Sunday, June 29, 2014

Late June Barn Update

The contractors are done with the barn and we are waiting for the final grading. Now comes our hard work.  Today we got the first coat of stain on the wood siding, and a little bit of second coat. We went through 5 gallons of stain today.
The area around the door has the second coat. I am reserving judgement on whether or not we need a third coat.
Now comes the hard part, deciding what to do to make the barn look like an old Pennsylvania German barn.  We have all the old hinges and we bought galvanized half round gutter.

Alan is making plank doors too.
But I want the barn to have some decorative painting as well. There are so many great barns nearby that my head is spinning with ideas.  We could just paint barn stars like this:
Or we could play up the trim details. There is a theory that arches above the door (devil doors) were to fool the devil into thinking the door was taller than it really was and he would hit his head trying to get in.) We are afraid if we did both barn stars and trim details that the barn would get too busy.
Here are some of my inspiration barns:

I like the door on the far right on the white barn, its not really a door. I guess that would really fool the devil.  One thing I know for certain, no hearts!

Saturday, June 28, 2014

The Ducks Experience the Stream

The ducks are getting big and we would like them to live near the stream. So today we made a pen in which a corner is in the stream.  They seem more upset by moving but have discovered the water.  Hopefully they will be happy there, and safe.

Monday, June 23, 2014

Sheep and Turkey

The sheep have settled in nicely. Saturday we took out the fencing between the sheep and goats and the turkey was not happy. And, to a lesser extent, neither were the goats.
The turkey kept trying to attack the ram lamb and was getting rammed in the chest. The stupid turkey kept going for the ram despite the treatment.
Sunday, Alan was working on the fencing when he heard a lot of loud noises in the calf hutch. The sheep were resting and chewing their cud and the turkey kept trying to go inside. The sheep were not happy and were trying to kick the turkey out of their space.
While the sheep were eating the turkey kept trying to get to their food. Mama was not having any of it and was going after the turkey. I hope she figures out how to coexist with the sheep for the time being. We are trying to find her another home or get her butchered.
This morning the turkey was going after Mama Sheep again, pecking at her head as Mama was butting her. 

The goats are doing better than the turkey when it comes to accepting the sheep, but they are definitely a little aloof. We enlarged their pen by about 70% and they still have not spent much time in all the new brush. When we have put them in a new brushy area we usually don't see them for days. Goats love their browse but not right now apparently!

Sunday, June 22, 2014

Mulching and a Fruit Update

While driving around the outskirts of town looking at all the Mennonite farms I kept driving by a farm with a sign for mushroom soil.  Yesterday Alan hitched up the trailer and we went to get some. I wanted to mulch the front flower beds and the blueberry bushes with mushroom soil instead of shredded bark mulch to avoid "artillery fungus." There are spots already on the siding from previous encounters with "artillery fungus" and I didn't want to add to the marks.

The farm was lovely. As we drove along the lane a woman was working in her huge vegetable garden with two of her children. On the other side of the lane was a large hoop house full of tomato plants covered with 2-3 inch green tomatoes. We got to the piles of manure and then I went to look for someone to help us.  As I walked to another barn where I could hear men working I watched as a brother and sister, about 6 and 8 years old, argued over who's turn it was to ride a bicycle. Of course the sister was riding the bike and had no intention of stopping. All this in pennsylvania german.

The farmer came and gave us a scoop and a half of mushroom soil for $15. He needed to get change so we waited while he went off.  A few minutes later along came the sister on the bike with our $5. I love Mennonite families!

At home I got to work weeding the front beds and spreading mulch. I am very happy with the way the new front border is coming along.
The blueberries are doing really well this year and look even better with their mulch bed.
And they are covered in berries!

 The grapes are having an incredibly good year as well.

I even had enough mulch left over to do the red raspberries too. All the fruit is doing great this year. We should have a bumper crop.

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Barn Siding

Yay, the siding came today.
Now we need to get the paint to match the metal siding in the gable end walls, and get to work painting!  The window also needs to be delivered and get installed.
And the stairs, in sections, came yesterday.

Maybe tomorrow I'll be able to go upstairs.

Monday, June 16, 2014

New Sheep

While buying hay I noticed the farmer's hair sheep. I said I wanted to get hair sheep and he said he wanted to get rid of his. The mama has a good bit of hair sheep in her breeding but she was bred to a non-hair sheep ram so her lambs are less than 50% hair sheep.
She had two lambs this spring. The ram lamb is the smaller, but friendlier, of the two lambs.

The ewe lamb is bigger than her brother and we are calling her "lamb chop." The lambs will probably go to "Iceland" in a few months as I don't want to get into the whole sheep shearing chore. And we love lamb!

Friday, June 13, 2014

Trimming Bushes and Playing in the Stream

We've been working on a few little projects lately while waiting for the big work of painting the barn once it is done.
Planted against the back wall of the house is an overgrown Rhododendron and a shaggy Arborvitae.
The Rhododendron must have been at least 7 feet tall and the arborvitae used to be a nice specimen but was ravaged by the last two winters. Both shrubs are growing smack up against the siding and need to be moved eventually. The Arborvitae will never come back to its glory so it was just cut up. And I did some serious pruning to the Rhododendron.
I can almost feel the siding take a big sigh of relief. There's even a basement window well buried under there.
We had a lovely week with lots of rain and everything is growing like crazy, including our ducklings, who are quite camera shy.
Alan had fun playing in the stream making a little pool for the ducks. We are hoping they will hang out mostly by the stream once they are older. There is also lots of cover along the stream bed for them to hide in.

We'll also move their little house down next to the stream once the chicks and turkey poults move out.

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Little Windows

I am drawn to little windows placed randomly in old houses. I have been searching for this image of a little window at the top of a staircase and finally found it.
Our one bedroom at the top of the stairs is a pass through to another bedroom and I have debated taking out the wall completely to make it more of a sitting area or putting in a little window. We also are planning to change around the dormers in the back of the house so that may change things. But for now I can dream of this cute little window. It certainly would look better than this:
And yes, that door is made of plywood.

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

The Barn is Coming Along

The construction crew had a busy Friday and Monday. Friday they poured the concrete floor and finished putting up the roofing. On Monday they nearly completed the soffits and put the metal siding in the front gable wall, and started the back gable wall siding. Below the gable ends the walls will have pine siding. The pine siding looks to be on a bit of a delay and won't be on site until next week.

The upstairs is nearing completion as well. The knee wall OSB is up, the window is framed and the opening is ready for the stairs. I'll have lots of storage space up there. And the view is pretty nice too.

Today, Tuesday, is a rainy morning and I have not seen any contractors yet.

Monday, June 9, 2014

Garden edging

I started this post a while ago and can now update it:

I hate edging gardens.  I don't know anyone who does.  The flower bed surrounding the front of the house has stones edging it, making moving close very difficult and giving lots of places for weeds/grass to get into the garden.  We found some neat looking stuff on clearance at Lowe's. Hopefully; it will work well and Alan will be able to mow up to the garden.
The pink flowers are some recently transplanted Oenothra I got from my mother-in-law. This is one plant I have wanted for decades. I hope it is happy here!

Thursday, June 5, 2014

Late Spring Garden

I love the garden in late spring, before the weeds take over. I am still promising myself that I will stay ahead of the weeds. This is the best year I have ever had with keeping the weeds down. Hopefully I can keep it up.  I am at the point now where I can hoe the garden in less than one hour. If I stay with it and keep hoeing at least once a week I should stay on top of the weeds. Now if I could just do something with the path.
The garlic is doing great.
And so are the potatoes and tomatoes.
My two clematis are likewise doing well.  This pink clematis was brought from the old house and this is the first time it has bloomed here at the new place.
And the clematis out front loves the new post lamp. Its very pretty when the light comes on the early evening.

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

Barn Progress

Well, its been a week since the trusses went up and progress has been slow. The gable end walls are framed and the nailers for the siding are on the walls. Yesterday half of the roofing was installed. No contractor today though. And maybe that was a good thing. They almost always leave at 3:30 on the dot. Today at a little after 3PM a tree fell over from the game lands and landed across the bottom of the old road that the contractor is using for site access.
This is still left over Hurricane Sandy mess. This tree is in the midst of a tangle of trees, all from the game lands, and a real pain to get cleared up. There was no wind or storm today. In fact it was a perfect late spring day; blue skies, low 80s, very light breeze. I was taking wash off the clothes line when I heard cracking. The whole thing took a couple minutes to come completely down.

So now Alan has to clean up this mess so the contractors can access the site again. We have to assume they will be coming at 7:30 tomorrow morning.

Here are some pics of the barn progress: