Friday, June 16, 2017

Selling the Chicken Tractor and Chicken's New Home

Well folks, sometimes the best laid plans. . . 
Last year, I showed you a post about the chicken tractor.
To date, that has been my most visited page and has received the most pins.
I actually like it too; however, I'm going to sell it.
What I discovered is that it doesn't work for how I run my birds.
It was perfect for a while when "the girls" were young,
and I kept them pinned.
They got to follow a couple days behind the lambs.
As they grew and knew well where their home was,
the mobile coop wasn't necessary.
I could just lift it during the day so they could free-range all day,
then at night they would return to their tractor to roost so the need
for wheels/mobility was gone.
Then we had a Wowza! of a winter ~ the winter of winters.
We had 4-5 feet of snow at any given point for a good 4 months.
The tractor is only a couple feet high at the coop and 
about 4-4.5 ft. high at the house. 
I wasn't intending on giving them a heat lamp, but with subzero temperatures
for long stretches of times, I had to figure out a way to "rig up" a heat lamp
in a fashion that was both safe and effective.
If we hadn't had the winter we did, I would probably be keeping it.
the question then became what to do.
We are empty nesters - the kids have flown the coop~
(sorry, couldn't resist:)
The playhouse that once housed the toys and toddler activity
sat as a decaying storage for 'stuff.'
Here are a couple "before" photos.

So we went to work on it.
You can see there was still snow on the ground which made it a little more difficult to shuffle and sort the "stuff."
But one of the first things I did was cover those crazy colors 
with some left-over white.
Then came the real work.

(Too funny, Mr.LB kept a beard for winter since it was cold for so long.  He has since shaven so it seems funny to see him so furry.)
I also need to mention that this is reason one million, forty-two
why I love Mr.LB.
I had a ton on my plate right about the time 
"the Wees" were ready to emerge from their tote.
I get a different breed each year so I can tell how old they are 
simply by the breed.
Each group seems to get a name.
The Barredrocks were "the Girls."
(They are gone now - long sad story.)
The Rhode Islands are "the Wees." (They were wee ones but have grown.)

And, here are a couple "after" photos.
Sorry they are a little dark.
It's been rainy so my natural light is not as powerful as usual.
We have to run a cord for power which we don't do for summer.
It doesn't take them long to make a mess does it?
And here it is occupied~
Yes the shelf is crooked.
Number 4 thinks it's sooo funny to jump up there to roost.
Then she pretends to be all in a tither when I get her and put her in the coop.
We don't have the outside coop made yet.
For now I just go out and open the door each morning and
go out and close them in each evening.

So, while it's not my ideal coop, they are safe and come winter,
it should be much easier to offer them enough room and safe heat.
The few boards we purchased and the wire were not a huge investment, 
it made good use of the old playhouse,
and it forced me to go through and sort all that "stuff."

Wednesday, June 7, 2017

Flora Pioneer School Day

Oh, I can hardly wait to share with you.
This past weekend, we attended 
Flora Pioneer School Day.
Flora School
It is a fund-raising day to help maintain and restore the old Flora school.
Flora is a ghost town in the upper north-west corner of Oregon.
You can read more about the history here.
(They are having trouble with the site, but it has other resources and the history and other tabs are all still in good order.)
The first order of business in restoring it was to get a new roof on it
which they did.
Back of the school.

You already know I'm trying not to spend money.
This weekend, we did spend a little money; however,
I told Mr. LB, "It makes you feel good to spend the money."
It's a wonderful feeling of giving and supporting something good.
Keeping bits of the past alive and well preserved is important.
I'll just start showing the pictures,
because there are quite a few.
Mr. LB found the blacksmith directly.
Rip already knows it will be a lengthy conversation so decided to nap.
By the end of the day, he made this steak turner.
If you are interested in the blacksmith, he can be found on Facebook at
Rusty Hammer Forge

There were wagon tours of the town.
The person who actually did the speaking for the tour 
was the last student of the school.
The old church was just across from the school.
It's unfortunate there wasn't an effort to preserve it as well.
The cemetery was 1/4-1/2 mile up the road.

Back inside the school~
In one room there was a country store.

There were 4 or 5 looms for sale (amongst other smaller items.)
I did get the contact information for these.
If anybody is interested, just leave a comment, and I can respond via email.
This room was also the gym even though it was the size of a regular classroom.
The baskets were about 3 ft. from the ceiling.
You can see in the pictures, there is fencing over the windows for protection.
There was music.
They did a great job and played all day!
(with a bit of a break for lunch.)
This room was set up for pie and ice cream.
Oh yea, lunch!
Here, let me show you.
There was dutch oven chicken (1/4 of a chicken!)
That huge pot on the tripod is full of some of the best beans I've ever eaten.
There was also slaw, cornbread made with the corn and wheat that was ground about 20 ft. away by whoever wanted to give it a go, and fresh butter churned at the table right next to it.
It was such a beautiful day,
after lunch the musicians moved outside.
There was roping.
You can just barely see a red t-shirt behind the two gals.
The gal in the hat leaned over right as I took the picture.
Buuuut, it was so sweet.
There was a young fella 9-10 years old holding the rope by the hondo
trying to figure it out.
The fella who had been manning that station was over visiting with the farrier.
I held the dog and told Mr. LB he should go help him out.
He showed him how to hold the rope, then swing and throw.
That young fella practiced for about and hour - hour and a half.
He was "getting it" and was roping the dummy steer.
It was so good to see.
He really wanted to learn and stuck with it.
Speaking of that.
There were quite a few kids there, and I was sooo impressed. 
They were all polite, well behaved and just pleasant.
There were no "brats." 
Sorry, it's usually the parents who teach them, but some are pretty bratty.
Except here - it was such a refreshing realization later in the day.
Then of course after I loaded the pictures on the computer,
I figured out all the things I didn't get a picture of.
There was candle dipping, wheat grinding, butter churning,
wooden block stamping, beading, quilting, a cobbler, a couple of heritage piglets for the kids to see/pet, a quilt raffle, the farrier, and
I'm probably forgetting something, but you get the idea.
I also neglected to take a picture of the auditorium or entry.
In the library, they are working on a library for the community.
It was all so nostalgic.
We took Mrs. Calabash and camped at Troy.
If Flora is at the edge of the earth, Troy fell off and is dangling by a river.
Just out of Flora we saw these beauties.
Sometime back I showed you this barn quilt.
Well, we were in the same corner of the state,
 and this time found a couple more.

I reeeeally like this one.
It was a quick weekend, but completely enjoyable and beautiful.


Friday, May 26, 2017

An Odd Antique and Other Happenings

Sometimes it's just good to share a few of the little happenings
that really do make up life
but are not material for a full post.
I found this odd little rake looking thing a few years ago.
It was about $2 from an antique dealer who didn't know what it was.
I thought, "What the heck."
So I purchased the silly little thing in order to find out more about it.
I asked my father-in-law who is in his 80's.
The only thing he could come up with was a mustache comb.
But if it was for a man, why was the handle pink?
Even long ago, men's items were more masculine than that.
I've never seen another one. . . 
until recently.
It was part of an antique set, there was a brush, comb, and
brush cleaner.
I think this one was made in the "remembrance of Victorian" era 
when there was an item or specific utensil for each and every little task.
Heavens forbid use the comb to clean the brush!
Regardless, I was delighted to finally figure out what it was.

In that last couple weeks, I've been working on getting the garden in.
A funny tidbit was when I was planting green-beans,
I was rather rushed since my folks had stopped by so
then I was trying to get seeds planted so I could go in and cook dinner.
I had all the rows ready, just needed to place the seeds and cover.
I was bookin' right along placing seeds when I heard them~
The chickens were following behind thinking just how nice I was being.
Luckily they only got to about 3 feet worth
so I replaced the ones they gobbled up and shooed them off.
They had a good laugh about that.
We went for a drive Mother's Day.
Got stuck in the snow and had to get "creative" in order to get unstuck.
It was beautiful.
We didn't find a single mushroom.
So far the only mushrooms we've found,
I actually found when I nearly drove over them in our driveway.
There were 3 of them growing through the gravel??? Weird.
Last weekend was the spring Spin-In in Prairie City.
It was absolutely wonderful.
There is such a nice group of ladies.
We took Mrs. Calabash and MrLB took his dirt bike. 
(I need to do a post on how she turned out.)
He thought he'd look for mushrooms while I was spinning.
He didn't find any but he did find a forest fire.
He thought it must have been lightening strikes and 
spent a couple hours fighting it and getting it contained.
There is no cell service up there so once he was back in service,
he made a few phone calls and was finally able to report it.
Turns out, it was a prescribed burn.
They light the fire then leave it for a couple weeks 
before going back to check on it.
Most of that country burnt down last summer and now
the good ol' USFS is lighting fires and leaving them unattended.
So why are Hammonds in prison?
(Sorry for the angst, but that one just blows me away!)
Okay~ New topic.
I've hot jar canned a huge bag of oatmeal.
I don't eat it, but Mr. LB likes his trail mix.
This should last a veeeerrry long time.
This weekend, we will probably try to start getting our firewood.
I need to finish getting the garden in if we are to harvest more than weeds.
We've had a nice wet spring so far.  I'm hoping it lasts into June.
Hope you're all doing well.

Mountain Man Trail Mix

It is a bit of an oxymoron,
but my mountain man (Mr. LB) loves this.
When he's riding or fishing etc.
and needs to pack food along,
this is packed with both protein and energy to keep him going.
I'm sure if I could work bacon or steak into the mixture,
he would like it even more:)
Group One
5 cups rolled oats (not instant)
1 cup almonds (or any nuts)
1 cup pecans (or any other nuts)
1 cup pumpkin seeds 
1 cup sunflower seeds
2 cups dried fruit 
(I used dried apricots [chopped,] craisins, and dried blueberries)
Group Two
1/8 cup honey
2/3 cup real maple syrup
1 Tablespoon vanilla

Sea salt

In a large bowl, mix up the ingredients in group one.
Place on baking sheet(s) and toast in a 350 degree oven
for 5 minutes.  Stir and toast another 5-6 minutes.

Transfer back into the large bowl and mix in group two ingredients.
Place back on sheets, sprinkle with sea salt,
 and repeat toasting process.
Don't be surprised if little noses followed by little fingers
make their way into the kitchen.
It smells so good.
When you remove it from the oven,
pour it back into the bowl to cool.
If you let it cool on the sheet,
you will have to pick it off as it will stick.
Once cool, I like seal-a-meal bags
to keep it fresh and on hand for outings.
It makes about 10 cups of granola.
That is of course depending upon how much
disappears before you get it into the bags.

Until next time,
Nimble Fingers and Even Stitches