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ctw1949
Certified organic poultry farmer in SE Mass

January 5, 2017
I did update this blog the other day, but forgot to click on all the buttons/spaces before "Adding Post" and it was wiped out.

So, I will fill in the blanks. New Year's Eve was quiet. I spent the evening at Dean's. I thought he might go off to his aunt & uncles, but his uncle had been sick, didn't need any company. I went off to bed right after midnight and slept well. New Year's day, Dean worked on washer leveling the washer. Seems the wrong breaker was purchased, so no electric outlet just yet. I did little, back was acting up. Temps were moderate. Monday, the right breaker was brought, installed. Washer was leveled & ready for action. I waited for the dryer since it was to be on top of the washer (stacked). That afternoon, the dryer vent was hooked up & vented through a window. Tuesday I washed the first load of clothes without incident. I was worried the washer had frozen during the nights when temps went down to 8 degrees, but seems all is OK. I had made some "home made" laundry detergent out of Fels Naptha bar soap, washing soda and Borax. It turned into a gel, but seems to work very well to clean clothes (I don't like using bleach since it is very bad for the environment). I am so happy to be able to wear clean sox every day after rotating them for two years!!!

I hope Dean will work on my car today, we are expecting snow and my snow tires have been ready to put on for over 2 weeks now. Also, the starting problem has not been fixed, I have the parts, over $400.00 worth. I will take the car to my guy in Rochester if the parts aren't installed by end of next week. I am happy to pay to have the work done but I need it done!

My back hasn't been great lately, so I am not walking as much as I need to. BB is bored and he lets me know he wants a walk. I try to get it done earlier in the day so I am not "walked out" and in pain. I am still resisting taking many Perks (have had one half in the past two weeks) since I have some unhappy side effects.

I realize I have to complete the narrative I started a few months ago and will get to it soon. Meanwhile, I am hoping I might find some part-time work with Baystate Organic Certifiers if they are hiring. It will all be paperwork, but that will suit me just fine.

Going to get out & washing some clothes since the sun is out & the wind is up. Good drying day.
December 30, 2016
Glad to say I wrapped all up at Shirley's yesterday. When I arrived, Gerry was just finishing up installing his custom-made baseboard for behind the toilet. Of course, he installed it before painting, so now there is raw wood right behind the toilet. Stupid, stupid...but I have concluded his behavior can only be classified as passive-aggressive. I looked it up today and it hits the nail right on the head. I printed out the information to give to Shirley. What she does with it is her business...she will probably do nothing to correct the situation with Gerry. I can see how he has cost her a LOT of money in the past.

Of course, Gerry disappeared right after he finished installing the bathroom baseboard and had little to say to me. I am not finished with him yet. Don't know what I shall do, but I am not done yet.


Spent 2.5 hours yesterday finishing up what little needed doing. Wrote up a bill this morning for Shirley. She will have a fit when she sees it, but I can't help it that her tenant was a pig nor can I do anything about the fact that the apartment hadn't been properly cleaned in a decade.

Ellen and I could have cleaned that entire apartment in two days if we were working together without any "help" from Gerry. And it would have been a good job done well. But Shirley didn't want that.

I think the new year will begin with me finishing up what I haven't done in the last year. There are some things that need to be settled and I am going to attempt to clean them up.

I am offline now so I can get myself going into the real world. Happy New Year to all.
December 29, 2016
Sorry I ran off yesterday. Dean came with Jake and we went for a walk. It was a beautiful day. I spent the afternoon working at Shirley's. The mess was all straightened out. Things were organized, put in order and the place looked very nice. Like almost ready to rent.

I fond Gerry finishing up the bathroom projects that were raising tempers yesterday. He hadn't replaced the light fixture over the sink, which was good since it would have made a mess and had a lot of repair to be done where the old fixture had been for 35+ years. However, he had removed the control for the bathtub faucet. The plumber was coming later in the afternoon...and he couldn't help himself, he had to interfere. Just more reinforcement that he wants to be in control of everything, including a paid expert who may be able to fix the problem (the plumber). I was embarrassed that I had brought the plumber into the mess. Of course, this was Gerry's way to be sure he was "involved" in the bathroom faucet repair. Passive aggressive behavior, which I had observed over the past few days. He removed parts, took things that were in use (especially tools) and then disappeared from the apartment so if you needed anything he had taken, you had to find him. Fortunately, I come equipped with my own tools. So, I just override his control.

While the plumber was working in the bathroom, I was not able to continue washing the ceiling. I looked for something to do...Gerry was "supervising" the plumber, Shirley was watching the plumber, by my count there were 4 people in the bathroom. I went to install the toilet seat. No instructions, parts fell out of the box. As I tried to puzzle out the correct way to install the seat (bolts attached to the seat prior to installation or after?), I asked both Gerry and the plumber. Gerry (who had opened the box for the seat, disassembled the parts and removed the instructions) stood looking at me, like he was dumbstruck and then said..."Look at the instructions". I said there were no instructions in the box. Strange how Gerry just got pretty quiet and just said "Hmm". The plumber said he hadn't seen this kind of seat/bolt assembly before, but suggested bolts into seat prior to installation. Of course, I had clipped the bolts in and now had to remove them since I now could see that the bolts couldn't be turned to tighten up the seat onto the toilet if they were clipped into the seat. I left the bathroom so I could try to remove the bolts from the seat. I went into the kitchen, Gerry followed. I was trying to get the bolts to unclip from the seat with little success. Then Gerry cornered by the kitchen counter, SHOVED ME and pulled the seat out of my hands. Not to exaggerate, I went ballistic. I told him in no uncertain terms, he would NEVER put his hands on me again or he would be in jail. I'm not sure what he was thinking, but we have been butting heads since I went to help Shirley clean. He disappeared for awhile. Like if he went away, I might forget what he had done. I'm like an elephant. I don't forget.

Seems the water pressure in the house is not enough to support the type of mixing valve in the faucet installed in the shower. Due to aggressive well water (and many years) the pipes had deteriorated. More water pressure in the pipes causes pinholes in the pipes, then pipes need replacing. This is a huge job and Shirley doesn't seem to have the money to have this done. So, the problem with the shower may remain.

Shirley decided she would scrub the shower surround and the tub, I worked on finishing washing the bathroom walls and ceiling. The bathroom is almost done except for the small wall above the shower and the shower ceiling. The urine smell was gone and the bathroom sparkles, except for the mirror over the sink. Today, I will polish that right up. Then caulk what needs to be caulked. I worked on cleaning some of the outlet covers and switch plates in the kitchen, took some pix of the stove, cleaned up the splash panels behind the kitchen counters.

I left at about 7 PM. My hours yesterday were 5. Don't feel as if I got a lot done, but an hour or so today may finish up the remaining work that needs to be done in the bathroom.

Yesterday, I bought a cleaning stone at the hardware store. This is basically a pumice stone and can be used to remove built up minerals or burnt on crust off enamel or porcelain.  I tried it first on the oven door to get off the black burnt on residue after the self cleaning oven didn't get it off. It worked like a charm! The oven door and the edge of the oven came out shiny with little effort compared to using an SOS pad. Then I used it to get the rest of the crud off the toilet (many years of not cleaning the bowl often and properly will allow urine to build up, and believe me, it was built up!!). I worked for about an hour with the stone to clean under the rim of the bowl (no one ever cleans under the edge), the edge of the rim and the bowl of stains. After using the stone on the toilet, I soaked it in bleach water for about an hour to sanitize it. I will take the stone with me and use it for other things.

I hear Jake barking, so I have to go now.

I'm back for a quick round-up. After getting the wood stove going in Dean's house, I took the dogs out for a pee, then fed them. Max the cat was being a pain, so I gave him some chicken bits. He ate and went outside. Always on the wrong side of the door are the cats. Then cleaned the bathroom so I could wash up. Then washed the dishes from last night since I was so beat up when I got back from Shirley's. Dean was out with his friends for Wednesday night supper, I had grilled cheese sandwiches for supper. Timmy came along with John and Col. Steve. They were working on John's truck, it had a leak in the cooling system. Was only a hose, a quick fix. Dean steps right up for his friends when they have car problems...but my car still needs new parts. Oh, well, maybe tomorrow for my car?

Santa had left some gifts for Timmy with me, so I handed them over. Timmy was pretty speechless, new winter sox, a scraper/broom for his car, toothpaste, toothbrush, all kinds of body soaps, cookies and a dark chocolate bar. All in a stocking for him.

Then I helped get all the trash rounded up so Timmy could make a trash run to the dumpster. He was off to meet John & Dean. I hope Dean went to get the right breaker for the electric panel, then we will be one step closer to having an operating washing machine here. That is exciting!

Have a great day. I am off to wrap it up at Shirley's. Hope I can finish all that needs to be done today.
December 28, 2016
For the past few days, I have been helping my friend Shirley clean her rental apartment. The tenants left a real mess, having dogs & rabbits inside the apartment. They never let the dogs out, the dogs pissed the living room carpet to saturation. Rug & pad removed, I feared the sub flooring would have to be replaced, two coats of Nature's Miracle has removed the odor of urine. And washing the wood flooring under the rabbit hutches where their droppings & urine was allowed to fall. Holes in the wall, forbidden water bed that was leaking, what a freaking mess. But the kitchen appliances & the bathroom were the worst. Lipstick all over the mirror & fixture in the sink, the shower leaked to the point of creating an almost non-removable greet coating of goop under the shower. The tenants left furniture, toys, clothing beyond imagination.

I went into the bathroom to begin cleaning. After I had vacuumed the floor, Gerry (Shirley's "handyman") decided to remove the ceiling fan. I had asked him to do this last week as well as remove the baseboard he intended to replace,  but he waited till I had vacuumed the floor and was already washing the cabinets. I had to re-vacuum the floor. By the time I was into the floor scrubbing (I had to use Comet cleanser, scrub brush and water to clean), I had vacuumed the bathroom floor 3 times.

Meanwhile, Shirley is cleaning the kitchen stove, but it was clear she had no idea how to do it with any good results. I showed her how to remove the cooking elements, the clips for the elements. Using a scraper & toothbrush, I showed her how to remove all the grease on the range top. And under the top...and over the top, removing all the knobs and cleaning the grease off everything (and I mean everything). All the parts for the stove were soaking over night for ease of cleaning the next day. Most of the day, I went back and forth between the bathroom & kitchen as well as giving advice on how to best do some other things. I quit after 5 hours of working.

Yesterday, more of the same. Seems Gerry works best under pressure...and it took him two hours to install two blinds in some windows. Really? I could have done it in less than 30 minutes.Got to go now...shall continue later.
December26, 2016
Christmas has passed. Chanukah has begun. I've borrowed from a friend the candles & menorah to burn candles for the next nights. Altho' I was raised christian, my grandparents were Jewish. I spent the first several years of my life with them and remember their celebrations behind drawn curtains on Friday evenings and certain holidays. As I grew older and more out of my (crazy) mother's influence, I felt more drawn towards Hebrew traditions. I began to seek out and learn more about this religion/tradition.

What I have discovered is it is more a way of life...like living organically. It is a mind-set, a belief that permeates all of your daily life and the way one does things. Like buying only eco-friendly dish detergent rather than Dawn. Or making your own laundry detergent rather than using All. Free-range eggs rather than the cheapies at the supermarket. Sure, I have to go out of my way to get Joanne's eggs, but I know they are free-range and well taken care of. Yes, they cost more than supermarket eggs. I don't care. I support her efforts (wish more had supported my efforts), at farming. I appreciate the hard work it takes to care for the animals in harsh winter and summer months. People don't get how hard it is to keep animals in extremes! Just the snow shoveling can give one a heart attack!

Friday, I had the 100# LP tank filled. Dean was gone off to the post office and shopping. Not the first time I have done this refill alone, not a problem. It was a beautiful day, sunny & warm. I always am more secure when I have a full LP tank at the ready to take over when the other tank empties. I HATE using a 20# tank for the furnace, it really runs out quickly. I was certain the connected (to the camper) tank would run out over the holiday weekend...but the tank is still providing this morning. However, the carbon monoxide detector went off early this AM. Not sure why, but I was up and moving around when it went off. I thought it was the smoke detector at first, but not. I feel OK, so I don't think there is an issue with carbon monoxide in the camper, just a malfunction in the detector due to the bottom of the LP gas tank pulling out the last of the tank for the furnace. I will vent the camper today...open the windows and door to clear any gasses out. This is the first time the carbon monoxide detector has triggered. Will be on the alert now!

Christmas passed with little fanfare. Christmas eve, Dean went to his aunt & uncle's with his friend Gail. I stayed with BB in the camper for the evening. That day, I figured Dean needed his "space" since he was acting funny...they way he acts when he is up to something. Previously, he invited me to go with him to his aunt & uncle's. But during the day, he spoke of Gail being accused of stealing $6,000.00 worth of scratch tickets from her (family owned & operated) business. Turns out it was her sister taking the tickets. But that hadn't been straightened out and Gail needed some support. BB and I were just fine in the camper.

Christmas Day was just beautiful. Temps in the upper 40's, little wind. I took BB for a walk at the bike path. We walk across the storm surge barrier on the way west, on the bike path back east towards the car. The huge rocks on the top of the barrier are fairly flat with small gaps between the stones. The stones at the top of the barrier are huge, some are 10' across. All granite, they offer good exercise for BB who has to make small leaps between the rocks. He likes the walk, sniffing and pissing his way across the top. On the bike path, he greets everyone he comes across. When we are done with the walk, he is ready for an afternoon nap.

I bought some very nice (discounted) grass-fed beef steaks for dinner on Christmas night. I asked Dean to get a fire outside going to cook the steaks on...asked him to get it fired up after 6 PM. He had some charcoals he bought a few months back...some real charcoals. Anyway, I got the brussel sprouts and sweet potatoes ready as I waited for the charcoals. Dean is on the phone with who knows, I went out to check the charcoals for the steaks...figuring they would be almost ready since it was 25 minutes since Dean started them. Nothing going on with the charcoals. I alerted Dean, who was irritated (to say the least). I ended up getting some coals out of the wood stove to assist, but the charcoals had been allowed to get damp or wet, wouldn't fire up. I broiled the steaks under the broiler in the oven. They were wonderful...and took only 10 minutes to cook. Brussel sprouts and sweet potatoes were delicious, Dean barely said thanks. I think grilled cheese and soup will be served for the rest of the week.

Today, I head over to Shirley's to clean the bathroom in her rental apartment. She has offered to pay me...her "friend" Gerry isn't doing much in the serious cleaning department, so I will step up. Gerry made excuses about doing the cleaning, he has to "replace this in the sink and fix that in the tub" couldn't see the point in cleaning before he did his work. Well, let me tell you, there is a LOT of cleaning to do in the bathroom. I figure it will take me about 3 hours of hard scrubbing to do a good job and make it shine. Neither Shirley or Gerry really know how to clean...anything.

Isn't that something...Shirley just called me to say she had varnished the dining room floor and to use the front rather than the back entry way. The new carpet is down in the living room and the odor of urine is gone since the sub flooring (under the carpet) was sprayed with Nature's Miracle odor remover twice. The previous tenant's dogs had pissed the carpet to the point of saturation as well as in front of the dining area closet (I saw the puddle of urine running under the closet door). That is the room Shirley varnished...she sanded and varnished! Good for her!

Well, time to get off my arse and start my day. Scrubbing awaits!