Piles of chicken wire at my place

February 27, 2018

I think we are going to have to cover Mom’s chicken run/ kennel with new chicken wire rather than the plastic fencing because of the wind out at her place.  At my place the chicken setup was in a very protected area from both wind and sun via the buildings and mature trees around my place.  Where Mom’s chicken are now get the full force of the prevailing winds and the birds don’t seem to care for the “run” setup at all.

We think that addition of predators are also making the birds a bit more nervous about using the chicken run.  I believe Mom and I can do a better job on string chicken wire and a tarp over the run once we get a few dollars to buy some lumber and set up a framework to support all the chicken wire.  I have a wood pressure treated post that should support the tarp that is well above the chicken wire that will prevent cutting and also help the tarp shed both rain and snow.

Mom has a little store bought chicken house she uses to isolate sick birds or intro new birds into the flock.  This little house looks like it was made to break down with wing nut bolts at the corners and “piano hinges” on the sides.  I think a few extra screws were added to try and make it more rigid but I  can deal with those now that I see how it was constructed.  The big chicken box is a bit more of a challenge as the frame work is starting to break down and it was sort of thrown together when it was built in the first place.  My plan is to remove the plywood panels that will remove a lot of weight. Move the box to Mom’s chicken run, repair/replace  the rotted 2 x 4’s and refurb the box for her chicken run.  The box may end up a few inches smaller over all but all of the framing should be solid and the chickens shouldn’t mind.

I still need to move a few little bit of furniture for Mom as the Kia mini van is protected.  Mom has a lot of wood furniture that can’t be exposed to water.  While the dully will move a lot or stuff it has no way to protect stuff and tarps usually don’t keep antiques safe from weather.  We will go slow moving stuff as it hurts no one that my shop isn’t cleared or my basement is full of totes.  Well except Mom as she can’t find her curtains or tea towels.

I gave Mom a few party buckets worth of wood to try out in her new wood stove last weekend. It was mostly dry pine but she finally got warm in her new home.  She has a darn good new central heat system that I will say does a great job as an electric heater but there is just something about a wood fire heat the warms both body and soul.  I loaded a bucket of the long burning hardwoods today so she could keep the fire burning until she can get some wood of her own.  I’m not sure of the cost of a “box” (1/4 cord) of apple wood today.  When I bought it it was considered waste by most orchards.

This my first year burning pine and now that it is dry I sort of like burning it in the daytime when stoking the fire every two -three hours for a hot fire it is a good burning wood.  Now at night when I want a long slow burn I want a hard wood. For this next year I’ll get on the list early for Douglas/ Red Fir and buy Fruit wood from the local orchards through summer.  Gosh, having the use of a 1 ton dually pickup truck sure adds a lot of options for home improvement.

 

 

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A few little jobs done around the house

February 26, 2018

It was a snowy weekend with a biting wind though it wasn’t very cold for winter.  I salted the front sidewalks on Friday evening for snow but I missed a few places where it got Icy.  Today the 25th of Feb I shoveled off the sidewalks and added a bit more ice melt to the Icy sections I could not shovel.  At worst we have about 2-4 inches of snow and it’s not worth breaking out the snow blower for that little bit of snow.

I finally got the new curtain rod hung over the large window in my living room.  The installation was very easy following the instructions compared to my usual job of “winging it”.  I installed a new shower curtain in my big bathroom and it looks okay, but I have to cut down the old shower curtain for my small bathroom shower. I won’t need the “tie backs” on the small bathroom shower curtain and guess what the burgundy color tie backs match the color of my living room curtains.  A couple of decorative hooks and I’ll have my curtains looking great and functional.  These are simple little jobs I have put off but it did feel darn good to get them done.

I had a very interesting experience today of another cat on my front porch smuggled up with Smokey the cat.  In the past Smokey was very territorial and would get all cranky with any cat entering her territory but this cat seems to be an exception.  Also this new cat seems very nice towards the black kitten “Ebony” who seems to call the alley home and my place specifically.  I set out some more food to augment the mouse hunts that they are doing.  I may set out Mom’s Chicken heated water setup so the critters can stay hydrated.  Clean fresh flowing water is critical to animal survival.  Plus if we can get a few good mousers to Mom’s place that would be wonderful.  The cats will have a good home and Mom will have a great mouse traps.

Tucker the peke has healed up well after having his eye pop out. He is still a bit odd looking after having the eye removed and the lid sewed shut but it was the only option after not saving the eye.  While Tucker has a bit of a blind spot on that side, it does not seem to have bothered his depth perception on jumping on my bed.  It is incredible how adaptable animals can be.  They don’t think to revel in misery they just move ahead on life and adapt.

There is still snow on the ground so on to gardening…..   LOL

Mom and I attended a local church that has a very extensive raised bed garden and learned quite a bit, or at least I learned some stuff.  I think their raised beds concept would work for me and be much less expensive over all than my concept of a raised bed for my main garden area.   Heck I’ve done most of the ground prep already.  Not buying cedar fence and pressure treated boards will save a lot of money.  It won’t be cheap with the rising cost of lumber but it won’t be as expensive as I thought it would be this year.

 

 


I was hoping to catch up on bills in one month. Nope!

February 23, 2018

When I had to have stitches at the end of last year it cost over a $1000.00 and that ate a big hole in my emergency fund.  Then,  Tucker the Peke popped out an eyeball in 2018 and that cost another $700.00 before I could build my Emergency fund back up.

I was hoping I could take one late payment fee and get back on tract for payments in a month.  Well that is not going to happen!  It is mostly timing about when I get paid and when the payments must be paid. So I’ll take the little $20.00 “late payment” hit for making the house payment on the 21st rather than the 1st for two months.  I’m not in default on the mortgage but I’m just not paying on the first of the month and will get charged a late payment fee.  By May I should have built up another “emergency fund” to handle the house payments in a more timely manner.

Trying to scrimp and save while helping Mom move was not stress free.  So I just gave up on trying to get economically on track in one month and pushed it out to a 3 month (May) time frame.  I don’t use Credit cards much and try to stay cash only. So I occasionally take a late fee hit when things get sideways.  The late fees are motivation to get my finances in order.

I got one of Mom’s window blinds installed in her bedroom and it looks pretty good for an off the shelf standard blind. I gave her a couple of curtain rods for curtains but I need to finish installing a few more blinds so she has privacy and the little place becomes her home rather than a place where she lives.  One bad thing is she has aluminum  single pane windows.  Not good insulators and the Frost King tape is not sticking to those metal frames.  I’d like to add Storm windows but that is not in the budget.  I’ll probably end up stapling some plastic to the exterior for this winter and then try and find a better solution.  I did give Mom a couple of buckets of wood to try out in her wood stove.  She went and gather some tinder for the stove.  So she will have a bit of wood heat to augment her electric furnace.  I think wood heat is better but I have to admit the Electric heater of Mom’s House is darn good.  Once we insulate the crawl space and upgrade the windows it will be a warm little house.  Huzzah I figured out how to use the plug in the bath for Mom.  She will have a much better attitude for a long soak in the tub rather than taking showers.  LOL

I got Mom’s Laptop setup for the internet and programmed,  her Digital TV via Antenna. I think she got 45-50 over the air channels on the indoor antenna.  She has news, weather and old movies via broadcast channels for TV.  Internet for her Laptop and kindle.  The last thing I need to setup is her Roku via wireless internet.  The installer was good from what Mom says, but we need to buy her own Wireless setup and not pay cable modem rental fees.

We have some pretty nasty snow storms incoming so that means hauling furniture in the Dually pick up is out.  I hauled Mom’s little dining room set in my Kia mini-van so that should be doable.  The biggest problem now is Mom wants to upgrade the paneling on the walls and she does not have money to make that happen.  We have most of the bookcases in the correct rooms so we can load them up now.  Then when she has the money we can install the new wall stuff.

I doubt Mom feels this way but we got her storage shed emptied/chicken house moved. The chicken run/kennel on site, most of her totes, boxes are under some cover in sheds.  While she see what is not done I see what has been done by two disable women in the middle of an Idaho winter.  I’m an Optimist and see the glass as half full.  Mom is a bit of pessimist/cynic and often sees the glass as half empty and probably needs to be filtered!  LOL

It has been a challenge but we are both doing okay.  Mom wants to sell the Arctic Fox camper for around $6 grand but it has a bit of water damage.  It has an expansive front berth and I think the Propane generator and appliances are worth at least a $4 grand bid.  While I’m not a fan of electronic jacks.  I know they are not cheap to buy.  Buy the 4 season camper cheap and get a free propane generator, Multi- power fridge and freezer and electronic jacks for what ever.  The camper with a good working slide out, at that point is a cheap bonus!  It needs work but for about $6 grand you will have a great camper with a slide out.  Trust me used Arctic fox 4 season campers are pricey.  Mom says the custom trailer extension is part of the price.

 


I was worried about staying warm

February 21, 2018

With Mom staying here I always woke up to a warm house as she is an early riser.  Mom hates the cold so she would always fire up the stove first thing after she woke around 5:30-6:00 AM.  I tend to be a night owl so I would usually load up the wood stove around mid-nite or 1:00 am so the longest the stove went without stoking was about 6 hours.

Now that I’m doing all the work maintaining the fire I’m a bit surprised that I’m doing a good job keeping the fire going overnight. So far I have had good coals to restart the fire in the morning and the coldest it has gotten so far is 70 degrees F. in the living room where the wood stove is located.  It gets a bit cooler on the backside of the house but  only into the lower 60s F. which is a temp. I prefer to sleep at night.  I have a small electric heater to heat up the backside of the house if needed.

I’m using a mix of the seasoned pine during the day and some of the leftover chunks of hard wood for over night.  I’m also leaving a lot more of the ashes in the stove to help insulate the coals last over night.  One thing about Mom she kept the wood stove very cleaned from all ash.  I think for my wood stove keeping an inch or two of ashes helps when “banking” the fire overnight.  I don’t use a grate in my wood stove and the fire is laid directly on the fire brick.

I cut up a few ratty old pallets I had on hand for some kindling.  I have found I really hate cutting up kindling as it is tedious.  What is great for me so far as I have only used a few bits of the pallets to start a fire on one day this week.  Between the leftover coals a few pine cones scavenged from under the pines at a local park and the seasoned pine wood, I can restart the fire in the wood stove without using tinder or even a match.

We might get some snow so I got the front porch wood rack loaded up with plenty of wood.  Mom grabbed wood and walked it in via several trips but I prefer loading up the garden wagon and making larger but fewer trips.  I also have a small toboggan/plastic sled I can use to transport wood if get a lot of snow that the wagon can’t get through in the back yard.

Mom needs a way to start protecting her property from trespassers.  We need a cheap sort of cheap fence or barrier that lets folks know that behind her home is not an alley way or access area.  I was thinking Rail road ties or concrete bricks along and those landscaping timbers.  I don’t want to be a bitch to people, but unless she protects her property rights she will lose them to “common” use.  It is a bit cold now but maybe some concrete block towers filled with sand and a few signs that state “Private Driveway” would be a good start.

 


Chickens are moved and Kennel chicken run built.

February 19, 2018

Mom has been living in her new house this weekend.  We tore down the kennel that Mom uses for her chicken run and move it out to her new home.  We both knew it would bee a tough job and having an weather change with an ICY wind really made the job suck!  One of the kennel walls has a 4 x 8 foot chunk of OSB that made a bitch to move, but that OSB wall cuts the wind blowing into the little chicken door to the chicken house.  It was about 45 minutes prior to sunset when Mom opened the chicken door to the kennel and the birds had a blast scratching around in the protected ” Chicken Run”.

We still need to add a some top fencing to the kennel to keep out predators but we are looking at using green plastic garden/snow type fencing rather than adding chicken wire.  Mom likes to add a tarp to the top of the kennel to protect the birds from the weather and the plastic fencing won’t tear up the tarp like the metal chicken wire.  I’m still working on adding a light weight wood frame to support the kennel “roof” that will angled so snow will slide off rather than way down the fencing on the top of the kennel.

The weather has shifted, so instead of all the cold weather running down the east side of the Rockies and freezing you all back east it is our turn for cold weather with coming down the western slope of the Rockies.  Looks like Mom was right that FEB. and March being our cold months locally.  Heck you folks back east need some warmer weather and I hope flooding won’t be a problem.  I am doing very good on wood as all my pine seems to be burning well after having a couple of months to season naturally.  I prefer burning fruit wood or even Douglas fir rather than pine but after my mad scramble to find wood to burn last fall I have several full wood racks and even better a good plan to get a mix of fast & hot burning wood.  Plus the Dually pickup to get long burning fruit wood from the local Orchards.

I did have a have some bad news on my Dogs.  Diana the Peke passed away in her sleep after a great 15 years of life.  Tucker the peke got into a fight and pop out an eyeball and the eye could not be saved.  So the vet removed the eye and sewed the lid shut.  Tucker is doing darn good around the place thought he looks a bit like Popeye with his sewed lid.  Another $700.00 for Tucker’s surgery killed my newly created “emergency fund”.  Well it was an Emergency, so I guess it all worked out.  Going to take a few months being tight with funds to start building a new Emergency fund and get the new garden beds installed.  At the very worst I’ll have to use last years garden beds, which is not so bad in the grand scheme of things.

 


Tough and expensive couple of weeks.

February 16, 2018

Diana the peke died after 15  years.  I almost put her down 18 months ago but she bounced back.  This time she just was worn out and died in her sleep.  Diana had a great run and I like to think a pretty good life for a dog.  Tucker the peke picked another fight with Mom’s terrier Jackson and popped an eyeball.  Well Tucker lost the eye and the surgery was not an anticipated expense but he is healing well and now has a tough “piratical” look.  Hopefully we won’t have any more medical emergencies that require stitches the next few months.

Still moving Mom into her new place but this going back and forth is wearing us both out.  We got the electrical cord in conduit buried across the roadway.  Mom got a great deal on a washer/dryer delivered and installed and the appliance guys will give her a $75.00 credit for a glass top stove trade for an element top type stove.  I believe a glass stove is for people who seldom use a stove to cook.

I dropped off Mom’s portable Air conditioner unit but I’m not sure she will need it in her small home of 900 sq.ft.  As long as she is comfortable to sleep she should be good.  That means lower electrical costs in summer.

The big thing for Mom is taking care of her chickens.  The chicken house is moved to her place.  We add power via electrical cords that are run through pipe and have a small/temporary chicken run at Mom’s place.

Mom owning a home still is not quite real for her.  Well a few mortgage payments and utility bills should take care of that concept.  Mom can’t afford to pay me rent and have her own place and pay the bills.  She must strike out and make her own place and do her thing.  I’m not kicking her out I’m just trying to make her move as easy as possible.

 

Well we got Mom’s bedroom done now all we need to do is the bathroom and kitchen basics and the rest is easy.

 


Mom’s moving Update!

February 6, 2018

Mom got all of the rental storage sheds cleaned out before paying another month of rent, Huzzah!  Of course the house is sort of full of stuff that is not put away.  The chicken house has been moved and some temporary fencing is up for the chicken run.  In the next couple of days we should be able to move the chicken run “kennel” out to Mom’s place and finish setting it up for the birds.

We finished setting up Mom’s bed today and by the weekend we hope to have all the chickens moved to Mom’s new home.  I need to add the power out to the chicken house that is cheap but safe.  My plan is to run the extension cord though PVC pipe and then bury the pipe 6-12 inches deep across the driveway area so the cord does not get damaged.  This is a temporary fix until Mom can run power out to her shop/critter area.

We did have a bit of bad luck as Tucker lost an eye in a dog fight. I’m good on paying for the Vet bill but getting the work trailer and hitch installed will take another couple of months of saving up cash.   It often seems that when you build and “Emergency Fund”  an Emergency happens.  I still prefer moving cash around to pay the bill rather than not having any funds to pay an unexpected bill.

We are not done moving but by this weekend we should have enough done on the move that Mom can live in the house and then putter around finishing up the odds and ends.