Monday, June 27, 2022

Bulls and Naked Birds

 Oh yeah .... nice cool morning sitting on the patio throwing the ball for Cooper while I sip my coffee.  I'm not sure how long my private stash of the phony stuff will last (they don't make it any more), so I'm appreciating it all I can now.  Cooper is better ... I think it was that dark meat chicken.  Just like me, things that never bothered him before have become a pain in the patuski in our old age.

I did my downward dog where-is-the-ball morning exercises before turning on the TV.  It's National Junior High Rodeo Finals, meaning kids from age 13-15 riding bulls, although most were steers.  How could I miss that?  I admit, I laughed a lot.  Not at the kids mind you, but at the cattle they used.

Bareback riding is done on a steer that kind of bucks while it's running across the arena.  Saddle bronc riding is done with the saddle cinched on tight, or at least it's supposed to be.  Saddles aren't built for cattle and several just rolled over underneath the steer with the kids hanging on for dear life.  This steer was a cutie and barely bucked until the kid fell off, then it went after him like a bull.  He was a cranky bugger.  

On the ranch you learned real quick which cows and which bulls were of the cranky-chase-you kind.  You haven't lived until a bull has crashed into you and your horse.  After that, I gave them a wide berth and just sent in the dogs to get them moving.  Our cattle dogs Champ and Blue were worth their weight in gold.


Some of the kids took pretty good tumbles, but what made me laugh most was at least four of the steers came out, took one jump and just laid down.  They were having none of this stuff strapped to their back.


This "bull" jumped twice, stopped to stare at the crowd and just fell over.  He was fine (as was the kid), this just wasn't his cup of tea.  I have to say the poor Rodeo Clowns / pick-up men ran their tails off, chasing after the steers trying to get the kids down since no horses were in the arena.  Some of these critters weren't too happy about the whole enchilada and the "clowns" got run over more than once.  In the end, everyone was just fine.  Yessirree ... these kids were 14 year olds!!


Having been revitalized by all the laughter, Cooper and I wandered around outside to see if any of my flowers were still alive.  This one is a happy camper.  I have five of them, but the other four are only half this size.  


Then I walked by this.  The coleus are doing extremely well and all three are still alive.  I can't say as much for the gazanias Cyndae brought down.  Even if they look dead, keep watering them she said.  I'm almost positive these died a terrible death a week ago, but I'm still watering them.  


Back inside, it was cleanup day for Jonathan.  More and more I'm finding feathers all over the floor.  It's that time of year, along with the heat, that causes his feathers to fall out.  He's really gorgeous when you see all his plumage, but it's only visible when he shows his muscles.  That is spreading his wings out over his head.  He's got these feathers along with some gorgeous blue and yellow, thus he's called a yellowhead parrot.


I don't think I've ever showed you his baby pictures.  Not the cutest kid on the block.  When I say I raised him from an egg, it is a correct statement.  I think he was maybe two weeks old here.  I kept him in a dark box, just like the hole-in-the-tree nest he would have in the wild.  Heating pads underneath kept them all warm and cozy.


They require warm food every two hours, so yes, I was up all night long feeding ten cockatiels and three parrots at one time, not to mention parakeets too numerous to count.  With the help of a veterinarian from San Diego and Davis Veterinary School, I developed a hand feeding formula for parrots that they later used in their facilities.  I'm proud to say I never lost a baby.

That dry mixture was mixed with warm water and fed with those tiny touristy collector spoons you buy as mementos.  They need to bite the spoon to help harden their beaks.  In six months, they turn into this!!


I went on vacation once ... and only once ... taking them all with me in plywood boxes with VENOMOUS SNAKES written all over the outside.  I didn't want anyone opening a box and messing with the babies.  It worked like a charm.  People gave me a wide berth, especially at the gas station where I had to go inside and ask for warm water.  The hotel I stayed at went into quite the tizzy when the cleaning lady found them in the closet.  Lucky for me, I was not kicked out, but the room didn't get cleaned again until after I left.

Forty six, going on forty seven years later, he's still kicking and screaming DISCO!!!  It truly amazes me he's still alive, although they do live to be in the 70-year range.

I'm taking your advice and turning the AC on early this morning, getting it really cool, then I'll see how long it runs to keep it there.  Any way you look at it, a week of 103+ days will be a boon for PG&E.


Sunday, June 26, 2022

SEW ... SOLAR IT IS!

 Okay Mother Nature ..... CEASE AND DESIST!!  Although it's a comfortable 65 outside this morning on the patio, it was a MOTHER yesterday.  That 105 degree day sent my air conditioner into a tizzy.  Even though I have my thermostat set at 85 degrees in the house, it turned on at 11:00 when it hit 100 and ran all day.  

I tried turning it off once while my fan blasted me with convection oven breezes, but I just couldn't stand it.  Cooper was panting with his tongue hanging out, so I turned it back down to 81 degrees.  This morning's check revealed that my usage tripled yesterday.  I should have been looking into solar six months ago!!

Here's the latest I've learned.  Those little micro inverters work really well when they work, but they seem to have a high replacement rate.  Besides that, they are much more expensive according to the bids I've been getting.  The other news is that solar is exempt from property tax, or so they tell me. 


It's all about your usage of course, so I finally bit the bullet and began to delve into the numbers.  What about when I'm gone someone asked.  It appears I have used much more in the summer when I'm not here to turn the sprinklers off that the gardeners turn on.  That 30 minutes per station adds up to my pump running 6 hours a day.  YIKES!!  I've told them not to touch the control, I've even locked it up tight.  They took a screwdriver to it and turned the water up yet again.  Maybe I can add a mouse trap to the door.

The winter usage is low, offsetting the high summer.  Turns out that averages out to my normal usage when I'm here.  I know, more than you OR I ever wanted to know!  So now I'm counting kilowatt hours like a pro!!  

I suppose I could NOT get solar and just pay for diesel ....... did I say that???

The Reno Rodeo Finals were on yesterday, so I did spend a bit of time on the couch.  Not one to sit and do nothing because it seems to activate the appetite of an elephant, I worked on the binding for this quilt until it was done.  This is another of those get-rid-of-the-scraps quilts.  

It's not my favorite, but someone will love it.  Anything I don't want to keep, I donate to the local Quilt Guild that gives high school graduating foster kids quilts for their dorm room when they sign up for college.  This one will be a good color for the boys!!


And just like that ... I started on the next quilt after carrying Cooper outside.  Too bad I was too late.  He threw up on the carpet before I could whisk him out the door.  Poor baby ... and of course the concrete is screaming hot on his feeties, so I carried him back in.  I was then stuck on the couch for an hour consoling him before it was let's play the ball game.  It's like having a five year old for thirteen years!!

Anyway, I've asked Ray and Cindy at least three times for this pattern.  Come to find out it was in one of the books I shared with them.  DUH!!!  One thing that organizing my quilt projects did was uncover the fabric I knew would be perfect for this pattern.  No purchase necessary ... I have everything required.  


With 105 degrees on the horizon, I doubt I'll be going anywhere today, although it would probably be cheaper to drive to town and sit in Panera Restaurant all day long, leaving my thermostat set at 85 or higher.  

So ... it will be sewing and hopefully solar sooner than later!!!


Saturday, June 25, 2022

Oh Yeah ... SUPER GLUE!!

 Woohoo ... where's my fan when I need it!!  It was a lovely 103 yesterday with just the slightest breeze, making for some slow cooking without the tasty dinner at the end.  It's predicted to be 105 today, 106 tomorrow.  Geeze Louise!!!  

As to yesterday's blog, we will never all agree.  I have to say however, that I've worked very hard all my life, saving every dime I could and working my way into jobs that would provide a good retirement.  I will never apologize for my lifestyle.  I've more than earned the right to blow my money on fabric or anything else I want at this age.  I'm not on welfare, and I didn't get any of the millions of dollars most people got on the covid giveaway.  

I probably pay more taxes every year than ten people in this town put together, so that alone gives me the right to question the government and how their policies are affecting the nation.  Enough said.

Here's my tip of the day.  If you want to get rid of that musty smell in your RV or your home when it's locked up tight to keep the cool air inside, just burn some peanut butter cookies.  It works like a charm.  There's nothing like coming back home to the lovely smell of burnt sugar!!

Not really wanting to head outside in the heat, I spent a couple of hours conditioning my show saddle.  Leather is like your skin ... well, it IS skin actually ... and it needs moisture.  Enter a big old bottle of Lexol, applied using my best pastry brush.  There's no other way to get down in the cracks and crevices. 

I think she looks pretty nice.  No telling where she will end up when I'm riding horses in Heaven.  They tell me you can't take it with you.  Too bad ... she's my favorite.


I did make one quick trip to Walmart to pick up some super glue.  I took y'all's advice about trying to fix the broken frame on my glasses.  If you were a fly on the wall, you would have been laughing hysterically.  I followed directions for opening the tube, and quickly discovered it was glued to my fingers.  What??

I tried to apply it to the frame, only to find my thumb stuck to my palm.  YIKES!!  The tube apparently had a hole in the bottom and was leaking.  I grabbed two paper towels, only to find those instantly stuck to my now glue covered fingers.  What a mess!!!

I actually had to get a box cutter to cut my thumb loose ... it's okay, that skin will grow back ... before throwing the whole thing in the trash, or at least I tried to.  The paper towels were stuck permanently to my fingers.  I did finally get a tiny drop on the frame, and it seems to be holding.  Thank you for the suggestion.

My plan is to go to Costco for glasses, but they too are scheduled out for three months.  The sweet gal put me on her cancellation list and can you believe it?  She called me last night for an appointment this morning.  Except I already have an appointment for a haircut, which also takes a month or more to acquire.  I guess I'll be wearing these broken frames for awhile.  At least they don't hurt my eyes!!


As I mentioned before, there's more solar information.  Who knew this would get so complicated.  It's kind of like buying a car.  There are so many models out there, along with those car salesmen trying to convince you their model is the very best.  I'll post more of this tomorrow.


I'm off to find my horseshoe rasp to remove some of this glue and paper towels still stuck to my hands.  At least now I can see while I try and remove it!!



Friday, June 24, 2022

Trying To Calm The Rant

 Boy that was a HOT one!!  We're getting closer to the summers of old when it was 113 in the shade at the ranch.  We were up every morning at 4:00 to get the work done so we could swelter in the house with our tiny water cooler.  The only thing that helped was the high ceilings and what little ice we could throw into the bottom of the cooler.  Unlike nowadays, that was PRE-air conditioning.  

It's not going to get better.  It's predicted to hit 105 each and every day for FIVE days!  Oh my aching wallet.  To get my mind off the heat, I headed out to the fabric shop to get two small pieces of fabric, in order to use up eight pieces of scraps.  

That's when I came across this truck.  I'm guessing maybe it was stolen and it ran out of gas so they destroyed it.  Either that or someone blasted the driver with two shotgun shells, along with one in the back just for good measure.  Gas is expensive.  Even the criminals can't afford it!


Which brings me to my rant of the day!!  I hope all you nice folks who voted for Biden have learned the error or your ways.  This is not diesel, it's the cheapest gas within 30 miles for my Jeep Liberty.  WHY OH WHY are we not using our OWN oil resources to make fuel?  Anyone remember how much it was before?  $2.89 a gallon?  Well it has now MORE than doubled in price.  

This is the highest it's ever been in my entire lifetime!!  Yeah, you had to put up with a few mean tweets because Trump wasn't politically correct.  So you think it's politically correct for Biden to say "sorry your family member dropped dead"??  It's on video.

If I go to Arizona mid July, it's going to cost me $375 in diesel fuel ... and another $375 to return!  All the while, we are NOT helping the people of countries that produce fuel oil, we are helping their GOVERNMENTS become richer and more powerful so they can create (or make more) nuclear weapons. I'm not even going to mention the kickbacks.

The old saying "move to Arizona" doesn't work any more either because it's more than doubled there too!!  Quartzsite who has always had the cheapest gas is now $5.89 a gallon.

I hope people remember this when it's time to vote again!!!!!  I would get down off my soapbox, but to be honest, I'm just too darn mad.  Even I was surprised to hear the really really bad words that came out of my mouth (some I've never even HEARD before) when I saw what I had to pay!!!  


Fast food restaurants are also off my go-to list.  I was starving when I happened to drive right by a Taco Bell.  I'm rather partial to their Crunchwraps (I've no idea why), so I pulled in at 12:00 to find not a sole in line.  Now I know why.  This and the smallest of small Pepsi cost me $8.67.  I really should have become something other than an accountant.  

Maybe a theatre attendant.  Oh wait, I did that already.  I was an usher in our local theater for $25.00 a week in order to earn money to buy my first car.  We got to eat all the popcorn we wanted, which wasn't all that much because it came in a huge stale bag stashed behind the stage.  I went from ushering people to their seats, to working the snack bar, to the coveted job of selling tickets.  


I digress ... so I hit the fabric shop and got what I needed before heading out another few miles to a craft store for these cheap plastic containers.  I got a total discount of 75%.  I should have bought more.  My biggest sewing room problem is losing parts and pieces, most importantly the patterns.  I end up with fabric and no idea what I was going to do with it.


I spent the next four hours trying to calm down the rant.  Sorting through fabric thinking how I have WAY TOO MUCH, gets my mind off fuel prices.  I went through all the stashes, found every piece of fabric for a project and placed it in the box with the pattern.  It's called being organized, something that would behoove me to become.


I feel much better now.  When I'm ready for the next project, I just grab a box and it's all there.  Once that box is empty, I'll go through the huge shelf that I'm NOT going to show you, to fill it up with the next project.  I will admit there are 15 quilts in that stack of boxes.  Some have two quilt projects inside.  I am NOT BUYING ANY MORE FABRIC!!!!


That big red bag is one of three Christmas presents for quilter Cindy.  As I went through the stacks, I pulled out everything I knew I would never use.  She makes amazing quilts with scraps.

At long last the screaming in my head about fuel prices stopped as I sat down to watch the latest edition of Reno Rodeo, eating chocolate chip cookies without the cookie part.  It's too hot to bake anything.  Maybe this morning I'll whip some up if I have any chips left.

Thursday, June 23, 2022

Fabric Hoarders!

 Every morning as I sit on the patio, I'm reminded of how fascinating the weather can be.  While June used to be big time sunny summer hot, things change over time, you know, like it's been changing for a million years.  I suppose you just never notice this stuff until you're old.  This morning clouds fill the sky and lightning is flashing to the East.  It's a warm 73 to boot, with Jupiter and Venus clearly visible.  

How do I know that?  I have an app of course ... called Skyview Lite.  Point it to the sky and it tells you everything that's there.  Check it out ... it's pretty cool!!

Hi, my name is Nancy and I'm a fabric hoarder.  As I mentioned yesterday, quilters are weird.  They will do just about anything for a pretty piece of fabric. Just ask Ray and Cindy.  Of course living in a big city helps, but they hit up yard sales and store closings, ending up with yards and yards of gorgeous fabric for pittance.  It amazes me how little they have paid for fabric.  I'll bet Cindy has over 100 yards (maybe more) at any one time.

I don't have any yard sales to check out, but the occasional store goes out of business.  This one was in Arizona.  Buy the entire bolt of fabric and get it for 75% off.  You can't beat that with a stick.  Patty and I went down there with no real intention of buying a lot.  That lasted two steps in the door.

I purchased close to 50 yards, this beautiful piece being one of them.  Here's the thing ... you always buy at least 7 yards if it's for backing.  This looked very "cowboy" to me ... perfect, right?  It's been sitting on the shelf for probably five years now, like every other piece I bought there.  I haven't used a single one.


Why?  Because I haven't made a quilt yet that would look even halfway decent with this fabric.  I've even drug several 7 yard pieces down to the fabric store, trying to find something that would match.  When I finished this quilt top, I went digging for backing.  Wasn't I shocked to find this fabric WORKS!!!  Yay!!  The very first piece that I am actually USING!!!  Gee ... only ten more huge pieces of fabric to make quilts for!!!  We're hoarders I tell you!!!

Of course Cindy is much better at using up her fabric.  It's an amazing gift she has for matching up colors.


And then it happened ... DISASTER!!  About the time I discovered this piece of fabric and began sewing the binding on another quilt, I broke the frame of my glasses.  The lens plopped on the floor.  Little did I know what a marathon this would become .... trying to get new glasses.

It seems they won't fill an old prescription.  It's just fine, but they refuse since it's two yeas old.  My regular eye doc that I've been seeing since I was eight years old, went out of business, with no notice.  I asked around, to find only TWO in the entire town.  

No problem ... I called for an appointment.  "We are scheduling appointments for September".  Are you kidding me??  I'm in dire need of glasses and I can't be seen until September?  I could probably drive all the way to Mexico, but the fuel would kill me.

I scrounged around the house and finally found an old pair maybe five years old.  They are terrible and make my eyes hurt, but I have nothing else.  Costco and Walmart are my next options.  Nope ... no appointments available.  Instead, I have to call every single day and ask for cancellations.  Sometimes it doesn't pay to live in a small town.


More solar news coming up ... still learning more than I ever EVER wanted to!!  My brain is tired and needs a rest.  Maybe a trip to a new quilt store I found only 60 miles away would help!!!!


Wednesday, June 22, 2022

SAVE THAT SEAT!!!

And BAM!!!  Just like that the weather Gods turned up the heat!  It's a hot 75 degrees this morning as I sip my coffee.  I'm thinking I just might switch to morning Pepsi!!  No, there won't be any iced coffee for me.  My Mom used to drink that because they were too poor to pour out the morning leftovers full of coffee grounds.  

One day when I was probably four years old, I climbed up on her lap and asked for a drink, thinking it was soda.  Instead of warning me, she just let me take a big swig.  Yup ... dark black coffee, which is probably why I hated that taste the rest of my life!!  That's why I drink sugary sweet phony coffee.

I took your advice to heart and turned on the AC early today to cool the house down.  The meter is spinning like a dog chasing his tail.  It makes me cringe, I suppose because we WERE poor when I was a kid, even though we lived on the ranch.  How poor?  My Mom saved every piece of aluminum foil, washed it and used it again and again until it fell apart.  That's probably where all my cheapness came from!!

Anyway .... it's BINGO TIME!!!  SAVE THAT SEAT!!!

The peasants will do anything to save their seats, including waving those pitchforks high in the air.  They have no qualms about breaking the rules and will deny it no matter what.  When I arrived at 3:00, half the tables had paper bags and dobbers covering every seat.  IT'S NOT ALLOWED!!


Members are allowed to enter the building any time they want, so they are the culprits.  Not that they have friends that will sit there ... they just don't want anyone sitting AROUND them!!  That's right ... stake your claim and protect your property!!!  

To make it even worse, members have been sneaking NON-members into the building, signing them in as guests and having THEM save seats too!!  It's rampant ... this rule breaking!!!  Of course it would help if the King stopped the practice, but he's a nice guy and doesn't want to offend anyone.   The problem arises when we have so many people show up, there is no place to sit.

Such was the case last night.  That brings out the dragons breathing fire as peasants late to the festivities fight for a chair.  At last one of the Round Table Knights announced that that practice had to stop.  NO SAVING SEATS!!!  There was a loud round of applause quickly followed by moans and groans!!

THAT brought about round after round of complaints.  "She isn't a member"!!  "SHE brought in two friends that aren't members"!!!  YOU DIDN'T GIVE ME MY RED TICKET!!!!!  Yes I did, you dropped it and this nice lady turned it in.  I love the look on their faces when that happens!!

Surprisingly, the night went by rather quickly.  There was only one other fight over food ... you stole my hotdog with the ever popular macaroni salad.  They were OUT of salad by then, and so the temper tantrum continued with loud shouts and bad words being bandied about!  These times do try us!!

The infernal machine gave me some trouble, probably didn't get his macaroni salad either, as I counted up fifteen dollars of nickels and dimes from broken piggy banks.  They have baggies full of sticky dirty change.  I refuse to take pennies.  

Add to that the heat which definitely comes into play.  This year I have warned those women who insist on keeping their money in their bra.  NO BOOB MONEY WHEN IT'S HOT!!!  CARRY A PURSE!!!  I'm making up a sign for next week since it's going to be 104 every day for the next seven days!!!

And that brings me to this nice piece of fabric.  Quilters are a different breed, probably akin to bingo players.  They will kill for fabric on sale.  


That's what this was ... a DEAL that I had to have.  I'll tell the rest of the story tomorrow.  I'm yawning in my coffee from the late Bingo night.  It's nap time .........



Tuesday, June 21, 2022

The Find Of The Year!!

 I thought Cooper was a barky dog, but the little guy across the way from my patio puts him to shame.  Every morning this kid is barking like crazy as I drink my morning coffee.  Sounds like a chihuahua!!

I was up a little late again, having too many late nights watching the Reno Rodeo.  The horses and bulls they have nowadays are far superior to days of old and buck like nothing I've ever seen.  It makes me laugh at some of the gyrations and contortions the horses do as I recall getting bucked off on several occasions.  

For many years I helped run the Practice Pen for cutting at the Horseman's Association.  It was hot during the summer, so I had a cooler with ice, along with a cash box full of change.  No use making two trips to the truck.  

I grabbed both and headed across the arena.  Showby was antsy to be done and jigged a little, making the change box rattle.  I saw those ears and knew I was in trouble, so I very quietly and gingerly dropped the ice chest off the back.  BAD IDEA!!

He took to bucking instantly.  I had one hand on the reins and one on the change box which was now making a huge racket, making him buck even more.  I landed on the ground, but my foot stayed in the stirrup.  

I was drug for maybe 25 feet when my foot came loose.  I was still holding the change box.  That taught me a very good lesson ... how to walk on crutches for the next two weeks.

I did actually get out and about early yesterday ... Monday is a good grocery day.  That's when I found my Find of the Year!!!  This is smoky Ranch Sauce.  They have several, but I do love that smoky chipotle flavor without the heat.  This stuff is the bomb!!!!


I'll be having tacos for the next six months!  It's supposed to be great on hamburgers too, but it made my day when I tasted these!!


As for the solar ... here's where I am on that.  I'm a single income accountant who is stingy with her money, which lets me purchase things I would like to have.  Having sold the motorhome and the big house payment that went along with it, I've been stashing that money in a mad fund.  Add to that what the government is forcing me to withdraw from an IRA account I started when I was 21 years old, and I have enough to pay for solar.  

I have no children and only one nephew that I have seen once in 20 years.  They tell me you can't take it with you, so I might as well spend every dime of it and enjoy it while I can.  I would prefer to buy horses, but they are MUCH more expensive than solar panels.  The horse would be around $5,000, with hay costing $3,000 for just one year.  Add to that $1,300 a year for horseshoeing, not to mention grain and vet bills and that solar money would be gone in a flash.

Right now I use about 640 kWh per month.  That will double if I run the air conditioning.  Oh it would be so nice to be cool and not have to pay double what I'm already shucking out.  Add to that the 20% increase in charges PGE will add after December.  My bill will go up to $300-350 a month.  That's $4,200 a year for electricity.  SO ... that's why I would like to get solar put in here, in spite of the cost.

As to the house, it's very well insulated with no leaking of air.  If I turn on the AC fan, I better check all the inside doors in the house to make sure they are either wide open or shut.  Otherwise, the air intake will suck them shut and scare the heck out of Cooper and I.  


The rest of the day I worked on this quilt.  Most all of the brown fabric looks like tooled leather.  It's just scraps I've picked up here and there.  I'm trying to use up some of the fabric I have and not buy any more.  

It's BINGO DAY yet again, and I spent another late night watching the rodeo, so I'll try to sneak in a nap before heading out to visit the peasants at the Castle.  Hopefully they leave their pitchforks at home.


Monday, June 20, 2022

Feeding Dads and Granddads!!

OH BOY was that an early morning.  It's one thing to get up at 4:00 and wander around the house relaxing with a cup of coffee.  It's completely another animal to get ready and head out to the Elks Lodge at 5:00 am!!!  I may be getting too old for this!!!

This isn't the sun that was up ... it was the MOON as I walked through the door, my mind racing at what needed to be done first.  Here's the thing ... the ER person in charge of all these gatherings, is the newest person on the block every single year.  They don't know what's needed in the way of food, people or prep!  Instead of appointing someone with experience, they want to do it themselves.  I get that.


Here's my line of ovens that I would OH SO love to have.  I switched on the power and set the temps for only two things ... biscuits and sausage.  

Here's the problem on this day .... they didn't want to do all that work, so they shortened the menu almost in half.  What happens when you do that?  People eat MORE of what you put out on the table.  What happens when they do THAT?  You run out of everything, even though you have fewer people eating.  It's the law of nature ... and the Elks Lodge.


Eight items were pared down to four with pancakes being number one.  People don't load up on pancakes, they load up on sausage, which we promptly ran out of after the first 45 minutes.  Eggs were next, causing a frenzy of cracking pallets of eggs and using the mixer you see here to make scrambled eggs.  Those had to be cooked in frying pans on the stove by two people not used to doing that sort of thing.


Next to run out was the gravy, causing another panic since I really didn't have any extra sausage to put IN the gravy for flavor.  I finally relented with the promise that none of the kitchen crew would eat ANY sausage, leaving it for the crowd!  This was my breakfast ... half a biscuit and gravy.  By the time I was done, the runner had been to Smart and Final for the second time to pick up more groceries.

I was very lucky this time to only get one small burn on my arm.  That can't be said for the guy who grabbed a pan sitting on the table that had just come out of the oven.  I always yell HOT PAN, but he wasn't listening.  The screaming was a good indication of a bad burn.


Being the neat freak I am, this just made me crazy.  I cleaned up enough batter to make six pancakes and put down dishes to catch the excess.  As you can see, even that didn't work so well.  


The next thing I know, I look around (with about 45 minutes of serving time left) to find almost everyone had abandoned ship.  WHAT?  You actually left all this mess for US to clean up?  I've got to tell you, I wasn't all too happy about that.  Four of us ended up packaging up leftover food for the Homeless Shelter in town and cleaning up the entire place.  Yes, I had a LOT to say about THAT!!!

Did you know that dried pancake batter is like concrete??  Nothing would remove it from the counter.  I finally had to lay out wet towels for a full 30 minutes, trying to soften it up.

In the end, we served about 250 happy Dads, Kids and Moms who didn't have to cook, with not one complaint.    

Once home, I was exhausted ... more than usual for some reason.  Maybe because I was working on five hours sleep.  Anyway, I was excitedly greeted at the door by Mr. Cooper and we crashed on the couch for an hour.

Back to the land of the living, I worked on the first four rows of this lap quilt before ensconcing myself in front of the TV to watch the Reno Rodeo.  


That of course kept me up WAY too late yet again because the bull riding is always last.  I think this will be a two-cup-o-joe morning!!

Thank you all for the solar comments.  I'll get into that a little more tomorrow.  For now, I'll be on the couch!!



Sunday, June 19, 2022

Digging Through The Sludge

HAPPY FATHER'S DAY

ALL YOU GREAT GUYS OUT THERE!!!

I have to give it up to all of you who make the big decisions in life and get all those cool tools for gifts.  Here's hoping you didn't get another tie!! 

Say hey California!!!  It was another gorgeously cool morning as I sat on the patio.  This day required a coat.  I'm not complaining though ... I'm just using my house fans to fill up every square inch inside with cool air.  I also contemplated the solar data that was streaming from my head like fireworks.  Good grief .... so much to learn!!  

I had one nice thought ... the crispy grilled cheese from Starbucks.  I never go there for anything since they refused to let the police (who for some weird reason were wearing their guns) into the store.  However yesterday when I went through the drive thru for the coffee test, I was hungry.  The grilled cheese sounded pretty good.  

I have to say the bread was fabulous.  Crispy, tasty sourdough.  They should have used a REAL slice of cheese instead of the 1/8 inch piece of white something it had, but overall it was mighty tasty.  NOT quite $6.95 worth, but it hit the spot.


Having retrieved this quilt from my quilting gal, I went straight to work sewing on the binding.  It's done, just in time for Father's Day.  Yes once again I will be cooking breakfast at the Elks Lodge where today, everyone eats for free.  It shouldn't be too bad since we are not expecting that many people and the menu has been cut in half.  YAHOO!!


I then spent a couple hours finishing up this lap quilt with her chosen fabric.  It actually looks better in person than it does here.  She can't complain ..... it's free.


In between sewing, I've been contacting contractor after contractor about the solar.  It's become a dirty word.  For every company that I talked to, two have not even bothered to call me back.  It seems there's different panels, different amounts recommended and completely different costs.  

It appears SunRun is digging into people's wallets, charging $28,800 for 14 panels, producing only 6% more than I'm using at the moment.  $23,000 if they keep the tax refund of $7,500.  You can do the math.


They tell me they have micro-inverter panels that continue to produce electricity even if one or two are covered with shadows.  It's interesting to note that some contractors have never heard of this before.  

Having dug through the sludge for several hours, I finally called two contractor friends to get the real scoop.  I trust these guys ... they have solar on their own houses ... and know the rules in California.  I even talked to people who had these contractors install their solar, just to be sure everyone was happy.

Here's the latest ..... 20 panels for $20,800.  The price is right and they will all fit on my garage, not the front of my house.  The frame setup in my pasture got the kibosh when I got the price for digging 35 feet underneath a concrete carport for the wiring.  With a $5,400 federal tax deduction, the price is even better while the output is double what I'm using now.  In California, if you don't use all you produce, it goes into a pot that you draw from when it's cloudy.  At the end of the year, if you used more than you made, you pay the difference.

There's more investigation to be done as I learn more about solar than I ever wanted!!  I'm too old for this stuff!!!!

I'm off this morning to put on my Chef's hat.  It should be a pretty easy morning since I'm NOT cooking one thousand pancakes!!!  My part only includes sausage and biscuits.  Easy peasy!!!



Saturday, June 18, 2022

More Than I Ever Wanted To Know

 I awoke to the magic humming of my morning sprinklers.  Lately I've been learning more than I ever wanted to know about things I NEVER wanted to know about.  First things first.

I had to go to the far side of the next town in order to pick up a quilt I was having quilted.  Yes I have a longarm just for that purpose, but it's in Arizona.  This is the Father's Day gift and I didn't want her to have to wait another two months.  

I stopped by to pick it up and was rewarded with this ... a huge bag full of quilting thread.  She has changed the type of thread she uses and was giving all this away.  This stuff is not cheap and more than paid for the gorgeous quilting she did.  WINNER!!!


  She just happens to live close to a Starbucks ... so the big test was on!!  Here's an interesting thing ... see those little green thingies coming out the top?  They keep the screaming hot coffee inside while you drive. So here it is folks ... one small and one medium, although they call them something completely different.


According to the video going all around, the amount of coffee held by each cup is exactly the same.  I poured out the medium to find it was two full cups.  Okay .. drum roll please ...


I poured the small into the medium cup and looky here!!  It is NOT the same amount as professed by the video guy.  HE LIES!!!!!


Just for giggles, I emptied the cup into a measuring cup to see what the difference was.  Exactly four ounces.  So you are NOT being cheated if you drink Starbucks coffee.  I have to say it smells wonderful, but it will melt my stomach, so I didn't drink it.  I put it in the fridge to use in my next beef recipe.  Yup coffee enhances the beef flavor.  


Well that was more than I ever wanted to know about Starbucks, and the day ended up being like a college class for me.  SO MUCH TO LEARN!!

I have lived here 14 years and never knew what all this stuff was hanging on the side of the house.  What I DID know is that it's been making lots of noise ... on off .. on off .. on off.  That can't be good.  I called the pump repair company to come check it out.

This stuff is connected to the well out front and keeps pressure in the lines.  Since I never ran out of water, I never thought to have it checked.  The guy said I would probably need an 80 gallon tank and the whole shebang would most likely be $1500.  YIKES!!


Mr. Personality showed up yesterday to take a look.  There was a tank in the above picture that he removed.  It seems the inlet and outlet were completely plugged with sediment and hard water scale.  Here's where the learning part came in.  The tank is there only to keep pressure in the lines.  It has a bladder inside that does just that.  If it gets a hole in it, the bladder fills with water and makes the system think it needs more pressure when it doesn't ... thus the motor on and off business.  Yessiree ... more than I ever wanted to know.

Here's the new tank, a new pressure gauge and he cleaned out the control panel.  This morning my pump is humming like a champ with no banging as it turns on and off.  WINNER AGAIN!!!

No idea what this is going to cost me because they can't give an estimate until he writes down the hours and the parts used.  The price has to come from the office.  Well that's a first.  I'm hoping it's under $500.


He also checked the water level ... 92 feet he said, and when measuring the well depth, it was only 102.  He suggested an immediate drilling to lower the well depth.  I'll check out my paperwork from when I bought the house and let you know!!

I was surprised to find the Health Department certification of a well with gravel from 170 feet down to the bottom at 220 feet.  That sounds just fine to me if water is at 92, but I'm no well expert.  Anyone know about this sort of thing?

At long last school ended for the day as I went about sewing binding on that quilt.  I better go write all this stuff down before I forget!!!  Next up ... SOLAR SCHOOL!!



Friday, June 17, 2022

My Lucky Day!!!

Even as drug out as I am this morning .... tired, groggy, brain not in gear yet because of a late night ... I know yesterday was my lucky day!!  AND ... I'm sipping my cup-o-joe to the pleasant sound of the sprinklers finally turning on automatically.  I've had to do it manually for the last week since it just didn't want to cooperate.  

So far it seems the ten minutes per station every day except gardener day, seems to be working.  The front yard is mostly green, putting on a nice show for the neighbors.  The back yard ... well lets just say it's a pretty shade of light brown. 

And then I laughed out loud!!!  A friend sent this picture to me.  It could not be more perfect!!!  The ball is even the right color!!


Cooper and I have been walking most every morning now, with him obviously far ahead of me.  In fact, even at 13 years of age (91 in people years), I have to walk a very fast pace to keep up!!


We were serenaded the entire way this time by these three crows.  They were probably saying something like "look at those dummies walking along the road.  I wonder if they have any food?"  


I threw this together rather quickly in the afternoon, although the blocks are not sewn together yet.  It's always good to take a picture and let it marinate for awhile.  Looking at a picture actually shows the pattern and any big glaring mistakes.  It's weird how I have to squint to actually see the crosses ... otherwise all I see is white X's.


So in other words, I sat around all day until time to get dressed up in the required blue coat grey pants uncomfortable regalia for the "visitation" at the Elks.  It's actually an audit of sorts by the Big Kahunas to make sure we are giving everyone their fair share of the proceeds.  

There's a lot of pomp and circumstance and hand shaking, which you know I'm not a big fan of.  I'm the shy cowgirl that sits uncomfortably in the corner.  Once the first meeting was over, it was time to hit the chuckwagon.  

BUT WAIT ... this is where my lucky day came in!  I've asked just about everyone I know whether they have solar or not.  I know my friend does, but they leased ... and it was not a good deal.  I couldn't believe it when she and her new husband walked in with two of their friends.  I knew one was a contractor.  

My shyness went away as I made a beeline for their table, sat down and brought up my solar prices.  I knew the contractor would know this stuff, I just didn't want to intrude ... but I DID.  Sure enough, I find out that the average panel cost should be around $1,000.  That means for 16 panels, I should be paying $16,000 .... not the $28,800 I was quoted by SunRun (although the difference may be the new panels with micro-inverters on each one).

EVEN BETTER .... he gave me the name of HIS contractor that put up something like 65 panels on his house.  I'm calling him today to see if I can get a better price.  I'm so excited ... I just might be able to turn on the AC after all!!!  Worried about losing money if I move, he said I can add even more than the cost to the sale of my house because PG&E is increasing their cost 20% by next year.  YIKES!!  Maybe my timing is good!!!

SO ... one more really lucky part of my day was dinner!!!  As you know, I'm not a steak person.  I ate way too much dead cow when I was on the ranch.  This ... THIS ... was the best rib eye steak I've ever had.  The asparagus was roasted, seasoned and smothered in butter with red onions.  YUM YUM!!  The scalloped potatoes aren't as good as mine, but they were delicious too!  And I even brought half of it home for breakfast!!


With dinner over, I skipped the raffle stuff because I'm just not that lucky.  Plus, it was hot downstairs ... so up to the bar I went where the air was cool and breezy to await the historically long meeting.


In spite of all the introductions that took forever, the meeting was only 90 minutes long.  I yawned the entire time!  The highlight was when we voted to give the 4-H and FFA kids $250 each to help cover the cost of their fair animals.  We don't buy the critters, we just donate the cash.  Add to that the feeding of over 700 kids at the Merced County Fair.  That's just two of the places that Bingo money ends up.

I'm yawning again as I listen to the sweet sound of the sprinklers.  Maybe it will lull me back to sleep on the couch.  I've other interesting news, but I have to put on my well driller - plumber - hat for that one, so it will wait until tomorrow.