I spent Thursday getting ready for the Murphy bed install. I spent an hour watching how to videos from the company’s website then I went into the craft room and unpacked all of the parts. They used a lot off expanded foam sheets and had broken them up to create a custom box. This left little pieces of styrofoam on everything. I spent all of the time wiping and vacuuming down the pieces to get all of the styrofoam contained. I had them all laid out and ready to go for Friday. I had also perused the written instructions just in case so it would not take very long to install. I had said two hours.
Friday Mr Professional came out and we spent five hours working on the install. Annmarie always multiplies my time estimates by three when she is calculating how long it will take me to do something. She is usually right, you would think I would have this system figured out as the outcome is fairly predictable, three times my estimate almost always. We took our time and went over every step meticulously. There was no room to just order another piece. I was going to just fish an extension cord behind the bookcases when we installed them so we had power on the wall. Mr Professional wanted to extend the outlet boxes out and put them into the bookcases. This was a much better plan, not an easier plan, just a better long term outcome. We extended the boxes and installed the outlets into the back of the cabinets. I even ordered wooden outlet covers that match the finish on the bed. They should be here next week.
Mr Professional came out on Saturday for a couple of hours and finished shimming the book cases and installing the trim. The trim is not supposed to be necessary but due to our uneven floor and wall they are needed. After it was all said and done you cannot tell that there were any issues. It looks amazing and now our visitors will have a nice double bed to sleep on and we can still use the room 98% of the time for other things. We are getting sheets and new pillows today for the bed and its will be all ready. We can leave the bed made up and merely have to just pull the bed down to get it to work.
The plan to convert the old house into an office is taking shape quickly. One of the things I realized is that we have a lot of other stuff in the old house. It has started to collect things. To combat this they need a new home. Now I could get rid of some stuff and we will look at everything hard before moving it out to its new home. There is a lot of space in the old chicken coop, it just needs to be cleaned up. To do that I need some help as a lot of items are long and its a pretty daunting task. I have a new helper today, it’s his first day. I have started having them pack their own lunch, bring water, appropriate boots, gloves and pants. This helps set some expectations and less for me to think about, not everyone appreciates my culinary tastes. The first day is always a dance, will it work out? What name are they going to earn for the blog? Will they keep returning?
I went in and picked him up as his mother was busy working. This did get me in some hot water at home though as I was bribed with a Dutch Bros Coffee and when I got home the wife wanted to know why I did not get her one! I quickly threw my benefactor under the bus and explained that I did not go into town and get a coffee solely for myself. This seemed to mollify the lovely half.
He proceeded to pick up trash in the yard and pick up all of the loose branches and lumber laying about. I ripped the edges off of some tongue and groove boards so we can make the magnetic screens for the bathroom. I will finish cutting those soon and then work on getting them constructed so that Annmarie can get the fabric screens installed. It is the last thing we need to do in the upstairs bathroom except for the toilet paper holder and hand towel holder, both of those were ordered a month ago but have not arrived yet. While we were working and I had to dig around in the old house for a skilsaw, I realized that we needed a storage space for most of the stuff in the old house. I had visions of building a freezer room on the backside of the old house but today realized that all of our freezers can fit in the old kitchen. I just need to level the room by adjusting out the built in slant on the floor and wiring in three separate breakers.
We went out to the old chicken coop and we started to just go through all of the old wood piles. I had sorted them 12 years ago and kept too much scrap wood. I had little pieces of 1×1 feet, not sure what I was going to do with anything this small. The helper stuck with it and kept working. This is the first problem that usually pops up, they don’t work. He kept at it and the room was dirty! Lots of sawdust from the ceiling and walls and cobwebs everywhere. I was told that he may not like spiders but we have them everywhere so a little exposure was needed. We finally had to use a shovel to empty out the dirt, sawdust and mess from the floor as the push broom could not handle the volume. My helper kept surreptitiously pulling his new pants up every few minutes until he uttered the following words “I need a belt bad”, a name was born, Mr I Need a Belt Bad! We found an old stick lighter that still had fuel in it and it worked. We ended up starting a fire and burning all of the small pieces of wood.
After lunch we moved two more piles of wood, by the second pile I was wearing down and Mr I Need a Belt Bad was dragging, he was tired! This doesn’t mean anything as there was still work to be done. We moved two huge old 6×6 barn beams that were rotten. I am unsure why I kept them as they were really rotten. But they ended up on the burn pile and went up in flames nicely. We got pretty much everything cleaned up, the only thing left is the small grain room floor needs to be shoveled and swept. I also need to get some shelves to install and move some infrequently used stuff from the old house out. I think we can be done in another couple of hours.
Mr I Need a Belt Bad was so tired he was only able to carry a single piece of maple back to our house. I carried four pieces. He was super excited to get paid, he earned it and will be back next week on Saturday to tackle the yard. The rain we got today totally hampered any lawn mowing.
Summer is definitely coming. We are working on getting our water back up and out to all of the plants. That last minute freeze (17 degrees F) wrecked havoc with our automatic water timers. We had already turned on the garden and lavender sprinkler system and the timers froze, nothing else was damaged. So yesterday we got the berries and lavender watered and lavender weeded. I had some grass trying to grow through the ground cloth and rubber bark, so I pulled it all and got most of the roots. It’s a lot easier to do when the grass clumps are small. We also got the front hillside water turned on and the entire front hillside watered. It does not have a timer and we accidentally left it on last night so it will now be getting a manual timer that will go up to two hours. The water pressure is a lot better since we found and fixed the leak.
Our Murphy bed came via freight truck on Thursday. I tried to talk the guys into delivering it across the bridge and onto the front porch. They were not going to do that as it is only curbside delivery. We were just happy that they did not sit on it for two months while Annmarie badgered them to deliver it, our last local freight experience was less than pleasant. The last one wanted a full load of stuff before they came to Pilot Rock!! We would have to wait a few years for that to occur, which is what Annmarie told them repeatedly. The whole thing is heavy, 800# and we weren’t sure how to get it to the house. I had asked Annmarie to get me a set of “arm forks”, straps that go over your forearms and provide the leverage where you need it to maximize your lifting capability. Most people have the strength just not the grip power, their hands quit which makes it hard to carry stuff. They did not have that so she got me these shoulder straps shaped like an X behind your back and then an adjustable six inch wide strap that goes between them. You put on the harness, squat down, adjust the wide strap then you both just stand up! Your legs actually do all the lifting and then you just stabilize it with your arms. We were able to move the heavy bed portion into the craft room and it weighs around 400 pounds. It was amazing! We moved all four items into the craft room and kinda scoped out the assembly. Without opening the instruction box we have determined that the floor trim needs to be removed and I am going to have to move both outlets on the wall higher. I expect it to take a solid eight hours to get it installed.
I installed a rack in the upstairs bathroom and am now just waiting on the toilet paper roll holder and a hand towel holder. The last item is to make a template for the granite piece that goes on the triangular spot next to the toilet. I am hopeful that I can get that done next week. We moved our daughter back home after selling Annmarie’s grandmothers house. So yesterday was moving day and now we have boxes all over the house, in the attic and with the Murphy bed taking up space we had to move stuff out of that room also! Needless to say it will take us at least a week to dig out and get things arranged.
The chickens were waiting for food when I went out to get eggs last night. The extra rooster has been dispatched and now there should be less fighting at the compost dumping grounds, also known as the treat station to the chickens. Of course we still only have one calf, we hope they will hurry up and just have the rest.
Annmarie talked me into putting all the cows that are due to have calves in one field and locking them in so we actually know when they have babies. This is a new concept for me as I usually have them running all over the farm and we finally get to see a calf when it is 2-4 weeks old and its mother actually lets it wander around with her. Our first calf has been born and more should follow soon. Once the last one is born we can just run them all into the corral and band and tag them all at once. Doing it all at one time will be a nice change.
The sheep bridge I built was not in vain. Even though the sheep initially did not want to use it, they all pretty much line up to use it now. The ram still refuses to go across it, he jumps the back creek every time. Some of them feel that waiting in line is beneath them so they jump. The bridge is 10 feet across and barely spans the creek. I really need to build a 16 foot bridge. The flood really tore up the creek bed and widened the creek by about 50-100% in some areas.
Mr Professional and I spent a day laying block and gravel after I dug down to create a pad area for my mother-in-law’s new shed. The shed is coming prebuilt on a truck, the shed is 10×20 feet long and they should be able to just set in place now. Once the shed is in, we will work on building the ramp.
I am having trouble with a weed called a common mullein. I had to pull in a weed expert and figure out how to kill it. It looks like spot spraying with a lot of sticker and some roundup will kill it in its tracks. It is starting to spread and I had noticed that it was not dying with the 2-4-D & Milestone combination. I am loving the spray set up on the side by side but the side by side needs a ring job and it is burning oil. For every two tanks of gas I have to fill the oil. Sometimes I think I can kill the weeds merely by slowing down and letting them get a taste of the exhaust. I upgraded the spray motor last year dramatically and now get a nice continuous spray. I think we are going to add one more nozzle on each end of the boom.
I am going to have to break out the welder soon. I need to modify the stock rack for the pickup, the flat bed trailer locking tongue is cracking so a new one needs welded on and I need to extend the spray racks. Those are the current big things that need to be welded. There are lots of other little things but those things need to happen soon to keep everything running. We have to go pickup our new ram early this summer.
I had big plans to get stuff done this weekend but you only have so much time in a day. On top of that its Easter weekend so we have a family dinner during the day and I don’t do any work. I know its not very common for me but I do take a day off occasionally. Since the beef needed to be cut up that occupied all of Friday. It took about ten hours to cut it and wrap it all, that included the clean up time at the end which is essential or the entire house will continue to smell like raw meat. The meat is incredibly pale and Mr Professional and I had steak, eggs and toast for dinner and it was amazing. Annmarie is busy all week with Easter and helped for a couple of hours before having to go into church. Our biggest problem is the two freezers are full! I had to move a lot of stuff around to make room for the unexpected beef. We filled the tractor bucket with all of the bones. Mr Professional was out after dark putting stuff in the pickup and heard a commotion at the tractor, the cats had figured out where we were piling the scraps! We have two cats living in the machine shed, we must need a few more since the mice got into the air intake on our side by side.
The side by side was ready to spray so I got moving early on Saturday and was out spraying weeds by 0830. I realize that this is not especially early but I did cook breakfast, sausage and waffles, first and then had to drop the panels over the back creek to keep the sheep near the house. We wanted them to be able to go up on the back hillside and eat. For two reasons, one the grass is growing and two they are eating lots of hay. Due to the changes in the creek banks from last years flooding I had to cut the panels to fit as they would no longer occlude the opening like they used to. While Annmarie was letting the sheep out onto the back hillside she asked me if I could see Big Brown, our old ewe. I did not spot her, but once Annmarie came into the yard she reminded me we put her into the orchard with the weanlings to give them some direction. We chuckled as both of us had forgotten this detail. Once that was done, I went out and sprayed. Our side by side has a 50 gallon tank on it and when it is full it makes steering the side by side very hard. The front tires are not really gripping the ground very well and any turn takes twice the normal radius. I need to get the welder up and going so I can make some tractor weight holders to mount on the front of the vehicle. This should help the steering immensely. I sprayed the orchard first by just spot spraying with the wand. It didn’t need the entire field but it did have some patches of thistles that needed to be killed. I found the old Big Brown ewe dead over by the far gate. She had died in the last 24 hours. I finished spraying out the first load of spray then went and picked up Mr Professional. He took the beef bones and Big Brown ewe up to the boneyard.
Once he came back from the boneyard and saw all the green grass and the flood damage he wanted to start planting the bare spots. I told him nope, the plan for the day was to spray weeds and finish the bathroom, nothing else!! We cannot get distracted, there is a lot to do and limited time to do it. We must prioritize or the necessary things will not get done. This is the sole reason to keep a running list of to do’s and keep juggling their priority. He finished installing the four boards in the bathroom and rehung the sliding door so it opens and closes correctly and stays shut. I did not have it level.
I managed to spray all of our upper field, #1 including the fence lines and the ditch. I even managed to get 1/2 of field number 2 sprayed. I also sprayed the triangle near the wheat fields that is a breeding ground for thistles. At one point I overfilled the tank and even managed to spray all the area behind the grain bins. The side by side really needs a ring job, it is burning lots of oil. Before the engine got warmed up I thought I could merely drive over the weeds and smoke them to death. I was getting ready for tank number four when all of a sudden our power went out. Mr Professional was upstairs and hollered to look at the power line, it was waving back and forth. Our up stream neighbor was having some trees cut down. So we drove up there to check and sure enough they dumped a tree on the power line but had no cell service, we drove back down th road until we got service and called the power company around 1330. We did not get power back until around 2315 last night. Before the power company was done they had 3-4 vehicles and a backhoe out there and ended up having to replace a power pole.
Since we had no power, Mr Professional and I went out to work on stringing up the new fence line that runs along the edge of the wheat field. I now use the 5000 foot bailing string to run fence lines and it is the best! We used the T-post tractor pusher to set the T posts, it is the slickest thing ever. We put a few extra right by the horse’s resting area so no one runs over it.
The sheep had gone down to the schoolhouse. My fence repair was supposed to stop that, but fixing the fence does no good when you leave the gate open! Luckily the sheep put themselves onto the back hillside with no prompting and the gate just had to be shut. They even came down and slept behind the barn last night with no prompting! As always, when the sun is out shining it is hard to tell a live alpaca from a dead one.