Monday, December 10, 2012

Karma

Today is my little brother's birthday, the one that died. Perhaps it's coincidence, or perhaps it's Karma that made me see a post on Alan's facebook today about how people behave at funerals.

Link here. Go read, then come back.

Got it? Good. Take it to heart.

The only thing I would add, is if you are truly close to the person mourning, it's ok to give a hug. You don't even have to say anything, just an arm around their shoulders, a quick squeeze. Physical communication is as real as verbal, and if you don't know what to say, a hug, or a hand on a shoulder, a brief moment of physical contact can communicate your sympathy and offer of support better than a soliloquy.

At Jeff's viewing... I lost it. I completely lost my shit, and I freely admit that. It was the family viewing, before the public one. It was me, R, and mom in there with him. R had already seen him, mom came as moral support for me. She'd known and cared about him, don't get me wrong, but she didn't have the kind of emotional ties to him that I did. Know what she did? Stopped halfway down the aisle to the coffin, and waited. She stood there and waited for me to be ready to leave, as did R.

R is not a physically expressive person. We've been tight since we were seven, and I can count on my fingers the number of times that she has hugged me. I've hugged her a lot, and she puts up with it from me though it's not her bag, but I'm a toucher with those I care about. That day, R and I were both mourning, and she knew better than anyone that no words would help. We both already knew that if the other needed anything, we'd be there for them. We both already knew that he'd died far too young. We didn't have to give each other our sympathies.

What she did instead was put her arm around my shoulders while I stood there staring at the young man who should have lived to attend my funeral and cried. She squeezed, just a little, just the beginning of a movement reminiscent of lifting me up that way. It communicated caring and support and the offer of any help I needed, though all of that was already understood.

When I was ready, and walked out of that room that held the shell of someone I loved, mom was there. She hugged me, and when she asked "You ok?" it didn't mean "are you done with hurting over this" or "don't make me feel bad that I don't feel as bad as you, so buck up camper" like so many people mean when they ask that question. It meant "are you ok to walk back to the house, or do you need a minute?"

Because, if you didn't know already, grief can do some messed up things to you. I've dealt with it more than I wanted to in my lifetime, and I know I haven't seen everything. But I do know, first hand, there's a real chance that it can physically impair you.

Certain friends at certain funerals, I've stayed close to. I'm not trying to make them feel better or make the hurt go away. Mostly, I've wanted to make sure someone was paying attention, to catch them if need be. In a literal sense. I've also wrangled children to allow the parents a few minutes to grieve without worrying about where the kids are and what they're doing.

Out here in nowheresville, when someone dies, you bring food. Everyone always ends up with way more food than they need, but it's a concrete way of communicating sympathy and caring. It's a way to ease other burdens than the grief.

You bring food, or coffee (people are always hanging around houses where someone has died, and the family is never sleeping enough... It's easy to run out of coffee) or disposable plates, cutlery, and cups. You ease the family's burden in regards to food, or clean up, to give them one less thing that they have to pay attention to. They've already got their grief, and funeral plans, and simply dealing with the number of people who want to help but don't know how. Bring them food, and they don't have to think about cooking. Bring disposable things to use and that takes care of dishes.

Those are things that help reduce the burden. Not the burden of grief, you can't touch that, so accept that you can't. The burden of daily life. You don't have the right to tell them not to be sad, and you don't have the right to take any of the funeral burden from them, unless they specifically ask you to. You can say "If there's anything you need, let me know." That's ok, as long as it is an honest offer made without expectations. Don't say it if you don't mean it, and I mean three am they want someone to come hang out with them and make cookies mean it, just as much as "hey can you pick up my dry cleaning and bring it by" mean it.

I think it's awful that people don't trust the real offers because they know so many of them don't mean it, not all the way. And yes, I have gotten out of bed at three in the morning to drive somewhere so that I can be with a friend and make cookies. That's what they needed. Mostly to not be alone at that hour, but the process of making cookies helped them too, and that's what they asked for.

Don't hover. I spent days at Jeff's parents house when he died, but I was never hovering. I was making myself useful. I brought food when I showed up, or ran errands for them, or herded the kids, or shaved the dog. They asked me to help with some of the funeral stuff, so I did. I helped put together the music, and the photo slideshow. I helped write his obituary. I did exactly as much to help as they asked me to, in regards to the funeral. Then I stopped, and did some daily chore, or got something done so they wouldn't have to worry about it later (like shaving the dog.)

That is the way you behave around a grieving family. If you can't figure out some way to be materially helpful, express your condolences and walk away. It's not rude, it's not awful of you. If you're not part of the close family, or friend enough that you might as well be (Put it this way, if I weren't close enough to this family that Jeff's mom would tell me "Go find your dad" referring to Jeff's dad when she was distracted, I wouldn't have been around nearly as much) then they don't need you. If they do, they'll let you know. Otherwise, feel free to express your sadness for them, and move on.

Trust me, they'll appreciate that far more than you hovering over them and getting in the way.

Thursday, December 6, 2012

Too Much Of A Nerd

I am. Really.

I have all the technology I could possibly need. Use of a screaming desktop pc for work (and play, it was set up as a gaming pc originally) a laptop, a tablet, a nook (the first version) and a cell phone that will do most of the stuff those do.

And yet. I want a nookHD.

Because it's nifty. Because it does stuff. In HD.

I also can't afford to spend the money, so I will continue to want in one hand and... well you know... in the other, and I bet I know which one fills up first.

I'll survive without it. Clearly I'm not short on tech. Still. I give a little sigh of desire when I see ads for it online, which sucks cause every time I want to check for a new e book... there it is, smack dab in the middle of BN's home page.

My name is FarmGirl and I'm a shiny tech addict... oy.

Friday, November 16, 2012

Really Now,

The new comment spam: Dropping a (possibly even applicable) comment on someone's blog, with the name of the commenter linking to some oddball shit.

I'm deleting all of them I find. My blog is not your ad space, most especially not for free. This is my space on the internet, go get your own you smarmy bastards.

I don't click through to see if it's a legit comment anymore. I right click and copy the link location, then paste it into an address bar or notepad to see where it points. Some of them at least must be getting paid by the click.

So, all you stealth spammers, go blow a goat in a thunderstorm with a lightning rod stuck up your ass, because I will not be providing you any more click throughs than I can help, you won't be making money on me.

(And now, to sit back and see how many of them comment on this....)

Friday, November 9, 2012

A Friend In Need

Miss Tam is... well, she's hard to describe in a properly colorful way, to be honest. The best descriptor I have for her is that she is Tam, because she is wonderfully unique.

She's also having some medical issues, with a very small income, which I can completely sympathize with.

I adore Tam, and look forward to her visits at Blogorado every year. She's one of the people that I always wish I'd gotten a chance to talk to more, but with Tam, it's a case of her talking to everyone because she is, and always will be, beloved and popular in our little group.

So, a friend of mine (though we rarely talk much between Blogorados, since she's notorious about returning non-gun-chat emails, it's ok Tam, I still like you) is staring down the barrel of not only facial surgery to remove a carcinoma, but the enormous medical bills that go along with it.

While I have absolute confidence that if she wanted to, Tam could snark that cancer right off her nose, bill collectors just seem to get more irritating and persistent when you snark at them, so her powers are useless there.

But you're not. Go hit her tip jar on the right sidebar on her blog. Any little bit that you can spare will help, and ease her mind a bit about the cost so that she can concentrate on getting better, because we all want her to get better, and continue being... well, Tam.

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Keeping Up With The Pup

 Butcher has been growing by leaps and bounds, and eating everything in sight to do it. Not kidding, he's eating two to three times the food of the big dogs.

Anyway, he's also learning by leaps and bounds, as are we. Mostly learning where he's stubborn and just how much incentive he needs to do the right thing. He's a really good pup, he has a pair of good examples so he's learning a LOT of the house manners by osmosis. The big dogs do it x way so that's the way it's done kind of thing.

I also love that his reaction to new things and high stress situations is.... to sleep. He seems to go "ok holy shit what the fuck is this?.... it's not going away? ok fuck it I'll nap, maybe it'll be over when I wake up."

I was going through some pictures on my phone and found a couple that really demonstrate how much he's grown since we got him.

Here he is with one of my size six and a half shoes the day we got him:








And here he is with one of the same pair of shoes, today:






He's grown a bit. We still have no idea what he's going to wind up looking like, body wise. Some days he looks like a bulldog, some days he looks more like a schnauzer. His face is old school bulldog, and he's got the digestive system of a bulldog, if the tear gas that escapes from his ass to fog up the room is any indication.

But he's a pretty good pup, a quick learner, and a complete and utter love. I think we'll keep him.


Friday, October 19, 2012

Ugh

 NFO links to a contest being held in New Mexico, as an incentive for, I assume, population control on local coyotes, with the quaint suggestion that I could possibly win. I'm rusty enough that I doubt I'd make an impact and I can't call a coyote to save my ass anyway, but it's a nice thought.

Reading the comments, though, got me a little twitchy.

Some of the things mentioned were the concept of livestock as "slaves" to humanity, anyone who hunts being a "serial killer" and, one of my personal favorites in the hypocrisy challenge: got coyote problems? Don't kill them. Get dogs.

Let's talk about that last one first. I think protective herd dogs are awesome, I know people who use them, and they work like a charm for guarding your livestock. And your neighbor's. And the wheat field three miles down the road. And that patch of woods that everyone leaves alone cause it's nice to have a place for the wild things to be wild. See, most guard breeds don't just hang out in the middle of the herd waiting for trouble to come to them. The ones I'm most familiar with in this context is the Great Pyrenees, and I know for a fact that they patrol a beat, and depending on the dog and how intense their guard instinct is, that beat can be anywhere from one square mile to god only knows how far they go in a night.

And, folks, for anyone who might be confused about this point, guard dogs don't always just scare off coyotes by pooing in their claimed territory and just being there. Sometimes, the coyotes look at the guard dog or dogs, and think "We can take them" and try anyway. Know what happens then? Either the coyotes kill the dog, or the dog kills the coyotes. And, let me be clear here, getting killed in a dogfight is not pretty. Most of the time, in a dog fight, there's a lot of scuffling and biting and ripping until one party loses enough blood that they just can't be quick enough to stop the other. With a few exceptions in breeds specifically bred to bite and hold on, the strategy of a dog in a fight is to cause damage and get the hell out. So, yeah, coyote in a guard dog's territory pretty much equals someone is going to get torn up. Also, I've met Pyrenees that would track coyote packs. If they got close enough to the Pyrenees's territory that he could smell them, he would go find them, and kick the shit out of them.

Let's presume for the sake of argument that a coyote and a Pyrenees scuffle, but the coyote realizes the error of his ways and gets the hell out of dodge, and the Pyrenees doesn't track him down to finish the job.  Now you've got a coyote that undoubtedly has open wounds, at the very least puncture wounds. You know what kind of wound is most likely to infect and abscess, even in domestic animals that get direct care? That's right, puncture wounds.

So your precious coyote that you're trying to protect from the cruel and inhumane death of a bullet (which, yes, you can get a bad shot, but a good hunter finishes the job as soon as they can, and most who try for coyotes can get a shot that will kill within a couple of minutes at most) is now dealing with massive infection, will be feverish, achy, and miserable for days, or weeks, or months. Just the right level of sick, which happens fairly frequently, thanks to the amount of effort the body puts into fighting infection, and your noble coyote dies, not of infection, but of starvation, as it's body eats itself up trying to fight the infection, and the coyote is too sick to go find food.

I can hear the din now, "but the pack will take care of it!" No, they won't. Social animals are amazing, but in the animal kingdom shit gets real in a hurry. If a pack of coyotes assesses that a member is more of a drain than a benefit, best case, they'll leave it behind. Worst case, they'll kill the draining member themselves, and depending on exactly how much food is available at that particular time, they might just eat them.

To a certain extent a pack might bring food to a sick member. It's more likely when the pack has pups, and they're feeding the pups anyway. But there comes a point when the rest of the pack assesses Uncle Sicky and figures out that he's just more work than he's worth.

Donkeys and llamas were mentioned too. Do you have any idea what a coyote that has pissed off a donkey looks like afterwards? A red, gooey smear. Pretty much the same with llamas. So again, you're trading death from a bullet for a more labor intensive and excruciating death, this time being bludgeoned to death with blunt objects. Well done.

So, now let's look at the serial killer thing. I've killed animals. I get a sense of achievement from hunting, be it prairie dogs or dinner. If what I kill isn't a snake too close to my livestock that refuses to be shooed off, a coyote behaving the same way, or a prairie dog, chances are good that I'm planning on eating it. I don't like buying meat, first off because store-bought meat sucks, and secondly because it's farking expensive.

Anyway, yes, it feels good to me to be skilled at what I'm doing, but you know where most of the sense of achievement comes from? A good, clean kill. And if anyone wants to whine about the poor prairie dog, here's something to balance the scales: the raptors know when you're shooting p-dogs. They hang out and wait for one to drop outside the hole, then come have lunch. So it's the cycle of life, just with a little help.

I don't think I'm a serial killer, for all I enjoy hunting on a certain level. Everything I kill is either for food, or refuses to cooperate with my preferred method of live and let live. Hell, I even give poisonous snakes basking at the base of a fencepost in a corral where my horses will be tempted to stick their noses under the fence to get that juicy weed a chance to move on. Generally, I'll have a long stick in one hand and a gun in the other. I'll hit the ground and make lots of noise as I walk up, and if they don't move, I'll poke em a bit with the stick, with the ultimate goal being to make it uncomfortable enough for them right there that they decide to leave and enjoy being a snake elsewhere. If they do, no harm no foul. If they don't, they've made a bad choice and end up feeding whatever scavenger notices them first.

But if you think I'm a serial killer, oh well. I don't spend any time trying to convince vegetarians to eat meat, I consider that a personal choice. They don't give me the same respect, but then, they also don't give much respect to the animals they claim to want to protect, either. Frankly, they don't have a clue what would happen if humans stopped having a reason to care for domestic animals. Oh, and that cute domestic pig you think you want to save? Let it go feral and you get a huge jump in aggression, to the point that they will attack people who stumble across them in nature. I don't say this as a call to kill all wild pigs, or even in support of raising domestic pigs. I like bacon, whether it's been pampered and fed or not. But, there are consequences to every action, and if you want to advocate for something, you need to be aware of the consequences.

Do some honest research on the horse slaughter ban, and what happened to unwanted horses during that time, whether they were lamed or bought because horses were cheaper than a purebred dog before the new owner discovered that buying the horse is the easy part, feeding and caring for them is the hard part. Anyone who has read any part of my blog knows that I love my horses, probably beyond sense, and I was against the slaughter ban. That, my friends, should be a clue to how horrible the consequences were.

For the last point that was brought up by commenters on the article about the contest, I'll point again to the rest of my blog. Particularly the posts concerning my favorite part of having horses being when they come up to me to get attention in the pasture, just to be together. Also, the posts about fighting all night to save a calf that's mother has given up on it for whatever reason.

Clearly, I'm an awful animal hating person, because I ride horses and raise livestock, and think that a contest to win a couple of AR's is a good way to incentivise population control on a nuisance species that will literally breed until the food supply runs out. Coyotes have their place in the ecosystem, but they're opportunistic little buggers that will exploit every food source they can, including your garbage, your dog, or yourself, if they think they can pull it off. In certain places, they could literally eat every other scavenger and predator out of food if the population is allowed to explode.

So, go ahead, call me whatever you want, but I'm willing to bet I understand the consequences and effects on the ecosystem of my shooting a few rabbits for the pot, or failing to shoot a few coyotes for population control, far better than you understand the consequences and effects of any of your hair brained plans for fixing the world.

That's why we have brush piles on the ranch, leave ditches and fence rows weedy for cover, maintain scrubby areas as unused space. That's why we have rabbits to watch, quail in the back yard, doves in our trees.

And that's why I'm going to keep on living the way I do.

Friday, October 12, 2012

Blogorado

Was awesome, and tiring, as usual.

The weather screwed us a little on Saturday, with a fairly normal for October but unusual for Blogorado weekend day of cold and spitting mist. So instead of going to the range most everyone voted to stay in town and bs.

And unclog the kitchen sink, which decided to stop draining completely right about the time mom was going to clean up the roasters to start the pot roasts... she did them in the oven instead, but it was fairly imperative that we fix it anyway. DM had taken the FarmTruck out with a trailer full of steel to set up the range and we had to call him back because all of FarmDad's tools were in the truck. 

A few of the guys did brave the cold and wet to go out and do some set up on the range that hadn't gotten done yet, and holy cow kudos to them. They also hauled in a bunch of firewood (read: Cedar posts that have been stacked and unused for many years) for the fire pit, so the people standing around outside for whatever crack headed reason could have some warmth.

Sunday we got the range day, and everyone had a blast. Old family friends showed up as well and brought their toys, and as usual there was a bit of a crowd when AD got over to the shotgun line, as he gave a quick instructional and helped some of the newer shotgunners break some clays.

Sunday night was another of BSing and drinking, with the usual storytelling and laughter that comes along with. Sadly, Monday morning people started leaving in numbers, but those who remained made one more range trip, then went to plink some prairie dogs. I went with AD and mostly watched as he shot mom's Tikka and giggled, my little 22mag is a lovely rifle and I adore it, but I just flat ass don't have the ass to reach out there much past 100 yards with iron sights, so the majority of the shots were just too far out there for me.

Christina, Sci-Fi, Mrs Sci-Fi, Holly, and JPG were huge helps in cleaning up, and we got it done in a quarter of the time it would have taken me and Farmmom alone, much less Farmmom alone if I hadn't been able to stay and help.

Got the chance to watch AD do his thing this weekend, too, since he'd agreed to give a talk to our volunteer EMS guys. It was worth going. I didn't understand a lot of it, but it was still interesting, and the parts I did understand will enable me to know in the future if the person I'm looking at in the aftermath of this accident needs medical attention right now. It may enable me to give information to the first responders (um, guys? This one is in really bad shape, I know that guy is all grody lookin but uh, can someone come over here for a minute?) that could help save someone's life. Regardless, I learned a lot. Granted most of it I'll never use, but it's still knowledge, and all knowledge is worth having.

I had a blast and talked myself half hoarse, which is ironic considering what I do for a living these days. Thank all of you for coming, and especially thank Farmmom and Farmdad for the work they put in this year. I wasn't able to go across and help much, but they busted their butts to ensure everyone had a dry place out of the wind to sit down in town, and food to eat while they were there. All credit goes to them, this year, and I mean that.

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Rules 2 and 4

Don't just apply to guns.

Yesterday, I was removing a tag from a new collar for Butcher, with one of those evil zip-tie attachments that it is impossible to break and equally impossible to get scissors under unless they deliberately leave you room.

So, of course I had out my handy-dandy Kershaw (which, by the way, is sharp as hell, and thus able to cut through the hard plastic without sawing at it, which is why I was using it.)

Knowing, as I do, that knives are sharp and will cut you, I did not, in fact, have the knife laid across my hand applying downward pressure. I had the tip against the edge of the plastic, sharp side away from my body, applying pressure down and away.

My mistake came in after I'd gotten a bit of a cut in the plastic and had to re-arrange my left hand for leverage, as the damn tag was attached to the ring on the collar, and sliding back and forth.

I got my leverage, and continued with steady pressure, rocking the knife around so that when it broke through the blade would hit the metal of the ring and the back side of the plastic.

Except it cut through sooner than I was ready for. And the blade, not being in the position I wanted it in, skidded off the metal and into the index finger of my left hand.

Have I mentioned that knife is sharp enough to perform an autopsy?

 This was taken after I'd applied pressure for long enough to stop the bleeding (or, at least to stick the subcutaneous fat together in such a way that it didn't bleed as much) but I know the knife stopped when it hit bone.

Once I'd gotten the bleeding stopped (and oh it bled like a stuck pig, that picture was after I'd used a damp paper towel to clean up the surrounding area so that I could tell where all I was actually cut, because I couldn't see and there was enough blood I was sure I had to have caught myself somewhere else) I sat for a few minutes and contemplated the injury and the first aid tools we had on hand. I also ransacked my (somewhat hazy thanks to adrenaline, endorphins, and sheer panic cause for a while there I didn't know if I was going to be able to stop the bleeding) medical knowledge, put laceration + gaping open + needs closed together and came up with Butterfly Closures! I was fairly certain we had some so I dug out the first aid kit where everything more exotic than gauze pads and bandaids lives, and went into the bathroom, where a lightbulb hit and I realized that I had friends with real life medical knowledge.

Not here, of course, but technology is wonderful. I snapped that picture above and shipped it off to AD with the question "can I stick a couple butterfly closures on this and go or do you have a better plan?" I was, of course, hoping he wouldn't say "Stitches" but that is what he came back with, and the grudging alternative that I could theoretically superglue it shut and immobilize the finger.

We have finger splints! I got all ready to do so when it hit me that the superglue bit was really more of an addendum as if he figured I'd think of it for myself anyway.

"Do I really need stitches or will the superglue actually work? I'll go get stitches if I actually need them."

"You really need stitches. I know you, you're not going to be able to keep that finger immobile enough to keep it from breaking open."

And so I sighed and went to the ER.

After meeting the nursing student who took my vitals, the doctor came in and took a look at it, said "Yep we can stitch that up in a jiffy. Unfortunately where it's at, we may not be able to numb it completely." I sighed and said "Well shit."

As soon as the Doc left the room I pulled out my phone and texted AD. "Damn you, doc just said he can't numb it completely!"

To which he answered "Why can't he do a nerve block?"

This I passed along to the Doc, to whom I had already explained that I probably would have taken care of it myself at home if my paramedic friend hadn't threatened to beat me with sticks if I didn't come get stitches. I got a dirty look, which I replied to by holding out the phone and asking the doc if he'd like to talk to AD about it, I was just along for the ride here. 

"I could do a nerve block, but where that cut is we'd have to stick needles into the palm of your hand to block all of those nerves in order for it to work."

"Hey, I was just passing the question along."

"If he wants me to do that to you, tell him he's welcome to come down and I'll do him at the same time, cause that's just mean."

"He's in Louisiana."

"Tell him it's too proximal for a digital block." The doc then stalked off to get the lidocaine to numb my finger.

AD replied with "Yeah I figured. It's right by where they'd inject for that." Gee, thanks mister wizard, I didn't understand the word "proximal."

Back the doc comes with the lido, me having been re arranged on the bed for best angle, and hits about six spots with the needle, while I do my best warrior stoic routine and remind myself that yes this sucks but it'll feel better in a moment. While this was going on and afterwards I heard a lot about what a "trooper" I am, most big men get all whiny and squirmy when the lido is injected.

"Well, I knew it was going to burn, and squirming and whining would just make it take longer, so why bother?"

Once the lido kicked in they sent in a very nice young lady to wash it out with some gauze and magic soap that dissolved the clotting I'd been able to produce and made it bleed. Again. To which I responded "dangit, I'd just gotten that to stop bleeding."

She looked at me funny.

Then back in came the doc with the suture kit, got himself all set up, and my little nursing student came in to watch. And apparently to distract me so that I didn't freak out about the stitches. Unnecessary, since I'd looked at the mess around my hand, and the needle, pondered it a moment, and decided for myself that I didn't really need to watch.

I'm not squeamish, needles don't bother me, but for some reason, I get grossed out by my own blood being drawn, and a moment of contemplation told me that watching myself get stitched up wasn't likely to be any better. It doesn't bother me a bit to have my blood drawn, or apparently to get stitches, I just don't want to watch.

So we chatted about our dogs, and the Doc got all ready to go, I wasn't looking when he took the first stitch but I felt it. See, he'd chosen the one small spot of skin where it hadn't been numbed to take his first stitch. The skin hadn't, everything underneath was, so I felt the needle stick, then everything else was tugging. Weird.

I guess I tensed, since the Doc paused and asked "You felt that one, huh?"

"Just the skin," I told him. "Everything else is numb, which was odd as hell."

"Ok, let me know if we find anywhere else that isn't numb."

And off he went putting the stitches in. A bit later, I felt a pinch on my middle finger.

"That's the other finger, Doc. I felt that one."

He'd been reaching for the end of the suture to tie a knot, and it happened to be up against my middle finger, and he pinched me with his forceps. No biggie but the nursing student started giggling.

She got called away for more valuable learning opportunities, and I looked over at my hand as the doc was tying off the third stitch. Might as well get a picture, I thought.

I pulled out my phone and the doc paused a moment to let me get a shot as I explained that I planned on doing a blog post about being dumb with knives.

"Oh, well, yeah, get it now then, once I'm done we'll clean it off again and it won't look so gory."

"I got one right after it happened, too, once I got the bleeding stopped. That's what I sent to my paramedic friend that made him tell me to come in and get stitched."


 And the finished job:


It hurts like a bitch, by the way, and I'm discovering just how intertwined the muscles in the hand are, every movement of my hand seems to pull on something right there, except maybe for wiggling my pinky finger. It's taken me a couple of hours to put this post together, because I'm typing with three fingers on my left hand and having to pause now and then while I look at the gauze and vet wrap (awesome stuff) bandage around the base of my finger (covered and antibiotic ointment for three days, doctor's orders) like it jumped up and bit me cause that motion shouldn't have hurt that spot that bad.

So, folks, remember, the Rules are applicable with things other than guns. Like really sharp little knives that I'd like to throw out the window, but... hell, the damn thing cut me so fast and clean it didn't even get bled on.

Saturday, September 8, 2012

Food, Food Everywhere

Its that time of year again.  Time to make some preparations for Blogorado!!

Last year was a little tough to get anything done ahead of time and it really cut into my time at the range.  This year I decided to make as much ahead of time as absolutely possible.
We started out yesterday and ran the pork through the smoker.  Then this morning I started in cleaning it and pulling it.
That right there folks is 22 LBS of pulled pork!  
The fabulous Phlegmmy is bringing a couple of Beef briskets to cook for us and let me tell you folks that woman can cook a brisket!

Scifi and Mrs. Scifi are planning on bringing some wonderful seafood from out east and we will all be in a food coma by Friday night.

Good thing the guys will be out setting the range up on Friday.  I don't think we would be able to pry them out of their chairs to do any work after dinner.

We also put 20 LBS of chicken leg quarters in the smoker.
Plans are for the chicken and some Brats for another meal.  Then of course there will be the Pot 
Roast because it is easy to put on in the morning and it is ready when we get in from the range.
I think I am on schedule for having most of the food ready to go so I can just throw it in the oven and warm it up so I can enjoy all the shooty goodness more this year.
I refuse to miss the tannerite this time!
 
 
We have several special things planned and I'm hoping to make this year another success.  Of course what makes it special is the folks that attend.  I love my Tribe and I miss them terribly between visits.  The change of venue has me a bit nervous but I'm hoping it works out for everyone.
The countdown is on.  




Monday, September 3, 2012

Brotherly Love

Farmdog is still treating the puppy like he might break if she looks at him too hard most of the time, but FuzzyPup has started to interact some, letting the pup climb on him and chew on his ears a bit. He's at the stage now where he'd like to play with the puppy but isn't sure he won't hurt him, so it's a little awkward.




The Little One is full of piss and vinegar and still has about four settings, eat, sleep, poop, and play. He's figured out that going up the stairs is a desirable thing but hasn't quite figured out how to do it yet, today he cried when the big dogs left him behind, and when I went out he had his front feet on the bottom step into the house.

He's eating like crazy and growing so fast I swear he's bigger every time I look at him. He also has a growl that is almost as deep as Fuzzy Pup's already, which makes me think he's going to sound like a thunderstorm when he actually gets grown up.

Mostly, I just wanted to share the pic, cause it's cute.


Thursday, August 30, 2012

Puppy Fun Times

Anyone who has had an eight week old puppy knows that the first couple of months can be challenging. Usually you get a little separation anxiety and lots of learning the new rules, finding things chewed that shouldn't have been, and probably spend a lot of time cleaning up messes on the carpet as they get things figured out.

It's a little different with a four week old puppy (or younger, though I never recommend taking a pup younger than four weeks away from momma unless you absolutely have to!)

The learning curve for a four week old pup is different... they're at the stage where they're learning social cues from their mom and any other dogs around them, so they absorb that like crazy. Also at this stage is when they start figuring out that using the bathroom in their "den" isn't as happy as they thought it was a week ago, so if you're willing to put up with puppy pads, they learn quick that that is the acceptable place to do their business. Just make sure you have one nearby wherever they're hanging out.

Cause, see, they can't quite grasp the concept of the other room yet. There is "here" and "not here." If you're "here" that's great, if you're "not here" they have no clue where you are, and depending on the pup may set up a howl so that you can find them. At this stage they're just barely starting to learn that they could conceivably go look for you, so they might wander around crying hoping you hear them, but it takes a little time before they really figure it out.

Separation anxiety is huge around this age. They're still more likely to be sleeping in a pile with their siblings than finding someplace to flake out in comfort by themselves, and losing that comfort can be very upsetting. A lot of people (even me, at times, I admit) get frustrated when a puppy will not show any signs whatsoever of this anxiety until some gawd awful hour of the morning, but when you think about it it makes perfect sense. During the day, they're getting input, and their little brains are soaking it all up and learning. Presumably at gawdawful in the morning, you're asleep, the room is dark, and everything is quiet, so the distractions just aren't there. They go looking for the comfort they've always gotten from their siblings and mother, and don't find it, so they cry until someone comes to tell them it's all right.

Diet can be a challenge too. I've dealt with it enough times that it's old hat, but a lot of people wouldn't realize that at this age, they're not very good at drinking straight liquid, so you have to make sure they get their liquids in a way they can handle... like mixing milk replacer into canned puppy food.

The puppy food is another thing that can make a big difference. If you absolutely can not lay your hands on puppy formula canned food (it's getting harder and harder to find, since most people don't get pups till they're big enough for dry or at least semi-soft food, which is less messy and easier to deal with) then you can use adult canned dog food... but puppy style is so much better. It has a ton more calcium in it, and the Pedigree we usually use to supplement our pups as mom starts to wean them or gets a little overloaded as they grow (Pedigree did not pay me, does not know I exist, and could care less even if they did) works really well for mixing with milk replacer. It's very fine ground, but doesn't turn to absolute slop the second you add liquid, so it's easier for them to eat than something with tougher chunks in it, or that just melts into a puddle of slightly thicker goo.

A pup at this age takes a lot of time, as well. They have four settings: eat, sleep, play, and potty. All of these settings are all important when they're going on, and they are extremely urgent as far as the pup is concerned. A pup can figure out how to entertain itself in play mode, and they'll sleep just about anywhere, but you've gotta be ready for those to swap to either of the others, because if you're not, you'll be told, at volume, or spend time on your knees scrubbing the carpet. (I love puppy pads, I really do, there are three deployed in the house right now, living room, in the big kennel in the bedroom, and in front of the small kennel in the office where the pup stays with me while I'm working until DM gets home and is ready to take over puppy duties.)

The method of learning at this age is different too... positive reinforcement sticks ever so much better than negative. When something bad happens to a pup at this age, it just falls out of the clear blue sky, seems like. When something good happens, the association gets made ever so much more quickly. Not saying that you can't stop them from doing something you don't want them to, just that starting them on learning the word "no" and simply moving them away from whatever it is they were doing, and offering something you'd rather they do, seems to be ever so much more effective.

But you have to catch them right then. They can't even make the association that they will in another two weeks, of the experience of having their nose rubbed in a mess being linked with the fact that they made the mess in a spot they shouldn't. If you don't catch them actually in the act, you're pissing in the wind, confusing the puppy, and aggravating yourself, because they have no clue what the fuck you're talking about.

On the other hand, this is one of my favorite stages of development. They're learning so much every day that it's amazing to watch them. Their coordination improves nearly hourly, and they throw themselves into everything with full enthusiasm. They'll knock themselves over shaking a toy, and then you look away for a second and they've executed a sneaky puppy climbing mission, scaled the fridge, and set to trying to tear apart the cereal boxes. Luckily, they don't have the teeth or the coordination and strength to do any major damage too quickly at this age, and they seem to lose a few of the ninja skills as they grow and become less bouncy so that falling off of things actually kind of hurts.

(Yes, for those of you who have had pups at eight weeks and marveled at their ninja sneaking skills, they had more, believe me.)

Raising a pup from four weeks is not something you do lightly, but sometimes it's worth it.

Monday, August 27, 2012

Ok Some Excitement...

So, we have a new puppy. We got him a little early for a couple of reasons. One, we were there, and the gal who had the pups knows I'll care for him properly from here out, and two, his mom is not dealing well with nursing. She's in pretty rough shape so we took one pup worth of stress off of her.

He's eating soft food mixed with milk replacer like it's going out of style, so he'll do just fine.

Anyway, welcome the newest, (and as yet nameless) member of our little family....




He's an English Bulldog Miniature Schnauzer pup, actually half brother to Fuzzy Pup. He's still figuring out this whole coordination thing, and is just starting to teethe good.

We'll figure out what his name is as we get to know him, although so far the only words he's given a crap about are "hungry" and "good boy."

Thursday, August 23, 2012

All The Excitement


Things have been quiet on the western front around here, and nothing much interesting has happened, which is why I haven't been blogging much.

I doubt ya'll would find a blow-by-blow of combing pork gravy out of FuzzyPup's beard interesting, and that's about the level of excitement we've been getting.

Except for one thing... where we're living now, there's quite a bit of open space and grass about, and we're right near some hills and valleys, so we see a lot of wildlife toward the less populated side of the house.

Including a band of (currently, though it will start changing shortly, they're already starting to break off into singles rather than sticking together) bachelor deer that are rather fond of our back yard and our neighbors'. Mostly because of the crab apple tree. We also have a plum bush in the yard, but between the deer, the first-summer-on-it's-own cinnamon stage black bear, and the birds, they've got it picked pretty well clean.

The dogs are... less fond of the deer being in the yard than the deer are of being in the yard. They lose their minds every time, and though it's usually an early night foray, today one came to visit during the daylight.



This gentleman is a perfectly respectable buck, but he's not the biggest we've seen. There's one that's got at least another six inches spread on this guy that only ever comes at night, damn him, and likes to tease FuzzyPup through the dog run fencing that you see there on the left. He just stands there and stares while FuzzyPup goes nuts (as he was in a pause of doing in this picture, because he knew that deer was there, even though he couldn't see him, and I was not in the pen with him where he could protect me, worse I was outside the big back yard fence) until either DM or I go out and shoo FuzzyPup back inside. I swear the deer gives me a disappointed look when I come out to break up the party.

Anyway, when the dogs started freaking out and I looked out the kitchen window and saw the above pictured gentleman in the yard, I got entirely more excited than the situation warranted, ran for the camera, and snapped a few quick pictures. This one was just as I had come into his sight line... he spent a few minutes picking up the fallen fruit from the ground under the tree, utterly ignoring me, until I shifted for a better shot and didn't pay enough attention to how I moved my feet.

My shoe scuffed, and he looked at me for a moment before deciding that he was going to take himself off somewhere else.

And that's the level of excitement I get these days.

Saturday, July 14, 2012

Lonely, I'm So Lonely

DM has been out of town for a few days and it's been awful lonesome around the house. I've tried not to mope about it because that only makes it worse.

But he's coming home tonight, so I'll probably be spending the evening finding a way to glue myself to him, my cuddle meter is running really low.

Damn clock, go faster!

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Funky Knees

My knees have been aching lately, thanks to the barometer doing a reasonable impression of a roller coaster, plus the rib on my left side that responded to me trying to ease the pain in the cracked rib on the right side floating out of place and throwing everything out of whack. ("does your rib hurt tonight?" DM asked me the other night, "A little, why?" I responded. "Because it looks like it's trying to jump out of your back." )

Anyway, I recently had a couple of friends to visit, one of whom is an anthropologist. We spent a couple hours in the car, followed by several hiking up and down a mountain, followed by a couple more hours in the car. Home again for pizza and alcohol until late in the evening, at which point I mentioned that my knees were feeling a little sore.

And demonstrated that the swelling (minor, for what it has been in the past) would bulge out the other side of the knee cap when you pressed on one side. Absentmindedly I started rubbing at my knee and the anthro gal suddenly cringed. I realized then that I'd rubbed my kneecap off to one side... yeah apparently that's far more disturbing than the swelling thing.

We then spent some time with me demonstrating the things my knees will do that they apparently aren't supposed to and still let me stand up, and I've been told that if I ever make it to Albuquerque anthro gal knows a couple people who would love to x-ray me. Or maybe cat scan. Cause apparently my knees shouldn't let me stand up.

The orthopedic surgeon's daughter just cocked her head to one side and commented that she'd be interested in seeing how the muscles surrounding differed from "normal" in order to compensate for the instability.

I do think making the anthro gal cringe and get all squicked out means I win forever, though. I am a little worried that if they ever manage to get me in front of an ortho to demonstrate that I'll wind up in surgery before you can say "knee replacement."

They don't hurt that bad....

Monday, July 9, 2012

New House

Well, since we reached the halfway point and that was enough for the tank and the filter for the turtle, I decided to go ahead and pick that up today while I was off work. Since I promised you lovely people who donated a chance to see the new digs once I got them, I made sure and took pictures.

Here's the previous turtle house:


And here's the shiny new one:


Bit of a difference there, I think. Well after much wiping (the new tank is used, and I wanted to clean it thoroughly before putting the turtle in, so there was much bleaching followed by much dechlorinating) and much hauling, because at five gallons a trip it takes a bit to fill that big sucker even part way up, we get this:


I think she's going to like it once she gets the whole "I can swim" thing figured out. We plan on getting some bigger rocks to build up a good land area on the right side, at which point the floating basking platform will go away since it's only mostly useful at best. She's too heavy for it to be really useful, it doesn't have quite enough float to it and all the things I can think of to make it float better involve things that she might eat or that can harm her.


No substrate yet, she'll get along ok without it for a bit, though I would like to get her some, traction when she's trying to walk across the bottom is nonexistant, of course, and it does help with the biological filtration to help keep things clean and happy.

We're getting there, though. Slowly, but surely. I am far more pleased with this set up than the old one, though the turtle isn't entirely sure about that yet, I think she's gonna wind up much happier and healthier in her new home.

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Turtle House Update

Halfway to "just go buy everything at once" on the turtle house, and cruising for deals on the bits I expect I might be able to find a bargain on.

I know I say this a lot but my readers are totally awesome!

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Pleeeeassseeee? Gimme!

So, since I asked for donations for the turtle I thought I ought to post something of her being cute. Since she's not really made for cute, I got the next best thing. Her begging.

See, she loves earthworms, and at three bucks and change for thirty of them it's pretty easy to keep her supplied as treats. She also begs for the freeze dried pre-gut-loaded crickets since I'm not fucking about with keeping crickets and gut loading them before feeding them to her.

(You have to feed the crickets stuff so that their stomachs are full of goodies like calcium and junk for them to be nutritionally worth it. Someone else can do that. I have a whole jar of them and they don't chirp at me all the time, and I'm good with that.)

This isn't the best job she's done of it and you may see some floaties in the water, the skin on her neck is peeling (in the normal shedding kind of way) and the white floaties are bits of skin that have sloughed off that the filter hasn't quite eliminated yet (but give it ten minutes.) The dark floaties are worm dirt that washes off when she drags them to their doom. But still. Turtle begging. Didn't know that was possible.



ETA: I put the wrong video on here. The previous one was also the turtle begging but this one is better.

Monday, June 25, 2012

We've Really Got To Name This Turtle

So, we've been looking into the possibility of getting the turtle a new home, mostly because of the costs to get her set up properly. See, the tank she's in is too small, mostly on the "happy" side, although some more room to move and exercise would be good for her as well.

She needs at least a fifty five gallon tank, really, but those are expensive. I found one used at the local fish shop for about sixty five dollars but by the time you add in substrate and a new filter because the one she's got (that I swear would filter a fresh bucket of quick crete and spit out pure water,) is made for the half-side style tank she's in now, and won't work on a full tank, and the other bits and bobs, you're approaching about two hundred dollars even with the cheap tank.

But, nobody we know has a burning desire for a red eared slider.

So, in the time honored FarmFam tradition it looks like I've got a permanent new pet.

Now, I know my readers are awesome, they've come through for me in the past. I feel bad asking anything more of ya'll... and I wouldn't, if it were for me. It's not... it's for the turtle. If you want to throw a couple bucks at the tip jar for a new turtle home, feel free. If you don't have it to spare, don't sweat it.

If we reach the goal and get the turtle's new house I'll post pictures.

Saturday, June 16, 2012

Five Years Old

Today, I've been blogging for five years.

Over the years I've been amazed at the friendships I've made through this blog, and the encouragement and support, and frankly patience, of my readers.

I started this blog because I needed something to occupy my mind during a difficult time. It's served that purpose more than once since then, but one thing I discovered as I went along... I really liked blogging.

It could be said that AD and LawDog are my two blog daddies, since it was their blogs that made me believe that I might have something to say that someone might want to read.

So a big thank you to both of them and to everyone else who has read, commented, conspired, or despaired over the years. And a major thank you to everyone who has inspired me, both on this blog and in my other writing, which has occasionally taken a very distant back seat.

If I started naming off everyone who has made an impact on my life through or because of this blog, this post would never end, so I'm just gonna leave it at that.

Oh, one more thing... I expect presents, guys. At least a cake.... something? Anything? Bueller?

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Open Carry vs Concealed Carry

Just to be clear here, I'm not advocating one way or another. I happen to live in a state where open carry is legal, and I do so on occasion, usually because it's too damn hot to wear a cover shirt. I think that aspect of it is nifty as hell cause I don't have to choose between stroking out and not carrying a gun.

What I'm addressing today are the advocates on either side. Those who rabble rouse for open carry, and those who get their panties in a twist because concealed carry is the only way to go.

I'd just like to say to all of them who are busily getting into arguments about the particular subject and everything related to it: You're All Wrong.

Not your opinions, have whatever opinions you like. The fact that you intend to (metaphorically) die on a hill over someone else's choice, that's just dumb.

Caleb has a post up over at his blog on the subject, and although Caleb and I by no means always agree on stuff (ok so there have been a couple of times we've disagreed rather spectacularly in the past) this time I think he's hit the nail on the head, and I told him so in comments. Frankly it's a couple of the comments there that inspired me to go ahead and ramble on the subject. In one of them (go read if you want them in entirety, I'm paraphrasing) someone said something to the effect of "if someone pro-gun comes out as anti-OC, then that gives the anti-gunners ammunition."

Ok, I can see how you could say they would use it as ammunition against law-abiding gun owners, but there's a difference between ammunition that is used and ammunition that is valid.

Personally, that statement rubs me the wrong way, because I detest being manipulated, and to me that reads as an attempt to manipulate someone into supporting something they don't necessarily agree with, because (the manipulator wants you to think) if they don't, it can have a negative impact on something they do support. I'm not going to say that it was intentional, or unintentional, I don't know so I'm not going to point that finger, but that's how it read to me.

Also, apparently, there is some big hullabaloo in the blogosphere on blogs that I at least don't follow closely, which, frankly, there are a lot of out there. I have no idea what that even is other than that it exists, and I take no sides there, just so ya know. (End Drama Llama Disclaimer)

My stance on it is, if you don't have legal open carry in your state and would like to, by all means work towards that goal, but don't expect anything other than "hey you're being a dick" if you're working towards that goal by being as obnoxious about it as possible. If you're OCing a Desert Eagle (in whatever way/place/time is legal in your area) and when someone asks you why, you climb on a soap box and scream "Because I can so take that bitches!" or something similar... you're being a dick. If you are stopping people on the street while open carrying to hand out pamphlets about open carry and give them a speech, well, you're kind of being a dick. I can see how that last one could be done in a non-dick way, but it would bring up other problems like people reporting a loitering man with a gun on a corner smiling in what could be taken as a creepy way at all passers-by.

As for the committed concealed carriers... where do I start. You have made a choice regarding your personal property and your person, congratulations. Let everyone else make theirs. Whether you're just trying to get the "don't be obnoxious because you make all gun owners look bad that way" point across (a point I agree with on BOTH sides of this particular argument, by the way) or not, hammering on the OC advocates makes you look like a dick too.

The argument that what one does hurts/helps us all... well, there is some validity to that, but not as much as some who use that argument would like to be true, I don't think. I think a better example of non-foaming at the mouth gun ownership from both sides of the issue would help everyone involved far more than simply being the loudest one in the argument.

Don't get me wrong, there are reasonable people on both sides, and there are groups that are doing OC advocacy in a completely non-dick way... or as non-dick as you can be when you're advocating something, because that's sort of the point of advocacy when you look at it in the right light. Anyway, they're polite and calm, and let people ask them questions which they answer in a pleasant way.

I'm not even against OC days, although I do have the caveat that if you're going to gather to OC, the fact is that some people are going to get nervous about it. Also, if you believe that strongly in OC, perhaps you should consider just... I dunno... having every day as an OC day? Not everyone wants to put up with the questions and extra interactions every day, sure, I get that. But one person OCing on a semi-regular basis and being polite and pleasant is going to leave a far more positive impression on the people within your sphere of influence than a group of people suddenly showing up obviously armed and banding together, I think.

The first may just be that odd but nice guy/gal from down the street, the second can be intimidating. Even just suddenly seeing a bunch of guns on people's hips that you're not used to seeing, even if they're not all in one spot and clearly together, can make people more nervous than curious.

Now, some places you can't OC at all except at very specific times/places. Not saying you shouldn't ever have a gathering at which everyone OC's (we did, and pretty much do every year, but that was more about the people who couldn't do it enjoying the sensation of having a gun on their hip in the open and no one bugging them about it than any advocacy) but do it the right way. If your state says you can open carry while engaged in hunting/fishing... then don't go take a pole to stick in the water and strut around amongst the non-carrying plebes waiting for them to ask questions. If you do that, you look like a smug dick who found a loophole to assert your opinion on everyone else.

However, if you actually FISH... then you're a guy fishing who happens to be carrying a gun. You're doing your thing and not getting in anyone else's space. As someone who has spent most of her life watching animal behavior and seeing corollaries in human behavior, let me tell you, curiosity is a strong pull, but if you add that pressure away by moving into or toward their space or clearly having no interest in what you're nominally there for, but rather focusing your attention on those around you (hello predatory behavior, how are you?) the push is going to outweigh the pull.

Hopefully I've provided enough examples of what I mean here that people won't be inclined to take one sentence and run with it as a flag to plant on their personal hill, but here's the gist:

I believe, in my own personal opinion, which you are in no way obligated to agree with or even read, on my own corner of the internet that is this blog which I maintain and write upon for my own pleasure, that there are members of both sides of this particular debate that are so far off track and into the weeds that you couldn't find them if they had a bicycle flag stuck to a helmet on. I think all of those people, collectively and regardless of which side they happen to be on in this argument, are acting like dicks. I happen to believe that you are more likely to make people think and possibly re-evaluate their opinion when you don't act like a dick.

There, I've said my piece, now we'll see if the dramallama comes to visit over it or not.

Monday, June 4, 2012

Turtle!

The turtle has been... mistrustful.... of people since we got her. She hides when you move the top on her tank, but today she had an aha moment.

See, she's been getting worms as a supplement to her diet, and because she was hiding before, the worms had a chance to burrow into the gravel. Today she realized that the hand coming into her tank was bringing meaty treats, and she watched me take a worm from the cup, and tracked my hand as it came into the tank.

She hid again, but I dipped the end of the worm into the water near the edge of her hiding place, and waited a moment, and when that worm started squirming... well, her instincts were clearly screaming at her to take it but she just wouldn't, so I dropped it.

I let her eat that worm and she came back to where she could see the cup, and I dug out another. Again, she tracked my hand as it came in and waited, watching the end of the worm dangle in the water. This time she grabbed for it, snipping off the end. I dropped it for her and she pounced much faster than you would think a turtle should be able to.

The next one she took from my fingers (keeping my fingers well clear, lest she mistake fingertips for wormtips) and I was so happy I fed her three more.

She's currently staring at the cup holding the worms with an intent expression, waiting for it to open and reveal it's magic meaty goodness once more.

Thursday, May 31, 2012

Information Suuuuper Highway

Ok, I'm a tech support agent for an internet company, my job is all about getting people connected to the internet, right?

So when the company is requiring me to attend training to allow me to better perform that job that they want me to do, and I'm doing my damndest to get the information to do so, one would think they would be happy to provide said information, right?

Apparently, sometimes the information superhighway is more like the information parking lot, cause that info just ain't coming. Granted I have more information about it today than I did yesterday but somehow they keep leaving out one key piece... like the time.

On the other hand, I can complete this training either today or tomorrow. So it's not like there's any pressure or anythi.... Oh look, a new email "EXTREMELY URGENT YOU MUST ATTEND ONE OF THESE".... and no time given.

On the bright side I will have the ability once I clock in to pester a couple of supervisors until they give me actual information.

Meh, it'll make an interesting change from a whole day of "I have my modem plugged into my satellite box and I can't get any internet!" (protip: when you have a "bundle" that includes satellite tv and internet, that doesn't mean you get your DSL internet from a satellite.)

I kid, for the most part I enjoy my job, and my favorite calls are the ones who are well aware that they don't know what they're doing, and thus are grateful when I help them and explain why they're doing each step. Even the older people that require me to come up with more inventive simplified explanations of what, to anyone under 60, is already a simple concept, are generally pleasant to help, simply because they aren't giving me the speech about how they know what they're doing and don't want to be treated like an idiot, followed by the resolution to their problem being something that clearly illustrates that they are, indeed, sort of dumb.

All in all it's not half bad, and I still say my favorite part of the job is my furry little office mates, even if one of them is kind of an attention whore....

ETA one of my supervisors responded to the email I sent him with his personal cell number and answered all of the questions I had about it, and told me flat out if I ever had a problem and couldn't get a hold of anyone else to call him on his cell whether he was working or not. Sometimes it may take a bit but in this company it does appear that there are supervisors that are actually interested in helping us peons succeed.

Friday, May 25, 2012

History

The commercial space shuttle has docked at the ISS.

In twenty years, will we look back on this as the beginning of a new era? Or will it be a footnote in history?

Regardless, today is one for the history books, and congratulations to the entire team that made Dragon possible!

Sunday, May 20, 2012

A Round Tuit

Almost a year ago, dear friend R got a tattoo on her foot in memory of our little brother, Jeff. I found it a fine idea and after a brief conversation with R, (consisting of me pointing and asking "would you mind if I?" "Dude, go for it.") I resolved to match it.... at some point.

R found another tatt she wanted and she also wanted to run away for a day so she contacted me earlier in the week and asked if I would come with her, and offered to spring for the memorial tatt for me, if I wanted to go ahead and do it. I did, and so today, we finally got a Round Tuit.

We spent a lot of the day talking about memories, of Jeff and others that we've lost, and arrived at the tattoo shop she'd used for her memorial tatt in that sad-but-good mood. On arrival we discovered that the artist who had done her foot had left, but the artist that came up free next didn't bat an eye at being asked to copy a tattoo from someone else's foot. She simply grabbed some tracing paper, knelt down, and traced off a rough outline, studied the details for a moment, and vanished, to re appear with a drawing that if it wasn't identical was so close as to render any differences moot.

Then I got tattooed... in a place that I won't spend a lot of time explaining what the image means, because the people likely to see it in the flesh in an everyday situation will know what it's all about.

About the time I started feeling the needle and doing deep breathing exercises to prevent tensing up and making things difficult, R started choking on suppressed laughter. After a few moments I asked her what in the world the problem was, and this followed:

"I keep hearing Jeff like he's over my shoulder."

"What's he saying?"

"MAKE IT BIGGER! BIGGER!"

At which point the artist had to pause because I started laughing, simply because I could hear it too.

Love you little bro, you are always with me.



Sunday, May 13, 2012

Mom

It's mother's day again, so make sure you hug your mom or at least tell her you love her.

I freely admit that I have the most awesome Mom ever, and totally lucked out in that regard.

She may not have made every concert I performed in, every game I cheered at (shut up I was in junior high) or every award ceremony where they gave me yet another certificate for being good at whatever it was that week... but there was always food on the table. She kissed every bruised knee, held my hand when I was scared, kept it together to get me to the ER when I broke my arm.

She gave me a good portion of my sense of humor, all of my ability to keep going through the worst, and a shining example to live up to.

She has held my hand through everything from a broken arm, to a broken heart, when I lost a pet, and when we've lost someone dear to us.

She's taught me so much, I don't even know where to start. From how to tie my shoes to how to tie a horse to how to tie down a load. Cooking and ethics and history, heritage and honor. Vet care and breeding plans and training tricks and an honest love for any animal under my care.

She has served as an example to me, both in the best of what I want to be and where I could stand to make some improvements.

She's helped me out in so many ways, so many times, more than she could possibly have been expected to, truly above and beyond the call of duty in every way.

She's my best friend, my confidante, my harbor in stormy seas. She's my wonderful, crazy, awesome, funny, amazing Mom, and I would be utterly lost in this world without her.

I love you, Farmmom.

Saturday, May 12, 2012

Tech Support

For those who don't know, I have managed to dive into yet another job, this time, tech support working from home.

So far it's been pretty all right, everything considered. I've been "on the phones" for a week now, and have to say that I've gotten pretty lucky with customers. My co workers are another matter.

There were several people in my training class that had worked from home in customer service before. For the most part, they're the worst about asking stupid questions. I manage to maintain a cheery facade all the way through the day, jolly customers out of cranky moods (well, yeah, they're calling because something is broken on a service they're paying for, of course they're cranky!) and end my calls on an up note. I'm not in the target range for call time, yet, but we're told to take our time until we get in the swing of it, so I'm not sweating that too much.

I've been assessed on one call, and missed a couple of things in the call flow, mostly because the call that they picked was so very simple that I simply handled the issue... the customer simply wanted to know where to find a piece of information that was available on her equipment. The answer was "pick it up, look at the sticker on the bottom, it will be labeled. Go ahead and look, I'll make sure you find it before we end this call so that you don't have to call back in."

Of course they didn't listen to the marathon troubleshooting sessions that ended with the problem NOT being resolved (it was something further up the line or something that I was unable to troubleshoot,) but the customer STILL thanking me profusely for my help. Or the customer that was on hold for twenty minutes in two minute bites and still made a joke about asking for my phone number at the end of the call. Ah well.

But really, the absolute best part of this job? My office mates. More often than not, Fuzzy Pup hops up on the footstool I have arranged by my desk for getting a little more comfortable in the chair I'm glued to all day, and snuggles up against my legs. Across the room I've got the fishtank, with my pretty fish swimming about being fish like. And Farmdog, well, she's not all that impressed with this whole me being home but not playing with her thing, but she just stares at me hopefully for a moment every once in a while when I'm between calls, and then sighs and goes outside, or to lay down somewhere and nap.

I'm still learning and still working, but I'm getting there, and doing the best job I can, and if I miss a few things on the call flow, well, the customer thanking me for giving them exactly the information they needed is validation enough for me. Eventually they'll pick one of those calls where the customer is absolutely irate when I answer, and by the end of it thanks me for my help, whether I've been able to solve their problem or not, and I'll get the recognition from the company that I already know I have from the customers I talk to. In the mean time, I'll keep helping little old ladies remember to plug their modem in after the storm, and reassuring them that there's no charge for calling in.

Sunday, April 29, 2012

Fishies!

So, the fishy project is well under way. I have one round of babies (best count is about nine) that are growing quickly, and one female getting closer and closer to spawning some more. Unfortunately it's proven rather difficult to get good pics of baby fishies. They're just too tiny and quick to get reliable photographs.

Anyway, here's the cast:


On the left is the male, and yes, he's much smaller than the females. He's a red Mickey Mouse, you can't see his markings in this photo, but they're subtle and sort of cool looking. The yellow female is a Marigold Variatus Mickey Mouse, and the red female is is a Red Wag, no mickey mouse markings.
Seen above: A baby! Some of this batch are staying yellowish/clear like this one, but several of them are looking grey and reddish, which blends into the gravel. Some are also growing much faster than others, there are a couple that are veritable giants compared to the others, but they'll all end up turtle-snack sized eventually.

As you can see, this female is rather pregnant, and near as I can figure out, may or may not be close to spawning. Unfortunately there isn't a real clear way to figure out exactly when a fish is going to pop. All the websites say "You'll know your female is close to spawning when she is very fat. Like, really very fat." Thank you, helpful online fish websites.

The babies I have now were born in a smaller tank, before I got the big tank up and running, so when I made the move, I left them in the smaller tank for a while. They had a chance to grow a bit without worrying about being eaten, which the next batch probably won't, but hopefully the lovely plants given to me by a very generous father of a friend will provide enough cover for the new babies to hide out and stay away from the adults.

At any rate, now you've seen my latest breeding project. Feel free to call me a dork, since I'm pretty sure I qualify, given how avidly I've been watching this tank for any changes (including trying to catalog the number and variety of snails, or more likely eggs, that hitched a ride on the plants, which is sort of awesome as they're good for the plants and keep the tank clean.)

Friday, April 27, 2012

Mamaw's Cinnamon Rolls

I haven't posted a new recipe for a while so here you go.

Mamaw's Cinnamon Rolls

2 pkgs yeast            1 T sugar
1/4 cup very warm water 
mix well and set aside till foamy.  Cream 2/3 cup softened butter with 1/2 cup sugar and 1 tsp salt.
 Add 3 eggs and beat well.  Add 1 cup hot water and yeast mixture.  
Add 4 cups flour.



Cover and let rise.  Punch down and let rise again. 



Pour onto floured board and roll out to about 1/2 inch.

Spread with butter then sprinkle with cinnamon, sugar and chopped nuts.  The more cinnamon the better for me. 


Roll up and slice 1" to 1 1/2" thick.  In bottom of pan put 1/2 cup butter in pats (the more butter the gooier  the topping ) and brown sugar to cover about 1/2 inch thick.  Sprinkle with chopped nuts, as many as you want.  Place cinnamon rolls on top and let rise. 

Bake in a 400 degree oven for 20 minutes or till golden brown.  let cool for 10 minutes and then turn out on a tray. 

FarmDad will grab one right out of the oven. 

Once in a while I will chop up a can of apple pie filling and smear that on before I roll them up.  

Enjoy!




Saturday, April 14, 2012

Question....

Ok, I'm working on another short story, and probably another one after that... I plan to continue adding to the e-books. There's a question I have, though. So far, all my sales on Men In Black Suits have been on Amazon. Unless Barnes and Noble's reporting system is delayed, that means that nobody wants to read it on a Nook. As fond as I am of the nook platform, there's an option Amazon offers that offers me a chance to make some more money. Maybe. If I make an item exclusive to Amazon for at least 90 days.

So, over on the right, there's a poll. Tell me how you'd like to see future stories published, and I'll listen... since you all are the whole point of publishing this stuff! I've got the "I'll pay more for a PDF/text file" answer on there, because I've gotten that response from a couple of people. If there's enough demand, I'll whip up a pdf or offer the text file for sale on the blog. Keep in mind that delivery wouldn't be instant, since I'd be emailing it.

I'm hoping to have the next short story ready to go by the middle of next week, but we'll see. It's cranking out quite a bit longer than Men In Black Suits already, and I'm not even halfway through. So, tell me what you think.

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Men In Black Suits

Ya'll remember, way back in '07, when I wrote a little goofy parody, that sort of got stuck, and never came un-stuck?

Well, it finally did. You can finally find out what in the hell happened with Sam in the bathroom!

Since I'm broke, I'm selling it. Don't worry, it's cheap, only 99 cents. I get less than half of that, but let's face it, it's a short story. It also provided a handy dry run for when I publish Jane... and I've learned a few things that will make that process go much smoother, so it's a net win.

As a side note, no, it's not published under FarmGirl. It's also not published under my real name. Plenty of people out there know who I am, now, but I always planned on publishing Jane under a nom de plume, and this particular one happens to let me honor people that I dearly love at the same time. That dizzy last name? It's pronounced "Dahzee."

Get it at Amazon or Barnes and Noble for your favorite e-reader or e-reader app.

Enjoy!

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Jane

I'm working on finishing Jane, I have a couple of chapters past what I last published on the blog and I'm getting on towards wrapping it all up.

What I'm going to do, is e-publish the entire thing when it's done. That way everyone gets the whole story.

Money is tight right now so the extra income will be very welcome, as well.

Watch this space, folks. The long, long, long wait is coming to an end.

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

April... Showers?




Yeah, it snowed. That second picture is the drift that was in front of my car in the driveway, you can see where my bumper was. Got dug out to where I can get out of the driveway and theoretically into the street, though plowing the street doesn't appear to be a priority for the city, so there's tire tracks in slush a foot deep all the way across the street. I have to go to work in about thirty minutes, so this ought to be interesting.

Why We Don't Have Blogorado In Spring

Sunday, it was over 80 degrees. Monday, it was 40 or lower. Today we have two feet of snow or more, and still coming down.

It's officially spring, Colorado has gone bipolar. Ahhh, home sweet home.

Monday, April 2, 2012

Turtle!

So, shortly after the move, DM's former boss called, regarding a turtle a tennant had left in an apartment. It hadn't been cared for in some time, but was still alive, and came with a tank and filter.

Me being the softie I am, of course I took it. Turned out to be a female red eared slider, who started perking up with proper care. Or, I thought she was perking up and being a normal happy turtle.

I found out otherwise when I put feeder fish in her tank. She went batty for them, and it changed her behavior... made her more active, she basked more, and just generally seemed to be overjoyed at the chance to hunt something.

Since at the time I didn't know there was anywhere in town to get feeders, an eighty mile one way trip to pick them up regularly at the rate she was going through them seemed sort of... excessive.

So, I made a plan, talked to some fishy friends, and settled on breeding platties. Got the tank and the fish now, so the project is officially underway. Platties have several benefits, really, they're livebearers which breed easily, they're prolific, hardy, and as an extra bonus, they're pretty, so they're nice to look at, too.

Since I'm sort of a dork, the breeding experiment is sort of fun in it's own right, and feeding the turtle for cheap is sort of awesome.

More updates as things develop, and pictures of the turtle probably forthcoming once her shell fully recovers from not being able to get dry for so long and she looks less like she has leprosy.

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Farmdad and I took a little trip out to see Evyl Robot and Jennifer and participate in the First Annual Central Oklahoma Gunblogger Shutenfest.

We all met up at the Robot family compound on Friday night for Smoked Chicken and Leg of Lamb. We visited, ate, drank and made plans for Saturday. Saturday morning we all headed out to Super Secret Location for an awesome time turning money into smoke and noise. The location was absolutely beautiful, the weather was excellent (maybe a little warm at times but I'm sure not complaining ) and the company was outstanding!

Once again on Sunday we headed out to the range site and had another fantastic day. Who can complain when you have Tannerite, Barretts and stampeding dinasaurs? We made splody targets out of everything including the kitchen sink! Stay tuned to Jennifer and Evyl's blogs for photos and videos.

Thank you Jen and Evyl for such a wonderful weekend! Now I must recover from my get away so life can get back to normal. I hope everyone there had as much fun as we did.

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Jewels

Mamaw left me her jewelery. She also left me her jewelery box, which is good, because without it, I would be sitting in a pile of earrings, necklaces, bracelets, rings, and miscellaneous keepsakes about three feet high.

We're talking about a free-standing box that comes about to my chest, is about a foot square, and is full.

We're also talking about a collection of small, dresser-top jewelery boxes from various and somewhat random female relatives that has filtered down through the women of that side of the family.

It's a lot of stuff.

Mamaw's big box is full of memories for me. When I was little, she would pull out a drawer and we would put stuff on, she would tell me stories about everything in there. Where she got it, who it belonged to before her, or just why she liked it.

Most of those stories I can't remember. I wish I could, I really do. Mostly I remember how much fun we had, in front of that box and at the table with the box that held the wedding sets, and the pearl earrings she let me wear to prom, and the giant diamond rings she wanted to tie to Etta's bridle for the show my last year at college. None of the rest of us would help her figure out how to do it, for fear of losing them.

I remember how much she enjoyed her pretty things, all her big colorful earrings, the black hills gold, and tons of Avon pieces. I've sorted through everything and organized it, to some degree, and remembered all the while. I have my great uncle's airborne wings and his dress hat pin. I have the necklace I brought her from Hawaii, and the black pearl set mom picked out for her there. I have Sugar's volunteer badge, and the pins the hospital gave her to honor her for all the time she gave.

I have the ring that didn't come off her finger for years, until it just didn't fit anymore.

Some of it fits, some of it doesn't. Some of the latter I'll get sized. I've been wearing a few pieces now and then, but I'll never wear it all. There's more earrings than I know what to do with.

Mom told me to go through it and keep what I wanted, and anything I didn't want, take to her, and she and SIL would go through and take what they wanted.

I can't do it though. Some of the stuff that was in there clearly should go to other people. Dad's first hunting license he's already got. All of the baseball cards I found went to my brother... that was him and Mamaw all the way. There's a ziplock full of stuff that should go to other members of the family. There's another with broken bits, old beads, single earrings, that will go to someone who can make them into something beautiful that will be worn again, because I think Mamaw would like that.

The rest of it.... I can't. I can't bring myself to pick and choose, not yet anyway. She wanted me to have it and part of me is overwhelmed, and wouldn't mind having a little less. Another part of me can't stand the idea of giving away any of it, whether I ever wear it or not. All of that stuff... it was her. Not just hers, I'm not quite that sentimental... it was her. It's all pieces of her life, or Sugar's, or someone else she loved. So much of the stuff in the big box, you can just look at it and know, that was her.

I've cried more going through this stuff than anyone knows, and laughed sometimes while I did. Because it's all her. It's that crazy, freaky, outrageous woman, right there in that box. I can almost hear her telling me to pile it on, when I pick out pieces to wear for the day. Hear her sigh when I shuffle through the earrings and pass them over.

She's in there, in that ridiculously large jewelery box. I just can't give that away. I don't know if that will ever change, either.

For now, though, all of that stuff is just fine where it is.