Monday, January 28, 2013

The Great Furniture Project

A long time ago, well less than two years, but more than a year and a half ago, we bought a sheet of plywood.  It was to finish off this project here.  We were going to use it to make shelves in what had been our old closet, before we put in a whole wall of IKEA closets.  We were in Rona looking for something, and came across this pile of quite nice, but cheap, plywood, and I said that it would be great for those shelves.  So we took it home, and it went into the garage.  Because there was so much junk useful stuff piled in the middle of the garage, we had to lean it against the work bench.  And then the urge to actually make those shelves seemed to disappear.  After a while that 4x8 sheet of plywood leaning against the work bench that ran down one side of the garage hindered us getting at the junk useful stuff piled there.  So we moved the plywood across the door opening.  It is a single car garage with a 9' door, so we pushed the plywood to one side to leave enough room to walk past the end of it to get out of that door.  Didn't need a big enough opening to drive in, as there was no room in there to park a car.  A few months ago some cleaning up was done in the garage, and the plywood got moved again.  Now it was in the family room leaning against the piano.  No problem, as no-one had played that piano in about 12 years.  But it was kind of long and  did cramp our style a bit.  And then I had a vision.....

I told Larry what I wanted to do with that plywood.  I planned it all out, and made sure that all the pieces I needed would be able to be cut out of the one sheet.  We carried the plywood out of the family room, through the garage, and out by the barn.  Set out a couple of saw horses, I checked my plan, and started measuring and drawing lines.  Over the years, the many projects that we have done, I think it has always been me that has done the measuring.  And you know who gets blamed if the piece of wood is cut to the wrong size....
Anyway, this time it was my project and of course it was me doing the measuring.  Larry helped me control that piece of plywood.  We don't have a table saw, so I used a skill saw and this clamp on guide thingy.  It involved a lot of measuring, and I have to admit that some of the pieces that were supposed to be identical to others, weren't quite.  Oh well.  (Just now, I came across this great idea for making a jig. )

Everywhere became my workshop.  The garage, the spare bedroom, the dining room.  I did manage to do the major sanding outside.  I had help from my friends.


I rounded some of the edges with a rasp, the same one that we use to rasp Pride's feet.


Then the project needed some legs.  I like furniture that is raised off the ground a bit.  Since this piece only needed short legs, we can call them feet.  I had a couple of options.  We had some pieces of nice sanded 4x4's.  They had started out as being part of stair railing corner posts. (Another project waiting to be done)  Giant spindles.  We were adding short legs (feet) to a kitchen island we had got off Craigslist, to put next to the stove at Wyndson Cottage.  I wanted it the same height as the stove. We had cut the unnecessary extra lengths off the big spindles.  I had sanded them by hand.  We had fastened them to the underside of the island with two brackets per leg, four screws per bracket, 32 screws total.  We then had to undo all those screws to pack the island in the truck, because it was too tall to fit in the canopy, and it wasn't going to work with it laid on it's side.  We put the legs back on when we got to Oliver, fastened all 32 screws again.  Then we decided we didn't like how it looked, it seemed too tall.  So we flipped it over and undid those 32 screws again, and played around to figure out what seemed the right height.  We brought those four legs back here with us, and I cut them off, much much shorter.  You just read all that to understand how we ended up with those four 5" 4x4 blocks.  As if you really care.  Those blocks though, they just looked too...well, blocky...under my furniture project.  So I had this brilliant (I thought it was!) idea.  I set the mitre saw at 8 degrees, and went around and cut a thin wedge off each side, slipping a wedge underneath the block on the last cut, to hold it level.  I was really pleased with how they turned out!


The plain plywood was a bit boring, so I wanted to add a bit of character to my vision.  I went to our local lumberyard, which has a clearance section out front where they have a bin of mouldings for a dollar a piece.  It was kind of disappointing, the selection was just about nil.  I came home with one 7' piece.  Wasn't quite sure how I was going to use it, but eventually came up with a plan.


Last weekend we went to Habitat for Humanity's ReStore.  I needed hinges.  So we ended up down on the floor with a big bin of hinges, taking them all out, trying to find six hinges that matched.  We found the perfect ones.  25 cents each.  This was furniture on a budget, so it just went against the grain to pay full price for moulding or hinges or paint.

And here it is.  Do you know what it is?


How about now? Parlez vous francais?  (hopefully Google Translate got it right)


I think this will give it away.


Yep, it's a laundry hamper.  One space for the really dirty clothes (think dirty jeans and other stuff that gets really grubby when we are working outside).  One space for the medium sort of stuff, and the other one for lights and whites.

There were a few things I had wanted to try with this project.  First was to make some chalk paint. Chalk paint is all the rage with the furniture make-over people.  If you want to know more, just google 'homemade chalk paint'.  I'll try it again, although mine came out quite streaky, and then I added a second coat.  That didn't fix it, and it was lumpy too, so I did a really quick sand between coats.  I watered the paint down and put a third wash coat on, and I liked that.  I wanted to distress the piece a bit, to make it look sort of old.  I had a hard time with that, because I'd worked so hard to get a good coat of paint on it.  I did a little bit, sanded the paint off some edges, and forgot to do the edges of the lids. Then I wanted to put a dark glaze on.  I painted it on, and left it, didn't manipulate it or wipe most of it off like you usually do.  I liked that result.  I wanted to add some script.  I played around with Google Translate.  This is supposed to mean 'laundry to be washed'.  French just seemed more interesting that English.


This is what it replaces.  We had three of these.  I got these after the IKEA project was finished. They replaced two mismatched hampers we had.  One for me, one for Larry.  I really like the idea of using different hampers for different types of wash loads.  Makes sense.  When that particular hamper is full, it's time to get it in the washer.


A huge improvement don't you think?
Hope you don't think I'm bragging, I'm just so really really happy with how this turned out, I just have to share:)) And look at those cute little feet!


And look, it coordinates nicely with the duvet cover.  Which was bought because the fabric was cheap and I said how well it would hide any dirty marks Luna might leave if she just happened to jump up on it.


I was hoping for a nice bright day to take the finished pictures, but it wasn't happening, and I was too excited to wait.  (They aren't as crisp and clear as I would have liked.)

Friday, January 25, 2013

Friday Fencing

This week we've been picking away at beefing up some of the fencing.  Just an hour or two here and there. This afternoon we finished a stretch.  We have a whole bunch of random rolls of fencing that I found locally on Craigslist too many years ago.  We've gradually been using bits and pieces of them.  This week we were working on the boundary fence of the north field.  When we moved in it was just barbed wire.  At some point on our side of the posts we added some farm fencing, but it was only three feet high.  The north field is one that Pride used some of the time, and the sheep also, but only when we were home, because it wasn't coyote proof.  Not long ago I noticed a coyote track coming from the field next door, and then into our north field.  I looked out of the window one day and saw three coyotes crossing by the horse shed.  It got me worried, because sometimes Luna goes out to the horse shed and cleans up what grain Pride has dropped.  I was worried about what would happen if she was out there, started to head back, and ran into those coyotes passing through.  We try to make sure all the gates are closed if we come inside and the dogs stay out.  We've watched Luna from the window go to the two gates and the barn door and test them all to see if she can get through one.  She's a sneaky, determined one, that Luna.

Earlier this week we loaded a roll of fencing on the dolly and dragged it out to the field.  Larry thought we could carry it.  We were able to lift it off the ground but to actually walk with it would have been impossible.  The first roll did 140ft.  We went to the other end with the next roll and that did 110 ft., which left us with a 35' gap in the middle.  That's what we filled in and finished off today.

Larry is undoing the broken post from the end of the first section.  That is what we wrapped the chain around to pull it tight.


Jake grabbed a ball and brought it with him.  Sometimes we gave it to Calli.  Calli thinks all orange street hockey balls belong to her.  She teased Jake with it.


Jake got fed-up and eventually wrestled it away from her


And we were back to this


Larry was all set to go at the other end, and was waiting for me to finish my end. I told him to take some pictures but he was to take no 'butt' shots.
The sun came out and it felt like Spring.  We both shed our jackets.


 He had been pounding in fence staples to fasten the broken fence post on the other end while I wrestled with the fastening the two sections of fence together.  Thirteen horizontal wires to connect like this.


In the meantime, Luna was running here and there.  She doesn't like any pounding noises, so as soon as we started hammering the fence staples in, she was outa there.  See how dirty her belly hair looks?


This is the mechanism that pulls the fence tight.  The 'come-a-long' is fastened to the broken post that is stapled to the end of the roll.  The other end of the come-a-long is fastened to a long chain that is fastened to a good sturdy post up the line.  Crank the handle and the fence gets pulled nice and tight.  


We left the old saggy farm fence in place.  It was partially buried into the ground at the bottom, and would deter any digging under the fence.  A good 4' high of 2x4" holes will hopefully deter the coyotes.  There's no chickens in this field to encourage them to challenge the fence.
To make the entire perimeter of our property coyote proof would be a daunting, expensive endeavour.  The perimeter is 5/8th of a mile.  There's probably nearly that much again in cross-fencing.  That's a lot of fences posts we've pounded in.

Thursday, January 24, 2013


This is why Luna doesn't get to jump on our bed, and why there is always dried dirt around her bed.

Yep, that's what the water looked like after she got in the tub and I sprayed warm water all over her chest and belly and legs and tail.  The plug isn't in the tub, it's just that there is so much dirt that the filter over the drain is plugged up.

We were outside a lot today.  It didn't rain until we were finished for the day, but the ground is damp, mostly thawed out now after our cold spell.  Just an average Fall, Winter, Spring and part of the Summer, day here on the southwest coast of Canada.  So yeah, Luna gets this dirty A LOT!   We usually leave the dogs shut in the basement until they dry off when they are that dirty.  Lately I've been giving Luna a wash off.  She is okay with it, I can get her into the bathroom and into the tub under her own steam.  But really, she'd rather not be there.  So the instant I even think about doing it, or just happen to stand outside the bathroom door, she is belly to the ground, trying to slink past me and up the stairs.

Today Jake was really dirty too.  We were out putting up some more fencing.  Jake was there with his stick, running through the wet field.  Luna was with us, with Pride, with the sheep, all over the place.  I gave Jake a rinse off too.  Even though he has more hair, and looked dirtier than Luna, the water was no where close to being this black.

Tuesday, January 22, 2013


After two evenings of gorgeous sunsets, Mother Nature decided to wow and impress us again yesterday morning.  It was a sparkly world.  The camera just cannot do justice to how beautiful it all looked.  Everything was coated in ice crystals.


The sky was incredibly blue.  We don't see that blue too often.  We are less than 20 miles from the ocean, and the damp air gives us lots of thin moist cloud, even on a sunny day.  Not today, it was clear, and oh so blue!


Notice how the crystals mostly point one way.  They seemed to point either east or north.  Weird.


This is a bunch of hair from Pride's mane, caught on one of the barbs.  He used to be notorious for putting his head between wires of the fence.  You know, the grass is always greener on the other side.....


Hanging off the fence tightener


Looking south over the hayfield.


We ventured through the bush this morning.  It seems just lately we've been walking around the back hayfield more often than not.  Recently because it's a shorter distance for Calli, but mostly because the dogs indicate fresh coyote activity when we get to the gate to the bush field, so we just say no thanks and turn around.  Today it was all quiet, thank goodness.  Luna got so hot she plonked herself in the creek, and then rolled on the frozen grass, so the water then froze to some of her hair.  She had the slightly frosted look.



Just be thankful I didn't post all the photos I took.  I can never decide which I like the most.


Sunday, January 20, 2013

Out of the Fog

Today turned out to be a glorious day.   From a cold damp foggy day on Friday, a flirting with the fog Saturday, to a lovely sunny clear day today.  We lucked out, because it seems that places closer to the ocean stayed foggy today.  The wispy clouds that were hanging around made for two days of lovely sunsets.  And I'm loving the longer days.  We took the dogs for a walk about 5 o'clock.  Larry went one way with Calli around the one mile block that starts across the road from us.  I went the other way with Jake and Luna.  That way Larry can dawdle along at Calli speed (I hate dawdling), and Jake and Luna can get a bit more of a workout.  By the time we met, Larry and Calli had gone just over 1/4 of a mile, and we'd gone just under 3/4.  Larry turned around and we all walked back together.  Calli's coming along pretty well, we certainly noticed a lot of improvement today.  She's pretty close to being back to 'normal'.  And the beautiful.

I did take some pictures of it yesterday.  Larry headed out with Calli.  I was finishing off cleaning out a chicken coop.  I was trying to keep Luna and Jake occupied so that they didn't notice that Calli and Larry had left without them.  When I got to the manure pile with it's clear view to the south, I had to stop and stare, then and go get my camera.

Looking to the south, over the hayfield




Looking to the southwest, where the sun was setting


And then I thought.....backdrop for a silhouette....
So got Luna and Jake on the top of the manure pile, doesn't everyone use a manure pile as a prop in their photo shoots?  This part of the manure pile is well aged shavings and horse manure, so wasn't too messy or smelly.


By this point they had both figured out that Larry and Calli had gone.  I think they could hear them going down the road, or maybe smell them?  Who knows, but they were certainly looking around quite a bit and trying to figure it out.


Tell me which of the three silhouettes you like best.


All Fogged In

Friday was an ugly grey fogged in day.  The weather people kept telling us that the fog was going to burn off, but it didn't.  It was cold and damp, and did I say cold, and it was just ugly ugly ugly.  It was foggy overnight and everything got a bit of frosty ice on it.  Saturday morning I was trying to take some arty pictures of the frost covered plants, but wasn't very successful.  I ditched them all except this one.  I only kept this one because of what you can see on the fence in the back ground. The sun was trying to burn through.  There's blue sky to the left over the higher ground, but the fog was still hanging out in the lower areas.


So I got a few different artsy fartsy pictures.  Kind of fun doing silhouettes.



The sun just coming through enough to give a bit of a glow to the red parts of the rooster.


He was on his way to go and hang out with the other girls. Sowing some oats,  showing me his wings.


And then I suddenly realized that he had a tail again!


He looks and feels much better than he did back in November, when the coyotes left him with this poor excuse for a tail.


No wonder he's heading to the other field to show off to the other hens!