Saturday, July 29, 2017

End of July

Every time we go to Walmart, we have to stop in the toy aisle and play for a little bit. James was loving these power ranger toys and asked me to take a picture of him.

I bought a large plastic drop cloth from Walmart and we made it into a slip and slide! (Or as Rett calls it, a "Slipping slide"). They were having so much fun testing out what ways make them go down faster. Rett likes to do the "penguin" where he is on his belly with his arms out behind him.

Our three bantam chickens we bought back in April turned out to all be roosters! One wouldn't be so bad, but they end up crowing all day to each other trying to determine who is the big man and it was so annoying!! When we bought them, the feed store said we could bring them back if they turned out to be roosters (not for a refund but just for a place to take them to). So we finally did. While we were there they had a more girl chicks, so we bought three of them. We took back three and bought three, so our total chicken count stayed the same :)

Holding the chicks on the way home:

We had a big thunderstorm come through and it knocked out our power. It was the first time losing power in the new house, and I realized how unprepared I am! I had no idea where the flashlights were and when I found them all the batteries were missing. James ended up walking around with me shining his watch on things until I could find the candles and the matches. Once we fixed all the flashlights I gave one to each of the boys and told them to go back to bed. They were too excited to sleep, so they ended up playing with their flashlights on James' bunk and making each other laugh.

James thought the headlight was so useful, he refused to take it off the next day. He wore it all around town "just in case the power goes out".

Rett wanted a picture too:

We made a quick stop at the library and James got his very own library card. He was sooooo excited!! He couldn't believe that the card was his very own. He checked out a few books on his card and is very concerned about making sure they don't get overdue. Since I am a volunteer, I don't get charged overdue fines, so now I have to start paying attention to that stuff too!

We had a great egg collection day. Two chicken eggs and five quail eggs, the most we have ever had in one day. Now we consistently get two chicken eggs and maybe one or two quail eggs. I don't know what is going on with the quail but they are not producing like I thought they would. We still aren't getting enough eggs to replace buying eggs, but we are getting closer. One day!

We repurposed some of our leftover cinder blocks to make a more permanent fire pit. Anthony wants to add another level of bricks to it so that he can use it as a smoker as well. The wood Anthony used to start the fire was a little wet so it looked more like a smoke signal than a fire, but the boys loved it!

Anthony bought some new hair clippers from amazon and I got James to agree to let me use them on him. These are much quieter than our old ones and cordless, so he wasn't as bothered by them. Unfortunately I misread the settings and when I started cutting it clipped his hair waaaaaaay short. There was really no going back from that, so I ended up cutting it short all the way around and giving him a buzz cut. He didn't mind it until I was done and he went to the bathroom and saw himself in the mirror. He insisted that he was never going out of the house without a hat until it all grew back! He has kept it up for almost two weeks, he really means it.

He found a second hat to add to the rotation at a thrift store. And an old pencil sharpener.

Rett wanted a picture too, of course.

We have been struggling trying to get Rett to go #2 on the potty. Nothing seemed to motivate him! We've made some good progress in the last few weeks. We don't put anything on him at night, no underwear and no diaper until he is asleep. Otherwise he will poop in it! Then if he goes in the potty he gets a poopoo prize from a bag of dollar tree things I bought for him. Anthony finally got so frustrated with him not pooping in the potty that he instituted "poopoo spankings" if he poops anywhere but the potty while he is awake. It probably goes against everything they say about potty training, but it is working for us :)

We took a quick trip to my mom's for the weekend and while we were all talking and playing, James casually pulled his tooth right out. I had no idea it was that loose! It is a good thing the tooth fairy was prepared from the last lost tooth.

James decided to write a note to the tooth fairy this time.

Watching some tv in bed before going to sleep:

While we were in Gainesville we decided to visit the Santa Fe zoo. I haven't been there since I was a kid, so it was fun to see it as an adult. It happened to be national zookeeper day when we were there, so they had a lot of fun exhibits set up. Rett got to hold a beetle. He was a little scared at first, but after he saw me doing it, he wanted a turn.

Checking out a baby box turtle. Soooo cute!

It started raining while we were there, so Rett decided to play in the rainfall from the gutters. Of course.

We spent a lot of time at the gibbon exhibit. They are so cool! James and Rett tried imitating the sounds they were making and got them to talk back.

Wild peacocks running around:

We decided to go to Buffalo Wild Wings for lunch and discovered that they have tablets you can play with at the table! So the boys played games while we were waiting and after we finished eating. I think it was the best time we have had eating out with the kids. Much less stressful!

Since the restaurant was in the mall, we had to ride the train. Look at these handsome boys!

Tuesday, July 18, 2017

More House Projects

At the beginning of the summer, we decided that we needed a second chicken coop. We already had 9 chickens in the first one and we wanted more! So we took apart an old bench swing frame, widened the legs for more space and put it back together. We used some old materials we had for the top shelter part, some more left over aluminum siding from the shed and leftover hardiboard siding from when they built the well pump house. The only thing we had to buy for this one was wire mesh and latches for the doors! James gave the dirty siding a good hosing down for us.

We assembled it and then moved it to where we wanted it to be. Not fun. We decided to put it right behind the first coop so that it would be easier to connect the electric fence. Our initial idea was to have these access doors on the side so that we could collect the eggs from the nesting area up in the top. Except we didn't figure in what would happen when we added the mesh to the bottom of the coop. Once the mesh is in, you can't walk up to access the doors! So we don't really use those :)

Adding mesh to the sides and making sure it goes deep into the ground so no critters can burrow in.

James jumped in and helped us staple mesh to the wood.

Everything up but the door! So close!

We finally finished it enough to put the chickens in! We put our silkies (they are bantam sized), our bantam rooster, and blueberry in there together.

It is easier for the boys to fit in the small door, so we send them in with food and treats for the chickens.

James took a break from building to walk over to the big coop and give them some treats.

Here they are! All completed!

Anthony took a weekend and installed a water softener (the big black tank) on our well pump. All that practice with RO units for the aquarium paid off and the installation went pretty smoothly! Now our water is much clearer and free of the iron and minerals. Next we need another unit to get the rest of the sulfur out of it. So the water isn't totally fixed, but it is a movement in the right direction for sure! When we first moved in we had a water treatment company give us an estimate for the filter and they quoted us over $5000. This cost us practically nothing since the water softener was given to us by a friend and Anthony put it in.

Once it was completely installed and Anthony turned the water back on, we had to run the faucet to let the water cycle through. It is supposed to get really dirty until it clears up. It got pretty gross!

Then it was so beautifully clear!

The boys took a bath that night and the difference in the water was amazing. The first picture is from them taking a bath a few months ago and the second picture is right after the filter was installed.

Over the next few days it the water got even clearer. Look at that gorgeousness!! It is so nice to shower with clear water now :)

While Anthony was working on the water filter, I decided to start tackling our kitchen cabinets. I have wanted to paint them white since we moved in, but I decided it was more of a summer activity. I got a lot done pretty quickly, but since then I've lost a lot of steam. I have about 2/3 of the bottom cabinets left to do and I need to figure out how to motivate myself to just get them done!

The top cabinets are completely done, here they are with the new hardware I picked out. It makes the room feel so much lighter to have all the white!

I've been wanting a new headboard and I've looked around at some project ideas for building one. But then my favorite thrift store posted a picture of this queen sized bed for $35! There is no way I could build something for that, so I paypaled them the money right away and Anthony picked it up on the way home. It is a lot taller than our old bed, so it feels like you are sleeping on a pedestal. I call it my "Queen Bed"