Wednesday, June 30, 2010

It's a Wireless World

And I believe it will be. Just like the paperless office, flying cars, and micro homes. Just not quite yet.

A family member bought a new IPhone and gifted me the cast off Blackberry Pearl 8130. So I have fiddled with this latest bit of technology for the last couple of days. In actual fact the technology is two years old - which is ancient at the rate these things are changing.

I had an HTC phone with a huge data plan and lost it about two years ago. So my three year data plan just kept on charging me. Sans phone. To be fair they did reduce the charges. So I was paying for a phone I wasn't using. On trips I could borrow Jo-Ann's cell. Which was an old one she inherited from me. And which I broke the law with on several occasions. Not supposed to use a cell phone while driving - without a hands free.

As it turns out the high tech blue tooth enabled hands-free bud I purchased with the aforementioned lost phone works great with the Pearl. I even tried it on our driveway yesterday while going to town. I am now one of those weird people you see talking to themselves while driving down the road. Jeez, a deer just ran out in front of me. But I had both hands on the wheel - and most of my attention on driving..

I can also listen to Vivaldi and Gregorian Chants on ear phones while driving or walking around the place for that matter. Now I get the Ipod thing. Haven't figured out how to listen to music and monitor my phone with the ear bud just yet. Maybe I need to grow another ear.

We are contemplating ditching our land line, and it's base line 40$ per month charge ( if we don't use it..) We haven't used our fax machine in months. I haven't done any programing in the last six months.

I am in the middle of some middle age angst. Well, middle age if I am planning on living until the year 2070. I have spent quite some fruitless time reminiscing about the way things used to be. I was always on the cutting, even bleeding, edge of technology. Now I feel like I have the technical where withal of a Luddite. My daughter gave me a lesson on how the Pearl's input keys work. Some 20 something at the phone store got me connected to Facebook. Like I was the stereotypical old guy learning about the new-fangled technology. This here cell phone thing. The first one I had weighed 17 lbs and came with an over the shoulder carrying case. Super high tech. My first computer had a 50 Megabyte hard drive. Few people could figure out how to fill it up. At one time I was contemplating purchasing a one gigabyte U.S.B. stick except the sticker shock, $1000, kept me from it. Now you can pick them up for 10 bucks or less.The WWW was CompuServe. Now I routinely download programs that are hundreds of time larger. I was just reading about a new three Terra-byte hard drive. We are consuming so much of the internet we need bigger closets to store it in.. Computers used to be input devices. Now they are consumption conduits.

I am a potato farmer listening to Gregorian Chants while tending the gardens. On a third generation cell phone - that is two generations behind the latest UberPhone. The chickens only look with feigned politeness at my power point presentations.

I have a new job - I guess my angst is, in part, caused by trying to figure out what that is, and what my role in this new enterprise needs to be. Is the smart thing to do to work harder? I know about working smarter.. That was a line I used on employee's to get them to work harder.

Ah good thing there is a sweat this afternoon. I can sit in the womb like steaming darkness, with my hair almost catching fire, and pray with good friends for some Humility. And that Angst will melt.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

A New Pair of Glasses

You know your getting old when..

Just had my eyes checked. Weirdly my vision is getting better.. I had purchased two new pairs of glasses a year ago. A bifocal pair for general use and a special pair for working on the computer. The general usage bifocals got scratched and the coating came of within a couple of weeks so I reverted to my old pair while I got them repaired. And never switched back.

Now I am using four pairs of glasses. My old ones, used for painting; my new ones used for not painting; my Computer glasses, and of course the sun glasses.

I am going to get some contact lenses for winter use under a pair of snow goggles.

On a different note. Generally, I don't recommend Dad's teaching their kids to drive. Just too many bad habits being passed on. However there isn't a decent driving school within a Hundred miles so we'll just have to make do:

Cleo: O.K Dad, I am doing a shoulder check.
Xena: When's it my turn. I won't hit the gate like last time I promise..


Yah, Yah, pay attention to the road at all that an edible bug on your thumb?

Completed putting a buried power line to our internet tower, now there's no danger of cows eating the extension cord. Unless they find where I keep the shovels or skid-steer- and that would be bad!
Hope your having a great week.

Monday, June 21, 2010

A Change in The Weather

Unbelievable. It actually got to 27C(80.6F) here yesterday. And it was hotter in Fraser Lake. And just five days ago we were lighting a fire to keep warm in the mornings and evenings. Wearing down vests and booties. Yesterday we're talking front and back screen doors working. At night screen windows left open in order to get a cooling cross breeze. Daily garden watering. Who knew? I can't imagine what it's like at The Midlife Farmwife's place in Illinois! in the high 90's with 200% Humidity! We would melt.

We've changed to summer hours. Up at 5, main meal at noonish, Lunch around 8ish. It just seems to let us get a lot more done.

There is a Forest fire burning about 30 kilometers East of us as the crow flies. It makes for some spectacular, but ominous, clouds.

We've been wondering what the Forest Fire threat is now that most of B.C.'s pine forests are standing dead wood. I have heard conflicting arguments. One is that green forests have more oils and that causes them to burn faster. The opposing view is that we burn dry wood in our furnaces for a reason. I tend to believe that latter opinion. We have a couple of back pack portable water spray cans and will soon be investing in a water tank and gas powered water pump that can be quickly loaded onto one of our yard trucks.

Observing the fire with equanimity, Kermie the Kat likes to hang out in a flower pot on our front Veranda that was going to be reserved for Tumbler Tomatoes.

Maybe now I'll just have to reserve it for Pussy Willows..

Hope to be getting back to the Green House project sometime this week. Now I am finishing cabinets and doing electrical connections to our internet tower.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Rock Stars and Loose Screws

We're Rockhounds. A particularly, well, unusual group of people that collect rocks. Sometimes (mostly) the collections can get quite large. Where to put them? When we started the entrance fences we built them with a rough two by six ledge on top for displaying some of the overflow from our collection.

The Gurlz bringing up the rear.The one on the left is a 40 lb chunk of Opal from a local seam that is a yard wide and 500 feet long, and the one on the right is a large block of Bucchia (clam) fossils from the Cretaceous-Jurassic aged Mysterious Creek Formation on the East side of Harrison Lake.I was posting earlier about the rush of flowers. Here's an Orange Hawkweed:And another that shows the brilliant scarlet buds.We also noticed the start of the Daisy blush.Here's a handy hint when painting panels. Just drive a drywall screw through a 2 inch block of wood and place the panel on four of them. That way you can paint both sides of the panel. The tiny holes left by the sharp screws are barely noticeable:Hope your week is turning out wonderfully. The Sun is out here and the temperature is a scorching 13C. Might not need the down vest today...

Monday, June 14, 2010

When One Door Opens..

Tom and friends showed up yesterday and we installed the sliding door for the soon to be equipment shed. Great addition. After a week or so of clean up and installing a side door and installing a gravel bed.. And if it looks like I am wearing a down vest over painting coverals, your right.
It was too cold to paint outside so I set up a backdrop of plastic and sprayed the first coat of primer inside the heated shop. If anything it is colder today. 5c at 10 a.m. and not looking like it wants to get any warmer.

Today I will prime the doors, then sanding in prep for final coats. Still can't make up my mind about painting the Doors and trim a light brown. Takes a lot of finicky masking..

No Cats were used as paintbrushes in the making of this post.

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Big Wheel

I love this old wheel barrow.
It has an iron wheel, half rubber tire supports and was made with rough hewn lumber. The same type of fir that is on the equipment shed and outbuildings. This was built by someones hand to serve a need. I don't think any part of it, with the possible exception of the nails, was purchased. The wheel was re-purposed from another piece of farm equipment. One of these days I will resurrect it but still maintain the same design. Right now it's perfect for leaning against while I reminisce about childhood hours spent staring at the clouds in a brilliant blue sky. And dodging face licks from curious doggies. Green grass all around me like I have managed to sink ten inches into Mother Earth.

But not today. It's barely past 10C and there is a brisk Westerly wind blowing. Now that the filling and sanding is completed, I want to start painting Tom's kitchen cabinets but will have to turn on the heat in the shop and hang plastic for a back drop in order to do it.Jo-Ann is being chomped by black flies lately. She has taken some extreme measures to protect herself on our morning walks.

This morning we were greeted by wild roses starting to bloom on the sunny sides of the ditch along the road. The soft purple pink pastels contrasting with the brown earth.

We are also noticing Orange Hawkweed starting to show. An imported houseplant gone wild. A name that doesn't do justice to brilliant colours. Funny how one man's weed can be another's flower. You can even find it for sale on the W³. There is also a yellow variety. The birds and the bees seem to like it.

The local highways crew are busy re-gravelling Savory Road, our graveled connector to paved Highway 16. They do a very nice job. When we win the lottery I think I will have them re-build our driveway. Don't know what a kilometer of driveway to road standards would cost but for now I will keep plugging away with pick up loads.

The job would sure go faster with their equipment.

My fantasy's must be maturing when I catch myself pining for a belly dumper, rather than a belly dancer!

Hope your having a restful weekend.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

The Cat's Pajamas

Well he doesn't wear pajamas, but Jack does like to take over Cleo's bed whenever he gets the chance.
Well he was instrumental in getting Cleo "catified", he does like to snuggle up to Xena for a mid morning nap now and then .
Jo-Ann just missed a shot of Jack sticking his head in Xena's yawning maw, fearlessly checking out the black spot at the back of Xena's tongue. That would have been an award winner.

Still sanding on the cabinet refinishing front. We did however take some time out yesterday to plant another couple of flats. Herbs like Basil, Chervil, Oregeno, Cilantro, Sorrel, Savory, and some more Chives Tomatoes, Squash and Cucumbers. We also planted some flowers: Nastursiums, Pansies, Cosmos, Plox , Nicotine, Violas, Carnations and Sweetpeas. The Nastursiums and Pansies are edible, and will be a welcome and colourful addition to summer salads.

Sadly, Jo-Ann found our female bluebird dead on the ground near her nest. Were not sure what killed her. They like to build their nests close to the ground and in this case it was in a hole in the aerial lift platform. We haven't seen the gaudier male for several days. We buried Mama Bluebird in a large planter with wild flowers. When they come up it will be a nice tribute to her. We sure miss their flashes of blue flitting around the re-tired garden.

It warmed up to 17C - practically time for shorts!

Wednesday, June 09, 2010

Out With The Old, In With The New

The dandelions are gone now. The bright fields of yellow just a memory of a week ago.
Their flowers turned into intricate, transparent, three dimensional balls. The launchpads for next years yellow splashdown.

I've noticed buttercup patches here and there but the next big canvas of colour will be the fields of white and brown daisies.

Work on the cabinet refinishing continues. I am sanding and filling, or filling and sanding, in preparation for primer. Then white for the insides and Walnut brown for the face frames and doors.
Of course I have some help. Purrfect advice isn't hard to come by.
While the paint dries I will be installing a power line feed to our Internet relay pole to replace an extension cord. That will mean the cows can come into the inner pasture and do a bit of trimming without any chance of them gnawing on the cord. And they will. Last year we saw them nibbling on fluorescent orange survey tape and grey duct tape.

The Black Helicopters are back. We notice them hovering over the place, altering course to pass over the re-tired garden. I guess it does look a little weird from up in the sky especially with the tin foil lining the inside reflecting the undoubtedly suspicious green vegetation. No problem with them landing if I can get a ride. It's one of my lottery fantasies: spending a year or so with a geologist and a helicopter checking out all the sites where glaciers have receded revealing rock that hasn't been checked out in 10,000 years.

We snapped this pic this morning. It's a regular flight that checks the gas pipe line that runs through our property. The last time they went through they were level with our South windows and they owed Jo-Ann a new set of knickers. After a complaint they kindly raised elevation when they went over our little piece of paradise.

Looks like it will be a bit warmer today. Heck it's already 10C.

Monday, June 07, 2010

On The Ball

My Toyota truck that I usually pull my trailer around is down and out for now. But I remembered seeing a fellow in a trailer yard moving them around with a forklift with a trailer ball attached. I own a hole saw and a drill and just happen to have a 2" trailer ball that isn't being used right now. So Voila: the super duper skid steer trailer mover. It is so much easier than trying to back up a trailer - I just push the trailer ahead of me and can move it with a precision that is hard to get looking at it through a mirror.

I painted the main cattle guard at our top inner fence line - the one that leads to the yard and garden. The white on the railings makes the drop between them seem a lot further down and helps with the Cow illusion of it being an un-passable barrier. The red "wings" are simply a set up re-purposed knock down bed ends that slip over some re-bar and keep the skinny calves from tip toeing ( tip-hooving?) over the rail way ties that hold the cattle guard in place.

I am refinishing a set of cabinets for my Brother Tiny. They are pretty beat up finish wise, but well constructed of actual wood. You know the stuff that cabinet makers used before Melamine covered particle board was invented. I am going to prime/seal the insides and paint them white and refinish the doors and face trim with a deep chocolate brown. HVLP to the rescue. They are going in a house that I just painted white so the contrast should be nice.

It's raining cats and doggies today and only 5C so it's a good time for an inside project.

A friend invited me to a sweat lodge building ceremony yesterday. It was interesting to see one being built from the ground up. And after it was built we went to a local site to get some rocks, put them on the fire and had a sweat. The whole process took most of an afternoon. Jo-Ann poured me into bed around half past midnight and I slept like a baby until "punch you in the stomach in the morning Cat (Ewie)" did his thing - kneading my stomach and purring like a tractor. Time for me to get up so he can begin his early morning nap..

Hope your week is starting out nicely.

Sunday, June 06, 2010

Using my Head

One of these days I have to get a re-fueling station. I am working on it now, in between projects, painting a 300 gallon tank and stand. I will need to build a containment berm next to the fuel shed.

We planted a dozen tires near the chicken run with spinach, lettuce, peas, and some sweet peas to liven up the place. I am sure the chucks will appreciate the flowers. They go crazy for spinach. They didn't mind offering some planting advice.

Ever wonder how many 2 X 4's it takes to build a 24 X 40 foot house? About this many:
Now a couple of days of pulling nails and I will have some great usable lumber.

Last night we watched the bovines playing Cow king of the castle in the excavation dirt mounds from the Walapini. They dust themselves with the dirt to help keep the pests down. Makes for some odd looking pictures.

My hands feel like I have rheumatism after a week of demoing the house by hand.

Today's project is calf proofing the front gate and burying a power line to keep our internet tower powered.

Hope your having a great weekend.

Wednesday, June 02, 2010

The Cows Come Home

The fields have been growing like crazy lately. The Cows are back for the season and the fields just look nicer with them in it. The calves are a show unto themselves. These are Belgian blue cattle and an amazing tasty variety.

This has got the Gurls attention of course. "Hay I remember those things.."

I am sure you do remember them. And there will be no chasing cattle this year.

"But Dad, you never let me have any fun--I'd go to my room and mope, but I guess right here will do.."
The apple orchard is coming along. All two trees.

I am still deconstructing. A friend lent me his giant diesel truck and goose neck trailor so I could haul the roof trusses home. A future shop perhaps.
It's raining and 10C. today. Not the greatest weather for tearing a building down. Were down to the floor now so we will truck on through.

Hope your having a great day.