Building Our Goat Shelter (Part One)

Last November, we moved from our *very* inner city house, to a house in a suburb with an acre of land. We had already had chickens in the city (yes, we were urban farmers!) and we knew we wanted to expand our small farm experience. We decided that goats would be the best next step.

We knew that we wanted to build the goat shelter for ourselves, and that we didn’t want to spend a ton of money since we were already investing heavily in electric fencing and solar charger. I searched the internet far and wide, and my husband and I agreed we would use pallets to build our shelter.

There are a TON of free patterns out there for goat shelters built out of pallets. The problem with them (for me) is that they look like they are built out of pallets. We live in a suburb. We have close neighbors who can see our yard all around, and whose own lawns are pristine and manicured. I didn’t want to make anyone angry by throwing up a shambled together shed for our goats.

My husband was completely up for challenge and he surpassed my expectations in every way. We started by collecting as many pallets as we could. Basically this meant frequent visits to Lowe’s, Southern States (a local farm co-op), and other places that regularly have free pallets. We started by trying to take the pallets apart, but we don’t have one of those fancy pallet take apart tools that lots of other people use, and taking the pallets apart was difficult, time-consuming, and it broke a lot of the boards.

My husband says to me, “I think we should do this as wood shingles.” I had no idea what he meant. I mean, I know what wood shingles are, but I couldn’t picture it. So, he cut up some pallets and laid it out so I could see what it looked like.

GORGEOUS! So now we knew how we were going to make it and that it was going to look amazing. I’ll continue our journey in the next post.

Getting Started with SSIS

I am relatively new to the world of SQL Server Integration Services (SSIS). I knew sort of what it was and that it existed, but I didn’t start working with it and learning how to use it until about 3 years ago.

I started by following through the Stairway to Integration Services. This is a great way to jump start if you are just starting out. This program assumes you know absolutely nothing about SSIS and walks you through from beginner to a solid intermediate.

It was shortly after completing the Stairway that I began my first consulting job and was heavily working with SSIS. At this job, I was designing and maintaining packages that would grab FTP files, put the information from the files into a table, and push that information to production. Sometimes, they would also grab data from the database, place it in a flat file, and send that file via FTP or SFTP to a client.

This job was also a great way to start with SSIS. I wasn’t doing anything too complicated, and if I ever hit a snag, a quick google search would most likely bring me to a resolution.

It was also in this job, that I met my first “monolith” package. This was a package that was running for over 4 hours at a time and then timing out. The job was to move data from a MSSQL data source into a MySQL data source housed in AWS. My Dad and I worked together on this package and we were able to break it down into smaller chunks – 1 controller package, and a package for each step that needed to run. When we were finished, the whole project ran successfully in less than 18 minutes!

I recently spent some time talking to my Dad about my experience in getting started with SSIS. If you’d like to listen to it, you can find it here.

Young Moms in Technology

I hosted a webinar with my Dad called Young Moms in Technology. We touched on the types of discrimination women (and especially moms) face in the field of technology (really, it’s applicable to any field, but my experience is in technology). We also talked a bit about my experience as a young person in technology.

Unfortunately, I’ve experienced discrimination for being a woman and a mom first hand. I’ve had co-workers not believe me when I tell them I’ve solved a problem. I’ve had my work scrutinized closely. I’ve been passed over for promotions for which I was the more qualified candidate. I’ve been paid less than male counterparts who had less experience and education than I did at the time.

These situations were not ok. And I’ll admit that I didn’t stand up for myself and demand justice (really, though, I was raised as a polite, southern girl – I rarely demand anything. I would have asked politely instead). I do think that you should ask for justice. I believe that the more awareness we bring to the discrimination, the more opportunities we create to fix the problem.

Another point we touched on in the webinar is about what it’s like to be young in a field where experience is everything. From my experience, it’s not easy. Employers, clients, and companies want people who know what they are doing, and young people (millennials) have a stigma for being inexperienced. This is not to say that every young person you meet/interview will be qualified, but don’t be so quick to judge on appearance of youth alone.

I do appear much younger than I actually am, and it can be frustrating to get people to take me seriously sometimes. Even if I work hard, I have had to continuously “prove myself” to a client just to be seen for the talent and knowledge that I have.

I guess my moral of the story is: give everyone a fair chance. Being a mom, a woman, a millennial is just a part of my life; labels that I own. I also possess the labels Consultant, SSIS developer, hard worker, and dependable.

Do you need help with a project? Hire me!

Encrypting Files in SSIS

Recently I was working with a client who wanted to pull some information from their database, insert it into an excel file, encrypt that file, and send it to the client via FTP. They wanted an automated process that could run on a schedule, so I wrote an SQL Server Integration Services (SSIS) project to do this.

I created this package and it was running perfectly from BIDS and from the SSIS catalog. I scheduled the job and let it run. A few months later, the client came back and told me that the job had stopped running successfully. I logged in and reran the job from BIDS – that worked. When I tried to run the job from the catalog I ran into this error:

Encrypt the file: Error: In executing “C:\gpg2\gpg2.exe” “–trust -model always –output *Destination File* -r *Encryption Key Name* –encrypt *Source File*” at “C:\gpg2”, The process exit code was “2” while the expected was “0”.

*actual file names/key name removed

I tested the package again within BIDS, and again it ran without a problem. I tried redeploying it and testing again. Again it failed. So, I googled it. I tried a few suggestions: running from a command line instead of the catalog; I changed from using variables for file names to hard-coding them; and I thought about changing the success value to 2. I didn’t do this last part because it wasn’t actually doing what I wanted it to do – encrypting the file. And also because that’s just a bad idea in general.

And then, I found a reply to this post that mentioned something about permissions. I asked the client if anything had changed recently with permissions and found they had recently removed some old accounts to firm up security – that’s a great thing! However, it means that I needed to check the permissions of the SQLServerAgent on the machine.

After checking, (and working with Dad) I found that SQLServerAgent did not have any permissions to the gpg2 folder in the file system. I added read/write permissions to the directory and ran the job again. It failed again. I then updated the permissions on the folder to “Full”. This allowed the job to complete successfully!

Moral of the story: locking down permissions is great and should be done – however, keep in mind the ripple affects. If you’re getting a similar error from a job in SSIS, check the permissions for SQLServerAgent.

Wizard of Oz Cake

The Wizard of Oz is one of my favorite movies. I love the ruby slippers, Toto, Dorothy, and the idea of flying over the rainbow to a land of magic! When one of my best friends asked me to do a cake for her mom in a Wizard of Oz theme, I was so excited.

Except for one thing: she wanted the cake to have a pair of ruby slippers on them. I hate making shoes out of fondant. They always seem a little off to me (maybe I should invest in a shoe mold).

My friend and I poured over Pinterest looking for ideas on what to do. In the end, we decided on a classic green cake with a yellow brick road leading to Oz. On the road, I placed a pair of ruby slippers that I made out of red fondant and then rolled in red sanding sugar. In the background, I added a bright rainbow.

The yellow brick road is made from yellow fondant that I then pressed a brick impression mat onto to create the bricks. To make Oz, I took bamboo skewers and rolled green fondant around them. Then, I brushed them lightly with water and rolled them in green sanding sugar. I bordered the bottom of the cake with green icing stars that I lightly sprinkled with pink sanding sugar. For the rainbow, I cut a piece of a cake plate to the size and shape I wanted, and then added rolled out tubes of fondant in rainbow colors. 


I was rather pleased with everything, except the shoes. My friend’s mother loved it! AND – she loved the shoes so much she kept them! I guess they weren’t as “off-looking” as I thought.

Hello world!

The very first thing you learn when you are learning a new computer language is how to write “Hello world!” to the screen/output desired. True to that standard, here is my “Hello world!” blog post.

I’ve been working with computers all of my life. I built my first server at the age of 13 with nothing but a box of parts and a book. I taught myself Visual Basic in the same manner. I continued my studies at Liberty University’s computer science program where I was first introduced to relational databases. I happen to love databases and data for that matter. Today, I work as a consultant and do work with Microsoft SQL Server Integration Services, Microsoft SQL Server, MySQL, and anything else that happens to come up. I love learning about new technologies. I currently work with my dad, Andy Leonard, at Enterprise Data and Analytics.

As for my personal life, I am a wife to Antony Trupe. We’ve been married since July 26, 2006. We have three awesome children: Alex, Gabe, and Ellie. We homeschool all three of them for now. I am active in our homeschool co-op as a teacher and the current webmaster for the group. In addition to our kids, we also have two cats (Jack and Ginger), three goats (Rosabell, and her two little boys), a collection of chickens, and thousands of bees. I enjoy baking and making novelty cakes. I also dabble in sewing a little bit. I am an avid coffee drinker as well – my favorite right now is either Joe Bean’s (a local drive thru coffee shop) or Death Wish Coffee.

I’m hoping to use this blog to help spread any knowledge that I have acquired throughout the years, whether it be about computing, baking, animal husbandry, homeschooling, or homesteading. Thank you for visiting!