Wednesday, July 28, 2010
In addition, I have an unfortunate tendency to occasionally find scorpions in our kitchen sink. At least in a contained area they're easy to squish.
And tonight, Herbert the Rat Snake (he's definitely a Herbert and not a Nicodemus - sooo much easier to call him "Herbie" when I'm looking for him) was hanging out behind the feed bins in the back shed while I did night check. At least he kept to himself. However, I did request that he leave a note on the shed door with his whereabouts each evening so that I won't have to inspect the shed for his current location. We'll see how that works out.
Given these critters that we have, I'm wondering how everyone else feels about them. So for entertainment, there's a poll in the right column. But beware: I'm tracking the responses and will happily FedEx you whichever critter you select as your favorite. Trust me, I've got plenty to share. :)
Monday, July 26, 2010
Having said that, we're by no means experts, but making wiring "safe" to work on is as simple as finding the breaker for the circuit you're working on and turning it off. Easy as pie. :)
Last weekend, we finally pulled down the overhead wiring run to the shed and the guest house. The plan is eventually to re-run the wiring underground when we build the new barn, which will be where the shed is currently located.
Step 3 (also not shown): Pull down telephone pole. Step 4: Coil wires on the ground. Make sure Anie supervises.
Saturday, July 24, 2010
But when I'm doing night check on all the critters at 10 p.m., I would really, really appreciate it if this particular snake could find a nice, quiet spot that is NOT IN THE SHED WHERE HE SCARED THE TAR OUT OF ME.
Because otherwise the neighbors might start to wonder about the screaming.
(And no, I don't know if it's the same snake I saw back in May, but it's also a rat snake and is about the same size, so I would guess that it is. The hubby suggests that if he's a resident, we name him Herbert. I was thinking more along the lines of Nicodemus. Well at least I thought it was clever...)
Wednesday, July 21, 2010
Freya has the most adorable habit of sleeping upside-down. Let me demonstrate:
Note the perfect front-paw curl.
Sometimes the choice of location leaves a bit to be desired... how exactly am I supposed to close the closet door without disturbing the kitty? (Answer: You don't close the closet door until the kitty moves. DUH.)
It is also apparently very important to fit yourself to your surroundings.
Friday, July 16, 2010
Our second bathroom is almost done! The toilet and sink are fully functional, and we just have the trim to install and some touch-up to do. OK, and we have to tile the entire shower, but that's for later. What's absolutely fantastic is that I no longer have to stagger to the other end of the house to use the toilet at 3 a.m. Let me tell you, that's a huge improvement!I didn't take many pictures of the process because I was elbow-deep in paint and drywall texture for most of the time, but here's a few details.
Wednesday, July 14, 2010
These little seed pods, which turn yellow-orange when ripe, are of particular concern.
Fortunately, the boys don't eat it, but I don't want to chance them getting one of the seed pods by accident. Several years ago I boarded at a barn that got a load of hay that had nightshade in it; about that time a horse on the property died a rather horrible death. The autopsy was inconclusive, but I've always suspected the two were related.
Anywho, I have been diligently pulling the little (ok, big) buggers out of the back pasture, maybe 5 minutes per day for the last few days. They're apparently really hard to kill because they spread by their underground root system, which is extensive and deep. However, if I can prevent the seeds from spreading, and pull the big ones out of the ground consistently enough, I'll eventually get them under control. I hope.
Tuesday, July 13, 2010
On the way home from work, I stopped at Lowe's to pick up a 2-ton floor jack. Using a jack was the only way I could figure to prop the shed roof enough to screw it back together. I rounded up a few 6 foot-ish 2x4s, some screws and the drill, and headed out back.
Next, I propped a second support beam under the roof next to the middle post, since I decided it would be safest to screw the middle post back together first.
Here's the middle support beam after I've pried two of the three old nails out of the header (I couldn't get the last one out, but it wasn't in the way).
And here it is after I've screwed it together. I had a hard time pulling the beam and the post together to get the screws to bite while drilling at the same time, so there's more of a gap between the post and the beam than I'd like, but it's on there pretty solidly.
Next, I fixed the end post. The major problem here was that the post had moved to the right several inches and was no longer directly under the roof. In addition, the panel that was holding up the roof when it fell was actually preventing me from pushing the post back into place. So, I had to take the panels apart and rearrange them.
Here you can see just how far the post had moved from the beam. And bonus, nasty rusty nails!
After moving the jack support to just beside the corner post and getting the panel out of the way, I was able to push the post back into place under the beam.
Once the post was under the beam and I had screwed it all back together, I removed the support and volia! More or less repaired shed.
All done. Boys are back to snacking happily on their round bale, and the roof is more or less level. Let's just hope it stays together until we get the new barn built!
Monday, July 12, 2010
Yesterday, he left for a conference in the Dominican Republic. So, I just KNEW I was in for something. I figured that it would have to do with the plumbing we just installed on the second bathroom (more about that in another post). But it's turned out to be something else entirely.
So... we don't have a proper barn yet, and the boys make do with a run-in shed that's been (very poorly) built off the side of a Morton shed. The barn is in the planning stages - it's actually our next project - but as of today, a proper barn got nudged more firmly to the top of the priority list.
When I went out to feed the horses this morning, this is what I saw:
It turns out that the header was wrenched out of the support post. Fortunately, the header landed on the panel underneath it. Otherwise, this would have been a lot worse and it probably would have fallen ON one of the boys. Eeek!
Based on the way the nails pulled out of the post, I'm guessing that one of the boys was rubbing on it and just wrenched it loose. This is why you use screws in construction instead of nails, if possible. They are a lot harder to pull out!
Monday, July 5, 2010
Sunday, July 4, 2010
A couple of weeks ago, the facility owner asked me to send her Cash's story, so I wrote it up. Little did I know she would feature him on her web site! So, the story of my now-famous retired event pony is available on his very own web page!
Reading his story, I really think he's had a pretty good life... I only wish that his body had held up better for him because boy, did he love to work and love to compete. Saga's not the competitor that Cash was, and never will be. Cash is probably a once-in-a-lifetime horse... and boy, do I miss riding him.
Saturday, July 3, 2010
Elias appears to be half Malamute and half, uh, something short-haired and slender, possibly a whippet or a greyhound. He's got the Malamute coloring and the double coat, although he's fairly short-haired. We call him our Malamutant, or our Texas Malamute - because if you're going to be a Malamute in Texas, you might as well have short hair.
Elias also has the Malamute propensity for singing.
But only when he feels like it. Which unfortunately means that many people have never heard him sing. And well, it's sort of endearing, especially when he starts having conversations with you.
So without further ado, I give you Elias in "Howrooooooo!"
Friday, July 2, 2010
Suffice it to say she hasn't been sent home for eating twist-ties, and is actually doing really well. So well, in fact, that "barring unforeseen circumstances," she will start Team Training (where she is placed with someone) August 1 and should graduate August 15! I don't know who she'll be placed with, but I'm so excited that she'll have a wonderful life as an assistance dog!
I am having a really proud mom moment, but I'm also missing her a lot today. I never really said goodbye to her, since I figured I'd either get her back if she didn't graduate, or say my farewells at graduation. Unfortunately, I won't be able to attend graduation, since I will be at my sister-in-law's wedding on the other side of the country. I do have friends who are going though, and have promised to take at least 10,000 pictures and 17 hours of video so I will get to see her.
Since I am missing her, I went back and looked at her Bone Voyage entry. One of my favorite photos of her was not included in that post - it's a picture that my coworker, a graphics designer and professional photographer, took one day while at work. She's maybe 8 months old in this picture, but it captures her so well.
Thursday, July 1, 2010
This week, we've started working on the second bathroom again. So far, we've cut all the tile for the floor (although we will wait to actually lay it in until the walls are done), and I've started taping and floating tonight.
Recently, we got a shipment of books about remodeling homes from Taunton press. These books were a very kind gift from the hubby's uncle (I think that makes him my uncle-in-law), since he is an editor at one of the Taunton-owned magazines. Included in the shipment was a video on how to hang drywall. Apparently he heard about my membership to the Drywall Haters of America club and is trying to get me to revoke my membership. :)
So here I sit on a perfectly good Thursday evening watching a show on how to hang drywall. Everyone else in the world is probably watching America's Got Talent or Iron Chef, but I'm watching drywall. I guess it's better than watching drywall mud dry...
First off, it is not fair that they can buy drywall in sheet sizes other than 4x8. Do you realize how much less taping and floating I'd have to do if we had bigger sheets??? Also, the drill those guys are using is soooooo much faster than our cordless models - it's actually a screw gun with a magnetic screw tip. The hubby, who is watching this too, says we are buying one of these when we do the addition and have to hang all the drywall for that. Now they are showing a drywall router that took them like 3 seconds to cut out an electrical outlet from the drywall. OMG it takes me probably 15-30 minutes to cut out a single wall outlet with a drywall saw. Add the router power tool to the WANT list. We also need a drywall rasp to shave the edges in case we don't get a cut quite right, which happens more often that I'd like to admit.
I would like to point out that these guys make hanging drywall look so easy and so fast that I think they are cheating. Where was this video when we started this house project 8 months ago???
And now I have just learned how to float interior corners without anguish. It involves PAPER tape instead of the adhesive fiberglass tape I've been using. The guys is also using a 14 inch beveled trowel instead of a 12 inch flat trowel and is making this look way, way too easy. It's not fair, I tell you, not fair at all!
Frankly I am not sure whether I should a) hate the guys on this video because they're so good, or b) invite them over to the house for some drywall assistance. I'm leaning toward option b.