Friday, June 26, 2015

Everything I Know I Learned In Puppy School

Even though it's been three summers since our last class, I got another memory jog today about puppy school.  Turns out, I use it daily.

Only, not always on the dog.

We live next door to a dog trainer.  I mean, her agility classes are right next door.  So when my daughter was little (say, six) I would send her over to watch the classes.  Hey, it got her out of my hair and the trainer didn't mind one little bit (since she only had boys, the interested girl was a welcome change of pace).  The kid would then come home and attempt to agility train our antique flat coated retriever.  The dog was very patient with the kid's not so patient.

Fast forward a couple years when we got our first schnauzer.  We did the right thing by taking him to puppy school.  Here, we learned the standard commands that have carried me through parenthood and teacherhood (no that's not a word).

Let's start with the basic commands.

Sit.  Wanna know how many times I say that in a classroom?  Or the dinner table.  Even to the surly
Teenager? ("Sit, AT the dinner table.")  Give me a dollar for every time and I could retire to Roatan.  On the waterfront.

Stay.  This is one I use on the Teenager on a regular basis.  At a basketball game where she is in the band and we are in the audience and we have to meet up at the end of the game for transportation purposes.  Stay.  This one is used in conjunction with Sit in the classroom.

See.  Leave it.
Leave It.  More common than you think.  The next time your kid walks past the cookie jar, think about what you say to them.  Now replace it with "leave it".  See.

Come.  Okay, in public I don't use this one, but the premise is clear.  Occasionally I should use "come" rather than the standard "get your ass over here".  I wonder which one would get fewer glares?

Easy.  Ever try to give a cookie to a toddler?  Same thing as giving a dog a steak.  Or a teenager a $20 bill. When you would like to keep your hand, this is what you say.

Wait.  Over and over and over.  To teenagers and students.  And parents.

This one isn't a verbal command, but a standard none-the-less.  Consistency.  When you are walking with the dog, the dog is always on the left side.  Always.  And the dog is not permitted to cross in front of you or behind you or anywhere but the left side.  It's a consistent pattern that you both know and you are both comfortable with and it's routine.  Same with raising a kid.  When you walk into the store and the toddler walks out with nothing, they will not expect to walk out with anything next time.  Let the toddler have a candy bar once, and they will expect it the next time.  And the next.  And the next.  We had a phrase with our Strong Willed Toddler:  Do It Once, Do It Forever.

It's been three years since I've had to go to puppy school (although the schnauzer's "stay" is something that should probably be updated/implemented more often), but with the possibility of a new puppy looming, I'm a step ahead of the game.  I already know the commands.  Although ask any dog trainer and they will point-blank tell you:

"I'm not training the dog, I'm training you."

Thursday, June 25, 2015

Ode To The Guy-I-Let-Live-With-Me

I could make this into some sort of song, but, really, no one wants to hear me sing anything.  And by anything, I am required to lip-sync in church.  Ya catch my drift?  So we won't got there, just in case it gets catchy and then I'd be humming.  That's no good either.

No, this has to do with the fact that even after 24 (holy crap) years of marriage I still don't have it all in a bucket figured out what all The Hubs does for our family on a daily basis.  This was glaringly apparent this morning when I took the garbage-laden truck to the dump.

Little background here (because we all need the background).  Two weekends ago when we went to get a water tank (because it's the apocalypse right now in Washington because we haven't seen rain in two weeks, and don't see it in the foreseeable future).  That in and of itself is a pretty funny story if you have a minute.  Well, the truck overheated.  Big time.  Turns out it was the water pump.

Took it to the first mechanic.  He couldn't get some bolt undone (he doesn't usually work on diesels, but he's cheap - damn cheap).  Got quotes from some other mechanics and that was all over the place from $300-$900.  This was all the Hubs making these phone calls on a Tuesday morning on his day off.  (I would have called one place and just gone there, which is reason #23 why he's in charge of anything with a motor.  That, and the fact that if I get involved with anything with a motor, he has to take the teenager bra shopping.  Anywhoo...)

Turns out we have the one in a million Ford F250 with a dual alternator.  Figures we'd win that lottery.  And apparently those are in the way of the water pump that is all broke and leaking.  The price is potentially going up - a lot.  "You don't want us charging you by the hour," the shop dude says. The Hubs works it out, gives the okay to empty the bank account and hangs up.

Short story long, we got the truck back that day and went about our clean-out business.  We filled it with crap from the house, crap from the barn, crap from the tractor shed, crap from everywhere.  And this is not even the tip of the iceberg crap, but it felt good to get that teeny tiny bit out.

All the while we are loading the truck, it's running.  Pretty soon The Hubs is under the nose of the truck.  Where water is dripping.

Seriously?  Apparently it's not as fixed as shop-guy thinks it is.  And now it's loaded down with a dozen garbage bags, an old tire, some even older cat pee smelling carpet and a bucket of bent nails (I told you we were cleaning things out).  Did I mention that its 80 degrees out and us Washingtonians aren't used to this?

So there's the background (crud, that was long).  So, on Father's Day, I volunteered to, on Monday, take the truck to the dump, and then the shop.  The last thing IN THE WORLD that was going to happen was going to the dump on Father's Day.  No way.  Even I don't stoop that low (although things are a wee bit unconventional around Mother's Day).  I said, "Oh, the teenager can help. No Problem."


Teenager is a wee bit cranky at 10:30 in the morning.    Wee bit.

Problem 2.

Are we sure this overheating truck is going to make it the three miles to the dump?  (You thought that was going to read 45 miles, didnt'cha?  Nope, seriously, we are blessed with the county waste management facility haul away place a whopping three miles from our driveway).

Problem 3.

Is this stuff tied down?

And circle around to the Teenager problem and just keep going around and around and around.

My stomach hurts.  But I have to get this done.  In 24 years of marriage, I've never gone to the dump by myself.  With an overloaded truck.  That is overheating.  With potential torpedoes in the back.

The Guy I Let Live With Me would not have even blinked twice.  His stomach wouldn't be in knots, ready to throw up.  He would have done it without the surly teenager - which might have been a good idea except I couldn't toss the carpet out by myself.  Then he would have come home and started ripping into the lawn mower belt drive thingy that keeps slipping off when we mow.

Bottom line:  We made it.  No one threw up.  The teenager didn't have to change her sulky attitude.  The truck didn't overheat (although the smell was a little burnt when we stopped).  The trash got emptied.

The cat-piss smell carpet is out of my barn.

Occasionally I will wonder what would happen to me on this farm if something were to happen to The Hubs.  My ego says it will be fine and I'll traipse through.

Reality tells me I still sorta need the guy.

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Wordless Wednesdays - Photos From The Farm - Part 5

Many years ago, when the family first homesteaded on the property (around 1940), the river was only visible after a walk through the woods.  But as water does, time changed the river's course.  For several years, the river continued to eat away at the woods until most of them were gone.  After a loss of about eleven acres, the river abuts the Army Corps dike that was built to protect the land owners.  It is just a simple reminder of the ever changing course of Mother Nature.

"Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus."  Philippians 4:6-7

Quote found on:  Open Bible 

These and other farm photos can be found on our portfolio page:  The Accidental Farmers Portfolio 

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

Wordless Wednesdays - Photos From The Farm - Part 4

Because we use our decks so often, I finally convinced the Hubs that I should hang a hummingbird feeder on the deck.  He was convinced as long as it didn't go into the siding.  So, onto the support 4x4 instead!  It is a blast to watch the hummers come along - and usually bicker.

"For everything created by God is good, and nothing is to be rejected if it is received with thanksgiving, for it is made holy by the word of God and prayer."  1 Timothy 4:4-5

Quote found on:  Open Bible

 These and other farm photos can be found on our portfolio page:  The Accidental Farmers Portfolio

Sunday, June 14, 2015

A Day In The Life - The Water Tank

Three hundred dollars, knocked down to two hundred seventy five dollars.  A steal for a 1550 gallon water tank, right?  Washington State (The Evergreen State, The Rainy State, all that business) is going to be in a drought this year.  The governor has even declared a state of emergency (in May) so this must be big.

Now I'm not a prepper by any means (I can't even think beyond dinner tonight let alone plan for the apocalypse later) but I did tell The Guy I Let Live With Me that he could peruse the purchase of a water reservoir in case the well goes dry.

He was hot on the tail of this job.  His ban from Craigslist had been lifted.  The glorious angels would sing again.

He did find a tank:  $300 fairly local (15 minute drive).  Dickered down to $275.  Now we just had to get the thing.

At noon, on a 91 degree day (seriously, in JUNE?), we set off for the bank to get the cash and pick up a teenager to help (our own teenager - lucky for her - had to work).  The three of us are on our way to pick this thing up.

And up it was.  The main road to get this thing is windy enough with four 45 degree turns all on its own.  The road to the house was gravel, pitted, windy and UP.  At this point The Guy I Let Live With Me mentions, "The truck's running hot."

"What do you mean by hot?" I inquire.

"Like, it's in the red," was his response.

Reds never good.  Red on the safety of the handgun means blood, so red is bad.  Bad bad.  At this point we can both smell antifreeze.  The heater gets kicked into high gear and prayers get said.  Little bells are chiming in my head.

We are still going up, hoping no one is coming down.  The teenager in the back is blissfully unaware.
We get to the top and find this guys house.  He leads us to the tank.  Now, especially for two photographers, there are no pictures of this thing.  We were both in shock.  Yup, it was 1550 gallons.  And huge.  We knew it was 87" across and 52" tall, but that doesn't mean much until you see the thing.  And in desperate need of a pressure washer.  Okay, empty the remaining water and tip the thing on it's side to roll it to the truck.  It's only 200 pounds and it rolls really easy, so this wasn't an obstacle.  Our one concession was that it didn't roll down the incline Indiana Jones Rolling Rock style.  We stopped it with a crowbar and a piece of old carpeting.

Now to get it up the pallet ramp and into the bed of the truck, which, by this time, has cooled down thanks to the heater running full force and heating the cab of the truck up to 103 degrees. Roll that bad boy up the pallet and into the bed.

Which it did remarkable easy.  So easy that when it hit the back of the cab, a fine tinkering crashing sound occurred.  We all looked at each other and pause.  You could hear the crickets chirping.

"Back window," I finally said.

Sure enough, the right panel of the rear window was in little teeny tiny tinted pieces with the "Farm Exempt" tab hanging from a piece of tape still attached to the glass.

Strike Two.

The Hubs is hanging his head and in shock.  We are all sweating profusely.  The seller is watching his sale tick away.

The Hubs gets over his window, steps back and says, "Well it's in."

Yeah all crooked because the wheel well distance is only 49 inches and the width of the thing is 52 inches.  The Hubs says, "Let's cinch it up."

The warning bells are banging a wee bit louder in my head now.  This thing is in the back of the overheating, broken-windowed truck, cock-eyed crooked and at least 100 feet off the ground (actually ten feet, but it's my story).

The Hubs and the Teenager get the tie downs out.  One tie down won't make it all the way across.

Strike Three.  The bells are banging so loud now I can't hear anything else.

The Seller says, "Well, tie the two together."  Um yeah, making only one to hold this hot, crooked mess.  Right.

My arms go across chest and I look at The Guy Who Might Still Be Living With Me.

He's smart enough to read my body language.

"You're saying no," he says.

You are a damn smart guy.

He looks at the Seller.  "She's saying no."

I find my voice, "Lets just say I will not ride home with you if that's in the back of the truck."  I look at the Teenager, "If this was you, would you try this?"

"Yeah," he smiles.

"Get it out of my truck," I demand.

Short story long, it was pretty easy to unload.

The window cost $271 to replace.  We paid the Teenager $20 for his troubles (although, technically, he should have paid US).  It will cost $300 to replace the water pump on the truck.  And, six days later The Guy Who Still Lives With Me found a brand new tank online for $589.

By the time the freight was split between three deliveries, to have it driven to our house was only $37.50.

Now to figure out how to conceal it.

Wednesday, June 10, 2015

Wordless Wednesday - Photos From The Farm : Part 3

Appenzeller Spitzhauben chick in the grass.  We had no idea we were going to get chicks this day.  I woke up one Saturday morning to the Teenager already awake (say what?).  She readied the coop and cleaned out all the chick supplies.  By noon we came home with seven chicks and two turkeys.

At least it wasn't a boyfriend. Or a tattoo.  Or a tattooed boyfriend...

"Here is a call for the endurance of the saints, those who keep the commandments of God and their faith in Jesus."  Revelation 14:12

Quote found on:  Open Bible

These and other farm photos can be found on our portfolio page:  The Accidental Farmers Portfolio

Wednesday, June 3, 2015

Wordless Wednesday - Photos From The Farm : Part 2

June around the Pacific Northwest means lavender.  While the Lavender Festivals occurs mid July, lavender around the area are already starting their blooming.

For whatever reason, the dirt, the ph, the lack of care, lavender thrives at our place.  I can usually get bundles of the stuff; so much so that I often don't know what to do with it.  Mostly I just dry it and put it into socks and toss the closed up sock into the dryer.  Or I will toss so on the ground and vacuum it up. Maybe I should Pinterest a few new ideas.  

For you have need of endurance, so that when you have done the will of God you may receive what is promised.  Hebrews 10:36

Quote found on:  Open Bible

These and other farm photos can be found on our portfolio page:  The Accidental Farmers Portfolio