Posts Tagged ‘cars’

Welcome, Skye!

Well, Monday was an interesting day.  Our doeling, Silly, as you may remember, has a deformity called spur teat, which makes her impossible to milk, and might make it impossible for her to raise young.  The breeder has been fantastic about the whole situation, and immediately offered to replace her, though he indicated he did not want her back.  Well, Monday, the replacement came.


I got an e-mail late on Saturday night, informing me that the breeder was sending the new doeling back from Alberta with a fellow breeder who lives about an hour from our house.  He asked if we had big plans for Monday.  We said ‘no’.  The breeder sent a phone number for us to make pick-up arrangements.  Sunday, we called the number, and got the lady’s husband, who was completely unaware of the whole situation, though he did resignedly comment that, well, this happens a lot in his family.  However, he and his wife both worked Monday, so could we please come before 8 am?


Monday morning found us on the road a little later than we would have liked, though we still made it in plenty of time.  We were a little nervous about the whole deal, as we do not have any appropriate way to transport goats, whatsoever.  Not even a big dog crate, which is what the doeling came to Saskatchewan in.  We improvised, putting an extra-large rubbermaid container (open, no lid) in the back seat with a bit of hay in the bottom, and bringing along a leash and a small collar.  We braced ourselves for it to be quite the ride back home.


Actually, though, the new doeling, named Skye, was pretty calm about the whole thing.  Hubby sat in the back seat with her, holding the leash, while I drove, and he made sure she stayed in the container.  She hardly struggled or made any noise at all. In fact, she rode better in the car than Foxy the Dog does.


I expected a lot of funny looks, boogying down the highway in a Saturn sportscar with a goat in the back seat, but apparently the local commuters are not that aware first thing in the morning.  The only double-take came from the cashier at the drive-through when we stopped in town to get coffee on the last leg home.  Even she did not notice until we were pulling away, but then she stuck her head out the drive-through window to see if she had seen right.  I got the giggles right about then.  I think most people thought we had a dog in the back.


Skye was introduced to the rest of the barnyard with minimal fuss, though she is still pretty wary of the alpacas.   Silly seems to know that Skye was sent to take her place, though, and has been pretty mean when she thinks the Humans are not watching.


But of course, all you want is the cute goat picture…


Welcome, Skye!

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There is a song by a band called Spacehog.  It is called “Standing Outside A Broken Telephone Booth With Money In My Hand”.  I always thought that was an extremely evocative title.  You could really “get” the sense of defeat, just from that title.  It just so happens I like the song, too.

I had that sense, today.  In honor of Spacehog’s song title mastery, I am hereby calling today “Driving 25 Miles Home On Three Cylinders In A Saskatchewan Blizzard“.  It doesn’t cover the exceptionally long and crappy day at work, the car-swallowing potholes, the knee-deep snow, the broken windshield wiper, the homicidal snowplow driver, or the annoying squeaky rattle that developed around 2500 RPM, but you get a sense of how my afternoon went, anyhow.

If you ever do have to drive home on three cylinders, I recommend turning the radio up, putting your head down, revving it high, and just going for it.

So, as you may have guessed, my trusty Corolla did not pass the inter-provincial safety inspection.   The mechanic got up to about $4,000 worth of work (on a $2500 car) without even getting it in to the shop.  At least he was kind enough to stop and call me before getting into the part of the inspection that would have cost money.  He did not even charge me for the bit of investigation he did do, which was kind, and will win him more business from us.  It is really unfortunate, as the engine is in excellent condition, having been rebuilt just before I bought the car, but apparently, almost every other part of the car is on its last legs.  Oh, well.  We needed another lawn ornament.

Also, we killed the tomato seedlings by leaving them in a window that was apparently a bit too hot and sunny.   About half the broccoli has succumbed to what I presume to be damping-off – it just fell over and shriveled up.  Conversely, we apparently bought our squash seeds from the The Little Shop of Horrors (for anyone who remembers that movie), as they have sprouted these monstrous root systems that are flopping out of their pots and into pots of the nearby celery, which has hardly sprouted, and will be completely crowded out if we don’t tame the squash somehow.  Pretty soon they’ll be attacking the cats.   I’m guessing that 7 weeks to last frost was too early to start squash.  Oh, well, live and learn…

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On Driving.

A couple of people have asked – how far do I drive to work?  And how long until I quit and just stay on the farm?


Well, I am not really planning on quitting my job.  While I don’t always love it, it is challenging and occasionally rewarding.  I also really, really like having a stable, predictable income.  I can retire in 15 years with a decent pension, so that is sort of the time in my head that ‘quitting’ this job becomes a possibility.  We gotta finance the farm and the travel somehow…


As for the drive, it is not too bad.  We are around 40km from city limits, though it takes me about 30 minutes to get there, as over half of the drive is on gravel.  Then I have to drive through town (another 15 minutes or so).  A lot of my commute is through farmland and provincial forest, and is quite scenic:




It sure beats spending 45 minutes (or more) stuck in city traffic.  I had a 30 minute commute when I lived in London, UK, and it felt waaaayyyy longer than this drive does, except for those stormy days, when it takes me almost an hour to get into town.  Most mornings, the only other traffic I encounter (until I hit town, at least) is the school bus, and the driver even waves at me, now!  I spend my commute listening to podcasts on things like permaculture and organic gardening and social responsibility, so I even feel like it is productive time.


Now, I know a 45 km commute is not really sustainable,  and that it is rather at odds with wanting off the mainstream – consumerist treadmill.  Unfortunately, that was the trade-off for being able to live on an acreage, and being able to plant trees, get chickens, and such.  On the bright side, there is only one of us driving, now (instead of both), and my total commute is under half of what our combined commutes were when we lived in Alberta.  So, overall, I guess we’re getting somewhat better, though it’s still no excuse.  One day, our goal is to have the farm meeting our financial needs.  In the meantime, though, somebody has to pay for the mortgage, and the chickens, and the trees…you get the picture…

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Shoveling snow is not generally my favorite activity.  In fact, at the house in Alberta, my usual solution to snowfall was to drive in and out of the driveway a couple dozen times, until it was nicely packed down.  It worked for all the years I lived there!


On the acreage, however, it does not work quite like that.  As little as half an inch of snow, or even no snow at all, seems to turn into a knee-deep drift in only a few hours, if the wind is brisk.  This morning, after what would have amounted to a little skiff of snow in town, I had to take a real run at the driveway to get out.  Then, after almost hitting the ditch four times in a mile and a half, I turned around and came home again.


I am not sure how long the driveway really is, maybe twice as long as a city block, but I can attest that it seems to be about fifteen miles when you are trying to clear knee-deep drifts out of it with a scoop shovel.   It would be easier with a proper shovel, but Hubby managed to break the other one, the last time it snowed.  It is also pretty disheartening to finally get to the end of the drifts, only to have the snowplow swoosh past and deposit another foot or so across the mouth of the driveway.


This would be somewhat easier to cope with if we had a 4×4 truck, instead of an ancient Corolla and a Saturn sportscar.  I see a major vehicle purchase in our near future…

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It has been an absolute rollercoaster of a week.


My car was acting up, and running really, really rough.  Like, on three cylinders rough.   Bad news.


We got a call from the realtor, indicating that the surveyor had been sick, and had to postpone the final survey.  Bad news.


Work decided to send me to Alberta for training, so I got a (paid-for) rental car and spent last week with Hubby and the critters  Good News.


The realtor called again and indicated that possession will have to be pushed back, again, possibly now into March.  Really, really bad news – we gave notice in Alberta, and have no choice but to move out prior to the end of February.


I finally looked under the hood of the car, and realized that the problem was a plug wire that has been rubbing on the battery, exposing the actual wire.  It had been running rough because of moisture getting in, probably.  I fixed it with some lock de-icer (to drive out the moisture) and fifty cents’ worth of electrical tape.  Good News.


I wrote a letter to the seller of the acreage, begging them to let us rent the place until the possession date, rather than leaving us homeless for a couple of weeks.  They accepted.  YAY!  GOOD NEWS!!


So, the ongoing saga of how not to buy an acreage continues…



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