Wednesday, February 21, 2018

Thus Endeth The Drought

Going to need to empty this soon!

Almost 5 inches of rain in the last 24hrs, with lots more forecast this week.  The ponds are overflowing, the roads are swamped, and hopefully the main route into town is not under water so that DH can make it home tonight!  Add to it, the temps dropped precipitously yesterday, from a high in the 70's to the mid 40's in less than two hours.  Today, it has struggled to make it into the lower 40's.  But it could be least it's NOT an ice storm!

Update:  Since I posted this, we have gotten an additional 5 inches of rain.  Lots of small creeks are flooding, but the sump pump kept us dry here.

Saturday, February 17, 2018

Gunner's going to Nebraska!

Little Gunner, the deaf Jack Russell Terrorist mix whom we have been fostering, has left for his transport to the frigid central plains of Nebraska.  Being a mostly white dog, he should blend into the snow rather well!

Gunner's batteries finally ran out.
He was a great learning experience for us, here at Casa de Ridgeback.  We learned that even the most patient of hounds, Indy, has his limits.  We learned that when Indy is mad, he makes some impressive growls, snarls and snapping of his rather large teeth!  We learned that snarling makes Shiloh sneeze every time she does it.  We learned that JRTs love to be into everything, on top of everything, and have boundless reserves of energy.  They are very loving little beasties, but they don't take NO for an answer.
Gunner looking for trouble!
This last point was further enhanced by Gunner's deafness.  He simply could not hear when the other dogs growled at him to warn him off.  He would persist in pestering them.  It would escalate from there, with Gunner getting bitten or nipped, dogs would get yelled at to SETTLE.  Even human tempers were tested by this little guy.
Trying to boss Indy around.
But every morning, he would greet you like you were his bestest friend evah!  He'd wrap his paws around you, and wag his whole body, licking whatever bit of you he could reach.  He was known to jump up on your bed, (permitted or not!), straddle your neck and give your face a tongue bath until you managed to launch him off the bed.

Mom, Please stick to the Hound Group!
We all agreed we were glad to have pulled him for fostering.  Around here, a deaf dog was probably unadoptable.  And we all admit we are overjoyed his transport was today.  We wish him well in his new adventure and hope whoever adopts him will love him forever.  Perhaps though, our biggest lesson was that we should stick to fostering hounds.  It's just an easier thing to fit one extra hound into a house of three other hounds.   When our three saw Gunner being loaded into my truck yesterday, they all began to sprint around the house and pool deck, joyfully (I'm not joking here), just making sure he was really gone!

Good luck in your new home, Gunner!

Thursday, February 15, 2018

Monday, February 12, 2018

The hazards of heating with wood

Yep, dropped an oak log on my slippered foot Sunday morning whilst stoking the woodstove.  You should've seen the bruise 30 min later!  It was impressive, even by my standards.  Roughly the size of half a racquetball, in both circumference and height.

By day's end, it had diffused over the whole upper foot.  Monday morning, It looks like this.  Nothing broken, but getting my lifting shoes on tonight will be a challenge.

Sunday, February 11, 2018

Laying in next year's heat

A friend of ours is allowing us to cut firewood from some of her property.  Because summer is a time full of mosquitos, fire ants and ticks, heat and humidity, and poison ivy, the best time to cut wood, is the fall/winter.  

So as we continue to burn the wood we already have split and stacked, we are cutting next year's supply.   I had gone out a couple weeks back, and marked half a dozen trees to cut, and one huge fallen tree.  I wasn't sure the fallen tree was going to be usable, as wood here tends to rot quickly once on the ground.  But DH took the #3 hammer and thumped on the main trunk, and it sounded solid.  This particular tree was far too large for my smaller 16" saw.  It was almost too large for DH's 20" Stihl 311.
Big Orange rules the day!

He commenced to clear out some work space while I went to drop a pair of smaller trees.  As I am new to felling trees, I wanted some easier ones to clear and fell.  They dropped cleanly pretty much right where I wanted, so I was pleased.  After chopping them up, I went to see what was going on with the big tree.  
See that mess covering the base of the trunk?  That's what we have to clear out to finish cutting.

Well, it seems that big old oak was indeed still good!  DH was busily cutting it into more manageable rounds.  Turns out though, the rounds will need split on site, as they are going to be too large to lift into the truck.  Such fun!  I was glad he had the big tree to work on, as he does enjoy chainsawing stuff up.  I do think though, it's gonna cost me around $600 to let him buy a bigger saw!

The small trees, plus two of the bigger rounds.
The big tree has at least 30-40' of usable wood in it.  The rounds are almost too large (and some are) to load into the Gorilla Cart to haul over to the truck.  So DH, Monkey2 and I all rolled some of them over to the growing wood pile.  He wanted to clear out some of the rounds to make more safe workspace.  Rolling big rounds is a lot more work than you might think.  There's still another 10-15' or so of main trunk to cut.  We just have to unbury it from the mountain of undergrowth that has encased it.
Rolling a big round
  It was a lot of work yesterday, and everyone is still tired from it even today.  And there is more work to be done--the rest of the big tree, taking down 3-4 more marked trees, and then transporting it all home to split, stack and dry for next year. 
Someone's looking pleased!

Friday, February 9, 2018

The rest of my week...

I seem to recall promising to relate the tale of woe of the last week or so.  It all began when the Monkeys decided to wash the foster dog outside on the pool deck.  After hooking up the hose, and the sprayer nozzle, they turned on the water.  It apparently did not dismay them to see water pouring out the side of the house, around the spigot...thus they continued to bathe Gunner.  Every time they released the spray handle, the pressure increased in the line on the discharge side of the spigot valve...causing even more water to flow, (nay spray with great force!) inside the wall from the ruptured spigot pipe.  When they were done, they went inside, to discover the library, breakfast nook and master bedroom hallway somewhat water logged.  

I give them credit--they rapidly grabbed nearly every towel we own, and stgarted damage control procedures.  Then they told us... DH & I came in, saw the impending damage, as laminate flooring is NOT waterproof, and grabbed what few remaining towels we had hidden away, and began trying to dry things out.  The laminate still warped, though perhaps not as badly as we first feared.
My hero, fixing the pipe!
Still we had planned on replacing it anyway, just not quite so soon.  Now it was time for the Great Discount Tile Hunt!  Our first stops were the local HD big box, and another local small box flooring store.  The best we could get, on wood-look ceramic/porcelain tile was $1.79/sqft.  We need a lot of square footage.  So off to Sherman/Denison and McKinney, with a plan for last Saturday, to go to the Mega-Big Box store, Nebraska Furniture Mart.  Now McKinney is a 3hr roundtrip, with NFM adding about 40min total to that.  So we decided to hit the McKinney Habitat for Humanity ReStore first, which just so happens to generally have a nice selection of tile flooring.  

My truck, under a heavy load.
Lucky for me, we were able to find a wood-look tile we liked, at a much better price!  So we bought a bunch of it.  And I got to skip going to NFM!  Now, how to haul 76 boxes of tile home, each weighing #60?  I have a truck.  But it's only a half-ton V-6, and a midsized bed (not 8' long).  The folks at ReStore attempted to forklift a 44-box pallet into the bed.  I thought the truck was gonna blow a shock, or have a spring fail, it squatted so low!  I swapped that for a 27 box pallet, and though not thrilled, the truck was able to haul it home after DH's Squat Camp finished.  
Wrapped against the rain.

Tuesday, I had to rent a trailer, to go fetch the remaining #2940 of tile (aka 49 boxes).  I had them split the load between trailer and truck, since the trailer wasn't rated for that much weight by itself either.  Add to it, rain, and the impending threat that day, of freezing rain, and it made for an interesting if slow (top speed was 65mph) trip home!
Once home, the Monkeys helped unload the truck and trailer, and stash most of it in the garage, out of the way of the gym equipment.  The rest is underneath the breakfast nook table, out of the way.

Some of our stash of tile.

 We certainly have our work cut out for us now.  With the cost of installation well outside our acceptable price range, we are going to do it ourselves.  It won't be our first time installing tile, but it will be the largest area installed we've ever done.  Wish us luck!

Saturday, February 3, 2018

Rest in peace, Dino

Samantha and Dino in happier days
It has been an eventful week.  Today, a mystery has been solved, I'm feeling a tad guilty, and sad, as is my oldest Monkey, and it's a lot quieter around here. 
Guineas and green summer grass.
Quieter, you say?  Well, yes, in a sense.  I know Gunner barks enough to wake the dead, but not apparently enough to awaken a dead Dino the guinea fowl.  Dino was found decapitated in the chicken run, much like Samantha the other guinea who predeceased him by a year or more.  This is odd, because last night, Monkey1 and I discussed leaving Dino out to roost on top of the chicken run, in his usual location.  Keeping him in the coop overnight irritates the chickens, because he doesn't much like them and he picks on them.  I told her to leave him out.  She agreed it would be ok for him to be outside, for it wasn't particularly cold.

Mr GHO is quite displeased! Thank goodness he did not go through the door at the top of the ramp!
How he came to be INSIDE a locked run, made mostly of heavy gauge wire strong enough to house a Serval Cat, became apparent when Monkey1 saw the new resident of the run.  Mr Owl.  Mr Great Horned Owl to be specific.  Mr Owl had crashed into Dino atop the run, some time in the night, and their ensuing roll across the top of the coop run broke loose the stapled chicken wire that seals the coop building to the wire run.  It's always been a weak point, but I didn't realize just how weak.  The combined weight and struggle of Dino and Mr Owl was enough to strip all the staples from the bottom of the chicken wire where it attached to the coop wall.  They then fell into the run, with the wire rebounding into place, preventing Mr Owl from escaping.
Let me OUT, human!

Look at that wingspan!

Beautiful eared owl.
 Dino did not survive.  The owl was trapped in the run.  Monkey1 phoned me in a panic, while I was headed to the mandatory homeschool group semester meeting.  After instructing her to just open the people sized run door, Mr Owl was able to scoot out and fly up to the trees to glare at everyone.  Monkey2 did the needful, recovering the remains from under the coop building, and verifying none of the hens inside the coop, were harmed.  Then they all (Monkeys 1,2,&3) dug a grave atop Mt Weather in back of the shop, and Dino was laid to rest, along side his mate, Samantha.  The similarity in cause of death of both guineas leads me to believe that Samantha was also killed by an owl, and not the raccoon we had first suspected.  It actually makes more sense, if you knew the layout of the backyard.

R.I.P. big guy!

I do plan to allow the Monkeys to get at least a pair of new chicks (hens not guineas) to replace the two we have lost since starting the Great Chicken Adventure.  Maybe even a total of 4, to get us to where I would like the flock size to stabilize.  Provided one of our hens goes broody this spring and we can sneak 4 chicks under her.  Hopefully, the owl's unpleasant experience will make him leave my hens alone from now on!  As to the other events of this week, that will have to wait for another post...
Mr Owl, glaring at us from the trees after his release.