Almost there, but not quite

Up too early for a Saturday morning, but the young one had to be at Basketball Camp at 8:45 a.m. and it is a bout an hour drive over if there is no traffic, no accidents on the interstate, and they aren’t actively working on the expansion and sound barriers that involve the last 15 or 20 miles of the trip. Before we left, I had to make his lunch, pack a cooler with enough drinks and ice to last him til 5 p.m., get the 16 year old out of bed (no small feat in itself), gather laundry for a load, fix him breakfast that he could eat in the car. We made it and got back to the Farmer’s Market only a bit later than usual for a Saturday and yet many of the goodies I wanted were already sold out. Oh well, there will be another day.

On our way home from the market, we stopped to get a few more paint brushes that hadn’t been in the oil based stain so we could start on the front porch rails, balusters, kickboards, and floor that still needed to be done with the latex stain. We don’t want to wait too long as it was freshly washed Thursday evening.

Hubby and I got it all done except for the floor. He had to quit to go pick up the camper and when I opened the two old cans of stain, one was so separated it couldn’t be remixed even with the paint stirrer on the power drill. The other can that had never been opened except to tint it had sat too long (several years) and it was the consistency of set up pudding. We had one new can and used slightly more than half of it, so there certainly wasn’t enough to do the whole floor. We have thunderstorms, much needed, predicted for tomorrow, so I guess we will go get more stain on Monday and try to finish the job. What we got done looks good and the floor should be easier because it is flat and we don’t have to worry about drips or getting latex stain on the parts that were oil based stained. I’m hoping that by Monday or Tuesday, the staining on the house will be done for this summer. Still have the coop to go, but I will get my tall 16 year old helper to assist on that.

I will be glad when it is done and this furniture put back on the porch.

The pullets have been allowed to free range for the past few days. At first, they stayed very near their coop and pen. Today they have ventured over toward the house, especially if they see me come outside to set sprinklers on the flower bed and vegetable garden. I don’t want them to get as comfortable around the flower garden as the old hens did. I don’t need 13 of them digging up the bed. They are a prolific lot. I have gotten at least 8 or 9 eggs from them every day this week. That’s a lot of eggs, but there are folks that appreciate them.

Here is a basketful, but not all of this week’s as a dozen and a half went to daughter’s house, there are a dozen in a wire basket, we have eaten nearly a dozen this week. The spindle and ball of wool were added to the basket for the last day of July spinning challenge. We had to put our spindle with something that was too many to count. I did this, then also did seashells, because there are too many of them to count. And here are gals that provided them right after they were lured in from free ranging this evening. They still aren’t real good at that skill.

One more day of travel to and from camp and then some other chores can be done.

Freezer Camp

Yesterday afternoon, Son 1 and Grandson 1 arrived. Son 1 only to stay one night, but get a lot done. We had rented a 3000 psi power washer and he scoured the front porch floor and railing. They will be repainted with the latex stain this week to finish the summer maintenance on the house. The coop still needs to be stained and I will enlist the aid of Grandson 1 who will be staying with us for about two more weeks, going to Basketball camp this weekend, then here for fun and work. He and hubby returned the washer, purchased the Gatorade that I forgot yesterday, but he will need at camp, bought an ethernet cable so Grandson 1’s computer which does not have WIFI can be used to continue with what he learned at Coding and Gaming residential camps while he was back home for a few weeks.

While they were out running errands, Son 1 and I set up a makeshift processing station. We had designed the perfect one a few years ago, but it requires a unit of scaffolding and a walkboard and we have loaned all of ours out to a friend trying to get siding and guttering on a house they are building.

All 8 of the old hens and the two young roosters were slated for freezer camp today. I went to the Palace to grab the first one and in the flutter, they got the door open and one of the roosters escaped into the yard. I have never seen a chicken run so fast or so far. He took off across the east field and almost crossed into the next farm. After the other 8 were done, Son 1 and I decided to see if we could get him. He would run up into the rock piles, over into the woods with a 41 year old man and a 73 year old woman running after him. Finally laughing, we decided our chase was silly and we needed lunch, so we broke down the makeshift processing station and were hosing down the grill we use to heat the dunking pot on the side burner, tying up the bag of feathers and stuff, hosing down the area we used when Roo 2 crowed. With my hearing impairment and hearing aid, I have difficulty with sound direction and was headed down to see if he can gone into the Palace looking for his ladies when Son spotted him under the pullet’s coop inside the fenced and covered run. We quickly closed the gate, grabbed the big fishing/butterfly net used as a last ditch means of catching the last few and with me holding the one area that a panicked chicken can flutter between the fence and top, he caught Roo 2. If he had waited one more minute to show himself, he would have lived another two weeks until Son 1 returned. Instead, we worked together without our station to get him processed and in the freezer. As we were working, we realized that one of the hens was polydactile.

She had the normal 3 front toes, but had two back toes, quite odd. In the past week, those 8 hens produced on 12 eggs total and ate 15 pounds of food, not economical.

Last night I finished putting twenty of my squares together for the breed blanket. There are enough to do more, but I have to evaluate what fibers I have left, what colors they are to get the pattern for the last rounds. The next row will go down the right side in the photo.

There are still two dyed squares and several gray and white squares remaining already spun, plyed, and knitted. I may use them randomly.

Early in the week, I was able to purchase another Jenkins spindle in their newest design and size. It is so much larger than my others that it will take some getting used to and will probably be used for plying only. It is a pretty spindle.

I tired from the morning’s efforts, need a shower and clothes change so we can drive to the “big city” as folks here call Roanoke to take Grandson 1 to his introductory evening of camp.

Sore, stiff bodies

It is a good thing thunderstorms are forecast today and tomorrow as we are both too sore to stain today. My sore hip didn’t take kindly to the acrobatic contortions I had to do to stain the step stringers and the joist to which they are attached. The pecs and biceps are sore, and I don’t want to lift my arms above my head, but they will be okay in another day. We will finish the deck job on the next dry day.

I went out to the garden late this afternoon to see if I could find another cucumber for a salad I saw online and came in with 13+ pounds of potatoes. I had 4 or 5 potatoes that had sprouted last late winter, most were Kennebecks, one was a red. I had a new deep bed I had made that was perfect to plant them. Each was cut with at least 2 eyes, cured for a day and planted. Once they sprouted, I put straw layers over them. A week or so ago, I dug under one plant to pull out a few small new potatoes for dinner one night. The dry weather had most of the plants drying and brown so with a garden fork, I turned the plants over. The potatoes range from marble size to huge. A few are burned with solanine but not so bad that it can’t be pared off. I don’t know if we can eat that many potatoes before they begin to sprout.

That isn’t a bad return on about 2 pounds of potatoes.

The new girls are really providing us with eggs now. A typical day I bring in about 9 eggs from them (only 1 from the old 6 girls). There are two more old gals in with the new kids, but they are producing 6 to 8 eggs per week. I should move them back, but I just can’t sort them out at night when the are perched and easy to approach. I love the colors, blue, green, tan, light and dark brown, and pink.

After getting the upper and most of the lower part of the raw wood parts of the deck stained yesterday, I spruced up the flowers in the pots today. The geraniums are still looking good, the pansys that self seeded are hanging in and the Autumn Joy that has been in a pot on the deck for years thrives on neglect. The strawberry pot with “hen and chicks” and a red sedum is doing very well. The petunias and nasturiums were dead or looking sorry, so the healthier nasturiums were transplanted to a smaller pot, a red coneflower put in the larger pot they had been in and two other red annuals, Pentas, added to smaller ceramic pots that had been in the garage. It put some nice color in the back on the deck. The walled garden has Shasta daisies, Blue button flower, Sneezeweed, Rudbeckia, a sedum, and Dianthus all blooming. My little rose has a few more flowers and buds on it. The Baptisia (false indigo) has wonderful seed pods that as soon as they begin to dry will be cut, some used for dyeing, some for decorating. The comfrey really shouldn’t have been planted in that garden, it is spreading much too quickly. I think I will dig it out and move it to outside the fence in the corner of the garden where more is growing inside the fence. I will look for some fall blooming perennials or maybe more coneflower, the nursery had beautiful red ones today.

I had finally convinced myself to get a table umbrella for this deck and had been looking at them for a while at Kroger. They are all gone. Unless I can find one at a reasonable price and color elsewhere, I may have to wait another year.

It sounds like a lot was done today, but it has really been a day of sit and recuperate, even potting flowers and digging potatoes were done while sitting on the steps for the flowers and the side of the garden box to dig the potatoes.

We will tackle the rest of the deck support staining in a few days, then enjoy having Son 1 and Grandson 1 here next weekend, doing what we can to get the rest of the front porch done.

On the fiber front, I managed to purchased the newest style of Jenkins spindle a couple of nights ago. It is a larger spindle than I have preferred, but the weight isn’t too heavy, so I am hoping I will love it when it arrives. It is Manzanita wood. I have 5 of their sizes now, different for various fibers and spins. A variety of woods, all beautiful hand made wooden tools that provide me hours of pleasure and produces yarn that can be sold or used to weave or knit.