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Friday, July 01, 2022 1 comment

Our newest resident

Pop, our orange cat, disappeared a few weeks ago. Missing and presumed… you know the drill. :-( KT, the shy and retiring cat, has been slightly friendlier since.

The wife is a dog person, but one of her friends was trying to unload some kittens. So…

Hiya, I’m Miya.

Charlie, who loves pretty much anything that moves, was totally captivated. The wife suggested that I let him name her… so we were hanging out on the porch (where the kitten lives), and I asked him, “What do you want to call her?”

Charlie thought it over for a long moment, then said, “Miya.” (MEE-ya)

“OK… is that M-I-A, or M-I-Y-A?”

A briefer pause. “Y-A.”

Well, it’s slightly more creative than the name I gave a cat at that age: Ia (EYE-a). And I think I did better than Other Brother, who named his cat Yo-Yo. But I digress.

Miya is already nearly twice the size of this picture. She’s thriving, and I hope she’ll do well as a porch cat. She has already figured out how to get up on the table.

Rosie, aka Doofus, aka Stupidog, is (as one might expect) confused. She goes over to the doors to the porch, and looks for Miya. Meanwhile, the kitten is up on a chair near the door, watching the dog, and hops down right in front of her. This usually sets off a startled bark and growl, as Rosie scuttles back from the door. She followed Mason upstairs yesterday, trying to stay relevant. I brought her ball up, and she was happy to fetch it for a bit.

I did bring Miya (and her gear) upstairs earlier this week. I probably won’t try that again, for a while. There was more than enough cat litter to vacuum up once I knocked off work and took everything and everyone back downstairs. Then again, Charlie stayed close and didn’t try to slip downstairs to annoy Mason or get into stuff he shouldn’t… maybe I can put Miya’s litter box in the bathroom? That would help to keep Charlie from playing in it while I’m on a call. Scooping would be simple, with the toilet right there.

Miya has a nice, loud purr, and lets it loose when someone (even Charlie) is holding her. Going out to the porch is just as important (in Charlie’s mind) as going outside, now. Well, I can think of much worse things than hanging out with a kitten and a child. (Much worse, being the illegitimate supreme court.)

Do you have some new critters? Sound off in the comments!

Tuesday, June 21, 2022 2 comments

Wrong Solstice for a bonfire

With the stingy rainfall, and temps well past 90°F lately[1], maybe creeping into triple digits south of Sector 706, you would think it’s summer.

Well, as of today, it is. Top of the year to y’all!

I guess between Memorial Day and Independence Day in the US, we kind of leave the solstice unmarked. On Termag, they call it High Summer, and it’s a week-long holiday. Sorcerers who can and desire travel to Queensport to the annual Gathering of the Conclave for two weeks of business, learning, hanging with old acquaintances (not to mention the occasional Conclave Romance), and cramming their apprentices’ heads full of knowledge.

But I digress. The wife calls this “hay baling season,” and is living the highest honor a farmer has (out standing in her field). Machinery makes this a much less labor-intensive undertaking than in the past, but all that machinery is complex and still needs eyes and hands on it[2]. Modern hay balers in particular are a lot more complex than you might expect (the manual is nearly an inch thick, and not large type). And, you need a tractor to pull it. And a cutter. And a rake (a/k/a “fluffer,” since it fluffs the hay into neat rows so the baler can pick it up). And maybe a truck and trailer to haul the hay to its resting place. And another tractor with a hay fork, to pick up the bales[3] and put them in the barn until they’re needed come winter.

So… to this afternoon. The wife was out standing in her field, when she saw smoke from the direction of another farm, about a mile away. “Not too smart,” she remarked, “it’s too hot and dry to be burning brush.”

This evening, she got a call from one of her helpers. “They were baling at _____’s,” he said, “and their baler caught fire. It torched the tractor, and half the field, too.” Yipe!

The wife points out that hay is exothermic (or “goes through a heat,” as she puts it) as it drys. It’s the main reason she repeatedly tells her helpers to not leave a partial roll in the baler. Her speculation: the people at the other place left a partial roll in the baler overnight, letting it get nice and hot, then that + the heat of the day + friction + the new hay being scooped into the baler = spontaneous combustion, and things got a bit hotter than anyone wanted. Or it could have been a baler malfunction, who knows? I doubt anyone will do a post-mortem to find out.

So think about the farmers, this time of year. Some have lost cattle, others are dealing with fires, and the rest are dealing with all the crap (literal and metaphorical) they have to encounter. Every day is Monday on a farm… and it’s nowhere near August yet.

Since that DALL-E mini thing is all the rage right now, I’ll leave you with its impressions of “hay baler on fire.” [4]


[1] I think Sector 706 is getting the good end of climate change, so far. Despite the current hot weather, we’ve been not nearly as hot as many surrounding regions… not to mention out west.

[2] So the wife has about three helpers. I joke about her hanging out with sweaty men, but she’s sweating just as much.

[3] Round bales are nearly 6 feet (about 1.5m) diameter, and about 4 feet (1.2m) wide. The only way you’re going to move those by hand is if you can roll them downhill.

[4] The top-center image has a vague resemblance to our baler.

Tuesday, May 24, 2022 No comments

AJ, office buddy

One thing about working at home, you don’t have so many distractions. But sometimes, the wife has to go do something on the farm while she also has AJ through the weekdays (while Daughter Dearest is teaching). So that means AJ comes upstairs on occasion, to hang out with Granddad while he’s working.

AJ has figured out the whole office deal from watching me. The “console” space heater I used to keep my legs warm through the winter became her “desk,” and she has a stool for a chair.

I haven’t even finished breakfast,
and I have to answer this email!

Sometimes, she takes the call.

Hello. Yes, this is Tech Support.

And if I get out of my chair, for more than a second, guess what happens?

You call that information architecture? Jeez. Here, let me fix it.

The school year wraps up this week. That means DD will be home, and AJ won’t be around. But Charlie will likely be my substitute office buddy through the summer.

Who are your office buddies? Comments are open—give us some links!

Thursday, May 12, 2022 2 comments

Months go by…

…and I haven’t been posting. I'll backdate a few things, starting with a trip to Mom’s for Spring Break, so scroll on down to see what’s new (or nearly new).

Friday, April 08, 2022 No comments

Going home (bleah)

We got out on time, but traffic suxxxxxxed. We lost an hour overall. I was hoping to get out before the mad weekend rush, but no such luck.

I poked Mason awake on the home stretch, and suggested he get his shoes on so he could run inside when we got home. He was still dressed for Florida, and it was 41°F at home.

Charlie was still up when we got here, and laughed when I hugged him. Then I put him to bed.

The Orange Crate averaged about 30MPG on the way down, and a shade under 29MPG on the way home. Downhill and uphill.

And one final pic of the boys on the beach:

It beat being at the manor.


Wednesday, April 06, 2022 No comments

Boogie in the surf

We took the boogie board to the beach today. Mason actually did pretty good.


A guy about my age had a surfboard, and offered to let Mason try it. That was fun to watch.


He told me later, “I just hang out and try to get people hooked on surfing.” Nice work if you can get it, dude. :-D

After lunch (well, before lunch actually), Mason was worn out and just wanted to hang around. That was OK with me.

Supper was ribs and shrimp, and it was really good stuff. Solar brought coleslaw from KFC (which seems to be considered pretty good here), and Mom baked beans with bacon.

After supper, Mom and Mason went for a walk, and left Solar with me. He got a new-to-him truck to replace his van (it’s rusting away), and gave me the run-down on what he was doing to clean it up. Maybe we should see if we can sell The Boy’s old Acura, the way used car prices are now. Solar said the stealership offered to buy back his Civic for more than he paid for it.

Mom was talking about how much she streams stuff these days. I told her about the wife binging The Good Place, and we watched the first four eps. I kind of wish she had talked me into watching it with her when she started.

Raining tomorrow. We had better luck than I’d expected with weather, and it will be clear for the Friday drive home. So tomorrow afternoon, I’m going to hang with Solar while Mom takes Mason to a movie or other indoor entertainment.

Wife texted late in the afternoon... big storm at home knocked out power. I told her where to find my portable charger, and what it looks like. 

Tuesday, April 05, 2022 No comments

Parks

The morning started out, um... interesting. Wife sent me a pic of her iMac screen, showing a blinking question mark over a folder. Figuring she just needed a repair, I looked up the “what to do” stuff and sent it to her.

So far, this week, we haven’t managed to go to the pool. But Mom’s cat, the one Mason has tortured since he was 2, decided to be nice. Mom thinks she’s trying to clean up her act enough to get to Cat Heaven.

I’m trying to enjoy this.

Mason and I hiked over to the nature park this morning, while Mom was trying to get her library card straightened out (or renewed). We talked with a woman who had a red-tailed hawk and was giving him some air. I told her about the ones that live near the manor. We walked out onto the pier, and Mason openly wondered how safe it was. I pointed out new boards, showing him that they are maintaining it. He saw some interesting marine life, anyway.

Since last time we were here, they’ve “paved” the walkways with rubber shavings, bound together somehow. I forgot to ask them whether they fused the shavings together with heat or used some kind of compound. In any case, it puts a spring in your step.

After lunch, we went to Largo Park so Mason could goof off on the playground. There weren’t many kids there, let alone any his age, so he got bored pretty quickly. Mom thought the locals were on spring break this week, but we passed a middle school that was full of cars and bicycles, and they were setting up crossing guards, so I guess it’s not this week, anyway.

We went to the end of Walsingham for ice cream. Kind of nice, after all the walking we’d been doing. Mason wanted to browse the shops, so I agreed we could do that and walk home, and Mom could just motor on back. We went south until we ran out of shops (where the road runs alongside the water), then north a ways.

Then I grilled some burgers on the grill out back. I had to scrub the spatula with the wire brush, trying to get some of the rust off. Mom said the burgers were perfect, so that was a win. I thought they were pretty good, too.

On the way back from the park, Daughter Dearest texted me about the wife’s computer. They still hadn’t gotten it to cooperate. DD ended up calling me; she thinks the hard drive might be fried, and mine was dying, so she might be right. I replaced mine, so I should be able to do hers.

Of course, her computer had to pick this week to take a dump.

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