barbara are so lucky!

Sherri...keep the faith! Your house will sell soon. I can feel it in my bones :-)! Or maybe that's just old age I'm feeling....!!

Gotta go make some phone calls, I guess. My mom is doing much better now and can talk really good on the phone. She'll be going back to the rehab unit of the nursing home soon. I doubt very much that she'll ever be able to live on her own again...but she thinks she will and we all are NOT gonna tell her otherwise!! The thought of eventually going home seems to be "inspiring" her! Guess we'll have to sometime, though.

-- Anonymous, November 06, 2003

Sherri, People shop in the summer but buy in the winter. Don't dispair, it was your first offer. And don't let them talk you into dropping your price yet!

Marcia, I'm planning on opening up the one wall so I will have a double door opening so I can drive the ATV through. I clean twice a year, spring and fall. (I'll take a layer out right before kidding too)

The chest pains came back during the night and stayed throughout the day. My doctor's office didn't have any openings so they suggested I go to the ER. A fellow worker said I should, after all I had good coverage and chest pains weren't something to fool around with. So here I was, hooked up to machines, blood taken, bored silly for three and a half hours for them to tell me I'm okay. Glenn said he knew I was okay because I go through this every year about this time but I didn't remember it being so bad. I have to wait until Thursday to see my doctor for a follow up because he is so booked. As long as I know it's not my heart, I can wait. Actually, it seems that I feel better after I burp so....

Still would like to get the linament rub

-- Anonymous, November 07, 2003

Dee - GERD?

-- Anonymous, November 08, 2003

Gee with folks leaving here, I feel frantic to post something interesting...maybe I should make something up?!!

Okay, here's my drivel for the past few weeks...Where to start?

I told you that I'm taking a 5-credit online class, and that has been taking up a lot of my weekend time. At first, I thought I could get some homework done at the office (because I do have down time between transcribing stuff...have to wait for the radiologist to do his dictation, and sometimes he's got other stuff like ultrasound exams and things in between) BUT the class is "Job Search and Professional Development" and if you knew how much just the title would freak out my boss (i.e.,am I quitting?), you'd see why I don't think I could sneak in a little homework if it meant a risk of getting "caught". (How's that for a run-on sentence, btw?). So I slog through about 6 hours of homework or so every weekend. You'd kind of have to understand our weird office culture to see why I'd need to be secretive (and that's a long, long story for some other day).

Because of the abovementioned, my garden also has not been put to bed! What a mess. It's also been very unseasonable COLD here for the past week...temperatures way below freezing at night. The vegetables and I were both overtaken by the early freeze. I've enjoyed the sunny weather though. Usually Novembers are fairly warmish, with LOTS of rain and flooding. This weather is weird.

My mom had surgery (outpatient) on her hand this Wednesday. She is doing well. I was a bit freaked, as she had gen. anesthesia, and since she's 80, I was more concerned about the anesthetic stuff. Her surgery ran late, so the doc didn't get a chance to come talk to me. Since I hadn't heard anything, I almost went into panic mode, but found out when she was in recovery that the doc had rushed into another surgery. Sometimes I wonder if people consider the distress that the folks in the waiting room might be experiencing, but oh well...anyway, she's doing fine.

Mr. S. and I have also been wheelin' and dealin' real estate. We are definitely going to build in E. Washington. We just purchased a couple more lots over there (we close 12/1) and are also selling some property over on this side (which involves recombining 4 tiny lots into 2 buildable ones, getting the county approval, etc.) to help finance everything. The timing is weird, so we'll have to go to the home equity well or the Bank of Mom for a while. We won't be moving permanently over there any time real soon. Mr. S. is still in school until next fall, etc.

Critters are all doing pretty well. We're down to 16 ducks and about 10 chickens. Still got 6 cats. Still got a couple of rams...need to get re-engaged in finding them homes. Ewes are all fine...eating alfalfa like free cheeseburgers in a high school cafeteria. I'm going to have to buy MORE hay for LESS sheep this year...first it was too dry to grow pasture grass, now it's cold too early...go figure.

I did do one very silly and indulgent thing lately (but I like it and will keep it up at least through the holidays): I hired Maid Brigade to clean my house every two weeks! I can't believe I really did it, but I sure like having the house clean for a change. I'm too busy to keep up with it. (I'm also way broke paying for it!). It's especially nice this time of year (wood heat is so messy....there's always dust everywhere, along with all the debris). My toilets and sinks and showers and floors and stove and countertop and sink and mirrors and closet doors and knickknacks and everything are all CLEAN. Yippeeeeeee

Gee, I'm a real homesteading type these days....!!

Anyway, that's what's going on for me these days. Hope y'all are doing well. I'll try to at least stay current reading here, if not posting, but sometimes I don't have time for even that. I am reading Greg Pallast's book: The Best Democracy Money Can Buy. I was on a 6- month waiting list at the library. Scary stuff. I read that at traffic lights! Definitely time to move to E. Washington!!!

-- Anonymous, November 08, 2003

Sheepish I'll tell you a couple of housekeeping horror stories to make you feel better about hiring a cleaning service. Back when I was married I was working part-time and going to grad school part-time so I decided to get a cleaning service. The first time that they came out, about midway through the day they called me to say my house was so dirty they'd have to come back tomorrow to finish it!

Second story involves my friend Oz. He's a "typical" bachelor, hasn't cleaned his house since he broke up with his last girlfriend about 4 years ago. A couple of Saturdays ago I went over to clean his house in exchange for him coming up her and helping with the drywalling. I worked for 5 hours non-stop and all I got finished was two bathrooms and the kitchen. So see, you're not that bad! :)

-- Anonymous, November 08, 2003

I was thinking of hiring someone to do my bathroom and kitchen floor. I can't handle the chemicals that are needed to really get it clean. Whenever I clean them, I feel sick for a while, even if they do look good. And while they're at it, I wouldn't mind them dusting and vacuuming either : )

-- Anonymous, November 09, 2003

Dee, I clean everything with this stuff called Simple Green. It's a concentrate that you can dilute or use full-strength. It says on the label that it's biodegradable. I wonder if it would bother you?

-- Anonymous, November 10, 2003

Polly did you go to the farm show? How was it?

Dee if you're done with that linament I'll take it now. :) I raked leaves and hung drywall yesterday and boy my back is sore today. I think the leaf raking is a losing battle. I mainly just wanted to rake up a big pile that I could set on fire. I love the smell of burning leaves and you just can't do that in the city. I discovered that the leaf vacuum chops up the leaves very nicely. I'm thinking about chopping up a bunch and spreading them where I want to have the garden next year, then putting some cardboard on top so they don't blow away. I'm just carving a spot out of one of the fields so I need some way to get rid of the grass and weeds growing there now.

Our friend Jason came out again yesterday and we got all of the top sheets of drywall hung. Keith and I should be able to manage the rest on our own. I bought one of those one-piece corner shower units with my birthday money from Mom and Dad to put in the downstairs bathroom. I'm hoping that Keith's dad will be able to come out and help us install it because we're clueless. We also need to install a vent fan. I don't think that the way Keith wants to do it is going to work, but I'm taking a wait and see attitude and maybe he'll prove me wrong.

-- Anonymous, November 10, 2003

I have a problem with Pine smells so Simple Green is no good for me (I tried it)

Wear latex gloves when you start spackling. Really saves your hands and nails.

-- Anonymous, November 10, 2003

Hey all! Hope everyone is getting to where they feel a bit better!

Sherri - yep, laying the leaves down where you want your garden to be will work; you'll probably need to tack down the cardboard somehow to keep it from blowing away tho.

Yep, we made it to the farm show - after a killer 3 day stretch that included hours in the ER with Pop and a blood pressure that wouldn't go down; and back-to-back 16 hour shifts. The farm show was great, sure hope I get to go back next year. I attended a bunch of seminars and farmer's forums - including one where a guy demonstrated building a moveable hoophouse for chickens. Got to see a bunch of critters - I really, really wanted to bring home a turkey trio; but since Pop and Hubs had talked me into taking Pop's car to the show...well, I wasn't brave enough to stuff 'em in the trunk for the ride home. Wouldn't mind to have some of those standard jacks either, but I don't know a thing about breaking and training, so that's probably a no-go. I bought a new hoe for the berry patch, some homemade soap, buckwheat honey for Pop, elk and buffalo jerky and I don't know what all else - haven't made it to the bottom of the tote bag yet! Got lots of literature to scan through this winter as well.

I was disappointed in John Jeavon's short course (the one I had to pay extra to attend). First, it was supposed to be about Mini- Farming; and I kept waiting for him to talk about farming but all he ever talked about was this 4,000 sq foot garden that would provide a complete diet for one person, plus something to sell to provide income. Guess his idea of mini-farm and mine are miles (or acres!) apart. Then he said that we couldn't grow enough food to feed the world unless we all started gardening and eating his way (gee - I thought it was a transportation problem, not a production problem); and he quoted a bunch of statistics that were, at best, incomplete; and, at worst, deliberately misleading. And if you didn't agree with him; well, you were just too afraid to face reality. Oooookay... Don't think I'll be rushing right out to plant some tree collards or burdock any time soon. Then he got on to a kick about sustainability. According to him, if you bring anything on to the place; you aren't sustainable. But then he talked about selling stuff off of the place for income (and the hilarious thing is - he was talking about selling cut flowers! Oh yeah, we ain't got no food to eat, so we're going to buy some flowers to set out and look pretty while we're starving...), and it seemed to me that if you're selling things off and not replacing them, then you're operating at a net loss of humus. I decided that as long as those city folks keep bagging their leaves up for me, and as long as the sale barn and stable will give me manure; well, I'll be happy to take it and not give a rat's rump whether I am sustainable or not.

Okay - rant over! Jay, I wish you'd come up to the show next year and do a seminar on worms - the worm lady didn't show this year and there were about 50 unhappy people sitting there waiting to hear her 30 minute talk. Bet you'd pull in a bunch more for an hour long seminar.

The rest of this month is going to be pretty hectic for me - lots of extra shifts on the schedule. Hubs has taken over the cooking; and quite a bit of the other house maintainence as well. I'm not going to be happy if he goes back to work! He came home from the motocross track with 3 motors to rebuild, 2 bikes to lower the suspension on (if you can't touch the ground, you have a tendancy to fall over; and dirt bikes are taller than street bikes), plus another monstrosity (750cc bike motor in a 4 wheeler frame) to fine tune for sand racing for a guy that Hubs describes as "having more testosterone than sense". Guess we're going to have to be looking in to incorporating too, Marcia.

Well, I reckon I'd better get off here and get going on my laundry. I've got to go in for what's supposed to be a 4 1/2 hour shift tonight; then Thursday, I go in for a root canal, followed by a perm; then Fri/Sat night shifts - and I can't remember what happens after that! You folks all take care this week; stay warm!

-- Anonymous, November 12, 2003

I killed Keith on Tuesday night. But don't worry, he got better. :)

We were playing D&D and I made a serious miscalculation with my "Call Lightning Storm" spell. I killed Keith outright and knocked a couple of other people unconscious. Oops! Fortunately I have another spell that can bring someone back from the dead, (but only if you cast it on them within a minute after they die) so I'm not too badly in the doghouse. I did feel guilty about it though. :)

Polly, too bad that lecture wasn't what you expected. I got one of his books out from the library and it also was all about how to grow enough food to be totally self-sufficient. I don't want to work that hard, or be a vegetarian either. The Acres USA conference is here in Indy next month. Sally Fallon is giving a half-day workshop that I'd like to attend, but since it's the only thing in the program that interests me I don't think that I'll be going. I think I'll save my money and just stay home and read her book again.

I've been lurking on a fiber arts forum and it's really got my fingers itching to give handspinning another try. It's also got me wanting some angora rabbits, and maybe some pygora goats to go along with the Mini Mancha's I want from lurking on the dairygoat forum! :)

-- Anonymous, November 13, 2003

Re: the Acres USA conference...Yeowch! A bit pricey; tho I must admit it looks to be a lot of good information. I have to work the 11-13 anyway. Bummer.

-- Anonymous, November 13, 2003

Its been quite a while since I've posted. Feel a little guilty sometimes about it so here I am again.

The garden this year, if you wanna call it that was a total flop--- due mostly to lack of interest and laziness, not to mention a very dry summer. The pond level was down about three feet below normal.

The otters had gotten all of my adult sized fish last summer but I saw a buncha babies this summer so at least they left some seed for a new crop of fish. A buddy brought some bluegills over from the river but they got munched too by the otters. Way back when we transplanted several water lilies from the nearby lakes and they've done very well but untill this year they had never self-propagated. This year several new plants showed up. I'm happy to see it because it gives the fish a little bit of structure.

I've been selling some doves now and then. It helps pay the feed bills but mostly just working at my job and making firewood.

For the first time I'm actually ahead of the firewood curve. I cut, split and stacked 12 1/2 cords to completely fill my woodshed. That'll last about two years I figure. Last year was just nutz. I got a deal on some wood late in the fall, then cut and split it by hand as needed thruout the winter. What a pain in the ass that was. The wood wasn't as dry as it could have been and as a result I actually burned more wet wood than I would have if it'd been dry.

Its not like this was news to me but firewood, despite the lower cost, is a huge amount of work. You have to handle it so many times.

I'm in the process of accumulating the components to build a firewood processing machine. When completed it'll hydraulically load the log up on the table, saw the log where the pc will drop off the saw table onto the splitter, then off the splitter to a conveyor. I've pretty much got the design principles worked out in my head and have managed to scrounge alot of free hydraulic stuff.

I just bought a buzz saw rig with a cute, very old, hand-crank start four cylinder engine. The engine doesn't have compression so I'm gonna rebuild it this winter. Thats what's gonna drive the wood processing contraption. Everything is gonna work off hydraulics. Thats what I figure on doing this winter in the shop---rebuilding the engine and figuring out some way to put an electric start on it.

This year I got a call from the town chairman. It seems one of the snowplow operators was complaining about the length of my driveway. They charge two different rates for plowing, one for shorter drives and the other for longer drives. I guess they were charging me for a shorter drive but my drive was too long for the short drive rate. Anyway they were gonna put me on the price elevator so I bought a plow truck. I figure I may as well do my own and get the job done just the way I want it, plus save a little money too.

So far the boiler has been working flawlessly this season and the hot water preheater works real slick. I turn the power off to the water heater when the boiler is operating because the preheater is all I need. I figure it saves me about $25/month on water heating costs.

-- Anonymous, November 13, 2003

Nice to hear from you, John! I often wonder how you and Chris are doing. This year was just pretty much a lousy gardening year for a lot of us - even I didn't go at it tooth and nail as I usually do. Too bad about the otters getting your fish. Are your ponds deep enough to toss Christmas trees in? That's what we do around here to provide cover - they even do it on our big lake. Gotta pick all the tinsel off first tho!

Yep - all that work is the wonderful thing about firewood - the old saying is that it warms you twice - once while cutting and once while burning. I give it a few more times of warming me than that - cutting, splitting, stacking, hauling it in, burning, and hauling the ashes out! On the plus side - you sure don't need to go work out in a gym when you burn wood for heat!

Unc stopped by yesterday afternoon as I was getting ready to head out to the dentist - asked me if I wanted his banty chickens. Yup! He's been fighting a bum wrist for the past month - first they tell him it's broken, then they tell him it isn't. Now they tell him it is; and they've got it casted, but now they're going to take the cast off here in a couple of weeks and pin it. Sheesh! The medical profession irritates the dickens out of me sometimes!

We've been enjoying the results of lazy gardening this past week - the chickens have discovered the frost killed tomato vines in the garden and are cleaning up that mess for me (hate the smell of rotten tomatoes!) - I'm sure I'll regret that one next year, but the deep orange yolks on the eggs sure do make some pretty noodles and baked custard! I also walked down to Unc's garden and saw where he'd cut cabbage but left the plant in the ground, the plants have 5 or 6 baseball to softball size heads on them - tasted mighty fine with a ham hock and some big old carrots and an onion from the garden. Now, if I just had a grain mill, I could have had farm fresh corn bread too, instead of some from a box!

Well, Hubs went to deliver one bike and came home with another one in the back of the truck! He's made enough $$ this week to cover his expenses for November and December; plus has a line on a part time job as well. Things are looking good!

Well - gotta go; Pop needs to use the phone! You all take care!

-- Anonymous, November 14, 2003

Hi Polly: I get exhausted just reading about the business of your life.

I forgot to mention that I lost about 15 lbs during the firewood project. Every weekend for about a month and a half was spent on it. It sure gets you in shape.

A tip for lazy gardening. Chris takes an unpicked, overripe tomato, punctures it and squeezes the seeds out into a shallow trench. Then covers the trench, then the row with clear plactic. The following spring the seedlings come up and we transplant and thin them. I thought she was nuts the first time she did this but it does work.

-- Anonymous, November 14, 2003

Aww man - you mean I gotta go fight the banties for a rotten tomato so I can try this?! 'Cause you KNOW I'm going to try it, don't you?!

-- Anonymous, November 15, 2003

Sounds like everyone is getting alot of fall work done!

Mike and I finished the chickens house yesterday. Now please don't tell me what horriable chiken parents we are but they have not had a "house" for a year. When we built the new pen we just didn't have the money to build them a closed in house so we got some big traps and completly closed in the back protion. It keep out the rain and and the little bit of cold we get here. So know they have a fine home and it's pretty barn red.

Today we are having so much fun..... We have to change oil in the car and truck and replace the power steering pump in the car. I have a 21 year old ponitac bonneville.It was bought off the show room floor and never sat outside,the vinyl top is in such good shape no one can believe it's 21 yo!!Still drives like a dream just slowly needing new parts here and there. My dad just put a new motor in it 3 years ago. It was my Moms who gave it to me and Mike since we need a car for his kids. I have a s-10 but putting 4 people sometimes 5 wasn't about to happen. I guess Mike's hard work around the homeplace paid off!! My wouldn't take a penny for the car saying "Mike does so much for us!!"

So what is everyone doing for Thanksgiving?? My mother-in-law is coming to spend it with us at my parents. They will be staying a couple days. I can't wait!! They are so fun to be with!!! My Mom likes cooking for large crowds and enjoys seeing the table filled with people, actually 2 tables filled plus the bar!!! LOL

Well have a great week!!!! Sandy

-- Anonymous, November 16, 2003

And here I am, too. What to report . . . my life is boringly repetitious.

My arm (victim of the dog's idiocy) is not 100%, even yet (happened at the beginning of September!!). But, it is a LOT better. Sometimes it's close to normal, other times it gets stiff from sleeping, and sometimes, the muscle just decides to fail all of a sudden. Very odd. Acupuncture has helped it a lot.

Weather-wise, this has been another weird fall -- cold, then warmer, then cold, etc. But, I've only recently noticed the geese flying south, so that's not too early.

Hey, did you see the eclipse of the moon when it was full. I must have had my head in a barrel, coz I didn't know it was going to happen. But I went out with the dog and saw it starting, so I went out periodically to see the progress. Eventually, it was high enough that it was over the neighbor's rooftop and I could just stand in the dining room and look at it from there. That was certainly warmer! :)

Had a somewhat unsettling experience the other night -- took the dog out for her final potty run about midnight, and as soon as we got outside, I could hear someone "talking". This is not unusual in warm weather, but in cold weather it is. The longer we were out there the more I heard it. Dog did too, coz she kept looking in that direction. I began to think it sounded like someone looking for a lost pet, but then, it started sounding like someone calling "Help!"

Well, I couldn't stand that, having gone to investigate a similar situation a few years ago and finding a woman pinned under her car (she was rescued and was fine). But, I wasn't about to go walking around in the dark looking for someone (not to mention that if there was a dog lost, my dog would just make things worse). And it was very foggy. So I loaded the dog in the van (for company and intimidation, if need be) and drove around slowly with my windows down a couple of inches. Couldn't see anyone or hear anyone, but when I got back to the area where we had been on foot, I heard it again and it still sounded like someone yelling for help. So I called the police. They came pretty quickly (must have been a slow night). They walked and drove all over (they have GOOD flashlights), but couldn't find anyone. They did say that they heard someone too, as if calling and whistling for a pet, but never could find anyone. So, they thanked me for calling and left. And that was that, but I felt badly for the person out looking for a pet. :(

Well, what else . . . I wanted to go up to Julie's for Halloween, but the weather up there turned to freezing rain, so I didn't. She is computerless at the moment, having somehow gotten a "trojan" called belt.exe. I couldn't find out much about it. Her Norton anti-virus caught it, but said it couldn't quarantine it or delete it, so she's just taking the computer in. I hope it doesn't mean she has have everything re-installed!

Well, I guess that's about all that's going on with me. Boring is good, I guess! :)

-- Anonymous, November 17, 2003

As of today, I am a licensed MN food manufacturer! Yay! :)

-- Anonymous, November 18, 2003

Um........I am not ellwanger (!) LOL!

-- Anonymous, November 18, 2003

Sherri! This is the time for fiber arts! I agree, and I miss it SO much. I did get my knitting out the other day and have been doing some in the evenings, and I've been drooling over homespun patterns for mittens and gloves and hats (time to make presents). I think it's time to get *spinning* again, too.

Ellwanger (!), congratulations!!! Do tell us what your new status lets you do!

John. Wow. Blast from the past. I'm glad you posted....I've been wondering how you guys have been doing!!!!

I think I found homes for the last two rams. I'm going out to check the place out on Thursday morning, and hope to have them relocated over the weekend. I think my life will be much easier, although I'll really miss the lambs (not so much the lambing, docking, and castrating for sure, tho!).

I went to church last Sunday. I haven't been for SIX MONTHS. Madness, you say? Well, we have a Buddha statue on our back porch; prayer flags hanging from out hot tub pavilion; and we are planning a Solstice party...(don't tell Pat Robertson! snort...). Anyway, it was good to go back...I was SO burnt out from the leadership positions I have held (for forever, it seems). Nice to get back into the liturgy, symbolism, and definitely the music. Nice to watch somebody else be layleader, food-drive coordinator, moderator, etc.!

Polly, you are one busy woman! Mr. S. is looking at those back-to- back 16-hour shifts for the future. However do you manage????!!!

Dee, I cleaned out the ewe barn on Saturday, so I have some small idea about soreness. I had been babying my wrist for a while, so I let the bedding pile up. Yikes. I am very thankful that I bought the stall mats last year (?). With the monsoons on us (yes, the weather returned to normal pattern, but it's back to freezing by the weekend), the barn would have otherwise turned into a mushy mess.

Gotta run. Maybe I can do a little homework or something. Take care all!

-- Anonymous, November 19, 2003

SNOW! We have at least 3" of very very wet and heavy stuff on the ground. A big surprise. The rivers are already at flood stage, so this should be interesting when everything melts. The snow is pretty, though! Lost power last night and this morning. It's back on now. Good day to go to work late; traffic will be snarled for hours. Hey, maybe some knitting.....

-- Anonymous, November 19, 2003

Wow!! Lots of "old timers" checking in - Neato!! Okay - now can I talk everyone into starting one new thread each sometime over this next week?! Anything at all - just to see some action on this board! Y'all are my favorite on line crew - any other board just ain't the same!

Congrats EM (or whoever you are!) Got your website up, or will it be a while yet?

Joy, how is Blanca? Did you have a hassle with the condo board? Sorry to hear that you're not yet 100%; sounds kinda like a compressed nerve?

Sheepish, my arthritic hands are longing for your hot tub! We have been promised "city" water next summer (and for the past 35 years - sigh!) but for now, our water situation is such that even a soak in the tub is out of the question; it's a five gallon shower or nothing - and you really hate to ask your friends "Hi, can I come over to your house and take a bath?" Jessie has a big, deep, jacuzzi tub in her apartment; and now that she lives alone, I may just have to borrow it sometime - does seem rather indulgent to drive 12 miles to soak in a tub, no?

The 16 hour shifts are not so bad while you're there working; it's the commute that's the killer - trying to stay awake, especially on the second day. Now that Hubs isn't tied to a town job, he can drop me off and pick me up on the second day - he stops by his Mama's after he drops me off and does chores for her; and we pick up feed on the way home after he picks me up the next morning, so it's not too self indulgent - as though not risking falling asleep at the wheel is a self indulgent act! I try to get in a good nap the day of the first shift; come straight home, shower, and fall into bed, get up just in time to swill some coffee (Hubs has my lunch packed) and head back in. When I get ready to leave work that second morning, I do some brisk exercise shortly beforehand - walking while swinging my arms, jumping jacks, sit ups - anything to provide enough adrenalin to get me home! I seem to be immune to coffee - it won't keep me awake for the drive home - lots of water or juice (and a full bladder!) do a lot more to keep me awake!

This week is another 60 hour one, but at least it's 5 - 12's, so it's not so bad - except the census is up and the patients are more nuts than usual! Or maybe they just seem that way because I'm out of kilter for working day shift the last two days! I've got another dang dental appointment this morning; then work tonight again. We're going to try to get up to Unc's and pick up those banties Thursday afternoon - I want to go during the weeks so that we can stop by the Amish bulk food store to pick up some oatmeal, ham base and spices for holiday cooking. Shotgun deer season starts Friday and runs through the weekend, so Unc and his grandsons and a couple of friends will be down at the cabin; I have to work Friday and Saturday night anyway. Unc is going to help Hubs find his stash of metal siding so we can maybe build a bigger chicken house.

Hubs set some banty eggs in the incubator yesterday, but I wasn't home to give instructions so I'm not sure if any will hatch. He put the eggs in, then plugged the incubator in - we've been trying to get the temp set right since I got home last night. He also forgot to put water in the hygrometer, but I filled it this am, so I'm hoping that it's okay. Not really sure what we're going to do with more banties, but what the heck!

Whoops - Hubs just informed me we need to leave in 5 minutes; so I reckon I'd better post this and get going - you all take care this week...

-- Anonymous, November 19, 2003

I just haven;t been able to find a chunk of time long enough to post lately! The "ellwanger" thing is just too freaky weird for me to think about, so I ignored it, but here's the story:

In the parking lot at the shop we have weird things to greet us almost every day. A few days ago there was a pile of papers on the stoop; looked like someone emptied a box or drawer from an attic. The letters were addressed to a house down the block. Some were from 1926! Birth announcements, confirmations, bills, pictures; seems like precious stuff to someone. So instead of calling the police (Mpls police are NOT

-- Anonymous, November 20, 2003

(whoops, trying to type too fast makes me hit wrong keys!)...........

are NOT people I want to contact!) I decided I'd try to find the relatives of these people. I went to white pages to find anyone with the name of "Ellwanger" in MN, did a little searching.That is the only time I entered that word into the computer (at work, laptop there). I did not enter it uncapitalized. How the freakin heck it ended up as my John Hancock at this forum is too weird to comtemplate! I don't like it one bit! No one I have asked has any clue so far!

My license means I can now legally produce food for sale. I ain't ready yet, there are so many details involved in this I cannot believe it, but it's also very exciting and fun. Brenda does have an order for me from work though that I will fill; she brought in some muffins for a party for taste testing and several people wanted to buy some and gave lots of raving reviews, even some not on low carb diet, so that was good.

Yesterday we went to pick up stuff we bought at an online auction, Filled up a 24 foot truck and two cars, and have to go back today with the small van cuz we couldnt fit it all. It was a huge muffin factory that went out of business after only two years. They bought ALL NEW STUFF, unbelievable! Had to be millions and millions of bucks. what a waste that now all those people are out of a job. auctions are always fun and sad at the same time.

But good for us at the auction! We bought stuff we would have just ordinarily bought a bit at a time, as money started coming in, but the prices were beyond passing up. Biggest workload yesterday (thank goodness for my farm-raised good-workin girls......they were offered jobs at a warehouse by someone who manages one for a local service station chain cuz they were such good workers! ..smile proud mama) was 324 cases of muffin 6paks. We paid 1500 dollars for 23,000 dollars worth of these! Unbelievable! and that's just one item. I havent gotten to figure out how much we save all together, but its a considerable amount, and how we needed that boost with start up costs! My piddly bank account for the business, most of which was saved from farm sales profits, is down to almost nothin, and we are determined to get this on the ground without borrowing any more than we already did for the building.

We would love to buy a delivery truck (freezer) but will attempt to get by with the little van, coolers and ice paks for the winter months, and see how it goes.

Gotta run.....got meat to pick up from my local farmer too. They're doin what I was and it's great to have all that wonderful grass-fed meat in my freezer again, and not for very reasonable prices. Later, all! Hugs to everyone.........

-- Anonymous, November 20, 2003

We're supposed to get up to a foot of white stuff tonight..........:(

Coming soon to a neighborhood near many of you............

-- Anonymous, November 22, 2003

Uh, yeah, since my neighborhood is usually right in line for whatever you get! I don't know about a foot, but snow -- other than a few flakes, this will be the first for here (this season). Sure did enjoy the one day this week that hit 65 and was partially sunny. {sigh} Why is it so hard for this region to have temps in the 60's? We seem to plummet straight from the 70's into the 50's. Foo.

Polly, Blanca is doing pretty well. I don't have much fun on the walks, watching her all the time and anticipating what is coming down the street, etc. I'd rather walk along like a space cadet, thinking of other things, but, oh well! She still instantly goes into bark & lunge mode over other dogs, but the next second she seems to re-think (my verbal reminder helps). Probably never be perfect but there is lots of improvement. Of course, none of the complainee's have seen this in action. I haven't encountered any of them out walking. :-/ She impressed several other people who complimented her on being so well behaved (for the moment anyway!). Her digestive problems seem greatly improved too (I have an herbal powder to put on her food).

I met with some of the other condo folks who were concerned. It was actually quite cordial -- we were all nice to each other anyway. I maintained my cool and explained what I was doing to improve her behavior without being apologetic or submissive. I'd already heard from the manager that she was okay so far.

My arm continues to get better, though it is very slowly so I don't notice it daily, just all of a sudden I realize that I'm doing something I couldn't before.

Nothing much else has been happening around here.

EM, perhaps a nice used freezer truck will "fall into your lap" at fire sale price sometime in the future. You really lucked into the one sale, so maybe you'll be lucky again! :-)

Nice to see John again too! {waves}

-- Anonymous, November 24, 2003

Yes, Joy, I"m confident the right vehicle will come along when we are truly sure what kind would work best.

Actually that sale was not the first thing to fall in our laps, and I doubt it will be the last. On Friday I was doing a search on ebay for muffin pans (of course there were a million of em at that muffin bakery but they went beyond my maximum and can be easily found anyway) and came upon a muffin depositor, which I know (I should say knew, I know a bit more now) almost nothing about. So I did a little research, talked to some restaurant equipment folks, called the manufacturer and found a very helpful fellow who went to the ebay listing and told me what he thought of it. Said there were two pieces missing which were parts one removes when cleaning and are easily replaced for about a (gulp) thousand bucks, and that the machine looked brand new. So I kept my eye on it and last night I bought it for 202 dollars. Shipping will be a couple hundred. How much does it cost new? Ten thousand! Even used I found two that sold for over 8 thousand. I'm not even shocked anymore........things just fall into place when you're focused (or obsessed) I guess.

It is 11 degrees here this morning, windy and sunny, and we are white. Have to go find someone to plow out the parking lot at Betsy. I have had plenty of pre-snow offers to clear the walk from neighbors already, so I think I may take one of them up on that offer today. We're on a corner and the buiding is long so we have lots of sidewalk.

Joy, sorry about your dog troubles. sometimes pets are a bigger pain than they're worth, at least to me right now. I will not be replacing mine when they pass that is certain. Cat shat in the shower last night, has never done that before. Pyrenees loves the snow, but then she comes in all soaking wet and I have to lock her in my office cuz she refuses to go into the garage. Then she whines and claws the door. Then when she's dry, she wants to go out again. I have no patience for this right now, these everlasting toddlers. The little dog isnt much trouble but the big one seems better suited to the farm.

OH well, enough whining. Cheers!

-- Anonymous, November 24, 2003

EM, have you seen the commercial on TV where the guy is chasing his pet pug all around the city? He finally catches up with the dog riding in a taxi. I think of you and your little dog when I see it.

Right now I'm struggling with the decision to euthanize my oldest cat. If she was in obvious pain it would be an easy decision, but as far as I can tell she's not in pain. I wake up every morning and hope that she's died during the night so I won't have to make the decision. I can't leave her home alone when we go to Michigan for Christmas so the issue has to be resolved one way or the other by then.

Still working on the basement. We got the vent fan for the bathroom installed yesterday and started working on the shower. I've been working on taping and mudding the drywall. It was hard at first but I'm starting to get the hang of it. I got a sander attachment for the shop vac so I won't have drywall dust throughout the house when I sand. I now have an extra incentive to finish because I volunteered to host a baby shower at the end of January.

I may have to go to Washington DC next month for a meeting with the FDA. I'm just so looking forward to flying the week before Christmas...NOT!

-- Anonymous, November 24, 2003

Whew! Two whole days off work! Whatever am I going to do with myself?! Oh, let's see - today, a perm (that I had to cancle last week r/t the root canal) and a haircut this afternoon; preceded by a major shopping expidition for the stuff I'm going to fix for Thanksgiving, feed for the critters, and a stop by the used book store (I still have $$ left from my birthday gift cert to spend!) Tomorrow, getting food ready for Thanksgiving. Thursday daytime, dinner with family. Then another three day stretch at work - 12, 16, 12 - ugh!


I volunteered for a dayshift yesterday. I need to have my head examined!! I hate, despise, abhorr day shift! For one thing, it's too light - both inside and outside. For another thing, there are too many darn people there - and most of them are just in the way! The social workers and intern, case manager, rec therapist, director - they all have their own offices, but where do they congregate? Yep - right smack in the nurse's station! Blocking the way to the phones, the computer stations, the file drawers, the med room, the water pitcher, the dynamap, the supply cabinet - you name it, they're IN THE WAY!! And then, to top it all off, they saddle me with a rent-a- nurse who can't do admissions or put physician orders in to the computer, AND a new RN to train who also doesn't have computer access! Instant Ellen. (My evil twin; I'll explain it sometime.) I asked the boss - "What're you trying to do, see if I can run off another one?!" I must have scared him - he kept coming by and saying "Are you all right? Can I do anything for you?" Yeah sure, ya wanna go eat some lunch for me.. and then take a leak for me on the way back, wouldja? He offered to go get my lunch (which I had brought with me) but drew the line at spoon feeding me while I entered orders, or finding me a foley cath. Some help he was! I did finally get to go pee at 2 pm. Good thing I hadn't had time to drink anything either, or I would have been really miserable! I got revenge by mentioning that there was an opening for a prn nursing house officer in the morning; and in the afternoon, I mentioned that I had run into Bob from the 4th floor in the elevator on my way to lab and he said they really missed me on med-surg. I'm really going to have to find that voo-doo doll again....

Farm wise, everything is going pretty well. Still haven't managed to get the soybeans in to town to the elevator - got to do a little patching on the truck bed first, so that we get to town with some of them left in there! We went up and picked up Unc's banties - somehow, I had the impression that he had 8 of them; turned out he had 15! We loaded them up, then drove on out to the pump shop to see if I could get new rollers for my wringer washer. No luck, but did give a pair of banties to the Amish guy that ran the shop! Unc had one mean little rooster and he was doing his damnedest to kill Hubs while he was trying to get him out of the pet-taxi, so we ended up just dumping him out on the ground. He freaked - he'd never been on grass, or out of a pen, so he didn't know what to do! He figured it out soon enough, but he isn't mean to people now; just tries whipping up on the other chickens. One of our big old hens got him down and stomped him good, so his manners have improved a bit, anyway! Otherwise, there isn't much going on, farm wise. I still have a couple of rows to chop weeds out of, out in the berry patch; but seeing as how the ground is frozen, it may just have to wait -like maybe until spring! We will have to mulch the berries as soon as the ground is good and frozen - you mulch them after the freeze to prevent them from heaving out of the ground with the freezing and thawing, not to protect them from the cold, so you do it when the ground is frozen so that they will stay that way. Also need to mulch the rhubarb; and maybe a covering over the asparagus bed as well. Still a little clean up work to do in the garden, but nothing essential, just cosmetic. It's just almost time for settling in with the cocoa, catalogs and graph paper!

Well, I need to go check my e-mail; and then write a list for town. You folks all take care, stay safe if you're out on the roads this week/week-end - when I give Thanks this Thursday, you all will be one of the things that I'm thankful for!

-- Anonymous, November 25, 2003

Well, I had a cold....now it's stuck in my chest. I'm trying to cough up a lung to get it out. Can't talk much because I start coughing. It was kinda funny answering the phone "Don't hang up, I've got a cold" I don't like to take over the counter stuff but had to take something so I could sleep at night. Just some syrup.

Sad thing happened. A fellow police officer that Glenn works with died on the job the other day. He was on a motorcycle chasing someone who was running from him. From what I understand, he tried to cut off the minivan and it ran the stop sign. Never had a chance. The driver jumped out and took off too. A citizen and teenager ran after the guy and got him (the teen started beating the guy) The driver said he didn't kill anyone so the citizen dragged him back and showed him. Really bad thing was this guy should have been in jail for drugs but the sentence was delayed. He was driving his girl's van while suspended. The city next door volunteered their off duty officers to cover the city for the wake and funeral. The whole force was there and the firedepartment. They had so many people show up that they shut down the street and shuttled them in with buses from a supermarket lot. They had a float with his motocycle on it and a riderless horse with the boots backward. Also a 21 gun salute and bagpipes. He was a good dancer and so funny ...

-- Anonymous, November 25, 2003

Tearful, and mad; Dee. God damn druggies. God damn selfish people.

Tell Gary that we're sorry; and thinking of him and his fellow officers. And tell him we said "Thank-you" too, please.

-- Anonymous, November 26, 2003

Duh - make that Glenn. Mind wasn't working again. Hasn't all day; I've been moody and edgy; not like me at all.

-- Anonymous, November 26, 2003

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