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Tuesday, February 28, 2017

Ode To The Backhoe

The Francisco Farm backhoe has been a tragic saga since it was purchased and used.  At first it was working okay but after a few months it decided it was done working and sprung leaks.  It lost oil like crazy and it liked playing games.  The seals and hoses were replaced and it had been repaired by big equipment people.  It did work again but not very long.  In the middle of a huge job it quit and was not going to work again.  After looking into more repairs George decided instead of fixing it yet again that he would sell it, as is, especially after he purchased his new tract of.  The backhoe sold quickly and George got what he asked for.  It was picked up by the buyer the next day.  So here we go-  backhoe dear backhoe, you have done so much for us. You will be missed!  Now let's open up some champagne

Monday, February 27, 2017

The Oscars

Thank you to the Academy Awards for actually being an awards show and not a "let me tell you about politics" show.  There were a few jokes and a couple of statements but overall it was nice to watch the show, see the stars and the winners.  Jimmy Kimmel did a good job and had some humorous items.  I liked that they gave the less popular awards in twos and even though the show went long watching it in California was kind of nice.  It started at 5:30 and ended around 9:30.  I had seen a lot of the movies that were nominated so that always makes the show more enjoyable.  The mix up at the end was confusing and unreal.  I wonder why Warren Beatty just didn't announce he had the wrong envelope the put Faye Dunaway on the spot to announce the wrong movie.  I am sorry La La Land didn't win.  Anyway, that you celebrities for letting the show be enjoyed by all!

Sunday, February 26, 2017

Mailbox Decor

The mailboxes of Quail Way have a new look.  Now four of the five mailboxes that are located for Quail Way have just been upgraded to new and larger mailboxes.  Our neighbor Linda decided to decorate all the boxes with a flower at each post.  It is cute and it looks nice.  Linda had decorated her box for different holidays and so have Lisa and I.  Well, it was decided by the ladies of the mailboxes that the mailboxes should be decorated all the time.  I will post the decorations as they are added. I better get busy figuring out how I can help decorate too!

Saturday, February 25, 2017

Mystery of Quail Way 2

The Mystery of Quail Way - Chapter Two:  I shared with you a few weeks ago about Quail Way getting cleaned up, pot holes repaired, new drainage ditches, and new gravel poured and leveled.  Just a few days after Quail Way was done the road began looking and feeling like a wash board.  The road usually lasts for months not days.  Since so much work was put into repairing the road and everyone who lives on it owns vehicles with 4 wheel drive a request was sent out to make sure anyone driving the road does it in the 4 wheel drive setting.  The road was once again smoothed out and low and behold it turned into a wash board again.  Who is not following directions?  Who is being lazy and not following the requested rules?  Who is deliberately messing up Quail Way?  No one knows for sure so the mystery continues!

Friday, February 24, 2017

The Great Jar Buy

You can find so many things on Craig's List and George knows that very well.  He will search there first before buying anything useful.  He bought the house he built on Craig's List along with several other items that are being used on the farm.  Yesterday he found the Great Jar Buy.  We use a lot of canning jars and last season we went through a lot.  We ask for the empty jars back but we are not always so lucky to get them back.  This season we are planning on more canning and now with George's Great Jar Buy we should have a good start with the jars.  A case of jars (12 in a case) normally run for $12 at Walmart which makes each jar cost $1.00 a piece.  With the Great Jar Buy George bought 250 jars for $90 making each jar cost about 36 cents; that is a huge savings!
George and Lisa had to drive to Kingsport, TN to pick up the jars at two different places.  The boxes of jars pretty much filled up the car.  When they got back to the farm they got the jars unpacked, did a quick inventory then placed them on the shelves in the new storage room.  Way to go George!

Thursday, February 23, 2017

Manchester By The Sea

We watched the movie "Manchester By The Sea" which is nominated for a few Academy Awards.  I was not really sure what the movie was about but it looked good so I watched it.  It was a very dark movie with lots of tragedies in it; one right after the other.  The whole movie was well done but kind of depressing.  When it was over I made me depressed.  I read an article about the movie and it suggested that the movie had to be seen twice.  The second time watching the movie would enlighten you on the funny or humorous parts.  Basically the message of the movie is Life goes on.  It is worth seeing.

Wednesday, February 22, 2017

Electric and Water...check!

It has been a while since there was a small problem with the new RV pad.  Last fall George and Tim worked at building out the RV pad at the top of the hill at the farm.  All the work was done during a very dry summer and fall.  Due to the dryness a problem happened to the new area of the RV pad when it rained.  The earth began to move and shift because it settled when dry.  The RV had to be moved along with the shed and all the new plumbing and electrical that was put in.  It was the right thing to do at the time and through out the late fall and winter with the rain and a little snow the pad is settling.  George's new tractor helped fill in some ruts in the settled earth.  Now the new RV pad is set and Travis can really call it home!  Good job George!

Tuesday, February 21, 2017

A Sunday Dinner Relived

When I was growing up we always had a big Sunday dinner after Church.  Since we had such a big dinner on Sunday afternoons Sunday night dinner would be light.  For years we had Popcorn and Apples.  Now that may sound like a strange combination but it is a delicious combination.  I remember eating it for Sunday night dinner since I was watching Lassie and  Ed Sullivan as a little girl.  Bonanza would have been next but I was too young to stay up that late to watch it.  It was a Sunday night tradition for years and last night my sister Pam and I relived it and had it for dinner.  It brought back so many memories and when I text a picture to my brother Craig he named the same shows I did growing up.  It's funny how a little thing like Popcorn and Apples can mean so much and bring back so many memories.  Also, how popping popcorn has changed through all those years.  We went from stove top in a pan that you had to shake the whole time to electric popcorn poppers, to air poppers to popping the popcorn in the microwave.  Even with all the those changes it still makes for a great light supper.  I am not sure who started the tradition but I am thinking it came from the Colley side of the family because I remember eating it with my Grandma Colley when I would stay with her.  Try the combo sometime; I think you will like it!

Monday, February 20, 2017

Presidents Day

Today is Presidents Day and it has more meaning to it than you might think.  Presidents Day is a Federal and State holiday and it has lots of names depending on where you live in the U.S.A.  Most of the states have called it Presidents Day since the 1980s when advertisers pushed to have one name for the holiday.  It was called Washington's Birthday and in some states it is.  In other states it was called Lincoln's Birthday.  Some states celebrated just Lincoln's birthday and some celebrated just Washington's birthday while other states celebrated both.  So, through the years it has been adapted by the Federal government and most States as Presidents Day and is celebrated every third Monday in February. Most feel that Presidents Day is in honor of George Washington the first President of the United States and some feel it is in honor of both Washington and Abraham Lincoln, the sixteenth President of the United States.  Still others feel it celebrates all the Presidents of the United States and they are all correct.  Now that I have cleared all that up;  Happy Presidents Day!

Sunday, February 19, 2017

The Legend Of Tarzan

We watched the newest version of "The Legend Of Tarzan" that came out in 2016.  Now I know there have been quite a few movies on Tarzan from the matinee movies when I was a kid to the Tarzan movies that came out in the 1980s, 1990s and 2000s and that includes Disney animated Tarzan.  Due to the amount of Tarzan movies out there we did not expect much from the one released in 2016 but we were pleasantly surprised while watching the movie.  It was a bit slow at first but that was when the story of Tarzan was being told but after that it got very good.  It tells a good story and I think it is one of the better Tarzan movies.  So, if you are looking for a good entertaining movie thy "The Legend of Tarzan" 2016 version. 

Saturday, February 18, 2017

Discovering Hard Ciders

Last night I had a "Girls Night Out" with my California BFFs and I discovered hard ciders.  I have had and known about hard apple cider but I had no idea that there were other hard ciders made from different fruits.  Last night I had a couple of different hard cherry ciders, a pineapple one and a pear one.  All were good and different especially the cherry ciders.  I had a local one from Julian called Cherry bomb and now when I get back to the farm I will be on a new mission checking out some of the local hard ciders if they exist.  We had a great night together and I have found a new drink besides wine, beer and moonshine!

Friday, February 17, 2017

Escaping Winter Journey Almost Done

The Escaping Winter journey is almost complete and I am not sure that we escaped anything.  Since we have been gone, December 22 is when we left the farm, the weather has not been too bad.  It snowed a couple of times but nothing to really talk about and the worst of the snow only lasted a couple of days.  The weather, in some cases, has been warmer in Tennessee than it has in California.  As George put is one time while texting, "you didn't escape winter you escaped spring".  Now we know when we get back in March that we could still have snow and cold for a the rest of March and April but we are hoping that it won't happen.  We have another 10 days here is southern California then we will begin our journey back to the farm.

Thursday, February 16, 2017

The Plums Trees Are Confused

It is only the middle of February and the plums trees are thinking that it is late April/early May.  They are already blossoming which is not good considering there most likely be another freeze or two.  Last Spring we got a couple of freezes in April.  We have not had much luck with the fruit trees on the farm and we may not be so lucky this year either.  I guess time and mother nature will tell.  The Spring is very beautiful at the farm because of all the fruit and nut trees at the farm and I am sure it will be another beautiful Spring.  Let's just hope it is not too early.

Wednesday, February 15, 2017

The New Tractor

There is a new tractor at the farm.  George decided that one was needed since the backhoe is toast and the Steiner needs so much work that it may be down another year.  So he started looking for one that could move dirt and tend the road and he found one.  It is a Mahindra E-Max 251/s.  There is a scoop on the front to aid in moving dirt and gravel, a 41 inch rototiller on the back which will aid in the garden and a 60 inch mowing deck.  Our neighbor Larry has a grading blade that will fit the tractor for smaller jobs in maintaining the road.  So, with the new tractor George can sell the Steiner and if the new tractor cuts as well as the Cub Cadet mower than that may end up being sold too.  Congratulations George on your new toy, oops, new piece of farm equipment.

Tuesday, February 14, 2017

Happy Valentines Day!

Happy Valentines Day!  This year we will be celebrating it away from the farm but I hope it will be a great one for everyone.  We will be celebrating it with my sister and BIL with me making my homemade spaghetti sauce and having a great Italian themed Valentines dinner together!  Have a great day and Happy Valentines Day!

Monday, February 13, 2017

Wine Storage

Where do you put a wine that you just bought the entire stock and there is not a wine cellar?  For George and Lisa it was a bit of a dilemma.  Since building their home they have been looking for just the right wine rack but have been unsuccessful until the past week end.  When they drove to the Gatlinburg/Pigeon Forge area to pick up their wine they finally found the perfect wine rack.  It looks good and it will take care of their wine stock for quite a while.  Way to go!

Sunday, February 12, 2017

A Sad Day At Francisco Farm

Francisco Farm or I should say George got some bad news the other day.  His favorite winery has shut down for good. George is particularly fond of one wine they make and with the winery closed for good George decided to see if he could get his favorite wine or what was left of it.  Eagle Springs winery opened in 2012 with a great tasting room and wine shop.  Their wines were very good and their specialty was the fruity wines.  I am not sure why they decided to close their doors for good but we are all a little sad.  George's favorite wine was Wildfire and he was fortunate enough to find the last 28 bottles available at a partner winery that is selling the Eagle Springs wine until it is sold out.  So George can enjoy his favorite wine while he looks for another wine to replace it.  I guess it is time to build a wine cellar!

Saturday, February 11, 2017

Grilling Time???

I know it is still winter and February can be the snowiest month but it is never too early to think about grilling especially when the big grill at Francisco Farm has been repaired.  We had been using that grill all last summer until the middle of August when the burner and regulator decided it was done cooking.  We then moved to our little grill up at the RV.  George had to take apart the grill, figure out all the damages, order parts then fix it after the parts arrived.  The grill has now been fixed and is ready to start grilling.  Good thing too since the Francisco's just happen to have half a cow in their freezer!  Nice job George!

Friday, February 10, 2017

Quail Way Repairs

Quail Way has been repaired including the area around the mail boxes.  There was a lot of time spent in the area around the mail boxes for one very good reason, the ice rink in the winter had to go away.  During the winter months the entire area near and around the mailboxes was always a sheet of ice.  I don't know how our mail person was able to deliver the mail.  This also affected the end of Quail Way leading onto Barger Rd.  When the ice was there you had to almost come to a complete stop before the end of Quail Way just to make sure that when you turned onto Barger you were able to do it safely.  However, now that George created a drainage ditch the ice rink should not exist.  We won't know this until it gets cold enough which this winter at the farm has been a one day a week ordeal; maybe! Way to go George!

Thursday, February 9, 2017

Gator Problems

What do you do when you have a bad Gator?  You fix it.  George and Lisa's Gator, a cross between a golf cart and a tractor decided to quit working. George and Lisa use it to get around the farm and for working around the farm. It is the first vehicle I ever drove up the hill.  It is a vehicle that is heavily depended on at the farm.  It would not start so George thought it was the battery but when he put a new battery in it still did not start.  He then took the starter to an auto parts store in town and they confirmed it was the starter and a rebuilt one was purchased and put back in the Gator.  When George was done the Gator started up and now it is ready to get back to work!

Wednesday, February 8, 2017

Half A Cow

Half a cow was delivered to the Francisco's at Francisco Farm.  They ordered half a cow from a local farmer that sells the cow at a "on the hoof" price per pound.  They got to choose what cuts of meat they wanted and how much of each.  The "on the hoof" price was $2.79 a pound and they ended up getting 235 pounds.  Of course "on the hoof" means half the cow, bones, fat, etc.  Once the cow is butchered the price and poundage of meat changes.  After butchering they received 163.22 pounds of meat which makes the price $4.02 a pound.  Which, compared with prices of beef in the store is not bad.  From the half cow they ended up with the following meat cuts: 67 lbs of ground beef, 15.5 lbs beef ribs, 3.5 lbs beef sirloin tip roast, 2.6 lbs beef arm roast, 3.5 lbs rump roast, 20.5 lbs chuck roasts,7 lbs sirloin steaks, 6.5 lbs T-bones, 6 lbs of porterhouse, 6 lbs of ribeyes, 16 lbs of stew meat, plus liver, soup bones and marrow bones.  They total price paid for the half cow was $655 and the total cost if they had purchase all of this meat at the store would have been $950 plus tax saving them over $360.  I guess we will be ordering some meat when we get back to the farm!

Tuesday, February 7, 2017

31 Days Of Oscars

I am a movie lover and I watch a lot of movies.  During the month of February Turner Classic Movies (TCM) is showing all the movies that have had Oscar nominations that have been released to TV, video, dvd, blue ray, or internet.  It started February 1st and this year they are showing the movies alphabetical.  I have been able to catch a few movies and will continue to watch when I can.  Today the movies are in the "D's" and so if there was a movie A-C you wanted to catch you missed it.  If you go to 31days.tcm.com then you can see the movie schedule broken down by day/date.  Remember all the times listed are Eastern time zone so if you live in a different time zone you will have to adjust the time.  Today's picks for me: The Dirty Dozen, Doctor Zhivago,  and Dreamgirls.

Monday, February 6, 2017

Super Bowl Champs

Wow, what a game!  The Falcons were so dominant during the first half of Super Bowl LI. Who would of guessed that the Patriots would come back in the second half and then go into overtime to win the game.  Congratulations to the Patriots, Tom Brady and Bill Belichick and to the Falcons you played a good game. The half time show was great and Lady Gaga was excellent.  She did not do anything political and even though some people are all ready trying to tie in some of her motions into a political statement I am going to continue to remember that her show was very entertaining.  Now, on to the commercials, my favorite is a toss up between the Mr. Clean commercial and the Kia commercial.  Both were entertaining and funny and I am hoping they will continue to play and not just be one time wonders during the Super Bowl. 

Sunday, February 5, 2017

Super Bowl Sunday

Today is the day where almost everyone in the U.S. watches football.  Okay, well not everyone but quite a few.  This year the New England Patriots vs the Atlanta Falcons in Super Bowl LI (51).  I will be attending a super bowl party and we will have both teams represented but as for me I will be rooting for the commercials.  I have no interest in either team but, taking a quote from my nephew Pat, I hope it is a close game.  I am also hoping not to hear anything "political" today.  There is talk of Lady Gaga working in an anti President Trump message during her half time show but I hope it is false especially since it has absolutely nothing to do with Football.  Enjoy the game and Go Commercials!

Saturday, February 4, 2017

Escaping Winter...Again!

I know that I post a lot about escaping winter but I have to validate it.  It has been a pretty warm winter at the farm and the temperatures have been similar and in some cases warmer than where we are in California.  With that said we do have some days like this morning.  Parrottsville is a cold 22 degrees while here in Southern California we are waking up to 56 degrees.  Today's high in Parrottsville is suppose to be 47 degrees where we will be getting into the mid 60's.  So today we escaped winter!

Friday, February 3, 2017

Award Shows

We are now in the middle of the Award shows season and any one who knows me knows I love watching them all.  I am a huge fan and I usually look forward to them but this year I have been so disappointed.  Due to the political rants and raves of most of the celebrities I have been unable to enjoy them.  I realize that everyone is allowed freedom of speech but really why do so many celebrities think we care about their political opinion?  We like celebrities for what they do not their political beliefs.  The sad thing is they get to share their political opinions on a huge televised stage that is not related as to why they are there.  I really don't need to hear that they hate something President Trump is doing while accepting an award for their performance in a movie or tv show.  I made it through the Golden Globes, but had to turn off The People's choice and the SAG awards.  I am very leery about The Grammys and the Oscars and even the Super Bowl may not be exempt. So celebrities please just thank the people who helped you get the award, your family and God and leave it at that.  I just want to enjoy the award shows again.

Thursday, February 2, 2017

Happy Groundhog Day!

Happy Groundhog Day or is it?  Punxsutawney Phil saw his shadow which means 6 more weeks of winter.  Now in a lot of the country this may not be a bad thing since it has been such a mild winter.  Then again, if you are in the area that has been cold you many not want 6 more weeks of winter.  Have you ever wondered how Groundhog Day got started?  Well, I have some information on that.
Groundhog Day originated as an ancient celebration of the midpoint between the winter solstice and the spring equinox.  Superstition has it that fair weather, at the midpoint, was seen as a warning of a stormy and cold second half to winter.  Groundhog Day in the U.S. started in 1887 and since then Punxsutawney Phil's predictions have been interesting and very one sided.  Phil has seen his shadow 102 times and has not seen his shadow only 17 times.  Side note - there are nine missing years not recorded.  According to Phil he has been 100% correct in his predictions but according to NOAA's National Climate Data Center Phil has been only about 80% correct.  So, Phil says we have six more weeks of winter.  I guess we will just have to wait and see!  Happy Groundhog Day!

Wednesday, February 1, 2017

Working On Quail Way

A new project has started at the farm and it is one that affects the neighbors too.  There are now six addresses on Quail Way but the county does not attend to the road so it is up to residents that live on Quail Way to take care of it.  Even though there are 6 families on the road only five live and use the road daily.  George has taken on the responsibility of taking care of the road.  He does have help from Tim, when we are there, and our friend Larry who lives down the road.  Larry has a tractor that makes working on the road a lot easier.  Together they clear the ditches, repair the pot holes, even out the gravel and any other repairs that may be needed done to keep Quail Way driveable; I think I just made up a word.  Any way, after a long dry summer and fall followed by a very wet winter so far, more rain then snow, the road has seen some damage and so George's task this week, with Larry's help, is to fix Quail Way then have fresh gravel put down.  Thanks George for taking such good care of Quail Way.  We ALL appreciate it!