Thursday, October 31, 2013

Otterbox Warranty

When I bought the new Moto-X I also bought an Otterbox Defender to protect it.  At the time I thought the Otterbox was also made in the USA.  Turns out that it wasn't.  Only certain Otterbox cases are made here.  Unfortunately my US made Moto-X has been wrapped in a Chinese case.  After 3 weeks of light use the belt clip broke.  I had purchased the Otterbox because it is supposed to be the best. 

 I'm willing to give them the benefit of a doubt though that maybe it was a one off flaw in the plastic.  It was made in China.  Their warranty stated that it was guaranteed to be free from defects for a year.  I went to their web site on my phone and found a rather easy to use warranty claim system.  It was a bit odd.  I had to take 2 pictures of the case and submit them with the claim.  One of the entire case sitting on a hand written note pointing to the defect and another of the date molding that shows when it was molded.  Unfortunately the pictures wouldn't upload due to the weak cell signal I have at work.  However 4 minutes after I created the ticket I received this Email.
Dear Jesse,
Thank you for contacting OtterBox. Our Customer Service Otters are actively working on your request, and will reach out to you via email within 48 business hours if any additional information is needed.

Please respond to this email if you have any questions.

Kindest Regards,

48 business hours.... That's six days.   Oh well.
Unexpectedly by the time I get home this email is waiting for me in my inbox.

Dear Jesse,
Thank you for contacting OtterBox. We are excited for the opportunity to assist with your request, 
and we look forward to exceeding your expectations.
All we need to order your replacement are two photos of your OtterBox case. Please follow all 
directions to prevent any processing delays.
  • Photo 1 needs to clearly show:
    • Your entire OtterBox case
    • Your case damage
    • Your name and the current date, handwritten on a piece of paper
    *If your OtterBox case features a design (e.g., camouflage), please make sure it is also 
    showcased in this photo.
  • Photo 2 needs to clearly show:
    • The circle/square stamping on the inside of your slip cover
    • Your name and the current date, handwritten on a piece of paper
Please upload images using the following link: LINK ERASED FOR BLOG
Please respond to this email if you have any questions.

Customer Service Representative
Phone number erased for blog

209 S Meldrum
Fort Collins, CO 80521

I promptly upload the photos and received this final email before I went to bed.

Jesse — Your warranty order has been received!
Our Distribution Otters will pack and ship your replacement as quickly as possible. We will send you a shipment confirmation with a FedEx tracking number as soon as your order has begun its journey to your doorstep.
Please review your order summary and our processing information, and feel free to contact our Customer Service Otters if you have any questions.

Thanks again for choosing OtterBox

Our Otters work tirelessly to get orders out the door as quickly as possible. Most are dispatched within 24 hours, but at times it may take up to 72 business hours to send an order on its way. As soon as processing is complete you will receive a shipment confirmation via email.

So while I am still disappointed that it's from China at least Otterbox stands behind their products.  I checked today and it has shipped from Colorado and is on its way.  Hopefully it was just a defect.

Monday, October 21, 2013

Super Chef

Quick video of Logan and Paige getting down to super chef by Colin Buchanan on the way to Lowe's this morning

Sunday, October 20, 2013

A good Sunday

I woke up this morning at 8 and realized it was Sunday.  By 9 Logan, Paige, Lillie and I had full bellies, brushed hair, and were dressed for church. With James only one week old Danielle stayed home with him. I'm sure she enjoyed the extra sleep with the rest of the kids gone.

After church the kids and I went to a local restaurant called J&E's for some Sunday fried chicken.  Then it was off to Lowe's to get furnace filters and some parts to fix the faucets that have been dripping for months. Six dollars and about fifteen minutes of work later we had cleaner air and no more dripping faucets!

Then we all went outside! Lillie and I worked in the garden on the raspberry mess while Logan and Paige rode their bikes. I finally finished the raspberry trellis that has been half finished sitting in the driveway for about a month. Then about an hour and 100 twist ties later the raspberries were all tied up.

Thursday, October 10, 2013

Moto-X - Made in USA

Of course with Danielle due any day my cell phone would finally die.  After a little research I found out that Motorola is assembling cell phones in the USA. More specifically they are à assembling A cell phone in the USA, the moto-x.  While I have been buying Motorola phones for years with no problems this made it easy to choose a new phone. On Sunday I picked up my new moto-x. So far it has been great.

Friday, September 20, 2013

Headless Copperhead

I went out to the chicken coop tonight to lock the birds up and remembered seeing some eggs that they had laid in the lean-to behind the coop.  I was getting ready to climb up and get them off the straw when I looked down and saw a nice Copperhead smiling at me.  Unfortunately for him, in addition to straw, that is where I keep my garden tools.  A few seconds later and one whack with the edger it's bye bye head.

Sunday, September 8, 2013

New entrance to the garden

I'm not sure why, but when I built the garden fence I only put a gate at one end of the garden..... The wrong end.  So I decided to cut down the fence a few weeks ago and add another gate.  While I'm still not done with the gate, I finished the fence today.  I need to take down the turkey pen in the back corner to reclaim a cattle panel to make a gate out of.

 As with the original build I use the wedge-loc T-post hardware for the bracing.  I'm really becoming a fan of the wedge-loc system.  It makes it so easy to put up a quick fence.

You can't really see it in the picture but there is a 8 gauge monofilament  line at the top keeping it all tight.  The fence is 5ft tall but does a good job keeping the chickens out of the garden.  At least it will once I build another gate.

Friday, August 30, 2013

Chop Rite Two #12 Meat Grinder - Made in USA

For my birthday this year Danielle got me a meat grinder to grind up the old laying hens once their replacements start laying.  We found a company that makes cast-iron meat grinders here in the USA with US iron.  This meat grinder was designed in the late 1800s and manufactured under the Enterprise brand until the 1990s when the company changed hands and was renamed Chop-Rite.  I was a bit hesitant because it is not tinned like the old models but now has a Xylon coating on the cast iron.  We'll have to see how it holds up over time.


Monday, August 26, 2013

New Shoes - Made in USA

My tennis shoes have finally degraded to a point that I can't wear them off of the homestead without embarrassing the wife.  Something about being able to see my feet when they're on......  So it was time to get some new shoes.  In keeping with the "try and find American made things" i gave a half-hearted search on google for american made running shoes.  Surprisingly enough, they actually exist.  I had heard of New Balance a few years ago but thought they just made walking shoes for senior citizens.  Turns out they make a whole line of shoes, both within the USA and overseas.  Before buying you need to check and find out what models are made here.  These are NewBalance model MR990v3 (Men's Running 990 version 3).   Yup, look like shoes.  We'll see how they hold up.

Carrot Harvest

Logan and I dug up the carrot bed this weekend.  Typical with every new bed we start here in Georgia they were tiny.  Hopefully the bed will be better next year after we mix in some compost.  So what does one do with a lot of tiny carrots.... I'm thinking chicken stock for the bigger pieces and feed the rest to the chickens.

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Garden update 7/17/2013

There's not too much left in the garden.  The peas have all been harvested and pulled out.  The green beans have been harvested.  The corn has been harvested.  The potatoes have been harvested.  This is what's left.
 One bed of onions and weeds.
 The pepper plants are doing great!  We have more jalapenos than we know what to do with.  I took a whole bag of peppers to work one day and a whole bag to church one Sunday.  They are all full of peppers again.  We have canned banana peppers, made salsa, and frozen tons of jalapenos.
 The tomatoes have grown out the top of the trellis and are flowering still.  I ended up dousing them with seven to kill the stink bugs.  The nicotine poison was useless.
 The cucumber plants are still going strong.  I only planted a few this year to eat fresh.  We still have tons of pickles from last year.

Like the watermelon the butternut squash have started to split open from all the rain we have been receiving lately. 
One bed full of carrots and weeds.

Not pictured is one bed of sweet potatoes that is still going strong.

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Hive Check 7/9/13

It's been about a month so I decided to check on the hives again.  The green hive is just barely surviving while the gray hive is growing well.

These first pictures are from the green hive.  They have not touched the second super yet.
 They are still SLOWLY building out the frames in their brood chamber

 This frame is bulging honey.  I would cut it out but they don't have much brood comb as it is.
 This is the frame that is next to the bulging one, notice the giant hole.
These pics are from the gray hive.
 They have build out the comb of every frame in the second super and are filling them with HONEY!
 The next two pictures are of their brood frames.  I only got 3 frames into the hive before they started to get really aggravated and I retreated.  There's a reason I call this my "mean hive".  They like to sting me.

With the second super filled in with comb it was time to add a third.  This is exciting for us because the first two supers belong to the bees.  One brood box and one honey super is what they will need to survive the winter.  The second honey super is what we get to rob.
I have heard two methods of equalizing the colony strengths.  The first is to switch the position of the hives during the day.  This will result in the foraging workers returning to the other hive and increasing the number of workers that the weak hive has.  The second method is to take a frame of brood from the strong hive that is covered with bees and swap it with one of the frames in the weak colony that is still being built out with comb.  This will result in not only the brood but also the nurse bees that were on the hive when you moved it adding to the weaker colony.  What to do.... What to do....

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Another Snake!

I went out to the coop last night around midnight to lock up the birds for the night.  We had rented a movie and didn't shut the door at dusk as usual.  This is what I found in the coop.  If you don't see it, look in the 2nd nest box from the left on the bottom row.

A few minutes and a round from Grandpa's old Browning Automatic later.....

Thursday, June 27, 2013

What's wrong with this picture?

Standing in line waiting for my 3 kids meals and 2 spicy chicken meals I noticed something......  can anyone tell me what's wrong with this picture?  I know it's fuzzy but I took it with my phone.  This was taken at the new Chick-Fil-A here in town that opened a few months ago.

Stink bugs

I noticed the other day that there were a lot of stink bugs on the tomato plants.  Looking online I found a recipe for a nicotine spray to kill stink bugs.

  1. 4
    Use a nicotine solution. Soak a pack of shredded cigarettes in 1 gallon (4 liters) of warm water. Strain the solution and mix in 2 Tbsp (30 ml) of dish detergent.

    • Fill a spray bottle with this solution and thoroughly coat the stink bug with it.
    • The liquid dish detergent allows the solution to stick to the insect more effectively, and the nicotine poisons the stink bug.
    • Wear disposable gloves as you work with the nicotine solution to avoid accidentally absorbing the poison through your skin.

As soon as I started spraying there was a swarm of stink bugs flying out of the tomato plants.  Apparently they didn't like it much.  We'll have to see if they are as bad tomorrow, or if it worked.  

6/27/13 garden harvest

Today's harvest, Tomatoes, Cucumbers, 3 green beans, 2 Cowhorn Peppers, 1 green pepper, many Jalapenos, and many Banana Peppers.

Sunday, June 23, 2013

2013 Potato Harvest

All the potato plants died off about a week ago so we decided it was time to pull up the potatoes and get the beds ready for the fall plant.  We had planted 2 beds of potatoes, one bed of white and one of red.  The beds are 4x8 ft.  I believe it was 15 plants each, but my records are horrible (again), better than last year but still not good enough.  This was the final harvest.

Red Harvest

White Harvest

Picture of both with a carrot that accidentally got pulled when weeding the carrots.

I'm thinking about planting next year's potatoes in the 20x20 block that I used for corn this year.  I'll have to mix in a lot of compost to loosen up the soil enough for that though.  They may just go into raised beds again next year, we'll see.  

Thought I would add the weights

17 pounds of red

13 pounds of white

2013 Corn Harvest

Knee high by the 4th of July???  Not in Georgia.  We picked our corn this weekend.  Last year the corn only grew 2 feet before it died so it's definitely an improvement.  Last fall I left the turkey pen in a corner of the yard until they killed all the grass and "fertilized" the soil well.  I then moved their pen forward and repeated the process.  We did this for 4 squares which gave us a 20x20 plot to plant the corn in.  I used the old wheel plow the neighbor gave me to till it up.  The only thing I did after planting it was to throw down some blood meal a few weeks after it germinated.  About 3 weeks ago we had a big storm come through that blew about 1/2 of it over.  Some I could stake back up and some was just lost.  Here are some pics from the harvest.

The kids and I start picking in the 20x20 block.

The harvested ears

What was left after cleaning them and discarding those that were too bug infested, not pollinated well , or just nasty looking.  The chickens will eat the ears that we didn't want.

The final score.... 16 bags of corn cut off the cob, ready to go into Danielle's casseroles.

There are still some late arrival ears in the patch so we may get a bit more but I'm not counting on much more this year.  At least we found out that it is possible to grow sweet corn here.  It just has to happen a LOT earlier than in Illinois.