A JACK?

I wonder if it will ever stop?  I know that the state (or county) put a sign on east-bound I-76 just before our exit that states “services next exit “, but it is wrong-sort of.

Yes, there are the services listed, however; when you get to the bottom of the off-ramp (which just happens to be right by our little farm), there is nothing to tell anyone just where to go for those services.  It is another three miles to those services.  Oh, and at the bottom of the off ramp, there is nothing telling them which direction to turn!

This has been a problem for us since the day we moved onto the farm (over 20 years ago now).  I swear, everybody and their brother has to ask us something – or for something:

  • “Can you tell me where such-and-such is?”
  • “I ran out of gas, do you by chance have any to help me get to a gas station?”
  • “Can you tell me where the nearest gas station is?”

Those three questions are the most asked, but we also have some real beauties that have happened:

  • An elderly couple in a big, beautiful Caddy pulled into our driveway.  The man got out and rang our doorbell.  “I am sorry to bother you,” he said, “ but my wife really needs to use a bathroom.  Could she possibly use yours?”  Yes, we said yes.
  • While enjoying our Friday night cocktails one comfortable summer evening, we watched a Motorcyclist come down the off-ramp.  A pretty standard practice there as tons of Cyclists have done it in the past and continue to do so today.  This one was a bit different.  He got off the bike (which was not small by a long shot), pulled out his cane, and proceeded to step back to stretch his legs.  That’s when it happened. Just as he stepped clear of the motorcycle, it fell over.  He tried to catch it but it was obviously more than he could possibly handle. We got up from our comfortable porch chairs, walked across the highway over to him at the off ramp, and proceeded to lift his motorcycle back up for him.  He thanked us endlessly and even offered us money (we declined) and said he was just on his way back to Denver from Sturgis (he went to the bike rally up there) and just needed a bit of a break.  We kindly suggested he may want to look into getting a tric (tricycle motorcycle).  We all had a nice laugh and he went on his way.

It should also be noted that I am a mom that became a very light sleeper when I had my child.  I have never been able to sleep long or sound for a full eight-hours after I had her possibly because she was born with a disability, possibly just because it is a mom thing?  This last Friday proved, once again, that it is a very good thing.

It was around 11:30 p.m. Friday night, and the dogs started barking weirdly.  They have several types of bark, but there is one that signals there is something really strange outside.  This bark was one of those types.

They woke me and I went to the windows to see what was up.  Then I saw the vehicle lights which were aimed at our vehicles.  Definitely not a good sign!

There are several reasons people with vehicles are in front of our home in the middle of the night:

  1. Gotta pee.  This is by-far the biggest reason.
  2. Dog has got to pee. 
  3. Check directions.  Since the road signs do not clearly tell drivers where to go, they will drive by several times, stop, review maps or GPS and then figure it out.
  4. Change drivers because the current one is starting to drift off.

But, I have to say, this one was a first:

  • As I was walking toward the widow where our vehicles are parked, I could see the top of someone’s head bobbing toward our door.  The window was open because the night was cool and I leaned over and yelled out, “What do you want?”  The poor kid jumped a foot! (Ok, I have to be honest and say that this made me laugh-internally- even though I was mad for the middle of the night disturbance.)  He then proceeded to apologize profusely for the intrusion, but he/they had a bad flat tire.  He asked if I had a jack.  My first reflex action was “NO!!”  I told him there was a garage just on the other side of the overpass and he could go there.  (I knew full well that they were not open after 5p.m. any day, so the kid(s) would have to wait till morning.  Serves them right for bugging me in the middle of the night!)  After several more minutes of begging, offering the $20 he had for my trouble, and swearing he was not up to something bad; the mom in me gave in.  I told him to pull in by my car and I went out to help.  The tire was shredded so they must have been riding on it for a while. I got the jack out of my car, they proceeded to replace the tire and then the little fart offered the $20 again.  I said no and then he asked if it was OK to give me a hug?  He was going to visit he grandparents and I remined him of them.  I caved in and then wished them a safe trip.  Through all of this my sister, who fell asleep on the couch, did not budge – JERK!

I shared the story with my sister and we both laughed.  Then she said was that she was proud I tried to not help them as we have sworn to each other to quit doing it.  We have had too many bad experiences with strangers in the last 10 years and are trying to quit being so nice.  The problem is, we were not raised that way.  Our parents raised us with do unto others and help those that cannot help themselves growing up so its embedded in our D.N.A.

I guess that with the state of things in the U.S. right now, maybe this little act of kindness is good thing and possibly even appreciated?  A jack?  In the middle of the night?  Man, I have gotten soft!

You can also check me out at:  https://lifelessonslived.com/ for all the fun things I have learned in life.

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MY 7-DWARF’S STRIKE AGAIN!

Short, squatty, dumpy, frumpy, snarky, gimpy, and yuck.  Yep, those little buggers in me are at it again.  First, it was the extreme heat that got them rumbling.  Then came the smoke from the Colorado fires.  Next was the smoke from the California fires.   Roll them all together, and my seven dwarfs strike again!

It’s been hard enough trying to keep the gardens going with the sun trying to bake them to a crisp, but the lack of rain has made it worse.  We are lucky and have our own well (we had it tested when we moved in – great water and a very full stash – yea!), but we still try to collect all the rainwater we can get our hands-on.  This year the tank fills have been few-and-far-between.

If you have been following me, you know I am an old-ish fart that has had too many major surgeries for such a young age.  Getting around now is nothing like getting around in my twenties.  Simple things like oh say, breathing, can be a challenge on a regular hot day.  Throw in smoke clouds so thick they block out the sun to an orange type of glow, and it becomes a battle.

Everything is being “spot” watered now.  I only use the sprinkler once a week in select areas.  The spot (hand) watering takes me about 3-4 times longer than my regular watering system.  The normal system takes me about 4-5 hours.  Currently, I start at about 5:00 a.m. and do not finish until around noon.  It is also hard on our well-pump, and that baby is only six years old.  I can feel her pain!

The final straw was this morning.  Working about my regular watering routine, I reached the greenhouse area.  We still don’t have a roof (thank you Colorado winds from hell, oh, and the tornado of 2018), but the plots are doing great.  This is the one place I actually laid out drip lines, AND THEY WORK!  I turn on the water line to this area, make sure my splitters are watering all my beautiful veggies first, and then proceed to wander the plot rows to see how everyone is doing. (Yes – every ”one” as I talk to them all just like I talk to humans.) 

I watch closely for anybody starting to turn color.  My method is to clear them out a bit so I can keep an eye on them every day.  When they get to just the right color, I nab them for our dinner table.  (If tons are coming in at once, they become canned, dried, or frozen foods)  I had a beauty of a tomato coming in.  Yesterday it was just about ready, but nope, I waited one more day.  I squatted down to pluck my perfect tomato (oh, by the way, it is about the size of a softball), and my fingers were covered in tomato guts-YUCK!!  DAMN MICE!!! 

We have farm cats all over the place, and I have yet to see them catch a single mouse.  The greenhouse is wide open, so they can come and go as they please.  They please to take a dump in there on occasion, but can’t seem to catch a mouse?  So, I wandered back to the house and got a trap.  It is set with peanut butter (favorite mouse food, in case you didn’t know) and sitting right now just under my poor beautiful tomato.  I swear, if I catch that stinking mouse, I will dangle it by the cat’s noses then feed it to the dogs! 

Maybe I need to buy some rubber snakes to set in my tomato bushes?  Then I can scare off the mice and myself when my old-ish age makes me forget that I placed them there.

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ONE OF MY MOST FAVORITES!

Farm kids find the simplest ways to entertain themselves.  Making hay is hard work, but building forts while putting that hay up in our barn was tons of fun.  (There were only regular small bales back then and, sad to say, there are very few places that still make them today.)  Rolling down our steep hills was also a form of great joy, and then there was the Milkweed plant.

It is a weed, so, as such,  most farmers would destroy them in favor of their paying crop.  We played with ours, which, I think, made our father a bit mad.  If you broke open the stem, it produced a milky substance that was very sticky (just try to mess with the plant without getting sticky!?!  Can’t happen.), but our favorite part was the pods.

It is a strong and pretty plant that produces a heavy bushy type of flower during the summer and is best known as the perfect food for the Monarch butterflies.  Then as the summer ends and fall begins, they grow these pods.  The pods are filled with tons of little brown seeds, and each seed is attached to a very light and feathery stem.  This is where dad would get mad.

We would break open the pods and purposefully pull out all the seeds on their feathers and throw them up into the air.  We would pretend they were little fairies floating all around us.  Pretty obvious why dad didn’t like it, but also pretty sure Mom Nature loved us for it.

Countryside.com just sent me this email:

Milkweed Plant: A Truly Remarkable Wild Vegetable

Discover the Many and Varied Milkweed Plant Uses, Including Sustenance for Butterflies

It is a perfect read, especially since I have never looked at them as a veggie, but they needed to add the joy that it can bring to little kids as one of its best benefits.

On a side note, I need to thank our neighbors.  They own big fields of paying crops (including crops that go into cow bellies) but have never stopped to ask us to get rid of them.  The plant was not originally on our farm.  The first one showed up in our front yard about five years ago, and my sister and I protected it.  No, we did not pop open the pod and watch the fairies dance (but it was a thought); it did that all on its own.  We just encouraged it to grow and enjoyed watching it feed our honeybees, butterflies, and other beneficial bugs.

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WHAT THE HECK IS IT MADE OF?

I know it is moth season (yes, we have a season for them), and I know that they help to feed the birds; but do they have to be so nasty?  And, what is there poop made of?

I hate that they get stuck in my hair AND CRUNCH when I try to get them out!  I hate that they fly right into my face over and over and over again (makes me think of a Coyote/Roadrunner cartoon), and it doesn’t phase them at all.

Wilie Coyote help

The worst thing of all is the poop they leave behind – EVERYWHERE!!  What the heck is that stuff made of?  I swear it is worse than tar to try to get off, and it ends up in the strangest places.  I found several yuckies on my DSL this morning, and the thing sits upright on a box (better air circulation since it gets kind of hot), and yet it has two trash marks from Millers on it.

Moth poo 6-3-20

Have you ever tried to clean that stuff off of something?

  • They are a bug and not a real smart one.
  • They are bird and bat food.
  • They don’t live very long.
  • They turn to dust in a heartbeat.
  • They squeeze into the smallest of places.
  • They pop out of the weirdest of spots.
  • THEY ARE EVERYWHERE!

I just don’t get how something so temporary can leave such a lasting mess.  With the large amount of them appearing this year, we will be trying to clean up after the little monsters until Christmas!

The other thing I hate about them is when they pop out by the dozens in the most unsuspecting spot.  I was cleaning up the gazebo and just shifted the chair cushions and got bombarded by a gang of them.  (Yes, I have decided that a group of more than one is called a “gang” because they are so destructive when gathered together.)

If any of you out there reading this has some great idea on how to get rid of these nasty leftovers easily, please share so I can tackle this mess.  Thank you!

miller-scary

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TIME TO BRING THEM BACK?

Growing up on a farm in Wisconsin in the 1960s was fun.  It was a ton of work, but I don’t remember thinking of it as work. I do remember the “special” things we did each week and other stuff just once every couple of months.

The weekly fun things were the Friday night trips to the grocery store with my dad, followed by a fun dinner (usually Dairy Queen-yum!).  Between my dad and my younger sister (his favorite by the way), it was always an enjoyable experience.  My sister did everything in her little power to make him laugh.  It was most times, her physically acting out.  Walking down the aisles as a mini-Hunchback dragging one arm and then talking to dad like the old movie icons: “Hey Roy (his name was Ray), can I hab dis?” Holding a chocolate bar in her hands.  He AWAYS gave into her!  I’m pretty sure it was mostly because she could make him laugh after a hard week at work.

The semi-monthly thing I remember was the outdoor movie theater.  Dad would make up a bunch of snacks (popcorn, mini-sandwiches, and cool-aid), so we never needed to buy stuff there.  Mom made sure we had blankets and pillows because we ALWAYS fell asleep before the movie ended. It was just us, our family, enjoying several hours together.  Yes, there are other families in cars around us, but we never knew they were there once the movie started.  We were in a world all our own!

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We would load ourselves and all of our supplies into the car, and away we went.  First stop was always the long line of anticipation – the drive-thru ticket taker (which NEVER seemed to move fast enough):

movie T ticket

The next phase was for all of us to scream at dad to “pick that spot, no – pick that one over there” to make sure we had the perfect place for all of us to witness the glory of the big screen (oh silly us – the area was designed so that every spot was for ideal viewing.).  Once found, the astounding addition of the speaker was added to the car.  It had to be hung on the partially rolled up window (oh – no electric windows for us back then) in just the right spot.  Several adjustments were made to position and sound for our absolute listening pleasure.

movie T speakers

There was the allure of the mystical Snack-Shack left hanging in the back of all the innocent child minds.  All cars had to pass it on the way in (bonus for the theater to entice the kids – sneaky!), thus urging everyone to run and purchase the necessary munchies and drinks BEFORE the previews started.  Get there fast.  Get there now.  Don’t interrupt the family movie night while the movie is running!

Our parents were brilliant!  They made the most of one of the cheapest, easiest ways to entertain the whole family:

  • We had food.
  • We had drinks.
  • We had blankets and pillows to keep us snug even on the coldest evenings (we NEVER turned on the car and wasted gas just to warm us up).
  • WE WERE TOGETHER AS A FAMILY!!

The last statement was the best of all.  We were together as a family, and that was the best thing:

  • No one was calling on the phone (yes youngsters – we had phones that hung on the wall or sat on a stand. Oh, and they did NOT tell us who was calling, because there was no fancy answering machine, so we had to answer the phone.) to interrupt us.
  • No one was stopping over unannounced. (Actually, our family had tons of family get-togethers which include kids playing on the farm while adults talked, played poker, and gossiped.)
  • No one or nothing could stop us from being all together, and having fun as a family should.

So, AMC Theaters (or whichever indoor theaters might happen to read this), here’s a money-maker idea for you:

  1. BRING BACK THE DRIVE-IN’S:
    1. Make everything drive-thru:
      1. Take tickets like they used to right from the cars as they pull in.
      2. Create a drive-thru Snack-Shack. Have the snacks posted just like fast-food restaurants have today. Make them long enough and large enough that the whole family can read the menu on their way to put in the order.  They (through the speaker system, also just like modern fast food) state their order, pull forward to pay, and pick up the goodies.  All from the convenience (and distancing) of their vehicle!
      3. Now here is where you should spend some money: speaker or sound system. The old drive-in sound systems were large and clumsy and sometimes had static.  With our modern technology, you should be able to come up with a much better, lighter system.  Still make it hook into each vehicle for that personal family experience.  Maybe something wireless?
      4. One last update addition: A unique bathroom system. I’m not sure how to do this, but if you can figure out an automatic system that can tell how many people in vs. how many people out.  You could still have several stalls, but the structure would know to unlock the “in” door when someone used the “out” door.  You could hang plastic sheets along the waiting hall so that people would have to stand and wait between the layers.  Perhaps an overhead sterilizing spray would go off as the “out” door would open, and people would move up to next-in-line?

I know you all think I’m on crack or something after reading this idea – well, no, I don’t do drugs.  I just read an article about the fight between AMC Theaters and Universal Pictures because movies need to go out, even when the theaters have to be closed.  I understand and sympathize with both sides of the story, so I came up with this beautiful idea for them all to get along.

Theaters make money.

            Movie-maker companies make money.

                        Safe distancing protocols would still be maintained.

                                    FAMILIES HAVE A FANTASTIC TIME ALL TOGETHER!

I say we start throwing this idea out there and get it done!  BRING BACK THE DRIVE-INS!

Movie T end

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I SWEAR, SOMETHING’S LIVING IN THERE!

We recently lost the last of our chickens.  This is not something new, as farmers we know there will always be predators that attack all parts of a farm.

  • Prairie dogs making leg-breaking holes in animal pastures.
  • Gophers-from-hell eating the roots of our asparagus.
  • Snakes popping up when you least expect them (luckily, I only had a Rattler once -knock on wood!).
  • Skunks hiding in the cat barn to sleep with a warm, furry, bundle of cats and eat their food (yes, one of them crawled out from the cat bed box on a frigid winter day and scared the snot out of me. I calmly said: “Good Morning.” Then backed out of the barn rather fast.).
  • An opossum choosing to hang out in our barn to avoid bad storms (the little sucker hung around for over a week, and popped up in a variety of places.).

oppossum

I want to find out what monster is living in my chicken barn, but a big part of me is also afraid.  Just my luck, it will lunge at me when I discover it (eeek!!). My sister was so nice and brought up the option that it might be a badger – great?!?  Yes, we do have those out here, but we have not seen any on our property since we first bought the farm (2000).  We initially had one living on the side of the hill by the pond.  We left it alone, and it left us alone.  Roughly four years later, it disappeared.  We have not noticed any living signs on our property since (would like it to stay that way – mean critters!).

badger

During cold winter times, we purchase the critter foods and put them immediately into containers.  Then the empty bags are piled up until spring and then put into the trash.  We usually put bags into bags and simply leave them until the weather is warmer for dragging the empties to our trash.  Things have been so strange this year, that the bags have piled up.  My fear is my monster is hiding in that pile.

I have left the barn door open the last several nights (since the loss of our last chicken) in hopes that whatever got stuck in the barn has now made its way out.  Today is the day of discovery.  My task, since the winds-from-hell have subsided, is to get in there and pull everything out.  We stored large dog kennels, that we used for various reasons, in there.  I have peeked into those already and no monsters.  I do want to drag them out so I can get back in the corner behind them.   Wish me luck that all meanies are gone!

Here’s to spring cleaning – eeek!

spring cleaning

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ONCE AGAIN: SHORT, SIMPLE, AND SMELLY?

We knew that living the rural life had many benefits, but never expected things like this to happen:

  • No coffee filters.
  • No toilet papers.
  • No dish or laundry soaps.

We have found that rural is better for pandemic problems too. The only time I saw a shortage of any of the above items was during the initial hoarding. Since that first time, I have had no problems obtaining any of those items whenever we need them.

We also are major R.R.R. people.  Those of you that do not know it stands for Reduce, Reuse, and Recycle.  This is the one individual habit we put in place decades ago and are very proud to have it.

Reduce Reuse Recycle keep calm

My email inbox had another wonderful message from my buds at familyhandyman.com:

What to Do If You Run Out of These 5 Household Items

Harrison KralUpdated: Apr. 10, 2020

It’s a great read, but I do have a few adjustments to contribute:

  • Borax: If you don’t know what it is, it is one of the original dry soaps.  We always have a couple of boxes on hand for dozens of different reasons (including pest control in the gardens).  The contribution here is, “get it online!”  It is not carried in stock in many places.  Your best bet at the best price is to get it online.  We get ours from Amazon (not affiliated), but I am always on the hunt for better deals.

Borax(This is the big one we get every couple of years.)

  • Baking Soda: We use that and cider vinegar to clean most everything (another goodie for pest control in the gardens).  Make sure you read the whole story, INCLUDING the things you DON’T want to use with baking soda.
  • Coffee Filters: Not sure why those are running short in areas, but we also invested in a permanent coffee filter.  It is a fine-screened, plastic-framed cup that fits in most coffee makers.  If you can’t find one, or one that fits appropriately (like our larger, commercial, coffee pot), I simply took some fine-screen material and cut it to fit the inside of the filter cup.  It does the job very well.  You simply lift out the wire lining and shake it in the trash.  We shake ours over the garden plots in our front and back yards as the grounds are great for the soil and plants.  If you are in an apartment, you could shake them off into a bucket (old coffee cans work great too), then spread some on your house plant soil.

Fine-screen material (click on the pic to go get it)

  • Toilet Paper: This one is great, and I have heard/read this idea before.  The only thing none of the articles I read, explained is how to deal with the smell.  They all talk about simply throwing the used material or cloth into the trash – NO – YUCKY – SMELLY!  You must have, or get, a bucket or garbage with a lid!!!

trash w lid(click on the pick to see great review on these)

I cannot stress this enough.  Tons of places online had great little trash cans with step openers and lids – PERFECT!  You get done on the potty, step on the foot lever to open the lid, and put in your leftovers.  No muss, no fuss, and the only smells are the initial opening nasty.  Two other hints for the smell:

  1. Sprinkle some baking soda on the bottom of the trash can BEFORE you add the liner bag. Then once you have your bag in, sprinkle some more in the bottom of the line.  This helps keep down the smell a lot.
  2. If you have the funds splurge on some stick-up air fresheners. They are perfect as they can be stuck to the inside lid of the can and help the baking soda to keep those icky smells under control.
  3. CHANGE OUT YOUR LINER BAG ON REGULAR INTERVALS. The intervals depend on the number of people in your household.
  4. My last helper hint is if you choose to use cloth for toilet paper – DON’T CRINGE (you can giggle). Cloth diapers were around for centuries.  All you need to do is have a bucket of soapy water and a bucket of clean water near the toilet.  Make sure EVERYONE in the household understands how to use it!  The soapy bucket is to rinse off the cloth after usage.  Then place the cloth in the cleaner water bucket to be put in the clothes washer and washed up for another useable day.
    1. Make sure to only fill the buckets about half full of water to have ample washing ability.
    2. Make sure to change out the waters often (but don’t go nuts and change them every time someone uses the toilet) on the soapy bucket, not as much needed on the pre-soak 2nd bucket. The cloth in the 2nd bucket should be semi-clean enough to go straight to the washing machine—no need to try to wring anything out (week).

2 buckets                          old wash machine

(2 Buckets – no waiting.)                          (Good old-fashioned washing machine-LOL)

Stay safe.  Stay well.  Stay smart.

talk about garbage-raccoon

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SERIOUSLY? Don’t say you don’t have time!

If you have been following me at all, you know that I usually try to find the humor in everything.  I even share stories of my screw-ups (especially the really bad ones) because they often make me laugh at myself, so why not share.

The pandemic is all everything everywhere is talking about – ok, it’s big, it’s terrible, and it’s scary – we got it.  I have been checking for ways to best kill time during this yuckiness (yep – I created a new word, shame on me!).

I then realized it was:

Prepping our farm and garden equipment for start-up time again, otherwise known as spring.

spring prep 1  spring prep 2

(YES – this is what the big mower bed is – eeek – and YES – we do have a tiller this big -double eeek!)

They all got the end of season shut down method late last fall, so now its start-up time.  I ran everything that used gas out of it, so they all need refilling.  Oil check and fills, spark plugs, tires, etc.  All the usual routine stuff.  The thing I forgot about was my beautiful car (idiot me!).

Once again, my email buds at familyhandyman.com popped in to remind me of this:

13 Things You Should Never Do To Your Car

Rick Muscoplat

I am not a complete idiot when it comes to my vehicles.  I grew up around motorheads (thank you, Cousin Clay!) that ignited my love of cars.  But I have to say that #6 is a newbie for me.

handyman

If you don’t know squat about your vehicle, this is a great article to memorize, save, and do.  If you do know some stuff but may not know it all, check it out.  You have the time now; just do it!

My riding lawn mower has become my second-best friend next to my Subaru.  I used to have to mow everything (talking about more than five acres here) by push mower – ouch!  It is still best for getting up close around things, but for the majority, it is my rider, hands down!

When I am in my “mowing zen”:

  1. I have my cell phone on my favorite music.
  2. Earbuds (FYI this is the only time I wear buds – HATE THEM – would rather have headphones, but can’t listen as well when the mower is running) hooked to phone and in my ears.
  3. Noise-blocker headset over the buds on my ears.
  4. Sweatband on my forehead, so nothing gets into my eyes.
  5. Sunglasses (also note tons of sunscreen because I burn easy).
  6. Bug head mesh netting over the top of all of that (completely covers my face, head & neck against the monsters that arise when mowing – and my nemesis the Wasp!).
  7. Then my gardening hat (wide brim) on top of that. It has a drawcord so I can keep everything in place while mowing.

This may sound like overkill, but the gnats get into my ears, been stung by a Yellow Jacket on my face (2017-not a pretty sight!), and swallowed a few of God-knows-what because I like to sing as I mow.

rachel norm            Rachel wasp sting

(BEFORE………………AFTER – eeeek!!!!  Oh, and hurt like hell, but took out the wrinkles!)

I hope you will take a moment to send a little love to your vehicle.  It deserves it!

love your car

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SHORT, SWEET, AND SIMPLE STUFF.

I have been watching the news WAY too much lately.  Our weather is at the point where I can step away from all the ugly, and look to the future.  No, this is not a Syfy article.  I am talking about simple things starting with gardening.

info overload(FYI click here:  How to Avoid Information Overload, it will take you to another friendly post. My favorite is #7.)

We always start some seeds inside – tomatoes, peppers, cucumbers – things that will provide an abundance of food but may take a bit longer to produce it. I have come to trust my email newsletters, YouTube videos, and even some gardening supply websites for information like this one:

So, You Want to Start a Garden?

8 tips for planning and planting your first garden

By Kevin Espiritu

We haven’t purchased anything from them in a few years (no need, we have enough), but I am thrilled that I was smart enough to sign up for their awesome newsletter.  More and more posts, blogs, and email newsletters are turning to gardening as a way to destress from all of today’s scary stuff.  I am going to try to find the special ones that are designed for “first-timers,” people that are kind of new to gardening, and those that would just like to revisit a simpler time as a refresher.

simple gardener

I learned something from an IT Tech decades ago (yes, I am ancient and proud of it – stone-age computers were vicious monsters from hell, but I did learn not to be afraid of them.):

“There is nothing you can do, that I/we can’t fix.”

Silly man! It was my task at that job (middle of the night after everyone else went home; it was my unique task: 1. I knew so much about computers; 2. I was not afraid of them.) to purposely try to shut it all down.  It was a brand new computer system at a school for financial planning, and I got very good at my job.  Well, my words of encouragement to you are the same, “there is nothing you can do that we can’t fix.”

nothing you can do

Here are five of the ways I have been handling all the scare:

  • Pulling weeds: This is actually one of my most favorite ways to handle life whenever it is out of my control.  I rip them suckers out of the ground for about an hour and I feel great (pain)!  Physically and mentally exhausted to the point of merely just sitting back and enjoying my work.  It is very rewarding (pleasure), at the end of the day,  to see what I had accomplished.

  • Disconnect: This one is very hard for me.  I have forced myself to try to do two things better in this regard: 1) Share fun, funny, or inspirations stuff in the morning.  2) Only share ideas that are relevant to all of us helping each other or protecting ourselves better.  I have to be honest that the second one is much harder for me to maintain as there is just too much B.S. coming from our elected officials.  I try to stick to traceable facts.

disconnect 1

  • Read: I love to read, but most of my reads are how-to books (and ebooks).  Perhaps this is turning out to be a great thing.  I read up on how to do something and I just want to dive right into creating it.  Unfortunately, I do not always have the supplies that I need for the project, so I just bookmark (or lots of sticky notes) it for later and go on to the next.

bookworm

  • Craft: This is my most favorite thing to do.  I have several crafts I am into and find it not only distracting, but very relaxing, and once again it is great to see the end product of my hard work at the end of the day.

crazy crafter

  • Exercise: I am in no way an exercise nut. It’s just not in me.  We bought a stationary bike after my first knee surgery to make sure I keep them (both have had complete replacements) flexible and robust.  It turns out this was an excellent idea for all year around exercising.  The bike faces a large picture window where I can watch birds eat at a feeder, trees blowing in the wind, or a good thunderstorm.  It also faces toward the TV, so I can watch a movie or cartoons (my favorite) while I am peddling away.  I am very “mental” my head never stops thinking, so even regular exercising (like suntanning – could never to that either – just lay there?) never works for me.  I get to cheat at this step by taking lovely walks.  We have a small farm with lots of gardens and a greenhouse.  Just trolling around all of that really adds up the steps without having to think anything about it.  I have a great step-tracker on my phone, and as long as I keep it in my pocket, it will add it all up for me – no brainer!  (I use Pedometer Step Counter-free version – for my Android phone, however, there are tons of freebies to download to your own phone.  It only tracks my steps.)

stationary bike

I have been researching things that, my hope is, will make my life less complicated or stressful.  One last share for you is WorkFlowy.com. I LOVE THIS PROGRAM!  It is free and so easy to use.  The best part is I create, add, delete my to-do list from anywhere at any time.  I built the original on the website (did I mention it is FREE), and then review, add, or remove as I accomplish my tasks.  No more carrying around (or abusing trees) pads of paper and losing pens. It’s all done technologically.

I hope that some of these ideas will help you to deal with all the scary stuff, even for just a little while.

You can also check me out at:  https://lifelessonslived.com/ for all the fun things I have learned in life.

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I’m Mad As Hell, And I’m Not Gonna Take It Anymore!

We are so tired of theft we could just scream!  It is not because of virus issues; it is something that has been building up over multitudes of years.

I am not talking about money – I am talking about our critters.

Two more of our hens were killed in the last two nights.  It took me until today to figure out how the monster(s) is getting in.  The white hen disappeared, leaving just feathers – the first clue of the perpetrator.  This morning it was our red Hennie, and I found her gutted under some sheet metal in the back corner of the chicken barn.

We have gone through great lengths to make sure our chickens are safe from the monsters in the night.  It had been working reasonably well for the last year or so.  Apparently, they have created a new gap in a far corner that I would not have found had it not been for the corpse.

We try very hard to follow the live-and-let-live motto.  However, when we are down (sorry – were down) to only four birds, it’s just wrong for the beasties to attack them.  We have prairie dogs, rabbits, mice, and various other critters very near our barn on which they could have feasted.  That would not have bothered me at all.

So, today, to try to bring our thief to justice, we are sharing photos in hopes that someone will spot this thug (and its gang) and put an end to our injustice!  Here is the criminal:

Don’t be fooled by that innocent, cute look on its face – it is a natural-born killer!  You might even find it hanging around with this murdering mob:

coyotes

(Ragged bunch of gangsters if ever I saw one.)

If you happen into their local watering hole, you may find them with the lesser thieves who only nab eggs and babies:

Notice that one even wears a mask to try to hide its identity – but I know who it is.

Please, keep an eye out for these dangerous killers and help to bring them to justice.  In the meantime, we will be having a memorial this Friday to morn the loss of our dear Hennies (beers and Yahtzee will be provided – HOWEVER no more than one at a time in the porch please.).

Stay Safe!

(Yes, I did get stilly in here, and we did lose two chickens, but it is live and let live for us, so we will forge onward with humor wherever I can find or provide it.  My wish is that I put a little smile on your face for just a moment today.)

You can also check me out at:  https://lifelessonslived.com/ for all the fun things I have learned in life.

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