Sunday, June 30, 2013

PROJECT: "Tree" House 01

The kids have been asking for a tree house for years and we just never really had the time/space to build one. But we're going to do it anyway!

Here's the corner where we're going to build it:

Notice the trees?

Yeah, well, turns out that they are destroying the fence, the neighbors irrigation, our planting boxes, and the neighbors grape vines. Plus they're messy trees. So we had them removed.

Talk about a blank slate! :)

So, really, it won't be a tree house, it'll be a free-standing platform with a roof...

Phase 1, or "Materials gathering" has been going on for a while now, actually. We've been trolling FreeCycle in our area for supplies and we've managed to gather:

Asphalt shingles for the roof
Miscellaneous scrap 2x4s and other lumber
Several used pallets

Today my younger daughter and I went and picked up a pile of left over shingles that a nice person was willing to give us. The lady was incredibly nice and, coincidentally, her leftover shingles were from her own tree house project! So she took my daughter on a tour of their tree house while I loaded up the shingles (and one ENORMOUS spider... [shudder]

We're going to see just how much of this thing we can build using repurposed/recycled materials.

We have enough stuff to get started building it, but the weather is just not cooperating. It's been in the 90s (F) for the last several days. I'm hoping we can start working on this thing on the 4th of July.

Fingers crossed!

Thursday, June 27, 2013

Integration "Progress"

Well, one of the two barred rocks has a real problem with the new girl, Cinnamon. We have the new bird in a run right next to the existing flock. They can see each other and the new bird tries hard to follow the other birds around, but if she gets too close to the fencing, one of the rocks tries to peck her.

We let them all out of the runs to free range in the back yard, supervised, and the rocks ignored the new bird for the most part. That is, until she got too close and then one of them would chase her away.

Our plan is to slowly increase the amount of time they free range together and also give her some time in the coop/run alone so she can find her way around. Eventually we'll try to slip the new girl onto the roost at night. But it may take a while before we get there.

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Chicken Update

Alas, it was bound to happen.

One of our 3 Barred Rock hens died recently. No signs of trauma or disease, though we did not opt to send the body our for a necropsy.

The kids took it very well, which was nice.

Today we headed over to the feed store to buy a new hen. We're allowed to keep three in our city and so we figured it was time to fill out the flock. We already had two barred rocks so we agreed we'd get something different. I had been keeping my eyes open for a replacement, but the feed store turned out to be the best option.

We ended up bringing home a 14 week old Golden-laced Wyandotte. The kids took one look at her in the coop at the store and named her "Cinnamon" so... Hello Cinnamon!

We have the new bird in the old broody cage for now, right next to the existing flock. The Barred Rocks did not look happy to see a new neighbor, but we're hoping a nice slow introduction will ease the pain. Fingers crossed!

Sunday, June 23, 2013

Granny Square Quilt: FINALLY

Wow, this one sure did take a while. I took a long break during the "joining" phase but I finally got back around to it and finished it up.

I learned as I went along, so my first few squares were odd shaped, and some were missing a stitch or two, but I kept almost all of them.

The finished blanket is 14 squares by 11 squares. I used whatever yarn I could find, including some really scratchy wool, a few "single square" colors where a neighbor donated some yarn ends, and even some old cotton yarn. My kids helped me with the layout -- went for a diagonal rainbow order, starting over on the same edge each time.

I've been looking over at the crochet supplies recently, and thinking about making more stuff, so I'm thinking maybe some small items for christmas? I guess we'll see...