Saturday, September 14, 2013

A very busy week finally slows down

The work week was going fine and not particularly stressful, until Wednesday morning, when I realized that I had forgotten the meat for the afternoon cookout planned to greet the new students matriculating to the Center for Global Change and Sustainability's degree programs.

I rushed home after my first meeting to get a couple of dozen pounds of our various lamb and pork products from our freezer. That made me late for class prep. Then there was the small matter of a moderately large BBQ grill and smoker that had to be manhandled onto a pick-up truck and brought to the college. I got it delivered and the coals properly glowing in time for the dinner. "So far, so good," I thought. "I'll have time to catch up tomorrow."

But Thursday began unexpectedly early for me at 3.30 am with a search and rescue call-out. Our student team fielded ten, including me. We ran hasty and grid searches in the rain until a thunderstorm cut off the light at 5.30 pm. The missing man, an elderly gentleman, was found the next morning. You can see it all on TV here, if you're so inclined. I'm the fat one with his gut poking out of his day-glo orange vest and radio in my hand, interviewing a neighbor with Warden Chabot, who'd been out all night with his SAR dog, searching.

A success for the team but a small disaster for me. I managed to put the Rover into a ditch, a slow gentle immersion from which the Solihull Splendor extricated herself without difficulty in low range, four wheel drive, but not without torquing the muffler, which made it break at the junction with the intermediate pipe. I drove back to the Command Post, past all these State Patrol and Game Warden vehicles, sounding like a Lancaster bomber on take-off. I didn't think they'd ticket me while I was still on the search, but it was slightly embarrassing.

Anyway, long story short, by Friday morning I had a broken, noisy Rover full of wet stinky outdoor gear, a BBQ grill to take back where it belonged, classes to prep for, assignments to write, missed meetings to catch up on, and only just enough time to do it all. A small scale but military strength SNAFU in the making. One more job would have broken the poor camel's back. And this wasn't counting the many jobs at home that needed done, to the extension, the broken pick-up truck, or the garden, never mind the grain for the sheep that hasn't been collected because of the broken truck. The garden is particularly painful, because we're so busy this year we're not able to keep up with the tomato harvest. I hate to let the birds get them but that's what is happening.

But I did my best to get through my day job work Friday and pick up the loose ends, including delivering the BBQ back to it's owner, who hadn't missed it for the extra day it was gone, made it home early, took a nap, had a good dinner, and watched some bad TV with the wife -- Breaking Bad, to be precise. All of which made me feel more capable of catching up today.

I started with the forty-five bales of cellulose ceiling insulation which was cluttering up the garage and moved it to the new living room. Then I stripped out the Rover's muffler and inspected it. Couldn't reasonably be repaired. I made plans to order a new one.

Here's the problem in a close-up.

If I tried really hard I could weld it, but there would soon be another hole someplace else.

So that was it for the Rover for a good while, until the new exhaust system arrives. Now for the extension. I then drove to the builder's yard that had delivered the insulation, to inspect their insulation blower. Way too large for the Land Rover, even had it been working, it also would never have gotten through the 31 inch door into the new living room. I drove home and called the rental yard and ordered a much smaller one that would fit.

The rental yard is in Newport, close to the bulk feed store, so that gave me the opportunity to pick up the oats for the sheep as well. By lunchtime I'd thrown 500 pounds of oats in the grain bin and blown ten out of the forty-five bales into the new extension's ceiling. The insulation was slow going as I could only run two bags at a time before having to come down the ladder and fill the blower, but it was progress.

I figured that ten bales out of forty five left thirty for the next day, Sunday, when I might also have a helper, Aimee, who could feed the machine for me. That was enough for one day.

Time for a sandwich and a very well-earned nap.

As I was waking from my nap, the dogs started barking madly, signaling a visitor, our neighbor who wanted to borrow some fence to keep out a raccoon that's been eating his corn. I fixed him up with the sheep's fence. They won't need it if we don't have time to graze them anyway. The neighbors were also happy to pick a few of our surplus tomatoes that would otherwise have gone to waste or been eaten by the birds. I urged them to take more, to come pick them even if we weren't home.

By the time I'd unloaded a couple gallons of tomatoes on the neighbors, I was starting to feel caught up.

Nothing like outsourcing your problems, is there?

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Welcome to our Farm Blog.
The purpose of this blog is for Aimee and I to communicate with friends and family, with those of our students, and other folks in general who are interested in homesteading and farming activities.

The earliest posts, at the very end of the blog, tell the story of the Great Farm, our purchase of a fragment of that farm, the renovation of the homestead and its populating with people and animals. Go all the way to the last post in the archive and read backwards from there to get it in chronological order.

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