Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Rats . . .

Woke up this morning to rain on the roof . . . and all other parts out there in the great out-of-doors.

Not that we don't need the rain, because we really, really do, but we also needed a dry weather day in order to finish the cutting, gluing and construction of the kitchen counter top. The same counter top that will hold my new kitchen sink which will then be hooked up to water lines and give me, once again and hallelujah, water in the kitchen.

My ever-optimistic husband tells me not to fret, the rain will stop and we'll be able to proceed as planned.

Hope he knows of what he speaks. Stay tuned.

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

It's A Destruction/Construction Day

The doors are coming off all my kitchen cabinets today. We're keeping the frames which I'm going to paint and Carpenter/Friend B is making new doors.

Think of the hours I'll save not having to open or close cabinet doors for a while!

We're going to re-use the hinges on the new doors so they need to come off the old doors.

B is working on constructing the new 12' long counter top that will hold the sink, so it was time for what was left of the old sink counter to go.

Ummm . . . I guess I no longer have a kitchen sink.

Here's the first trial of the piece cut for the new counter. The kitchen area is part of the house that was a bunk house moved here from a resort quite a ways away so the walls are not even close to square in any direction. That's why we have to construct this counter rather than ordering a custom-made one.

I just came in from doing some polying and Papa Pea and B are at her home shop cutting the laminate for the counter tops with special tools. Hoping they get back soon as I'd really, really like to have my sink hooked back up today. Realistically though, I don't thinks that's gonna happen until tomorrow. But that's fine 'cause it's all in the name of progress. Yay, progress!

Monday, August 29, 2011

I Should Non-Garden More Often!

Well, kids, here's a good one on me.

So I went out to the garden to do some weeding and cleaning up this afternoon. I was pulling out some radishes that had gotten totally away from me ('bout the size of tennis balls they were) when I saw what I thought was a HUGE radish.

I had completely forgotten that at the end of the radish bed I had stuck in one 4 foot row of turnips. Turnip seeds that were from 1999. That means they were twelve years old! I don't think I ever even got around to thinning them once I saw that they had germinated.

I must not have thinned them 'cause most of the turnips were misshapen and teenie-weenie, but I did find the above pictured nice sized ones. (Teaspoon in the picture for size comparison.) I know the biggest might be hard and woody . . . inedible perhaps, but I'm sure gonna give them a try.

A little aside story to share with you . . . a turnip tale.

When I think of turnips, I always remember fondly a gal Papa Pea taught with in one of his first years of teaching. She was a beautiful Japanese woman who was born in the state of Washington during World War II. Her parents were U.S. citizens but because they were Japanese the whole family was put in a detention camp for the years the war was going on. She said they were treated well but were given an awful lot of turnips to eat. You would think she'd have developed an aversion to that particular veggie, but surprisingly enough, she was very fond of them as an adult and often brought one in her school lunch and ate it raw just like an apple.

I think we'll eat a raw turnip tonight in her honor . . . and in honor of my luck growing more than I thought I would in this non-gardening year.

Touring the (Non) Garden

I took a walk out through the gardens early this morning --- something I do just about every single morning during the gardening season of a normal year. I've really missed my early morning wanderings and talks with the vegetables this year since the garden was relegated to next to nothing status because of our huge remodeling project.

I know I post a picture every year of this silly Virginia Creeper that's planted next to our front deck. But I get such a kick out of the fact that it always makes a beeline for our little bathroom window and eventually covers it completely by the end of summer. This doesn't particularly please one member of our household, but I think it's cool.

My bed of salad greens has run amok. Of course, I planted way more than we could use.

I had to put a tee-pee trellis in the middle of the fallow field garden for the volunteer morning glories that popped up this spring. They've grown so tall they are about two feet above the trellis now and heading in an eastward direction. Doesn't the whole thing look like something out of a Dr. Suess book that is about to take off ga-lopping across the field?

The bed of volunteer cherry tomatoes are still green. They've been in this same state of un-ripeness for a month now. I think they will still be that way when the frost comes.

I'm still amazed at the growth of the Jerusalem Artichokes planted this spring. They must have about 500 pounds of artichokes under them. No?

Maybe I'll get a couple more small pickings off the blueberry bushes. This particular bush looks the most promising at this late stage of the season. Other varieties have as few as only 4-6 more berries coming on.

I could possibly get one more decent harvest from the raspberries if I wanted. But to illustrate how dry our conditions have been, can you see the half-formed berries here that have just dried up? In a normal year, we would have watered them, but have chosen not to take the time to do so this year.

The apple trees have a potentially nice crop on them but because of the very, very cold, late spring we had, they are still too small and under-developed to reach maturity this year, I'm sure. The killing frosts will get them before that time.

I'm actually going to take some time this afternoon to play out in the garden, mostly to do some weeding. Maybe the dirt will wear some of the ever-present paint off my fingers.

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Guess What We Did Yesterday?

We did our best to make counter, tables, floors and three people as sticky as possible.

Yep, we extracted honey.

Above is the extractor all set up and ready to go.

First the caps have to be cut off the cells of honey in the frames. This waxy substance is placed in a big colander in a bowl so the little bit of honey taken with the caps will drain off leaving mostly wax in the colander.

This blurry picture is truly an action shot taken by Chicken Mama. Papa Pea was turning the crank on the extractor so fast his whole arm disappeared in a blur!

Opening the spigot on the bottom of the extractor and letting the honey flow into a two-strainer device to filter debris from the honey.

Then this is the golden flow of the filtered honey into the jars for storage. (Photo by Chicken Mama.)

Chicken Mama had a nannying job yesterday but not wanting to miss out on any of the sticky fun arrived in late afternoon to provide some relief for her mom and pop. Here she is putting the honey into jars which was a big (drippy) job but one she could handle even though she was lacking most of the use of her left hand and forearm. Ask her what she did to almost incapacitate herself. (Arrgh, ugh, ouch and why mothers continue to worry about their kids even when they're big people.) She has a blog post up today explaining her fall-down-and-go-boom which has left her temporarily with a slight handicap. (Not that she'll let it slow her down much.)

While the honey harvest was nothing to brag about (total of just over 100 pounds of the precious, golden nectar), we were happy considering all the problems bees are having in general and the especially challenging ones ours up here near the tundra face. We appreciate every one of our little busy bees and keep trying to do better by them so that some year we'll have strong colonies that can give us a little more return on our investment.

Friday, August 26, 2011

Friday, Day of Rest

Maybe not total rest, but rest from the remodeling. We both took today to do some catch-up things that have been falling by the wayside while we've pushed on the remodeling.

Tonight we "got out of Dodge" by driving 30 miles up into the woods to a favorite restaurant for their Friday night all-you-can-eat fish fry. As delicious as the fish always is we can never make it through the first ample helping. We were hoping (as always) to see moose on the drive, but a fox in two different locations comprised all the wildlife out and about tonight.

At the restaurant we ran into a couple we haven't talked with for a few years. They raised their two kids way the heck out in the boonies under "rustic" conditions in much the same way our daughter was raised. We were talking about the "kids" (now all grown and out on their own) and how they've all become strong, hard-working, know-what-they-want adults. We were wondering if being raised without all the amenities and material possessions contributed in some way to their individually strong personalities and ability to "make it" while choosing to walk the less traveled paths. Interesting concept.

No segue . . .

Our blueberry and raspberry crops are starting to wind down. I've been keeping track of how many quarts of each I've frozen this year and just now tallied them up.

We currently have 14 quarts of raspberries and 7-1/2 quarts of blueberries in the freezer. Dang, I thought we had more blueberries. Methinks we've been eating too many of them fresh (not possible) or . . .

. . . they have been finding their way into confections such as this pie I made this afternoon. I haven't kept track of the berries we've given away, but I probably should have as these may number more than I think. I'd surely have a much more accurate tally if I knew the total of all berries picked. Oh, well. Next year I'll do better on that score.

Suddenly I'm v-e-r-y tired and know a busy day is on the schedule for tomorrow so I'll wrap this up and call it a night.

Thinking of all of you on the East Coast and truly hoping Hurricane Irene veers out to sea causing little damage on land.

Thursday, August 25, 2011

No Grumping From Me Today

Our plumbing problems are taken care of so this has been a good, good day! Running water is a fantastic thing to have, but can also be a royal pain in the patoot when it runs where you don't want it to run. During the repairs, we took extra pains and made some changes to allow for the installation of the new sink which hopefully will go in next week.

Got the grouting done on the tile under the wood stove. I am very pleased with the way it turned out. Papa Pea, who was unsure of using the small two inch squares, is now totally happy with it. (Big relief 'cause I talked him into them.)

I thought I'd give you a glimpse of what my kitchen looked like at mid-day today. No matter how messy your kitchen is it will seem much better after seeing mine.

At least there's no standing water on the floor!

We ate lunch out on the deck. Good thing the weather was lovely 'cause as you can see, it would have been impossible to eat on the table.

This is currently what our to-be living room looks like. Good thing we're so tired at night when we stop working that we usually go straight to bed. There is no cozy, restful place to sit and relax at the present time. No matter. We'd both fall asleep as soon as we sat down anyway.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

End of a Frustrating Day

I know I'm not the Lone Ranger here. Something tells me that anyone who has done much remodeling knows the feeling that it is sometimes hard, dirty, difficult, frustrating work. It seems we put forth a lot of effort today without much to show for it.

Here's one of the little problems. As we speak Papa Pea is in the crawl space attempting to turn the shut-off valve for the cold water line to the kitchen sink.

He started by disconnecting and removing our reverse osmosis water filtering system in preparation for the new sink to be installed. He also cut out the "floor" board under the sink which was a flimsy thing to begin with fifteen years ago and currently had such a bow in it that it had to go. In getting the board out (which, of course, proved to be not so flimsy when we tried to remove it), apparently water pipes got jiggled and moved enough so that a leak has developed.

He's back up here now and just announced that the water pipes are going to require "major surgery" to be brought back to health. Ugh. I guess we know what he'll be doing tomorrow.

We did get the tile area under the wood stove laid and glued down. With luck, it will be grouted tomorrow.

I had planned on being outside today getting a couple coats of sealer on some of the new cabinet doors, but we had such terrifically strong winds all day that all kinds of debris was being blown off trees and through the air. I would have ended up with a lot of dust, dirt, grit and grime embedded in the polyurethane had I gone ahead and worked on that job. So it's on my list for tomorrow, hoping for more favorable weather conditions.

For me, it's the s-l-o-w-n-e-s-s of this big project, rather than the work itself that is causing my frustration. But I need to remember that there are many days when big changes can be seen as things fall into place with seemingly little effort. Or maybe it's just being able to see the progress that justifies the effort, whatever it may be.

Time to hit the hay. A good night's rest is bound to make for a better day tomorrow.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Padded Cell, Anyone?

Yep, this is what I have been reduced to . . .

. . . putting up a picture of a newly painted wall as a blog post.

I feel like a horse wearing blinders. All I can see, hear, smell or taste (well, scratch the taste part) is yellow paint.

I have just this last day today to finish getting the new coat of paint on the kitchen walls so B will give the okay and help us go on the kitchen floor tiles tomorrow. She told me she refuses to have the new tile go down if I'm gonna splatter paint on it. What?! She thinks I'm a messy painter? I've only had one or two or three bad boo-boos on the floor. And that was white paint when we were doing the ceiling. Ceilings are hard. Who can do a ceiling without some fallout?

I bonked early last night. Was in bed by 8 p.m. Truly not feeling too great. I battled slight nausea and a little dizziness all day and figured the dizziness alone was a good enough excuse not spend late night hours on a ladder.

Because I called it quits early last night, I vowed I'd be painting by sunrise this morning. (I may have been a little hasty in that pronouncement.) It's 6:12 a.m. right now and although I still have to get some breakfast in us, I will be holding that paint brush soon.

Stay tuned for more stimulating pictures of blank walls.

P.S. Something fun (and gawgeous!) just came up! Mama Tea over on her blog just posted a giveaway that is well worth you taking a look at. She's giving away a headband and matching scarf that she crocheted herself. This beautiful, crazy lady taught herself how to crochet a couple of months ago and she's become an expert in a very short time. It's worth it to go have a look and enter your name for a chance to have these two lovely items for your very own!

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Just Plugging along

Today we finally have our family celebration of Papa Pea's birthday. Admittedly three days late, but it will be a special day nonetheless. Chicken Mama is preparing meat loaf (or buffaloaf as she's using ground buffalo meat) and mashed potatoes which her dad requested, and I'm making the gravy, spinach for a veggie and Freshy's Blueberry Pie for dessert, also requested by the Birthday Boy.

I have to take time to tell a little story that I think about every single time I make this particular pie. A while back one of my fellow quilter's family was going through a tough time. I made and took over a meal and a pot of soup for them. I also took this pie which was a big hit. D asked me for the recipe which I gladly shared with her. Months later she came to a quilt meeting with her hand swaddled in one honkin' big bandage. She explained that while making Freshy's Blueberry Pie for a special family get together, she had (get ready for this . . . ) stuck her thumb into the electric beaters when she was making the whipped cream. Fortunately, it wasn't as bad as it could have been. Her thumbnail is now a little funny looking but otherwise she's okay. So that's why I think of D whenever I make this pie. (I'm also super-careful when whipping the cream!)

Besides Papa Pea's special meal, what else does he want to do to celebrate? Well, he's currently out doing some much needed weed whipping (oh gosh, I'd better go stand in front of the clematis!), and I have a sneaky suspicion he'd really like time to work on our out-of-commission lawn mower. The repair parts finally arrived yesterday and he'd be glad to get them installed and cross that little job off his list. (Hey, it's his birthday celebration day and if that's what he wants do do, who am I to stop him?)

I have a deadline of Tuesday night to get the kitchen walls repainted. B can give us time on Wednesday and we plan on using her expertise to help install the kitchen floor tile and fireproof tile under the wood stove. Hubby and I have laid our share of tile before but this one may be a little tricky. We're working with a very uneven floor and some special prep work needs to be done prior to laying the tiles. When you consider that this part of the house was originally a resort's bunkhouse on a lake about 35 miles from here, is it any wonder the floor might be a little wonky in spots?

We need to disconnect and move our wood stove out. First of all, it needs to be moved so we can install the fireproof tiles under it at the same time as we lay the new kitchen tiles, and hubby also wants to give it a new coat of paint while he has it out of the house.

Okay, what am I doing still sitting here? I need to get on with things. Our weather has been just loverly . . . sunny and warm during the day with a lilting breeze and cooling down enough at night to make sleeping snuggled under the covers delightful. We've both had two consecutive nights of good, long-enough sleep and it feels wonderful. Hope your weather is good, too.

Friday, August 19, 2011

Send In The Replacements

Can you say "e-x-h-a-u-s-t-i-o-n?" We should feel energized and ready to do double time on this mess of a remodeling adventure today because we had such a good day yesterday.

We pulled out of the driveway at 6:15 yesterday morning and arrived back home a couple of minutes before 8 p.m. It was another trip to the big city for supplies and happily, one thing after another kept falling into place as we worked our way down our list during the day.

We came home with a kitchen sink (I was truly beginning to despair of ever finding one I was happy with let alone really, REALLY happy with).

Faucets for said sink . . .

Tile for under the wood stove . . .

. . . and the one custom-made counter top and laminate for B to make the others. A range exhaust hood and oodles of little miscellaneous stuff needed, more drawer slides and handles for the new cabinets and good ideas for the ceiling, walls and flooring of the living room. (That would be, of course, if we ever get done with the kitchen.)

We sat up a little late after getting home and unloading (thanks to our dear daughter for all her help) talking with her and unwinding. As she said at one point, "Oh, Mom, this is so much more of a mess than comes across on your blog!" Thanks, hon.

So as I said above, we should feel very good about our day full of accomplishments yesterday (and we do), but jumping back into the labor this morning feels like the last thing we want to do. At one point yesterday we were trying to make a decision on some one thing or another and the salesman said, "Is this a house you will be considering for resale in the future?" Papa Pea and I looked at each other and said almost in unison, "After we get done with this remodeling? No way!" (Actually, I think the "no way" came out as something more like, "Hell, no!")

To top it all off, yesterday was Papa Pea's big 70th birthday although he doesn't feel (or look!) like he's 70. (Okay, maybe this morning just a little bit.) His daughter wrote a wonderful post on her blog yesterday in honor of his birthday that brought back a trillion memories to all of us.

Perhaps if I fortify myself with another latte I'll be able to get up and face the day with renewed vim and vigor. Anybody got any extra vim and vigor to loan me?

Thursday, August 18, 2011

A Better Day Yesterday

Things seemed to flow better yesterday. Hubby got the kitchen ceiling completely done.

Seems to me being tall sure has its advantages. If I were doing this, I'd be on a ladder and up and down off of it moving it every couple of feet.

I got lots of polying done. It was simply a gorgeous day with no humidity and a lot of breeze. Sunny. Perfect for drying the applications. (I will spare you another of my Mrs. Darth Vader pictures.)

We got our third cuc from the garden. Crispy, crunchy, full of flavor, we both really like raw cucs. I tried to find an attractive background for this shot but . . . there are no attractive backgrounds around here right now.

This was dinner last night. I have no idea what it was. But I think it was the third night in a row we had it.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Some Days Just Go Better Than Other Days

Yesterday was a rough one. One step forward, two steps back. Not complaining though. (Well, maybe a little.) We still did make some progress . . . but it felt like piddling little.

The kitchen is now torn apart more than ever and I'm losing all sense of semblance of order in there. Whenever I try to do anything in the kitchen, I must look a tad demented as I turn slowly in a circle three times before heading in the direction of what I need. Only to discover that's not where it is . . . but, okay, where the heck is it?

Last night when Papa Pea went into the bedroom to get his jammies before showering, he commented we had a bit of a problem. Nah, nothing serious. He was just referring to everything piled on our king-sized bed including cabinet drawers and a double layer of miscellaneous other stuff.

Yesterday was extremely hot and humid which meant the early morning application of mud on the sheet rock patching didn't dry. Kinda unbelievable, but it did not dry all day. We were counting on me being able to paint the walls but can't do that until the sheet rocking is completely done, of course.

I painted the perimeter of the ceiling after taping the walls to get a nice sharp line. Got about one-fourth of the way around when we decided the paint I had chosen had way too much of a shine to it. We dubbed it glow-in-the-dark white. I had to stop and go purchase more paint. (At the hardware store, there were 3 [three!] people in line ahead of me waiting to get paint mixed. Have I ever mentioned patience is not one of my virtues?)

Papa Pea needed to finish the ceiling with a roller but he got involved in the laborious task of sinking screws that were protruding above floor level in preparation for laying tile which we had hoped would happen today, but won't. This meant covering every inch of the floor on hands and knees, taking out the offending screws and sinking new screws in the hole. He didn't start on the ceiling painting until late in the afternoon as natural light disappeared prior to a thunderstorm. Then he found that because of painting white on white, he simply couldn't see well enough to do a decent job.

I decided to take down my painting tape rather than leaving it up all night. The first thing I did was climb too high on the ladder and put the whole top of my head into a part of the freshly painted ceiling. Very wet, very messy, very stoopid. Then when I removed the tape, it pulled off the existing wall paint in about 50% of the places it touched. At least it was just the paint and not the paper covering of the old dry wall. I hope.

There was more, but it's not good to dwell on the less than pleasant. Today is a new day and better weather is forecast so we'll go eat our Fruit Loops (not really) and get on with it. Wishing a good, good day for us here in The Land of Extreme Disorder and for all of you whatever you're about for the day!

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Are We Having Fun Yet?

Our day yesterday started off with me going to town for paint and hubby picking up some lumber for re-framing the door between the kitchen and living room.

When we put on the addition many years ago, the first year it was just a shell with no insulation so put an "outside" door there to keep more of the heat in the part of the house we were living in. The door was put in a wall where a double window had been leaving the opening wider than the door. We filled in the gaps on each side and put some (ugly) wide molding on both sides and over the top of the door which was torn off just prior to this picture.

When we got home from town, I put a coat of poly on the covers for a storage area and wood box on our porch. They'd gotten a little beat up looking in the last fifteen years (imagine that) so we pulled them off, Papa Pea sanded them and I put a new coat of finish on them.

I thought I'd share the above fetching shot of me in my full regalia doing the polying. Feel free to use it as a screen saver. It's guaranteed to scare viruses so badly they will stay far, far away from your computer.

Then B stopped by to tell us everything she wanted us to get done before she comes to play with us all day today. (She can be so bossy some times!) I was making a very creative and elegantly gourmet-ish lunch while she visited (peanut butter and jelly because who the heck has time to cook around here these days?) so we talked her into sitting still for a couple of minutes and joining us for a sandwich.

Then hubby and I set to work washing the kitchen ceiling and walls in preparation for painting.

Here's Papa Pea doing a little patch work on holes where my pot rack used to hang.

While he was up at that level, I talked him into washing off the tops of the cabinets. Omigosh, where the heck did all that dirt, grit and grime come from? Does somebody come in at night and dump bucketfuls up there? Ish!

After we finished washing the ceiling I put up masking tape to make painting the ceiling as easy as possible. (I think doing the taping takes as long as the painting does.)

We were going to paint the ceiling last night but right after dinner, Papa Pea's good friend (or his BFF as Chicken Mama calls him) stopped over and the first thing I knew they both had cold beers in their hands. That was fine with me 'cause I was having trouble finding more oompf and was glad for a little time off. But first thing this morning (as soon as we get some fortifying breakfast in our tummies), those rollers and brushes will be splashing that paint on the ceiling.

Monday, August 15, 2011

The Big Unveiling

I finally just a few minutes ago got the photos Chicken Mama sent me of her slowly and carefully (sort of like a strip tease if you ask me) unwrapping her present.

Unloaded from her car into the wheelbarrow for the trip to the house.

The box is opened . . .

The box is gone.

Slowly the wrapping slips to the ground . . .

And there it is, Folks. One handcrafted, wooden kitchen cupboard with slotted plate racks. She's got just the spot in her kitchen picked out for this unique piece.

I haven't talked with Chicken Mama since she sent me these pictures. So I'll ask here and now. Do you like your present? Is it all you expected? When do we get to see it mounted on the wall and full of your pretty dishes? Should we all come for dinner, too?

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Tile for Kitchen Area

I know it's hard to get an idea of what the tile I've chosen for the kitchen will look like from this picture . . .

. . . especially since these tiles are just laid on the floor side by side, but I think I'm going to be very happy with it. Having a floor covering with an actual design will be very different for us after having lived with stained and varnished plywood for a floor for so long. I picked this pattern out and, frankly, was surprised that hubby like it a lot, too. (Score one for our side!)

The floor project should happen fairly soon. That seven-foot long kitchen island that is now living in our garage needs to be moved out of there and into the kitchen. But that can't happen until the tile gets laid on the floor. Everything always depends on everything else, doesn't it?

We're also thinking it would be wise to give the ceiling in the kitchen its new coat of paint before laying the new floor. I'm not saying we're messy painters (ahem), but unavoidable drips and drops do happen.

Today I got the last coat of finish on the door jamb and second side of the French door that will go between the kitchen and living room. Thunderstorms are threatening as we speak and I think the door and jamb are dry enough so we'd better skeedaddle and get them hauled into the safety of the garage.

Saturday, August 13, 2011

Drawing Out The Suspense

Well, I tell ya, such a job Chicken Mama and I set up for ourselves! Picking a winner for the Name the Birthday Present contest has resulted in quite the go-round between the two of us in order to come to a consensus.

First of all, I have to say that a picture of the gift for the birthday girl who turned forty this momentous birthday year of 2011 will not be pictured in this post.

Here she is opening the box to take a peek.

And a peek is all she's had so far. She was concerned that if she unpacked it here, she'd never get it back into the box for the trip home. In order to get the box and two dogs in her little red car, Tucker the Corgi will have to ride on top of the box.

So the bottom line is that we won't get a picture of the actual item until it is unpacked in her house at Swamp River Ridge sometime tomorrow.

I will tell you that although we received oodles of really good guesses, no one came up with what is in the box. (Actually, I would have fallen right off my desk chair if anyone had nailed it.)

In lieu of posting a picture (and ending this awful suspense I know all of you are going through) and revealing what the item is we will now announce the winners we've chosen as the best guesses.

Drum roll, please.

First place . . . is a tie! Judy and Apple Pie Gal both submitted similar answers that really tickled Chicken Mama's funny bone. Judy guessed it was Ole, a blow-up doll who had to be packaged in a big box because Ole is a big man! Apple Pie Gal thought it was Sven from Sveeden, maybe conscious, maybe not. Perhaps these two answers appealed to Chicken Mama because of wishful thinking?

Second prize goes to Trailshome who thought it was a garden gnome to lurk around the deck at Swamp River Ridge and scare off Chicken Mama's pesky raccoon.

I guess I'd have to agree that even though she doesn't currently have one of any of the above (an Ole, a Sven or a guard gnome) she could probably make use of several of any of them! (Hahahaha!)

Chicken Mama wants to give Honorable Mention to the comment from Katidids. She thought it might be fireplace andirons and tools and that Chicken Mama's home had multiple fireplaces so she needed several sets. CM loved the fantasy that anyone thought she might have so grand a house as to have several fireplaces!

Now I'll need mailing addresses from Judy, APG and Trailshome so your prizes can be sent out to you. Just go over to my right hand side bar, hit the "Contact Me" button and send me an e-mail with the info needed.

Go ahead and call us mean and nasty for making you wait for the picture and reveal of the birthday present. We're dragging this out for all it's worth. Thanks to all who jumped in and participated in the fun!