Monday, August 24, 2009


I am going through some old letters that have been in storage for years and came across one written to me from my sister Angela while she was off at BYU? I must have written some interesting comments to her to have illicited this response:

How are your birds? Have they mated?

And later:
I show your letters to Hiedi Jo and Jennifer and Rob sometimes but not always. When you letter says something particularly funny or characterstic of your personality then I usually show it to people.
Apparently, I must have written really weird stuff in my letters?

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Working w/ Slate

Here's what the fireplace looked like last night (note the paint overspray on the metal, the rotted wood, and the debris that accumulates on the tile since it is lower than the carpet):

Here's what it looks like tonight:

It was a short project (compared to most of them we undertake around here) but it was a bit stressful because I had rented a wetsaw that put a definite cost-timeline on the project. In fact, the wetsaw rental was the most expensive part of the whole project. This was my first time working with slate and it was kinda fun to do something new, but a bit tough due to the fact that slate is a natural product and the thickness of the slate varied quite a bit. That made it tough to get the joints to all line up perfectly like you would hope. Anyway, it feels good to have started and finished a project in a single day. With a little more cleaning and a coat of slate finish stuff, it will look super-spiffy and "wet" even when it is dry.

The kids were good sports about it and I appeased them with the lure of post-project swimming and ice-cream.

By the way, they are SUPER-excited about school starting on Monday and the "buzz" around here has been constant; "What do you think it will be like?" "Do you think your teacher will be as nice as Ms. Honey?" (from the movie Matilda) "What if (friend) Van rides our bus this year?" Etc.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Crappy Supper

When we first moved out here to the farm, I used to say that any day that involved some time spent on the tractor was a good day. Today was a good day and it has been a long time see, a while back, the carburetor on the tractor that was only marginally functional finally bit the big one and in the process it dumped all the gas from the gas tank down into the oil pan. So after sitting for a while and then an oil change and a carb rebuild (a couple weeks ago) I was stoked to fire it up only to find that something went wrong with the carb rebuild and it was still dumping gas. Fast forward through removing the carb, troubleshooting, reinstalling and still having the same problem several times in a row to today. I pulled the carb again and started really looking for something that might have been awry. Not to get too technical, but there was this one gasket around the main fuel tube that was a tiny bit off center and it looked like maybe it was off enough for some gas to get around it. I am not sure if it was that or pure luck, but I adjusted it and reinstalled and the tractor fired right up!

So, today was a good day and I was able to get a good acre or more mowed before dark. It is sorely needed because some of the weeds were over 6 feet tall out there!

In other news, the kids and I continued our daily routine of spending at least 3 hours in the lake in and around the "new" boat. I brought in a couple of fish and we had garlic and butter fried crappy for dinner (that don't sound right does it?)

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Financial Betrayal

Trip into Leonard to buy a fishtank for the tadpoles and minnows the kids caught (turned into a fish tank, fish food, and a kitten): $15.00

Sidetrip in Leonard at a thrift store where the kids got sandals, socks, shorts, pants, wallets and a clipon tie: $5.30

Trip to Gainesville to the livestock auction where we purchased a new nanny goat: $32.50

That, my friends, is a total 0f $53.80 which is far too much for a day that started with no firm plans for any expenditures at all. Apparently, I need to get to selling some "stuff" so that this doesn't affect our budget.

(Sorry Jefe)

Maybe the moral of the story here is that I can't be trusted with funds when the kids are around. When I am by myself, I just wile away the days locked up in the shop. With the kids here, the things we do seem like things that cost $$.

One more note: My fishing dry spell (that started last fall) has officially ended. While the kids were jumping off the boat and swimming around in the lake today, I strung up a rattletrap and brought in a mess of little crappy and bass. I never hooked into the big lunkers, but it was fun to land a bunch of fish.

One more other note (for unkygiash):
Charly the Jersey steer seems to have managed to rip his ear tag out. I'm not sure what he caught it on. I'm guessing some barb wire somewhere? Behold the gory results:

He may not have an ear tag anymore, but he certainly does have an easily identifiable feature. I guess this way is better anyway seeing as I don't think we ever bothered to write down the number in his eartag...

By the way, Charly is about the friendliest little bovine I have ever had the pleasure of dealing with. He is very calm, lets you walk right up to him and rub him down, and is generally just a pleasant animal to deal with. The Texas grass has been REAL good this summer, so he is also very fat and is heading into fall/winter in good health.

Monday, August 17, 2009

Finally - A Boat

It seems like this should have happened a long time ago, and a few visitors have made comments about it, but the right deal never came along, so we never did have a boat to explore our lake with....until Saturday. I picked up this beauty with a buddy. It is a craigslist "free" item and though it did cost about $40 in fuel to go get it, it still turned out to be a good deal.
I took this picture of Winter while swimming in the lake.

It's a fiberglass beater, but it does float, doesn't seem to take on water, and while it is a bit on the large side, beggars can't be choosers.

The kids and I spent most of the day on the lake (I am taking a vacation week to relax, work on projects, and watch the kids while Jessica does BYU Education week) and they wore me out pulling them back into the boat over and over again just to have them jump off the bow again. So while they were taking naps, I welded up a little ladder that fits where the motor normally goes that allows them to climb up on their own.

The kids were stoked and we had a good time. Winter blogged her thoughts about it for our FHE activity (followed by Oreo Cookie ice cream.)

By the way, it did come with a little 9.6 horse outboard motor, but I haven't jumped into that project yet. I've got too many other pots in the fire for now. We used a piece of 2X4 lumber (in true redneck fashion) to pole and paddle around the lake. It's a good thing there wasn't much wind.

With a touch of a sunburn ( I should have got their faces better) and after spending the day in the lake, let's hope that they get a REAL good night's sleep.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Drywall Texture

While Jessica and the kids were gone, I did get started on finishing our master bath room (which has been partially torn apart for over a year) and I was able to get a good start on it, but the project was far larger than I anticipated and being a bit "green" to drywall, I was unsure how good was good enough and so I erred on the side of caution and spent a ton of time working on minor imperfections that probably would have been fine to leave alone. Just getting everything taped off to protect it from the over spray was a monumental task in and of itself.

I was unable to get the texture sprayed before Jessica got home like I wanted, but last night I was finally able to get the hopper loaded up and I sprayed the whole room. I think it turned out pretty good (although I was running low on mud and a couple areas probably could use another pass or two with the sprayer). Tonight, I knocked down any "doobers" and high lumps with a rasp and officially turned the project over to our resident painter. Here is the current status:
Yes, that is the toilet in the middle of the room - can't wait to get that baby back installed where it belongs...

Thursday, August 6, 2009

My Personal Battle w/ Cats

It all started as a newlywed couple living in FL during our internship with Disney. We had an orange tabby cat that we had brought down with us from UT. It lived (and barfed/pooped/etc) in our apartment and I have to admit that I was not a real big fan of the animal living in such close confines with my own person. When the appointed time for the internship to terminate arrived, Jessica hopped a plane to SLC and left me to pack/drive the moving van (we had acquired some earthly possessions and had recently been "de-carred" by a careless driver so it worked to drive a van back instead of the recently demolished car. After a friend and I had packed the apartment up, we were doing a few final checks and hauling out the last few items when Jessica's cat ran out the door. It was the first time the cat had been outdoors there and it straight-up dissappeared. Here's where Jessica's beleif in my story parts ways with what actually happened. Contrary to her every assertion, I DID try to find that cat. I may not have been sad that it was not to be found, but that is irrelevant to the true fact that I did give it the ol' college try.

The cat was not to be found and so began a legacy of false accusations hurled against me for plotting to leave the cat in FL and so be rid of my scourge.

Fast forward to a few weeks back. Jessica leaves for a vacation in DC leaving me with the responsibility to care for:
1 mama cat
2 unweaned baby cats
1 just weaned baby cat
1 other cat

Fast forward to today.






Yikes! When the woman discovers this, I can see it now - renewed accusations of skulduggery and plots to dispatch the cats. I swear - the timing could not be worse. When cats dissappear when she is around, there are no accusations of foul-play - just an assumption that the dastardly coyotes have done their work. But now....

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Another Steed in the Stable

Last night I picked up this beauty for the princely sum of $200:
It has a good transmission in it which will go nicely in our other metro (whose transmission is totally crapped out - ironic since it has a freshly rebuilt engine.) Since we bought that metro in April of 08, we have spent about $1,000 in repairing it (not including any labor) and it has been "broke down" for probably 75% of that time. Not zactly a real success story....yet.

Saturday, August 1, 2009

Jessica's Garden

With Jessica gone, I am taking care of her garden. Luckily there has been plenty of rain so I haven't needed to do much work, but tonight I did spend some time out there picking.

There are probably five or six 5-10 pound zucchini on the bottom of the pile and there was more than that in the garden. I plan to take the majority of it to church tomorrow for dispersal. I don't know what we would do with all that.