Thursday, September 27, 2012

Lullaby Of Birdland

I just love to sit and watch my sweeties.  I'm not sure what is so mesmerizing about chickens but they are just endless entertainment.  We have been letting the pullets out now for about 3 weeks and they are finally starting to integrate a little with the big hens.  Not much, but some.  Good ol' Ramona (my big New Hampshire hen) has taken it upon herself to act as ambassador and enjoys hanging out with the pullets more than the older hens.  Maybe she knows a few of these are her people.  I often come out to find her lounging with them or showing them good bug hunting spots.  In the photo above you can see the Speckled Sussex, they're kinda obvious, and the large one in front is a Partridge Rock.  They are very cool and easy going chickens.
We lost Sylvia early last week to a fox, so I have been vigilantly watching when they decide to stray too far near the woods.  I know it was a fox because about 2 days later he tried his luck again and actually was bold enough to run out in the daylight.  I saw him come out of the woods.  We all gave chase and have set a trap every night since but no luck.  EDIT:  It's a Havahart live trap for relocation.  I don't want to kill him but don't want him making a habit of this either.  It's times like this I'm very glad we don't have close neighbors because if anybody could see me sneaking through the woods barking and growling (to give the chooks a fear of going there) and Jack running around peeing on everything ( to mark it as fox enemy territory), they would surely think we had finally lost our last screw.

I thought this was funny of Rocky peeking in from the side.  "what'er you doin' with that little box?"  The chicken on the left is one of the Brown Leghorns.  These things seriously need to take a Zanax.  High-strung is an understatement.  They are certain that everything is going to kill them.  The dog, the cat, rocks, the wind, whatever.  I hope they lay well.  I don't know, I may try to sell 2 or 3 of them.

Rocky here is one of the 2 New Hampshire roosters.  I only ordered one but got two and a Partridge Rock roo!  The PR that always looked like it was wearing bloomers?  That turned out to be a roo!  We call him Gaucho because it looked like he was wearing those short pants.  His feathers have filled out now and he looks fine; very handsome actually.  All of these roos seem pretty laid back so it might have been a serendipitous fortune to have had the mix up.

This is my sweetest little baby, Zuzu.  The Sussex are mostly very friendly and love to sit in your lap for you to pet them.  If you are not going to rub them though they'll leave!  They sing and make this funny groaning sound.  It sounds like they are complaining but I guess it's just how they talk. I had talked about selling a few of these but I love them so much I don't want to now.

And the kitchen keeps inching along, little by little.  All the cabinets, and drawers, are in now.  Just need to finish installing the plywood tops on part of them.  I'll get that done and the range hood temporarily hung and then will probably stop this project to prepare for the wedding.  I can't wait to have the tile installed on the wall behind the range; that is going to look SO good.
So, off to do a little more work before bed.  I have been terribly sick this week but have finally beaten it, I think.  What a horrible time to come down with a sinus infection!

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Kitchen Sink Drama

Okay, so there was no actual drama but it makes for a good title anyway.  It did take all day to install this cabinet unit and the sink and faucet, which kinda surprised me, but it went pretty smooth.  Mainly because we got Allen to come down and do it!  Now, the sink is actually only temporarily installed because, if you notice, I have only a plywood countertop there.  When the concrete counters are poured the sink will have to be lifted back out and reset.  Hopefully, it will just be a simple matter of undoing a few connections and then putting them back.  We will have to replace one piece of cheap drain pipe, I think, as the sink will raise 2 inches, but that's nominal to me.

My new sink and faucet!!  Yea!!!  It is so lovely.  I bought a Franke sink and the faucet is a Kohler.  Both of these items were not cheap, let's say, but I believe in buying the best you can to avoid problems later.  I thought it was kinda funny because the instructions on the sink actually say, "congratulations on buying the last sink you'll ever need."  It better be.  So far I am very happy with them both.  We actually put the sprayer and the soap dispenser in the wrong place but the interesting thing about this design is you can move them around in whatever configuration you want.  We may swap a few positions of the things when we take it back out, depending on how I feel actually using it.  I think the control lever might be better on the left, for example.

We are slowly taking each cabinet unit out to stain and finish and then put back in permanently.  Well, they will all get the beeswax finish inside once permanently installed.  I ran out of my original stain because Cabot decided to quit offering a custom mix.  I was very unhappy, and still am, with them for doing this.  And, they made no premixed stain that even came close to the ones they used to offer.  It took many days of searching but I finally found a Rustoleum stain, of all brands, that matched pretty well and that I liked.  In fact, I have switched several items to Rustoleum stains where I used to use Minwax or Cabot.  Rustoleum's colors are beautiful, they dry very fast and don't have near the odor that Minwax does. 

This gap between cabinets is where the dishwasher will go.  Eventually.  After the guys delivered the cabinets and left I realized I was 2 feet short on cabinets for this side.  I was freaking completely out and then after about 15 minutes of pure panic I realized why I was 2 feet "short".  Duh.  I'm still working on getting all the drawers and doors stained so that is why some are missing.

We were planning on buying a new toaster oven and microwave to match all the new stainless appliances but the toaster oven came a little quicker than I intended when the door of the old one fell off the other night.  I was going to wait until all the heavy work was done, so as not to risk dropping something large on them or whatever.  Oh well. 
We will probably not pour the countertops until we get back from the honeymoon and Jack's son can work us into his schedule but that's okay.  I'm going to get the cabinets stained and finished and set and get the plywood tops put on and then really just cease work on the house to get ready for the wedding and relax some. 

My friend Karen kinda got on to me for sounding like a Bridezilla in that last post! lol!  I didn't mean to but maybe I sounded like a bitch.  Most people I talked to said they figured I knew they were coming anyway!  lol!  My sister did call me ranting about why she wasn't making the cake? and such and such.  Now, I have nothing against my sister; she's a good cook.  But she literally runs herself so much doing stuff like this she is seriously affecting her health and her financial well being because she won't charge people enough to cover her costs.  I told her flat out I was not going to contribute to either of those issues.  I told her getting the cake for free was not the point.  Everyone having a nice, relaxed time (without any stress or drama) was the point and it doesn't hurt any that this nice local chef is making a few bucks, which I'm sure right now, she can really use.  She seemed to understand that logic and I still asked her to make a fruit tray and maybe some dip and that seemed to satisfy her.  Now, I just need to get over this horrible head cold... lol!

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Cheap Tricks

It has taken quite a cool turn in the weather here lately so I thought I'd post a quick note to show some of my wedding plans progress while I'm waiting for it to warm up outside.  We have moved half of the cabinets outside onto the deck to apply the finish.  Even though I am using a natural beeswax finish I can't find a stain that doesn't have at least some odor to it.
So anyway, these are the invitations.  Now, I don't get any compensation from Vistaprint but they are who I used for these.  I use them for my business cards and such and noticed that they have a big selection of various invitations, so I took one of their basic templates and designed these.  They were having a special, which is common, and I ordered some more business cards and a few return address stickers so I got free shipping also.  With the special I got 30 invitations for right at $20 and this included the envelopes.  They are printed on pretty nice recycled paper too!  I did not like the wording options they gave but after searching around a little I found a website that was called something like, "Wedding Invitation Wording That Won't Make You Puke".  I loved their examples, and with that inspiration, came up with this.
Unfortunately, I guess because it is not the traditional RSVP, no one is bothering to let me know whether they're coming or not, so I guess it'll either be just me, Jack and my brother or a bunch of people that I didn't really think were going to be there.  I mean, seriously, how hard is it to email or something and say, "hey, I can't come or I can".?
I did decide to kinda splurge on the cake and got a local bakery down to make that.  I thought it was still a very reasonable price.  Of course, then my sister got insulted that I didn't ask her to make it.  Now, she chewed me out when I first started going out with Jack and generally ignores him at family events but somehow thought I would know she would be overjoyed to make my cake.  Wth?  At least my Mom is happy.  I guess.  What is it with weddings that brings out the rude in people?  Why do people pick that one day to forget all manners? 
I also think I found my wedding dress.  I looked and looked at many local shops and just couldn't find anything.  I finally looked at a large local thrift store and found a beautiful dress.  I think anyway.  Got it for $3.50.  Even if I find another I like better it's no money wasted and I can wear it elsewhere.

So, anyway, Jack and I are having fun and that's what counts.  Hopefully I'll be back soon with some more kitchen photos!

Monday, September 17, 2012

Something's Cooking In The Kitchen

I have been going about non-stop these past 4 days and am wore "slap out" as they say around here, so this is going to be a short post but I wanted to put up something since so much is going on in the kitchen right now.  I think I found out on Thursday or Friday that my cabinets would be delivered bright and early Monday morning and I wanted to get as much done in there as I could, so as not to be working over finish cabinetry.  So, I bit the bullet and chose my color, had it mixed and been painting and cleaning and tearing out old temporary cabinets like mad.  I'm really happy with this color; it just looks so good in person.  It has a slight brown undertone so it is very warm and inviting to me.  I told Jack this is actually the first time in my life I have used such bold color in a home and I like it!  I think the stainless and concrete are going to really go well with it.  Oh, and it took me forever to stain all those rafter tails that show on the inside of the house but it looks good. 

And, here are the cabinets!!  They are not finished!  I asked the cabinet guy to leave them bare so I could put the natural finish on them I want.  I tell you, I can't recommend this guy enough if you live anywhere around Alabama.  He can make anything you would want I believe.  I am so pleased with his craftsmanship and the look.  Of course, these match the one in the pantry and will be finished the same way, same hardware etc.
Jack's son actually pours concrete countertops for a living and I believe we are going to employ him to pour these.  I wasn't pleased with the one in the pantry and this much is more than I could finish myself.  The cabinets on the other side with the sink are about as long.  As soon as these cabinets are set permanently I can start installing the tile on the wall behind the stove and all.

More cabinets, drawers and a small wall open wall cabinet.  Got to trim these windows out soon too. 
Now, off to bed before I drop.

Monday, September 10, 2012

What Goes Up Must Come Down

Look at this picture of my roof!!  See??  It's just my roof.....and nothing on it!  No scaffolding, no pickboard, no ladders!!  YEA!!!  Well, there is some dirt I need to wash off but other than that...  I'm very stoked about that.  Well, not washing dirt off but you know, nothing on the roof because I'm finished there!

I also made a concerted effort to finally close up the clerestory wall bottom and I got'er done! Did that today.  It looks 100% better.  I still have a little caulking and touch up to do but it's done basically.  WHOOP!

I also got this length of wall completely closed up and ready for cabinets to be set!  Yea me!  I will wait to start setting tile until after the cabinets are in and I know what kinda spaces I'm going to have.
Tomorrow I think I will start on the opposite kitchen wall and touching up drywall and caulking to get ready to paint.  And hang more metal wall covering.  I got one piece painted today but not hung.  That stuff is kinda tedious the way I have to do it.  So, things are finally rolling along here.  Have ya'll finished any projects lately?  Or started anything?

Friday, September 07, 2012

In The Spirit Of Things

Yesterday marked the 1 month countdown for the wedding so it was time for the very old Southern tradition of  "burying the bourbon".  In an effort to have some fun and get away from the store-bought, same old humdrum wedding, we are incorporating several old but almost forgotten traditions to add a little life.  According to this tradition, if you are planning an outdoor wedding, you must bury a bottle of true bourbon, upside down, in the area of the ceremony exactly one month before the actually day.  This assures that you will have nice weather for your wedding!  Of course, it's just done for fun but it doesn't hurt if it works!  So, Jack picked this large tulip poplar by the house and dug the hole.  

 A favorite brand!  I mostly just took pictures because my back is still messed up.  We did put the bottle in a plastic bag so as to keep it a little cleaner, hopefully.

And in the hole ya go!  I'm not sure why it has to be upside down but whatever!  Then we both covered it back up and put a rock on top to mark the spot.
We picked our rings up the other day and I'll show ya'll those also.  A guy I went to college with made them for us so they are unique.  Now, I just have to find something to wear! 

Tuesday, September 04, 2012

Free To Be Me

I haven't put any pottery photos up in a while so I thought I'd show ya'll some recent things I have been working on.  At least, I don't think I've shown ya'll these things before.  I get confused about what I've put here and what I've put on Facebook (my pottery page) and I'm basically too lazy right now to try to go back and check.  So, here it is.  The pots with the holes in the lids are for honey, as you may have guessed.  Or mustard or any kind of sauce like that..but then the little bees wouldn't make as much sense.
Well, speaking of making sense, I may not make a lot tonight.  Oh, I know I don't normally anyway!  maybe a little less than normal.  See, I've been nursing a bad back again and a bad tooth for about a week.  I finally got in to the dentist today and turned out an old filling had to be replaced.  Tomorrow the trip to the doc is for the back and so tonight I'm kinda zoned on half a pain killer so I can rest.  At least the local anesthesia has worn off and I can close my right eye now.

So, I'm feeling a bit rough and may wander a bit in my posting.  We also had a Kitty Adoption party yesterday and gave away the little black and white kitty to some Russian friends.  That was a lot of fun.  However, I still have little koshka to find a home for.  We thought we had another taker but they backed out at the last minute.
One of my older hens, Bea, has been sick for about a week too.  Poor thing, she would just wander slowly about the yard for a bit in the morning and then sleep under a tree for the rest of the day.  I have never seen a chicken sleep face down on the ground before.  3 times I thought she was dead and would go over to pick her up and she would jump up and look at me like, 'what were you fixin' to do??!!'  Her comb got real pale and you could tell she just felt really bad.  I didn't know what to do or what was wrong with her so every day I just made her drink a little olive leaf powder and molasses in some water.  She has gradually gotten better and today she foraged all day with the other chickens, even running to get her share of some rice I cooked for them.  I think, from some stuff I read, she may have eaten something somewhat poisonous or something like that. 

 So, due to my back and company and rain that never seems to go away for long, I don't have any kitchen updates for ya'll tonight.  Maybe soon.  I did get my walls all closed up so the cabinets can be set but I think I showed that.  I plan on showing a lot of the kitchen work because I know I haven't done many house building post in a long time and that's what this blog is supposed to be about!  Of course, deviations from that subject is fine and this blog has evolved into just a "life" blog but I still feel it lacks some of the "umph" that it had when I first started.  I've turned into the boring, ol' married woman!!!  Agh!!!  and I'm not even married yet!!  Agh!!  Well, since I don't have the crazy, single life stories or the work stories anymore it seems kinda boring to me.  That's awful.  I don't feel my life is boring.  Maybe I just don't take time to properly write about it.  I think that's it.  Seems like I used to get comments from a number of other people too and that makes me feel like they got bored and left.  Of course, I KNOW that people's circumstances change; things happen, they develop different interests and such.  And I'm not complaining about ya'll that comment now!!  Please don't stop or think I don't want to hear from you.

Speaking of hearing from people, I have spoken to a number of people from my old company lately, just by chance.  Of course, none of us still work for that company so it's been nice to catch up and hear from all of them.  And it makes us all sad too that we don't work together any more and get to see each other.  It's made me seriously think of trying to organize a reunion of sorts for our old company maybe in the spring or around Christmas.  Before any more of us die or move away.  I think everybody would love to see each other.
Okay, so I think that is about all I have tonight.  I'm just getting lost in the fuzzies now.  I'll be back soon.

Sunday, September 02, 2012

Roads Less Traveled

Today's post is mostly a photo journey for ya'll but I'll tell you a little about what you are seeing too!  A couple of weeks ago Jack and I went on a day trip to northeastern Alabama to the Anniston Museum of Natural History and the Berman Museum, which is just next door.  I had been here back when I was in college and remembered it as a great place but that was a loooong time ago and wanted to see it again.  We were not disappointed.  The first photos here are at the Berman.  This is a 2-story museum that houses a collection that was originally entirely private.  You can read about it here.  Mr. and Mrs. Berman travelled the world collecting; he loved weapons and similarly related objects and she collected art.  Upon their death the entire collection was donated to the city of Anniston.  I believe their Remington collection is one of the largest collected privately.

Of course, Jack loved Mr. Berman's gun collection, which was impressive I must admit.  This is just a minor speck of what they had.  The man actually owned a Gatling gun.  Even if you don't care much for weapons it was still interesting and they had a lot of other period pieces and information.

Of course, I loved the sculpture!

I can't help but wonder about the people that actually wore this stuff once upon a time.  Was it just for show or did they actually fight in it?  Who were they?  Did they die young?

There was some beautiful pieces; not what I was expecting.

On the same floor was Mrs. Berman's Asian art collection.  I loved this display unit for small jade carvings.  Sorry that some of the pictures are blurry.  Most museums are kinda dark you know and I didn't want to use a flash..

This silver service that belonged to Adolf Hitler, and he actually used it regularly, was one of the creepier items, in my opinion.  Berman also collected a number of things from Mussolini.  There was a large collection of WWII weaponry that went along with these items.  It made me kinda sad to see how much effort we all have put into murdering each other over the centuries.

Just one piece from the Asian collection.  And yes, one of her boobs is bigger than the other.  I forget the symbolism with that.

These pictures were taken at the Museum of Natural History, naturally!   Their dinosaur exhibit was pretty darn cool.  They had a life size pterodactyl flying over head too.

It went on into exhibits about the natural world, which was interesting.  This was an actual tree section impaled with steel from the tornadoes we had a couple of years that were so bad.  If you remember, I wrote about finding a lot of debris on my land which had been blown up from Tuscaloosa.

The African area.  I thought they did a nice job of explaining how and why these animals were collected over the years and that we should respect the displays as an educational tool for the preservation of their species.  All the animals taken were either sick or injured already or of an overly abundant herd etc.  Most all of them were very old also (no animals were taken in recent history), so there was another reason to treat the displays with care.

Full size African elephant.  I remember this elephant from when I was a child actually.

They also had some wonderful botanical gardens and this blue orchid I had never seen before.  Beautiful!

I would love to have an area like this at my house.

It was very relaxing and a lovely place to sit.  Many of the ferns they had on display are native types that grow all over my land.

I liked this sculpture spitting water!  I might do a mini version of this behind the house.  Well, I mean the whole pool thing, not necessarily the sculpture.

The pool was kinda shallow but better to see the fishies!

  More ferns!

Well, hope you enjoyed your tour!  I'll be back soon!