Sunday, January 20, 2019

Formidable Sunday

The storms that prompted me to bring all the horses in from the lightning on  Saturday night are being followed by an arctic blast.

...how it is when Mother Nature is CEO, you roll with the punches.  Clocked out from work at 9:30 on Saturday night and my workday on Sunday fired up at 5 AM.
Folks urge me to get an office job.  "It will be easier on you".  It would be death.
There's a set routine on a farm, but even in that routine, it's never the same day.

Where else do you get to be a mechanic in the morning and a beaver eradicator in the afternoon?

Now that the overflow pipe is cleared of beaver engineered mud and branches, we were able to install an underwater fence to stave off further damages.
Then there's my hunting blind for those who don't heed the warnings:

If I worked in an office could I skip home for lunch to take care of my chickens?  I think not!
The juvenile hens have been enjoying their heated coop with large yard, but a single heat lamp can't offset incoming 25'F temps.

Bad news girls, it's moving day!

"What!?!"

No frostbitten combs or toes allowed under my watch.  They're scheduled to start laying eggs by mid-March and I don't want any developmental setbacks because of intense cold.

Flynn comes in on his day off, to make what would've been an ordeal crawling into the coop for a single hen at a time, a mere 30 minute job.

He's heavily invested in this venture (half the chickens belong to him)!

For about a week, they'll have to do without their big yard, but I think they'll understand!

Meanwhile, the Sunday marathon continues.  So many jobs wanting completion.

These daily logs are my drug of choice.  I love to keep the pedal to the metal.  I back off occasionally to placate worried friends and family, then when their backs are turned, I go right back to doing what I love best.

So, when there's an injured animal hiding in the swamp, you get your two best trackers to find it in order to dispatch it. Chester was tracking off leash, when he alerted me he'd located it across open water.  I had pulled my phone out to see if I had time to go 1/4 mi. up the trails for a kayak because I still had to blanket 10 horses Sunday evening...this is the accidental picture I took before Dax, tethered to my waist, decided we were swimming across to the little island Chester was beckoning us from.  Winter jacket and all, I swam with my phone held over my head.

Once on the island, I asked my two fellow hunters which one of them was hauling our prize back the way we came.  I pulled it across underwater with the dog leashes.  I take my job and my food very seriously!
Chester wins 3 gold stars for tracking and his least favorite event: swimming! 

Dax gets merit points for getting me to the island, and back.
My large gnarly hands once embarrassed me.  Now, I look at them with a sort of reverence, these tough mitts allow me the privilege of pursuing my crazy fun 15 hour days.

Once a day has elapsed it's gone forever.  I savor every day without regrets.

What a productive and adventuresome Sunday it has been, now if I can just coax myself to butcher the body in my bathtub before calling it a night.

I, Jamie, Member of the American Camellia Society

How a day of off farm exploration landed me in the American Camellia Society.

First, you load 4 dogs, their harnesses, their water and treats, my picnic into the dogmobile.

Then, you drive almost 2 hours into central Georgia, through peach and pecan plantations, until you happen upon America's largest camellia collection in the middle of nowhere.

Massee Lane Botanical Gardens sprung up in the 1930's from one man's love affair with camellias.  

The gardens are lovingly tended and we tread gently.

The boys stay on the paths.  Ever so difficult for you know who.

Garrett shows how it's done in the meticulously kept 50 year old conservatory.

In the Children's garden, Dax is permitted to take some liberties.

It's humbling and relaxing to walk through such gardens, knowing what Herculean amounts of work are poured into them, and not having to be the one to pull a single weed.

I bet you've never seen a yellow camellia, you'll find them at Massee Gardens.

Saturday, January 12, 2019

Dax's Garage

In today's episode, Dax will show us how to change out a carburetor on our ATV.

The old one is yanked out.

Under the Master's supervision.

The throttle cable assembly mystifies me for a moment,

But, Dax patiently explains the removal technique.

The new carburetor slips right in.

To my shock, the ATV fires up on the first crank.

We're still waiting on a back ordered relay to make it purr again.  
These long nights in the shop can be quite tiring.

Tune in next week when Dax will show you how to change the oil and fuel filters on an irrigation pump motor.
Happy wrenching!

Friday, January 11, 2019

Emory. Why Go Anywhere Else.

So, I had my new glasses, the prisms took care of the double vision, yet I still didn't feel like my vision was normal.  
I was due to see my corneal specialist at Emory Thursday anyway, so I waited.
Wee bit of laser surgery and voila:

Over a year of cloudy vision and with a few zaps, I'm seeing colors again that I'd been seeing as grays and pastels.
Dr. Behshad, thank you, you are the best of the best.

As normal as I can muster.

Monday, January 7, 2019

Castor canadensis

In an era where many are easily offended, I debated whether to write about a certain ongoing hunting expedition.  Then I thought of what offends me:  Kardashians, actresses flaunting jewels that could fund struggling school system for years, current political bickering and disingenuous people.
With middle age, you start to realize that you don't have all the time in the world to be all you want to be.  Solution: amp it up; f@% baby steps, those are ok when time isn't fleeting.  Coupled with the new knowledge that my hourglass has far less sand in it than I expected has given me CLARITY.  
I'm a list addict.  Love plans!  It's been an adjustment to shed my beloved long term goals for more palpable daily goals.  I'm less guarded, more vulnerable, unrestrained, frank and enjoying the freedom of crashing through life more boldly than before.
So, if the following offends, I'm sorry and I'm also not; I have a lot of living to do and life is really messy.  Roll up your sleeves, we're going in!

I've been using a propped up boat as my beaver hunting blind.  Waiting for the rodents to return to the dam to rebuild their fortifications atop the overflows.
Thus far, I have evicted three.

My preference would've been to allot them a section of this ecosystem to do their beavery things, but their zeal caused damaging ripple effects in all too many other areas.  Hence, the need to regain some balance.
If you take a life, you'd better honor it.  And that goes for the grocery store rotisserie chicken too.  Unwillingly, living, feeling, sentient creatures give their lives en mass to us every day.  Don't waste food, it was a life.

The entire beaver ended up in the crock pot.  

All the boys checked out what had been sacrificed for us.

The pelt was unblemished, deserving to be removed, rolled up and prepared for tanning.

My next sewing project.

Beaver and mashed potatoes.

Beaver vegetable and quinoa stir fry.  Bet you've never had a quinoa bowl quite like this!
A feast to last the four of us for days.
This is me with my new prescription safety sunglasses.  I'm gonna need them.  Life is a gift to be savored and lived courageously.

Plan on it and be bold.

Friday, January 4, 2019

Scuba Diving in January--Not Recommended

How did we end up in a lake in January??  

The story starts last year with the ongoing war we've been waging against the beavers that plug, dam, divert, generally bamboozle lake operations here.
Plus, there's a pipe that's been missing its strainer for months and the contractor hired to put it on 5 months ago dropped the ball.
Who ya gonna call: Farm Team!

Flashback to the eve of our clandestine operation:

Surveying all our rented scuba gear.
Double checking everything against my old textbook.

I am certified as a Advanced NAUI diver, but it's been 22 years since I've taken a plunge.
Flynn seems to trust me for some strange reason and gets a quick briefing on what will be his first experience scuba diving experience.

He's a quick study.

The equipment was procured from my old divemaster and when I told him what my intentions were, his eyes grew big as he told me of how his days almost came to an end years ago when he'd been hired to help with a drain overflow problem in Russell county.  One second he was working to clear the pipe, the next he was being sucked into the 6' wide pipe.  His eyes really bugged out when we figured out we were talking about the same lake!
Flynn says he's still ready to rock and roll.

First duty:  installing the new strainer Flynn fabricated.

At this point, we're still feeling Gung-ho!

Note that we are not in the 60' F (yes we temped it) water.

May the polar dive begin.

We take turns going under, it's so stinking cold! Wishing we'd gotten wet suits with hoods.

One job done, we drive to the other problem area and proceed to remove metal grates off the intake pipes.  The beavers had been shoving sticks into the pipes and the newly installed grates were then packed with mountains of mud and sticks making the problem umpteen times worse than before.  Usually, we could wade out and pull sticks out, but now, the water level had risen so much, that even working fro  a boat wouldn't work.

Time flies by, we don't realize how long we've been in the water.

Sitting in the truck, trying to warm up, it only dawns on me later that hypothermia had set in. When we get wrapped up in a project, we tend to forget about everything else.  Here's the video that proves it:

We did it!

And, victory!
All in a day's work.