Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Mid-week kitteh

Maddy has apparently acquired Artemis' love of high places. The barn roof has become a favorite.

Scanning back 40 for prey (deer?)

A whole new meaning for being "in the gutter"

I do hope she knows how to get down!

Saturday, December 25, 2010

Happy Christmas to all!

From all of us here at A Little Piece of heaven:


Elias (with his Christmas bone)

The chickens

Reddums the Feerless War Pony

Saga (who was trying to help me muck)

Freya the Furbisaur


... and Artemis and Maddy (who barely held still long enough to take this picture).

And of course, the hubby and I. We hope you and yours had a wonderful holiday with family, friends, and four-leggeds!

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Wanted: Dead or... no, just dead

Tonight, Maddy brought me a rat.

Ok, well, I should be a bit more specific, since "brought me a rat" makes it sound like she brought a freshly-killed rodent to me and deposited it at my feet or something civilized like that.

"Herded the completely alive and apparently unscathed rat across the back pasture and in my general direction" would be a much better description of what actually happened.

I was out feeding the boys when I noticed Maddy making her way slowly toward me, preceded by a hopping/running gray shape. I realized what it was and encouraged her to pounce on it and finish it off, but I guess she figured that since she had delivered it to my custody, grooming her right front paw was her current priority.

I tried to toss a bucket over the little bugger, but it zipped past me and under the garden tractor. Maddy, disgusted with my lack of appreciation for her hunting prowess, gave chase and is currently watching the tractor, waiting for the rat to make an appearance.

Hopefully, this time she'll catch it and finish it off before delivering it to me.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Mid-week kitteh

Since Maddy got star billing last week, this week Artemis gets the limelight.

Artemis blends in very will with the fall leaves, which makes her especially good at ambushing unsuspecting passers-by.

The huntress!

She's becoming notorious for climbing on things (the top of the truck, trees, the attic), and last weekend I caught her on top of MC's car.

Fortunately, with a bit of encouragement...

She hopped down.

Artemis is definitely more aloof than Maddy is - she doesn't like to be picked up and held as much - but she's got a lot of personality and is definitely and explorer. We are constantly entertained by her antics!

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Mid-week kitteh... is BACK!

I've decided that since I have more than one kitteh, I need to branch out with mid-week kitteh since they all do cute kitteh things. This week's star is Madelaine, otherwise known as Maddy, or Maddy-moo (please, don't ask how I come up with these ridiculous nicknames).

Look at those pretty gold eyes!

It's important to have a good roll in the dirt now and again.

And get a few good rubs in!

Maddy always helps me with morning and evening feed, usually by getting underfoot and begging to be picked up. She's a loud purrer and can be very cuddly when she's in the mood. Unfortunately, she's hard to get pictures of since she's nearly always on the move.

You may notice in these pictures that's she's now nice and plump - a far cry from the skinny little girl I brought home from TLAC. She is really a little love bug and I'm so glad I brought her home!

Monday, December 13, 2010

What can I say? We've been busy! (Part I)

Yes, I know I haven't posted in AGES. We've been busy as usual, and then I sort of got out of the blogging habit, and then I just wasn't into it. So my apologies for the hiatus, but I'm back, more or less.

My lack of blogging all started out with being crazy busy Thanksgiving week. In one week, we built a backyard, complete with fencing, and arbor, a brick step, and a place for our hot tub. But I'm getting ahead of myself. Here we go...

Where we started. Not much to recommend it as an outdoor living space, but plenty of potential.

We had to remove all of the vegetation (i.e. weeds) to get down to actual dirt, so we rented a tiller-like object that took the hubby for a ride.

After each run with the tiller, I'd rake the bits up, toss them in the wheelbarrow, and remove them.

Yup, looks like a field of dirt. Not much of an improvement, eh?

Elias spent much of the week supervising from a safe distance.

We wanted to build a brick step off the french doors that we'd installed, but first we had to pour a cement pad to lay the brick on. Here we've build the form and put rebar into the existing slab so we could tie things together properly.

Hubby unloads the concrete mixer.

Here's what the slab looked like after we'd poured it and smoothed it out.

We decided that this mostly dead black walnut needed to come down, since it would be very close to our new fenceline. (Yes, we are planting additional trees to take its place.)

We didn't have a real chainsaw, so the hubby got out his toy battery-powered chain saw. It mostly worked.

But in the end, we got out the biggest power tool we have (the truck), and pulled the tree down. Woohoo! Things you can do with your truck!

Next, we spray-painted lines where the planting beds would go so we'd have guides.

The hubby wrestled with the auger that we rented to drill fence post holes as well as holes for the arbor posts.

We only managed to hit one water line while digging the post holes. This one wasn't even in a place where there should have been a water line... in fact, we still don't know where it goes to or what it was supposed to supply.

However, we capped the one end and turned the other end into a spigot. Problem solved.

After fixing the water line, we poured and set the fenceposts.

And I'll have to save the rest of this tale for later, since this is a rather picture-heavy entry. More next time, and you'll get to see the finished product!

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Mid-week kitteh

Freya was too busy napping to have her picture taken this week, so Maddy is stepping in for her in the kyoot kitteh department.

Kitteh among the chickens. I actually had to look twice to figure out if Maddy was a Buff Orpington chicken, or a kitteh!

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Painting the workshop

We've finally managed to get around to painting the exterior of the workshop.

Working on priming.

Priming complete.

Both the hubby and I are horrible at picking out paint colors. Since the entire exterior of the house needs to be scraped and painted, we decided to get some professional help to choose colors. Enter our friend D.A., who helped us choose a nice tan for the base color and a very dark green (almost black) for the trim. Thank you, D.A.!

The great thing about the tan is that it doesn't make the brick look too pink.

And it even mostly goes with the limestone we have, too!

We're hoping to paint the trim this weekend (in between rainstorms), so I'll post pictures of the finished product!

Friday, November 19, 2010

One year

It's hard to believe, but today is exactly one year since we bought the house. This time last year, we were sitting in a closing wondering if we were making the right decision, or if we were certifiably nuts.

Still haven't figure that one out yet, but whatever.

A year later, there are days when we look around and are completely overwhelmed about how much we have yet to do. And then there are days when we think about the incredible amount of work we have already done. But here are some highlights of what's happened in the past year:

We demoed the pink bathroom...

...and the yellow one.

Then we reassembled them.But not at the same time.

We met some of the neighbors.

We built a wall to make a new bedroom.

We painted both of the kiddo's rooms.

We gained invaluable insight on why chickens cross roads.

We rebuilt the laundry room and put in a tile floor. We also tiled the hallway.

We tore out all the barbed wire fencing and repaired the perimeter fence, put up a sacrifice paddock, and built an additional fence line.

We ate a lot of eggs.

We tore down the carport.

We had the house re-plumbed, and we had a solar water heater installed.

We had our 5 panel boxes consolidated into one, and had 220 amp electric run to the property.

We learned how to snake out a drain...

... and hot wire a tractor.

I tried to grow a garden, but it didn't work out so well.

The family helped us tear down the front gates.

We had a gas line run to the kitchen...

... so that we could install a gas range. We also replaced all the other appliances in the kitchen.

We had a French door installed instead of our falling-apart picture window.

We adopted Anie...

... Maddy...

... and Artemis...

... and we found a home for the stray kitten that showed up.

We had half a new roof installed.

We got the fireplace repaired.

We built out the hubby's workshop and painted it.

Probably I am missing a few things, but I think that covers the basics.

And, we're still happily married, we haven't damaged any body parts with power tools, and we haven't managed to electrocute ourselves or blow anything up. I'd say that in of itself is cause for celebration!

Hopefully in the next year we'll get to a bunch of the projects we didn't complete this year, including:
  • Finish both bathrooms (they just need a little bit to finish them completely, really!)
  • Build out the interior of the hubby's workshop
  • Paint and weatherize the exterior of the house
  • Tear down the cisterns and the shed and then build the barn
  • Build out a front porch and back deck
  • Finish the back garden and add in some landscaping on the front of the house
  • Have the other half of the house re-roofed
  • Put in a new front fence and gate
  • Remodel the kitchen
  • Paint the living room and family room
  • Start working on the guest house
Doesn't sound like too much, does it? I think we can get most of it done next week... ;)