Monday, April 24, 2017

Warning: Fowl Post

Spring has sprung,
and there's a whole bunch of new additions to the coop.
The fowl influx started on Easter with the purchase of 2 ducklings.
That's what happens when you have a grandkid.
On the right we have Scooby-Doo,
and on the left is Shaggy.
Shaggy was named something else by my son, 
but was renamed by the grandson.
This past Saturday I ventured out to the Poultry Swap
 to get some new pullets.
The grandson had some specific requests for new hens.
He wanted an orange chicken
and a green chicken.
He was happy to settle for one that laid green eggs 
after I explained there weren't any green chickens.
So I picked up a Buff Orpington that has been named Velma.
And I got an Easter Egger that has been named Fred
(I'm sure you can tell the grandson's current interest, 
though I'm a Scooby fan from way back).
Let's hope that Fred not only lays green eggs, 
but doesn't live up to the name and lays eggs period.
To finish my purchases, 
I picked up a pearl colored Cochin, a white crested black Polish
and 2 speckled sussex pullets.
a turkey.
This little guy is a Black Spanish heritage breed turkey.
It's one of the oldest turkey breeds and is in danger of disappearing.
So he will not be eaten.
Or she whatever it is.
Currently the turkey has no name,
but I'm sure I'll think of something eventually.
 So far, the lone hen I already had 
(named Donner because she's a cannibal)
is getting along with everyone.
There is some pecking going on,
but over all I think she's happy to have friends. 
Hopefully everyone will manage to got get eaten or pecked to death.

Wednesday, April 12, 2017

The Rock Salad Garden

With the fabulous weather we've been having, 
Big E and I have been spending spare time doing things in the yard.
The latest task we tackled was cleaning up 
a garden area on the side of the garage.
It's been neglected for a while now,
and I think it is a good spot for a new garden 
for lettuces and kale.
It'll save on the grocery bill for tortoise food.
Not only was it full of weeds and nasty Bermuda grass, 
it also had 5 invasive tree species growing in it.
Apparently, this used to be a rock garden.
Or cement garden.
This is one of 2 piles of cement block that was dug up
and hauled out of the garden.
Once section actually had large pieces of flagstone in it
and resembled a chicken.
Big E wouldn't let me keep it.
 In the end, we got it all dug out, 
and it looks great. 
Again, hard to imagine that there was so much cement
in such a small area.
Not sure if I'm going to make a raised bed, 
or just use it as is.
Either way, I'm glad the area looks better, 
and I'm anxious to get the salad growing
for me and the tortoise.
(Though now we have to clean up the piles of crap we took out of it)

Friday, April 7, 2017

Monster Forsythia

Busy as usual.
Wednesday evening Big E and I worked on 
removing the forsythia shrubs at the back of the yard.
Forsythia are very misleading.
Like icebergs.
They look manageable enough, 
but underneath is this massive root ball leviathan.
Big E was convinced the easiest thing to do was sell the house
and buy one without forsythia shrubs that need removal.
Big E had attempted to use his saws-all to cut through the roots, 
but the roots just wore the teeth off the blade.
I made the suggestion that we dig around the shrub
and use loppers to cut roots as we go.
He scoffed at this idea.
I suggested using the chain to pull them out, 
so off I went to get the chain from my dad.
On the way back, this was the text I received:

I wanted to make sure that everyone saw the actual proof
that I was right..... again.
Anyway, we hitched up the chain
and popped the first stump out.
The second was a little different.
It took several tried before the thing even budged, 
but it the end it popped out too.
We had to remove the dirt from the root ball,
and when I jumped in the hole it was up past my knees.
Huge job accomplished,
now we need to get to work on the veggie garden.

Monday, April 3, 2017


This weekend was busy,but it was productive.
Saturday I had a dog adoption event
to take my foster dog to.
He was adopted, so he makes the 3rd foster dog we've successfully found a home for.
Later that day, I managed to get a little deep cleaning done,
well, basically just deep cleaning the couch.
I also needed to degrease a vent hood for the kitchen.
Our hood no longer works, so every time we cook, the smoke detector goes off.
Big E replaced someone's hood at a job,
and brought the old one home
(there was nothing wrong with it other than it didn't match the people's new appliances)
With some cleaning and some appliance paint,
 we plan on replacing our broken hood with this one. 
Later that day, we headed out to REI to spend a lot of money 
get some new backpacking gear,
and hit one of my favorite Italian restaurants.
Sunday brought some warm temperatures and sunshine,
and that meant outside work.
I painted the vent hood.
No photos though, besides, who really wants to see a bunch of photos 
of a vent hood?
I managed to get a lot of the weed piles bagged up out of the garden,
so now I'm ready to get the flower beds tilled and mulched.
We also finally got around to measuring and marking stuff for the new fence.
You'll notice my stellar handwriting ability using spray paint.
Must be from my tagging days in Baltimore.
Okay, I never tagged anything and I lived in the 'Burbs.
Still, it's obvious I'd have mad tagging skills. 
Hopefully we'll be able to get our permit and get started on the fence.
It sure will be nice to let the dogs out and not have to walk them on the leash!
The day ended with a 3 mile hike and some shrimp creole at my mom's house.

Monday, March 20, 2017

Getting the Car in the Garage

As I think it is with most garages, 
mine was a mess and a car wouldn't fit in it.
Some of the items- like the windows and new toilet and sink-
are there until they can be put in their new homes.
Other stuff was just tossed in there
(mostly by me I admit)
because I didn't know where else to put them.
So because we were in for a big snow storm, 
Big E and I decided to tackle the mess.
We needed to get things moved and organized 
so my car could fit in the garage in the event
the snow emergency went into effect.
The stack of wood on the right in the photo below
needed to get moved to the loft storage area.
Some of the plywood we were saving for various future projects
(like chicken coop repair/expansion),
and some pieces were slated for the burn pile.
We also wanted to get the counter tops in place
for Big E's work space.
We salvaged the cabinets from the old upstairs kitchen,
and moved them into the garage.
They'll make nice storage for Big E's tools,
and a nice area for him to get working on the projects I have for him.
The cabinets were all hung already
with the help of our friendly neighborhood Eagle Scout.
We just needed to move all the floor cabinets into place
and attached the counter.
We also saved the old "kitchen table" from the downstairs kitchen.
It was just a cabinet with a counter top.
We decided to use this as a little potting table for me and my plants, 
and a place to store all my gardening stuff.
For now, we used cinder blocks to raise it high enough to use, 
but Big E will eventually build a platform so the counter tops will be level.
For now the plywood for the new bathroom subfloor
and the items needed for the new bathroom
need to be pushed to one side, so it looks more cluttered than it is.
The area for my car was cleared out, 
and just in time as it snowed about 15 inches 2 days later.

I'm looking forward to getting all the tools moved to the garage 
to free up some space in the attic.

Thursday, March 9, 2017

Bathroom News

The Bathroom Fairy visited yesterday.
I know you can't really tell in the photo, 
but there is new plywood sublfloor
and the shower base is here.
Apparently, the floor is pretty uneven,
so it needs shims and new subfloor.
Pretty soon Big E will cut the drain hole for the shower,
and set up the parts for the shower faucets.
Once drains are in, 
I think drywall will go up quick and we'll have a finish bathroom in no time.

Tuesday, March 7, 2017

The Lonely Only

This is Donner, the lone chicken in the coop.
She is the lone chicken because she ate one of her brooder mates, 
and my older chicken died.
Yes, she is named for the Donner Party,
the pioneer group who was forced to cannibalize members
 of their traveling party after getting trapped in the Sierra Nevada Mountains
in winter in 1846.
I have no clue what breed of chicken she is, though I fear she may be 
a black sex-link chicken.
I had a sex link before who terrorized any new chickens that came to the coop.
She got eaten, and I wasn't sad.
The cannibalistic nature of Donner makes me concerned
since I'm hitting up the Poultry Swap in April to get new pullets.
I certainly don't want them to be Donner's dinner.
She might also be an Australorp which would be fine.
She was supposed to be a Dominique chicken
known for their black and white checkered feathers.
She's a little lonely right now being the only hen in the henhouse.
And being lonely makes her friendly.
To people anyway.
My grandson enjoyed giving her some attention
and petting her.
He even tried to take her in the house and in his mom's car
so she could live in his room.
Apparently he has a couch in his room she could sleep on.
Also, my grandson speaks chicken.
He told us she was talking and when asked what she said, 
he leaned down, listened and said "She say my name!"
He later explained that she said "Bawk bawk bawk" and that means "Xavier"
in chicken.
Looking forward to getting the coop spruced up this month,
and fixing some minor repairs
to prepare for the new hens.