Monday, May 30, 2016

Hope you have a lovely Memorial Day!

Appliance rant #47

When we built this house, I intended to buy the best appliances we could afford. The problem with that was that there was no money left in the budget when it came time to buy everything new. I haven't really (that I remember) done much ranting about my appliance nightmares on this blog, but as my dear husband will tell you, don't ask if you see me in person!

On second look: This will fill you in up to the point where I got the working black Frigidaire. Only problem with that one was that when you close the fridge door, the freezer door pops open. Not fun, but not worth a call to Mr. Dreadfully Chatty Repairman.

SO, my dear husband gave in to my request for a new fridge because we need a second one now to hold all the goat's milk, cheese, whey and fresh eggs. Happy Birthday to me!

New GE was delivered Saturday. Frigidaire goes in the basement to hold all those goodies.

New GE works perfectly.

New GE stops working Monday morning.

Freezer is still freezing, fridge temperature is rising. It's a holiday. At least Lowe's has people on duty at their Customer Care center, but all they can tell me after 40 minutes on the phone with 4 different people is that it is a special order and it will take at least 4 weeks to get a new one.

So turn the gauge all the way up to coldest and we'll call you tomorrow morning to see if that helped. If not, we'll get you a loaner fridge until your new one comes in, in a month if you're lucky.

Are you still with me? Are you ready to hear about the brand new Maytag dishwasher and oven—the only 2 brand new appliances that I did buy for the new kitchen? Already replaced the dishwasher, need to replace the oven.

I won't bore you with the details, except that now I can cross off Maytag, GE, Kenmore, and Frigidaire from the list of brands I would purchase. Not too many left to choose from!

Will it be a jinx if I say that I still love my Bosch washer and dryer (2010), Bosch cooktop (2015), and Samsung dishwasher (2015)? Oh, and that Kitchen Aid toaster oven is a blessing!

Saturday, May 21, 2016

The training of Cyrus

In case you don't make it through the whole story below, let me explain that the crate training is supposed to be for Cyrus. First, the Monkey Cat was in there investigating. Then, Woody decided he would take a nap in there. Cyrus was in there for all of about 2 minutes. It's a gradual learning process...for both of us...

In an effort to control the use of the house as his bathroom, I took Cyrus to a trainer on Thursday. I have always believed that I could do without a trainer. I have read way too many training books, and gleaned all I need to know from them, or thought I did. I learned the most from the book The Complete Idiot's Guide to Positive Dog Training by my former Rowan classmate, Pam Dennison. But all of the books that I have are focused on training a dog, not untraining a dog. None of them had a solution for adult dog messing in the house that did not involve the use of a crate.

So I knew going into this that the trainer, Teresa, was going to suggest a crate. A conversation with Pam on the phone also had that as the solution. But I have been avoiding bringing the crate back in the house for lots of reasons. It takes up too much room. There's no good place for it that isn't by a window. After the first few weeks of messes, Cyrus behaved himself for the next 3 months. The crate was full of young chickens out by the coop. Then Cyrus made several messes again, I retrieved the crate, cleaned off all the chicken mess only to have him behave again for 3 or 4 more weeks. I thought the ducks right outside the window were causing him to get excited and that was causing the problem. We got rid of the ducks and he was good again for several more weeks. More messes...

Anyway, I have been fighting this losing battle for too long. I did not have much hope that I would learn anything useful besides being convinced to use the crate, but Teresa had some good advice that I am going to record here for my benefit. I expect I will forget too much if I don't write it down.

So here's what I learned.

Don't make a fuss when leaving or coming back in the house. This is probably my #1 mistake. I always tell pooches I am "going to work" and give them cookies when I am leaving. I make just as big a fuss when coming in (minus the cookies). If Cyrus left any messes, I scold him for the mess and make both dogs go outside, presumably to make a mess out there. If there is no mess I praise him and tell him what a good boy he was.

Teresa says do nothing/say nothing on leaving or re-entering. Just act as if they are not even there. This solves one of the mysteries: why is The Husband allowed in and out without any complaints from the pooches? Because he does it exactly right and makes no fuss at all (on any of the 100 times a day he goes in and out the door).

Give Cyrus more boundaries. Sounds like what you would say to the parents of a 3YO child. Makes perfect sense. Perhaps I took the positive training a bit to the extreme. Always praising him when he was being good, but not really defining what the "being good" part was.

Teresa says even if he always behaves when I am with him in the house, give him a certain spot where he should go lie down when told. Leave the crate door open and have him go in there sometimes for no good reason other than I said so. Take him for "power walks" instead of allowing him to sniff and pee on everything out there. Pee when we go out the door, then no sniffing, no peeing for the rest of the walk.

Give Cyrus more exercise—mental and physical. This is the most time-consuming and definitely the most obvious solution. I knew this. I will just have to try harder. Apparently once-a-week runs up at Don's house are not enough.

Are ya ready for more pooch visits, Don? Put some more beer in the fridge.

Tuesday, May 17, 2016

Watching it snow on my baby trees

Snow in the middle of May—really?

What happened to global warming?

Woody was puzzled as well.

Sunday, May 15, 2016

Friday the 13th Rainbow

My last post was Friday the 13th and I had photos on there from Wednesday. Now I am posting the photos I took on Friday... At least I have had 4 posts in the last week—that might be a record for me since back when we were building the house.

We have had many rainbows over Lester's Flat since we bought the property up here, but not so many recently. They are almost always in the early evening, which places the rainbow in the eastern sky over Panther Mountain on the other side of Route 28. Friday evening, around 7:30, it started raining (again) and then the sun came back through the clouds. This one was not a double rainbow, but one of the largest ones I have seen. (I wonder what determines the size of the rainbow?) I wish I could have captured all of it in one photo, but that didn't happen.

The rain was good for all the new trees, but bad for the weekend's weather. Today we have a cloudy day, lots of wind, and a high of 48°. It's going down to 32° tonight. In May. I might even start up the woodstove again. I thought we were done with all that!

Friday, May 13, 2016

Sun setting, dogs surveying

The tree planting was a blast, and extremely exhausting for the 2 old farts who live here. My muscles are still in recovery. These photos are from the day of planting. The boys and I were resting our weary bones in the backyard, watching the sun go down.

As partners with the Trees for Tribs folks, we are supposed to water the plants weekly throughout the summer and fall. Not so easily done when the longest hose we have will probably only reach about 5 of the blueberry bushes closest to the house. So we are thankful for the grey rainy day today.

It gave our painter a holiday from painting the trim on the house (you can see the evidence of his power-washing the porch in the photos) but it is also giving us a nice break from our tree maintenance duties. From what I know of gardening, the most important time to give new plants a good soak is right after planting.

Thursday, May 12, 2016

Verizon fails me again

Bad day all around for customer service... The only ones who came through for me were Marie at the Richfield Springs Post Office, and Rachel here in Schuyler Lake. Thank you ladies for saving my totally destroyed package of Coffee House t-shirts from being shipped back to California. I will have my battle with tomorrow, if they ever get back to me.

And my internet was out for most of the day (thanks a lot, Verizon!).

But I can supply you with 2 photos of yesterday's successful tree-planting here at Lester's Flat. It was great weather and great fun. All that plastic gleaming in the sun doesn't really look so spectacular until you imagine it all greened up and pretty. Of course, that might not be until next year, but that's OK. You get what you pay for. We "paid" one box of granola bars and some bananas and oranges. Pretty good deal, I think.

Tuesday, May 10, 2016

Watching the painter, week of changes

First pic: we are all watching the painter on the front porch. Second and third: we got over the painter on the porch and went back to being our goofy selves. Last pic: WoodMan, always the poser.

We really should not need the trim painted on the house and garage after 6 years, but we do. Lots of peeling paint, some rotting wood. We are also having the much-abused porches resealed. The siding is cement-based, and came pre-painted. No problems with the siding.

Our favorite builder is coming out this week to inspect the problem parts. All of this trim work was done while Mr. Builder was on another job and not here to supervise The Guys. I expect he will make good on what he can.

It is good practice leaving all of the boys home alone while the painter is out there power-washing, sanding, painting right outside the windows... Good practice right before the big day of tree planting here at Lester's Flat (which, BTW, is the official name of our conservation easement). Trees for Tribs and the Otsego Land Trust are showing up with as many volunteers as they can rally for planting day tomorrow. If that doesn't send the dogs into a frenzy, I don't know what will!

The weather is supposed to be a perfect 70° and partly sunny. Can't wait to see the finished project!