Tuesday, September 30, 2014

The projects...

Thought I would throw out an update on the projects that are going on around the house. It's starting to wind down. Even though there are always more projects just waiting for our attention we are about done. For a while anyway. There is still so much I want to do, but now that these few things are being addressed it's no longer on a need basis. That means that most of the rest of the projects will wait until we've paid off these and saved enough to move on again.

The master bath is finally complete. You saw the new shower...
It felt really great to get this finished and we couldn't be happier with the results. We have more room, it looks nicer and NO MORE MOLD> bonus! ;-)

Well, the week after this was finished I went ahead with the demolition of existing contractor grade cabinet and mirror The cabinet would have been fine had we decided to leave it, but since we started this project my Mother gifted me (Merry early Christmas and Happy Birthday, too!) with a beautiful vanity cabinet. It had it's own challenges, but we'll get to that.

Demolition is normally somewhat cathartic for me. Destroying something in the hopes of bigger and better things? That's neat.
But int he case of a 7' mirror? Its not cathartic at all.
It's nerve wracking. It's all encompassing. It's nail biting. It's.... SO GLAD we didn't break that mirror!

It took an entire day and a lot of  sweat and a few tears. Luckily no blood.
So after all that we finally got ready to put in the new cabinet. Guess what? It didn't fit int he same spot. Not only was it a different size, but the bottom had feet on it that raised it off the ground. It meant even if it had been the same size we would have needed to do something with the floor.  The tile only ran up to where the old cabinet was. This is fairly typical of construction. It's do it the easiest way, not do it the best way. Boo!

So, I set out on a hunt for our tile. I found enough tile that I was able to tile the front of this area. I also managed to piece together enough that it looks correct unless you actually stick your head under there. I threw some extra grout in where there should have been a few slivers of tile at the very back, and we called it good.
I painted and patched and in went the cabinet.

All in all had been over 6 weeks and getting back a functional bathroom was HIGH on my priority list. I still had to deal with plumbing, cabinets, mirrors and lights. So one night I decided to mess with getting the sinks functional and we spent hours plumbing and re-plumbing. We still had issues. So, for the second time we had to cal out a plumber. I was willing to pay the additional fee to have him come out off hours and he was happy it was something 'so easy.' So easy took a couple hours but was essentially just parts that are specialized fittings due to the type of faucets that we chose. So moral of the story here? Get your fixtures at a big box store. When you buy online and such you run the risk of getting items that require a plumber to put them in. The plumber said we could have bought all new plumbing and it still wouldn't have worked. Those stores simply don't carry this type of part. (JOY!) 

So, lesson learned. The following weekend we put in medicine cabinet/mirrors. The towel rack, a storage cabinet (Not shown in picture) the toilet paper holder. (Who would have thought I'd be so happy about that!?) Cleaned up all the mess, caulked in the tile and baseboards and called it good.

The finished product?

It makes me so happy. This picture doesn't give justice to the colors and the lighting. It's something I've dreamed about for years now. What a difference!
This wasn't bad, but what we have now is customized to suit us. I of course had to immediately start messing with other things. One project done means another is ready to start. Doesn't it?

Woah. What happened to my color? It' snot loading right for some reason. This is a very fresh, light airy color, and I swear it doesn't clash with the teal curtains like it does here. Oh well. You get the idea. I painted this room and hung new curtain rod/drapes/pictures. There are more pictures but I think I'll hold off posting until I figure out the color problem.

So there you have it. This weekend I will finish purging the kids rooms, the loft, my room and clean up the guest room. It's managed to get Christmas and Thanksgiving decorations strewn about in an effort to find things for the kids projects.

See you soon!


Thursday, September 25, 2014

Baby (the duck)

So, I have wanted to do an update on the ducks for a few weeks now.

The adult ducks and all the drakes except one are now living on the lake in Alabama. They were doing very well there for themselves when we left. They were suddenly very wary of even us walking around the perimeter and that's great. It means as soon as they had freedom - their instincts kicked in. They have a floating dock with a shelter and enough food for a few weeks. Considering that they didn't touch the food at all the week we were there I will go out on a limb and say that they have plenty to eat through foraging. This is of course what I wanted for them all along. They were given foraging opportunities here, and taught to dive for food to prepare them. The only downside is the foxes and coyotes in the area. It's a concern especially since they are now laying. The abandoned eggs will be a calling card to the predatory animals. Of course if the ducks were more mature and wanting to sit on a nest that too would leave them very vulnerable. So our fingers are crossed that at least one pair will survive through the winter to raise a brood of ducklings in the spring. Meanwhile this fall and winter we will concentrate on predator control. If not I have other plans.

While I understand that it may seem cruel to leave them alone on a lake the truth is these ducks were never intended as pets. There is a lot to eat there for them and other than not being able to truly take flight they are fully capable of taking care of themselves.

The experiment goes on. If these ducks cannot keep from being a meal, there is a plan in the works. Here in Florida we have wild ducks that are considered a nuisance in many places because they breed and reproduce rather prolifically. They are able to avoid being lunch and they do fly. These are Muscovy ducks. I remember as a child a family friend who raised these ducks. While they were a little large for a small child to handle they never did scratch, bite or otherwise terrorize me. They can be, well lets be honest. They can be a little ugly. They have this red warty flesh around their faces and it can be a real distraction from their personalities. But, here's the thing. They don't quack. Nope. They rasp, they hiss, the grumble but NO quack. Love that. So they can fend for themselves, are capable of flight if they choose, and they are quiet? BONUS!

So I set out to do a lot of research. Certainly by now someone out there has started breeding these ducks to have less facial flesh, right? WRONG. The 'standard of perfection' describes large amounts and breeders have been encouraging it rather than eliminating it. (why is beyond me) But as it turns out the Muscovy are excellent meat production ducks as well. And they get the best meat by....crossbreeding with mallard derived ducks. They also get less facial flesh this way. Anything that is not a Muscovy is mallard derived. The results are ducks that are (mostly) quiet, large and capable of taking care of themselves. They are also STERILE. It means overpopulation is not a problem. The fact that they cannot reproduce is both good and bad. It would be nice to be able to put 6 or 8 ducks out there and know that the next year a new generation will take place of any animals that predators or old age take. But, as I said earlier Muscovies are know for being a nuisance due to their ability to reproduce 4 clutches per female per year. YIKES.

So you may ask why I'm concerning myself with all this if that is the case. While the resulting ducklings would be sterile if I use a Muscovy drake over a welsh duck it means that the females will be not only capable, but well equipped good laying hens. So I would have beautiful ducks on the pond that are capable of defending themselves, quiet ducks on my lawn and good egg production, and the excess drakes for my freezer...

Boy I hope I like duck eggs. ;-)

That being said, I'd like you to meet the mating pair of ducks that I kept here for myself.

This is Patrick and Baby.

She is a well marked duck,and he is exquisite in his breeding plumage.
She's not laying yet but is in her final molt before her point of lay so another 2 months or so. 

Bay is the indoor duckling that we had bonded to us. She wouldn't go anywhere without us, and yelled up a storm when we left her. She would have nothing to do with the other ducks and in general was a momma's girl. Now that the other ducks are gone? She won't even come to me any more. At first it hurt my feelings, but I'm so happy for her now. She's got her priorities straight and while I wanted her to stay a pet I'm glad she's figured out that she is a duck.

Hopefully next spring I'll be enjoying ducklings. If not, I'll be enjoying the eggs and that's OK too. 

See you soon.


Monday, September 22, 2014

Harvest Monday 9.22.14

Wowsa. I just can't believe that another week has gone by.

This weeks harvest features the first POMEGRANATE of the fall season.

WHOOT! Let's not exaggerate just how happy I am about this.... This bowl of arils?

Was gone in about 3 minutes flat. And it's deceiving this is a rather deep bowl and those arils are the size of my thumbnail (and I have long nails right now. LOL)

I also would like to brag on the fact that I can now get all those arils out of a pomegranate in less than 5 minutes... Got it down to 4.5 this weekend. That is not bad. Actually, I'm downright proud of that. I could have been a tiny bit quicker, but I really don't like the pithy, icky. So I took my time.

That's really all I have. I did eat some basil and some rosemary but otherwise my garden is quiet. My peppers are blooming again so I expect another rush of those in a few weeks. 

Hope everyone is having a wonderful week!
See you Soon!


Monday, September 15, 2014

Harvest Monday 9.15.14

Nothing new there. The wildlife tends to get the better of me most weeks.

Pomegranate is on the menu again soon. The little jewels are blushing. :-)

Sent from my iPhoneThis week my only harvest is bell peppers. I actually harvested 3 of them. However the birds got to 2 of them before I did.

Monday, September 1, 2014

Harvest Monday

They are truly enjoying the new freedom. Watching them grace the lake is just insanely awesome.

Harvested another sweet potato and a few peppers

Heading to camp out on the couch and try to recoup.

Here are (hopefully) some pics.

See you soon!

Sent from my iPhoneIt is still Monday right?

Harvested this week a load of mint. I was mowing the patch so I gathered all I could from the area first. Good timing the kids and I seem to have caught a summer cold. Mint tea is soothing.

The ducks are now happy in their new pond.