Monday, September 19, 2011

You can't eat money

“Only when the last tree has died, and the last river has been poisoned, and the last fish has been caught, will we realize that we cannot eat money.” –Native American proverb

We are in the midst of downsizing, getting ready to retire and travel. I am selling my birds, the lofts and large items that won't fit in a motorhome. 

I have had some pretty strange people contact me, like the guy who offered me $100 for everything to do with the pigeons. When I told him to come out and see the birds, the loft and the equipment; then make me a reasonable offer, he was offended.
His response: 

"Im sorry to bother you, I thought that was a fair price to offer. I could buy New materials for 80 dollars and put it together myself in a few hours. I just thought you were trying to get rid of it so I thought I would check......."

I don't know about you, but to build an 8x8 loft with two sections, including nest boxes and perches costs me about $800...if this guy can build them for $80...he should be doing that for a living.

Okay, so we want to downsize and selling some of our items on craigslist or seemed like a good way to get them out there...but I wasn't ready for the crazies to come
And the 9 foot church pew, and the military 10 man tent sold within minutes...anyone need a 35 mm camera???

'I think I could turn and live with the animals, they are so placid and self contained; I stand and look at them long and long. They do not sweat and whine about their condition; They do not lie awake in the dark and weep for their sins; They do not make me sick discussing their duty to God; Not one is dissatisfied-not one is demented with the mania of owning things; Not one kneels to another, nor his kind that lived thousands of years ago; Not one is responsible or industrious over the whole earth.'-Walt Whitman

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Amazon...does anyone understand it?

My wife, the beautiful author, Natalie R Collins, has 5 books (actually 8 but the others are under another name) available on Kindle, through I have been tracking them daily for over a month now. The results are a little difficult to understand.
From what I have been able to discover through research, there are over 1,000,000 titles available on Kindle through Amazon. Today, all five of Natalie's books are ranked below 100,000 paid in Kindle: that's 5 books in the top 10%...isn't it???
Now the part I don't understand...yesterday is a prime example. At 6:00 pm last evening, "Behind Closed Doors" was ranked 102,089 in paid kindle 11:30 last night, it had jumped to 51,729 in paid kindle sales...from the numbers, it would seem she sold a bunch of copies during that period...reality seems to say it was only 2 or 3 copies. At least, that is what the royalty numbers seem to indicate.
So, can anyone out there shed some light on this subject? How does Amazon ranking work???

And what does it mean when "Sister Wife" has been ranked as high as #10 in "Books>Religion & Spirituality>Christianity>Mormonism" ???

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Moving Forward, or life evolves

I really can't complain about my life, there are others that have it worse, much worse. I have had my trials over the last 5 and half years since my accident. But the past year and a half has more than made up for it. My beautiful wife has made such a difference in my life. Helping her through her periods of illness and having a teenager back in the house have been "character" building for me...they have also brought me great joy.
For a year now, I have been on disability retirement, next month we will lose a third of my income. While Natalie's books have grown in popularity and sales they will not replace the income we have lost.
We are moving ahead, it is a scary time...we will be putting the house on the market very soon. In this bad economy, and the fall in the housing market, we will be lucky to get out and break even after living here for over 6 years. But a bright future awaits us.

The dancing daughter is ready to graduate high school and move out on her own...within the parameters set by her mother...and hopefully assisted by her father. The whole applying for colleges and looking for scholarships is taking up a large part of our time. She has recently thrown a small wrench in the works, wanting to run off to Hollywood and become an actress as soon as she graduates...we are working on getting her a little experience in that field, hoping that she will understand that it isn't as easy as she thinks, or everyone would do it.
My own children, and grandchildren are doing well...all out on their own and developing in to productive parts of society...I'm proud of them all!!
Our other daughter, has become much more mature, and is having conversations with her mother again. Including me in her family and accepting my children as her sisters and brother.

For me and Natalie, the next question is where do we want to go together? She has never lived outside of the "Zion Curtain", oh she has traveled, but vacations are not the same as living somewhere. We are making a list,  "The Top 10 Places We Want to Retire to"...we are thinking that over the next 5 years or so, we will travel and live for 6 months in each of them, to get a feel for where we want to settle. Suggestions are welcome.

Natalie wants a beach and somewhere warm...but she will settle for somewhere that doesn't get snow, within a half day's drive of the beach.

I have lived all over, I have my ideal places, ones that include being near the wilderness, somewhere rural, but close enough to a "City" to have the conveniences and luxury we both enjoy.

For the next few years, having pigeons will not be an option...hard enough trying to travel with a Great Dane.

Wine will become something we buy and not make (well, maybe a gallon on the kitchen cupboard).
Wish us luck, give us suggestions on retirement areas we should check out, and continue to follow our adventures on our blogs...and read Natalie's books...suggest them to them and give them as gifts.

Wine: The blackberry mead...didn't make it...I'll try again one day.  The Backyard Blonde is fantastic...and if you run into us, we might even share a glass. I got a start off the old vine in the backyard, so that will be going on with us...where ever we end up.

Birds: I am down to the last of the birds, still waiting to have the old racing loft hauled away by it's new owner. I gave a pair of my best birds to my I'll have the family when I want to get back into the birds. And my partner Eric Ellis has taken a couple of my breeder pairs to preserve the family I created.

Saturday, August 27, 2011

BBQ Recipe

So my wife and daughter are doing a special diet, no processed foods. Today, I am making Country Style BBQ Pork Ribs. The homemade sauce turned out pretty good if I do say so myself.

1 Cup Wine (using Backyard Blonde)
1/2 clove garlic
1/2 onion diced
2 Tablespoons powered mustard
4 Tablespoons Balsamic Vinegar (using Honey Ginger)
2 Tablespoons Extra Virgin Olive Oil
1 Tablespoon Sea Salt
1/2 teaspoon paprika

After mixing ingredients in the slow cooker and bringing to a slow simmer, add boneless pork ribs/chicken or lamb. Cook until tender.
Let me know how it turns out for you and any variations you come up with.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

End of Summer

The dancing daughter and our grandchildren have gone back to school, the Young Bird race season has started...all signs that summer is at an end. It has been a hectic summer, I still have wine that needs to be bottled, the peaches are coming on and soon the grapes will be ready to juice. Politics that I try to stay away from are gearing up...especially the local primary elections. My 75 year old father has thrown his hat in the ring to run for the City Counsel. So if you have friends or family living in Kaysville, Utah...he would appreciate their vote.

Disclaimer: My views are not always those of my father's and his are not always mine, but he does stand for the type of change in local government that I can stand behind and support.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Sentencing for a Hero

Tim DeChristopher was sentenced to two years in prison and a $10,000 fine today.
His statement to the judge prior to sentencing shows exactly why he is a hero in my book.
It's a long read, but worth it.
Can't wait to see you when you get out Tim.

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Celebrating a year

Today is a very special day, it is my 1st Anniversary of being married to Natalie R Collins. For me, it was amazing to find love so late in my tell the truth I didn't believe I would live this long.
For our close friends and family (blood as well as the adopted ones) thank you for your support.
Two major surgeries during the last year for Natalie have at times put a strain on our relationship. The continued battle over the discrimination that forced me to accept a disability retirement has not helped.
It is never easy for middle-aged people to start a new lifetime relationship...we are set in our ways, have the baggage of our lives dragging behind us...and these quirks tend to show themselves at the worst possible moment.
It hasn't been easy for either of us, but this first year has been wonderful in so many ways, that the little day to day difficulties of a relationship are eclipsed by the love we share.
Thanks for putting up with me, Natalie. I love you today more than I did when I asked you to spend the rest of your life with me.
Thanks for all the support!