MiFine Bluetooth Earbuds

Y’all just thought I was kidding when I said I liked Bluetooth headphones.

This is an earbud, not a headphone, so it’s not my favorite style, but this one has a couple features that I really liked so I thought I’d give them a whirl. I wasn’t disappointed with the features, but they’re still an earbud, so for me, it’s not an “all day every day” wearable, but still very nice for the occasional wear.

MiFine Bluetooth Earbuds

PROS for the Mifine Bluetooth Earbuds

  • Excellent packaging. It comes in a really nice reusable acrylic box. It’s a little too big to use to store the headphones alone in, but it’s great for keeping other things. I love packaging that you can reuse rather than discard.
  • All the controls are on the earbud itself. Many of the bluetooth earbuds put the controls along the wire, which causes the wire to become heavier on one side and can cause the earbuds to fall off easier when they are just laying on your neck.
  • Simplified controls are easy to learn, easy to find when you’re wearing them. On/Off and volume controls.
  • Good quality sound for phone called and music. I listen to audio books most of the time, and this was great for them. Music sounded good too, I’m not an audiophile but I can tell you the sounds were clear and the microphone worked well during phone calls.
  • Flat wire connecting the earbuds. I’ve heard the flat wires are better than round because it makes the wires less likely to break. I’ve had flat wires break and round wires break, I’m not sure if one is better than the other for longevity. I do know I like the look of the flat wires better than the round wires.
  • Plastic “screen” between the earbud and the ear. My camera isn’t good enough to capture this, but lots of earbuds have a metal screen preventing ear gunk from getting into the mechanisms of the ear bud. I’ve had this come out on a few pairs and I’m always worried it’s going to come out in my ear and I’ll never find it. This one has a built in plastic screen that can’t come out.

CONS for the Mifine Bluetooth Earbuds

  • It only has an on/off/play/stop button and volume controls, but since I rarely use my skip forward buttons on other headphones, this isn’t a bad thing for me.
  • Really bright bluetooth light. I usually end up having to put a piece of tape on the light just because I hate blinding people with the light and this is going to be one of those headphones I’m going to need to do that.


Really nice set of earbuds. Has good sound quality and easy to operate. Love the box they come in. Battery life is good and they charge quickly. I like the “phone” shape of the bluetooth light, even though it’s pretty bright. They come in a green and black version as well as a solid black.

Purchase Information:

I received these earbuds at a discount for testing purposes. I do not accept products for review unless I have a legitimate need or desire to test them out. I always strive to give an honest review. The product links in my review are potentially “affiliate” links in which I might receive a small payment based off your purchase that will in no way affect your purchase price.


Tenergy Bluetooth Beanie

I am a Bluetooth headphone junkie. I wear them 24/7.  I sleep in them, work in them, in fact I think the only time I take them off is in the shower. I used to read all the time, now I listen to audio books all the time so I can keep my hands free and actually get things done around the farm and house.

I am currently testing the Tenergy Bluetooth Beanie. There are a couple reasons why you’d want a beanie headphone instead of just your regular in-ear headphones.  My best reason is I usually just hate in-ear headphones. They cut off ambient noises more than over the ear and they end up hurting your ear canals so because of that, for me they have a limited length of wearability.

The beanie headphone also has a limited length of wear simply because it’s a warm cap that you’re only going to want to wear when it’s cold. They do make different thicknesses of beanies so if you’re looking for a summer weight or winter weight, you should be able to find one.

PROS specific to the Tenergy Bluetooth Beanie:

  • Fleece lined, so extra warmth – I wore mine for several hours in an A/C’d house and didn’t get sweaty but I’m not sure I’d want to wear it out in the summer heat.
  • Minimal wires – Some beanies have obvious wires that connect the two headphones, while this is good for cleaning the hat, it’s terrible when it comes to wear. You’re always afraid you’re going to pull a wire and the earphones can move around more. That didn’t happen with this beanie.
  • Small charging hole – Since there’s no wires, there’s also just a small hole near the main headphone that allows you to charge. Again, this keeps the earphones in a stable position and makes the beanie look like a nicer
  • Movable puck – One of my biggest peeves on Bluetooth headphones is the super bright blinking blue light. It’s blinding when you’re in the dark. This one does still have a fairly bright light but you can shift it so that the leather patch covers the light and minimizes it.

CONS specific to the Tenergy Bluetooth Beanie:

  • Minimal wires – While it does say the beanie is hand washable, I’m not sure how you’d manage it since it says to remove the electronics first and the electronics are sewn into the hat. It makes for excellent positioning, but you might be SOL if you get some serious dirt on it. To be fair I think the faux fur pom pom wouldn’t survive a wash either. Note: Please see the update below for information on removing the speakers.
  • Small charging hole – While it’s great to have a small charging hole when you’re not charging, it’s kind of a pain to hunt for it when you do need to charge. You end up stretching the sweater to find the hole and I’m afraid long term it might look odd.
  • “Invisible” buttons – Clearly they aren’t truly invisible, however when it’s on your head there’s really no way to tell if you have a button selected or if you have the right button selected. Obviously all headphones have a learning curve and eventually you’ll just know where all the buttons are, but initially it’s kind of a pain.
  • Echo during calls – This only happened with my mother and it happens with all headphones, not just these, but I feel like I need to at least mention it.



Overall it’s a nice, comfortable beanie with good reception and sound at a really good price. It’s 6 hour playtime life is pretty good, but less than my “gold standard” set of headphones that lasts 10. Still a very comfortable way of listening to your favorite music or audiobook. Definitely worth looking into and purchasing.

Purchase Information:

I received this beanie at a discount for testing purposes. I do not accept products for review unless I have a legitimate need or desire to test them out. I always strive to give an honest review. The product links in my review are potentially “affiliate” links in which I might receive a small payment based off your purchase that will in no way affect your purchase price.

 UPDATE:  There is a way to remove the speakers, the hole is located inside the hat brim. Excellent place to put it as it is completely out of the way yet very easy to remove. I completely over looked it because the brim was tacked down in a couple places so I didn’t even check there.


Farm Gates

When we were only considering moving to the country, I knew I didn’t want a gate. I hate gates. I hate stopping for the gate, getting out of the car, opening the gate, getting back into the car, driving through, getting back out of the car, closing the gate, getting back into the car. Heaven forbid you forget something and have to go right back in. Don’t think bringing kids along with you makes it any easier. There’s mild complaining with one child, and endless fights and arguments about who has to get the gate when you’re actually at the gate, and then even more arguments and seat maneuvering during the trip to ensure they don’t have to get the gate on the way back home. It’s a necessary evil though, unless you aren’t planning on keeping animals, and even then it’s important because there are a lot of people out there that think a semi isolated farm house is easy pickings. You don’t want to make anything too easy for them. So we got a gate.  And we hated it.

A couple years ago my mother got an automatic gate opener. It was the greatest thing ever. The only problem for us is that it was pretty expensive and we have a “crushed crete” driveway and she’s got an asphalt one. Meaning hers was reasonably smooth and ours was a bumpy mess. For Christmas this year she took care of one of the problems for us, she bought us the opener. Little did I know I’d end up paying a ton on the supplies and the aggravation levels would be pretty high too.

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The completed gate system

The Mighty Mule gate systems are created to work on a “hanging gate” only. That’s a gate where nothing actually touches the ground. The main problems with that are trying to keep the gate level because gravity is working against you and animals just love it when you leave huge gaps in your fence line (Or under the gate) because the grass is ALWAYS greener on the other side. In order to circumvent this we got the highest rated MMGS which is the 500. It’s rated for a gate of 850 lbs and up to 18 feet. My gate is about 250 lbs and about 12 feet, so it’s well within the opener’s parameters are should give us a bit of extra power so it can work using the wheel.

The first thing I needed to do was build a better wheel system. There are reasonably inexpensive gate wheels out there but they have a few major problems. The first one is they just don’t last very long. About 6 months down the road the locking mechanisms that keep the wheel on rust out and the wheel falls off.  No one really advertises replacement wheels/locking mechanisms and there’s not really an easy way to attach a new wheel and the whole set up is only $20 so you just add more junk to the landfill (or your yard) and buy a new one. The second problem is they are just hard plastic so they rattle the gate on every bump. Mechanical things don’t like to shake rattle and roll every time they’re used so we needed to make the gate have a smoother opening and to be able to replace the wheel when it fell off.

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Completed re-vamped wheel system

The whole wheel thing could its own entry, but suffice it to say I wanted an air filled tire that I could connect to the standard $20 gate wheel assembly. Many, many stores later, I found one at Harbor Freight and my gate was opening relatively smoothly over the crushed crete driveway. Unfortunately it still wasn’t smooth enough.

The wheel had already created a trench in the driveway so I knew the path of the wheel pretty well. It was even reasonably smooth but every time someone drove through it a rock or some other debris would fall into the trench and create a speed bump. This wouldn’t work for the opener.

I first bought the red bricks shown in the pictures, but I put them down longwise, and created a small 4 inch wide track. This was a little too wobbly and I ended up having to reposition the bricks after almost every trip through. This was a pain in the butt, but not horrible and was easier than getting the gate until too many people went through it without checking the path and the gate hit a snag.

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The gate bar after the “snag”

I needed a better plan.

I ended up doubling the metal bar to strengthen the bar and stabilize the gate while it was being dragged across the driveway. I think this is going to be the best way to go, as I’d rather the bar give way than the gate itself or the gate opener. Both are far more expensive than buying another $15 bar.

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The double bar and the opener connected to the gate

I also turned the bricks shortwise and added some other paving stones to the trench to give the trench stability and smoothness. I dug out the rocks under the paving stones and made everything as smooth as I could.

Now the only problem is the paving stones aren’t rated for car weight and they’re already starting to crack under the pressure.

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I think my only recourse is to lay some actual concrete in a raised bed to keep the rocks and debris from falling into the trench. For now, it works, and I bought some extra paving stones so I can replace the ones that get too broken for the gate to use. Hopefully the concrete will be easier to work with than installing this gate.

For now everyone is happy, the gate is working, and there are fewer fights. How long that will last is anyone’s guess. The kids will just find new things to fight about, like whose turn it is to push the gate opener button.


An Exploration into Rendering Lard

We recently took our 400+ lb Berkshire Hampshire Hog to the “Freezer Camp” and got her made into food. This was our second large pig to slaughter, and the first time we got back fat to render into lard.

All the fat from the pig.

All the fat from the pig.

My first try didn’t work very well. You’re supposed to cut the pieces into small pieces so the fat will melt out and you’ll be left with the cracklings. I didn’t cut the pieces small enough and I ended up with no cracklings and very little (comparatively) fat.

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Chopped into small, but not small enough blocks

After the fat was drained, there's still a lot of rat that didn't get rendered and there's no crackling. All of it should look like those dark bits.

After the fat was drained, there’s still a lot of fat that didn’t get rendered and there’s no crackling. All of it should look like those dark bits.

So the first attempt did get some lard, but not nearly enough, 8 hours of cooking and still most of the fat is in the pieces, not in my container.

For my next attempt, I decided to grind the pork fat and render it that way. This was much more successful.

Fortunately I had an electric grinder, really sure I'd want to attempt this with a hand crank. Unless I could get the kids to help. ;)

Fortunately I had an electric grinder, really sure I’d want to attempt this with a hand crank. Unless I could get the kids to help. 😉

My big pan of ground fat

My big pan of ground fat

Starting to render

Starting to render

So this worked a lot better. I baked it at 250 degrees for the majority of the day. I poured off the fat frequently, and stirred after every pour. This helped keep the fat white and therefore less porky smelling tasting. When I started getting down to the end, and the fat started getting darker, I left it for longer because the cracking needed it to properly cook.


The “cracklin” has begun.

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The cracklin

The different colors of the fat I rendered. Far left is the whitest from the ground rendering. The middle is from the first day with the large chunks and the last one is from the cracklin, much darker and porkier.

The different colors of the fat I rendered. Far left is the whitest from the ground rendering. The middle is from the first day made from the large chunks and the last one is from the cracklin, much darker and porkier.

The whitest is supposed to be the least flavor, it’s for your desserts and sweet applications, the darker is for your savory products, maybe a pot pie crust or general cooking. I got about 8 pounds of fat from the first two days. I’ve still got another day to go.

Take aways –

  • Wear latex/nitrile gloves. They give your hands a lot more grip. The first day I didn’t wear them and ended up with a bunch of micro cuts all over my hands from so much knifework.
  • It’s easier to cut the fat when it’s thawing. Not too frozen and not too defrosted. My fat was frozen at the butcher’s and I cut off slices that had thawed until I got to the frozen solid parts, and that was how much I rendered that day.
  • Stir your pork every time you pour the fat off, but not before. When it cooks it starts to clump together and makes the pour easier. Stirring breaks it back up into tiny pieces.
  • The darker you let the pork get, the darker the lard will be. You can always use the light pork in savory foods. (I’d say a bacon flavored cookie would be bad, but honestly I might have to try it..)
  •  Most of the places I read said to put the fat in mason jars, but honestly, take a minute and try to imagine scooping the fat out of a mason jar. That’s why I used big plastic containers.

I’m happy to add one more item to my “prepper” arsenal, I doubt I’ll ever need to use this, but I and my family now know how to render fat and if TSHTF we can still have cookies. (Well, if we can find the flour 😉

Children are Suicidal

My youngest child is my trouble maker. She tries not to, but trouble just seems to find her no matter what she does. My favorite way to describe my kids and their behavior is this: My oldest son would go into a china shop and you’d tell him not to touch anything and he’d sit down in the middle and look at all the pretty patterns and just wait for you to come back. My next oldest would walk around with her hands behind her back and look more closely, but she’d still not touch anything. Next one up would lightly touch and maybe pick up a really pretty piece but she would still be very thoughtful and careful of the items. My youngest would start out with her hands in her pockets and try very hard to behave but her elbow would hit one of the handles and she’d lunge over to catch it and she’d trip over the legs of one of the display stands and before you knew it, everything would be in shambles.

She didn’t start out badly, it just ends badly.

Once she watched her big sister hand wash some clothes in the sink so she decided to hand wash her sister’s brand new phone in the sink for her.

I read an opinion piece today that explained some of her behavior. It quoted Rabbi Noach Orlowek and said “Children are Suicidal” .. If you can’t trust them to take care of their bodies, how can you trust them to protect THINGS. And that’s true. I watch my youngest far more than I watched the others, her nose is a perpetual target for anything. She’s had bloody noses more often than the other 3 put together. I’ll be surprise if she makes it to her 20s without breaking her nose at least once.

If she’s not going to be careful of something that causes her extreme pain, how can I expect her to watch out for things that are simply inconvenient if they break?

I’ll keep my brave 9 year old that wants to learn how to sky dive, become an astronaut, can fall off a horse and then jump right back on, one who cries because she can ONLY ride the some of the big roller coasters at Six Flags and not all of them because she’s not tall enough yet. She can stick her hand up a goat and try to help me manipulate a stuck kid and jump from hay bale to hay bale without ever thinking of falling.

I’m proud of her, and I hope her bravery and sense of wonder doesn’t ever go away.. even if she leaves a trail of broken things behind her.. at least I’ll know which way she went. 😉

Guineafowl are fun

The summer of 2015 was our 4th summer on the farm. Our third with animals. In the past we’ve always had a lot of guineas, I’d read they were good at bug disposal, snake disposal, and general small pest disposal. Unfortunately they are also INCREDIBLY stupid and like to commit suicide on  the 70 MPH road in front of our house. They’re not cheap, Atwoods sells day old chicks for $5-$10 each and you can buy them from other farmers for between $2 and $5. So definitely cheaper from other farmers, but you don’t get a box and mortar’s return policy and generally you have to drive further and honestly I’m at Atwoods all the time anyway so I might as well pick up chicks.

This year was especially rough on the guineas, we started last summer with at least 40, and went into this summer with a whopping 1. After spending every day chasing the guineas back into the fence, watching people hit the guineas, driving around their little corpses, or holding up traffic and potentially causing wrecks, we decided not to renew our guinea flock and just hope the other birds could hold their own with the bugs and other icks of the farm. They were unsuccessful.

So now we’re on the hunt for more guineas, hopefully we can do things a little different so they don’t roam as far and as wide. We started with a new guinea pen. It’s built out of 2 4×16 cattle panels, 8 6ft T-posts and a 12x?? tarp. (I got the tarp for something else, it’s too big for this project but I didn’t want to buy another one.)

This is the outside, you can see the tarp covering the cattle panels. The T-posts hold the panels in a curved position to give you height and width. The height/width doesn't matter really, I made them tall enough so I could walk under it without having to stoop down. Guineas like to roost so they want height as well as room for scratching the food.

This is the outside, you can see the tarp covering the cattle panels. The T-posts hold the panels in a curved position to give you height and width. The height/width doesn’t matter really, I made them tall enough so I could walk under it without having to stoop down. Guineas like to roost so they want height as well as room for scratching the food.

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This is the front of the pen. We’ve got the front made of a dog pen and then chicken wire on top, the back of the pen is just chicken wire with a piece of plywood for wind break and stability.

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The inside of the shelter, I’ll need to upgrade the tarp if I’m going to keep it more than a month or so.

This was really just meant to be a temporary holding cell for the guineas as they get used to the farm and their new home. But the more I think about it, I can use it to transition the chicks in the garage to the outdoors, when it’s time to move the puppies out I can put them in here and we’re thinking about getting some farm cats, I can put them in it too…

I guess if it ends up becoming more permanent I’ll add some more structure to the base, because the piglets have already wormed their way inside to try to steal the guinea’s feed.

Here’s a cute video I made of the single guinea meeting his new flock mates. They fought a lot the first evening, but by the next morning he was sad he couldn’t get in there and join them.

Wireless Doorbells

Before we moved out here, I swore I’d never have a gate. I hate gates. I hate having to get out of my car to open the gate. I hate having to get back in my car to drive through the gate. I hate having to get out of my car to close the gate. I hate that I don’t trust anyone but my immediate family to correctly open and latch the gate properly so my animals don’t escape. I hate that people have no problem sitting at the end of my driveway and get annoyed that I haven’t noticed they’re there yet.

Fortunately I may have that last one figured out. Enter the Wireless Doorbell. Now usually you’ll get one of these if your house isn’t already wired for a doorbell, but I have no need for a doorbell. I need people to be able to get my attention from the gate that is over 160 feet away from the house.

Enter the Plusinno Physen Series wireless doorbell. It’s got a 500 ft range, an excessive amount of ringtones and it looks pretty sharp to boot. Honestly there’s only about 3 ringtones you’d ever use, but the devil in me likes to think I’ll set it to one of the really long ringtones and go outside and ring it constantly. I don’t.. but the thought is always there.

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Here’s all the items you get when you order it. The doorbell transmitter, the receiver, a sign for those people that need directions regarding the use of doorbells and the hardware to attach the transmitter to whatever you’re attaching it to.

It’s very easy to set up. You’ve got your receiver that just plugs into a standard outlet and the doorbell that you can attach with double sided foam tape or with screws. Both types of hardware are included (a real bonus because I never seem to have the pieces I need laying around.) The doorbell comes with the batteries installed so you just pull out the plastic tag and it starts right up.

The receiver has a volume button so you can choose between 3 levels and 1 button for choosing the ringtone. It defaults to a generic ding-dong ding-dong but there are 52 melodies to choose from. There are several Christmas ones, some classical ones, some kid friendly nursery rhyme chants and even a Coo-coo clock and dog barking. I’m sure you’ll be able to find something that makes you happy. My only real complaint on the melodies is that they run a little long. For instance, one of the songs is “Oh Suzanna” and it does the music for the chorus and one verse.

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I added a solar light to the top of the doorbell

You can change/select your ringtone by selecting the ringtone then hold down doorbell and push the two buttons on the receiver at the same time. It’s very quick and easy, the only difficult part is if you go too fast through the ringtones and have to cycle back through them all to get back. 🙂

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The doorbell / light combination at night.

We created a quick little wooden panel that is attached to the fence so people can just ring the doorbell if they need us. Not sure if it’s a bad thing or a good thing, but the only people that have used it so far is the family when they are trying to annoy the people inside the house.

As of the time of this post the doorbell is around $15. You almost can’t eat dinner for that much so it’s a very small investment with a very large return.

Goats are Assholes

My friends on Facebook are familiar with the series Goats are Assholes, so I thought I’d share the series with you.

First, they like to climb on things.

Actually they climb on everything.

goats on jettas

Goats are Assholes


Goats on Vans

Goats are Assholes

Sometimes they dance

And sometimes they play games 

And sometimes they just remind you why you got the in the first place. 🙂


** These are dairy goats, not meat goats. The likelihood of them actually getting eaten is pretty slim.. but it makes for a good threat.

Welcome to Review Zombie

I’m a mother, a farmer, a reviewer, a cow wrangler, a pig chaser, a chicken watcher, a dog snuggler. I am sometimes impatient, often curious and usually happy. I think Goats are Assholes, Guineas have a deathwish and Amazon is way too tempting.

Join me as I write about my life, review random things that interest me and explore the world around me.