well, after three sets of triplets, 3 sets of twins, and a single, My herd has doubled in size–all seem to be doing well, although the little single gave us a bit of trouble at first–couldn’t get a hold of it’s momma’s nipple. Doing ok now though. 10 males so far, so we’ll have a busy neutering session in the near future. Still have 4 does to go yet–2 are so big I would have thought they would have dropped last week but what do I know!
Been doing a little welding–friend gave me a 300 gal fuel tank, and I’m building a rack for it. Doesn’t look to pretty, but if it holds together and supports 300 gals of diesel fuel, I don’t particularly care how it looks. Want to get it all together while the price of oil is so low. Would hate to miss out on a bulk delivery of 2.00 / gal or less.
The coming week is sort of divided, and I may not get much done–undergoing the “scope” on Wednesday, and Tuesday will of course be dedicated to prepping. Not looking forward to that, but after the procedure, I hope I can convince my PC at the local VA that I really need to see an ENT to get the problem diagnosed. Have been having trouble with my voice changing and being rather rough–going on now since last May. Started almost immediately after I inadvertently inhaled a big old cloud of dust and mold while peeling some straw off of and old round bale. Doc treated it as an allergy for the first couple of weeks, and then ordered a “barium swallow” which showed a couple of interesting things, none of which were related to the voice issue. She then ordered an endoscopic exam, but the VA in it’s infinite wisdom translated that into a gastro/intestinal issue and decided I needed both ends checked out.
That was in August, and we requested a fee basis procedure so I could have it done locally instead of having to go to Temple, spend a night there and OH–needing a driver. Well—congress decided that we needed this veterans choice program, so now I contact an organization called tri-west, they contact the VA, the VA gives them approval (or not) and sends my pertinent medical files to them. They then find a local doctor willing to deal with so much bureaucracy, and I get an appointment for a consult and finally the procedure. What use to take a couple of weeks at most through the fee basis office has taken 6 months–just what the VA needed-another layer of bureaucracy (one that I suspect is in it for a profit)–thank you very much congressional idiots for fixing something that wasn’t broke.
That’s it from the hunkerdown for now
Yesterday, (Jan 17) i was presented with two new born goats when I went out for the AM chores. The momma was halfwide–a nigerian dwarf that had a real difficult breach last spring and lost that kid. This morning, Tatters (named for a torn ear) was being stand-offish from the herd, and by noon, she too had twin babies. Great start to this springs crop, although a little earlier in the year than the previous three years. But then, I don’t do anything to restrict their activities so I suppose it’s just nature taking it’s course. Ten more ladies in waiting–praying for a birthing season sans problems–last years was not all that good.
Getting the garden ready, and have some seeds started in the cold frame. Hoping for a nice average year’s precipitation, but with the two new wells drilled last year, I do have water on hand if momma nature decides we need to be dry again.
As previously mentioned, one of the bigger projects here on the HunkerDown was adding a room to the 2 room cabin. Having already had a little experience with the “weird” construction methods used to build the cabin, I knew that there would be some complications, but little did I know!!!
The original structure was 16ft. X 24ft. long axis oriented north/south. A porch had been added on the south end, again 16ft wide by 8 ft or so deep. My plan was to put the addition on the west side tying into the old structure through what was the “kitchen area” of the front room. I knew that there were some floor leveling issues, so I figured the first attack would be some leveling. My assumption was that the cabin was basically a portable building sort of thing, but when I took my first good look at what was holding the cabin up—big surprise. There were three double 2×6 beams running the 24 ft length–one on each perimeter and one down the middle –which meant that the floor joists (2×4) were spanning nearly 8 feet. The piers the beams rested on were 6 foot apart front and back with a 12 foot span in the center–the beams were only supported at 4 points across 24 feet???. And, the west side beam had been cut through for the toilet drain pipe without any additional support or scabbing –just flopping around in the breeze so-to-speak.
I hired a crew for the major carpentry work–framing, roofing etc, and the first job they under took was adding two more 2×6 beams at the midpoints between the originals, and adding the needed piers under those sagging babies. Wasn’t the easiest of jobs, since the structure was not even 2 foot off of the ground at it’s highest point, but those guys managed, and did their best to level things out. I say their best, as it would have required cutting the water, sewer and electrical service to jack that west wall up enough, and since we were living in the cabin while this was going on, I let them slide a little on that. Something that would cause me other problems and lots of fun later on.
The addition was to be 12 ft x 18ft. with the long axis again running north/south, and the roof ridge running east/west so as to intersect the old roof at 90 degrees–no big deal, and the crew knew what they were doing and work progressed rather quickly. The only issue was tying into the front wall of the cabin with the new framing. Seems that the original front wall of the cabin was about 3 inches out of plumb top to bottom–back wall also but that didn’t effect things just then –leaning to the south. Got all the new construction dried in, and then it was time to open the wall between the two. Now, I’ve worked construction–mostly as a mason –for 40 some years, and never before did I see a framed wall without a double top plate. In fact there wasn’t really a top plate at all as the stud tops had been cut off to match the roof pitch, and the top plate was nailed to them in such a way that the roof trusses didn’t have to be notched at the wall but were just laid on top and toenailed in. I was already aware that the framing did not adhere to any sort of regular spacing, so much so, I’m still not sure if they ( the original builders) were trying for 16 inch centers or 24, or were just nailing up studs where ever it seemed right to put one.
Anyway, we got through that mess and all of a sudden, I had just about doubled my floor space, and it was now my turn to get to work. I wore the plumber’s hat, the electrician’s hat, the trim carpenter’s hat and was the finished flooring guy too. More about all that later.
Knew it had been quite a while since I last made a post. Didn’t realize that come march–it will be two years. I resolve (we all know how that works) to post on a more regular basis.
Meanwhile–lets just say it has been a busy last couple of years. Added a kitchen addition to the little cabin which is slowly finishing up. Expanded the garden area, added some more fruit and nut trees. Bought an old 64 dodge D-100 pickup and have been working on it some–drives well enough to drive it into Brownwood for the bi weekly load of feed. Also have been busy clearing some in the pastures, and now have a PTO powered Chipper which is (and will be) a great help in cleaning up. Especially all the stuff the goats have killed up to brows height +/- 6 foot. If I’m lucky enough to have a few more working years, it might actually start looking good here on the ranch.
Buried old Gypsy a year ago now, but Missy has more than filled her place. Burt and Ernie are starting to show a little wear, but still going strong doing the job they are supposed to do. Goat herd is like an accordion–expands and contracts depending on the season. Not but 16 out there right now, but took about 3 dozen to auction during the spring and fall last year. Suspect things will start expanding again here in another month or two.
Have been feeling a need to add some more to the HisStory section. Might be the only way my girls will have a clue as to the journey their old man was on back then. Been living a different life for a long time now, but have no regrets about the old me either. As they say, we are nothing more than the sum of our experience, and each choice made, each fork taken is what has brought me to who and where I am today, and I wouldn’t change places now with anyone.
might just need to vent a little more often over on the other site too. So much going on in the world that shouldn’t be happening.
hope to be back real soon