Monday, June 29, 2015

The Starry Night



















My latest needle felted work...The Starry Night, by Van Gogh.  I've always wanted to try felting it, and finally did!  It's already sold, and I'll be mailing it out tomorrow. I am a little sad to part with it, but just making it was pretty satisfying.

New Rabbit Cages

We've had rabbits for several years now, and I've recently been wondering if I want to keep raising them or not.  I figured out I wasn't feeling enthusiastic about them because they were sort of a hassle.  It's not like it was hard to care for them or anything, but it wasn't efficient. Their cages were a hassle.  One was a wooden hutch. I don't care for wooden cages...the wood rots eventually. It also catches urine and manure, and really is just extremely difficult to keep clean.  One metal cage was a Tractor Supply special, and not big enough for a doe and a litter.  The other metal cage was homemade, because I was being cheap thrifty and thought I could make one cheaper than I could buy one.  Well, the wire was too cheap and bendy and the cage is wonky.  

So, feeding and watering them wasn't going as smoothly as it could, and we were wasting time every day with that chore.  Finally I broke down and ordered professionally built cages from KW Cages.   I decided to get two 2-hole metal hanging cages. That means it's one long cage with 2 "holes" (or sides).  So, once the cages are hanging, I'll have 2 levels of 2 cages, for a total of 4 holes.  

The cages came in the day we left for vacation, so I had to wait a week to finally get to put one together. I worked on it tonight, and it was super easy to do alone.  

The cages came in a flat box, and needed to be assembled.  I bought a nice pair of j-clip pliers to use to assemble the cages. The j-clips are what you use to clamp around the parts of the cage to keep it together.   

















I used the ladder as a work bench, since it happened to be right there on the porch.  The cage came in a few different pieces.  There was the left side, the right side, and the 2 top panels separately.  
















Once I got the sides to each half connected, I connected the two halves.  
















Then I put the tops on the cage sides.
















And voila!  It's finished, and very big and very sturdy!   I also got little index card holders for each cage. We'll use them to record the names of each rabbit, plus things like how much food they get, and if they're bred, etc.  It's hard for the kids to remember when the feeding amounts change.  
















Kiki kept me company while I worked.
















And she licked my toes.  Weirdo.  Maybe she liked my festive rainbow nail polish.  :-)

Sunday, June 14, 2015

Lately

I haven't been great at taking pictures lately, but I've got a few of some random things we've been doing lately, so I'll share those.  We're still trying to get the house back together, and that seems to be having an effect on every other aspect of our days.  The garden is slipping, but it's still growing, so that's all that matters right now. School is almost over, so that will be one fewer thing to worry about!

The kids are in 4-H, and their club leader comes up with fun things for them to do at each meeting. This meeting they had a wildlife person come and bring 2 owls to show the kids, and then they got to dissect owl pellets (what the owl regurgitates after eating...mostly hair and bones).

























I got a new bale of hay.  It may not seem exciting to many people, but I love unloading a brand new bale of hay.  I get these huge round bales when I can. They're about 6' tall and about that wide, and weigh around 1200 lbs.  It's not fun to unload, but we've got a pretty good system worked out that involves little effort on our parts!  We put a strap around the bale, and connect it to a strap around the very large tree behind the hay shelter.  Then we just pull the truck away, and the bale slides to the back of the trailer. It takes a few times of backing up and pulling forward to get the bale situated just right over the pallets, but it's not hard at all.  Then, the bale just tips down so one end is on the pallets, and we drive out from under it. Simple!
















The animals are happy...this bale is alfalfa, and they love it.  The extra protein is good for Ida (who is in milk), the growing lambs, and the ewes who are regaining their body condition now that they've weaned their lambs.
















Don't you know the best hay is at the top of the pile?



The chicks are growing fast and got too big for their cardboard brooder box, so they had free run of the barn for a couple of weeks.  Now they're out in their outside pen, but I didn't take any pictures of that yet.


















Since we don't have much in the garden yet, I bought some lettuce, kale, and peas from the couple who bought Nessarose and her kids. They have a market garden and sell at a local farmers market.  They were even kind enough to swing by on their way home from market. How great was that?
























The dogs had a lazy day yesterday. It's amazing how one dog can take up an entire king sized bed!


















I noticed the cherries on our wild sour cherry tree were ready to pick, so I went out yesterday and picked a good amount of cherries. I also picked some mulberries from the tree in the sheep pasture.  I made a berry crisp for dessert last night, and it was so good. I didn't even think to take a picture after it baked, though.
















Mulberries!
















We were sitting in bed watching tv yesterday evening, and Buford kept coming up to my side of the bed and rubbing his face on the mattress.  The second time he did it, I looked closely at him and saw his face was swollen.  His lips and one of his eyes were so puffy, poor guy.  It was either caused by a dose of Heartgard (which he has had before with no reaction), or he may have been stung by something earlier in the day.
















I gave him some benadryl, but only had the liquid children's kind...so that was fun.  He hated it, but it worked very well.
















He's back to normal this morning.  :-)


Monday, June 8, 2015

Bathroom Progress

Now that the house is painted, we're able to start putting stuff back "together".  The bathroom is 95% finished. I bought some shelves months ago, way before the pipe ever broke in February.  I want to put them over the toilet, so that's really the only thing left to do in the bathroom.

This is the bathroom before.  Ugly plain cabinet, ugly light.


























This is the bathroom the night the pipe burst. Water everywhere, insulation everywhere.  The water ruined the bottom of the vanity, so it had to be replaced, along with the flooring.  Since we had everything torn apart already, we went ahead and bought a new light fixture. I hated that cheapo one that was in there before, and I had been wanting to replace it.
















Here it is pre-floor replacement.
























And the new floor. It's pretty similar to what was there before, but nicer.


New floor
















And here's the after!


















































The paint color is Sherwin Williams Grayish.  It looked slightly violet the first few days, but we're used to it and it's looking gray now.

I just can't wait to get the shelves up and put some decorative stuff on them to add in a little color.

Monday, June 1, 2015

House Progress

Progress has been slower than I thought, cleaning up and repairing from terrible-no good-very bad issue we had this winter (burst pipe).  We had the drywall repaired in mid March, and we've been making slow steps forward since then.

We have done some work in the bathroom and basement, but I want to wait to show you those once the rooms are completed.  We just had the hardwood floors refinished last week.  The work started on Tuesday, and wrapped up on Friday.  They sanded and applied 3 coats of polyurethane on the floors. We had to stay out that whole week, and were able to start moving stuff back in on Sunday.

Here are some before pictures.  It's pretty hard to tell condition of the floor in pictures

















I'd say we need a better pad under the rug, don't you think?
























During- Sanding!
























And after:



























It's so shiny and smooth now!  We're trying to be super careful to not scratch the floors. Not the easiest thing when you have 2 kids and 2 dogs!

The painter is coming this week, so hopefully I'll have more finished pictures soon!

Triple Play!





















I'm late posting about it, but last week both Ida and Nessarose kidded.  Ida kidded first (on May 20) with a big healthy doe kid (top picture).  The next day, Nessarose kidded with twin doe kids!  Three for three!  All of the girls are doing really well, and are so cute to watch as they run and play.

I will be selling Nessarose and her twin girls in the next couple of days.  A very nice local couple are getting into the dairy goat business, and I'm thrilled the girls will be going to such a good home.  I'm excited they wanted to buy all three girls, too, so they don't have to be split up.  They were able to come over in time to see Nessa's second kid being born, and they came back this evening for a visit and to help me disbud the girls.

I'll just be milking Ida this year, so it'll be nice to have a little break with just the 1 in milk.  It'll be plenty for soap making and cheese making, still.

Monday, May 18, 2015

Growing Babies

The chicks I bought at the end of April are growing fast. They're almost too big for their big box now.  
The Speckled Sussex pullets are looking really cute (they're the mottled brown ones).  The Barred Rock pullets are really pretty outgoing, and will run over when I put my hand in to feed or water them.
















The baby bunnies are also growing fast!  They're now jumping in and out of the nest box, nibbling on food, and looking adorable.
















Sunday (the 17th) was weaning day for the sheep.  The lambs are now living in the pen in the barn, and the ewes are out in their pasture.  They're not very happy with me, but today they've quieted down a bit.  They'll all get their CD/T vaccine in the next few days, and a couple of the lambs will be leaving after this week, going to their new home as 4-H project lambs.
















Devin will be showing one lamb for 4-H, and I'm trying to convince Kylee to give it a shot too. So those lambs will stay in the "hog pen" outside, and the others will go back out with the ewes after a couple of weeks.
















And he's not a baby, but the rooster was looking especially handsome this afternoon, so I snapped a pic.
















The goats still have not kidded, but they're so close.  Ida has gotten quite the belly and her udder is looking good.

















And Nessarose has a huge udder already...yikes.

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