Friday, January 15, 2010

Long time no see? On New Year's Day I sat down to update my website and my computer crashed. Nothing I tried would get it started again, so the next day I hauled it to the Mac repair shop in Wichita. It took a lot of troubleshooting to fix the problem, so I've been without a computer for two weeks. I was able to keep up with email by using a library computer, but couldn't do web pages, pay bills, and participate in forums. Now it's time to get back to normal, whatever that is.

I began the new year with a chore that's been waiting a long time. There are several piles of trimmed branches in the yard, and I got started cutting them up for firewood.

Cutting wood was a good choice of activities, as cold weather during the coming week would create a need for it. My cousin Marge died on Monday, the fourth, and by the day of her funeral on Friday the morning low was zero. I used the old gas heater in the living room for the first time in several years that day. By afternoon the outside temperature was in the mid-teens. It was sunny, with no wind, so the gathering at the cemetery wasn't too bad. With the gas heater going and a fire in the fireplace, people were able to warm up here before and after the funeral. In the past week the weather has returned to normal, with highs in the thirties and forties, and the forecast for the next week is for above-normal fifties. I hope I can get some outdoor chores done.


Saturday, January 16, 2010

I started the day doing laundry, then drove to Caldwell to check out an auction. There was nothing I wanted, so I came home and spent most of the day inside. I would have done some outdoor work, but it was another wet day, starting with fog and giving way to heavy clouds with high humidity to keep everything wet. With my computer working again, I filed all the January receipts I normally would have kept up with daily. I also wasted some time online. I ended the day with a tasty dinner of enchiladas rancheras at La Fiesta, and took in a movie: Leap Year, with Amy Adams and Matthew Goode. It's one of those romantic comedies where you know where you're going, but it's an enjoyable ride getting there.


Sunday, January 17, 2010

Well, that was aggravating. But I suppose it could have been worse. The lucky part was that the first thing I did this afternoon was take the truck and three five-gallon cans down to the filling station at the casino and fill up. (I go to the casino because the price is usually 5¢ to 10¢ less than every place in town.) When I got home I took the chain saw down in the trees east of the house to cut up some dead wood. The trouble came when I drove the truck down there to bring the wood up to the house. After all the recent melting of snow, the ground was soggy enough for the truck to bog down in the mud. When I went to get the tractor, it didn't want to start. The tank was empty, so I used up one of the cans I had just filled. I towed the truck onto more solid ground, piled in the wood, and started back up the road. Unfortunately I ran into more soft mud and got stuck again. It was getting late by then, so the truck will stay there at least until tomorrow afternoon. I guess I need a wagon I can pull with the tractor when the ground's too muddy for the truck.


Monday, January 18, 2010

Harumph! I was going to use the tractor again to get the truck unstuck, but the ground is so muddy in front of the truck that the wheels just spun and dug in. I'll wait another day for things to dry a little, and try again with a longer chain and the tractor on dryer ground.


Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Another dismal day didn't produce much drying. I took a box out to the truck, filled it with wood, and carried it into the house. Then I remembered a little garden wagon. Tomorrow I'll see if I can pull it out to the truck with the tractor and bring in more wood.


Wednesday, January 20, 2010

MMmmm, yummy! This afternoon Zeke found part of a deer head. Unfortunately, his friend from down the road decided it should be hers, and she took it away from him. It seems friendship ends where the deer head begins. She's bigger than he is, so there wasn't much he could do. While this was going on, I was bringing wood up to the house. I hitched the little garden trailer to the tractor and went to where the truck's stuck in the mud, and got the wood out of the truck. The big activity of the afternoon was bringing up the wood and splitting it. It looks like that truck is going to stay put for quite a while. It's in an area so wet that there's standing water in the ruts. After rain tonight, the forecast is for six out of the next seven days to be sunny and dry. Maybe that will help.


Thursday, January 21, 2010

So much for sunny and dry. The day started with rain, and clouds all day kept the high down to about 40º. I warmed up by splitting some wood, then spent the rest of the afternoon cutting up more branches in the yard. This was also the second day this week I did a hundred pushups. No, not all at once. Only twenty at a time, and by the time I get to twenty I'm really sagging and straining. It does get to be a little bit less of a strain each week. But I can testify that at age 68 it takes a lot longer to build strength than it did at 28 or 48. I don't know how it would be at 58, because I was "too busy" to exercise then.


Friday, January 22, 2010

Friday is my short work day, and I was home about 10:30. After checking email and a couple of websites, I got busy on a letter to my state senator and representatives. I sent them a copy of my letter which was in the Arkansas City Traveler on January 5. If they finally pass this bill, Kansas will be the twenty-fifth state. As the letter says, I hope we don't wind up fiftieth.

This afternoon I went to town and mailed the letters, then took the Camry to its appointment for an oil change. When I got home I got back to cutting up branches in the yard. But first, I took a little walk down to where the truck is stuck. Water standing in the tractor ruts shows how soggy the area still is. Part of the problem is a huge snowdrift behind the barn that's been melting into the ground and seeping out downhill where the truck is. It looks like there's still about six inches of the drift left, so it will probably take another day or two to melt. After that It may still take a week or more for things to dry out enough for towing.

Tonight was treat night. I had a pair of tamales buried in chili beans covered with grated cheese, jalapeño slices, and chopped onions. Excellent!


Saturday, January 23, 2010

I started out at six this morning, gassed up the car, and drove to Hutchinson for the annual mid-winter Model T clinic. Several subjects were covered, but the one I liked best was on how to recharge magneto magnets. During the lunch break I shopped at stores we don't have here, and at Target bought some caps. The clinic ended about three and I headed for home.


Sunday, January 24, 2010

I went over to Oxford to see what was on sale at the auction. There was nothing of interest to me, so I came home and did some house repair. I had to glue some pieces of shower tile back in place after they cracked loose in the recent freezing weather. I went out to inspect the truck situation. The big snowdrift behind the barn is all gone, but the area around the truck looks about as soggy as it was Friday.


Monday, January 25, 2010

By the time I did grocery shopping after work I had just enough time to check email and bring in wood for the evening. I hope to get more wood cut tomorrow. The forecast is for cold weather and a 60% chance of snow on Thursday.


Tuesday, January 26, 2010

I made it home early enough this afternoon to spend an hour cutting and bringing in wood. While I was out there I took a look at the stuck truck situation. The standing water in the ruts has gone down a little, but the area is still pretty soggy. I'm just hoping the weather doesn't get too wet on Thursday.


Wednesday, January 27, 2010

The first order of business when I got home today was to get up on the roof and get all the tarps in place before the weather arrives tomorrow. Some of them were out of position after the stong winds last week. With the tarps in place, my next job was firewood. I finished cutting up the pile of branches I started yesterday. I hope the moisture that's forecast for tomorrow will hold off until I can get all that wood hauled up to the house.


Thursday, January 28, 2010

I made it home by 3:15, checked email and the weather forecast, and started on firewood. I filled several boxes with what I cut yesterday, took them into the house, cut some more, and boxed that and brought it in. By the time I quit a few minutes before five I had enough to last for a few days until the new show is gone. The forecast is for six to ten inches overnight, but these things seldom go as predicted, so we'll see.



Friday, January 29, 2010

Well the snow arrived later than expected, and by daylight it looked like only about an inch on the ground. But it kept snowing all day, and by nightfall there were several inches on the ground. Happily, this storm didn't include the heavy winds that came with the last one, so the snow was evenly spread and there were no deep drifts. This afternoon I had to go back to town to buy a new heater. I use a small heater to blow warm air aross the back of the steel lining of the fireplace, so that the air is further warmed as it circulates out into the room. The little heater I've been using for several years finally expired, so it was time for a replacement.





Saturday, January 30, 2010

After doing laundry I went to an auction at the fairgrounds. I was there much too long, but I came away with a few prizes. I got a toaster that appears to be from the Twenties for $1 and a pair of light fixtures from the Twenties or earlier for $5 each. Dinner at La Fiesta was a tamal, a burrito de chorizo, and frijoles refritos, one of my favorite meals. After dinner I went to see Mel Gibson in Edge of Darkness. It's a well-done mystery drama. Not a classic, but entertaining. Well written, well directed, and well acted. The snow left by yesterday's storm appeared to be about seven or eight inches, but by this evening the main roads were pretty well clear. The forecast is for rising temperatures, with highs in the high thirties, then forties, then fifties. I expect most of the snow will be gone in a week.


Sunday, January 31, 2010

Last year I got busy, procrastinated, and ended up filing for an extension on my income taxes. Because I underguessed what I would owe, I wound up having to pay an extra $43.24, so I determined that I wouldn't let that happen again. Today I sat down with my forms and records and a pencil and got started. Kansas has decided to save money by not providing forms, so I had to download and print out the Kansas form to use as a worksheet before I file online. The tax thing used up my afternoon, but I got it all done and ready to file. I'm paying the Kansas tax online, so I guess I should pay the Feds the same way.