Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Weekend update

I can't believe that my first post of 2009 isn't until the 7th! Good thing I didn't have "blogging more" as one of my resolutions, huh?

So we had a busy holiday and a productive weekend. After all the snow and ice, we had some issues with local flooding...but our house (including the basement) stayed nice and dry. Our road? Not so much. Both the road we take into our small town center and the one we live on (about 2.5 miles from us) was completely under water for a few days and closed to all traffic. Luckily, we did discover at least one route from our house, over high ground and over the ridge around the flooded areas. I also assume that if we were to head straight over the 'mountain' that we'd avoid all flooding using that route as well. Not something we'll want to do on bikes anytime soon, but in a car, it's fine.

So this weekend, we accomplished a lot. First of all, we dried off Sass. Her milk production has been falling off lately. It's natural to only get about 10 months at most out of a good dairy goat, so when her production began to really fall, we stopped milking her. I actually had to buy my first gallon of cow's milk yesterday. Man - does that taste like water or what? Ew! We did freeze some of her milk in preparation for this time, but it didn't turn out so well. Apparently, freezing skim milk is a bad idea. After defrosting, it remains separated. Ick. The whole milk we've frozen seems ok, so we'll probably defrost that as necessary for baking, cheese making or for soap making. If we have enough whole milk stored, I might try skimming it to see how that works. We'll see.

Because of all the rain, a section of the goat paddock is really, really muddy. Unfortunately, the area is near the goat shed and the gate, so we have to trudge through it. The goats avoid it as much as possible, so that's good. Bad bacteria can live in that mud (especially with the warm temps we've had lately) and that can lead to hoof rot in goats. We have learned that a healthy goat who gets plenty of copper in their diet will be able to defend against these bacteria, so we are making sure that the goats have plenty of fresh mineral available to them. We were afraid that Buddy had some hoof rot going on because he started limping. When we looked closer, it was just that his hooves were in bad need of trimming. We were told that Sass only needed it once every three months or so, but it turns out that Buddy's hooves grow much faster than that. We trimmed them as best we could over the weekend and he's already doing better. We'll probably have to do another trim next weekend, but like on a dog, you can't cut off too much at once for fear of bleeding. Of course, I managed to shave two of my own knuckles off with the hoof plane. My blood spilled is no biggie though - I'm capable of keeping my wounds clean all by myself! ;-)

We also did some work with the chickens. I cleaned out their coop while they were free-ranging. After I'd scooped out all the bedding and chicken poop (into the compost pile), I removed the temporary floor. I used it as a template to cut another floor for future use, and I put the first one back in for another few weeks or so. Then I piled in new bedding and my H fixed the perch attached to the nesting boxes which was sagging. Lastly, he tightened it's attachment to the wall for stability. The chickens were just happy to have the opportunity to run around after being cooped up so much! I like that the coop now smells better when I go digging for eggs. Speaking of which, our influx of eggs has now exceeded the previous influx of milk! We are getting eggs in all three colors now that the 'easter egg' birds are finally laying. The white leghorns are still the most prolific - we get two white eggs every day and we only have two white birds. We are collecting a total of 4 to 7 eggs each day and it's still winter. What happens when they hit their peak laying season in the summer? We are going to be overrun! I think we'll put a sign out front and sell them (the eggs, not the chickens!). Otherwise, they are really going to go to waste. I am collecting good quiche recipes though...I figure I'll bake up a few and freeze them.

I mentioned a few weeks ago that we'd purchased a greenhouse kit for our Christmas present to each other. Well, we were pleasantly surprised when it arrived a couple of days after Christmas! We spent part of this weekend cleaning out the garage and making space to assemble it. We were able to get the main frame partially assembled before we broke one of the main connectors. Oops. We have requested a replacement piece, so once that arrives we'll be able to continue with assembly. The plan is to put it out in the garden area where the sun hits the longest in the winter. We'll lay down the base, fill it with gravel on top of weed cloth, and then fit the frame on top of that. It's a polycarbonate window greenhouse with a small vent and a split door. The whole thing is only 6x8, but I think that'll be plenty big enough for us for now. I'm taking photos as we assemble this, so once it's done, I'll have a full pictorial to share!

The bathroom when we bought the house...'before'.

The bathroom as we were painting it. You can still see the pink counters that we hope to fix shortly...

Lastly, we made a few decisions about interior decorating. I'm actually quite excited. We finally picked out bedding for our bedroom and we came to the realization that we'll probably have to repaint. The blue we picked is nice and it looks really great with our furniture, but it's hard to match to bedding that we both agree on (the original bedding we chose sold out before I got a chance to order it!). We are also going to tile the counter tops in our bathroom. This is the bathroom that was pink that we repainted a pale sea green/blue. We originally picked the color with plans to buy solid-surface counter tops in a black/white/grey/blue speckled pattern, but they are just not in the budget right now. We have lots of experience laying tile over counters, so we are going to do black and white ceramic tile over the nasty pink counter tops. We'll also replace the ugly black sink at the same time. We can do all this for less than half of what new counters would cost us! All of this is temporary anyway. The eventual plan is to re do the entire bathroom. It's like a long hallway right now with doors at both ends and it's unnecessarily big. Our plan is to put a wall down in the middle of it and create a small half bath off the front hall and a private master bath that adjoins our bedroom. I'd also like to set up a graywater system for the toilets at the same time. That's quite a bit into the future though...we certainly don't have the cash for that right now, and we refuse to use credit.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

You certainly have been busy! How about using white subway tile in your master bath. It is really hot now and quite beautiful. Just a thought....