Roof no-go and grow out/infirmary cage redo

Wednesday, July 8

It was another hot & humid day even in the basement of the B&B where I wiled away six hours washing and drying the sheets and ironing them. At one point I thought I might have to rewash the sheets since I felt as though I was sweating all over them. I’ve had almost 64 ounces of cold water today trying to stay cool and hydrated. I’m tellin’ ya, it’s brutal.

CountryBoy opted to stay indoors today and defrost our old GE standup freezer. It’s from the 50’s and still works great but each year it needs a good defrosting and today was the perfect day. We also know what we have in there now!

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A few weeks ago CountryBoy discovered a unique plant growing in the unused part of the garden…

It’s a spider flower or cleome. I mentioned it at work and found out that these plants used to be all over this area at the old homesteads. They were planted by the chimneys or corners of the houses. I thought that was so cool since we live in one of the old homesteads ’round here and we now have one of the old plants that were so common back in the day.

We don’t know why this plant showed up all of a sudden but we had an extra portion of the ground plowed up thinking we would have a larger garden. We also had it plowed a little deeper than usual. CountryBoy was hoping to mix up the soil and bring up some of the unused nutrients from below. All I can think of is that a seed from long ago had been churned up and the right combination of rain and sunlight spurred it into germinating.

CountryBoy has since dug it up and planted it in my weed-filled flower garden. Speaking of, I’ve been hand-pulling weeds but I’m beginning to think that for every one weed I pull up two show up in its place the next day. I’ve got to decide on some type of hoe and soon before the weeds take it completely over.

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The pond has filled up believe it or not…

I’m really surprised that the shallow end filled up. That’s how much water comes off the mountain during and after a rain and seeps up from the ground. It is about to overflow but even with the rain from a couple nights ago it did not spill over…

We’ll be glad when the feller can come back and make it right and finish it. These hot days sure tempt me to jump in. What holds be back? The fact that I wouldn’t be able to get out and if I did the process and aftermath sure wouldn’t be pretty, ha!

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Farm news: 28 eggs

Little Miss, the ‘quarantined from the rooster’ hen, laid an egg today! That’s huge news. That means that she’s no longer stressed out. Maybe she has come to terms with her new digs and her lot in chickendom.

Thursday, July 9

The morning started out nice and cool with fog covering the mountains…

It’s my Friday. Let’s see how the day pans out…

It was another slow day at work. I left at 2:30 and stopped at the bank. The teller would not deposit my B&B check because it was dated for tomorrow. Never mind that tellers ‘roll over’ at 2 p.m. and it is already tomorrow on their systems and that the check is drawn from the same bank and that I’ve been depositing my check on the Thursday before for 3 years. Now I’ll have to make another stop at the bank next week. ugh.

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It’s another terribly hot day. I compared the weather for here and Ocala, Florida where my Dad lives for the next ten days and, believe it or not, it’s hotter here in Kentucky than Florida over those next ten days. It’s ridiculous.

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I checked the cabin email right when I got home and there was an inquiry for tonight. If they book we’ll have three one-nighter’s this weekend. We’ve got a fan ready for them – they’re gonna need it!

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CountryBoy snagged a well pump off a local yard sale site through Facebook…

It was a great price and the seller even delivered it! So, can ya’ guess what project is in the planning stages? Bringing the ‘ol well back to life has been on his to-do list but this just took it a step further. Now rather than just creating a rock wall around the well with a cover over it we are now going to actually utilize the well and reconnect it to the house giving us the option to use county water or well water. I’ve been wanting to reconnect the well since we moved here as I prefer to drink water without added chemicals. Our plan is to also install a hand pump since the well pump is electric and believe me, that’s a handy feature to have if the power ever goes out for an extended time. We were on a well in Florida and after a particularly powerful hurricane we were without power and therefore water for days. No flushing of toilets, washing of dishes, drinking, bathing, etc. We started gathering all the rain water we could in whatever container we could find just so we could flush the toilets. We can live without power – we can not survive without water. We’re planning ahead this time!

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We waited an hour after the inquiry of availability tonight for the guest to book and they did not so we went on to the grocery store. It’s kind of frustrating when you put your life on hold, constantly checking the cabin email to see if they booked or if an arrival time has been updated when you’ve got responsibilities, endless projects and, at times, needs such as groceries. At any rate, we did what we needed to do and came home to find that they never booked. I’m SO glad we didn’t sit around and wait. I must clarify that the main reason I was OK with going ahead with our original plans to get groceries after work was because the same person asked about last night yet never booked. Sometimes I just don’t understand people.

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I found a new dog food for LizzieBelle that I hope she will like. The canned food from the vet has her itching like crazy plus it’s expensive. The new food is for sensitive stomach and skin. She does not have a sensitive stomach but she does have sensitive skin. I got the same brand in both wet and dry. She needs soft foods due to her loss of so many teeth and her fractured jaw but we’ve discovered that we can soak her dry food for ten or fifteen minutes in warm water and it becomes nice and soft and she loves it. I plan on giving her the wet food in the morning and dry food in the evening when it can have some time to soak before she eats. Now let’s hope this new food keeps the itching at bay.

We did our month’s worth of grocery shopping. I think it took us just as long to unload the truck and put it away as it did for us to fill the shopping cart, ha! But, we are stocked with meat, flour, sugar and veggies and I even picked up two sheet sets for the cabin that were greatly discounted.

Surrounding areas were getting some rain which cooled the night air. It ended up being a lovely evening with beautiful, intense skies…

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Farm news: 29 eggs

Friday, July 10

I got up around 6:15 this morning. I like getting up a little earlier than usual on my days off. If I got out of bed when I first wake up I would be up around 5ish. That’s way too early for CountryBoy and LizzieBelle so I usually just roll over and most times I can fall back asleep for another hour or thereabouts.

After coffee I started a load of laundry and vacuumed downstairs while CountryBoy gathered the stuff he needed to tackle the patch job on the barn roof. sigh. I was not thrilled about this decision but his mind was made up and all that was left to do was pray for safety.

He managed to climb up and get over to the area that needed repaired (hammering down nails along the way)…

but the pitch of the roof is so steep that it made it difficult to actually do any work. He sat down to try to remove the old metal but the metal under the ridge cap was nice and secure.

We’d rather not mess with the ridge cap so we decided to slide the new metal underneath the old as close to the ridge cap as possible and screw both of them down. CountryBoy headed back over to the ladder where I could hand him a piece of metal but he had a difficult time getting from the top of the roof to the edge down to where the ladder was. His knees are bad which makes him not quite as agile as one needs to be when climbing around on a roof.

After that we decided to ask for help. It’s a tough thing to do when one is used to being able to do things themselves. CountryBoy is hard on himself and doesn’t like the fact that he can’t do what he once could. Rather, he ‘cain’t do like he useta’ could’. wink. He created a Facebook post on one of the local sites asking for anyone willing to patch a barn roof for good pay. We also paid a visit at the neighbor who installed the metal roof on our house and the cabin to see if he would be willing to patch it. The hole in the barn roof is over part of the chicken coop and the coop is starting see the effects of the water. I think if we can get that area patched we’re not going to bother with the rest. Let somebody younger and with more money deal with it when we’re gone. ha!

Anyway, did you notice the cobalt glass lightning rod on the ridge cap behind CountryBoy in the above photo? Here’s a close up of it…

There are three of them and they were originally on the house back in its day. Aren’t they cool?

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After the disappointment of not being able to get the roof patched CountryBoy headed up to the cabin to weedeat around it. We don’t have our push mower back from the shop so weed eating it was. He also had to haul water up to the cabin. Four trips with five kitty litter buckets full to fill both rain barrels. While he did that I washed and dried the new cabin sheets and did the dishes. I went up with him on his last haul to take the snacks and banana bread up and to sweep the deck. We sat down for two minutes on the deck and the sun came out. At that we left.

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It was almost noon by that time and we decided to go pick up some beef ribs that were offered to us at no charge. One of our fellow farmers marketeers and homesteaders keeps some cattle. CountryBoy mentioned that he loved beef ribs and the difficulty in finding them. She said she would save them for him. We picked up five bundles of short ribs and she threw in a ham steak plus we got to see part of the county that we had never driven through. On the way home we stopped at the bank and since we hadn’t eaten much I treated us to milkshakes from The Twin (best shakes ever!) and burgers from the Burger Barn. Two local businesses that we were more than happy to help support right now.

Once we were home CountryBoy laid the sheets of metal on their side and out of the way and I gathered more eggs. While in the barn we discussed the permanent grow-out/infirmary in the chicken coop. Here’s a sketch of my idea…

CountryBoy thought it was a little on the large side but I really think once the feeders, waterers, and roost is in there it will quickly become small. He liked the look and functionality of my design though.

After that I weedeated a little around the house then walked up the driveway to weedeat around our Farm Fresh Eggs sign by the road. The weeds were so tall that they covered the sign coming from one direction – a direction in which many of our guests from the south come in by. I just thought it needed to be done so they could see the sign so I did it. CountryBoy’s knee was bothering him so I didn’t want him to have to do it when I can do it just as easily.

I’m sitting on the front porch with the ceiling fan on and it is hot. It’s also beautiful out at the same time so I’m ‘sucking it up buttercup’ and enjoying the view, the birds, and the breeze whenever it blows. No sooner than the guests made it up to the cabin we had a quick, hard downpour while the sun was out. It seemed to have cooled the temperature a tiny bit. Hallelujah!

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Farm news: 21 eggs so far

Saturday, July 11

I was walking back from releasing and feeding the chickens & turkeys and feeding Mable this morning when I heard the buggy coming down the mountain. Our guests were up and at ’em early to continue their trip north. After a quick goodbye and a wish for safe travels it was coffee time. Our first cup is enjoyed in the greenhouse and lately the second cup is enjoyed on the front porch after the sun is up and if there’s breeze. After coffee we headed up to the cabin and got it ready for today’s guest. It wasn’t even check-out time and we were done leaving us the rest of the day.

Our project for today was working on the grow-out/infirmary cage in the coop. Here’s what it started out being…

It was a long removable cage where we would put the chicks once they had feathers so that everyone could get acquainted yet the youngun’s were safe in the cage. It was still in there from the last batch of hens and the turkeys we got a coupla months ago so we put Little Miss Wyandotte in there after her brutal attack from the rooster. That cage has served its purpose but it’s quite awkward to get in and out of the coop and there would’ve been no way I could’ve done by myself if I ever had to. Plus, it was a tad small for an adult chicken to be cooped up in so I wanted a more permanent, larger grow out/infirmary cage.

We broke the old cage down saving each piece to be reused in the new one. I only ‘screwed’ my index finger once drawing a good amount of blood. Thank goodness for maroon work shorts to wipe it on! And CountryBoy only poked his toes twice with the metal. Nothing too bad for an afternoon’s work. Little by little we cut each board, trimmed each piece of metal and the new cage was taking shape. Remember my sketch? Here’s how it turned out…

The flat part on top was ancient tongue & groove board that was badly damaged and in the burn pile. Even though much of the tongue and groove portions were gone there was enough of them to make them fit together and hold fairly firm. I have a feeling several girls will eventually start roosting up there once they discover it.

We ran out of metal for the side so I came up with the idea to use some of the small pieces we had taken off the old cage and space them out which is all that is needed up there to keep whoever’s in in and whoever’s out out. There are two hinged doors that open all the way and will stay open on their own making it easy to feed and water the occupants. There’s also a nice sturdy roost that spans the length of the cage. During the winter months a heat lamp can easily be dropped in when there are chicks in there. Overall I’m extremely pleased with how well it came out and even more pleased that we were able to reuse everything from the old cage and only needed to scrounge up a few scraps to finish it off. It was a fun project to work on together and it really made better use of the space in the coop.

In the midst of being covered in chicken dust and sweat our guest arrived. I apologized for our grossness but we have the best guests and we were excused. haha! We chatted briefly and discovered that I was from the area she is now living. We talked of different towns where I still have family. It really is a small world. I just wish everyone would see that and maybe there wouldn’t be so much hate and rioting.

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After we finished it was time to get cleaned up. I tell ya’, my cool bath with some Epsom salt and Young Living’s PanAway blend of essential oils never felt so good. CountryBoy had his shower then it was time to make some supper. Our BLT+egg sandwich for breakfast was long gone. Meanwhile I washed our sheets and threw in a few clothes that I would need for the upcoming week and gave LizzieBelle a bath. Needless, to say it was after 8 o’clock when all was said and done and I sat down to journal the days’ events. Oh, and, our feet are killing us, by the way!

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We’re still waiting on someone to help us with the barn roof patch job. And CountryBoy’s tool belt and drill battery is still up there. Not much we can do about it. I offered to go up and get them but he’s not having it.

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Weather report: it was actually a nice day. Warm but not humid. We had the windows open all day and we’re currently sitting on the front porch enjoying the cool evening. Now THAT’s the kind of summer weather I like!

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This evening we both went to the barn to lock up the coop and guess who was on the flat wooden part of the new cage? The turkeys and a few of the young hens! It didn’t take ’em long to discover it. There were also a coupla girls on the shorter relocated roosts and CountrBoy put two others on the other short roost.

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Farm news: 30 eggs

I’m really surprised we got that many since we were surely disrupting the girl’s normal routine. In fact, we ended up closing the door from the coop (and nest boxes) out to the paddock because we had a couple girls wanting to venture out into the great unknown because we had the other door open to the interior of the barn since we were in and out so much. I checked the paddock for eggs but found none. Meanwhile, three hens stayed in their nest boxes all day. As soon as we opened the door a couple of hens ran in and up into a nest box. I wonder how long they were holding those eggs in?!

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