Wednesday, October 18, 2017

Skunk

A couple of the cows got out the other morning so I was making a feeble attempt at getting them back where they belonged. On the way back down the driveway in the Mule, our Dog was barking at something. The last time she barked that bark it was at a snake. So I slowed down.

Just as I approached the spot I saw something very black. And WHITE. So I veered way off the path and gave it a lot of room.

I paused briefly after I was clear to take a couple of photos, because I knew you'd be anxious to see the proof. Even Dog was giving it plenty of space. Sorry no close up photos of this one. (I have zoomed and cropped a few photos for a closer blurry view.)

Once inside I did a little online research and discovered that skunks can spray up to fifteen feet! But they only usually spray when they feel threatened. They also usually wander off and don't bother you if you don't bother them.

For the next few days, skunk was in the air. Not a nice smell. So I knew it was still around.

Then one afternoon, the dogs were barking the bark again. So I stepped cautiously out on the front porch but couldn't see anything. So I waited awhile. It took a few minutes, but a black tail shot up out of the grass. And a minute later, the tail was in a different spot about 10 feet away. Either there were two or it was moving very fast.

So I decided I'd try to scare it off, away from the house, with a couple of rifle shots. As you know, there wasn't much chance of me hitting it. The best I could hope for was to scare it a little.

Well, that idea back fired. Once I shot a couple of rounds, the cows came running and gathered around the skunk. They ended up chasing it away. Then dogs chased it for awhile but luckily didn't get sprayed.


















Monday, October 16, 2017

Stuck in the Tree

That silly kitten.

She likes to climb trees apparently. The first few times she only climbed a few feet and was able to jump down easily.

But the other morning for some unknown reason she decided to keep climbing and ended up on a  high branch. It seemed the more I called her the higher she climbed.

So I left her.

Guv'nor was home that day so he decided to have a go. She only climbed higher. His comment later was, "she's going to die." Either she would cling on and starve to death, or she would pass out from hunger and thirst and fall to her death. Either way - dead.

So we left her. We live too far out to call the fire department. Our local volunteer department would probably laugh.

We did search online for "how to get a cat out of a tree" and came up with a few ideas. One was to put a ladder against the tree, not for us to climb up, but to give the cat a way to get down. So Guv'nor put a ladder against the tree.

She slept outside for the first time that night. If she was old enough to climb too high, she was old enough to sleep outside. It was tough love.

The next morning, she was still crying and meowing from the high branch. I finally noticed that because she was so high up, I had to stand away from the tree to see her. And when I called, she followed my voice and climbed farther out.

So I decided to stand at the tree trunk and call her. She gradually inched her way closer to the middle of the tree. And then down a few branches. She finally got a few feet away from the ladder. By this time she was pretty scared and nervous. So any little noise would send her back up the tree.

One of the online tips was to set food out near the base of the tree, that she could smell. So I got a small can of smelly cat food and set it by the ladder. I also taped a noisy cat toy on the end of a cattle prod and put a little food on the end by the toy.

I climbed just a few steps up the ladder so I could dangle the toy and food close enough to get her attention. She eventually got close enough to lick a little of the food. But the ladder was too slippery for her to get a grip. And set at too sharp an angle.

After much coaxing, she finally came down a couple steps, just low enough that when I stood on the lower steps I could reach her.

She ate and drank for a solid five minutes when she got down.

She didn't learn her lesson from this because just a few days later, she was stuck on top of the carport. This time I was able to set the ladder on the lower end and reach high enough to get her down.

I learned that cats can easily climb because their claws are curved in a way to make it easy for upward motion. But coming down the curve is going the wrong way and the claws won't grip.



















Friday, October 13, 2017

Goat Fencing

The power seems to goes off on the goat fencing fairly regularly. Like just the other day. When the goats realize that the power isn't on and they won't get zapped, they like to stick their heads through the fence to reach for branches. Then because of their horns, can't get back through the fence. Sometimes they keep struggling and the fencing ends up in a real tangled mess. They sometimes pull the whole fence down and then they all get out. It's sometimes only when the dogs turn up on the front porch that we know.

The other day Guv'nor came inside saying he needed my help outside "for my brains". I tried not to laugh. As opposed to needing me for my muscles, I guess. Because as you know, I don't have much muscle strength.

Over the years I've worked out how to untangle the moveable fencing. It isn't as complicated as it might look. So it didn't take me very long. I liken it to a tangled and knotted necklace, which I also enjoy untangling.

But this time sections of the fence were damaged. So we decided to use some of the "old" fencing, previously damaged and put away, which was in better shape than the existing fencing. I managed to tie pieces together and it looked like it would keep the current. We ended up enlarging the goat area a little bit.

We're still working on a new goat area and new fencing. It just takes so long to get anything done.









Thursday, October 12, 2017

Eclipse

Where were you for the eclipse in August?

My brother started talking about it last September and inviting all of us to his house in South Carolina where it was going to be totality. At the time, all I heard was, blah blah eclipse blah blah. I couldn't get very interested in the eclipse. I didn't understand the significance.

But as the date drew closer and I began to hear and read more about it, I was sorry I hadn't paid more attention to him and planned to go. The more I read the more I got interested. I even ordered the whole family NASA approved eclipse glasses.

In the end, I would have had trouble getting there because I was with our Daughter in Florida getting her couch moved in the dorm. I did think about driving or flying from there but flights were too expensive and I didn't have a car.

Where we were though in Tampa was going to get about 82% totality which was better than I would have seen had I stayed home, which was only going to get 74%. Guv'nor was at work and got 71%.

Some of the family was in Oklahoma City and got 84%. While some of the other family drove from Texas to St. Louis for totality.

Nieces and nephews from the Seattle area drove down to Hubbard, Oregon, for totality and sent me a professional looking photo, as good as I saw anywhere.

The next total eclipse for the US is going to be on April 8, 2024. And it's coming right over us! So I've saved our eclipse glasses.

Florida







Texas




Oklahoma




Missouri




Oregon



Tuesday, October 10, 2017

Ratchets

I must admit I've been intimidated by ratchet straps. During Son's recent move, I was determined to learn how to use one. The first moving trip we made we didn't tie down anything in the flat bed of the truck, and I worried the whole way home that things were going to fly out on the freeway. And since Guv'nor wasn't with us for most of the moving, it was up to me to learn how to use the tie-down straps.

First I located our bag full of various sizes and lengths. It was a bit of a jumble. We must get better about putting things away neatly. I knew enough to know that there were two strap pieces to each set. And that each strap had a hook on one end and different end pieces on the other end. So I laid them all out on the kitchen counter and matched up all the pieces. Thankfully some of ours are different sizes and colors and textures.

At first I thought, how hard can it be to use these? So I worked awhile patiently trying to figure which end went where and how to thread the strap. Actually I worked quite awhile trying to figure it out and finally gave up.

I then had the idea to find an instructional video online somewhere. Turns out there are several. Some better than others. So I watched a few.

I returned with my new found knowledge to the kitchen counter and worked again trying to figure out how to use them. I quickly learned that you can really pinch your fingers if you don't do something right. But I persevered and somehow happened onto a successful method. Or so I thought.

Then it was time to try it out between two points. For some reason I thought two nearby door knobs would be a good test. I put the end hooks around the door knobs and easily started tightening the straps. When the hinges started creaking I decided that was tight enough. Unfortunately at this point I realized my knowledge of releasing the ratchet was insufficient. Eventually and mostly by accident, the straps loosened just enough that I could slip the hooks off the door knobs. Whew! For a second there I thought I was going to be in big trouble.

I watched the videos again. Several times. I gained a little more confidence. So I decided to try it out on the truck flatbed tie down hooks. They proved to be more sturdy than the door knobs. But even then I was only successful about half the time. That wasn't good enough. 

I wasn't ready to give up completely but I admitted to myself that I was going to need some one-to-one instruction. Guv'nor was at work, so my first thought was Neighbor. I figured he'd know how, but he wasn't home. Then I thought of Son-in-Law who lives on the way to the apartment. Thankfully he was home and knew how to use them. Once he showed me how and why the pieces moved the way they did I could understand. I watched him thread, ratchet, release several times. And then he watched as I repeated. I still pinched my fingers a few times. Once you know how, it seems simple. I can say that now.

If you're wanting to learn, don't ask me to show you. My method is still rather trial and error. I'd suggest watching a few videos. But I did learn a couple of obvious things:

  • there is an outside and an inside to the ratchet piece
  • there are two spring releases, one on each end of the opened ratchet
  • the padded versions are easier on the hands
  • both spring releases need to be held to remove the strap
  • thread the strap with the end leading out rather than in
  • pull the strap through and tighten by hand before beginning to ratchet


I showed you the last photo in a previous post, but I'm showing you again so you can admire my ratcheting skills. And I'm happy to say we didn't lose anything on the freeway, even with the tailgate down all the way.