Sunday, April 29, 2012

The Retaining Wall is Trying to Kill Me.

The Retaining Wall is Trying to Kill Me.

Yes. Yes it is. During this stretch we put in the drainage ditch along the driveway that we sorely needed in order to get more fill. We ran out of fill. But it seems we may never run out of rocks.

I thought that nothing was going to capture the sheer scale of this thing unless I took it upon myself. So I climbed down in front of this monstrosity. Yes, I am normal sized. Yes the wall is that motherfucking huge.

Here is a close up. But not of my face.

Because I don't want to get murdered- me to the entire Internet.

Yeah. You can really see the difference between the regular sized rock I am holding and the demon behemoths behind me.

So far we have been grinding along on this project pretty well. It has been a repetitive dance of adding more rocks to the wall, and then adding more fill and then more rocks and more fill until our bodies give out.

It doesn't help though that each trip requires me to go farther for rocks as the wall becomes higher, or that the chickens demand to be in the center of things when we are moving earth around because oh my god earth worms. But these are things I knew would happen. Except for the part where I nearly brained a chicken with my shovel because she snuck into the back of the pick up. Or when I freaked out because I stepped on my prize roosters toes (he was fine) because he had to see what I was doing. Or the part where we broke down and started moving huge rocks with the back hoe because we couldn't pick them up anymore.

The highlight of the day was when two of my hens decided to have a knock down drag out fight over the dirt pile because they both wanted a dust bath at the same time. A speckled hen and gray started yelling obsinites before launching themselves at each other. For a few rounds they bobbed and cursed and shrieked. I don't know if you've ever seen chickens fight but they sort of jump up, flap there wings madly and bite and claw at each other. Well on the third round the Speckle decided that she had had enough of this shit. Instead of jumping all the way, she jumped and ducked her head under the Gray's and grabbed a beak full of her check feathers.

I am not doing this move justice here. It was like chicken kung foo. She was all like SHAZAM! (Insert kill bill music here)

So she grabs Grays head and proceeded to drag here around face first in the dirt for one whole big circle before letting her go. I could almost hear her shouting shit through her mouth full of feathers like 'you like that bitch? Uh huh! Mmmm dirts tastes good don't it!?' At this point Drumstick, the head rooster ran over and broke up the fight, leaving the looser to stagger away dizzily and the victor to take the best goddamned dust bath in the history of dust baths.

Which means that I pretty much to finish this retaining wall as soon as possible.

It's tearing us apart around here.


Want more retaining wall adventure? Here's the final installment

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Thrift Stores are not for the Faint of Heart.

So Saturday*, in honer of our anniversary, me and Scott decided to hit the town. You know. The town. We ate food at the local cafe, went to my most favorite book store and our favorite coffee shop. Then we decided to go look at the local thrift stores and antique shops.

Where we found such wonders as the box of remotes.

And the box of license plates!

Will the wonders never cease.

Wow, Garfield has really let himself go.

We are chained to our young in the afterlife as penance for our sins!

This is not the most racist thing I've ever seen.

Who doesn't want an orange ceramic dog with a poop mustache?

The other weird thing, and this almost borders on a phenomenon, is that each store had one of these:

 Or sometimes more then one.

It got so bad that I stopped taking pictures of them at this point. Is there some sort of metal mermaid factory that I am not aware of that supplies these things to the Middleofnowheresville? Was there a wholesale mermaid emporium that closed down in the town that the local antique malls stripped of these wares? These are the questions that keep me up at night people.

And speaking of things that are in every store- meet the white ceramic Christmas tree or as I like to call it, buyers remorse.

You know, who looked at a Christmas Tree and said, you know what this needs? This needs to be ceramic. We need to remove the joy and fun of durability and decorating and focus on making this look like a cookie jar with glass on it.

And they were everywhere.

Needless to say I didn't really buy anything. But I would like to think the experience made me stronger. As in I have a greater tolerance for horrible knick knacks and overly cutesy country decor.

Don't you want me in your house? Watching you all the time? Yes?

Be glad that I have braved the waters of insanity for you, gentle readers.

Be glad.

 *I would have posted this sooner but my shitty satellite internet decided I didn't deserve to upload pictures.

Monday, April 23, 2012

Filling the Kitchen With Poison, a Retrospective

So my attempt to murder the ants was apparently not effective. So just as an FYI Ortho Home Defense Max is piece of shit. Anyway, we decided the best course of action was to go buy more poison. Better poison. Stronger poison. Because if it didn't work the first time, it's sure to work the second!

So Scott sprayed the outside of the mobile home again.

And there were still ants.

Which could mean only one thing.

That these are obviously super Nazi Ants the result of years and years of careful ant breeding programs designed to make the ant master race. This means there is only one course of action left, we have to kill the queen. There are several options to do this.

1. We could attempt to locate the nest and pour poison down it.

2. We could set out even more bait traps.

3. We could train a small but deadly force of assassin ants to go on a covert mission to the ant hill and kill the queen. They would be armed with tiny knifes, their wits, and some Rambo sweat/head band things. I would also arm each with a small about of poison bait as a suicide pill in case they were captured.

4. We could go on a brutal blitzkrieg campaign, fire bombing most of soil around the trailer in an attempt to dishearten the ant populace until they give up the assault on my kitchen.

Really though, I think there's only one real solution here. So, does anybody know where I can get ant sized assault rifles?

This is gonna be sweet.

Friday, April 20, 2012

Flowers are Going to Bust a Move.

It's spring. And more importantly there are flowers. I couldn't think about what to write about today, so I just took a bunch of pictures of flowers. I have noticed that other blogs about farms and homesteading and what not have lots of pictures of things, so I though hey, I should have pictures of things too.  Plus it means less writing, which is here for. Damn.

Let's just get this started alright?

These are apple blossoms.

Possible monster house?

I had better get some fucking cherry's this year, is all I'm saying.

Yes, I know. I let dandelions grow. Everywhere. Because I can. Why? They are named Dandy Lions. Enough said.

Don't let his fuzzy adorable appearance fool you, he is a murderer.

I've been meaning to figure out what this flower is. Because it's beautiful.

Well there you have it. Pictures of flowers from around the ol' homestead. It's like it's spring here or some shit. Hopefully you all live somewhere that doesn't have a spring so these shots are amazing to you.

 Or not.


Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Fencing the Garden the Manly Way

After tearing out the lower garden fence so we could widen the driveway and ditch it, plus moving the garden up the hill a good bit we kinda realized we are going to have to put the fence back in a some point. Well, we decided not to just put the crappy metal T posts back in, but instead that we wanted a real fence.

If you have ever done a project like this you will realize that the early planning stage is where you can let your dreams soar free, before the second stage of planning, which is where reality usually shows up and slaps you repeatedly in the face. But considering it didn't dawn on us that we might want to replace that fence, until oh, last week, we had no budget, no planning and no reality. What we did have however, was chainsaws.

Manly chainsaws.

And the pickup truck. And trees. So that is what we did. We drove the pickup down to the back, quickly picked out a few trees, and cut them down. We cut the branches off threw them in the back of the pick up and used the bed to measure them to length and boom. Nine fence posts at ten feet tall, leaving a neat six feet that will be above ground. BOO YA. I cannot convey the speed at which we did this, with were like machines, it took less than an hour from start to finish.*

Digging the holes on the other hand, that was a bitch. We used a post hole digger and a pry bar. The the post hole digger was just there mainly to remove the dirt. Taking turns we would ram the pry bar into the hole over and over again to loosen up the rock hard clay at the bottom. The clay hated us. Deeply. Usually once we thought everything was going well we would hit a huge rock. There are only three options when you hit a huge rock.

1. Pry it out if the earth with the pry bar. That is, if you can find an edge. And if the hole is not too deep. And if the rock is not too big.

2. Bash the rock into smaller pieces with the pry bar. This only works on sedimentary rocks. Also it will make your arms hurt. A lot.

3. Give up and move the damn hole somewhere-the-fuck-else.

Needless to say we did a lot of rock bashing. But we didn't have to move any holes so Scott's spacing was not thrown off. We coated the bottoms of the posts below ground level with wood preserver/poison and shoved them in the ground.

We haven't leveled and placed them all yet, we got rained out, and we still have to put in the gate section, but really this project went fairly well. We did not remove the bark on the fence posts, which I am hoping will not come back to haunt us, although I have seen fence posts done both ways. So I dunno. All in all though, this was the fucking manly way to make fence posts that's for goddamned sure.

Nothing like a little working in the garden with chainsaws.

Really, I think that's how all garden work should be done from now on.

* Because we are AWESOME! And coordinated.

Friday, April 13, 2012

I Just Murdered an Entire Civilization

I just murdered an entire civilization of ants. Big black ants that had decided to move into my kitchen and set up camp. So, I did what any self respecting person would do, I poisoned the shit out of everything. I set some bait traps up in the kitchen, and after waiting a few hours I sprayed the perimeter or my house mobile home with poison.

That seemed to do the trick.

Then I told my friend about my epic adventure battling the terrible ant hoards. It went something like this.

ME: Ah, nothing like spraying the house with deadly neurotoxin to get rid of that ant problem.

SUPER BEST FRIEND: Ah, nothing quite like drinking a beer and wiping out a whole society.

ME: Eh, they had it coming, I'm fairly certain they were Nazi ants.

SUPER BEST FRIEND: I'm sure they were. Why else would they being trying to take over your kitchen? First the kitchen, then the house, THEN THE WORLD!

ME: I'm fairly certain they said something about 'just wanting Poland.'


Yeah. So after the genocide I decided to get drunk because I had just rid of the world on ant Hitler. And also I realized everything in my body hurt from moving rocks.

There is nothing quite like getting drunk by yourself in a empty poison filled mobile home in the middle of nowhere*.

I think that was the most depressing sentence I have ever typed.

Yes. I think that was.


Well then.


*Scott was away, but he's back now so don't think you can just come murder me.

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

The Retaining Wall is Slowly Murdering Me.

We had to stop working on it. Our bodies gave out. I hit that point where I had to give myself a pep talk every single time I went to pick up a rock. You know, the heaviest rocks I can conceivably lift. Those rocks*. I mean just look at the amount of work we got done.

Yes, that is a full scale lawn chair. In case you were wondering. Also, at some point during this ordeal Scott did some more math and figured out that we did not have enough weight. Do you know how you add weight to the wall? More rocks, Ha ha ha, how ever did you guess?

So I'm a little bitter.

I never thought that I would find myself identifying with Boxer from animal farm and his 'I will work harder' mantra. But this retaining wall is taking everything I've got and then some. I hit some sort of wall yesterday where we both decided that we couldn't do this anymore. 

Glamor shot!

With the wall growing in height, it became impossible to use creekside rocks, which meant only one thing, we were headed for the rock bar. For those of you that don't know, a rock bar is a big strip of rocks that lay on the surface. They can be treacherous to walk in because most of the rocks are huge and the smaller rocks are kind of wedged between them. So we had the fun take of grabbing these motherfucking huge ass rocks and waddling through possibly shifting footing to the pickup. Yay.

For every two or three rock trips we would alternate with a fill load of dirt that King (the backhoe) had dug up for us 'cause he's cool like that. Because there is nothing better for your back then lifting heavy shit and then digging a whole bunch.

Kill me.

Any who, I feel like I have been fighting the landscape. And that the landscape was fighting dirty by slapping us with 80 degree temperatures in motherfucking March. WTF Nature?

Seriously WTF?

Nature was all like, 'oh you want to work outside all day? Well fuck that shit, BAM eighty degrees bitches, take that cocksuckers!'

And then we were all 'why nature, what have we ever done to you?'

And then nature flipped us off.

Yeah that's pretty much how it went down.

* I can not stress this enough.

Want more retaining wall adventure? Here's part three. 

Friday, April 6, 2012

I Hope I Do Not Murder These Peach Trees.

Today, despite working very hard at my real job yesterday, we planted four peach trees. I hope they all live. Mainly I hope that because I touched them. I tried very hard not to breath on them or make eye contact. I kill plants. I am a serial plant murderer. I have killed ivy before. Ivy. Do you know how hard it is to kill ivy? It's like I am the lamest assassin ever. STOP ME BEFORE I KILL AGAIN!


Right. Okay. Look, I let Scott, also known as the-only-one-who-gardens-around-here do the planty bits. Like take them out of there tubs and put them in the ground and stake them and water them. We haven't watered them yet and I'm afraid to suggest it because I do not know what I am doing.

We used King, the best backhoe in the world, to dig out the holes. Unfortunately for us, we had to put the dirt back in by hand. We put rabbit poop, leaves, dirt, and then more leaves in the holes in the hope that the trees would have everything they need to have a long healthy productive life. It was agreed in advance that nothing short of Scott's death I would not water them. That being said, I am super excited about these trees. We paid extra for more established trees, which after watching the great cheap tree die off of O' Ten, I think this was a good bet. I probably shouldn't tell you where my dad had gotten the cheap trees, but it rhymes with 'Fallmart.'

Also, adding to the cheap tree problem was the deer. In the deers mind, we had not purchased fruit trees so that we humans could eat fruit, we had made an all you could eat buffet. I do not know how much an single deer can eat in the course of the night, but I am suspecting they turn into voracious black holes bent on eating until nothing is left upon this earth but dry grains of sand and forgotten memories. Which is why I eat venison. Asshole deer.

The decision to plant peaches came about solely from the fact that I used to think I didn't like peaches. Then I had a real one. Up until last year, my opinion was peaches was that they tasted like tart, hardish moist baseballs. That is until Scott brought home a bag of farmers market peaches. I ate them until I got sick. Then we went back for another bag. And another. And then we bought a whole crate. I was eating peaches like I was recovering from scurvy. And it was wonderful.

So we planted peaches. Wonderful delicious peaches. Which we will promptly cover with netting and anti deer weapons, because I will not loose this war again even if it means I have to use car batteries and electrify the damned things.

In your face Bambi.

*That's what this world needs plant vets! I'm on FIRE today people!

Monday, April 2, 2012

So We Fixed the Stove.

So we fixed the stove. And by fixed I mean switched it out with the stove from the other mobile home. In the rain. Because rain is good for ovens.

We made a valiant effort to fix the old one. We looked online. We kept calling Mr. Repair guy even though he never did pick up his phone. We pulled the stove out and looked at the back of it. Have you ever had the experience where you are staring at the guts of something and you have no idea what you are looking at? Yeah, me too. I knew enough to identify the gas lines, but I had no idea what anything else was. There was a rectangle with wires coming out of it, and there was another rectangle, and the some panels. That was about it.

I still feel vaguely like I should have done something more. Like I let the stove down somehow. Like I should have fixed it because we are such a throw away culture and when something breaks we just go get a new one and now I am perpetuating the problem. I mean, just because the burners didn't work unless you lit them with a match, and you could never put them on low because they would just go out and then fill the kitchen with gas, and the knobs were too big so that if even thought about bumping one it would turn the gas on full bore, and just because it was so old you couldn't obtain parts for it, didn't mean that it was time to replace it, right? Right? RIGHT!?


You know the problem is I read too much homesteading shit. If you are not sure what homesteading is, it's a group of people who think the great depression was a good idea. They reuse everything. If their water heater breaks they use garbage bags to make a solar shower in the lawn using the garden hose. I shit you not I read an article about how to grow this particular plant in order to make your own kitchen sponges/pot scrubbers. Last time I checked a four pack of sponges was, oh what, a dollar? Dollar twenty five, maybe? These people are insane.

And somewhere deep down I want to be one of them.

Which leads to the guilt. I am not one of them. I will never be one of them. When a tool breaks, I just go buy another tool instead of building one in my garage with my solar powered welder like I should be doing. I do not hoard empty plastic containers in the theory I can reuse them someday. I do not rise before dawn everyday to bake my own bread so it can be ready to eat at breakfast time after I have also fed and watered all the animals, done the laundry and cleaned the house.

If a homesteaders oven had broken they would have built a clay brick solar oven in the lawn and used it everyday and tore the old one apart to make simple ergonomic farm tools they use on their no power mother earth loving farm. But, really though, there is one big difference between me and them.

I have a motherfucking job.