Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Mother Nature Assaulted

Creepy, icky people visit The Secret Cabin under the cover of
darkness and make yet another mess for Bheki to clean up.

Memorial Day evening, after spending some time in the lower level sopping up the water that was pouring in all along the entire back wall of the cabin above our overpriced sliding glass doors and muttering under my breath, okay, cursing Dudenas Contracting and stringing several colorful metaphors together in creative ways out loud, I headed out to the grocery store only to discover that sometime between Sunday evening around 6pm and Monday evening around 5pm, someone(s) drove halfway back down our tree-lined driveway, stopped at the ravine and dumped his/their trash on both sides of the driveway. Sickening. It feels like our whole neighbor was defiled by this random act of I don't even know what to call it because I can NOT understand things like this or worse (child abuse, animals abuse, etc.).  I appreciate the State  Troopers' taking their time for something somewhat insignificant in the big scheme of atrocities that their jobs face. Their professional opinion of the situation is helpful. They suggested that, unfortunately, we should close and lock our gate to keep people from coming back. They also mentioned that when they saw our driveway, they really weren't sure there would be anyone back here. Their last comment was of particular interest to me. When I think about it, our driveway is the only one on the road with a house not within sight from the road that doesn't have a mailbox. We had to put our mailbox with the neighbors. So, in addition to adding locking the gate every night and unlocking it in the morning, I am trying to come up with some inexpensive ideas to spruce the entrance up so it looks like a residence and not a dumping ground. I did get all the trash picked up and hauled out of the ravine. The wild animals had already sifted through everything adding to the chore. I filled our burn barrel with assorted papers except for the few papers that the Troopers took as there were some names and addresses on them. We ended up hauling four (4) kitchen bags, one (1) box with a lamp shade, broken glass, and shelf brackets; one small stereo with two speakers, and a bathroom pedestal sink to the transfer station (dump) about a 20 minute drive away. When you drop trash at the transfer station, you are supposed to stop at the office and tell them what you have, pay, and then deposit your trash in an area inside a building for I'm going to call further processing. I'm not really sure what happens after that. Anyway, we mentioned that we got dumped on when we rattled off our list of offending trash and she only charged us $3. I definitely appreciated the kindness. Another bright spot of note is that I got a close up experience of the ravine. It's a little steep and there's actually a kind of rock wall going up to the driveway. I am not the most athletic person in the world. My sport was horseback riding and that's all I've ever done so I'm completely uncoordinated when it comes to anything other than horseback riding. When I first started riding, I was so young and small that I had to scale up the side of the horse in order to get into the saddle. Now, I have this uncanny ability to scale up the side of things. The first time I scaled a hay wagon in front of The Husband, he lost the color in his face and was completely confused as to who he married. Anyway, I once again turn into some kind of Spiderwoman and was able to boogie right up the ravine wall a couple of times and haul a few of the items up and out of the ravine. There's also a lot of these interesting and beautiful mosses along the waterway and on the rocks and trees. A big, yellow butterfly flitted about easing my agitation and disgust as I picked up scatted trash.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Numbers, please!

Your's truly in the middle.

Running my pattern. Notice everyone else standing in line waiting her turn also.

Nailing the pattern. Note number on my back.
Bonus pic. Okay, I'm indulging myself. This horse was AWESOME and I just wanted to include another picture of him. His stable name was Jag as in the expensive sports car. Oh, and no, I'm not telling you how long ago. Was I any good?
I look back on my life and think I was lucky to have rode such good horses.

Back in the day, your's truly, showed horses. I don't show anymore, I just feel every single second that I did. Every single second in the ring that I stood at attention, which for the larger shows could mean 45 minutes, dressed from head to toe in hat, long sleeves, pants, and boots in the summer at the other end of the lead from an 1100 pound, hooved beast that would rather be grazing. At the end of the showmanship class, the ring stewart or announcer would ask, "NUMBERS, PLEASE!" That was the exhibitors' directive to turn your back to the judge so he/she could see the number on your back for the purpose of placing the class. Time has changed the way they run the classes. There's no more standing in the ring while each person runs his/her pattern. An exhibitor enters the ring one at a time, runs the pattern, and then exits the ring. Schew, you can go relax. After everyone is done running his/her pattern, all the horses are brought back into the ring and lined up for a brief inspection so you don't have to stand there at attention forever. Time has changed the meaning of "Numbers, please" for me too. Instead of the exhibitor number on my back, it's watts and amps and volts, oh my! Keeping in mind that our items have not been plugged into a watt meter for accuracy, the inverter uses 24 watts, the circulation pump for hot water through the Garden Level masonry heater is using 18 watts, the Telular (our phone thingie) is about 12 watts, the Apple router (wireless network hub) is about 12 watts, and the Wilson amplifier (to boost our signal for the phone thingie) is about 12 watts. It'll be interesting to see how these numbers compare when we get a watt meter and measure them. When we unplug any of the three electronics (Telular, Apple, Wilson), the inverter shows .1Kw less, which could be from 10-19 watts. If we idle at 80 watts, then we are using 1920 watts/day just idling.  The watt sucking frig is rated at 1296 watts/day. If you do some really rough calculations, we need (roughly) 3 hours of sun per day to take care of our idling loads with the watt sucking frig plugged in. Or, if we have 3 days worth of backup power (battery supplied power), we need 9 hours to recharge the batteries if we go 3 days without sun. Uh, after all that I'm not sure which "Numbers, please" is easier.