Tag Archives: log home maintenance

Knit, Spin, Stain, Cook

With two days of beautiful weather, I finished all of the staining that I can reach and with the cooler, wetter weather coming, it may be all that gets done this fall.  We will have to finish it this spring.  I made up a gallon of the stain mix this morning and the area that was to be done didn’t require that much, so the excess was used to get about 2/3 of the coop “redecorated.”  The girls were on a walk-a-bout on the farm, being supervised by Romeo, so it was a good time to get it done.  We have a few days of rain due, so the last bit can’t be done for a few days.  The year and a half it has been in use, it has gotten very dry and faded.  The egg hatch, pop door and side drop window are all made of the same plywood siding as the coop and their exposed edges are really showing wear from the weather.  I guess at some point, those three features will have to be replaced with a more weather resistant material.

Coming in, stain covered and worn out, after a thorough clean up, I turned my waning energy to less strenuous tasks.  I’m working on one of the sleeves of my sweater, the one that is being knit to go with the Hitchhiker scarf made during the summer.


And an Ouroboros Moebius scarf, a design by a friend Mergaret Radcliff, published in the December 2013, Knit n’ Style magazine.  The scarf will be for Son #1 as part of his Christmas gift.

Both projects are pretty mindless knitting at this point.
I’ve looked at “Hot Mess” for enough days that I think the measly 106 yards of tight overspun very fine yarn is going to become a knitted cover for a small sturdy plastic cup to hang from my spinning wheel to hold the machine oil, orifice hook and notions I need when spinning.
Tonight we enjoyed a “gourmet” meal utilizing some of the goodies from this year’s garden. The basic baked pork chops were topped with chutney that I canned, the Roasted veggies a blend of our yellow and white sweet potatoes, garlic, and rosemary added to farmers’ market potato’s, carrots and onions. A farmers’ market salad mix topped with beets, our radish kimchi and goat cheese.
Lovin’ life on our mountain farm.

Watching paint dry

As I have posted recently, we are trying to get our log house re-stained before winter. This either a tough or expensive task as the front of the house has 3 dormers on the upper floor, though the front of the house walks out onto a ground level porch but the roof is metal and steep.  The back of the house that originally was designed to have french doors that walked out to a ground level deck ended up on a walk out basement, not in the original plans and the french doors walk out onto a narrow part of the deck one story up and the deck itself sitting about 4 feet off the ground with a serious stone retaining wall under the west edge.  This makes the dog run dormer on the back of the main house on the 3rd story.  As we have set and moved scaffolding and Son #1 tries to figure out how to set up enough on the deck and in the breezeway garden to go over the breezeway roof to stain the east end of the house, we have discussed the dogrun dormer and its steep sides.

He reminded me that when he was designing and building the deck and walkout that he suggested we extend the walkout the full length of the back of the house to accommodate an extension ladder so he could get up there.  At that point, our building funds were running low.  The painting contractor who did the house 4 years ago sent two young men up on ladders set precariously on the roof to do it, and charged us an arm and a leg for it.  There is no way we are going to let our son do that.  We will get as much as we can done then hire someone brave or fool enough to do that part.  If we come into a windfall of funds (not likely since we don’t play the lottery and don’t have any known rich relatives), we will extend that deck walkout.

The stain we use, recommends it be applied between certain temperatures and with humidity at or below 40%.  This is Virginia, the humidity is never that low, so we have to pick the driest days with a string of expected dry days following it to get sections done and then we sit and watch the paint dry.  The stain should dry overnight, it is taking days.  Days of being careful not to brush up against it.  Days of hoping the cats and dogs stay away from it.  Days and days of waiting.

The plan was to stain the front of the house on Monday.  It absolutely poured rain on Sunday, so we needed a drying out day.  Instead of painting, we made our annual jaunt to Mabry Mill (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mabry_Mill) for the winter supply of grits and cornmeal.  Though it is not ground there anymore, it is locally ground especially for them, it is wonderful and I like supporting the Parkway, the Mill and having local grains in the house.


The view from one of the overlooks on the Parkway.  A beautiful place indeed.

This morning I was going to start early.  Nope, this is what I am waiting for the sun to dispatch.


Fog is definitely not low humidity.  Though the temperature last night fell to the low 40’s for the first time, when I awoke, I couldn’t see past the window panes.  Chicken chores were done by feel.

The Rainbow Rangers are huge now, they look like chicks in the bodies of adults.  Some have combs and wattles that are red, though they still behave and sound like chicks.  Their heavy bodies and thick legs make their movement amusing.  If they want to move quickly, they flap their wings and run awkwardly like they are trying to take off. They have 3 1/2 more weeks to feed and fill out before I will be back to only 12 hens and Romeo.  Just as all of the hens are finally laying, it is getting on to molting season and the two older hens will molt this year for sure.  The March hatches probably won’t molt until next year.

I know I said I was done canning, but I can’t resist making one more batch of applesauce so that Son #1’s family can have some this winter too.  And of course, I will continue to make Tomatillo Salsa and XXX sauce until the Tomatillos and peppers quit producing.  Guess I’m going to need more jars after all.

Lovin’ life on our mountain farm.

The Last. . .

…harvest of tomatoes that is.  The vines are dry and brown, the handful of remaining tomatoes are being decimated by the stinkbugs and each day I pull and toss a vine to the chickens to pick over.  There are a few remaining green slicer tomatoes and I will enjoy them as fried green tomatoes, a treat that I rarely indulge, partly because my diet contains very little fried food and partly because I let them ripen on the vine during warm weather to enjoy sliced or canned.


These will be canned probably into salsa to add to the root cellar shelves to enjoy and remember a successful tomato season when the snow is falling or the cold wet wind is blowing much sooner than ready.

…the last pullet figured out the egg laying business, sort of.  There was a tiny egg this morning, apparently laid yesterday in the run and not seen until this morning when I went to let them out.  It was dark when I locked them up last night when I came in from knit night.  Surprisingly, nothing found it during the night.  Now, if she will just lay them in the nesting boxes with the other hens.  Romeo is a very frustrated young roo.  None of his ladies in waiting will stand still for him to mount them, they run and peck.  When he was first added to the run, several squatted in submission, but not now.  It is going to be hard for us to raise a heritage flock if that behavior continues.

…of the 5 gallon bucket of stain will be mixed this morning once the fog clears, to stain the soffit and fascia board overhang from the front porch.  At knit night last night, I ran into the manager of the Sherman Williams in the coffee shop and he suggested I wait until this weekend to buy more as the stain that we use will be on sale for 40% off and that is a significant savings in dollars for our budget.  That also gives me two days for my sore and painful shoulder to calm down before I tackle the log wall of the front of the house.  Saturday is to be mild and breezy with humidity in the right range for the project, so that will be the day to complete the task.


…the last few rows of the beautiful handspun sweater.  The photo doesn’t do the color justice but it is lovely.  It should be ready for the spinning retreat I will be attending soon.

I’m getting too old for this!

The weather has been beautiful.  Mid 50’s at night, great sleeping weather with a window open, 70 for the day’s high.  Occasional clouds, some of them quite lovely.


Last night it was so beautiful outside that after I finished staining the garage doors with Mountaingdad and then finished the half wall on the garage that Son #1 didn’t have time to finish, we grilled out and ate on the back deck.  I was tired and sore and needed some zen time, so I spend about an hour near sundown mowing in one of the back fields.  It really is quite zen to ride the tractor and watch the goings on around you on the farm.

Today being a copy of yesterday, I began earlier to get the front and back walls of the breezeway stained.  This critter with her brood of babies on her back watched from the stone wall nearby for quite a time.





While I was doing the breezeway, our handyman neighbor was staining the ceiling of the front porch and we worked together to get the front porch posts to use up the remaining stain mix that was made today.  Once the additives are mixed in, it must be used within 6 hours.  As we were working on that, I spotted another spider’s work.


It is spun to the contour of the A frame bird house.  This is the best I could do to get a photo.

The only parts of the house left for me to stain are the front log wall, seen in the background of the photo above and the 8 windows that are in the areas that I have or will stain.

About 38 years ago, I separated my left shoulder on the second day of skiing with my hubby.  We weren’t married then, though he says that my skiing for several more days after that injury helped him decide that I was the woman he had been looking for.  I am a southpaw, so I work that shoulder and arm a lot and when I do, whether gardening or staining like I am doing now, that old injury makes my shoulder quite sore.  I may need a day or two break before I tackle that front wall.  It will take me several hours to complete.  For now, I’m going to get cleaned up and go socialize with my friends at knit night.  As a bonus, I have 4 dozen eggs to sell to them.

Sunday Thankfulness – September 14, 2014

My thankfulness is rich this week.  Son #1 came again to try to stain and though yesterday was dismal and he woke with a headache, once he was feeling better, he diagnosed my stove burner problem, moved the burner of the same size from the back right to the front left (being a southpaw, that is my preferred burner position), went online and ordered a new burner to replace the dead one and will install it the next time he is here.

After dinner, a homemade Mexican feast, he serviced both Mountaingdad’s and my bicycles so that we can enjoy the fall weather riding on the Huckleberry Trail to prep ourselves for a longer ride a bit farther afield.

Romeo met his harem and it went very well.  He is so calm and gentle, he wants to be petted and loved by humans.  I was putting the meatie chicks to bed last night and turned around to find him behind me on the other side of the fence wanting some of my attention too.

This morning though still mostly overcast, is dry enough for Son #1 to get stain on the high areas and with a cool mostly clear dry week, I will work downward from what he gets done and get the garage doors done as well.  It is so nice to have him here, even for such a short time.

As we were waiting for the surface to dry enough to get started, I canned another 7 quarts of tomatoes for his household.  The vines are almost totally dead and the green tomatoes are starting to drop to the ground, so I will either bring them in to ripen on the counter or make a green tomato salsa with the remaining ones.  The peppers are producing large quantities.  I thought my cabbages were safe from cabbage worms this late, but one of them has gotten quite lacy.  I guess the chickens will enjoy that one, the others and the broccoli and kale don’t show the damage.

Lovin’ life on our mountain farm.