Internet dreams do come true

Last week a five year dream came true, we now have actual high speed internet! On Monday they hooked up our unlimited fiberoptic cable driven internet. Our double modem wireless network is running at 50MBS. Our TV and computer are hardwired directly into the modems and running at 700MBS+. I was able to upload pictures for the blog in under three seconds. If it was possible before it would take 5-10 minutes and it was glorious.

We were able to watch TV and did not have to go around the house and put all our devices into airplane mode. I did not even realize that when you surf the Netflix choices that the movies actually play a small preview, at our house these were always static and never moved. The picture is super clear and not pixelated, this takes TV watching to a whole new level for me.

We got our first green egg from the baby chickens late last week. I fully expect more green eggs to show up now. The eggs will be smaller for about a month before they become normal sized. We need more eggs so they can start paying their way. The last of our hay from the upper hay field was brought down to the house. We now have 24 bales to feed this winter. Next year we will have only alfalfa that we will have bailed. We went on vacation to visit friends on the coast. Sarah watched our house over the weekend. She called one night because the dogs were trying to tear out of their kennels. We told her to let them loose out into the yard to get whatever it was that was upsetting them. They tore out into the yard and eventually came back to the house. The pup slept on the foot of her bed and our older dog slept across the doorway. We didn’t figure she would have many problems with them around.

Plumbing juvenile

Annmarie told me on Friday that there was a water leak down at her mother’s house around the frost free fire hydrant spigot. I despise plumbing and it doesn’t like me. I talked to Donna and gave her the news that I was busy all weekend until Sunday. I knew I was going to have to dig out the leak as almost no plumber does that these days. If they do do it, its very expensive.

There was some discussion about having Thing 1 or 2 dig or one of the nephews. Digging is one of those things that you just have to keep after and you have to be careful when you get close as to not puncture the pipe and make things worse so the amateurs were off the table. I headed out Sunday and found three shovels, a normal one, smaller head one and a short handled one. I spent 30 minutes sharpening each one with a file and running a wire brush over the spade part to smooth it out and get rid of any rust. A sharp edge and smooth blade make for a much easier digging experience especially in the mud.

I ended up digging a channel away from the standpipe as the ground sloped away and I was hoping to get the water to drain away from my work area. This also allowed me to dig a smaller hole as I could back up into the channel and bend over to work on the pipe. As much as it pains me to admit, I am getting pretty good at digging holes for plumbing repair. I know how much to expose and I make it big enough to work in. A hole that is too small is so painful to work in and its messy.

I decided to only wear a billed baseball cap instead of one of my wide brimmed hats. About an hour into the job I realized I was wearing my new leather boots and needed to crawl down into the wet muddy hole. I went back to the house to put on my rubber boots when I realized I had no rubber boots. Annmarie tried to talk me into buying a pair when I got the new leather boots but I didn’t want to spend that much money. Luckily, I had found my brand new chest high waders in the old house when we cleaned it out. I figured I would only be outside for a couple of hours. It took me 4.5 hours to dig the hole and discover that the 90 degree elbow had a small crack in the bottom, most likely from turning the faucet off and on. Wearing chest high water proof waders in 100+ degree weather is not ideal by a long shot. My entire body was soaking wet. My clothes looked like I was standing in chest deep water.

Sarah loaded all of the yard sale items into the pickup and I went over to help her unload them. I did tell her that if she got them in unassisted she could get them out alone. She knew I wanted a cabinet out in her shed and it is a two person transfer. So I was on the hook to help her unload so I could get the cabinet for the old house! I was basically blackmailed by my own child.

The plan was for me to pickup new parts on Monday after work and then come home and fix it. Now it should be noted that after multiple attempts and some reading I have not improved my plumbing skills. I have basically not improved at all. I can dig a great hole but the actual plumbing part is like catching a greased pig. The likely hood of catching it on the first try is very slim but if you keep applying yourself eventually you can do it. That pretty much sums up my philosophy when it comes to plumbing. I only do simple repairs and they never go right. I tried to get the needed parts at the first hardware store but they did not have the 90 degree elbow in 1 1/4 size. I was unsure if I needed a 1 or 3/4 inch nipple or reducer, so I bought the 1 inch because I thought I had the 3/4 at home. At the second hardware store I found the needed 90 degree angle. My first mistake was only buying one! I went home put on the weight loss waders and glued the pieces onto the pipe. The pipe had some water still running out so I had to work quick but it was hot and the glue was drying fast. I then attached the standpipe and the frost free standpipe and tied the pipe up at the top so the weight was off the new joint. I waited two hours and had the water turned back on. Nope, I had several micro leaks around the glued joints and the threaded part of the frost free standpipe. We left the water on so I could shower! I was off on Tuesday and would get it done.

So Tuesday morning the water got turned off and I went down and sawed the joint off. I opened faucets up at our house and yard in an attempt to get all the water to drain out of the system. Annmarie was going to town so I asked her to buy 2 sets of parts. The actual stand pipe size was 1 inch. I let it drain for 3 hours. This time I glued the reducer into one side of the 90 degree angle and then glued the 90 degree angle onto the pipe. There was a single drop of water present that I dried first. I left this to dry for 2 hours. Then I put teflon tape on a nipple then inserted it into the frost free hydrant. I used teflon tape on the other side and screwed it into the reducer on the 90 degree and tied it up at the top to support the weight. Again the water was turned on and I still had a leak! The hydrant side had a slow drip from the nipple. The water was turned off and I took it all apart and used four wraps of teflon this time. I usually only use two wraps as too much is not a good thing. I had the water turned back on and the leak is even slower but still present. There is a point in a job where simple perseverance is the answer. I had just enough time to get to the hardware store and buy some yellow colored thread compound. I had noticed some corrosion on the pipe threads and I suspect that is why the teflon tape was not working. I painted the stuff on and used two layers of teflon tape, installed it again and had the water turned back on. It is a miracle, there was no leak! I had won. The only problem is the standpipe has about a five degree tilt to the right. This is within acceptable tolerance when it comes to a Steve plumbing job.

I have been going up to the upper field and checking for coyotes per Professional instructions. I have seen nothing. On Monday night as I am heading home I spotted a coyote on the back hillside with a small dead animal in its mouth. It was 125 yards away and all I had was a Ruger 10/22. I took a single pot shot that caused it to drop its meal and run away.

On Tuesday the Professional came out to check his work. I caught up with him and he asked me to only go out every three days. He did tell me that they are trying to trap a cougar for one of my neighbors. The cougar is less than a mile away and has been spotted out during the day around homes. We had been wondering why the sheep have been bunching up in the evenings and trying to get inside the barn. They do not want to be away from the buildings. So we will keep a look out. Nothing has woken us up at night and we sleep with the windows open all year around.

Our internet is coming! They got the 1/4 inch steel wire hung on the power poles all the way to our house today. We should have true high speed internet by next week. One of the installers told Annmarie that the unfettered high speed, what we got, is currently running at 700MBS!! We cannot even get 1.5 MBS now and our current upload speed is only 125KBS. We have just given up on the internet. We cannot stream any TV as our show hung up every 30-60 seconds lasts night and today I could not use the computer as it cannot update itself as the speed is too slow. We are just biding our time and looking forward to any sort of improvement but it looks like we are going to be getting an amazing upgrade! I will be able to do Twitter and You Tube from our house.

Raccoonageddon

We had a plan last night for predator control and we stuck with it. Around 2130 Annmarie heard raccoons chittering on the back porch. We started breaking out the weapons and the Border Collies started looking for places to hide. They are not real big on loud noises. Our ankle biter Brussels Griffin was all excited and wanted to go outside with us and chase stuff. We had to be careful when we let Annmarie out the front door that he didn’t slip past her. He is pretty sneaky. I gave her time to get to the other side of the old house and then I flipped the outside light on, popped the back door open and started blazing away with my Walther P22 pistol. The laser sight makes shooting in low light situations amazingly easy. I had to spread the wealth though as it was a target rich environment. There were four raccoons and I only had 11 shots when I started. So after two rounds in an animal I switched to another. Two 22 rounds typically does not kill a raccoon immediately unless you are head shooting them. I am not a bad shot but I am not head shot on four moving targets going all directions at once good. I had managed to hit three and was trying for a fourth when Annmarie started blazing away. I never did see what animal she was shooting at so I am afraid there may be five raccoons not four. I had time to slam another clip in and run to the fence to look over for more raccoons after Annmarie hollered it was clear. We looked in the trees and did not find anything. I came back, finished off one and we ended up with three dead raccoons. I usually deal with bodies in the morning as I was going to have to wash off blood from the sidewalk. So we went to bed and in the morning I went out to move the carcasses before going to work. There was only one carcass! The other two were gone. Now before I have any doubters they were all dead. As in finish them off dead before we left the porch. I have made that mistake in the past and don’t do it any more. We are unclear how two of the carcasses vanished. All the cat food was gone also. We will leave out cat food again tonight but I would be surprised if they came back again anytime soon.

The club wheat is ready to harvest and should be cut next week. It is probably the best crop we have had in years. It seems to get better every year.

As I was stepping out of the pickup to take pictures of the wheat two little deer fawn twins jumped out from under a rose bush and ran out into the wheat. If you look at the picture below closely you can see one ear. Both fawns were right there in the wheat field. They are little and still spotted, momma leaves them all over the farm. I have spotted them at both ends of the place. We also have a few bucks coming in at night and early morning. This is good as my nephew and I both have buck tags this year.

I picked up a 260 gallon water trough for the bull area today and 500# of wood pellets for the chicken coop. Bubba just about has the coop done and the pellets will be needed. He shoveled out the old sawdust and bleached the walls today. He just needs to lay down some new pellets after moving old ones. The nest boxes need to be cleaned out and the back room needs to be vacuumed up. He got the milking area of the barn cleaned out today also and under the stairs. Just the momma area, the feeders and the sorting chute need to be completed.

I looked at a set of discs today. It will cost $1000. I am going to have to break down and get them next week so we can finish prepping the fields for alfalfa.

We also got a quote for two miles of fiber optic cable to be strung out to the house. It’s not cheap but it is doable. We would rather have high speed internet than a boat, RV, four wheeler, new vehicle, motorcycle or snowmobile. So we should know by next week hopefully if it is possible and when it can be done.

Yard fence

I came home early on Friday just so I could work on the Gizmo fence. He has learned the many splendors of the snack potential in the barn and surrounding area. As soon as we let them out to potty he is running for the fence and squirts through the 4×4 hole. Once he is out of the yard he will not come back. It does not matter if you can see him and call him. He pretends he doesn’t hear you hollering “I can see you!”. So I will be installing a 2′ chicken wire fence using hog wire clips. It was cold, windy and rainy that afternoon. I used 1500 clips before I got cold. I only have a few hundred clips left and will have to order a few thousand more to finish the job.

I went to Bimart to get bagged dirt for our elevated trough beds in the back yard. It was a wonderful sunny day so I grabbed a bunch of different herbs with the intention of planting them outside. Once I had all the dirt unloaded and planters ready I opted to actually check the weather on my phone. No go on the herbs, its supposed to snow three days out of the next week. So I took them up to the breezeporch to survive another two weeks. Annmarie wants to create planters that go inside a tin can on our 3D printer so that all the herbs can go in the kitchen windowsill. I am afraid the herbs won’t get big enough if we keep them inside. We are starting to really like cooking with fresh herbs. I am really starting to like the idea of an underground greenhouse 10×20 feet long. I want to grow a few citrus trees, tomatoes year round, herbs year round and greens year round. I think it will be very cool. Water will be the real issue but I think I can store a few hundred gallons in 50 gallon barrels that will get us through the winter. Annmarie has agreed to listen to the plan and it is on the list for next year. I am sure it will cost $2-4K. Our wood trim arrived on Friday. Everything stained and finished I just have to cut it and install it. This is everything for our entire house. All the doors, all the windows, all the floor trim and the trim necessary to complete the stairway. It of course started raining and wind blowing on Saturday that caused me to finish covering the trim. I had covered it up after delivery but I had left open the left end and a few garbage bags with some tape closed it all off. I cannot install any of this until I finish painting so on Saturday I started to paint the downstairs. My goal is to finish all painting this week. So hopefully I can start installing the trim next week. My plan is to bring in the air compressor and then setup the chop saw on the front porch.

We had another set of twins born this week! The babies just keep coming. Next weekend we will have to tag and band the babies that have not been touched yet. This mother was so crazy we felt the need to lock her up with the twins in the momma area. She jumped out over the back wall! I am now going to have to raise that wall by 18 inches and raise the height of both gates just to keep these crazy mommas inside the pen. We locked her in the barn alone with her twins for four days so they could gain some strength to be able to keep up with the herd. Our internet sucks and is slow. I have discovered a way to speed up my picture uploads to the blog. I climb up the ladder 24 feet in the air and use my cellular data plan. Instead of each picture taking me 2-4 minutes they only take 10 seconds. This is a farmer update that most people will understand.

Internet hotspot at the top of the ladder!.

Another internet failure

We gave up on Hughes net. After a week of Annmarie spending 6-8 hours on the phone with Hughes net and getting an upgrade here and there we still could not stream television shows. I find it interesting that our DSL is only 1-2 MBS and we can stream TV with all other devices in airplane mode but with Hughes net speed test saying 23 MBS we could not stream any TV. She cancelled it and the only thing they wanted back was the modem. We can “have” the dish.

What are we going to do with the dish? We are already planning on turning it into a bird bath.

The wind was howling today and as I look out the living room window I can see the flashing on the end of the old house flopping around in the wind and the now defunct internet dish moving in the wind. I decided that there is no better time than right then to go out and fix this problem. So I grab my impact driver, several bits, some sheet metal roofing screws (silver not the matching red colored ones) and proceeded to attempt to get the ladder up onto the end of the building. This proved harder than expected with the wind. I set it just under the peak and climbed up to the top, there were a bunch of empty old hornets nest attached to the roof so I just decided to scoop them all down. After I got stung inside the left arm of my coat I realized that they were not all empty! I killed three hornets and finished cleaning out the peak. I fixed the peak and tacked it down with some more screws and then had to move the ladder to the left. I had to go over the defunct dish so the angle was pretty shallow and the ladder was not very secure. I made it to the roof line and was leaning out to the left and trying to screw in a screw when my Apple Watch started making this weird noise. So weird I stopped and looked at it. I had somehow pushed down on the watch continuously and activated an emergency 911 call! I quickly started hitting buttons telling it I did not want to do that and it asked me three times if I was sure. I was very sure. So I am still trying to drill in the same screw when my phone rings. I would normally ignore a phone call while I am leaning over the side of a ladder in the wind while trying to stay on the ladder, but I figured this could not be a coincidence. I was right, it was the 911 dispatch center asking me if I was alright!! I had to assure her multiple times that it was an accident and I was still on a ladder in the wind and was fine.

I finished screwing down the flashing and then removed the dish from the side of the old house. I figured I might as well get it down as it was ugly and I was there. We would have tolerated it if it had worked!

I have the ladder out in the stairwell so I can wash the walls and start painting. This is day three with the ladder out and all I have managed to do is fix the overhead fan, change out two light bulbs, vacuum out the lights, the upper window well and wash the upper window. I keep thinking about beginning the painting process, i have the whole thing planned out in my head.

I also installed a few motion activated lights in our downstairs closets. Now when we open the door there will be light! I also glued down our closet door tracks that Annmarie made on the 3D printer. Today was a catch up day to get on top of all the little things that have been piling up.

We advertised the old tractor for sale (International 504, gas engine with farmhand loader and hay grapple with blown head gasket) for $3500. We also put up the 2004 Aveo (child hit deer and ruined radiator and popped off the timing belt) for $400. Our third listing was our 16 foot enclosed single axle Sharpe trailer for $2500 all done yesterday afternoon. Cash is king and first person with it in hand takes whatever they want. I have had 3 enquirers on car, three on the trailer and one on the tractor. We are hoping to sell enough stuff to buy a stock trailer.

Tonight when I went out to feed it was pouring down rain, our rain gage said 6/10 of an inch when I dumped it out but that was over the last two weeks. I will try and keep better track of the rain on a semi regular basis. I went out to the barn in the pouring rain and noticed the gutters were overflowing. I fed the sheep, horses and cats then went and got the ladder. The gutters had filled up with a few leaves and a lot of mud! All this dust from this summer ended up in the gutters and a few leaves created a dam. I had to dig out dams from both of the gutters. I really need to bring in about four more scoops of gravel to go alongside the end of the barn near the barn wall. There was a small stream running next to the gravel I had already placed. I just need to fill up the whole area with gravel.

On the way back to the house I swung by and checked on the new chickens. Five of the ten new idiots were standing out on the ramp locked out of the coop by the automatic chicken door. I had to throw all five of them back into the coop. I keep hoping they will catch on soon.