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Certified organic poultry farmer in SE Mass

May 29, 2017
Today it poured rain. The local parade was cancelled. It is late afternoon, the clouds lifted awhile ago, but now it looks like more rain coming. Oh, well!

I have asked Dean several times to inquire about his aunt & uncle's RV. It is a nice Georgetown, probably an early 1990's with about 45,000 miles on it. It has a nice layout, is in good condition. Book value on similar RV's is in the $6 - 7,000.00 range. He still hasn't asked them.

Meanwhile, my traveling partner wants to leave Memphis the middle of June. It is over 1,300 miles from here to there. I have no idea how long it would take me to drive that far, even in a motor home. I figure I might make about 400 miles per day, maybe less, maybe more depending on the weather. Since I am unfamiliar with driving such a large vehicle, I will probably just fart along...but at least I will have a place to sleep & eat rather than dining out and staying in a motel.

I had some ideas that I might be able to visit my family on the trip. However, after looking at the map, I found out that NC and GA are WAY out of the way to Memphis, TN.

I have inquired on my yahoo group websites (poultry sites) about visiting some farms on our way across the country and have rec'd several replies. However, it seems the invites may be out of the way, too. Disappointed that I haven't rec'd more invites from the members of these groups.

I will continue on my quest to travel across the country this summer. Anyone got any ideas on how I can work this out? I should have started a gofundme page a long time ago, but my traveling partner found me just awhile ago and there wouldn't have been time to get the page going.

Hope all had a good weekend. We should have nice weather starting tomorrow. Go figure.
May 28, Memorial Day Weekend
I went to Syd's yesterday to finish planting her flamed areas on her lawn. The previously seeded areas are sprouting nicely, clover is showing up now. I was surprised at how much actual grass remained from the flaming I did and drought from last year. Syd was mowing her grass, which had grown a lot over the past two weeks with all our rain. But I am not complaining after the three hot days we had  in mid-May. All her flamed areas are now planted. Tomorrow, Memorial Day (celebrated) it will rain. The ground has warmed up nicely and the grass & clover I planted yesterday should sprout fairly quickly. Syd's lawn will be nice by mid-June.

I have refurbished two of my Volvo's rims so I can buy new summer tires. There was a lot of rust on them, I used a wire wheel on an electric drill to remove most of the rust. Then, I hand-sanded both sides, blew them off with air and cleaned with brake cleaner. Two coats of rusty metal primer and two coats of aluminum paint made them look almost like new. I will go on Tuesday for new tires, a front end alignment & have the steering box trued up (so when the tires are pointing straight, my steering wheel will also be straight). I have had some front end work done on the car (tie-rod replaced and some other things done), so a front end alignment is necessary to prevent new tire wear.

In case I have neglected to mention this, I sent a certified letter to the RV repair business I hired to fix all the leaks in my camper roof. I gave them 7 days to contact me and within three days, I got a call from the son of the owner of the business. His first question was "What do you want?" I told him there was no way they would fix the camper since they already had their chance and failed miserably. I told him I would have to think about it and get back to him. Since it was the week before the "start of summer" I have resisted contacting them. The son (of the owner) said they can't find the pictures I sent (on two different occasions) of the camper roof. I have just re-sent some of the pix...but when I checked my email files, I realized they all were aware of my situation and offered no solutions except for me to do the work myself.

I have checked with the county court house small claims court and the maximum amount I can sue for is $7,000.00. I have documentation of all the money I spent on extra help to clean out my camper from mold, the cost of going to the laundromat to wash & dry my bedding, towels, etc. It will exceed the maximum amount allowed when I add in the estimate for repairing the damage to the camper due to all the leaking before I put up the tarp to cover the top of the camper. We shall see what they offer after they have read my email & seen the pix.

Today, I have done laundry (four loads) washed dishes (we ran out of hot water two days ago, I allowed the dished to pile up) and am icing my shoulder. I took a fall yesterday afternoon over a lawnmower Dean has out in the yard. I landed on my bad shoulder...icing it today, but it really is sore.

I will go out and do some raking where Dean weed whacked grass. The predicted rain will ruin any chance I have of doing it tomorrow, so best it is done today.

I hope all of you have a great Memorial Day Celebration. We will never forget...My Dad fought in the Korean Conflict, my Grandfather was a vet of WWII, my sister did two tours in the Navy in the mid-east. I come from a military family. We will never forget our heroes and what they sacrificed for our freedom.

Sunny after rain
I worked another day at Syd's, planting grass and clover seeds in some of the flamed areas of her lawn. It is easier to flame than prepare & plant! I got about half the flamed area planted & rolled out. The ground was soft since it had been raining for several days prior to planting. Syd has kept the seeded areas watered and the clover should sprout soon. We had two days of very high temps for May, setting heat records or at least almost setting heat records.

After two days of working at Syd's, I went to help my friend Lenny get his rental apartment ready to show. Two winters ago (winter 2015) we had record setting snow fall over the month of February. Many homes suffered damage from roof dams. Lenny's old house was one. Water came into the attic, soaking the blown-in insulation and two of the ceilings fell. His tenants moved out and he has been replacing the ceilings. Lenny is in his late 60's, works a farm and does a lot of machinery repairs to boot. It has taken him two years to get the ceilings all done so he can rent the apartment. I helped by cleaning the kitchen and bathroom. The heat came on the first day I cleaned and was just awful the second day. I finished all the necessary cleaning late Wednesday afternoon and I was whipped.

Thursday, I took the day and did some errands. Temps reached 95 in Boston before clouds came to cool things off. Yesterday, it was still warm, but not as warm as Thursday. Late yesterday, it cooled off and this morning, temps were in the high 50's with a nice northerly breeze.

I was so tired yesterday, I rested most of the day after doing some work around here. I did two loads of laundry on Thursday, including my bedding. I got my winter clothes and bedding ready to go into storage for the summer. Dean and I headed out to get our salt water fishing licenses, but we didn't have checks, they didn't take cash or debit cards. We will do our business at one of the local places that sells the licenses instead. The fishing season opens today.

Dean has headed off to a flea market this morning. I am getting myself together to see  my friend Shirley. I will go to court with her on Tuesday to settle a case against a non-paying tenant she had to evict. I was supposed to see her yesterday, but things just kept me from getting there.

Syd's grass should be sprouting today or tomorrow. She has been good about watering the seeded areas since it got so hot and dry. Some clover I planted last week here at Dean's has sprouted, so I know her grass should be on it's way to getting green.

I am headed out the door, but wanted to update this blog...as I have been lacking in my diligence. 
One day later
After working at Syd's yesterday for about 2 1/2 hours flame weeding a crap load of invasive weeds in her lawn (drought conditions allowed grass to die and weeds just took over several areas), I stopped off at Hollis' to wish her mom a Happy Mother's Day. BB went into say HI to everyone. Hollis' dad, Wayne, loves BB and how easy he is to get along with, how obedient he is and how much he loves their cats. Then headed to find some  cheap grass seed for Syd's lawn.

BB went with me to Syd's. He and Syd's dog Salty get along very well. Salty is a West Highland Terrier and very friendly. He and BB have pissing contests all over Syd's lawn. It is pretty funny since they have no pee left but still lift their legs. Salty is pretty much the only dog that BB gets along with. And they have similar interests...pissing contests!

I flamed a lot of areas at Syd's yesterday afternoon. More needs to be flamed, but I cut work off after 3 - 4 hours. I find I am not crippled if I limit myself to less than 5 hours of work. Not that flaming is hard, but I stand the entire time and my back gets tired.

I suggested planting some grass seed in the flamed areas and to supplement the grass seed with some clover seed (which I already have). Today, I will pick up my "Weasel" tool and my grass roller on my way to her place. I have to fill 2 - 20# LP containers so I have a good selection to switch to when the tanks ice up (this happens when gas comes out of an LP tank quickly, not something one sees when they are using LP to fire up a grill). Once the tank ices up, the LP pressure reduces dramatically and the flame gets very low. Having another tank (or two) to switch to allows continuing flaming. The iced tank takes probably an hour or more to defrost before you can use it again. Having three 20# tanks at the ready really helps speed up the job.

I should explain the Dragon Weeder. It is a torch with a squeeze valve to control the output of LP gas. I have rigged a stroller so I don't have to carry the 20# tank around, the tank is in the stroller. The torch puts out 55,000 btu's of flame. There is a gas line that gives me 15' of radius from the stroller where the LP tank is. Very handy for burning or flaming weeds, very dangerous in dry conditions. It is the certified organically accepted weed control I like best since results are immediate and visual. It is the preferred way to create a "stale seedbed". I also am a firebug. Using the flame weeder satisfies my inner firebug!

The "Weasel" tool (not sold anymore, I believe) turns the top few inches of soil. This reduces any digging in order to plant seed such as grass or clover, then a rake will bury the seed. I have a small, portable roller to tamp the earth down for better seed retaining. Since we have had such nice cool and damp weather, the seed will sprout readily and the grass will grow back into the bare areas and reduce weed growth (or at least I hope).

On my way to Syd's, I will stop at Lenny's house to check out his rental unit. He is finally ready to show it but some cleaning needs doing in the kitchen and bathroom. Mostly sheet rock dust from replacing the ceilings that fell in when we had heavy snow that caused huge ice dams on his roof, then the water leaked inside the eaves of the attic, resulting in two ceilings coming down. Lenny has been working on this project since summer 2015. But he works mostly alone and it is slow going. He knows I am good for cleaning, so I will do this job for him. I will assess the job to see what I need to bring to clean. I know I have to pick my vacuum up from storage before I start the job.

These two projects will take up the next three days. Thursday, I have an appointment in the afternoon and will take the day off. Friday, I hope to take my 91 year old friend out to lunch. Laura recently gave up her driving license since she doesn't feel as if she is up to the challenges of driving anymore. So, she is pretty much house bound, doesn't get out much. So, we will take a ride and go somewhere to eat.

This weekend, I hope to get around to finishing my Volvo rims so I can get my summer tires on the car. Right now, I am in violation since I am running my studded snow tires (after May 1). I am going to head to Pep Boys for two new tires, balancing all summer tires & front end alignment. I think the work I am doing now will help defray the cost of the tires & front end alignment.

I'm still trying to figure out how to work out the cross-country trip with Arianna. Dean will speak with his aunt and uncle over the next few days to see if they are interested in renting their RV to me for six weeks.

It is raining again. Seems it will continue most of the day on & off. But I will go to Syd's anyway and be happy I don't need a hose when I flame...it is too wet for anything to burn. Flaming is not so much to burn. The extreme heat causes the water in the plants to come to the boiling point and explodes all the cells in the leaves of the plant. This kills the growth above the ground and sets the plant back to dormancy. The plant has to pull energy from the root system to produce more leaves, exhausting the roots of the plant. By the time the plant can grow new leaves, the newly planted grass & clover seeds have sprouted and are growing. Flaming also burns up any new seeds, so flaming is done prior to planting any new seeds.

Time for me to get myself in gear for the day.

Happy damp & cool spring!
Mother's Day 2017
After swearing to myself I would be more faithful about writing in this blog, six weeks have gone by since my last entry. So, I will catch up somewhat.

April, most of the month, that is, was cool and damp. Many around here are complaining about the cool, damps, but I say...there is a virus that lives in nature. This virus kills Gypsy moth larvae. If spring is warm & dry, the virus languishes and the larvae eat all the tree leaves. If spring is cool & damp, the virus will grow and the Gypsy moth larvae die. Rather a cool & damp spring, as far as I am concerned!

Over the past month, I have accomplished little but much. I bought a box truck (the kind a contractor might have to store his equipment in so he can drive all he needs over to a job) for very little money. I paid to have it towed to Dean's place, sight unseen. It needs some repair where some rivets are leaking and floor needs to be replaced in the corners right under the leaks. Not to bad for what I paid. Within a few days after it was towed to Dean's, Lucas put his rough cut lumber into the box truck (without asking, I might mention). Lucas has been working on his table, but it has been slow going. I asked Dean if he might get Lucas to move all his (leftover) lumber out of the box truck by Wednesday so I can pressure wash the outside, the inside and start removing rusty rivets & seal the exterior. Since it has been so cool (in the 40's & 50's), I haven't had the desire to go out on a ladder (in the wind) and get the pressure washing done. But this week, temps will get into the 80's and weather will be perfect for this outside job. Plus, the interior will dry in the warm weather. The object of buying this box truck is so I can  move one of my storage unit contents into the box truck and relieve myself of one of my monthly $100.00 rental fees. The box truck will pay for itself in three months after I have relocated one storage unit into the box.

I moved my canoe from Lenny's in Rochester (where it was for three years) to Dean's. I have to repair the damage done by high winds that lifted the canoe off the top of a jeep, pushing the canoe onto an abandoned hay bailer. I didn't need that!!! I will have to purchase the repair kit from Old Town Canoe since this canoe is a special kind of material. Auto body filler won't work. That will cost about $100.00 + shipping.

I have been struggling with the new lock on the second storage unit I rented. About ten days ago, I went to put some things into storage and take out two of my summer tires. I couldn't get the key to open the dead bolt. The man who rents the house next to the garage (where my storage space is) came outside and he helped me with the dead bolt. He said he had problems with the new dead bolt, too. It came to my attention that the guy (Lucas) who built the wall to close off my storage space had problems with the new dead bold, too. And I let Dean try to use the key in the dead bolt and he had a hard time getting the key to work. Well, the guy who owns the garage (where my storage space is) has known about this challenge with the dead bolt for several months and has done nothing...until I cornered him and told him I really felt exposed when I was outside (in not a great neighborhood), struggling to get the dead bolt to unlock. I am still waiting to hear if he got the dead bolt to work...

On April 10, I woke up with a very swollen left side of my jaw. It was very tender and painful. The pain increased during the day, got so bad, I actually thought about going to the dentist. Then I remembered I have been diagnosed with TMJ (or is it TJM?) and had physical therapy for it some years back. I also have a problem with the salivary gland on that side of my face. Seems it doesn't function right and fills up with saliva. I have to massage it to get the saliva to come out. But my jaw was just too painful to touch, never mind massage. By Tuesday, I was in agony, but thought about going to the doctor or dentist and decided I would tough it out. Tuesday, I started to douse the inside of my mouth with Rescue Remedy as well as the outside of the swollen area. By Wednesday, the swelling had subsided to the point where I could massage the swelling.  The amount of saliva that came out of the jaw was amazing! Friday, it was as if it had never happened. I know if I went to the doctor, she would have sent me to the dental clinic where they would have insisted I had abscessed teeth that needed extracting. All they want to do at that dental clinic is pull your teeth. The older you are, the quicker they are to dismiss any dental repair. My insurance doesn't pay for any dental work such as root canals, crowns, etc. Nor does it pay for any bridge work or dentures. They just pull your teeth and leave you with gums. Nice, huh?

In early April, I got in contact with a friend I hadn't seen since the mid 1990's when she left Vermont for Memphis. We did write after she moved, but we lost contact some years back. I found her on Linkedin...and she responded. She wants to take a cross country trip this summer and I want to go with her. So, I have been trying to figure out how to make this work. My Volvo's motor is just too small to tow my camper. I have thought of renting a vehicle to tow the camper so we don't have to tent out or stay in motels. Besides we will both have dogs with us and some motels are not dog friendly. So, I am working on that idea...but remembered Dean's aunt and uncle have a nice RV that they NEVER use. I asked Dean to approach them about my renting their RV...it is a Georgetown, very nice and well equipped. It is set up to tow a vehicle, so I could drive the RV to Memphis, rent a trailer and load my friend's RAV 4 onto the back of the trailer and off we go. Wouldn't this be nice and easy? But who knows if they will go for it. I am sure I would have to  pay for the insurance, etc, but the trade off from tenting & motel rooms would pay for the rental of the unit easily.

I have been working on a small garden area on the east side of Dean's house. At one time, Dean was trying to grow flowers, but he didn't have time to work the area. I have been slowly removing the grass and planting some flowers where I have removed the sod. I can't do too much of this work at once since it will activate the pain in my hip, so slow it goes.

Well, I am headed to my friend Syd's this afternoon to flame weed some bad stuff around her place. So, I will close for today. Happy Mother's Day to all.