Monday, September 29, 2014

Barn Work, Grandkids, and the Garden that Won't Quit

Another great weekend with the family.  This weekend we had beautiful early fall weather, all three of our own kids for Friday night and Saturday, and the future (33 days from today) son-in-law and granddaughters through Sunday afternoon.  For most of Saturday I had my son working with me and we managed to get the new supports in place, supports and door painted, and the main door back on the barn.

I thought I had some nice in-process pictures.  It turns out I do not have pics I wanted, but I do have a lengthy and oddly amusing video, mostly of the ground, my boots, a bit of the sky, selected tools, a wayward chicken, and moments looking at the in-process work when I think I'm taking still pics, all with a running father-and-son commentary.  I thought seriously about posting it for something like 2 milliseconds, then came to my senses and decided my barn red over-sprayed boots, construction trash, Aurora the Red Star chicken, and 5 seconds of barn work do not make for riveting journalism.  Here is what I do have.

The main door painted and back in place

The front floor support put some doing to work in place.  I added some support under the bad front edge.

I still have the upper door to frame up and install.  I also some gaps to fix above the track, but they will wait until it's cool enough the wasps slow down.
We also did a little work on the coop. We had some water getting in along the back wall into the laying boxes.  I looked for some flexible material to cover the hinge line.  What I ended up with is some indoor-outdoor rubber floor runner.  In the end I ended up with two strips.  One covering the top of the box lid something like roofing, and a second attached to the wall and draping down over the hingeline.
The waterproofing material in place.  We'll see how it weathers.
As I've said before, working with the grandkids as helpers takes twice as long and is 4x the fun.  I got a few pics of my (future) granddaughters and one of my grandnephews.

Miss Harmony talks to the chickens.  They seem to get along pretty well.
Heaven and Harmony 'doing their work' on some scrap lumber.  There is no better use for tool and nails.  They had sooo much fun!
Grand nephew Nathaniel loves the chickens and (with the help of a handful of scratch) they love him!
Finally, we really are getting to the end of garden.  Really!  We still have some of the usually fall items to bring in, but today De got some zucchini (which we thought had been done for awhile), summer squash (ditto), and discovered we have at least one more green bean picking to do in the next few days.

The garden keeps coming!  We are blessed!  Plenty more melons, butternut and potatoes to bring in.
They're starting to slow down,  but aren't done.  "Don't put the canner away yet, De!"
All in all, a wonderful, productive weekend spent with the folks I love most.  We are blessed!

Col. 1:9-12,


Saturday, September 20, 2014

Homestead Repairs and More

Today was supposed to be barn repair day.  The door has been off my yard barn most of the summer and with fall coming it was time to get it back on.  It took a good part of the morning to get the rotted stuff off, and I picked up a paper wasp sting in the process.  I'm mildly allergic (and apparently getting a little more sensitive every time I get stung)  so there was a short interruption while my son, who keeps me honest on stuff like that, hauled me up to the house for Benedril and to make sure I had my Epi-pen with me.

I'd painted over some ugliness earlier knowing I would need to fix it all later.

This is where the sliding door track was mounted.

"Helpers" come it all shapes and sizes.  One of this lady's relatives nailed me on the forearm for what they viewed as anti-social behavior.

It took a little doing, and several interruptions for bug juicing, but the we got the old wood off.

I'd feel bad about everyone eyeballing my too-full barn, except I know we all have at least one of these.

There was a similarly rotten board on the front supporting the floor that had to come out.  You can see by the tools in the picture it was not a straightforward process.

We had a little floor droop when we took this board out that is going to make installing the replacement interesting.

We always let the chickens out when we're outside working.  Today was apparently dust bath in Mark's potato patch day.  There were some grungy looking (but happy) birds coming out the dust bath in the black dirt.
The birds like the black dirt, too.  Notice the potato in the foreground.

De and I went to get lumber, and then my son and I started on getting it all back together when a summer thunderstorm hit.  We were standing about 100 yards away when this happen.  We didn't hear the tree go down, but did see the lights go out.

Good day to own a generator!

So now the tools are all put away, were listening to hum of the generator, watching the REMC (Rural Electric Member Cooperative or something like that) crew work clear trees, trying to keep the swelling down on my sting, and getting our evening chores done.  A nice evening spent with a great family!

More to come when we get back into getting the work done.

Take care all!

Col. 1:9-12,


Friday, September 12, 2014

The End is Nigh (And where has Mark been, anyway?)

Yes, yes.  I know I've been a bad blogger. And it's not the end of Mark or the blog, just the garden.  I'll get to that in a bit. Since you can't just fall off the face of the electronic earth for awhile and not offer SOME explanation here it is:  Mostly I've been dealing with cars.
  1. My car (2010 Chevy Equinox) wore a hole in it's own engine block and is in the shop.  Since its still up in the air as who will pay for the new engine I'll hold off on the details and we'll just count.  (-1 car). 
  2.  Daughter #1 was involved in an auto accident. God allowed her to escape without serious injury even though the air bags failed to go off, but the car was totaled.  (-2 cars).  
  3. The "spare" car which was waiting some time and cash for another transmission (-3 cars) will now be her car, but that means it needs to be fixed NOW. 
  4. And finally Daughter #2's car left her sitting twice (-4 cars), but I think I've got that one figured out and fixed. (hopefully back to -3 cars). 
 I managed to locate a used transmission for the "spare" car and have located a shop to put in it for me, so in a couple of weeks Daughter #1 will be back on the road.  My Son has my old S10 with around 250,000 miles on it that is still working, I have my '92 Dodge Dakota beater truck that still gets around ok most of the time, and De has her RAV4 that, with new front rotors and brake pads is behaving well for the moment.
I've been on vacation (an 'at home' vacation - De is still working) so I've had less need of a vehicle but have still been very busy.
  • Monday 9/1 - Rehearsal (I sing with a local Southern Gospel Quartet and we unknowingly got booked for 3 performances over 4 days), 
  • Tuesday - Church small group, 
  • Wednesday-Final soundtrack arrangements and 1st fix on daughter #2s car, 
  • Thursday - Meeting at church, 
  • Friday - Performance at a local coffee house (1-1/2 hour program in two sets), 
  • Saturday - Amateur Radio  Emergency Service (ARES) support of combined Civil Air Patrol/Salvation Army Emergency Disaster Services exercise, 
  • Sunday - Church in AM, performance in PM (2 hour program in two sets), 
  • Monday 9/8 - Vacation starts, my car goes into the shop, evening performance (1/2 hour program), 
  • Tuesday - Daylong paperwork falderal on my car, Church small group, 
  • Wednesday - Stormy weather, indoor chores, and transmission hunt, 
  • Thursday - More bad weather, transmission and repair shop hunt, lesser paperwork falderal on Daughter #1's car and accident,
  • Friday (today) - Final fix (I hope) on Daughter #2's car, I FINALLY get to the garden only to be rained out after about an hour.  
So that's my dreary tale of motor vehicle mayhem, personal over-commitment, and the vacation that wasn't.
Now..  Hmmm...  Oh yes!  THE END IS NIGH!! (of the garden).  Before I got rained out I did manage to get the last of the tomatoes out, cucumbers and summer squash harvested, peppers harvested and one of four beet beds harvested.  I didn't get the last of the "total loss" corn crop, Stripetti squash, carrots, green beans (yes - there are still beans to be picked!), the rest of the potatoes dug, the last cabbage, and the other three beds of beets in.  We still have butternut squash, some personal sized melons, some small while pumpkins (that will be used as decorations for Daughter #2's wedding reception in about 6 weeks), more stripetti squash, and some new cabbage heads coming on.  The end may be 'nigh', but we're not done yet.  Here's some pics with apologies to all of you who keep nice, tidy, weed free gardens.

Tomatoes - Done
One more picking  on corn, and potatoes to dig

We usually get more cabbage from the same plants!
Peppers are still producing, but are almost done.

White miniature pumpkins for Daughter #2 decorations

Cucumbers, summer squash, and zucchini pretty much done (thankfully!)

Personal size melons are looking good!

Lots of Stripetti out there

Butternut looks to be getting about done.

Pole beans and more corn to bring in
Still not a bad harvest

All in all, it's still clear that God is so faithful and we are still very blessed.

Col. 1:9-12,