Tuesday, December 24, 2013

November 2013

Cleaning out the photos (over a year later :-/)

Here are a few photos of fall-early winter of 2013.

Installing and painting the old pantry from the kitchen wall we tore out and re-purposing as built in storage.

Moved the wood drying shed from the orchard to the meadow and replaced the roof.
Filling in with the fallen maple from the west side.

Experimenting roasting a squash in the new woodstove.


Feels like the Holidays

Lichen for Santa's Reindeer Christmas Eve

Monday, December 23, 2013

The New Girls' 1st eggs 2013

The babies are all grown up now and starting to lay.

Rooster is behaving more like a "gentle-man-rooster", taking a more careful watch and learning that falling leaves are just leaves and giving the girls his tasty finds.

September 29th 2013
Someone laid a "practice" egg off the roost. Just a tiny egg with no yolk. Don't know who but I am on the watch.

November 7, 2013

Eagle laid her 1st egg today!
Her eggs are a boring grey recycled paper color. Boo.

She knew just what to do thanks to the Red chicken. (I had to teach my 1st girls where to lay the eggs.)

November 25th, 2013

Fluffy lays an olive green egg!

December 1st, 2013

Tulley has a tiny, silky smooth, beige egg.

December 22nd, 2013

Hawk has a blue egg.

Yay Eggs!

Friday, November 8, 2013

I don't need to cope.

How to cut crown molding with a miter saw and NOT have to cope.

* Don't be a dummy. Be safe when handling power tools by following manufacturer's instructions and always using appropriate safety equipment. *

My order of crown molding arrived and I watched a few how-to videos about cutting and installing.
All of them said you have to cope some joints. Coping is taking a fine hand saw and manually cutting an angle so the corners fit.

If you know me, I thought there HAS to be a better and easier way!
So I played with a scrap for about 5 minutes and found the answer.
C'mon guys! I am not a pro contractor or an engineer and it took me FIVE MINUTES to figure it out.

This is not an all-inclusive how to on crown molding - just a description of the 2 cuts to make to get 4 different 45 degree corners WITHOUT having to cope.
I don't do videos so, I hope this visual helps you to make quick and easy interior and exterior corner cuts for your crown molding install.

Not all corners are square.
I cut about 1/4 inch longer than measured to give a little wiggle room to adjust.
Be prepared to make lots of minor adjustments because your house may not have square corners.
Order a few more pieces than you need because 1) there WILL be damaged peices in the shipping 2) you can practice with one 3) you can be less stressed about making a mistake 4) you have extra in case something happens later on.


Exterior Right Corner

Set the saw angle at 45   pointed to the Right.
Set the molding upside down on the saw.
The corner you are cutting needs to be facing toward the Right and on the left side of the blade.

My hand is there to hold the molding for photo only
Exterior Left corner

Pretty much opposite of the right side.
Set the saw angle at 45   pointed to the Left.
Set the Molding upside down on the saw.
The corner you are cutting needs to be facing towards Left and on the right side of the blade.

As seen in the photo above... one cut makes 2 different corners. It depends on what side of the blade your cut is as to the corner you are making. Make sure your cut is lined up. I mark the bottom edge of the molding that touches the wall on the back side of the molding and line that up. But, there are other tutorials on the web that can show you how to measure. 


Inside Left corner
This is an Inside Right Corner cut.

Set the Saw angle at 45  pointed to the Right
Set the molding upside down on the saw.
The Corner that you are cutting needs to be facing toward the left to make the cut on the right side of the blade.

Inside Right corner

Set the saw angle at 45  pointed to the Left.
Set the molding upside down on the saw.
The corner you are cutting needs to face toward the Right to make the cut on the left side of the blade.

So, That is it. Easy peasy.

More tips... I painted mine BEFORE cutting and installing. SO way EASIER!
I also used carpenters wood filler putty to smooth the joints, fill any gaps and fix minor damage. It can be sanded and painted over for a smooth and seamless look.

Friday, September 13, 2013

Happy Chickens 4 months old

The chicks are on to adult feed and approaching adult-hood.

4 months old and going well.

The pullets are trying to mingle with the old girls and the old girls are tolerating them more and more. The rooster still is in the out and barely tolerated. He has his work ahead of him.

When they are out foraging, the old girls go off and do their own thing for the most part.

Here are the old girls.

Still the powerhouse hen. I am really hoping she tolerates the rooster by next year. I would really love to have some of her offspring to carry on her traits.

Number 2. She is Red's right-hand "man". Roo will try to make a move on her every now and then and she will not have any of it and retaliates with a vengeance! She fights back with beak and talon and proceeds to chase him down for a bit just to be sure he knows she is not a chick to be messed with.

He is still a big sweetheart. Scares me sometimes 'cause I thinking he is coming after me but just is trying to run and catch up and see what I am up to. He follows me around a little too closely and has almost gotten stepped on. He dances tries to dance for the girls but, is still a bit clumsy and trips over his own toes sometimes. He is almost too good at scouting for danger. He screams for leaves falling and squirrels. Better over-cautious right?

Love his feathers - when he raises them it looks like he has spikes.

Lucky / Tulley
She is so tiny! And, sweet. She has guts and will try her hardest to hang out with the big girls and somewhat is accepted. She is the top of the pullet group. She is smart and shows cunning. She also is vocal and makes a kinda grunting noise while foraging.

Sunny / duck / Fluffy Butt
Bottom of the pecking order. Not the brightest. She has gotten to be kinda flighty but we are working on it.

Hawk (fka HiLite)
Really not afraid of me. She will jump up onto a lap (or a shoulder or back).
She is the first one to fly up into the branches.

Eagle (fka Trinity)
You know her by the sound she makes - she growls loudly. Her cute white beard has gotten darker.

Pullets in the tree.

60 second chickens movie

Thursday, August 29, 2013

Ah-guest 2013: Part 2 - A Whale of a tale.

mom n pop
The 2nd part of August hails in my folks from Texas. It is always good to see my parents and the older we all get, the more I soak in the moments (the good and the frustrating).  After a busy week with my brother-in-law, we still had a busy week but it was slightly more laid back.

This visit was flipped from the last guest, with my hubby going to work and me hanging out with my folks for the most part.

We started the week off with a visit to the Space Needle. (Sorry all my future guests... Your visits to downtown Seattle will be on-your-own. Rent a car, take a cab, or transit there 'cause this train is done with the typical Seattle tourist hits).

playing with forced perspective - how fun!
Seattle Space Needle  - my untested tip: Plan ahead...well ahead and make reservations for dining to visit the needle. No lines, no waiting and although there is a minimum per-guest charge, the view is free, the visit to the deck is included and you get chow. Plan a few weeks in advance because reservations are a few days to weeks out in the tourist season. Our family has been a total of 3 times (one regular admission, 2 VIP) and still wish we would have done dinner or lunch.

singing flowers

The next few days were filled with quality time with the parents and they with the grand-daughter.

Yum! goulash!
We had a campfire, visited the lake and gardens, completed school-shopping etc...

Then we took a 3-day weekend to "Beautiful British Columbia". We packed up like clowns into the VW Golf and took the Coho over to Victoria. Stayed in a nice little apartment near the Fishermans'Warf. Visited the Butchart, Craigdarroch, Parliament, and with all the walking we did... you would think I should have lost weight instead of gained.

Here is our experience...

Papaw and kiddo
Coho ferry   my rate = 4/5 stars
departs Port Angeles on the upper OP, across the Strait of San Juan de Fuca into Victoria Harbour. Wear appropriate clothing to stand out on the bow of the ship and look out for sea life. We sighted Humpback whales on the way and back. If you have kids or are a kid at heart... get up to the bow right away and watch them cast off.

Craigdarroch Castle   my rate = 5/5 stars
More of a mansion with a tower but, very cool anyways. The history of the building makes it interesting and how it is still in process of being restored after all the many faces it has worn. The docents are extremely knowledgeable and my hubby couldn't even stump them with his inquiries.

Parliament Building  my rate = 4/5 stars
How fun is this. A bit of politics, a lot of detail and astounding beauty in this building. Makes ya wanna run for office just so you can work here. The great thing - free! The guides were lacking and we were on the weekend so, the group was huge and wish we could have taken more time as we could have during the week. The guides seemed like they were scripted and did not know much beyond the speech with the exception of the surprise period speaker (not sure if there is a different one each time).

Waterfront  my rate = 5/5 stars
There is no lack of water-front on Vancouver Island. Walk the harbours, visit the parks. Fantastic! You can go at your own pace. Relax. Exercise. Eat. Watch the wildlife (people too).

Butchart Gardens   my rate = 3/5 stars
My 1st visit was (clears throat) about 20 years ago.Yikes. Seems about the same except the time of year.
It took us about 2 -2.5 hours to go through. We took our time and read signs and such. It is nice and the sunken garden is really nice. I was quite disappointed in the rose garden (they were labeled) because they planted carpet phlox along the pathway and it really really masked the scent of the roses. Carpet phlox is kinda stinky! If you are a garden person then I would suggest it otherwise... you can get your garden fill just walking around the city. It is a private garden not a botanical so, the plants are not labeled.

B.C's licence plates slogan is well-fitting and is not just a slogan - it is truly Beautiful! I would love to visit again and hopefully see some of the upper-lands.

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Ah-guest 2013 part1

My daughter said that this year August is Ah-guest.
Rightfully so... the first part we were blessed with a visit from my brother-in-law all the way from the east side of the USA.

Most of the activities were done by my hubby and I chose to stay home for most of it. A whirlwind visit to Mt Rainier, visits to Pikes Place, downtown Seattle landmarks and tours etc... I am just not a high activity person and "once is enough" when it comes to city things. It also saves us a bit of cash for our next guests in 3 days arrival, and allowed Hubby and his brother some brotherly bonding time without having a wife to drag along. I know I appreciate sister time when I can get it.

I did join in in some things that I had been wanting to do or would do again (nature stuff of course). A first time visit to Mt St Helen's, a trip to the coast (been several times but who doesn't enjoy the coast?), and another visit to Northwest Trek (which turned out even better than the 1st time). And on his last nite here, we got to finally have the 1st campfire cook-out of the summer! I know, a bit late but, we've been kinda busy this summer. It was so nice to have him visit and hope he can come again another summer.

Time for a travel review...

Mt St Helens National Monument, Washington, USA

If you only have a day and it is your 1st time... Go to the Johnston Ridge Observatory.
This is only 5 miles from the crater and right smack dab in the blast zone. From here you can visit the center, watch films, read survivor stories, hear Ranger talks and go on Ranger guided hikes. This is THE premiere vantage point and learning opportunity for a day trip. Oh, and you can hike to Mt Adams from here (more than a day trip by the way).

It is not as easy to drive around this mountain as it is Mt Rainier. Mt. St. Helen's , although a smaller park, has a huge protective zone! This means you have to drive back out and all the way around to get to each of the other areas of the park from Johnston Ridge. Making for a 3 hour drive to the next section from Johnston Ridge, not including scenic stops along the way. And, you will want to stop. Along the road there are several vantage points and historic information from both the park and commercial ventures (much of the mountain was logged in the 1980's). A few commercial stops along 504 are the Forest Learning Center at mile marker 33 and the edge of the blast zone viewpoint and bridge around milepost 29 - the Hoffstadt Creek bridge and lookout point.

This area of St Helen's is amazing. It is fairly windy and the views are great (for now) because of the lack of old growth forest that was here merely 30 years ago. What a great opportunity we have here in the USA to be able to witness such a vast geologic history! We have old growth forest and ancient canyons to new-birth and re-birth of Earth like St Helen's.

Ocean City State Park, Washington

Ocean City is OK. If you are camping, by all means get a pass and go to the park. But, if you are going for a day trip to the beach... go south of the park down 115 onto Ocean Shores Blvd. into the town of Ocean Shores, visit some shops maybe and just drive onto the beach from one of the 2 access drives (Please know how to drive on the beach people!! We saw way too many people sink their vehicles and get stuck. Geesh! - Use some level of common sense.)
Now, it is not a pristine beach by any means. That's what you get when vehicles are allowed. There was an oily sheen on the "sweet spot" of the beach and who knows what other vehicular fluids and pollutants. There was also the pre-composted product from the business end of the horses (which is way cleaner than what the vehicles leave behind but the gross factor is still there). Considering the volume of humans, the beach was fairly litter-free which was the biggest, and most pleasant surprise.
Anyways.. pack a picnic lunch (don't litter you slobs), kites, a change of clean clothes, SUNSCREEN, and whatever else like... beach toys a shade tent to sleep under, wet-suits for boarding (the water is cold all the time) and just have some beachy fun.

Northwest Trek, Pierce County, WA

The 1st time I went was in the late spring and it was good. Now it is late summer here and it was even better. I want to go again in the fall for the Elk Rut and in the winter when all the undergrowth is gone and get a new perspective of the wildlife.

A collage of the little guys...

from left to right and top to bottom...

Virginia Opossum - recent introduction to Washington in about the 1980's.






Carnivores... from left to right and top to bottom...

Grizzly bear - sleepy bear.   Grey Wolf.   Black Bear!!!!   Bob cat - here kitty kitty.   Coyote - mangy mutt.

Birds...  from left to right and top to bottom...

Golden Eagle, Barn Owl, Bald Eagle, Snowy Owl, Crow

Herbivores / the Big Game Boys... from left to right and top to bottom...

Moose (one year old), Bison (very old), Bighorn Sheep, Caribou, Roosevelt Elk