Sunday, November 27, 2011

More farm life drama

My  husband has been having a hard time with all the log home renovations I've got going on:

So here I sit while some burly men are downstairs with a sledgehammer, attacking our guest room with a vengeance. Why?  In August the little woman and I decided we needed to be able to sit listlessly in the “cooler” months and view our vast land.  With images of hot beverages in our hands while relaxing in old-people style recliners we ordered two special windows for our homestead.  One would be off the kitchen area in the den.  The other in the guest room on the lower level (more on that later).

The den was/is planned to be our escape room.  In there, we will have matching lazy-boy recliners, no TV, no phone, just a reading light and two recliners (did I mention that already?).  We, the Mrs. and I, had a dream of sitting in these recliners (from now on I shall call these seats weight-bearing cushions of happiness WBCofH), our guard dogs on the carpet by our sides (the Mrs. interjects here "ha ha ha ha, guard dogs!  They weigh ten pounds put together!").  I would say they would be at our feet, but in these WBCofHs, our feet will not touch the floor.  With my eternal spouse by my side, but not like right next to me, I mean this is MY WBCofH – she has her own – right?  We will sit with our hot beverages, all the while gazing over the land that has soaked up so much of blood and almost all of our will to live during the summer and fall.  In front of our view will be the guest house (actually a currently un-used goat shed) and the orchard.  The orchard, well – one live, fruit-bearing tree; six dying, non-bearing fruit trees; three wild pear trees (we've been told, because there are not pears to be seen); and a census-confirmed three dozen woodchucks -- all sitting within our view.  Only one problem.  While completely ensconced in our own respective WBCofHs, we would have been staring at the lower trim of the existing window.   Needed to think of a solution.

So on a warm august Sunday I was working on the fence out back.  While regaining consciousness and waiting for the feeling to return to the lower portion of my body, I had some time to think.  And think I did, on the inside.  On the outside I was crying like newborn baby.  But still, that pesky thinking persisted.  How to solve the dreaded “we can’t see anything because the stupid window is small and high."  (Editor’s note: At our place, anything that does not agree or support our dream of a perfect home is classified as stupid.  To date, our homestead has the IQ of a microwaved avocado.)  Then, as I finally became able to wiggle my toes, it hit me – the internet!  It can solve anything.   

So, a little research and we find the perfect solution -- a bay window -- one as large as the huge viewports from futuristic starships.  A monster window.  We were ecstatic.  We looked at the check book.  We were depressed.  So maybe gigantic was not in the cards.  We toned down the concept.  But the dream persisted.

Around the same time we realized that we had originally purchased (ok, borrowed from Wells Fargo for the foreseeable future) a four bedroom house.  After making some changes, knocking out a wall here and there to bring back the original open splendor of this log home, putting up some doors that never shut properly after our recent earthquake, requiring more home improvements, endless home improvements, ceaseless soul-sapping home improvements -- we went from four bedrooms, down to one.  Yeah, hard to imagine, but there it is.  From four teeny tiny bedrooms to one qualifying bedroom.  Although clever on my part, should we ever want to refinance the house to, say, pay for limb reattachment surgery for me, or something similar, we would not be as successful.  Apparently Pennsylvania has this ridiculous law that for a room to “qualify” as a bedroom, it must have both a closet (and not just a designer sheet thrown over a coat rack, but a real wooden thing nailed to the floor) and, get this, a “method of egress” in an emergency.  I mean, in the event of an emergency, I would take the responsibility of getting out of the house first so I could direct the rescue efforts for those inside.  The “you stay here, I’ll go get help” method of safety and rescue perfected by the French over decades of practice would work for me.   But in the end, our new guest room in the basement lacked this essential "method of egress" and couldn't count as a bedroom. So we had to get a second window.

To complete the dream we interviewed a number of shady window sales people/companies.  For those who don’t have any experience in this realm, these bottom feeding, chromosome missing people are the new aluminum siding sales people of the new millennium.  Nevertheless (don’t you just love that word?  It’s like the shortened version of “I know I’m screwed, but I’ll give it a shot anyway…), we selected a company that was just a tad higher on the evolutionary scale than the others – just above a self-replicating virus.  So with pictures of sitting in a cozy room, the hell hounds sitting on our laps, we signed on the bottom line.  Our first clue that this may not be so easy was when, after my one and only love finished signing her name, the sales rep looked at us with a toothy grin and thunder clapped in the distance.  So with a promise of installation in about 8 weeks, a puff of smoke and flash of lightening, the sales rep disappeared while clutching the signed contract.  But I’m no dummy, I got his business card first.  The following is a transcript of the interaction I have had with the installation company (henceforth called Dante’s Windows, Inc.).

Week 1 – post signing – Me: “Are they in yet?” – Them: “Nope”
Week 2 – post signing – Me: “Are they in yet?” – Them: “Nope”
Week 3 – post signing – Me: “Are they in yet?” – Them: “Nope”
Week 4 – post signing – Me: “Are they in yet?” – Them: “Nope”
Week 5 – post signing – Me: “Are they in yet?” – Them: “Nope”
Week 6 – post signing – Me: “Are they in yet?” – Them: “We’ll call you back”
-          Crickets –
Week 7 - post signing – Me: “You didn’t call me back, are they in yet?” – Them: “We’ll call you back”
-          Tumbleweeds –
Week 8 - post signing – Me: “You didn’t call me back, are they in yet?” – Them: “Nope”
Week 9 – post signing – Wednesday 5:30 AM.  Them: “We’re heeeerrrreeee!” No notice, no phone calls.  Me: – “I’ll reschedule my day.”
Wife abandons me to head toward work, sees window-to-be-installed sitting in garage, notes it looks a bit smaller than she'd expected.  She returns, measures space, measures window.  Not even close to what we'd ordered.

Week 9 – post signing – Wednesday 7:30 AM. Them “Uh-oh!” Me – “Whimper”

And so it continues…

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Print books going the way of the dinosaurs

I'm starting to accept the idea that print books will become a thing of the past the way parchments or illuminated tombs are now relics.  My son is currently in an MFA program for Creative Writing and he despairs that this might be true.  He loves books - the feel, the smell, the act of turning a brittle page.  But he, too, is beginning to realize that there is a dwindling willingness to pay for such items (not to mention wait for delivery or trudge to a physical store) when they can appear on one's e-reader with no wait and at a greatly reduced cost.  I have not read a printed book in years!  And even my son has gotten a Kindle and carries his library of thousands of literary works with him wherever he goes.  He joked, though that some habits are ingrained and he sometimes reaches toward the upper right corner of his Kindle, prepared to quickly "turn the page" of a particulary engaging chapter.  He is retraining himself to leave his thumb on the "next page" button.  On an iPad, the act of "page turning" is a little more like a book, so that's a comfort.  Regardless, I plan to be on the front end of what I believe will be the growing trend toward electronic books.  Admittedly, it's easier for me to get past the desire for a printed copy fo my novel to hold because I've already been in print - as my yet-to-be-published son points out to me frequently. But in the long run, I believe we will learn to rejoice in our publications even when no paper version exists.

Monday, November 7, 2011

This was our first Growing Season on the land

Another installment from my husband:

“With great land comes a boat load of work”  Confucius

Ahhhh, the sun is shining. The birds are singing, the grass is growing, the trees and flowers are blooming.  I now hate this soul sapping, muscle sucking, bloody place.  We first we saw this new land it was like Christopher Columbus finding the new world.  Back then, it was fall, the sky was perfect, a light crispness was in the air and the homestead was beautiful.  There were charming little critters playfully scampering all around.  We were sold.  Who could pass up this Shangri-La?  It was our dream come true.  Sure the winter was a little snowy, but I like to shovel the snow and next year promised a new snow blower under the Christmas tree.  And now, with all of my new experiences, I could probably start the thing and even use it.
 
But now winter is gone. That beautiful snowy back yard has turned into a lawn the size of many mid-sized foreign countries.  That quaint little stream cutting through the back yard has become an evil twin to the overflowing Mississippi river, but without the help from the Army Corps of Engineers.  Those cute little plants we so admired were mob fronts for weeds, every type of weed known in the universe. The kind that brand the skin and tech maddeningly. The type of weeds that when you go on to the internet and ask about weed removal the responses are all filled with fear, despair and wistful thoughts of napalm.  The kinds of weeds where people answer your question with, “I don’t know, but when you do find out, let me know” kinds of questions.

So now we have a few chores that need to be done – on 6 ACRES!  But we have chosen our lot in life and continue forth knowing that we will never have a day for the rest of our lives where there isn't "something” that needs to be done.  On the bright side, we now have an inventory of tools, motorized equipment, electric gizmos, pneumatic thingys, and gardening machines that is worth more than my car. When my time comes, I damn well better be the winner in the “He who has the most tools (etc.) when he dies – wins” category. Case in point, we own an auger. Do you even know what that is?
 
But all of this is a set up for the theme of this section of our continuing saga.  Remember the cute little critters that were scampering around?  I have confirmed and been approved by the House and Senate to declare war.  Not just any war, we are talking the all out, land scorching, high explosive, take no prisoners type of war that will be read about in future history books, the next version of Sun Tzu’s Art of War (Kindle Version – iPad version coming soon), and to be taught at the Army War College in Carlisle Pennsylvania. 

It started last fall when I came across a recently deceased cute little chipmunk in our garden.  The same garden that is now the showcase for multiple varieties of genetically enhanced fast growing/spreading weeds.  I felt so bad for this little guy.  I scooped him up and carried his poor little dead body to the back of our property (about seven miles through mowable lawn that grows 3 inches if you look at it sideways) for a ceremony and burial.

Thereafter, my estimation is that the little dead guy had quite the family, no wait, quite the extended family, no wait – did this bastard ever stop reproducing?  I mean I’m now sure I know what killed him – exhaustion (and all those damn kids no doubt).  Maybe some of his extended-extended family came in from out of town to pay their respects to this little blight. And they liked our place so much, they relocated to our porch.  If I could collect rent money, we would all never have to work again – ever.  They cretainly work, so they must have the money for rent. They are miners, they are wire snippers, and they work 24 hours a day.  We have holes everywhere.  The tree stump near the road must be their holiday retreat – and business is booming.  When I come home there are usually two or three actually sitting on top of the stump WAVING at me while I pull in the driveway.  Sure they are cute, but everyone knows that too much of a good thing is very bad. Reports are that some of the damage they can do would be on par with termite damage.

So I do what every homeowner does, I go onto the web and look for a solution.  After all – the web knows all.  So I start Google up and type in Chipmunk – that’s it.  There is a Wikipedia page detailing the historical and biological data about our furry friends.  The other 14,756,002 entries (found in .06 seconds according to Google) were about eliminating these little scamps.  So maybe I’m not alone here.  So out of all those 14,756,002 pages (found in .06 seconds), almost ALL of them were people saying, “I don’t know how to get rid of them, but if you find out…”. 

So there are some suggestions that may or may not work.  I start to get my arsenal together.  I’ll wait until the time is right to strike.  But then the dog barked, furiously snarling toward the door. For a microscopic dog, our chihuahua has an impressive bark. I opened the door for her.  The 4 pounds of unleashed terror bounds out ... and freezes two feet from the threshold.  She then looks at me with those, “well, aren’t you coming?  I’m not doing this alone” eyes and I decide to follow her out.  Once we are both on the porch, she darts to the walkway between the porch and garage and stops, ready to strike without restraint. No warning, just 4 pounds of furry death.  All the target will see it teeth... and ears.  I would not want to be on the receiving end of that.  She might break my skin, or give me a nasty scratch. 

She scans the perimeter.  While her keen dog senses are attempting to zero in on the trouble, right behind her a chipmunk hops up on the walk way.  RIGHT BEHIND HER.  Not down the road, not peering through a floor board, RIGHT BEHIND HER.  The little overfed chipmunk terrorist is eyeballing at the tail of my guard dog.  What’s my guard dog doing?  She is menacingly staring down a weed.  If looks could kill, that weed would be dead, but weeds never die, do they?  Meanwhile, I see that tiny chipmunk gang leader shrug it’s tiny little shoulders and go back to its den of evil under my porch.  The dog has completely won the stare down with the plant, none the wiser that evil had come so close to smacking her on the butt.

Do you see my dilemma?  The chipmunks are trying to take over! This weekend starts the Offensive.  Tomorrow my long range air rifle, night vision scope, extra ammo, samurai sword (for close in combat), black night clothing-of-death, and claymore mines (note:  on the top of the mine there are the words “point this end towards enemy” etched into the metal.  I must remember to heed those instructions. 

Once the gear gets here from Amazon, it's on!

 

 

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Book piracy?

I've been reading a lot about book piracy. Is it the death of writers (or at least writers who need to be paid)? Or do books from torrent help sales, as people like Neil Gaiman claim?

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Building my own wepages

I originally hired my tech savvy nephew to build and upload web pages for me and he did a great job. But as his design business grew, he had less time for the changes I wanted to make. So I got it into my head to build webpages by myself. Hahahahah!

I began on my Windows NetBook, working in a program called Xara (www.xara.com) and this was working out pretty well. I was able to get a feel for colors and layout that I prefer. But when I began to struggle with details, such as getting my twitter feed to appear on the home page, things slowed way down.

A friend of ours was staying the weekend at our house and he saw me tinkering with the program, and heard me muttering under my breath because it wasn't intuitive in the least. He piped up with "If you did this on a Mac, it would be easy." I looked up. "Wait, what?". He smiled and repeated. He also succinctly added some more information about how Macs were designed for the creative mind and that clearly I'd find it more straightforward than Windows. I turned to my husband, the IT guy in our household. He said "I never took to the Mac when I had one, but you might prefer it." and in the next instant, he had purchased one for me.

All stop on webpage development while I waited for the Mac to arrive. Finally, it came. I had to get the hang of it, unlearn Windows techniques, and download updates. First, a disappointment to overcome. Apple had stopped including iWeb on new Macs with Lion iOS. So I searched for an alternative webpage development program. Found several and settled on Sandvox. It was the least expensive and seemed to offer what I needed. Download was easy, using it was easy, and when I got stick a few times, I just re-watched the helpful video.

In a matter of a few days of random tinkering, I learned how to easily add a Book Store, include a Contact Me page, create original jpeg icons and link them to the appropriate sites. I uploaded photos, organized everything in to a pleasing array. The hardest part was setting up the host site, which I already had but hadn't messed with in the year since my nephew had last set it up. My husband helped me with that part thru trial and error, but Sandvox will help you set up a brand new host without difficulty. Worth every penny of the $50 it cost me.

Check out the results of this odyssey at www.elizabethashtree.com

I would love to read comments or add links to experiences of others who have gone on similar webpage-building quests.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Have nail gun, will work on farm

Guest blogger: husband
Little woman is watching HGTV when one of the characters uses two special words in a sentence, nail and gun.  I perked up and angled myself to see what was going on.  Again, normally I would ignore the ravings of these programs (“do THIS by yourself, do THAT by yourself) but hearing the combination of two manly words, I had to find out more.  Nail Gun.  There, on the big screen TV was some guy nailing some kind of piece of wood to another kind of wood thing.  WITHOUT a HAMMER.  Instantly, I needed one.  Besides, my hammer was faulty.  The flat part of it kept on missing the top of the nail thing, or hit it at some stupid angle so the nail wouldn’t work.  So I returned it. It could have been the nails, so I returned them as well.  No sense taking a chance.  Those things are dangerous.  But "Nail Gun" -- they were talking my language now.  I could see me in the middle of the summer, driving around the vast back yard on my recently waxed John Deere tractor, stopping now and then to reattach fallen tree limbs with my NAIL GUN.  But remember kids, safety first.  Take the headphones from the iPod off before you disembark from the tractor.  We don’t want any neck sprains.
 
A NAIL GUN.  I want this.  I need this!  Damn it – I deserve this. So I have decided that there needs to be a nail gun as part of my home owner tool arsenal.  The next day, the little woman goes to the office, the coast is clear. I don my Nikes and Batman T shirt so I'll blend in with our new neighbor.
 
I hop into the Car and head to town.  I thought that for this adventure I would stay closer to home, you know, learn the local customs, get to know my neighbors, that kind of thing.  I decide to go to Wogan’s.  It is the local hardware/pharmacy/Hallmark gift shop with the best gas prices in town.  I parked and got out of the car.  While locking it I accidentally hit the alarm button on the key fob.  After 5 minutes I figured out how to turn off the alarm. Luckily, no one was laughing and pointing, or else they might license me for the nail gun I'd come to buy.
 
I enter the store and realize the two cashiers had been watching me as i entered. I guess I was the first customer of the day.  I pass by the greeting cards, the Easter display, clearance sale Valentine’s Day cards, and the frozen foods section -- arriving at last to the hardware section.  Not to seem too eager, I wander around the isles looking at different products and nod sagely to myself with a, “ah, it’s good to know where I can get one of those” looks.  Eventually a clerk comes over to see if I need some help.
 
“I need a nail gun” I say with authority.  The clerk gives me the once over, noticing my Nikes and Batman T shirt, and realizes he will probably need some help with this sale.  So he goes in back and gets a person who I can only assume is the manager and they both return.  Once again I say in my most confident voice, “I need a nail gun.”  The two employees look at each other and the original one grins at the manager and starts walking away.  If I didn’t know better, I would swear I heard him giggling over the muzak.  Now the sales process begins, and I am ready.  I am in my element.
 
The other guy/manager asks, “Do you want pneumatic or cordless?”  He is on the offensive right away.  I take a moment (remember, in a sales deal, silence is your friend.  It shows you are contemplating the opponent’s move and getting ready to counter strike.  Very similar to Sun Tzu’s Art of War) and confidently reply, “Yes.”  And so it begins. 
 
I won’t bore you all with the negotiation strategies, fall back zones, or body language observations, but let’s just say that I only paid about 18% over what the NAIL GUN was advertised for.  Since I nailed that deal, I went for the accessories.  A couple of notes for those new to Nail Gun buying:  First, they don’t make holsters for them.  Second, they are called nails, not bullets.
 
Now for those of my readers who may remember our last suburban experience, I pretty much showed my cards when I asked the John Deere sales guy if they offered a class to learn how to use the tractor.  Not this time.  I frequently learn from my mistakes.  Finally, at the register I looked the manager in the eyes (by now his face was red and his eyes were tearing, especially when he looked at my Nikes -- perhaps the bright neon green trim hurt eyes) and asked him where the range was.  “Range?” he queried.  “Yes,” I said firmly, “I need to get used to this ‘nail gun’ before I bring it home.  So where is the gun range?”  The manager suddenly started coughing while trying to speak. I didn’t get an answer but nevertheless, I now have this shiny new cordless nail gun.  Yep, I know the lingo.  Now The little woman has me going around the house pulling the nails out of everywhere I put them in with the nail gun.  Apparently you are supposed to use this tool only to attach one form of wood to another and going around the house mindlessly nailing things is not the proper use for it.  Oh, FYI.  Nail guns don’t work on glass; maybe I need one of those pneumatic ones for that kind of work.
 
Next purchase:  Night vision goggles

Friday, October 14, 2011

Things we have learned in the months since moving to the country…

A 50 year old back is no match for a centuries old rock
Shovels and slate rock mix like oil and vinegar
Sweat will take the path of least resistance
Despite oversize tires, tractors do not float
At times, a snake looks remarkably like a garden hose
A constantly crowing rooster tastes very good if marinated properly
The more in-depth your swearing, the quicker the pain goes away
NEVER attempt to use gasoline to burn out a chipmunk colony near the garage
Avoid at all costs mowing a dry dusty lawn on a breezy, hot sweaty day
It is ALWAYS a good idea to rent a Bobcat for any job
Remember, ordering mulch in bulk means you need to move said mulch – in bulk
Always remember to check the wood you are moving for ants BEFORE you play hoist it onto your shoulder
It is never a good idea to “eyeball” a distance when making a fence
If a tractor can’t do the job, reconsider doing said job
Weed-killer usually doesn’t
A lawn looks pretty green when it’s overgrown with weeds
Groundhogs are bulletproof
Never think you can gut grass that is taller than the tractor
The uglier the tree/weed/plant, the deeper the roots
In the game of rock, sledge hammer, knuckle - rock always wins
Occasionally poison ivy looks remarkable like a an ordinary weed
Sometimes the cheapest chainsaws lead to the biggest medical bills
A nail gun should not be the only tool  you use                      
The distance from the garage is inversely proportional to the volume of the rain
It is bad “form” to nail yourself to a fence, especially in polite society
A cow patty and hamburger patty are NOT interchangeable
A pick ax and a queasy stomach at the sight of blood are never a good match
Uttering the phrase, “I know how to do it!” now, will haunt you later
A burn barrel next to an oak tree is a poor excuse for an insurance claim

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Real name or pen name?

My real name is absurd - no one can spell it or pronounce it, and my first name has connotations that I just hate thinking about (don't ask).  So I use the pen name, Elizabeth Ashtree.  One funny thing is when people write me and call me some version of Elizabeth, such as Liz.  That just cracks me up.  Elizabeth is a pen name, I make that clear almost everywhere, but every now and then I get a Twitter comment or some other message that says "Hey, Liz, great to hear from you!"


I also have a security clearance under my real name.  Seemed best not to confuse my identities.


So, do you use your real name or a pen name?  Why?

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

LogWalls orchard -- the beginning

I never thought I would say the four words “We bought a tractor.” But we moved from the city to a log home on an orchard/farm last October. So there we were, with all of this land (6+ acres) and only a push mower. We knew we would need a riding mower. You know the kind -- a thousand dollars to be used for an hour on the weekends.  Ha!

Like any good consumers, we made a list of the “wants” for the product and began from there.  My husband asked me what I thought it should include. “It should cut the lawn.” 

"Oh you poor girl," says he. "Obviously, you are out of your league here," he says.  This is his list:
1. Comfortable seat w/ cupholder
2. Enclosed cockpit with A/C – the summer will get really hot
3. Stereo, or at least a power supply for iPod
4. A quiet engine so as to hear iPod
5. Front plow, to shovel the driveway
6. Power steering
7. A 38-42” deck (that’s lawn mower speak for cutting circumference the blade)
8. A service plan, bumper to bumper
 
We decided we should get the lawn mower immediately, it being October, while the prices were lower. I mean, how much demand is there for a lawn mower right before winter?  It’s fricken 30 degrees outside, nobody is cutting their lawns. The dealers would be begging for our business. We figured we would need to budget maybe, at most $1,250.  So we would went out to find this cute little riding mower to add to our homestead.
 
First stop Sears. Next, Lowest. Next, Home Depot.  We saw several that had the basics and hubby was sure he could get some aftermarket add-ons to make one of them useable.  But Clem from Wisconsin gave a review that said something along of the lines of: “this dog wont hunt.”  So the quest continued. Suddenly it hit us.  Who sells the best lawn mower ever?  John Deere!  We've seen their hats everywhere and there is a John Deere store in the city -- actually more like a big town, by our standards, but a place with stores not too far from us. A Way bigger community than the tiny town we'd moved to in rural, pastural PA. Our town has an ACE Hardware store and that is all.
 
My husband walked into the John Deere dealership, knowing what he needed, sure of himself, a veteran of many excellent car deals. He went up to the first salesman he saw, ready to negotiate.  He began reciting his list of requirements.  Chris listened, then asked how much do we plan on cutting and what type of terrain will we be mowing. Um. Hubby figured he was using these questions as some odd sales tactic – Because what does size and terrain have to do with buying a mower?  I gave Chris the answers anyway. Husband added in that we have a pretty good electric push mower in current use -- so Chris wouldn’t think that we HAD to buy a riding lawn mower that very day.  Also, the push mower was ELECTRIC and therefor environmentally friendly AND quiet.  Then hubby hit Chris with a firm, “Oh, and I don’t want to pay more than $1,200 – delivered.”  Master negotiator. 

Chris excused himself for a moment to confer with some of the other sales people in a huddle.  One of them popped his head up to look at us and then returned to the huddle. We thought there might have been some chuckling, but dismissed this as unlikely, given their need to sell us our lawn mower. Eventually Chris returned.  But the husband had already set his gaze upon the shiney LA series mowers.  They start at about $4K with none of the add-ons he was looking for, but he was feeling confident about negotiating the add-ons into the deal.  The one he was looking at was the base model and he assured me they would have the upgraded models out on the lot.  Chris stepped up beside hubby and said the series he was looking at was a great starter model, and good for cutting about an acre of flat land.
 
Uh-oh.
 
About 20 minutes later we were eyeing the TRACTOR – not lawn mower – that Chris recommended for 6+ acres of hills and scrub grass that sometimes gets pretty soggy. Turns out, the LA series wouldn’t cut the mustard -- or that much grass.  Or as Clem from Wisconsin said, “that dog won’t hunt.”  So about a half hour later we were the proud owners of a John Deere tractor that's only a little smaller than my car and cost just a little less.  You do NOT want to know the MPG! As a Prius owner, I nearly cried when I found that out. And it has few of the features on it that hubby wanted, except that deck needed to be a whopping 52 inches. He WAS able to buy -- for a goodly additional sum -- an attachment to plug in an iPod. However, it is not quiet, or in any way enclosed or air-conditioned. But I did get my requirement met -- it will cut a whole lot of lawn pretty quickly and on a single tank of gas.
 
To put the final nail in this lawn mower buying odyssey, right before we left John Deere, my husband asked Chris “Is there a class I can take to learn how to use this monster?" Chris stared blankly at him until I pulled him out of the store. And yet I never did need to call 911 due to a tractor roll-over incident. It took some time, but both of us can now drive the tractor -- though we haven't finished paying for it yet.
 

Monday, October 10, 2011

My first blog

Writing is hard work. So there is value in sharing experiences among authors.
Keeping up with a blog is likely to be no easier. But it's time to begin.
I have quite a lot to say. About writing for a living, and the craft of telling stories well. And I will want to write about our adventures suddenly living in bucolic Pennsylvania on a six acre orchard/farm to which my husband and I recently moved after living most of our lives in cities. I may have some amusing stories about our two micro-dogs, Spy and Ping. My highest goal will be to keep it interesting.
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