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Friday, February 28, 2014

Comments and responses

Well I guess by the title you can tell I don't remember what I was gonna title the post that contained my response to my sweet readers comments. OK so laugh it up.  But when you see it you will know it has answers to questions you may have ask or concerns.

Some readers were concerned about the issue in this picture with the quilt going down behind the dryer and damage to the antique quilt and fire risk.

Ya know what I never really gave a lot of thought to either. But after takin note and looking closer Lisa the quilt does go down behind the dryer about a foot. BUT the dryer is about 18 inches or more (I cant judge distance) from the quilt. I did check to see how warm it got behind there last time I did laundry and as far as heat being a problem and risk of possible fire, unless the dryer catches fire there is no danger of it catching fire as it is. My dryer exhaust at the bottom and goes outside and when the dryer is running it is not but a few degrees warmer behind the dryer than ambient temperature in the house. But ya made me think and check it out, so thank you.

Mary I had given some thought to possibly making something to treasure with these old quilts. After some thinkin I will probably take them down before long and maybe alternate for short periods of time with others I have or if and when I get a spurt of energy maybe make just a simple wall hanging to put there instead. These quilts are so deteriorated that I am not sure there is enough of the pattern left to make a pillow. There is really not a moisture or heat issue in this room as it is not closed off but the fact that the quilts are "hanging" will do more damage to them. They certainly have seen their share of use and love over the years tho. Ya know I could put a shelf back behind the dryer, prop a print or small painting on the shelf to camouflage the water inlet and just put other pictures and such on the wall. That would solve the problem too. Hmm, it just takes another persons perspective sometime. Thanks Mary and keep em comin.

Blessings from the McGuire homestead.


Trying to get a jump on spring

And trust me that is a tough thing to do around here right now. Seems as tho winter is wanting to linger longer than we would like, but we don't control the weather. Rodger got my greenhouse set back up a couple weeks ago and I still have not been able to get my cabbage seeds started. Its not like I need a ton of things in the cabbage family but I need what I need. I was hoping our really cold weather would ease up a lil bit before I got the seeds started an they sprout. The cabbage family can do fine in cold weather the biggest problem is damping off in the greenhouse. And that is something you really have to stay on top of or chance losing all your seedlings. I have in the past just used a peroxide water spray to control the disease. I hope to get those seeds in this weekend. But with no more than I will be starting, maybe 3 flats, less than 100 plants of all things cabbage, I am thinkin I will just use my counter in the summer kitchen for those till the super cold weather spell is past. Then hopefully it will be safe to put them in the greenhouse for the remainder of the growing period. Fingers crossed. We are forecast to get snow, ice, rain, sleet and shit and stuff and things this weekend. We will see.

Well we did decide to go ahead and build a smaller addition onto the big chicken house up here on the hill to raise the meat birds. It should be big enough to accommodate the 25 birds I am starting the season with. Rodger and Jason got that task done last weekend. They went from this:

The floor on Saturday morning was the start, and time wise, 3 days later this is what we have:

This is a 6ft addition onto the west end of the hen house. It would be so nice if chickens were not such creatures of habit and the hens would just move in the new residence. But I am sure if I tried that it would mean going out at dark and carrying each bird to the new house. They would sit down at the door of their old house. So I will leave them be and put the new babies in the new building. Then once they are butchered off and the building is empty I can put new young pullets in this section. Hopefully as I hatch chicks this spring and save out the lil pullets I intend to raise them in this new section so it will be home to them. After the young bird get close to laying age we will be butchering off our old flock and that will leave the bigger building empty to raise the fall round of Cornish for our winter meat supply. I will let ya know how my plan works out. OK stop laughing, its not done yet. I got my heat lights, bedding, feed at the ready, vitamins and all set to get my babies first of the week. They will only live here about 6 , no more than 7 weeks till they are in the freezer. When we have several days of warm dry weather forecast I will paint the outside of this building to help protect it even tho it is built with exterior grade plywood. Yep, another paint project.

Speaking of painting, I am still not done on the inside of the house as of right now. I did finally get the closet section painted in the bedroom/walk-in closet off my bedroom. I has nice heavy shelves in there to hold all kinds of stuff that was sitting all over my closet/craft room. Much neater and at least I can safely walk in there and come out with all 10 toes intact. I have had to take it easy the past few days as I have had another round of mild bronchitis I guess. Have not felt good for a few days. I did feel some better today and managed to get another coat of paint on the walls in the master bath. The paint was not old enough to really need to be totally painted but needed touch up where the paint for some reason looked thin. So another project off my list. I actually think there is enough paint left in that can if it remains good to totally repaint the whole bathroom in a few years when it needs it again. I still need to buy the paint to paint the inside of the pantry in the kitchen. Sounds like a good lil project for a crappy weather weekend we are supposed to have this weekend. IF and thas a big IF I feel better. Have to wait till tomorrow to see how that goes. That will leave the living room and master bedroom to paint and I might be done. At least till I get another harebrained idea.

I have at last got my garden seeds out and all sorted to see what all we have and want to plant. Not sure how I did it, but I have managed to let us run out of cucumber seed. Panic time!! Well not really. I did find that Lowe's sells organic and heirloom seeds. So I guess my next trip out of town will include a trip to Lowe's to pick up some cucumber seeds so we have them on hand at planting time. It is still really wet in the garden right now but Rodger thinks he might be able to get in there tomorrow and at least plant our peas. No we did not get them planted on Valentines day like we wanted to. But I think it is still early enough that they will do fine before really hot weather hits. Peas do not do well in heat. The earlier you can plant them the better they will produce and the pods of the Sugar Snap peas will be super tender and crisp. It has been to wet and cold here for us to get in the orchard an prune the fruit trees. That needs to be done really soon before they start to bud. But you do what you can and the rest has to wait.

Not much else happening here on the farm, so till next time, blessings from the McGuire homestead.


Thursday, February 20, 2014

We went from winter to ......worse

Last time I looked it was still winter, at least till mid march in my mind. But this week our temps have been so nice. It has been 60's to almost 70 today. I have had the patio door open since before noon today. But as is promised with Kentucky weather, it changes often. Tonight we are forecast for thunderstorms and damaging winds. Not what I need about now. But I don't control the weather.

I have been busy for the past several days. Yep I am still painting, taking lots of breaks too. I did finally get my bedroom painted. It does look much nicer. Still working on getting the "stuff" put back on the walls. I like to move art work around just for change and am stuck, cant decide what I really want to hang on the walls. For one I do want my antique quilt back up behind the headboard of the bed. I just liked it there. I don't even really have curtains up yet. The windows are kinda covered but not with drapes like I want. At this point I am not sure I want to paint the closet/craft room at all. I still have the master bedroom to do and the living room yet. Both will be a big job. I had to take several days off because I exhausted my energy reserve big time. Almost sent myself into a fibro flare. And I sure don't need that.

Rodger got my greenhouse put up last weekend. We did find time to get out of town and picked up several bags of seed starting medium. It is time to get all things cabbage related in soil to get started. They need to be grown in the cooler spring weather before the summer heat hits. So this coming weekend the plan is to get my benches back in the greenhouse and hopefully get the cabbage family in some dirt. I think just being able to get my hands in dirt will go a long way toward making me feel better. I have totally cluttered up my summer kitchen this winter with empty canning jars. We certainly have used lots of our canned stuff this year. So a big garden is a must for us. So I have to knuckle down and get busy. I did finally make a decision to order meat chicks this spring. They will arrive about march 3rd. We are thinking of maybe adding on to the existing chicken house up here on the hill, a smaller addition, to accommodate the hens and just use the big chicken house to raise the meat birds closer to the house. It sure would save a lot of worry for me with them closer. I would have a power source and could run out to check on them more often. Just better all around for all of us I think. If we add an extension to the back of the building we use now for the hens and move them, we can build a door on the west end and it is level enough back there and lots of room to put the tractor an bucket up to the door to shovel manure straight into the bucket without having to finagle the tractor to "kinda" get close enough to pitch the manure in the bucket. Then if I have my way I will have another door cut between the rooms so the manure can be pushed into the add on and on out into the tractor bucket. Easy peasy! Or at least easier. Only problem we have a short time to build this add on before the baby chicks arrive. We shall see.

Not much else happening here on the farm, so till next time, blessings from the McGuire homestead.


Sunday, February 9, 2014

It has about killed me.........

But I finally got it done. As you well know and I have said before I like to paint in the house. It just makes things look nice and freshens the place up. But this laundry room has about been the death of me for sure. I just cant do the physical stuff that I use to. Between moving the appliances and all the bending and stooping and climbing I was so ready for bed last night. Got the whole thing painted. Got the mirror back in its place.

Damn it looks empty and sterile. The paint color was much lighter than I had anticipated. Almost white! No I don't do white. I did a lot of searching on Pinterest last night, scanned thru some blogs, pondered on things I had that I could re-purpose and use to add some life. Not to mention hiding the connectors for the washer. So far this is what I came up with. What do ya think?

The quilts on the wall behind the appliances are family heirlooms that are very near the end of their useful life. They are falling apart. I remember sleeping under those as a child. They feel so good to touch. The picture on the right side has been thru a house fire, it belonged to my grandmother on dads side of the family. The feed sack dress by given to be by an aunt. On the left are 2 washboards, still usable(ha ha) that belonged to a family friend. Ya know, I keep in touch thru facebook with this fellows daughter, I might just contact her and see if she would like to have her dads old washboard. The wooden ironing board behind the washer that now hides the power supply to the washer was a gift from a former co-worker. Still in good usable shape(ha ha). I don't like to iron. Don't know many people who do. I still think I need to put up a small shelf to hold some old irons and jars of buttons. Maybe in a few days I will brave the weather and get out and find a shelf.
I can not believe I am about to show this in public. But it looks so much better than it did.

This is where things go when they are homeless. OK so I cheated an didn't show the floor area. Well with good reason. We garden, we like sweet potatoes. And sweet taters will not keep in our cellar. They need warm, dry storage. So that is where we store those in winter till the weather warms and by then they will mostly be gone. Except the ones I will use for starts for this years crop. This room also serves as a back entrance where we take off muddy boots and shoes in general. It gets a lot of dirt and clutter. Maybe more shelf space will help a bit with keeping that in check.

OK, this is it! This is where rugs go to die totally. Once they live a few months in here catching mud and other various things they are pretty gross. The towel serves to catch wet stuff, like snow, that we have almost daily seems like. This will be so nice IF and WHEN we ever get laminate floors down. Hopefully soon. Yeah my sandals are still out, thas what I wear to go feed chickens, cats and or the dog. Well at least they go on and off easier than boots, and I am not out there long, mostly. I am pretty happy with the end result now that I have this room painted. I would love to start on the dining room tomorrow but dang my body needs a few days to recover. Maybe I can just chill out and work on my quilt tomorrow.

We had a few snow flurries today but nothing on the ground or roads right now. I guess dad was right. It thaws a lil every day in February. It might snow one day, but its mostly gone the next. I can take that. Its the snow that lays on for days on end that get the best of me. Not much else happening on this lazy Sunday evening. The peach cobbler is almost done. So till next time, blessings from the McGuire homestead.


Saturday, February 8, 2014

Pruning, painting puttering

Just not all these in one day tho. This weather we are having this winter is enough to make the best of us go nuts. It was nice enough last weekend that we got out and pruned the grape vines, finally. I really wanted to get our fruit trees pruned too but Rodger said we would just make big ruts getting in the field with the truck so we passed on those for now. It will have to either be frozen or dry before we can tend to the orchard. The yard was wet but nothing we cant handle. So on Saturday we got the grape vines pruned in the back yard. They sure looked scraggly before we got into them.

 Much better after most of the growth was cut away. I did manage to take a lot of the limbs and cut lots of starts for new vines for this fall planting.

The hardest part of getting the cutting started was finding some potting soil that was not froze solid to put the cuttings in. Finally got them in some sandy loose potting soil, put the whole pot, cuttings and all in a large trash bag after I watered them well and took them into the kitchen. With the warmth and moisture I am sure they will make leaves soon, within a couple weeks and then they start making roots. So by time I get my greenhouse up in early April they will go in there till summer and be re potted into bigger individual pots to grow till early fall and get transplanted to their permanent location in the vineyard in the field and some to by friend Anna. That is about the extent of what we got done outside.

As you know from previous post, I like to paint. No am not an artist. Just like to paint the inside of the house. Rodger keeps telling me I am making the house smaller with layers of paint. Doubt we miss the square footage. I decided instead of getting in on painting the rest of the house first I needed to get the utility room painted as well as the storage closet in there and finish up the dining room. These need to be done before we start putting down flooring before long, I hope. So today I got myself in the notion to start painting. Then it dawned on me, "I need a lighter color paint for closets". Well hell !!! Off to town I go and get another gallon of paint in a lighter tone than the golden yellow that goes on the other walls. I got back and fixed supper and started painting. I thought may as well get the closet in the utility room first and get that over with. Toted all the "junk" out of there and scattered it about and set in to painting. Oh my goodness!! It took a half gallon of paint to just do the damn closet. But that did include painting the shelves in there too and adding some more shelving. Done!! I was killed. I just cant work as long or as hard as I used to. I had a fan positioned to speed the paint drying time and got the "junk" all put back. SO that is done. Tomorrow, the utility room. And that means moving the washer and dryer, clean them, clean under them, scared to see what might be living behind them, then wash the walls and finally paint. It should be a lil bit brighter in there once I am done. If I live to see it. I can sure hope.

For the ones of you who read and know me, you know it is rare for me to leave the house more than once every few weeks. Well I been out 2 times this week. First part of the week I got paint. And stopped by the grocery store just to plunder around and see what the rest of the world eats. The prices are out of sight, can we say sticker shock, again. Happens to me real often. Not to mention I have never in my life seen so many packaged single serving foods in my entire life. Single serving sausage biscuits, microwave ready. Sandwiches, micro ready. veggies, micro ready. Do people eat this stuff? I guess they do cause it sure seems a lot of people were buying it. Now we are in the country, not a big city, most people live in a rural setting. How the hell they gonna eat if the power is off from one of these crazy winter storms we are having? The food is already cooked I guess so maybe eat a cold sandwich. This type foodstuffs is pricey too. For a while I had almost decided to just buy chicken breast at the store locally because you can buy 10 lb boxes of chicken breast frozen for about $1.79 a lb. Not a bad price. Well that idea was short lived when my friend Lori came down to visit on Sunday. She works at the local grocery store and informed me chicken was getting ready to go up really high. Short supply due to drought shortening food supply for the birds I think is the reason. IF it stayed at the above price I would consider just buying chicken breast but if it is going higher than that, I am gonna raise my own chickens. Initially I had planned on just buying chicken breast and hatching and raising some standard breeds to butcher for stock and such. Well now I think I best order meat chickens and hatch and raise some too. There is no easy way out. But at least I am blessed with a way out of the high prices. She also told me vegetables will be going up in price also due to the short fall in production in California with farmers having no water to water their crops with. Not sure about the politics of that whole situation but it sure seems to me food production would trump having a pretty lawn any day. But I reckon not to the powers that be out there. I say let them eat their lawns, we can raise ours here. We have options here, we can raise our food, supplement with game meat and meat we raise. But what about folks on fixed income, folks who have no space to raise any food. They are at the mercy of the grocery store. If a family budget allows $100 a week for groceries and you pay 20% more for groceries, either you add another $20 to the budget or buy and eat less. Scary as hell these times we live in.

I am ready for spring myself and ready to start seeds and dig in dirt, somewhere. Whether it be in the greenhouse, a flower pot or in the big garden. Not likely be doing any playing in dirt this weekend or coming week as we have snow forecast for almost every day, in some amount. But dad was right, it thaws a lil bit every day in February. It might snow tonight and melt off tomorrow. I can live with it, for now. Cause I know spring is not too far off.

Not much else happening here on the homestead, so till next time, blessings from the McGuire homestead.