Sunday, April 5, 2009

Busy Weekend & I'm Exhausted!

I just have to say upfront, I'm exhausted... so if the following post is incoherent, I apologize!

Saturday, we did odd jobs around here... we finally got the little shelf unit hung in the upstairs bathroom. There's a history to this job... about a year ago I bought it at IKEA... it has that black wrought iron look with glass shelves... anyhow, we attempted to put it up... we were going to use toggle bolts, so we drilled big holes. Well, they wouldn't go in properly and at the time we thought maybe we had run into brick behind the plaster. It was something very solid and wouldn't allow the toggle bolts to expand. We loathe drilling brick and masonry type stuff, so we gave up.

About 6 months after this failure we were randomly talking to our next door neighbour and he offhandedly mentioned that he thought our house was made of logs. (So we're talking a layer of vinyl siding, a layer of red brick, a layer of logs, then lathe and plaster... hopefully some insulation in there, but I wouldn't bet much!) At that moment, Shawn and I both looked at each other and thought "Wait, that must be what we ran into in the bathroom wall" (its an outside wall). Time passed and passed and we never got back to trying again.

Then yesterday we decided it was time... it was cold, windy and rainy out, so doing inside stuff was a good idea. Turns out we just put up the shelf unit put 2 screws through the holes it has and into the exsiting large holes in the wall and screwed them in. It does seem that its wood of some sort, perhaps logs, even! So the job I had waited like a year to happen, just happened in like 5 minutes!

We also installed one of our "scrap" pieces of Formica (leftover from what we bought to put on the island) onto the wall in the downstairs bathroom behind the big laundry sink as a sort of "back splash". We just drilled holes in the Formica (put masking tape down where we were going to make the hole, started the hole with the drill set to "backwards" and then very slowly made the hole with the drill turned to "forwards"... no cracking, no problems at all!) and then put screws through and zip, zip, zip, instant back splash! The scrap piece was exactly the right size, we didn't have to cut it or anything... easy cheaty project.

I think we're going to do the same with the large (almost 4ftx4ft) "scrap" we have left... again in the downstairs bathroom, but behind the bucket rack... that wall always gets splashed and beat up when the goat buckets are scrubbed and put on the rack to dry. We just didn't get to doing it yet, but maybe one evening this week.

We also hung another curtain / blind thing in our bedroom... just more blackout cloth... almost all our windows are covered with the black out cloth now, just need one more small piece on the rod we just hung... at some point I'll go buy a piece... but at least we used up all we had laying around.

Yesterday we also went into town... went to Home Depot and bought a Skil reciprocating saw... it was cheap (under $100 with tax) and one of the highest powered ones they have. Its a NICE tool... very heavy... you certainly can't operate it with just one hand! I can't even lift it horizonatally with just one hand!

We did a few other errands in town, picked up a few groceries... a prime rib roast at Farm Boy for $5.99 a lb and a 20 lb fresh turkey! We ate the prime rib last night for supper and today I cooked the turkey and we enjoyed it for supper!

Today was a brutally busy day that started out badly for me... I woke up with a horrible neck kink that prevented me from turning my head and from lifting my arm. Just f'ing lovely. Shawn worked on it for a while and got it to loosen up a bit, though its still quite sore. I'm sure after a day or two it'll settle down... I hope.

Then we got started with the reciprocating saw in the bedroom! Do we know how to have fun or what? :) We started chopping up the hot tub... the new saw did a wonderful job... we had bought really aggressive, scary blades for it and they ate right through the fiberglass, the foam insulation, the wood, the nails, the pvc pipes, everything!!

We got the whole tub out of our room, out of the house! Its now in pieces on the front lawn in a big artfully arranged pile! It took us about 5-6 hours from start to finish and we did stop for lunch in there. We used the shop vac frequently to clean up the fiberglass and insulation dust to keep it from getting everywhere. Love my little shop vac! (We used to have a big monster one that was powerful, but so awkward and annoying to use... this one I got for cheap, $40 a couple years ago... I was afraid it wouldn't be powerful enough, but its great and easy to use!)

All the pieces of hot tub were made small enough to be carried and fit down the stairs... they are still large, but at least manageable. After we were done and it was all outside, I vacuumed with the shop vac, then I vacuumed thoroughly with the Dyson. (Love my Dyson!)

All in all, it wasn't the worst job we ever did and it was very gratifying to finally get it out of our room, but carrying stuff down the stairs and then climbing back up got tiring after a few trips! I'm glad its not an ongoing job and I'm glad its in the past! Getting rid of that freed up a space about 10ft x 10ft in our already huge room. Eventually, I would like to install an ensuite bathroom in that space, but for now, I will likely pile storage items there.

When we took a break for lunch, I also threw the turkey in the oven and it just cooked itslef while we worked... then when we were done, I peeled and boiled a few potatoes for mashed and made a huge bath tub of gravy once the turkey was done and out of the pan. It turned out really well, the white meat was dripping with juices as I sliced it... it was pretty damn close to what my Mommy makes! There might just be hope for me yet! :)

It felt really good to sit on the couch and eat our delicious supper with our feet up... I was pretty tired at that point... then came the clean up. I finished carving the turkey, gathered up all the nice slices of white meat and bagged them to make cold turkey sandwiches for Shawn's (and my) lunches this week... I made up two plastic containers of turkey and gravy and put them in the freezer for Shawn to eat sometime when I'm away. Easy to heat and put on bread and have an almost instant hot turkey sandwich.

I bagged up the turkey legs and all the dark meat and am saving that to make turkey pot pie... maybe tomorrow or Tuesday, I'll see... I'll just buy the crust and not bother trying to make my own. Then I picked the carcass clean of all the little bits of meat and bagged it and threw it in the freezer and I'll make turkey soup or cassarole or something with it at some point.

I think that was the busiest weekend we've had since last fall... and man, I'm wiped. :)

I put up some pics today also, hot tub removal you can compare to the old pics of the hot tub if you're interested.

Also some random pics in April Update, that we actually taken 2-3 weeks ago. That's the problem when Shawn uses his camera for pics, they never get offloaded or put up until way later!

And as if I didn't do enough this weekend... I'm now doing some laundry and need to change the bed sheets before we go to bed. This is the weekend that never ends... it just goes on and on my friend....

-- L

Thursday, April 2, 2009

Its April!!

Yesterday, Oliver turned 1 year old... Happy birthday Ollie :) I also weighed him yesterday and he was 66lbs. He's a very tall and lanky boy and I think its maybe done growing UP and maybe now will start filling out. I'll bet he'll be about 80 - 85lbs when he's all done.

We've had quite a bit of rain lately... though today is lovely. Our snow is officially gone... you might be able to find a patch here or there, but our yard is now melted, finally.

I spent much of the morning outside... I hadn't PLANNED to... but what else is new. I thought since the next few days are supposed to be rainy, I would muck out the goat shed today and then they'd be good to go again for a while.... we just did them on Sunday after not doing them for 2 weeks, so it wasn't too bad. Plus, with the good weather, it means I can get the lawn tractor and cart out and make the job WAY easier.

When I went out, I noticed that Grover's under fur was really starting to come out, so I decided to take a brush with me and work on that for a few minutes. Its technically a hard plastic curry comb generally used for horses, but the goats love a good vigorous grooming with it... really gets all their itchies. Of course, Ernie and Bert have to have their turn first, before they will let Grover have any attention... they both had a bit coming out, but nothing major. (I often laugh to myself about "curried goat" while brushing them... lame I know, but I really don't get out much!)

Then I started working on Grover and tons of under fur started coming out... I worked and worked on him... he loves it... I think I could do it all day... I got about 3 handfuls of nice fleecy under fur out of him... I broke it into a bunch of tufts and put it in the trees, thought maybe the birds might like some for nests.

While I was grooming goats... not the sheep... never the sheep... he doesn't like that sort of thing, though he'll tolerate it if you tie him up... I noticed that one of the gates on the fencing was falling off!! Of course Ernie was hanging around there, sticking his head out through the opening and stuff... the little shit.

Once I got my panic under control, I herded the goats into the shed... Ok, herded is NOT the right word... bribed with hay and then slammed the door on their faces... getting goats to go inside on a nice day, after many crappy days... not an easy feat!!

Then I had a look at the gate and saw that one of the brackets with the pins had come loose and was pushed down. I gave the gate a little tug and off it fell... held on only by the other side that was chained close and padlocked. Wow... very close to loose goats!! Disaster averted! Yay :)

I went back to the house to get the tools... actually I had to make TWO trips, because it turns out the nuts on the gate bolts are a different size than the nuts on the rest of the fencing! How handy. So I got the gate rehung, not a big deal and I tightened up all the rest. I tired to unlock the padlock, but they apparently rusted over the winter and are seized. I jiggaloo'd them, but still no luck.

Not a huge deal, except that I entered the fenced area through the gate that needed to be rehung (that's the side the nuts were on)... then I hung the gate.... the gate that wouldn't unlock. Couldn't go back through the shed, because I'd locked it from the inside... so I tried the other padlocks on the other gates... all seized.

I ended up having to unhang the gate, go out of the pen... go into the goat shed, fight my way through 3 goats and 1 sheep that were annoyed at being locked inside and get back out the other gate without letting them escape (you know, since the gate was off its hinges again and there was a hole in the fence!)... much easier said than done... goats can be VERY obnoxious.. .strong... determined... did I mention OBNOXIOUS?

I finally got out... rehung the gate and then let the wild animals back out into the sunshine. I was pretty damned exhausted at that point and hadn't even mucked them yet! I got all the gates toggled so they were now locked OUT in the pen and couldn't access the shed... I got the lawn tractor and cart out and I mucked them out.

That was fairly uneventful except for the wind which was blowing right in the shed through the goat door and right out the people door. Love having bits of hay and stuff blowing around... awesome. It was only about a cart and a half of stuff to muck today... not bad and so much easier than carrying muck buckets full of poop.

The ground is wet and I had to drive way around to get to THE manure pile (the real one, not the temporary winter one) but I managed to not get stuck... not like Sunday... but I'm not discussing that! :)

Anyhow, so they are now clean... rebedded... lots of hay in the feeder...I just looked out the window and they are all outside in the sun... Ernie is sleeping flat out on the picnic table... the sheep is against the fence... Bert is beside the picnic table on the ground and Grover is right up against the side of the shed.

Last weekend we made some improvements to the kitchen... added a couple new under cabinet lights... bought a little (and cheap!) pantry cupboard to put in the dining room to give me some more storage space... put down a piece of Formica on top of the island so it can be usable counter space (its just sitting on top right now, we plan to glue it down when we have time)... we also added a little shelf in the space above the sink between the existing cupboards. Just a place to keep often used things like salt, pepper, butter, napkins handy, but off the countertop! We also hung the new clock I got for Christmas above the shelf... its a good spot for it.

So, improvements like that... nothing earth shattering, but it makes it a much nicer and more usable space... its still ugly, but fixing that wasn't the goal... at least not yet. Just needed some inexpensive ways to make it more functional... and we accomplished that... for about $250, I now have 2 good sized countertops for work space. Its really nice when I'm making muffins and stuff... I have places to put buttered muffin pans AND still have a place for mixing bowls and ingredients! Such luxury!

Hmm, other things we've done somewhat recently... we took down all the snow fence... nothing like tempting Mother Nature, eh? Its nice to have it down, rolled up and put away for next year. Its nice to have it up when you need it, but after that it just looks junky... oh, don't I sound just like my father?! :)

We're also still working on chicken coop plans and costing it out... I don't think we'll be ready to pick up chickens on my next trip to southern ontario... but that's good (or bad!!!) news for those of you that live down that way, because it means I'll have to come for another visit in order to get my chickens.

I'm considering getting 10 chickens now... I know that's way more than I need and definitely will give more eggs than I need or want, but I'm thinking that if I'm making a trip all the way to get them, I better get enough that if one or two die or don't lay or something that I'm not short on chickens. Besides, I think it might be fun to sell a few eggs to coworkers or neighbours... not that selling eggs will make us rich, but will maybe subsidize the feed and make it easier to justify having them.. .we'll see... stay tuned to "How The Egg Turns" ... :)

We also have tentative plans to extend the dog fence up the side of the house towards the road. We have enough page wire fencing to do it and in the summer it might be nice to have more shaded space available. We're just awaiting the gas people to come mark the gas line... want to avaoid hitting that!! ... and of course time...

A while back we ordered about 150 seedling trees... they should be ready for pick up around the end of April... that will keep us plenty busy at that point, I'm sure. 150 holes to be dug in the nasty clay soil... super fun! Seemed like a good idea in February!!

I think that's about it for now...nothing too exciting. Just trying really hard to get on with Spring.