Post from 6/4/2008

It’s been almost a month since I’ve updated this thread.

Let’s see not much new just everything and everyone seem to be really taking up a lot of time.

My garden is doing well.  Here’s a tomato plant – and that’s just one plant – it just keeps growing and growing and putting out more and more long branches that I have to keep staking.  It was loaded with tomatoes when I took this picture day before yesterday.  But yesterday and today my sneaky little chickens got ahold of it and pulled off over a dozen big green tomatoes.

https://i1.wp.com/i187.photobucket.com/albums/x204/chicklady/tomatoplant.jpg

https://i2.wp.com/i187.photobucket.com/albums/x204/chicklady/tomatoes1.jpg

I’ve tried growing tomatoes all my life and never had much luck.  Last few years got nothing at all.  This time, of course I moved, but I used a wheel barrow full of “stuff” from barn floor – 50 year old cow/horse poop.  The little kitchen garden I planted by my back door is growing like crazy.

I did find my brussel sprouts covered in little worms the other day.  They had eaten the top leaves to shreds.  I hand picked off a whole bunch and fed them to the chickens.  That’s when I got the bright idea to let the chickens back into the backyard and into my garden so they could do a little natural pest control since I don’t like to use pesticides.  Well they did a little gardening work for two days and it cost me a dozen big green tomatoes.

https://i0.wp.com/i187.photobucket.com/albums/x204/chicklady/sprouts.jpg

Finally – I have finally built a front door for my coop.  It has just had chicken wire and plastic on front since we moved here in December.  I also built a new ladder for them and took down the death trap raggedy thing that was in there.  I built them by myself. I found an old grocery store door out in one of the buildings on property – there are so many old materials and building supplies around here I don’t think we’ll ever have to buy anything.  Anyway, I liked it because it had the old Holsum sign on front and back of door.  The door was too tall so I had to cut it down to size and put hardward cloth and reinforced back.  In winter I’m going to put plexiglass on back.  We also have many different sizes and shapes of that in shed because they used to use it on the porche screens in winter.  I’m going to build cold frames and a green house with it as well.

Anyway I’m quite proud of myself. It still looks a little rough but I had to do it all by myself. I learned to use a power saw and tools in the process.  I will still need to paint the door but I had to rebuild the door frame. There was no longer a frame in place and the walls just wiggled since they weren’t attached to anything.  I was trying to hang the door by myself without dropping it on the chickens that seem immensely interested in what I was doing.  Not an easy task to try and hang a heavy door by yourself. I used my toes as leverage to lift and hold and thought later I had broken them but they are o.k. – Did possibly break thumb which I still can’t bend and it’s swollen and black and blue.

But here are the rough results.

https://i2.wp.com/i187.photobucket.com/albums/x204/chicklady/frontdoor2.jpg

https://i1.wp.com/i187.photobucket.com/albums/x204/chicklady/frontdoor1.jpg

From inside the coop.

https://i1.wp.com/i187.photobucket.com/albums/x204/chicklady/door1.jpg

The view that the chickens now have and the nice breeze.

https://i1.wp.com/i187.photobucket.com/albums/x204/chicklady/insidelookingout.jpg

And finally my chickens can use the front door like civilized folk.

https://i0.wp.com/i187.photobucket.com/albums/x204/chicklady/frontdoor3.jpg

Here’s my ladder I built.

https://i2.wp.com/i187.photobucket.com/albums/x204/chicklady/ladder1.jpg

Finally the gardenias are all in bloom and since they are everywhere on the property the heavenly scent made working outside in the searing heat, in a chicken coop, for two days almost enjoyable.

https://i2.wp.com/i187.photobucket.com/albums/x204/chicklady/gardenias1.jpg

*************

Thanks Cyn- I’m hoping it will look better after I finish with trim work and paint.  Part of that front wall had collapsed/sagged down over time and I’m trying to shore it up.  I also had to nail hardware cloth to places in coop where boards had large gaps.  Of course coop is 100 years old but it is made from very thick solid cypress – you can’t drive a nail into the wood or screw into it.  You have to drill a hole first then use a power drill to put a screw in.  Hubby had given up on ever working on coop again way back when.  Just as well cause I couldn’t take his cussing and fussing.  So the door just got left covered in wire and plastic till I decided that was a bit too risky and just plain ugly, plus they couldn’t use that entrance at all.

I’m sure there are some who will say I should have built a solid door and they may be right. I did find an old solid door in shed as well but I like the screen door because I can look in and check on them without having to go around to back of coop, through gate and into coop.  Could something possibly tear through the top section that’s hardware cloth?  Yes but my dogs will tear them up before they get that far.  Again, they’ve only had a little chicken wire barely stapled to front with a piece of plastic tacked on for winter and nothing has tried to get in yet.  Well there was that dead possum I found in front of coop that time.

******************

Thanks all for the compliments.

Omeletta – all I can say is that I am working from morning till night outside trying to take care of things.  The home has not been lived in or the grounds cared for in 10 years.  The pictures make it all look good but there is much more work than I can do.  Many nights I’m too tired to cry myself to sleep.  I pick a project each day and that’ what I do.  For example, hedge trimming – that takes many days and I still haven’t gotten to all the hedges that line the brick walkways that all need to be pressure washed because they are black with mold – haven’t finished all those either.

The parterres (formal French gardens) in front of house all need to be replanted with roses but need to be dug out first.

The house itself has a whole side that is rotted and needs to be replaced. We had the local lumber yard make a special tool to cut and shape cypress panels to match the ones on the house. Obviously I won’t be doing that job myself.

I hired someone to cut the patures and open areas but I had mow with push mower a lot of the little yards, in between walkways and picket fences.  I have some maids that come once a week and just dust mop and mop floors that get so dirty from all the cats and dogs and me going in and out while I work in the barn and coop.  It takes three or four women three hours just to do that.

So I work outside all day and then inside all night.  Cleaning windows, stripping floors, refinishing cabinets, pulling sheetrock off old beaded board walls to restore them.

The list is endless and I’m making myself tired just thinking about it.  The plan is that once we sell some of our other properties we will have the funds to pay off this place and to pay someone to do all the major restorations that need to be made.  At least, God willing, that’s the plan. But for right now, it’s just me.  Hubby stays inside and keeps an eye on our on-line internet-based business which frees me to do all the hard physical work – Hmmmmm – maybe I should be the one to sit inside in a/c all day cause “Someone has to check e-mail” but he really could not care less if most of the things I find important are ever done or not – especially if it means him doing it – just ain’t gonna happen.  At our house in Covington which had 8 acres to be cut he used to say “Put a machette and map on the mail box for all I care.”

This is my dream home too and I’ve learned to be careful what you dream for and wish for because you just might get it.  Big houses and farm and property come with big demands.

Hi Miss Prissy – didn’t know you had a two year old.  That does make things a little harder to do.  I now have Scarlett getting into everything and half the time I have to carry her out of a mess or something she shouldn’t be in so it’s like having a two year old.  I’m really hoping for grandkids someday soon.  I do so want to have little ones running around.

As far as the one project at a time – that’s all I can do.  You’re right though once you tackle the big things and get them in shape regular maintenance isn’t as much work.  That’s what keeps me going – knowing that a lot of the work I’m doing is really a one-time job that takes a lot of time and effort and then will be easier to keep up.  For example the area where I have my little kitchen garden had a giant dead tree trunk there.  I spent all day digging up that thing and sawing it and pulling it out of there.  Hubby came home and saw the giant thing laying off to side and said “Are you crazy – did you really pull that thing out by yourself?”  Yep – that’s me – the crazy lady that wants something done and knows she has to do it herself.  So know I have my garden there.  As I harvested the lettuce and radishes and pulled up the snow peas vines after they finished I only had to plant my next vegetable – quick easy job.  The area where I cleaned up and dug up and turned over to plant my potatoes – same thing – after harvesting them – simply planted the next item.

Next project for me is to rent a tiller and try to put in a large garden.  I’ve realized I will really need to plant much more than I have if I want to have enough to freeze or can or preserve.  BUT….one day at a time, one project at at time.  Today I’m transplanting watermelon and canteloup and some tomatoes and peppers I’ve grown from seeds inside.

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