This weekend was jam packed with projects. There was coop cleaning, a small roofing project, feeder and waterer cleaning and refilling, a new attempt at chicken proofing the garden planters, deep cleaning the kitchen, wire stripping, lawn mowing, bread baking, cooking (of course) and a visit from Cousin ‘N’. Most of these projects were done by me, with me, with The Kiddo or with N.
Cousin N, she is the daughter of my step-mom’s brother and wife. She and I made a real connection last year about this time, for the first time. Then she met The Hubby and Kiddo and they all meshed so well she has become a fixture in our family. She shares many of our same values and is fun loving and hard working. She fits into our branch of the family like the second child we always wanted. We absolutely love when she comes for a visit. She lives a good hour’s drive from us and has a very busy career as a dog walker and pet-sitter so we usually only get to see her once a month or so. She’ll usually come up on a weekend, brings her golden and her new kitten and spends at least a night or two. N is a tiny little bundle of energy who is always up for anything. It is always a lot of fun having her around. She is great at motivating the Kiddo when she needs a little prodding, she helps out around the house and reminds us to make time to play and be silly. She always has us laughing.
Here’s N working on Bronson’s pedicure.
Ok, so now you’ve met N, here is how our weekend rounded out:
Saturday morning found me up too early as I had forgotten to reset my alarm clock, we had gone out of town the weekend before and were up early to hit the road on Saturday. Leave it to me to forget to turn that 6:20am Saturday alarm off for this weekend. Granted, I am usually awake before 7am without an alarm clock. So I hit the kitchen to start a loaf of whole wheat bread in the bread machine and get the 2 pounds of presoaked pinto beans cooking in the crockpot. Around 8:30 or so The Hubs and Kiddo finally rose from their slumber to start their day.
While the Hubby set about getting scrap material ready to recycle, Midge and I got started on chicken coop projects. The nesting boxes have remained without roofing this whole time as The Hubs and I were kind of stuck on how to approach this task. See, the lids are hinged, the hinges sit about a third of the way down on the lid so the top third of the lid remains fixed to the boxes while the remaining 2 thirds opens for access for egg collecting and cleaning.
Here is a look at the trouble maker before roofing.
Figuring out how to put roofing over the hinged portion and have it be weather proof was quite a trick. I finally came up with an overlapping method that looks good and should keep things dry inside. We still have to figure out the sides, not sure how to apply facia and drip edge yet, not sure we will, may just paint the exposed edge. This was my first time roofing with shingles, just as it was my first time roofing with rolled roofing when the Kiddo and I put that on the run roof. There were a few times that I called The Hubby over for consultation and was smart enough to roof the less than visible lid first while I figured the whole process out. But I must say, I am pretty pleased with the final product. In fact, I am really happy with the coop/run as a whole.
While I was measuring, cutting and hammering away on the lids, Midge was hard at work doing a deep clean of the coop and nesting boxes. She shoveled out all the old pine shavings, moved them to the compost piles, swept out the dust and cobwebs, added a fresh new layer of pine shavings and removed and replaced the old hay in the nesting boxes. At one point she climbed into the coop to get all the corners cleared out and cleaned up. She did a great job. The Girls like when we clean out since we let them scratch in the pallet sided compost corner and move the old hay from the nesting boxes to a corner in the run for them to scratch in. After a feeder refill and waterer scrubbing and refill we had a lovely clean and fresh coop and run. Ready for the week.
After The Kiddo and I finished up with the chicken chores we turned our sights on the kitchen. I clean the kitchen almost daily. But that is just the usual dishes, counters, floors. With my mom and step dad heading into town for the holidays and the holidays fast approaching it was time to roll up our sleeves, really dig in and scour the kitchen from top to bottom, end to end. Midge started at one end, I on the other and we worked toward each other. We scrubbed Every surface; containers, appliances, wall,s floor and ceiling and after a couple hours we were done. The kitchen is so clean, shiny and bright you almost need sunglasses on when you go in there. This equals a very happy Me.
After a quick and delicious dinner of southwest flavored chicken soup and fresh honey-wheat bread I headed out and helped the Hubs finish stripping wire as bare copper fetches a higher price. By the time we were finished with that, N arrived after her long day of pet care. We wrapped up our Saturday hanging out around the fire pit, catching up and unwinding.
Sunday found me up early again but I opted to lie about since the girls both slept in the living room. I wanted everyone to catch up on their sleep but by 9 am I couldn’t take it. I cannot just lay in bed all day. The easiest way to wake the house up on Sunday’s is with the smell of breakfast cooking. We only eat a big breakfast on Sundays, this weekend I chose breakfast burritos with hash browns, bacon, pinto beans (the ones I cooked on Saturday), cheese, sour cream (a.k.a nonfat Greek yogurt) pico de gallo and scrambled eggs. Halfway through the cooking found 3 hungry, still half asleep faces hovering about the kitchen, ready to eat. Works everytime!
Sunday was a little more chill. I put the fixings for chili Colorado in the crockpot. The Handsome Hubs headed off to the recycling center. Midge and N cleaned up the backyard and I mowed both the front and backyard. I then turned my sights on my garden planters, we have been letting the chickens in to the chicken yard (which also has my veggie garden) during the day while we are gone to work and school and have come home to find they have been hopping over the fencing that surrounds each planter (and was supposed to keep them out) and scratching among my tender sprouts. This practice is going to seriously reduce the harvest of the garden so I had to come up with something more. My first idea was to sting fishing line across with shiny string tied to it. You know, like they do in vineyards and orchards to deter birds from eating their crops. One thought though, these Girls love to peck at my wedding ring and anything shiny or sparkly. The vision of my entire flock hopping into all the planters in attempts to “catch” the shiny stings was not a pretty one. Next up, twine, I have plenty of twine so I used it to extend the fencing around the planter with the snap peas. I ran a stand around the posts for the peas and then zigzagged more between that strand and the existing fencing. The remaining planters, N and I ran the twine back and forth, sort of roofing the top of the planters. If this doesn’t prove effective we will have to buy bird netting to drape over each planter. Let’s hope this works
*Update: This proved to not be 100% effective, am not sure if the birds getting in were chicken of wild but damage was still sustained so we have since added bird netting over all the planters. Now it is more work for harvesting but hopefully I will actually have something to harvest now.
The afternoon was still young on Sunday and we were all done with our chores. N found a dried stalk from a sunflower and challenged me to a duel. Knowing she had drawn the short stick, I happily accepted and grabbed up my staff. Mine was a sunflower stalk as well but it was twice as long, nearly 10 feet, twice as thick, 3 inches at the thickest, and had a bend at one end that made an effective hook. The Kiddo eventually jumped in with one like mine and it was on! We went to battle and wielded those stalks with little mercy. I was smacked, Hard, in the nose and scratched here and there. The kiddo took a few hilarious hits to the gut from N (did I mention they were tag teaming me?) But N got the worst of it. I utilized the hook end of my staff to yank her off her feet more than once before she finally managed to break it off. I tried to scalp her and drug her through the dirt and grass on her back as she tried to steal my sword with a vise like grip. She and I both busted a knuckle or two and all the while we laughed until we nearly peed our pants and split our sides. Sometimes there is nothing better than a good, friendly, beating to brighten ones spirit. That was some good therapy. Thanks for the fun N!
We wrapped up our wonderfully full weekend with a family dinner of chili Colorado burritos and a movie of War Horse. This was another perfect weekend with many wonderful memories created.