Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Looking back...

At my place of work, the past couple of months has been a trying time for many of my co-workers.  The turmoil has had little effect on me personally, but others are scurrying around like rats abandoning a sinking ship.  Then too, some have been pushed overboard.  Everyday at work I see many people doing the exact same job in almost the exact same place as they were twenty-five years ago when I started working alongside them.  Whereas I now have a cushy job sitting behind a computer screen tapping on a keyboard most of the day. What made my course so different from theirs?  A Christmas present.

In December 1984, I decided to buy my two young boys, ages 9 and 11, a Commodore 64 computer for their Christmas present. I ordered it from the Montgomery Ward's catalog for $300.  At that time, $300 was a lot for me to spend on them for presents and I doubt they received anything more except for a few games to go with it. There was no monitor, just a keyboard computer with an external disk drive hooked to a TV. They did enjoy it, but they did not learn much about computers beyond how to play the games.

I, on the other hand, was totally fascinated.  I wanted to know how it worked and how to make it work. In less than a month, I added a dot matrix printer to the setup.  I bought computer magazines and devoured them from cover to cover. At the time, I worked at a quick stop in our little town and I soon started trading computer programs and computer knowledge with several teenage boys that frequented the little store.  And, it was just boys.  I do not remember any teenage girls at the time showing any interest in our computer talk.

Helen in Arizona also had a Commodore 64, and we traded programs in the mail, and computer talk on the phone.  I think sometime in the next year, the disk drive gave out, and it seems Helen got me a used one at a good price from their newspaper adds.  Then, when the computer itself gave out sometime in the next year or so, I upgraded to a Commodore 128, twice as big!

My next upgrade was to a mail order IBM clone from Micron Computers and then a colored ink jet printer.  I do not remember just what year that would have been, but likely sometime between 1987 and 1990.  The next upgrade was a Packard Bell purchased at Sears in Springdale.  I think it cost almost $3000 for the entire package and I think I got a new printer with it. I am not so sure of the price, but I know it was at least $2000.  Again, I do not remember the year.

After that, it was an E-machine, or maybe 2, from Best Buy, then in 2005 an HP desktop from Best Buy, in 2011 a HP laptop from Wally World, and in early 2012, a Toshiba laptop from Wally World. It is interesting that the last was by far the most powerful of all and was less expensive than any of the earlier desktop computers.  In fact, the 2011 HP laptop cost the same as the first Commodore 64.

Mixed in with all those computer changes, I had a few job changes. First in 1988, a move from store to factory.  In 1990, came an advancement to Quality Control.  I worked second shift and the person that did the same job as I did on first shift also did computer entry for our department.  When he took a clerical job in the front office, at a friend's suggestion, I volunteered to take over his computer work. I have had a succession of jobs since then, but each step up or sideways always involved more and more computer work and less and less real work.

And in 2001, my experiences with that first computer paved the way to my current position in front of a computer screen at work, while so many of the people I worked alongside in 1988 are still battling assembly [or dis-assembly] work on the factory floor.

All because of Christmas in 1984.     

Saturday, December 28, 2013

Family Portraits

Johnny and June, Bertha's kids born in October.

Holly and Nate, Patsy's kids born Christmas Day.

Boots and Molly, Big White's kids, born yesterday.

Carol and Nick, Little Sis' kids born Dec. 18.

And the Greys.

Meet our herd...

The Girls.


The largest goat we have.  She has never bred and when we sell the billies we are going to sell her also.


Herd Mama.  She is mother of 5 youngsters, and grandmother to all the others.

Big White.

She is mother of 4 youngsters, and grandmother of 2 through her daughter, Patsy.  She is our only full sized mother.  All the other nannies that have given birth are small goats or sired by our small Black Billy.

Lady Grey.

Mother of 1.  She is our smallest nanny and she is built differently than Bertha and the other small goats.  I am not sure what breed any of the goats are, but Grey and the other small goats do not appear to me to be the same breed, but what do I know about goats anyway.

Little Sis.

Mother of 3 in the picture with her. Daughter of Bertha, born in May of 2012.


Mother of 2.  Daughter of Big White and Black Billy.  I think she is our best looking nanny in both body structure and coloring.  She was born in St. Patrick's Day, 2013.

Baby Grey.

Daughter of Lady Grey and Black Billy, born Oct 7, 2013.  She is really cute.


Daughter of Bertha and Black Billy, born Oct. 7, 2013. She looks something like Baby Grey, but lighter and she has a wide white strip on her right side.

Christmas Carol.

Daughter of Little Sis and Black Billy, born Dec. 18.  She is really tiny.


Daughter of Patsy and Black Billy, born Dec. 25.  She is our only black female.


Daughter of Big White and Black Billy, born Dec. 27.  She has good color, with a blaze face, no brown spots and long floppy ears.  She is noticeably taller than Patsy's new kids, being from a full sized nanny and a small billy.

The Boys.

Black Billy.

Son of Bertha, born May 21, 2012. He sired all our kids this year.  He is now a wether, and will be going to the sale soon.

Hot Rod.

Son of Big White and Black Billy, born March 17, 2013.  He is going to be our new herd billy. He has good markings and good body structure.

Black Jack.

Son of Bertha and Black Billy, born Feb. 23, 2013.  He was our first kid born this year.  He is a wether, and we will sell him before spring.

Half N Half.

Son of Little Sis and Black Billy, born May 22, 2013. He is a wether and is headed for the sale ring.


Son of Bertha and Black Billy, born Oct. 7, 2013 with June.  He is a wether and will be sold.


Son of Little Sis and Black Billy, born Dec. 18 with Christmas Carol.  He is a billy and will go to the sale.  He is a tad bigger than his sister,but still tiny.


Son of Patsy and Black Billy, born Dec. 25 with Holly.  He will be sold.


Son of Big White and Black Billy, born Dec. 27, with Molly.  He will be sold.

That is our whole herd.


This is all my chickens except for the extra rooster that was hatched last spring.  I cannot remember how many we got from Patsy the last time, but it was either 14 or 17.  I have 11 red hens.  I think one of those is the red hen from the first bunch she gave me, but can't really tell for sure.  Then there is the little cream colored banty still around from the first bunch.  The larger cream colored pullet is the only other survivor of last spring's hatchlings. Then we still have the little feather footed banty and Robert the rooster.  I still get one or two eggs a day.  Another couple of months and they will start laying again.  All the red hens roost in the chicken house.  The little banty and her chicks roots in the old shop.  They are enjoying the sunshine and the stale bread I gave them.  They love bread.  

It is a beautiful day, already above 50 degrees.  Everyone has left and I am here along, enjoying the peace and quite for a change.

Friday, December 27, 2013

More Babies

Born around noon today.  They were dry and healthy when I found them around 4 pm.  One Nanny and one Billy again.

That makes 13 kids born in 2013, 15 kids born in the 2 years since Patsy gave us the goats. That is not even counting the 2 we gave away. We have 19 all told now, with 8 billies and 11 nannies.  We are going to sell all the billies except for Hot Rod that will be our herd billy next year.  We will wait for nice weather, probably around March or April before we sell them.  Sam says not to make wethers of them.  They will sell better as billies, so that is what we will do.

The one in front is the billy, in back is the nanny.

Nanny on the right.  The nanny is mostly white with a blaze face.  The billy has brown stockings.

I think I will call the nanny Molly and the nanny born in Christmas Holly.  This billy can be boots, but if we are selling the billies, their names are not very important.

This is Christmas Carol and Nick, born December 18.  They are really tiny, but healthy.

These are the two born on Christmas day.  The billy on the left Hannah named Nate. She wanted to name the nanny Katie, but I am thinking Holly.  We will see.  The nanny is the black one in the back.  These two and the two born today are bigger and have much longer legs than the ones born to all the little nannies.

This is Baby Grey, almost as big as her mother, and my favorite of the whole baby bunch. She is about 11 weeks old now.

Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Christmas Present from Patsy

Patsy the nanny.  She was born on St. Pat's day, and has twins born on Christmas day.  I went down in the field to see how the new babies were doing and started looking for Patsy.  Could not see her.  Went to the barn and found two presents.  The more black one is a nanny and the more white one is a billy.

They both have floppy ears like their mama.  If it was Easter, we would call them Flopsy and Mopsy.

They are already dry, so they have were probably born this morning.  Since George already named the other pair Christmas names, we need names for these two. I guess we could call them Frankie and Virginia.

It is almost 50 degrees. The nicest day we have had in a long time.

Baby Grey climbing a tree.  Greg and George thought she was stuck, but when Greg went to get her out, she jumped.

Merry, Merry

Grill really likes the mepad.

Boy LOVES the train.

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Snow, blowing cold...

But we have made it to 35 degrees at 2pm.  It was 18 this morning.  Really, really cold but the snow is almost gone already.

No one is driving this today.

She ain't her Mama.  With temperatures well below freezing, she left her little one and went wondering afield.  I noticed around 11 that she was out in the field across from the house with just the billy, no Christmas Carol anywhere in sight.  I figured she  had left her at the barn.  I was trying to mop the floors, so it was after 1 before I went looking for the other baby.

Bertha  and Little Grey had their babies bedded down and protected in the tall grass along the fence line.

I found her at the barn asleep in a protected corner in the sun.  I scooped her up and put her inside my coat.  She did not move or make a sound.  I think she had been alone too long.  

She ran right to the food source.

Lady Grey is watching the dog.  Grey and Bertha fight the dogs and run them off when they get too close, but the Little Sis will run the other way, leaving her babies to fend for themselves.

Baby is almost as big as Mama.  Lady Greg is a good mama now.  No more loosing baby.

They come up and I fed them here at the house.  We feed them cattle cubes so we can just scatter them on the ground.  You have to spread the cubes in a large area or only Bertha, Sandy and the black Billy will get to eat.

The white nanny in front on the left is Patsy, born to Big White on St. Patrick's day.  I think she is going to have babies next.  Probably within a week or so.  She has more of a bag then she did when the new babies were born last week, so it is not going to be long.  Then, Big White will have babies within a month or so.  We have 15 goats and counting.

Oh, and I got all the Christmas wrapped except for the Ipad.  I still want to get a princess story or game for Hannah tonight.  I have about a half dozen educational games for it now.  I took Helen's advise and did not get any regular games, only ed games.  I am learning how it works, but I think I like the PC better except for reading books.  The touch screen will be good for the kids learning games.  And, if they don't like it, I can use it to read books.

Sure glad I did not have to go to work in the snow and cold.