The last couple of weeks have been hectic. I have been trying to finish up little projects all over the place. I have finally managed to get the last of the kitchen doors installed! I had to cut down another one to get them to fit correctly. We will be doing some touch up painting in place now but honestly the new color is so much nicer than the yellow. It really brings the countertop and backsplash together in a way that the yellow did not. I do not see us doing that again for at least another 20 years to allow us time to forget how awful it was the first time.

I went out one morning to feed the horse and she would not eat! This is so odd that I stopped doing and looked around to figure out what the horse was doing as she was not at the pile I had just placed outside the barn. She kept staring out into the area behind the grain bins. I walked over to her, pet on her and started to scan the area myself and spotted it, a calf elk was stuck behind the fence. It kept running alongside the fence line looking for a way back out into the wheat field. I walked around and opened up the gate and allowed the calf to run out into the stubble field. I figured it had just wandered down and would wander back up into the mountains.

We have been dressing the baby alpaca’s wound on its right back leg and it is doing great. It went from horrible, to bigger, to not as deep and then to closed with a small scab. It was a daily dressing and then finally I went every couple of days to just watching it the last four days. They keep trying to one up each other and this one figured he could be king of the hill so he took the opportunity to lord it over everyone else. I let Snoop and the injured Musketeer out to roam with the rest of the alpaca herd. They are getting tamed down quite nicely. Annmarie keeps treats in her car so if you are a woman and get out of a car alone at our house the alpaca all run over to you to see if there are treats. They don’t bite but the crowding is a little disconcerting if you are not used to it. They don’t even touch you, they just get really close.

Kitchen painting going well

Annmarie has really been making progress on the kitchen painting. We are moving into the last 25% of the job and it is really starting to look good. One of the added bonus items has been the thinning out of all of our kitchen stuff. We have accumulated a lot of things over the years and we really cut down on some items. Annmarie made me thin out the tea towel drawer, I got rid of three towels! She didn’t think that was very many but the drawer shuts now without having to jamb it closed. The tea towels have been gifts or inherited items and I am loathe to get rid of them.

Once we are all done with the kitchen then a good deep clean of the entire downstairs will be needed to get rid of all of the dust. She has been using the sander attached to a vacuum and it is cleaner and neater than the stripper she tried at the beginning of the summer. Daughter #2 has been helping with sanding and painting on the doors.

Today Monica and I installed the doors on the cabinets. This was not easy nor smooth. We ended up hanging every door twice and in some instances three times. It was so painful. Annmarie was at church so it was a surprise. We even had to tear off 3/16 of one door to get it to fit correctly. They all came off the same spots so one would think they would go back easily, but no they did not. Several of them are warped which makes it interesting. Since we used a two tone color scheme it is much easier to see the variances in the doors. I still like the two tone color scheme better than the monotone one but it did have some advantages.

We are hopeful that they will be able to get done this week before we take Monica to the airport this weekend. She is headed back to the UK. It was a long time coming and we put it off for so long because we knew how painful it was going to be.

Kitchen cabinet redo, courtesy of the wife and daughters

Annmarie and the girls have been working on the kitchen cupboards. They are stripping and repainting them. We knew this was going to be a very labor intensive job and have been putting it off for a few years. We bought paint samples and even painting the cupboards in places to compare colors and get the right ones. We wanted to bring out the colors in the backsplash and countertop. They have been working on it for three weeks now. The cupboard doors are almost ready to prime and paint. We just have a little stubborn paint at the 90 degree on the door side that would stop the doors from fully closing so I need to get it out. I think I will have to take a razor blade knife to get it out easily.

Annmarie has been diligently working on it. The paint stripper is citrus based but it still gives me a headache when they use it. After a few coats of that and scraping it off they sand it down. Annmarie has been doing the inside and Monica has been concentrating on the doors outside. We have some sawhorses and an awning set up outside to work under. It is slow and methodical work and they are all doing a great job. We have all new hardware, hinges, magnetic latches, door knobs and pulls. I have been informed that I will be doing the hardware install. But honestly, I am getting the best deal possible when it comes to this job. Once the second set of cupboards are done then we will pull out the fridge and do the lower cabinets and the little cabinet over the fridge at the same time. This will mean no ice maker for the duration of that time! This is a painful prospect when it is 109F.

The amazing part is our back runoff creek is still running even though we have had record high temperatures all week. I don’t think it will last another week as it has really lowered this last week. The puppy, chance had to go to the vet because she started peeing every three minutes! Turns out she has some kind of fecal infection from something she ate out here. We tried to make a list but it was fairly disgusting so we just chalk it up to her being a puppy and her gut needs to toughen up. We are treating it with antibiotics and she is doing much better. Gizmo had to go to the vet also four days earlier for a bloody nose and unceasing sneezing. He had a piece of cheat grass up in his sinus cavity. They got it all out and after a few days on steriods he does not even snore any more! He is also doing great.

“Gas lighting” fencing

I had talked to Daughter #2 about helping me fix a couple of fences after work this week so on Wednesday after dinner and dishes we went out to work on ”two” fences. We needed to fix the orchard fence where we had the breakaway panel give way during the flood and we needed to fix the fence from field #3 into field #4A. This seemed fairly simple and I was pretty sure we could do it in an hour, I failed to take into account how a city person from another country would anticipate fixing ”two fences”.

I had gone out to inspect the fence in the orchard the day before and noticed that the deer, specifically a male deer, had torn up several of our fruit trees. They are five years old and I thought the deer could no longer harm them. I was wrong. He tore up the middle of four trees. So now I will need to construct a six foot fence around the entire orchard which means installing seven and a half foot tall T-posts and figuring out how to extend the wooden posts up another four feet. I think I will use smooth wire but may have to use woven, I will need to do more research.

So we head outside, grab the tractor and some tools. Daughter #2 is unsure why we need the tractor. We got over to the panel, after pushing the sheep out, and discovered that the entire panel was covered in mud and grass which made the panel impossible to lift. We failed to bring a chain with us so we just hooked the bucket hooks onto the panel and stood it up with the tractor. Once we had it up we could tear off all of the grass and mud, while fending off the sheep who wanted to come back into the orchard. We managed to pull the top cable tight with a fence tightener and got the cow panel back up and stretched tight. As we were headed to field #4A I noticed that the gate going into our tree orchard was off its hinges and needed to be fixed before we stuck our brand new bull in the pasture the next day! So we diverted and fixed the gate then we went onto field #4A. We had to fix another cow panel in the middle of the fence that was installed to allow us to cut it loose should we have another flood. Since it flooded and we cut it loose we did not lose any of the fence line. This was a very nice win for us. So we reattached it and Daughter #2 was ready to go inside except we still had to fix the spring ditch crossing in the corner of that same fence. So after I announced our fourth repair job needing attention I was accused of ”gaslighting” her on fence repairs. I had to look up gaslighting on the internet because I told her she had to be using it wrong. She told me in the UK they use it for bait and switch situations also. I still think she is confused and I told her that this was normal fence repair stuff! Without fixing both holes in the fence we cannot let the cows into pasture #4A. We fixed it in the dark by tractor light and then went in. On our way out to field 4A we discovered that the sheep had torn into 12 bales of alfalfa hay from last year, that would explain why they are all so fat! The lambs are bouncing all over the place and we continue to have more lambs. There are only about five ewes left to deliver.

Annmarie and both daughters started in on our kitchen cabinets. They are stripping them in place so we can repaint them. The problem is they are built in and have four coats of paint on them. They made great progress and we have a popup shelter and saw horses set out back where they can work on the doors. This means that everything from the cupboards will need to find a temporary home while the kitchen work progresses. Progress is never painless.