Happy Independence Day!

The weather around here is supposed to clear up by noon, so we should be able to shoot off our fireworks after dark.

Had to smoke our big-ass pork shoulder on July 3, though, because we have to visit mom tomorrow for a few hours, and if we started smoking it when we got home, we wouldn’t be eating until damn near midnight.

Anyway, the pulled pork came out so tender and delicious, with homemade BBQ sauce, homemade coleslaw, and really good ears of corn I got from a local farm market.  We’ll be eating pulled pork for a week.

Our fireworks display last year was a little limited.  This year, we got some really good stuff.  Phantom Fireworks had professional grade mortars, but we stuck to 500 gram repeaters, and a whole assortment of lesser stuff, such as roman candles, fountains, and all the way down to bottle rockets.  Our neighborhood is not densely populated, so we don’t encroach on each other’s property with debris when we set them off.  Half a dozen neighbors also set off their own fireworks display.  There’s no competition.  It’s more of a relief that some nattering nanny won’t send the cops around to investigate something perfectly legal.

Happy 4th, and God Bless America!


Got a chance to meet Poe yesterday.  Our next door neighbor had borrowed our brush hog, but since it was still attached to his tractor, not ours, we “borrowed” it back with his tractor to do some brush hogging of our own.  When the neighbor drove his tractor over to drop it off, his rescue goat followed him.  The goat’s name is Poe.

Poe is probably a pygmy goat, but if not, he’s some other miniature breed.  He got distracted when he saw me up on the patio, and trotted up the hill to meet me.  Sweetest, cutest, friendliest little guy I’ve ever met for something that’s normally considered livestock.  Not for a second did I feel in any danger of getting butted with his full grown horns.  He was more interested in exploring our different patio areas, including the upper level we use for cookouts, and looking in the sliders at his own reflection than he was about sniffing me, but he sure liked getting pets, and a scratch on his bum.  His new owner had to walk up the hill to come fetch the guy to follow him home, after he’d dropped off the tractor.

I’m so glad I got a chance to meet the cutie.  There’s a distinct possibility he may get moved a couple of miles down the road to the B&B/farm our neighbor also owns, to go live with the sheep and miniature horses.  I think our neighbor’s getting a little tired of having Poe follow him around like a puppy.  He’s a goat.  He’s too old to bounce around like a kid, but he’s inquisitive, and he likes getting into things.  It’s the way they roll.

Have You Ever Liked Your Property Tax Collector?

I actually like mine.  I know, that sounds weird.  She doesn’t doo the assessments.  All she does is collect the taxes for county and municipal, which are billed separately from the school taxes.  Tried to pay mine online on the last date to get a 2% discount from face value.  FUBAR.

Anyway, I finally went in to see her in person during her office hours.  Explained the situation ahead of time via some traded emails, and when I showed up, I brought all my documentation.  I knew I was going to get stuck paying face value on the bill, for the fuck-up.  Yup, I did, but all I owe them is another $45.95.  I’ll walk in there in person to cut another check for the balance.

Can’t wait until I get my bill for three times that for school taxes.  Happens every year.  I will march into the office to deliver that check in person.  It’s at least three times the amount of our county/muni ones.

Our municipal tax collector is basically an accountant.  She has to check with her county overlords.  FWIW, she’s fine.  She just wants to book the right amount, and I want to pay the right amount.  And, she’s incredibly easy to deal with, compared to the ones I used to have when I lived elsewhere.


Years ago, our neighbor kept chickens, and he gave us extra eggs for free.  We “chicken sat” for them when they went away.  Those chickens were free range, all over his property and ours.  I liked them.  They kind of spooked some people, but pullets or hens aren’t aggressive.  They’re mostly harmless.  This year, he got 21, with no males, and one Silkie died before we had to look after them, so we’re looking after 20.

All 20 are accounted for.  They lost one black silkie before we were put in charge of them.  This time around, they are not allowed to roam all over the neighborhood, free ranging.  They don’t get to eat grass, or other vegetation unless we bring it to them.  Grass is a treat, as far as they’re concerned.  They almost fight over it, because all they get this year is seed, mealworms, and water, in their coop.

The good news is that we’ll probably get some free eggs.

Going by comb size, I’d estimate that a third of the flock is Americaunas.  The blue on their eggs goes all the way through to the membrane.


Family Reunion

This annual shindig was canceled last year, so it had been two years since we all got together.  We drove 1200 miles and change to get there.  So did my cousin-in-law from NM.  Same road trip back home for us.  Other in-laws flew in from FL, and rented a car to get there.

Unfortunately, it was kind of a crappy rainy weekend, so we got stuck indoors until mid-afternoon, and even then, the lawn was soggy, so we weren’t going to go out and play “Hit the Human Target With a Water Balloon.”  My BIL has a great water balloon sling shot launcher, and everyone from teens to 80s wants a go at that yard game.  Maybe next year.

The day before the big shindig, we did go to Canyon River Winery with our in-laws, for a flight tasting, because we had an afternoon to blow, so to speak, and stayed for a glass of what we each liked best.  I paid for that tab, because my BIL was going to get the tab for the pizza dinner.  I got the better end of the deal, pricewise.  The winery was unexpectedly decent.  C’mon, it was Minnesota.  The pizza was pretty good, too.

When we got back home, our cats were happy to see us. We unloaded our cargo before we went to pick up our dog from his boarding “resort.”  Our veterinarian no longer boards critters from clients, so we had to find somewhere else.  This place costs more than a two adult hotel room, if you split the cost per person.  The upsell for “packages” that include extra hugs, play time, tucking in at bedtime, a bedtime story, and all that nonsense is ridiculous.   Our dog doesn’t get all that at home.  Not gonna pay extra for it.

We went for the basic boarding thing, but I did have to pay extra to get our boy a bath, so we could pick him up in the afternoon.  There was NO WAY we were going to get back before noon to fetch him.  The last time he had a bath was the day before we adopted him 12 years ago.  He does have that “new dog” smell, but he never smelled like much of anything, anyway.  Mostly, his short coat looks a little fluffier.

Anyway, the whole trip went according to plan, and our 2400 round trip road trip went well.

Face muzzles were supposedly required, not by the state, but by local businesses.  Nobody wore them, and nobody cared, either way.  Hey, it’s better to be able to breathe than get asphyxia.  I think the muzzle signs were there for the health inspectors, not for real people.  We are SOOOOOO over that BS.

Whoa Pony on the Invoice

In a totally good way!  I was expecting a bill of ~$500 for the pool opening this year.  I got charged $42 and change, for the chemicals.  They waived the labor charges for cover removal and the rest of it.  Granted, the two people were only here for half an hour, and I did assist them without getting in their way, but holy guacamole, Batman!

Anyway, I called to pay the bill, and was told it was correct.  Wasn’t going to question why (because they had never done that before), so I have to assume it had to do with wanting to keep a years-long customer, given that there are at least s dozen other pool companies around here.

I’ve got a boatload of calcium hypochlorite crystals for it, as well as ~30 lbs. worth of the same thing in 3″ tablet form.  Didn’t know that chlorine tablets were in short supply this year, but it doesn’t matter.  The crystalline version and the tablets are the same chemical compound.  I probably have enough for the next two years.

Limit your exposure to its fumes, though, and take off your silver jewelry when using it.


Two days ago, a “neighbor” who lives ~1 mile away in the next town over posted on Nextdoor that she had a set of seven cast iron Tiki torches she wasn’t using anymore, and was offering them for free to whoever wanted to come by to pick them up.  She had posted the ad three hours earlier, with a picture, before I saw it, so I PMed her immediately to ask whether they were still available.  They’re really nice looking.

After a couple of PMs and texts back and forth to arrange pick-up, we arrived at her house yesterday afternoon, found her around back on her patio, where she told us she’d be, and we snagged seven of them.  Had to pull them out of the ground ourselves, with the exception of one that was particularly stubborn, so the owner got out a trowel and pitched in to extricate that one.  We knew there was an eighth one, but her ad only mentioned seven.

Had no idea they’re as tall as they are from the picture she posted of the torch top end.  If we had known, we’d have driven the pickup there to fetch them.  They would have fit in the bed with no problem.  As it was, I figured out where the latches are to release one or both of the back seats in my car to fold down, creating pass-throughs from the trunk to the passenger cabin.  Knew the feature existed, but never had to use it before.

So, we snagged seven of them yesterday.  She even threw in the better part of half a gallon of torch oil that contains citronella, and the funnel she had been using with it.  The torches are in really good shape.  They don’t look new, but they also have no signs of rust on them.

Turns out several other people who were interested in them messaged her after I did, but since I was the first, I had dibs.  Well, she wants to get rid of the eighth one, too, and texted me this morning to say that if we didn’t want it, she was just going to throw it out.  So, I texted her back to say we’d probably pop by late this afternoon to get it.  She returned the text to say she’d dug it up, and left it behind her mailbox at the end of her driveway for us.

Very nice woman.  I can understand why she didn’t want to simply send them to the scrap heap if someone else wanted them.  They don’t even show any signs of rust.  Our guess is they might be approaching 10 years old.  If we’re right,  they would have sold for a minimum of $35 each when brand new.  Probably closer to $70 each, now, if they were sold as new.  These things are rock solid, and have ornamental value besides their utilitarian value.

Finally Got the New Contacts

Got my new contact lenses today.  So far, they’re phenomenal.  Took my old ones out, popped in the new ones, the eye doctor tested them for fit and vision, and . . . wow, they feel like I’m not wearing contacts at all.  They’re for distance, not reading, or a combination of both, but with these, I don’t even feel like I need readers for small print anymore, whether it’s on my computer monitor, or in a catalog.

My old lenses were great for distance, but reading fine print got a little fuzzy.  Maybe the Rx is slightly different, but I think it’s mostly because my old lenses were well past their shelf life.  Supposedly, gas permeable ones are good for 5-6 years, and mine were at least 12 years old.  Didn’t tell the doctor how old they really are, but did say they’re probably at the end of their shelf life.  They’d been sitting in a case, unused, for all but the past few years, anyway, so the wear and tear on them wasn’t as old as their birth date, so to speak.  Anyway, I’m keeping the old ones for a spare pair.

Will have to go back in a week for a follow up to see if they’re still as good then as now, in case any adjustments need to be made.  There’s a 90 day warranty on them for however many adjustments need to be made, at no extra charge.  I did not get charged for today’s visit, nor will I get charged for the next one.  In the scheme of things, a couple hundred greenbacks isn’t bad at all for a complete eye exam, lens fitting, and follow up exams.  The lenses themselves cost more than that, but, again, no further charges, in case one or more needs to be remade to tweak the Rx during the warranty period.

First World Problems, Eh?

My eye doctor’s office called this morning to cancel my appointment, and reschedule it.  “She had an emergency” was the reason.  It could have been another client’s immediate eye emergency, or it could have been a personal one.  Doesn’t really matter.  It would have been nice if the office had just allowed me to pop by to pick up my contacts, but nope.

Also, I have a couple of “Karens” on Nextdoor, trying to bash me over the head for not muzzling up in a flippin’ public shopping center parking lot, and saying that my jab status is none of their goddamn business.  If I frighten you, take a few steps further away from me.  The best part is that none of those Karens will confront me in public; they stick to being keyboard jockeys.  Pfft.

Contacts Came in from the Lab

Got a call from my eye doctor’s office today to say that my contact lenses arrived from the lab.  It’s remarkable how quickly they can get you an appointment when you pay on your way out, so they don’t have to deal with insurance companies.

Anyway, I’ll get them o Friday, with a follow-up appointment by the doctor who fitted me for them, just to make sure they work.  There’s a 90 day warranty on then, so even if the Rx has to be tweaked several times during that time, it’s no more cost to me.  It shouldn’t.  My Rx has been almost the same since 1978.  This late in my life, I could use some readers, but I don’t want bifocal contact lenses.  Ones for distance are fine, and I’m not so vain that using readers for fine print less than 2.5′ away is a-ok with me.

What’s weirder is that my glasses have not come in.  I’m using the American equivalent of Specsavers for those, and I ordered them before I did the contact lenses.  Nope.  Not in, yet.