Electrical Issues

Snow has been forecast for this weekend ever since, last weekend. As the week went on the amounts crept upwards. By Thursday they were predicting nine to fourteen inches.
So Monday two of the heated automatic waterers were froze over. The fuse was blown and the new one immediately joined its predecessor. My husband came home from work early and he and his father check wiring, multi-meters and other things I shy away from. The short was somewhere underground between the barn and the tanks. Everyone hung their heads and cried a little on the inside.
There were no shut off valves. Not below ground at least. No way to keep the water pipes from freezing in one old tank that was perfectly good and one they had just spent days getting installed. The heat had to be fixed before the storm coming in with the weekend.
The power company came out and located lines. They found the short, or maybe just where there was a splice, simply wrapped in electric tape and  buried underground. With a payloader, skid steer and shovels they dug it up. The bucket snagged the wire, pulling it loose but fortunately just scraped the waterline, not breaking it causing any further messes.Sure enough the wires were black and insulation melted. My computer guy/farmer/electrician husband tested the wires before patching and reburying. He tends to be cautious and a perfectionist.
There was another short. Somewhere else in between, underground. The the snow melted and it all drained into the hole. Now there were not only wires to fix but they were under a foot of water. Pumps are good to have. It was still muddy.
They called up Scott. It’s good to know people with trenchers. Abandoning the old line They trenched in two new wires to reach the waterers separately to avoid anymore under ground splices than absolutely necessary. With shiny new wire, wire that’s actually rated to be run underground, above ground junction boxes, a new trench dug, and wire ran, to the tank that has had an extension cord run to it for years. All that dug through knee deep mud. Knee deep on 8 that is.
It was all buried in and working good long before the cold and snow hit. With time left over for taking the duals off the tractor and putting the big snow blower on.
Category: 8, Cows, Farming  One Comment

Quite A Cluster

Some cows got out this afternoon. Not a big deal but  the father in law stopped to ask if I would help chase them in. Of course I would. As I hopped on the 4wheeler with him I absentmindedly called Daisy to come help. She didn’t come I worried a little then forgot about her amidst the whole cow chasing thing.

8 and I went to pick The Goblin Child up from the bus. Daisy is usually bouncing around wanting to come with. She wasn’t there. Again I remembered that she hadn’t come earlier either. Now I was worried. I tried to remember when I had seen her last. She had come with to feed in the morning.  I couldn’t think of a time I had seen her since then. She couldn’t have not gotten out of the feed truck. Could she?

We had a very little time before the bus would be there, we could make it to check for sure. Barely.

Sure enough. I opened the door and out leapt Daisy. When we get out she will just sit there. She has to be told to come out with us and apparently I didn’t do so. It was dark in the quanset and I was rushing to make it to the bus. I haven’t seen if she did anything to the inside of the feed truck yet. She’s a good dog. I didn’t smell anything. Keeping my fingers crossed that she didn’t hurt anything.

Out at the neighbors driveway that is our compromise meeting place, the bus driver complained about driving clear to our mailbox, I refused to have The Goblin Child unloaded on the highway, we pulled to the side of the road and waited. At the highway two vehicles sat. A car and a pickup. Their people sat on bumpers in between hanging out, talking. The bus managed to squeeze around them and made it up the hill slick with snow and ice.

After unloading the bus went back down the icy hill and waited for room to pull out. The two vehicles still sat, unperturbed by the traffic they were impeding. While loading children I watched a FedEx van pull out from across the street and head down the hill towards the bus. I waited and watched to see if he would slide right into it. He didn’t.

Pulling into our neighbors drive we turned around as usual. Backing out into the road. I put the car in drive, and we went backwards. As usual when things don’t go anywhere near as expected, it took a moment to think it through. I put it back in park and we stopped moving. Back in drive and we slid backwards again. Well, that didn’t work. This time I tried reverse, we were getting quite sideways in the road, maybe I could straighten it out and find some traction further down the hill.

The car straightened. There was no more traction though. A couple more tries and it became apparent that the only way we were going was down the hill. Down to where those two… very nice people still sat. Apparently unaware of the traffic swirling around them, They weren’t bothered at all by blocking half of the road. Easing the car as slow as I could down the slick road I aimed for the sliver highway I could see that was unobstructed. If we could just get to some clear ground and make a run at it we could make the hill.

Of course this whole time the children are sitting, standing, kneeling, spinning circles, and talking loudly in the seat next to me. Of course they weren’t buckled in for the one mile of county road home. Not distracting or impeding my view at all.

I managed not to hit either of the vehicles. The… very nice people sat, still unbothered by how incredibly annoying they were and stared at us as we backed past them. On the cleared pavement of the highway we were able to get started and made it up the hill with no more difficulties. Then finally home. To Daisy.

Ridiculous.

This is getting more than a little ridiculous.

First my hard working husband came home early from work to find the problem with the waterers. They were bowing fuses, not keeping the ice thawed. He found the problem. Somewhere underground between the fuse and the tanks.

Then the light in the kitchen kept fluttering off and on while we ate supper.  It was easily fixed with a new light bulb.

Then at bedtime the light was off in the fridge. Another simple fix. Mostly. The plug in is well hidden behind the stove. I don’t know how my poor electrically inclined husband goes about it, but it’s a reach.

Even the light up Christmas tree in the Little Blue Truck book quit working. That is taking it too far.

It doesn’t seem like much now that I get it written down but it’s a Monday. Bad enough on it’s own between work, robotics, and children. Altogether it just feels like it’s pilling up. Hopefully the rest of the electricity keeps working!

Giving Thanks, And Christmas Decorations!

We celebrated Thanksgiving by hanging the outdoor Christmas lights. We also planted the garlic in the greenhouse, finally. Then the usual run of family stuff.

Now it is snowing and seems like the perfect time to be decorating for Christmas. We were only supposed to get an inch or two but it’s been snowing all day and doesn’t show signs of quitting. Tonight the wind is supposed to blow. Almost blizzard conditions. Yuk.

Thankfully we are warm inside. The new, fake, tree is up and the children got it decorated. Well, one of them did. The other quickly grew tired of it and went to play on her computer. We are in the process of making the first batch of Christmas cookies, but one of them quickly grew tired. Not of making cookies. Just tired, and had to lay down for a nap. When he wakes up we will roll them out and cut them out.

Child Proof

The Goblin Child is entirely too smart for her own good. Too smart for our own good. We always know it. She constantly proves it.

We were sitting at the table finishing breakfast. She decided to get herself one of her yummy vitamin C pills. She was pushing down hard on the bottle making lots of work of unscrewing it. Her father asked why she didn’t just turn the lid?

She looked at him in that disdainful manner only done better by Coyote and teenagers. Because, she said, it says push down and turn!

Of course it did! We looked at the bottle and realized she was reading the instructions for opening the child proof lid. Reading and executing them beautifully.

 

 

 

Hauling Hay

8 and I went to help the neighbor haul some hay bales. The weather was perfect, warm but enough of a breeze to keep us cool. I had debated seeing f we could go in the morning so there wasn’t quite so much help. In the end I decided it was easier to do everything else without him and to let him come along for the hay. We rode along in the cab of the pickup on the way over, looking at tractors and talking. Then climbed into the horse trailer to began the gathering of hay.

8 loved it. He started out enjoying seeing how the cows and horses ride. He rode on the hay. He climbed on the hay. He pulled bales around. He helped carry hay. He learned he could jump in and out of the trailer. He slept well that night.

 

 

Category: 8, Farming  2 Comments

The Pledge

The Goblin Child is finally getting old enough for her class to start participating in school programs. 8 is in school now so I got to go see my first school program since the children were born. It was fun, a well planed program, a bit of a tear jerker now and then.  It was fun to watch the kids though and even got some video.

The Great Chicken Hunt

It all started last spring. It seemed so innocent at the time. The hen wanted to set so bad. What would the harm be in letting her have some chicks to raise? We’d have more chickens. She could go all broody. Win win.

Well. Two hens decided to set. Between the two of them they hatched quite a few chicks. It was all good. They stayed out in the trees. They didn’t eat the garden. They raised them to be wild creatures. Pheasants in chicken form. Then they moved back into the yard. It started to be a problem. Most of the chicks turned out to be roosters. White roosters. Where did that come from? I hate white chickens. So albino like.

Once in the yard they eventually moved to the trees right outside the bedroom window to roost. Then they got big enough to start crowing.

I started making nightly trips out to chase them out of the trees. They came back. One night I’d had enough. I was tired. They had been crowing since four thirty in the morning. Every morning. For weeks. I snapped. I was going to kill them I went into the house for a gun. My level headed husband stopped me on my way out the door with the 22. He pointed out the dangers of using a rifle, even a small one to shoot chickens in the yard surrounded by houses and vehicles. I admitted his wisdom in this but swore to come back with something more fitting.

I told him I was going to go buy a shotgun. He said I couldn’t just do that. I said I could. I asked his father if he had a smaller shotgun. He said only a 12 gauge. I went to walmart. When I told them I wanted a gun to go kill something they were happy to oblige. They looked at each other in that infuriating condescending manor that men have. Like, how cute, the little lady wants a gun. Maybe her husband can show her how to hold it. They were annoying but I wanted to kill things. I didn’t get the gun.

I wanted to wait and do some research first.

The gun sold the next morning. I was sad, research had found it to be a good one. The whole thing got the father in law thinking though. He remembered that he did have a 20 gauge up at the house I could try. Worked for me. I just wanted to kill things and it was a much better gun than the walmart special.

The chickens let me sleep for a few days after that. I wasn’t driven to a murderous rage. The gun sat untouched. Until it didn’t. At four thirty they started. The unending rounds, continuous and loud. Au au aaoooooo. Over and over. A small break in the middle to let you think maybe thy were going to stop. Then again. And again. And again. Until the real alarm finally went off.

I was the first out of bed for once. I met my husband eye, he read my mind. Go shoot the roosters he said. He would get the kids up and dressed.

Out the door I found three of them still sitting in the same tree. Hanging out. Maybe not crowing any more. I didn’t take the shot. Houses, vehicles. Saner minds prevailing. All that. I stalked them as they wandered down the drive. Waiting, cursing them, hoping for a clear shot. The other chickens joined them. They all went under the semis. I was loosing hope. Then they separated. My hated ones moving away from the good chickens who don’t crow outside my window. On down the driveway I got a clear shot. Taking a deep breath I pulled the trigger.

Nothing happened.

Dang safety. Turning it off I tried again. And missed! What in the world! The safety thing must have messed with my concentration. Around the grain bins I tried again. This time I got one. He was down but not out, forcing me to finish the job. Nasty business. Then it was back to see the children off to school.

Once they were gone I went back. This time they were out in the wheat. I got a clear clean shot. Nothing behind them. One shot each, on either side of a rooster who was not on the receiving end of my hatred. Two shots, two roosters, problem solved.

Then of course there was a whole new problem. I didn’t want them to go to waste. I’m willing to eat chicken even if others in the family are not. I sat in the wheat, plucked and cleaned one. Then hauled the other back up to the house to work on. As I plucked, with the rooster up on a lick tub for easier reach, I looked closely and saw a small bug crawling across the plucked bare skin. Then another. Then  looked and saw two crawling up my arm! That was the end of that. I tossed the whole lot of them in the dead pile and called it good. Blood and guts are one thing, poultry lice is another.

Category: Chickens  3 Comments

Still More Halloween

The actual day of Halloween.

More Halloween

Both children’s classes went trick or treating at the nursing home. The Goblin Child’s class also sang a song though. I couldn’t hear it but I did get it on video!