Saturday, November 30, 2019
Significant ground blizzard around these parts. The surface winds are northwesterly sustained 25 gusting 35, which isn't all that bad but is enough to keep all of last night's 2.5 inches of new snow, and a good bit of old snow, airborne, reducing viz, and drifting like crazy.
No electricity here in town but the power is on out at the ranch. Which is good, that last part.
No internet here in town either.
Fortunately my phone and unlimited data have sufficed so far.
Nasty out there. I'm going power saving mode.
Be well and enjoy the blessings of liberty.
Friday, November 29, 2019
For how full I am.
Pretty small gathering this year for Thanksgiving. Four of my five sibs and their families were prevented from traveling by life stuff. My fifth sib was in Cheyenne with his wife and her Mom, who has recently had to put her husband into institutional care with Alzheimers.
So yesterday (Thanksgiving Day) was quiet around the ranch and featured exactly zero of the traditional foodstuffs.
However, the plan was for fifth sib, wife, son, daughter, and two dogs to join us today (Black Friday) for the big meal.
So that's what we did today. Groan. One plate just about foundered me.
Small crowd but a good crowd.
The kid likes deviled eggs.
Nebraska nearly pulled off an upset in their last game of the season, losing to Iowa 27-24 on a field goal with six seconds left. So they still suck, but they're making steady improvement. They'll be good again the day before football is outlawed forever. Nothing is permanent. Football wasn't even invented yet when the ranch was first homesteaded in 1885.
Weather today featured the thickest, most long-lasting freezing fog I've ever seen. I'll dump some pics here, followed by some possibly amusing but certainly too-long videos. I'd write more but my gut is so full I'm having trouble reaching the keyboard.
Be well and enjoy the blessings of liberty.
Thursday, November 28, 2019
I never actually saw the movie. The real one, not the remake. I remember seeing trailers, and noticing that the movie seemed to feature that one chick who had been in Call to Glory.
I remember Call to Glory because it it promised a lot of cool fighter jet action and featured that one chick.
That one chick was Elisabeth Shue.
I'm not what you'd call a movie fan by any stretch of the imagination, and I don't follow the actors the way a lot of folks seem to. Nevertheless, and having never watched one of her movies and only seen her playing a teeny-bopper Air Force Brat in a television series set in the early 1960's I've always liked her. Got no idea what she's actually like of course, so it's better to say that I've enjoyed the two-dimensional appearance of the girl and some of the acting she did very early in her career. I'd have to say, given the above, that it's the appearance of the girl I find pleasing. Go figure.
As an interesting aside, for some reason I have memories of watching Call to Glory back in the early 1970's. According to the interwebz, though, it actually aired in 1984-85. The mind can do some interesting things with memory. That's what all of us old duffers say when dementia begins to take hold. I rather imagine I could figure out how to watch the whjole series on my phone and/or computer, but I suspect I will not.
Nevertheless, none of this is about that, exactly. So on with the show.
Yesterday, which featured zero blog posts here, began with a lot of promise. It was very, very cold. I'm talking -8 at sunrise. And it stayed cold, with the day's mean air temp a paltry +7 degrees. The skies were clear and deeply blue, and the landscape was blanketed in pristine snow, glittering in the sunshine. It was visually stunning and gorgeous, and my camera simply can't replicate the image properly.
There was a pesky south wind, which varied from 10-30 mph. It was actually bringing relatively warmer air up from Texas, or whatever those places down there are called, but it was blowing over miles and miles of deeply frozen snow, so it didn't feel particularly warm. At 30 mph the wind chill values plummeted to -26, for instance.
I know I'm yabbering on about the cold, but let me share one more detail. When I water the chickens, I draw a five gallon bucket from a hydrant located just outside the chicken compound. I carry the bucket into the coop and refill the heated waterer. It's just easier that way. The waterer only holds three gallons, so I have an excess to dump on the ground before placing the bucket inverted back atop the hydrant. Yesterday it wasn't quite cold enough to freeze the water before it hit the ground, but the bucket did retain a good half-inch coating of ice on the inside. So yeah, cold.
I headed out to check cows, driving the F-150. Why did I take the F-150? No real good reason other than it needs to be driven from time to time and shouldn't be abandoned in the garage for the whole winter. I drove it yesterday (day before yesterday as I keywritetype this) and it was a comfortable experience. The Ranger actually gets around better but is more cramped and utilitarian. Sometimes comfort is good. Of course all my tools were in the Ranger, so any fence fixing or other delights the morning would bring would mean an extra trip to either gather tools or switch vehicles (the latter, obviously), but that wouldn't represent a terrible burden.
Red and I whisked in and tooled around the pasture.
As promised (I think) in a video fro a couple of days ago, here's the "after snow" moving picture of the area near the main water switch clear down in the southwest corner of the Cederburg pasture. Technically the switch is located in the northwest corner of the south pasture.
So, pasture names. The Cederburg and Cheisa pastures have been in the family for generations but are still called after the former owners who my forbears purchased the land from. And way back in the days of black and white, the half-section South Pasture was the only piece of ground to the south of the home place, so it was and remains the South Pasture.
Red and I tooled around and everything was fine. Cows were eating plenty of dry but nutritional grass, the water was fine, and the freezing temperatures weren't bothering a thing.
As I departed the pasture and came over the rise toward the county road I spied a car stuck in the snow right at my turn-off. There was a young fellow trying to dig it out with his hands. He was dressed in only jeans, sneakers, and a long sleeved tee shirt. A more sensibly dressed young woman was standing on the porch of Ted and Alice's place, a modular home built on a small acreage. Their home is right across the trail road from where the car was stuck, so it was a good idea to knock. However, Ted and Alice work in town and no one was home.
I stopped to render assistance. The young fellow was all tatted up and had the nose ring, the big model airplane tires in his earlobes, and a half dozen or so bolts in his face. He wasn't shivering, which meant he was either tweaking (on the meth) or dipping into hypothermia. He seemed a bit dazed and his speech was slurred and barely coherent. He seemed to be trying to apologize for causing me trouble, but could I possibly mumble mumble mumble.
The young woman walked up. She was wearing a nice winter jacket. However, "distressed" jeans with gaping holes in the knees were probably not the best choice of attire, given prevailing meteorological conditions. And I hate to be judgmental, but the sandals were just wrong. In contrast to the boy, (boy because he probably wan't yet old enough to be considered a fellow) the girl seemed to be free of tattoos, model airplane tires, or bolts. She was in fact quite pretty in a very young, blond girl kind of way. The pair were to my eyes obviously a couple, and I thought -- to myself you understand -- "You sure picked yourself a winner there sweetheart!" The girl was shivering so hard she couldn't speak.
At this point I realized we we're flirting with a medical emergency. Hypothermia can go from bad to disaster in only a few minutes. I loaded 'em up in the F-150 and headed for the ranch house, only a mile or so down the road. Once there I got them wrapped in blankets, seated in the old people recliners with optional heat and massage, which came in very handy indeed. I also got thermometers in their faces. The girl's temp was 98 and change, so perfectly normal. The boy's temp was 93. He'd probably been no more than 10 minutes from collapse. While they sipped hot coffee they (mostly the girl) told me their story.
They'd decided on the spur of the moment to drive out in the country and look at all the pretty snow. Three miles down the Airport Road they'd decided to turn around and head back, but in turning they discovered that snow can often hide deep spots. As it turned out, they were actually brother and sister. Both from a larger town to the east, about 200 miles away. They'd recently moved back to Kimball, where they'd been born, to be closer to their Mom and to get away from the "bad crowd" in the town they were living in. The boy had recently been discharged from inpatient drug and alcohol treatment, and the girl had been fighting a losing battle to take care of her big brother and to fight the siren song of drugs and booze.
They both had smartphones, of course, but they couldn't call their Mom for help because she has a broken foot and they didn't want to scare her. They didn't know anyone else to call. So while the boy dug snow with his hands, the girl tried to knock absent people into existence. They were 22 and 23 years old, and were closer to death on a lovely bright snow day then they will probably ever realize.
At age 22 and 23 they're both legally adults. When I was that age I was doing all kinds of grown-up, responsible stuff. To be fair, I had a solid upbringing and an entire naval service to keep me coloring inside the lines. These two had a different story, and they were a lot more vulnerable than I like to see. Ducklings, really, enchanted by all the bright shiny stuff out there in the world and trying to learn to fly. Not really aware of how many hungry coyotes there are out there, or of how quickly their adventure can end for good.
My phone buzzed, and it was my friends the cattle owners who, on their way to feed their cattle, had come across the abandoned car. Did I know anything about it?
I left the boy and girl to warm up, while I took their car keys and headed back out into the beautiful day. Between myself and cattle owners we had the car out in a jiffy. I drove it to the ranch while one guy went in to feed and the other followed me while I delivered the car then drove me back to my pickup. The whole project took about 20 minutes.
In the time it took to rescue the car, the boy's temperature had rebounded to 96 and both brother and sister were feeling much better. I followed them home to make sure they got there okay, and they invited me in to meet Mom. She was very nice, and her home was spotless and clean. That didn't surprise me, because I knew her. She wasn't by any means a bad mom, but a divorce had made things tough for the whole bunch. She and the kids were very appreciative, and we all exchanged phone numbers. On a whim I offered to give them a 4WD snow tour of the ranch later in the afternoon, and brother and sister agreed with surprising delight.
Later, as we drove around, the pair did a lot of talking and I did a lot of listening. They both seemed hungry to unburden themselves, and they shared the tale of a rough couple of years.
When I returned them home it was with a couple of dozen farm fresh eggs and the promise to continue to be a listener if they needed one. For this I extracted their promise to call me if they get stuck in the snow again, or if they find themselves otherwise stuck in a tough situation.
Later in the evening I got a text from the girl saying how good the eggs tasted and how much she appreciated my assistance and my ear.
So today on this day of national thanksgiving, I find that more than anything else I'm profoundly grateful that I was able to be in the right place at the right time with the right knowledge and experience to stave off a disaster. And even more that I was able to extend the hand of caring friendship to a family of sovereign human beings. It was little enough that I did, but my efforts were rewarded at least tenfold in simply living the experience.
Today the weather is warmer but gray and quite nasty with a stiff south-southwesterly breeze. Snow is drifting like mad and the roads are an icy mess.
This morning's text from the girl: "Stay warm and tell the cows hi. Have a wonderful Thanksgiving!"
Be well and enjoy the blessings of liberty.
Tuesday, November 26, 2019
A second post today. The blogging union shop steward can just kiss my, um, you know.
Not a whole lot more to add to this morning's post. It snowed. Snow management was done. Cattle are fine, chickens are fine, dogs are fine, Mom is fine, I is fine.
In town where things are sheltered by trees and by virtue of the entire town being located in a valley, scooping snow was a nice physical workout but not really much of a chore.
Out at the ranch, which is not down in a valley and has far fewer trees and structures, it was a different story.
Despite the fact that I didn't venture out that way until after 9 a.m., the county hadn't been out yet at all. By "the county" I mean county road department crews who had a lot of snow to plow. Well, actually not a lot. This was a pretty routine snow. I don't know what kept them from showing up until after lunchtime. Probably had to wait for their BAC's to fall off enough that they could pass the breathalyzer interlocks on their vee-hickles.
Butt I digress.
It was real 4WD conditions on the airport road and I was quite pleased to be driving my chorin' Ranger, busted windshield and all. That thing gets around better than just about anything else in deep snow.
Once I got to the ranch my work was cut out for me. The ranch yard featured exactly three small areas scoured free of snow by the wind. The rest of the area was well covered, with depths ranging from 4-5 inches to well over four feet. This was a job (I believed) for the Bobcat!
|Exiting the shop on the Bobcat.|
It might surprise you to find that even as a master ranch hand of long (even longer than that Maynard) standing, I've never used a skid steer for snow management. There are various reasons for this, some of which are valid, and none of which I will detail. So you can all relax about that fearsome prospect.
I have de-manured my share of corrals with various skid steers though, so I was pretty sure that I had a reasonable handle on how the Bobcat would behave in the snow. And I was correct.
Wheeled skid steers don't have a lot of traction to begin with. They are a lot lighter than they look, and the hydrostatic drive (at least in my experience) doesn't have the kind of low end torque you need for traction in reduced friction environments. Even on a warm summer day you can easily get all four wheels spinning on smooth concrete. If you're operating in icy conditions or in a pen of slippery manure, you need to chain up if you want traction.
However, you can get by without chains if you watch what you're doing and where you're going and you manage your energy appropriately. Momentum can be your friend and will carry you through a lot of too-slippery spots. As long as you don't have to stop in a bad place you'll be okay as long as you don't get carried away and reckless. But if you fail to plan and navigate your course appropriately, you can find yourself in a situation where you can't get enough traction to overcome inertia. Then you're screwed.
You'll all be pleased to learn that I did not get stuck. I had once close call, but I was able to use the old bucket-walk trick to get out.
Other than that, the Bobcat did very well in snow management today. Tomorrow I'm going to buy or order some chains, and I suspect that with chains (and with good technique) it'll be up to just about any snow management task at the home place.
I actually had a lot of fun and got a lot of enjoyment out of the chore. Of course I got wet and cold because the thing has an open cab, but that's not much of a price to pay considering the excellent work I was able to accomplish.
Later this afternoon I got down to check cows and they were fine. They thought I might be the feed truck and came running, but they were disappointed. They all came running from being spread out grazing the abundant dried grass standing proud above the snow, so they weren't suffering. They just wanted some of that tasty, easy food. Can't say as I blame them.
All in all it was a good day and I got a lot done, even if it was mostly snow management.
Be well and enjoy the blessings of liberty.
I'm gonna try to push this one out quickly, before the day really begins.
It began a bit like that old U.S. Army recruiting commercial. "We do more before 9 a.m. than most people do all day."
Actually I'm laying it on a bit thick. All I did was scoop a little bit of snow.
Okay, it was more than a little bit. But it wasn't a lot, either.
And it was enjoyable.
So while it's true that I did more physical activity in 45 minutes than most of my sexagenarian peers will do all week, it's certainly nothing approaching more than most people will do today. Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen, and Marines for instance. Probably more than most mud ducks though.
Now that the unilateral bee-essing is over, and to paraphrase my hero Sheriff Buford T. Justice, it's time to "Get yo ass to work you sombitch!"
Be well and embrace the blessings of liberty.
Monday, November 25, 2019
Sunrise was quite pretty this morning. For a few brief minutes the sun's light streamed through between horizon and rapidly forming overcast. The light was fiery orange-red and added glory to everything it fell upon. The roof of the courthouse and in particular the antenna and siren thingamajigs were a captivating sight, though my camera didn't capture the best of it. Operator error no doubt.
The grain elevator was breathtaking.
This one is a bit blurry but captures a flight of pigeons getting airborne, which I thought was kinda neat.
Then it was off to work. I did the chicken stuff, then headed off to check cows and turn on water. I wanted to get that out of the way quickly because I had a slate of other stuff to do, and with a big winter storm bearing down on us I wanted to complete those tasks before getting snowed in. I needed to bring the feed truck home from the shop, drop off a tire for repair, get new bottles of oxygen and acetylene headed this way, stop by the grocery store before the panic shoppers get all the bread and milk, and several other things I'm forgetting at the moment.
Despite the threat of a winter storm, and despite a chill north wind and overcast skies, it was still quite pretty, though not as brightly spectacular as sunrise.
So, water turned on, let's quickly check cows. But of course...
How to get a cow in. With sailor talk.
A quick repair...
And a final admonition...
Inspection and bitch session...
With that chore nicely completed I headed into town and got busy with some real work. I'd soon whittled my chore list down to nothing, although it was touch and go at the grocery store. It was pandemonious! I'd have shot some video but I might have myself been shot. Reminded me of the one time I accidentally went into the commissary on payday. Never. Did. That. Again.
But I survived and even got my bread and milk. Bonus!
When I headed out to the ranch driving the newly refurbished feed truck I stopped by the co-op to fill her with diesel. I was in line (storm coming!) behind a young local rancher and his top hand -- his 13 year old daughter. Put a smile on my face. Sorry about the blurriness. She was up on the back of that feed truck managing both gas and diesel loading and it clearly wasn't her first rodeo. The future definitely has a better chance than my generation has any right to expect, given the way we've hosed things up.
Yep, a top hand.
Once I got the feed truck tucked away in the shop...
It was time for one last pass through the cows. Snow was beginning to fall and there was a taste of winter storm in the air.
Cows being fine, and all of them inside the fence, it was time to go fetch my dog and head home. I wanted to be inside rather than outside when the real snow started. But as I approached the north stock tank something didn't look right. In fact it looked wrong as hell. The float was in the wrong place and the tank was running over. Shit! Why can't this stuff happen on a nice day?
It wasn't that bad of a job. The water in the tank felt warm actually, being about 30 degrees warmer than the air temperature. I was in quite a hurry to finish and get dried off and warmed up, but the cattle owners happened to roll up just as I was reaching into the water. They had arrived to feed the cows their daily ration of supplemental protein/energy cubes. Well, I had to go into "no big deal, I do this all the time" mode, so I slowed down and began shooting the shit with them. I in my shirtsleeves with arms buried in frigid water in the middle of a howling blizzard, them bundled up like Nanook and Nooknan of the North. A priceless moment. We shot the shit for a couple of minutes after I fixed the float while my glasses accumulated a layer of rime ice and I gradually lost sensation in my stinging fingers. But I put on the hard and tough show, just like it says in my contract!
Be well and enjoy the blessings of liberty.
Sunday, November 24, 2019
It was windy as hell today, therefore it was a blowy day. Except it wasn't blowy at all. If that makes sense. And I'd be surprised if it did. Starting a day like this is a delight...
There's a bar up thar...
The wind was kind of miserable. From 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. it was roughly 30 mph sustained gusting 40-50 mph. That kind of wind makes working outside harder than usual. On the one hand that's a pain in the ass. On the other -- and you know me -- harder is better. Especially when nature greets me first thing in the morning with this.
Didn't hurt at all that the air temperature ramped up to 60 early and stayed there most of the day. The wind can be a lot more miserable when the air temps are cold!
I started as usual watering the chickens and gathering eggs.
After that chore was complete, my plan was to do a quick cow check, get the water turned on, and then get stuck into adding scrap metal to the 40 yard ROF. However...
So what happened is simply this. Some of the cows discovered tasty green grass on the west side of the fence. The tasty green stuff is present there in the form of downy brome, or cheat grass. It's a winter annual grass which germinates every fall from seed produced during the summer. It grows rapidly into lush and delightful green stuff, and it tolerates freezing remarkably well. Eventually, later in the year, it goes dormant. In the spring it perks back up and does the same rapid growth thing before going to seed in late spring, drying out and dying and leaving seed to germinate in a couple of months. So that's a winter annual grass for you. Right now for the cows it's very tasty stuff and they want to eat it. It's on the other side of the fence because that's the disturbed ground of a trail road. On our side of the fence there's nothing but dormant native prairie grass, all dried up and not nearly as tasty as the green cheat grass. So the cows push their heads through the wire, and if they find a weak place, they can pop wires loose and bend steel posts.
So that kind of sucks, because it has to be fixed, and fixed correctly and immediately. So my scrap metal plans have to wait their proper turn. Which kind of sucks.
But not completely. For one thing, fixing fence is always a challenge, always a chore, always interesting, and always satisfying. Add gale force winds and the job gets hard, and hard is good. It's added challenge, added effort, and leads to added satisfaction and enjoyment. I guess I'm just wired that way. And for another thing, when the cows tear up the fence it's all part of the symbiotic relationship we share. The cattle and I are part of a dynamic ecosystem, and we are each in an ongoing struggle to wrest a living from nature. One aspect of our dynamic symbiosis is that the cows show me where the fence is weak, and then I fix it. In a way it's like having a free and ongoing fence testing service. Which I think is pretty cool.
So I fixed the fence, then had to run recyclables to town for Mom. Not much of a chore. When I got back I decided to check the water and turn it off if the tanks were full. They were, so I did. But I also found a cow out, and more torn up fence, just spitting distance from where I'd done my earlier repair. So I got the cow back in and got back to work. Again, simple and satisfying. But this time the wind had gone down, so it was satisfying in a slightly different way. It wasn't a battle, it was just an enjoyable job on a smashingly beautiful pre-Thanksgiving evening.
Between the two fence jobs, before I took the recycling to town, I got busy with the scrap project. I gave the Bobcat quite a good workout and it ran like a champ. I also did some experimenting with technique, and I managed to figure out what seems to be the best approach to efficiently and completely filling the ROF, given the scrap I have to work with.
And while I was in town with the recycling, I took time to download pictures and videos from my phone. Ran into a problem though. My phone is of the locked variety, so I've never been able to directly download pics and vids to my PC via a cable. Rather than figure out how to do that, I've been downloading them wirelessly to my el goog drive, then from the drive to the PC. It's an extra step, but I haven't bothered to figure out how to do it the simple way with a cable. It's been fine, but today el goog decided my drive was full. Turns out that despite telling el goog in settings not to save my files, it saves them anyway. I can only get rid of them by deleting and then emptying trash. Which is a pain, but I can do it that way. however, now my phone tells me that I can't download because my drive is full, despite the fact that when I check storage, either on the phone or on the PC, it clearly shows an empty(ish) drive. The phone just won't let me download to drive. Or rather, an el goog feature is trying very hard to make me buy 100 gigs of storage, and isn't gonna let me download until I comply. So that's quite vexing. My immediate solution is to use my camera rather than the phone. Next I need to get the cabled download enabled on the phone. So I'll work on that.
And goodness gracious that's a lot of very rapid post writing. I hope it holds together for you kind readers. I just need to embed a couple of videos and add a few more pics and I'll post her up. Hope I didn't do too much of the sailor talk on the vids, I barely previewed them and didn't edit them at all. As usual.
I did a lot of push-ups today, a total of 465. My arms feel like rubber this evening, but in a good way. I did all of those feats of manliness out in the country with only disinterested cows in attendance. Kinda sad, really.
Be well and enjoy the blessings of liberty.
Saturday, November 23, 2019
First of all, Paul had a question about yesterday's post. And I quote:
"In one video, there are cows on both sides of the fence; are all the cattle yours and are they separated because the acreage will only support so many head? Inquiring minds and all that."
It's a good question. Here's the video in question (no need to watch the whole thing if you've seen it before).
Here's my video response, which is largely crap because it doesn't answer or explain very well. I shoulda wrote a script or at least practiced.
So here's a written explanation which might make things more clear. The pasture the cows are in now is rather "L" shaped, and within that pasture once upon a time some trees were planted around the perimeter of a "pasture within a pasture." I don't know why but I'm glad it was done as the trees make for great shelter for cattle, especially in the winter and during calving. That pasture within a pasture was fenced off to keep cattle from damaging the trees while they were getting established, and also to provide for some level of rotational grazing. All of this was done way back when I was sailing the briny. Here's a picture taken from a satellite image. As a slight aside, the image was taken in 2012 during a drought.
|Red is the outer perimeter, yellow is the fence added to make a pasture within a pasture and protect new tree plantings.|
The fence in the video Paul was asking about is where the very top left-to-right yellow line is. The fence is in disrepair as it just isn't a priority. Having that pasture within a pasture is a want rather than a need. So what looked like a fence separating groups of cattle was a non-maintained fence which the cattle just happened to be on both sides of.
Here are a couple closer views of the fence (or its location) in question. The red circle is the stock tank which also appears in the three subsequent pictures.
Does that make sense?
Here's a video featuring the same stock tank and some cows giddy over a fresh salt delivery.
When I was finished checking cattle and doing other daily chores this morning I had to head on over to the Cheyenne VA for to get my blood drawn. There was some discussion regarding phlebotomy and lab waits over at Sarge's place the other day. Which I believe was yesterday as I write this on Saturday evening.
In light of said discussion, let me just say that the phlebotomists -- we called 'em lab techs in my day sonny! -- at the Cheyenne VA have always been superb in my experience, and I don't think I've ever waited more than 4-5 minutes to be punctured, even on a very busy day. And if it's routine labs you're having done, you can go in on Saturday and expect both competent phlebotomy and exactly zero waiting.
But it's the VA, so there's always a catch! Which I'll get to by and by.
The 60 mile drive over was quite interesting. It was warm and sunny and the roads were dry and clear. There was a stiff northwest breeze blowing and to my eye the trucks were occasionally having a hard time tracking true in their Interstate-80 lanes when the gusts got heavy. Therefore it paid a good driver, IMO, to pay attention and pass with caution. However, as is often the case, the bad drivers were heavily over-represented in the automobiles.
Be that as it may, I arrived safe and sound. I was surprised to find some serious parking lot construction going on though, and it was tricky to figure out how to get into the place, and even into the main building. But tricky is just a challenge. As was navigating the dimly lighted ghost-town Saturday corridors, some of which were blocked off by interior construction. I accepted those delightful challenges and found my way both in and out. I a big boy now.
|Two guys working, two supervising. What the hell?|
|That's better. One guy running an idiot spoon while five guys supervise. I was about to get cross. No idea what the concrete crew thought they were doing.|
Having finished my task, I was ready to head for home. But I decided to video a cornerstone of my partly-crippled fitness routine. I try to do 15 push-ups every time I get in or out of my pickup. I don't do it every time, but I generally get in 300+ on a daily basis, 15 at a time. It's not much of a challenge, but it does over-inflate the biceps, which the pretty girls enjoy. And they also seem to enjoy watching the actual push-ups, so I'm careful where I park. I like to provide the service for all those pretty girls desperately seeking proof that real men still exist, but I'd hate to cause a riot a' la "Hard Day's Night." So I try to be considerate.
When I got back to the ranch it was far too blowy for me to be able to convince myself to get stuck in to outdoor physical labor, so I took pictures and videos which will hopefully help me illustrate tomorrow's post.
No doubt about it, it was a great day. Even if it was blowy.
Be well and enjoy the blessings of liberty.
Friday, November 22, 2019
As I begin writing this (0530), to the best of my knowledge the hen who was savaged by Red the other day is still alive. She was last evening when last I checked, and she gave me no reason then to think she might expire overnight.
Evening before last, while she was isolated in her cage, she escaped while Mom was changing her drinking water. The hen of course joined her flock mates, and as there are five red hens and we awful speciesist people haven't been good enough SJW's to learn to identify the people-birds as individuals. We're every bad story about "personally, I can't tell them apart." So Mom had an impossible task before her; identify which red hen was the injured one, then figure out how to get her locked back in sickbay.
As Mom was standing there trying to work up a solution to the problem, one of the red hens sauntered into the cage. Close enough!
So yesterday morning when I checked the hen in the cage was clucking loudly and energetically pacing back and forth. Also there was a large brown egg in the cage with her. That told me that either the hen in the cage was not the injured one, or, if it was the injured one, she was probably more or less healed if she was up to laying an egg. I suspect that most fifth graders would find my logic a bit dodgy, and they would be correct. Which makes me wish I had a fifth grader on call to come help me with my thinking from time to time! Nevertheless, I decided to free the well-enough-to-lay hen from medical bondage. And as I said above somewhere, I saw no evidence of a sick chicken last evening. All five red hens looked to be right as rain.
My best guess is that the hen lost a lot of feathers and a few drops of blood, had a bit of bruising from being roughly handled, but was otherwise only very lightly damaged. I was very surprised to find that a hen which lost so many feathers could appear to have lost very few or even none. It's a data point I'm very pleased to have obtained, and it makes me wonder all kind of neat why questions, leading me to believe that shedding feathers may be a last-ditch survival feature which could allow captured birds a final chance to escape the slavering jaws of a murderer. Or perhaps it's just a happy accident that works out for the hen from time to time. But not always.
Another interesting thing is that Mom has names for all the chickens. Neither of us can tell the red hens apart, or the black ones, or the gray and black ones. The roosters, Aaron and Riley, are easy, as is Howard the Duck. The indistinguishable hens all have names though, and the injured one (whichever one she is) is Ann, named after the legendary sister of my grandma Helen, Ann Strasheim (nee Burback).
I personally feel no urge to name the fowl. Except of course I named Howard. So there goes my tough guy "they're just blankety-blank chickens!" reputation. On the one hand I know intellectually they are just chickens. On the other, they're in my care so I have a responsibility to look after their well being, and that can be a pretty large tent to operate beneath. It's a pretty comfortable place to be, actually.
Whoops, forgot a video.
Boy, that's a lot of yabbering on for an introductory paragraph!
What I started to write about is the old saying about the perfect being the enemy of the good. There's some of that in the blabbery intro above.
However, here's an interesting experience which illustrates that sage bit of wisdom as it applies to human interactions.
Last week I was in the parts house and opined as how I'd like to get me one of them fancy new LED shop lights, the kind that comes on a sturdy stand and has detachable spring-clampy lights. I'd recently seen one on the interwebz and it looked just like something I should free up some cash for. And not one of those yellow pieces of feces, either!
So Dave whips out the weekly parts house ad circular and says, "Like this?"
Down in the corner of the colorful advertising rag, in a 3x3-inch box, is an image of just prizackly what I'm hungering to purchase. So using the parts house nod I arranged in non-verbal fashion to get the light doohickey headed this way. It would be here on Tuesday. And it was.
When I put it together in the shop though, one thing became quickly obvious. It was a great stand, solid welded and powder coated steel, with very functional spring clamps for the lights and everything. But it was just the stand. No fancy LED lights anywhere in the box. Those are sold separately, and represent an additional eighty bucks or so on top of the eighty bucks the stand cost (actually an extra $160, but it's only 2019 bucks, right?).
So my choice is this. I could get all butthurt and whiny about one of those "blankety-blank small print scams," or I could tell my butthurt self, "way to go champ, you're a sexagenarian (we put the SE, oh, never mind) who hasn't yet figured out how to read fine print, or to remember that if it's too good to be true..."
So I roll into the parts house this morning, and my plan is this. "Get the clean oil drain pan you need for the Bobcat, and ask about getting lights for the nifty stand." I haven't taken my second step into the place and Dave is apologizing. I wasn't the only cranky old duffer trying to get a too-good-to-be-true deal. "You just wanna bring it back?"
Well hell no I don't! It's a crackerjack of a stand. Put some damme decent lights on it and it'll be well worth the cash.
My point? YGTBSM! I need a point here?
Oh yeah. Right. I guess I did promise one.
So in these interpersonal relationships, expecting perfection from the people you do business with is exactly the same as if they expect perfection from you. It's just way, way, better to be genuinely humble and pleasant, up to the point you catch them stealing from you. But hellfire, it was a simple mistake, and we both made the same mistake, so how does getting angry at the other guy do anything but wreck the hell out of the good?
Anyway, the lights will be here tomorrow. I'll be glad to have them and glad that we have a good parts house with good people. And I'll strive mightily to be a good people in return. Because that perfect shit is for the birds, and it utterly destroys the good.
So quickly now, because once again I got started on this early and I'm only now finishing it more than a full day's work later...
One of the Big Guy's rocks.
Bobcat run good! Replaced a valve and cracked housing/fitting. Drained olden fuel, flushed the tank with petrol, replaced a dodgy pickup line and filter, put in new ruby red diesel. We'll feed her a hot supper tomorrow and see how it goes, but I'm suspecting I've managed to do a reasonably okay job and she should hold up. Knock on wood.
Ann the red hen is okay. Still a bit gimpy but gaining ground. Red the dog is still wishing she'd never seen a chicken in her entire life, but Mom still loves her (of course) and all is forgiven. Until the next, well, let's not even bring the possibility up.
To celebrate the great stuff that happened today Mom and I drove the 40 miles to the closest city (tiny town formerly known as the birthplace and headquarters of Cabela's), bought some egg cartons from the "farm store", and went to Perkins for a late lunch. It was a really good meal. Excellent service and our piping hot meals were on the table in less than five minutes. I had the Monte Cristo breakfast platter.
Believe it or not, the Nebraska Cornhuskers once had a quarterback named Monte Christo. I shit you not. And not back in the 1800's, either!
Mom had the 55+ chicken fried steak.
I used to joke about all the old duffers and Perkins. Here's a warning to all the young hipsters -- Stay The Firetruck Out!
Yesterday sucked a bit what with having a nasty 24-hour bug (almost completely gone today) an the weather being damp and chill and gloomy. But I was alive to have a bug, and the damp and chill and gloomy were magnificent.
Today? Yeah, just about perfect.
When is a tumbleweed not a tumbleweed, but a dried kochia trying to pass (and doing a better job of it than eBeth Wampum)?
Be well and enjoy the blessings of liberty.