They say that life is what happens while you’re making plans. What they fail to mention is that when you don’t make plans, horribly disorganized life happens. When you make plans in the form of lists, everything that’s not on your list happens. But at least you can pretend it’s organized.
Here’s where I am on the Almighty List for 2010. How about we start with the things that happened while I was making lists? In no particular order….
- Chicken Yard Upgrade. Back in May we moved the ladies out of their winter residence and into their new summer digs. First, we got ourselves a new summer coop from some Freecyclers up the road (who turned out to be the neighbors of the woman who helped out at the daycare service we used last year). Then I staked out an area for their new run and strung it up with deer fencing. I mean, if it will keep out deer it should keep in chickens, right? Chicken wire is metal, and expensive. Deer fencing is plastic, and cheap. Any questions? I ended up adding even more fence weeks later when we discovered that yes, a chicken can indeed fly over a 4 and a half foot fence. Also, they can fly over a 6 foot fence. Also, clipping their wings was much easier than I thought it would be. I also built a new nesting box from an old storage bin. It was only going to be temporary, until I woke up one morning and it was not.
Chicken Gate. Did not involve anyone breaking in and stealing eggs. After a month of accessing the chicken yard by rolling a mess of chicken wire away from a poorly secured section of open fence, I built something more permanent. Just a couple posts with a hinged gate between them. Nothing fancy. But it does lock, and I am likely going to regret not using pressure treated lumber for the posts.
Put the gate back on my truck. I discovered why there’s a rubber mat in the bed of my truck. It hides the cancerous rust problem. This Spring, enough of the back of the bed rusted away that the gate fell out. While I was driving. Bungee cords held it in cosmetically for a few weeks, and then I just removed it. And then I absolutely needed it. Eventaully I bought some fasteners and built something that would hold the back of the bed together for at least a few more years.
Upgrade the summer coop. Sadly, back in June we lost all of our hens in a single night, we believe, to a fox. We got lazy and weren’t locking them up at night. Lesson learned. Then we came into 19 new Leghorn chicks, and in just 3 weeks we were separating the boys from the girls and moving the boys into the Ladies’ old coop. But first, to further deter predators and provide shade and a protected water/food area, we put the coop on stilts. I was able to do it all with materials we already had. I also took the opportunity to bolster the front door, which was falling apart, and make the screen bottom solid.
Took down a maple tree. I helped my dad and brother take down a maple tree in dad’s back yard. I did the goundwork, which meant cutting up limbs, not getting hit by falling branches, and avoiding the use of the chainsaw until absolutely necessary. The brush all went to the town compost. The wood came back home!
Fixed a grill. This is why we can have nice things. Because some people who have nice things decide to throw them out because, oh, a hinge is broken. We picked this up one Saturday afternoon recently, put an hour into fixing the wobbly lid and cleaning it, and then cooked dinner on it. Then I dismantled the old grill and the older table it sat on. That table was older than mine and Sara’s marriage. For real. It will get a proper ceremonial burning.
Installed a whole-house exhaust fan. I picked this fan up months ago through Freecycle. As it turns out, it can move enough air to strip the stink off a skunk. This past weekend I mounted it in a panel that fits in the ceiling access to our attic, and we plugged it into a switched outlet in the living room. It pulls air out of the house so fast that air feels like it’s being blown in through the open windows. It runs at night, filling the house and attic with cool air. It takes noticeably longer for the house to heat up during the day, now.
Planted apple trees. Sara and the girls bought me two Macs for Father’s Day. Turns out, you need two different kinds of apple trees for them to cross pollinate and make fruit. So, I picked up a Cortland. After much discussion about where to plant them (they’re gonna be there for a LONG time, ya know) I took an afternoon to do so. In the process I picked a fight with a very large boulder. After 6 rounds, I conceded and dug the hole another foot to the left. But I’m still very macho. Virile. All that.
I did find some time to work on the things I set out to do as well….
Build a new clothesline. Done. One hundred ninety two linear feet of solar clothes drying POWA. It can hold 4 full loads of laundry. Around here, that ain’t so rare. I like to say that the money we save by line drying in the summer lets us use the electric dryer in the winter. And yes, I like to say that because it makes me feel superior to those who can, and don’t.
Finish cleaning up from Maple Season 2010. The pan still needs a scrubbing, and the storage tank still needs a final rinse. I continue to kid myself about when I’ll get to this.
Make Violet Jelly. Never got to it this year. No regrets. There’s always next year.
- Dig the new garden. Done. Like, forever ago. All the sod I scraped off got used somewhere else in the yard, too.
- Build a hoop house. Even though we already bought the materials for it, this won’t go up until Fall at the earliest. The plan is to put it up before the first snows to give the chickens a protected space to roam in the winter months.
- Build raised bed planters. Done. I found a use for all that extra geo-decking! (You may remember I used it last to make the floors and roof for the chicken coop. You don’t? Well… I did.) I managed to squeeze 20 boxes out of the rest of it. The end pieces had to be untreated lumber (didn’t want pressure treated in the garden) so it’s gonna rot eventually, but we’ll get some good years out of them first.
- Build a drip irrigation system. Built, but not installed. We went instead with an early morning/ late evening watering regimen instead.
- Build a gutter/ install a rain barrel. No gutter yet, but I did get a barrel set up with a spigot installed on the bottom. It’s brewing llama poo tea for the time being. Hey. We should start using that.
- Start planting seeds. Done. And how did this get so far down the list? We’ve been pulling food from the garden for months.
- New window sills and frames in the bedroom. Please don’t remind my wife about this.
- Build a deck. Got the permit! Got the wood! Got the… desire to… start… digging holes. Ehhhhhh……
- Install the dishwasher. Nope. It is firmly installed behind a pile of crap in the garage, though.
- Sugar Shack Upgrades: It would seem that work on the shack occurs in the Fall, cuz I have yet to do much of anything on it so far.
- Put siding on the Shack
- Paint the new siding
- Build a new arch – I’m now tossed up between building one, and having one built for me. Gonna compare the costs.
- Build a steam hood pre-heater
- Install new (permanent) stack for the new arch.
- Add a cupola
- Landscape the creek – Somewhere, somehow, I actually started this. Working on terracing down from the culvert pipe.
- Build root cellar storage in the basement. I was looking at all the old shelving at the store a week ago and had a brainstorm. I was sure I could make a pantry that could be completely disassembled if need be (meaning I could set it up in the basement without it being permanent.) So I made it. It is awesome. Still needs final touches.
- Replace the fuse box. Nothing.
- Replace the house gutters. Can’t even find time to clean out the ones I have.
- Install a vent fan over the range. Pffffft.
- Make beer. I’ll have to start it by this weekend to have it ready for the Peel & Squeal.
- Make mead. Haven’t started a new batch in many years. But with the basement pantry almost finished, I want to make more just so I can store it there.
- Build a rotating composter. Done. It needs some tweaks, as it retains way too much moisture, but it’s in service.
- Build a back porch. I’m drawing up plans this week to close in the back stoop and basement bulkhead and make a place where we can put boots and coats in the winter, and have a trap door to have pseudo-indoor access to the basement.
That’s all you get. I’ve got things to do.