Friday, April 30, 2010

Watch out for rusty nails!

Yesterday the weather cleared up so I ran outside for some afternoon chores. I cleaned the chick brooder, put fresh chips down for the regular chickens, took all the dirty chips to the compost pile, and then I was walking through the garden when I saw some persistent weeds poking up out of my raised bed, so I walked around behind it to pull them. As I stepped behind the bed I felt my foot slide down onto something, and I looked down to see one of the boards I had pulled from the compost pile, and I thought I had them all turned over so if they had nails the nails were in the ground, but in this case, the nails were pointed UP!

I pulled my foot up and slid it out of my shoe and looked, hoping I had just barely poked myself - I saw two little red dots on the bottom of my sock, spreading, so I was guessing it was worse than that. I calmly tried to pull my shoe off the nails, and it wouldn't come. I couldn't hobble back barefoot, so I fought it for a minute, swearing at myself the whole time. It didn't hurt so much as it made me mad because I knew it was the end of chores for the afternoon, and I had a lot I wanted to get done! I finally got the shoe off the nails and put it back on and hobbled back to the house, calling the dogs as I went - what a miracle, they came when called! On my way into the house I grabbed the phone, hobbled to the bathroom and took off the shoe and by now the sock was completely soaked in blood - bad sign. I rinsed my foot off under running water, and called Dave, told him my bonehead maneuver. He closed up the store and came home. I proceeded to follow my first aid training - if it's ugly, cover it up! So I slapped on a sterile pad and wrapped it with some vet-wrap, then sat out on the couch with my foot up and waited for rescue.

Dave came, took me to the urgent care place, and they all seemed surprised I had come in just for this. I think burying two rusty, filthy nails deep into the bottom of your foot is just cause for going to the doctor, but what do I know? They looked at it, cleaned it, wrapped it back up, confirmed my tetanus shot was up to date, gave me a prescription for some antibiotics, charged me $100 and sent me home. I think that was probably money well spent, if only for peace of mind.

So today I am hobbling around trying not to put weight on that foot. Both nails sunk right into the ball of my foot, so it's tricky to walk on. It aches like a son of a gun, but I wouldn't say it really hurts unless I press on it. I think this is going to interfere with getting chores done for a couple days. Well, now it can go ahead and rain all it wants!

Thursday, April 29, 2010

April showers...

The garden plants are eager to go outside...

The chicks are all feathered out, and ready to see the great outdoors...

And outdoors it still looks like this...

Drenching downpours off and on all day today!  Ugh!
Makes it so hard to get anything done.

Monday, April 26, 2010

Day out with Dog Scouts

I had a great day out with my friends from our Dog Scouts troop yesterday. Dog Scouts is a dog activities club, just like boy scouts - except your dog is the scout and you're the parent. Right now it has been more of a dog training club, because the first step to get dogs from being Cadets to Scouts is for them to pass an obedience test. You have to film the dogs doing their test and send it back to Dog Scout headquarters and get approved. So far only one dog in our troop has passed! So we decided to get together yesterday and film our terribly obedient dogs and get them certified. We must have been 'certifiable' to think that would work!

We all met at a beautiful kennel up in the woods north of town. The facilities there are unbelievable, so nice, and with a beautiful view of Mt St Helens, our favorite active volcano! The place was also full of happy Great Pyrenees dogs, as that's the kennel owner's favorite, including one who lived on the property guarding the place year-round. She was a rescue who got away and chose to stay there just out of reach, and that's how she's happy so they let her stay. One of our members has two of them herself, big, lovable therapy dogs. Our fearless leader was there with her very obedient cattle dog and work-in-progress pit pup, my friend Sherry brought Sitka the eskie, and I was there with the Barker.

The obedience test is not all that complex. The dog has to sit, down, stay, heel, and leave it. Doesn't sound hard, does it? Well, except for the cattle dog, who was already a pro, NONE of our dogs could manage those tasks! In fact they downright shamed us with their inability to 'leave it' and in fact had stolen ALL the dog cookies by the time we were done! Barclay got distracted from a stay when a bird landed on the water dish behind him (he wasn't even supposed to be looking in that direction, but he doesn't miss anything, unless it's something I'm asking him to do). The pit did a nice stay but when she called him he went blasting on past her to go check out the Pyr kennels. The Pyr probably did the best, but they certainly weren't fast or enthusiastic about it. Sitka stole as many cookies as he could stuff in his mouth at once :) They were just all over the place, and we had to just laugh at our inability to train our dogs to do anything!

Afterwards we sat on the deck, enjoyed some cookies and lemonade, and relaxed with the dogs, told stories, and enjoyed the view. Great view, great company, bad dogs, what more could you want out of life?

Sorry for the horrible quality, I had to snap this with my phone, the only camera I had on hand.

Saturday, April 24, 2010

In the chicken tractor

I have a broody hen sitting on eggs

She has six eggs, and she is three days in. 18 days to go.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010


A few years ago I made a couple 10 inch wood-burned plaques - one of Chester the dalmatian, and one of a pattern of a Pomeranian, which was supposed to look like Alki, but I was never very happy with it. I used a pattern because I wasn't sure how to make an all-white dog look good on a plaque. Chester was easy with all his spots!

I wanted to Make Alki a plaque, but after she was diagnosed with cancer I felt like I would be making her memorial plaque, and that just wasn't right. So I put it off and left it for later.

So today I got out my woodburning tool, a plaque, and picked out one of my favorite pictures of Alki, and got to work. I drew what I wanted on the enlarged picture and transferred it to the plaque in pencil to start with. It's so hard to get started on a project like this.

Mostly because at this stage I look at it and think 'OMG, that looks like total crap'. Artists can be so hard on themselves.

Oh, hey, that looks ok! It turned out pretty nice. I had one little spot I messed up, but I was able to sand it off.  Now I can have plaques in the hallway of my two friends who were such a big part of our lives for so many years :)

Update: I was burning my name and the date on the back, with a little inscription for Alki, and I looked up her records to see what her birth date was and today would have been her 15th birthday!  What are the odds I would pick today to finally make her plaque?

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Transplanting seedlings

My little army of tomatoes moved from their peat cups into bigger digs today - milk cartons and salad boxes. I think the salad boxes make nice little greenhouses! Of course, if I play my cards right I won't have to buy so much salad next winter.Three or four more weeks until the official last frost date. It's been really nice lately, but I'm not letting it fake me out. I've lost too many plants that way in the past!

Saturday, April 17, 2010

More chix pix

Three weeks old and doing fine. Everyone is starting to get feathers, and they look terribly ratty while the feathers are coming in. Once they are feathered they'll be ready to start venturing outdoors.

If it's gold and doesn't have feathers on it's feet, it's a buff orpington. Everything else is 'assorted cochins'.

White cochin

I guess this is supposed to be a blue cochin

The speckly brown one is a partridge cochin,
the stripey guy in back is my little one-eyed chick, still doing fine.

Hey, what are YOU lookin' at?!

Friday, April 16, 2010

Visited a Forest Preserve

In Brush Prairie, back behind the sheriff's office, is the new dog park. Behind that is a stand of trees. To get to the trees you have to drive past some signs that say 'no trespassing' and look like they mean it. The trick is that if you are brave enough to push on past, those trees are actually part of a county park. There is just one parking space by the gate. It is the Lauretta Norene Forest Preserve.

We took Jack and Barclay for a little walk there Wednesday. We had been heading for the dog park, but when we got there we saw there were a couple pit bulls on the 'small dog' side of the park where we usually go (it's normally empty), and I don't let my dogs play with dogs I don't know, so we opted for a walk instead.

The forest preserve has this deep, dark, forest feel to it. It's very cozy.

Lots of great stuff to sniff!

Dave handled Jack and worked on teaching him not to pull, while I walked Barclay on his flexi leash.

When you come out the other side of the woods you see this sign.

It's not clear which part of the park is the Lauretta Norene Forest Preserve and which part is the Groth Nature Preserve, but all together it adds up to a beautiful stand of forest surrounded by rolling fields.

Really lovely rolling fields, and room for the dogs to run (as much as they can on leash, of course). It was so generous of people to put this land aside. It's just gorgeous.

It was a bit cloudy, but normally you have beautiful views of Mt Hood. Here you can see snow-covered Silver Star Mountain on the horizon.

Back into the woods to head back to the car.

Happy dogs!

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Airstream plumbing part 2

I seem to have fixed the problem by just patching a piece of PEX into the system, replacing the leaky copper pipe, using one of these $5 Apollo compression fittings from Lowes.

I couldn't get the 'Gatorbite' fittings to make a good seal over the old warped copper pipe I needed to attach to, but this thing finally did. We'll see how it holds up down the road once it's felt a little road vibration.

Even if it's only temporary, it's better than replacing the whole system. That was going to set me back somewhere in the $100 range, and who knows how much time!

My next challenge is that once the pipes were pressurized the kitchen sink was dripping (running actually). So I pulled out the cartridges and it's back to the hardware store. 

Monday, April 12, 2010

Fixing the Airstream's plumbing

My view today is all about the broken water system in my Airstream. Life with a vintage trailer mean occasional repair jobs, and refurbishment. We've gotten away with not having to do anything for a couple years, but this winter I didn't get all the water out of the pipes, I got lazy because I always keep a spaceheater running in there. Unfortunately the GFI plug switched off, the heater stopped running, and the pipes froze and cracked. So now I need to get it all fixed in time for our next camping trip in May. So I began with an inspection of the system.

Here is the waterpump. The freshwater tank is on the right, and a variety of different types of hoses come from the tank outlet, through a drain valve I've never had cause to use, through a little filter (which I have never messed with) to the water pump inlet. The pump goes out through another hose which connects up to copper pipe. There are two drains that allow you to drain the tank out onto the ground, or to fill the tank when the trailer is hooked to city water.

The copper pipe runs back behind the couch, I have already pulled out the city water hookup because it leaked.

The pipe goes straight back to the bathroom closet. where it T-s off to go to the toilet. The brass connector is a 'gatorbite' I tried to use to connect PEX to the old copper but it still leaks. The cause of all my problems.

The piece that goes to the toilet connects to a small bit of PEX my friend Darol installed when he put the new toilet in for me a few years ago.

The main pipe continues under the shower and comes out on the other side of the trailer, where it T-s to the water heater. There is also a drain which drains to the ground. There is a T right before the drain which splits off two cold water lines for the sink.

The hot and cold pipes come up in the front corner of the cabinet and split off in two directions - one goes around the front of the sink, one goes around the back...I had a leak in one of these pipes on our big OK trip and it was a real bear to fix!

And they come back to nearly the same place, because the bathroom sink has two faucets - one for the sink, and one with a hose that goes up to the shower head.

Theres also hot and cold pipes continuing on to the kitchen.

And they go right up to the faucet. I've messed with these pipes before when I replaced the faucet a few years ago.

So I think a simplified plumbing layout without the 'city water' hookup would look something like this. I don't have a problem with losing that hookup because we never used it anyway. I prefer to get all my water out of the freshwater tank and refill it every few days when necessary - we rarely stay anywhere long enough to worry about that. This might be over simplified, I'm still doing some research.

Friday, April 09, 2010

Planted in the garden

No pictures, but I just wanted to update that I pretty much filled in the first row of the garden. Today I sowed radishes, lettuce, broccoli, and swiss chard. I tried to give things a good amount of room. I'm going to need to pick up some fresh spinach seed, I tried to sprout some and it didn't sprout at all, but it was a couple years old. That will do it for the cold starting plants. Everything else needs to wait until the weather warms up - mid-May is usually our last frost.

Thursday, April 08, 2010

Chicky Pix!

I spent a bit of time with the chicks this morning, just sitting and talking to them, looking them over to make sure no one needed any special attention. They are a week old now. So far, so good. Even the little one-eye'd one is still getting along fine.

I put a big branch in there for them to crawl over and perch on. They seem to enjoy it.

This annoyed girl had a bit of a poopy stuck to her bottom, so I caught her and cleaned her bottom. Turned out it was no big deal, but I figured better safe than sorry - sometimes they can get stopped up. Don't want that!

Of course since I had caught one, the rest all cowered in terror thinking they were next.

I sprinkled some food out and they started to relax.
Look at the one standing on one foot stretching his wing out - they're so danged cute!

Just look at this little chubby butt!

Once everyone had some food and water they started relaxing..

..and pretty soon it was nap time.