Sheep caught up for now

It was time to get back to the house but I had gotten behind on all my other duties. Mr. Experience wanted to see the barn so I decided we might as well tag and band all the babies. We had a whole last batch that needed to be marked. I warned him that these are not normal sheep and behave like jumping beans when they get cornered. I got to try out my new tag/band tray and it worked great! I have the fancy new plastic tote loaded with everything I need and ready to go. I had to run back inside to get rubber bands as they have to live in a temperature controlled environment. We fed everyone first in an attempt to distract them so that Mr Experience could sneak up on the lambs. This did not go so well the first few times. He was surprised when the lambs started flying by his head! They can really jump and is can be very disconcerting if you have never experienced it before. We are on numbers 190 for both the males and females, so we have had over 380 sheep through our property in the last seven years. The last three years have been the big years. We are shooting for 150 lambs a year through the place. We need to have 75 ewes for that to happen. We are almost there.

We tagged and banded the little boy lamb that looks like a wooly sheep. He is weird all around, if you did not know any better you would think that faries replaced him with a poor substitute and the only part they got right was he is a sheep. Genetics are an odd thing, just saying.

We started scrubbing the tile floor in the kitchen with scratchy pads but that coating is on there good. I broke out the Kirby floor cleaner and it was better than doing it by hand but it is not getting everything. Tomorrow we are going to try the carpet brush as it has more friction and hope it can eat through that coating. I primed the dishwasher area and we caulked all the joints and installed the dishwasher! It fit perfectly and no longer moves around in its spot. We also moved the refrigerator back into the kitchen. No more living room late night snacks. We decided that before we could put the door shelves back in place we needed to fix the outlet wire I cut. I crawled under the house and Mr Experience stayed in the kitchen. We attempted to tie the wire strands together so I could pull it down under the house. Nope. Then I broke the wire tape. Ultimately, Mr Experience had to cut the Sheetrock to get the outlet box off the wall to reach down and assist the wire to go to the correct location. This took longer than expected but it does work. Tomorrow we will try out the new cleaning method and clean up outside, we left our mess from last week. We also need to cut some kickboards. I love the new color of white paint we are using. It’s a great lightener and it makes our yellow kitchen cabinets look better.

Day 17 and into home stretch

It is done! No applause yet as there is still cleanup and put back together left to do. Mr Experience finished the grout today and I laid the last of the tile under the sink today. We wanted to make it neat and clean and there were some old holes in the floor that I had stuffed with steel wool and plastic bags to keep the mice out and the heat in. Sealing up the floor of this compartment fixes all those problems and makes it look better and easier to clean. A total win all around. We put most of the tools away and went to go work on one of my mom’s rentals. This is good as the grout now needs to rest for 72 hours before we can do the final cleanup on it.

I will need to wash the kitchen walls behind the fridge and the built in shelves made out of old doors. We will have to trim the doors to get them to fit. I had holes cut in them for the light switch and the outlet and now that we have changed the floor height they will need to be trimmed, that will happen on Friday or Saturday. The border collies will have to sleep in the laundry room tonight as the hallway grout got touched up again today and it needs to dry.

We want to save up for the wooden trim and do the whole house at once. We talked about this today and depending on our sheep buyer we may have the money much sooner than the end of the year. Annmarie will know in a few weeks.

We are incredibly happy with how the floors have turned out. It totally changes the appearance of our entire downstairs. Now we are picking new paint colors for downstairs. Hopefully we can have the entire downstairs painted in the next six weeks also. If only I could come up with the trim money in the next six weeks, Annmarie?

Day 16 and the end is almost here

Well it is nearing the end finally, there will be just enough time to finish everything. I went over to Hermiston to pickup the needed tile to finish the job. They gave me credit for the 5 miscolored tiles. While I did this Mr Experience was grouting the portion of the kitchen we had done yesterday. I took Gizmo with me for the road trip. He is starting to settle down much faster but still won’t take a dog treat from the coffee place. He just does not eat it. I tossed it to Zeke when we got home, he wolfed it down asap. We had two different packages dropped off and Mr Experience said both delivery drivers were scared to open the gate. They kept looking at it like they were going to get shocked. The tightened wire sings like there is electricity in it and they think they will get shocked! So far it is working to keep Zeke in also and that is the important part.

We opened the new tile to verify the color match, it is a match and noticed that the new tile has rounded edges. Who does that? Who changes their manufacturing process on the same style of tile? So we did the math and realized that we could use a handful of new tiles and use up all the old tiles we had and the pieces. We only used up five new tiles to finish the floor. So in other words if they had not screwed up our five tiles and given us the wrong color we would have made it. In the end I had to cut of 3/4 inch from a full tile to get it to match the existing tile in the dining room. I was hoping the house was perfectly square but after 109 years I had my doubts. Not too shabby, only 3/4 inch and it was even across the opening.

We started tiling around 1330 and didn’t finish until 1830. Its amazing how long the cuts and odd pieces take. Mr Experience laid the last of the floor, I cut. I only miscut one piece and I cut some fancy pieces without breaking any. He had to float out two low spots and a high spot. I can do it but it just takes me longer. Sometimes, experience just wins for obvious reasons.

So tomorrow we will finish grouting, start cleaning up and then we have to wait 72 hours before we can do the final cleaning on the grout. After that cleaning then we can put stuff back. Annmarie and I have decided to thin out everything hard as we put it back so that the house is not as cluttered. The new wooden louvered vent cover has not arrived. It should be here in a couple of weeks per the website.

We had been trying to treat an eye infection in the barn kitty. It just keeps getting worse. Normally this is a live or die situation for the barn cats as they are feral. The kitten tamed down and comes over and wants attention every time we go out to the barn. I had Sarah (aka Meat head) take the cat to the vet. yep, it had worms, ear mites, an upper respiratory infection and an eye infection. So now we have to give it antibiotics and eye medicine twice a day and it needs worming medicine in two days. It is in a crate in the barn now. It didn’t like me washing its eye and had started to avoid me. So now its in hospital jail until its better. Of course the vet wanted to see it again next week. I told Sarah to make the vet call it “Barn Kitty #1” which she did. When Annmarie came home she reminded me the kitty’s name is “Soot” now I did not know that but now everyone else knows why the barn kitty#1 went to the vet!

Day 15, actual kitchen tiling has commenced

It took us 2.5 hours to just get to this spot. We screwed down a board to use to keep our alignment down the hall perfect. The tiles kept creeping over toward the board and narrowing the gap. We had to constantly shift them back into place. We broke one tile by the entryway when Mr Experience stepped on it. He had been starring at it from across the room and went over and stepped on it and it broke. He said better now than after it was dry and locked in place. We kept trying to work with it until finally he suggested we just remove it and come back another day when we can walk on the tile and dry fit it until it was perfect then glue it down. It was a great plan and that is what we did.

We had to eat out at the minimart as we cannot cook anything. We did remember to move all the coffee making supplies to the opposite counter! Long Live Coffee!! I would love to say that food sometimes wins over coffee but who is fooling who, I would never say that! Coffee before all else is my motto. On the way back to the house I gave Mr Experience the tour and discovered that someone had ran a disc through the one field I had burned. I need to burn the second field soon so we can disc it and I can keep them sprayed all summer long so we can plant them in the fall. We are going to plant Round up ready alfalfa on about 20 acres. We are hoping to get around 60-100 ton/annually from this acreage. Currently we use around 35 ton for our animals. This will allow us to be more generous with the feed and to sell some to recoup the costs of our equipment.

As we got closer to the late afternoon we realized that we were going to run out of tile. The floor company called to tell me our extra four boxes have arrived but I never went and picked them up or had Annmarie get them. This is going to put a kink in our completion plans. I was breaking open one of tile boxes and found the wrong color tiles! There are 8 tiles to a box and 5 of the tiles where a different shade. We looked around but that was the first time we had noticed it and it is pretty obvious. I told Annmarie about it and tonight as she was going to be d she tells me we installed the wrong color of tile on the floor. I ran into the kitchen in a panic thinking we had missed a tile, but alas i could not see the problem. So I go up onto the stairs and look down at the kitchen floor. The last four rows of tile Mr Experience installed look glossy. Like they are a different kind of tile. I tell her its only a trick of the light. If I turn the kitchen light on you cannot see it. Plus those last four rows went in very easy so they they did not get handled much and are very clean. I will keep telling myself that until I can walk on the tile in the daylight and take a really good close look at it again.

No tile means we are taking Sunday off! I get to spend all day doing laundry. My upstairs laundry basket is overflowing and I only have three pair of underwear and two pair of clean socks left. It is time for laundry.

So far Zeke has stayed in the yard since I strung up the new wire fencing. One of the oddities of it is it is so tight that it now sings when the wind blows. I think it scares him so he is staying away from it. Whatever works to keep him in the yard is okay with me.

Day 14, only 9 days left of vacation

It’s closing in on the end of my vacation. Only 9 days left until I am back at it, I am starting to dream about going back to work just to take a vacation from my vacation! We had to float in the subfloor, the mud filled in all the low spots and valleys. Hopefully this will prevent any tile from breaking by creating a flex point. We pulled out the dishwasher so we could tile under it. Once the tile is in place we will caulk all the wall joints and floor joints. We also ground off the points from the countertop screws. They were sticking down about 1/8 inch. Everything will be smooth to make inserting the dishwasher easier. While we were doing that I decided that we needed to tile the floor of the sink enclosure. So we pulled out all the cleaning supplies and will install tile and seal it off after we get it tiled.

We offset the Hardiboard in an attempt to stiffen the floor. You could see all the separate times that water had leaked all over the floor and damaged the subfloor.

We had to move the safe! This thing weighs over 600# and has steel wheels. We were afraid it would chip the tiles. I went out and cut some wooden coasters for the safe to sit on out of some dry maple wood I had out in the shed. Annmarie had some felt in the craft room that I cut and glued to the bottom of the coasters. We laid down plywood and managed to get it over to its final resting spot. I cut little boards to go between the coasters to allow us to push it onto the coasters. It worked surprisingly well. Now if someone would just open it up and tell us the combination. I am upping the reward to $200! The safe cannot be damaged in any way doing this.

Day 13, I was not much help

I really wanted to help, as completing the kitchen is the new goal, but I was not very good help today. Mr Experience was not coming out till the afternoon so I had plans to fix the front fence in the slim hope that it would contain Zeke and to drag the barn lot and horse area for poop. I was waiting for it to dry out for just a few days to make this task easier.

Last night it started to poor down rain and did not let up today. So I ended up putting on all my water resistant, as there is no true water proof clothing and proceeded to head out and fix that front fence. Annmarie doesn’t want me adding any boards to impede our view so I ended up install some upright eye bolts in some of the posts and got another strand of wire six inches higher than it was. I hope this is high enough to deter the dog. I also installed inline tighteners and made that wire tight! It is so tight when I came by later this afternoon I heard the wire singing in the wind.

Mr Experience got done early so I took a break and went and picked him up. I finished the front fence and drug the horse poop out of the barn lot with the tractor. It is so messy and muddy. After the poop was gone I dumped some more 3/4 minus gravel to keep the water away from their feet. We dig out their hooves nightly.

It was past lunch time so I went inside to eat and as I am zapping leftovers in the microwave I notice the back creek running! Now this is a bad thing as it means I must go out immediately and move the fence off of the creek crossings. We have had so much rain that the ground simply cannot absorb any more. So I sit down to eat lunch and notice the wet spot on the floor in the living room by the freestanding propane heat stove. I was informed there is a leak in the ceiling! I popped ceiling tiles out until we figured it was leaking around the vent pipe. So now I need to get access to the stove pipe without falling off the roof. I still finished my lunch and went up to the master bedroom. The roof vent is reachable from our window I just need to pop the screen out and lean out the window a few feet. I got some 100% clear silicone caulk and a couple of rags and some tools and Mr Experience. After the porch incident I was not hanging out the window without someone to catch me or hold onto my feet. Turns out I didn’t need any help but I made sure he was right there just in case. I am still dressing my left shin every day and the front of my neck feels like someone throat punched me several times. My back and shoulders don’t even bother me any more. We lit the stove to heat up the caulk in an attempt to get it to dry faster. I will keep the stove going all night.

I went outside finally and started lifting panels off the creek bottom. I hang them in the air. At two crossings I had to dig out the pile of tumbleweeds as they cause dams. I picked up some trash along the creek and down near four corners I found a small old shelter that someone built out of a cardboard box and some remants for a cat. Who does this on someone else’s property? Please don’t throw away your unwanted animals, be they cats, dogs, raccoons, possums, or skunks. We don’t want them either and depending on how they interact with the livestock or chickens they may not live long. I will need another teenager to troll the creek banks and do some cleanup this spring and summer.

On the way back to the house I stopped by the machine shed to drop off two large containers when I heard a noise. I thought it was Bob, our adopted cat we started in the shop. Nope, it was the barn owl!! It was up in the rafters above the hay flitting from one end to the other. It didn’t want to go out in the rain. I left it alone after dropping off the buckets, it was too dark for a picture.

I went through three pair of gloves today trying to keep my hands dry. It didn’t work, they kept getting soaked. I am definitely going to have to dig out the irrigation ditch again soon and install both of the culverts. That needs to happen if it doesn’t freeze in the next two weeks.

I felt so guilty about not helping Mr Experience today that I spent an hour tonight scraping up the floor and prepping it for wonderboard tomorrow. It should not take us long before we start laying board. We will need to move the safe out first! That will be a challenge. Annmarie and I emptied the rain gauge tonight and dumped out 1.9 inches of rain out and it is raining again.

Bonus room, kitchen demo in progress

We took the plunge today and started tearing up the kitchen floor. It’s do or die time. I have 11 days before I have to be back to work. We need to be complete and still have 72 hours to let the grout cure then clean it up and after that put the kitchen back together. It will be tight. I think only five more days on the kitchen to finish the floor but we only have half a day tomorrow. Like I said it is going to be real close.

There were a few challenges today. The floor is very well attached and we are only ripping up one layer of floor so we will be at the same floor height as the rest of the house. We will most likely have to mix up some mud to float the subfloor in so there is no give to the floor. We have to install kickboards under the new cabinets and the stove top cabinet. Luckily, there is enough room in the dishwasher hole to tile under the dishwasher. This will make it much easier to slide in a new one when this one dies.

I was using my new fancy Makita Multitool to scrape the subfloor and was working next to the wall trying to get some flooring up and suddenly saw a spark and smelled smoke. I was able to reach under the wall with the scraper on the multitool and cut into the wire feeding the outlet. It tripped the breaker so now I will need to replace the wire. I was able to do this because there used to be a doorway in the wall where I was working. One more thing to fix. I have a light socket not functioning in one of my fancy stained glass lights in the living room also. I am hoping it just came unwired and will be an easy fix.

You cannot tell but I spent an hour vacuuming and cleaning up the floor. Its still not safe to walk on without a hard soled shoe. There are screws sticking up everywhere. Mr. Experience had to leave just after lunch so I vacuumed the whole house and cleaned up our mess. We are currently working around the safe. I am still offering $100 crisp new bill to anyone that can open the safe and tell us the combination they used. We are pretty sure its empty but we would like to use the safe and these old safes can be very pretty inside.

It was time to feed the cows today. Now that we have two feeders I only need to give them food every two weeks. This is actually very nice. I am not sure it is $500 nice for the feeder but now that we have it I like it.

I went out and drug the driveway with the box blade. I am attempting to fill in the pot holes and break down the washboard effect occurring in our driveway. I also had to throw down more straw in the barn as the rain all day yesterday caused the barn to be fairly wet from all the sheep traffic in and out. The babies are getting big and cute. We will be tagging and banding the last of the group this weekend. Annmarie and I think that our old #1 ewe is still pregnant. I think she has 2-4 weeks to go before she has any babies. She must not have liked the old ram. She is our oldest ewe in the entire herd. Super friendly, but no longer the boss, that belongs to the dark brown ewe now.