Archive for November, 2007

Busy weekend

Sunday, November 18th, 2007

Well, it was a busy Saturday anyhow. We always try to take it easy on Sunday and not do too much. But Saturday…

5:30am – get up, get dressed, eat cereal, drink coffee, go hunting. Now, hunting is not that vigorous of an activity, at least for me. Hunting means walking out the door about 15 minutes before it starts to get light out and walking out to the edge of our pasture where the woods start, picking out a likely spot and waiting. Ironically, it’s the sitting and waiting that’s the hardest part – not because it’s boring, but because it’s COLD. It was about 36 degrees out on Saturday morning, and while that’s not that cold when you’re moving around, it’s dang cold when you have to be very still.

8:00am – call it a day on hunting, and come on back in the house. A big convoy of pickups, several with stock trailers just rattled by on the dirt road near our place. The dear are going to be hunkered down for a while.

8:30am – back outside to change the thermostat in my truck. I replaced the thermostat a couple of years ago, but I foolishly put in a lower temperature thermostat (160 degrees), and consequently my truck never gets very warm in the winter time. I replaced it last week, but the one they gave me didn’t fit quite right, and I guess it was being held open all the time because the temperature gauge never budged off of “C”, which means I had no heat at all in my truck for the last week or so.

9:30am – after finishing other morning chores (feeding animals, kids, etc) it’s back outside to fix up the camper shell for my truck. Why do I have to fix my camper shell? Because rams are stupid. I have an old camper shell, and about the only time I put it on the truck is when I have to transport an animal. Last time I took it off, I left it sitting out in the yard (we have a big yard, it wasn’t like it was in the way or anything, ok?) . Our ram saw his reflection in the windows of the camper shell, and apparently he didn’t like the attitude he was giving himself, so he rammed out a couple of the windows. So, to make the camper shell workable for animal transportation again, I cut some window-sized pieces of wire mesh, drilled a bunch of holes in the camper shell, and pretty much put a big wire screen where the window was. This is actually not such a bad thing. The camper shell is probably 10 years old. It was cheap to begin with – just aluminum, not painted to match or anything, and it’s pretty banged up, windows not withstanding. Now that it only has the front glass and the rear glass, it’s quite a bit lighter and it’s easier to get it on and off the truck by myself.

11:00am – back in the house, get kids dressed and fed so we can go to town.

12:00 noon – (I can never remember if noon is 12:00am or 12:00pm!). Pack kids and wife in car to go to the stock auction, ’cause we’re bringing home the bacon today. On the hoof. We got to the stock auction just in time – got our bidder number, found a place to sit, and about 10 minutes later they were pushing the hogs into the pen. We ended up with two – one that’s all black, and one that’s white with black spots. They must be some kind of mixed breed. At least, we couldn’t find anything online that looked like these pigs. Still, they look healthy and with pigs, it’s not so much how they look, you know?

3:00pm – back home with the pigs. I park the truck in the shade and rig up a pig pen. I learned about pig pens last year. Pig pens have to be tough. Last year we used field fence (wire mesh) and strung an electric wire around the bottom thinking that would contain the pigs. And it did. Until the pigs decided they didn’t want to be contained any more. Last year’s pig pen had to be rebuilt with cattle panels, and we just started out with those this year. We’re also doing a little experiment this year. We butchered last year’s pigs in April or so of this year, and the ground where we had their pen STILL has not had the grass grow back on it. Those pigs cleaned out everything – seeds, roots, all of it. All spring and all summer it was just a bare patch of ground. So we built the pig pen on the garden. We also built the pig pen much smaller, and we plan on moving it regularly so that the pigs will basically clean out the garden area. Hopefully we won’t have so much grass growing in the garden next year. Guess we’ll have to wait and see.

3:30pm – start building pig shelter. The drawback to putting the pig pen in the garden area is that there aren’t any trees around the garden, and it’s still warm enough in the afternoon that they’ll need some shade. Also, they need someplace to be to get out of the rain and such. So we built a little pig hut for them. I’ll have to get some pictures taken as they’re kind of hard to describe, but it’s basically a wooden frame with cattle panel sides and top, and then tarp stretched over the cattle panel to keep the weather off. It’s pretty heavy duty, so that the pigs don’t tear it up.

8:00pm – pig shelter finally finished. We took a break for dinner, but it still took about 3 to 3 1/2 hours to finish it.

Sheesh. I’m tired just writing about it again!

I’m thinking of renaming my son

Sunday, November 11th, 2007

My son William turned one year last month.  I’m thinking of giving him a new name.  There’s nothing wrong with “William”, it’s just that I think he should have a name that reflects his personality and skills more appropriately.  I’m thinking I may rename him “Monkey Boy”.  Yes…”Monkey Boy Jackson” has a nice ring to it don’t you think?

You see, William Monkey Boy is a climber.  He climbs everything – just throws caution to the wind and goes for it.  I’ve removed him from the kitchen table three times this morning, and it’s not even 9:30am yet.

Monkey Boy is also notorious for the mischief he gets into.  He likes to play in the toilet…splash, splash, splash!  What fun!  I managed to stop him from doing that this morning in the nick of time.  He alerted me to his plans by banging the toilet seat a few times first.

Monkey Boy has long monkey arms.  He uses these long arms for reaching up and grabbing glasses with small amounts of liquid left in them from the counter or the edge of the table.  He likes to dump this liquid on his head.   Unattended bowls of oatmeal are also lots of fun!

So, until he begins to display some new dominant qualities or talents, I think that Monkey Boy shall be his name.

Life’s little lessons

Wednesday, November 7th, 2007

It’s amazing what you can forget.  I grew up in Southern California, with the smog, and traffic, and hordes of people.  And I forgot about it.

Now I live in rural Missouri on a 13 acre hobby farm.  I only have two neighbors I can even see from my place.  The entire property is fenced, and the driveway is gated.  We’re at least 1/4 mile from a paved road.  When the kids want to go outside, I don’t give it a second thought.  They’re supposed to ask/tell us when they go out, but if they don’t, it’s not a big deal because they aren’t going to go anywhere they could get into danger.

Last Sunday we went to Kansas City to visit some friends.  We’d been there a couple of hours – the adults were talking, the kids were playing, everyone was having a fine time.  Then there was a knock at the door.   It was a police officer, and he was holding my three year old daughter Teresa.  Apparently she decided to go for a walk.  She opened the door and let herself out.

I forgot about living in the city.  I forgot that you don’t just lock the doors to keep people out.  Sometimes you lock the doors to keep people in.  Fortunately, Teresa only got a few houses down the road and somebody spotted her, and didn’t recognize her as one of the neighborhood kids.  This person brought her in and called the police.  Surprisingly, Teresa was able to tell them where she had come from.  She was gone about 25 minutes all told.

All I can do is thank God that she didn’t wander into the street.  It’s a residential area, but our friends street is still pretty busy.  And thank God that the person that found her was a good and caring person.

So I learned a little lesson.  Stay just a little paranoid about where your kids are.  Check on them frequently, and keep the doors locked if your somewhere they could get out and get lost.