Blub Blub

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Ever since The Winter of Aquatic Death, I’ve been ignoring the aquarium. We are down to two tiny fish, a swarm of planaria, and some algae. Both the light bulbs burnt out several weeks ago. The water was a bit cloudy. I was even starting to use my secret mind powers (which I generally only use on dishes and laundry) to make the entire aquarium disappear. Anya told me she wanted to get some more fish, but I’m not going to put them into a home that resembles an underwater Dickinson orphanage. What do I do when things get messy? Clean Sweep ’em!

I couldn’t really take everything out of the tank and put it into piles, so instead I went to the pet store and bought new light bulbs. I am so wild and crazy. Even wilder and crazier than that? I didn’t leave the light bulbs in the car for two weeks. I didn’t let them get lost on the kitchen table for an entire season! Nope. I replaced the light bulbs right when I got home. I walked in the door, dropped my stuff on the floor, and changed those light bulbs! I really think I deserve a gold star for that alone, but it doesn’t stop there. Oh no, it does not.

After the tank was once again illuminated, I could see how much algae was growing on the sides, so I decided to scrub that off. Then I noticed all the flotsam dangling off the plastic plants and the princess castle. Those definitely needed to come out for a good washing. And heck, if I’m going to do that, why not break out the gravel sucker and suck up some muck? WOO! I really need to remember how much fun gravel muck sucking is because if I do, maybe I’d do it more often. It’s so much fun it’s sort of dangerous since I can easily get distracted by all the fun and suck up a fish or suck out so much water the fish end up flopping around on the gravel like in that horrible asthma commercial. Don’t worry. I managed to contain my fun adequately.

The aquarium is now beautiful and clean and tidy. I even rearranged the plants and other decorative items to give it a total Clean Sweep make over. The fish seem happy. I’m not so sure about the planaria, and I’m hoping the algae has suffered serious setbacks. But who cares about them? It’s time for more fish!

IMG_0036 (Any store is a toy store when you are Anya.)

The Pot Maker

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I bet if everyone knew you could buy a Pot Maker, which turns ordinary newspaper into ordinary pot, well, I bet things would be different.


Darn. I really feel like I should be able to come up with some awesome pot jokes given this great prop, but I see now that I didn’t even take the photo correctly. You can’t even tell it’s a Pot Maker. It could be a Bot Maker or a Rot Maker or a rare and coveted 3ot Maker.

So, Spring is on the horizon, and [even though I told Andy at one point last summer when the weeds had taken over and the groundhogs had eaten the last cucumber vine: “the gardening part of me is dead”] I decided to give gardening another go this year. Ever since we moved here oh so many years ago (SEVEN!), we’ve tried to garden and mostly failed. Last year was the best, but still pretty much all we got were potatoes and pumpkins. This is sort of embarrassing what with me supposedly being a Master Gardener(tm). This year, though…this year is going to be different! Yah! We’ll have potatoes AND pumpkins AND one more thing! It may even be something we like to eat!

I’ve had my Bot Maker for probably about 15 years, and I’ve never used it. What with my newly found gardening zest and determination, now seemed like a good time to break it in. Anya is absolutely in love with the Rot Maker. Even though we didn’t have any newspaper last night, we still had to make some pot…s. We used some drawing paper she’d doodled on, and it worked really well. Then today, we had to take it to school to show everyone how to make pot….s. I guess there wasn’t time to in class today to learn about making pot…..s, but the teacher said she’d love to have us bring the 3ot maker back another time. I don’t really intend to grow any plants from seeds, so I’m not sure what we’ll do with all the finished pot…..s. Want some?

Too much of anything, even pot making, is not good for anyone. [Plus we haven’t finished reading the weekly local newspaper yet. It just arrived today, and there’s a sudoku puzzle in there!] Because it’s still way too early here to plant anything and I want to keep my excitement alive and educate the kid and actually do something I’ve pinned on Pinterest….I bring you my Great Bean Experiment.


The original looks a bit more interesting. I clearly have too large a container and too small a bean to ever have my experiment Pinned. Hrmpf. I wonder if I get extra points for having FOUR beans instead of just one?

The experiment started yesterday, and not much has happened yet. No wee green sprouts. No fuzzy white mold. No giant stalks shooting up into the sky, which I freely admit I am glad about because we got a bunch of snow yesterday and it is COLD and I am pretty sure our insurance wouldn’t cover that. I suppose if one day the beans do sprout, we’ll be prepared what with all the pot….s.

Seeds, glorious seeds!

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  • Today I was looking through more of my seemingly endless seed stash, and I found several packets from 1999. Even with my seed hoarding habits, I feel pretty okay with tossing those right into the compost.
  • We have baby tomato plants!
  • Going to plant some lettuce and spinach today.
  • May also do some germination tests on some bigger seeds like cucumber, bean, squash, sunflower. Mostly because it sounds fun.

Wanna shake my tree?

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Yesterday I was mowing up by the workshop, when I saw a handful of peaches scattered next to it. I started grumbling about Cabol throwing out old fruit for the animals right where I’d mow over it.

Then I looked up and saw 2 dozen bright red and yellow peaches hanging off a tree that appears to be growing under the large spruce next to the workshop. I blame squirrels, but I can’t understand how I missed a bunch of peaches growing over my head ALL SUMMER LONG. It’s not like it is the first time I’ve mowed there!

Quick, she’s asleep!

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When Anya hits the hay for her weekend naps, Andy and I trip over each other running out of the house to get projects done.

The weather has been nice lately, and I find myself a bit inspired from our one day of yard work at the inlaw’s. It was so easy there to see what needed to / could be done. When we got back here, I decided to try and focus even closer to the house than the “yard” area I mapped out this spring. There really is just way too much “yard” to try and work on it anywhere near at once. Or to even think about it at once.

With my new plan of attack, I went after the weeds that had sprouted in front of the porch and spread some rocks out so that one little spot looks nice. Just don’t look to the left or right or front or back, okay? Then I went and bought a few bags of mulch and sorta weeded and then mulched the wee tiny flower bed by the front door. Not only does the bed look better now, but it’s easier for me to see the structure of it and to get ideas. Today I moved a plant I just now cannot remember the name of….hardy primrose! Yah, that’s it. So, I moved it and cut it in half and hope it is dormant enough (flowers early spring) to not die. I also planted a sedum I rooted from a bit I pinched off of a plant outside the dentist. It should get big and flowery-bee-y next year! Finally, I planted too ittybitty mums I bought today. I doubt they will come back next year, but they were cheap, and I hope to get a bit of color by the door from them.

While I was working on these sorts of things, Andy hung a porch swing. Yay! I’ve been wanting a porch swing, and he found this one on uberclearance while getting supplies for the inlaw’s rock patch.

We’ve also both continued to work on the kitty room. Andy more than me, but I did some painting today! It needs one more coat of paint tomorrow morning, and then we will start to tile. After that, the room needs two more screens put in and two doors. We should be done by winter! This picture is before painting.

I’ve been working on fixing up an old door Andy got for free when he picked up some wood flooring a while ago. The door will go between the kitty room and the plant room. I was originally planning to wash the door and prep it for painting, but when I realized much of the trim around the windows was rotten, I decided to take it all out. Andy will put a screen in the space instead.

I have to wait for Andy to sand the nooks and crannies. I used the palm sander for the flat spots, but sanding by hand gives me extreme goosebumps and the willies.

The Summer of Death

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This has been a summer of death at Loafkeeper Farm.

The cage a bunch of our chickens lived in fell apart, and so the chickens became free rangers. They flew up into the shrubs and trees at night and ate bugs out of the grass by day. One day we came home from work and they were gone.

Another day we came home from work, and the last two ducks had vanished from their tractor. The door was shut, the lid was on, and there was nary a sign of struggle. We did, however, find a hole in the chicken wire. Either something neatly pulled them out that way, they packed their bags and left on their own (closing the door behind them), or the postal delivery lady stole them.

I found Carla dead in her cage (you guessed it) one day when I got home from work. She had been acting fine that morning. I don’t know what happened to her. Wibble stopped eating, and we force fed him and gave him fluids, but he wouldn’t eat. A few days later he died.

Then the sheep got bad parasites. We gave them wormer meds, and the sheep would seem to get better, but then they would get worse. By the time it clicked that we needed to change wormer, three sheep were too weak to make it. Two died on their own, and the third Andy had to put down.

2 ducks + 6 chickens + 2 bunnies + 3 sheep = Summer of Death

A few days ago, we contacted the folks we bought most of our sheep from and asked them if they knew of a good home for our girls. This morning, the Ingleside folks loaded Pearl, Sadie, Pumpernickel, Pumpernickel’s two babies, and Pearl’s baby into a giant sheep cage in the back of a pickup and took them home. We kept the Sids.

We’re a little sad but mostly we are relieved. We know they have gone to a good home where they will get to play with other sheep and run in fields and be happy. They won’t all stay there forever, but the Ingleside folks know how to sell sheep and are connected and have a great web site, and they will find new-new homes for those they decide not to keep. It’s a good thing.

So, no more chasing the girls hither and yon. No more baby sheep to fret over. No more “rammy” rams going nutso during breeding time. Less hay, less shearing, less time feeding and watering and moving fences. So yah, sad but relieved.

Next project underway

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My parents are out for a visit, and you all know what means: Another home project! We are turning the downstairs porch into a kitty box / plant room. Finally the kitty boxes will be out of the living space, AND there will be a place to winter plants and start seedlings, AND we’ll be able to move the freezer downstairs, which means we’ll have room to build the tabley thing in the kitchen! YEEHAW!

Here’s a look at the project so far:

Oooh, that smell

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Today I saw a post on craigslist for some reclaimed red oak flooring out of a house in town. Approximately 300 square feet for $125. We have talked about putting hardwood down in the living room/kitchen/hallway, and really liked some rustic maple at the hardwood store in Floyd, but it is pricey. And we had red oak at the old house, and it looked nice once I refinished it. So I went to check it out and came home with a truck full of oak (and one piece of bamboo).

Most of the boards are in decent shape. Many will need some trimming, but there is still a lot of usable flooring. And all but 2 nails have been removed or clipped. After stacking it in the workshop and doing some quick calculations, though, I’d say there is somewhere between 255-300 square feet. Depending on the waste, that may not be enough to do the living room like I hoped.

On the plus side, it *is* 2 1/4 #1 common red oak, so we can probably locate some more easily. The finish is ok, but not geat, so I will probably sand and refinish it all anyways. I could be not so picky when trimming, too, and we could just call it ‘utility grade flooring.’ :)

If Cabol looks at it in the light of day and decides she doesnt like it, then I will probably save it for my long term plan of putting a level floor in the workshop. There is a cement slab, but it seems like they made it out of leftover cement and no one bothered to float it and make it nice and smooth, so it is full of dips and high spots. :(

And I absolutely adore the smell of red oak. Cabol couldn’t smell it(!), so I shoved it in her face until she could. I don’t think she was as enamored with it.

Duck, Duck, Duck….Gone

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Three of our ducks have gone missing.

Wednesday night when we got home, we could only find five ducks. We searched all over and found not a trace. I became convinced the postal lady had stolen them.

Thursday morning Andy put the ducks out. I didn’t want to. We shouldn’t have. I had the day off and all five were there until about 5:00. I looked out and there were only four. I didn’t hear anything.

We only have four ducks now. They will not be running free anymore.

Do things that eat ducks eat babies, too?