Cat kibble feeder update

Posted December 3, 2017 By Ruth

Trouble was fine with a collar, so I bought THIS feeder.  Note, prices vary, shop around.  Also, be VERY careful ordering one of these things on Amazon.  As I browsed I saw some really blatant listings for either knock-offs or fake listings of identical feeders.  Like, 7 or 8 per page.

With the lid stood open Trouble would eat from it no problem.  As soon as I added the sensor tag to her collar and turned on the feeder she clearly decided it was EVIL and had to be killed (she repeatedly swatted the moving lid).  I could wait for her to adapt to it.  Or I could play around with it.

In THIS video the guy explains how he swapped the feeder controls so that it stands open all the time and CLOSES when the tag approaches.  This would allow me to put the tag on Shadow, and not care if the moving lid freaked him out.  Note, this modifications require a soldering iron and a screw driver, but are otherwise very simple to do.  This modification would also fix the issue mentioned in the reviews where the unit sometimes loses the tag while the cat is eating resulting in the lid trying to close on the cat.

The collar is now on Shadow, who decided I was torturing him by putting this THING on him, and Trouble is back to happily eating out of the feeder.

There’s one other issue mentioned in reviews.  Some tags don’t seem to close down tight enough, with the battery in them, to actually work properly.  The tag included in my set initially seemed to have this problem.  I fixed it by removing a plastic ring gasket from inside the tag.  I assume that the tag is now no longer water resistant, but since my cats are indoor cats I can live with that.

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Shoes for working retail (a review)

Posted November 26, 2017 By Ruth

I’ve griped before about trying to find shoes that fit me, that are comfortable, that have ankle support, and that can hold up to not only the pounding of retail, but specifically the pounding of working retail at Home Depot.

Home Depot is hell on shoes.  Those ugly commercial tiles that most stores have down do actually make a difference in how long my shoes last.  Shoes that last for months and months at most places barely last 3 months at HD.  That straight up concrete is hell on shoes, feet, and joints.

Doing some research and talking with long term HD employees a couple things stood out.  1: I needed at least two pairs of shoes to swap between, as in every  other day swap.  And 2: it might be worth checking out quality hiking shoes, several folks recommended them.

So off I went to a couple different local sporting goods stores.  The next problem was that I wanted high tops without actually getting BOOTS, and I have wide feet (for my foot length) due to having spent my life on my feet.

I ended up with a pair of Ahnu Montara boots, and a high topped set of Keen shoes (I forget which style).  The Keen’s came in wide (so I bought them in size 7), the Ahnu’s didn’t, but I only had to go up 1/2 size to get a decent fit (size 7.5).  I figured that the width on the Keens would be the key factor, but I was wrong.  The Keen’s weren’t bad shoes.  But the Ahnu’s not only broke in faster (with zero hot spots or blisters despite a longer footbed), but remained more comfortable for far longer than the Keens did.  And when the Keens finally died they died all at once and were hell to wear.  The Ahnu’s I could have gotten away with for a bit longer if I’d had to.  I got a solid year’s worth of comfortable wear out of the Ahnu’s, and a year of wear out of the Keens, though I’m hesitant to call it a solid year’s worth of comfortable.

The local Gander Mountain was closing back end of spring/beginning of summer, so I swung through there to see what they had left.  A set of Ahnu Montara’s in a different color caught my eye, but they only had them in size 8.  I tried them on and walked in circles for several minutes in them before deciding to buy them anyway.  A set of Red Wing Irish Setter boots caught my eye, and they had them in 7.5, and they fit and weren’t uncomfortable at first try, so I grabbed them too.

That was May, if I recall right.  Once again the Ahnu’s required essentially no break in period, the extra half size length of the foodbed has caused me no problems.  The Red Wings did, and have remained far less comfortable than the Ahnu’s all the way across the board.  The addition of cheap gel soles under my prescription insoles helped some, but not enough.

For various reasons I’ve basically not worn either pair for the last month except for a few hours here and there.  Black Friday I wore the Ahnu’s for an 8hr shift.  Saturday I wore the Red Wings for an 8hr shift.  Friday, my feet hurt a bit, but thats normal enough after that sort of day.  Saturday I came home with serious hotspots and not quite blisters, and seriously sore feet and ankles and knees.

Today I’m shopping for Ahnu Montara boots.  As I’d hoped several places (including the official website)  have them on very nice sale.  I intend to buy at least two pairs.  And hope and pray that the folks who own the brand never ever change them!  The Red Wings are being relegated to wear around the house work boots.

The Ahnu Montara’s are very lightweight in comparison to every other hiking shoe and boot I tried.  The soles held up very well to the abuse that is HD, though some hiking reviews say they don’t always for things like rock climbing.  I can’t speak for the original insoles as I replace them with my prescription ones.  The soles are soft, but not thin.  They do allow you to feel everything you step on, which is a bit weird till you get used to it.  On the other hand I have yet to slip on wet concrete in them, even in the year old ones!

I was not in any way paid for this review, all the shoes mentioned were bought with my own money.

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Black Friday Reminder

Posted November 24, 2017 By Ruth

Don’t forget that those sales clerks and cashiers are humans too.  And they’re not responsible for corporate’s policies or stocking strategies.  Screaming at them because you don’t like it won’t change a thing, except for their opinion of you.

I’m off to work where I can safely expect to deal with a minimum of 2 customer meltdowns over lack of advertised stock.

Drive safely everyone!

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Busy

Posted November 21, 2017 By Ruth

Been both busy and not busy.  And not had much I wanted to bother to type up.

We broke cold temp records for the area back at the beginning of Nov.  And it snowed Sunday night, and it actually stuck long enough for Apollo to enjoy it.  It’ll probably melt today, high is predicted to be 51.  I took pictures but haven’t remembered to get them off the camera.

Life keeps trying to beat us over the head, and we keep resisting.  I’d hoped to build a small greenhouse structure to replace the cheap plastic things I use, but that won’t be happening this winter after all.  Which means buying a new set of cheap plastic things, because I kept forgetting to put away the two from last summer and I’m pretty sure the sun has killed the plastic (though to be fair, one of them needed to be replaced anyway).

This will be Husband’s first holidays without his mother and he’s taking it about as expected.  As in, when his sister asked him if he had Thanksgiving plans he was struck speechless, cause no, Thanksgiving has always meant his mother cooked…..

We’ve been trying to switch the cats over to a mostly wet food diet.  While they’ll both eat wet food no problem Trouble tends to be a grazer, which doesn’t work so well with set meal times of wet food, and so she looks like losing weight again, which she really doesn’t need to do.  But if I try to put out kibble for her Shadow gobbles it up.  Now SHADOW needs to lose weight, but of course its not that simple.  I do have a “food tray” that requires them to pull out the kibble bits piece by piece to get them, but once Shadow figured that out it stopped slowing him down.  There are a few different food bowls that will only open to the animal wearing the sensor tag, but I’m not sure I can convince her to wear a collar, she’s never worn one before.  Plus they’re not especially cheap, and the cheapest one definitely has some issues, based on the reviews.  There’s a really nice looking one that’ll trigger off of the animal’s microchip, and getting her chipped would be simple enough, but it’s $140.  And I can’t quite convince myself to spend that much when I don’t know that she’d even use it.  Choices.

Christmas is in full swing at work.  Except for the live christmas trees.  Which apparently got lost or something.  Us and two other stores haven’t gotten their deliveries yet.  The truck carrying them  has completely disappeared.  Awesome huh?

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Speaking of fire extinguishers

Posted November 9, 2017 By Ruth

I forgot to post about this.

Over the summer, I was standing at the service desk trying to untangle a mass of spider wraps when a pair of customers walked in the front door “do you know that your cigarette butt holder thing is on fire??”  I’m thinking ok, so there’s a little smoke coming out the top, not a big deal, and walk outside to look.

Yah, it wasn’t a little smoke coming out the top.

Call a manager “hey, the cigarette butt holder outside the main entrance is on fire, like, I can see the flames on fire”.  “Can you toss a bottle of water on it?”  “Well, I can, but I’m pretty sure it’s way beyond that point……”

Walk back inside, grab the fire extinguisher right inside the door, and put out the fire.

It’s easy enough to figure out what happened.  Customers are constantly using it as a trash can, tossing receipts and other paper in it.  Then someone tossed in a lit butt.

By the time the customer alerted me to it the fire had not only melted the plastic, it was burning the melted plastic.

Lotsa fun…….

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Massive Fire Extinguisher Recall

Posted November 2, 2017 By Ruth

This has made major news media, so hopefully it’ll be all over the place by tomorrow, but just in case, spread the word.

If you bought a Kidde brand fire extinguisher any time in the last 45 years you need to check and see if its part of this recall.  If you bought a fire extinguisher from Home Depot, Sears, Walmart, and any number of other big name stores, you are very likely to have a Kidde extinguisher, even if it doesn’t say Kidde as the brand, double check it.

Seriously.

CNN Article

Consumer Reports page

Consumer Project Safety Commission page

Kidde’s page for the recall

This recall includes Canada as well as the USA, though the large majority of the extinguishers were sold in the USA.  So the Canadians reading this need to check theirs too!

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Post summer garden thoughts

Posted October 15, 2017 By Ruth

Last summer I massively over planted tomatoes.  I made SO MUCH sauce that I thought we’d never finish it all in a year.  I made ketchup.  I gave away tomatoes, sauce, and tomato puree.

Yesterday, in a quick freezer survey, I realized there are exactly TWO! jars of sauce left from last year.  Wow.  But then it did taste ever so much better than store bought, so I guess I shouldn’t be surprised.  Heck, we hardly made pizza too, so most of it went into chili, and marinara, and the like.

I’ve got a pot on the stove right now simmering down most of this summer’s tomato harvest.  After the bounty that was last summer I deliberately under planted tomatoes this year, and then with the screwed up weather we didn’t get as many per plant as usual.  I figure I’ll get 5 or 6 jars of sauce from this years harvest if I’m lucky.

So I guess next summer I’m going to have to “over plant” tomatoes again.  Probably want to kill myself by the time I finish processing them all, but obviously the sauce is worth it.

We’ve still not had a real frost here, though all that’s left in the garden is onions, carrots and covered hot pepper plants.

The Oxheart carrot is getting added to my regular carrot cycle.

We never did get a ripe Green Nutmeg Melon, the one I picked when the vine was dying back smelled really good, but either wasn’t as close to ripe as I’d hoped or else they don’t taste like much.  I’ll have to decide if I want to try them again or not.

The White Leopard Melons are worth growing again.

I’m going to give up on the Melon Pear fruits, even cages the color change to ripe is still very subtle, and the couple I picked I wasn’t a fan of the flavor (but heck, I’m still not sure they were fully ripe).

The corn failed miserably, but I’m pretty sure that had more to do with a combination of things than anything specific.  I’ll try it again, but maybe not next summer.

I was discussing with Husband the possibility of trying a variety of hot peppers again, mostly for the heck of it.

Maybe just go really basic next year.  There’s a different variety of cucumber I want to try, but otherwise just do tomatoes, and hot peppers, and carrots, and a couple melons…..will have to see what catches my eye as I browse catalogs I think.

As I was putting down the plastic sheeting to smother the weeds it occurred to me that now that I have the soaker hoses for the garden watering there’s no reason I couldn’t leave the plastic in place next year and just cut holes to plant stuff in.  With the soaker hose run under it the plants would get plenty of water and the plastic would do wonders to help keep the weeds down.  Might have to try it.

Fall in Upstate NY

Posted October 5, 2017 By Ruth

So, last post was on Sept 18th.  Sept 27th (Wednesday) we broke high temp records.  Sept 28th temps crashed, and we had several days of barely making a high of 70.  Yesterday, Oct 4th, we had a high of 80.  Tomorrow, Friday, they’re predicting a high of 69.  Saturday its going to be 80 again.  Next Thursday the predicted high is 62.

At least we shouldn’t be getting a frost any time soon, based on current predictions.  We came close last Saturday night, but it didn’t quite happen.

I finished getting black plastic on the empty garden beds.  Put frost covers back on the remaining peppers.

Gave myself a lovely set of bruises up and down my right arm moving heavy stuff at work, but hey, no bandaids required!  I’ll take it.

The husband of a co-worker died unexpectedly, and I agreed to work an opening shift to cover for her.  My body still hasn’t recovered from the 4:15am wake-up.

Arty decided that he was going to play lapdog:

Not much else going on here right now.  Have fun all!

General update

Posted September 18, 2017 By Ruth

I pulled the frost covers back OFF the garden, summer has decided that we’re not done yet, with another two + weeks of 80degree temps.

Interestingly the hot peppers that I covered, even briefly, look better than the ones I didn’t.  Mind, its not a huge surprise, but the difference is noticeable:

 

Leaf Footed Bug damage:

Not the best photo, BUT, that is what that Jalapeno looked like when I picked it off the plant.  Pretty gross.

Notice the bandaid in that photo?  Apparently I’m on a roll this year.  Right before New Year I tried to slice off my fingertip with a cheese knife.  Then I tripped over the dog and broke my arm.  Then I sliced a finger open on a child safety buckle on a shopping cart (I never did find the sharp spot that I somehow caught either).  Then, while adjusting the seat on the new mower I sliced a finger open.  And now I’ve sliced a finger open while adjusting Apollo’s dog tags.  I have no clue.  Someone on FB asked if I have a medical issue with fragile skin, but after some thought I can’t see how I could, if I did I’d go through a hell of a lot of bandaids every day at work!

Speaking of work…..Christmas has shipped:

Its not out on the shelves yet, but it has started arriving in stores!

I made two batches of hot pepper jelly this week.  Both made up, some 90%, of peppers frozen from last year’s bounty.  Thank god I did so or there’d likely be no jelly this year.

On an interesting note, peppers that have been in the freezer for that long are much dryer than fresh peppers.  I know, duh right?  But I hadn’t considered how much that would affect jelly making.  Usually I end up with slightly runny jelly at room temp.  Not a big deal, it solidifies enough in the fridge.  But these two batches were trying to jell in the pan as I cooked them!  Next time I use long frozen peppers I need to remember to reduce the pectin.

And your daily dose of cute, and one of two reasons why you always check that rumpled blanket on the couch before sitting on it in this house:

A few garden photos

Posted September 10, 2017 By Ruth

This week I’ve started pulling up the dead and non-producing plants, deciding whats going to get frost blankets to convince stuff to ripen, and putting down black plastic on the beds in order to hopefully smother the weeds.

 

The only melon I covered was one of the Green Nutmeg tires, all the rest of the melons were either not far enough along, or already dying back.  Note to self, the Snow Leopards do not handle chilly nights at ALL.

The hot peppers are all getting these new frost covers that I found.  They’re designed for potted plants, and probably won’t protect from a full on frost, but warming things up a bit they look like they’ll do just fine.

Got a few Black Pearl Peppers ripened

 

Found ONE of the late wave of peppers I planted had managed to not only survive the summer but actually put on decent pods:

cross your fingers they’ll ripen before it gets too cold!

Discovered that some of the local wildlife are enjoying the warmth of the black plastic

 

(Amazon link is an affiliate link, if you buy something via it I might earn a few pennies)