Saturday, October 29, 2022

The Struggles of Getting Older

Since 'Struggles' seems to be the theme of the week, I thought I would go with that title. 

There comes a point in everyone's life when you notice that things are changing. It might start with something as simple as a misplaced word here and there or something as extreme as a hip replacement (See Dino's post titled Struggles). Whatever the level, it is going to happen to each of us. I turn 60 this year and have noticed a few things that many people would probably not admit to. If I was still working, I certainly would not admit to it!

 Back in my working days I was what I considered a pretty darn good multitasker. Dual screens on my computer, juggling full calendars filled with conference calls, meetings and multiple projects with critical timelines. In the peak of my career, I could do this in my sleep. Now, if you read my last post, I have trouble getting my shirt on frontwards and no, they were not button up shirts!

I could remember times, dates, names and details without missing a beat. Now I go from the living room into the bedroom and forget what I went in there to get. I know I am not alone, but things, they are a changing! I feel like I could still do my old job but at a much slower pace than a few years ago. I am so glad that I left when I did, still at the top of my game and not when my performance was in a death spiral. I have to give to people who are still working well into their 70's or even later. People like Rick (It's About Time) who... I actually don't know how old he is (70's?), gets up every day and goes off to his job as a welder. 

What other things have I noticed? Constantly looking for my glasses and they are on my head, spend 5 minutes looking for something I literally just set down. I notice it a lot when I write the blog. In my head the sentences are flowing like butter but when I look at what I actually typed compared to what I was thinking..... entire words missing in a sentence. Or a word that should not be in the sentence at all, like "where" instead of "when".  Barb is my proofreader and will sometimes ask me what I was trying to say. I need to reread everything I write a couple of times to make sure I typed it correctly. Or sometimes when talking to Barb, again in my head I make perfect sense but sometimes a wrong word comes out when I say it. 

It is no wonder old couples bicker and think their spouses are stupid. Barb will mention something to me and 5 minutes later I will ask her about the same thing. She is getting more forgetful as well, but instead of saying something, rolling my eyes and thinking she is stupid I remind myself that as we get older this is the new normal and we need to be understanding instead of demeaning. (Well, at least I try not to roll my eyes). What is sometime obvious to others is often invisible to the person who is actually doing it. At this point, I would say that our minds are a 8 or 9 out of 10 compared to what we used to be. We can still use the remote and can figure out pretty much every technological challenge thrown at us. But it is definitely changing! This is exactly why I blog, so I can look back in a few years and remember what we did. I might need Barb to remind me who is in certain pictures. That scenario will go something like this.... Me: "Barb, who is this?" Barb: "That's you honey" Me: "Oh, okay". So here I sit watching the birds from my recliner. It is not an EZ lift recliner, nor do I need a walker, but if my friends are any indication, it is only a matter of time!

Speaking of changing, the seasons took a definite change for the colder when we woke up Monday morning to wind and snow. In fact, those cooler temps stuck around all week. What did this mean for us? Two things; indoor projects and time to get out deer hunting! 

Sunday, before the weather hit, I went over to Kevin's to help him get his bunkhouse weather tight by putting windows in. When I got there, he was out chasing the neighbor's cattle that had gotten out, so I sat on his porch and watched the sunrise. If you look closely, you can see the bunkhouse on the middle of the right edge. Once he got back, we commenced to putting in the windows.

For indoor projects, I have started on the workshop/loft area of the garage. Our garage is 30'x50' and was built specifically for our 40' 5th wheel. Now that we have sold the 5th wheel, we are going to repurpose that space creating a 14'x18' workshop. This will still leave 35' in that bay for our camper or a future Class C. This is my "before" picture. Give me a few weeks and I should have an "after" picture.

Progress so far
Barb is still working on the headboard, an hour here and there. Her steps this week were staining the edges and varnishing the boards. I am thinking she might have them done by next week's blog. 

While she is busy working, I finally got out deer hunting. Some of you may be thinking "There goes Jim having fun while Barb is working". Well think again. Hunting is hard and stressful work. Have you never seen the reality shows where people must hunt just for subsistence? Where the narrator says "If Jim does not get a deer this season, he and Barb will die a slow painful death from starvation". That's right, I am out there trying make sure we survive another winter!

The pending rut and cooler weather mean the deer are going to be more active. I have seen a couple of nice ones out there on camera and am looking forward to seeing them in person. I have been shooting my bow quite a bit (while Barb is working) so I feel pretty confident should an opportunity present itself.

The other animals were busy preparing for winter as the birdfeeder was much busier than usual. I identified them as best as I can...

                     Eurasian Nuthatch                                                      Nuthatch and Chickadee

                       Downy Woodpecker                                               White-breasted Nuthatch

Did you know that the Nuthatch is one of only a few birds that can walk down a tree face first?

Dark-eyed Junco?
Kinda fuzzy as it was taken through a screen 
And of course, there are the ever-present turkeys who are looking for a snack on a frosty October morning. 

Tuesday, neighbor Jim and I went to Rapid City to pick up their new CanAm side by side for Carmen so they have a new toy to hit the trails with!

I was reading Seeing America with Ken and Shirley the other day and was shocked at their picture of Lone Rock in Lake Powell. Those of you who are regular RV'ers probably know of this iconic landmark. Here is a picture of us camping and kayaking around Lone Rock in 2017.

Here's a picture Ken and Shirley took a week or so ago. 
If you look really closely, you can see rigs parked at the base of Lone Rock. 

Today we hit the trails with Jim and Carmen to put their new Can-Am to the test! 
We went from our place all the way up to Jewell Cave through some of the prettiest country you will see. These pictures just do not do it justice.

Checked out a mini cave. Who knows what is really down there!
4 1/2 hours and some 60+ miles later we made it back to Jim and Carmen's where we had to wash away the trail dust with a frosty beverage!

Barb, Carmen and I on a break
We received some sad news from our son-in-law out in Pennsylvania. Their 18-year-old dog ran away several days ago. Cash is a homebody and not one to run away so they knew something was up. He has been living on borrowed time for more than quite a while, with cancerous growths throughout his body. Shane said Cash was acting very weird the day he left. They found him two days later and he was in pretty rough shape. Sadly, it was Cash's time. We are happy that they found him so everyone could say goodbye and have some closure, but it is going to be a hard few weeks for everyone as they move on without Cash. The 18-year span of his life is longer than Shane and Jess have been married and has been a fixture in their 13- and 8-year-old children's lives since they were born. Our hearts go out to them. 
Cash as a pup

Cash and family this past August
Meanwhile at The Farm Bob, Chris and Dylan are adding 10 more bins, that's right 10 more bins. They had to pour a pad 18'x175'. These pictures just don't do it justice, 175' is a long way! Luckily, they had a big crew to help them get it done!

Now for this week's public service segment. For weeks I have had troubles leaving comments on Blogger blogs. It was always asking me to sign in to our Google account, comment as anonymous or enter our name and URL. Well, I did some research and found something that is working so far. Go to this link and follow the instructions and hopefully it will work for you as well. 

I also tried a couple different methods to have email notifications when we post a new blog. This of course, would only go out to people who signed up but so far, I have not found a fix. For whatever reason my "Email Posts To" feature is disabled. I tried the "Comment Notification Email" option and added my sisters email address. But as suspected she got an email every time someone commented resulting in 30+ emails in a couple days. I am trying another option this week and will let you know how it works.  

Saturday, October 22, 2022

A Week in the Life at the J-B!

Why is it when I wake up in the morning, grab shirt and put it on in the dark and I put it on backwards? I mean I should have a 50/50 shot right? But no, it seems 9 times out of 10 I put it on backwards and have to switch it around. These my friends, are the struggles I deal with in my daily life. I know, I feel sorry for me too!

It's been a busy week here on the J-B. Barb and I have both been motivated to get projects done before the snow flies. Who knows how much time we have. 

Barb has been busy working on a headboard for the bedroom. She is using old fence boards from a cattle corral that we took down when we first bought our property. A long and tedious process. First you have to cut each of the edges getting them straight so they will fit together side by side. Then you have to cut them to length. Next is the planing to get them all to the same thickness. Once that is done comes the sanding, varnishing and put them together to create the headboard. She is still in the planing phase so it will probably be another week before she fits them together. Hopefully next week we can show you the finished product!

For my part, I spent a couple days helping Kevin on some of his projects. He is in the process of building 3 homes by himself. Yes, I said by himself. And he has two more in the waiting. Way overwhelming if you ask me but it's what he does for a living, so he knows what he is doing. He has occasional help when he needs it, and I was there for just that a few days this week. 

One day we spent on the rental (the bunk house) he is building on his property. The hope is to get this completed so he can start getting income next spring. We sheeted the two ends, trying to get it weather tight before winter. 

When we were done Kevin gave Cheryl a ride back up to the main house country style!

The next day we spent siding a house he is building down the road.

Then again on Friday I was back there for a few hours helping pour concrete. This was a 30x20' pad for a parking area outside the garage of a house he is building. Barb came along to help too!

We also lifted that tub surround unit into the loft of the bunk house. Did you know tub surrounds often have to be in place before you can finish framing the bathroom? Kevin and Sam are on the bottom, I am on the top. Then Sam held it in place while Kevin and I pulled it up to the loft.

Other projects around our house include clearing ugly trees and lower limbs on the trees around the house. We are doing this for two reasons. The first is to open our view around the house, the other is to help fire prevention. Should a fire break out around the house, it will be harder for them to reach the upper branches of the trees. 

My neighbor Jim and I spent a morning hauling gravel onto our driveway area around the house. We are about 80% done having hauled 60 ton of gravel around the house area. Then we have the main driveway to do!

Barb and I spent several hours at our neighbors down the road, Chris and Toni. Chris was a welder in his former life and said he would take a look at our camper jack that was damaged from hitting that deer. Well, he did it! And now we can finally take the camper off!

Which is exactly what we did on Wednesday. We hooked up the trailer and loaded it up with all our scrap metal from building the house. Then we headed to Rapid City with the truck, camper and trailer. Our first stop was the recycling plant where we unloaded all the metal. 200 pounds of scrap metal netted us a shopping $7!

Next up was Menards where we split up with our own huge list of items to pick up. I went to the lumber yard and loaded up (27) 2x10's 14' in length. Along with a dozen 2x4's and a dozen 2x6 studs, and some tracks for the sliding doors on our shed. Typically, there are a lot of employees out in the yard, well, that is until you could use some help loading something. Then they all vanish like some kind of endangered species. You see them once in a while, but it is just a fleeting glance sighting. I can load 14 footers by myself, but a little help would have been appreciated! The last thing we put in the trailer was a tub/shower unit for Kevin and Cheryl's rental unit. 

Lumber for the loft!
Then it was off to the camper repair place where we dropped off the camper. We are having a little repair work done on the roof. You could hear the truck sigh, a sigh of relief when the camper was finally off. It had been on there since April!

Our final stop of the day was the house of a guy who was selling a round comfy chair for our loft. Barb had been looking for quite a long time and finally found the one she wanted. We loaded that up in the bed of the pickup and finally started heading home. It was a 9-hour day, and the pups were certainly glad to see us when we got home!

It's not all work here. We took some time for some fun too. Barb and I spent an afternoon making Honey Liqueur. Something we have never done before. It is pretty easy actually. You take honey, water, an orange wedge and simmer it for a while, let it cool, add vodka and bottle it. We made two batches. The first batch was not honey enough and you really tasted the vodka so the second bath we added a cinnamon stick and 1/2 cup more of honey. Delicious!

Barb also made some apple crisp from the apples I brought back from the farm. That too was delicious!

My friend Doug invited me to go fishing at an undisclosed lake. There is an unwritten code when a friend invites you fishing. 1) You cannot ever disclose the lake to anyone. 2) You cannot invite or take anyone else there without the permission of the person who first told you about the spot. 

Break these rules and you will lose a fishing buddy and never get invited fishing again. 

But we had an awesome time, catching 10 plump and fatty trout! Barb and I grilled one and smoked the other. And you guessed it, they were delicious!

Saturday morning Kevin came over and prepped the site for one of our future projects. We got the area flattened out for the project and we are going to let it settle for the winter so we can start working on it in the spring. First Barb laid out some 8" pipe for drainage.

Then Kevin got busy knocking down a hill and flattening out the project area. 

What is this project you ask? Well, you will have to wait until spring to find out!

The wildlife this week has been frequent. I put out an alfalfa bale for the deer to enjoy. And Zoey enjoys watching the turkeys through the window!

And not blog would be complete without a picture of Dakota for Pam in Nevada so here is a picture of Zoey and Dakota going to the bathroom at night. Zoey is wearing her illuminated collar and Dakota is right next to her. You're welcome Pam!

Last but not least, Saturday night we went to a neighbor of Kevin and Cheryl's for a get together. We met Greg and Jan through a few years ago and they are really good people. Dan and Bonnie joined us along with Kevin and Cheryl for a few hours of libations and smart talk. 

Dan and Bonnie

Cheryl, Jan and Greg

Everyone was having serious stimulated conversation. Well, except these two!
Greg is an accomplished artist and was kind enough to give us one of his paintings to hang in our house! 

Whew, that was another busy week! I just realized something. All of the pictures are of Barb working and the only one of me working you cannot even see me! As of right now the only thing we have planned for this week are projects around the house, but I am sure that will change!

I have a question for you. someone recently posted on their blog about how to get people back on email notifications for blog posts. Over the past couple of months, I have received several messages from readers saying they are no longer getting email notifications on our posts. Does anyone know how to fix that?