27 September 2016

Power Problems

The wind has been howling for days. Sometimes it seems that it never stops. Over the weekend we began to notice, as we sat upstairs watching TV, that the light in the kitchen would blink off. The light by us and the TV never blinked. Then it started to have brown outs and go out long enough that clocks needed reset, but still the upstairs lights never fluttered.

It was very strange and more than a little disconcerting to be loosing power in half of the house.

We didn’t burn up in our sleep and didn’t notice it during the day, possibly because we didn’t have any lights on. My always working husband was busy all day with farm stuff and didn’t have a chance to look into it and we kind of forgot about it until night time when the lights would pull slowly down to black and hang there for a moment then come back on, while upstairs nothing happened. The internet was downstairs and got disconnected and the clocks were blinking twelve, the NAS (the fancy computer thingy with our TV shows and movies on it) would blink off so what ever we were watching would go away but the TV stayed lit. It was scary.

It was also getting late on a Saturday night, no one was around or going to be around anytime soon to call about it. We didn’t want the house to burn down around us as we slept or for the constant power outages to kill our ancient refrigerator or the computer stuff. We (my husband, that is, with me following him around) went looking for the problem.

First he figured out exactly which plugins and lights were effected. Then he found them in the fuse box, they were all down one side. He tightened all of what ever you tighten in a fuse box and we rechecked the house. It didn’t change anything. He got out his tester stuff and watched as each brown out pulled the power down to nearly nothing, but only on the one side.

We went outside and watched the pole the power lines come in from an didn’t see any sparks but were strongly leaning towards that as the problem. Apparently 240 volts comes into the house in the form of two 120 wires, one to each side of the fuse box. The wires are old with the insulation long since worn out and gone and a trees branches well grown through them, all of which were blowing violently in the wind. It was easy to see where trouble could arise. Unfortunately it was after ten on a very dark night, nothing was going to happen any time soon.

For the time being anything that could be shut off on that half of the fuse box was. Unfortunately that included the freezer and refrigerator but better off than broken. They would be ok over night. We slept well in a very dark room without clocks and quiet without the hum of electricity.

The next day after very important farm stuff got done he went to work on the wiring. His dad drove the payloader and lifted my daring husband up to check the, live, wires going into the house. As he perched precariously on the edge of the bucket he carefully tested the bare wires. From below his dad offered helpful advise and tried, enthusiastically, to get him to poke the wires with a screw driver.

One wire checked at the proper voltage, the other at nothing. Then they shut the power off for the fun part.

I stood below and watched helplessly as he stood his ladder up in the bucket of the payloader reached to its full extension against the power pole. With breath held I watched him balance on the wobbly ladder and scale the pole. With a quick wiggle of the wires he found the problem. Sure enough the connection was loose. It was pockmarked from the arcing as the aluminum wire sparked where it wiggled loose against copper. He climbed down the ladder back into the bucket and asked for wrenches then climbed back up. He wrapped one arm around the post to reach the bolt and tightened the connection then clambered down again. Done at last.

My daring husband had survived all of the hazards and we had unblinking electricity again. It hasn’t shut off since.



22 September 2016

Yet Another Horse

Well technically he’s been here all along but now he’s mine! For reals and for true. I took the leap and adopted Rusty. He’s been coming along so well and other people were starting to show interest in him, I couldn’t let him go. He has come a long way since he showed up here last January, a furry little ball of rotten. He’s certainly much prettier with his winter coat shed out, but it’s fall now he’s turning back into a woolly mammoth. I’ve been riding him and teaching him some tricks along with, hopefully, some steering and other useful riding type things.

To celebrate this momentous occasion I started Rusty a facebook page, Rescuing Rusty just like the blog. Mostly just as a link to his blog but also a few videos that are too long for the blog. My facebook hating husband is, of course, horrified.

It has been a long and great trip from the time he first stepped off the trailer, nervous and running over everyone, to now, riding pretty good and my silly trick horse. I had been missing a horse to train on, I didn’t realize how much I had been missing it. God, as usual, sent me just the horse I needed exactly when I needed him. Without me even knowing that I was lacking.

21 September 2016

I’ve Mentioned Haven’t I, That My Husband is Brilliant?

Last time it was the batteries for the kids toys. This time it’s music for 8, and us once we saw how cool his was.

I wanted to have a way to play music for 8 as he goes to sleep. The Goblin Child has a computer in her room but there’s no room for that in his. We talked about ways to go about it and a Raspberry Pi came up. Next thing I knew he was fiddling around in there with some speakers and the tiny box that is a Raspberry Pi.

By bed time 8 had music.

In his free time my brilliant, hard working husband had found a Linux based audio player, Runeaudio, and installed it on the Raspberry Pi. Now from his phone, mine is not compatible sadly, and any of our computers we can choose music from what’s available on the NAS (network attached storage, a project from last winter). Now, run from the little box on his dresser beautiful music (classical and Big Smith an eclecticΒ  assortment) plays from the speakers.

It was pretty darn cool. By the next night we had one too! Music, different music, now streams from every room of our house. Now he thinks he’s found an alarm clock program for it. What more new and exciting things can he possibly find to top the wonders he has already worked?

20 September 2016


We were recently given two little cars for the kids. To be exact, a pink and purple fourwheeler and an airplane. The kids loved them. They sat on them for hours, in kid time, in adult time that means whole minutes at a time. They pushed the buttons to make them honk and lights flash and propellers whirl. The only problem was that they didn’t go. Not a problem for the kids, they didn’t know they were supposed to do anything more. It was only us older folk who thought there was anything at all amiss.

My always brilliant husband looked at them and discovered that one needed a battery, the other a charger. That’s not what makes him brilliant we all mostly knew that much. What makes him so darned cool is that upon discovering the ridiculous prices of accoutrements for kids toys he figured out a much better alternative.

With a little further research he found fixes better than the originals. The fourwheeler got a new bigger battery that charges on the tiny car battery charger that works for the plane. Perfect, and less than half the cost to replace the original equipment. He’s so awesome.

The kids are loving them just as much now that they go and are adorable trucking slowly across the yard.





19 September 2016

At Least She’s Learning Something At School

When we ask what she’s done in school she shrugs and says ” I don’t know”. We have received a few papers and evidence that they have worked on a couple of letters, A and F. Not sure why F followed A instead of B but hey, what ever. She already knows her alphabet and all her letters though so it doesn’t really count as learning something new.

The other day we had some friends over for supper. Both our friends and hers. During conversation she broke into song, loudly and with lots of hand movements to accompany. She sang it over and over again. After the first few times our joy that she had learned a new song at school and even remembered it! began to be overcome by a wish that she please sing it later maybe? She finished and refused to sing it again afterwards when we asked to hear it.

I was able to get her to sing it for me one more time and caught it on video. I know, and am glad that, she enjoys music class, the teacher is excellent, and it’s the only class she’s learned anything in apparently.

18 September 2016

We Had So Much Fun We Decided To Do It Again

She keeps telling me that she doesn’t like horses, I’m the one who likes horses. But when 8 headed off with his father in a tractor this morning she thought maybe we could go for another ride. I jumped at the chance.

16 September 2016

The Lonely Mountain ( Erebor )

9 September 2016

And Once We Were Home

Life got back to normal.





8 September 2016

The Trip Home

We got going bright and early, stopped for Starbucks, then ran back for forgotten things.Β  Shortly before noon we were going for real. West through Illinois, I would move there. I couldn’t handle any closer to Chicago but north western Illinois and most of Wisconsin I’d take in a heart beat, humidity mosquitoes and all.

In high school my brother had a friend, farmer Bob, who’s family had farm ground out that way, they spent a few wild weekends four wheeling the old Toyota, climbing grain bins and filming cows at night with the night vision. Much funnier than it sounds.Β  We spent time out there with the horses. My old boy Nate went over backwards with me at an endurance ride with a very large audience. Before the ride of course, it made for a long ride. My family still hauls out to Lake Le-Aqua-Na to camp and ride. Galena, of course, is a stunning little town. It rained off and on and mist was rising from the hills. Beautiful drive.

Iowa is far prettier than it’s reputation would have one believe. Of course so is Nebraska. All these supposedly flat ugly states, glad people think that hope it keeps them out. Other than lots of rain the drive was uneventful. Except for grouchy children who refused to sleep. Then got woke up shortly after they finally cried themselves to sleep. I might have been a little grouchy.

We stayed overnight in Sioux City And finished the trip the next day. There were lots of bikers everywhere heading home from Sturgis. I may have spent some time laughing at the big, bad, dirty, scruffy looking bikers checking facebook on their phones and discussing their businesses back home. It was the living version of Wild Hogs.

We were all very glad to get home the kids missed their Lala, I may have missed him a little too. My parents wussed out on sleeping in their pickup and got a room in Chadron for the night. The Goblin Child went with them for her last night with her beloved Grammy and Different Papa. We went home and slept.

They came back the next day and we rode, the girls, and worked on a lawn mower, the boys. We also took a fourwheeler for a spin around the block. It was very exciting. The kids fell asleep. We were sad to see them go that evening but they had big plans and lots of miles ahead so it was with some excitement for the trip that we said good bye.

It was a great trip, so glad we got to go. We came back exhausted and happy to have seen everyone. Now it’s their turn to come see us!