Saturday, July 25, 2009

Proof !!

SciFi writer Larry Niven, in his younger days, proliferated "Finagle's Law", which is basically Murphy's Law (Anything that can go wrong, will.) re-written for geeks.

My recollection is "The perversity of the Universe tends towards a maximum."

I can now add a corollary (that is, in addition to the one I've already added; Greenpa's Law: "Everything can go wrong. Just wait.")

Right now I'm spending a lot of time mowing grass. This is in preparation for our harvest- it's really hard to pick stuff off of bushes when the quackgrass and thistles are taller than the bushes; and it's also great cover for rodents down there. You gotta get rid of the grass. So I mow.

The guineas, you understand, are part of our long-term plan for the grass. A) they eat some. and B) they are phenomenal "watch" animals. If we wind up with sheep, or calves- the guineas should be all over, and will alert the dogs to any intruders. Theoretically.

Anyway. Partly I mow up on the John Deere, using a following flail. And, I mow using the Grillo walking tractor, with the Ferrari sickle bar; 7.5 hp Yanmar diesel, and the best sickle bar ever made. I'm in love. But you still gotta walk; for miles, holding on to a jerking, vibrating noisemaker.

So, it's, like- THIRSTY work. For reasons probably connected with Finagles Law, my JD 70 hp 4WD utility tractor (open, no cab) has NOWHERE to put or hang a water container. Apart from improvised places, which always result in tearing off a signal light on a tree branch, or the metal water container being dropped into the mower. So- no water. Likewise, the Grillo is a water-free zone; you just don't want to be carrying a canteen; it'll beat you to death, and a "camel" pack is a hilarious idea- you'll sweat out twice the water you can carry because it cuts off air circulation on your back, completely.


Having done this a time or two, of course you can plan for work loops that end up somewhere where you can get water. Obviously.

One of them is our 80 year old Aermotor windmill, which pumps all the water for the Little House. When the wind is blowing, of course. But I do usually try to avoid mowing on windless days (which we have plenty of in summer) - because I'll sweat and die.

So- today the wind is blowing, VERY steady; 12 mph from the NNW. A good clear direction; pumps water great.

I get off the tractor, cool it down, turn it off; pull out my earplugs; and walk to the windmill, which is pumping just as steady as can be.

I bend down, pick up the hose from it- and...

The wind dies.

This is ABSOLUTELY reliable. I've been keeping track; for 25 years (we didn't have the windmill for the first 5).

No kidding. In 25 years, here are the data.

No. of times I've taken a drink directly from the pumping mill (or tried to): 264.
No. of times the wind has died when I picked up the hose: 248.
No. of times the wind quit completely, and I gave up: 197.

Fool that I am; today the wind was so steady, I thought I could sneak in a drink.

Nope. Gave up.

Here is the new corollary to Finagle's Law:

The Aermotor Corollary:

If you really need a drink from your windmill, the wind WILL die immediately, and water pumping will cease for as long as you wait for it to restart.

Those are hard data folks.

Somebody IS out to get us.

Saturday, July 11, 2009

Hy Ate Us.

So to speak. Readers will have noticed a falling off in posts here- the reality is that we're entering a time of the year which gets busier, and busier, and busier. And with all those long daylight hours- it's just too easy to work long hours.

Plus; Spice stepped in a pothole at the US Post Office a day ago- so her foot is in a soft cast for 3 weeks...

Plus; we have 20 chicks and 35 keets almost ready to get out into the world, and inadequate housing for them again...

Plus; Beelar (oldest son) is moving back in. Not in the usual sense- he's bringing his nice shiny new PhD back with him; and will be entering the family business. Which is a huge huge help; but also means one more person with immediate dibs on my time.

I don't expect I'll quit posting altogether; but until October or so, they'll be erratic. I'm expecting and intending to get more regular again about the blog come fall and winter.

Just so's ya know. Please check back from time to time- I'm not really disappearing.

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

High stress-

Yesterday we got both our dogs "fixed". It's traumatic. For me, anyway.

Poor Delilah- looks up at me with those very sad hound-puppy eyes. She hurts- and yesterday she was abandoned to strangers all day. That had never happened in her world before. Today she's mostly just lying down. And looking at me.

Luckily, she had Theodore with her in the same cage all day. They are such buddies- they eat, always, from the same dish; often at the same time. In fact we got two dishes- and regularly kept them both filled. Every day, one dish would be sparkling clean; and one untouched. Then they'd start, together, on the second dish.

Delilah is just over a full year old, and mature for her age. Catahoula mom, Boxer dad. At the vet's, they told us she now weighs 47 lbs. Theodore is less than 4 months; Anatolian mom, probably Australian shepherd dad - he's 49 lbs, and a little taller than Delilah already. Both dogs are nowhere near as hard headed as you'd expect their moms to be; both are very smart and very willing.

But- we got them fixed for 2 reasons- a) the genetics of their offspring would be much less predictable than their own; and b) we want them to stay home, and not get involved in mating battles that can shorten their lives. (Oh, yeah, and c) we had to promise to fix them when we got them from the shelter. That counts. But she still looks at me.)

Genetically, they are like F1 hybrid corn- a cross between two unrelated highly inbred (homozygous) lines. Hybrid vigor is maximized in that situation. But in the next cross, unless you're a geneticist and willing to discard a lot of progeny- the hybrid vigor starts to fall apart, and the pups get unpredictable, in a lot of ways. Not what we need, either.

It's all morally confusing. Theodore is eating and wants to get into my lap. But sweet, grown up, well mannered Delilah- looks at me, all the time.