Sunday, February 25, 2018

QAL in the Snow

Howdy folks.
Just a quick post so you can see how deep it is around here.
We got a foot of snow yesterday!
It dumped on us.
I opened our front door to see this.
Our Christmas tree is still out front and looking festive.
Since it's been snowing all week (though not a foot in one day like yesterday,)
I joined a Quilt-a-Long.
I had never done this so had many questions 
as I wasn't quite certain how they worked.
Mary Elizabeth Kinch was very kind in answering my list of questions.
She is hosting the Foothills Quilt-a-Long.
I was rather smitten with it so decided to join in the fun.
Here are my first 7 blocks.
Please forgive the quality of the photo - not the best.
They don't look very exciting this way, but set on red fabric, they do pop.
I didn't have room to lay them out properly,
but the first 5 blocks are the top row.
The last 2 blocks are the first 2 blocks in the second row.
I am keeping the "mistake" in the second block just as the original maker did.
I've not bought a thing for this but am using fabrics I have in my stash.
I told Mr LB sometime back how there is/was a superstition
that every quilt needed at least one mistake to let the evil spirits out.
He laughed.
I'm not sure he believed me until I told him about quilts that were impeccable,
but the maker would stitch a number backwards when dating it
or put a non-matching small piece in a corner.
I showed him this one and asked if he could see the mistake.
He didn't until I pointed it out to him.
Then he laughed again.
He is too much of a perfectionist to do such a thing.
I just think it adds character ~ especially since this is a scrappy quilt.
If you are interested in joining,
I don't think it's too late.
Hop on over on the link above and take a peek.
Now you know what I do while it snows.

Sunday, February 18, 2018

The State of the Garden

Right out the gate, I have to tell you 
I am so anxious to get out and play in the dirt.
I was home for a day this past weekend and the weather was above freezing
 so I put a jacket and gloves on and headed out there.
We get so many leaves and pine needles that blow in and/or fall
that even though we "clean up" in autumn, it's difficult to tell.
Looking out back toward the sitting area was just atrocious.
(sitting area)
I grabbed the wheelbarrow and a spring rake and started in.
After 2 or 3 wheelbarrow loads, it was starting to look a little better
so I came in and warmed my fingers by the fire.
When I looked back out,
Mr LB had picked up the rake and had another wheelbarrow load started.
It's amazing how much debris finds its way into every nook and cranny.
(guess we'll just have dirty birds)
There was an unfortunate discovery since our last snow melted.
My bird bath in the center of the garden shattered.
It wasn't a cheap plastic/resin one, but
 when the lambs destroyed the garden two years ago, they knocked it over 
and probably cracked it or stressed it so when it froze this year, it broke.
(ideas in progress)
In light of that I decided to change things up a bit😉
I can't show you all I have in mind, because it's not finished.
I got cold.  It was a high of 35 degrees that day, and I am a wimp.
(believe it or not the "after" shot)
I have little seed packets starring at me, calling me, taunting me -
but I know it's too soon.
There is a quote on many garden sites about if you only garden 
from May to September,
you're missing the best part - the dreaming and hoping.
I can't remember the exact words of course but it makes sense.
(a friend brought this back to me from the garden show in Seattle)
Regardless of the temperature,
it felt good to get outside a move a little.
We got to enjoy the cleaned up view for all of a day before Mother Nature 
reminded us that it's still winter.
(view out the back door)
And our view of white returned once more.
So I guess it's like cleaning behind the refrigerator.
Nobody can tell it's done, but I know it,
and that feels good.
That was last weekend.
I believe it has snowed all but one day since then.
(view of what we call the big yard)
There was someone else who was glad to get outside 
and spend some energy too.
(Rip vs. Rope ~ looks like Rope is winning.)

PS~ See Bonnie, that green was just a temporary glitch in the weather system.

Wednesday, February 14, 2018

Favorite Valentine Quote

Doubt thou the stars are fire,
Doubt that the sun doth move,
Doubt truth to be a liar,
But never doubt I love.
Wm. Shakespeare

Saturday, February 10, 2018

$20 Rabbit Hutch

Hucklebunny has settled into her new home nicely.
She was rather adamant that it not be referred to as
Hucklebunny Headquarters.
She informed me (quite firmly) that it is Hucklebunny Hideaway.
I wasn't aware that a little bunny could be so particular. 
As stated in the title of the post,
this hideaway set us back $20 and some sweat equity.
Before I explain the details,
let me say, it could have been a $10 bunny hutch
but a certain royal bunny wanted a shingle roof which we were out of
instead of tin that we already had on hand.
She really is a particular little thing.
She was given a supervisory position over the hens.
That's a roll she mostly chooses to ignore.
Instead, she has been trying to claim head of security from a certain
rather bewildered canine.
Rip is nice to her and seems aware that bunny stew isn't on the menu,
but questions our sanity for torturing him so.
She is a rather naughty bunny and has "marked" his bed
so is no longer allowed to be free in the house.
As additional punishment, she has to sit in my lap and be petted.
Ha!  That'll learn her.
Now on to the hutch, ahem, I mean hideaway.
After the last post, you might understand that disposable cash
is pretty scarce at the moment.
My solution was to build the hutch from things we had on hand.
Amongst those things were some locust posts.
These were decent posts that I'd used in a different project 
then changed my mind on.
Whenever we cut down a locust, we save posts if we can.
They are a very hard wood and once cured almost impenetrable.
Rather than try to use brackets, 
Mr. LB had the brainy idea just to strap them together 
with some 1" metal he had pieces of.
This worked great because we could cinch them tightly.
The "cage part" is about 54" wide and 28" deep (OD.)
I will say using posts creates a few challenges in getting things square.
The posts weren't exactly straight.
I laid out the front as one frame then the back as another.
I was able to scrounge side boards from my scrap pile.
I had a little bit of hardware cloth left over from the chicken coop
so only needed to purchase a 10 ft. roll ($10.)
Again fitting that wire into/onto those locusts that weren't square
was an interesting task.
I felt like I could use an extra arm or two to hold things in place.
I used the air stapler in one had and my other hand had to do the rest.
The door is held on in an old fashioned method of leather scraps.
Only they used to use old shoe leather as door hinges.
My latch is rudimentary at the moment, but it works.
I need to have my favorite metal fabricator make some special enough 
for Her Huckle Highness.
Here you can see the components and construction better.
The roof is shingles which I have to agree looks much better with the whole hideaway theme and natural posts.
They cover chipboard and tar paper which were both scraps.
I used a little less than 1/2 of a $20 bundle.
(That means I have more to make something else:-)
Then because St. Valentine's Day is this week,
she has her hideaway decorated accordingly with red and white lights and vines.
She seems quite pleased with her situation
though seems perturbed that there is a canine with higher ranking.
One other addition that I am hoping to add
is a framed screen to hang below the cage
to catch the "berries" and let the liquid flow through.
When I get this done, I can share more.
I tend to enjoy making things using what's available.
I also really enjoy not giving box stores my money.

Monday, February 5, 2018

Our Big News~ Entrepreneurship

Well folks,
I've not shared a lot lately, 
so I have a bit of catching up and explaining to do.
Yesterday was my first real day "off" for a while.
I was able to relax and catch up on laundry, dishes, floors, etc.
I know to many that doesn't sound very relaxing,
but for me there is a certain peace of mind in having the house in order.
"House in order" is used loosely here 😊
We (really Mr. LB) opened a new business.
He is a custom metal fabricator.
He does anything from small hand rails to structural packages.
He had worked for his previous employer for over 11 years
so it was a big step for him.
Once the decision was made, it took about a month 
to get all the legalities in order.
Pretty much since Christmas, it's been a whirlwind.
We are actually still in the process so to speak.
The land line is supposed to be hooked up this week.
We don't have a website - yet.
I am still working at my full time job, then doing 
whatever needs to be done in "off-time."
We have a shop leased where the previous tenant was an elderly gentleman who decided to retire after twenty-ish years in this location.
He smoked and I doubt ever cleaned anything.
Things were done with what I call "the Little Rascals" method.
You know how they would find parts and pieces and make some sort of contraption that would do the task - and what that looked like.
It's taking time to SCRUB everything and to undo some of the hodgepodge.
That is PVC then hose running down the wall for water out the other end 
where they punched a hole in the wall.
Yes, it ran right by open wiring.
I have the office area scrubbed with the exception of about 2/3 of the ceiling.  My M-I-L helped one afternoon. Thanks Sharron!

Also, here's a little closer look at those walls.

I also have the first coat of paint on about 3/4 of the walls.

After first coat of paint.
I had a helper.
Mr LB got his last (for now) big piece of equipment Friday.
He received his first check from a client Thursday.  Yay!
As opposed to checks from our savings!
And that brings me to another point.
I think I've mentioned in the past that each year 
I set two financial goals, a realistic goal and an optimistic goal.
In 2017, we saved pretty hard.
It didn't always feel like it. 
Because we were focused on saving, spending was a bigger deal.
We actually exceeded our optimistic goal, not by much, but some.
Having done that is what afforded us the opportunity to do this.
It's huge for us!
It's not that we didn't save prior to 2017 or
that we made a ton of money in 2017.
It's that we made it a priority, and that made all the difference.
Starting a business isn't something we planned.
(That doesn't sound good worded that way.)
It was just timing ~
He was frustrated with his workplace (though left on good terms.)
We saved what we could.
He is an intelligent and talented man 
which makes working for someone else that much more difficult.
He should have done it years ago, but we had debt so couldn't.
We have certain stresses and worries at the moment,
but there is excitement and celebration right alongside of them.
If anyone needs encouragement to save,
please do what you can to escape debt and save.
Even when you struggle, keep at it.
Don't throw in the towel.
The reward is worth it.
And if you forget, just reread above.
We now have our own business-
Metalcraft Northwest, LLC.
Isn't that just incredible?