Sunday, May 06, 2018

Stairwell and Pan Wall

I said if we ever finished any of our on-going projects, I'd share them.
     These still aren't completely finished, but close enough I thought I'd go ahead and post it. For encouragement.

So when we bought this old house, the stairwell looked like something out of an old slum apartment building. Stark, dirty, ugly.
But, there was so much other work needed doing, or projects I wanted to do - at the time, I had no ideas for what to do with this narrow, tall, awkward space other than just paint it, blah - that the stairwell was low on my to-do list.

But then, another a/c repair guy stepped through the ceiling. (Had one go through a bedroom ceiling previously.)
     It already had a damaged spot from an old roof leak, and then a large cra-a-a-ck appeared, and it was apparent the ceiling was going to fall at any time, so the stairwell shot to the top of the do-to list. Well, the ceiling of it anyway.


We built a floor system between the levels to be able to work on the ceiling safely.



We covered the damaged ceiling with new drywall, just screwing it up right over it.

Then we put up old tin we'd taken off an old shed, and bought a barnyard/warehouse pendant light from Home Depot that cost like $30 bucks.


At some point, while remodeling the downstairs, I had removed the old drywall from the lower level, hoping to be able to open the stairwell to the downstairs rooms. Didn't work. Removed a wall joist and the upstairs bedroom door didn't close anymore (the wall sank. Not much, but enough I didn't pull anymore wall joists out.).

So we replaced the drywall on the walls, and then I decided to plank the walls.
      A lot of people (and me, for ease) call it Shiplap, but it's not. Shiplap, laps. 


For planking, I used Underlayment plywood, I believe it's 7/32-inch thick, from Home Depot.
    The fellows there were nice enough to cut the 4x8 sheets into 6-inch (by 8-feet) planks for me with their big saw there at the store (although, some of them like to get in a hurry and force/yank it through and booger up some of the edges, so you might have to politely say, please don't do that).


I went with the underlayment plywood because it was the cheapest option, but the thin thickness of it worked out well for us, as our walls are all wavy and not flat.


 We planked and painted the upper level first, so we could remove the flooring system and continue on down to the first floor.


Added some of the same tin on the lower level ceiling:
     (No light. It sucks sometimes. I bought a battery-operated, motion sensor light, but the cats had the batteries dead in a week.)



 Everyone ended up helping nail up planks and paint before this was over.
   "Oh, you want some dinner, Kev? Here, nail some boards while I go cook."


 Next up: paint steps, and hand rail.


I went with iron pipe - which I spray-painted gloss black - for the handrail.

Here I primed the steps before painting. Half at a time, and every other step, because we still had to be able to use them.


Then I started painting the steps (semi-gloss Onyx black from Walmart).


And the (mostly) finished product:




It probably needs decor on the walls, but I don't know what to put up that won't make the very narrow space look even more closed in, so for now, it is what it is.

Also, I haven't done the floor at the bottom yet.
I plan to get it when I'm doing new flooring in the kitchen (to the right) and dining room (to the left).


The kitchen door, to the right, was the same dried-blood-red as the stairs before.
    I decided to paint it gloss black for something different from all the white at the bottom of the stairs. (Not that it really mattered, since the door mostly stays open anyway.)




I'm also doing this same white plank look in the kitchen, and decided to paint the door black on that side, too, but I also painted the trim black, whereas I left it white on the stairs-side. (No particular reason, just something different.)


My cast iron/stainless steel pots & pans hanging behind the kitchen door.


                   Before                                                      After

Sunday, April 22, 2018

Another Addition to the Farm Coop

Two of the possibly-ruined eggs were due to hatch today, and at least one of them did.
        The darker green "olive" colored egg laid by "Baby" or "#13"

"#13"Baby", Egg-mom of new chick.

 I went in to check on Buff and the eggs, and this little yellow chick was there. I knew right away it was Baby's chick, even before checking the eggs. Baby was also born yellow.


It was pretty funny when I first saw it, I was like Whoa, at it's size.
       At hatch it's already bigger than it's 8 days older half-sibling.  Which is normal since the darker chick is a Bantam, and will grow up to only be about half the size of the larger breed chickens.

 I just hadn't actually seen regular chicks and Banty chicks side-by-side like that before to have realized there was such a size difference.


I specifically hatched Baby's eggs because she has the Ameraucana trait of the fluffy cheeks and beard, and the Rooster has the dark/slate colored legs, wondering if I could pull the traits together in a chick, but this chick appears to have inherited neither it's mother's fluffy cheeks and beard, nor the father's dark/slate legs.

Looking at the comb, I'm going to make a guess it's a female, and will lay green or blue eggs.



Friday, April 20, 2018

What's New?

 Most of our days lately are spent on house/home repair/improvement projects.
       If we ever finish any of them, I'll post pics.

Coop news: back in March we had a couple ladies go broody - Buff and Ms. Frizzle.
      Buff kept getting off the nest when I came to feed, so I wasn't sure she was serious, so I gave her some fake eggs to start with.
      Ms. Frizzle has not gone broody before, but I forgot she wasn't her mother, so I assumed she'd stick with it, and gave her three of her own eggs, plus one from a green layer and one from a blue layer.


She sat on them good for several days, but then I came to the coop two different times to find her sitting in the wrong nest on the wrong eggs, and her setting eggs were cold.

I figured the setting eggs were ruined, but she was sticking to brood, so I bought her a dozen (minus one) French Black Copper Marans eggs to set and put her on them inside a cage so after she ate/drank/pooped/stretched her legs, she'd go get back on the right eggs.


I put the eggs I figured were ruined under Buff, adding another - not ruined - green and blue egg.


For a reason I can't recall right now, I decided to throw out two of the Frizzle eggs I figured were ruined. (But not the third Frizzle egg, or the green or blue egg. I can't recall my reasoning.)

Anyway, one evening (the 14th) I went to feed the chickens, and checked on the eggs under Buff, and SURPRISE!


A witty bitty, 5-toed, feathered-legged Frizzy baby had hatched!




Buff didn't give up on the other eggs, so she's still sitting on them, and we're still waiting to see if anything comes of them. The at least last two added should hatch in the next 5 or 6 days, maybe.

Meanwhile, Ms. Frizzle says, "Yeah, I'm over this lame gig", and starts breaking the eggs, and scattering them around the cage, and no longer setting on them.
I figure they're ruined, but learned not to assume, so I kicked her out and moved Buff and her chick and her four eggs into the cage, and she's setting them and the 5 remaining FBCM eggs left.

*************************************
A few years ago, when I started canning apples from my Dad's orchard, I made a variety of things, like applesauce, apple butter, jam, pie filling. 

My Mom also made apple butter (because it was easy to make in the crockpot with little to no work involved), so between us the family was set on apple butter for...a real long time. 
      Apparently I'm the only person that still eats apple sauce, and no one seemed to appreciate jam or pie filling, either.

So, I stopped making stuff, and started just drying the apples.
      Dried apples keep for a really long time, are great for snacking as they are, or if you want to make anything like apple butter or a pie, all you have to do is re-hydrate them.

Awhile back, my neighbor-lady that brings food scraps from the food pantry she volunteers at, brought me 7 pounds of good Pink Lady apples (and something else I can't recall at the moment).
     I had planned to dehydrate them, but hadn't gotten around to it yet.

At Mom's, at Easter, I guess we were eating dessert, or? I can't remember, anyway, my sister commented something or other about my canned apple pie filling.
     She says to me, "You know I'm addicted to your apple pie filling, right?"
I had no idea.
    I had the idea it was not much liked by anyone I had shared it with.

So, one cold- or otherwise ugly- weather day, I cut up the apples and made my sister 5 quarts of homemade apple pie filling. 


She tells me she makes a cobbler out of it. Pours it into a dish, mixes up flour, sugar, milk, (and butter?) for a crust and pours it over the pie filling and bakes it.

*******************************************
Yesterday, Ryan somehow got a hankering for gingerbread, of all things. 
      I didn't really have anything in particular planned for this morning, and with it a chilly 40's-something temp, I whipped him up a loaf of gingerbread. 

             (I have a complaint, though. The other night I was watching "Nailed It", and the contestants had to cook a wedding cake, and one of them sprayed her pans with cooking spray and one of the Judge Chef's said, no, no, always use butter. I usually use shortening, but still experience sticking sometimes, so I figured I'd take the Expert's advice and grease the pan with butter. But it still stuck. Booo.)


While I was messing around in the kitchen this morning anyway, I had been wanting to make DIY Pineapple Ice Cream topping.

We had DQ for dinner a couple weeks ago, and their ice cream treat prices are CrAzY high!
     Yeah they're good, but geez!

My favorite ice cream treat is hot-fudge-pineapple sundaes.
     Smucker's makes a pineapple ice cream topping, but I wondered how difficult it would be to make it at home.  Turns out, not hard at all.
I even already had a can of crushed pineapple on the shelf (because sometimes I make banana pudding with crushed pineapple instead of bananas).

All you do is mix the pineapple juice from the can, sugar, and Karo syrup in a pot, bring to boil, reduce heat and let it simmer about 15 minutes until it thickens some, then add in the pineapple and cook another 2-3 minutes. 


It tastes exactly like DQ's or Smucker's pineapple topping.  Really good, if you're a pineapple topping fan. (Oddly enough, I saw complaints posted about the recipe, because people "weren't fans" of pineapple. Well, what the heck are they...ugh. Never-even-mind.)

The "hot fudge" I used is the homemade chocolate milk syrup mix I make and keep in the fridge for, you know, making chocolate milk. It's not all thick and fudgy and whatever, but it was hot (after I microwaved it a few seconds) and chocolately and very good with my pineapple topping on Aldi vanilla ice cream.


*If you're interested in any of the recipes of the things I talk about, I found them all on the internet. 
There's a good chance they're pinned in my Pinterest boards. 
All else fails, ask me.

Monday, April 02, 2018

It's the Little Things These Days

It's corny, but I was excited about it, lol.

I'm not much of a TV watcher. Sometimes I turn it on for a different noise than that of my mind.
It often helps me be able to fall asleep when I can't quit thinking (obsessing) about things at night.
Sometimes I turn it on for....company?

At any rate, one day last week, or maybe the week before, I had it on while I was working on my Diamond Painting craft. I can't remember what show I turned it on, and I was really only paying scant attention to it, but it was talking about Andrew Jackson needing to get his militia to New Orleans to prevent the British from getting to the Mississippi River.

Some of the things I remember about it was that they had to travel through the Louisiana swamps - there weren't any roads then - so that means dealing with snakes and gators, eeeek!
They got there, and Jackson only had (however many) men, and the British had (many times more).
Jackson devised a strategy of setting up, possibly at the top of a hill, with the river to one side, something to the other, so as to funnel the British in...something something.

The British came and started marching towards the Americans, and Jackson waited until they got close and ordered his men to fire on them. Then another wave came and they shot them down, and...I think I got distracted and got up and wandered off because I can't remember what happened after that.

Fast forward to day before yesterday. I was riding in the car with Ryan, and he had Pandora playing on the radio.
Usually he puts it on the AC/DC station for me, but we had talked about, I had told him one of my FB friends had just discovered (the local 80's radio station), and had said she wished they had a throw-back country station like that, and I said to him, I wish that, too, sometimes.

My parents were young when I was born, so growing up I listened to their "popular" music, and also their "classic" music, what they liked when they were teenagers. But I spent probably as much time with my grand parents as I did my parents, so I also listened to a lot of even older, and also "popular country" music at the time: singers like Tom T Hall, Loretta Lynn, George Jones, Kenny Rogers, Dolly Parton, Johnny Cash, Waylon, Willie, and so on.

So he found an older Country station and I was having a BIG old time listening to all the old songs I remembered from my youth. Brought back lots of great memories.

 Anyway, so this song, "Battle of New Orleans" by Johnny Horton came on, and I knew of the song from way back, but as listened to it I realized, I KNOW this song. I know Ol' Hickory. This really happened, it's not just a catchy tune.

So that was pretty awesome, to me anyway.

Monday, March 12, 2018

Revisit Christmas

 The weather's been typical for around here...some days it's sunny, 70's, and we can get out and pick up sticks and limbs, cut up trees, burn sticks and limbs, mow the grass, clean up the truck and sell it, work on the house(s)....Other days it's rainy, or too cold/windy to get out, so we either 1) get some work done inside or 2) lay up in the recliner under a blanket.

None of it was particular noteworthy, so I didn't get any pictures of most of it.

One of the things I've been doing this week (past week? What day is it?) while the weather's been icky is I've gotten started on painting my kitchen.
Last year we put up faux shiplap/planking on the walls.


Yes, I know, the unpainted wood looks good, and at least 99.9% of my visitors would leave it like that.
I like it, too, and wouldn't paint it if I was doing "Cabin style" instead of "Farmhouse style".

This house is an old farmhouse, and - call me crazy if you want, but I'm not kidding - it got mad when I tried "updating" to a more modern style. Everything we did went badly.
Until I started going with Farmhouse style, and suddenly everything just started going well.
She liked the Farmhouse feel. 


Anyway, (my) Farmhouse style kitchen has white painted shiplap walls. Or will have, when I ever get done.
     But it wasn't something I was going to start on right at Christmas.

One day - I can't recall exactly when the idea came to me - I thought that the (brownish) walls resembled Gingerbread enough that it might be cool to decorate the kitchen like a gingerbread house for Christmas.


The kitchen tree, like the other 3 or 4 fake trees I have, was free, because someone was throwing it away.
Most of the tree decorations were free, or things I already owned, some cookie cutters and red Dollar Tree measuring cups.
I dried the apple slices, and made "gingerbread cookies" using applesauce, cinnamon, and Elmer's glue, and made the gingerbread face by drawing on a packaged oatmeal creme pie with puffy paint. 
The only thing I bought was a string of red mini lights from Walmart for about $2.87 (and that was only because I gave my Aunt the string of "cranberry" lights I had gotten for free in a bunch of give-away stuff, and thought I wouldn't ever use, lol).

The bottom ledge isn't done because the cats like to sit and look out the windows.

The "frosting" swag along the ceiling is white plastic tablecloths from Dollar Tree.
The m&m's were foam circle shapes I found for $1.00 at the grocery store, and cut sticker M's on the Cricut.
The hard candies are 2 small styrofoam plates stapled together and wrapped in cellophane...both from Dollar Tree.
The side "shutters" are scrap cardboard flaps from a box of closet doors.


The white tissue paper I had gotten for free but also available at Dollar Tree. I used red crepe paper streamer - from Dollar Tree - for the stripes.
The Lollipops are styrofoam disks from Dollar Tree, painted with craft paint from Walmart (50¢), the stick is a bamboo skewer and wrapped in clear cellophane, tied with white ribbon, all from Dollar Tree.
The candy sticks in the window are empty wrapping paper tubes that I wrapped with cheap, unwanted wrapping paper with the back (white) side facing out.
I used red crepe paper streamer to make stripes on one, and thin metallic-colored ribbon on the other.


The crossed candy canes on the windows, and the glittery red bow, all came from Dollar Tree, as well as the foam Gingerbread man shapes, and the red and white pipe cleaners that I used to make candy canes and curli-q's.



I spray painted an old cookie sheet red and made "cookies" out of applesauce, cinnamon, and Elmer's glue, decorated with puffy paint, and glued them to the cookie sheet.
The gingerbread house cookie jar I've had for years...got it at 90% off after-Christmas sale at Rite Aid drug store one year.
The Santa and Mrs. salt & pepper shakers, and the gingerbread scented candle came from Dollar Tree.


The "roof" overhang is more of the scrap cardboard from the box the closet doors came in.
I glued some old snow blanket I had gotten free on it, and cut the hanging edges to look like dripping frosting.
More wrapped wrapping-paper tubes attached at angles hold the front edge of the overhang up.


The gumdrops are foam rectangles from Dollar Tree,  cut into gumdrop shapes. I sprayed them with spray-on adhesive and covered with clear glitter for sparkle.


The gingerbread man on the door was a foam/shape craft kit from Dollar Tree, and the inflatable nutcracker I also got free in a bunch of give away stuff.

*There's nothing on the stool because the cat likes to lay there, and also I actually use it to climb up to reach high things in the cabinets because I'm short.

*I had planned to do the whole kitchen, but the idea was easier than the execution, and I did good to get the half I did done.  Also I use the other two sides, so decorations would have gotten in the way anyhow.