Saturday, January 31, 2009

Update on the House

It's finally starting to look like it might be a house. The windows and exterior doors are in. The roof is on each of the porches and the carport. This next week the guys will be putting on the rest of the metal and putting up the interior walls. Then the electrician and the plumber come in and do their thing.

Back porch view.

Friday, January 30, 2009

What's In Your Forecast?

Thanks for everyone's comments about the weather. This is just too funny to let rest. Have ya'll been reading everyone's posts lately? It's all about this crazy extreme weather we've been having. But what's so stinkin' comical is listening to the weathermen.

First, let me say a big thanks to Tammy for enlightening me on the difference between freezing rain and sleet. I truly did not know there was a difference. We just always called it sleet. Yesterday, I kid you not, we were forecasted "abundant sunshine". It's not percentages any's forecasted in amounts!! But get this... Kathleen was forecasted frozen fog...what the heck is frozen fog?! Where do these guys come up with this stuff? Remember the old Parkay commercial "It's not nice to fool Mother Nature" and it lightnings when she snaps her fingers?

I would love to keep hearing from everyone what's in your forecast? What do you expect to see when you open your door in the morning...a slathering of freezing rain, two scoops of frozen fog, sprinkled with a few cats and dogs? Curious minds want to know...

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Well, Blow Me Away!

This is the way I've been feeling the last couple days. One day the wind is blowing like crazy from the South and the next day it's blowing like crazy from the North. When I was trying to either open or close the door to the RV, I felt like Dorothy from the Wizard of Oz trying to get into the storm shelter but the wind was so strong she couldn't get it open. Where are my red slippers when I need them!?
We still haven't gotten any rain. I think we're now 12 inches below normal. This morning we were predicted to have freezing rain. Call me stupid but I thought freezing rain was called sleet. Are we in a new era where it's not politically correct to say "sleet"?

Monday, January 26, 2009

My New Friend

Meet my new friend....Udder Delight.
Even though I wear good leather gloves outside to work in, my fingertips have been so dry and cracked, they are bleeding. So here lately, every time I go to the co-op, there has been a jar of this at the checkout so I, like a good customer, indulge. It makes my hands feel so good. Saturday, I finally bought my own jar. My gosh, this stuff is wonderful. In two days, my hands have improved. I've used the hoof treatment and Bag Balm but this stuff is great. I just need to take the time to put some in a small container instead of carrying this huge jar in my purse!
Happy Trails...

Friday, January 23, 2009

Is It That Time Already?

We've got another beautiful day..a bit windy, but I'm not complaining. The farms around us have been plowed and it's already time for the cropduster to start spraying the dirt getting ready for the new crops to be planted. Does that mean spring is around the corner?

With all his acrobatics, he really has the horses stirred up this morning.


In the still of the dark, the new morning on this flat quiet farmland is interrupted with a continuous line of headlights making it's way towards RiverBend Farm with still sleepy-eyed workers waiting for the activity of pouring concrete. They sit in a line of trucks, waiting for their turn to dump their load for at least nine others to spread and even out. Once they start, it is all business and they act quickly all working in a synchronized action.

Got that picture? Now, picture this...
Here I am with three big dogs, including my neighbor's in the mix, attempting to get them all tied out to their appropriate spot, getting completely tangled in leashes and cables with Jasper flipping upside down every chance he gets and grabbing the leashes in his mouth going the complete opposite direction I'm trying to take. I was one tangled up mess and I'll bet all those guys got their laugh for the day! I'm sure that woke them up!

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Moving Along, Making Progress

Hello...I'm still here. It seems like everything is needing my attention all at once. We've had some absolutely beautiful weather here so the house is coming along. It's 77 degrees, the sun is shining, a breeze is coming in off the land and it's an "open the windows" kind of day.

Concrete is scheduled for tomorrow morning at 7am. Today the guys are working high on scaffolding putting in soffits. Poor Jasper is having to stay on the chain today because he loves running and playing on the plastic layed down under the rebar. Then when he plays on it, the neighbor dog comes running over to play and I'm scared they are going to trip one of these guys...that would be worse than bad. All of the dogs will have to stay tied up tomorrow or we'll have a bunch of little doggy footprints in the concrete. So, while Jasper is tied out in the back, the DirecTV goes out...well, duh, the cable is lying on the ground. I take one look at Jasper and want to lay the blame on him. Then he looks up at me with those "What? no beans?" squinty-eyed look like Jake on the Bush Beans commercial. Okay, it couldn't have been him. His chain doesn't quite reach. All I know is that it's loose as a goose and I can't a now I wait til Monday for that serviceman. I am not so mechanically inclined but I might give it a try later and see if I can fix it.
I've also been working on the online store...yes, it's still in the works and will be up and running, hopefully, very soon. I am not computer savvy so am working with someone who I think is going to give me a great website. I'm pretty excited about it. I can't wait to show it off to everyone. I'll have to have some big grand opening special for sure.
Tomorrow's a big day so I'll have the camera battery charged up and ready to go.
Happy Trails...

Friday, January 16, 2009

Are You Sick of Chicken Pictures Yet?

You've got to click on this picture and look at it closer up to see her expression with those beady eyes.

This is Big Hilda now turning a buff I'm beginning to think she might be a hen.

This is Tillie, an Ameracauna ....she has Cleopatra eyes.

This is Cora, an Ameracauna, with Egyptian eyes too.

I think this is the prettiest hen...she has gold and grey feathers. If I only had a name.....

Well, I could go on and on with chicken pictures but I won't bore you. I'm still trying to figure out my camera and have to get my mind on something other than the house.

Happy Trails...

Meeting of the Minds

Yesterday morning started pretty stressful trying to get everyone on the same wasn't happening. After getting three of the contractors here and listening to them each voice views on how things should be done and watching them remove caps and cowboy hats, scratch heads and replace caps and hats (at least twice), I decided this was not working at all. At this point in time, there were too many hands in the pie...somebody had to go. So the man who is actually initiating this building and who built our barn is going to complete the framing. He's the one we wanted to do it in the first place. Enough said about that.

So yesterday was supposed to be cold with temps only in the 40's and lows last night in the 20's. Of course, it didn't happened as forecasted. It reached in the low 60's yesterday. But since I thought it was going to be cold, I made all the guys a batch of Taco Soup and cornbread. They were so cute sitting there at the picnic table eating their lunch and I wanted so much to take their picture but thought it would be too rude so just took a picture of the lunch. It was so cute, one of the kids told me that was the best soup he'd had in his life....does he not have a mama to cook for him? I'll include the recipe for this soup. It came from a church cookbook where my niece attends church. Naturally, it's packed away so I'll just wing it for you. You can add however much you want according to how many you're feeding.

Taco Soup
hamburger meat, browned

one pkg Taco mix

one pkg dry Ranch dressing mix

can of diced tomatoes, Mexican style

can of diced tomatoes, plain

one can black beans, do not drain

one can pinto beans, do not drain

one pkg frozen corn, or one can yellow corn, undrained

Top with shredded cheese and serve with tortilla chips or cornbread.
Yesterday, knowing that it was supposed to get pretty cold, I pulled out the blankets for the horses. Here again, I couldn't find Bridgets but did find one to kinda fit (she's on the right). It was a little big. She didn't care..she looked so cute anyway. But the real kicker was Jess (on the left). This is the ranch horse that hasn't known a stall much less a blanket. She came off a ranch out of Kansas and when I first got her in the wintertime, she looked like a wooly mammoth...ugly...but in our Texas winter, she doesn't put on near the heavy coat. I thought it was going to be rodeo time yesterday when I pulled out the blanket. I practiced with her some in the daylight before I left it on her at night. She did awesome!! She loves it! I'm having a blast with her. I can't wait for warmer weather and the time to go ride. But this morning before sunrise, they were still donning their blankets.

Well, I'm expecting another couple loads of dirt here and a call back from the electrician to come do his part. The plumbers did their rough out yesterday. The exterminator is due Monday, then the rebar goes down with plans to pour concrete next Friday.

Happy Trails...

Thursday, January 15, 2009

The Beginning Woes of Building

The plumber showed up yesterday evening and said he'll be here first thing this morning. Today should be interesting. I might be butting heads with the trim man today... he's good at what he does but he thinks he's in charge. This is not the fun part of being your own contractor. Say a little prayer for me...I need to handle all this in a very Christian way dealing with all these men. I would much rather be in the barn doing my own thing but I need to be up here at the house to put out fires if need be. Oh, I will be so glad when all this over...and we just got started! Stay tuned..I might be posting tons of requests for help from blogland.

Happy Trails...

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Busy Morning - Pretty Day

I finally got the chickens moved over to their new house. Check out my carpentry skills on their little step ladder...ha! It might be ugly but it works. I went out to take their picture and the ones that were out came running up to me. I'm loving it!

This morning the plumbers and the electrician were scheduled to come out and start. As it turns out, the electrician wants to wait til it's farther along to put his underground part in. He's afraid it will get moved. And I haven't heard from the plumbers....I told them today or tomorrow so I guess they're waiting til later today or tomorrow.
Yesterday's weather was super windy. Today the high is 62 and no wind...perfect day for putting on the roof insulation and metal. These guys are clicking along.

With everything else going on this morning, Buddy informed me that the farrier was on his way. Yikes! I had forgotten all about him coming today. Fortunately, the horses were already up at the barn. This is a picture of Jess after her pedicure just standing there looking pretty.

I'll post more end-of-the-day pictures after the workers are gone.

Happy Trails...

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Add Trusses and You Get a Roof

Today the trusses went up and the roof boards..I don't really know what they're called. It's all a lot of lumber to me. And the boards around the bottom. So now it's not just a bunch of posts sticking up out of the actually looks like it might be a building.

Tomorrow the plumber and the electrician come out to do their thing. Even the guy that's doing the trim work will be here to mark a wall for the electrician. It should be pretty chaotic around here tomorrow. I hope it all goes smoothly because this really makes me nervous.

I've ordered the windows and the doors. I think they're scheduled to go in the week after next.
I had to add this picture with the RV in it. In the first picture I was standing on the RV steps looking at the back of the house. So the RV is fairly close to where everyone is working. I got to thinking ...uh-oh... if I had a dollar for every time someone walked up here to the RV and said "I'll bet you'll be glad to get out of there!"...I'd be darn close to having enough money to pay for this house!
Happy Trails...

The Chicken House

The chicken house is finished and here ready for my little biddies! It is awesome and Gary, in Taylor, did an fantastic job. It is better than expected. Now I've been scurrying around today to get it all ready for the arctic blast that's supposed to hit in the next day or two. Nothing compared to what you folks up north are experiencing but plenty cold for this Texan. I see pictures on your blogs of your chickens in the snow and I can't even imagine having to deal with temperatures that low. A strong northwest wind is blowing across this river bottom today making it feel even colder than it is.

Here's the back side of the chicken house. The four nest boxes are accessible from the outside. There are vented windows on each side and then on the front and back.

You can see the chicken walk-thru door on the side towards the front.

Here's the inside...

Even the front door has a little dutch door that opens on the top. I just love this house! And I love my chickens! And I love this life! I am so blessed!!!

Happy Trails...

Sunday, January 11, 2009

One of Those Weekends

I've been under the weather all weekend so it's been one of those stay at home, stay in and mostly stay-in-bed weekends with cocktail of choice, NyQuil. I've missed church and my grandson's birthday party for his third birthday. Ugh...

I did walk out this afternoon to see Buddy with his new toy. This log splitter is a dream. This will certainly make the job of cutting up 100 trees much easier.

Since my voice is just about gone, I've gone back and forth from the bed to sitting at my computer reading everyone's blog. I can't imagine living in the freezing cold like Alyson from Canada. She had to go out in temps of -25C to take care of her chickens. That's dedication. I even put in my two cents worth on voting for a farm name at Dream Farm. Thanks to everyone for keeping me entertained today. I love reading all your blogs.

Happy Trails...

Friday, January 9, 2009

Finally! The House is Started

If any of you have ever done any RV'ing, then you will know that a travel trailer is put together pretty much with popsicle sticks and duck tape. There's not much to them so they can be light enough to be on the road full of one's prize possessions. Truthfully, they're flimsy as heck! And with that, so is the plastic bathtub that is not much bigger than a #10 washtub. Ours is a tub/shower combo... I don't know why they call it a tub because there is no way I could get my fat butt down in the tub let alone figure out how to get back up! But anyway, ours, for the second time now, has cracked....gee, I wonder how that could be with our dainty little bodies in there!! Because of the crack, there is no way to take a shower so this morning I had to "bathe" out of the bathroom sink, which is comparable to the size of the tub. I actually felt cleaner because I could take my time. Please understand that the hot water heater in a typical RV holds 10 gallons. That's about 3 minutes of shower time. We've just about got it down to a science. So while the guys were out working on the house, I was here in the RV playing Mrs. Repairman getting high on fiberglass resin fumes. When my daughter called this morning to ask what I was doing, she said "Now, that's living in the country!"

But the day was good because early this morning, the first round of workers showed up to start on the house.
When I first started planning this house in my head, I sketched it out on quilting graph paper. Then it went to the architech for blueprints. It was cool to see my plans all laid out. We visualized a small grandpa and grandma house but when we got the plans back, it was over 1700 sq ft. Now when I walk thru all these exterior posts, it's getting smaller. Buddy said it will go in stages of looking small, then large, then small and then large again. Whatever...I'm anxious to see some walls so I can really tell.
It should start taking shape pretty quickly...plan for the trusses to go up Monday. Can't wait!
Now I'm off to go tuck in my biddies for the night.

Happy Trails...

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

I Learn Something New Every Day

After several days of yucky rain and damp cold, the sun came out and the temperature warmed up enough for me to take the chicks out to their play pen today. As you can see, they are getting way too heavy for me to carry this tub from the barn to their pen, so here comes the wagon. They were soooo happy to get out. I feel so sorry for them being in those boxes but I want them safe. It just so happened that RFD TV had a show that had a segment on Ideal Poultry in Cameron, Texas. That's where I got my chicks. Of course, I was yacking on the phone when they had the part about sexing the chicks. It was about feather sexing. Apparently the primary feathers are noticably longer than the secondary feathers on the hens while the males are basically the same length. I did not know that! But it takes a keen eye to decipher this. On the other hand, there is vent sexing. Chickens have their genitals internally so if you squeeze out some poop, you look for a little bump in the "vent"for the males. I'm here to tell you right now that you will not catch this girl squeezing the hineys of my chickens! Either they are hens or roosters and at some point in time, I will find out. In the meantime, it's a guessing game and I'm guessing that Big Hilda is O'Henry. That's Big Hilda in the bottom right of the picture towering over the others. Time will tell.

Mud, mud, everywhere mud. But we needed the rain terribly. We have been near drought around here so of course it rains when we're ready to start on the house. The trusses and lumber was supposed to be delivered yesterday but it was a welcome downpour. So it's all been put off til Friday.

So the sand on the pad for house awaits the tractor. Hopefully by Friday things will start hopping around here and some semblance of a house will start taking shape.
I still have plenty to do around here to keep me filling in holes that the dogs have dug. Silly me! What was I thinking that this wonderful fence would contain my dogs?! They have created their own doggy door!
Happy Trails...

Saturday, January 3, 2009

Blue Skies and Sunshine

The sky is blue, the sun is shining, the birds are singing and my little chicks are out playing. It's a good day.

I went yesterday and ordered all the metal for the house. It was exciting but a little scary at the same time. Fortunately, those prices have come down some. The trusses and the framing lumber is scheduled to be delivered on Tuesday and I think the builder should start next Thursday. Wow, it seems like a long time coming.

The weather here has been crazy. It's in the upper 70's today. Not sure if we're going to have a winter or not. While I've been out in the orchard the last several days, the geese have been flying overhead. But they are already flying back north! What's the deal?

I think today I'm going to town to look at doors for the house. I've not yet decided what kind of exterior doors I want. I had no idea there are so many different doors. I've three doors to pick out. My kitchen and family room is going to be one big room with the kitchen in the back. There will be a door off the eating area to the carport and then a front door. The other back door is in the utility room. Since we always have a breeze here, I would like screen doors. So what kind of front door do you cover up with a screen door? I'm open for any suggestions...please! I'm including an older picture of the barn. The house is going to match the barn except the house will have great big cedar posts across the front porch. I was thinking of a green front door with a Texas Lone Star in it...but then I don't want to cover it up with a screen door. I keep thinking if I look long enough something will come to me...I don't have too much more time to be looking!
Happy Trails...