Monday, July 29, 2013

New Additions and Chicken Coop Update

Over the weekend, we got some new additions to the farm.  A neighbor brought over 18 sheep.  They'll only be staying a short time, but it's fun to have them here for at least a little while.

Here they are all lined up along the back of the machine shed.  They were shorn recently, so they look a bit scraggly. 

We are still working on the chicken coop, but here's some of the progress so far.

This was just a lean-to off the back of one end of the machine shed.  Metal sides and roof; no window. 

The other end with door and part of the chicken pen.

This is the inside before we started.  We used it in the past for chickens, but I always considered it to be a temporary solution for a coop.  The black plastic had been used in the pumpkin patch, thus the holes for the plants.

Here I've removed the plastic and all of the straw, and leveled off the dirt floor.  Then we built a framework for the floor.  The opening at far right is where we removed one of the metal panels for a window.

The plywood floor is in.  I'll be putting some sheet vinyl on top of that once the walls are done.
Today we put insulation and ceiling boards up, and we've started on the walls.  The boards are from a part of the barn that had already started deteriorating when we bought this place.  Mr. M also wired it for a receptacle, a ceiling light, and a light switch.  And we put the window in; it really makes a huge difference on the inside.
We hope to finish the walls this week and perhaps get the floor finished as well.  Then we'll be ready to get a few chicks in another week or so.  We'll be moving the nest boxes and roosts from the old milk house that's attached to the barn; it had once been used for chickens before we moved here, and we had chickens in there as well the first few years we lived here.  This coop is in a better location, closer to the house and more accessible.


Sunday, July 21, 2013

I'm a Winner!

A couple of weeks ago, my friend and I visited 17 quilt shops on the 2nd annual Wisconsin Quilt Shop Hop.  There are section prizes, but also each shop makes up a basket of goodies that is supposed to be worth at least $200.  After the Hop was over, I got a call from one of the shops saying I had won their basket. 

Wow, what a haul!

The basket contained:

 several patterns,

five quilting books and an applique pressing sheet,

a baby quilt size batting,

a four mesh-bag set,

Stash Envy CD, notecards, glow-in-the-dark pins, Don't Hem Me In sewing kit,

(the pins plus the contents of the sewing kit),

and my favorites--packages of batiks:

40 strips,

 40 charms,

40 layer cake pieces, plus a Thimbleberries charm pack.

The basket also had a Needle Nanny magnet and a stationary set.

I am so excited about winning this basket of goodies.  Its value is close to $400.  I'm already using the Needle Nanny with a cross-stitch picture I've been working on, and I put floss for my next cross-stitch project into one of the mesh bags.  I can't wait to sew something with the batiks.

Thursday, July 11, 2013

Re-decorating the Guest Room

I love to change things around, whether it's doodads, fabric, curtains, or even furniture.  So when I got some really great buys at garage sales last week, I decided to re-decorate our guest room.  Mr. M has gotten to the point that he only chuckles when I change things around, which is a good thing because that's just who I am.  He discovered a long time ago that things don't stay exactly the same around our house for very long.

The colors are more reminiscent of fall, but I think the next time friends come to visit, it probably will be fall.

The chenille bedspread was $10.00.  The pillow shams, two on the bed and another on the bench, were a dollar or two each at garage sales from previous years.  The white chair with heart cutout is one I got at a garage sale at least 30 years ago.

The three curtain panels were $2.00 (total, not each).  Excellent quality; nice and heavy.  They don't appear to be a very good match with the red of the bedspread, but it (the bedspread) isn't as tomatoey red as it appears in the picture.  It is a closer match in person.

The oak commode was $20 at an auction a couple of years ago; the clock, bowl, mirror, and runner were all purchased at garage sales or thrift shops.  The only new things in the room are the candle and holder, as well as the chickadee picture on the wall next to the bed. 

The saying above the mirror was $1.00 at Dollar Tree (okay, this was also new--but cheap).  The picture frame was $1.00 at a garage sale, and the pictures are some I took of flowers in my garden.

The vase with flowers was $2.00; the shelf unit, which I spray-painted white was from a garage sale a few years ago.  The frame was also purchased at a garage sale and painted, but the "Love one another" cross-stitch piece is one I did many years ago.

The two quilted wall hangings are a couple that I made.  The treadle sewing machine belonged to my grandma.  The cloth and other things on the machine were also garage sale finds.  The bedside table is from an auction.  The lamp is from a thrift store, but the shade was pink that I had previously covered with blue fabric.  It doesn't appear in the picture because it's in my sewing room to have a new fabric shade made for it that better matches the room.

I like how the room turned out.  Will it stay the same forever?  Definitely not, but hopefully at least until some friends have stayed in it at least once.

I picked about 12 1/2 pounds of strawberries this morning.  With the 15 pounds from last week, that should be enough to get us through until next year.  My patch isn't producing much, so I may just turn it under and plant something else there.  It's easier to just  drive a mile and pick them, and let someone else do the growing. 

Happy July 11th!  Enjoy summer; it's usually over before we know it.

Sunday, July 7, 2013


Some time last year I bought an old metal rolling cart at a garage sale for a couple of dollars.  It was sturdy but rusty, and the shelves were covered with wood-look contact paper.  Not pretty!

I neglected to take a picture before I tore the contact paper off, but here is how the shelves looked after I took it off.

There was quite a bit of rust on the top shelf and a few places where the stickiness from the contact paper was still on all of them. 

I scrubbed and scoured the stickiness and rust off as much as I could.  Then I painted them and put the whole thing back together.  I'm so excited with the end result!

Yellow is one of my favorite colors; can you tell?  Now I have a great rolling cart for the kitchen, or wherever else I might want to use it.

Friday, July 5, 2013


We have a small strawberry patch where we get enough berries for fresh eating mostly.  A few days ago, I made a strawberry-rhubarb pie, using those berries and some rhubarb that I froze last month. 

It tasted good, but was sort of runny. 

I guess I'll have to try a different recipe next time.  I did find one that uses tapioca, so I may try that.

Because I wanted more than what our patch provides, I went to a local pick-your-own strawberry patch and picked three ice cream pails full, about 15 pounds for $17.00.  Not too bad for less than an hour of picking.

These are so good!  We ate a few fresh, but most of them went in the freezer for smoothies and shortcake next winter.  If I get ambitious enough, I may go pick a few more in the next couple of days.

We have started a complete revamp of our chicken coop.  It has needed a lot of work, and now that we're between chickens, it seemed like a good time to get it done.  I'll post pictures later of before and afters.