Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Building the Run-in Shed Continues.

Construction on the run-in shed is accelerating.  The hardest part is over, getting everything plumb, level, and square.

Thinking about it, I decided to put a sill in the front.  It is only four inches high and the horse and goats can step over it.  It will anchor the support posts better than just sticking the post on a rock.

I started putting the floor in the little hay loft.  It will make putting the upper header easier if there's something to stand on.

Tomorrow are a doctor's appointment for both Pam and me, and Thursday we're off for a week of camping, horseback riding, and kayaking.  No blog updates for a week.

Monday, June 22, 2015

The Run-in Shed Construction Continues

We finally had a break in the weather and it was time to continue building the run-in shed.  Time to put up the studs for the back wall.  Bill and Earl came over to help.  That's Bill, Earl, and me left to right.

I like building with rough cut lumber.  A 2 x 6 actually measures two inches by six inches.  It makes the math much easier, especially when you don't have a plan and you're figuring it out as you go.

Tomorrow I'll put up the other two headers (on the middle and front studs) and then figure out the rafters.  Up goes the siding and then the roof, and then I'll finish the front and the doors.

Thursday, June 18, 2015

Gone Squatchin'

The word “squatchin'” means trekking off into the field to look for signs of Sasquatch. For the first time, Pam and I, and our friend Bill, decided to hike up the mountain from our cabin where we think the Sasquatches are headed to look for signs. Did we find any? Maybe.

We first followed the creek that runs by the cabin, and we found all kinds of tree bends and tree structures. But the problem with those is trying to determine if they could have simply fallen or bent that way, or needed to be placed that way by some intelligent being.

It is thought that Sasquatch mark trails by bending over or breaking saplings and pinning the ends down with sticks and logs.  In a forest with hundreds of vertical trees, a bent sapling stands out.

Especially when it is hard to imagine that nature pinned the end down.

Perhaps the most exciting for me was finding a huge footprint in the leafy forest floor, fully eighteen inches long.  I know it is hard to see in this photo below, but the heel is to the left, and the toes are to the right.

Giant poop.  Sasquatch or bear.  We found lots of it.

Me, looking exhausted from the climb.

But the view from the top was spectacular.

This is a good example of a tree bend made by something other than nature.  The tree on the right is bent over and pinning the tree from the left, but the tree on the right is itself pinned by a log.

Yet another tree bend.

While I think we found evidence of Sasquatch, it doesn't mean anything.  Why?  Pam and I already know that Sasquatch exist and are around us.  Finding more evidence doesn't mean anything.  But it was a beautiful day to go for a hike in the woods, and there were no bugs.  A wonderful day.

Tuesday, June 16, 2015

Sasquatch "Big Toe"

What do you do when your wife gets into "squatching", which is the search for Sasquatch evidence?  We got home from our property and after dinner Pam went for a walk around our property looking for same.  She came in shortly thereafter to fetch me.  She found a foot print from her Sasquatch friend "Big Toe", whose big toe is considerably longer than his others.

I know it is next to impossible to see in the photo, but the foot print is in the top third of the pic.  The heel is by the small green leaves and the toes off to the left.

What we did find that I found interesting was this new tree bend.  It could be our juvenile since the tree is small.

This next pic shows how it is not a natural tree fall.  The top of the thin pine is wedged by two other branches.  It cannot fall itself and do this.

And that was it.  The next thing I knew, Pam was off "squatching", tramping through the woods and looking for foot prints, tree bends, and anything else she could find.

She caught a glimpse of a Sasquatch a couple of weeks ago.  She wants to find one, get a good clear look at it, and observe it.  

I  do not.

Struggling with Exhaustion

In my working life, I've always been a hard worker.  Work is what I lived for.  When I had my own computer business, I'd sometimes awake early and go into work at 3 AM and work until 6 PM.  You can get things done when the phones aren't ringing.

I'm getting older, I know.  I'll be turning 65 in a few months.  That's old enough to get me a senior discount anywhere.  But I can't blame it on that.

Two years ago, my neck was broken by a falling tree.  I spent a few days in a hospital and then had to wear a neck brace, keeping me from working.  One year ago, I had an operation to fuse a bunch of disks in my neck, also putting me out of commission.  That's two years lost, and two years of not doing much of anything.

Before breaking my neck, I'd usually get to our property around 9 AM to start working.  I didn't work too hard, but I'd fling rocks into Bessie the Tractor's manure bucket and dump them and then build rock walls, things like that.  I'd take a lunch break around noon, and then continue until 3 or 4.

Now, I can't imagine that.  I struggle to get out of bed by 8.  I'm lucky to get to our property by 11.  I work until 3 at the latest, which I did a couple of days ago building the shed.  Yesterday, I couldn't move.  I was completely exhausted.

Is this a factor of getting older?  Of being inactive for two years?  A combination of both?  I'm not sure, but I have to keep going.  I have much to get done and not much time to do it.  The run-in shed, then an outhouse and a pump house for the well, and then next year the barn.  I need to whip up into shape.

Getting your neck broken and being an old man ain't for sissies.   Hmmm.... maybe I'm a sissy?

Sunday, June 14, 2015

Squaring Up The Shed

I haven't built too many things in my life, but one thing I learned is that it is important to get things square, plumb, and level before going too far.  Thankfully, my machinist and toolmaker training many decades ago taught me the importance of measuring carefully.

First, I shoved the two end walls into their approximate position with Pam's help.   She later went kayaking, and I was on my own.   I cut a twelve foot 4x4 footer (minus ten inches to fit) and toe-nailed it between the two end walls and then forced it into position.  Then I cut a twelve foot board to use to keep the front of the shed in position.

My friend Bill came over, and using a twelve foot 4x4 as a battering ram, we got the shed to within 1/8" of square.   Close enough.   It ain't no bridge.

After a beer, we went back to the shed and made it plumb.

I'm using 2x6s for the headers and rafters, which will be two feet on center, with 4x4 supports every four feet.  That will hopefully be adequate for snow load for a small 8x12 shed like this.  Yeah yeah, I could have googled that, but sometimes it is fun just to wing it.

Saturday, June 13, 2015

Building The Run-in Shed

We bought a pile of lumber from an Amish lumber mill in Ephratah, but the weather wasn't cooperating.  Rain, rain, and more rain.   Finally, a couple of days ago, it dried out enough to start building.

The shed is going to be eight by twelve, and the roof eight feet high at the back end and twelve feet high at the front.  There will be a little room in the small loft for a little hay.

I'm using Earl's trailer full of wood as a work bench.

Earl came over and after I finished the second end wall wanted to raise it.  Earl is 85 and I'm partially handicapped.  We lifted as best we could but that wasn't going to happen.  I tried to start Bessie the Tractor to lift the walls with my hydraulic manure bucket but her battery was dead.  Earl fetched his tractor and we used the front bucket to raise the walls

I sort of put them in position but was done for the day.  On Sunday, I'll make each wall level and plumb and square it up, and then the rest should be a piece of cake.

But before all this, I thought I'd make horseradish.  Pam and I bought two roots about a week ago at Pricechopper.  But when I pulled them out, one was moldy.  The second seemed fine, but since they were in the same bag I decided to plant them both.

It feels good to finally be building something on our property even if it is only a run-in shed.   Next is a pump house, and then an outhouse.

Thursday, June 11, 2015

Grandma, Nail Polish, and a Goat

Yesterday was a nice day.  It started out with a very pretty butterfly in our screen house just sitting on the floor.  When I gently picked him up and let him loose outside, he flew back in and landed on the same place on the carpet.

Pam bought us a couple of A.P.E. caps (American Primate Exploration) which Amos took a fancy to.

And what happens when you leave Grandma Judi alone with a bottle of nail polish and a goat?

Tuesday, June 9, 2015

Futile Attempts To Fence Goats

Amos and Andy are escape artists.  Fence them in with electric fence and they go right through it.  Add chicken wire and they go right under it.  Now, Pam and I are adding stone walls to the bottom of the fence to keep them from going through, but in the meantime, they're eating our apple trees and gardens.  I put chicken wire around the apple trees but the goats scoffed at this and went right over it.  So today, we hied ourselves to Tractor Supply and bought 48" high fencing to keep them out.

In between thunderstorms we did the vegetable garden.  Yep, I know what you're thinking, but the door was not store bought.  I made it myself.

Pam fencing the apple trees, which the goats seem to favor.

 Hopefully, the fencing will keep the goats off the trees.

Our goats remind me of my high school Latin teacher, Tibor Boranski, who hailed from Russian-invaded Hungary.  He would often say "I love you, but I shoot you."  That is how I feel about our goats, Amos and Andy.

Monday, June 8, 2015

Bringing In the Sasquatch Professionals

Once you're interested in Sasquatch, you'll be joining Facebook groups about them. You'll also soon receive friend requests from people you do not know from these groups. I accept all of them. No, I am not worried about weirdos and cyber-stalkers. I've been playing on Al Gores' internets since the very beginning and I have yet to come across any serious threats.

Such was the case in May when I received a friend request from Ted. As I usually do, I checked his profile to make sure he was somewhat normal, and he was, so I accepted it. Shortly thereafter, I received a Facebook message from Ted. He asked if I had talked to Steve, a noted Sasquatch researcher who also happens to live in Albany, which is not too far from here. Steve has been on a number of television shows regarding Sasquatch and is knowledgeable on the subject.

We made arrangements to meet on our property and not the cabin, since the cabin is impossible to find, on Thursday, June 3rd, 2015. They arrived late, around 7 PM, being held up by rush hour traffic. Ted and Steve both seemed like pleasant folk, common sense and down to earth. Pam and I showed them a tree branch twist, and then the “nest”, which Steve took a special interest in. He measured the opening (two feet) and then stuck his head inside.

Its bigger in here than you think,” he said.

He was particularly interested in the fact that our dogs won't go in there. Not even Olivia, our German Shorthaired Pointer, who crawls into anything in search of mice.

We remarked that we've had absolutely no activity on our property this year and didn't know why. But as we were looking for a territory marker that we found last year, we found out why. Just over our property line, on state land, was a game camera. That explained it. Put up a trail cam and Sasquatches vanish. Some think they can detect infrared, others think that Sasquatches simply know when something is out of place or added to their forest.

We then had Ted and Steve follow us to the cabin. There, we showed them the small tree breaks and twists by the cabin door, various tree bends and structures, where the car was parked when we found the hand prints, the well where Pam found the first foot print, and a general tour of the place. Ted and Steve didn't say much.

Well, do you think we might have Sasquatches here?” asked Pam.

Steve paused for a moment, and then said “You could have an HBO special here.”

Before they left, Steve showed us some of his gear. He has a digital night vision viewer, a directional heat sensor, and explained about his eight camera DVR setup. They do not whoop and holler in the woods, and certainly would never harm a Sasquatch if they saw one.

A few days later, Ted messaged me on Facebook again, asking if he could bring a team to the cabin to spend a night. Pam and I talked about it and agreed but only on the condition that all team members would not divulge our last names or location. We want to make sure that whomever comes here is serious about studying and researching Sasquatch, not crazy, and will not give us unwanted publicity. We want to protect our Sasquatches and leave them be.

Thursday, June 4, 2015

Lumber For The Run-in Shed

I carefully calculated exactly how much lumber I would need for a 8' x 12' run-in shed for Jeremiah the Horse and Amos and Andy the Goats.   Being a seasoned computer systems designer who knows better, I then doubled what I needed and placed my order with an Amish lumber mill in Ephratah, about 22 miles away.   It took a couple of weeks, but my order was ready, so yesterday I fetched Earl and Bill and we made two trips to Ephratah to load up the flat bed trailer.  Our last trip was today.

That is a lot of lumber for $514.40.  Why the odd number?  I don't know.  But when the Dad called, he said it was around $512, so that's what I withdrew from the bank.  After loading the trailer the first time, I handed the oldest boy (the Dad was out in the field) the bank envelope.

"There's $512 in cash," I said.

The boy, about 15 years old or so, looked horrified.

"Its $514!" he exclaimed.

As I pulled $2 from my wallet, he added "And forty cents."

So all you city slickers are thinking "what in the heck is a run-in shed?"

Well, when you put a critter in a fenced in area, they should have a place to run in to get out of the hot sun or bad weather.  It doesn't have to be big, and ours will be only 8' x 12'.   The goats will get 8'x'4' and Jeremiah 8' x 8'.

"But don't you just let them run free?" you ask.

Yep.  For now.  And this is the problem.

I thought goats would be like cows.  Just there.  But they're not.  Goats are incredibly friendly, and curious, and want to stand on everything, and eat everything.  Not only flowers and dinner are fair game, but so too  are shirts, hats, and camera bags.

Trying to fence in a goat, though, is tough.  They are escape artists.  So Pamela's job tomorrow is to make an escape-proof corral, while mine is to start the run-in shed.

Oh.  Don't leave your beer and pretzels around while you have loose goats.  

Milky Way

As you regular readers know, I enjoy taking star photos.  I'm night blind and photographing and loading the photos on my laptop is the only way I can see them.   I took this shot of the Milky Way last night with my new Nikon D7100.

Yep.  I missed.  I guess I should have panned around a bit.

Monday, June 1, 2015

Chevy and the Goats' Horns

Chevy is a pitbull.  He was bred to bring down livestock, including big animals like bulls.  Trust me, he could if we let him.

Chevy has a tough time with Amos and Andy.  He wants to eat them, but he realizes that it is not OK with us to do that.  So he lords over them constantly, following them all around.    What I've come to understand is that Chevy does not understand what they are.

Chevy is fascinated by their horns.  Quite simply, he doesn't get it.  Are those teeth on top of their heads?  Chevy licks their horns since licking is one of his senses, and bites at them to pull them off.

Yesterday was a rainy day, and while Pam took Jeremiah to go riding, I sat on the property with the dogs and goats.  When it started to rain, I sat in the tractor-trailer trailer.  The goats, being goats, had to be in there with me.  Goats are very sociable critters.  They also eat everything, or try to.  Such as my camera.

Chevy, minding the goats.

Andy the Goat, minding Chevy.  Goats have horns for a reason, and will butt with them.  Chevy doesn't understand this.

And so the goats ran off, with Chevy along side...

It is all pretty comical at this point.  Chevy knows he cannot eat the goats, but he does not know what to make of their horns.  I'm thinking that Chevy thinks the goats are funny dogs, with  teeth on top of their heads.  Quite simply, he just doesn't get it.