Friday, October 31, 2008


The wind has died down, but it wasn't until well past sunset when it finally subsided. I wasn't thinking and left the garage door open for most of the day. When I went into the garage I found my car totally covered with dust. It had been washed just one week prior.

Fortunately it was easy to simply rinse it off with the hose. The rest of the garage is a different story.

This picture was taken in the afternoon while the wind was still blowing. You can see all the stuff blown out of the trees and into the streets. A lot of that brownish stuff towards the back is old pine needles. Just for info it makes great nest box material for laying hens.

Carli came over Wednesday evening and decorated the front entry for us.

I managed to get a couple of pumpkins carved using both the Rotozip and the jigsaw. I have to admit the jigsaw carving method was easiest.

We still have a few more pumpkins to turn into jack-o-lanterns or something so Carli promised she'd come over after work and finish that up. She works early on Fridays so she'll be here around 4, just in time to get it done before the trick or treaters show up.

Although it's not really a big deal because we usually have less than 20 kids each year. This year I'll be giving each kid a "King Size" Snickers bar (my fave), a "King Size" Hershey milk chocolate bar with almonds, and a pack of Ice Breakers gum. So guess who'll just have to eat what doesn't get given away? That's right, Wil! You thought I was gonna say me, huh! (Yes, I will be "helping" Wil eat the leftovers.) Wil will have to stay home this year. After all, he is 18 now, and who's going to believe a skinny 6' 2" figure is a kid!

Have a safe and HAPPY HALLOWEEN!

Thursday, October 30, 2008

So Much For Plans

It's time to repaint the wrought iron portion of our backyard fence. This is a little job that as anyone who has such a fence knows needs to be done every few years. Little bits of flaking paint and spots of rust are peaking through. It's time.

To make the job a little easier I got a wire brush attachment for my our grinder. Actually I'm not sure if it does make it any easier, but I always think it's more fun when power tools are involved!

I decided to do one section at a time and last night I got the little gate and one section of fence wire brushed. It got too late to paint so I decided to paint that section today.

It seemed like a normal day when I got up and I was quite skeptical when I heard on the news that a good wind was expected to be blowing through today. A couple hours later I heard my new wind chime tinkling and thought it odd. It would take quite a wind to make that one chime because of its location. When I looked out the window I was very surprised to see that I almost couldn't see anything for the blowing dust.

From the pond area looking west...

...and looking east.

Flora trying to eat her hay before it blows away.

The debris that's blown into the sheep pen.

Here you can kind of see the wind blowing the (empty) bird feeder and the trees in the background. My tinkling wind chime is to the right of the bird feeder.

From what I gathered it's going to blow most of the day. And later this week there's supposed to be a chance of some showers.

So much for my fence painting plans.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Pumpkin Patch

My computer is back! While it was away we took a little trip to our local pumpkin patch on the south end of town. They had all different kinds of pumpkins and gourds as well as numerous areas available for taking pictures of the kids.
This picture is the reason why it's important to take a lot of pictures. My eyes don't see so well anymore so sometimes it's hard to tell when something is not quite in focus or I get something like this!
In all we got seven pumpkins. We carved one of them just a few days ago, mostly because my husband wanted the seeds. Sadly it's already growing mold so we threw it away. But we still have six left and we'll probably wait until tonight or tomorrow to carve the rest of them.
My husband said he saw a program where they were using a jigsaw to carve them and it looked very easy. I think I might try using my Rotozip. If I can carve tiles with my Rotozip then the pumpkins should really be a breeze!
This year I haven't even decorated the house yet. I had Wil take the stuff down from the attic but it's still in the garage. I'm going to blame it on babysitting. I was gone for an hour yesterday and my husband watched the baby. When I got home he admitted it was very tiring! After all, we aren't spring chickens anymore. Carli usually likes to do that stuff so I'll have her help decorate after she gets off work.

I'll let you know how everything turns out!

Monday, October 27, 2008

☺Computer Still Gone

My computer is still in the shop (again) and I'm hoping I will get it back tomorrow. I'm at Office Depot right now if you can believe that!!

Til later then!

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Morning Marauder

After our recent poultry losses our neighbor saw at least one culprit with his own eyes. He said it was a red fox. He had been going out very early in an attempt to eradicate our exloding gopher population. While Dean waited patiently for the gophers to pop their blunt heads out of the ground so he could blast them, the fox came strolling by, probably looking for another easy chicken dinner.

Dean told me it was usually around 6:30 in the morning that the fox came by. Ordinarily that's a little early for me, but this morning I was sleeping a bit restlessly (more so than usual) so I got out of bed around 6:15, got dressed and brought my camera out. It was still dark and the sun was just coming up. I waited about 20 minutes but I didn't see any sign of the fox so I went back in. I figured either he came by already or he wasn't coming by today.

About an hour later I was having some coffee, reading the paper, and keeping an eye on the baby when the phone rang. Usually when it rings that early it's a wrong number. It's people looking for a rural school whose phone number is one off from ours and for some reason even 411 transfers them to our home number. I usually just give them the correct number to dial and go on with my business. But this time it was Dean, all excited. "Hey, the fox is in my back yard trying to get at the chicks if you want to try and get a picture of it!"

I woke my son up and told him to watch the baby so I could try and get a picture of the fox. Sure enough, there it was next door jumping up at the chicks who were in an elevated cage.

How about some breakfast?
Did I just hear something?
Uh oh!
I'm outta here!

Anybody there?
Oh yeah! There you are!

Hasta la vista, Baby!

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

I have to bring my computer in again because something is wrong with the e-mail and with my Word. So hopefully it will be a quick fix but don't be surprised if you don't hear from me for a few days again.



I have a love/hate relationship with my computer. When it's working like it should, of course I love it. When it isn't I hate it.

I found it interesting how many times I thought about going to the computer to look up information, but couldn't because it wasn't here. Have you ever really noticed how often the tv mentions to go to "www. ..." for more info or more details on something?

Anyway, this latest bout of trouble I shall blame on my sister. I'm not really sure why, but one day she brought me a box with "Photo Explosion Deluxe" software inside. She had just purchased it from Best Buy. For some unknown reason she wanted to just give it to me. She said she was going to give me a Photo Shop, but it was too expensive. (It does cost quite a bit more!)

Maybe the reason was because I agreed to do a mosaic sign for her for no charge. But the reason I didn't want to charge her was because it's of our cheese logo. For the mosaic sign I am doing the sheep with just the words "Ewe La La" on top with "Artisanal Sheep's Milk Yogurt & Cheese" underneath. As usual I'll show you when I'm done.

So anyway I went to try and install the Photo Explosion software and I kept getting an "error-failed to add info" notice. So something was not right. I decided to take it to Best Buy and have them install it. Apparently I must have not been doing something right. I mean, how hard is it normally to put the disc(s) in the slot and push the buttons to continue?

At Best Buy I found out my expensive three year in home extra warranty I had purchased with my computer did not cover installations or any software problems. So I had to fork out $29 for the installation.

But wait -- there's more!

If they couldn't get it to install correctly either, then they strongly recommended a diagnostic for an additional $29 to find out what the problem was so they could then install it. Well I was kind of stuck for that, especially since the software could not be returned--because it was opened (duh).

But wait -- there's more!

Three days later they called me and let me know they also had problems installing the software and they thought it was because they found a virus or two. (Warranty does not cover virus problems either!) Now, I'm not sure how that happened because I have two different virus protections, but I suppose anything is possible. So, for the small fee of $120 they could get rid of the virus(es) and make my computer more efficient. They should then be able to install the software. Again, I felt like I had no choice.

But wait -- there's more!

Finally after an additional five days they called me back. They said they finally got everything figured out and it turns out it was a problem with... the software itself! They said they did manage to find a "patch" and get the thing installed but every time it was run the computer would shut down. When they got a hold of the software company they found out it was a problem specific to Sony Vaio computers only, and it was simply incompatable. Best Buy said since that was the case they would let me trade in the Photo Explosion for something else. I figured I might as well get Photo Shop at this point.

But wait -- there's more!

I went to Best Buy but guess what! The only Photo Shop they had was for Mac computers. They even checked elsewhere in the store for me. When I let the Geek Squad people know this the "Agent" seemingly reluctantly agreed to refund the price of the Photo Explosion software. He said when I got the Photo Shop they would install it since I had already paid for the installation. I let him know I would prefer a refund of the software and the installation charge, since, as I mentioned earlier, installation should not be a problem. I told him a refund of both would make me happy. He thought about it for a brief second and agreed.

I got the money back for the Photo Explosion, and the installation fee. Nothing was mentioned about the $120 charge and I didn't mention it either. (The two $29 fees were prepaid.) But he did say the virus(es) were removed as well as the Photo Explosion so the computer should be working well now.

When I got home and hooked everything up I noticed I had icons on my desk top for Photo Explosion. I'm afraid to click on them for fear my computer is going to mess up. I think I'll just delete everything in regards to that. I'm not willing to take any chances.

I also noticed my keyboard wasn't working for some reason. I tried clicking a few things and finally it started working again. I'm sure it's not from anything I did though. And it sure doesn't seem like my computer is running any faster than before. In fact it seems slower!

At least I'm back in business. I finally finished wading through the 74 new e-mails and catching up on the blogs.

And no, I'm not really blaming my sister. I was just kidding about that!

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Trouble In Paradise

Sorry about not posting for so long. As some of you may have guessed I had some computer problems and the computer was in the shop. Who would know that the "napping" would go on for so long!!

I'll get back to my usual stuff (hopefully) tomorrow.

Thursday, October 9, 2008

Green Butts

I put Perry in with the ewes a little over two weeks ago. As of yesterday the ewes all have green butts. That means the likelihood of their having been bred is very good.

I started using a substance called raddle powder last year. It's a colored powder that is mixed with oil to a paste and then rubbed on the ram's brisket (the chest area just before and behind his front legs). This is done every couple of days. Then when the ram mounts the ewe he marks the ewe and that's how we can tell if they've stood to be bred.

A new color is applied after one estrus cycle (about 17 days). Then if the ewe is marked with the new color we know the first time around she didn't "take", meaning she didn't get pregnant. Of course a more precise method of determining pregnancy would be to do an ultrasound, which is costly if you don't have your own equipment, or to wait five months (the gestational period) and see if she has any lambs. That could be costly too, in terms of waiting for nothing if she doesn't get bred.

Here's Perry just checking. Notice the green on the two ewes' bottoms.
Once again I had to put Perry's mask on. The very first time I used him he was fine. But when he became a "real ram" he started getting a little too bossy with the girls, headbutting anyone who ventured too closely to him and failed to show the right kind of interest. The mask does not make him blind because he can still see to the sides. It just removes his forward vision so it's more difficult for him to get up to proper ramming speed.

It's quite hilarious to watch the first day he gets his mask. The ewes all run from him like he's some kind of contagious killer disease carrier while he plods along bumping into the water trough or whatever looking for some good stuff. By the next day everything is back to normal. The girls are back to being cautiously indifferent to him, or not, depending on where they are in their cycle. And he remembers he's not totally blinded; he still has his side vision.

Ewenice (back), Jamie (middle), and 3of4 (foreground)

Baby has finally got some weight back on her. The temptation to put her back with the rest of the flock is very strong, but I will resist! She'll have to wait until next year. (I'll have to wait until next year!)

Tonight I'll change the green powder to red. I'll be keeping my fingers crossed that in the next 17 days I don't see any red butts.

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Photo Class Homework

Last night was my last beginners' photography class. As before the instructor made a slide show using our homework photos. He frequently asked "Who did this one?" and then went over why he liked it so much. I found it interesting that many of the shots were done by the same few people.

One of our assignments was to do another outdoor portrait, one without a flash and the other using what's called "flash fill". These did not make the slide show but they are regulars on my computer wallpaper (I have so many I change it almost every day!).

Another assignment was to take a photo employing "stop motion" or "freeze action". Or is that "stop action" or "freeze motion"? In any case this photo of Clyde did make the show. The class got a good chuckle when I explained how I had to try this about 50 times over the course of several days before I finally got the shot I wanted. I love digital photography! (Good dog, Clyde!)
Another exercise was to "tell a story" using a series of about 5 or so photographs. One person showed a young kid making a bowl of ice cream with sprinkles, chocolate syrup, and a cherry. He ate half of it and suddenly had an "ice cream headache". The final shot was the empty bowl and the boy's face with a big grin and chocolate sauce all over.

A big ego booster for me was when my first story shot came on screen and the teacher asked his question, "Who did this one?" I raised my hand and he asked if it was done by someone I knew or myself. You all know the answer to that.

For my story series I decided to make a quick mosaic and the following are the pictures I took during the making (this one is about 7 3/4" square).

I got a lot of compliments at break time for that one.

We also had to practice taking night photos, of which mine were so-so. But I think I've figured out since how to make them better. It was funny that I thought I was going to be so original when I took a night shot of the refinery and during the slide show there were about four really good shots of the refinery. Not taken by me.

Our final assignment was to pretend we were visitors to Bakersfield and take pictures as if we were tourists using some of the techniques we learned. I submitted eleven photos for that assignment, and six of them made the slide show!

I'm not going to put them all here but if you want to see them and some of the ones I didn't turn in you can go to my Yahoo! site. I'm showing one photo a day starting on September 28. Yahoo! is a little retarded sometimes and often goes immediately to April 10, 2008 for some reason. If you hit your "refresh" button (sometimes you have to do it a few times) you'll eventually get to the current date. You can click on the calendar to get to specific dates.

I really enjoyed the photography class and I'm more thrilled than anything that I actually finally learned something. It's finally sinking in! I highly recommend to anyone that may be thinking about it to go ahead and take a little class like this and maybe later something more intensive like at the local community college. Our instructor told us one of his students took this class about five times and she is now a professional photographer. I wonder if she's the one who took my sister's family portraits?

In any case I need to see if my head still fits through the door.

Monday, October 6, 2008

Chicken Feathers

Friday morning neighbor Dean asked if I overnight I had acquired an extra red chicken. It seems he forgot to lock his chickens in as he usually does Thursday night and now one was missing. I didn't see any extra hens with my little flock of four. And there were no signs of any chicken struggles so I promptly forgot about it.

For the last two weeks or so I've been letting my chickens out of their pen so they could go scratch and sun and fluff and cluck and do whatever else they do when they are out. I figured it must be safe enough since Dean was letting his out and his dog was behaving itself (i.e.: not "playing" with the chickens), and I hadn't seen any hawks for weeks.

The trouble is I started forgetting to lock the gate after they went in at night. And I didn't heed the warning.

Saturday morning our yard was full of white chicken feathers and one of our white chickens was gone.
There was a trail of feathers leading from the chicken pen through the yard to the back gate...
...and out to the ponds.
About three weeks ago the neighbor three doors down from us lost a goose. That neighbor has a security video camera installed and he said it looked like it captured the image of a smallish black dog. He originally thought maybe Dean's dog had got it, mostly because of the dog's past history, but after examining the dog and other evidence, or lack thereof, we all determined Al to be innocent. (BTW, Al was named after Al Capone because when he was a puppy he had a small scar on his face--Scarface Al Capone.)

So after the most recent two losses in our neighborhood Dean was telling Gene about it. Gene showed Dean (their real names!) his latest video photos. One was a red fox, the other a kit fox. The red fox surprises me but we've had kit foxes here before. Al was vindicated.

So once again the chickens have been shut up in their cage. You've no doubt heard the old saying: It's no use closing the barn door after the horse is gone. But in my case it will save my remaining three chickens.

Friday, October 3, 2008

It's GaGa's Fault!

Sometime back when all the kids were really little, Wil's grandmother, GaGa, my MIL, became a criminal. She started practicing what's known as "CDM", or "Contributing to the Delinquency of a Minor". At family gatherings she would buy a bunch of cigars and dole them out to the kids and grandkids and everyone would happily puff away.

Here the kids are at 13 and 15 years old. Note the cigar in Carli's right hand.

Wil's 18th birthday was on Tuesday, the 30th, but we had his cake on the Sunday, the 28th. Since he wasn't 18 yet he wanted me to buy him cigars but I refused. Now, don't get me wrong. I'm not all high and mighty and anti-smoking. In fact I used to be a smoker myself. And every once in a GREAT while (like when we had our last big family gathering) I'll bum one or two off other smokers.

But I'm glad I don't smoke on a regular basis any more. Besides being unhealthy (which I really didn't care too much about), they stink (I could tell the dental assistant who worked with the dentist Thursday was a smoker), and they are expensive (believe it or not that was my main reason for quitting!).

So the point is, I don't want to encourage my kids to smoke, for fear they might take it up as a regular (nasty) habit.

When Wil turned 18 he had it set in his head that he wanted to smoke a cigar. So he went to the smoke shop and picked out a couple of mild cigars, one for himself and one for his dad. I like the smell of most cigars until the next morning. Then I have to frantically air the house and dump the garbage. But they did have a father/son bonding moment, if you want to call it that.

After dinner the cigars came out and the ritual started...

Cutting the ends off...
lighting up...
and a few puffs...
About a month ago Wil got a thing in the mail from the registrar's office encouraging him to register to vote, as he would soon be 18. He carefully filled it out and sent it in. He is now a registered Republican.

My little baby boy is growing up! (Scary!!!!)

Wednesday, October 1, 2008


It's been almost exactly one year since I went to the dentist and had a crown put on one of my teeth. It started bothering me several months ago but I like to stick my head in the sand and say "it will go away if I ignore it". Of course it did not.

Monday I called the dentist and they were able to get me in that afternoon. Sure enough, the x-rays confirmed there was a problem. It seems that of the two original infections in the root of the tooth, the "big one" was cleared up, but the "little one" was still there. And now the "little one" was becoming a "big one".

The dentist explained the options.

  1. Pull the tooth and make a denture for that one tooth. I don't think so.

  2. Pull the tooth and do an implant. Since the insurance doesn't cover any of the cost and a single implant starts at $3000 that option is out of the question.

  3. Pull the crown off, re-do the root canal, and make a new crown. This may turn into a "bridge", where the two teeth on either side are incorporated into a single permanent structure. My portion of the cost for this option is $533.
The dentist said he prefers to save teeth if possible and not pull teeth. His recommendation was to go with option #3. I concurred.

So tomorrow I will be going back to the dentist where my tooth will be drilled, the original root canal filling will be removed and they will try again. I hope this works. I don't mind getting old. I just don't care for the associated degeneration that goes with it.

Don't mind me if I'm a little grumpy this week.