Sunday, April 18, 2010

Hole in the Wall

We used to love to watch the show "Hole in the Wall" where a moving wall with various shaped holes in it would move toward contestants who would contort their bodies into the same shape to avoid being knocked by the wall into a pool. Is that show still on? If not, what a shame, another brainless show bites the dust.

Luckily, we have our own hole in the wall in our house above the fireplace.

These are popular in newer homes and I believe they were designed for TVs but our TV would never fit up there and it just makes my neck hurt thinking about having to look up at the TV. Even if the TV did fit up there, I never could figure out how to hook up a DVD player and satellite receiver without cords running everywhere? I assume there is a way, it's just beyond my very limited electronics knowledge.

So over the years it's turned into a collection of misfit items with no clear inspiration. We have plans to fill in the hole to make a stone fireplace (someday) so lately it's been really neglected and has turned into this mess.

The vases of flowers were for a something else completely but somehow ended up here. My parents brought the geodes rock for JW to see and ended up here. There are 3 really good portraits of the kids that can't be seen, various birthday cards from months ago, school artwork, a 75% dead cactus, JW's Cubscout stuff that now that I've moved it elsewhere we will never find it, so on a so forth...

So this weekend I got inspired to do something, well, inspirational with this hole in the wall. I thought it would be fun to create seasonal or monthly themes with this space. I figured since it is spring and the azaleas are in full bloom, I would do a garden/azalea theme.

So I headed out to town to visit some local thrift stores.

These are 2 of my favorites and right here in our hometown. Our town doesn't have much, but it is not lacking in thrift stores. They are full of interesting things and it is fun to look through it all, especially with a theme in mind.

Here is what I came up with. It was harder than I thought it would be to figure out where everything should go.

I got the watering cans, the chair and the yellow flowers/vine at the thrift stores, the hat at the dollar store. Most everything was in the $2-3 range, so the overall cost of this was minimal.

I filled in the gaps with pretty quilted canning jelly jars filled with real azalea flowers. I got these jars a few years back. When I use them for canning, if I ever give them away, they always go with a sterner than normal warning to bring them back when empty.

I found this little bench at a thrift store too.
I like how the little doll makes the bench look huge. That was Casey's idea.

It was so much fun doing this, I may reconsider my plans for the new fireplace. I'm already thinking about what to do for my next theme.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Our Easter Bunnies

On Palm Sunday, we were all in the barn cleaning stalls. As I was workin' my pitch fork through a stall, I turned over a pile of something that was furry and moving. I got the Sam out of there, as JW likes to say. I'm pretty sure there was screaming involved, but if asked I will deny it.

Jason came to my rescue and discovered it was a nest full of 4 bunnies (man eating ones I'm sure). They were probably about a week old, their eyes were still shut. How they survived that long sharing a stall with LuLu our pony, is just a miracle. They were buried pretty deep in the shavings in an area of the stall that we don't normally have to clean. We moved the nest to the next vacant stall over, and were careful not to touch them with our bare hands for fear mama bunny would reject them.

The following pictures were taken with my cell phone camera so please excuse the poor quality and tiny size. But you should clearly see why I was so frightened by these glow in the dark alien bunnies. I mean, really, who wouldn't be? They were glowing, for the love of Pete!

The next weekend, they were out hopping around, much to my dismay as I'm always on "snake alert" and aware of any unexpected movement in the barn. I about jumped out of my skin. The little guys got me again. Who knew baby bunnies could be so terrorizing?

They were still naive enough to let us pick them up, though one was smart enough to make an ear piercing shreaking noise, probably a rescue call to their UFO mother ship.

Since our barn is attached to Jason's shop, they now come right up to the door to check out the action in the shop. They are onto our game though and are smart enough to not let us pick them up anymore. And I'm onto their game too, they won't get me again, the menacing little devils from outerspace.

Thursday, April 8, 2010

The Chicks Dig It - Part 4

I lied, there's a part 4 to our Chicken Quest story and honestly who knows how many more there will be. We got home tonight to find out that 7 two day old Silkie chicks had found their way to our farm today, thanks to our chicken dealer friend, Russell.

They are too young to know if they are hens or roosters yet, so we will see. Jason says we are keeping the hens and selling the roosters. It will be fun to watch them grow up and get fluffy!

Silkies come in different colors, but Russell said that the Silkie chicks we got came from a guy who has primarily white ones like this one.

Silkies lay small eggs and are mostly good as pets.
I will post more pictures as these guys grow up.

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

The Chickens Come Home to Roost - Part 3

I never thought this day would arrive. After years of Jason refusing to have chickens...we have now have chickens! We released them to their new home and gave them a tour.

This is the Silver Laced Wyandotte hen.
At least I think it's the hen, it could be the rooster.

The buff colored hen is the Buff Orpington. Her name is Sunflower.

The hen's name is Chile. And the matching rooster's name is Pepper.

This is the New Hampshire Red hen.

Her name is Daisy.

This is the rooster, Pepper.

Daisy again.

Penny is fascinated with the chickens.

We're still questioning her motives.

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Hen Party - Part 2

Once the chicken house was ready it was time to get some chickens. A friend of ours, Russell, who is actually J.W.'s cub scout leaders, has a pretty good group of chickens and invited us over to pick out a few.

First we had to meet the resident full size chickens.

This is a turkey who was protecting his hen who was setting some eggs.
He was not thrilled to have us nearby.

Now to pick out a few hens from a group of young hens who just got their feathers. They are quick panicky little things so it was a little chaotic trying to catch them. JW picked out a Silver Laced Wyandotte first. He picked it up and said "Can I have a rooster to match this one?" So they went over to the rooster pen and picked out a good matching set.

Casey took a little longer to decide and gave them all a good lookin over.
She finally decided on a Buff Orpington and a New Hampshire Red.
Both should grow up to be big chickens.
I tried not to think about what she was sitting in.

We packed them all up for the car ride home.

Before we left we got to watch Russell's dog round up all the chickens back to their pen.
She got every last one of them.

We also checked out the Silkie pen.
Jason has his eye on getting one of these as soon as Russell has one ready.

We now understand why people end up with so many chickens.
There are so many different kinds, you gotta have one of each.

I think we are in trouble.

Next post Part 3 "The Chickens Have Come Home to Roost"

Monday, April 5, 2010

Something to Crow About - Part 1

"Regard it as just as desirable to build a chicken house as to build a cathedral" Frank Lloyd Wright

I asked for a Chicken Coop for my birthday last November. I am excited to announce that the chicken house was finished just in time for my son's birthday in March. We finally got some chickens just in time for Easter. It didn't actually take that long to build, the project just stalled out due to Thanksgiving, Christmas, winter horseshows, so on and so forth.

This is part 1 of a 3 part series of posts documenting the entire building process, right up to the arrival of our first chickens.

First we built the outside pen part of the chicken coop. Jason decided to go with a modular design that could be disassembled, expanded or rearranged if needed so all panels are the same size.

Measuring out the frame.

Squaring it up.

Adding the chicken wire and putting it all together.
Everything was welded so it would be very secure against predators.

The final pen, 10 x 10 with a roof to keep out any hawks that decide to snoop around for a chicken dinner.

My father in law James was the chief builder of the chicken house itself.
I picked out the design I liked and he got to work.

The house has 8 nesting boxes, which are enough for ALOT of chickens since they can share a nesting box. The house itself is 4' x 8'.

Adding the roof and frame.

Walls. The nesting boxes are accessible from the outside of the house.

Windows are added for ventilation and a door to the pen.

Paint and trim added.
The house was built at wheel barrow level with doors on either end for easy cleaning.

Adding the finishing touches.
The roof over the nesting boxes is hinged for access to the eggs.

Putting the house together with the pen. A walkway was also made to get into the pen from the door of the house and a step was added to the back so the kids can reach the eggs.

James is open to making these for anyone who would be interested. Just let me know and I will get you in touch with him. These would make great "Urban Chicken" houses.

Check back tomorrow for Part 2 of this series, "Hen Party"