Don’t taunt Happy Fun Poison Oak

I thought I was ultra careful taking the hedge trimmer to the poison oak bushes at the edge of the pasture we started fencing last weekend. Alas not… I managed to get it on both arms and a patch on my back (must have scratched an itch). I should have been more paranoid and gotten the Tecnu soap prior to breaking out.

Yuck… this sucks. Next time, I need to get dressed in a HazMat suit before taking on Happy Fun Poison Oak.

Operation “Stay home doggies” commences

Fraley and I started our fencing project today – we got the first 100+ft in place between a couple sections on our property (the part that our dogs most frequently injure themselves on due to the rusty old barbed wire), and partially tensioned. We need to finish this section this coming weekend – its somewhat slow going using the come-a-along to tighten it up and then attach all the retainer clips, but we’re determined.

The next section we’ll do is along the actual border with the neighbors where their dogs squeeze thru. A tree fell over this section years back and broke/flattened a long section of the fencing. Its tangled with a bunch of wood, etc so we’ll have to carefully extract the wire first before taking the chainsaw to the tree/branches.

We’ll need to start closing the gate at the end of the driveway too, since I found of of their dogs wandering along the road when I left for work last week. And its a damn long walk to get to our driveway by road from the neighbors. But their dogs seem to have nothing better to do when left alone during the day.

I hope the local farm supply store has plenty of fencing in stock – I’m going to clean ’em out this weekend :-/

Next time read the recipe with a little more attention to detail, Stupid.

I made spaghetti and meatballs tonight. …… to feed 12 – 16 people. TWELVE TO SIXTEEN. That’s right, I scanned the recipe, said, ooh, sounds yummy then headed off to the store to get ingredients. I thought 4 pounds of meat sounded like a lot. 60 meatballs later, yeah, it WAS a lot. So was six 28ounce cans of tomatoes. SIX. I read it as 2. It was six.

The house smells good. But Arts going to be eating spaghetti and meatballs for lunch for a month. I suppose I’ll freeze most of it. That stuff freezes well.

Sigh. No more pre-cooking dinner cocktails for me.

Dogs, fencing and a good hike

As much as the east coast is in the grips of bitter cold weather, our weather has taken a turn entirely the other way. It was > 70 around the area over the past few days. On the surface, that seems great, but it will wreak havoc with crops later this winter/spring.

Anyway, more problems with the neighbors dogs – they continue to squeeze thru areas of the old fencing between our properties and come down to harass us, our animals, etc. Enough is enough – we’re going to completely re-fence the border between us with a mesh fence (rather than just the few strands of barbed wire which doesn’t keep them out and causes problems for our dogs when they chase them). They let them wander freely and aren’t going to change despite numerous requests from us and other neighbors.

Lisa and I grabbed the hiking sticks and set off to inspect the fence lines this afternoon. We ended up exploring a whole area on the backside of our property we’d never been too (yea, we suck – almost 4 years now and we’ve not even stepped foot on the back 10+ acres of our land – note: its very steep and a hard climb in places, so its not a trivial stroll to get there).

Lisa got a bunch of good pics from up on top of our ridge and then down in the ravine where we found a neat stream bed – which should be full of water, but alas, no rain since December.

I’ll start working on installing new fencing this weekend, since I have MLK day off on Monday (and the good weather will continue thru the weekend).











If you have a problem

Ten years ago / In 1972, a crack commando unit was sent to prison by a military court for a crime they didn’t commit. These men promptly escaped from a maximum security stockade to the Los Angeles underground. Today, still wanted by the government, they survive as soldiers of fortune. If you have a problem, if no one else can help, and if you can find them, maybe you can hire… The A-Team.


Notice that everybody has a gun, except for B.A. Baracus. That’s because he doesn’t need a gun to fight crime. He uses his morals and his bling and sometimes he strikes a pose and growls and makes his targets pee themselves. And then the rest of the team shoots at them or blows them up with fireballs and other stuff they keep in their van.

Dang, those ’80s sitcoms!

Catching up on stuff around the ranch

The last couple weekends we’ve spent mostly catching up on a variety of long delayed chores/projects. Like cleaning out the barn office. We moved most of our boxes of stuff in there almost 4 years ago and never touched it. Lisa finally decided ’nuff is ’nuff and started climbing the mountain of boxes and getting stuff sorted out, thrown out, given away or re-packaged into real storage bins and labeled/put in the attic. Soon, we’ll have the barn office ready for all the horse tack, bikes and other things we need stored in the barn, but not subject to all the dust and debris that the horses stir up. Oh yea – and get the office painted some other color than crappy white with smudges.

I got a lights installed over Izzy’s stall and replaced the outdoor lights in the front of the house – wow – its nice actually having motion sensor lights out front to light your way when coming home at nite. Sure beats tripping over the barn cats in the dark.

Paul and I decided it was time to use the Jeep/pickup to get rid of the crap shrubs by the lawn. We made quick work of it with a chain and tow strap. Lisa ended up using the pickup as a rolling ladder to trim back the big oak tree so we could drive under it. You wouldn’t think a multi-hundred year old tree grows that quickly, but its added some serious length since we moved in so it was blocking the trail that used to be under it. We loaded up all the brush and took it down to the landfill (we don’t have a chipper/shredder). Given the cost of taking it to the landfill, we’ll have to ponder the acquisition of one – it cost $40-50 per truckload – and its not even like they landfill it. They chipper/shred it and sell it as mulch.

Next up for that spot we’ll need to get another tier of railroad ties and then amend the soil and then look at expanding the irrigation for an expansion of the garden beds. I’m thinking of adding some fruit trees, Lisa wants some variety of grasses and other low shrubs (less sprawling than the stuff we removed).

And finally, we got an awesome surprise from Paula and Peter on Friday – a box of fresh chowder and live Maine lobsters. What a great dinner. Can’t wait to get back to New England again, tho perhaps when its a tad bit warmer.














I love you, EBay

I took a chance and purchased a Ducks Jersey (old style: Disney duck with a hockey mask and a scowl!) on Ebay. It was a really really reasonable price, and listed as never worn. Dude bought it and intended on having it signed by the whole team, never happened, hung in his closet. I just received it today, and it is 100% perfect. Absolutely perfect. I love the Anaheim Mighty Ducks, even more than the Sharks (but don’t tell anyone), so when I got this in the mail today, I just sat in the car and giggled with sheer joy. I think I will sleep in it, forever.

Cruising Ebay, I found this at the end of a listing for a hockey jersey. These guys sell A LOT of stuff, so of course, they post their policies. But as much as they sell, they have a sense of humor, and I like that:


This is NOT a Best Offer item – the price is reasonable (whether YOU are or not). Please don’t email asking if we’ll take less for it. NO we won’t.

Non-paying bidders will be gnawed to a bloody stump by my savagely fierce Yellow attack Labradors. Grrr! All other decent bidders, please bid with confidence and check out our almost 100% feedback rating (yes, there’s always that 1 A****** isn’t there?).

If your family tree only has one branch – please don’t bid at all.

If you’ve been remarried, but still have the same In-Laws – please don’t buy.

Check out our reasonable return and shipping policies and if you’re uncertain about ANYTHING – please ask questions BEFORE bidding/buying. Preventable returns are a waste of everyone’s time.

Please pay with U.S. funds – no rubles, yen, pesos, or goat trading.

Return Policy: No returns under $30.00

Any other item can be returned for store credit for any reason within 7 days, provided it’s returned in exactly the same condition as it was shipped in, and accompanied by a note from your mother.

A restocking fee of 15% of the purchase price will be assessed on non-defective returns to cover seller and re-listing fees.

No fees will apply to any items purchased and returned due to a listing error. AND…if we screwed up (as unlikely as that may be), we’ll also reimburse your shipping costs!

Shipping charges: A flat shipping rate applies to ALL packages. (Yes, even YOURS). No pickups (although I love the new Toyota Tundra).

Insurance is offered and highly recommended. If your package is lost during shipping, I will feel terrible, but I won’t refund your money. Buy insurance and you’re covered.

U.S. shipments are usually sent via USPS Priority and generally arrive in 2-3 business days. (Rampaging gunmen may cause occasional USPS delays).

Upgrading to USPS Express usually results in 24 hour delivery (to MOST, but not all, U.S. areas) from the time the order is processed in Illinois.

Canadian and overseas shipments are sent via USPS 1st Class International and can take up to 6-10 BUSINESS days. That translates to about 2 WEEKS (in Metric) to my non-USA friends.

Neither seller nor USPS can control delivery times outside the USA.

Canadian Postal is wildly inconsistent on delivery times – yes it sucks, but it’s NOT MY FAULT!

Combined S&H discount is regular price for 1st item and $5 each for additional items.

Feedback – We leave positive feedback in bulk a couple times a month. As long as you leave it for us, we’ll certainly leave it for you. We’re proud of our almost perfect feedback. Although it’s rare, occasionally we make mistakes in shipping or jerseys are defective. If you are displeased in ANY way with your transaction, please give us a chance to correct the problem in a prompt and professional manner, BEFORE you leave negative feedback. We can’t fix the problem if we don’t know about it.

Thanks for looking. Go Blackhawks!

Such a good thing I didn’t decide to raise kids

Or, I should say WE didn’t decide to try and raise kids, because as sarcastic and cynical as I would raise them, Art would only compound it with a severe laissez-faire approach and an inordinate amount of metaphors. Our children would be abstract, free spirited (read=wild), horribly jaded, overtly opinionated and completely accomplished smart-asses who think life is EXACTLY like a hockey game.


On second thought, our kids might have a shot at surviving Society. I mean, they wouldn’t be popular with the Other Kids or the Parents of Other Kids (PoOKs), but you know, they would hold their own I think.


In the downtime at the San Jose arena, they had the Walking with Dinosaurs show last week. I took my brother Greg to see it – he’s wanted to see it for awhile. It was decent animatronics but I think more geared for fascinating or terrifying young kids (a number of parents seemed to misjudge their kids when bringing them to this show where a 40ft T-Rex strolls out and roars and basically walks around for 15 mins scaring everyone in the closest rows).

It was worth seeing – once.







Oh yes, I am.

**Sorry about the stretching on the image. I’m without any photo-editing tools right now. I have, like, just internet. That’s about it. But really, who needs anything else??? Oh, yeah, the photo editing thing. And my music would be nice. My recipe program would be pretty righteous. But you know, I gots the internetz. Thank you Art the Husband.**