Friday, June 27, 2014

Mechanic On Duty

"Hmmm, let's see now, if we use one of these whatsits to fix the other whatsit...."

"then we could use the whatchamacallit to make the thingamabob work."

"Yup, that should do the trick.  Now, if i could only find the right size...Jeez Ma, don't you think you should organize these thingamajig's better?"  

"Here, why don't we just dump the whole thing?  Even if we don't find the right size, it sure would be fun!"

"Uh, thanks anyway Ramsey, I really do appreciate your professional opinion, but I think I'll just keep trying to figure this out on my own.  I need to try to find the zen in tractor maintenance and all that nonsense you know?"  Better than trying to find the zen in searching for all my loose screws anyway.

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Chaos Reigns

So.   Blogger ate half my post about turmeric and now it won't upload photos.  Only Blogger knows why and it ain't telling.

I think everyone who uses Blogger knows by now that it is having some issues.  What is there to do but rant and rave and pray to google to get their s*** together?  Google are you trolling this?!

Last night at work, every single machine I work with had a major melt down.  One of these meltdowns happened while I was trying to clean up the ungodly mess made because someone on the day crew left a valve open on a waste container allowing toxic chemicals mixed with oil to spew out  all over the floor.  The marvels of modern medical technology at its best!

My car is making a bad noise.  Do you think it will go away if I turn the radio up?

I think the planets may be out of alignment.  It might be best to go back to bed and hide under the covers until it passes.

Monday, June 23, 2014

Long Summer Days

There is lots of interest in the turmeric I mentioned the other day.  I am working on a post about it, but I am too tired to finish it tonight.  The day included: walking with Tanner, donkey trekking, brushhogging, tractor maintenance, weed pulling, vacuuming and wee bit of hay making to round out the day.  Not all of us get to lay about in the shade all day like some I could name.... 

I'm gonna try for a few minutes on the couch with a book.

Friday, June 20, 2014

Something that is working...

It's been quite a while since I had a Ramsey update.  No news is good news.  The camera angle was off for this recent photo making it look like the outer wall is much longer than the inner, which is not accurate.  However, it does show that the walls are now straight instead of curving to the side.

The outer wall on the left where the missing coffin bone is, still shows poor connection and a widening of the white line, but it always will.  I think this is as close to "normal" as this foot will ever be.

From this angle, you can see that it is a pretty nice looking foot now.  More importantly, it is a generally sound foot.  That's what matters.  For quite some time, I trimmed it just a very small amount each week.  As the distortions have grown out, I have slowly been able to extend that time frame.  I am now trimming it a small amount every 3 weeks.  It seems to be working well for him.

Ramsey does, occasionally, have some soreness, but it is in the arthritic fetlock joint not the hoof.  I am certainly frustrated by that, but we are managing it well.  I have been giving Ramsey (and Tanner) turmeric each day.  It has been shown to be an effective anti-inflammatory with no negative side effects if given at the proper dose.  I was skeptical at first, but both Tanner and Ramsey have been on it since last Fall with excellent results.

Tanner has had joint issues all of his life and has suffered with periodic episodes of extreme lameness.  He does not tolerate pain medicines well or visits to the vet.  He has not had a single bad episode since starting the turmeric last year (even with the extremely cold winter, which would normally cause him trouble) and no negative effects whatsoever.  I'm convinced.  And I'm happy with this pretty little donkey foot as well.

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Damage Report

I suppose everybody noticed that I was just a wee bit frustrated with my tractor.  The truth is, the tractor is just a fraction of it and, perhaps, the easiest thing to vent my frustrations on.  After the winter from Hell, it's been a rather frustrating Spring, plagued by equipment failures, losses, damages and a general inability to make things work.

Now that the grass is green, the flies are out, the sun is once again something to hide from and we're all whining about the heat, it's a little easier to step back and asses all the winter damage.

The casualty list thus far includes:

  • the chainsaw
  • the lawnmower (fixed now, but just barely)
  • the deck
  • the tractor 
  • the computer
  • my iPod
  • several trees
  • a trailer tire
  • the camera (it only turns on about about 30% of the time (and Shelley, if you want to know what happened, you'd best, ahem, talk to Ramsey.  I really think he should explain.))
  • fish, frogs and salamanders.
We're not even going to talk about my extreme frustrations with doctors, hospitals, carpenters, excavators, farriers and other assorted "experts".  I've developed a bad case of expertitis, especially in regards to doctors who keep trying to kill me.  


The frost went very deep and caused a lot of trouble, the roads certainly took a beating.  A garbage truck tried to drive down this road a couple of weeks before I took this photo, it sank to the axle right in the middle of the road.  It took a giant tow truck four hours to pull them out.  This photo was taken after the worst subsided and the road was passable again...

Other than paying my taxes though, the roads are, thankfully, not my responsibility.  Something I am going to have to deal with is this...

The frost got below one of the posts on my deck and heaved the whole corner, along with the other posts, up at least 9 inches.  I am so disgusted and upset about this that it has taken this long for me to even be able to write about it.  I vaguely recall that when this hole was dug, we hit a massive boulder at about 4 feet.  I was assured repeatedly that it would be fine, nothing would move that rock and besides, "we never get winters that cold anymore".

I think I know how to fix it, but it is a difficult, dangerous, expensive job that is going to require large equipment, jacks, braces, cement and plentiful help - none of which I have.  I can't bear to talk about it any more just yet.  When I figure out how to tackle this project, I'll let you know.  It will certainly be blog-worthy if nothing else.


Many of you will remember the catfish I put in my pond last year, I don't think any of them made it through the winter.  As the ice went off the pond, they started floating to the surface.  I counted fifteen and watched as the crows cleaned them up for me as soon as they appeared.  I figure the crows saw the other 15 before I did.  I spoke with the hatchery to find out what happened and he told me that people everywhere were reporting massive fish kills this Spring because the ice got too thick.  They died from lack of sunlight and oxygen.   I haven't replaced them and haven't decided if I am going to.  I probably should, but I haven't found the heart for it yet.

The other notable lack in the pond is the scarcity of frogs.  Oh, there are frogs to be sure, but in far, far fewer numbers then ever before and I've found NO viable tadpoles early on.  There are a few making an appearance just this week, the first I have seen.  Last year, there were thousands upon thousands of them in my pond.  There have been plenty of eggs laid, but they never matured.  I thought at first that it must be a problem with my pond, but I checked out several others and they are all the same.  It's the same in the vernal puddles as well, lots of eggs that never hatch.  I still hear plenty of frogs, but nothing like is has been previously and there have been many nights of silence on the pond.  I don't know what it means, but I suspect the they froze as well.  I find it a bit worrisome, I have always heard that frogs are a bit like canaries in coal mines.

There are also far fewer of the little salamanders that I am so fond of.  In years past, I have often seen as many as a hundred of them in a single walk.  I have seen fewer than a dozen so far this year.  On the other hand, there are more ticks than ever.  It makes me wonder how many of the horrid things get eaten by frogs and salamanders.

It's not all bad though.  I've planted some new trees and the deer have only killed one so far, the lawnmower is working for the moment, I found someone else to do chainsawing, the camera does turn on 30% of the time, the computer only crashes 2-3 times a week, the ipod will still play audiobooks even if it won't do anything else anymore, I've got the tractor running again and the rest will just have to wait for me to figure something out.

I also have barn swallows raising babies in the barn, an abundance of very entertaining painted turtles thriving in the pond, a good horse, the world's greatest dog, and the joy of donkeys to liven up the world.  There may be cracks in the walls, but the foundation is strong.

Monday, June 16, 2014


This fellow is one of a set of triplets, mom doesn't have enough milk for him.  He lives with her and his siblings but gets a bottle 5-6 times a day.

The evening romp, it's more fun when the pesky humans aren't in the way.

Sunday, June 15, 2014

All in a day's work...

Riding Buddy stopped by this afternoon just as I was contemplating a nasty job.  Lucky for me, she volunteered to help.  I've been meaning to clean out the hay shed in anticipation of the new crop.  This is one of those jobs that I have been trying to convince myself to just get on with, but had, so far, managed to put off.  It's been very easy to find ways of avoiding this job.  With RB there offering help and moral support, it really wasn't a bad job at all.  Like most dirty jobs, anticipation is the worst part. Once you get started, you're half way done.

We stripped out all the old hay and pallets right down to the dirt floor.

I laid a piece of plastic down as a vapor barrier and I am going to get some new pallets.  The bottom row of hay tends to get musty and this will go a long way toward stopping that.  I'd like to lay a real floor in here one day, but some quick addition puts the cost of that at around $700.  It's gonna have to wait another year or five.  

 RB's reward was a hug from the resident lap donkey.

Nothing beats a Ramsey hug.

I thought that was enough for the day, but not long after RB headed home, the nearby farmer stopped by to saw up some of my giant pile-o-logs.  I don't mind splitting and stacking, but I really didn't want to do all this chainsawing so I made a deal with him to do that part for me.  He can saw a heck of a lot of wood in a short time....

...a radically shorter amount of time than it will take me to split and stack all of this. 

Time for a hot shower and bed.  Sufficient unto the day....

Thursday, June 12, 2014


I've ordered a new operators manual for my Old Red Dragon (thanks Terri and RB), I'll have to just wait and see if it is any more use than the IT book.  I am posting these for Sheepmom... maybe you can correct me if I am wrong.... I think that the thermostat I am looking for is at the bottom of the big hose on the left here.  Do you have any suggestions on how to drain the radiator efficiently without leaving toxic antifreeze all over?

I think the water pump must be just below it where the fan attaches down on the lower right???

I know it's a crappy picture, but there is just NO room to get at anything on this thing.  I did find a small area of the radiator that was plugged with debris and an air intake that was fouled.  I have cleaned everything with the compressor, but have not had a chance to run it to see if that helps.  If you have any tips or suggestions, I'd very much appreciate them.  Thanks!