After breakfast this morning, EJ and I got out our whiteboard and we sat down for a “staff meeting.” He called it a “Start, Stop, and Continue Meeting,” meaning we discussed which new goals and projects we wanted to start, which we were stopping because they had been completed, and which we were continuing to work on. We discussed what we wanted to accomplish today.
We decided to postpone going to TSC today for more poultry, canned cat food, and suet for the wild birds because EJ ordered a sheep–dead, butchered, and packaged–from a guy at work and that will be delivered within the next week or so and we need to make sure we have enough money to pay for it. I’m not really sure how to cook sheep, but I guess I will learn. It will be an adventure. And it will fill our freezer.
We went outside to get a few tasks done. It was “snaining,”–my newest invented word combining the words “snow” and “rain” to describe a snowy rain or rainy snow. With the seasons changing, EJ moved the lawn mower to the back of the garage and moved the snowblower to the front of the garage.
I forgot to mention yesterday that before we headed off to the feed store, EJ loaded the old living room carpet into the Suburban. It had been lying next to the garage ever since we tore it out last summer in preparation to getting new flooring. We’ve wanted to get rid of it since we tore it out, but we’ve been busy the last few months and other tasks had higher priority. We drove the carpet to EJ’s company and threw it in the dumpster. His company lets employees discard personal stuff in the dumpsters for free. Today EJ put a small dingy in the Sub and we took that to the company dumpster as well.
Before EJ started his tasks, we consulted each other about the best location for my new snow measuring stick that I had made last week. We put it at the edge of the forest where we can see it from the windows of our house. I used the post hole digger to dig a hole and put up a post. After EJ finished his other tasks, he fastened my snow measuring stick to the post. We now have one in the back yard and one in the front yard. It will be interesting to see how much snow we get this year. My snow sticks measure up to seven feet.
We enjoy observing weather and look forward to measuring the amount of snow we get. We’ve heard reports that we could have a warmer-than-normal winter this year. We expect that means that we will get a lot of Lake Effect Snow dumped on us. It is my understanding that regular snow is caused by a storm system. Lake Effect Snow is not a result of a storm system but of moisture being scooped up from Lake Michigan and dumped on us as a lot of snow. Once Lake Michigan freezes over, moisture is no longer scooped up and Lake Effect Snow stops. If we get a warmer-than-normal winter, Lake Michigan won’t freeze over, and we are likely to get snow and snow and snow all winter long. And if we get warmer weather, I expect there will be melting and freezing of snow into treacherous ice, which is not good. If our long steep driveway becomes impossible to drive up, we might have to park our vehicles at the bottom and walk up and down the hill. It would be better for us to have a cold winter than a warm one.
After I got the post up, I pushed the wheelbarrow over to the Suburban and unloaded the five straw bales we bought yesterday at the feed store. I could take two at a time in my wheelbarrow. I wheeled the bales over into the coop. I spread half of the last bale on the raised beds and then put the other half in the coop with the other bales we bought a couple weeks ago. Some of the straw fell out of the wheelbarrow while I was spreading it out in the garden beds and the chickens had to come check it out. The chickens all come running when they see me and they follow me around, curious about what I’m doing. I really like chickens.
Last night I came across a posting in a local Buy/Sell/Trade group on Facebook in which a woman was selling coasters. They had images of Michigan and the Great Lakes on them. Did I mention that I’m totally Michi-centric? I love my state. I’ve been looking for coasters, and these weren’t very expensive, so I messaged the seller that I would like to buy a set. We were already planning to go to town to discard the dingy in the dumpster at EJ’s company so we arranged to meet at a township hall parking lot.
This is where our day took a humorous misadventureous turn.
We usually pay for items with our debit card but we needed cash to pay the woman for her coasters. We decided to stop at the local grocery store, buy an inexpensive item, and get “cash back.” For the benefit of those in other countries where this might not happen, “cash back” is when, for example, a customer buys a $10 item but pays the cashier $20 with a check, debit card, or credit card. Ten dollars goes for the purchase of the item and ten dollars is given back to the customer in cash as change. In just about every store we go to, a cashier asks us if we want “cash back.” We almost always say no, but this time we needed actual cash to pay for the coasters. Only today the computers were down at our grocery store so we couldn’t get cash back. Bummer.
Since the Suburban needed gas, we decided to go to a gas station. EJ stopped at a station along the way. He pumped the gas and went into the station to pay for it. He came out with no cash. He said that this particular gas station doesn’t do “cash back.” Bummer.
So we decided to stop at Culvers, a favorite fast food restaurant, for some coffee. It was cold and “snainy” all morning and besides being delicious, the hot coffee in the cup would warm my cold hands. I stayed in Suburban because the front passenger door doesn’t open–it’s on our list of things to get fixed–and whenever we take the Suburban, I have to enter through the driver’s door and climb over into my seat, and exit the same way in reverse. Many times I knock the GPS off its holder trying to climb out, or I knock over our water/tea cups (so EJ now removes them first), or I get “stuck” in an uncomfortable position because some days I’m less flexible than others. It’s rather funny. Since we were making quick stops, I just stayed in the Sub. EJ came out of the restaurant with coffee but no cash. The restaurant didn’t do “cash back.” Seriously? Every cashier in every store we go to always asks us if we want “cash back.” But today we couldn’t find any store that would give it to us.
So we decided to try a grocery store further down the street. EJ went into the store and bought a container of almonds and–success!–he was able to get cash back!!! Only when he got back to the Suburban, he realized that it was a $20 bill and if the woman selling the coasters didn’t have change, we’d be in a bind. So he went back into the store and bought another can of almonds and got the $20 bill changed into four $5 bills. We now had cash to pay the woman.
Fortunately, we had left our house early, but with all these stops, it was getting closer and closer to the time we were supposed to meet the woman with the coasters. We were several miles from the meeting place but we still had plenty of time to get there. Only EJ seemed to hit every red traffic light on the route. There was also road construction along the way, and heavy traffic, and we had to wait through several red lights at an intersection before we could finally continue on our way. We finally reached our destination only a few minutes late. We were able to meet the woman and buy her coasters. Whew.
It’s a good thing we both have a sense of humor. It was actually very funny and we laughed about it.
After we bought the coasters, that’s when we drove to EJ’s company and dumped the dingy in the dumpster. It felt like such a HUGE thing to have gotten rid of both the old carpet and the old dingy this weekend.
One of the knee supports EJ bought yesterday wasn’t the right kind. The boxes looked very similar but they weren’t. So our next stop was at Meijers to exchange the wrong knee support for the right one. This time I climbed out of the Suburban and went into the store with him. That transaction went amazingly well with no snafus of any kind.
On the way home, we saw several flocks of geese flying overhead. One of the flocks flew rather low, but I didn’t get my camera out in time. I did get a photo of one of the high-flying flocks. EJ and I love watching geese and we always pause to watch them flying overhead. Unless we are driving somewhere. Then EJ glances out the window and I try to take photos. The geese are gathering together to make the long journey south. They know winter is quickly approaching.
At home again, EJ went out to burn some stuff in the burning barrel (we can still do that in the rural areas) while I gathered eggs. I found only two eggs today. Soon the hens will probably stop laying until Spring. That’s ok. They need a vacation too.
I fixed us a quick late lunch. We relaxed for a bit, and then we drove to an auto parts store in a different town where EJ bought a thermostat thingy for the Suburban. This time we took Hannah Joy with us. She loves going on drives with us, but we couldn’t take her on our other errands this weekend because with the carpet and then the dingy, there wasn’t room for her. But on this latest errand there was room. Even though it was cold outside, EJ rolled down the back window for her so she could enjoy the scents.
We got a lot accomplished this weekend. We checked a lot of tasks off our list. We feel very good about that.