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Get’er done

I had the last week off work, a start of summer vacation. Well not exactly what others may call vacation. Over the past month I had been accumulating a list of projects I needed to get done around the homestead. I actually started the list just so I would stop forgetting about what I needed to get done and get down to it.

The week started with more of a routine item, the cleaning out of the goat barn and the boys house.

I started with this project as I knew it was the one that was the most labor intensive, so if I waited until later in the week my body may already be sore.

The next day I found myself under the house replacing the dryer vent tube. Well it started with that and like other projects to come it turned into a rebuild the entire thing project.

I also too this week as an opportunity to rent a van and pick up our new pantry cabinet.

We are trying to add some lighter colors in the cabin because all the wood sometimes makes our place just feel dark.

Of course the mower blade broke loose again while mowing, so I had to reweld it.

I also borrowed a power washer to clean the pool area.

Defrosted the freezer.

A replace the wax ring on a toilet, turned into a replace the flange and three trips to Lowe’s project.

Noodles spent a bunch of the week napping and watching the woman’s World Cup.

And a couple time a day we would take walks.

All in all it was a very productive week off.

D.

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This week; one for the books

This week has been a whirlwind. It started with me being at a conference in Dallas, Texas, and as seems to be always the case if I go anywhere in the spring that is when baby animals will be born. On Sunday Caro gave birth to two baby boys. So without further ado, let me be the first to introduce you to Merry…

And Pippin.

That’s right we had twin filthy hobbits.

Then on Monday my dad had knee replacement. A surgery thirty years in the making.

And within a couple hours of being back in his room the physical therapist had him up and walking the halls.

Tuesday I finally caught the first fish of the year out of my pond, not the monster tuna I was looking for but it’s a start.

I then found a life lesson in the koi pond, “be careful to not bite off more than you can chew.”

Poor froggy couldn’t get the other froggy all the way down before he croaked.

Thursday I was at work when I got messaged that one of our backyard residents had decided the front porch might be a nice place to hang out.

Then the Turken rooster decided to travel from the goat pin to the chicken run and pick a fight.

With severe storms headed in tonight, we will have to see what else this week has left in it.

D.

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A house of his own.

I realized that I hadn’t posted any photos of the house I built for Sherlock in his new area.

The frame was made from more of the wood I got from my father-in-laws old deck. The outside is salvaged pallet wood. The only thing I had to buy was the metal roofing and some screws. So far he seems to like it.

D.

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And so it begins

I was awoken this fine summer morning by the roosters call and the sounds of his flock itching to be set free from their nightly entrapment in the coop. Each morning begins the same, out the back door to the coop to open the door, refill the food and water. The chickens fly out the door, racing to be the first to the compost bin to see what kitchen scraps have been left overnight. Then it’s a cut back through the house to the koi pond to feed the fish on the way down to the pond to open up the ducks.  I can hear the ducks loudly quacking as I throw a few handfuls of food to the voracious fish.

With the chickens and fish done it’s down the hill to the noisiest corner of the property. I fill the feeder and water before I open the door to the quacking horde. As I pull down the door there is a moment of silence from the beasts until they realize it is only me there to open the world to them for another day.  They waddle as quick as there feet will go to be the first down the ramp and to the food. 

I stick my head in the coop to make sure all the ……Wait what is that?  Is that… No it couldn’t be. It’s…..it’s…..it’s an egg!  Glory be the long wait is over. The ducks have laid their first eggs.

  
Not one, but two. One good duck used the nesting box.

  
The other just dropped theirs in the middle of the floor.

  
 
So snuggly duckling farm now has egg laying ducks. Now how do I train these fowl how the keep there eggs clean until I get there.

  

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My country list

Neither of us were “country folk” when we decided to make the move away from the city and into the wilds of the county.  Raised in the suburbs, minutes from the nearest grocery store, hardware store and Starbucks, we knew not the want of a fast food burger.  We were ready to try something new and decided to move away from the sound of traffic and sprinklers to a spot in the woods where the silences of nature filled the air.

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That brings me to my list.  This list, which I will slowly add to as time goes by, is all the things we didn’t know before we moved to the country, including the things we thought we knew but had wrong.  The things we wished someone had told us and the things we were glad to discover on our own.

The first thing on my list is the sound of the country. I had imagined standing on my front porch listening to the breeze in the tree tops, the chirps of birds all around and a general peace and silence in the sounds that would surround me. Little did I know, the country is far from quiet.  

Let’s start with nature itself.  Having a pond on the property means that we have frogs; while it may sound enchanting in a animated  film to have a frog singing by the waterside, the communal roar of a hoard of amphibians can be quite intense.  Then there are the cicadas, another sound glamorized by the film industry.  Their shrill chirps cut through even the croaking of the toads to invade the ear holes.  

I include as part of nature a factor that we brought on ourselves: the chickens and the ducks.  The ducks produce a constant racket that sometimes brings a smile to my face, at other times makes me question why any animal would ever need to produce a sound that can so easily be heard by every predator for miles around.  With chickens of course, we have Mr. Rooster.  The crowing at the break of ever dawn was expected, but the howls throughout the day baffle the mind and intrude on my ears.  

We have two types of hens: those that quietly step into the nesting box, drop an egg in the straw and head right back outside like it’s no big deal, and those that hunker down in the box and scream bloody murder for the next fifteen minutes, letting everyone know that an egg is coming. They noisily herald the biggest event the county has ever seen is happening right now and everybody needs to know about it.  “AN EGG IS COMING, YOU GUYS! AN EGG IS COMING!”  After the egg has ceremoniously been laid, these particular chickens poke their heads out of their coop and proclaim to the world of their great accolmplishment.  “I DID IT!  I LAID THE BEST EGG EVER, BETTER THAN ALL OF THE OTHERS EVER LAID!”  

Of ourse, while these chickens are loud and obnoxious in a funny sort of way, I have no idea what sound I would make if I had to pass an egg everyday.

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Another sound that unexpectedly breaks the peacefulness is the echo of gunfire.  I know every American has the right to bear arms, and considering the fact that we saw an actual bear crossing the road the first week we moved out here, I think it may be a necessity for country life.  It is the oh so frequent sounds of gunfire that perplexes me.  Okay, hunting season is one thing.  I get that; harvesting animals for food is part of what we wanted to experience to get closer to our food.  It is the weekend blast-fest that we sometimes hear that I don’t understand.  There are times we can hear, what I assume is target practice on a backyard range or something like that, no problem, but the number of rounds of ammunition sometimes baffles me.  I’m sure that it is good time being had, but don’t those bullets cost money?  Anyways lets just say it is another sound that I wasn’t shown in the version of the country previously put before me.

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At this point let me say I do love it out here, and this list I will be building on is not a reason why others should not try leaving the city for the country, it is just things I wish I would have known.  Now where are my ear plugs I want to fish in peace. Damn frogs.