Category Archives: crafting

The Muckin o Geordie’s Byre – –

Jack thought it might be a good idea to get his Wednesday guest post up on a Wednesday – –

This week saw two important tasks finally achieved.

Back in November we were worried about whether our chickens might be frozen over the winter, but we discovered that leaving their poop lying in the coop would keep it fairly warm. So a win for everyone! But, of the course, the chickens always come home to roost, so I finally had to ‘muck out the byre/coop’ this week and put fresh straw over their floor. It’s probably a very good job I don’t have any sense of smell.

The other job was really odd. When we moved here we were a bit surprised to find that all the upstairs room had doors, but none of the ground floor rooms had. But we have five cats that we need to corral from time to time. So a few months ago I installed a folding door between our ‘ceilidh room’ and our sitting room/library. That was so that we would have some possibility of shutting the cats somewhere.

But it didn’t really help much to keep them out of the kitchen where they are inclined to get under our feet – or even on the counters! So, today I installed another folding door where the kitchen heads to the sitting room.

Fitting these doors is meant to be a breeze, but nothing ever is! The available space in an old house like ours is never the same size as the door, so a fair bit of ‘surgery’ was required. Despite the relatively light weight of the doors it’s still heavy going to position them. The other problem is when you have to add a length of wood to mount the top rail to and can’t find the right length of screws to fix it.

However everything worked out eventually.

The chickens are happy and so is Wendy – – -which means all is right with the world. Eggs for everyone.


Filed under animal rescue, between books, crafting, home improvements, humor, Life reflections, small town USA, Uncategorized, VA, Wendy Welch

Adding Two Rooms to our Home

Jack and I have a big back yard. We wound up fencing it into two halves because, chickens. The other day, I referred to “the outside room” and Jack didn’t ask what I meant, just said “inner room or outer room?”

Twenty-five years of marriage counts for something in the mind reading department, but we also came to this conclusion out of common sense. The backyard added two rooms to our home. The inner room is for gracious entertaining, has most of my light garden (solar stuff that’s so pretty at night) and the flowers. The outer room keeps the chickens, the main gardens, the fruit bushes and the nut trees. (Black walnuts are why we have two gardens; some plants is juglone safe, some ain’t. Juglone is the stuff black walnuts put out while their roots are down there in the wood wide web talking to each other. Never mind cats; it’s black walnuts as seek world dominance, y’all.)

Neither of us were ever big gardeners. We grew heirloom tomatoes because I love to try blue and purple and green and yellow things that “should be” red. We grew potatoes because Jack is Scottish, and if you’re a gardener in Scotland, you are talking root vegetables. Gardening in that country takes place August 10-15.

Jack and I have always enjoyed turning something into nothing–which is an upscale way of saying “how cheaply can we do this?” We put down leftover fertilizer bags to kill weeds, dug up rocks to weight and drain tomato buckets, and otherwise tried to keep from growing veggies that cost $2.25 each once you tallied all that went into producing them. It’s been fun, not least because it looks so silly. Old chicken wire stuck to poles from a tent we no longer have, bound by an ancient blue polyester dress, make our gate. Someone gave us a wine-making tank and we took a piece of guttering that fell down and made a rain spout to fill it for watering. (Hauling 12 buckets a day will get you in shape fast, kids.)

And we drilled holes in the bottoms of about ninety-eleven-hundred plastic buckets leftover from kitty litter, which annoyed Jack no end. He didn’t mind drilling the holes to give the tomatoes we planted proper drainage. He just didn’t like validating my recurring theme that someday all those buckets we kept piling in the basement (some of which we MOVED with from our former bookstore home) would “come in handy someday.” When it turned out I was right, Jack knew there would be no stopping my future hoarding tendencies on household detritus.

He’s kinda right. We have milk jugs piled up so we can make self-watering drip containers, and an old gate salvaged from friends who said “you want this?” It’s leaning against one of the infamous walnut trees, waiting for its day. Gardeners may kinda by nature (no pun intended) be hoarders. Dunno; this is only our second year having fun with the inner and outer outside rooms of our home. Keep you posted. Meamwhile, we keep the inner room clean for visitors and stash all the stuff in the outer room, guarded by the chickens.

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Filed under crafting, home improvements, humor, small town USA, Wendy Welch