I hope you all had a very nice Thanksgiving. Sharon and I stayed home and watched football games and ate popcorn. This was certainly different, but we discovered it was very peaceful and quiet. With the high cost of everything this past year, we pulled in our horns and laid low. Sometimes ya just gotta do that. Certainly we missed the family gathering atmosphere, but there will be opportunity in the coming years. For Christmas we intend on doing exactly the same.
I have recently returned to building radio controlled airplanes for winter pastime. I've happened upon a new technique of building with "foam board" instead of balsa wood and using "electric" motors instead of glow fuel or gasoline. All of my current radio gear is too far outdated so I must purchase all new radio control and power systems. Due to limited funds, I'm just learning the contruction with foam process which is relative cheap. I've contructed a 35" wingspan test profile airplane and configured it as a "glider" with no radio or power gear. It was fun to fly. I placed a tiny "keychain" digital video camera in the nose of it and flew it from high hill south of the house. It captured some cool video. ( smiling ). I've started on a larger 57" wingspan airplane which will also be configured as a glider to begin with, then later when funds become available, radio and power it up. I will be adding info about these on the "R/C Interest" link on the main page.
Sharon, for a pastime during the winter months, has returned to Crossstitch projects. She dug out her Crosstitch materials and started on a project she had started many years ago. She said it took her a while to get back into the swing of it, but appears to be going along pretty good now. Sharon also is an avid reader. She loves to read "cop" novels; she also enjoys all the "crime scene" TV shows. ( smile ) Sharon has quite a bit of extra time to fill as all her doctors have moved to "voice recgonition" technology. She has not received any transcription work since September of this year. Like myself, she is fully retired now. We both miss the aggravation of transcription. ( smile )
With that, Sharon and I would like to wish you all a very safe and wonderful holiday season. See ya in 2015!
One of the other things occupying time has been dealing with the weeds and cattails in the creek that borders the front/east side of the property. Last year I attempted a little weed killer, but it had little effect. Consequently, I had a huge crop of cattails all along the creek. This year I took my straight shaft weedeater and installed a RinoTuff blade head assembly. Wow! Talk about a weed terminator! Geeze those blades really tear up the cattail, dry and fresh as well as the other stalk type weeds growing in the creek. Last year, during our high water event, the cattails blocked the water flow down the creek causing the water to back up onto the front of the property until enough water finally pushed a channel through the cattails. I vowed this year I was going to rid the creek of cattails one way or another. I am finally satisfied I have the cattail issue under control. I have included images of garden and creek here.
Besides weekly mowing of six acres, we started the process of cleaning out the motorhome Sharon's father gave to her. It is a 1986 Monaco Crown Royal 40ft rear diesel pusher. It has been in inside storage for the last ten years. The coach itself is in excellent shape, but the mice took up residency during these ten years. ( sigh ) The interior cabinetry thankfully is solid oak. I guess the mice were not interested in the upholstery because they did not chew any of it either. The only thing they managed to do is build two nests from paper towels and napkins and peed and pooed everywhere. I have about 80% of it all cleaned up, carpets and upholstery shampood. I've found four places where the mice had been getting in and I have stuffed these areas with stainless steel wool scouring pads. So far, I've not seen traces of re-entry. Our primary goal is to get the coach cleaned up so it can be used as an extra sleeping room. Given the price of diesel these days, I doubt the coach will leave the property, but one never knows. There's always the lottery. ( smile )
During Memorial Day weekend, Sharon's cousin Craig came for a visit. He mentioned that he had not been to the Spout Springs Chalet in years and suggested we take a drive up there and have lunch at the Chalet. Arriving there, we discovered the Chalet was closed. Not wanting to waste the day, we decided to drive on over to Elgin and catch lunch there. The weather was absolutely beautiful, the Spring mountain colors spectacular. Arriving in Elgin, we did not see a restaurant that looked inviting, so we decided to continue on to Enterprise and have lunch at the Fabulous Burgers restaurant where Sharon and I ate a couple of years ago. Great food and generous portions.
Having finished a fantastic lunch, we decided to continue on to Joseph to see what was going on there for Memorial Day festivities. Wow! The town was full of people. Craig wanted to stretch his legs and decided to browse through a few of the art gallaries that looked interesting. We explored two of the many gallaries along the street. One of the gallaries, Craig said he knew the folks that owned it and that they were originally from his home town. I encouraged him to go in and see if they might be up for a chat. Sure enough, he introduced himself and the gal immediately remembered him and they had a nice visit. Upon leaving, the gal recommended we stop at the Chocolate store across the street which she highly recommended. So we did and bought a variety of chocolate goodies to devour on our way back home. Wow! Was the gal correct, the chocolate was fantastic!! ( smile ) Here are a few images I took along the way and some while in Joseph before leaving. Georgous countryside! My camera did not do the scenes justice. Hope you all had a save and wonderful Memorial Day weekend.
We have decided to put in a garden this year. With the help of Farmer Almanac web site, I subscribed to the Garden Planner. Neat design tool. I configured a spot about 28ft by 63ft. I know this is rather large for a first time garden however, it gives us "planning error" room. I have used our 41" three-point rototiller and made two or three passes. The sod is approximately 6" deep so I have to manually fork the grass and weed vegatation off and put it in a large pile across the pasture. I have a couple more tiller passes to make, one with fertilizer included. My goal is to see what grows here with minimal water. It should be interesting.
Other projects of late included my replacing the front drive shafts and wheel bearing hub assembly in our 99 Ford Windstar. The recent engine overhaul seems to be hold together ok. The drive shaft and bearing change went without any major issues. The van has approximately 160,000 miles on it and I felt it was time to change them out. So far, no issues with them either.
My other project is learning a new webpage content management system (CMS) program on Linux. It is my hope to be able to install dynamic web pages on my Dell server and link into it from my pages here. I would like to include a family, ham and r/c blogs or forums. The CMS program is called Drupal. So far, I have installed it on my test server here at the house. Eventually, as time allows, which may be few due to busy summer days ahead, I will get all configured and installed on my test server, then transfer it to my main local Dell server. It should be a fun project.
Speaking of fun projects, I have been scanning my old R/C photos from days gone by. I have created two new links on my main webpage to include R/C interests as well as ham radio interests. I will be populating both with text and images as time allows. The R/C link is functional now with some images of my friend John's rc plane and its saga. More to come later. Hope you all are having a wonderful Spring. Sorry for being so short this posting, but I'm behind curve already this morning. ( grin )
However, the temperatures rose rapidly accompanied with winds and our snow began to recede with amazing speed. The night before we received rain. The next day, right at 12 oclock noon, the water in the creek next to the highway began to rise.
The creek had been growing a good crop of cattails which created a situation whereas the material coming from up creek began to gather against these cattails creating a dam effect, thus backing up water allowing the creek to overflow its bank up-stream of our property. This over-flow of water slowly and gently ran across the front of the property, across the driveway and finally returned to the creek about 200 feet down stream.
Runoff from the wheat fields behind the property found its way down and around the north side of the property filling in a low area near the house. This did not create a major problem itself, however the gophers had many runs in this area and the water found it's way through these gopher runs bringing high water close the house on the north side. Still, the water did not reach the house. During my engineering specs when setting up our house, I placed the level of the house 9 inches above the center-line of the highway. Apparently this plan has proven its merit because upon checking, even though it appeared more severe than it was, no water or moisture was detected under the house.
This event, though not welcomed, did provide a significant amount of information to help me fully understand the dynamics of the water flow on this property. With a few minor adjustments, high water will no longer be a major issue to deal with in the future. I have included these highwater images to share.
Prior to this high-water event, I have been busy putting together our new vegetable garden plan. I have included this link to our "athena garden" web page located at The Old Farmer's Almanac website. It is an awesome tool for designing a garden. It has saved me a considerable amount of time figuring out what we want to plant, maintain and harvest this year. I have a few more weeks to make changes to the base design before I have to actaully commit to tilling up the soil, but I am well on my way to getting it setup.
Follow along if you choose as I will contiue to make changes and add information to this garden plan. Better still, create your own garden using this garden design tool at The Old Farmer's Almanac website. Subscription is free to use for 30 days, then only $25 per year or $40 for a two year subscription if you choose to keep your plan throughout the year as I have decided to do.
Sharon has started to draw her Social Security retirement and Medicare. All her doctors have been migrating more and more towards voice recgonition and touch-screen. This Feburary, she has received very few files to transcribe. Needless to say, after doing medical transcription for over 20 years, she is very upset and concerned about the future.
My project of updating past events, specifically 2011 Events was on a good schedule forward. However, I have been designing a patch of ground for a garden this year which is competing for time. Our garden size has not been decided yet, but I'm confident it will be approximately 1250 square feet in size. Anyone who says planning a garden is easy, has not planned one before. The internet has been an enormus help as well as a gardening book I purchased some time in the 80s which has sat on a shelf until now.
Right now, I am doing soil sampling to get an idea what condition our soil is in. A quickie test indicated the soil pH between 7.0 to 7.5 which wouldn't be too bad. I purchased a different soil sampling kit which will give a more detailed analyse. While at a local hardware store, we purchased approximately thirty different variety of vegetable seeds for starters. My basic intent this season is to discover how well crops can be grown here at our elevation which is right at 1850ft. I need to start moving forward on getting this property to producing something to help maintain our existance here.
If emersion into gardening isn't enough, we have been doing our research into the complex world of Medicare. Sharon will turn 65 soon as well as myself. It has been quite an eye-opener to say the least. Medicare kicks in automatically for us which means we have to be highly mindful that there are time brackets we MUST be ready for. We are at the point where we have to start comparing whether to go with Original Medicare, Medigap and Part D drugs... or... Medicare Advantage. What really irks me is that with Original Medicare plus Medigap programs we are on INDIVIDUAL programs! Spouses are signed up with individual packages. Well shoot!
Thankfully we do not have any major medical needs other than dental at this point. However, entering the Medicare arena, I am finding we really "do not" have all that many choices. If an individual does not participate in the various "time brackets" of medical discovery, the individual ends up paying "penalties" for not jumping through the government hoops. If you weren't a hypercondriac before Medicare, you will be afterwards. At this point, I have not been "assigned" a disease yet. However, I am fairly confident that within a year, I will have several diseases with which to keep the Medicare medical profession machinery well oiled!(sigh)
Hopefully soon, I will add a few more lines to the 2011 Events page. Still, when I re-read what I have added so far, I wonder to myself... did I actually do all that!
Another year begins. Yea! Sharon and I celebrated the transition of the new year with me working on our web pages and Sharon turning in early. My sister Janice sent a few text messages with cell phone photos attached. In the photos it appeared her and her husband Ed were playing a game of cards. For some reason, she sent two photos of Ed while only sending one of herself. I fired a reply back suggesting that I needed to review the second photo of Ed more closely to see how many articles of clothing he had left on. ( har har har! ) It's always fun to get a smile out of those two. ( grinning )
I spent most of yesterday afternoon working on internet access issues at our house in Pendleton. Initial diagnostics pointed to a lazy router, however time will tell. Our local internet provider has been wonderful help troubleshooting the issue.
You may be asking, "why do you still have the Pendleton house" and "why do you have internet there"? The solution to the first question seems somewhat illusive thus far. I have not had a good opportunity to "empty" out the house. I still have quite a bit of stuff to go through. Mid-year I had a bright opportunity to move everything out, but events beyond my control prevented further progress. This year, when the weather permits, the house WILL get emptied out and SOLD!
As for the internet question, I have a server computer running a security camera system which monitors and records any activity in and around the Pendleton house 24/7 using six cameras. I access the cameras and recorded information via the internet. The system has been running flawlessly for the last three or four years with few interruptions. The camera system operates just fine without internet, but the internet access saves quite a few trips to Pendleton to check on the place. We have been really fortunate in that the house in Pendleton has not been bothered. We also have two wonderful neighbors right next door who help keep and eye on it as well.
Today is a bright, beautiful, sunny day. Temperatures nearing 50 degrees. What beautiful weather to start the new year! ( smiling )