Monday, May 30, 2016

How to Set Your House on Fire

Or to put a more positive spin on it:  How to Keep from Setting Your House on Fire.

This is where the exhaust pipe from my clothes dryer comes out of the house.  There is a hardware cloth wire over it to keep critters from entering the pipe, crawling up it, jumping out and scaring the bejeebers out of me when I open the dryer door. 

The first of every month, my dear husband takes off the screen and removes a bit of lint that has collected on the screen.

Today he walked by it and since it was almost the first of the month, decided to do that little task and have it done with.

Before he put the screen back on, something made him take out the handy-dandy little flashlight he always carries in his pocket and shine it back into the exhaust pipe.

What did he see?  Lint.  Lots of lint.

He made this little tool thingie by attaching a piece of metal onto the end of a 2" x 2" which he pushed into the pipe.

Then he slowly and carefully started pulling out gobs of lint. 

All this was extracted from the pipe before it looked clear.

Omigosh, if he hadn't thought to look into the exhaust pipe, there's a good chance it would have become so plugged up that a fire could have started when I was using the dryer.  Double omigosh.

Needless to say, we will now keep a close eye on this situation.  Even though I regularly clean out the lint filter on the front of the dryer and even put that pointy tool attachment on my vacuum cleaner and reach down into the space below the lint filter, a lot of potentially dangerous lint collected in the exhaust pipe.

So just be aware that lint can and apparently does collect in your dryer exhaust pipe.  You might want to check it from time to time.  I'm sure glad we did.

Saturday, May 28, 2016

Not Good, So Disappointing . . .

We received our last shipment of waterfowl yesterday morning.  Fifteen assorted Muscovy ducklings.

Upon eagerly opening the box, we found ten of them dead, five alive.

We nursed the remaining frail five ducklings as best we could throughout the day, but lost one after another until by night time, only one was left.  So to give him (her?) some chance of survival overnight, we put him in with the five goslings who arrived this past Wednesday.

As the saying goes, one is not like the other.

Lo and behold, "The Lone Ranger" (as we've dubbed him) made it through the night and is happily running around with his new brooder buddies this morning.

Needless to say, it's been a rocky start, in many ways, to our season of building our own breeding stock of geese and ducks.  Here's hoping the sailing gets a little smoother from here on out.

Thursday, May 26, 2016

Chicks First Glimpse of the Big World

The chicks we got on the 4th of May left the brooder in the garage . . . 

. . . and went to live in their new chicken tractor home yesterday.

They had their first encounter with real, live, green grass.  And I think were a little perplexed at first.  But a couple of hours later, all seemed to be well.  There are provisions to lock them up each night safely in their little chicken house (complete with roosts) which is the right hand part of the chicken tractor.

I thought I'd include a picture of our teen-aged goslings, hatched the very end of March.  From left to right, that's Will, Curly, Annie and Skidmore.  Sad to say, Curly has a severely deformed upper beak.  It's twisted far to the left and I've been surprised he can eat and drink in any kind of a normal manner.  But he's growing as fast as Will, Skidmore still being a bit of a giant, so he's doing okay.  He will be destined for freezer camp this coming fall, because the deformity could be a genetic thing that we don't want to take a chance of passing on.

In the meantime, all four are good buddies and are living a very good life eating and pooping.  A lot. 

Wednesday, May 25, 2016

More Fuzzy Babies

Received another phone call from our local post office early this morning saying our chicks had arrived.

Well, we knew we had no more chicks coming, but we were expecting another shipment of goslings.  So in to town went my husband (the soon-to-be waterfowl magnate of the north woods) to pick up the last of the ordered goslings for this year.

Upon opening the box, we found five of them rarin' and ready to be out and settled in their new surroundings.  Unfortunately, one of them (a female, of course -- drat!) didn't make it. 

Boy howdy, did they have a thirst!  Which was soon remedied by a guzzle or two of delicious, clean water.

* * * * * * * *

I don't think I ever updated you all on the outcome of our older Mama Goose who had been sitting on a clutch of eggs.  We let her go a few days beyond what should have been the longest gestation period of the eggs.  

Then one morning when she went down to the pond for her morning stretch, Papa Pea uncovered the nest which she always covered when she left for her brief outside excursions morning and afternoon.  He was fairly sure he had at one time seen a clutch of 4-5 eggs, but found only one . . . and some egg shells.  What happened to the other eggs?  Had she eaten them?

Upon taking the remaining egg out, he found it to be very, very rotten.  So that was the end of homestead-hatched goslings for this year.

We still have a Cayuga duck sitting on a nest.  Her eggs are supposed to hatch this coming Sunday or Monday.  Our fingers are crossed she's more successful than the goose was.

Saturday, May 21, 2016

A Real Treat

A whole big bunch of thanks to the very sweet person who sent me this bag of wonderful Vidalia onions which arrived in the mail today.

Papa Pea and I each had one roasted as the veggie with our dinner tonight.  Were they good?


Thanks, dear friend!

Friday, May 20, 2016

BIG Project Done

No, this wasn't a big outside project, although there are plenty of those on our summer's list that we would be happy to have done already.  This particular project was a quilted one that I worked on (off and on) for about a year.

As I was tidying up our bedroom yesterday morning, it occurred to me that I'd never posted a picture of the king-sized quilt I made for our bed.

I had a chance later in the morning to corral my tall husband and tall daughter for a couple of minutes and asked them to hold the quilt up outside on the deck so you could get the full view of it.

This is another shot of it on the bed.

And this last picture I snapped last night in dim lighting shows the beautiful job of quilting on it.  I had it done on a long-arm quilting machine at our local quilt shop by a talented gal.

The quilt is what is known as a "scrap" quilt.  All of the fabric used was from bits and pieces in my stash.  The backing fabric was purchased (one huge piece) and I was lucky enough to get that on sale for 35% off the original price.

I'm very happy with the way it turned out.  And very happy to have it done.

Wednesday, May 18, 2016

A Muscle Moving Day

Lawdy, did I work hard yesterday.  Lawdy, did I sleep hard last night.  But as you all know, it was a deserved, good sleep, and I'd probably still be sawin' 'em off it my bladder hadn't insisted I get up at six bells.

I got my loverly cauliflower baby seedlings (teen-aged they were, really) planted in their raised bed and covered with the cold frame for the night.  They suffered a smidge from transplant shock, but already this morning they look much better than they did last night.

This is a new (to me) cauliflower I'm trying this year.  An old heirloom from Sustainable Seed Company which supposedly has "self-wrapping leaves which shield the snow-white heads from the sun."  This eliminates the need to tie the leaves up over the heads as they mature.  The name?  Self-Blanching Cauliflower.  How's that for originality?

I edged the asparagus/Everbearing strawberry patch (all the time muttering bad words about the dang quack grass which never gives up trying to sneak into the garden soil), and then cross-creeping along on hands and knees, I weeded the asparagus and strawberries, then mulched the asparagus with straw.

After getting the asparagus mulched, the last wheelbarrow was still nearly full so I used that to mulch the raised bed containing our rhubarb and comfrey.

Helped (grunt-groan, puff-puff) Papa Pea move our two ancient, but still usable, snowmobiles from one storage spot to another.  (This would have been oh-so-much easier if it had been done when snow was on the ground and they could have been started and driven to their new home.  But I'm not pointing fingers.  There are multitudinous tasks I never get done in a timely manner.  'Magine that.)

More eradicating encroaching quack grass around the whole perimeter of the field garden.  Took a wander over to the shell peas and potatoes, both planted last week on the 10th, but nothing showing there yet.  I did notice in my meanderings of the day that the raised bed of yellow storage onions I planted on the 6th are just starting to poke through.  I plant two 4' x 8' beds of yellow and one of red onions each year.  Usually I don't plant any of them this early, but decided to give one bed a try since onions are a bit frost hardy . . . should they have to be.

I replanted two varieties of lettuce in the bed I put in on the sixth.  Most varieties (I always do a mixture of red and green lettuces) are sprouted and doing very well, but one of the varieties (I replanted) had sprouted very sparsely and the other was a complete no-show.

I'll end with this picture.  On Monday, Papa Pea replaced these two raised bed frames with new ones he constructed.  Looks as though we got our money's worth out of these, doesn't it?  I'm thinking they were at least twenty years old.