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Blog or Vlog 365

Day 57 of 365 Blog or Vlog

I just had to replace my router. While there are no moving parts, routers suffer from power surges and can short out.

This radio power supply died of a direct lightning strike. Not mine, thank heaven! You can see that it got completely blasted. The owner stated that the outside antenna, the surge protector / power bar, the radio power supply and the router were all destroyed. Fortunately the house had a good ground and there was not a fire, and his computers and TVs were all okay.

Storm damage hit a couple of the local internet towers. This one lost the top thirty feet or so.

And this one completely broke over the building and took several weeks to replace.

Another tower took a lightning strike and most of the radios had to be replaced. That took about a week and a lot of climbing. When it’s over one hundred feet up, it takes a fit and fearless person to handle the job!

Of course, the tower climber is not going up when there are still electric storms in the area!

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Blog or Vlog 365 Recovering Health and Fitness

Day 56 of 365 Blog or Vlog

President Regan’s “…nine most terrifying words in the English language – I’m from the government and I’m here to help” quote is still true.

President Regan Quote

From October 15 to December 7 every year is the Annual Enrollment Period, where you can change certain things about your Medicare. The deluge from “agents” (read: sharks) has the one upside that you can’t say you didn’t know about it.

The attempts to shock or scare people into changing things that may not be to their benefit can be overwhelming.

This is also when the Social Security Cost of Living Adjustment for the next year is announced.

I just looked at the damage.

The Cost of Living Adjustment this year is a paltry 3.2 percent, when my real world cost of living has gone up by at least 10 percent on groceries, and 30 percent on gasoline. Neither of which are included in the official figures.

The premium for Medicare part B has a $10 / month increase. My agent tells me that part G generally goes up 3 to 7 percent yearly. I don’t know what the part D premium increase will be yet. I expect that my COLA will be swallowed up by increased Medicare costs.

A third of my social security income goes right back out to pay for my Medicare. I can’t do anything about it, but at least I have the coverage.

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Blog or Vlog 365 Fiber and Fabric

Day 55 of 365 Blog or Vlog

Yesterday I finished wrapping up leaving the promotional project. I believe I have managed to become more philosophic than shocked by the loss.

If you don’t fail, you aren’t trying new things.

So.

Moving on.

This image is a 3D printed electric spinning wheel known as a Nano. It’s a lot of fun, and I have toyed with the notion of taking it to the gym and spin while spinning on the stationary bike.

I think that would be a cute video. Not today, however. Rahn is having a lot of back pain yesterday and today. I was hoping we could go to the gym today, but he is not feeling up to a ride in the truck.

I have an appointment today and some errands. I’m planning on sitting down at my large spinning wheel when I get home and work on spinning flax.

My Jensen spinning wheel was built for me thirty years ago by a skilled wheelwright in Wisconsin. I have spun miles and miles and miles of yarn with it.

This pile of yarn was spun on my Jensen wheel and is about two sheep’ worth of wool.

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Blog or Vlog 365 Recovering Health and Fitness

Day 54 of 365 Blog or Vlog

Getting Back on Track

My progress on the 365 Blog or Vlog has fallen by the wayside. Time to fix this. My last post pointed out that I need to do a lot more writing.

We’ve been working on getting a number of things on track in our lives, so getting my blog project back on track fits.

Speaking of getting back on track, Rahn and I joined a gym in Sherman that has a Jacuzzi, pool and sauna. It is much larger than the one we tried before. It is also about 30 percent lower in cost. We don’t need 24 hour access, or the ability to use other locations, and those conditions let us purchase a less-costly package.

We plan to go a couple times a week. I’ll be using the stationary bike, and some low impact exercise in the pool. Rahn plans to get his strength back in his arms, chest & back. We’ll both be spending a good deal of time in the sauna and the Jacuzzi for the various joint pains we’ve collected.

Getting old is not for wimps.

I chose the wool socks picture because the fall equinox is this week, and I had better get going on making some new socks. It’s been so hot until this week that the thought of knitting wool made my fingers sweat.

Socks are the ultimate take-with-you project. I’ve knit them so many times that a pattern is not needed, they fit in the tote bag I use all the time, and people are impressed by the fact that it is possible to make a seamless item.

I need to be much more productive, so socks instead of Facebook makes a lot of sense.

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Blog or Vlog 365

Avoiding Financial Disaster (Day 53 of 365 Blog or Vlog)

When one door closes…

Over the last several weeks I had been working a new online job as administrator on a church promotional project. It was hourly at a rate we were happy with, and my billable hours had been increasing slowly.

On Monday I got the news that the funding of the project had been interrupted, so this would be my last week. I did get the pay for the last two weeks on Tuesday, and I spent a few hours today writing up all the tasks I had been handling for the person that will be taking them over on a volunteer basis.

It was emotionally satisfying to write what I had been doing so the person taking over didn’t have to go through all the flailing around I did and trying to learn the programs on just online videos. It was a good exercise to improve my confidence after the shock of losing the job.

I must admit to feeling virtuous about handing out all that information. The temptation to say “you’ll fail without me” was strong.

Having done that write up, I can now put my attention on how I can replace that income.

Part of that is going to be working on a lot of writing.

I’ll also be getting up to speed on editing video, and will be getting my YouTube channel up and running. A lot of development needs to happen on that, and I hope that I can get my subscriber base up to monetizing level quickly.

Then there is Amazon Handmade. I have quite a few items that need to be entered into the system, packaged, and shipped to Fulfillment by Amazon.

There is a antique mall in town and I would like to see if I can get enough of my work together to rent a shop stall.

A craft festival is coming up in town, and Rahn would like to get us a booth there.

Targets:

  • Get my head wrapped around Premiere Pro.
  • Write multiple posts for both newsletter and website.
  • Shoot lots more video!
  • Edit and post existing video, add lots of new videos.
  • Promote newsletter, website, Amazon Handmade store using all currently available channels. Add new channels and promote even more widely.
  • Sign up as an Amazon Affiliate. Put affiliate links on artearnativelife.com and in the YT video descriptions.
  • Make lots of products for Amazon Handmade and local sales.
  • Enter existing products into Amazon Handmade. Shoot and edit pictures. Package and ship to Amazon for FBA.
  • Check into getting a stall at the local antique mall and the craft festival.

Working from home has a lot of positive aspects. It is nice to not have to get up early enough to drive to town, or to have to drive in bad weather. The lack of a huge gasoline bill is VERY nice. If a creative impulse strikes I am free to act on it even if it is in the middle of the night. It’s also good that I do not have to risk being around people that continue to come to work while ill.

The downsides of not having unemployment insurance or employee benefits can be overcome. These new targets are how I plan to overcome the hit to my income. My budget is going to be tight enough to squeak until these actions show results, but I do have a couple other income streams.

 

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Blog or Vlog 365 Homestead

Day 52 of 365 Blog or Vlog

Since I wrote the last post, (number 51 in this series) Princess Mocha has passed.

She went peacefully in her sleep at home, and is buried just outside my bedroom window.

We certainly miss her.

 

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Blog or Vlog 365 Homestead

Day 51 of 365 Blog or Vlog

Is it Time to Say Goodbye to an Old Friend?

Princess Mocha has been with me since 2011. She has been a wonderful kitty. She and her brother Jackson were both adults when I adopted them. I said then that I would never re-home them, that they would be with me until the end of their lives.

Jackson passed a couple years ago. We believe that he had eaten a rat that had been poisoned. We don’t use any poison baits, but Jackson had hunted the area quite enthusiastically, and the neighbors likely do use the rodent bait.

Princess Mocha has been getting quite frail and has been having trouble keeping food down. I noticed yesterday that she has at least one lump I could feel, and if there is one, there are likely others.

We will be taking her to the vet tomorrow, and see if there is anything to be done.

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Art-earnative Life Farm Blog or Vlog 365

Day 50 of 365 Blog or Vlog

Chickens not laying eggs?

There has been a lot of talk lately about possible causes for chickens not laying eggs. There are a number of reasons why, and many have more to do with time of year and weather than the situation with Tractor Supply Feed.

We did change feed, and I think our chickens getting back into production has a lot more to do with higher protein than anything else. We haven’t been feeding TSC feed exclusively, but rather had been following some other advice for cutting feed costs and improving chicken health.

We added crushed oyster shell and diatomaceous earth to both supply calcium and eliminate any pests and parasites.

Some chicken wheat and black oil sunflower from Azure Standard has also been added. While Azure Standard is more expensive than TSC, I think the fact that none of their products have any GMO “food” is worth a few extra dollars. I’ve also become less trusting of anything to do with big pharma and big farm. I still need to read the analysis of the suspect feeds.

I am also going to be buying from our local mills rather than TSC until I can get enough home grown feeds going to feed our birds and rabbits.

The plan is to plant several strips of sunflowers, squash, beans, wheat and oats. Sweet potato vines are vigorous, corn leaves and shoots are enjoyed by both rabbits and chickens, and I will be sprouting a number of seeds for our eating as well as the animals.

We’re going into the coldest part of the winter here, so I can get some sprouts going in my homestead office and the kitchen alongside the seed flats.

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Blog or Vlog 365 Homestead

Day 49 of 365 Blog or Vlog

Back Deck Project Progress

From nothing to something. Projects like this tend to sit there for the the longest time and then BOOM! It like the proverbial rabbit out of a hat.

I had purchased the lumber for this some months ago. I hope it gets done before we get the forecasted snow this week.

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Blog or Vlog 365

Day 48 of 365 Blog or Vlog

“Temporary” Structures.

This might be subtitled with That escalated quickly.

While tossing a plastic tarp over a firewood pile might work in the short run, having dry firewood, lumber, or protecting tools from weather and wildlife can require something a bit more substantial.

We’ve used tarps and the like for several purposes. The front porch needed something for shade, The chicken run needed some protection, the firewood pile and the lumber for the back deck need to stay dry, and the tools need some protection and an organized space until a more substantial tool shed can be built.

Tarps are readily available, reasonable in cost, and can be useful. They can also be easily damaged, are pretty ugly, and less-than-environmentally appropriate.

The tent panels in the above photo had several uses prior to that picture. They had been part of my trade tent at craft fairs, shade for the chicken run, cover for a trailer load of materials, and finally assembled into the shade for the front porch. They finally broken down with heat and wind and were replaced with salvaged roofing material.

Until a chicken coop was built, a large tent was used to provide shelter for the rabbits and chickens. With the expansion of the rabbit housing, more tarps are currently in use. An aviary net will be going over the entire barnyard so the chickens will have more space to roam without risking losses to hawks and owls. The rabbit cages will eventually have an actual building to protect them from extremes of weather.

A new tarp covered frame is attached to the side of the Homestead Office shed for tool storage until a more permanent structure can be built on the south side of the house. The tarp tool shed is about 8×12, and the more permanent structure will be about 4×16 with outward opening doors that will eliminate the need to walk inside. This will let the area be more fully utilized without having walkways.

Some of the ideas regarding the new back deck include partial roofs, storage cabinets that also take clutter out of the picture, and concealing the meter box and electrical panel. While those ideas are not for temporary coverings, that is more in line with the thinking that has brought about the temporary solutions.

We are constantly re-thinking how we are developing and changing here at the Homestead.