Tuesday, September 30, 2014


Hmmm... what to write about?

I'm not working on any big projects, I haven't found any amazing (and dirt cheap) antiques at the thrift store lately, and there are only so many times one can write about the weather. (Enjoy a good monsoon? Colorado is the place to be right now...)

Mostly I've been just puttering... finishing up a few little bits and pieces of past projects.

I finished painting M's little drop down desk (it needed a third coat) and it's working beautifully... he loves it and it gives him a little bit of space just for his laptop.

I also finished the last little bit of painting in the sunroom... When I posted that it was "finally complete" back in March, it was really 99.9% complete. I hadn't been able to paint the side of the molding around the slider then because the shrink-wrap plastic I use to help insulate the door during the winter was in the way.

The plastic came off months ago, but it took until today (almost time to put the plastic back on again!) to paint that little 3/4" space on the side of the molding.

(Yes, I can procrastinate with the best of them....but it's done now... yay!)

As long as I was working in the sunroom, I decided to take a few minutes and hang the last few suncatchers that my grandkids made. I'd already hung most of them on the pumpkin patch fence...

...but I'd held a few back, since I'm not sure how they'll hold up to the weather. I wanted to keep a few to hang inside, in the sunroom, where they would catch the light but wouldn't be blown down, made brittle by the cold, crashed into by deer (yes, it really happened!), or faded to nothing by the sun.

So after spending a bit of time drilling and stringing them on thin copper wire,the chandelier in the sunroom looks like this...

I'm really happy with it. I love how the suncatchers glow with color as the sun shines in through the windows and skylights...

My last little project was in the loft, which is kind of S's area...

It's where she stays when she's visiting... This is her bed, which I love, it's an older log daybed.

The other side of the loft used to hold R's computer, which has since relocated to her room...

It's a tight fit (her bed is just inches from the back of the chair when it's pushed out) but R really likes it there...

Unfortunately, moving the computer left one whole side of the loft completely empty.

So... since S loves to color and draw, I created a little art area in the loft for her. I moved a small table from the mudroom up into the empty corner, and added a couple of chairs so the girls could draw or color or craft together.

The table is small, but is solid oak and fairly heavy.... and moving it up into the loft ended up being an all day job, as I kept trying this and that plan to make it possible for R and I to move it up there by ourselves. Finally, I threw in the towel... R and I just couldn't get it up into the loft... and called daughter E to help. Once she got here it took all of three minutes to move the table (and chairs) up the ladder and into place.  (E is expert at moving awkward things in awkward spaces!) S hasn't seen it yet, but I think she'll like having a little art area up there.

And that's been my week... lots of puttering, nothing major is getting done but it feels good to get some little things crossed off my to-do list.

Next up? Back outside to finish winterizing the chicken coop before the snow flies (again!).

Sunday, September 28, 2014


Sorry I didn't post Friday... I meant to, but ended up getting S a day early (was planning on getting her Friday afternoon, got her Thursday afternoon instead) and she brought a bucket load of drama with her, so posting here went right down the tubes...

S was here to go to the RCC homecoming dance with M and R. It's not really a homecoming like a typical school homecoming... mostly it's just a big fall dinner/dance for adults in our community who have special needs. The kids all look forward to this dance (and the RCC prom in the spring) and this is the first RCC dance S has gone to with us, so that made it a little more special.

How about some pictures?

All three in the front yard before we left for the dinner/dance

R has such a flair for the dramatic... Can you tell she was thrilled about the dance?

M was pretty excited too...

S had a great time and danced the whole evening...

I'm not sure what M was dancing to here, but it was taking a lot of concentration. (Yes, you can dance... very carefully... with a broken vertebra.)

R's best dance friend and partner was voted homecoming king... what a great way to wind down the evening... He was so happy to be crowned king.

And I couldn't help remember last year's homecoming when R was voted queen.

Such good times.... good memories for all.

Thursday, September 25, 2014

old school...

The farrier came out the other day to check out the crack in Murphy's hoof.

He examined the crack...

Then cleaned and trimmed,

and filed the hoof smooth and level.

Then he did the same thing on the other side (of course, it wouldn't do for Murphy to be high on one side!)

I love watching him work... his actions gentle, yet strong... doing work that has been done, probably in much the same way, for centuries..

He finished his work by bringing out a tiny bottle of turpentine and squirting some in the crack... He said it's old school, but works as a great disinfectant.

His expert word is all is good... Murphy is plenty lazy enough to not put any extra stress on the hoof as the crack grows out, and the crack isn't deep enough to cause any pain.

So now it's just a matter of rewrapping it every few days until the crack grows out (probably a couple of months...).

So, once again Murphy is recuperating from something... luckily nothing serious... but still...  If we had a year go by without Murphy needing recuperation time for something, I'd be amazed.

He is the exact opposite of an "easy keeper" like my pretty boy Tucker!

We're off today for a meeting for S, and then a neighborhood get-together in the afternoon... It should be a good, but busy, day.

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

speaking of barns....

..notice anything different about mine?

My header picture was taken a couple of years ago, and here's my barn now:

(Please ignore the piles of manure... they have since been "relocated"  to the manure pile out behind the barn!)

Here's a little closer shot... now can you see what's different?

How about a little more barn art?

The vintage tin Coke sign came from my SIL...

... and the vintage Coors beer sign came from our neighbors.

It hung on the side of their barn for years... and I could see it from our house and always liked it. When those neighbors moved, knowing how much I liked that old tin sign, they pulled it off their barn and gave it to me. It's been hung up inside my barn for years... but there wasn't room for the Coke sign inside the barn too, so I hung them both up outside.

My old barn is stylin' now!

Happy first day of fall!!

Monday, September 22, 2014

Happy Monday

Crazy Casa K

What makes me happy on this cool, cloudy Monday?

A straightened up barn.

It may not look like much, but until an hour ago or so there was a mess of dirty hay and baling twine on the floor, empty feeders laying around waiting to be put away, and odds and ends from the barn first aid kit scattered here and there (from doctoring the crack in Murphy's hoof). That's all put away now. R can put the saddles away now too (not done yet) because the extra stall, where they are usually stored, is almost emptied of the hay I'd been storing in there.

It's amazing how much bigger the barn looks when it's cleaned up!

Friday, September 19, 2014

the end is in sight...

The end of a super busy week, that is.

It's been one of those weeks that somehow ended up involving way more running around than works for us...

Here's a what this week's craziness looked like:

Monday (our quietest day): Home Depot trip for a little project I was working on for M, lunch out, shop for K's birthday then home and school time. The donkey farrier (yes we have two now, one for each equine!) came at dinner time to trim Tucker's hooves and freaked out about a crack R had found in one of Murphy's hooves.

Before it got too dark we pulled out the duct tape and vet wrap to make the big guy a lovely do-it-yourself boot.

Tuesday: Worked on M's project in the morning, then a quick (?!) trip to the DMV to get M a new state ID card.  (His had expired over a year ago, and he needed a current one...) An hour and a half wait and $11. got him a new ID card, then another quick (?!) stop at the Post Office to mail K's birthday gifts to Ghana. By the time we left the P.O. the afternoon was over, and we only had time for a quick (for real this time) dinner at home before the kid's RCC meeting.

Wednesday: R's uke lesson in the park in the morning, then lunch, school time, working on M's project and grocery shopping. It was back to town in the evening for the kid's RCC book club.

Thursday: Early morning doctor appointment for R, then home, lunch and leaving again to work at the thrift store... then home, dinner and leaving again for game night at the rec center. (M's project didn't get worked on and he let me know... all day long... that I wasn't working on it!)

Friday: Another early morning doctor appointment (for M this time), but first we had to lead Murphy out to the driveway, unwrap his hoof, and send pictures of the crack to his farrier. I sent a few photos, wrapped the hoof back up again, but then the farrier texted asking for one more photo. Unwrap, take picture, rewrap... run the horse to the barn, run the kids out the door to the doctor. One more stop at Home Depot for M's project, then home, school time, and finally finishing up M's little project.

Whew, I'm glad this week is almost over... Tomorrow is EARLY morning bowling, then picking up S for the weekend, shopping for the homecoming dance, and the St Joseph community get-together in the evening... I'll be wiped out by bedtime!

Want to see the project I made for M? (If you've read this far you deserve to!)

I made him a little drop down desk, from an old drawer, for his laptop.

M's room is small (no really - it's small) but he's wanted a desk for his laptop. I hated taking up prime real estate in there with a desk that would only become (another) catchall... So I made one that takes up no floor space, and will fold up out of the way when it's not being used.

(The front of the drawer is at the top, I added a couple of 1x3's to the sides to build them out to match the old shelf I used as the fold down part of the desk. I also added a 1x2 across the top back, inside, to better hold the weight when attached to the wall. There are no "before" photos since I literally made it up as I went along and had no idea it would ever turn into anything!)


This was my favorite kind of project, made from nothing but scrap wood...the only things I had to buy were the latch, hinges and chain. (How lovely after approximately 47 trips to Home Depot buying wood for the shed!)

Next week looks to be calmer than this week... thank goodness. I could use some time at home to get things caught up!

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Thrifting Thursday (butcher block table redo)

I've always loved the look of a thick, heavy, old butcher block in the kitchen, I love the richness of the oiled wood, and the practicality of having a handy place to set a hot pot or quickly chop an onion. (I baby our granite countertops... no chopping, no extreme heat.)

So when this ugly, wobbly table came into the thrift store not long ago, I immediately decided it had possibilities.

It was homemade from solid oak, and had casters (one broken) on the bottom and a drawer (also broken) on top. It was the most awkward, top heavy, piece of furniture I think I'd ever seen...

... but the top was made from old, 2" thick, butcher block. So I happily paid $5. for the table and stuffed it into the back of the van.

Whoever built this table built it to last... it was seriously overbuilt and a BEAR to take apart. I anticipated bringing the table home, flipping it upside down and unscrewing the butcher block from the base, and that would be that.

Except the butcher block was glued on... apparently with bullet proof glue... because I tried every trick I knew to soften the glue, and nothing worked.

I finally gave up and after I'd disassembled the table as much as I could, Joe broke the last of the base off with a sledge hammer.

The base is now scrap wood (I'll save it and use the wood for something someday... it's oak, after all!), but the butcher block survived quite nicely and I started sanding.

It looked as though the butcher block did not have a finish (varnish, shellac) on it,which was wonderful... it was mostly just dirty and dried out.

It didn't take long to sand, and once it was done I started wiping it down with butcher block oil. It was amazing to watch the wood waking up; returning to it's natural beauty...

I'm not sure what I'm going to do with the pile of oak down in the garage.... but the butcher block has found a home on my kitchen counter.

 I'm wiping it down with a little oil each day for now, until the wood gets to the point of not drying out so quickly... and each day the wood looks richer and deeper.

It was nice to have a quick, easy, inside project to work on... and I do love having it in the kitchen. (Yes, it's already been used... several times!)

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

up on the roof....

(in the words of an old Drifters song)

...everything is all right.

The shed is roofed.

And I survived.
(I hate heights!).

So yesterday was a very good day.

I spend the morning putting even more staples in the tar paper, then trimming it, and finally putting the shingles on. I'd never done any roofing, so I'm sure there were easier and more efficient ways of doing things... but the shingles are up, look fine, and should do the job... so all is good.

I finished up the roof with some roof and flashing sealer (think black caulk) and sealed the nails along the top edge that weren't covered by a row of shingles.

The whole job involved 5 trips up the 10' ladder to sit on the roof and work. (I did as much as I could from the ladder, but parts of the roof I just couldn't reach.) And for someone who doesn't care much for heights, that was 5 trips too many. :)

But the shed is completely done.

And I didn't fall off the roof even once. ;)

So let's kick back with the Drifters and celebrate how lovely roofs are... (while I admire mine from the ground!)