Saturday, August 23, 2014


 Barb did a lovely post about doing and fixing things herself and it got me thinking about how my skills have improved through the years, and the way I work around the things that haven't improved so much.

 I took shop classes in high school.  Tools and tables built for young (short) people.  I could use a drill press, a lathe, a variety of saws, hand tools, etc, to some degree.  In real life, tools tend to be big and bulky and built for men.

A few weeks ago I was putting some skirting on my mom's add-a-room for her, the drill slipped out of the screw and I did that lurch/crash into the wall thing. 

Mom said, "Don't hurt yourself!"

I said, "If you didn't want me to hurt myself, you should have given me a hammer and nails!"

I don't have a lot of strength in my arms, so to use a drill I have to put all of my weight into it.  Hammers are easier.  Every hardware store has a selection of hammers in various sizes.  Finding a hammer the right length and weight to swing comfortably is pretty easy.

Saws are funny.  I wanted to fix a deck on a rental place years ago, hated the handsaw, ran out to Canadian Tire and bought myself a skill saw.  It got the job done at the time, but for the most part, it didn't get much use until I met Husband.  I avoided cutting, because for me, it was awkward and uncomfortable.  I still tease him that I've had that saw longer than I've had him.

He came with a jig saw.  That was much easier for me to handle, but took forever to get anything done.  Eventually, we bought a band saw, and a table saw.  He still did most of the cutting.  It was still awkward and uncomfortable for me.

Then a few years ago, when my Dad was working on the trailer, I met and fell in love with a mitre saw.  Before long I had one of my very own.  For the most part, it lets me get the job done.  We use a lot of 1X3's, 1X4's, 2X4's, 2X6's and 1X6's.  No problem slicing through them with my mitre saw.  I work on the ground (I'm short, it's not that far away), so I don't have to lift heavy boards up and attempt to keep them balanced. 

But occasionally, I'm still confronted with the need to cut a sheet of plywood.  Ugh.  For the longest time, it was still a wait 'til Husband can cut it thing.  Occasionally, I'd get impatient and try the skill saw again- guaranteed for a crooked cut.  Obviously the answer was just to avoid plywood- which I do, but...  Sometimes you really need to use plywood.  There's just no avoiding it.

Well, my chain saw skills have improved well through the years.  Couldn't be worse than the skill saw, could it?  Nope, not at all...  For me, the chainsaw is a vital construction tool, with the added bonus of being portable and cordless.

I have mini bolt cutters that I use for all sorts of wire cutting from electric fence to hardware cloth.

After years of struggling with a staple gun, this is on my current wish list.  Wouldn't that be easier?  When was it invented, and why didn't anyone tell me?

Sometimes you just need to step back and take another look.  So what if it's not the way men have been doing it for years?  If it works for you, and gets the job done, then it's as right as it needs to be!

Friday, August 22, 2014

One More Batch

After selling the last batch, I put another 29 eggs in the incubator. Despite some temperature fluctuations this month, 17 chicks have hatched so far.
Chicks just hatched
Chicks moved into box with heat lamp
Most are happy, healthy, energetic balls of fluff.
The first black chick (barred rock cross)
We even have one black chick- bigger than most of the yellow chicks.  This should be a barred rock cross.

But then, there are a couple of chicks with issues, that are unlikely to survive.
Issues- this chick hatched with a dark goopy string across it's back.  It's smaller than the rest.  The goop is drying up, but I think it might be intestine or something not properly developed.
Issue #2- this chick has it's head stuck to a chunk of shell.  It's not walking and the others are picking at it.
Again, I will leave the incubator on today, but I think they're probably done.  59% hatch rate.

Tuesday, August 19, 2014


Separated from her mother, and finally tagged.  We were busy getting ready for the boys to leave for camp, garden, and firewood, etc.  Princess didn't get tagged until Sunday.
Princess, June 2014
She was a little harder to wrangle and tag yesterday, having gained a few pounds and a whole lot of muscle!
Princess, August 2014
She went to the auction yesterday morning.  The price of beef is running high, too high to even think about keeping her. 
Princess in the auction ring
I got $2.20/lb for her.  I probably could have gotten more, but I chickened out on the bidding.  At 190 lbs, I really can't complain.  She paid for her mother's hay last winter, plus a little profit.

Friday, August 15, 2014

More Rain

We had a short break in the rain this morning, so I ran out to water the greenhouses.
Weeds, and a few veggies, enjoying the rain.
Except when I got there, I had no water.  Back to the house- did I forget to turn on the hose?  Nope, it's on.  I turned it up a little.

Back to the garden.  No water.  Walk back, tracing the hose step by step.  No kinks.

Raining again.  Forget it.  Go shut the hose off.  Well, there you go.  I guess I forgot to switch the splitter from pasture to garden.  Maybe later...

After three days of rain, and a high of 9°C (48°F) yesterday, I finally gave in and lit a fire last night.  I hate wasting fire wood this early in the year, but shivering all night isn't likely to motivate me to doing anything productive today.

It's our anniversary today.  15 months since Dad died.  I'm ok with the word 'happy' now.  The first year every time someone said 'happy', I either cried or looked at them like they had sprouted another head.  Happy Birthday, Happy Mother's Day, Happy Hallowe'en, Happy New Year...  Seriously?  Happy seemed like such a cruel concept.

I'm still not happy.  But at least I'm not crying.  And I guess you only have one head now.

Friday, August 8, 2014


Pumpkin Ville
The first week of August has passed.  I'm a bit behind.  Last year I started pinching off the suckers on the tomato plants on the first of August.  This year, I started yesterday.  We haven't had any frost warnings yet, so, so far, I'm not picking any tomatoes.

I cut the ends off the pumpkin vines.  So sad...  They were doing so great, and buried in the mass of weeds I've seen a few good sized pumpkins already.  Never the less, I need the plants to get serious about ripening the pumpkins I already have, not growing more vine.

I cut the ends off of some of the Far North Melons as well.  Some of them are buried in the pumpkin mess, and I have no idea how they're faring.  I love the sight of the little melons.  They look like tiny watermelons, with speckled skin.  So cute, lol.

I'm not holding much hope for the watermelons.  Still flowering, but I haven't seen any melons starting.  Not much time left now.