Sunday, February 26, 2017

Sunday Walkabout 2-25

It’s been a big week for our little homestead on the hill...

February 20 was TWENTY years from the exact event that set us on our current course. TWENTY years. I’ll be perfectly honest here. It’s been a long, hard twenty years.

While the events of that particular day will probably haunt me (us) for the rest of our lives, there’s no real point in dwelling on it...and it certainly isn’t cause for a celebration. If you want the abridged version, read THIS one. But, the fact that we’ve made this work for twenty years is indeed noteworthy. And, I will say this...we made the best of an awful situation...and I’m proud of all we have accomplished.

Enough of that...onward.

It was a holiday weekend for most of the country as we celebrated Presidents’ Day. (or  #notmypresidentsday depending on your point of view)

Since a holiday usually means some good deals, we decided to take advantage of our “slow” time and do a little truck shopping. The farm truck had been showing some serious signs of age for quite some time. I mean, it IS Twenty years old, so geriatric issues were to be expected. But, it no longer seemed dependable for longer hauling trips, so it was time to look for a replacement.

Surely, we could find something “new” that would fit the budget.

But, then again...

When we rolled onto the first lot, the first truck that caught our eye had a sign on the windshield that said...” HOLIDAY SPECIAL ....$38,900!” Another vehicle said something about a payment of “just” $800mo.

I blinked. Surely I didn’t see what I thought I did. But, yes. Yes, that is what it said.

We’re not talking new, top of the line vehicle. We’re talking about a used pick-up. Geez. I knew this was going to be expensive, but WOW.

I’m pretty sure that I can expect my “official old person card” (as if there was such a thing) to be arriving sometime this week as I heard myself say, with a fair amount of repetition “dang! our first mortgage payment was less than that!” (yep, I realized I am definitely a geezer)

So, maybe a stripped down model was what we wanted...

But, this one was seriously basic. As, in no upgrades, basic. I didn’t even know they manufactured crank windows anymore. It didn’t ride any better than the old Dodge... And, if we’re going to rack up what seemed like the equivalent of the national debt, I think we should at least get a good radio. 

So, maybe a newer, better equipped model?

The other extreme was amazing. Too amazing. It was like driving a luxury sedan...with all the bells and whistles. I honestly couldn't imagine work boots and dirty jeans in this one. And, it was far to shiny and fancy to take to the feedstore. But, it would last us for the “rest of our lives”. (yeah, and we would be paying for it about that long, too)  There was no working a deal on this one.  Our savings wouldn’t cover it, and the payments were out of reach. (one of these days, I’ll have to tell you about operating this place on a shoe-string does keep life interesting)

After spending the better part of the day searching, learning and dickering with used vehicle salesmen, we started to head back home.

...and there it was...

a 2006 f-250 Super-Duty v10

It wasn’t anything like we had been considering...but...

The Boss pulled across the road abruptly and we were off and looking once more. However, afternoon chores were awaiting us and there was no time for a test-drive or another marathon bargaining session, so we made plans to return in the morning.

Since this story is already getting far too long, I’ll skip to the end...

Gus and Ellie aren't so sure of this new thing

Our savings may be nearly empty, but there’s a nice “new” truck sitting in our driveway (with no payments...thank you very much). The dealer fixed the squeaking brake caliper (no charge) and got a new radio installed (no charge) so the Boss is happy. I even get to drive it while listening to the new radio to the feedstore on my next trip. So, I’m happy as well. I guess we should give a shout-out to Matt and the crew at MasterTech in Staunton. Thanks, y'all!

gone, but not forgotten
the dodge served us well

After cleaning up the Dodge, the Boss parked it at the mailbox with a FOR SALE sign on it...and sold it to the first guy who called who wanted it for his son. And now  some highschool kid from Gap will be happy, too.

And, that was that.

broiler season 2017 begins

After the great truck adventure, my phone rang and an unknown male voice identified himself as “mike-the-mail-carrier”. (and that just made me chuckle) He was calling to inform me that the broiler chicks were at the Staunton Post Office and would be making the trip from town shortly and that I could pick them up in Mbrk within the hour. Well, now...that was a surprise! I had just gotten a delivery email from USPS advising me that they would arrive the following day. 

(but, I could hear them cheeping in the background, so I was certain they were actually in the vicinity) 

Thankfully, the Boss had already prepared for this possibility and we didn’t have to make any hurried efforts to get ready for the chicks’ arrival, other than to make the short trip to the very local post office. (Mbrk Post Office is about 1/2 mile away)

chicks in the brooder

Now, the first batch of broiler chicks is now scurrying about the brooder, eating voraciously and growing vigorously. Just eight weeks to fresh chicken at the Market!

The only other story around here this week was the weather.

I know, I seem to be obsessed with the weather. But, it affects everything. And, I do mean everything.

it's really too early for peach blossoms!

We haven’t had much winter weather this year at all. And, while I know I’ve written that before, it bears repeating. Those beautifully warm days with temperatures in the seventies are really not so great. All the trees are starting to bud out and many fear what will happen if/when the weather turns cold again. And, if it does not turn cold, what happens to the whole cycle of life deal? Are we in for big shifts in weather patterns? What will that mean to those of us who make our living on the land? Climate changes are indeed a subject that should demand our close attention and concern.

see the thermometer?
102* is ambient temperature
The warm temperatures create new challenges in the greenhouses. Ordinarily, this time of year, we are trying to keep the tiny seedlings warm. This past week, the fans have been running well past dark as we try to keep the houses “cool”. Extra diligence is required in keeping everything watered, creating one more item for the daily to do list. So far, so good. I haven’t inadvertently “cooked” anything.
everything gets a little wilty in the heat

baby chard

well-watered cabbage seedlings

Yesterday, a front blew through (emphasis on BLEW) and the weather changed dramatically. This morning the temperatures were back in the twenties and there was ice on the stock tanks.
storm blowing through

Don’t like the weather? Wait five minutes! 

We’re supposed to be in for another rollercoaster ride in the temperatures this week. Maybe we will see some rain...we could certainly use that.

tax prep tops my "to-do" list this week.

As we get ready to flip the calendar to March, it’s time to start our countdown toward Market season. With Opening Day on April 1st this year, we need to start getting ready...right now! (yikes...I better run...I know there’s something that needs my immediate attention)

Hope you’re having aHappy Sunday!  

Thanks for stopping by. Come back and “visit” us again real soon.


  1. As always thank you for your weekly post. A successful week with your truck purchase and resale of the old one. It is surely necessary for you to have reliable transport.
    We had two very mild days before going back to the 30's this a.m. Like you, I worry about this unseasonal weather and what it will do to the gardens.
    Glad your wee chicks have arrived. Have a good, calm week.

    1. Thanks for reading and commenting, Cheryl!
      I hope all is well with you these days. You're in my thoughts and prayers.
      Have a great week!

  2. I, too, enjoying your newsy posts every week. I seldom comment. My bad. Happy for your truck luck (buy & sell) and that the chicks are doing well. Weather here equally roller coaster. 70 one day 29 the next. Buds breaking on shrubs, daffs budding up 3 weeks early. Last 2 days never got out of 20s daytime. Climate change is real, and will affect everthing. Hoping your seedlings do well. Wishing you all the best in these difficult times. Kris

    1. Thanks for taking the time to comment, Kris!
      I'm glad to know you're out there reading.
      Isn't the weather weird? The changes are not only hard to predict and adapt to, but make it difficult on the animals and the whole cycle of growing. I wish everyone understood just how serious it is.
      I truly appreciate the kind thoughts.
      Take care and have a good week.