Redneck Hillbilly Search

Monday, December 21, 2009

Rec Room - Check!

The past couple months we've been working on completing the last remaining room in our home - The Rec Room, to have it ready in time for the holidays.

 It started out as a workshop, crammed from corner to corner with tools and sawdust - and is now a comfortable place to hang out. But OH! What a job it has been! Drywall needed to be hung, mouldings and trims needed to be done, many hours of painting,  and late last night Mr. Redneck Hillbillies installed the laminate flooring and shoe moulding.

 We moved our two pinball machines and arcade game in there (finally getting them out of the hallway and office!)Then we moved in a  leather two seater couch and an older 50" projection TV for the kids' game systems and a keyboard. We cut a carpet scrap to make a temporary rug for some cushioning under our feet for the stand up wii games. The Mr. and the little kidlet want to try cramming a coin operated pool table in there but Big Chitlin and I both think that would be pushing it!

 I'm happy to announce that it is finally  done. WHEW! Well, there is still a little bit of clean up left to do, some photos and artwork to be hung, and decorating touches that will make it feel a little warmer. We also need to add another chair or two, and a cabinet to hold a stereo system and the games/controllers.

The windows are still bare, too - big, open "loss of R-value"s as our neighbour would point out. We're thinking wood blinds for the windows since drapes would just be large dust and dog hair magnets. We'll hold off on those untill I find them on sale somewhere since they can be pricey!

The hard part is done at least and we're on the home stretch!
Let me tell you, it sure felt nice to sit on the couch with a fuzzy throw blanket in a finished room at 10pm last night after a *very* long day! Here's how it looks this morning - what do you think?!?

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

C-c-c-COLD!

T'is the season for Bbbbbrrr -ing. We all look so fine with our big, bulky coats zipped up to our chins, backs hunched against the icy wind. Top it all off with watery eyes, chattering teeth, chapped lips, flaming cheeks and red, running noses. Just lovely! 

I got a taste of today's chilly morning temperatures while walking my daughter to the bus stop. I remember the whole childhood walking-to-school-on-cold-days experience as being particularly uncomfortable, but I think it's even harder to deal with when it's been a long.. ok a very long... time since I had to boogie down any street with frozen legs to catch a school bus.

Sitting in a cold vehicle for a few minutes waiting for it to warm up so that I can be blown with nice warm air doesn't seem so bad anymore. Ah, as much as I'd love to be a kid again, being an adult does have its advantages.

For many, -8 degrees Celsius is a walk in the park. Particularly for anyone who grew up anywhere in the great frozen northern 2/3's of Canada or from the prairies. Those people could probably tell stories of walking for miles in 3 feet of snow, uphill both ways,... barefoot. ;p

Not me. Excuse me while I go thaw out by the toasty gas fireplace.

Aaaaaah, much better!

Friday, December 4, 2009

A Doosie of a Day!

It's Friday, but today felt a whole lot more like a Monday.

It started out as usual with the kids barely making the bus in time, with my shouts of "Go! Go! Go!'" from the front door urging them to move it. Today they at least made it to the end of the street where the bus driver saw them and stopped long enough for them to board. Three hurrahs for awesome small town bus drivers!

My  day started with leaving myself 9 minutes to drive all the way across town to my work. On garbage day too yet, so before I could even pull out of the driveway I had to haul two very heavy cans out to the road. (Missed pickup last week!)

Once out of the driveway and on my way, right foot firmly on right pedal,  I found myself stuck following a speed restricted truck down the only road to the freeway on ramp, then  had to wait for a train, and as can be expected ended up being 10 minutes late for work. FAH!

It was a super short day with only two beers to cook and I was off shortly after lunchtime, so I motored  all the way home before I remembered littlest kidlet hadn't reminded me to give her money for a dance ticket. Sooo, I Drove across town AGAIN to the school to drop off money for the all important dance ticket, only to find out she'd borrowed enough from a friend and I'd driven there for nothing. Sigh. So much for Mom saving the day!  I had a slim chance of being COOL today but it wasn't to be!

Later I was off doing errands and saw a man calling for "Buddy" all around the parking lot. Buddy ended up being a little foofypoof  dog that had gone into the bank. Into the bank! It was just standing there panting away beside people talking and nobody seemed to notice?  I reunited worried man and foofypoof dog and they must have thought I was pretty cool even if the kid didn't  ;p 

So what did I learn today?

Wake up earlier.
Don't bother trying to be a cool mom,
and sometimes strange men bumbling around looking for lost puppies  really are  just strange men looking for lost puppies!

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Rural Mailbox Rant

Mailbox tampering and mail theft: It's enough to make my blood boil!

There is nothing quite as upsetting as coming back from a lovely afternoon out in the sunshine to find the mailbox door hanging wide open and a bunch of empty slots. Did I check the mail yesterday? Was I expecting anything really important this time of the month? If it hasn't happened to you yet, those are the thoughts that instantly spring to your head.

We used to have mail delivered right through our mailslot each day by a happy, smiling mailman who always had something pleasant to say. Then we moved to a smaller community with absolutely no door-to-door mail delivery. No problem, we thought. It's not a big deal to have our mail delivered to a gangbox.

I should mention that in the three and a half short years we've had rural mailbox delivery we've had at least 8 mailbox breakins. EIGHT!  I can not handle this anymore. I'm literally hopping mad. 

So now I'm hopping mad and my blood is boiling. Pretty picture, isn't it?

I am angry at the methemphetamine addicted scum who violate our privacy by helping themselves to our mail, leaving us feeling vulnerable to all sorts of issues like credit card fraud, or  identity theft.

I'm also angry at Canada Post's  inability to deal with a rampant problem in small, rural communites. Shame.

Hopping mad. Boiling blood. Wagging my finger - Shame!

Each time it's broken into, I call in to our small little hicktown post office to report it and express my frustration (as nicely as possible of course) I remind them of the multiple times it's been damaged, and suggest ways of dealing with this. Each suggestion is met with a calculated response. They should have their answers down pat by now with all the experience they've been getting!  If you ask me, they can't for the life of them see why they should expend the effort to fix something if they're not personally affected.

 They can't install an anti-pry bar until other communities with a larger mail theft problem have been upgraded first. Even though it's completely obscured by large overgrown trees and in the pitch dark screaming "PICK ME!" with a neon flipping target - they won't move it across the road to sit next to  the well illuminated one that has to my knowledge never been targeted. Oh, they say I could create a petition, post it on the mailbox because I can't know who owns the mail compartments in the box, have everyone sign that they agree to moving it, and then take it to the higher-ups to ASK them to pretty please move it.

I'm not a violent person by any stretch of the imagination. But answers like that just make me want to THROTTLE someone.


So today I get a letter in my newly fixed (read: they closed the door) mailbox.  It says "Although this incident is beyond the control of Canada Post, we sincerely regret any inconvenience caused."

Beyond your control? Do I have to speak more slowly?

MOVE......THE.....DAMN ....MAILBOX!

and then, ..."We have a commitment to offer the best possible service."

Excuse me while I choke on that one for a minute or two.

That's not good enough for me. Not good enough by a long shot. I wish I could stomp my feet in protest but that probably won't get me anywhere.


Hopping Mad.
Boiling Blood.
Stomping my feet.
Wagging my finger - SHAME!

Cow Road Trip "Up North!"

"Up North." Words that strike fear through the hearts of the Gordy's and Babes throughout the world.They know what we do; it's just a nicey nice  way of saying "off to the butcher, for YOU!" to a meat animal.

We don't raise pigs, since we don't eat any pork other than bacon. We do raise cattle. If I happened to know of any famous cows I'd have used them as an example so cut me some slack! ;p

Anyways: I just uploaded a video of our adventure. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pqJ6YaycgPA

We're hobby farmers, remember. And a little bit Redneckish.  So we make do with whats we gots. In our case, that's a makeshift corral using tube gates that are not intended for crowing or herding large animals, and an old rickety horse trailer that could REALLY use a new coat of paint.

The video shows Mr. Redneck Hillbillies wielding the "Cow Taser" or "Shocker!" like a crazy lunatic, but that's not exactly the case. While the cattle prod did come in handy, it was used as a last resort when gentle tapping wasn't quite effective in giving the cows the message to "GIT in the Tray-Ler!" 

They had a short life, but a good life. Grazing on lush green pasture with almost daily treats from our vegetable garden. We treated them as gently and humanely as possible, right up to that last road trip.

They once were four.  Now they are hundreds of little brown packages.

Yummy... Yummy little brown packages.



Monday, November 30, 2009

Rec Room Reno: Look UP!

 The last room in the house to be tackled is our Rec Room. Rooms of this type usually go by various names: A games room, a man-cave, a teen hangout, a lounge. Whatever it ends up being for us, it's a work in progress and we are excited to see this room take shape.


Mr. Redneck Hillbillies is a woodworking wonder. Our office has small crown, chair railing, and panel boxes, which looks fantastic. He was going to do the same in here, but thought this games room should have its own unique look.


 Not only does it have some ultra deluxe MONSTER crown moulding, which is purty darn schnazzy by itself - but he outdid himself this time!

Look up! Waaay up! Yup, he trimmed out the ceiling!

This room still needs window casings and wide baseboard installed but I am a happy camper with how its looking so far. The Mr. earned an extra helping of brownie points for this one!

 So far we've gotten thumbs up from anyone who's seen it. What do YOU think?




Friday, November 27, 2009

Print on Demand

Years ago I stumbled upon cafepress - a print on demand service that lets you upload your own artwork and have it printed on everything from Tshirts to coffee mugs. I was recently reintroduced to it over the last few days while updating my old website and I've been contemplating the possibility of having something made up with a  Redneck Hillbillies theme and/or website address.


Shameless Plug Alert!  Yes, Yes... I can see you rolling your eyes from here. I can't expect big sales from the 2 or 3 lonely people that have visited this blog so far. LOL. My kids would gladly throw on a black Tshirt or hoodie with a prominent logo just to have their own "label" ;p   The littlest Kidlet loves this Qu!tcherB!tch!N  shirt.  Stuff like that would go over just fine in our small little hicktown where it might not work so well if we lived in a big city. Oh ya... Pssst - the url is www.cafepress.ca/RNH


Anyways, back to Cafepress:  It seems things have changed considerably with percentages and royalties over recent months and many disgruntled shop owners are packing up and leaving in droves. It gets poor reviews and ratings on opinion sites these days. Apparently things have been turned upside down with commissions programs and now anything advertised and sold through the "marketplace" nets the artist/creator a paltry 10% as compared to setting their own markup.  Call me crazy, but I'd rather sell a hundred T-shirts at 10%   than a handful at slightly higher rates. Understandably upsetting for the people who consistently earned a few hundred dollars and saw their cheques cut in half, but for the newbie just coming in it seems reasonably fair and in line with comparable programs.

I'm perfectly happy with 10% here and there from multiple sources, even if it only adds up to pocket change. After the intial effort it's (hopefully) longterm, passive residual income and I'm ALL about creating more of that.

Another major downside to Cafepress is that it is extremely limited in what is offered to startup (read: FREE) store setups. Very little in the way of categorizing or customizing store layouts. Lame with a capital L is this: as a free store shopkeeper I can only offer ONE DESIGN in each type of product. One black hoodie for instance. Or one women's fitted t-shirt. Or one long sleeve shirt. It would sure be a whole lot more appealing to be able to offer black hoodies in 25 different designs - which of course I COULD do if I wanted to become a "premium" shopkeeper. ;p   ... For $66/yr. Not a bad price, perhaps - but expensive when I could get similar perks FREE from the other big POD sites.

Anyways, most of these ex-cafepress folks headed over to Zazzle. A Schnazzy little site to be sure, especially with a name like Zazzle.  I was excited reading through all the particulars and visualizing the potential until I realized  the shipping fees to have anything sent WAY up here in Canada are outrageous. Since I assume the majority of any future customers (pity purchasers) would probably be family or from my local small town, Zazzle wasn't the best option. For me.  Not until the Redneck Hillbillies are a worldwide phenomenon, anyhow. ;p

Yes, actually I AM delusional.


Printfection was another Print on Demand site I stumbled upon. They had the added bonus of a $2 shirt offer (plus shipping of course) so in 10-15 days or so I can see how the white T-shirt design looks before going gung-ho.

 I signed up and opened "stores" in both Printfection and Zazzle which for the time being are completely empty. . I hope to offer a few little goodies through each until I decide on a permanent POD home. 

Or maybe I'll be distracted by something else before this even gets off the ground, which would not be a surprise given my history.

Oh look! SHINY!......

(bumbles away)


 


Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Sticky Keys

Ever wanted to throw your computer out a window? Smash it into a million-billion-trillion pieces?  Then you know how I felt yesterday after hours of tinkerin away on the Mr.'s laptop.

He had a sticky O key - not just a key that is hard to press, or stays down, but a key that repeats when you don't want it to, hundreds - if not thousands - of times in any possible way it can.

Open an Internet Explorer window and it would fill up the address bar with ooooooooooooooo's so fast you couldn't erase them in time to input what you wanted. Surprise! There actually are search results with a hundred o's! Who'da thunk it?

Click on File in ANY application and it would automatically try to  Open , or switch On or Off. Want to save a file? It'll be named "oooooooooooooo" or similar.  Open  a text document and your screen will be filled with.... you guessed it  .... o's!

And the kicker? The Joy of all joys - if there wasn't an open area for o's to be input it would error continuously. You know what I'm sayin'? Beep Beep Beep Beep Beep - between the Ooooo's and the BeepBeeps  it was nearly drivin me CRAZY. Mute only solved the problem temporarily - if you wanted sound you were hooped. Or perhaps I should say "hooooooooped" ;p

The Mr. pryed off the bad key and ripped out everythin remotely related to the o key and yet the problem remained. How is that possible? There's a problem in there somewhere that only a new onboard keyboard, a usb keyboard, or a hammer can rectify.

Want to shut down? Apparently the "O" key is for lOck ;p. That's just lovely. Want to visit a site in your favorites? Well you can't, because "o" only lets you Organize.

My temporary solution was to disable the "o" key with a nifty solution called SharpKeys found at http://www.randyrants.com/2006/07/sharpkeys_211.html  It can remap any key on your keyboard to any other key, or disable a key completely. Apparently useful for people who can't stand the caps lock key when playin online.  Wonderful! I could have chosen to use one of my arrow keys or whichever key I never use but this works for now.

Since there are now other keys startin to FRY on the keyboard ( littlest chitlin spilled hot chocolate on it many months back) I enabled the onscreen keyboard in Vista's  Control Panel - Ease of Use so we can at least use the mouse to click letters and somehow input information where we need it. Very handy in situations like this one. 

Stupid, Stupid Computers!
:O !!

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Beef cattle = Expensive Lawnmowers.

Beef. We have no illusions about small farming. We now understand clearly why old time farmers are walking away from it. We don't do it to make money, which is a good thing because there isn't any money whatsoever to be made. Not doing it honestly anyways.  Our intentions were to put some lawnmowers on the field and sell what we could to end up with good quality meat for our freezer either free or at least much cheaper than what we could buy it for from SuperStore.

This year, we had to sell one whole animal, and three quarters of another animal just to cover the butchering costs. That doesn't include the milk replacer, the vaccinations,  the hay we had to buy when the field was looking lean or the molasses we used to encourage them to "eat up!"


Each year we take them in to be packaged we are shocked when it's time to go pick up our order. We look at three or four boxes with neatly wrapped steaks and roasts and one pound portions of ground beef and wonder how on God's green earth that big animal we had grazing in the backyard ended up looking like so little meat!

For the last couple of years we have sold our hormone free, grass fed, ultra-lean, baby beef by the 1/4 to friends who wanted some. Practically veal! It's premium meat, we figure. About as healthy as red meat can get, some of it is so pink it's nearly white like pork. 


Definately better than the old retired dairy cows they grind up and sell in the grocery store. Don't believe me? Go sit in on an auction and watch who buys the skin and bones animals that can barely walk - They'll grind it up, douse it in breading or wrap it in bacon, or drown it in marinade, put it in a pretty box, and market it as a "quick and easy meal" to harried housewives. Anyways, back to what I was saying.


 Each year  we agonize over whether the people buying from us will recognize the deal or feel ripped off.  The stress is almost not worth the hassle. These are great people that we have known for years and have  respect for. Surely they know we are honest people and that we do this almost as a favor to them. Yet still, we fret. We worry. We agonize.

Sigh. Next year maybe we'll do two small cattle in the front yard and try our hand at raising turkeys in the back instead.  Skip this whole selling beef by the side altogether and just throw whatever meat we grow in our own freezers. Who knows?

Monday, November 23, 2009

Choosing Paint Colors

For some, this is an easy thing. For me, it is most definately not.  In the 5 or so years that we have been renovating our home room by room I think I have chosen the "right" color the first time maaaaybe once or twice.

 Some of my mistakes are fixable; the guest bedroom that looked more "Welcome, Baby Boy!" than icy blue was rectified by the addition of a whole lotta white paint and a mixing stick. Voila! Perfect!  A jungle cane green with a wee bit too much yellow oxide in the color mix that made the Mr's eyes bug out of  his head was toned down with a little bit of urban grey-brown. All it took was a couple trips to the local Rona and some of my special mix blobbed on a paper for them to match and we were set!

This last room in our house, the recroom or games room - was *supposed* to have been a "fun" and lively color. The kids and I were really wanting something completely different than the muddy, earthy neutral type colors used throughout the rest of the house. A nice deep red, or bright electric blue. Granted, neither would really work that well with the rustic wide plank flooring we chose, or the prohibition era artwork I intend to hang, but they would  be perfect for a room with old arcade and pinball machines. Sensibility and practicality usually wins out in the long run.

I usually agonize over little 1 inch by 4" strips with tiny little squares of multiple shades, humming and hawing over them until my family is weary of hearing about it. Perhaps that is the problem? I might have a better result if I just close my eyes and point, or eeeny-meeny-miney-mo it.

Look at this house - it appears the owners couldn't decide on a color either!


One thing I love about owning a home where we intend to stay a lifetime is that we have the freedom to paint a wall in our house any color we want to, really. We don't have to worry about resale value or market appeal, or color trends vs blah builder beige neutrals.  We could paint each wall in our home a different color in everything from orange to purple to blue to sunshine yellow.  Of course, I don't think I'd actually want to live in a house of rainbow colors, on the inside or the outside, but that's beside the point. ;p



So what did we choose? We mixed all of the half and quarter gallon cans of interior eggshell paint we had kickin' around into one big bucket and that's what we ended up with. Limey green, browns, a couple shades of blue, that jungle cane green, and some black. All went into the magic bucket as we held our breath and stirred away.


As could be expected, I am not sure I'm  happy with the color. At times it looks like a nice enough grey that I can work with. I could splash a little color in the room with the artwork and throw cushions for the couch. Other times it reminds me of sickening seafoam green and I just want to hurl. Is it grey? Or green? It's gray. Whew! Um... no it's definately green. Seafoam green. Is there a more awful color? Not in my world. I am hoping the color grows on me, or changes dramatically  as it ages a bit, or when the wood flooring is installed and the bright white trim goes on.

If I still *really* hate it, Mr. Redneck Hillbillies said we could paint it any color we wanted. Just not red. Or orange. Or anything remotely similar to pink or purple. And definately not blue, because that would be stupid. Or anything too bright, or too dark, or too.... TOO.


So it looks like we're left with the usual selection of earthy, muddy greybrowns and greens. Can't win for losin'.

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Free is GOOD!

Gleaning. Scrounging. No matter what you call it, the end result is the same: Free Stuff!

Now I'll be the first to admit that we suffer at times from an extreme case of "packratus maximus." There's stuff we've been packing around forever that we'll never use. This time, however - is a different scenario entirely!

Today we hooked the flatdeck trailer onto the truck and headed out west to pick up a large amount of perfectly good metal cladding. A large barn on a family member's property was being renovated and before they took it off to the dump or tried to sell it, they wondered if anyone could use it. It was in nearly perfect shape, in long lengths, and was *really* close to the color of our home.

It was free for the taking if we wanted it. If we wanted it. Seriously? Of course we wanted it! YAHOO!

As an added bonus, when we arrived this morning (admittedly later than we had originally planned but still during breakfast hours) we discovered that more than half had already been unscrewed and stacked neatly in a pile for us. Double YAHOO!

 We will put it to good use, we assure you! It'll more than likely end up being used to build a chicken coop and a shelter for our hardworking old antique tractor to keep it out of the weather.


Speaking of tractors, while we were there we checked out this old Farmall tractor. Wonder of wonders - they found this old relic  buried amongst the blackberries in the back 40. Somebody actually parked this thing and left it! Crazy!

They're not sure if it runs or not, but I'm sure if  it did and they cleaned it up a little that it would belong in a parade or antique tractor show of some kind! I know I'd be putting it out front in the garden as a lawn ornament if it doesn't.


Yup, Free is Good!


Thursday, November 19, 2009

New Redneck Hillbillies Website!!

The Redneck Hillbilles have a new home on the WWW that ya'll should check out!
http://www.theredneckhillbillies.com/

Although we're still small and relatively unknown, I figured I'd snag the domain while it was still available.  Big Plans..... Big Plans.  I've gotten a head start on making a "real" site since the same domain without a "THE" is nothing more than a link farm.

It ain't much right now, but I'm working diligently to get things in order.  So far we have links to our YouTube videos and this Blog,  as well as a few Redneck themed T-shirts, license plates and hats. Eventually there will be many more items featured on the site, some jokes and sayings, perhaps some photos.

I really hope to produce our very own Redneck Hillbillies merchandise down the road. If for nothing else, so our kids can head off to school wearing official RNH clothing ;p

Proud to be a little bit Redneck and a whole lotta Hillbilly.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Drywall. UGH!



Drywall is  my absolute least favorite part of home renovations. Thankfully this future recroom  is the last room of our home that needs to be finished. I will be doing a celebratory dance and breathing a sigh of relief so loud that the neighbours will hear me when it's finally through.  Each time I load the mudbuddy bucket with goop I get a clearer understanding of why wall panelling was so popular in the 70's. How quick and easy that must have been back in the day.

Never done drywall? Spare yourself the agony and hire someone who knows what they're doing if you want to maintain your sanity.

First is the boarding. Those 4x8 sheets are pretty darn heavy when you're standing on a ladder holding them above your head while the hubby hurries to screw it on before your arms give out. The first one is heavy, the tenth one is unbearably heavy. He did an excellent job measuring and cutting out openings for the electrical outlets though so the next steps will be a little easier.
Next comes the taping. The Mr. did the taping this time around so we can get a move on. Never taped? Well it's a joy, I tell you. First you have to unroll the tape in the bucket of well mixed, slightly watered down mud. Pull out a length and smear off most of the mud, Slap it on the wall joint, smoothing it out as best as you can. It's a very messy job. Somehow he managed to keep relatively clean. I went behind him loading mud and smoothing out the tape with a drywall knife and ended up with more mud on my clothes than on the wall I'm sure.

Next comes the mudding. This is  always my job. A wall is supposed to be paint ready in three coats of applying and sanding. The whole idea is to put the mud on in such a way that very little sanding is required. My first few tries at this were horribly painful. Slop it on, Sand it off, Slop it on, Sand it off - repeat indefinately. After 9/10th of our house, I think I'm finally getting the hang of it.

As long as you don't look too close :D


Sunday, November 15, 2009

MMMeat!

If you've been reading any of my previous posts, you already know that we raise a few cattle on our pasture each year that end up in the freezer.  We recently emptied our pastures of the four small holstein calves and took them "up north" to cow heaven. Friday was the lucky day that our order was ready for pickup at the butcher's, and the day we got our first taste of our own farm raised steak in quite some time.




This is what they look like when they come back home. Two small animals came home in 8 cardboard boxes like this one. We've been using the same butcher each year and have been very happy with how the meat is processed and packaged.

Beef. MMMMeeat as we like to call it. We eat a TON of beef. Ok, so I exaggerate. But not by much!

There is nothing as tasty as baby beef steaks. Flash seared in a heavy cast iron pan with a little olive oil and montreal steak spice, and then oven roasted for a few minutes until it just has a hint of pink in the center. At least that's how we eat it. Whoever tells you meat from a dairy breed like a holstein is garbage is completely out to lunch.  Sure, maybe if it's a 6 yr old retired dairy cow after a hard life in a milking parlour like the majority of grocery store meat out there. Not when it comes to young calves less than a year old - it's practically veal.

We were warned that we'd have to slow cook it in a crockpot or it would be like gnawing on an old piece of shoe leather. Horse Puckey! (or rather... Cow Patties!) Those first few mouthfuls of round steak were fabulous - and tender as all get out.

Bon Apetit!

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Frosty Mornings

BBBRRRR!


The mercury dipped down to the freezing point last night, and when we awoke this morning and looked out the window we were greeted with Jack Frost's handiwork. Our fields and the fallen maple leaves that are littered everywhere were white and glistening.  I even had to scrape my windshield for the first time!  My poor stone-cold frozen hands  complained bitterly but at least I had the scraper that was *thankfully* still in the glovebox from last year.


The snow level on the mountains is lower too - a clear sign that the days of toques and mittens are not far off. I guess that means it's time to stock up on those 99 cent stretchy gloves. We have ONE of every color of the rainbow by now I'm sure. They disappear in this house in the same manner as odd socks!


I miss the days of T-shirts and shorts already - summer seems so far away. It's no wonder so many people take off to sunny destinations this time of year. Especially us Canadians, who get more than their fair share of the fluffy white stuff. Beautiful when it first falls, blanketing fenceposts and fields creating postcard pictures!  Like this one I took last year. Aw, ain't that a purty sight?! So quiet and peaceful, with the snow muffling distracting noise....


Of course we all know the reality of snow. Two or three days later  it's mucky, wet SNIRT -  blackened with exhaust and sand. Soaking boots that are more pretty than practical as we slip and slide on icy streets and sidewalks. Wreaking havoc on neighbourhood streets, stranding stressed out drivers that should know better than to venture out, in vehicles that were never intended to drive under such conditions. Hundreds of dollars and long lineups as people who waited until the snow flew frantically race to put on snow tires.

Don't get me wrong - Snow is fine and dandy. For a day. At Christmas.

Ok, so it's not sooo bad. There are a few things you can do over the winter that you just couldn't pull off at any other time of year. Snowmen, sledding, pulling a thrill seeking kid around behind a ATV on a crazy carpet or a spinning plastic dish. The Mr. gets to play with the tractor and clear the driveway and road, making huge mountains of snow in the process.

Hmmm. As much fun as that sounds... I'd  still MUCH rather be lounging on a sunny beach in Mexico with a margerita in hand!  Honey?

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Purge!

  It is amazing how much useless $h!t people can accumulate when they have space to dump it.

A large room downstairs was used as a workshop for the last four years while we renovated our home and built a garage. Lately it has been little more than our put-it-there-and-forget-about-it place - and it was time to dig our way through the mess last night. Simplify! Minimize! Purge! Whatever the buzz words are these days, it all comes down to deciding what you want to keep, and how much clutter you can throw away.

I should have taken a photo of the BEFORE just so you can fully grasp what had to be taken out of there.

Broken tools that were kept to fix or for spare parts but in all likelihood will never be touched again in our lifetime. A tent missing pieces and with a zipper that doesn't close.  An old buffet that served as a toolbox with doors and drawers that never quite closed properly. Bits and pieces of every project we've done - some slate pieces, some granite chunks, fireplace rock, and of course piles of wood in many different types and sizes. Bits of wire, extra parts and pieces and blades. Half used dried out tubes of caulking. Tape with maybe 3' remaining on the roll. I've got a full load in the truck headed for the dump out of that mess.


Here's where it's at now. An empty slate just waiting for some life to be breathed into it. The kids and I want it to be painted a bright and lively color (the rest of our house is calm and neutral so why not have fun in the one room intended to be fun?) We're still workin' on the Mr. with that ;p

Flooring! Paint! Furniture!
So many possibilities.

Monday, November 9, 2009

Empty Pastures

The last two cattle were loaded easily onto the trailer this morning, and the field is empty. The biggest brute "Oatmeal", and the smallest little heifer "Sassy" are happily munching away on hay and leaves from the brussel sprout plants in the trailer, completely unaware.


Just in time too - we have only 1/2 a bale of hay left and snow is dusting the mountaintops already. Winter is knocking on the door much too early this year!

We no longer have to doublecheck that the gate has been closed. I'm notorious for driving away and having to come back because I'm not entirely sure if it was latched properly. 9.9 times out of 10, it's perfectly fine. Some people worry about the coffee pot - I worry about the cattle gate. Trust me - seeing a few large animals wandering down the driveway  is enough to make anyone want to doublecheck. Triple check, even. 

Plus, now we can bring out our big boy motor toys and play on the dry days - the field makes a great motocross track as long as we don't tear it up and ruin next year's feeding ground.

Bye Bye Oatmeal and Sassy - Hello empty pasture!

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Google is my friend.

We've been google-ated. Google-ized. Whatever you want to call it. We're almost completely surrounded and dependant on the various google products. And why not? Only one email address/password combination to remember and it will give me access to wide range of useful products.

It started with the Google Search  of course.

Then came YouTube (now owned by Google) where we've been steadily uploading videos about just about anything going on in the lives of the  Redneck Hillbillies. If you haven't checked out our channel yet... what are you waiting for! Comments, Ratings and Subscriptions are most welcome :D  http://www.youtube.com/user/redneckhillbillies.


Next was Blogger simply because well... I can talk. Or write, as the case may be. Not exceptionally well, but I for one think we are incredibly interesting people. Even in our humdrum little life there are things we do and learn and experience that others may not.  Eventually I might write something that people stumble upon and want to read. Hasn't happened yet... but someday!

Adsense - I already had a fairly active website so this was a no-brainer. Why not try to earn a few pennies here and there.  Super simple to use - just a few clicks and I was off. So easy peasy that  it's practically idiot proof. Even Redneck Hillbillies proof. ;p 

Google Analytics - My most recent foray into Google tech.  It's sunday - a day of rest - and so on this sunday like many other sundays before it, I  am living in the land of "Menana" (Tomorrow)  I might get to it and implement the necessary code later this afternoon if I'm feeling especially ambitious.

Yup, Google is pretty darn nifty, me thinks.

Friday, November 6, 2009

No Swine Flu Vaccine for Me!

Tomorrow is the big day.

"For what?" you ask.

Why, the highly publicized clinic offering swine flu (*ahem*) H1N1 pandemic vaccines to those in high risk categories and the dozens of queue jumpers that inevitably show up along with them. Hundreds of people will spend hours waiting in long lineups waiting for their vaccine. I will NOT be among them.

Never mind the conspiracy theories that abound on public sites like YouTube. Although there may be a shred of truth somewhere in the arguments for this being an engineered epidemic disease that runs rampant and kills off the weakest links of world's population. I'm not a fruitcake or a nutbar, honest!

I just have a wee bit of an issue with willingly rolling up my sleeve and letting people inject me with a toxic chemical soup full of such tasty ingredients as mercury and squalene. I've had other vaccines - and so have my children. But this is a brand spankin' new vaccine produced, shipped and stockpiled throughout my country before it was even approved. (after very limited trials and testing I might add.) A vaccine with no guarantees - and zero liability for any side effects it may cause - including death. All this risk associated with the needle for a flu that for most people is relatively minor.

Nope. Not for me. Time to start doubling up on the vities.

Beer.

Need I say more?

Well I suppose I should, since this is a blog and most blog entries consist of more than a title.

 I've been working part time (very part time) for the last few months as a "Brewmaster" at the local U-Brew. A few days a week I go in and cook  up four batches of everything from lawnmower style light lagers to heavy dark ales in big copper brewing kettles.


 On the odd occasion I've even been offered a glass from appreciative customers at bottling time. Where else can you drink beer on the job? I also get paid to brew my own batches of beer. How cool is that? The pay sucks, but the job has it's perks (like cheaper beer!) and the owners are good people so I think I'll stick around for a bit. Did I mention the beer? *hic*

There are two kinds of people: Those that love the smell of a brewery, and those who don't.  I bet you can guess which category I fall into! :D  The hops, the malts, the yeast .... aaaaah. 

Hmmm. I think I'll go crack open another bottle and enjoy the fruits of my labor.

Monday, November 2, 2009

"Up North!"

 Up north.

That's where we took "Ivan" and "Doug" this morning.

This was not our first trip to the abbatoire.  And it won't be our last.

Say it with me.... "Abbatoire"
 (Doesn't that make it sound romantic?)


















They were loaded into the trailer, taken on a short drive down a sunny, meandering road, and unloaded into a holding pen where they await their fate tomorrow morning.  It is a day of mixed emotions for me. A mixture of sadness, anxiety, anticipation, and thankfulness for the sacrifice they do not realize they will be making.

  For 8 months we have watched them grow from playful little calves that sucked on our fingers learning how to drink from a bucket, to big lumbering oafs with no desire to move even a step or two more than is absolutely necessary. They entertained us and calmed us by just being there for us to watch from the comfort of our livingroom. They grew little horn buds, developed curly hairs on the tops of their heads, bulged and widened before our eyes to look less like cute calves and more like  "cows".  They sniffed and snuffled at us, and mooed  impatiently while we filled up their feed bins.

 There are times every now and then that I wonder why I am not a vegetarian. A day like today is one of them.  And then I bite into a juicy bbq'd steak and I remember why I am not.

  Each time is a little easier, but we're still faced with the knowledge that these animals give their lives so that we can fill our freezers and stuff our gullets with premium, lean, grass fed, hormone free young baby beef. 

Mmmm. Beef.

It's what's for dinner.

Friday, October 30, 2009

Country Corner Crafts

I started this little site called Country Corner Crafts wwwaaaaaaaay back. http://www.countrycornercrafts.com So long ago, I don't even remember when. 1999? 2000? It's a site dedicated to primitive style woodcraft patterns. IOW, shapes cut out of wood scraps, painted, distressed (beat up), tied with a raffia or plaid fabric bow, and hung on the wall with some curled up tie wire.

Mr. Redneck Hillbillies is a carpenter. So it seemed natural that I would use his tools and try to make something out of the hundreds of scraps of wood we always had kicking around. Back then, everyone was decorating their homes "country style". Remember the burgundy and green color schemes? Cow or birdhouse wallpapers? Hey that was once the IN style! Yup, it was a looong time ago.

Anyhow, at the time I collected birdhouses. Not REAL birdhouses, but rustic beat up knick knacks that looked like birdhouses. We were *really* broke - there was No extra money in the decorating budget so I had to make my own. The website sprouted out of those first few efforts.

I tried selling my patterns but sadly, nobody wanted to buy them. So I gave them away for free. HUH? Ya, free. Wouldn't ya know it, I made more money that way thanks to some affiliate links and a large volume of traffic.


It's 10 years, and until today I hadn't looked at the site since... 2003? It's outdated and has many broken links from sites that gave up long ago. My site still putters along for some reason, and I still get about 10-12 thousand visitors a month. It's making a small pittance moneywise, but it's enough to cover the costs of keeping it alive so I haven't yet pulled the plug. It's nice to know there are people out there who still appreciate work I did a decade ago.

Today I edited just two pages of the enormous site in 6 hrs.

We'll see how far I get before I lose interest ;p

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Last few meals

It's nearly time to send the first two cattle "up north". We're not entirely sure which two will take the trip first - more than likely the two larger steers: Ivan and Doug. They are the two with the white bands on thier shoulders. The small little heifer calf that never grew (Sassy) and the bull calf that we didn't steer (undescended testicle) will probably be the two given an extra week. Who knows. That could all change depending on how easily they are corralled and loaded into the trailer!


Yes, we name our cattle. Is that strange? "Blackie" was our first attempt at raising our own meat, and to be honest, I don't think I ever finished a meal without choking down the last few bites or handing it to the dogs. You go into this KNOWING they aren't pets, but the first few were still hard. Then we had White Foot, Black Foot, Lollipop, BJ, Stringboy, and Bucky. While we are learning what works and what doesn't, it really does help to know which ones were small, which ones had certain characteristics, steers/bulls/heifers etc. Each year we are given different challenges to deal with and sometimes the stress and anxiety of trying to save a calf is difficult. So far, we haven't lost a single animal, and the reward of knowing exactly what we are eating is worth it.





So it's nearly time to say goodbye to these fine cattle. The timing couldn't be better though, really. Our meat freezer is nearly empty and our supply of hay is dwindling. The pastures aren't doing so well after a very long, dry summer and with the cold weather coming it's time for the big mooheads to move on.

We tried to overwinter animals a few years back and it was definately NOT worth the hassle. Frozen water lines, cracking ice in the water bin when the heater couldn't keep up, trudging through snow on bitter cold mornings and brisk evenings to feed them day in and day out. I bet they didn't gain a pound despite our best efforts that winter - infact, I imagine they actually fell backwards so we were just throwing away money on feed and adding to our daily chores for nothing, really.

Our hearts grow heavy knowing their time is nearly up on this great green earth, since we've nurtured them for months now. At least they have had a truly exceptional life (though short) with plenty of pasture, treats of molasses, apples and garden produce, free of hormones, and spared the unneccessary pain of dehorning. To Ivan, Doug, Oatmeal and Sassy, we are thankful.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Green Tomatoes!

Ok what on earth am I supposed to do with all these green tomatoes?



video



I chopped some. Sliced some. Diced some. Threw some in a blender. I've used up about half of them now, and the rest got tossed into the freezer for me to tackle later.


  1. Baked Green Tomatoes with feta and oregano. (not bad)
  2. Green Tomato Bread (a hit with the whole family)
  3. Mixed ingredient Casserole (not bad)
I still haven't tried the two most popular recipes on the internet: Green tomato relish, and fried green tomatoes. Neither of them really sound all that appealing!
Any suggestions? Recipes?
HELP!

10 Thousand Views!


About a year and a half ago I uploaded our first video to YOUtube.

It was a little bit long, took me a full day to compile and edit, and featured the hubby on his relic 1962 Ford tractor. I am new to blogging, and can't for the life of me figure out how to embed the movie here. Sigh. A link will have to suffice.

Have a look see!


For reasons unknown, this silly video continues to be the most popular and still generates 30% of our total daily views!
Holy Bajeepers!


A few months back I decided to give it another go - people were STILL clicking to watch the first video. Perhaps I could make a few more that people would be interested in enough to watch? Maybe I could even grow to the point where I could apply to be a youtube partner? Each video I upload gets a little bit of attention, then fades off into oblivion. :(
  • I've tried videos about gardening.
  • Videos about our holstein calves.
  • Videos about riding motorcycles.
  • A video about fishing.
  • DIY type videos.

    As of today, I have ... let's see. 23 subscribers.

Still a very long way to go.

SIGH.

Hey Y'all



HOOOO-EEEE Our very first blog entry!

It was time for the Redneck Hillbillies to come on out of the hay shack and start a blog. Wait just a second while we hose off the gumboots...

We've been on YouTube for a while now (who isn't?) posting videos about just about anything really. Tractorin', growin', tinkerin', building, our critters... whatever little thing that goes on here around our little hobby farm that someone SOMEWHERE might be interested in seeing. Check out our channel!

We're old school folks, living in a small backwoods town where the people are nicer and the pace is slower. Over the last few years we've moved towards getting back to a simpler way of doing things - growing our own vegetables, raising a few beef cattle, and finding ways of spending and enjoying whatever time we have with the family.

Life must be about more than keeping up with the Joneses. At least it is for us.

Anyhoo, Welcome.