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Wednesday, December 17, 2014

What Seedlings to Grow in January?

Lots of car problems, of course.
We're at T-13 days and counting to our big move to Idaho. One of the things on my list after we get settled in is to start our garden. I'll have room in the garage to start seedlings and I'm wondering, since we'll be new to the state, what folks in the area are growing this time of year?

Of course, as we are getting ready for our  move north, just about everything is breaking down on us. I've repaired three vehicles in the past two weeks (some more than once) and finally got them in running condition to make the drive to Idaho. Then I noticed Lucky limping and took him to the Vet. They said he tore his ACL in his knee and will need surgery.

In the meantime, they found an ear infection and I'm giving him steroids and antibiotics twice daily. All the kids are getting their teeth and eyes checked before our insurance switches to the new job and we start all over again on deductibles.

Lucky at the Vet getting checked out
Sis and Macky are finishing up their last week of homeschooling tests. Their stress levels are running pretty high. I don't blame them...I always despised finals week in school. I finished my first semester in my Masters program with two A's and one B. Not bad for an old man working full time.

I have all the utilities set to be turned on when we arrive. We've set up minimal Christmas decorations so that we don't a lot to take down the week we move. But you have to have some Christmas cheer for the kids to enjoy so we picked up a tree from Home Depot and spent an evening decorating it with lights and ornaments. I am looking forward to NEXT Christmas when I can go crazy with the decorations like we used to do.

So, back to my original question for you guys and gals:

What seedlings can I get started (indoors) in January?

~OJD

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Elf on the Shelf - Our Family Tradition

Family Tradition: Elf on the Shelf
A fun tradition we picked up a few years ago is having our own Elf on the Shelf. If you haven't heard of this novel idea, it's quite fun for the kids (and the parents too!)

The concept:

Year after year, children and adults alike are baffled by the mystery of how Santa really knows who's been naughty or nice. After much urging by the elves and Mrs. Claus, Santa has allowed his biggest secret to be revealed in The Elf on the Shelf: A Christmas Tradition. At the start of each Christmas season, the elf appears to serve as Santa's eyes and ears, traveling back to the North Pole each and every night to make a detailed report of the day's activities. This keepsake gift set includes a dark skin, brown eyed boy North Pole pixie scout elf and a hardbound watercolor picture book. Children can register their elf online to receive an official adoption certificate and a special letter from Santa.

Wifey has had tremendous fun coming up with fun and creative ways for Elf to cause mayhem around our house. He was once found in  our refrigerator sitting next to a cup of pink milk. Barbie was sitting next to him as they apparently had a party. He had changed the regular milk pink with Hershey's Strawberry Quick mix.

"I brought snow from the North Pole" says Elf.


Today, he was found on the kitchen floor near a large pile of flour. The flour had been spread out and he wrote in the flour "I brought snow from the North Pole!" and he was lying in it making a snow angel. He has been found hanging from our kitchen ceiling fan, hiding on a branch in our Christmas tree and numerous other places.

If you are interested in this wonderful family tradition, you can check out Elf on the Shelf here, which will take you to Amazon. You can read the many comments from folks who have bought one and see their ideas. I'm sure Google and YouTube have tons of scenarios as well. If your budget won't allow it this year, put the Elf on your Amazon Wish List for next year.

Christmas time is magical...Enjoy.

~OJD


Monday, December 8, 2014

Captcha Code Removed

Just a quick note that I removed the captcha code requirement to leave comments. Hopefully the spam squad doesn't show back up again. Now, to go test it...

Sunday, December 7, 2014

Raccoons Invaded the Cabin and Trashed It

The Raccoon Wranglers
Pa built a cabin up in northern Arizona many decades ago. He and Nanny would spend their summers up there to escape the grueling Phoenix heat. He started with a single-wide trailer and built on from there. It is a lovely place to retreat to on the weekends but it is only about 300 square feet or so. Our large family of eight have stuffed ourselves in there for a night but it was not the best night sleep I've ever had.

Nonetheless, Wifey and I are the keepers of the cabin and try to get up there once a year to rake up all the pine needles and such. With our latest move from The Valley to Flagstaff we haven't had time to visit in over two years. A brief inspection was seriously past due so I headed over there this weekend with Sis for a spot check.

Upon entering the cabin, which is usually pristinely clean inside, I knew something was awry. Pillow cushions were thrown about and pieces of trash were everywhere. The table lamp had been knocked to the floor and as I approached the kitchen sink, I noticed it contained something unusual...poop turds. Raccoon sized turds was my guess.

The living room upon entry - trashed by raccoons
As I continued to inspect the cabin, the critters had un-made the bed and pillows were in random places on the floor. Paper towel shreds were thrown about and bottles of cleaner on the floor. No major damage though so that was a blessing.

Sis and I cleaned it up in about an hour. The corner of the chair cushion that was chewed up was not visible once it was placed back on the chair. The lamp shade is eaten beyond repair though.

No visible from this angle, the four turds in the sink
I secured the cabin by placing a large, heavy nightstand against the cabinet doors where I think they entered the cabin. There is one place at the back of the cabin where an electric cord runs from the electrical box up under the cabin and because of that thick gauge wire, there is an opening large enough for a critter to get under the cabin. It's obvious now that there's a pathway from under the kitchen sink to the undercarriage of the cabin.

Should I buy a large animal trap or just secure the cabin better? Or both? This is new territory for me.

~OJD

Saturday, December 6, 2014

Let the Packing Begin! 26 Days and Counting...

Ugh! This stinks!

Remember the last time you moved to a new home? Fun, right? Try organizing six hormonal daughters and getting them to pack.

I scored two car loads of boxes from the hospital in the last two days so that's a plus.

We have acquired a few cars (5) in the past year so I have to figure out how to get them and the Orange Jeep Dad trailer up to Idaho. We have the family van and the reliable daily commuter Jeep. Then there's the old pickup truck I bought to help move stuff around. An older Volvo was given to us after the house fire and it became Sister's first car. Then there's the Suburban that we kept from the fire. The insurance company totaled it but I bought it back from them for $400. It only need some rear light covers to be street legal again. Soon I'll need to take it to the DMV to get it inspected and re-registered for the road.

We move in less than 30 days so I have begun cleaning out the vehicles to make room for boxes. The more we can store in the cars, the less I'll get charged for in the moving truck. The OJD trailer alone is going to hold a ton of stuff.

Wifey and Old Blue
I also began driving the vehicles around town as a test of their road-readiness. Today, the trusty 1981 Chevy pickup (Old Blue) died on me. There is a problem getting gas to the carburetor. I verified gas in the tank by siphoning gasoline out of the gas line by mouth (yum!). I used carburetor starter and was able to start the truck only to watch it stop running once the starter wore off so the engine runs. It actually purrs once I get it going...I just can't keep it going. I also testing the fuel filter and it flows just fine. So, it is sitting in the mechanic's parking lot as we speak. Hopefully it won't take too much dinero to get her running smoothly. I'd like to use Old Blue to pull another vehicle up to Idaho.

As luck would have it, the heater is out in the family van. There's no way THAT is going over well in Idaho so it will need to visit the mechanic next week too. The Suburban is still due to go BACK to the mechanic for the rear door handle. It was melted off from the heat of the house fire but was taking so long to be delivered that I took the Burb home for a good cleaning until it's arrival. So, the Suburban will also be returning to the mechanic this week.

The Jeep has a tail light out that I can't figure out. I replaced the bulb and the doohicky that the bulb goes into but it still won't work. I've been pulled over once already for lack of a tail light (got a warning.) So, the Jeep will probably ALSO be going to the mechanic next week.

On top of the cars and the packing, there's still the chickens. To keep or not to keep, that is the question. I really don't want to start all over again but what a huge stress off my shoulders if I don't have to haul their butts 12 hours north in the back of Old Blue. Not to mention that there is no coop or pen established at our new homestead. They'd have to stay cooped up in the back of Old Blue until I threw something together.

We are moving via U-Pack pod this time. The "pod" will be dropped off in our front yard on December 23rd. We'll have until December 30th to pack it up. That should be plenty of time but the logistics are going to be a nightmare. Once picked up, they (the moving company) have six BUSINESS DAYS to deliver it. We will potentially be without our "stuff" for up to nine days. We'll pack necessities in our vehicles and probably end up camping in our new home for a week. Worst of all will be sleeping on the floor until our beds arrive.

Perhaps now would be a good time to ask my good Doctor for a muscle relaxing prescription...or two...or five...

~OJD