Surround Speakers…Installed!

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We’ve lived in our current house for three years and we finally installed the surround speakers we moved from the other house. They’ve been sitting on the bookshelf (the movie shelf, really), waiting for us to get around to putting them up. I was surprised, after having put it off as long as we did, how smoothly the project went.

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It didn’t take us long to decide that the best way to run the wire was through the attic. We got the ladder and opened the “door” to the attic. Whiskey thought about coming up to help, but decided he wasn’t ready to try climbing a ladder. The biggest kink, which wasn’t much of a problem, is that the air handler blocks the way to the side of the attic we needed to get to. There is a very small gap on the side that I can inchworm through (if I try to do a taller crawl, I get stuck). Once I got over, we quickly figured out where to pull up the insulation to push the wire through and got everything put together in a couple of hours, at the most.

I’m switching the schedule for the blog because of my work schedule this year. I have Mondays and Wednesdays off, so I’m hoping that once things settle in, that will be a better fit.


Settling Back Into Work

I knew I was missing work, but I didn’t realize how much until I went back. My job has changed (grown) a little since last year, which is really exciting. This year, there are two days a week that I’m learning the Twenty Paces methods of fencing, baby (both lambs and kids) care, barn maintenance, and other animal care.

Tuesday was my first day and it was mostly just little jobs that needed to be done so that the other people at work could do their jobs. It sounds like Tuesdays will be spent doing pasture inventory (I haven’t learned about that yet), moving fences (they use Electronet for pretty much everything), and finishing up barn work (mucking or whatever) from the weekend.

Saturdays are going to be barn days, where I spend the day helping keep the barn straight and making sure the babies get the things they need. This past weekend, we stomach tubed some new lambs (to make sure they got the colostrum they needed), gave boosters for vaccinations, and weighed babies (new and updated weights for growth tracking and planning for weaning). To be honest, I think I’m most excited for Saturdays.

The rest of my work days are milking shifts and things are going much more quickly and smoothly this year. My first milking shift this year was a disaster mentally (it wasn’t too bad in reality). I spent too much mental energy trying to be quick and efficient, rather than focusing on trying to remember the routine. By the time I figured out that that wasn’t going to work, my brain was too frazzled to regroup and try a new focus. Nothing went horribly wrong, I just felt really out of sync with myself. I was careful for the rest of the week to focus on getting back into the routine instead. Not only was it more comfortable mentally, it wasn’t super slow. As a matter of fact, I feel like I’m doing better this year to get things done efficiently.

One of the most fun things about this year has been going out to the field where the second lambing group is pastured and finding surprise babies. I’ve been sent out a couple of times to move fences or check water and I’ve found twins every time. The first time was a pair of lambs, but Saturday’s surprise was a pair of kids. I admit that I prefer the goats, especially as babies (not that the lambs aren’t cute too).

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As a bonus for reading my really long work review, have a picture of some babies who were so new when I arrived, they were still wet.

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And for a second bonus, two lambs who each were literally eating the other’s face.

Phantom Snow and Other Whiny News

They talked it up. All this snow we were going to get after having had such a warm winter so far. Up to 8 inches! That was a week before. Just before the weekend, it was “maybe only 5 inches.” The night before, it was “2 to 5 inches, more accumulation not where you live.” I woke up ready for something. Anything. I wasn’t counting on the 5 or 8 inches. I’ve learned at this point. But I thought there’d be some accumulation. I was wrong.

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I can’t say it wasn’t pretty to have the icy stuff on the trees with the sun shining through. But I thought after all the anticipation of the forecast, we’d be getting at least enough to pretend to cover the ground.

A couple of years ago, I insisted that we get a cart for our lawnmower to haul logs and stuff without destroying my truck (I put out two taillights by throwing logs into the bed). I wanted a dump bed (on the wagon) because I thought it would be convenient to be able to just upend the wagon and have everything come out. There were two problems with that idea. Upending the wagon doesn’t work all that well (it’s too long in the back and not high enough off the ground) and sometimes, it dumps when I’m trying to move it. The clip to hold the bed flat was flimsy when we got the wagon, but I put up with it for a while. The other day, I’d loaded up some brush and tried to haul it to our burn pit. The wagon decided (for whatever reason) that it didn’t need to do it’s job. I decided (for that reason) that it needed to not be a dump cart anymore, so I bolted it. We’ll see how it stays, but I suppose this is kind of a warning that unless the dump is clipped really well, the dump feature might be overrated.

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Dinner, Beer, and Whisky

This past weekend, we went to the Virginia Distillery Company for dinner (BBQ Exchange), beer (Three Notch’d Brewing), and whiskey (Virginia Distillery). I’ve been wanting to go down to check out the distillery for a while, but we’ve never made it down there before now.

I thought the setup of the night was pretty cool. We got there and the introduction was a little overwhelming (“here’s what you do and where you go and have a map”). Once we figured out that the plan for dinner was written on the map, it was a little more manageable.

We started in their visitor center with a drink and little appetizers. From there, the map showed that we were supposed to go to the museum for the main appetizers, so we did. The museum was small, but pretty informative and it was honestly nice that it wasn’t so large that I felt like I had to spend a day there just to look at all the information.

From the visitor center, we went down to the cask house. There, they had biscuits with caramelized onions and I’m not sure what else. They were Tony’s favorite, I think. The cask house was my favorite. I told Tony I wanted to live in there…it smelled like oak and some other things I can’t name. In there, they had their whisky neat. I don’t really know anything about drinking whisky, but it wasn’t terrible.

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It was interesting to hear them talk about importing their whiskey while they get their operation up and running. To give the imported whisky more of a local flavor while their home-distilled creation is ages, the imported whisky is finished in casks from area wineries before they label and sell it.

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From the cask house, we walked over to their distillation building. Tony and I walked around and peered in containers before the official tour started. It wasn’t their full hour and a half tour of the whole thing, but a maybe 15 minute presentation with just the basics of how whisky is distilled. It was pretty cool that they had grain soaking in one of the tanks and the window was clear enough to see in.

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After the distillation building, we went back up to the visitor center for little pork and beef tacos, which were up to BBQ Exchange’s standards (of course). After dinner was dessert of little pies, but the informative part of the night was over.  We learned a lot and Tony thinks he might want to take some of his out-of-town colleagues down when they’re in town next.