Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Chicken Whisperer

Our little chicken whisperer.  She loves her new chickens, especially the really fat ones that are easy to catch.  We are trying to teach her a better technique for catching the ladies since Audrey tends to grab their tail feathers in order to get the best grip on them and they DO NOT like it.  Luckily for me the chicken coop is located near by the garden so while Audrey is playing with her chicken friends I can pop into the garden for weeding (and this years garden is awesome... will share later this week).  Audrey always ends up in the coop or in the tall grass chasing the chickens. I hope that this interaction helps create both friendly chickens and willing farmhand for the future.  One of my parenting fears at the moment is discipline; recognizing when to properly discipline my child for disregarding me (like, when she pulls on the the chickens tail feathers even though I have told her to be gentle; she needs to learn a new way to catch them and that cannot be achieved if I yell at her, right?) and also Audrey's discipline; learning how to be helpful and respectful.

The other morning Audrey was out and about with the chickens. She caught one and proceeded to carry it to the house, open the screen door (her new skill, thank you older cousins!), and nestle on the couch with her chicken friend.  Needlesstosay the chicken was less than thrilled but Audrey seem quite content with her new house pet. And since our house somehow always has a chicken or two in it (we feed them too many treats from the backdoor and they think it's cool to come in) we didn't really mind the extra company.  The chicken didn't last long in the house since she was a little terrified and Audrey was squeezing a little too tightly.

How are the critters doing in your neck of the woods?  have a wonderful day! We are finishing up the roof on the ell today, our contractor starts to shingle tomorrow and start the chimney while Mr. Meanie starts on the walls! Fun times!

shelby g

Thursday, July 16, 2015

Raising the Frame

For one thing you couldn't have asked for a better weekend to raise a timber frame.  Although it was hot out, as is expected in July, there was hardly a cloud in sight and not even the threaten of thunderstorms.  One of our fears going into this weekend was a change in the weather since we didn't want the beams or subfloor damaged by rain.

We had an excellent crew of  around 10-12 friends, family, and neighbors who showed up early on Saturday morning. They worked for a few hours readying the old part of the house (removing pegs, flashing, and parts of old beams that protruded into the new section) along with making the work site as safe as possible (covering up the 12+ foot drop that will someday be our cellar stairs) and then they were ready to go!  The first part of the project was fairly straight forward: raise the walls. For that the walls were assembled on the subfloor and pulled up by the workers with the aid of brute force, jib poles and anchored for safety using ropes attached at both ends of the wall and then to our tractor.

Since the beams were carved green (which is the way to go) there was a little twisting and cracking but with a little persuasion all notches fit in the grooves.


The day was topped off with a lobster and clam feast and lots of excitement and feelings of accomplishment from a day of hard, but rewarding, work.  The next day started out with similar energy but was met with few concerns, particularly those around safety and how to raise heavy rafters well above the heads of the workers to fit for the roof peak.  After many, many ideas; most of them requiring the use of machinery rather than the brute force from the day before, our very helpful grandfatherly neighbor swung by. He knew someone who knew someone who had staging we could borrow. Perfect solution for a half day conundrum.

From then on it was smooth sailing. We combined many of the ideas, using the staging to create stable ground for lifting, use of a lift to raise the heavy beams, brute force, jib poles to stabilize the rafters, and gravity.  After the first rafter was set the rest fell into place and then several of the perlings were placed allowing the building frame to come close to completion.

By the next day a small core of helpers came back and finished up the frame.  Thank you to everyone who helped out; it looks great, incredibly stable, and will last generation upon generation.  We had a rain storm blow through yesterday and covered the roof with a large tarp and now today, sunny and cool, Mr. Meanie will begin on the roof.  We have a lot of work ahead of us but are happy with how everything turned out so far. The frame, from start to finish, has taken about 8 months (if you don't count the planning process). From harvesting the spruce logs from our woods in January to milling them with the Alaskan chainsaw mill in our backyard during the blizzards of January/February to carving/notching/jointing the beams from March - July this has been quite a process; well worth it but likely to not be repeated anytime soon!

have a wonderful day,

shelby g

Saturday, July 11, 2015

Timber Frame Day

It's happening!!  Yesterday Jeff, his brother, and my Dad laid down the sill and subfloor. And it all fit (with only a few minor chiseling moments!).  The day was a hot one (and will be today, as well) but these gents worked tirelessly for about 13 hours laying down the sill and support beams then nailing down the subfloor. 

And now for today. Jeff is out in the barn at this very moment chiseling out a few of the remaining roof support beams and then we should be good to go for the day.  We have around 10 or more friends and relatives showing up early this morning to help in the construction of the post & beam frame.  And later we will have a lobster/clam feast (with fresh strawberry shortcake) to celebrate this project and thank everyone who was able to help out.

So if you are in the area and you know where we live please stop by and check out this project. Also we expect to have many slow driving vehicles go by our house today so if you are one of them please beep and wave! (For real, so many people have driven by at a snail's pace while we have stood on the front lawn and they never wave... don't be shy people!)

Have a wonderful day!

shelby g

Saturday, June 13, 2015

A Fine Morning


While Audrey terrorized  loved the chicks this morning I weeded the garden a little.  A much needed rainstorm blew through here last night which made this morning spectacular. Not so lovely are the blackflies... they are so horrible and this last week both Audrey and I have been attacked daily. I always forget to use bug spray even though it is sitting by the door.  I keep hoping that one of these mornings there will be no black flies but unfortunately with the summer heat is finally setting in they seem to be reproducing at an alarming rate.

The garden is planted! HURRAY!  I tried a different approach this year. Take my time. Buy only seeds that I plan on planting. Save seedlings for the last moment.  I usually buy everything all at once and then the seedlings sit in tiny, dry, flower pots for a month before they go into the ground.  This  year I started working the ground by hand around mid-May (double digging with a potato fork and spreading "brown gold" composted horse manure on top). We decided to go for a low maintenance garden this year since we weren't planning on doing one anyway (and with baby #2 on the way... which I haven't mentioned here on the blog yet... Yup, 21 weeks pregnant and due in October, we are very excited! A low maintenance garden will be key to planting it next year with a 3 year old and 8 month old). So I made 4'x4' rows and 4'x4' aisles. We are allowing the grass to grow up in the aisles and I am mowing them. So far so good.

New to the garden this year is our back porch. Mr. Meanie pulled it off the house when we tore down the ell and instead of burning it we added it to the garden to help block weeds at that end and also as a tent platform. It is a little wobbly but should work fine.  I planted perennials from the front beds (that were destroyed in demolition) around the platform along with sun flowers and pumpkins.

I am most excited about the potatoes popping up.  This year I didn't let them set out for a few days after cutting the eyes up. Instead I used 3% hydrogen peroxide to help "heal" the cuts and immediately planted them. Before a rainstorm too... I am pleased so far that they didn't rot!

 I hope that your morning is going well!

shelby g

Sunday, May 31, 2015

Around the Farm

::Walks in the woods (or should I say extreme backpacking?) with pets. Indy thinks he is a dog and will walk the entire walk with us, meowing the whole way. While Audrey plays in the streams (throwing rocks) he will lay in the cool, dried mud and wait for us.

:: Early morning gardening.

:: Mr. Meanie's beams are coming together. He has been working diligently on completion of the frame project and although he still has a small pile left to carve he is at least on the other side of the hump.  We are set to raise the frame the 2nd weekend of July (pushed a weekend).

:: The footing, perimeter drain, and walls have been completed on our foundation!  We love how the project is finally taking 3D shape and now it is easier to see where all of the rooms will be located.

:: The chicks have been moved to the red coop. Audrey and I vacuumed and scrubbed the coop yesterday and we moved the little ladies out in the afternoon. They are almost a month old and were starting to stink up the upstairs bathroom (plus I would love to clean out the bathroom/tub and take a lovely bath again!).

:: I have started planting the garden. So far peas, carrot, parsnips, lettuce, nasturtiums, and mustard spinach have been planted.  I am still working on breaking up the dirt clods in a few more rows but hope to have the rest planted by next weekend. It is suppose to rain all week so we'll see what happens.

Happy Sunday!

shelby g

Saturday, May 23, 2015

Someday the Potty

This mamma is rooting for the potty! So far the toddler is winning (it's okay to pee anywhere, right?) and the potty is losing. Boo. I just don't think we are ready yet. It's so difficult to hear that all of Audrey's little friends are successfully potty training and she isn't.  But her diaper bum is still so very cute (even though she has learned how to take off velcro diapers... which are basically the only diapers you can get onto a toddler as they run through the house).

Still, I am hopeful.  I made her a set of lovely trainers, with diapering PUL on the outside, jersey lining (supposedly so she will have an uncomfortable wet feeling thus making her want to use the potty... all theory) and 2 layers heavy bamboo fleece sewn into the lining for accidents. It's nice to switch up diaper making for a few trainers. Although not fast to sew they are cute and I still get a chance to use up some of my fabric stash (that helped insulate my house this winter).  I purchased the pattern from Ladder Hill Designs on Etsy and I would link it but the shop only sells embroidery items now and not trainer designs.

And of course, adorable undies. These babies take minutes to sew up... in fact, after they were all cut out they only took 15 minutes to sew (which is long enough to hard boil eggs... since that was what I was doing at the same time... I am such a multi-tasker). The fabric is lycra/cotton and in adorable prints. I used more delicate fold over elastic that I found at Jo-Anns... perfect for undies and undershirts.  I hope to make many more of these and I hope that someday she will wear them! I found the pattern on Etsy from the Peekaboo Pattern Shop.

Happy Memorial Weekend!

shelby g

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Sunny Day Bonnet

Finished up Audrey's Sunny Day Bonnet on Sunday and we got a chance to try it out during yesterday's beautiful weather.  Well... she didn't love it but we'll work on it.  Last year she wore a bonnet all summer and during the winter she loved wearing a hat so I know she'll eventually like this bonnet.

I used Made by Rae's Peekaboo Bonnet pattern (that I tested out way back). I love that this pattern is reversible and relatively easy to sew, this took me about 2 hours to complete on a rainy day.  I hate interface and luckily this pattern doesn't call for any but I assume you can add some to the brim if you want it to be more stiff.  There is piping on one side and I matched it with bias tape for the tie.  I don't like "stitching in the ditch" along the bias tape to the inner fabric and think that I could probably construct the inside and outside separately and then sew seams around the brim and neck (sort of like making a pillow) and get rid of the extra stitching. Any who now I am just rambling! 

I am going to try to make one of these using the waterproof diaper PUL with a breathable athletic wicking jersey on the inside so Audrey can have a rain bonnet. 

have a wonderful day!

shelby g