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ctw1949
Certified organic poultry farmer in SE Mass

February 22, 2017
The past few days have passed uneventfully. Dean got a (used) new flat-screen TV but the cable box was old and didn't broadcast in HD. He was very disappointed in the picture. He went to cable co. & got an updated cable box. His friend Lucas came to set up the box (pretty simple, but the cable employee made it sound very difficult). When the new cable box was all set up, the picture was much better, HD made the difference.

I suggested he take the old router and have it replaced, but of course, he didn't. When he got to the cable co., they suggested he update his router, too. What do I know?

I was able to set up the CC option, so I can see dialogues without having to have the TV volume up so loud. Everyone is happy, especially Dean because during my tour of stuff in his house's corners, I located an additional cable box that was not being used but he was paying for. The bill should go down now.

Today, Rodney, a friend of Dean's, stopped by. The conversation came around to the new TV, cable bill, etc. Seems Rodney has first-hand knowledge of a certain box you can buy (not a Ruku stick), connect to your TV and run off WiFi, which Dean already pays for. Seems Dean could hook up this box and reduce his cable service to the cheapest basic and get additional TV off his WiFi. He would need to upgrade his internet service, but that would be offset by the reduction of his basic cable bill. Then Rodney suggested Dean get an outside antenna so he could get rid of cable TV all together. If he had the box Rodney suggested and an outside antenna, the TV cable bill would disappear altogether. Of course, I had suggested this to Dean some time ago, but it had to come from a guy to be relevant. We shall see what Dean does in the future. His cable bill is huge. Plus, he could get HBO & Starz for free with the box when you have to add an extra subscription (more $$) to the cable service. Rodney says he gets the newest movies that are still in theaters with his box.

Monday was so warm, most of the snow banks melted. I washed laundry and hung on the line. Then I had a disaster with my Electrolux vacuum, the one I have had for about 18 years. I found it by the street for the trash man when I was working in Orleans in 2001 or 2002. I was vacuuming the kitchen floor in the corner where the animals have their water bowl. While I was struggling to disconnect the wand from the hose, the hose flew out of my hand...and you guessed it! Right into the water bowl. I shut the motor off, unplugged the electric from the wall, but water was already coming out of the back end of the vacuum. Dean took the vacuum apart, everything checked out OK. He let it dry for two days. Yesterday, I plugged it in but the vacuum didn't run. Guess this trusty old vac has met the end of the road years after it was discarded by the person who left it by the side of the road. I am going to call my friend Ruth who owns a vacuum repair store and ask her if she might have another to replace it. Or maybe she can fix the one I filled with water. I do like this vacuum very much.

I am headed to the shower now, Dean is out having dinner with friends and I won't feel as if I have to rush...
Friday, February 17, 2017
Today dawned clear and chilly but warmed up nicely. After getting dressed, I tackled a pile of (Dean's) white wash that had to be done in two loads since there was just too much for the one load and just too dirty to get clean otherwise.

Yesterday, I had washed some of the animal blankets & towels. They were hung out on the clothesline to dry, a nice breeze assisted. I lifted the cover from over my camper's east-facing front window. I close this cover during high winds from the east, east northeast or south east since I am afraid the wind will blow the cover off and make a hole in the camper...always a possibility. The cover acts like a sun shade in hot months, but can be moved up higher to allow the rising sun to light up the interior of the camper early in the day. I like to wake up to the sun. Strange thing with me, I always wake upon sunrise, even when in total dark or on a cloudy, stormy day. I didn't say I GOT up, just wake up.

After all the cloudy & stormy weather we have had over the past 10 days or so, I enjoyed seeing the sun this morning.

I shut off the furnace and opened the camper windows for some badly needed ventilation. It has been stormy and cold, so the stale air inside needed changing. Since the fan over the stove started squealing, I haven't used it to pull fresh air in from a slightly open window for air exchange. Plus, I have been sick with a cold for the past 6 or 7 days, so the exchange was needed.

After supper last night, I was too tired to wash supper dishes, so I went back to my camper and took my laptop to bed to watch some TV. Of course, I fell asleep. I woke up sometime in the night, turned the laptop off & fell back into slumber.

So, in the sunlight, I got up, got BB out of bed and started my day. The fleas have come back with a vengeance in Dean's living room, so I decided I would start working on that project. I took out all the animal blankets I hadn't washed yesterday and hung them on the line. Meanwhile, Max the cat was demanding food every 39 (yes I said thirty nine) minutes. I timed him. Between feeding demands, he said he was on the wrong side of the door...constantly. I believe I let him in and out over a dozen times in two hours. His problem was Dean wasn't in the shop so he couldn't get inside to sit by the shop fire. I got last night's dinner dishes washed, wiped down the stove & counter tops. Took another load of clothes out to the washer.

Dean's house is a real "bachelor pad" that hasn't had a maid since 5 years ago. That would be around the time he moved in. He has a spare room where he piles all his extra tools & stuff. This is where Jake the terrorist dog has a LOT of toys. And every one of Dean's socks he can steal and stockpile under the futon/couch. There is a combination of dirt, dust, stuffing from Jake's once plump toys, tons of Jake hair and loads of spider webs. I pulled out some of the stockpiled socks and had to take them outside to shake off all the detritus. I took Jake's quilt & his active toys
outside to shake off. Jake got nervous when I got the vacuum cleaner out, he went and hid in a pile of dirty shirts in Dean's bedroom. BB slept through all of this activity. I sprayed the inside of the couch and under the cushions with Zodiac furniture spray and set things up so the spray could dry. Time for a break...

As I was getting ready to leave Dean's, I heard a kind of "poof" or "plop" coming from the direction of the wood stove. I turned to look...and saw a plume of smoke, soot and ashes coming out of the intake draft on the front of the stove. I checked the damper on the chimney, for some reason, it was all the way closed...I opened it. The plume continued to spread into the living room and kitchen. I opened a window over the wood stove and turned the kitchen exhaust fan on high and left the smoke/soot filled house.

Since it was a beautiful day and I had a bit of a wait till the laundry was finished washing, I went to Wareham, a 15 minute drive down Route 6 to run an errand. I figured the smoke would clear out of the house by the time I returned. I looked at the chimney and there was a lot of smoke & soot coming out, but nothing I was concerned about. Not a chimney fire, by any means.

In Wareham, BB got out with me and had a walk about in the parking lot. Back at Dean's, I fired up the vacuum and collected all the Jake hair inside the couch and under the cushions. Jake left the room again. BB paid no attention to the vacuum. Max wanted feeding again. And again. I had done an extensive "flea out" (moved the couch out, vacuumed under & behind, washed all & sprayed with Zodiac flea spray)
a week ago Tuesday, but found a new film of soot all over everything. So, I washed again. An order from Amazon had brought my favorite aroma of Mrs. Meyers Clean Day surface cleaner, so I mixed up a bucket of that with hot water. The wash water quickly turned gray, then black. I figure there must have been some creosote built up inside the chimney and it decided to fall into the wood stove, creating the plume of grossness. Yuk.

The day today was so sunny and warm, everything heated up where the sun struck. All the laundry dried completely, so I didn't have to hang it on the inside drying rack. As I was finishing the vacuuming job on the recliner, Dean came in and told me it was time to change, he was taking me out for fish & chips. We hit the road for Horta's in less than 15 minutes. Guess the rest of the vacuuming can wait till tomorrow.
February 16, 2017
Wow! been almost 10 days since I last wrote. We had a bad storm with gale force winds, actually two storms with gale force winds. I caught a cold and was pretty sick for about 5 days. Today, I am feeling much better. BB went to the homeopathic vet on Tuesday. Vet says BB is in good shape, tested negative for lyme & heartworm. I am waiting for the results on his titer test for parvo. Then I will know if he needs that vaccination. I suspect not, since he was vaccinated a whole bunch by the gal who passed him onto me.

So far, the repairs on my Volvo have been good. No leaking of coolant, no thrown belts from replacing the seal on the water pump. I had no problems with overheating on the trip to the vet's, a 60 mile trip, one way.

BB was good at the vet's till she did a bad thing to his bum when she took his temp. Then he was suspicious of her, no matter what she did. He wouldn't even eat her venison treats! He was in very good health, she said, some calculus on his back teeth, but otherwise, he looks great. Maybe a bit chubby, but I told her we aren't walking so much since the snow is here, making paths icy or impassible.

Dean brought the cold inside to share with me. Last cold he had, I was more careful with using hand sanitizer & hand washing then this time. He insisted he was just congested from all the welding and cutting with the torches while working on a pick-up truck front end. But he was actually sick. Next time, I will know better!

Today has flown by and I need to get some clothes out of the washing machine and onto the line to dry.

Hope to catch you all later.
February 7, 2017
After checking for leaks from my water pump, newly re-installed in the Volvo with better sealing stuff (?) and not seeing any leaks, I (finally) got washed and dressed. I called Hollis and asked her if she was going for a walk, she said yes...

So, I loaded (lethargic) BB into the Volvo and went to walk with Hollis. She does her paddock poop pick up before we leave, I assist. Today, she hasn't eaten b/c she is going for her colonoscopy tomorrow (ICK). The trail is icy in many places since there was snow, then some rain and melting. Bitty is having a field day, walking on the crunchy ice. Hollis is always concerned Bitty will slip on the ice. Seems one time Bitty ran right onto a frozen puddle and her legs went in four directions...and Bitty couldn't get up. I can only imagine how scared Hollis was and how funny Bitty looked, splayed legs!

It was sunny but not so warm. We were watching the trail for large canine tracks since Hollis' neighbor had told her of large coy dogs (cross between coyotes and large domesticated dogs, gone wild). These canines are more common up north, but recently have been sighted in this area. Last fall, Dean was out with a friend, driving in the north Acushnet area when a coy dog ran out in front of their car and was struck. Dean said it was a very large animal and the coat was reddish. This is the clue that it was a coy dog. Normally, they have a reddish coat.

Hollis and I saw some canine prints in the mud, fairly large. I would say they were 4" across, or pretty close. Big dog prints. I suggested maybe someone living close to the trail was letting their dog out to run unsupervised. That may be the case, but it also could be coy dogs.

We walked down to a small pond where we found a fire site loaded with beer cans, many shot up full of holes. I took pix...and collected a bunch of spent shells. Hollis told me of a few days, earlier in the season, when there was hours (and I mean HOURS) of constant shooting. She suggested automatic weapon fire, rapid fire without any pause. She said after this shooting incident, she and her friend rode the trails that day. They found so many rounds on the ground, they wouldn't ride the horses through/over them for fear the spent shells would lodge in the horses frogs (soft part of the horse's feet). These shells were gone today, but others of different caliber were there. Dean looked at the ones I collected, he said some came from pretty large loads. I will take them to the conservation agent so she knows where they are. I have taken some pix of trash piles (maybe from the golf course? Who knows) and will get them to the agent so she is aware of these goings on on town property.

The rain is coming on now. Temps are just above freezing, so the roads will not be great since they spread salt out with abandon here to keep the roads from black ice. Not that it really helps, the salt melts any ice, but it re-freezes. Sand would be the most logical choice, but there isn't much logic with regard to road treatment down here in southern MA.

Today, I hope to get some pix downloaded onto a flash drive for the conservation agent. I have already tried a SanDisk, but it is so complicated, I am not sure if it worked. Passwords, encriptions, all of that stuff just to download some pix...too much. I just need a simple thumb or flash drive for this. I went to the website for SanDisk, no information available. The link provided on the back of the (new) package is so long, there has to be room for many errors when typing the link into the search engine. Some times, things are just too complicated!

I did make an appointment for BB & Max (the old cat) to go to see the homeopathic vet next Tuesday. I figure it will cost me probably $500.00 for all the diagnostics & any meds Max needs to improve his breathing challenge and his tooth problem. He has one canine tooth that is black and probably needs to be pulled. I am hoping it can be done in one visit since the vet is 60 miles one way...but she is the only homeopathic vet in the entire area. I am concerned about some lumps BB has on his chest. They seem to be located directly under his nipples. Could be breast cancer. Maybe only cysts...we will see.

BB did have two lethargic days. He refused to eat Saturday supper (he is fed 2X a day), nothing on Sunday and wouldn't eat much Monday morning. He was listless and not interested in much. He wanted to sit outside, so I put his coat on him and put up his little fenced yard. He sat there for about 5 min. then wanted out. He perked right up when we drove into Hollis yard for the walk. After our walk, BB was just fine. He ate his supper without any hesitation (I gave him a small portion for supper) and was happy to eat spaghetti with me & Dean. He loves spaghetti...what's that all about?

Have to go, feed the dogs, do AM chores and get ready to (not) face the day. At least I got this into the blog.
February 6, 2017
Sorry I had to run the other day. Back to Bitty & BB walks. I haven't gone since groundhog day with Hollis, BB & Bitty. Damp & cloudy weather has kept me from doing any extra walking plus my car has been on the lift getting the water pump fixed. Seems one of the O rings slipped (how does that happen?). The car has overheated twice on me while I have been traveling. When I checked, the coolant reservoir was empty. Once I added fluid, the temp gage went down. I have been carrying several gallons of anti-freeze in my car since the second overheat. Reminds me, I have to apply for the rebate online, $5.00 per gallon. These last two make three gallons of anti-freeze I have bought in the past two months. Still waiting for the first rebate to get to me. Probably lost in the mail...

I have a great fear of overheating the motor since one time, my red Volvo blew a radiator hose, the car overheated and warped the head gasket. Big bucks to fix....

Dean did bring my car into the shop late Saturday afternoon. He said there was a pool of antifreeze under the car on Sunday morning. This means the water pump has been leaking even when the car is not running. I would have never been able to tell since the car is parked on dirt...and anything that came out would just go into the ground, not leaving any stain. Yesterday, he pulled the water pump off, cleaned the contacts and put in some gasket sealant. The sealant has to cure for several hours, so the car has been in the shop since Saturday afternoon.

I had purchased a now thermostat & Dean put that in just in case something had gone wrong with it when the coolant level diminished and the car overheated. Sometimes, the thermostat can go bad when overheating occurs.

Dean just brought the car over to my door and asked me to watch the motor for leaks. Meanwhile, i have been trying to get the rocker panel molding back on but have some painting to do first. I had hoped to get the finish coat of paint on the car and the rocker panel molding back on before he took the car out of the shop, but guess that isn't going to happen today.

Meanwhile, the clips I bought for the molding don't fit into the molding so I can install. Of course, when I called the seller of the clips, they weren't open on Sunday. Sigh...

Meanwhile, back at the ranch (Dean's place), I have been lazy in the mornings, not getting out of the camper till after 10 AM and not washing or dressing till long after noon. Guess it is just winter doldrums...and I do like to do my writing early in the day before all the other crap comes down on my head.

Today, I hope to go to walk with Hollis. She is getting a haircut now, but will be home later. I have been trying to coordinate with her and another friend to have a hospital bed moved from one house to her parent's house. Just isn't happening since the friend who has the bed doesn't seem to be able to call Hollis when she has help to move the bed. The bed would be for Hollis's mother Shirley. Shirley is severely disabled from a hernia caused during surgery, if you can believe it! The doctors won't operate on the hernia and it is now the size of a basket ball (huge). Shirley suffers something awful with this bulging hernia. Doctors sometimes cause more damage than they fix.

Well, I have to go out and check my car for coolant leaks. Write more later.