Saturday, July 29, 2006

Another three shower day

I know that you folks from the south won't be impressed, but it's up in the upper 80s right now. The humidity ensures that everyone gets drenched with sweat by just sitting around.

But who gets to sit around?

We put off doing the chickens last week, so they were still clucking and consuming food this morning. I was going to do all eight, but the heat beat out my ambition, and I just did four. It will probably work out better that way, anyhow. With the scraps of only four birds, the dogs, cats, and chickens will eat it up quickly. (Yes, chickens are cannibals.)

My computer is working well, at least. This five-year-old workhorse has been giving me trouble for quite some time. It has never liked the heat, and would freeze up on me if I played some computation-intensive game like half-life or gunman. This year, it was freezing up or rebooting or blacking out just because it felt like it. To say that I was getting frustrated would be an understatement.

I started a few weeks ago by cleaning off CPU's heat sink and making sure that the fan was working right. This helped. I found out later that the memory chips were dusty. I pulled them, washed them off, and reinstalled them. Getting rid of that insulative coat of dust helped. After that, I blew all the dust out of the computer that I could.

Still, it was acting up. It actually started to act like the old machines I used to repair did when the power supply was going. So, I pulled the power supply, opened it up, and blew it out. Dust went everywhere. It's a good thing I did that outside.

So now I can write without being paranoid about losing everything. I still save often, but that's just a good habit.

Meanwhile, on the farm, I finally got that one bail of hay that was keeping the garage door open used up. That just leaves seven in the garage and two outside. They were stacked and covered with a tarp, so I had to push the top one off and onto a palate. Of course, the cats wanted to wander around and see how much trouble they could cause. Luckily for them, nobody got crushed.

For those who aren't familiar with round bails, they are big (about 600 pounds) spiral-rolled mats of grass and/or clover. Imagine cutting down some grass, raking it into a roll perhaps four feet wide, compressing it, and then rolling that all up into big wheel. That's how they are made.

So, the first thing to do is to set it upright. Then, I unwind the bailing twine. Then, I unwind a little bit of hay and feed it to the hay burners. Then, more of it unrolls itself. Then, the cats climb all over it and knock more down. Then, the chickens scratch through it.

After that, half the hay is piled on the ground.

Of course, I was prepared for that. I just used the pitch fork (a gift from Mary, along with a nice ax) to pile it all on top of the bails that are safe and dry in the garage. (no, we don't park our car there. Does anyone?)

It threatened to rain today, so I had to cover everything up. Actually, just as soon as the first two chickens were dead and dangling from the tree, and my medical exam gloves were on, it started to sprinkle.

I didn't feel like pulling the gloves off, so I just went over and covered the hay in the garage and pulled the door half-way down. Then, I covered the unopened bail (I had covered it earlier, but part of the tarp blew off), and finally, I covered the bail that was unraveling.

About the time I got back to the chickens, that little bit of sprinkling stopped.

But anyhow, we have the pieces parts of four chickens resting in the refrigerator. They'll be washed again and frozen in three days -- after the rigor mortis leaves the meat and it is nice and tender again. Once that is done, I will have room in the refrigerator to do the last four birds. That'll just leave eight younger broilers that will be grown up in a month or so.

I was quite happy to be done with that job. I don't even like cutting up the whole birds that you get in the grocery store. Turning a live bird into meat is a yuckier job than that. I hope we have the cash to send the next batch to the Amish family that does birds for a couple bucks a piece.

After that stinky job, I took a shower and caught up on some reading and writing. I'm about to start working on my short story again. I got a lot done yesterday, but it appears that the scope of the story is getting bigger. I added a new character, and I'm afraid that I'm not being very nice to her. She's a nice girl, too. She deserves a happy ending.

(But I wouldn't want to spoil the story by telling you what happens. moooa ha ha ha! [snicker] [chortle])

Gratuitous pictures of the day:

I picked up an old television and salvaged some parts from it. The back turned out to be a good shelter box for the cats. Of course, since it's dark and cozy, and has nice soft stuffing inside, the chickens like to sit there and lay eggs. That little cat on the right didn't want to move, so the chicken just sat on him.

Goats are naturally ornery critters. There is perfectly good hay right next to her, but she has to stick her neck through the fence and reach as far as she can for someone else's hay. (This was taken at the fair last year)


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