Sunday, November 29, 2009

"No way!"

I did something I've never done before. I went shopping the day after Thanksgiving. And all by myself. At 5 am. Well, I didn't exactly shop as you shall see. My brother in-law told Kelli about a deal Wal-Mart had on "Black Friday". I never heard of that term before this year. Never heard it called "Black Friday" before. Sounds kind of weird to me but that's what they are calling it. Anyway this deal was for a laptop computer for just $198. Seemed pretty cheap to me and we have been wanting one for awhile. So I decided to make the sacrifice and drive down to Rhinelander at 5 am.

Everyone told me how crazy it is the morning after Thanksgiving but, I figured that was more for the big cities and everything. I've never done it before and always kind of laughed about it, how people will do anything to get a good deal.

So I hopped in the truck bright and early, well it wasn't bright at all, at 5 am it is quite dark out. I got out on the highway and was a little surprised at all the traffic going south. I figured they must be early morning commuters. Surely they weren't all going to Rhinelander to "shop". And man they were bugging right along passing each other and everything. Kind of like they were in a hurry or something.

But, I was on a mission I was going to Wal-Mart to get one of those $198 laptops. As I got in to Rhinelander I couldn't believe my eyes. There is a Menards store right at the north edge of town and the parking lot was packed. "No way!" I said right out loud. I looked at the clock and it was 5:15. Seemed surreal. Normally at that time of the morning there is hardly a soul to be seen let alone filling up the parking lot. And there was alot more cars on the road in town.

I honestly thought it would be a cinch to run down to Wal-Mart grab a laptop and get back. I even had a couple other models picked out on the chance the cheapo one was already gone. I knew the sale started at 5 am sharp but, I figured this is northern Wisconsin. No way was it going to be like the stories you hear about in the big cities.

As I made my way to the Wal-Mart I was starting to have my doubts. There were cars every where. I pulled into the parking lot and could not believe my eyes. The place was full up. Not a open spot in site. "No WAY!" I again said, right out loud. I finally found a place to park way out at the outer edge of the lot. People were everywhere. People leaving with carts full and people scurrying on inside. I picked up my pace kind of copying the frenetic pace I was seeing before me. But, I purposely slowed down not wanting to imitate the wild eyed hoards. I was beginning to wonder what I was doing there and I felt foolish for going along with all the other "sheeple".

As I walked through the doors I was stunned. Where there is usually a pile of shopping carts there was none. There were only three carts in front of me and a worker pushed one towards me. I knew right where the laptops were supposed to be because I looked it up online. Wal-Mart had a map of where all their specials were supposed to be.

I managed to worm my way through the masses and find the spots were the computers were supposed to be. I found nothing. I figured I got some bad info on the Net. Finally I found a worker and asked him where they were. He apologized and said they were all gone. He also told me how people had been lined up since 10 and 11 o'clock the night before. I couldn't believe it. It was true. People really did go out in mass and grab up all the "deals".

Needless to say I high tailed it out of there and got back home as soon as possible. I imagined how if they did still have the computers and I did get one it would be who knows how long before I could have gotten through the check out lines and gotten out of there. I wondered how good a deal it would have seemed after that. "No way!" I said to myself yet again. I concluded to myself that it would not be worth it. I don't care what the savings would be. I don't care if it would be a savings of hundreds of dollars. In my mind going through all that just would not be worth it.

As I drove back home that dark morning I pondered the things I had just witnessed. I had a sick feeling in my stomach. I wondered what would possess all those people to go out in the wee hours of the morning just to get stuff. What would possess people to camp out over night just to be one of the first ones to get a thing. It makes me afraid. Afraid for my Country and afraid at were humanity is heading. I kept remembering the serious and determined looks on many of the faces I saw. Some were very serious, very determined. Others were having fun. Some were sipping coffee and just leisurely relishing the moment. You could tell they were having fun.

Both extremes gave me the creeps. I felt sick at myself for participating in it. What is wrong with people who will go to such extreme lengths for stuff. For junk really. In my work I see all that junk getting tossed eventually. And it doesn't take that long. I throw stuff away that looks perfectly fine on the outside. Some of it still works. Some of it doesn't. The fact that people will camp out over night for it just blows me away.

I shuddered to think of what could happen if the food supply or the like is ever disrupted. If people get trampled to death for meaningless junk what will happen when survival itself is at stake. If this economy ever really does totally tank like alot of folks say it might, things could get very ugly. Extremely ugly.

It makes me all the more sure that people need to be figuring out away right now how to get food. Take some precautions now and do some stock up. Plan a garden. Raise some chickens. If nothing happens you just eat. Big deal. Better to have it and not need it, than to need it and not have it.

Until Next Time

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Deer Season

Ben says,
"Good Luck to all you Wisconsin deer hunters and Be Safe!"

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Movable sheep pen, sheep and goats

In a previous post I told about the movable sheep pen and that I'd take some pictures.
It isn't the greatest design. A whole season of use has given it quite a beating.

Here's some pictures of it.

In the top picture you can see the truck on the opposite side. The pen can move in either direction and I had just gotten done moving it so the truck is still in position. The ewes are all on this side.

We have part of it covered with a tarp to give the sheep some protection from the sun and also from inclement weather like rain and snow. In this picture you can see that the tarp is quite tattered. It got that way in the same wind storm on the 30th which had turned over the chicken pens. I actually never finished the pen. I have several 16' sheets of steel roofing that I was going to mount on top rather than have a tarp. Tarps do not hold up in the winds that we get, so I was going to have a more permanent top.

I mount the water buckets right on the cattle panel. This isn't a very good picture, but it shows one of the pulling ends. The 2 x 4's are doubled and the cattle panel is sandwiched in between. In a later picture I'll show how the chain is attached.

Here are how two of the 16' panels are attached end to end. I use quick-links at every joint. Five or six at each joint. The 2 x 4's are attached to the bottoms of the cattle panels with U-blots. The side boards are just single ones, not doubled like the pulling ends.

This picture shows three 16' panels end to end, although it is hard to tell. The closest panel in the picture shows the beginning of the rams pen.

The rams pen is 16' x 16'. It is divided in half. At first I only had a cattle panel as a divider but, the two rams, Dakota and his son Titan banged heads so much that they were destroying the panels. So I attached plywood. This has helped for quite some time but, even the plywood is taking a beating as shown in pictures below.

Here's how I attach the chains at either end. The chain is attached to a 6" eye bolt.

Here the truck has some tension on the chain. My truck has tow hooks on the front which is kind of nice because I can watch to make sure I'm not running anyone over.
Earlier in the year when I was using my Jeep Cherokee to pull the pen, I did run over Dakota. He was snooping around at the females and wasn't paying attention. His foot got caught then his whole leg got drug under. I looked just in time to see him thrashing about trying to get un-stuck. I thought for sure I hurt him badly. But, I was able to quickly lift the cage and free him. He got himself up and briefly limped, then promptly went about munching on fresh grass none the worse for wear. I did pray for him so I don't know if God healed him of any injury or if he wasn't hurt at all. Hard to know.

This is Dakota. He's a quick learner. After he got run over he now pays complete attention when the pen begins to move. He hops to it, prancing about and moves in the direction of the pull not wanting to get caught again.
Below are pictures of the destructive power of our rams.

This picture is the plywood that separates Dakota from the ewes. He did this shortly after I put it up. I was amazed that he could pound a hole in it like this.

Then later Dakota and his son began pounding the divider between them from either side and made this huge hole. If I don't patch it up soon they will get themselves together before long.
This movable sheep pen is still a work in progress. It's fairly light weight and moves pretty easy. On the down side it isn't very sturdy and breaks down easily. I move it twice a day. If it wasn't for the rams and if it was only on flat ground without rocks and saplings then it might hold up better.
I know next year I'm going to have to come up with something that is stronger.

The two above pictures are of three of this years lambs. They're rams and will be going to the butcher soon to become lamb meat.

And these two pictures are of the goats we inherited from the town. This one standing on the fence had a beautiful beard about 10 inches long when we first got them. He got a bunch of burrs in it and I had to cut it off. Still haven't found homes for them.

Until Next Time