Staycation 47% completed

I keep thinking I am not getting things done but the blog helps keep me on track, if nothing else I can see that things are actually getting done. First thing Thursday morning I hung the corner shelf I made earlier in the week. The brackets came with a cute little 4” level to make sure you hung the shelf correctly. That afternoon the new cables and cable protectors arrived and Sarah and I put the router up onto the shelf. The 90 degree data cable ends really helped the cable stay next to the wall. I had to put an extension cord up to the shelf and plug in the two things behind the router. I was afraid you could tell but it is fairly invisible. This also gives us a better wifi signal throughout the house as the transmitter is higher up on the wall. There was only a small amount of disagreement. We basically agreed to disagree as neither one of us was listening or communicating effectively. This summer when the child and foreign child are home I am going to be spending a lot of time outside. I believe this is the wife’s number one complaint! Our old foreign exchange student, Monica is going to spend the entire summer with us. She is out of college for the summer and will be getting some experience on our farm with various animals. She also wants to learn how to drive a stick shift car. I offered to teach her how to drive the tractors but she was not as impressed by that as she had spent last year driving a skidsteer in a dairy setting. She has been working out so I see a lot of rock wall work getting done this summer.

When I went out to let everyone out of the barn I spent an hour digging straw and making sure we could open various gates. I used our new lightweight panels and built a run that would funnel the sheep to the back of the barn, so we could then run them through the chute and sort them. It was nice to be able to just put the panels on top of the straw and not have to dig down 18” to make the panels fit. Sarah and I were going to come out and sort off the female lambs so the new ram could not get them pregnant. The problem with this is no one likes being separated from their mother and they throw a continuously loud fit for several days over it. But it needs to happen as the sheep can technically get pregnant at 3 months old. We have never had any under 6 months old get pregnant but after 6 months all bets are off. We needed to count lambs also so we know how many we can sell.

I had spaghetti sauce on the stovetop. I use the melting burner to keep a really low heat on the pot. The problem with this is the sauce was not cooking down very fast and since Sarah and I were headed out to sort sheep at 1500 I figured I could turn up the burner and when we were done in an hour it would be ready for the final adjustment before dinner at 1700. I should have known better. It took us 135 minutes to get the sheep sorted! Annmarie came home around 1700 and found out that the sauce had just started to burn on the bottom of the pan. She was able to transfer it to a new pot, add a cup of water and finish it off. It tasted very good.

Sarah and I counted 42 lambs. It was supposed to be 20 boys, 22 girls, instead we had 21/21. I had to look at the online birth record and we tagged one of the girls with a boy tag because we ran out of tags, two of the boy lambs had managed to rip out their ear tags. One of the calmer ewes had a big bubble on the left side of her face. Sarah had sent me a picture so I brought a scalpel out to the barn. It is most likely an abscess and will need to be lanced and cleaned. The baby girls were crazy and kept ramming into the sorting chute and almost managed to jump back into the pen with the herd several times. We had to put up a second wall to keep them away. We pinned the face bulging ewe into the chute and it was an abscess, I cut about a 1.5” long horizontal incision and then squeezed out all the pus. It was really thick and would not have been easy for her body to get rid of it. I then cleaned it out and put some blue skin treatment on it. Unfortunately the skin treatment stains everything it touches and the ewe had started to swing her head around by this time and get it all over Sarah and I. Sarah got it the worst. We went inside to crow about our success and the first thing Annmarie asks us is why we did not sort off the boy lambs also? This way the ewes would get a break from making milk and burning so many calories and could maybe put on some weight. As there was no logical reason for us not doing this Sarah and I were kind of dumbstruck. Annmarie and I will be sorting them again next week.

On Thursday I was given the contact information for some people in the Hermiston area that were trying to sell their three alpaca who are only one year old. So I called them Friday morning and after morning chores I hooked up the stock trailer and went to Hermiston. I got all three intact boys, brothers, for $280. We now have 12 alpaca and will not be buying any more for years! They live 20 years and we will lose several in the next 1-2 years as they are just old.

The custom wood mill called Friday afternoon and said they wanted to cut the black walnut we had dropped off. I hooked up to the flat bed trailer, picked up Mr Professional and went to the custom cut mill. We talked about the pieces and how wide to cut them. The mill can only cut 24” piece but by the time you clear the edges we ended up with a solid 20” piece. The wood has so many colors! I was surprised at the variety of colors in it. In two hours they were only able to cut 1/3 pieces. On Monday I will go and get the other two pieces cut. We came out to the farm, cleared a spot in the old chicken coop, cleaned off all the sawdust and then unloaded it. Those nine foot pieces 3” thick weigh almost 200#. Once it was stacked we banded it together. It took a while to get the hang of the bander. I had never used one before. I did find a way to use the OSB sheets we have stacked out in the machine shed. We are going to put up black plastic to keep out moisture and light and hold it pinned up against the chicken wire to keep the rain out of the building. The building is about 1/3 full of wood. The OSB was $5/sheet as it was scrap so its perfect. I will keep each end open so the wind can still move through for circulation.

Floor finished

Well it took a week longer than I thought and Annmarie had to sleep at her mother’s house for an extra week but I got the stairs and spare room floor finished. There is still a little light spot on the stairs from the dogs going up and down the stairs but it is not super noticeable. I suspect I will have to do the stairs again in 10 years. I may even sand them smooth then. I just slopped stain over them as is until I was happy with the color then slopped Varethane over that. I may have a few dog hairs in the Varethane.

The barn owl is hanging out in the machine shed now. I went out to feed the cows and it just was not going to leave. I started up the tractor and it just peered down at me and gave me the “what for” look. I drove off and it never moved from its perch. I need to get in the room and clean some more. I want to wipe down the walls and ceiling another 2-3 times to make sure I have gotten all the sawdust off of the walls and wood trim. Once all that is done then I am going to stain the door trim in place. Its a pain to do but I opted to do it in stages as I wanted to get the floor done first. I don’t think I will need a bunch of coats of stain and varethane on the trim. I will probably only do one maybe two coats. Unfortunately, I am not going to put the furniture back in the room until I am all done cleaning. I can do the door staining with the furniture back in place. It turned out very nice. I think I am going to add 1-2 more shelves in the closet storage room also. I will be able to store stuff all the way to the ceiling that way. I am also going to add a shelf between the intake and output duct. This will gain me five feet of shelf 18 inches wide and 20 inches deep. That is a lot of space! This has spurred me to reconsider building another narrow shelf next to our refrigerator. We currently have all our reusable bags just stuffed into a 7 inch wide gap. To minimize space loss I should use 5/16 plywood. The trouble is I like the look of old doors but that will cause me to lose 3 inches which is too much. So I am still arguing with myself on what to put their that will not cause a loss in decor. I am considering a frame type shelving unit using the old floor kickboards. I found a bunch of them in the rafters of the old woodshed when I was installing the weather station. I just need to figure out how I am going to put them together. That project is going to preoccupy my mind for the near future.

I have determined which alpaca is the smartest. It is the not smallest black one. The trailer got moved and this is the only spot on the entire property with visible grass and he was all over it. I came back two hours later and eight alpaca were trying to lay in this spot! The trailer was moved in the night so they did not see the spot come open.

Catch up time inside

Winter should be here soon, even though the grass is still green. I have moved on to inside projects. It’s after Thanksgiving so it is time to give up outside things. I did sneak in an hour this morning adding a new hook above the sheep doors so I could run a bungee cord over it and stiffen the doors in the middle. I need to get a picture of it now and everyone will understand why we spend $35/year on bungee cords. The cords hold our feeders up to the walls and each other also.

Today I worked on our hall closet. We bought a special tool to drill holes into the walls so we could add movable shelves. I figured out how to make them work today and have spent two days sanding oak plywood for the shelves. I had two extra sheets of oak from the cabinets I made a few years ago. I am even going to face the front edge with some leftover edging from the air return. Tomorrow I will glue on the facing then stain it in the evening. The big problem is I took the door off when we laid new tile on the floor. I cannot seem to find the door. I have been searching for months. It may have ended up on a burn pile…

We had prime rib cut from our beef this year. We have always made it into steak in the past but decided to try our own. It was amazing!! I took a picture below before I started adding the dry rub. It is so much leaner than what you get at the store and we cook it in a salt coffin low and slow and it was the best prime rib we have had in a long time and it didn’t cost us $85. There is one more and I am thinking about cooking it on the table top Traeger grill we got this summer. I should probably practice with brisket first before I attempt the prime rib.

Annmarie had been talking to me about installing a half door going into her craft room. She has mentioned it several times but this week I had a free day so I just went out to the old house and dug around until I found an old door that was wide enough. The door was not perfectly proportioned and one panel was larger than the other. I decided that I did not want to have to move the door handle as this was going to be painful. So I measured the height I wanted and just sawed the door off at that height. This left two sticky up parts on each side. So I popped the leftover panel piece out with some pliers and a hammer. Then I beat on the scrap piece until I was able to pull it the top molded part of the door. I then glued the side of that piece and beat it in to the top opening back into the old grooves. Viola, a half door! I had to shave off 2.5 inches off of one side and then chisel in some spots for old hinges I found in a drawer. img_6565It took me another 2 hours to hang the door as no door, no matter how small is ever easy to hang. I had to remove the hinges twice and chisel them deeper into the wood. My tolerances were only 1/8″ and that was a little too tight. I thought I would just attach the latch part into the wall and I would be done! This is were you realize 5 hours into the job that you used the top part of the door and the latch is backward and you don’t want to change the swing side of the door. So now I will be buying a sliding latch to go on the front of the door to keep it closed. The best part of this is that I drilled a hole into the door casing 11 years ago when I was running new electrical wire. It was an accident and I have meant to fill it for years. I will now be using that hole as a receptacle for the new sliding lock I am putting on the half door! Maybe I was planning for this eventuality and did not even realize it myself.

Said I was cleaning old house

I told Annmarie I was going to clean the old house on Friday. This usually entails picking up all of my tools that are scattered on all horizontal surfaces and digging out the floor so you can actually see it. I like to put tools in a bucket for each job then I put the bucket in the old house. But I still had tools in boxes from the tile job this winter. I could not find a cordless drill, it was time. I was down to only one crescent wrench and it was a humongous one. My truest indicator of time to clean is when I run out of tape measures, crescent wrenches or a cordless tool I need is missing.

I decided that it was time to make forward momentum on the old house. I would like to set up the wood working area but I need the middle two rooms cleaned out so I can finish wiring the house. I need three 220V outlets, one for planer, one for joiner and one for a table saw. I will use my current 110V table saw for a while but eventually I would like to have a 220V. They don’t draw near as many amps as a 110V. I had some help lined up Thing 2 was coming as his brother was busy. Bubba is done for the summer, early retirement. So we started tearing into the back room of the old house. This is the room directly over the root cellar and was most likely the main living area. It has a hole for a chimney directly in the middle of the room, no cold spots in that room. We needed to empty it out first and it still had boxes from when we moved here 10 years ago. If we haven’t used it in that time we can probably get rid of it, was my mantra as we started emptying boxes. We laid out a large tarp on the lawn and started unwrapping all the stuff packed in the boxes. We ended up keeping two large moving boxes and one medium one. They had dishes and display items for our curio cabinets. We found the glass shelves for our large curio cabinet that has been living in the upstairs unfinished bathroom. A great score, now I just need to fix the one leg that broke off in the move. We found the naked ladies pictures! Another great find, we bought four prints of the four seasons, Winter, Spring, Summer, and Fall at an auction house when we were first married. They are a little scantily clad but wonderful pictures and usually reside in our guest bedroom but we have not been able to find them. I have dug through boxes twice over the years looking for them and never succeeded. I will be mounting them on the wall over the bed in the spare room this week.

We scored a lost grinder for the kitchen aid. We had replaced this already but will hold onto the spare as we may need it when grinding up our own meat. We scored a nice wedding picture I didn’t know we had. We lost most of our pictures to a water leak in one of our houses so it was a nice score. I found a couple of gifts to be for some difficult gift recipients.

Annmarie talked me into getting rid of the old 36″ screen door that has lived out there for eternity. I also found another 36″ white screen door that is brand new in the original box but cut open. We moved it from Moscow with us. We don’t have a single door it will work on, it went out to the tarp.

I had Thing 1 start in on the bathroom. It is the picture below. The story is that grandma lived out in this house after the main house was built. Grandpa lived upstairs in the main house. As she got older a bathroom and kitchen were added to the old house so she didn’t have to go outside and use the outhouse. It is piled full of old parts and boxes and boxes of old nails, at least 100-200# worth.

The old kitchen, above, is full of tires and I know there is at least one milk separator in there somewhere. The old sewing machine that I took apart fifteen years ago without marking anything is out there in a box also. I am going to get to that eventually.

As Thing 1 restocked all the wood I noticed the back of one of the door jambs was stamped with “Pilot Rock Lumber, Pilot Rock Oregon” stamp. This board is around 120 years old. It is amazing what you can find if you pay attention. I have been saving all the old door jambs so I can reuse the wood. It is amazingly straight grained and wonderful. I will just have to get the paint off of it first.

Our first day after 8 hours didn’t seem to net us much progress. I used some old metal hanging shelves left over from Sarah’s closet reminded 10 years ago to mount a shelf for the free shop lights I managed to get about five years ago. We also ripped down all the cloth wallpaper on two walls. I figured if we were doing it we might as well go all in and get it ready.

My big take away was that I am going to have to buy a bigger circuit breaker box to fit in the new shop lights and to do the 220V breakers. So that will be my next purchase when I am at Home Depot. I will even recess this next one into the wall. I am not sure why I did not do that other than this was easier.

We sold 35 sheep on Monday! They will come get the other 15 sheep in a few weeks. This has been a true blessing as my add on Craigslist was not going any where. I was getting ready to advertise in multiple areas. We put all the small 15 sheep in the orchard and have been watering the grass and tossing them a bale of alfalfa in an attempt to fatten them up. We are saving that money and our cow money to pay for the alfalfa seed that will be planted this fall.

The Professional came out and we have a plan in place. I have been walking the property every evening and have discovered that we have several things in plenty, pheasants, doves, pigeons and deer, lots of deer. There are around 50 deer making the place home and I saw at least 4 sets of twins and at least another 10 fawns and all of them still spotted. I have yet to draw a single doe tag in the last 10 years. I am hoping they don’t decimate our alfalfa crop.

Tying it all together

Annmarie was gone for the weekend, this allows me to basically work until I drop. I am not sure its the best plan but I am fairly consistent in its application. She leaves and I spend all day outside just tearing stuff up and cooking things that are not good for me. Now this time I was better about that as last time I made myself sick.

Thing 1 and Thing 2 came out first thing in the morning to help me on Saturday. My ultimate goal was to get the old house torn up and put together today. Since we only got about 80% of one room yesterday It was going to take some concerted effort. I had Thing 1 tear into the old bathroom and Thing 2 and I moved the planer and edger away from the walls so we could tear down the wallpaper and some door trim. The original living room now has the fence and compound radial arm saw.

We tore into the old kitchen next. I handed stuff out. Its easier to just empty the room and filter out what goes back inside. I left the two milk separators and the old washing machine in there. We put the coolers and snow tires in it also. We have three sets of snow tires so we need to check sizes before buying any new ones. I got rid of the handmade fruit dryer. It had a live mouse in it and was made out of plywood and window screens with a fan in the bottom. The mouse got away when it was being carried out to the burn pile. The old bathroom really was a bathroom! We moved the old propane stove from our house over the hole so nothing could get inside. We may use the propane stove to heat this building so we kept it.

The center room had two layers of linoleum on the floor, and the boys tore it out. the floor was brand new underneath. The wood has never been walked on or seen daylight. It is in amazing condition.
There were two doors leaning up against the wall so I used one to cover the opening to the kitchen. Its about two inches too narrow and six inches too short but it covers most of the opening and keeps the dogs out. I found some old mouse poison so I set that out on the shelves of the kitchen. We have cats but obviously they need some help.

The finished main living room no has the saw. The shelves on the right hand side are home to the shop lights until I can get them installed.

This old parts cabinet got moved and cleaned out with 409. I converted it into a place to hold all the screws and nails. I need to see if I can add in some areas for bolts and nuts also. My drawer for that is getting full and its hard to find the part you want. The not well fitting door needed new hinges and I found a coffee can with some used hinges I had picked up at a yard sale a few years back. I knew I would use them at some point. There is a hole on the outside of the house that was an entrance to the rafters. The door fell off and it has been open to the weather since we got back. I need to get a ladder and install a new door in the next couple of weeks. I picked up an old wooden cabinet that is currently stored at Sarah’s that I would like to install on that wall but I need to stop any water from coming inside first.

I had Thing 2 go through all my scrap wood. Any that were shorter than 3′ got tossed out onto the burn pile. I just had to make a decision to let it go. When I get all the storage stuff up into the old chicken coop then I can store more wood in the old house!

I found some cool old knickknacks. I scored three old melamine drawer pulls. They look brand new. I was hoping to find 20 of them but no go. I found a cool old lock and no key and a couple of old cast plates.

As I continued to fill up the old kitchen with antiques that I have no idea what to do with and things that I may need in a couple of years it occurred to me that I should start looking at the old chicken coop. It has a concrete floor and just needs glass to keep the critters and weather out. Once I had the windows in then I could move all this stuff that just needs stored up to that building. I have a bunch of extra windows so now I just need to see about how to make them fit. If I had that storage area then I could really utilize the entire space for my woodshop. I do need to install a door between this tool room and the other two rooms to minimize the dust in the tool room. I plan on ripping out about 50% of the wall between the two main rooms to allow for more working space. I also need to install a new back door. The current one has fallen apart, lost its glass and is held closed with bailing wire. I would like a 32″ door with large window but I will rip out the door casing first to measure the actual door opening. I may be able to get a 34 or 36″ door into the old hole. I decided that it was time to get rid of some of the cast iron I was hoarding. I ended up keeping one Wagner pan and two cast iron teapots. Now I just need to get a small sand blaster to clean them up.

When they were loading up the sheep on Monday a few got away and one of our solar lights by the front gate was a casualty. I managed to find one brand new one stashed on top of a freezer and installed it on the fence.

I stopped to go make lunch and had Thing 1 & 2 keep working on tearing out flooring and wallpaper. I made my famous chicken salad. It is very good. I made 5.5 sandwiches. I was only going to eat 1.5. I brought sandwiches, gatorade and grapes outside as everyone was covered in dust. When I asked how the sandwiches were Thing 2 stated “its okay” then about 30 seconds later he said they were “good” but he only ate one sandwich. Thing 1 ate three sandwiches after asking his brother if he was going to have a second sandwich. So he obviously didn’t care for the chicken salad. Maybe it had too many vegetables in it, I added onion, celery and jalapeño.

One of the things I noticed about working with the brothers is that when they are together I have to be more diligent about keeping them on the straight and narrow. When they are not kept busy they are easily distracted. I just kept barking orders occasionally it seemed to work.

I am trying to talk Sarah into having a yard sale at her house during Pilot Rock community days to offload all the stuff on the tarp. We have more up in the new bathroom area that can go also. I think she is going to do it! I found this old school desk. I like it better than the one we picked up a couple of years ago but I had forgotten about this one.

All of this area will be alfalfa by this time next year we will have gotten our first crop off it. Looking forward to only moving 50# bales.