Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Life is...Interesting

The cycle of life was starkly illustrated the past week through a series of ambulance calls that demonstrated both ends of the spectrum. At one end, we have a man dying of cancer who a friend and I have been helping in a small way by holding him while sheets are changed and doing other small things to help he and his wife in his last days. They both want him to die at home and I understand that completely. At the other end was an ambulance call a few days ago at 0200 in the morning for a woman in labor way out in the country..when we arrived she had given birth in the front seat of a pickup. All we had to do was a quick check to ensure there wasnt bleeding, a vitals check, and keep mom and baby warm until the transport ambulance arrived. The baby was healthy, mom and dad (who was driving the pickup when the birth happened) were a very nice young couple who did everything right, and the birth clearly brought home to me the delicate balance that nature has between life and death...we are all born and we all die and its all part of life.

And when it rains it pours.....we are awaiting the delivery of all the parts for the Ranger so we can get that back on the road and yesterday I noticed a rust spot on the front bumper of the GMC had dramatically gotten worse. I poked and proded a little and my finger went right through the bumper so it has to be replaced. Ordered that from the same place we ordered the Ranger parts ( ) and I cant say enough good things about that company. I have used them for several things and highly recommend them. But wait you ask, is that it? when we were driving the car the dreaded yellow wrench symbol idiot light came on for awhile and though it ultimately went off that means a fault with the transmission or electronic throttle control. It drives fine right now but thats not something to ignore so I am starting by taking the throttle body off and cleaning it along with the MAF sensor. The dealer charges between $350 - $425 to clean a throttle body but anyone with just a smidge of basic mechanical saavy can do it in about 30 minutes for free. I will take pictures when I tackle these projects to try and illustrate what I am doing in the hope it encourages someone else to dive in with their own maintenance or repairs.

I dont usually look at sales flyers other than with a cursory glance and we use them mostly to light the wood boiler but the othr day Tractor Supply Company had a sale on Air Compressors and since we needed a new one we decided to take the plunge. I had been looking at several higher end machines and I really wanted to avoid anything Chinese but good luck with that. Even the higher end compressors (in my price range)  were mostly made in China and they ranged in price from abou $300 and up. TSC had a Job Smart 26 gallon oil lubricated vertical compressor with a cast iron cylinder for $180 and I got a 2 year warranty so...what the heck. It puts out 4CFM @ 90 PSI with a 125 PSI Max so it should work fine for my needs. Like most pieces of equipment now days I re-torqued all of the bolts, tightened screws, put high end compressor oil in it instead of the junk it came with, and I will probably end up replacing the rubber feet with hocky pucks like we did with the Chinese generator (that we are actually quite happy with by the way). We will let you know if the Zhejiang Hongyou Air Compressor Manufacturing Co LTD puts out a decent product as we use it over the next year. So far I have been pleased.

This is the rock shop and eventually this will go up to the pole barn shop but it should be big enough to run an impact wrench, shears, nailer, and various airing tools. I also plan on using it to power a small air sprayer.

I was actually surprized by the quality of the thing. Dont get me wrong, this is for the home handyman and in no way equates to a heavy duty belt driven job but overall it was fairly well done.

I am not a fan of in line oilers so I doubt I will use this. To me they just get oil I dont want in air lines and I would rather oil my air tools manually.

I did a leak down test with no loss of air pressure over 48 hours...I am pretty happy with that.

For another $20 I got a 5 gallon air pig which if you live on a farm or rural property is invaluable. Everything worked right out of the box...hmmm

The compressor oil that came with the machine was probably fine but Chinese petroleum products are not known for quality so I used a quality compressor oil to fill it. And for some reason I see a lot of compressors overfilled with oil as if more is better...its not.

The diet and exercise routine continues though my running program has had to come to a halt. I am full of enthusiasm, the lungs are still there, but the knees are shot and after several couple mile runs I have come to the conclusion that running is part of my past history...I am a bit bummed. We did get a new mattress as our old one started to have indents of our bodies on both sides and no amount of turning and flipping the mattress was helping.

Its hard to see in the photo but this queen sized matress has no stains and looks like new even though its about 10 years just has lost its support and we were feeling it.

Our new matress is firm, has a 10 year warranty and ......wasnt cheap as you can imagine but its already helped both of us get more sleep with less pain.

Lots of folks have asked about living so far out and home protection. To be honest, we dont worry much about it because we are always armed and have weapons with us constantly...I mean if I am in the shower I can reach a weapon. What am I afraid of you may ask? which I would reply absolutely nothing. I have carried a weapon since I turned 17 and joined the USMC and its just habbit. We dont brandish weapons, we both have concealed carry credentials, we shoot often, and though nothing we own is worth a life and we live in a low crime area.....we are prepared.

Jeese....just a small carbine magazine is all you have?

Umm, no. We keep a fairly large amount of ammo on hand because we shoot so much and we have lots of magazines for our various weapons. The AR-15 is a favorite because its close to what I carried for most of my career and using it is instinctive. We dont load all of the magazines and rotate them so as not to stress the springs and we clean weapons and magazines as part of farm chores.

And speaking of farm chores, we have a routine each day that includes feeding and watering, putting out hay, feeding the birds, loading the wood boiler, and at least once per day checking the fence line. This has to be done rain or shine, when your sick or feeling great, and there are no "off " days. We like the routine but its not for everyone and owning livestock is a huge comitment of time and money.

Wiiiillllllbbbbbeeeeerrrr......not satisfied with hay Opal wanted carrots or apples too.

Unlike cattle, you cant feed them together as they all fight and need their own little flake to keep the peace.

The black and white pony is just pure evil and will try and bite and bully everyone man or horse. He thinks the hay doesnt taste as good unless it comes from anothers pile.

On this day it was raining and cold and poor Maybelle looked pitiful.

For the cows we can put out hay in a pile and they will go at it but they do get picky and wont eat dirty or wet hay.

We have gone through a couple cords so far but have stayed warm. We load the wood fired boiler twice a day...mornings when we get up and right before bed.

Mud, cow manure, horse manure, and hay...yup this is a farm ATV and is a valuable tool around the place.

We have two different types of wood peckers that hang out at our place and we feed them suet. Our house is stone and concrete, the siding is hardyplank, and we havent had any issue with them pecking at the house so we encourage them. Sometimes we will have 7 or 8 flitting around jockeying for position at the suet feeders.

Its basically grease and peanut butter etc in a brick and they love it.

We go through 2 a week.

And finally, yesterday Judy went for a walk around the property and when she was in the cattle pasture she was followed by the girls like she was the pied piper. Its hilarious, when you stop they stop, when you start again they start again.

1 comment:

  1. Are you sure it wasn't the KITTY that made those swells in the mattress? :)