Thursday, October 29, 2009

I have been remiss!

Gosh it has been a while since I posted, I just realized.

I confess, I have joined Facebook. I am still figuring it out, of course, but have become enchanted with Farmville ;) Those of you who play, understand just how addictive it is, lol I can sure see the attraction with all the games and whatnot they have there.

On the home front, we are ready for snow. Our wonderful month of October, with warmer than average temperatures, has been a gift to us all. It's also helped give business a little boost too, with contractors still digging septics. I am thinking I will be taking part of my vacation here over the next couple of weeks, which means I will be on my own here at work for five months. Seriously not looking forward to that, I never do. It's nice having someone here, even if I don't talk to my driver nonstop all day. And it's nice not having to deal with deliveries too of course. Over the years I have gotten firmer about not making deliveries when road conditions are iffy at best, and most of my (whining all the way!) customers have come to accept this. Deliveries have always been at my discretion in the winter, but for years I put my life on the line for my regular guys, because I knew they depended on this service we provide. Over the last three or four years, with the explosive growth out here in the Valley, it just isn't as safe as it once was, and I have had a number of very close calls.

The horses are good, well fuzzed, and relatively happy. The chickens seem to have accepted their new jail (aka the new chicken coop) very well, although I am not getting eggs as yet. When my hub gets home, he needs to rig up the heat lamp and put everything on a timer. For right now, no heat and the light is on only about 12 hours a day-not enough for egg production.

I also made some changes in how I am handling the hay vans. People are getting very lax about picking up their hay in a timely manner and the extra time involved is becoming a problem on my end. When it takes six or seven weeks to completely pay off a van....well, it's way too long and it has to stop. So, that change takes place after the first of the year. I figured out that I have worked at something, every single weekend, for over four months now. And, I am spending two weekends getting hay offloaded for each van. Call me unreasonable, but it had to change. Everything else was suffering at home.

I also started writing. Yeah, yeah, I know, I am wordy enough-but this idea has been percolating in the back of my mind for a while, so I decided to just go ahead and start putting it down. The fictional story line is seemingly evolving on its own, and the words just tumble on out when I sit at the keyboard, so why not? I have a long way to go yet, of course, but I'm pretty happy with the results so far.

Still waiting on snow here, and this morning it was 20 degrees at home, under clear starry skies. A beautiful morning, actually, and it was great not to have to bundle up into winter boots and coat to feed, in October!

Monday, October 19, 2009

The work just never ends.....

That about sums up how it has been for months now. Over the weekend, the salmon was processed, and BBQ sauce made, and the apples attended to as well. If not for the help of my good friend and my SIL, I don't know that I could have got it done. But we did, and I am beyond thankful for their assistance :) That's the last of the "big chores" for pressure canning for the year, yippee!

My hub has been very busy as well, sorting through items and straightening up for winter. He even spent some time cleaning up the barn for me yesterday-woohoo, he is a keeper, lol! He set the timers on the stock tanks after cleaning them, raked out stray hay, put tools away and so on. About all that remains is to shorten up the arena for winter snow plowing, which is a big chore. He'll give it one last drag and then it's a matter of a lot of tugging and pulling to make that a smaller diameter.

Horses are doing fairly well, all things considered. Reba had a small abrasion on one fetlock that ended up getting a minor infection. Five days of antibiotics and she is much improved, and is finally sound again, yay! She still has some thickened skin there at the front of the fetlock and I am not sure if its going away, ever. It does not bother her, but looks a little odd-time will tell. Still have no idea how she got the original boo boo of course, goofy girl!

My "load from hell" hay van is finally gone and another arrived on Friday. This looks much better and I sure hope people are better about picking up their hay this time around. It's getting harder to bite my tongue when I call people and let them know, and it's just not convenient for them to come any time soon-grrr! But I try to be accomodating because Lord knows I am busy too, lol

Speaking of hay, one person contacted me a full four months after they got their hay, to inform me they expected a refund or replacement on 19 bales of hay. Good lord, four months later they are telling me this? A phone call or email would have been nice-like right when they found a bad spot! I try really hard to replace hay people return, but this person did not keep any (or very many, I think) of the bales and seems to expect me to take their word for it and just replace or refund. Um, can't do that, I just can't. All replacement hay comes out of my own personal supply anyway, and I replace bales that are returned. Sometimes, I can resell the hay on to other people at a big loss for other stock, or bedding, or even just for mulch in gardens. I don't think even Animal Food Warehouse would just hand over cash either, lol So I am sure to get bashed around behind my back over this one too. Oh well, chit happens. I have spent way too many hours on a tractor not to understand that there is no such thing as perfect hay, period. I am going to politely suggest that they find hay elsewhere since this seems to be such an issue ;) I mean, it's not like I haven't tossed out many thousands of dollars worth of hay over the years. Who hasn't?

The big dog is doing pretty well. He is still having trouble accepting my hub when he comes home from the Slope, but aside from that, he is great at charming customers and mugging them for attention. A few times over the past month we have let him loose to blow off steam and I am telling you, that dog can run through thick black spruce like it isn't even there-incredible! Tremendous speed and agility, that dog has, easy ten or twelve foot strides bending around and through the trees. I have no doubt this dog could take down sizable game, if he had a mind to do it, and a human? Easy pickings. He is starting to show some protectiveness, and I am very careful how I handle that, as an aggressive big dog is not what I want or need, but one that will stand at my side and scare the poo out of folks? You bet!

So that's the story of my life, pretty much. Spending my weekends working at one thing or another, and the weekdays working for pay. I keep thinking I am going to have some time off, but it never happens, lol The hard work has its payoffs though, as the garden produce is completely processed and the big chore-the salmon-is done. A three day project in itself, the salmon-thaw, cut, brine, dry, smoke and then process. Best of all, the results are just wonderful this year. My hub is in charge of everything but the processing and he really outdid himself this year!

Monday, October 5, 2009

Heckuva couple of weeks

As you can read from the obituary below, the family has suffered the loss of the matriarch....A sad event, but it has rewarded me with the opportunity to reconnect with family.

So a week or ten days was pretty much wrapped up, busy with out of town visitors and the nuts and bolts of personal effects and whatnot. Last Thursday, my MIL and her two sisters left for their homes in the L48, and I already miss them. I feel sad that it took Ruth's passing to bring everyone together, but I am fairly sure that is a common outcome these days-families are often spread across the US.

In between that, I had one empty van picked up, and another one dropped off. That too, has turned into a challenge when the hay was not suitable for a number of the purchasers. This has meant finding other buyers, and starting a list for a van to follow in November. There is already one ordered for October too of course. So far, I have managed to move nearly all the hay, but the weather is not co-operating very well with plenty of rain showers lately.

Add in that a new chicken coop is being built-which has taken way longer than it should have due to my miscommunication about materials. So there has been additional delay, all my fault. This morning I let the contractor know I needed to get the barn roof extended's just too blasted wet there at the barn for my liking. Besides, it has lead to some hoof issues that I can't seem to get a handle on since it's too wet and boggy.

Complicating things, the mare has turned up extremely lame. It has been narrowed down to what looks like a puncture wound on the fetlock, with swelling up the cannon. She is about impossible to handle since it's so sore, so I have called in professional help for this one. Hopefully I will know more about this later on today.

Still trying to get things canned up, but I find myself with little energy after attending to everything else. This weekend I will make a good stab at getting the spuds done up I hope.

It just dawned on me, I need to get new snow tires. Rats! LOL, oh well, studded tires are the way to go here, and I won't be without them :)