Jun 29, 2011

Grease Monkey Day

Tuesday, yesterday, was a full day for me. I dressed in my best "grease monkey" clothes, mentally prepared for the job at hand, and went to work under the bus-house. By the end of the day I had changed the oil in the Cummins diesel, swapped in a new oil filter, lubed the chassis, changed oil in the Onan generator, and tested everything to check for runs, drips, or errs. I had also pulled an oil sample and sent it out for analysis... to see how our now more than 4 year old Cummins is getting along internally.

During the job I installed a Fumoto Valve instead of the normal drain plug on the Cummins diesel. It's a little ball valve designed for this application and makes the job of changing the oil go a little easier once it's installed. Since it's a valve that can be easily opened and closed, it's possible to directly fill gallon jugs with waste oil... for easy disposal. It's also possible to easily tap a sample for an oil analysis any time you'd like.

All the up and down and crawling around really whipped my butt by the end of the day. A shower, a glass of wine... and I was ready for bed.

Jun 27, 2011

Oil, Grass, and MIFI

What were you thinking?
One day last week we made a run down to Madison on a quest for a bag of high-quality grass. The objective of the quest wasn't ordinary run-of-the-mill grass either. No sir! It's a special mixture that, we found out, is actually a bit hard-to-get. You see, Dar wants to seed the area behind the RV pad at the farm with a low maintenance grass that keeps the weeds under control and doesn't have to be mowed much... if at all. The only place locally that carries it is a farm store near Madison and we dragged home 20 pounds of the stuff. It hasn't all been used yet, but we're both feeling good albeit a bit hungry.

On the same trip we stopped at the Verizon store and decided to replace our 2 yr. old aircard with a new MIFI device. The primary reason for making the switch was the lower priced data package that, for some unknown reason, isn't available with my old aircard. I could have opted for an updated aircard, but chose the MIFI due to it's small size and good customer acceptance. After just a few days of experience, we're happy with the switch. I'm not sure why, but it's far faster than the old aircard at our same location here near Beaver Dam despite being on the same 3G network. We're regularly seeing speeds exceeding 2Mbps and never, ever saw speeds like that before. Hmmm??

We're getting into the core of Summer now and the corn is growing like crazy. It's amazing how fast it grows when it has adequate water and some sun. I thought the later planting this year coupled with more cooler days would make the crop look stunted on July 4 -- for my "knee high by the 4th of July" photo -- and provide for a big difference compared to last years big 8ft high crop on Independence Day. It certainly won't look stunted and the comparison to last year will be much less than I thought.

 Today we're getting ready for "oil change day". I change the crankcase oil in the bushouse motor and generator once per year and tomorrow's the day. Doing the job myself saves us some money and there's the satisfaction of gaining a more intimate connection with the motivating force behind our home-on-wheels. The job also entails changing the generator oil and lubing the chassis. I'm allotting the day but unless problems crop up, should be done in time for an early happy hour.

Jun 21, 2011

Light Duty Work Day

Despite the prescription for "light duty" today, my wife/nurse/patient advocate (and non-licensed landscape architect extraordinaire), Dar, talked me into helping her with a small project. When it comes to landscaping projects, she's a taskmaster for sure... and there are still a few chores around our campsite here at the farm that are on her "to do" list for this year.

She put my recovering rear-end on a tractor seat and I helped her spread out and level a big pile of dirt so she can get the area seeded with "no-mow" low maintenance grass. She wants it growing and on it's own by the time we leave here for the west coast near the end of July.

And after pushing around and leveling the dirt pile there was a big stubborn root to remove (chainsaw, shovel, and axe). And then there was a small tree that had self-started where she didn't want a tree (chainsaw again). And then there was a big ancient lilac bush that was too big, too ugly, half dead... and it's stump that had to be removed (chainsaw, shovel, and axe again). And, of course, all those cuttings had to be hauled to the "burn pile" way out back. Wow!

On top of it all, it was a tad muggy and warm today... thunderstorms popping up all around us, but mostly missing us. By the time I talked her into calling it a day, Gatorade was no longer the adult beverage I was craving. And after a long shower it was time to start the light-duty portion of the day.

Jun 20, 2011

It's All Behind Me

I'm sitting in the bus-house tonight, satisfied from a light dinner, sipping a glass of wine, and happy that my ordeal this afternoon is over. In reality, it wasn't all that bad. And what I'd heard from others who have gone through it is certainly true: the preparation for the procedure is the worst part of the whole thing. Thanks to a couple drugs, I remember nothing of the procedure itself.

The Doc did find and snipped off two polyps. They were relatively small and we'll learn more about them in a few days when the pathology report comes back. I really wasn't expecting they'd find anything as there's absolutely no family history of problems... but there they were... and I've got pictures of them to boot. Now, despite all my whining, I'm glad I did it.

I'll be on light-duty for another day but then should be completely back to normal... and ready to travel soon.

Jun 19, 2011

Bottoms Up!

Noon:  I'm sitting here this Father's Day with my jug of Gatorade, my lunch of lime jello and orange popsicles, and contemplating the trauma a certain lower part of my body is scheduled to undergo about 24 hours from now. Yes, it's colonoscopy time and I can say, only slightly tongue-in-cheek (I hope that lump on my cheek is my tongue and not the probe!), that I'll be glad when this whole thing is behind me.

Of course family and friends are making light of it all... easily spewing comments at my expense about "getting to the bottom of the situation", how incredibly long the probe actually is, that "most people" make it through just fine (most??), "gotta go!", and others that have faded from memory as a result of severe starvation.

I'll tell you what... there's going to be a big ol' hamburger for dinner tomorrow night! I think that's enough on that subject for now.

We've been getting along OK since my last post. Last week we loaded up the bikes and rode the "Wild Goose State Trail"... well, at least about 10 miles of it round trip. I think it was Wednesday. With our recent lack of biking and physical conditioning we thought it'd be wise not to push too far that day... thus the relatively short 10 mile jaunt.

And yesterday we attended the "Taste of Wisconsin" event in downtown Beaver Dam. It's a celebration of "made in Wisconsin" beer and cheese put on as a fund-raiser for the local Chamber of Commerce. We had a great time sampling and hanging out with about 400 fellow Wisconsinites.


6pm update: I'm in that phase of the procedure where I'm supposed to down massive quantities of a liquid designed to "clean things out". If I'm not mistaken, some call this a "dose of the salts". They gave me two choices: a gallon of the cheaper stuff that's quaffed between tonight and tomorrow morning...  or a half-gallon of some other stuff that cost a little more but is half the quantity to swallow. I opted to pay a little more for the half gallon in order to avoid the full gallon bloat.

9pm update: Hungry, cranky, irritable... Time for bed.

Jun 15, 2011

We're fine... maybe a tad lazy?

Can't believe it's been two weeks since my last post. I'm in serious procrastination-mode... not too busy to post if I had the motivation. So this little update is only to say we're getting along fine and enjoying the much nicer June weather we've been having after that nasty May. Small projects around the farm... getting the toad and bus-house ready for another year on the road... enjoying the company of family... one day melds into the next. It's almost hypnotic.

Jun 1, 2011

More News from My Hometown

After my last "News from My Hometown" posting I received a number of other published police news incidents from the past year. Despite my urge to move on because I'd already "been there... done that", some are good enough to warrant one more post.

From this past Winter...
Vandalism — At 3:50 p.m. on Thursday, police received a report of bad words and inappropriate pictures on the ice and snow on the pond at Swan City Park. Police decided that snow would be covering them shortly.

Sometimes you just gotta hit something...
Vanalism - Police received a report on Wednesday at 5:10 p.m. that a man was striking a vehicle with a hammer while he was in the 100 block of Frances Lane. Police made contact with the 41-year-old man who told officers he was upset and took his aggression out on his vehicle.

Mistaken identity...
Animal call - Police responded to the 200 block of West Mackie Street on Wednesday at 6:30 p.m. for a report of a black bear cub in a driveway. Police made contact and found out it was a cocker spaniel.

PETA's investigating...
Hit and Run - Police received a report of run-over squirrel flopping around in the 200 block of North University Ave. at 2:30 p.m. Thursday. Police responded but the animal was completely flattened by the time they arrived. No further action was taken.

No comment needed...
Disorderly conduct - A 38-year-old Stoughton man was cited for disorderly conduct on Feb. 10 at 11 p.m. The man was spotted stumbling down Madison Street near Greenwich Street. The man was unable to identify himself by name and attempted to kiss an officer while being searched. After that incident, the officer backed away, and the man began clenching his fists. The officer placed handcuffs on the man. A preliminary breathalyzer test resulted in a reading of .25. He was then transported to Tellerium Detox Facility.


Beyond Branson; Pondering Future Travel

This past Tuesday, we moved from Branson to a very nice Corps of Engineer’s Park on Wappapello Lake.  We’re in the Redman Creek CG. This fac...