Friday, September 4, 2009

Fencing, Electrical Repair, and Pears


For those who were wondering. The pain I was feeling in my face and head, turned out to be a TMJ problem. I'm on Ibuprofen therapy, basically all day and night, not chewing yummy good things like gum and jerky (which I haven't had in ages anyway - sigh) and going to be fitted with a guard at night. Joy.

Thank you for all your well wishes on that. It does my heart good. Maybe it will do my TMJ good as well!

We've been struggling with our electric fencing for a month now. We replaced the car battery, thinking it was bad. But found that, though it may have been contributing, it was not the problem.

I don't think our fence charger unit is working. Michael has been trying everything for days now.

There was a new break in the wire as well. Funny how so many things go wrong all at once, you know?

So here is a mini tutorial on how to repair a broken wire.

First you need to trim the insulation off of the wire ends. If you have gauged insulation cutters, great. If not, you can carefully use scissors. If you take off anymore than one of the little interior wires, you should re-cut the end and try again.

I use to work in a factory when I was a teenager, building wire harnesses and pc boards for fancy and expensive medical equipment, so I picked up a few skills there. With these old trimmers, I usually carefully cut, not quite into the wire, and pull the insulation off, so I am sure that I don't take any wires off with it.

The larger the number, the smaller the wire. That's because it is counting how many wires will fit into the space - or at least that's how I can remember it. So 5 gauge wire is thicker wire because only 5 of them will fit. 22 gauge wire is thinner because 22 of them will fit. Make sense?

Now they are stripped and ready.

When you splice them together, don't just hook them like you'd hook two fingers together. If you do that, you have only one point of contact between the two wires, and a great chance of not getting the electricity to flow through. Instead, wind one repeatedly around the other, starting half way down, the take the top of the straight wire and wind it repeatedly around the other wire.

Of course, in the sample, I did not wind it as much as I could/should have. There is plenty more wire than could have been used to contact the opposite, but I left it straight.

You can buy handy little covers to slip onto splices and shrink down, or pinch down to squeeze it tight. But I just used the girl-who-did-not-want-to-dig-in-the-tool-shed method. Electric tape.

Aaaaaaaaand, we've got one more problem. Rusty clamps to sand off, so they make good contact.

However, still no worky. I may take a shot at seeing if someone at Radio Shack might pity me enough to take the time and see if there is a fried part on the board, because we can see no damage in there at all. If that does not do the trick - it's another 100 dollars to get that fence going again.

We went and picked pears from a beautiful farm yesterday afternoon. My friend's mother has this unidentified pear tree which is suffering broken branches from the weight of the fruit.

It was very tall, and on a good slope, so a ladder was not doable. It was also covered in poison ivy around the trunk, so Michael's desire to climb it was nixed.

We were only able to glean as far as we could reach from the ground. We now have many boxes of unripe pears in our minivan. I'm not sure they will ripeen before they rot. They were really not ready to be picked, despite the fact that they were dropping like crazy.

So while Michael mows the place, I've got to clean up this very well-used household area. We've been working at night on some photography for sale, and the house has suffered for it. I need to then figure out how to set those pears up for ripening. Have to leave early to office clean again.

I really want a vacation. Who's got an island rental for me?



Thursday, September 3, 2009

Apples, Apples and Ginseng!


With all the extra goings on, it's taken me a little while to get through the second batch of 3 gunny sacks of apples, but they are now cleared from my kitchen floor!

Leah came by and helped for the day. She is always such a sweet addition to our lives.

She and Michael found a semi-comfortable place to anchor the Apple gadget to and proceeded to knock off about 1/2 of our latest bounty.

With a fan to blow away the flies they got pretty quick at it.

And I ended up inside mostly prepping all the canning stuff. These went mostly to apples in light syrup...

And apple pie filling.

I wish I could say we got it all done, but it actually took us several days to complete the project. Michael went after them with the juicer

These all went toward applesauce. We are currently up to 34 quarts of it. Later on, I'll take some of that and cook it down into apple butter and can that.

I had a problem with my first batch of applesauce yesterday. All the jars overflowed and I had to reprocess them. But the rest went fine.

Michael and I got a special treat yesterday. We went for a visit with some friends of ours who are buyers and sellers of ginseng. We got to participate in seeing what they do, even being able to take part in the sorting.

I've got to tell you, that's a LOT of ginseng, and I can't imagine even being able to find and harvest all that these people do. It was about a refrigerator full, and that's how much they get every single day.

Michael took these with his little camera. They sure came out yellow. That's not the actual color of the room.

Ginseng is closely regulated by the government concerning harvest. The earliest you can harvest a root is if the plant has reached three years of age. This can be told by the rings on the neck of the root. They are VERY slow growing. Some of these roots are barely an inch long.

Their main market is China. So many Chinese buyers come here to inspect and purchase what has been collected. Interesting stories.

Being a fan of classic automobiles, I was not hurting to be working next to this beautiful car.

If you don't want to see a yucky picture, stop reading now!


FINALLY got this guy! He's been evading traps for weeks!
You'll never guess what Michael did with him, when I said to take care of it.

He let him go in the woods next to the house...

Well, well, well! Our replacement rooster chick seems to have finally developed his crow this morning!

Tomatoes today. Pears tonight.



Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Michael's Adventure


Here are some pics of Sunday's cruisin' in the Deuce! Thanks, Kasie, for sharing the pics!


Good friends ~~ ( A few mixed in from the game.)

And Spiderwoman, you know there is no escape for you next time! You will succumb to the Goof Gang.

Be one with usssss.......



Monday, August 31, 2009

Baseball!, Cruising for Dweebs, Town Hall Meetings, and Soap Class.


Yes, we went cruising. Sort of. Friends and family had no idea they were being stalked.

After a mad morning on Friday of mowing and weed spraying, we were unable to do our office cleaning due to yet another rebellion. "Mutiny On the Sciatic".

But that freed us up for the town hall meeting with our local congressman. We went, armed with digital camera AND a video camera, but I did not expect much ruckus. Our congressman is actually FOR the people.

Everyone I talk to is upset about what is going on in politics, but apathy is still a huge hurdle to overcome. Out of a county with a population of over 66,000 people, only about 100 were at this town hall meeting.

I understand. Really I do. But I think people still, by and large, do not understand that unless they rise up and make a lot of noise, they are going to lose everything they hold dear about this nation. I'd like to catch this thing before it gets so ugly some sort of physical revolution develops.

Our congressman, holding up what I think is the cap and trade bill, and standing next to the board in which he explained a bit about the health care bill.

Taking questions from concerned citizens. They wanted to know what can we do when government won't even listen to us? What can we do when government is becoming a tyranny?

The answers: 1) Vote. Get them all out of office in the next election. 2) That cannot happen when we have the 2nd amendment.

Everyone knows, the 2nd amendment is sadly being eroded faster than we can vote them out of office.

Michael and I stood in the back, due to the sciatic pain. But the other side of the room held several of our dear friends.

Here are the bills. They were given this one at 3:09 in the morning. They were told they had about 8 hours to vote. I believe you can thank Nancy Pelosi for that time frame. Most of them went home. Our congressman met with about 8 others and they stayed up and poured through as much as possible.

Another ginormous bill, no time to read it, demands by Pelosi for a vote.

Held in the hands of my son. The future of this country, who will have to deal with what is being done today. May God help him.

We left and needed to blow off steam.

Not too many were at our Friday Fellowship, due to so many things going on this weekend; Town Hall meeting, soap class, Civil War ball, Monster truck lessons, concert and baseball game. So with only four of us, a trip to get ice by one, turned into everyone piling into our minivan and grabbing a box of ice cream drumsticks and other goodies we had to eat before they melted.

Did I mention my van's A/C is broken and my window does not roll down either?

As we ate drippy ice cream, we took the long way back to the warehouse and pointed out houses to each other of people we know. Then we just hung out, goofing off and trying to learn how to make ice cream sticks whir through the air when you flick them.

Yes, we are an intellectual bunch. Just try to keep up.

Saturday morning was a slow one, taking a Shabbat rest, before we met friends and headed off to another of Cheri's soap making classes.

I never did see Michael, once we arrived. He zoomed like bee off to find the other boys.

Like Cheri's Herbal Medicine class, she also makes this book and help available on her web site.

Cheri also is looking into video versions of her classes that you can watch online. So keep up with her on that development!

Her modest kitchen was packed with soap-hungry wenches, as well as lots of laughter.

Some of her oils, soaps and instruction book.

How to spell fun with medicine droppers...

We all massaged a variety of oils into our skin to see how they felt. These are some choices available for soap bases.

One of her sons, Josiah, made these mini soap molds for sale. I am a long time customer of Josiah, having bought one of his nose warmers he offered for sale when he was about 5. I love to encourage entrepreneurism.

Heading out of doors for some work with lye.

I snapped a quick pick of the attendees.

Learning how to line a soap mold.

Chit chat.

Sampling superfatting oils.

Everybody helps.

A fun game. Mix your essential oils to find your own delightful fragrance you want in your soap! We were given access to the oils, droppers, and bits of paper to combine them on.

Pouring the lye mixture into the heated oils.

Bringing to light trace, to add the scents and herbs.

Bringing to heavy trace to pour into the mold.

Spreading it.

Covering it.

And setting it aside under towels to begin curing.

Some clays to mix in, if you like.

Going for just the right color orange, using paprika and turmeric.

Shaving a previously cured soap batch.

And cutting it from the cutting box.

Some of her wares....

At this point, I should end this post. But in the interest of continuing this blog of sharing Lemonade Adventures, I will continue. Life is very full, even when you lose what you centered your life around. :)

I made an executive decision to skip the Civil War ball dance of that night and went home to rest my aching body. My face was still hurting some and my sciatic nerve was complaining from hours of mowing, I guess.

So fun was had by the rest, and we went home and rested. Aaaaahhhhhhhhhhhh....

Sunday, however, I had to pay the piper for not doing office cleaning. Michael and I started it, then I had to take him to church and go back to finish it myself.

Michael had a wonderful day, leaving church with friends and going on an adventure of his own. One of the men in our church decided to by

One of THESE!

And Michael got to drive it, along with anyone else who wanted to. LOL

And that's why I cleaned the office alone til 4 pm. What boy would want to miss a chance like that!

I hope to get some really cool pics from a friend who went and share those with you soon.

However, I was not entirely alone...

You know you have good friends, when they stop by after a long drive from out of state, in their dresses and heels, and help you wash windows!

And, I kid you not. Ashlee pulled a Spiderman, and scaled the side of the building to catch the build up in the corners.

My kind of friends. LOL

Sadly, we had run out of tickets and we were so sad to not have them with us at the local worship concert and the farm team game. It was not the same without them.

I still had a horrific headache and the loud music was not doing it any good, so I went down to the far end of the park and sat to do Sudoku and wait for the game to start so we could go grab our seats.

I was soon joined by several others, so we could chat and catch up away from the decibels. I think I'm getting old-ER.

Here comes the first wave of them.

Take me out to the ball game, take me out to the crowd!

We lost, but they put out a good effort, and we had a lot of fun cheering our team.

OK, I'm done.

I've got apples to can. But help is on it's way, so that will make the load lighter and more fun.

Happy adventuring!