Thursday, June 28, 2012

Colour Quiz

This is a cool quiz that tests how well you see colour. I got a 10. If you take the quiz, please post your score here. =D

Monday, June 18, 2012

When Days Don't Go As Planned

My life has seemed to be full of them lately.

Friday I headed out for Saskatoon with a long list of things to do/get: banking, hair appt, barn supplies, etc. My truck had started making a funny noise the night before and I was thinking that rocks had maybe gotten in the brakes. I tried the speed-up-and-stop-fast and reverse-and-stop-fast around my yard to knock them lose and hoped that the neighbours wouldn't drive by and wonder what that crazy girl is doing now. Thought it maybe helped a little bit but the sound didn't completely go away.

Anyways, I head out for Saskatoon and I keep hearing that quieter but annoying sound. Then a few times the truck started knocking at the front and would go away as soon as I slowed down. I made it to Humbolt and called Dad as there was now a real rattle and I was thinking this truck was beginning to have issues. Right across from Tim's was a Canadian Tire so I went in and asked the guy if they had time to look at it. He had heard the truck come around and said something sounded very wrong with it. He called around to find a shop that would be able to look at it right away. As a side note, I take back all my bad thoughts about Canadian Tire employees who usually would rather you not bother them and find what you are looking for on your own. I drive over to the shop and the guy takes a look at it and said it was the differential and that I should take it to the Chrysler dealership. Thankfully Humbolt is small so I didn't have to drive far.

I arrive at the Chrysler dealership around 10 AM and have to wait for an hour before they look at. I was concerned it was going to be an expensive fix since Dad said those type of jobs can be and sometimes almost not worth fixing. After checking it out, the guy came out with the diagnosis and a quote to fix it. It ended up being a CV joint shaft and another shaft totally seized up, a seal that need to be replaced, and a few other small things. He said they could fix it but it would be later in the afternoon. I was just glad it could get fixed that day as I would have been stuck two hours from home without a vehicle.

Passing the time was pretty much painfully boring. I hadn't brought anything to read or do since I hadn't exactly planned for this interruption in my day. I couldn't go walk anywhere really because I was at the end of town and it was pouring, I mean POURING! I used to think airports were the most boring place to pass time but I think car dealerships win the title. At least you can people watch at airports. haha. You look at the floor for a while, then the plaques on the wall for all the customer service and what-not awards they've won, the mute tv, and then listen to the occasional customer who can't believe their 5 minute signal light fixing job is taking longer than that. Then on top of that my cell phone battery was low and eventually went dead so I couldn't even entertain myself with that. One bright spot was the lady bringing a current Western Producer out so that was a great improvement over the assortment of magazines already on the shelf. 

4:30 came around and I was finally leaving with a smooth running truck. Definitely not what I had planned for the day but at least I hadn't been left stranded in the middle of nowhere which could quite easily happen in Saskatchewan. :P

Then fast forward to this morning and I was planning to go again but the alarm for my barn went off at 3:45 AM due to the power going out. I trudged out to the barn to realize the problem and reset the alarm. I didn't start the generator as it only runs a few things in the barn and I didn't have chickens in. So, the alarm went about every half hour until the power came back on. There are a couple buttons in the house which allow you to turn off the alarm system but that obviously only works if the alarm isn't power related. :P

So, tomorrow is attempt #3. I'm not going to even guess what could stop me from going. I'm just going to play the optimist and hope for the best.

Most of today felt like I was taking three steps back every time I tried to do something. The west side of the barn needs to be smoothed out so I can plant grass and be able to mow it. I went and got our tractor from my neighbour's as using the tractor bucket to smooth out the bumps seemed simple enough. I finally gave up after it looked like I was trying to destroy the yard. Seriously, it looks like a mess and I'm not quit sure how I'm going to get the result I want.

Then my fuel tank was finally ready to get filled so the truck delivered the fuel this morning.  Now the valve leaks a bit and the hose needs to be replaced as hardly any fuel comes out and it sprays out through a few places.

After that I walk into the barn entry and check inside the barn to see lots of water sitting inside it. Even though we've had the excavation work done, it seems the ground is still saturated plus the 2" we just had didn't help things. I try to start sweeping the water around but a 250' barn with an 18" broom, yeah...I stopped and went added "big broom" to my list.

So, I'm ready for today to end and am feeling quite overwhelmed. My partial "to do" list. :P

So much to do, so many problems to fix, barns to get ready again for chickens, yard work already getting ahead of me due to all the rain...

Here's to hoping a good night's sleep and a good cup of joe to start off the morning will make my life not feel so overwhelming. Good night!

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Bradley and Erin

So, there always seems to be a whirlwind of activity happening in my life from farm work to family stuff and a whole wide range in between but, at present, most exciting is that sister has met a guy from FL! They met in Feb down there and Bradley just drove up here the end of May for a few weeks to visit again and meet the rest of the family.

Due to rain keeping them out of the fields in Davidson, they came over to my place for a few days. My yard/farm received several improvements thanks to the both of them. I always have a "To Do" list about a mile long so picked what I really wanted done and a few ones that would be difficult to accomplish myself.

 Staining my deck



 They replaced the bench boards so they look really nice now.  I'm going to let them weather for a while before staining.

 Love the stain colour! 

 I had just gotten a chainsaw so they went along the edge of the yard and cleaned it up so it looks much nicer and is easier to mow around too now. 

 I must have taken at least 10 loads of branches away with the tractor!

Shelves in my barn garage. Yay! 

 Erin and Bradley =D

They did more work as well but also managed to get a few relaxing moments in. :) A couple evenings I started a campfire and we had a hot dog and marshmallow roast. Weather was nice, no mosquitoes, and a full pitcher of sweet tea (a staple for southerners :))...what more could you ask for, right?! ;) Here's to hoping they come back again! :D

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Adding some colour to my yard...

 A few days ago I picked up a variety of flowers to plant in the flower beds in my yard and around my trailer. I love how much of a bright, cheerful feeling they add to the yard. I finally finished barn cleanout early this afternoon so decided to try and get the flowers in before it rained. Guess I started just in time as the rain started falling as I put the last one in. :)

 Impatiens, begonias, petunias, and a few others.

 In front of my office.

 Went with more pinks in this flower bed.

 Brighter, vivid colours in this one with white impatiens for a nice contrast.
 Decided to buy a flower basket and see how it survives. Had forgotten about these deck planters but I had enough flowers to fill them as well.

One of the tire planters

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Daniel and Hannah's Wedding Cake

Around the middle of April my friend, Hannah, asked if I could make a cake for her upcoming June wedding. I was excited to be able to have the opportunity to help her out with this task. We got together discussed what type of cake and theme she wanted, leafed through cake decorating magazines, and drew pictures and took notes so I could refer back to them during the whole process. I've decorated a few cakes over the years but never a wedding cake so I was up to the challenge. :) I pulled out cake pans, decorating gadgets, tips, icing colours, etc. and hoped my creative juices would flow freely.

For the cake I used butter pecan mixes. Years back I took the first Wilton Decorating Course and the instructor recommended a handy tip for when using cake mixes for decorating: omit the oil and 1 egg. The taste is still great but gives a firmer cake base to decorate. I like the 3" Wilton cake pans and use the Bake-Even Cake Strips which makes a huge difference in how level the cake bakes. I used a buttercream icing recipe. The first cake I did half shortening and half butter but it gave the cake a bit of a yellow tinge so for the real cake I used straight shortening and substituted half of the clear vanilla with butter flavoured vanilla so there would still be a butter taste. Icing with just shortening also tends to hold up a little better in the heat and humidity compared to the butter/shortening recipe.

 The practice cake. The orange was supposed to be lemon yellow but I didn't have the right shade on hand when decorating this one.

My sister picked up this tilt-and-turn cake decorating turntable which made the cake decorating about 10 times easier. You can tilt it several different angles and also spin it around while decorating or lock it in place.

Top tier of the practice cake. 

Decorating the real cake. Yes, I was a bit nervous! Had a few issues along the way but I was pretty happy with the end result. 

Top cake

Naomi (Hannah's sister) making the groom's cake: chocolate cake with a raspberry jam filling and fast fudge frosting. :)

Done just in time to deliver Friday evening. 

The finished result! :)