Saturday, May 31, 2008

The Dewey Decimal System

We just can't avoid an auction. I guess it's our siren song calling us to our doom. We picked this up at the WSU auction last week. Supposedly it will be used to store small parts that currently reside on various surfaces inside of the barn (and elsewhere).

Yep, it's one of those library card files (decommissioned of course). We had to remove all 256 drawers in order to move the cabinet. When we put them back it wasn't necessary to return the drawers to the same hole they were removed from. The workmanship on the cabinet is really excellent.

The WSU auction had three of these cabinets for sale. We've looked at them several times over the past few months. Until this last week the price never wavered. They went on the auction block this past week and I couldn't resist. I picked up one of the cabinets for little more than 1/10th the asking price. Yippee!

We finally got it moved a couple of days ago. Even with the drawers removed it was still too heavy for me to try to help. Thank goodness Josh was here working in Roger's workshop. He and Roger got it moved while I supervised.

If it helps to get the barn organized it will be well worth the investment.

Sunday, May 25, 2008

The Farmers Market

We took Panda with us to the Farmer's Market yesterday. She got to show off her new hat and meet some new people. I don't think she was really excited about either.

She was happy to be home though.

Gopher Bar-be-cue

We have been mowing the field in front of the house (east side - across the driveway). Since it has never really been maintained as a 'lawn' before it's not exactly a smooth ride on the lawn mower so we're going to grade it this fall (or next spring) so the ride will not be as bumpy.

We've pretty much gotten all of the rocks out of the way so the blades on the mower are not at risk in that respect. Besides the unevenness of the ground one other problem we have encountered is gophers.

Last year at the Palouse Fair Grounds we saw a demonstration of a device that blows the little critters right out of the hole. It involves the use of a mixture of propane, oxygen and a spark. We watched the tape a couple of times and it seemed like an excellent way to get rid of the varmints. Expensive though.

So, we (Roger really) thought we (he) would make his own gopher blaster and get rid of the critters himself. Patrick being a science teacher was excited about the experiment and came out for the day to help with the explosions.

They set up the equipment and began the task of sending gophers into space. I took the dog in the house.

The makeshift system didn't work as planned. There was no 'explosion'. The system did, however, generate a lot of heat. So much heat in fact that the grass above the burrows ignited. It was interesting to watch the fire travel across the grass. One never knew just which way it would move and many hasty relocation's of the propane tank occurred during the process. I think the guys had fun though.

This morning Roger went out to spray some weeds. The gopher mounds are back. We've learned that the burrows can go as deep as 6 feet. I'm not sure the flames went that far. It looks like we are going to have a serious battle on our hands. Looks like we need a plan B.

Saturday, May 24, 2008


This past month Roger has been working on getting the solar panels up and running. The inspector was out a couple of weeks ago to approve the ditches. Once they received his blessing Roger filled them in with the backhoe and set to work on the next step.

He strung wires and put in switches, circuit breakers and junction boxes and then threw the switch (three switches really).

Voila - nothing exploded.

There is a 'wee' bit too much voltage flowing through the panels during the daylight hours so we will eventually be putting up a fence around the installation to avoid creating any crispy critters.

Roger is so proud. One of the meters is running backward.

Unfortunately, while he had the backhoe in his possession he dug another hole (I think it was the idea of a 'new toy'). On his last trip to Spokane he picked up another pole. We will be cementing that one in next week. I appears we will be getting four more solar panels.

I had a chance to use the backhoe. I took down the small mountain of fill dirt that has been bugging me since we moved in. The backhoe is fun to operate. That explains the fifth hole - right?

Tomorrow we'll talk about a trip to the Farmer's Market and bar-be-cued gophers.

Long Time - No Post

I know, it's May. So what has been going on here at the RJ Ranch? Lots of stuff.

I'll try to hit a few of the highlights just for the sake of not boring you to death.

A few weeks ago while Roger and I were working in the office Roger happened to look out of the window and spied what looked like two large white wolfs traversing the hill behind the house. As it turned out they were not wolves but two Great Pyrenees. The female (and smaller of the two) was wearing a collar so I knew they were not feral (let's say I 'hoped' they were not feral).

She did come to me when I called her and I was able to glean a name "Freya" and a phone number from the tags. The male and the larger of the two (I found out later "the puppy") was not wearing a collar.

After the fourth try I managed to get through to the number on the tag. I'm not sure if I was excited or nervous about getting that close to a very large dog.

The neighbor told me she would be there in 10 minutes. About two minutes after I hung up both dogs took off like a bolt of lightning toward the top of the hill. I thought they were gone for sure. Both dogs returned shortly before the owner arrived. Freya and Thor were frothing at the mouth after having run a very long race after a very large coyote about halfway to the state line. Unfortunately the coyote (a loner) liked the game. He sat at the top of the hill taunting the dogs even as the owner was trying to load them into her car.

Thor (the puppy) must have weighed more than 100 pounds. He was supposed to be the friendly one; Freya the more standoffish. Thor had no collar so it's fortunate that Freya chose to come to me when called.

I found out that the Great Pyrenees are very gentle and dedicated dogs. What a relief. I thought I was dog food.

Freya and Me.......................Freya.........................Thor.....
They are beautiful aren't they? And BIG!

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