Saturday, April 30, 2011

Renovations, Inside and Out

First thing on our Saturday 'to do' list is almost always to not set the alarm and sleep until we wake up.  This Saturday was no exception but since our alarms goes off at 4:45am on work days, 'sleeping in' generally means we roll out of bed by 7:00am.   Still plenty of daylight to do whatever needs to be done.  We had a mix of indoor and outdoor chores on today's list.  The main chore inside was to get the mattress back into the bedroom.  Then the bedroom and the living room needed to be straightened up.  A week of 'camping' in the living room made it impossible to keep things tidy in there and there were still a lot of tools and such scattered around the bedroom from last weekend's painting project.  The big chores outside were to snake-proof the chicken coop and rebuild all the nest boxes for the hens.   There were a few other things on both of our lists but those were the main goals to be accomplished today. 

During the work week, Yeoldfurt takes care of the morning chores like feeding the dog and outside cats, tending to the chickens and turning the horses out.  I leave for work an hour or two before the sun comes up, so it makes sense for him to take care of those chores Monday through Friday.  But on Saturday and Sunday, I'm off so I usually do the morning chores and let him enjoy his coffee.   When I finished with the chores this morning and came back in the house, I figured I would start the laundry and get him to help me move the mattress back into the bedroom.  Silly me ...he had already moved the mattress by himself while I was outside.  He's always doing sneaky things like that.

By 8:30, he was headed down to the chicken coop to start on his projects and I got busy with the laundry and straightening up the house.  I carried him a big mug of iced tea an hour or so after he started and helped him hold a board here and there.  But mostly, he worked outside and I worked inside.

He used plastic coated chicken wire to make a barrier on the floor of the chicken coop.  The three or four snakes we've caught in there so far seemed to be entering and exiting under the edge of the corrugated tin wall at the back of the coop.  The tin is rusted pretty bad at the bottom and I'm sure there's a lot of give for a big snake to push it's way through.  He buried the edge of the chicken wire several inches into the dirt at the base of the wall, then came a foot of so up the wall and tacked it down with a 2x4 rail that extends the full length of the wall.  We have lots of flat concrete stepping stones left here by the original owners and he used some of those to butt up against the wall at the bottom.  Those concrete stepping stones are very heavy would take something a lot bigger than a snake to push them anywhere. 

While he was busy with the coop renovations, I spent most of my time putting the new shelves up in the bathroom.  It's kind of scary to start drilling holes in walls you just spent three days re-painting ...but after the first hole, I was okay.  The shelves are up and the bubble on my little torpedo level is dead center.  Just like I like it.  I also had to drill holes and hang hardware for several decorative pieces in the bedroom but it all went smoothly.  The only thing that's left now is to hang the new curtain rods.  That will be the main project on tomorrow's list.

On a side note, I think I found a source for some new laying hens for us.  The guy has Americanas and Rhode Island Reds and most of the chicks are a cross of the two breeds.  He has chicks for sale from three days to three months old for $3 to $5 each.   He even has some six month old hens that are just starting to lay that's he'll sell for $7 to $10, depending on the breed.  He seems to be very knowledgeable and said he would be happy to show us how to tell the males from the females on the really young chicks.  That will be useful if we're ever raising our own and selling chicks.  He guarantees what you buy from him too.  If you want only females and end up with a male, he will take it back and give you hen of the same breed and age.  Sounds like a good deal to me.  He lives about 40 miles south of us.  He was out of town for a funeral this weekend but we were already too busy to run down there today anyway.  We'll probably go see him next Saturday and buy four more chicks.  We'll buy chicks about the same age as the three we have in the brood box now so they can learn to like each other while they're still small.  Another few weeks and they'll all be out in the big coop anyway. 

We're both tired tonight, but happy with how much we accomplished this week and especially how much we accomplished today.  I don't know if I can talk Yeoldfurt into it or not, but I think we are due for a 'no projects' weekend now.  Everybody needs one of those once in a while.  If we end up driving the 40 miles south next Saturday to pick up those new chicks, maybe we can take our time on the way down and relax a little. 

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