Archive for February, 2013

Tropical Deluge in February

I was really excited and happy to get rain because, frankly, we needed it. Forests were spontaneously starting to burst into flames because, well, it’s the DRY season. I was having to leave the hose trickle so that mud puddles would form for the ducks to bathe in and so the squirrels wouldn’t drown themselves in the water troughs looking for something to drink.

I was happy that it poured down rain all night here Sunday. HARD rain. Then Monday morning I went out to open up the gate to the big sheep barn to let them out to the pasture to graze. It was raining. The rain varied from intense to medium. They looked at me as though I’d lost my mind. They shifted around uncertainly. After five minutes, nobody had made a decision and I was tired of standing around in the rain waiting for sheep, so I shut the gate and went about my business.

I was out shifting poultry and checking their feed during a lull in the rain when I decided I’d open the gate so that the ewes with lambs could come down to a separate barn and pasture to be fed because nursing mothers and lambs are the only ones that get fed twice a day around here. I opened the gate. Again, the sheep looked at me as though I were crazy. “GET MY WOOL WET? DO YOU KNOW HOW LONG IT TAKES THIS SHIT TO DRY?” Well, yeah, they have a point. I closed the gate and went back toward the house. When I was almost there, I heard baaaaaing at the gate. The whole flock was there. I turned around to let the nursing mothers and lambs through but it started raining again before I got there. By the time I got back to open the gate again, they were back at the other barn shifting around, discussing whether they could sucker me into standing in the rain holding the gate open for five minutes or more again, no doubt.

Unfortunately for them, the round bales are out in the pasture, and I was slap outta square bales. The only way I could get square bales out to that barn was carrying them, too. My truck would definitely get stuck out there now! I tossed what loose hay I could gather up out to them. They gobbled it up and looked greedily for more. Sorry, guys.

kcmo snow front yardGuess I’m on my way to buy a couple bales of hay. That should last me until it is dry enough for the sheep to go out on the pasture. The grass is growing really well, so that means that it is going to go to record low temperatures again. Could be worse. Here’s my lil’ brother’s street in Kansas City, MO, this morning. Yeah, he’s not working today.

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Obama Administration Set to Make Cuts That Would Most Hurt Taxpayers

Instead of removing folk at the Department of Justice and ATF who are busily running guns to foreign drug gangs (God knows that they wouldn’t deign to help anybody in the U.S.), or the people at the EPA who are trying to shut down the nation’s power supplies, the Obama administration has instead decided to move on to furloughing people that do a job that is essential to the wellbeing of millions of Americans: The food inspectors.

Sanderson Farms, Inc., the third- largest U.S. chicken processor, said the removal of food-safety inspectors because of federal budget cuts set to go into effect next week would disrupt its operations.

The company is prohibited by law from operating poultry- processing plants without the presence of federal inspectors and would have to shut plants in their absence, Laurel, Mississippi- based Sanderson said in a filing today.

The closing of plants owned by Sanderson, a supplier to grocery chains Kroger Co. and Supervalu Inc., would be one of the effects of the automatic U.S. federal budget cuts set to begin March 1 unless President Barack Obama and Congress work out a deal to avoid or postpone them.

So, all you folks on a fixed income out there (that would apply to anybody earning a paycheck, by the way, because the boss can’t afford to give out wage increases every time the Federal government is out of control which would be constantly) or on a limited income retirement are about to be screwed AGAIN by the people that have already screwed you pretty seriously on food prices by putting food into your vehicle’s gas tank (to the detriment of said vehicles, I might add). Now, out of all the people that the Federal government COULD pick for furloughs that would never be noticed, they just happen to pick the folks whose absence will shut down entire industries. WHAT a coincidence!

The USDA is considering furloughing inspectors for 15 days as part of automatic U.S. federal budget cuts, known as sequestration. The move could spur the “first widespread shortage” of meat, poultry and egg products in generations, according to a letter sent to Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack (DEMOCRAT) on Feb. 11 by three dozen trade groups from across the country.

I believe that “widespread shortage” of meat, poultry and egg products is EXACTLY what the Federal government wants. This is not an accident, folks.

A 15-day furlough resulting from the cuts could cost more than $10 billion in production losses and industry workers could lose more than $400 million in wages, Vilsack (DEMOCRAT) said in a Feb. 5 letter to Senator Barbara Mikulski, (DEMOCRAT), chairwoman of the appropriations committee.

Sounds like an e-mail probably went out that said “Barbi, we believe we have identified the folks in this department whose loss will do the greatest damage to the taxpayers, the food industry, and the economy! Everybody else’s job is secure. Give my regards to Barry. Y’all have fun with this now!” to me.

If the Federal government has enough power to petulantly shut down food operations that will negatively effect millions of citizens and cause hundreds of millions of dollars in damages, they have too much power. It is waaaaaay past time that states got together and cut the Federal government out of their business.

I’m pretty sure that those Federal inspector positions could be filled pretty darn quickly by the states and/or private sector, and probably at a lower cost, too.

Edited to add that a lack of poultry or eggs at the grocery store won’t affect me AT ALL.

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Monday Morning Music

I’m enjoying this not going to work thing waaaaaaay too much, aren’t I?

It is a warm but *very* rainy early morning here in NE Florida. We’ve had some pretty impressive thunderstorms overnight with a fairly heavy rain in between. Summer thundershowers in February. Hunh. Somebody up north must be havin’ a bad Monday with all that moisture streamin’ in from the gulf.

I’ve been out and about periodically checking on the wellbeing of the ewes. My PJs, hat and jacket are SOAKED. I don’t wanna wake up SwampMan, who still has a little beauty sleep time left before his alarm goes off, because he’d never be able to get back to sleep. That is why I’m wrapped in a blanket at the computer.

Changes in weather or air pressure seem to bring on labor. During our last freezing event, a young ewe delivered a tiny preemie with legs like pencils. Poor little girl was able to “baaaaa” loudly and desperately to her momma, but too weak to stand. Oh, crap. Those poor little things have to be tube fed but if they’re too weak to hold up their heads (and she was), the stomach contents could drain into her lungs because the stomach valves are also weak. And of course Momma sheep had no milk because it was a preemie not ready to be born. Then I noticed the jaw deformity. Poor thing wouldn’t have been able to suckle even if she’d been full term, and likely wouldn’t have been able to graze. Perhaps there were other anomalies that were internal that were inconsistent with life.

Regardless, the poor little thing was shivering with cold, so I took her to the house to put her on a towel in front of a heater while I looked for the stomach tube and a heating pad but, alas, she called again for her momma and then just stopped breathing*. I returned her body to her anxious momma who didn’t particularly like me BEFORE I stole and (from her point of view) killed her baby. After all, she was baaaing when I took her! *sigh* Momma stayed with the body for most of the day before she accepted that the lamb was dead and went off to rejoin her flock. I disposed of the body.

*Thank goodness. I was trying to decide whether to try to save her or send her to That Great Pasture in the Sky, but she took the decision from me.

Update: I gained SEVERAL good wife points by donning soaking jacket and hat and going out in the rain to open and shut gate for SwampMan so that he wouldn’t have to get out of his truck to do it.

I lost all those good wife points and a few more by not moving SwampMan’s prepacked lunch (rice, chicken-fried steak and mustard greens) from the refrigerator into his truck. I called SwampMan just as soon as I got back into the house and realized that he hadn’t taken his lunch with him, but he has a meeting this morning and couldn’t return for it.

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Chance Encounter

I had an interesting encounter Sunday afternoon in Goodwill. I’d gone in on Friday to look for an old coffee table to paint with chalkboard paint on the top to make a chalkboard for the grandkids to write on while they were at my house (and save my walls and furniture maybe). While I was there, I noted a lot of brand-new looking W.E.B. Griffin hardback novels. Since SwampMan’s paperbacks are on their last legs (and, indeed, he bought a Kindle just so he could reassemble a digital library), we decided to go in today to see if they were still there. (They weren’t, except for The Saboteurs. At $1.00 each, I didn’t figure they would be.) I picked up a Tom Clancy novel for me.

A young Hispanic man and woman were waiting in line. He asked me about the novels and my favorite genres. He recommended Fields of Fire, said it was on the reading list when he was in the Marines OCS. I recommended “Patriots”. He asked me what it was about, and I told him it was about what happened in the aftermath of the financial shit hitting the fan. He got really serious then.

“It’s about to happen, you know.”

“Yep.”

“We’ve got family in Nicaragua but, when everything collapses, our money might be worthless, and we may not be able to get there.”

“Yep.”

“And it might not be any better there because it will be worldwide, this financial collapse, but they have lots of land.”

“Yeah, I’ve got a lot of improvements still to make to our place, and I don’t know if we have the time. Plus it’s waaaaay too close to Jacksonville!” I said while standing in a checkout line in a store in Jacksonville.

“Ten of us have gotten together and bought 20 acres in very rural Georgia. It has a lil’ house on it. We’re hiding supplies, at least a years’ worth for every family, and everybody has to have an AR15 with 5,000 rounds of ammunition. We have the water purification stuff, too. Too many people have nothing, and aren’t even trying to store supplies. It’s gonna get bad. We buy nothing new now.” He had a beautiful pregnant wife and a lovely little girl that was pulling a new (to her) tricycle to the cash register, along with a load of clothes and shoes that looked too big for the little girl that I assumed were going to be cached.

I told SwampMan about the encounter when I went outside with the books. “Oh, that was the man and woman with the cute little girl that came out just ahead of you? Nice looking family. So tell me again how in the hell you had a conversation about financial collapse and bug out locations with complete strangers in line to check out at a thrift store?”

It does sound a little weird when he put it like THAT.

“I think what it is that those of us that have been uneasily watching the rising debt, watching Europe circle the drain about to be sucked under by their debt, and knowing that most people are one paycheck away from disaster have tried to say something several times to friends and neighbors who have just laughed about our alarm because the rich will pay. China and Japan are threatening hostilities. North Korea has been testing missiles capable of hitting this country. Iran probably has a nuclear weapon (or several). The middle east and Africa are undergoing several armed conflicts. Our borders are extremely porous. Our economy is sinking back into recession (not that I noticed it ever coming out of the last recession), and the Obamacare debacle hasn’t even hit yet. Government is trying to seize our means of self defense and isn’t even trying to lock up crazy people, just threatening the people that are law-abiding. Now THAT’S crazy. Finding even a stranger that recognizes just how screwed everybody is going to be if (or when) the EBT card or other plastic no longer works is a happy occasion.”

At least, that was my take on it. And the young man I had spoken to had nine kindred-spirit friends that were preparing a place in Georgia for their families in case of a financial Armageddon.

“I’ve been racking my brains trying to figure out what to do”, said SwampMan.

“About what?”

“About where to go in the event of a SHTF situation. We could try to go up to the family farms in Georgia….”

“You think the folks up there in rural areas are going to let cars with out-of-state tags just pass through in a SHTF situation?”

“No, not really.”

“Guess that settles that, then.”

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Sequestration? The World Is Ending Again!

I haven’t been paying too much attention to sequestration because, frankly, I’m more than a little tired of the incompetent drama queens running the country and getting attention by screaming about the crises that are politically created. “Look at me, look at me! See what I’m doing NOW if somebody doesn’t stop me!” is not an attractive trait in somebody older than, say, three.

So when I finally started looking at sequestration and found that all the hoo ha was not about actual cuts, but a 2% reduction in spending growth for the government, I was pretty much gobsmacked. After all, didn’t all the working folks in America just get an involuntary 2% pay cut in January via social security taxes? I got a 3% pay cut last year, too, in REAL pay cuts, not a 3% cut out of a raise. That added up to a 5% REAL pay cut.

Must. Be. Calm. Breathe. Breathe. Breathe.

YOU FUCKING ASSHOLES! How DARE you screw with the livelihood of people, AGAIN, for (expletive deleted) political advantage? You’re ALL a bunch of corrupt thieves and the whole country would be far better off if Washington, D.C. was hit by an asteroid and you all perished in a fiery death! Hell, cutting off the first family vacation allowance as well as Nancy Pelosi’s liquor allowance would go a long way toward making up budget shortfalls. Make a (expletive deleted) budget and (expletive deleted) follow it and make some REAL (expletive deleted) cuts and don’t come whining to ME about imaginary cuts! Hell, don’t come whining to me about cuts at all. Shut up and do your (expletive deleted) job.

Breathe. Breathe. Breathe.

Wish I could say what I really think.

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Here’s Why the DHS Needs All That Ammo

target7target6target5target4target3target2target1They have new targets to shoot! Because this is what terrorists look like to the government: They appear to be white, middle class, and in their own homes or neighborhoods. So why would DHS agents be practicing shooting people down in their own homes and on playgrounds?

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Come and Take It

I agree with the sentiments contained herein.

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