Get Off Your Ass and Walk Like an Egyptian

4 07 2013

It’s 6 A.M. on Independence Day, 2013 and it’s far too early in the day to be this angry, but I am. In fact, I’m pissed off to no end.

As I’ve read what the Egyptians have done in the ousting of their dictator I am appalled at the apathy that has become the American Way.

We sit back and bitch about Obama and big government and the loss of our freedoms…and do nothing.

Most of you reading this are perusing your Twitter or Facebook timeline and posting about all the egregious acts that our elected officials perform on a daily basis. You’re going over to Drudge to get the latest news and crafting a witty comment to see how many re-tweets and shares and likes you can get…because, you know, winning Twitter is so damn important.

And what the hell are you accomplishing? Can you name one person whose mind you’ve changed? One liberal who’s come over to the more liberty-minded side of life?

Oh, social media may have slowed some actions of Congress, but that’s all…slowed them. But every Congressional act that’s been stopped in one place has shown up in some amendment on a completely unrelated bill and EVERY SINGLE FUCKING DAY OUR FREEDOMS ARE BEING SLASHED by our representation, both left and the right.

So instead of sitting on your ass today being oh so witty, why don’t you try doing something truly revolutionary? Go break a damn law (it won’t be hard).

Go show some real independence and start planning a march on the local IRS. With pitchforks and torches.

I could come up with a list of hundreds of things you could do to show some real independence but it’s time you all start thinking for yourselves and devising plans to stop this insanity, even if it’s in your immediate life. Until 17 million Americans stand up at once and say, “Enough is bloody well enough”, your only hope is to do something outrageous in your own life.

So get off Twitter and Facebook, get off your ass, don’t worry about what you’re going to BBQ today, and DO SOMETHING REVOLUTIONARY. Restore your liberty. Quit talking about it and start setting an example for others. Then, and only then, will you start making a difference.

Go walk like an Egyptian. At least the Egyptians can look themselves in the mirror today and know they stood up for liberty. Can you do the same?

And in case you’re wondering why you don’t see much of me online much anymore, it’s because every single day Snarky and I are working towards our freedoms and fighting against inane government laws…and winning.

I could go on, but I have rules to break.





Common Core: More Like Common Crap

20 05 2013

I’ve been here less than two months and I’m already stirring the pot. Feel free to copy and send this letter to your own newspaper’s editor if your state has adopted Common Core.

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I was dismayed to read in last week’s Herald that our children, at the ripe old age of five, will be subject to the same rigorous hours of any full-time employee. Instead of allowing our children to learn at their own pace they will now be required to learn at the pace of their elders without the benefit of rest and play that are so crucial to growing minds.

It gets worse; the State of Tennessee has effectively said that we don’t know what is good for our children and has adopted the D.C.-devised, one-size-fits-all-across-the-nation program “Common Core”. Unproven, thrown together, and wielded by big government to send (or withhold) education dollars to states, Common Core dictates what will be taught and what will be read by our students.

I have reviewed the Common Core literature requirements: stepping away from the 50% fiction/50% non-fiction ratio, our 12th graders will be reading 70% non-fiction, all of which is dictated in Appendix B of the English Language Arts & Literacy in History/Social Studies, Science, and Technical Subjects order sent down from Washington-On-High.

Instead of Tennessee being trusted to choose from a world of compelling, complex literature, D.C. has ordered that such literary gems as the EPA’s Recommended Levels of Insulation and Atul Gawande’s The Cost Conundrum: Health Care Costs in McAllen, Texas will be read.

46 states are adopting Common Core but 10 of those are already having second thoughts including our neighbor, Georgia. These 14 states realize what D.C. does not: that central planning makes gathering people’s real preferences and needs impossible.

By adopting Common Core, Tennessee has effectively said, “Big Brother knows better than we” and will allow our children to become good little statists. But at least they’ll have read the riveting GSA’s Strengthening Federal Environmental, Energy, and Transportation Management.





Chickens Are Pretty Neat

19 04 2013

By Snarky_Basterd

This morning when I opened the gate from their to coop to the pen, they came right out. On past mornings since we put them out there, I’ve had to coax them out, one or two peaking out until Crystal, the white chick my daughter named came flying out, pushing any of the others out of her way, as if to say, “what the hell are you waiting for?”

Not so today.

Then this afternoon, when I ran an extension chord to the coop and hooked up the chick light because we’re expecting frost tonight (they need this to keep warm when you have them inside until they start to fly around the container they’re in), they all came into the coop.

But not for the light. They all started pecking at the empty water container — they were saying, “we’re thirsty, stupid.”

Then just now, when I went out to put them in the coop for the night, as I do at 7 p.m., they all saw me walking up, and marched right into the coop. It was the first time I didn’t have to herd at least two or three, if not grab them and force them, into the coop.

I think we might start keeping the kids in the chicken pen so they learn some good habits, so we don’t have to repeat something 5 times before they do it.





God, I’m Tired

18 04 2013

By Snarky_Basterd

So the mental exhaustion of learning how to farm — and the ‘how to’ is just as if not more important than the ‘can do’ at this point — is like having a truck run your brain run over in the middle of the road.

And this happens by noon.

However, the difference between learning to farm and working a desk job is … with farming, you want to wake up tomorrow and learn more, while with the desk job you want that truck to put the rest of your body out of its misery, so you don’t have to wake up tomorrow and do nothing for nothing.





Potatoes, Onions, and Asparagus, Oh My!

16 04 2013

There is dirt under my nails. Lots of it. I’m sweaty, filthy, and sore. Yet running through my head is, “If you’re happy and you know it, clap your hands.” Granted, most of the little songs that come from Baby Q’s musical froggy’s butt get stuck in my head but this time it’s apropos.

This morning Snarky really, really finished the chicken coop; he thought he had finished it yesterday until he found one of the troublemaker chicks outside the coop last evening when he went to put them in for the night. They’re still just small enough to fit through the holes so he added finer mesh wire around the bottom to keep the little suckers where they belong.

I played on the tractor, running the cultivator through the same field we disced last week. Apparently we’re about two weeks behind our neighbor in when we can plow since it was just a wee too wet in there. I kept getting stuck, my wheels spinning a bit, when the cultivator would dig too deeply, but as soon as I raised it a little, on we’d go. I’m going to have to run over it again tomorrow or as soon as it dries out some more.

I also cultivated the area next to the grape vines and blueberries and then went back to plant the asparagus crowns, onion sets, and potato eyes. Now, I have never planted any of these items before. Why? I don’t know. I’ve either inherited them in gardens to which I moved or it was always the wrong time of year. I, of course, started with the asparagus since it’s going to be a permanent part of the landscape. I got my handy dandy bulb digger and started making two 6″ deep holes (since I had purchased two packages of crowns).

After opening the packages, I discovered I had not purchased two packages of one crown in each, but rather about seven-to-ten crowns. I was gonna need a bigger shovel.

Luckily, while I was traipsing back from the shop with the shovel I remembered pictures I’d seen of asparagus beds, not holes, and subsequently dug a nice 5′ x 5′ x 6″ trench for the leggy things.

But squares are easy…it’s those rows that give me trouble; I have a hard time keeping them straight. Wobbly rows be damned I went ahead and planted about 40 potato eyes and about 120 onion sets. Now I just need it to rain so I don’t have to truck water up to that spot.

If you’re happy and you know it, stomp your feet.

I’m sure the potatoes and onions should have been spaced a little more but this isn’t about perfection; it’s about learning, adjusting, and just going for it, every single day. Thank gosh I read Joel Salantin’s You Can Farm. It’s always good to hear about the mistakes others have made as well as their successes. I come from a line of people who think that you have to do it perfectly the first time and there’s no room for adjustment. Well, perfect is fine, but if there’s no room for mistakes then there’s no room for learning.

Do you know why WD-40 is called “WD-40″? Because it wasn’t until the fortieth formula did they succeed in getting it right. That means thirty-nine mistakes! I’m not sure I’m willing or able to keep trying for something thirty-nine times.

If you’re happy and you know it, wave your arms.





Need vs. Want

11 04 2013

My 1965 Webster’s dictionary, to which I refer when I want a more traditional definition of a word rather than the watered-down definitions one finds in more modern dictionaries, defines need as “a lack of something requisite, desirable, or useful.”

Yesterday we received a quote from a contractor. We need a water line run for the LG Combination Washer/Dryer that we’re purchasing. We currently haul our laundry down to the local laundromat, something I haven’t done in twenty years and which I wouldn’t have conceived of doing just a few years ago. I wouldn’t even rent an apartment when I moved to Las Vegas if it didn’t come equipped with this necessity. I was too old for lugging laundry. I was beyond this college-day’s activity. Yet here we are, in our late 40′s, having purchased a house with no laundry room, space, or closet. We need it.

We also have an electric range with one oven. Having been raised on gas ovens, the act of cooking well on electric still eludes me, even after being stuck with electric for years at my various abodes. At least the rest were self-cleaning; this archaic model has the four requisite burners and two racks in the single-oven and no broiler pan. We need a five-burner, double-oven range with the ability to “cook multiple dishes at the same time at different temperatures”, one of them being a convection to “circulate air in the lower oven for consistent temperatures and uniform browning”. This, of course, means running gas to the location of the out-of-date, wholly inadequate range that currently sits in the kitchen.

Our third need is a tankless water heater to replace the minuscule, 30-gallon, wholly inadequate water heater taking up space underneath a cabinet in the kitchen. This appliance is so insufficient that I can’t wash my hair and shave my legs during the same shower; Snarky can’t take a bath in more than 3 or 4 inches of water which does absolutely nothing for someone trying to soak after a hard day’s work.

Last but not least, our fourth need is electricity: additional outlets in the sun room and run to the shop for Snarky to run his power tools and to give us room to plug in the freezer that will store all that meat we’re going to have.

Please note that these are household needs and pale in comparison to the needs of the farm (fencing, plowing, animals, etc.) that need to be obtained.

With all these needs in tow we called a local plumber/electrician/gas guy. “Barry is his name but he’s called ‘Blue’”, our friendly real estate agent told us over breakfast the other morning. Van had taken Snarky out turkey hunting at daylight and then subjected himself to my electric stove-top cooking. “As in blueberry”. Ahhh, local humor.

Blue told us he’d be by either before noon or after; he showed up at 2:30, clipboard in hand and Pall Mall’s in his shirt pocket. After explaining all our needs and showing him the appliances with which we were filling our “requisites”, he provided us an estimate.

In my experience, estimates are provided with a breakdown, an itemization of labor and parts so that one knows for what one is paying. Not so in the case of the blueberry. We received a paragraph describing the fulfillment of our needs. Our needs had a requisite $2,760 price tag.

While we may be able to “afford” this, some re-evaluation was…needed. We certainly don’t want to be known as those newcomers with more money than sense. Hell, we’re already talked about down at the post office as, “the new people on the hill who get the most packages.” Yes, that’s what our postal driver told me the other day. My response was, “And I don’t pay taxes or shipping or make a trip to town, so there will be more.”

After getting over the sticker shock and some discussion, two of our needs became wants. There will be no electricity in the shop; an extension cord run from the house will suffice and we’ll find freezer space. There will be no five-burner, double-oven gas range with the ability to cook multiple dishes at the same time at different temperatures; over-cooked, sometimes burned meals will have to suffice.

And with that, another lesson in truly going Galt has been learned, and $1,000 has been saved after the revised estimate.

But I still really want a double-oven gas range…





Week 1 at Basterds’ Bluff

1 04 2013

The move went very well in spite of an increase in the moving rate; I guess those 30+ boxes of books (in addition to the rest of our stuff) took a wee bit longer to move than anticipated. The movers came a day early to avoid the threatening rain which of course made us scramble to ensure everything was done a day earlier than planned. Thank God for my sister, Michelle Ray, being here to help…we couldn’t have done it without her!

Temperatures being less accommodating than they were the same weekend last year (the weekend we got married) we cranked up the multiple propane wall heaters, opened the doors, and started putting things away as fast as the guys could get them in the door (which wasn’t very fast because they were so cold). As boxes and furniture began stacking and their comments of “how the hell you gonna get all this stuff in here” became more frequent I began to despair…how were we going to fit it all in?

Long story short, we did get every single item for which we’d planned into the house with plenty of room to move about and not one extra box or stick of furniture went to storage that wasn’t planned. Our kitchen is so big we actually have two refrigerators (one for food, one for alcohol and bacon) and an old metal-topped table in the middle…you know the kind: white, with that nice red painted trim around it, the kind of metal they used to make cars of (and probably painted with the same sort of paint, and it probably contains lead).

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We’re at 2,000′ elevation and it snowed the first few days, with wind adding to the chill factor. Damn global warming.

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The house is 95% put away, Snarky has the shop put together and all his tools put away. The house is truly a cozy little home and now that we’ve lived in the space for a bit we’ve decided that the addition for which we’d planned and budgeted is not needed. Woo hoo!

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We don’t have a laundry which means I get to go down to the end of the road to our local laundromat and mass wash and dry. I must say I was a bit intimidated the first day…it’s been 25 years since I had to use a laundromat, so I only took four loads with me to break myself in. Easy schmeezy. Now that we’re not doing the addition (which included a laundry room) I’ve found an all-in-one ventless washer/dryer that runs on 110 that will fit perfectly in the big ol’ kitchen, right next to the portable dishwasher.

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And, we have chickens. Six of them, three different varieties (of which we have no idea). Bought at the local Tractor Supply, the sign simply said “Pullets” and “Red Pullets”. Guess what? “Pullets” is not a variety, it just means they’re all hens (insert facepalm here). So we have two whiter chicks, two yellow chicks with red stripes, and two red chicks (two per kid). The kids are happy and, of course, the girls have named theirs; Thing 2, being nine, has named her’s some cutesy names like “Crystal”; Thing 3, being two, has named one of her’s “Poop”.

Things 1-3 with their brood.

Things 1-3 with their brood.

“Bye, chicks! Bye, poop!” she said last night.

“Is Poop your chicken’s name?” I asked.

“YES!”

And there ya have it.








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