They’re Coming to Take Me Away

I’ve been aware for some time that nothing I do online is really private.  If I look at some clothing website on Tuesday, by Wednesday, I’m getting sidebar ads for that same clothing company.  If I watch a Paws for Hope video on YouTube, suddenly lots of their videos pop to the top of my feed.  Same with Facebook.  Not too irritating although it makes me wonder if cyberspace is smart enough to know what I’m looking at, why isn’t it smart enough to know when I’ve made a purchase so they can stop showing me the ads for what I’ve bought?

I have a “color-by-number” app on my phone – it’s a mindless game that I often play if I have the tv on or am listening to a book on tape.  It only takes up about ¼ of my brain (if that).  It has a function that offers me “hints” if I watch the occasional ad.  Most of the time I ignore that function, but occasionally the puzzles have little bits that are almost impossible to see, so I like to have a couple of hints available.  About a month ago I noticed that the ads on this game were aligning with stuff that I was searching for online using my phone.  Not 100% but close enough.  So now my game is paying attention to what I’m up to when I’m not playing.   I wasn’t sure if I should worry about this or not.

Then yesterday I had the tv on while I was working in my studio.  One of the interminably long Cindy Crawford ads came on – the ones in which they talk about the special melons in the south of France.  I flipped on mute and waited it out.  While I was watching out of the corner of my eye for the commercial to end, I thought to myself “Well, at least they don’t run those Crepe Erase ads anymore.”  I’m not sure why I don’t like these ads, but I don’t even like to say the words “crepe” and “erase” together.  I have nothing against Jane Seymour, their spokeswoman, but I just don’t like the ads.  So imagine my shock when about 20 minutes later, there was Jane Seymour hawking Crepe Erase!  Honestly, I haven’t seen one of these ads for a couple of years at least.  It’s clear they’re reading my mind – this crosses the line!

Do you have a favorite hat?

Could Be Worse

The weekend Farm Report comes to us from Ben.

At least it’s not ‘Lake Effect’ snow.

I’m kinda grumpy about this weather. It feels like January and it’s only November.

I was feeding the ducks the other morning and while I was in the feed room getting another bucket of corn, I noticed a couple of them fly up to where I had spread the corn. Of our 10 ducks, only a couple are actual mallards that can fly, the black and white ones, (The Swedish breed) and the poufy one can’t fly. And then I saw Rosie, the new black duck fly in! I didn’t notice if Guildy can fly too, but Rosie sure did. And they do have a sleeker look than the other non-flying ducks. What interesting cross breeding is what I thought. And good for them! Can’t you just imagine their delight and surprise when they figured out they could fly too?? How cool.

Driving around town the other day I saw a car with a headlight out. And I thought to myself ‘PI-DIDLE!’ only I was alone and didn’t have anyone to kiss, so it had to wait until I got home. Are you familiar with the term ‘Pi-didle’? Meaning a car with one headlight? And then you kiss your date. Or that’s how I heard it. When I googled the term, I got a few other definitions, including some not suitable for this website. Most include touching the ceiling of your car and / or punching someone.

I thought that was only when you saw a ‘slug-bug’.

This (clean) site has some official rules for the pi-didle game:

Got any other local colloquialisms about cars?

They are just starting to harvest my corn as I write this on Friday. The corn would have been out earlier this week if the weather wasn’t so crappy. (Sweeping generalization on the weather) Because mine goes to the elevator and theirs they take home, they plan to do mine during the day when the elevator is open, then work on theirs in the evening. Couple days they’ll be done. When he and I spoke earlier this week I was optimistic I might yet be able to get some fieldwork done. With the temps the last few days, I’ve kinda given up on that. Although I just put a couple driveway markers in around the yard and the ground wasn’t frozen here. So…. Maybe?? I’ll give it a try tomorrow.

The corn kernels themselves are not sensitive to picking up moisture like soybeans or other crops are. But the snow on the leaves gets inside the combine harvester and makes everything wet and then things plug up and it just makes a mess. So we either need warmer weather to melt the snow off, or colder weather to reduce the moisture in the snow. I guess we opted for colder.

Normally I’d wait for the corn to be out, then mow the roadsides down so they’re clean and won’t catch snow, then we get the driveway markers installed. Always a fun day when daughter and I ride in the gator or 4-wheeler and she pounds the fiberglass markers in. Every time, as she readies the hammer, she quotes Homer Simpson, “Steady…. Steady…” You’ll have to google that if you’re not familiar with it. Anyway, all that is more fun when it’s 40°F than it is when it’s 20°F. I may be doing it myself at 20°.

There’s a local guy named ‘Machinery Pete’.  He’s been reporting on farm auctions since 1989 and he’s very well respected for that. His name is Greg Petersen and evidently he’s a pretty good golfer too.

On his facebook page, it seems this year every post starts with “New record high price” for that particular piece of machinery. Should we blame Covid for that too? Well, sort of. The usual material sourcing issues led to shortages on new equipment, which led to demand for good quality used equipment, which lead to higher prices. Plus crop prices are high, land values are high, so…everything is high. But I have to laugh that there’s always a new high price. “Fourth record high price on 1992 tractor!” Is fourth record high a thing?

I haven’t filled my diesel barrel yet. I order 500 gallons which will last a year for me. I read of a large dairy farm out in New York, he said they got 7000 gallons delivered on Sunday and that would last them 25 days. Yikes!

Today, I took the day off ‘work’ work to get a few things done here at home. I’m gonna go mow the roadsides. Maybe that will blow the snow off the road too. Or I’ll hook the blade up and scrape off this couple inches on the road. Time to get it in the shed I guess.

I stopped at one of the local theaters today to check on some things. Someone used an orange extension cord to plug in an artificial tree onstage. It’s an unwritten rule that you only use black or dark green cords onstage. Orange cords on the stage drive me bonkers. Why doesn’t everyone know this!!?? How many times do I have to tell you this??

I know what I’ll be doing Saturday. Fieldwork.


Making Progress

Although not everyone might think so, the following photos suggest to me that great progress is being made with our bathroom remodals.

Things have been stalled for a couple of weeks due to weather and getting the plumbers to finally show up, which they did on Tuesday. For the upstairs bathroom they had to move the pipes for the toilet over about 3 feet to make room for a larger vanity and sink. They also had to set up new pipes for the shower, and cap pipes for the old shower. They had to do some work in the attic and in the basement for running the pipes.

The downstairs bathroom didn’t need any new plumbing. The tub there just gets a liner and new surround.

The carpenters are coming next week to finish the drywall. After that, the main contractor can come to install the new flooring and fixtures. This is taking longer than I anticipated, but seeing the progress this week has given me hope that our home will soon be back in order. I am not a patient person, and the uproar that this remodel has caused has been hard to deal with.

Would you rather be a plumber, an electrician, or a carpenter? What is giving you hope these days? What are some satisfying projects you have seen to their conclusions?

The Rockets Red Glare!

Hallelujah!!!  Joy of joys – let the heavens part and rain down the praise of angels!!!

Yes, it’s really me.  All the painting is done – the breakfast room, the kitchen and the windows on the front porch.

As if this isn’t momentous enough, I cleaned up and organized the tool room in the basement before putting all the various tools away that have been cluttering up the porch and the dining room and the breakfast room for weeks.  I hadn’t planned on the clean up/organization.  In fact, my initial plan was to dump everything into the tool room and then ignore it until after the holidays.  Then at the very last minute, I changed my mind.  Assuming it would take a lot longer than it actually did, I was thinking I would do the clean up on day and then sort out all the tools the next day.  But it went swimmingly and once I got going, I just kept going. 

One big black garbage bag got filled with junk as I emptied every cabinet and drawer so I could clean them.  It’s amazing what you find when you do this.  We have 8 of those paint keys that they give you when you purchase paint.  We have 12 scrappers.  We have six handles for scrubbing pads.  We have four bags of steel wool, each with a different amount in it.  But the most amazing was the tape.

It seems like I am always buying tape and now I know why… we keep taking it to the basement when we’re done with a project.  The photo only shows the tape that survived – several rolls were too dirty or dried out to keep.  I brought all the tape up so that it’s in the dining room chest of drawers; hopefully this will keep us from buying more the next time we have a project!

What do you have too much of?

The Game’s Afoot

This chess game has been ongoing for a couple of years – in the front yard of a house about 15 blocks up from my house.  I’ve always been intrigued by it, mostly because I’m not a big “decorations in the yard” type of gal. 

The other intrigue has to do with the fact that my natural instinct is to say “the cat is going to crush the dog”.  My second instinct is to say “why is the bird watching so intently?”  Personally I think watching games like chess and GO are akin to watching the proverbial paint dry.

Personally I like dice games because if you lose, you can always blame it on bad luck with the dice.  Aggravation, Sorry, Parchesi, even Monopoly.  I know the rules of chess and GO but haven’t played either for years. I’m also fond of trivia games.

Do you think cats are better chess players than dogs?

All Aboard

Yesterday Bill mentioned the disappointment that Botticelli’s Venus isn’t shown to it’s best advantage in its home in the Uffizi Gallery in Florence.  I know someone who was disappointed at seeing the David by Michelangelo in that same city; she thought that many fewer people should be allowed into the gallery at any given time so that it is quiet while you are observing the statue.  I also know several folks who were underwhelmed by Stonehenge; they feel it is too close to the highway (technically the highway is too close to Stonehenge) and there is a chain link fence along the road that runs up to it.  And of course I did have a client once who just didn’t love Paris the way he thought he should. He couldn’t explain it at all and felt a little sheepish about it.

One of the days I was visiting Pat in Nashville, we drove down to Chattanooga for a day.  After we’d gone all through the huge aquarium there, I told Pat I wanted to see the Chattanooga Choo Choo.  After all – why not.  I’m guessing if it took me 66 years to get to Chattanooga the first time, I probably won’t get another chance!

We turned on the GPS… we were only about 3 miles away but it was downtown traffic so we wanted to be sure.  A left turn took us to the back of a hotel where there were some older trains but there wasn’t an entrance so we turned back.  A right turn after the hotel was the same… train cars but no entrance.  The front of the hotel has mostly pay parking and there was no signage whatsoever for the CCC.  We finally parked in a questionable spot and I called the hotel itself.  The gal who answered the phone said you had to go through the hotel lobby to get there.  Hmmmm.  We left the car in our questionable space and traipsed into the hotel.  It became clear immediately that this hotel had been the train station at one point but these days it is in sad shape and most of the retail spots in the big open atrium are dark.

If you walk all the way through, you do indeed come out to the train yard and the CCC is right there but that’s about all there is to say.  Not clean, not spiffed up, no signage, no speakers playing the famous song.  No little café serving coffee with cute names and no gift shop with magnet and postcards.  All the other train cars in the yard are in very sad shape; a few look like there might be some refurbishing going on, but I wouldn’t bet any money on when it will actually be finished.  As long as we were there, Pat snapped a photo of me in front of the engine, proof that we had actually found it!  Truly, the model of the CCC in the hotel lobby was more impressive than the actual train itself.

Luckily since we hadn’t thought about looking for the CCC until that morning, neither of us had any great expectations so it wasn’t nearly as disappointing as it could have been.  I think it’s the big build up in our expectations that causes most of our disappointments – at least it is for me.

What would you call a coffee drink at the Chattanooga Choo Choo Coffee Shop?

World Kindness Day

Yesterday was World Kindness Day.

YA and I celebrated (although I’m not sure she even know it was Kindness Day) by heading off to the Botticelli and Renaissance Florence exhibit at the Minneapolis Art Institute.  It was a nice exhibit; not as much Botticelli as I would have liked, but I suppose the Uffizi in Florence didn’t want to completely empty out their galleries for us!  YA wanted to see this one

(unfortunately it stayed behind in Florence).  She did talk me into buying a magnet of it for the refrigerator though!

Afterwards we went to Hola Arepa for brunch.  I had the Fried Egg Breakfast – the Arepa version of huevos rancheros with two great sauces and yuca fries.  It was really scrumptious but made even better when half way through, YA suggested that she pay for our meal.  I accepted so quickly that she laughed.  NEVER before has she volunteered to pay for a meal in a restaurant for us. 

I’m putting it down to World Kindness Day although I’m not sure YA was in the know!

Any kindnesses to report?

In The Mood

The weekend Farm Report comes to us from Ben.

Well, guess its winter; my 1940’s music station has been replaced by Christmas music. Bah. I changed that one to the Sinatra station. I like 90% of the 40’s music. I only like 53% of Sinatra’s music.

Orion is back in the night sky. I sure enjoy seeing him. I talk with him a lot.

Some of us have snow, many of us have cold, almost seasonal, temps. Some of you may have had a hurricane or two. It is November after all. I’m still fairly optimistic we’ll warm up again here in Minnesota. After all, I haven’t got the snow fence up, the corn out, or any fall tillage done. It *has* to warm up! Well, it would sure be *nice* if it would warm up. Yes, I’m pushing my luck on that one.

Corn crop is still out there. Feeding and hiding all the deer from the hunters.  I did hear the neighbors were hoping to get over here this week for their corn. And we didn’t have any severe weather as predicted the other day. Whew. Got a little rain, but really not enough to hurt anything.

Last year the corn was taken out on November 9th. Most years it’s mid-November. So, we’re still on target. Many years it’s the weekend of Thanksgiving that Kelly and I are putting the snow fence up. Usually we can find a nice weekend with calm winds and temps in the 40’s to do it. Only once have I actually had to kneel in the snow to do it. A few times I’ve been colder than others. I remain optimistic.

I put diesel fuel conditioner in the truck and the one tractor. This is the stuff to prevent diesel fuel gelling in cold temperatures. I added ‘Stabil’ to the lawn mower and put that away last week. Took off the outdoor faucet and picked up all the hoses. Closed the door to Rosie and Guildy’s pen; not sure if they’ve still been going in there at night, but they’ll have to find a new place in the evening. And I cleaned the chickens heated water bucket and moved that inside and filled with fresh water. (I haven’t plugged it in yet, but it’s there and ready, and will need to be plugged in soon). It probably holds about 6 gallons and as I carried it the 100 yards from where I scrubbed it to where the pen is, I thought to myself how far I’ve come since the shoulder surgery 10 months ago and I wasn’t carrying anything. And I thought to myself, in a few months I’ll get to celebrate doing this again, but for different reasons. (The knee replacement). I got the garage cleaned out so Kelly can park her car inside. I got the hay rake put away that I haven’t used since July. I’m not really sure why I let that sit outside all summer… wait, yes I do. Both small tractors that I would normally use to move that have been having issues all summer and I can’t get either started at the moment.

I took a wagon load of straw over to Firefly Berries so they could cover the strawberries. He said they lost a field of berries to grubs this year. Strawberries this year were probably the worst he’d seen. But the grapes were one of the best. So it goes.

I did get part of one of my summer ‘to-do’ jobs done this week. There’s an old shed where I park my car and the truck. It has old wood sliding doors but the tracks and wheels for the doors are shot and the wood sill plate is rotted out and it has all been falling off for a few years. But one corner of the doors sat in the dirt so it wasn’t really “going” anywhere. I finally got them off this week. Took all of about 5 minutes.

While I was out with the tractor and loader, I moved this piece of metal I dropped in the yard a few years ago. It was an old metal forage box, and when I pulled the front off, the roof and sides just collapsed onto themselves and I’ve been working around it. I hate it when I do that to myself. Put something down and then work around it. This is why I need to just put things away in the first place. It might be a thingy that goes to the basement, but I set it on the bench in the entry way and that’s where it sits for weeks. It might be the broken gear box from the old mower that I replaced and pushed it out of the way at the time. Yet it’s not in the scrap iron barrel, a year later and it’s still laying over there! I used a rubber mallet this summer as I fixed a window screen. Then it laid by the back door for two months. Then I moved it to the mudroom counter, and it laid there for a couple weeks. I finally remembered to take it to the shed this morning. Golly gee whiz I hate it when I do that.

So I picked up this mass of sheet metal and thought about where to move it, and caught myself, and said, ‘JUST PUT IT ON THE TRAILER! DON’T YOU DARE DUMP IT SOMEWHERE ELSE AGAIN!’. And I did! And added a few more things to the trailer. The plan was to get that hauled in this week. Or, Well, maybe next week. I have a large pile of things to haul in… scrap metal prices are pretty good. I need someone else to work my day job so I can stay home and do this job. I haven’t done any accounting in a few months either. Oh well.

Rosie and Guildy went in the pond this week! I happen to see them over there near it and the other ducks. And as I watched, they jumped into the water. Yay R&G!

Thanks to all the veterans for your service.


Carpe Vinum

One of the days I was in Nashville, Pat and I drove out to Arrington Vineyard – a lovely place about 45 minutes from the city.  It was so beautiful that day and the winery is definitely set up and marketed to folks who want to come out and enjoy it.   Various dining venues including outdoor tables and umbrellas as well as picnic tables on the hill overlooking the vineyard.

Bringing your own picnic is definitely encouraged but if you need to add a little spice to your meal, there are pre-packaged olives, cheese/salami slices, crackers galore, pickled vegetables, and lots more.  Even desserts.  The stars of the show are, of course, the wines and you can purchase bottles or you can get flights of wine to go with your meal.  I’ve never actually purchased a flight of wine before so was a little surprised at first that you can’t just pick your own four wines (or six depending on what size flight you want).  I guess the winery figures they know better than you about which wines go together and which don’t.

The little gal who was working the register looked to be about 15.  Obviously she had to be old enough to sell liquor, but the older get, the younger they all seem!  I ordered the flight we wanted and the young gal asked me for identification.  The shock must have shown on my face; after all it’s been 40+ years since I have been underage.  She quickly told me that they are required by law to card everyone.  Seems like a lot of wasted breath to asked clearly geriatric folks for their ID.  But I did consider slipping her a big tip!

Do you remember the last time you got carded?

Resume Refresh

Photo credit:  Markus Spiske

There’s been a lot of resume talk at our house as YA has recently moved to another job at her company.  She hasn’t actually shown me her current resume but I know she updates it regularly so that it’s up to date all the time. So it’s ready at a moment’s notice, if the need should arise!

Last week when we talked about sheets, K-Two said

“I got really good at making up mattresses for isolettes, bassinets, and cribs during my career – a skill no longer needed. And if really pushed, I could probably still change the sheets of an occupied bed.”

This got me to thinking how imminently practical (and refreshing) it would be to see solid skills like bed-making show up on a resume, instead of the boring vanilla stuff that you see on most resumes these days.

I started to think about the very practical skills that I could list on a resume.

    1. Can organize errands based on opening times and order efficiency
    2. Can coax almost any grumpy person into a smile
    3. Can get a pill down even the most recalcitrant kitty
    4. Can make 15 pies in one day

Any good skills for your resume this week?

And Your Father Smells of Elderberries

I know you’re thinking it’s not possible for me to talk about Nashville any more than I have.  Wrong.  With the exception of three trips to St. Louis to see Nonny (two of them medical issues), I haven’t traveled anywhere since before pandemic.  For someone who worked in the travel industry for 30+ years, 3 years is a long time between trips so Nashville was actually pretty special.  And have I mentioned that I had a great time with my friend Pat?

On my first morning in the city, we went downtown to see the Frist Museum; there was a display for Japanese textiles that we wanted to see.  It’s not a large museum and all they do is special shows – no permanent galleries.  The day we were there just happened to be the very last day of a special display of armor from the middle ages – so lucky!

I’m not a fan of military strategy or warfare in general but the lengths that we humans will go to is just amazing.  Having never seen any kind of armor up close, I was amazed that so much of it was covered in remarkable artistry, carvings in silver and gold adorning a lot of pieces.  Trying to figure out how a knight would be able to see took quite a bit of doing and I don’t even want to think about what happens when you’re all suited up and nature comes a’ calling!

Despite having seen Camelot several times as well as Ivanhoe and Robin Hood, I hadn’t really paid much attention to the armor that horses wore.  A full suit of armor for a horse is called a bard or barding but the piece that amazes me the most is the chanfron – the face mask.  I’m thinking that there was probably an industry for training horses to wear face masks.  I doubt you could just stroll into the stall and have a horse accept this easily.

The other amazing thing to me is the naming of armor pieces.  Every single little piece has a name, even the part that covers the armpit – the besagew.  Many of the names come from the French – guessing that armor trends started in that part of Europe and spread?  Here’s another suit that I found interesting – not sure why we needed to be reminded of the anatomical features of the wearer.

Another friend of mind who lives in St. Paul knows an enormous amount about medieval warfare and I can’t wait to see her next and show her my pictures.  I’m guessing she already knows all the names of the pieces.  Maybe I’ll quiz her.

Did you ever want to be a knight in shining armor when you were a kid?

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