Weekend warriors – The Sum of February 2017

It seems like, as long as this winter has been, it is now just flying by. February always kind of sneaks up on us… like oh here I am and BOOM hahaha now I’m already gone. It wont be long and we’ll be focusing all our energy on things that need to be done for outside…getting chicks, starting seedlings, cruising plant nurseries for good deals.

But that’s still a good month or so away, so for now, I’ll update you on our big kitchen/chicken hospital renovation, which, is actually at a multi-level type of disappointing standstill at this moment…

When we last left you, we were uncovering some serious issues.

Thankfully, we aren’t really the type of people to give up easily… With all the walls torn out and the water damage fairly visible, we were happy for our local handyman to tell us, all the work was not for naught..

So, it was time to rip into the floor. We were excited/nervous, because we didn’t know what we were going to find.. .more insect activity? More mold? Just a bunch of rot? D.B. Cooper? A swamp?  Well we were pretty sure we weren’t going to find a swamp, but it never hurts to expect the unexpected.

MrGillis spent a fair amount of time just ripping down the rest of the walls, cleaning out old insulation, mice/bug nests and trucking it all out. After that, came the Next Big Step in our plan. Removing the floor so we can get rid of all the water damage, level it out, replace and rotten and missing floor  joists and redo the interior of the kitchen well enough to last a good 20 years…

 

My dear hubby did most of this, unless he couldn’t get all the screws out. Then I came to the rescue, with my super helper skills…essentially, I would hold the floor board up, putting stress on where it was giving us trouble, while he figured out where to attack from…  with some help from the circular saw, we got the floor out.

That took basically that entire first weekend of February… it sure didn’t feel like we got a whole lot done, but really, we know, we are getting there…

The second weekend of February, was another weekend of mrgillis working mostly by himself… while izzy was napping, I rushed out and hauled dirt out in 2, two gallon buckets while he shoveled it. It was a bit of a crazy hour and a half, but we got a lot done and I am eternally grateful that we have a baby monitor that we can count on to work with us while we’re working outside and she’s napping away in her extremely, toddler proofed room.

 

We managed to fill that sucker twice before we called it a job well done.

That’s right, we took out over two tons of dirt, wood, bark, insulation, and some weird animal skeleton that was wrapped in plastic(I know, right? It’s got us too.), 4 gallons at a time. It was, well, an experience. We were both pretty sore the next day, and I only put in 1/5 of the time mrgillis did. He insists that my time was invaluable tho, as we really got some dirt out when working together….

So, that pretty much took the sum of the second weekend of February.

Immediately following that, like literally sunday night into monday, we got hit with a huge state wide blizzard that shut down all of Maine basically. We spent the entire week cleaning up from that, over and over again because snow drifts. Seriously. I was shoveling the chicken and shed paths 3 TIMES A DAY. And not little 5 minute clean up jobs. I would go out to thigh deep snow in the AM, get it out of the way, and by lunch be shoveling knee deep snow again.

Also, we got our new kitchen sink setup installed! But that led to another not so great discovery

The third weekend, well, mrgillis and I dropped the little one off at my parents and absconded to the queen city for an overnight stay at a motel.

One, because we got it for free, two because a quality nights sleep was the perfect  belated valentines gift for the both of us, as parents to a 21 month old and three, CLEARANCE sales..and chinese food we didn’t have to cook ourselves.

 

Kmart in Bangor is closing and tractor supply club was having an additional 20% of all clearance deal.. so we hit kmart and spent all kinds of the green stuff on birthday and christmas presents for this coming year and we stopped at 3 different tractor supplies over the course of the two days and got so many goodies for the garden for super cheap…. we found everything from earth worm castings, to a drip irrigation system, to 3’x8′ aluminum screening for making windows (that was 70 CENTS a roll people!) two machetes and a saw for bushwhacking our way around the back property on super super clearance. I also managed to grab some cute wrapping paper and a new sign for my kitchen. We also looked at some sheds to convert to coops, because we don’t know how much time we have to build from scratch…

And that brings us to now, the last official week of the month. We still have no kitchen or chicken hospital. Maple tapping season is Literally on top of us, and we have no where to boil it down.

We’ve taken stock of our maple syrup and are ok with the fact that we wont be making more this year… we also decided that if needed, we can house the chicks in the house for a few days, because we do know we HAVE to get chickens this year… spring is springing and we are only getting a few eggs.

BUT the good news is, Charlie the handy guy came around this last week and told the hubby that after we clear out under two particular spots and take out the bathroom floor we can start jacking it on saturday! Progress!

Anyway, we have about a bazillion things to do, and I have like a thousand blog ideas, even some already in draft from, so I guess, time to call it.

Until next time, have a wicked good day.

 

 

My Favorite Chicken References

The title, pretty much says it all. These are my go to books and websites for any kind of chicken keeping info. As I find more, I’ll update this blog.

1. Stories Guide to Raising Chickens – This was my first big deal buy when it came to deciding to own chickens. I got my copy from Tractor Supply Co. and immediately started reading. I blew threw the whole thing in a matter of days and really educated myself about the general care of chickens, as well as learning a whole bunch about them in the process… Like chickens have over 20 separate vocalizations that they use to communicate with each other. Great mini guides included about how to tell if you’re buying the right chickens for your family as well. THE ONLY THING – the author and I disagree on culling. She believes in culling chickens that aren’t producing anymore and in my mind the only time you take a life after its been in service to you since the day it arrived in your hands,  is when it’s suffering… I would never cull a hen just because its past its prime.

2. The Chicken Health Handbook – This book is actually written by the same person, and is a comprehensive guide to health care for you chickens. If you’re like our little family, when a chicken gets sick, you try to make it healthy again. The first time we had a bumblefoot infection, we called EVERY veterinarian in a 60 mile radius and were told no. No Chickens.  We finally, kinda “tricked” one into seeing Dawn, but that was horrific and didn’t work out. Dawn did much better after I took over her care. It does require a lot of research, a go get em attitude and a strong stomach tho… It also helps to have another set of hands and this book to guide you.

3 The Chicken Chick

4. Fresh Eggs Daily

5. Backyard Chickens

6 . The Chicken Whisperer

All four of those are websites/blogs run by crazy chicken people. They are all pretty rad and I recommend perusing the backlog of any of these sites. Also, they all have great social media presences- you can find all of them on facebook, instagram, pinterest, etc.

And, I have to say, Pinterest in itself has been a great resource in finding other people just doing what they can to keep happy healthy birds, and sharing that info on the great interweb for other chickens and crazy chicken keepers to benefit from. Just look up “chicken keeping” or “backyard chickens” because if you just look up “chickens” you get a whole lot of recipes.

That’s all I have to say about that really… until next time, have a wicked good day!

 

Weekend warriors -2nd half of January 2017

Goodness. Where to start?

The last we left this was a few weeks ago, with lots of mundane crap work and a couple small setbacks.

So, since then we’ve had a plumber come by and actually turn off the water to the kitchen. He took out the old sink, installed a rubber hose for me to get water for the chickens, unhooked the old water heater…. And that was just in the kitchen. Underneath, he cut the drain from the shower stall, and also unhooked and pulled out the piping from the shower head and controls.

I took the shower stall floor out myself, because I wanted to conquer that troublesome piece of plastic. And I did. Ha.

A few days passed and the hubby had time to go in and start tearing up some major floor.

Yup. That there folks- That’s rot. Lots and Lots and Lots of rot. We are pretty pfffffted at this point. We now are looking at finding some floor joists and actually getting the house jacked on the kitchen side come next month. We’ve already contacted a local handyman type to help us out. Here’s hoping he’ll take some pickled eggs and maple syrup to soften the blow of the bill.

So, our next step is to drain the water heater tank, rip up everything we can get our hands and tools under and… tear out the walls and floor to my chicken hospital at the same time, because when you discover an infection, you don’t just put a bandaid back over the top and hope for the best (that’s my hubby talking for a second… Its kinda like bumblefoot in my mind. We wouldn’t leave a chicken like this, we cant leave one of our buildings in similar condition)

So, we had to put a halt on that project for the rest of the week until time becomes more available.

But that’s ok because we had a crap ton of other work to do. I don’t know if I’ve ever really made this clear, but my hubby and I both work full time jobs on top of everything we do here, so monday thru friday we don’t have all the time in the world to dedicate to just our DIY projects.

So heading into the last full week of January, I was concentrating on payroll taxes for two companies, and mrgillis was reconciling the companies quickbooks for the year. Over the week, we did a couple things to get ready for the next big push. Like, empty the water heater so we could get it out of the kitchen.

This, should have been a quick job, but of course, as mrgillis was walking by our hose holder, he somehow broke it(I was just kinda glad it wasn’t me that broke the thing we were using, this time), which sprung a leak. We had to unroll the ENTIRE length of hose, unhook it from the hose holder, rehook it back to the water heater and THEN it could drain outside instead of all over our already rotting from water damage kitchen floor.

Fast forward a few days and its saturday morning. We dropped the munchkin off at our babysitters and proceeded to get to business. Said business being to clean out the chicken room and kitchen completely, find somewhere else to stick all that stuff (Yea! More reorganizing!) We also put up some light block curtains to try and keep more heat IN because we’ve been experiencing below zero temps at night.

Finally, with everything moved out of the way, it was time to get down and dirty with our bad demolition selves.

MrGillis, initially wanted me to keep taking nails out of old trim boards. I pretty much vetoed this idea after the first board. Into the pile of trash they went.

With that decided, we went to town on that kitchen I tell you what.

And as we ripped down the walls we found several things… mostly Fun Unknown Origin Insect Activity

But none of that stopped us- nosiree. – we tore thru that kitchen and even into the what used to be the bathroom and will soon be our chicken room (YEA BABY CHICKS IN LIKE A MONTH!!!)

We started into the bathroom walls, and found more Insect Activity Of An Unknown Origin… and EVEN that didn’t stop us. I went thru a stud, because of how rotted it was, and THAT didn’t stop us. We tore up floor, down to rotted joists. We started in on the bathroom floor, and had to stop up at the toilet because, oh yeah, MORE FRIGGEN WATER DAMAGE.

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So basically, we tore out a bunch of crap, found a bunch of crap that didn’t make us very hopeful for the future of our shack…

Fast forward a few days, and mrgillis talked to the guy helping us jack the building. He wanted to get another opinion, and funnily enough Charlie has worked on this place before(his sister too, actually. It’s a small town.) After some inspection of the rot and also the sinking floor, he said that it would be some work, but it would be worth it.

So that is where we are currently at. Heading into February, with an even longer list of things to do before sap starts flowing and baby chicks start landing. We have pretty much the next 4 weeks to get our acts together… so off we go to work again…

Until next time, have a wicked good afternoon.