utility update: big storm!
October 9, 2013, 12:04 pm
Filed under: Uncategorized, utilities | Tags: ,

Well almost a month ago, we got the big one. The storm we’ve been waiting for–you know, the one that officially blocks the road and takes out all our power lines? Yeah, that one!

For some crazy reason I was at the gym when it came. The storm didn’t look so bad from there, but on the drive home I noticed a LOT of debris on the roads. I had to drive over some trees too.  Then, I came to our street, turned in, and there it was.

Image 2

big tree across the road

Image 3

can you see the power lines in that mess?

I climbed on over it, and walked to the house. On the way I noticed that another pole was damaged, listing really! Cracked down to the bottom.


see that tilty pole back there? not good!

And then the kicker, the pole at the top of the line…smashed into many little pieces..

Image 4

pile of rubble=utility pole

I was not too happy, as we had had an outage in the summer that last for a couple of days and it was a much smaller set of damage (a transformer down the street I think). This one was the big one. And all the work we’d gone through to get the lines raised in the paddock, erased. I knew we’d have to start from scratch.

Yeesh. Amazingly they had the power back on after 24hours. Our phone line continued to work with the tree down on it! Poor me, I had to be out of town in NYC for the weekend, and when we came back, we had power, but alas, our phone was gone, and…the line was ominously just lying on the road!?!

It stayed there for about a week, slumped over our utility paddock fenceline, not connected to anything. I kept calling about it and finally someone came in and got the phone back online.

And then, the calls began. AKA the verizon circus. You can’t call and request a lineman, no they will always send a technician (guy who can’t fix anything) first. So…call, automated endless wait for a customer service agent. Explain the problem. Half of the time they drop the call while transferring you to the repair line. Explain the problem. Get a service appt. Wait. Guy comes out –oh it’s the technician. I can’t do anything, i’ll call it in for a line man. Nothing happens! Repeat.

Today was a first, we actually had two service people come out–first one, you know this…a technician (can’t do anything). But then a second one showed up (guess the first one did call it in, thanks dude!), second one was a “troubleshooting technician”. He had a little bucket truck, but not the big ones that can stretch the lines. He said he thought it was weird all the comments about needing a bucket truck (odd that my story gets written down somehow, and they still can’t fix it), but added to the story–he thought he was looking at the line from the barn to the pole (WHAT? we don’t have a phone line going to the barn??) so he couldn’t fix anything either. Verizon really looks like a bunch of dopes. Wasting everyone’s time–are they gov’t employees or something??! Just a big circus. And I’m too tired to tell you about how their attempts to get us on FIOS fit into all this. Another time? luckily for you, dear reader, probably not!

So far, it’s been 2.5 weeks since I called about raising the line. It’s actually gotten lower now at 6.5 feet (I can touch it with my hands, and i’m not that tall, than it was when we initially called about it several years back. We’ll have to see what happens, but until then the paddock is not usable. It’s a safety issue, and it really needs to be addressed. Hard to believe we got over 13 feet clearance back in the day. I hope they’ll fix it all back up.


my pet chicken had cancer

Liz the lap chicken

As you know, we took Liz to the vet to have her put to sleep. It cost 124.95, but the peace of mind was worth it. I opted for the shot and not the gas chamber. It was nicer for her I think, and it was nicer for me too. She got a shot of sedative and then fell asleep as I petted her. Not that I think all chickens like to be petted (cause I don’t think they do) but Liz was our lap chicken. We knew that she had some kind of terminal illness. She was finding it hard to swallow and it was getting worse.

The vet offered to have a necropsy done. Apparently Penn State will do them for free. Anyhow I got the results back this week…she had cancer of the crop. An adenoma (though I’m not sure if that’s the right thing–reading around it sounds like that’s an ovarian thing?–dunno.) It was a relief to know that it wasn’t worms or something we could have helped her out with. We didn’t get her body back for burial, but I thought the opportunity for learning was important.

While we’ve been sad about Liz’s departure, someone I think has been more sad….
We went away for the weekend after I took Liz to the vet and when we got back, we saw this….

which one of these chickens looks like she just lost her best friend?

which one of these chickens looks like she just lost her best friend?

Yep that’d be Bubbles. We used to say that Liz was Bubbles’ be-otch. The two of them used to hang out. They were best buds. And Bubbles would come over and try to attack me if I was holding Liz. Sheesh! Bubbles is a mean bird.

But she is a pretty one, and I haven’t really posted pictures of the birds when they’re not at their best. And yeesh, Bubbles you looked a mess!

one molty Bubbles

one molty Bubbles

I’ve never seen her molt so fast and so much. She lost all the feathers on her back at once. Weird.

Bubbles' bare back

Bubbles’ bare back

One thing that’s neat about a Bubbles molt–her feather shaft things look BLUE when they come in. Kind of neat. (If you have an aversion to those scenes in the Black Swan–cover your eyes!) Of course, chickens are due for a molt, they haven’t been laying any eggs for a bit and it’s common in the heat of the summer. But they do say that chickens can molt if they’re really stressed out. And I do believe, that she was. Poor girl.

my blue swan

my blue swan

One other finding from the necropsy…Liz apparently had some testicular tissue in her ovaries! I don’t really know how common that is, but it probably explains why she never laid any eggs. Poor girl had a lot going on. She really was one special bird!

A new goat shed for a new year
January 12, 2013, 10:25 am
Filed under: Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , ,

Been a little bit busy I guess. Can’t believe no posts in SO long!!

painting in red clogs!

painting in red clogs

We spent a lot of the fall painting the house.

dealing with pumpkins

dealing with pumpkins

And also just trying to deal with all the pumpkins!

We also found time to take on a big new construction project!! A goat shed!!

cedar goat shed

cedar goat shed

We used leftover roofing but bought the cedar new. A bit posh for those goats–total cost about 500.00. It did turn out quite pretty I think. Alas, this picture highlights our pallet gate system–tied shut with binder twine no less. Guess that needs to get on the to do list.

Should weather to look nice with the barn

Should weather to look nice with the barn

at 6 x 8 it's really not horse sized.

at 6 x 8 it’s really not horse sized.

We used what we learned from building the chicken coop, and are pretty pleased with how it turned out.

spring is coming- chickens on the lay
February 3, 2011, 12:26 pm
Filed under: bubbles, chickens, knuckles, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , ,

After months of few eggs and molty looking chickens, imagine my surprise when i opened the coop door and saw this:

three in a box

The girls have been much happier too. Here’s knuckles being a clownpants:

hey shorty whatcha doin down there

yeah you. i see you!

She’s so cute that knuckles.

And then there’s Bubbles. She’s been very skittish this molty season. Now she’s back to her friendly inquisitive self.

pretty bubbles

103 new dunkin donuts in pittsburgh
February 2, 2011, 11:57 am
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Recently the Taco Bell on our commute route abruptly shut down. I didn’t think anything new would pop into its place. It was all boarded up, and the location–next to a Burger King and Shop n Save didn’t seem that desireable. But alas, Route 8 surprises me, and construction started. Every morning as part of our fun activities to pass the drive, we wondered what the heck it would be. And then the girl said, “dunkin donuts.” How do you know for sure, sez me? Uh I dunno, because of the huge sign over there??! My eyes weren’t working I guess. It did indeed say Dunkin Donuts coming soon.

Seems odd to me, but then I came across this article. Apparently Dunkin Donuts is in the process of opening 103 new stores in the Pittsburgh area. WHAT??!!! That’s insane? I mean if it was Tim Horton’s well that I could understand. But Dunkin Donuts??

Here’s a little stat from the article. I can’t really understand what it means. Maybe you can explain it to me. “The region has about 750 chains of 25 units or more, or one chain location for every 3,150 residents, the report found.” So according to this, Pittsburgh is apparently an unsaturated market for fast food restaurants?! Huh??! Amazing. Anyhow the article talks about how Pittsburgh is #5 in the top 40 of growth areas for new fast food places. Sheesh, I thought we had enough of them, but apparently no.

Speaking of donuts, this is a recipe i’d like to try!! Donut upside down cake. Isn’t that insane?! Check the link and look at that picture!! It’s nuts!

And this story about a seattle donut store….

They found an old neon sign that said Topspot and wanted to us it for their store. When they got around to refinishing for re-installation the “s” had fallen off. So now it’s called Top Pot doughnuts. Tee hee.

I love it! Maybe we’ll go there when we go there next month! Or alas, no, we did not get there. A story for another day!

Gee it sounds like I’m craving a donut or something. Yes yes I am still craving that doughnut!

cool financial tool–bundle
March 23, 2010, 6:13 pm
Filed under: Uncategorized | Tags: ,

Surprise, I’m working out a budget on quicken. It’s pretty painless really–auto downloads of acct. information, then you can categorize things, and ultimately make up charts and graphs that show where your money went.

So where did it go?? Hmm. Well according to my calculations we spend 67.50 a month on petsitting! Impossible? No, it’s true. We spent 810.00 on our lovely pet sitter over the past year. A bargain really. But it works out to 67.50 a month. Sheesh. That’s harsh. Oh and I didn’t tabulate her Christmas tip in that so I guess it’s actually 75.00 a month!

And then there’s the other question. How much is that goat and chicken food costing us? 49.00 a month. Shocking really. You shouldn’t really look at these numbers too closely. Heart palpitations might ensure. Of course any expense looks frightening if you amortize it. Like when our vet came out to inspect the little goaties. One visit, long chit chat. Interesting, and we learned a lot but that’s 11.00 a month. Yikes.

Anyhow the next step was to get curious about how our spending compares with national averages. How nuts are we, exactly?

Well, lo and behold, there’s a site for that. I googled around and found bundle.com. Very cool tool. You can search by your age, household type and most importantly, geographic location, and then see average monthly totals. Cool!! Of course they didn’t have a realistic category that would include farmette expenses, so I was somewhat limited in my search for numbers.

Anyhow it also shows you where people are most likely to be buying things in that category from. It’s kind of creepy really. You wonder where all that computer debit/credit card info went. Well voila they’ve used it to create a pretty interesting snapshot of the nation’s spending habits.

March 22, 2010, 8:39 pm
Filed under: Uncategorized | Tags: ,

The end run was tedious and nasty and we didn’t know too much about what was going on, but I’m sure glad you perservered President Obama and Speaker Pelosi. Thank you!

We’ll see what happens next, but I’m sure glad that you stuck it out. It was the right thing to do!