Monday, November 29, 2010

New Craft Closet

While Steve and Doug played with wood, Linda and I played with fiber and loaded in my new craft closet. This is the absolutely most decadent thing I've ever had in my house. A complete closet fully and totally dedicated to organizing the supplies for my various hobbies. I ask you, does it really get much better than this?

We'll start with the doors neatly closed to protect all my supplies from cats and dogs.
Now, let's open up the left side.
I think my favorite thing on this end is that all of my knitting needles are organized by length and out where I can see and find them easily. The lower baskets hold some of my scrapbooking supplies, and my papers are currently stacked flat on the floor in bags. I'll get some holders for the papers soon. Large cutting items are on the shelf above.

We'll move one section to the right to look in the middle left.

Here you can see that I actually even have some empty baskets for expansion. See, my stash still has a little room to grow (just don't tell Steve). At the top, you can see part of the shelf that is dedicated to my crafting books. Most of these are knitting books, and my library is pitifully small, but most of my patters are my own, so I don't feel too badly about that. I have a request in for a couple of additions for my Birthday and Christmas. Hopefully the elves will be paying attention.

If we move one section to the right, we see the rest on my bookshelf and the beginnings of my fiber.
There's quite a variety visible here. There's a lot of acrylic that was gifted to me, an unfinished cross-stitch baby blanket, some serger cones that were also gifts, and my stash of crochet cotton. Now, I don't crochet at that gage, but the stuff works great for tablet weaving, and is perfect for teaching that craft, so I've got a stash. Besides, you never know when you might need a little smooth thread to hold knitting stitches.

One more section to the right, and we get to the bulk of my fiber stash.

I've again got quite a variety, but there's some very nice alpaca, and some wool-silk blends in lace weight, and some sock yarn, and some baby yarn, and some Cascade 220 for felted slippers. The important thing, though, is that it's all out and visible so I can easily see what's there. It's kind of like having my own private yarn shop in the bedroom.

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Deep sink enclosure done

We had company during the Thanksgiving holiday, Doug and Linda.  As always we truly enjoyed the visit.  Doug always helps me with a project when they come.  This year we finished the cabinet for the deep sink in the utility room.  We made it out of tongue and groove oak flooring.  It took us a day, but turned out very nice.  Now I only have to order the drain and the faucet and get the plumber to come set the sink.  Of course I will need to bring the 150# sink into the house and clean it out (it has been on the old house porch for three years).  This sink was the very first thing I ever bought for the house.  I purchased it before I did anything on the house.  It just never got installed because there was no cabinet.  The utility room had a deep sink in it before, but it was concrete and had several cracks in it.  It was not salvageable.
Annmarie and Linda got the craft closet all stocked up with yarn and various craft stuffs.  It looks great and surprisingly there was not as much yarn as I thought there would be.
Sink spot
Sides and back completed.  Just needs the front and the door. 

Here it is!!  I still need to add the hinges, door latch and finish the wood.  I added a large backsplash due to all the water damage that was on the wall from the old deep sink.  It turned out great.  The piece in the back is the door.  We made it moveable so we could pull it out and drop the sink in then attach it to the wall.  I will get the ball rolling on the parts we need to finish this so there will be no more egg washing in the kitchen sink or filling of animal waterers in the kitchen sink or washing of the dog.  The little things that annoy the wife!  lol.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

It is officially Winter now

Well it only got to -6 here last night according to our thermometer (which is out of the wind and has brand new batteries in both the sensor and thermometer this month).  Add on the foot of snow we got in the last 2 days and it is official, Winter is here.  The lousy party about this cold is trying to keep the chickens watered.  Their water freezes up all the time because there is no heat in the coop.  The chickens don't need heat to survive that is why they have feathers.  The coop is watertight and insulated so the heat they do self generate does stay in the coop. With all this snow on the ground the chickens won't come outside the coop.  It makes for cramped living quarters inside.  They truly hate change.  Last year I shoveled a path out in the chicken yard for them so that they did not have to go into the deep snow.  It didn't help, they still stayed inside.  So this year I didn't bother yet.  The one good thing is the chickens will eat the snow for their water.  I have a heated dog bowl just outside for water, but the chickens won't go to it.  They eat the snow because it is closer and ignore the dog bowl.  So for now it is snow for water.
Unfortunately, this still complicates the quail thing.  I had a self waterer in the quail enclosure that was doing fine but -6 did not help it.  It was frozen solid.  So I added some hot water to it this morning and tonight we will have to change it out again.  This is going to be an issue for me if I add in more quail.  I will need power and a way to water them in the Winter next year.  I added hot water to the self nipple waterer inside for the chickens.  It had a small 1/8 inch ice film on top and that was it.  I was surprised at that but I manipulated the nipple underneath and could not get a drop of water to come out.  So I added a small 5 gallon fish tank heater to the five gallon bucket and plugged it in.  It sits down near the nipples at the bottom of the bucket.  I may need to take some duct tape and insulation and rig a wrap to go around the bucket.  The duct tape cover will keep the chickens from eating the insulation.
We have all started to pet the sheep when we feed them in the morning.  The two new teenage female ewes let me pet on them this morning while they were eating hay.  The new teenage ram, Lucky, would not let me touch him.  We need to get him tamed down.  Persistence on our part will pay off.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Do you every wonder why?

Occasionally, I wonder why some creatures exist? I used to wonder this about snakes, but I've mostly gotten over that. Currently, however, I have been pondering this question in regards to yellow jackets and wasps. They aren't particularly good pollinators. Bees, humming birds, and butterflies are all much more effective, and they are all much more pleasant neighbors. What, you may be wondering, could have led to such questioning?

It all began on Monday. We'd been noticing quite a few insects attempting to escape the cooling temperatures by sharing our warm domicile. Now, I'm pretty tolerant of most insects as long as they remain outside. Inside, however, they are fair game. Things were getting pretty bad, so Steve set off bug bombs in the attic and the crawl space Monday morning. We figured this would eliminate the most likely populations trying to enter the house. Lat on Monday, we noticed a few listless refugees. We put them out of their misery anytime we saw them, and went blissfully to bed.

Tuesday morning, when I finally decided I needed to drag my carcass out of bed, I tossed on my robe, and headed down the hall to wake Sarah. About 2/3 of the way to her room, I felt a hot burning sensation in the middle toe of my left foot. Now, understand that I went most of my 40+ years without being stung by bee or yellow jacket. In fact, I've only been stung 4 times in my life, and all of them have been inside one house or another. And two of them were Tuesday morning. Yes, two dying little buggers had stung my toe. I'm screeching like a banshee, 'cause it hurts. I want to hop around and grab my foot, but I have no idea how many more of the little buggers might be around, because of course, we don't have lights in that hallway, and of course, I didn't have my glasses on nor my contacts in. And I really don't want to get my other foot stung too. Remember, I had just rolled out of bed, and hadn't been to any other room in the house yet. Any woman over 40 will understand what I'm not saying.

Steve of course, only hears me screeching, and comes running out of the bedroom to see what was killing me. Needless to say, I turn my ire on him, particularly since he insists on calling the offenders bees. These are not bees. They are good-for-nothing yellow jackets.

By this time, I'm in the bathroom taking care of the rest of the morning business, and trying to figure out how to make my poor throbbing toe feel better. I can't really find the sting, so a meat tenderizer paste is out. I finally decide that I'm just going to have to settle for ice. So, I cool it down for a little bit with and ice pack. At some point in there, Steve comes down and tells me he has killed a total of 7 bees. I inform him, perhaps a bit forcefully, that there are no *&^%&*) bees in this house. OK, perhaps I was still a bit irate and irritated. Fortunately for the state of our marriage, Steve thinks I'm cute when I'm angry, and once he started trying not to smile, I couldn't help it either, and the steam was all blown off.

Then he set off another bug bomb in the attic to kill the last of the stragglers. I'm still a bit leery of running around the house without at least slippers, but it's been three whole days now without any sightings, so I think I'm safe for a while.

Monday, November 15, 2010

Library is Done (new floor comes later)

I did it, I finished the library.  I am currently doing the happy dance even if you cannot see it.  I am way, way ahead of schedule.  The plan was to have it done, but I don't think Annmarie thought it was going to happen (I didn't really either, but I kept telling her it was "the plan".  My plans don't always (never) go as planned so she was surprised).  The light took forever to hang.  Lots of parts and they have to go in a certain order.  It is not too bad when you have lots of chain to hang the light from, but the ceiling is low so I only used one link.  It makes for a tight fit.  The instructions say to use two people.  The only one I did that with is the landing light, but that thing weighs in around 50# and is three feet across and three feet tall.  Far more than one person can hold and do 16 feet in the air.
I wiped down the closet doors and lubricated the door rollers.  I even put in new door guides.  Because the carpet is missing now and they had shortened the doors I had to put in a shim to hold the door guides at the right height.  Once the hardwood floor is in place I won't need that any more.  I put the end piece of pegboard in today and got it all primed and painted.

I even bug bombed under the house and in the attic today.  Sprout (Brussel Griffin dog) and I had to hang out in the car this morning.  We went to the hardware store to get bolts to install the light (it doesn't come with hanging bolts, big surprise there) and then we went to Pendleton to Sherwin Williams to get paint cards for Sarah.  She wants to paint her room.  Her initial color choices were purple and silver with a room size dragon on the wall.  We nixed that.  Second choice was silver and black.  I got her some color cards so she can make her third and fourth choice.  We are thinking about a black divider between a high and low color, but we want her to paint a piece of trim black and we can nail it in place.  No trying to cover over black at a later date.
Annmarie has decided I need to install the dining room light now that I appear to have some extra time before Thanksgiving.  I had to make a custom holder and shim out the ceiling for the living room light.  I told her I was actually going to have to take apart the living room light just to see how I did it.  It has been some time and it is working good, so I want to duplicate that effort.  I may have time this week.  No promises, but I will try.  Not sure what I am going to do if all the lights are installed (I still have to install the lights in the upstairs hallway and make the stair lights work).
Sarah took some pictures of the Sunset today.  She is getting very good at taking pictures.
Sunset from our front porch, Sarah took this photograph.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Library painted and outlets wired

Sarah and I  finished the painting today.  It turned out very nice.  I even had time to wire the outlets and light switch.  Of course the last outlet I wired is where the main power comes in to the room.  Now there was no reason for the power to be on so of course I did not check the breaker.  When I went to shorten the wires with my high dollar expensive cross cut pliers I melted them!  As I am hollering and swearing about that moron that flipped the breaker on (me months ago) Sarah hollers back that I am that moron (teenagers are always so helpful).  That is the second $35 pair of cross cut pliers I have melted.  Now the good news is I keep getting the ones with insulated handles so other than the shower of sparks there was no personal injury on my part.  I tried to install the light, but I need to go to the hardware store and buy some special bolts.  So tomorrow I will hang the light and install the last section of pegboard.  Then I can clean the whole room up and it will be all ready for company.  I will even move our slat bed into the room.  I am done much sooner than I expected.

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Why does it always take three times as long to prep for paint?

I did it.  The library is all primed and ready for paint.
library before priming

Library closet before priming

Annmarie helped me finish priming after dinner.  I am always amazed at how long the prep takes.  After cleaning out the room, scraping the excess mud off the floor and vacuuming the hole room I got to wash the walls with bleach water.  Then I taped down a plastic cover over the floor. The room is almost 10 x 20 feet in size.  Finally, I get to paint.  I used my favorite primer Kilz 2 (latex based).  I love this stuff it covers everything!!

You can see the roll of plastic on the floor before I spread it out and taped it down on the edges.  I will paint the room tomorrow and then wire the outlets and light on Monday.  It is going to be done by Thanksgiving!!  We are going to make Sarah help paint tomorrow.  She wants to repaint her room so she gets to help on the Library.   I told her if she does her room she is going to to it herself.  She can paint one room at a time.

Here it is after the primer.  Starting to look good.  The nice thing is the room is twice as bright now.  I didn't even get any paint in my hair.  That was a first.

I am really happy.  Unfortunately, I have to paint the upstairs hallway one more time.  So the next project after Thanksgiving is more painting. The utility deep sink is the project for Thanksgiving weekend.  Doug is going to help me.  I have a beginning picture that everyone can appreciate.

Add caption

Here it is, the new utility sink stand!!!  I finally found Lumber Liquidators.  They had some oak flooring that got returned so I got it for 58 cent square foot.  A great price.  So we have lots to work with over 60 square feet.  Annmarie wants a sink we can wash eggs in that is not the kitchen sink!

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

library sheetrock done!

I should have worn a mask...
I did it, I finished the sheet rock today.  I just finished the texturing.  I made quite the mess while texturing the ceiling, the mud kept dropping on the floor and splattering all over.  I have the electric heater going to help the drying process.  I still have 9 feet of wallpaper left to remove.   I really don't want to get to that...  But on Friday I will have to take it off so I can prime the entire room.  I did have to give up on the space under the stairs.  I figure it will take me two to three days just to finish that little area.  I am running out of time, only 15 days until company arrives.  So I am going to concentrate all my energy on completing the library.  My goal is to wire the whole room on Monday.
I had to collect eggs today as the child was sick.  Those quail eggs are very very had to see!  They are on a sawdust floor and just blend right in.  I am looking forward to having some more wooden eggs for the chicken nests.  They keep laying outside the boxes.  I still want to get another 2 dozen pullets (female babies) in January.  But before I can do that I need to make my quail enclosure.  More projects.
I heard from my mother last week that there is a Lumber Liquidators in the Tricities.  So on Saturday morning I drug myself out of bed before work and went looking.  Now I didn't actually know where the store was located just a rough region of Kennewick.  I spent 90 minutes driving around looking for it.  Never did find it. I did buy a new Bonsai plant from some guys selling them out of a van on the street corner.  So I plan on going to work early tomorrow so I can stop at Lumber Liquidators!!  I want to price some flooring and lumber.  I will take more pictures of the library before I paint.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

progress, progress

Well, I spent six hours sanding and mudding in the library.  I remembered to wear a dust mask today.  I didn't want to blow my nose and get sheetrock mud out.  Totally nasty.  I have half the room done.  I patched in the missing ceiling in the closet and put the first coat of mud on it.  I will finish taking off the wallpaper on Monday and texture on Tuesday!!  I will be priming and painting in one week!!  I only have 19 days to go.  I need to go buy a prime rib and some rock salt for Thanksgiving dinner.  I even started working on the entrance to the library under the stairs.  I might be able to have that done also!!  I want to have it all done so Doom and I can concentrate on the laundry room.
I even found time to go out and add a chicken door to the outside chicken yard fence.  The sheep keep going in during the day and drinking all the water and knocking over the water containers.  They eat all the grass down also.  So I added a chicken sized door in the human door so we can just open the chicken door during the day.

Those chickens are living it up.  I have a little trash to pickup obviously.  You can see the blue heated dog waterer on the rock.  I am getting ready for Winter.  There is a plug in on the outside of the coop under the chicken ramp so I can plug in the waterer.  My new chicken door has a lock we can just turn when the door closes.   I added a picture of the new quail at the bottom of the page.  They are still getting used to their new surroundings and did not lay any eggs today.  I suspect it will take a few days for them to relax and settle in.
quail in their new temporary home, until the new pen is made. 

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Quail anyone?

I would like to go on record blaming JOE for this new development.  I work with JOE, a nice guy who needed to get rid of two Courtnix Quail.  I took them off his hand last night.  They traveled in a box in the trunk of my car.  I talked to Annmarie this morning and told her about the quail and how I could build a small box 2 feet x 2 feet and 8 inches high to house 25 quail.  She told me that the quail cannot live in a box.  So after further study of the chicken coop I am going to build a 2 foot x 4 foot x10 inch cage.  I will cut a hole through the outside wall into a new 360 degree covered outside area just for the quail.  I can add a brooder space above that cage and some storage space above that.  The nice thing is all this is built on the walls on the inside of the coop.  I was not using that space at all so I get to use it for something now.  Pretty cool.
I am thinking about learning to pickle eggs and using the quail eggs for that.  So once I get it perfected then everyone will be getting pickled eggs as gifts!!
I will go cut my chicken sized door into the outside fence tomorrow.  This will keep the sheep out of the chicken yard.  The sheep keep knocking the waterers over.
I sanded and mudded the sheet rock in our library today.  I really think I will be done by Thanksgiving.  That is my story and I am sticking to it.  I will finish getting the wall paper off tomorrow and repair the closet ceiling.  I want to have the room painted and wired for our company.
I will post pictures of my new quail project as I start working on it!!!  I love new projects.

Monday, November 1, 2010

October Monthly chicken financials

I made -$42.67 for the month on an average 27 hens laying (all my hens are now in except for the blue layers and they are now four months old, so in two more months they should start laying, beginning of new year). (for the year my net income is -$10.16/month (going negative again.). (For the year I am-$101.59 total).  I had $46.18 in expenses for feed (250#) this month (50# more feed than last month and about $10 more).  I had an extra $63.99 in expenses for a new chicken light and 440# of wood pellets to use as litter inside my coop, it should be enough for the next year.  For the year, my monthly expenses are $72.03. We collected a total of 358 usable eggs (3 less than last month) averaging 13.6 eggs/day collected (for the year the average is 12.1). The chickens ate 0.59#food/egg (for the year are averaging 0.64#/egg) In October it cost $0.11/egg or $1.32/doz for feed (my yearly average is $0.14/egg or $1.68/dozen. This is starting to creep up due to my feed costs increasing.  It will get pretty high when the snow hits.)  
You can see I was down over $42 this month due to purchasing the light and litter.  Those needed to happen.  I have been seriously considering the automatic chicken door again.  We found the motor only online for $75.  I can install it inside the chicken coop (they recommend you attach it to a timer, I may attach it to a light sensor, but I may need an electronic switch if I do that, will require more research.)  In May I had 33 chickens laying eggs, 6 months later and I only have 27.  The predators brutalized me this year.  I am going to pick up some more live traps.  I need to knock down the predator issue.  This will of course just put me farther in to the red.  But I expect this to be all needed hardware.  
I will get babies again in January.  That way they will be laying come Summer.  I may even wait till February, so that they will be able to use the yard when they get big enough.  I want to buy another 24 pullets.  That will put me over 50 hens.  That is the max I can have in my coop, plus I will be getting over 3 doz eggs/day with that many chickens.  
I will still need a chicken size door on the outside of the chicken run.  I will leave it open all the time except when we leave town.  The sheep keep going into the chicken yard and drinking all the water, knocking over the water dishes and eating all the grass.  Another chicken door will stop that.  
So know that I have my plan for the next year we will see how things go...