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Archive for the ‘House Project’ Category

I cleaned my garage and some of my basement.  2 Trips to the dump/recycle center.  Feeling much lighter after getting rid of all that extra.  I have boxes of children items that are being donated.  That will take more that one trip, too, I’m sure.  This stuff is getting out!  coming soon, if all goes well, my organized storage area, and a repaired chair!

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My basement is filled with all the stuff I’ve moved 3 times before landing in this house. Clearly, not necessary in my world. So it needs to go. Thoughtfully, but it needs to go.

In light of that, I built a wall to create a storage nook. I put shelves along the walls that were there and the new one, will go through all the items on the shelves, to determine what stays and goes, then go through the stuff not on the shelves for the same purpose. Hopefully this leaves only stuff that fits on the shelves, but we’ll see how that plays out.

I threw away 7 bags of trash (shhhhh…that is embarrassing…especially since I doubt I’m done), and have the wall built, shelves in place and feeling rather accomplished. No pictures for now, because it’s not at that point yet, but when it is I’ll show the finished project.

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I have to get back here because I’m drowning in all the things I want to do and am not doing.  I’ve decided to go back to using this as a daily accountability/journal, which is how it started, but then it morphed because I had followers and felt obligated to stick to my homestead sort of theme that had come about quite naturally.  Well then I realized that I was repeating myself, because each year with homesteading is quite similar as the last, at least the rhythm of the season.  Time was hard to carve out, I was uninspired, so it dropped.  I got that gnowfglins gig and really was uninspired to keep up with that too.

So now I’m just going try to keep myself on track with getting stuff done.  Christmas didn’t go as I’d have liked, just it’s fine, but I let a lot of things pass by, and realized that’s kind of how things are going, in general for me.  So time to get back on track.  2014 needs to be more motivated, organized and focused.

What I did accomplish…I made new chairs for the girls for Christmas.  I wanted to paint them, but didn’t get to that…maybe there will be a “she painted chairs” post soon!

I used the plan from Ana-White.com.  I love that site.  I’ve not made many of her projects, but there are several I’d like to make.  The girls are super hard on chairs.  I’m not sure why, they are rather dainty in stature, but they have broken at least 6 chairs.  I do partially attribute this mass destruction to how cheap and throw away they make things these days, but decided it couldn’t hurt to go with super rugged for these petite gals.  The chairs have a storage bin on the bottom which seems practical, as well as adding strength.  Hey a girl can hope, right?  The plan was brilliant, except it does not tell you, in the what to buy list, that you need a 6′ 1×2.  So after collecting all my material, heading home to start cutting, I realized I need all the wood for the seat apron.  It set the project back a critical 24+ hours.  So if you make these, pick up a 1×2 that is 6′ long!  Otherwise it was a great plan and went together well.  Sanding and painting needs to happen, but they got them this morning and Eowyn has used hers while doing a project and Istra sat on hers, declared “It feels good” then ran off to play with all the trucks she got for Christmas!

One of my newest passions is essential oils!  I have become a consultant for Doterra, which is the most amazing essential oil company!  If you’d like more information about this feel free to comment or send me a message.  I had used essential oils before, but was quite underwhelmed and as you know, if  you read the blog, I love making herbal solutions to colds and sniffles.  Not anymore.  I was blown away with the results of Doterra essential oils and have learned a lot about the use, and am totally smitten!

One of the exciting things about Doterra essential oil is that you can eat them!  Yes, they can be used internally, which is due to their high standards of quality and purity.  This is what got me crushing on them originally, and the relationship moved to a swoon and now I’m head over heals smitten for them!  This morning I decided a little ginger spice latte would be fabulous.  Here is my non-dairy creamer creation…oh, non-dairy because my cow is dry right now.  More about that in a later animal update…we are still homesteading!

CreamerRecipe

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What a day!  Work in the morning, followed by moving a new rabbit hutch from a friend’s house to mine.

The structure was originally a chicken coop, but it’s basically a 4×8 box, with hardware cloth floor, wood and chicken wire walls and chicken wire roof, on which sits a piece of plywood.  Very basic, so perfect for many different things.  It is divided in half, so each side is about 4 feet square.  Since it’s wood, and rabbits like to eat wood, I took apart some old cages, that had rusted floors but good walls and secured them to the wooden walls, on the inside so the rabbits can’t eat their way out.  The space is plenty large enough for two does, their nest boxes and plenty of wiggle room for lounging and eating and such.

This is important because I have 2 sisters that have always lived together, in one cage, and have been bred together.  I am experimenting to see if this sort of cohabitation will work well, or not.  There are many variables:

  • I don’t know for sure they are both bred, though they both have ample exposure for such things, so should be.
  • They were moved today, but due in the next couple days, which you aren’t really supposed to do, because that can throw them off and cause trouble with kindling.
  • I’ve never had two does kindle in the same space before, so don’t know if they will take to that, or if there will be infighting, or hurting each other’s kits.

Basically this is an experiment.  One that I hope goes well, but either way, I’ll learn something from it.  I really like doing these sorts of experiments, because not only do I learn something, but since I blog about my adventures, it can be helpful to others.  I’ll keep you posted, either way, with fingers crossed for great success.

After getting their house secured and them moved, I headed to Wells Maine with other folks from the permaculture group for some spoon making!  Adam taught a group of inexperienced folks how to take a piece of 1×3 pine and turn it into a spoon!  It was great fun.  I am happy with the results and after a little linseed oil is applied, I will give it a try.  After our labors, we joined in the house for some amazing homemade soup, made by Adam.  We opted not to use our spoons, though it was tempting, because we wanted the oil to go on before the food.

The day ended with the final arrangements for transporting Nellie from Alstead to our house!  My friend, and local farmer, Wendy, and her husband, are going to trailer her for us.  We will drive along with them in our car to help load her and take care of the arrangements, but I’m so thrilled with this PERFECT solution.  She will be safe, dry and cozy.

Now to make things cozy for her here.  I have to move the ducks out of her future home, into something a little smaller…since 7 ducks don’t need an 8×8 gambrel roof shed.  I want to sure up the floor of the shed, since it was intended to house ducks, not a several hundred pound cow.  Those are the need items.  I also want to add a window, if time permits.  Phew.  What a whirlwind this cow situation has been, but everything has been a go at each turn, so I feel very good about this.

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Spring farm work has begun!  I took down the growing pen for the chickens by myself, so I can move it somewhere other than under my bedroom window.  That was a bad idea, since they start crowing long before they are ready for butchering.  The upside to that location was the ease in which I could monitor the structure.  I was able to shoot a raccoon from the living room window, when it was trying to get in.  I’m trying to figure out where I can locate them this year that will allow us to keep them safe, but not so close they wake me up.

I am planning on planting some sort of ground cover where the growing pen used to be.  Maybe wheat or rye, maybe clover.  Not sure.  I want something green, and pretty, but useful for fodder.  I will be putting housing for the baby rabbits in that area.

I did another round of rabbit breeding today.  A new doe, who has yet to be named, but might be annabelle…not sure, was bred to Guy (pronounced Gee, he came from my friends rabbitry where all the rabbits are given French names).  Josie, who was not pregnant, but should have kindled this weekend, was bred to Almanzo, and I tried breeding the new doe’s sister to Charleston but she wouldn’t breed with him, Henry, or Guy. Maybelle lost a baby bunny.  That means she has 4. I have no idea what happened as it was big and chubby and they all seemed so healthy, but things happen, and there isn’t always an answer.

Last year I started a project, that I never took the time to figure out how to finish, but today I got a good deal more done.  That was the plumbing for the outdoor utility sink.  I got a great faucet for only $3.00 at a yard sale, but it’s inner gaskets needed to be replaced.  I did that, for only a couple dollars, and reassembled everything, and it works!  I still need to put in the drain pipe so that it will drain into the dry well we dug last fall.  I picked up a stopper for the sink, so now I can do all the washing of the animal items outside!

The daylight hours ended with me picking fiddleheads in the back yard!  6 pounds of them.  I hope we like eating them, because there are plenty more where that came from.  I love foraging.  It’s a really neat way to get your food.  It gives you time in nature, which is very relaxing, it’s free and who doens’t like free food, and it gives you fresh and healthy food.  I really enjoy learning what I’m looking at too.  It got to the point that I could tell by the way the leaves were bulging that a little patch of fiddleheads were just under the surface.  I found one section where the fiddleheads are smaller and thinner, and one section where they are taller, thicker and more robust.  I’m interested to see which are yummier.

Oh, and Random beauty in my back yard…there is a swampy part of a tributary that runs into the Isinglass River, behind my house, and in that swampy area is a beautiful Blue Heron that calls it home.  I saw the bird sitting on a rock in the middle of the river, but when I pulled over to take a picture it moved over to the more secluded area in the weeds.  I watched it for a while and got a couple of ok pictures.  It really is a marvelous bird, and so majestic when it takes off in flight.

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We have animals.  They need water year round. A working faucet near their area seems obviously necessary.  Unfortunately, due to the fact that when we moved into this house we were in a completely different stage of life, and that the people who built our house were not folks I would recommend, our faucet doesn’t work from December through March.  My husband did a lot of water lugging this winter (he’s a great man.  Thank you honey.)

Today, I started looking at the whole mess and realized it was time to fix the situation, now, so that next winter, when life gets ahead of us, the faucet will still work, and continue to work through the winter.  My project involved an ax (they had put the piping behind the wall), a new silcock, various parts, and water turned off in the whole house for about 2 hours.

This situation reminded me of why I started this blog, and why I gave it the name I did.  Three years ago I never knew what I would end up doing in a given day.  We had a baby, my own business, the start of a sustainable homestead, a new home, and my never ending list of crafting endeavors.  What will she do today?  Too optimistic.  What did she do today?  A good way to keep me focused, to allow me to accomplish something each day, working away at what seemed, on some days, as an overwhelming amount of work to be done.

Today, I got a little ahead of myself.  I could potentially have left our home without water for the night and into tomorrow.  I have never done any plumbing other than swapping the sink in my kitchen…and that was completed with some help from a friend with a saws-all.

Sure, getting ahead of myself has left me in binds before, but that is also, quite often when things really get done.  Today, the project is mostly done.  There is a new silcock.  I will be securing where the spout connects to the house, as the hack job the builder did, left it very wobbly, as well as poorly insulated.  I will tighten that up tomorrow.  I will close up the wall with a door that can be opened so this winter we can add a heat tape, if the insulation I’m adding, doesn’t do the trick.  I will then complete the necessary connections from the house to the utility sink, making it much easier to clean up from butchering, as well as, cleaning food bowls and filling the water bowls.  It felt good…and the fact today was crisp, in the 60’s sunny and beautiful helped too!

Oh, and the garden gave me little gifts today.  I’ll share more about that tomorrow, when I can borrow my daughter’s camera again…still can’t find mine.

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I found a very bright yellow dresser at a second hand store, and after a little discussion, paid $22.00 and put it in my car. 

Paintedchestbefore

I'm bad at remember "before" pictures, as I always want to dive in to a new project, but the whole thing was the color of the drawers, and here it has been sanded, and partially primed.

One of the drawers was not an original, and was a poorly done attempt to match the original, so I decided to remove it and place a piece of wood, covered in my kitchen fabric, in it's place, to make a perfect spot for pint canning jars and a basket.

PaintedChest
I sanded, primed and then put a coat of green paint, followed by a coat of aqua.  While the aqua was drying I rubbed some paint off, to reveal the green undercoat.  I then sanded to remove more aqua, as well as getting down to bare wood, in a couple spots.  The drawer pulls were taken off a dresser that belonged to my Great Grandparents.  I love that the cool old, solid wood dresser, with glass knobs, had it's home in the shop, holding Great Grampa's screws, and such.  It's a beautiful piece of furniture and will find it's way into a home again, but for now it is still in the the old shop that has housed it for decades, and the knobs look great on their new dresser.

PaintedChestClose
This lovely piece of furniture has found a spot in the entry way.  It will hold the box for our keys, a drawer will be devoted to mittens and hats, and the rest will be a "junk drawer".  Yes, sad but true, I realized that I have 5-6 various junk drawers in this house.  Quite silly, as it causes much time spent searching when I need an elastic, thumbtack, or any other sort of doodad, that isn't valuable enough to really have it's own place, but should not be thrown away, for fear I will need it as soon as I do.  I'm hoping this central "junk drawer" will allow for better organization and less time spent searching.

My cousin is married to a lovely fellow, who has a beard.  Why do I tell you this?  Because for Halloween, she wants to dress her 16 month old son as his father.  She got the idea when she saw a bearded hat on Etsy.  She contacted me, back in July, to see if I thought I could make such a hat.  Sure, I can do that…then I promptly forgot. Well, earlier this week she checked in, so I pulled out some yarn and started to whip up a hat.  The hat pattern is Rib-A-Roni, and can be found on Ravelry

BeardedMini
The beard was something I just figured out as I went.  I started by picking up and knitting the beard, onto the hat.  After trying it on Mini who has a 19" head, and The Baby who has a 17" head, I decided that there needed to be flexibility in sizing, as Eli has an 18" head, and I have no idea how the proportions work out.  So I removed the finished beard, bound off, and then sewed buttons into the inside of the hat.  The seed stich for the beard is loose enough to just slip over the button, without the need of making button holes, so the beard is fully adjustable.  It is going to be mailed off tomorrow, and should be in PA in time for his Wednesday Party at Day Care.

BeardedBaby

The bearded ladies were amused with the hat modeling, and were a huge help in figuring out the sizing.  The hat is made of Galway 100% Worsted Wool, and the beard is Malabrigo Merino, so it's super soft.  If he doesn't mind wearing it, it should make a very warm winter hat/face gaurd.  But since the beard comes off, it could be a great winter hat for years to come.

 

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