Living in an Old House; Part II

We had yet another old house adventure right after the new year…now what, right?!  We have always had a “normal” furnace. By normal I mean one that was electric and if it used gas, it was from a city gas line.  If something broke, it was (usually) a broken piece of the furnace.  So when we realized our furnace had stopped working (it was 60 degrees in the house), that’s what I thought it was; besides we had had it inspected for winter just a couple of months prior.  I told Torran and then got the heck outta there!  It was time for me to go shopping and Torran to get fixin’. I thought when I got home it’ll be back up and running and problem solved, right?  Wrong.  Poor Torran.  It was the last day of his vacation and I’m sure he didn’t want to spend it in our (creepy) basement trying to fix the furnace.

When I came home he said we might as well go get a part (it was cheap and is what normally breaks) and if that doesn’t work then call in professional help.  Of course, the part didn’t work and I called the company.  It was then that Torran told me we might be out of gas.  OUT OF GAS?!?!?  He told the furnace guy what was going on and if we had gas we would call back.  After that call he went out to look at the gas tank and told me when he got back in, “it’s either empty or the gauge is not working.”  How can we be out of gas?!  They just filled it late November!  We called the gas company and they sent a guy (who was super nice – thank goodness the Packer game was changed to the late game that night) and he filled us back up.  He did tell us we have a new delivery driver and that I might want to check on the gas level every week.  I also thought it was a holiday weekend and maybe that had something to do with it.  Regardless, we got it fixed and were set to go!  Now is the time I should mention we have hot water heat and so it took the rest of the night for it to warm up…I think it was 62 degrees or so when I went to bed.  Brrrr!  So anyway, we’ve learned a valuable, but cold, lesson – check the gas tank!

Until our next (hopefully warmer) adventure on this crazy journey…

Living in an Old House

mouse

One of my many concerns when we moved here was living in an old house again.  I grew up in an old farmhouse and remember blowing fuses and not using the microwave when someone else was vacuuming.  Fast forward to 2006 and the house we purchased in Menasha was the same way.  The fuse box was gone, but I still had to be careful when using the microwave if a lot of other things were in use.

Having lived in newer houses for the last three or four years I have become spoiled – especially with microwaves and garbage disposals!  (Who else HATES emptying the thing in the bottom of the sink when it is full of yuckiness?)  Luckily we don’t have a microwave problem at this house, nor do I have to worry about clogging up the garbage disposal (ask me about spaghetti noodles sometime).  However, we do have mice and various other creepy crawlies.  Ew.  Double Ew.

We moved in June and we didn’t think we had much of a mouse problem…then fall hit.  We were suffering from a  major boxelder bug infestation right by the front door at the time so I called a pest company.  They sprayed the outside (bye-bye boxelders!) and the basement.  While at it, the guy put some mouse poison boxes in the basement.  I thought nothing of it.  We’d kill a few, pick them up and be on with our day.  I WAS SOOOOO WRONG.  So very, very, very wrong.

The week after the bug guy had come we smelled something dead in the living room.  We thought it was a dead mouse from the poison in the basement and the smell would be gone soon.  Nope.  Not even close.  We moved all the furniture three days later; no dead body.  We took apart the heater vents; no dead body.  We looked everywhere and we couldn’t find the (literally) stinking thing.  We spent a lot of time upstairs at this point.

Finally, at the end of the week it was nice enough to open the windows and get the smell out.  I thought, surely it must be gone by now.  So I lit a candle and closed the windows.  An hour later I was almost sick by the now cherry/vanilla scent of death.  Ugh.  More time spent upstairs.

By the by the end of the second week the smell was fading away enough so that we could be downstairs and not be sick.  Yea!  I thought our dead-whatever-it-was-in-the-wall was the only time we would have to deal with THAT smell.  Again, nope.  I think we smelled “death” a few more times throughout the fall and couldn’t figure out where it was coming from.  Luckily it only lasted a day or so.

One good thing came from the mouse problem – it turns out our cat, Bonzai, is a terrific mouser!  He doesn’t eat them or tear them up, he just plays with them…to death.  Gruesome, I know, but at least they are not running around the main floor of the house thanks to him.  Except for the time the cat brought a mouse upstairs to Torran to play with.  Torran thought it was dead and when he stepped back into the room – away the mouse ran!  I was sleeping at this point so Torran got to relay the hilarious story to me the next morning.  The mouse ran under some things and the cat followed, cords were tangled, the cat was tangled; I’m sure I would have been laughing at this point while I stood on a chair if I was awake!  Long story short, the mouse got away into the hallway and that was the end of his/her life.   Oh the fun of living in an old house…what will be next?

Happy New Year!

Happy new year everyone!  What resolutions did you make for 2016?  Have you given up on them yet?  🙂

I didn’t make any resolutions, but I have some “guidelines” for the new year.

#1.  When I make a full meal, we will eat it at the dining room table.

#2.  I will try to eat more veggies – especially this coming summer when ours are growing!

#3.  Don’t sweat the small stuff.  This is a hard one for me…I’m doing ok…so far.

#4.  Plan, plan, plan the garden.  It’s going to be HUGE this year.

#5.  Enjoy life on the farm – hard work and all.

That’s it!  Nothing too complicated, right?  Obviously the big plan this year is the garden.  If I want to sell vegetables, I must grow them first!  Scary, but having a goal is a good thing, right?  🙂

Now, who wants to help till up the ground in March?

Not again…

IMG_3881
The mischievous fluffy kitten.

After a busy afternoon of baking cinnamon rolls and butterscotch drop cookies, I had an hour to wait while the cinnamon rolls were rising. So I decided to check on the chickens and raise the heat lamp on the babies. First, I got some scratch and cajoled the big chicken outside. Why they want to spend all their time in the coop is beyond me – especially when their run is totally safe now (we added poultry netting to the top – that is another post for another day). While I was out there I heard one of the kittens crying. A pathetic little cry that immediately sent me running inside. All I could think of was, “oh no, not another one stuck in the wall! I thought we blocked that hole…maybe there is another hole we don’t know about. Oh. My. God. What am I going to do?!?!?”

As I pushed open the side door I saw a streak of white run past and under the pallets we have some drywall sitting on. Then I heard the cry from under the pallets. THANK GOD IT WASN’T IN THE WALL!! Turns out it was my favorite fluffy white and yellow long-haired kitten. He had figured out how to get down the haymow stairs and was lost and scared. I closed all the barn doors and wondered how I was going to get him back upstairs.

Meanwhile, I figured I would raise the heat lamps on the baby chickens and wait for the thermometer to tell me if I have it at the right temperature (I do – you decrease five degrees every week until you are at the outside temperature). As I was crouched down watching the digital thermometer I heard him (I am assuming it is a him) cry again. I peeked my head over the railing and saw him cautiously wander a few feet from the pallet. That is when I heard it. ANOTHER CRY!! Ugh, will this ever end?! Then I heard the cry again while I was watching the little fellow. I happened to look up the barn stairs and there was another kitten sitting on the first step from the top! It was telling the other one, “what the heck are you doing down there you silly goose? Get your butt back up here with the rest of us!” Sure enough the fluffy one looked up the stairs and tentatively took a step up and then he was gone.

IMG_3876
The rescuer kitten.

I was so proud, but sad at the same time. Proud because they figured it out (I know, I know, I had nothing to do with it but still I can be a proud “parent”) and sad because they now know how to get down from the haymow and will start venturing out into the dangerous world. I wish I could keep them little and safe up in the haymow, but I must let them grow up. Such is the journey of life.

Christmas Cards

Finally I have a use for this empty frame I have been toting around all these years!  I simply stapled chicken wire to the back.  Finding the staples and figuring out how to load them into the stapler and then dealing with a jam took longer than the actual stapling.  Happy crafting!IMG_2610

Nesting Boxes

Our older chickens are now 19 weeks and they should start laying any week now.  This past weekend we decided to build nesting boxes for them.  Neither Torran or I have expansive carpentry skills, but I think we did alright!

IMG_3935

The boxes are on the outside of the coop so we don’t lose space on the inside since we have 12 more birds to add in a couple of months.  It has three nesting areas in it and a bar to help them get reach the boxes.  We  have plans to do another box on the right of this one.  Eventually we will have two more boxes below these.

IMG_3936

IMG_3945

We’ve heard that putting a dummy egg, such as a golf ball, inside the nesting boxes help.  So here we are with golf balls in our boxes, patiently waiting for eggs.  Any day now, ladies, any day.

I’m a new mom…to baby chicks!

Two weeks old.
Two weeks old.

It all started with me seeing a post on a Facebook page from the chicken lady.  She had two-week old Buff Orpingtons for sale.  Well, I messaged her she said she also had Silver Laced Wyandottes, Barred Rocks, and Light Brahmas too.  Decisions, decisions!  What kind would I get?  How many of each kind?  I debated back and forth and talked to Torran about it.  He was ok with it as long as I took care of them and we didn’t get too many for the coop.  I did some math, hemmed and hawed some more, decided I wouldn’t get them – who wants to take care of baby chicks in the winter?  Two days passed.  The next day I woke up and I was still thinking about them and so we are the proud owners of 12 baby chicks – three of each kind!  We now have 18 chickens.  No one told me they were this addicting…

IMG_3950

IMG_3954

IMG_3955

Thanksgiving Weekend

I hope everyone had a great Thanksgiving weekend!  We were able to spend some time with family and then relax for the rest of the weekend.

We decided on a real tree this year rather than our fake one.  Torran picked out a beautiful seven foot balsam tree and we brought it home – with me driving slowly and peeking out the sunroof to make sure it was still there!

Now that the tree was up and the lights were on I wanted a different theme for the tree; one that was more in line with the way we are living – very country.  So instead of spending a ton of money on something we only have up for a month, I got out my craft supplies and went to town.  First off was the burlap ribbon wrapped around the tree.  Next was the mason jar lid ornaments, then the birch tree disks, then the homemade salt and flour cookies, the scented pinecones (which I did buy with a coupon – a grand total of $2.38), the “tin” stars made from a cereal box, and finally the ice-cycles from Grandma went up.  Viola!  A country tree for very little money.  I am so proud!

The country tree.
The country tree.
Birch discs Torran cut from a tree limb.
Birch discs Torran cut from a tree limb.
"Tin star" made from a thin box.
“Tin star” made from a thin box.
Mason jar lid with vintage button.
Mason jar lid with vintage button.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Salt flour dough "cookie."
Salt flour dough “cookie.”

 

 

 

 

 

 

After decorating the tree, it was time to move to the rest of the house.  I put up garland around the two large picture windows; decorated the dining room table, living room coffee table, and kitchen counter.  I redid the “spring wreath” and then I hung garland in the hallway on the stair railing and put some garland and a burlap bow on the mirror in the hallway.  I put three trees in the guest room and after a break, cut some real pine from the backyard and decorated some pitchers in the cabinet.  I was done.  Both literally and figuratively.  I had pine needles everywhere!  Thank goodness Torran is forgiving when it comes to my decorating messes.  I got everything cleaned up and then sat on the couch all night looking at my beautiful house.  I can’t wait for Christmas!

Bed spring wreath decorated for Christmas.
Bed spring wreath decorated for Christmas.

 

Dining room table tree.
Dining room table tree.
Milk can and Rooster all dressed up.
Milk can and Rooster all dressed up.