Am I going to have to start screening what I watch, so as not to contribute to little kitty delinquency, Noah?? (He was fascinated with this show until a need for a nap overtook him...)
Today is 50 degrees! The birds are singing and there is just a tiny hint of the smell of Spring in the air. The skies are still gloomy, but once in a while the sun will attempt to break through. Yesterday was the same and the two days before that, while still crisp and cold, were sunny.
After I got off work yesterday and got home, there was much accomplished out in the yard. Granted nothing glamorous---but re-stacking the woodpile, gathering up and burning trash, and just general tidying up of all the piled up mess of winter. It was remarkable how I felt my whole attitude changing.
The ground is a muddy mess, but it's a fair trade-off for a few days!
Yesterday I finally, finally got my studded snow tires! I've had them ordered for almost two weeks (ordered the Monday after the Friday I almost ditched the truck). Each day I would call, and each day the guy would say, no, they aren't in, but they'll be here tomorrow. I believed him for about four days. Even he got fed up this week and called a different supplier, and they were indeed in the next day. Guess it's a little late in the season to be ordering them, and they are a little hard to come by. Now I have studded tires on the back and 'snow tires' on the front, and that should tremendously. Let's see if it restores my confidence..... Studded Snow Tires (2) = $180.00. Peace of mind...Priceless...
It was threatening rain so as soon as I got home, I unlatched the side gate and drove the truck into the yard to unload the slabs. The balance were put on a pallet with a heavy duty tarp over them, with the rest going into the breezeway or house. If these work well, I'll probably get one more load in the next week or so.
While I had the truck close to the house, I loaded up some things that needed to go to the garage. Once I got the slabs unloaded, I worked on cleaning up and re-stacking the wood pile, so I could cover it up better. When it's cold, snowy, rainy (etc etc), things tend to get messy--wood falls or slides off here and there---and is often left where it lands. It's always a good feeling to restore order.
This morning my 'big' job was cleaning out the stove pipes inside the house. With all the green wood I'm having to burn, I knew it was time to get it done. The other night I could hear crackling in the stove pipes, and immediately shut down the dampers and got the fire suppression stick ready 'just in case'. Thankfully the creosote didn't continue to ignite, but flue fires are a real possibility with the wood heat.
This is bad...You do not want your pipes to look like this! Under the coat of ash dust is shiny black creosote.
Of course there are about a million little things I see that need done, in the light of a Saturday morning, and I found myself being distracted from one task to the next, until I realized what I was really doing. Stalling. If you haven't guessed I hate cleaning out the pipes, as it's a messy awkward job. Did I mention messy? No matter how hard I try it still ends up with ash and creosote gobs in the floor. Taking the pipes down is easy enough, but getting them back up is a challenge, as they seem to shrink, shift around or something.
Once the pipes are down, I take those two sections outside and clean them. The pipe that extends from the wall stays in, so I have to crawl up in a chair and with one foot on the stove, work the poker into the depths of the pipe, scraping and raking out the build up. I hang a plastic sack from the pipe and scrape the loose debris into that--this is what is called 'having a third hand'. (Note---there is no fire in the stove, as I let it burn out during the night so everything is cooled off). Once that is done, I scrape out the section that attaches to the stove, which is usually full of ash dust. Now put the pipes back up and clean up the mess, and it's finished! The whole time Meshach is bossing me around cause he is cold and why won't I get the fire going? Meow..meow..meow....
I'm hoping that there will be some nice days next week, so that my Dad can see about the outside chimney. If I know there will be some nice days, I can burn a chimney cleaner stick, which really helps loosen the buildup and much of it will fall. The only drawback is sometimes the loosened bits of creosote flakes will float up and block the chimney cap. That is why I need to have a few nice days!
I've also been washing pet bedding like mad and hanging it outside. It's been terrible trying to get this stuff washed up, since the weather has made it impossible to line dry the blankets. This is mostly Ashley and Boone's bedding. Hound dog stinky Boone is getting a bath in a little bit too, but he doesn't know it yet. Shhh...don't tell him!
Wow... I just stepped out to hang more laundry and it's nice out there. The sun is actually shinning now, and the dogs are all stretched out soaking it in.
Blue, the merino ram seems to be doing much better. Lanny (the wether) is enjoying hanging out with the ewes although he looks like a giant next to them. It's quite comical.
Back to Blue...he is now getting two pounds of mixed grain a day (divided into a.m. and p.m. feedings). He won't eat the hay I give him, although I suspect he is still munching on the big round bale. However I bought some alfalfa hay cubes for him, which he can't eat, unless I bust them with a hammer. He will eat them then. Does anyone know if alfalfa pellets would constitute enough roughage for him, if he isn't eating hay? It would be fantastic if they did so I could switch him to that and just feed out the hay cubes to the rest of the sheep that have good teeth. Save me some time breaking up the cubes! I may be just being imagining things but he looks to me like he is putting on a bit of weight.
Well, I better get out into that sunshine before it hides again. It's peaceful at the moment in the house with 'kitty quiet time' evidently in effect. Two in front, one behind the stove. Two in the closet and two on the bed. Sage is up poking around into something though. (Yes..I do periodic head counts, especially when I'm using the washer! ha...)
Have a great weekend! Hope you are getting a little taste of Spring in your neck of the woods too.