Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Brrrr... It Was Cold Last Night

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On the way back from the chicken coop this morning (after finding one egg) I heard some soft cooing off toward the greenhouse and went to check and found a group of hens settled in on the sunny side of the greenhouse where it was nice and warm and protected from the wind. The temp dropped into the low 40's last night and the chickens like to warm up in the sunshine. I disturbed this Light Brahma and then Morgan showed up to see what I was doing and got in the photo. Morgan was interested in something under the old pallet.
I have neglected this greenhouse terribly. Mostly I have just pretended that it isn't there. To tell the truth, I don't even know what I have stored away in there. I read so many blogs that showcase lovely gardens and I feel I really should get busy and get something growing. After I get the kitchen finished, then the plan is that I will spend some time out here with the greenhouse and in my little green garden. I did pot the two spider plants today. So I get one good garden mark.
I walked around a little looking for something to take a photo of that would be interesting to post. It is so dry that it seems everything is gone except leaves and sticks. There are more leaves down today, so that means the leaf flood had begun. Every year I have to make a decision about raking the leaves... should I wait and rake them all at once, or rake them every week for what seems like forever. It usually depends on the weather and how much rain we get.

It works out great if we get a big storm when the leaves are ready to fall. Then the leaves and dead branches are all down and I can clean it up and it's done. I'm hoping for a big windy rainstorm. No thunder and lightning, thank you! I don't want to worry about forest fires.

It is cold enough that I would love to fire up the wood stove, but we don't want to worry about any sparks from the chimney, so we will wait until we get our first good rain until we can heat the house. This means we are wearing warm clothes in layers. As it gets colder I just add another sweatshirt or sweater.

[6 eggs today - 1 early, 5 late]
It is cold enough that tomorrow
I will have to cover the screen door in the coop.
Don't want the girls to get cold.

Smiles
~:>

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Cleaning Up

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The hens were busy cleaning up their pen when I went out to lock them up tonight. In fact, there were a few roosting, one in a nest, but the rest of the girls were all in the pen. Nobody was hanging around outside looking for the door. Maybe they like picking up their mess.
I spent some time trying to come up with some different ways to attach this board to the end of the counter. When the guys were putting on the countertop they didn't think of me having to cover up the boards they left hanging out (upper left corner.) Soooo, I'm going to have to put in some spacers. I thought about cutting the board back flush, but it is supporting the counter. Phooey! I got the little finish board up without splitting it. That was neat.
The board is going to be there, but I have to put some more spacers in, so I have some where to anchor the front piece. Now I need to find a board for the front. And cut some trim boards to cover the holes. The main thing is to just keep working at it everyday, and one day I will be done. I know I'll be surprised. There used to be a built in oven and cupboard here, but now we have the cooktop in the island the new oven is built in over there too. Tom built the oven's home and is going to get it checked over by an electrician before I can use it. Soon.
Poor Morgan is all tuckered out tonight. I found her behind my sewing machine table. After her dinner she likes to find a quiet place to lay down and think about her day. Or think about tomorrow? Or sweet friendly chickens? Or no chickens?

[5 eggs today]
Smiles
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Monday, September 28, 2009

Egg In A Basket

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Neat! I saw a Wyandotte hen sitting in the basket this morning. I think she was happy to get her basket back. I was happy just not to smell skunk anymore. There is one wooden egg and she left a light colored egg. Strange. I always thought the Wyandottes laid medium brown eggs. I just checked and they are supposed to lay large eggs from light to rich brown. That egg doesn't look particularlly large. Personally, I like the dark brown or rich brown eggs. They don't taste any different, but I just like them better because of the color. Just me.
This does look better today. Hard to believe, but the hens cleaned up a lot of the scratch grain off of the blue lid and they even cleaned up a bit off the the ground. Messy chickens. I guess I do have to take the blame for all this waste. After all, I'm the one who gave the girls all the grain. I'll keep the grain feeder away for a few more days and see if they will eat up any more of the waste.
Strange to report wind, but there actually was a little wind last night that caused a bit of leaf fall and lots of branches cracking and falling along with acorns landing with sharp reports like gunfire. It was quite noisy. Pretty soon all my raked areas will be covered with leaves, and I will be doing rain dances (not) hoping for rain to wet the leaves and earth so I can start my raking campaign. I hate raking this dry dirt. I end up standing in a cloud of dust and with a sore throat.

No painting today. I'm giving that new paint I got at Home Depot (it's called Freshaire) a chance to dry a bit, at least one day, before I turn the doors over and paint the other side. I may decide to paint the cabinetry in the kitchen first, so I can hang the doors and won't have to leave them laying around where they can stick on something. But first I will have to complete the finish work. Tomorrow?

[5 eggs today]
I think the hens liked their new straw nests.
Smiles
~:>

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Hi, Wanna Play?

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"Hi there, little Wyandotte!"
Morgan came into the pen to check on me while I was cleaning up after the mess the chickens had made of their feed and molting feathers all over the place.
"Oops! Good Grief, what did I do?"
That Wyandotte is all puffed up and out of sorts.
I'm outa here!
Poor Morgan, she was so upset she went through the little chicken door.
"And Stay Out!"
Gee! That is one bossy hen! You can see the basket in this photo.
"... I was just standing there, and then the hen chased me."

Kristine comforted Morgan and listened to her sad tale. Poor Morgan, she had a bad experience and after she takes such good care of the hens and keeps the coyotes, raccoons, bears and foxes away. She doesn't get any respect from the girls.

I had a bad experience with my paint trick. Freezing the paint brush with this new non-smelly paint does not work!!! The way it is supposed to work is the paint unfreezes and I can start painting, but not with this new paint. When the brush unfroze, the paint was all sticky and dried out looking. Yikes! It took me a long, long time to soak and scrape the paint out of the brush. Well, that sure didn't save me any time. I did get one side of the doors and wood piece painted.

I even read the directions, well, the drying instruction say that the paint will take 30 days to dry. 30 days! I quick went and checked on the drawers I had painted last month and sure enough they were stuck. They did pull loose when I tugged hard and thankfully the paint did not pull apart. I will have to leave the drawers open for another month and see what happens. I think I will get some felt bits to stick on the inside edges of the drawers to cushion them.

The hens have made such a mess with their corn that I have left it shut up in the barrel. I want to see if the chickens will eat up the corn and seed they have scattered over half the pen. Kristine said she thinks the hens are looking for certain seeds in the scratch and knock all the rest of the grains all over while they are going through the feed. Well, I'll wait a few days and see what happens. I put new straw in their nest boxes and raked up the pen and swept out the coop. I nailed the little basket down in a new spot. Hope I get an egg in there tomorrow.

[4 eggs today]
Smiles
~:>

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Boo?

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This little fellow is not scary at all. In fact he is rather cheerful and makes me smile. I have four of these and hang them back to back, so I have a pair in each half of the slider window. I got them on sale, after Halloween one year, for only a dollar each. I still haven't found my Halloween stuff. But then I haven't looked in the Christmas boxes yet.
I did more chicken herding again tonight. This is what the late hens usually do. They hang out under the chairs, on the chairs, or roost outside on the old horse feeder. Maybe the other hens pick on them, so they wait until the other girls roost in the coop? Beats me. Mostly I wait until it is almost dark and by then the tardy chickens have given up and are in the coop.
This may not look like much, but it is a sign of progress. I have two coats of primer on each side and one coat on the board balanced on a box. That board will be used for the end piece on the counter. It has some cutouts on it that I hope will be covered up by the kick board. I measured and it will be close, but I think the holes won't show. If they do I will have to fill them up before I paint. I think I will have to put two coats of paint on these cupboard doors and on the board too. As soon as I post this I am going out and put another coat of primer on the board, so I can start with the painting tomorrow. That primer is covering, but it is strong and is giving me a sore throat. I will not be able to use it in the house. I'll have to put on lots of coats of the non-smelly paint to cover the dark wood on the kitchen cabinets. That's ok, it will work.
The only thing I don't like about painting is cleaning the brushes. I really don't like cleaning brushes! This is my trick so I don't have to clean my brushes until I am finished with my painting project. Between painting, I first wrap the brush in saran wrap (or something like that,) then I wrap it up in aluminum foil, and if it is going to be more than a day I then put it in a zip lock baggie. After the brush is wrapped up tight, I put it in the freezer. The only problem I have is when I forget to take the brush out a half hour or so before I want to paint, so it has time to defrost. Can't paint with a frozen brush.

[4 eggs today]
Bad me. I didn't work in the coop today.
Smiles
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Friday, September 25, 2009

More Chicken Herding

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I went out to lock up the chickens while the hamburgers were cooking and found these three hens goofing off outside the pen. First a Light Brahma, then a Wyandotte and then an Australorp. Most nights I will just wait for them to go in, but tonight I needed to finish dinner. Morgan was in the house, and anyway, she is not a help with getting the hens in their coop. She runs around the coop or stands in front of the door. Sigh... The girls were very cooperative tonight and went in without a chase. I usually have to shoo them out from under the chairs. The skunk smell is almost gone, so I don't have any excuse for not sweeping up in there. Need to work on that tomorrow.

Spent the day putting more coats of primer on the cupboard doors, cleared a new path and raked around the fence line. Then I was tired and took a nap. Don't usually do that. Didn't find any wood I can use, I'll look some more tomorrow.

[7 eggs today]
Smiles
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Thursday, September 24, 2009

Password Please!

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Some mornings, Morgan likes to act as door warden.
The hens cluck at her and hurry past!

I don't think Morgan cares if the chickens forget the password and scurry past. She looks kinda bored with the whole thing, but she does look like she is waiting for something. Maybe for all the chickens to leave? Maybe she is counting them? Giving foraging instructions?

I did get one coat of primer on the cupboard doors and I told Tom I need some more sheet rock. I'll look tomorrow and see if I can find a good piece of plywood I can use instead. Made another dentist appointment. Just heard a tree branch crack and go down. This is the time of year for trees and branches to fall. They get so dry and their weight pulls them down.

[5 eggs today]
Smiles
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Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Feathered Fashionista

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This photo of Orp-Roo makes me smile. I wonder if they have brown or orange duct tape I could use for Fall. I took this yesterday when the hens were having their treat. Poor thing, she still looks pretty bad and has not started replacing her feathers. If she starts molting she is really going to be a sad case. Silly girl thinks she is a rooster. My miter saw is under that green tarp on the picnic table hiding from any freak rain or dew.
This morning when Kristine was in a hurry to get out the door she had to stop to admire this little critter. She was laughing as she watched as it carefully washed its feet. I ran and got the camera and this was the best photo I was able to take. Kristine had stayed to have breakfast and was running late, but found a little time to look at the critter. There's always time for bugs.

Fall? Not so you would notice. Not yet. I thought I would take this pic so I have something to compare new Fall photos with. Things around here still look like summer. There are a few leaves on the ground, but not many.
Not too bad from a moving car. I was surprised to see the Fall colors when I looked at the pic in iphoto. I didn't notice the orange as we were speeding past. I have seen such lovely photos of Fall scenes on the blogs I read. Things around here will just get more dried up and out. But the pines will keep things green for us. Thankful for the evergreens!

Got the board primed again and painted and it looks good, so tomorrow I will prime and paint the doors. I'll make a stab at hand sanding some of the wood in the kitchen. I have to be careful with the sanding, because Kristine has asthma. Also, I need to find a piece of wood to cover the end of the counter or I need to have Tom pick up some more sheet rock. I did get the cabinet nailed securely in the corner. I try to get a little bit done each day. Eventually, I will get it finished if I just keep working.

[7 eggs today]
Smiles
~:>

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Treats On The Porch

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Kristine said the cantaloupe burned her mouth. I have had that happen to me when the cantaloupe was ripe all the way to the rind. The chickens didn't mind it at all, and they had a lot of fun running around with the tomatoes playing keep away. I think the hens like to have their treats on the porch rather than in the pen. They seem to huddle close and eat together on the porch. When they eat in the pen they are more likely to grab stuff and run away with it.
I got the doors ready to prime after I ran the sander over them. I still have some sanding work to do in the kitchen and I need to nail a cabinet in position tomorrow. I cut, sanded, and rounded the edges and corners of a board to cover where the drawers used to be in the front of the island. The cook top took up the space where the drawers used to be, but I had to figure out something to cover the holes.

I thought I would prime and then paint the board first to make sure the paint covers the latex primer. I have had problems with paint not covering some things and then I had another oops to fix. I enjoy painting. The only thing I don't like about painting is having to worry about getting paint on stuff. If I can empty the room first, or push everything into the middle and cover it, then I can have fun and enjoy the painting.

I would like to put some vinyl down on this floor and paint the walls. Something else that needs doing. I think something ate the potatoes I planted, because they are gone. I have to go to the dentist tomorrow and I'm not looking forward to that.

[5 eggs today]
Smiles
~:>

Monday, September 21, 2009

Chick! Chick!

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I took the chickens some lettuce and tomatoes for a late snack so I could lock them up for the night and all except one Wyandotte followed me into the pen. The Wyandotte remained outside, wouldn't come in, another Wyandotte was in a nest box and two hens staid on their roost; but the rest of the hens had a great time. I felt sorry for the Wyandotte and brought her some lettuce. She jumped off the wooden box and I think she ate a bit, but I finally had to herd her into the pen. I went back to check and there was still lettuce. So, she is not only anti-social, she is not a lettuce lover. The Wyandottes are not as friendly as the Brahmas and Orpingtons. I guess they are a bit wild, however, that wildness has enabled them to survive. We still have the four we started with.

Don't know where my Halloween stuff is hiding? I found a few things and set them out. I have a feeling I got rid of a lot of stuff in one of my cleaning sprees. Or? I'm going to look in my Christmas boxes. I might have put stuff in there.

I'll paint tomorrow. That's the plan.
[6 eggs today]
1 with a puncture.
Tricky chickens.
Smiles
~:>

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Rakes?

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Here are two old rusty rakes that I decided to stick in the fence to slow critters down and for the rusty old atmosphere. Next time I see some old rakes at a garage sale I will pick them up and add them to the other side of the fence. Something got in my little green garden and ate some of the rose bushes. Didn't eat them all the way down to the ground, but did do a bit of pruning. The ivy has taken a few years, but has finally covered almost all of the wire fence.
This is another of the invisible things. How do I make tea? Photos of tea making? I broke my last teapot (the lid fell off and broke,) so I have come up with this easy peasy way. I'm so bad. I even broke Kristine's little teapot. I bumped the spout with something and it popped off.

I sanded cupboard doors to get them ready for painting with primer and I did a little bit of sheet rocking on the other side of the island. Mostly, I took the day off. I did put up a few Halloween decoration, but I couldn't find them all.

[3 eggs today]
The chickens are enjoying the cooler Fall weather too!
Smiles
~:>

Saturday, September 19, 2009

A Tisket, A Tasket, A Pretty Basket

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I didn't notice that Morgan was watching me take this photo of my one Longaberger basket. It usually lives on top of the hoosier, but I like to put it on the table in the Fall. I bought the basket in 1988 at Sue's house party and I tried really hard not to buy anything, but I fell in love with the colors and the shape of the basket. I can't remember for sure the use this basket was made for, but I think it was for holding apples. I'm going to put out a few more Fall things tomorrow. Maybe I'll have some fun and put out Halloween stuff too.
Here is another of my favorite old things. I used to work near an old place that had a fence that was falling down and being removed. I liked the cut of the pickets and asked if I could have the old gate. Yep. I carted it up here. Goofy maybe, but I like the old gate.

[3 eggs today]
Chickens got carrot peelings, lettuce and tomatoes.
No dressing.
Smiles
~:>

Friday, September 18, 2009

Island DIY Paradise, Not

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Today the hens were happy to get another bag of lettuce and a few tomatoes. Except for the few hens who stayed in the woods the rest of them seemed to have a good time tussling over the same pieces of lettuce. Never mind that they had run around with the lettuce and left it all over the place. Oh no... they want the lettuce the other hen has. Go figure?

This island was not originally an island. It was a wing of a "U" shaped kitchen. Tricky me decided I wanted to be able to walk through that end of the kitchen to the other side of the room without walking all the way around. And besides I wanted the dishwasher next to the sink and there wasn't room unless I cut a hole through the counter. So, I did! Cut a hole. Walkway.

This is what I started with a week ago or so. Tom and his buddy built stuff on here and I had built stuff on here and it was a big crooked mess. Except the top was ok and the cook top was great. I needed more kitchen cupboards and decided to use the dresser my brother had left behind. So, instead of taking it to the garage sale, I built it in the island. I had stuck a kitchen cupboard on this end of the island to see if I would like having shelves in the walkway. No. It didn't really work out very well, so nix on that.

Yesterday I finished sheet rocking over the end (and forgot to take photos.) By hanging the sheet rock first, making sure it was plumb, shimming, and then nailing 2x4's on the floor, so I had something to screw the bottom of the sheet rock into, it all worked out. Phew! Well, that was ok for that end. Sounds easy, but it took three days. I'm old and slow. And this is confusing.

When I get finished I am going to post a whole bunch of photos of this adventure, but for now here is a glimpse of the shims I had to tack on the wood before I hung the sheet rock to make it level. I did a cheat and put the electrical box at the end of one of the small sheets. It is much easier to cut the hole if you only have to cut three sides. I like easier much better than harder.

Here is another example of the rigged up things I had to come up with to figure out how to put up the sheet rock. No plan to begin with means problems and here was a gap... nothing to nail to. If I had more sheet rock I could have cut a wider piece to fit, but I couldn't, so I came up with this idea. I pounded these pieces of wood in the space and shimmed them tight, and then I screwed on a strip of sheet rock. Sneaky me.
At the end of the day this is what I have. It will all look a lot nicer after I put on some joint compound, sand and paint and put on the kick board. Tomorrow I have the other side to finish up. Then I can start with the mud (joint compound.) That's another post.






I thought I would use the middle drawers for potatoes and onions. Kristine said her jeans were rubbing on the dresser and leaving a mark. Maybe I'll have to put a wood strip along the top of the dresser? We have two bar stools and it is true there is not much leg room at all anymore, but people usually/mostly always sit sideways facing left towards the tv. So, I would rather have drawers than leg room nobody much uses. It's all about me, heh, heh.

[6 eggs today]
Smiles
~:>

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Pumpkin Time Is Coming

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I love the holidays! A few years ago I found this at a little antique store and thought it was pretty neat because I could change out the front to match the seasons. Well, that would have worked if I hadn't stuffed the bag of fronts in the back of a cupboard and forgot where it was. I found the bag when I found the goat. I keep finding and losing the bag of fronts because it doesn't have a home. Maybe I should put it in with my sewing stuff? There is a star for Summer, flower basket for Spring, pumpkin for Fall and I like the snowman for winter best. I think it ended up in the store because the snowman had some damage. I took off the broken bits and it looks great.

I went out with the chickens today to guard them while Morgan was getting cleaned up. I spent the time raking paths and didn't see much of the hens. But I made a lot of noise, so maybe that kept the critters away.

Hard to believe, but I got the end of the island sheet rocked and only need to finish part of the sides. When I say sheet rocked, that leaves out all the hair tearing as I try to figure out how and what I'm going to build to nail it to. Tom may have to get me another piece of sheet rock because I'm running low. I don't like to piece sheet rock, but I will give it a go and see what happens. More piecing means more joint compound. Maybe I will get to the fun part tomorrow and start frosting with joint compound. Well, I think of it as frosting. I will post some photos after I get some mud smeared around and have something to show.

Tom came home after delivering eggs and taking Morgan to the groomer with a huge bag of chicken lettuce and tomatoes. The hens are very happy, and my refrigerator is stuffed full of bags of greens.

[6 eggs today]
One had a puncture. :(
Smiles
~:>

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Get Outa My Way!

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Morgan be careful. Don't trip over the basket as you leave. The chickens are coming. The chickens are coming. Morgan was going to stand in the doorway and greet the girls, but changed her mind. Tom and Kristine left me a note to let me know to keep the chickens locked up until the meter reader came and did their thing. Well, by then it was afternoon and the chickens were upset!
The hens wanted out, right now! Noisy bunch! I got the door opened and stepped back to get some shots as they all piled through the hen door and flapped and streaked away.
I guess I should have made a video.
It would have been easier
than trying to take photos and avoid getting run into by chickens.
Anybody left?

I worked on the island some and figured out how to do a few things. In this kind of a situation, my mess, I have to work at things backwards in order to come up with a way to do stuff. I think of building things kinda like I do when frosting a cake. If the cake starts to fall apart, I just add more frosting and paste it back together. It is amazing what carpentry sins you can hide with sheet rock and joint compound. I know. I used to watch the carpenters work on our house, and thought, "Gee, I can do that." They were always fixing their mistakes. Me too.

[3 eggs today]
Smiles
~:>

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Ahhh... Poor Hens

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You wouldn't know from looking that it rained yesterday. Look at that dry dirt and the crunchy leaves that the hens are scratching in looking for something good to eat. I feel so sorry for them. I don't even see any bugs. Most of the girls are off in the woods, but there is nothing green out there either. Yesterday, I saw one of the hens pecking away at a tree. I guess they find bugs in the bark?

Today I spent some time raking paths, working on the island, and I was going to re-screen the slider screen. But when I got the new screen out I noticed that it was aluminum. Oh, well. I will keep it and use it in the chicken coop for something. I want plastic screening.

The island is a challenge because it is all cobbled together from different pieces of cupboard and furniture and the measurements are off. This is what happens when I don't start with a plan. So, I get to play with it, fit it together and make it look like I had a plan. I took before photos to post when I get the thing nailed together and painted.

Kristine said there was a jumper on the bridge this morning, but she doesn't know if the police got them off or if they jumped. All the traffic was turned around and had to go the back way over the old bridge. Evidently there is something about a really high bridge, because people have been jumping ever since they built the thing.

[3 eggs today]
Smiles
~:>

Monday, September 14, 2009

Working In The Woods

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Kristine said it rained last night for three hours. Didn't wake me up. It might have rained, but the rain was light, because when I was raking I would rake up dry dirt. Oh well. I raked around the fence line and, as I came to dead branches I could reach, I would pull them off. This is a photo of a low dead scary branch that I yanked off.
See, scary branch is gone. My technique is to grab hold, both hands If I can reach, pull the branch sideways as I move around the tree, and scurry away when I hear the crack. I usually wear a hard hat that I picked up at a garage sale. Getting hit in the head with a large branch is no treat. This was a small branch, but some of them are like small trees. I will wait until we get a good rain and then I will go out with a ladder and saw and get the branches I can't reach.
There are several of these small dead trees that I need to cut down. I was hoping this one would make it, but a lot of these small trees are too stressed in the summer. Sometimes they are dry enough I can bend them over and they will break. I'm going to have to cut this one.
Here is a piece of the fence line path with dirt and leaves raked up against the bottom of the fence. I need to do this to keep the rain from lowering the dirt side and making an opening under the fence for critters to use. The leaf covered side is higher than the dirt side. I wish I had realized this was going to happen and I would have left a leaf covered margin on my side. I will have to make one this year.
This is the same fence looking toward where I was standing when I took the other photo. I made the path wide enough for Tom to drive the pick up and get wood. It was so nice and cool under the trees. I love it out there after it rains. It is supposed to be hot again tomorrow, so everything will dry up again. I don't get so dirty after it rains because the rain cleans a lot of the dirt out of the trees. When I came in, Kristine told me I had a dirty face. Well, all kinds of stuff was falling on me when I yanked down the branches. I get no slack.

[3 eggs today]
Smiles
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