Mud Season Has Arrived

We are having a warm streak here in southwestern Montana.   This winter we had an unusual amount of drifting  that had to be removed from the road by a front-loader to make it passable. Hence monster piles of snow currently sit  alongside the road.   This is now all melting.    It is causing mud season to arrive early and in full force.

Once you turn off the frontage road, you best have your  4-wheel-drive engaged because you are never going to make it here without.   Yesterday the UPS driver arrived with a package and now our driveway is one huge rutted mess.  Today the propane delivery man decided to not even enter the drive, but stopped on the road and pulled the hose for yards to the tank behind the garage.   Smart man.   IMAG2047

We are praying for dry weather, lots of sun and lots of wind so that this soon becomes more than a sink hole of mud.

Little Too Early for Bears, Yet

We were out walking in the winter and came across this sign warning about bears.   It made me laugh a little bit because before I moved to Montana I wasn’t as aware of my surroundings as I  am here.    Anytime I am out I think about what wildlife I might encounter based on the time of year, where I am at and the ecosystem.   While it is early for bears to be out, I am wondering with the warm spell called for next week, what might change and could that early hungry bear be out there looking for an easy meal soon.

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Cold to the Bones

Sometimes I just feel cold to the very core of my being.   I call that being cold the the bones.    I have been having a lot of that lately with lots of wind and subzero temperatures.  Our new dog has no undercoat and I suspect that he can vouch for the feeling of cold I am talking about.   He has recently taken up sleeping as close to the propane stove as he can get.

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All I can think when I see that is lucky dog.  For a little while he has to be totally warm.

Spring is in the Air

I am thrilled to report that at least one of our hens is laying eggs again. I found my first egg in the nest box in nearly a month.    This year we kept nine hens over the winter.   We had failed to cull our flock before cold weather set in so we made do with more than we normally keep in the winter.   Initially I thought it would not be so bad as it would mean our egg production though less, with the shorter days,  should be acceptable over the winter.   Silly me as soon as the cold weather set in all but one of my laying hens went into full molt.  Molting along with the shorter days meant that no matter how careful I was with my precious eggs, in January I did end up buying a dozen store eggs.

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Yes my coop is sunshine yellow inside.  I want my hens to feel sunshine everyday.

For those of you not familiar with chickens, molting is when all their feathers come out, like a dog or cat’s shed.   During the molting process chickens do not lay eggs.  All their food and energy go into making new feathers rather than eggs.   Molting can be a long process of months and my hens did not disappoint.   They started in late October and early November, and some of them are still working on replacing their feathers today and look pretty sad.

I have caught two different hens in the nest boxes  last week.  A couple more look pretty filled out feather wise and their combs are starting to perk back up.    The days are getting longer.   The chickens are starting to lay again. Spring is in the air in Montana.

Life Isn’t Fair

it_20may_20have_20escaped_20your_20notice_20but_20life_20isnt_20fair_originalI have tried in the six years I have blogged to avoid religion and politics, mostly because I believe you have a right to yours and I have have right to mine.  Odds are I am not going to change your mind and you are not going to change mine.   Today I was pushed around the bend when the news coverage this morning was all about a candidate who felt he was being treated unfairly.

When a small child replies “That’s not fair,” most of us ignore the child until they get over it. Children need to learn things don’t always go the way they want.   I have on many occasions felt that life was not fair.   Yet I got up and went to work. My employer and co-workers depended on me.   I had bills to pay.   Just because I felt something wasn’t fair, opting out was not an option.   I have had times when I made a commitment assuming something and later discovered that wasn’t what I had though.   It did not seem fair that I may have possibly been misled, yet I showed up.   Just because I think something isn’t fair doesn’t make me right or what I think true.

So to the press who thinks giving lots of air time to someone because they think they were not treated fairly, I would prefer you stop it.   Treat this circumstance the same ways as if it was said by  a five-year-old and ignore him and this too will pass. To the man who refuses to participate because he perceives he was not treated fairly here is the reality:  Life isn’t fair.  Suck it up and get over it.  You will not get to do this if you get the job you are asking for.  I am sure that each of the 44 US presidents had many a times they thought things were not fair to them or our country.   Lastly to those who are evaluating this man as a possible candidate for our highest office,  really do you want someone who does not understand you can’t check out because life isn’t fair?

My hat is off to all of you who have had those moments of life feeling very unfair and persevering and moving past it. It stinks and sometimes it is hard,  but the reality is life isn’t always fair.   We all move on in spite of that.

Is It Valuable to Me?

RangerSir and I would like  to retire sooner than the system is rigged to allow.   With that goal in mind one must be a saver and frugal as well.    That said we  are like everyone else and like to spend money.  This should be a built in daily struggle, but most of the time it isn’t for us, because we ask “Is it valuable to me?”

Long ago when I worked in the corporate fast lane I attended a week-long  seminar about women in business and leadership positions.   It was a great seminar because at that time women in management were few and far between.   There were not women to emulate and the rules were still being written for women.   One of the topics they talked about was corporate dress of women leaders.   The leader talked about how men bought a few  good suits had them tailored and wore them over and over.    She said that women did not do the same. We tended not have our clothes tailored and bought many more clothes and wore some of then just a few times. We were  not trained to look for classic well fitting clothes.    A man’s suit could cost hundreds of dollars, lets say $500.   If the man wore it once it cost $500.   If he wore it once a week, then it cost him $10 a wear.   If he wore it a second year it cost him $5 a wear.  Then she translated it into the hours you worked if you made $25 an hour you had to work 20 hours for that suit.      That meant after wearing the suit four days you were in clear.   It mean in year two you should probably be sending the manufacture money each time you wore the suit as it had more than paid for itself.   On the other hand if you had a green Saint Patrick’s day sport coat that you paid $100 for that you only wore once a year.   It would not have paid for itself until year four.    That idea of translating things in to work hours to determine value became a measurement stick that would stick with me for years.

One of our favorite things to do is eat out, but we seldom do it because we often ask ourselves is that dining experience worth working three or four hours to have.   Is the food that good?   Is the service and ambiance worth it?   Sometimes the answer is yes, but if we think the food is just so-so then we skip it.   I love to be creative.   I ask myself before I buy something is this one use or can I use it multiple ways.   If it is just once odds are it stays on the store shelf.   If I can see three ways it is getting close to my cart,  if I can see six it is likely in my cart.

This whole post is inspired by a blog I follow where the writer talked about how much a $15 monthly bank charge came to a year, $170.   $15 a month doesn’t sound like that much but if you look at it as groceries for a week, or the fact that one hour each month you work just to pay the bank for your checking account it sounds outrageous.    So think about what you make in an hour and the next time you want to go grab a quick lunch from work think about how long you had to work for that lunch.   It may be right for you that day, but do you want to work 30 minutes of every day to pay for your lunch, that is 2.5 hours a week and 10 hours a month….working more than one day just to eat out.   Would your rather spend what you earned working those eight hours  on a new shirt, a new sketch pad, a movie, a book, or saving for a vacation  make you happier?   I don’t know for your circumstances or interests.     For each of us it is different.   I am sure that if each of us ask ourselves “Is this valuable to me?” before we spent we might spend our discretionary income differently and likely be more happy with how we spend it.