Sunday, May 10, 2015

Installing T-Post Clips on Garden Fence

I decided to fence in the humble beginnings of a garden, before it got too far.  Fat chance of that happening with the bunnies and other critters taking care of things for me. Bless their little furry hearts. To rephrase:  "before I sunk any more money into feeding the wild life." There, that's better. So I measured, and came up with a number divisible by 6, because that is the post spacing I would be using.
Then I drew a picture, and added up the perimeter footage 24'x2+36'x2= 120ft, got my post count of 20, and looked up supplies. I found that T posts are sold in total length, so if putting up a 5ft fence, I need 6 1/2 ft posts. Which they do not make, btw, so I will be fine with a little bit of fence over the top. I decided to go with 7 footers for the corners, and sink them an extra foot. Added everything to an online shopping cart, got my total, and then went to another site to price compare. The other site wasn't as friendly. It made me pick a store, then wanted to know if I would be picking items up or having them shipped, which makes sense, except  when I chose pick-up, it would not let me put them in a shopping cart. This was at 8am, and I wanted to get going, so I just went to the store that let me put stuff in a virtual shopping cart. I copied the cart contents, and printed it, and now I have my list.
I got what they call T-Posts, and what they call T-Post Clips, plus 3 - 50' rolls of 5' fence, and  150' chicken wire to re-enforce [detour smaller critters from] the bottom 2' of the 2"x4" fencing.
I think I am good to go, and after measuring and marking the spacing, I pound the posts in, and partially unroll one roll of fence. Now I am looking at these things called T-Posts and these things labled T-Post Clips, and my fence, and thinking something isn't quite right.

I must be what they call challenged because I do not see how these things go together. If I place them how they are shaped, they don't hook to the fence. If I hook them to the fence, they are of opposing shapes. There must be a trick to this I am not seeing. Of course there are no instructions for this. They must go together, because 1) they are given away in packs of 10 for free with each post, and 2) it's the only fence clip they, or anyone else for that matter sells.

So I went online and googled how to install garden fence. I got all kinds of stuff involving 2" fencing for bunnies, then guys with big tractors, using 2x4's to stretch the fence with, and a guy who uses fishing line for deer, and finally a guy who made a thing called a T-Post Clip bender. It looked so easy, I wanted one. I used plastic tie wraps to hold things in place, wrestled with a few of those clips, and decided to get one in the morning. After all, they are carried everywhere! So they said. I looked up a couple stores online, TSC, Home Depot, are the closest. TSC's wesite said one store was out, and the other stores listed, including the one by me said to call. They open at 9, so I just went at 8:30, having run out of coffee creamer.
No one had these stinkin things!
So, after trial and error, here is what I did:
Using 2 different pairs of pliers, and plastic tie wraps to help hold fence in place,
1 Straighten the T-Post Clip in the middle like the one shown on the left

2 Hook the 'one bend end' of the clip on the back side [in fact do one whole post at a time]

3 Wrap the one bend end around the piece of fence

4 Take pliers and grab the 2 bend end and hook it through the fence

5 Walk around to front of the fence,

6 Grab the clip at the point closest to the fence with the big mouth pliers to get the twist going.

7 Hold that position with your left hand using the smaller pliers

8 with other hand grab the wire and twist it with the big pliers. You can't see me using 2 pliers at once, because I was holding camera, but it will start to look like this:

9 After coupla turns it will end up like this

and that is how to make these illogicaly shaped T-Post Clips fit on to a T-Post!
If after all that, if anything makes in my garden and has dinner on me, I will have dinner on him!

Sunday, August 12, 2012

Aug 9th was my one month anniversary at my 'new' job. So I reflected for a moment . . .

My first day of work I pulled out of the drive on to the road, beat physically and mentally, and saw something blinking across the street. Straining to open my eyes wider and focus on something, anything to reassure myself they still worked,  revealed it was one of those lights that sits on a traffic saw-horse thingy, laying down flat in the weeds. I looked at it, and said "I know how you feel"

Everyday, that mortally injured light blinked at me to say "Im still here" and I agreed with it. After 4 weeks it's still hanging on, wispering for help, but I feel much stronger. So now I look at it and say "Get up you. It ain't over until you stop blinking" It slowly blinks away, more faintly, while the weeds conspire to choke it out and it answers "I'm done. Go on without me" and I will. It will be a sad day when I don't see that flash of yellow that was my commiserating friend after a long day.

Sunday, July 29, 2012

What Graduation Means to Me

- A receipt of an academic degree or diploma marking completion of studies.
and or
- A line (as on a vessel or ruler) that marks a measurement.

My daughter is all grown up now. She turned 18 in the spring, graduated High School in June, and moved in with her friend shortly thereafter. I'm not worried about her, because she knows it all. If I have any doubts, all I have to do is ask her, or think back to the many times she has interupted my advice with "I know".

Most of my adult life, I have worked jobs [many times 2 at a time] around the care of my 2 children and this is the last one.
My daughter graduated, and so did we.
Many our previous worrys have been changed with ones which aren't new at all.

When I was 18 and starting out on my own, I needed a full time job.
Child care wasn't an issue, so I could work as much, and whenever I wanted. Groceries, toiletries, housekeeping, laundry, parties, beer, and transportation for one!

Then there were two.
Child care still wasn't an issue, so I could work as much as I wanted. Groceries, toiletries, housekeeping, laundry, really hadn't doubled,  since there were two of us to handle it . . .  [turns out only one of us was in fact handling it] yet the parties and beer had more than doubled. hmmmm . . .

Then there were three. The beer parties were replaced by Tupperware, and Home Interior parties, and I could only work when daycare was available. Number #2 got replaced, and eventually there were 4.
Day care was an issue, scheduals got juggled, teachers called and wrote notes, and eventually, I quit one of my jobs because daycare and taxes ate up more than half of what I made.

Fast forward to now, and we are back where I started, except
There are two, much smarter adults who know what to do with our time.
Child care isn't an issue, so I got a full time job, and weekends are mine once again. Groceries, toiletries, housekeeping, laundry, and transportation for us two is quite managable.
I never did like parties much, and hubby is an AA member.
I quilt, read, buy cheap stuff at garage sales, and I finaly got my motorcycle license, so I can ride the bike I got 2 years ago - a 400 Maxum.
Hubby also works full time, and plays with his wood. He is a very good carpender, and in fact his carpendry work is what has paid for his new [to us] Gold Wing.
I can have a spray can of whipped cream in my fridge, and it will be there until one of us gets it out and serves it to both of us! Oh yeah, and I can have ice cream, and  expensive shampoos, and body washes that smell like a slice of heaven, and make up, and a drawer full of clean paired up socks, and clothes that were made this year!  A roll of toilet paper lasts a week, and when I reach down into the cupboard under the sink - there's more!
I even recently bought what Mike calls a "Party Case" of his Hard Lemonade, and I found it to go down smooth - not hard at all, although I still have 9 left. Hey, I can drink them or not! They ain't going nowhere! Maybe I'll keep em till Christmas.
The gem I most  recently learned:
Apple pie and ice cream in the bath tub is pretty awesome after a long day!

Monday, July 9, 2012

Time To Go - Used Gas Mask For Sale

Once again, another job change was in order. Just like many seemingly perfect jobs in the past, this too had evolved  to a point where no improvements will be made until I'm gone, and they see what I actaully had to deal with.

I worked every morning in a horse barn, only they aren't horses I'm tending to. It's 10 [10'x10'] stalls long with a 10' wide isle in the middle and 10 more stalls on the other side, but 5 of those are being used as feed/equipment rooms. So there's basically 15 stalls. I won't say what the animals are, but they are 200lbs and about the size of a small pony, so lets call em ponies. These ponies are herd animals, and must be in groups of at least 3. A few like people, but most don't.
I'd been there every day for 3 years, and they only had 17 critters when I started.
This lady expected to breed and sell them. She hadn't sold one, and in fact purchased more, plus all the  breeding, they  now have 45 - 17 of which are full grown males.

The previous summer [with 10 less ponies], the lady was bothered by the pools of urine standing in the stalls, so she called in some excavation people, and I over heard her talking.
First though, I must say that the isles are cement, and the stalls are layered with gravel, then clay, then rubber mats. Horse people would put down wood shavings, or other absorbant material, and then shovel up the dirty material, and replace as needed.  Plus horses are let out during the day, and a lot of their potty occurs outside.
This lady lets her critters roam in and out freely, only closing them in at night. Because they only potty where they feel safe, guess where that is? Yes, they come in from the fields to drink and go potty, and then they go back outside.  Anyway, she had pulled up the rubber mats and dumped sand in. We rake the poop out of the sand twice a day. I am the morning person, and there is an afternoon person. Since it's impossible to remove the potty without removing any sand [a constant source of contention by her hubby who thinks we're scooping up too much sand], the sand eventually gets lower, and lower, and more packed down, and then they dump in more sand. It was obvious to me when the sand at the outside walls was a foot higher than the sand in the middle, that, ya know, that whole apple falling downhill theory musta passed her by. Hence the pools of urine staring at her.

OK, so she was talking to the excavation guys: "We have a drainage problem.  This used to be a horse barn, and they had these rubber matts down, so when the horses pee, it just drains in the cracks. [yeah, that's really what she thought - can you imagine?] It must have been fine for the horses, but we have many more per stall, and we need better drainage."

Now, like some of you, I am wondering just where she thinks the pee is supposed to drain to?

Well these guys came later and dug out all the old sand and clay, and put down new gravel, and new sand. The lady and her hubby were very pleased at the result, especially since they thought of it all by themselves. Remember that's the same brain that thinks horse pee can/will/did adequitely drain through cracks between rubber matts.

So it smelled better,  but by the following spring, all those baby boys became 1 year olds, and had to be moved out of the mom's and baby's section, and into the boys section.

The weather got kinda cold up here, and they closed all the windows. So when I walked in [I'm always the first to arrive] I'm hit by a wall of amonia. I can't even describe it, but lemme try. How about 8 cats in a 10'x10'  room closed in with their litter box? Now go into that room and work out for 2 hours.

I can't open the doors until it gets light outside, because there are coyotes in them there woods, that would love to make a nice breakfast of these critters. I tried to come later, but if I come any later than a certain hour, I won't get done in time to go to my next job.

Noticing the fumes  when she came in [about an hour after I get there] she suggested that I should use one of those dust masks from home depot for 'the smell' I told her those masks aren't for amonia.
After a couple of hours of research, I printed out some solutions for amonia in horse barns, and gave them to her, but she continued to defy the laws of logic and chemistry.

I got this sinus infection, that started the first day they closed those windows, and she must heard me coughing, so she suggested I turn the fans on when I come in, and I did. Her hubby came in and turned them off [He's a cheap ass - but more about him later] saying it was using too much electricty.
She suggested the dust mask again.
I wanna say "Lady, it ain't about smell, its fumes, ya know like the chemical amonia in the air?"
and if it ain't good for me, it probably ain't good for the critters either. 45 animals in 15 stalls is too dam many and there's no drainage happening through sand.  That pee ain't goin to china, ya know. Even if the liquid did some how drain away, there is still the little matter of the amonia left behind!

Knowing I couldn't fix her, I gotta save me, so I googled a mask rated for amonia. Found one at Tractor Supply Co. It cost me $50. The lady didn't want me wearing it in her barn. I quit.

Anyone want a slightly used gas mask?

Monday, March 12, 2012

Saving Money With Grocery Lists

I am cheap, but to apease my husband I will use the word "Thrifty"
I'm not stupid.
I know if I buy an item really cheap that won't last as long as I need it to, I did not save any money.
and I know time is money, so if I have to research an item for hours to find where to get it for less [like the NorthFace jacket my daughter wanted], sometimes, it's just better to go to the source, pay the price, and go to bed.
I also don't do lists in the way that the media will tell you in those cut and paste 'saving money on groceries' articles that get passed around, and passed around until many think they are true. You know, the ones that say to eat before you go, and make a list and stick to it.
I like to go hungry, so I can fill up on samples, and won't have to cook dinner that night.
and lists?
My friend makes a list, collects all the grocery ads and then writes on that list where to go for each item. She also cuts coupons, and uses them at stores that double them. Then she calls me to tell me she paid 19 cents for a $3 item. I have never been a witness to this, however.
In fact, whatever I pay for something, she will tell me she paid less, again, something I have never witnessed, and in fact once, when I was going to buy 2 lbs of pecans for which I usually pay $15, and found the price had increased to $19, I passed on them. Later when I told her, she said one of the stores she frequents has them for $14. I was going out her way for something, and we met up, went to her store where it turned out they were $21. She insisted they had been $14 a mere couple of days before . . .

Ok, so here is what I do.
I have a list, but we [hubby and I] write stuff we are out of, or about to run out of, starting at the bottom of the pad that hangs on the fridge. See, if you start your list at the top like most people, when you go shopping, you will tear off that whole piece of paper right? Not I.
When neccessity requires that I leave the house for supplies, I simply tear off just above where we wrote stuff, leaving more paper for next time. Blame or praise my daughter for that trick. She is notorious for writing frivolous/unhealthy/expensive foods that I will never buy, [at the top] as soon as I tore off the old list. So not only do I not take her 'suggestions' with me, but her desires remain on the top of the list, saving me a lot of paper.
Now note that I said this list contains "what we are out of" It is not a wish list like my teenage daughter thinks.
When I am shopping, I ONLY buy things that are on sale. The probablility of getting something on the list is 100% if it is on sale. If something on the list isn't on sale, whether or not it comes home with me depends soley on how important I think it is, and if I think we can go without before I either 1] venture out again, or 2] it goes on sale later. Or 3] if I just luva ya. [Hubby gets everything he writes]
Now if I am not shopping off a list, and none of the stores near me offer double coupons, and even if I used coupons, they are always for the brands that are so expensive, then even with a coupon they are still more, or else they are for items I would never, ever eat, or in quantities that I would never in my lifetime use, then how the heck do I save money contrary to to what all the media says?
It very simple. I buy what's on sale. Not eveything that's on sale, mind you, but ONLY what's on sale.
We eat meals made 'creatively' out of what I bought. There's a few times, I didn't even know what it was, bought it anyway, and asked my husband when I got home. He didn't know either, so we googled it. Hey it was a good price and Jet's Ranch is good on everything!
So as a result, I get the best price on pretty much everything.
Secondly, I shop at odd hours. Early in the morning ensures that the sale items will be in stock, but if you go too early, you will miss out on the 'marked down for quick sale' items that typically appear after 9am to make room for the new fresh stuff, but will be gone by 4 pm, when all the Moms go after their kids get out of school.
So between the hours of 9 and 4 you get your selection, AND a good shot at those discount racks.
Know your store. Know where those discount racks are, and when they stock them. Sometimes even where. I was once shopping and saw the bakery lady pulling stuff off the sheves, and I asked if she was going to discount them. She said yes, and asked me what I wanted, and I told her, so she stamped it, and off I went, freshly discounted item in cart.
Is a day old bakery item 'fresh' if it is freshly discounted? I think so.

So that's how I came home with 4 - 3.5lb lamb roasts, and 10 lbs corned beef [for my next meat grind], 6 lbs of strawberries, 4 bags of cat litter [I was cleaning garage and needed it to absorb oil], several boxes of grape nuts and various other things, for $60 after having gone with a list containing 2 items.

At the very least, I am saving paper!

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Pink Slime? Not in MY Hamburger!

I just heard about this pink slime stuff.
It almost made me sick to think about Fat, sinew, bloody effluvia [I don't even want to know what that is!], and bits of meat treated with a puff of ammonia to make it somehow "good"
No wonder my own ground beef tastes so much better than store bought!
I am so glad I have been grinding my own meat for, probably a year now. If I hadn't been, I think I would have heaved upon hearing this.
I was just getting ready to grind up about 20 pounds to cook, and package up for tacos, spaghetti, ect., when the nightly news came on, and had a story about this. Apparently it's been going on for awhile now.
My advice is to get a meat grinder before the price goes up. 10 lbs can easily be done in about 20 minutes by a $5 hand grinder found at many thrift stores, or get an electric one [about $100] for more than 10 lbs at a time. Quite frankly if I didn't already have 2 hand grinders and an eletric one, I would gladly pay $20 for one now.
It's not that I am that picky, but I have a right to know what's in foods labeled for sale, and make choices based on that knowledge. If I feel a company has betrayed me by being deceptive in disclosing the ingredients or processes used to make it, I simply chose to discontinue being used/ripped off by them.
In other words, if your stuff is crap, just say so. There is still an unbelievable market for crap nowadays! Albeit a reduced one, but at least the company won't have to switch gears and/or downsize when folks discover it's crap anyways. - and they will!
I think it's almost funny the number of companies that have come forward to say that they won't use it anymore.
Yuk! That means that did!
Now the company that makes it is complaining that they have shut down for 2 months to sugar coat this mess, and if no one will buy their crap after that, they may have to shut down completely and people will lose jobs. Oh sure, blame us for losing jobs because we don't want to eat your crap!
Wasn't it originaly suposed to be for dog food anyway? What are they putting in dog food if not this? Something worse possibly? Speaking of dogfood, how 'bout we tell china to keep their crap, cuz we have enough of our own, right here! That ought to bring back a couple jobs at least.

Here is what I wrote when I started doing it last year.
and here is why I wouldn't buy store ground beef again, but now it's for another reason.

The thing I hear from people is that they don't have time to do this. Yes you do! It saves you time. I spend about 4 to 6 hours every 3 months grinding, preparing, and packaging meat. I alernate between meatloves, ground beef patties, and precooked ground beef packages, so that nothing is older than 9 months, and meals take minutes to prepare.
I've been making my own bread for about 2 years now, and just started making yogurt.
I don't even want to know what the yogurt places are putting in that stuff, and I hope I never find out.

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Two stories of forgiveness

I started writing something else, but veered off the path, and I can only believe that someone somewhere needs to read this, so here you go . . .

My Dear Ol Dad passed away about a year and a half ago now.
He used to live in my state. My Sis and I were born and raised here, and after gradutating from college, my sister moved to MN. My parents devorced, and Dad was on his own for about 10 years, staying here for about 8 of them, and then moving to TX. When it became appearent that Dad wasn't taking care of himself very well, my Sis went and got him, and made arrangements for his health and living needs. God Bless her for doing that. He passed away just as his freedom was to taken away. He was about to be confined to a wheelchair, with oxygen tank, and I am positive his last 8 or so years were much better because of her.
It happened that I hadn't seen my dad since he moved to TX, and had never seen my Sis in MN either. I always thought I would go and see them both one day, but we never had the time or money.
One day out of the blue I told my hubby that I needed to go see him. After pricing airline tickets, I decided to drive, and told hubby to come with me. I called Sis and told her we were comming. She was suprised, but made arrangements to leave her camp outing and come home to meet us.
Just like a bad country song, he passed away an hour before we arrived.
Rather than dwell on that pain, I'd like you'll to know that several years back, while on the phone, my Dad told me he was always sorry he didn't stick up for me more. I always thought we both knew - that he did as much as he dared. If he did more, it would cost me. [My Mom was abusive - there, I said it! but this isn't about that] I told him that if he ever thought for one second that he failed me in some way, he should know that I forgive him. I further made it clear "For anything you think you might have done, or might have failed to do, or any tiny detail that might enter your head on a sleepless night, just know that I love you, and I know you did your best, and incase that isn't good enough, I forgive you. I'm ok now. I harbor no resentment of any kind, toward you or Mom, and God is good!"
So even though, I never did get to see him, I thought back to that conversation, and felt some relief.
How many people don't get to say those things to people that need to hear it?
So readers, please do yourself a favor. Call that family member, [don't mention the offense], and at least tell them that you love them.

For the curious, I did forgive my Mom too. It didn't work out so well . . the first time. I was 23, maybe, newly devorced from an abusive man, and had a fairy tale belief that when I told her I forgave her, she would aplogise, and we'd hug and be like a normal Mother & Daughter ever after. She didn't. The first words out of her mouth were "Who did you tell?" and all I could think about was "I am trying to heal, and you are making this about you now" I think I stammered something like "no one, I just wanted to . ." and then she broke in with "You were a crazy maker! You drove me crazy. You have no idea what it was like!" and I left.

For years, my Mom and Sis would ignore me except for Thanksgiving, when I would get a non-optional invite to Mom's and at Christmas time, when they wanted to know what I wanted. I never knew what to say. All I could think of was if they knew me, they wouldn't have to ask.
The calls were always short, and if I tried to talk about my life or ask about theirs for the past year, they were in a hurry and had to go. One year, my Mother actually moved to FL just before Thanksgiving without even telling me. I only found out, a few days before, when I called her.
Year after year they would send me stuff, rarely anything I liked or could use, and it always made me feel inadequite, I guess for not appriciating it more. In retrospect, I am not sure how I would feel if they actually sent me anything that I did like.
One night while driving, I was out of my usual radio range and scanned the dial. I came upon a contemperary Christian station playing a song that really spoke to me.
I had gotten married again, and was a bit embarrased to tell my family, plus didn't want to hear all possible negative comments. So I hadn't invited them.
That song made me realise that I hadn't really forgiven my Mother.
I pulled over and declared to the Lord that I forgave her. I told Him that "I am letting go of the debt that she owes me, and giving it to you, Lord. She owes me nothing, and I am counting on You forgiving her too"
Now I could tell you something magical happend that day, but I just don't know. I felt better, but it pretty much seemed like an ordinary day to me.
I will say that when Christmas rolled around that year, and that call came in, I was ready to tell her to please not send me any more things. That I love her, but I just don't want to ride this ride anymore. but something happened. She asked me how I had been. I answered and asker her how she'd been. We laughed and told stories for 45 mintues - a lifetime record for us at that point.
I was crying when I got off the phone. I had finally gotten what I wanted for Christmas!

There you have it. Two stories of forgiveness. Both with happy endings, but very different beginnings.
I want you to know, because I didn't at first, that you do not have to tell the person you are forgiving. If they are still in a bad place that you don't want to revisit, you can forgive them right where you are. Just let go.
but if they ever hint that the are seeking your forgiveness, give it to them and more.

I really think that when someone causes us pain, we think they owe us something. We hang on to that pain like an IOU, refusing to tear it up until they apoligise. After awhile those IOU's add up, it's a great weight to carry around, never mind the fact that probably 95% of of the folks whose IOU's you're carrying, don't even know they have an IOU in your bag. The more we feel we're hurt, the more importance we place on it, and the heavier that IOU is. The trouble, if that isn't enough, with IOU's is that they grow. They seem to feed on pain and selfishness. and Yes, I do think it's selfish not to forgive. If no one else tells you that, it's because either they haven't thought about it, or want to keep taking your money while you pour out your "poor me's" on their couch for $150 an hour.
The pain, we can't help feeling for a minute, but the selfishess . . . you take away that, and all the power goes out of the offense, taking with it the pain. Yes, I am saying "Get over yourself" The only one making you carry that burden is you.

Fogiveness is freedom. By forgiving someone, you are freeing yourself of the pain that you were never meant to carry around in the first place.

This reminds of that game Hot Potato.
Although I am young enough to remember it was actually a plastic one, the premise is the same: The one holding it at the end, loses.
What if pain was an actual hot potato, and you have it in your hands because someone tossed it to you and you caught it. It's burning your hands, so you have to get rid of it. Now, you can toss it to someone else, knowing it will hurt them or you can drop it. Either way, once it is out of your hands, it will still hurt for some time. You may even need some salve to help it heal.
Well, I am here to tell you, the pain will be less if you drop that potato instead of handing it to someone else. and the quicker you drop it, the less pain you will feel.
Learn to drop the potato!
You have much better things to do!