Saturday, November 16, 2013

Keeping track of what you buy

I was out hanging laundry this morning and the next door neighbor told me that the rabbits are now eating his irrigation hose.  I pulled mine up and they still want to eat black hose so they just moved over 50 feet and found his.  I suggested we trick them and leave some chewed up hose laying around.  Maybe they won't eat his good hose.  He suggested trapping them and eating them.  Good idea.  Do you want to borrow my traps?

I was in Home Depot the other day buying the parts needed to put in the sprinklers for the raspberries. I overheard one couple talking about what type of lamp they were going to purchase. In the middle of the conversation the lady remembered that she had already purchased the lamp and it was stored away in the closet waiting for the day they would install it. They almost made the purchase again. We've all done that. Gone to the store to buy something that we already had.

I do that a lot but most of the time I do so because I don't want to use the “spare” at home. I'd rather always have an extra as long as I have the ability to go to the store and buy another. There are a couple of issues here. One is remembering what you have on hand. The other is knowing where to look for it. Now my mother has an even bigger issue. She knows where it is but can't get to it because there's so much stacked in front of it. She will just go to the store and buy more.

Christmas is coming. Yes, I know it's not Thanksgiving yet. Do you have your wrapping paper? Did you buy it last year after Christmas? Do you know where it is? I remember years ago, when the day after Christmas sales started at the early hour of 8:00 in the morning (stores didn't open until 10 normally). My sister and I would hang out together and hit all the sales so we could store it for the next year or two. It was a good idea because we bought a supply of a couple of years and we actually used it until it was almost gone. Then we'd repeat the shopping spree. Great bonding time! On the other end of this spectrum is someone like my mother who probably has 50 rolls of wrapping paper. But for the next holiday she will go out and buy more because it's easier to buy more than to move boxes around to get to what she has.

So, while I was at Home Depot overhearing that couple, I was wondering to myself about how many things most people buy intending to do that project on our next rainy day bit of free time. I have an ongoing project list. It's never ending. I mean, does anyone ever have a project list that is ever complete? Right now my list includes repairing the trailer vent (I bought and repaired two. I needed 3), winter trim the fruit trees, repair the garden beds, clean out the center barn, fix the chipper, fix the kids shower knob, rewax both toilets, paint the laundry room, and the list goes on and on. I can purchase items in advance for many of these projects. For these projects I need one vent cover, trailer bathroom vent fan, screw driver, electrical tape, ladder, 3 dozen 6” nails, drill, gas hose, pliers, a slip ring and the pliers for it, a new knob, toilet wax rings, paint, brushes, etc. On the list next to each project I write down items necessary, what is on hand and what needs to be purchased.

For example, to fix the trailer vents I need to purchase one more cover and a vent fan. I have the ladder, screw driver, and electrical tape. Even if I wasn't planning on completing this task for another month or so, or six, if I bought the vent and fan I'd check them off on the list. That project could get completed at any time. (Like before the rain!)

Tonight we had fried chicken and fried zucchini. Sometimes I'm just in a mood for fried food. The three year old granddaughter is over for the night and she helped me pick the zucchini. Yes, it's the middle of November and I'm still picking zucchini from the garden. In 16 years of gardening here in the Great Central Valley I've never had zucchini, eggplant, and even tomatoes still flowering in November!

At bedtime the little one asked if she could wear Girl's pjs from when she was little.  Sure.  I pulled out two of the four pairs of Girls pjs from when she was three.  Do you want the two piece thermals or the one-piece foot pjs with the long zipper? She chose the one-piece today.  I have really cut back on how many clothes I keep on hand for just-in-case.  With all the hand-me-downs plus the few I bought for Girl she had drawers stuffed with clothes.  Just because a little one may have 20 t-shirts doesn't mean I need to keep all 20.  Two or three is plenty.  The younger grandkids all come with a bag of clothes to use during their stay, but they always want to wear Girl's or Boy's clothes from when they were little.  It's cute. 

I was told I'm keeping my job. I'm glad, but a part of me was really wishing I'd have gotten laid off. I'm not quite financially ready to not have a job, but we would have managed, and I would have been able to really concentrate on working here on the property. But, this means that although I don't have much time to spend concentrating on prepping, the money is still there to be able to purchase prep items.
I've gotten used to the new cell phone already.  No more bouts of frustration.  I do have to watch how much time I'm tethering the phone to the computer but so far, so good.   

Sunday, November 10, 2013

Stop eating the hose!

I am back on line.  Obvious since you are reading this.  I am still frustrated with the new phone but it's getting a little better each day.  I can plug the phone into my desktop computer and it will get on-line that way.  I was talking to a friend and he sent me some links to put into the new phone which would turn it into a hotspot, which I was told will use less of my Internet allowance.  So I tried doing that and hooking it to the desktop.  It didn't work.  How was I to know the desktop didn't have the right parts in it?  Then I tried it on girl's computer.  Still didn't work.  It didn't dawn on my that when I had the Internet card it always had to be plugged into those computers.  There wasn't anything just streaming over the air.  But the work computer, now that's a different story.  I can use the WiFi part of the phone with the work laptop.  So rather than have the phone plugged into the computer in my library I'm sitting on my bed with the computer on my lap. 
Now I know most of you are snickering that this is simple stuff.  It's simple if you know and understand it.  It's foreign to someone who doesn't.  Just like last week when I got the new phone.  I didn't know how to use it at all.  Girl set the alarm for the phone to go off at the end of the workday and I had to ask one of the young employees how to shut the alarm off.  Then I downloaded the 204 pages of instructions for the phone and printed it up.  Great bedtime reading.  Prior to that, I was talking to a friend on the phone and he said, "just tap the phone and ask it how to do that. It will tell you."  "What? My phone will talk to me?" If you have no experience with the technology then you don't know what you don't know!  So now I know...sort of.
I pulled the irrigation hose out front because the rabbits had eaten through it.  The neighbor said he hasn't had a problem because he keeps his hose out in the open rather than tucking it under the plants.  He said that with the cars traveling down the road the rabbits won't go into the open to eat the hoses.  Sounds good to me.  That may work at his house but not mine.  I didn't replace the irrigation hose.  Instead I bought another 100 feet of garden hose.  I decided to just hand water the raspberries.  I watered them.  Pulled most of the hose back up the driveway and felt good that the plants got watered.  I went back outside a couple days later and watered again.  This works.  Sure it's not as convenient as the irrigation hose and just turning a knob but the weather is great, it gives me a little peace and quiet to go out and water, and I'm making sure that the plants are watered.  After all, we haven't had any rain in a long time.  A couple days ago I went back out to water again and no water came out of the nozzle.  Those kids.  I'm sure they undid one of the couplings.  After all I have about 600 feet of hose all connected together.  So I walked the hose line to see where it was undone.  It wasn't.  There were huge holes in the garden hose.  In three different places! 
I can't shoot the rabbits because I'd either be shooting at the road or at the house.  Neither is an option.  I can't poison them because there are quail in the same area and I wouldn't want the birds to eat the poison.  No, I just have to outsmart them.  I repaired the hose but I can't keep doing that.  I give up. Can't give up.  That's not an option.
Today I bought irrigation pipe.  I am not going to bury it, instead it is going to get strapped on to the fencing about 3 feet off the ground.  I bought risers and 1/2 circle sprinkler heads.  No more drip irrigation for the front.  It's heavy duty now.  These raspberries are cosing me a fortune!  I could buy raspberries forever and probably not spend as much money as this irrigation mess has cost.  I just have to remember that it's not just the raspberries.  It's a barrier between the house and the road.  I have the fencing and then three feet wide and four feet high of brush pile and then the raspberries in front of the brush.  Maybe next summer we will actually get some raspberries to pick.  Then I'll forget all about the rabbits destroying my irrigation.
The thought has crossed my mind about how I would get this stuff watered if TSHTF.  I have a lot of plants and trees that need water.  The mulberries are almost old enough to grow without being watered.  The olives don't need water, nor do the figs.  Everything else around here has to be irrigated.  If I had to carry everything out by bucket I would spend hours each day watering.  In order to run water through the hoses you need to have good pressure.  We have a pressure tank so I wonder if we hand pumped the water into a large holding tank and then this water went into the pressure tank so run the irrigation?  If TSHTF I may want things along the road to look dead anyway.  It wouldn't be a good idea to have everything around me lush and green when everyone else around has everything dead. 
Girl was in a Veteran's Day parade over the weekend.  We had dinner tonight with Army daughter and Navy son-in-law.  I called military brother and wished him well.  There's a big parade in the city tomorrow that we may attend.  Other than that, tomorrow the irrigation is being put in.  The rabbits are going to have to learn how to jump if they want to eat any more of my hose. 

Sunday, November 3, 2013

Life without Internet

Have you thought about what your life would be like without the Internet?  We found out this week, and I sure was in for a few surprises.  I do have Internet at work but I can't get onto any non-work email or blogging sites, or many sites I normally visit.  Some I can, but do I really want work to see that I'm getting onto a survivalist site?  No.  Same with my banking.  Do I want work to see what's in my account since they can be a ghost on your computer at any time.  Never!  And at home we had nothing.

My last job provided me with Internet access at home.  I had a wireless card that they paid for each month.  All was great.  When I left that job they never shut the Internet card down.  For 10 months it continued to run.  At first I assumed it was because I was still helping out by running a class for them but a couple months ago I was told that they would be running the class themselves and I didn't need to help at all.  OK.  But the Internet kept coming.  Until last week.

I got on the computer and so Internet.  I reset the card.  Nothing.  I reset the computer.  Nothing.  I tried the card on a different computer.  Nothing.  It's shut off.  I didn't have time to go purchase something else.  Someone said I could tether my phone to my computer.  I've seen it done before.  Unfortunately, I didn't have a smart enough smart phone.  I couldn't do it.  Today I had to upgrade my phone.  Now, I just plug the phone into the computer and away I go. 

But for almost a week there was no Internet.  It got me wondering about how I'm using it and what would happen with a real Internet disruption.  So what if there's no Facebook.  I would miss email since it's the main way I communicate with most of my relatives.  But texting would work, if the phones were still working.  But what about my banking?  What about using the Internet to research or entertain? What about me chronicling what I'm doing by writing this blog?  It's much easier to do on the large computer screen and the real computer keyboard. 

Paying the bills?  Most of my bills pay automatically so I don't really have to worry about them.  As long as I get paid there's enough to pay the bills.  It's almost autopilot, although I do pay close attention anyway.  I don't have very many bills being sent to me anymore.  Just a few years ago I was getting bills sent and also getting them on-line.  I changed my mind on most of the bills and now very few are sent in a hard copy - but I make copies every couple of months so I do have hard copies around.  How would I know what I owed if I didn't have access to a computer?  It was disconcerting not being able to track it easily, even if it was just a week.  I could get on to the banking site on my old phone but it was hard to do much once I got there.  This new phone is easier and running the computer is even easier.  But what if it went away? 

I couldn't check out the weather forecast on any of the Internet sites using the computer.  I turned on my weather radio instead.  I couldn't look up some information that Boy was questioning me on.  He was also writing a report on New York City.  We couldn't look up to do the research.  I pulled out one of my book boxes of "Know Your America" that I collected 45 years couldn't really have been that long ago, was it?  Most of his questions could be answered by these booklets from the 60s the rest of his research had to be completed at school.

I sure got a lot of things done around the property this weekend.  A couple of times I went in to the library here at home and looked at the computer.  Definite withdrawals!  Oh why won't you work?  Instead, since it was a beautiful day outside, I hit the chore list and got a huge amount accomplished. 

Saturday night I went to the football game.  The grand kids got left home since the game didn't even start until 7:30.  At least the game ended at 11:00.  Fresno State 8-0!  The last 7:30 game ended at midnight!  I was home at midnight and changed all the clocks back an hour.  Good, an extra hour to sleep.  Glad I changed the clock because Boy came in at 6:30.  When are you getting up?  I told him to go make some breakfast and that I would get up at 8 to make a cooked breakfast.  He only came in one other time.  Drives me crazy, but a good crazy.

I finally dragged myself out of bed and made a great homemade breakfast.  Home grown potatoes, eggs, and some chicken sausage.  Homemade (but store bought wheat) bread and home grown and made jam.  Even the orange juice came from the garden.  Army daughter and Son-in-law were supposed to come over today to help with chores and to "pay down" what they owe me.  They never showed up.  Not surprised.  Boy, Girl, and I washed the car. Boy even when out to give the chickens food and water without my asking. Girl even unloaded the dishwasher without making it seem like I was asking for the moon.  Who are these children?????  Was it because I was more available because I wasn't sitting on the computer for an hour?  I don't know.  Maybe not having the computer available isn't such a bad thing after all - except I would miss reading what everyone else is doing.