LJR Enterprises

Our homestead, Our links

Month: July, 2006

Refresh This

by Scott Smith

As some of you may know, I am not with the firm. After eight years, the end came on the last Friday of June. I have more reflections on that come the final day of July, but I now want to focus on life with job boards and recruiters.

For those of you not looking for work, you may not realize the number of internet companies proving job services. Staggering. You’d think this was the real estate — sorry Real Estate(R) — business and their 6% on $750K homes.

And, there is good reason: they suck. They must all think they can build a better job site but I haven’t seen it. For instance, on CareerBuilder.com, I apply for a position then have to fill-out my personal information a second time for the employeer because they don’t share data. Oh, that’s efficient. That’s like typing an address into Google Maps and then having to type it again so I can have Google maps provide driving instructions.

The search on these sites is pathetic. Monster.com knows I’m looking for a position in western Michigan (or it should know since I have already specified the Kalamazoo area), but shows me jobs in California, Nebraska and Florida. Also, Monster displays an ad on every other page I visit — and it isn’t always clear to me right away that it is an ad. Very nice. Glad they have me, me being the customer, in mind while they design the site.

Jobster is a Web 2.0 version of a job site. See, Web 2.0 apps are simple and direct and require little direction. Well, Jobster shows little direction. You have to hunt and peck to figure out what to do. It’s enough to make you wish Craigslist had more traction in western Michigan.

Today, Sharma from Technical Software (like ManPower for geeks) contacted me about a Senior Network Analyst’s position. Fine. She says she sent an email. No, there is no email. “Hit refresh,” she says.

Okay, maybe if you were trying to hire my 88 year-old grandmother you’d have to tell her to hit refresh to force gmail to show me new emails, but not a guy with over ten years of computer experience.

She told me to hit refresh at least six times during our conversation.

Finally, she tried her Yahoo account and sure enough the email got to me — and she stopped asking me to hit refresh.

Anyway, before the ’email’ arrived with the job description and requirements, she read it aloud to me. On speakerphone. I explained to her I have bad hearing. She kept me on speakerphone; I was being to subtle.

I responded to each of her questions, and I’d throw a joke in every once in awhile. When she asked me about IBM 3270 experience, I said I couldn’t even fake that for 20 seconds. Oh, this sent our conversation to whether or not I thought faking was good. Shoot me now, I thought. Put me in my chicken killing cone and slice my neck wide open; let me bleed good and long.

In the end, she decided I should revise my resume, create a skills matrix, and give two technical references. Fine. I did that in the 30 minute time-frame she provided. The deadline was 5p today.

It is now nearly 6p and I never heard back from her. No email. No calls. Inconsiderate to say the least. This would be my second dealing with a tech recruiter and I am hoping my last.

Pig Shelter Update

by Scott Smith

A little photographic update on the pig shelter.shelterupdate.jpg

Sunday Dinner

by Scott Smith

This morning while I was looking for eggs El Guapo snuck up and attacked me from behind. He actually drew (a small amount) blood. I yelled at him and threw a rock at him but he really wasn’t impressed with me. His days on this earth are numbered (my guess is that as soon as Scott reads this it’s over for him). I have terrible images of one of my children losing an eye and everything I’ve read says it will only get worse and no matter how we try to change his behavior we’ll never be able to trust him even if he becomes more afraid of us than we are of him. So, now the rooster I swore I’d never have will be no more. El Guapo must die.


Thought I would add a picture of El Guapo on his final day. He really was a pretty bird.

Shell Game

by Scott Smith


I’ve become familiar with all of the eggs my hens give me now. I don’t always know which egg goes with which bird, but I’ve come to expect to see certain colors and shapes in varying degrees of cleanliness each day. So, this evening while I was washing today’s eggs the egg in the middle jumped out at me. I definitely have not gotten an egg this particularly rich shade of brown before today, which leads me to believe (hope?) that the pullets we have been feeding and housing since it was still cold outside might officially be hens now. Well, at least one of them. So, hopefully our egg count will be doubling or tripling in the next few weeks. I’d better get on that inspection business I’ve been putting off.

**UPDATE** This morning there was a shelless egg which is another sign that the pullets are “coming into egg.” I would have photographed it but it was really kind of icky.


by Scott Smith


I’m not a dedicated garage saler by any stretch of the imagination but I do get lucky from time to time when I stop by a garage sale I happen to pass. Of course, anymore I only go in search of canning jars because it is the only affordable way a person can actually put up their own garden produce (and I have no interest in buying used toilet seats or ash tray sets from the 70’s). My husband would be happy to tell you that I’ve purchased more jars than anyone could possibly use since we landed in Hickory Corners but I’ve only spent about 1/100 of what those jars would have cost new. My most recent batch cost me $10 and I’m sure that there are several dozen usable jars in the many boxes I walked away with. Now I can start filling them with raspberry jam and jalapeno peppers!

MaryJane’s Chapter Quilt

by Scott Smith

My friend Cammie and I signed up as a “Farmgirl Chapter” and I made a quilt square for the Chapter Quilt that was displayed at the Farm Fair MaryJane Butters holds at her place in Idaho annually (I think that this was the second?). It seems like it would be a really fun thing to go to but Idaho is a long drive from Michigan, so my square got to be there in my stead. Mine is the one in the lower, left hand corner. I’m really, really sorry now that I forgot to take a picture of it before I mailed it off.


Gloria Walls of Texas pieced and quilted the quilt out of the goodness of her heart. She has a quilting business called “Strawberry House Quilting.” Here is an excerpt from her brochure:

“Happiness is finishing and owning a quilt! Have you always wanted a beautiful quilt for your bed, a guest bed or even your sofa? Well we could design one or pick an old favorite, with your special colors. It can be done! Or do you have a quilt top ready to be quilted? We could also get that completed. Sandwiched with batting, backing and finished off with a binding! Maybe you have an old family quilt top that needs finishing–just call me! Together we can get it finished.”

The picture and excerpt were taken from MaryJane’s Farmgirl Connection.

One Duck, Two Duck. Old Duck, New Duck.

by Scott Smith

We have four more ducklings. Three of the five (out of fifteen) remaining eggs hatched without a problem but one of them stalled and I decided to intervene this time rather than sit by and watch. The duck I helped seems to be doing fine despite the controversy that surrounds helping in the hatching process. The fifth duckling was lost somewhere along the way.

The hatch caught me off guard this time and I probably wouldn’t have even noticed when I did if the cats had not been acting suspiciously. Either I miscounted the days or these are some precocious ducklings. Here’s our cat, George, checking out the action.george.jpg
A freshly hatched duckling:justhatched.jpg
Almost dry:
And here are the first three ducks that we hatched. They’ve lost almost all of their down and are looking much more duck-like. I just hope that they stop being so terrified all the time and come out of their house soon.