Monday, August 29, 2016

It's {Re}Finished

These are the before photos of the old drop leaf farmhouse table
I purchased on Craigslist for $30.
This is the exact condition it was in when I purchased it.
Not much to look at.
Because I wasn't sure of the exact age of the table 
other than it was really old, 
I couldn't sand the paint safely.
Any paint from 1978 or older can contain lead,
and shouldn't be sanded.
So I started out using this safe stripper.
It worked okay for most of the project.
I wasn't too thrilled with the stripping process at first.
It's kind of messy,
but through some trial and error I managed 
to get the table stripped to bare wood.
Then I stained the top.
I went with the Golden Oak color from Minwax
since this piece is going into my dining room, 
I wanted the stain to match the existing dining room table 
as closely as possible.
But, once the stain was dry, I could see areas where there was still
a yellow paint on the wood.
The paint color was nearly the same color as the bare wood
and impossible to see before I stained it.
I was ready to just paint the whole thing, 
or burn it.
Luckily, my coworker spends a lot of time refinishing furniture, 
and he brought in the stripper he uses called Klean-Strip.
He suggested I use that with some steel wool.
And that, thankfully, removed the majority of the yellow paint.
Then I restained the table top.
I also decided to paint the word "Family" on one of the table leaves.
So after asking Big E's opinion, I decided on a font
and transferred it to the table.
All you need to do to do this 
is to print out the word on paper.
Coat the back of the paper with chalk
(I used my grandson's sidewalk chalk)
position the lettering where you want it
and then use a pencil to trace the word.
When you remove the paper, the lettering outline should be visible in chalk.
At the very least there should be a visible indent in the wood from the pencil.
I then redrew the outlines on the wood with the pencil
and then painted.
Some of the letters I ended up having to do freehand because the outlines were very faint.
Then came the painting of the legs and base.
I opted to use spray paint.
I did use a spray primer first before using Krylon Maxx Gloss Ivory.
It took 2 cans of the Ivory to get a good solid coat of paint.
Then 3 coats of poly coat and it's done!
Not too shabby for a $30 table.
I plan to use the table here under the bay windows in the dining room
to hold photos and plants.
And for those times when we might need more table room for large parties, 
I have the table there to use.

Tuesday, August 23, 2016


So, how many people walk into their Post Office and say,
"I'm here to pick up chicks!"
They're now safe and warm in the brooder in the laundry room.
Originally, I ordered 5, but the Speckled Sussex wasn't available. 
That isn't unusual when you're waiting for eggs to hatch, 
sometimes they hatch as predicted, sometimes they don't.
The Sussex is easy for me to find, so it's no big deal to pick a couple up in the spring.
So in the bottom right is the white Chochin, to the left the white crested Polish
(she already has a white topknot and her name is Lorraine)
the top left is the Dominique I think and then the Silver Lace Wyandotte.
They're so cute and tiny when they're only a day old!

Monday, August 22, 2016

Guess What's Happening!

It's time to say buh-bye! to the kitchen floor.
Part of me is still a little sad about not being able to salvage the hardwood,
but the larger part of me is happy to see the plywood

Tuesday, August 16, 2016

Mail Order Chickens

My thought was that I would have great new photos of the finished table.
But it started raining right after I primed the legs and base, 
so I didn't get to finish the paint job.
Luckily I was using spray paint, 
so it dried fast enough for me to pick up and move before the downpour happened.
In other news, 
I've ordered chickens.
I opted to pick 5 separate breeds and ordered 1 of each
so I'll be back in egg production for the spring.
When the spring poultry swap rolls around, I'll pick up the couple more I need.
 I chose the Dominique breed pictured above.
It looks similar to a Barred Plymouth Rock (I still have one of those)
but the coloration is slightly different.
The breed originated in the colonial period
and is considered one of America's oldest chicken breeds.
They nearly became extinct, but luckily interest in them increased and the breed was saved.
I am planning on possibly getting a second Dominique in the spring.
I also have a White Cochin on the way.
These chickens look like giant puff balls.
They aren't as great with egg production sometimes, 
but come on, who can resist a giant ball of feathers?
They are originally from China and became popular when one was gifted
to Queen Victoria of England, who reportedly adored them.
They are known to be very docile, peaceful and friendly
and make a great pet.
My grandson loved the Blue Cochin we saw at the fair this weekend.
Blues are harder to find, so I just got him a white one.
I also ordered a Speckled Sussex.
Both Henny Penny and Royal Farms
(pictured above may they RIP)
were Speckled Sussex chickens.
Right now, this is my favorite breed of chicken.
They originated in England in Sussex County 
and it's said that the Romans found similar chickens during their invasion, 
which makes the breed around 2,000 years old.
They are known for their curiosity and in that department, cats don't have anything on them.
Henny Penny used to ride on my shoulder like a parrot, 
and both girls would perch on my arm like a falcon.
Royal Farms was the first to come running and enjoyed being petted and held.
There will definitely be a second Speckled Sussex in the spring.
The next chicken is the Silver Laced Wyandotte.
The breed was developed in the US in Wisconsin in the 1870's and named
for the Native American Wendat tribe
(though the original name was the American Sebright).
They like to cluck and tend to have strong personalities, 
though they remain docile.
They sure are pretty to look at.
 And last but certainly not least, the White Crested Black Polish Chicken.
Polish chickens are known for their crazy "hair-do".
They are a docile and tame breed though they tend to be a bit on the wacky side
because their crest limits their vision.
I actually read that you can keep their crest clean by banding it.
Essentially a chicken with a pony tail.
What more do you need to know to want this chicken?
I learned that paranormal investigator Lorraine Warren rescued a Polish Chicken named Einstein
that she nursed from health after it had numerous broken bones.
While they are called Polish chickens, 
history suggests they actually originated in the Netherlands.
They lay white eggs and
sometimes they're great egg layers and
sometimes not.
Really I just got one because
chicken with a pony tail
and Lorraine Warren. 
So that's the 5 new chickens that I'll be getting in the mail next week sometime.
I've discovered this box thing with hinged screen lid on legs in the basement 
that I'm planning on converting into a chicken brooder, 
so look for me to blog about that I'm sure.
I also discovered a treasure trove of old doors, windows, scrap wood and
1 of the missing stair spindles in the attic.
I'm anxious to finish moving all the yard sale junk out of the way
so I can go salvage hunting in my own attic.

Friday, August 12, 2016

Table Progress

Here's a sneak peak at what's going on with the old drop leaf table
I've been refinishing.
After a minor hiccup over paint that I couldn't remove,
I've since restained the table top.
I planned on painting the word "Family" 
on one of the leaves.
Big E and I picked the font we preferred,
and I got to painting.
I'm pleased with it so far.
All that's left is to poly coat the table top and paint the legs.
I have my grandson visiting this weekend, 
so I'm thinking this project
(all projects really)
need to be put on hold until he heads home.
He really likes to help, 
and I can see him helping with a paint brush
or hammer.

Tuesday, August 9, 2016

Strained Stain

I've been working on this old drop leaf kitchen table this week.
I originally planned to paint the whole thing, 
but then opted to strip the paint and stain the top
(I'll be painting the legs, I'm not good enough yet 
to strip paint off something that isn't flat)
The table had 3 coats of paint on it:
brown, green and yellow/cream.
I spent nearly 3 hours sanding the newly exposed wood
until finally, I was ready to stain the table with Golden Oak stain.
Apparently, I did not get all the paint removed.
Turns out that the cream paint blends really well with the color of the raw wood.
And now my table is blotchy.
This morning I consulted my "work husband"
who is a master stripper
(of paint, not pole dancing)
and he told me to try sanding again.
Worst case scenario I'm back to the original plan of painting the top,
but those wasted hours of sanding and stripping really tick me off.
All other projects are on hold as I'm not at war with the table top.

Monday, August 8, 2016

Irons in the Fire

This past weekend was pretty busy, 
and the week promises more of the same.
Big E is away for the week, 
so I've kicked my projects into high gear.
I figure this way he can't stop me from ripping something out
or painting something
won't have to worry about getting sucked into a job.
First up, we got us a 'coon trap.
So far, no raccoon, though he did eat the bait and trip the trap.
Current thought: he's a biggun and
I think we need a bigger boat, er, trap.
Or an elephant gun.
There is also a lot of stripping going on since Big E left.
Paint, I'm stripping paint.
I plan on stripping this old farm table and staining the top
and painting the legs.
It's going to be used under the windows in the dining room for photos and plants,
but also be available for more table space should I ever get anything finished enough
to have more than about 5 people over for dinner.
I'm also stripping the 100 years of paint off the transom window.
I really hate the design on the glass.
Big E really hates the design on the glass.
So, I'm going to measure the glass and start hunting up prices for stained glass.
I'm not even 100% sure this is the original glass.
And honestly, I'm not sure this is even the original transom shape.  
More on that when I get to the whole post about the stripping and painting of the transom window.
Also going on is the sanding, priming and painting of the hallway door, entryways and living room windows.
I will finally have that chore marked off the list.
So, when I get a moment to sit and breathe,
and maybe take some better photos,
I'll share more detailed info on what I've done,
and the products I've used,
and what works and what doesn't,
and what not to do.

Monday, August 1, 2016

Chicken Massacre at Silver Run

This is all I have left of my flock.
A young Jersey Giant on the left
(not even 100% it's a Jersesy Giant)
Vader the Black Brahma roo on the perch and 
Thelma the barred Rock also on the perch
(they were camera shy)
You can see the feathers in the coop.
That's what's left of the others.
Wednesday evening, 
Big E and I were there to fill the feeders and check on everyone.
I had lost 2 hens already-
one I assumed from old age and one I assumed from the heat
(now I"m not so sure).
I noticed Nutsy my Buff Orpington was missing.
I searched the fields and barn and eventually noticed a small
trail of feathers going off into the neighbors field.
And then there were 7. 
On Saturday, 
Big E and I were at the homestead.
I noticed one of the screens from the coop window had been knocked out.
I blamed it on stupid chickens.
Inside the coop, there was a piece of wood that was screwed in 
around the opening into the run to prevent the bedding from falling through the hole
that had been pulled out.
While I thought it odd, 
I still blamed the chickens as the roo is quite heavy and sometimes sits on the wood piece.
Royal Farms- World Famous Chicken
 In a moment of foreshadowing, 
I mentioned how I'd been pretty pissed if something happened to my favorite hen
named Royal Farms.
She's not just my favorite, she's everyone's favorite.
She is the first to come running over when she sees me, 
and she is always looking to be held or petted.
My brother commented that his friends' kids all love her because she's so nice. 

The next morning- Sunday-
I got a text from my mom letting me know I needed to take care of the chickens.
Big E and I were puzzled how they could be out of food already 
as the new feeders last about a week once filled.
So we went over and found the feeders nearly empty with a large pile
of food on the ground.
I had no clue how the chickens managed to get that much food out of the feeder
since they were designed to prevent food waste.
We didn't count chickens since they were out in the pasture,
and we were on our way to an Eagle Scout ceremony.
A little bit later, I received a call from my mom.
She told me how that morning, 
she found a dead chicken in the coop, bloodied.
While she was getting ready to take care of that chicken, 
she found another ripped to pieces out in the chicken yard.
Two other hens were just missing.
 Lucille, who was the lone survivor of a massacre at my friend's farm, was gone.
 So was the "scalped" chicken I had nursed back from certain death.
And so was Royal Farms.

Now it's time for revenge.
We're pretty certain that the culprit is a raccoon.
It explains why there was a pile of food and why the food disappeared so quickly, 
it explains why the chickens were killed and not carried off,
and it explains what has been digging up a bee's nest in the barn
(we were already sure there was a raccoon going down to the barn already since it was in the cat's water bowl and into the cat food and generally just making a mess of things).
 It's no secret I'm an animal lover.
I love all animals, 
even raccoons.
Me as a kid feeding a wild raccoon
But while the hawk and fox kill my chickens, 
they also only kill what they're going to eat
and they don't leave them.
The raccoon kills as many as it can
and leaves the bodies there.
It's a mass murderer.
A chicken serial killer.
And he's going down.
If the 10 year old has anything to say about it, 
he and his grandfather will be staking out the chicken coop
waiting to shoot the bandit.
While I don't see that happening, 
something is going to be done.