Monday, November 17, 2014

Last Week in Review

Ah, last week...where did it go?

Speedily, as they always do.

Monday saw the first snow of the season.  It was kind of gross, a lot of sleet mixed into a wet snow.  There were dire warnings of heavy accumulation, but they didn't come to pass, thankfully.  There was still a fair amount of shoveling to be done, but I bought myself a new push-shovel thingie that is quite great.  Oh, you're still out there shoveling, but it's lightweight with a set of hand grips low on the handle, perfect for heaving various sized shovelfuls to the side.

The rest of the week was cold, and long, and grey.  The Ladies of the Coop never set foot outside, as they hate snow.  They will likely spend their days inside from now on.  I don't know why they dislike the snow so much, but there you have it.  My quirky girls are not pleased by the white stuff that has appeared.

Friday was errand running after work, followed by a weekend of dealing with wood.  Lots and lots of wood. So much wood...anyway, the stacks are reappearing which is such a comfortable feeling.  In two weeks time, I went from feeling secure in my heat source to having pretty much nothing and back to comfortable again.  I must say, I really like feeling heat-secure.  Of course, my version of heat-secure means a lot of stacking of wood.  When it is good, dry seasoned stuff, it's not heavy by any means, but it sure is repetitive and wearying.  My back has certainly been talking to me for the past couple of days, not to mention my healing foot.  The continued cold certainly is helping that particular body part.

I have a feeling that this winter is going to be a long one.  Hopefully, we won't get too many more polar vortex episodes and we'll have less snow this year.  I've got my pile of wood, and my new shovel, so I'm feeling fairly ready.  Bring on the snowflakes!

Sunday, November 9, 2014

Funny Story...

So, yesterday I spent the day cleaning up burned things in the yard.  I raked up bits, filled buckets, dumped trash into barrels, and filled the back of the truck twice to overflowing with charred remains of the useful things I had stored in and around my little shed-in-a-box.  After my second run to the local "waste to energy plant" (aka incinerator), I headed up to Rice Lake to fetch a tarp, some tie-downs, and a roll of snow fencing with a host of t-posts.  I didn't bother changing out of my filthy clothes, because I was just going to the hardware store and after that, well, I was going to race daylight and work in the yard some more.

There I was, dressed in my finest: a dirty knitted woolen cap, filthy work gloves, old baggy leggings and neon sneakers, and, topping it all, what I lovingly call my homeless coat.  It's a $3 thrift store find, a giant baggy army green mens coat with a zillion useful pockets and thinsulate lining.  After the day's work, it was covered with layers of dirt, grease and wide swathes of charcoal.  My face and hands were dirty, my hair scraped back and wadded up under my dirty cap.  Usually, I would've at least washed before heading to town, but I figured whatever, it's a quick run and then I'm back to the dirty work.

Oh yeah, I was so stylish.

As I walked into the store, I saw the lady at the customer service desk give me a funny look.  But I grabbed my cart, and wheeled off to find things.  I was on a mission, dang it, and the day was growing short.

While looking at plastic zip-ties, an employee sidled up to me and asked in an odd tone, "Can I help you??"

I said no thanks, and moved along to the tarps and tie downs.  As I picked out a nice big heavy duty tarp to cover the remaining outdoor stuff, a different employee sidled up and asked again, "Can I help you???"

Man, what helpful people...but no, I'm good.

Off I went to the t-post and snow fence section.  This time, two employees came over to ask if I needed help.  That's when it dawned on me.

I was being tracked.

Holy crap.  Because I was dressed like a derelict, they actually thought I was a homeless person.

Because you know, all homeless people raid their local giant hardware store before they erect a homeless person village in the woods.

Of course they do.

And you know, homeless people are all criminals.  So of course I was planning to steal the contents of my cart, wheeling it madly away cackling, dirt flying off my filthy clothes.

Of course that could happen.

So I smiled sweetly, and said nope, I was doing just fine.  I wheeled off, with my entourage following lamely behind, and wandered through Christmas Land for a little while.  I kind of lost them in there, whether because of the blinking lights throwing them off, or because all the people in there shopping for holiday inflatables before snow arrives on Monday caused them to lose sight of me temporarily.  They picked me up again when I browsed the bow and wreath aisle, but when I made for the checkouts, they seemed to realize...

Oh.  She's just a dirty slob, not a weirdo bent on stealing tarps and t-posts and LED lights to decorate a New Age Hooverville in the scrub woods behind the store.

Usually, when I'm in the shop and NEED to find someone, they all vanish, leaving me to ponder the merits of various odd shaped fasteners with my pathetic building skills all alone.  I'm going to remember to dress in my rattiest clothes next time--you sure get a lot of people offering to help that way!

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Happy Things

Things are still pretty crispy around here, although progress is being made wading through the insurance claim's such a delightful thing, I tell you.  Overall, the insurance folks are playing nice thus far, so I have hopes of a quick resolution, repairs happening smoothly, and the process of replacing my charcoaled lawn & garden gear starting soon.  While I wait, to distract myself, I've been watching silly things on YouTube.  Check out this gem:

Eww. LOL.

Sunday, November 2, 2014


Last night, I got a text in the middle of dinner out with friends.  Apparently, someone saw a picture on Facebook that my house was on fire.

Needless to say, I didn't get dinner.  I drove home at 90 MPH, praying that my house was NOT on fire, that my dogs were NOT dead.  About three blocks from the house, I could smell smoke.  Disgusting thick smoke heart just sank into my shoes.

When I pulled up in a screech of brakes, it was to fire.  Evidence of a rather impressive one in the yard, but the house seemed ok.  The lights were on.  The yard was crispy.  Oh, and no one was here.  No note on the door.  Nothing.

After running inside, calling the dogs and finding them smoke-stinky but ok, and then becoming a complete hyperventilating mess for a bit, it took a call to 911 to track down the fire chief.  And then, I had to make a call to the power folks because no one had called them, even though the meter box was scorched.  And then, there was a lot of wandering in the dark, crying and peering at things with a flashlight.

The lookie-loos started very early this morning.  One in particular (a truck of guys with a deer lamp at 1 AM) really stands out in my mind.

When it finally got light, I was able to take some pictures.  It still stinks of smoke outside.  My wood pile is gone.  My bike melted.  My little shed in a box is all warped, burned, and melted.  The side of my house melted.  A window cracked.  My neighbor's siding on a corner of his monsterous garage got warped.  But the sun still shines, the cats are happily wandering around, and everyone is ok.  The rest of it?  It's just a hot mess of burned crap.  I know it'll be ok...once I stop shaking.

It could have been so, so much worse.

Friday, October 31, 2014

Space Jellyfish!

Happy Halloween!

Today, I am spending the day setting up for my annual Halloween Installation.  This year's theme?

Invasion of the Space Jellyfish!!!

I'm attempting to channel the spirit of classic 1950s B-Grade Sci Fi movies, with large plastic "jellyfish" with glowstick eyes, a few spot lights, and some thematic sound effects.  I'll have my usual bonfire, booze and nosh for the grown-ups, and "real" candy bars and bags of chips for the kiddies.  Hopefully, the skies will stay clear and we'll all have a great evening, defending the world from...

Space Jellyfish!!

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

War Continues

Yeah, so the mice saga continues.

I opened another drawer, and out jumped this:

A rodent creature from the depths of hell.

Well, ok.  I exaggerate a little.  But, dang it, when you open a drawer and this thing leaps up out at you and then shoots at warp speed into the back of the cupboard, you too would scream like the first teenage slut to die in a horror movie.

You know you would.

I know I did.

I've reset the mouse traps and put all delicious things into hard containers or the fridge.  If any little monsterous mouse decides to come out from their secret passageways, I've told Miss Vida the House Cat to seek and destroy.  I've also told her to either eat what she catches or leave it for the dogs, but under no circumstances is she to bring it upstairs to my bed.  That is just unpleasant.

The last one, she left dead in my slipper.  A cold squishy mouse in your shoe is not a nice thing for your bare foot to find in the dark of early morning.

You know you'd scream about that, too.

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Fiber Bunnies Update

You may remember, if you've read this little blog for a time, that I have two "fiber bunnies" in my Bunny Barn.  Mohair and Cashmere, the producers of large wads of pretty angora rabbit fiber.  Every year, they shed (or devolve into a hopping hair mat) and I gather up their fiber.  And I put that fiber into a bag, and put the bag away to be spun, in theory by me.

I do like them, but they are not really adding much to the Bunny Barn aside from wafting drifts of shed hair and quiet personalities.  They eat quite a lot, and poo (which makes the gardens happy) but they don't really contribute much.  So I'm starting to ponder: what is the future of fiber rabbits on this particular Farmlette?  I certainly don't maintain them the way that devotees of the fiber would.  Half the time, they hop about with dismal little clods hanging off of them.  (Please, don't think I'm abusing them.  I just don't comb them daily, which is what they really need, and hence, they hairball-up like mad.  And then I wrestle with them once a week or so to pull of the worst of the clods, and experience that everyone just loves.)  I have been wondering if perhaps, someone out there might want them for either wooly fiberliicousness or for a furry garden pet, producing piles of poo for a small backyard garden.  I suppose I should put an ad on Craigslist or the swap facebook page I belong to, and gauge interest.  They aren't show quality, by any means, but for someone who wants a couple little fiber animals or a backyard rabbit, they would be a great fit.  I've certainly gone more into the "meat rabbit" end of the rabbit keeping spectrum, and it just doesn't really seem to make sense to keep a fiber animal around just to have a fiber animal around.  With any luck, perhaps I'll find them the perfect home where they will continue to be spoiled and need to do nothing more than produce wads of glorious angora fiber and poo.