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Random babblings of a fiber-obsessed nutcase

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We are solar, baby! Jun. 25th, 2017 @ 08:32 am
Um, yeah - so this happened.

We've been looking into solar power for, well, years - I had checked into it in 2003 when the house was being built, but it was priced way out of my league. We've looked over the years- the latest was last month; Treehouse quoted $60K. :gulp!:

On my trip to pick up Herself's birthday cake, we saw a billboard for a "local" solar company. SG called, they came out Tuesday....and we got the quote Thursday. $20K. They came out yesterday and we signed the contract......they'll do the install Friday and Saturday.

37 panels, 1700KwH. Own, not leased. Tied into the grid (WAY too much to go completely off-grid!); our co-op doesn't pay for power, but they credit us for the overage (so....they DO pay, but not cash. Whatever....if I never have to pay another electric bill I'll be happy as a clam!)

They also do wind.....we're discussing it for my Studio, SG's shop, and the soon-to-be-NEW goat barn. Might just do solar there, too - we're still in the discussion stage. We will go solar, at least, on those down the road.

I'm pretty stoked. Since our electric bills top $400/month in Summer....and the payments on the solar system is $350/month for 37 months........AND SG will be paying it off sooner......we're coming out ahead. If I did the math right, the system will pay for itself in less than 5 years. :happy:

Making Manchego today. Fun stuff!

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Current Mood: happyhappy

Huh. I thought retail therapy was a girl thing.... Jun. 20th, 2017 @ 06:00 pm
apparently not. There's a store here, called Beall's (Ball's. Whatever.) I had seen the ad, but figured we wouldn't do anything; this weekend (for Father's Day) they had a HUGE sale. Mens and Boys were buy 1, get 2 free, and everything else was 50% off - including Clearance. Normally, we don't do sales...but our next door neighbor mentioned it to SG, so off we went.

And we spent.

Both he and Himself made out like bandits - Polo and Ralph Lauren and Izod shirts, at 3 for $50. Swim trunks - Polo! - for $25....only somehow we got Himself's free. Herself and I got a ton of blouses and shorts. We basically got new wardrobes - for a lot less than I anticipated. (We basically saved over 70%, if my math is right. The sales clerk couldn't believe the size of the receipt, or the number of coupons we got on Sunday!)

And we hit another one the next day....and he bought MORE. And.....they have a thing that when you have a Beall's card, you get so much cash back, AND $10 off purchases of $10/more coupons...and I currently have over $100 in coupons to use. :blink: (He opened an account, charged the stuff, then turned around and paid it off. It's still open, but *I* am not on it (didn't want to be!), and he won't use it. So....we get the perks but don't have to pay the interest.)

Herself and I hit yet another one yesterday and used some of the coupons...we got about $200 worth of stuff for - wait for it! - $40. I ended up with 1 shirt; she walked out with a hat, 4 blouses, a jacket, and some more shorts. It's.....insane. I don't know how they stay in business!

We're going back Thursday - I have some "50% off all clearance" coupons I need to use, plus some more $10 off $10+. Both she and Himself can use a few more clothes.......:lol: These are a LOT nicer than what Wally-world carries, and with the coupons the prices are pretty comparable. Especially if we hit the clearance racks again!

The 3 batches of Whey Cool soaps look good. I made a test batch of GM soap (new scent - Cherry Blossom!) today - so far it's looking good. I think this one will be called "Sakura Goat", unless Herself objects. She's my Japan "expert"; I don't want to offend anyone with my silly names. I also made her a jar of body butter in Cherry Blossom - she LOVES it. :heh: I think I have a new hobby. Maybe. :snicker:

My SIL made it in from KY. We'll be going over to FIL's a lot, I think, to help her get him straightened out. I hope she can get him to go back up with her to visit - he NEEDS it.

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Current Location: kitchen table
Current Mood: thankfulthankful

Life sucks sometimes... Jun. 18th, 2017 @ 08:13 am
Got up yesterday AM, went out to milk, and SG came out all torn up. Kenzie died sometime Friday evening/early Sat. morning. :sigh: No sign of distress; she was normal when we went to bed. :sigh:

Needless to say, it's pretty grim here right now.

I busied myself with soaping - 3 batches of Whey Cool. Sea Dog, Hippie Dippy, and an as-yet-unnamed batch scented with Plumeria. I prefer to experiment with Whey Cool instead of the Goat's Milk, because whey is a "waste" product and it doesn't bother me if the experiment doesn't work. :grin: This one did, but the scent accelerates - I had soap on a stick! We'll see what it looks like when I cut it later today.....

Happy Father's Day to all the Dads out there!

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Current Location: command center
Current Mood: sadsad

Let's see... Jun. 14th, 2017 @ 02:06 pm
1. The cold cream I made is actually a slightly expensive, very luscious wood wax. :lol: When I was looking for beeswax substitutes, every site I found said that candelilla wax was the best. Only.....they didn't think to mention that it wasn't a 1:1 sub. Candelilla wax is 2x as stiff as beeswax, so it should be used at 0.5:1. The 2nd batch I made is WONDERFUL. It's pulling out all sorts of blemishes, without breaking me out. And my countertops LOVE the 1st batch, so....win/win!

2. Herself is now *20*. Not sure HOW that happened.......her party was Sunday, and it was good.

3. The milking machine is da bomb! I got the husband to order a 2nd set of inflations, so I can milk 2 goats at a time (:sigh: He wanted to "save money". I want to save my wrists and time. HE doesn't milk - he "helps", 3x/week - so it's not important to him. I told him Sunday evening that if he could spend $$$$ on things we DO NOT NEED (drones/home security/video games/etc) then, by golly, he could spend $$ for ME to be in less pain. We should have ordered a 2 goat set-up to begin with, but...oh, well. We have one Now - the stuff came in today; I placed the order early Monday morning.)

3a. Yes, we have another machine - a reconditioned Surge belly milker (cow) that had been retro-fitted for goats. We needed to replace the clusters and hoses anyway (you do that every year), and the vacuum pump was DOA. I have HATED the Surge bucket from day 1; I requested we just replace the whole shebang this year, since we had the funds to do so. The new lid actually fits on my large tote; I've been milking directly into it and using the "real" pail for clean-up.

Anyway, the Surge bucket is heavy (25+ pounds), and it's awkward for people with.....busts. It's hard to move it around, it's hard to pour the milk out of.......and that lid doesn't fit anything else. The new bucket is......well. It's only 10 pounds, and it holds 7.8 gallons. I don't NEED 7.8 gallons, but this bucket is a lot easier to move around.

I am very grateful to have this new setup. I went from hand milking 7 goats, at 1.25 hours/2x day, to machine milking 7 goats, 1 at a time, at 20 minutes/2x day. I'm thinking the 2nd set-up will get me done in 10 or so minutes.......this is good. My wrists thank me already. :lol:

3b. I spent some time in the Studio sewing up some covers for the inflations and lid and bucket. I need to make 1 for the pump, but that will wait a few days. We're waiting on the surveyors to come out so we can (finally!) purchase our neighbor's back 8 acres; we'll be buying a new doe barn and dropping it over there. I can't wait - no more leaks! And more room! The baby goats are looking forward to that! :lol: (And...I need to get photos of them. :sigh:)

4. The house is almost put back together! Himself emptied out the Music/Game room on Monday; there are 7 boxes left (not counting the boxes the husband has to go thru.) The first pod has only furniture in it; the 2nd pod is mostly......well, junk. I will try to go thru those next week, so we can get rid of them. :happy:

5. Husband's job seems to be going well. I'm glad - he's out of the house! :lol:

Think that brings us up to date.....

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Well - that was FUN! Jun. 8th, 2017 @ 04:30 pm
So today I tried my hand at making cold cream and whipped Shea body butter. It was surprisingly FUN and easy!

I'm going to share a not-very-good photo. :lol: Sorry -but I didn't feel like dragging them out of the bathroom cabinet just for a quick photo-shoot. :snicker:

2017 cream and body butter

The yellow is the cold cream. Due to my allergy to all things bee, I swapped candlelilla wax for the beeswax. (I've not reacted to beeswax - yet - and I'd like to keep it that way!) The candlelilla wax is a vegetable wax, and it's shockingly Yellow. Ah, well - it shouldn't stain my skin; it didn't stain my arm when I tested it. I haven't actually USED it yet - that'll happen tonight - but I think this may be a keeper. We'll see.

The whipped shea butter....oh, man! It's WONDERFUL! I took a quick shower after milking this afternoon, and slathered on about 2 Tablespoons of the butter. Wow - my skin is SUPER soft! I think I put in a wee bit too much scent - I prefer a very LIGHT scent, and this is heavy, to me - but that's OK. We'll see how it holds up.

I don't think this will be added to the "shop".....I'm not sure how it'll ship. However....it's going in the gift box. I know a LOT of people that'll LOVE this! And gifts don't have the worry for me that purchased items do....so....well. We'll see.

My milking machine arrived yesterday, but we need to do a few modifications before I can use it. Like running an extension cord to the barn, and getting a pressure meter for the pump - things like that. We did try it out last night on 2 buckets of water (what? I needed to *clean* it, right? Right!) and it worked a treat, so I am looking forward to this. The bucket is HUGE, though.......but that's OK. If I need to add more does to the milk line in the future, the bucket will handle them. (You never know what the future holds; I am the only dairy-er in my area. :shrug: I would prefer to NOT add more goats, but hey - I can if I need to.) (I can't keep from rubbing my soft, soft skin right now. :snicker: I think this could become a new hobby......oh, dear.)

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» Busy, busy, busy
FIL went into the hospital Friday, and came home late yesterday. Good thing - Herself was chomping at the bit to go baby-sit him. :sigh: She'll be home Saturday, and her B-day party is Sunday. (She'll be *20*! How on Earth did That Happen??????)

Today was cheese-making day. I currently have Manchego in the press - it's the first homemade goat-milk cheese I ever tried, so it's usually the one I make first. Friday will be a batch of Queso Fresco - it's Herself's favorite. Then I have to knock out a batch of Swiss for Himself.....good thing my new milking machine arrived today! It's.....well. I have an old Surge belly-milker. It's big, it's bulky, and hard for me to pour out of. This? Is....um. 5.8 gallon bucket, but it's shaped like a, well, milk jar. Only HUGE. Weighs 10 pounds empty. :gulp: I was able to get it all assembled, but have to wait to use it - I don't know where the husband put the vacuum pump. :sigh: AND he didn't buy a pressure valve or hose to go from the pump to the balance tank. :sigh:

Still - new milking machine! My wrist will be able to heal soon!

Oh - and I NEED a machine. We're currently getting a little over *3* gallons/day. I used most of yesterday's haul for today's cheese...and I still had enough milk for 15 bottles AND a half-gallon for our use. :blink: Yeah...we have plenty of milk at the moment....:lol:

Today is a lazy day. Tomorrow I need to get at least one of the pods empty, and I want to make some shea or cocoa body butter (moisturizer). I am also going to try my hand at making some old-fashioned cold cream.....yeah, I fell on that wagon pretty hard. I've been using Albolene, but it's...kinda nasty-feeling to me. All petroleum-based and....icky. I have a recipe for the "original" Pond's, so that's what I'm going to try. Why not? :lol:

OH! The husband has a job! It's contract-labor, as an electrician's assistant. We'll see how long he lasts......hopefully a good long time.

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» :whew!:
Yesterday was Shavout - Pentecost! Hope you had a happy one!

We were fairly busy. Tuesday we ran to Ikea to pick up a few more Billy bookcases for the Family room. They were completely OUT of the tall, fat Billy's (I'm not sure what they are actually called; they have both tall and short in skinny - 15.5" - and fat - 31.5". :lol:) They had very, very few tall skinny ones - they did have 4 of the color I wanted, though. And 4 of the short panel doors (I wanted the tall, half glass/half panel doors, but alas! They were out of those in every color, too!) So, 4 tall skinny bookcases came home with me and were assembled post-haste.

Then I emptied about 20 boxes. The Family Room is *almost* done, now! Still needs baseboards, but hey! I only have 2 boxes of "my" stuff in there (and...6 of SG's, but *I* am not touching those. HE can do something with them.)

The Music Room has been excavated, but a few boxes have been shuffled back in there. I have 3 that need to go to the Women's Shelter. :whew:

The plan is to finish the house proper by tomorrow, and start on Herself's garage Studio Saturday. Next week she'll be with Papaw, and I can make sure the house is ready for her birthday bash on the 11th. And for my SIL to come in at the end of June. (It's going to be busy around here for a bit!)

Also - I think I mentioned that I had ordered a new milking machine, from a seller called Slavic Beauty. Um... I paid for it on 5/15. The listing said the units were in stock in the US warehouse, ready to ship. As of yesterday, it had NOT shipped, and the seller said she was waiting on parts.

Needless to say, that order has been cancelled. I called Parts Dept to order their set up. They were out of stock on the bucket handles, but they were due in "any minute now". As of this AM, the lid has been shipped, and the rest will go out tomorrow or Monday (she implied heavily that tomorrow was it, but yesterday she said it might be Monday.) Whatever - I should have everything by next Friday!

IF you want a milking machine, I suggest you suck it up and purchase directly from Parts Dept, Hoegger, or Hamby Dairy. They are all US companies, and they are reputable. It'll cost you a bit more than from Slavic Beauty, but you'll get your stuff in a timely manner. (Plus.....all 3 use Interpuls pulsators. Slavic Beauty uses generic ones that they sell for $24. The DAIRY companies? Sell pulsators for $100+. Just....yeah. Shoulda gone with my gut the first time, is what I'm saying.)

I think my wrist will hold out until next week - hope so, anyway. It's all swollen and sore.......I think I can last another week or so.

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» Guilty Pleasures....
everbody has them - perhaps you hide a stash of "special" chocolate, to be eaten by you, in private. Or perhaps you enjoy reading "trash" novels......mine? Has recently become reading - and collecting - vintage Good Housekeeping magazines (from the mid-1940's - mid 1950's).

I think it's because I think it's the last time we as a society got things *right*. Moms were supposed to be home for the kids and husband, husband was supposed to support the family.....we've drifted a LONG way from that, to our detriment.

I never lived those days - I was born in 1968! - but......I can't recall any of my friends having a stay-at-home Mom. Some of them came from broken homes (do they even call them that, anymore?). NONE of us came home to anyone at home - we were "latch-key" kids before that term was coined. And.....we're seeing a lot of the fall-out from that, now.

:sigh:

And - today's magazines? Are NOTHING like the vintage ones! The GH in my collections are full of realistic fiction, appliance reviews, decorating/organizing tips - even floor plans of new, modern houses! The decorating/organinzing wasn't like today's, either - they were actually budget-minded, with ease of care and efficiency built in. (1 kitchen, 4 ways! Decorating your first house for less than $500! How to choose wallpaper!) And the reviews - were actually Reviews, not just paid advertising masquerading as a review.

I've heard most of my life how women were....demeaned, or reduced in some way back in the '50's, but I don't see that. Women - and men! - knew their place (and I don't mean that in a derogatory way, I mean....you knew what you were supposed to do and everyone was happy, because people ARE happy when they know where they are supposed to be. If that makes sense...) and there seems to be less stress. I mean.....when you know that your job is to take care of the house, and fix meals, then you don't stress over how the bills will be paid. And when you know your job is to go out to a job, work 40 hours/week, then you can come home and relax, because the dishes are done, your clothes are clean, and you have a tidy house - YOU don't stress. It's relaxing, because things tick along like a well-oiled machine.

Look, you CAN'T have it all. You can have a good family life, or you can have a high-powered career that requires 60+ hours/week, but you honestly can NOT HAVE BOTH. Something has to give - and as we've seen - and are seeing! - it's usually the family. It's...sad. And not the way things are supposed to be, I think. Children need 2 parents, and they need full-time care for years. WHY do we (and I am guilty of this, so don't think I'm pointing fingers, here) PAY a stranger to care for our kids, instead of reworking our lives so 1 parent can stay home? Honestly - 1DH and I had already decided it was stupid for me to work - my paycheck paid the daycare. Period. :boggle: We would have been living the exact same lifestyle if I stayed home, and the kids would have been happier (so would I. :grin:) (Daycare was $250/week for 2 kids at the downtown church; we moved the kids closer to home - and further from *me* - and it was STILL $180/week. More in the Summer.)

I don't have all the answers, but I'm thinking women should take a good, hard look at things. (Men typically make more money. Fact of life.) I'm not suggesting homeschooling, but I AM suggesting Mom should stay home. Maybe get a part-time job during school hours, if necessary, but be HOME for the kids and husband. (If there is no husband, well - God Bless you, and see if you can find some way to work from home so you can be there with your kids. It won't be easy - BTDT - but.....hopefully it'll be possible.)

Sexist? No. Just trying to "fix" society....even though I'm pretty sure it's too far gone.

/rant. :lol:

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» Happy Memorial Day!
So far, my kitchen is clean and almost finished! The backsplash behind the sink is tiled, and the wood base is done. There's just the small area to do, next to the sink, but he has to do the edge first. :sigh: But! The range hood has been re-installed, and that wall patched - we just need to tile behind the microwave (because the new cabinets are about 8" longer than the old, so we need to extend the backsplash.)

The bathroom...is almost done. The patch near the tub has been painted, and the towel rack re-installed. I painted all the messed up areas; there's a hole behind one of the sinks that needs patching/painting, and we need to finish the install of the 2nd medicine cabinet and the baseboards and the trim around the tub.

The kids' bath needs 2 small pieces of tile installed, and 1 baseboard.

The family room needs baseboards, and bookshelves.

The breakfast area needs baseboards.

The entry hall needs baseboards.

The dining room needs baseboards.

And, finally, the Music/Game room needs excavating, and Herself's garage studio needs reorganizing.

:whew:

I have emptied a LOT of boxes, and done a LOT of reorganizing and throwing away. There's still a lot that needs doing.....I am trying to get it DONE by 6/11. That's Herself's birthday party. I want this DONE - I am tired of living in a maze of boxes. :sigh:

Not much else going on - between milking, bottle-feeding, dishes, and cleaning I'm pretty well pooped most of the time. I wish the stupid eBayer would send me my milking machine already (no, it hasn't shipped yet. YES, we've called - NSDH said "Oh, you need hoses? Well...OK....yeah, send us an extra pulsator for our trouble when you send it!" :bangs head: I don't NEED another cheap pulsator - I need the blasted machine. Hoses can be purchased locally........:sigh: I can't even feel my left hand anymore......

Oh, well - such is life.

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» Rainy Days and Sundays.....
It's always *something*, isn't it? :sigh:

Had a huge fight with the husband Wednesday evening, so I've been subjected to the silent treatment. Whatever - it needed to be said. My house is still NOT complete.....and he's been on his Mac playing online poker and watching YouTubes. :sigh:

The upshot is - "he'll show ME"....my kitchen counters are getting done, the bathroom has been worked on...and the hole near the range hood has FINALLY been patched. BUT - only because Himself went and installed the smoke detectors and bathroom light, then came into the kitchen and installed my curtain rods. :men!:

Ah, well - such is life. Baby goats are growing, as are the chicks. Not much else to report.....

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