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By anyone’s standards we live a pretty boring life…. not much happens out here in the boonies. So we’ve learned to take our excitement where we find it.

Like this morning, I went out to feed and found a pig… in a coat… rooting around in the pumpkin patch.

We see a lot of different creatures around our acreage … deer, coyote, foxes, hawks, snakes… are everyday things. Mountain lions passing through are even regular occurrences… (although not every day, thank goodness!)

But a pig in a coat is unusual… even for here. (So of course, I ran in and got the camera!)

This pig is not a stranger to me however… His name is Ernest.

I know this because he’s my neighbor’s pig… He’s a teacup pot bellied pig. (Who knew there was such a thing!!)

And he seems to like horses….

But he’s not great at reading donkey body language….

… continuing to snuffle his way along the pasture fence while Tucker snorted warnings to him to get away. Tucker is, apparently, afraid of very small pigs… and thinks it’s his job to run them off. But he’s a cautious donkey… no sense getting too close to this scary new thing.

Ernest eventually snuffled and rooted his way back home again…

… and I came back in the house, and Tucker finally relaxed and went into the barn to eat his breakfast.

Just another exciting morning on the farm…

Mailbox mini-makeover

My first title for this post was mini-mailbox makeover… but then thoughts of tiny little mailboxes started floating through my head and I realized I should change it.

It’s the makeover that was “mini” not our mailbox.

Our mailbox, the same one that was here when we moved in, is just an ordinary… old… metal rural style mailbox.

It was a little beat-up and rusted when we moved in, but that’s part of what I like about it. Like me, it shows it’s age. ;) We did give it a coat of paint a few years ago, and I’ve painted our house numbers on the side a few times (the paint fades quickly in the hot summer sun), but mostly it was just a mailbox on top of a post stuck in the ground.

And then I had an idea… Wouldn’t it look much better with a barrel full of flowers surrounding the post?

I had an old half barrel up by the house that I grew flowers in each summer. So, I had the barrel… I just needed to figure out the logistics of getting a barrel, so full of dirt I couldn’t even budge it, up the driveway and around the mailbox post. Oh, and how would I get it over the post? The bottom of the barrel might… um… get in the way.

(A bad, blurry picture of the barrel in it’s previous home by the garage:)

The other day I had one of those do-or-die moments and impulsively decided it was time for the barrel to move up the driveway.

First, I shoveled out about half the dirt in the barrel into a wheelbarrow.  That lightened it up enough that I could get a furniture dolly underneath it and lever it onto it’s side and dump the rest of the dirt out.

True to form, once I reached that point… the point of making a giant mess… the point of no return… I had second thoughts. What if it didn’t work??

I kept going though… I couldn’t just leave the barrel and the mountain of dirt in the middle of the driveway.

Next I broke the bottom out of the barrel (luckily it was already pretty rotten…), leaving it more of a tube, loaded it onto a wagon and hauled it up the driveway. R helped me lift it over the top of the mailbox, and with some careful maneuvering it was settled on the ground around the mailbox post. I leveled and centered it as much as possible (the mailbox sits on the top of a steep slope) and headed back down the driveway to get the dirt.

It took two wheelbarrow loads to haul all that dirt up the driveway… As I shoveled it back into the barrel I had visions of the Post Office telling me I was breaking some official P.O. regulation and needed to move the barrel back down the driveway again. (Thankfully, that has not happened… yet!)

Barrel in place, dirt in barrel… now maybe for a little light.

Our road can be VERY dark at night, it can be hard to find our place after dark… so I thought a few solar lights might be nice.

I added some little round solar lights I found, and then… just for fun… I painted some rocks with glow in the dark paint and put them in too.

It was getting there but definitely needed some color…

It was time for flowers…

But I knew anything I planted up there would 1. be eaten by deer, and 2. have to be watered.

I’m not generally crazy about artificial flowers but decided they were the only way to go in my new planter.

I added some flowers I had leftover from a wreath I deconstructed, and some others from an arrangement I found at Goodwill.

Drumroll please….

My much improved mailbox:

I love flowers, and I love the friendly look of a planter full of flowers around the mailbox. They will also be a good “landmark” when giving people directions to the house… )

And… they don’t have to be watered, and the deer won’t eat them!

 

…or lack thereof.

Mother nature has slowed down the progress on the pumpkin patch fence… We’ve had two snowstorms during the past couple of weeks, and plenty of cold, anything-but-springlike weather.

But here’s where we are…

We’re building on a slight hill, and followed the slope with our 2×4 header pieces, except for the gate area which we leveled.

The main header pieces are up all the way around, and now we are working on adding some 2×2 “trim” to the top of the header.

We weren’t sure about adding the extra piece to the top, but without it, the header looked too thin… flimsy.

So we’re going around now and adding the extra 2×2′s…

Which wouldn’t be a big job (a couple of hours tops!) if we didn’t have to stop for snowstorms (and the dozens of other distractions that seem to pop up each time we head outside to work!).

Here’s a picture of the “inspiration” fence again:

We’re changing the plans a bit because our fence is so much shorter (5′ compared to 10′) and because our garden is smaller (35′x17′) than the one is the photo. We’re leaving the pickets at the bottom, but because of the height difference, we aren’t going to put in the wood gridwork between the pickets and the header. We’re going to use cattle panels cut to size instead… They’ll give us the same gridwork design but in a much lighter form. We’re also going to leave off the 2×2 trim pieces the they put running vertically up each fence post… wood is just too expensive to add all the little “extras” in this fence design.

Here’s a picture of a fence with a cattle panel insert:

 

The panels are rigid and I think they look very nice, not wavy etc. like horse or field fencing. We’ll use cattle panel just on the top half of ours… the bottom will still be pickets, but this gives a hint to what the top might look like.

So… that’s where we are… hopefully this week we can get the header done and start on the pickets. (Which is fairly important, because we need to get the deer fenced out so I can plant my pumpkins!)

Happy Monday

Crazy Casa K
What makes me happy?
Waking up to find that we didn’t get as much snow as forecast, and the branches on my fruit trees aren’t broken off.
Alas, we won’t be getting any apples again this year…
…but at least the branches didn’t break during the night… and that makes me very happy. There is always next year for homegrown apples.  (And until then there is always Sprouts!)

May snow

I woke up this morning to snow.

The hills around us are shrouded in fog…

Thankfully it wasn’t enough to load down any of the newly leafed out trees.

It should be just enough to green up the pasture even more. It’s been a nice moist spring… it’s wonderful to have enough moisture to keep the pastures green!

nest watching…

Each year, finches build a nest in a little hanging lantern I have on the front porch.

(You can see a bit of the nest peaking out of the lantern on the left…)

R found five impossibly tiny eggs in the nest the other day, and I went out yesterday to take pictures of the eggs before they started to hatch..

Oops… too late.

I found four impossibly tiny eggs and one brand new baby bird…

Because the nest is on the front porch, and gets walked by several times a day, mama bird is pretty laid back about humans being around, so I’m going to take pictures of the nest every day or so… it should be fun to watch the babies grow!

I wrote here about the problems M’s been having with his back, and the frustration I felt trying to get some answers as to what is the matter… Yesterday he was seen at the Spine Clinic at UCHSC and I finally feel like I’m understanding what is going on. Up until now I felt like I was being told different things by different people, and nothing made sense… nothing seemed to fit together.  After talking to the doctor M saw yesterday it feels like things are finally fitting together and making sense.. which feels really good.

It looks like M has a stress fracture (spondylolysis) in one of his vertebra. It sounds like it could be genetic, although I’ve wondered if his skeletal problems might also be connected to his FASD. (Since prenatal alcohol exposure can affect bones…)

From Wikepedia:

Spondylolysis (spon-dee-low-lye-sis) also runs in families and is more prevalent in some populations, suggesting a hereditary component such as a tendency toward thin vertebral bone.
Although this condition can be caused by repetitive trauma done to the lumbar spine or strenuous sports such as football or gymnastics, anatomy also plays a major role. According to research done in 2007, genetic make up of the lumbar spine has much to do with the occurrence of spondylolysis in certain individuals.[citation needed] A study done on 115 male skeletons with L5 spondylolysis was proof that a slight tweek in the anatomy of the spine can increase the likelihood of spondylolysis. In those with spondylolysis, many times the inter-facet region of vertebra L4 is more trapezoidal in shape with a larger width than that of a normal vertebra. This also changes the iner-facet height, making them shorter and narrower. With this defect in the spine, a normal load applied to the spine will be greater compared to those without it. This is due to reduced surface area and torsional range of motion during twists and bends.
Apparently, the spondylolysis is probably the cause of the “focal sclerosis” that showed up on the CT scan. If there is a fracture, his body’s response would be to lay down bone in the area of the injury. That abnormal bone growth is the focal sclerosis.
All this has to be confirmed with a bone scan that M will have done in the next couple of weeks. After the scan we’ll follow up with the spine doctor. It looks like treatment is probably just enough time to let the bone heal, and possibly a brace if it doesn’t seem to be healing well. The doctor did mention the possibility of surgery to screw the pieces of bone together, and M looked about ready to head out the door. After his hip surgeries, M is very afraid of surgery… especially anything involving screwing bones together. (M still has screws in one hip from his first hip surgery!) I told the doctor that surgery wasn’t something we wanted to consider or talk about right now and he quickly backpedaled…

So… all in all a great appointment… we both like the new doctor and feel good about the direction things are going.

Enough about medical stuff… tomorrow this blog will be back to it’s regularly scheduled programming!

This is a project I did a little while ago, but just realized I’d never blogged about… so, since nothing new is in the works I thought I’d blog about the chunky little rocker I picked up at a thrift store for $4.99.

I’m not sure why I was drawn to it, it’s not like I needed a child sized rocker for anything… but I really liked the solidness of it’s construction. It’s proportions are off, if you think about it… for it’s size it’s construction shouldn’t be so “heavy”… but I liked it… I liked it’s square, no-nonsense, last forever lines… and the price was right… so I bought it.

`

It was DIRTY… as in the wood had never been stained or sealed and had just gotten grimier over the years. The rush was usable, but had red Kool-Aid stains and purple marker lines and also needed work.

The first thing I did was to sand the dirt off. It wasn’t a hard job, I used my little mouse sander and before long the dirt was gone… replaced with clean, but raw, wood.

At that point I decided to stain it. I like to paint furniture, but only if the wood isn’t good enough to salvage… and this wood looked good. So I stained it (the rush is taped off to keep the stain off it, at that point I wasn’t sure if I was going to redo the seat, so I didn’t want to accidentally get stain on it.

`

It looked good stained… much better than it had looked coated with grime… but it was kind of boring. Kind of too-much-tan-matches-the-log-walls boring.

So… back out to my backporch workshop it went…  I decided to paint it my favorite barn red paint (it is literally the same paint that’s on my barn… should be durable!), then I distressed it a little bit and gave it a coat of dark wax. And as long as I was at it, I replaced the seat at the same time. The old rush seat was kind of nasty (you should have seen the cheerios and other stuff that came out of the seat when I took it apart!) and needed replacing, and I had enough rush leftover from the last seat I’d done to do this little rocker.

Ah… much better. For some reason this house calls out for red, nice happy barn red… I think it must be that the log walls, so much wood, need something bright to catch the eye.

So…that’s my little $4.99 rocker… it was a fun project and went pretty quickly (and with the new rush seat and heavy construction it doubles nicely as a step stool… I use it all the time to reach up high to clean! ;) )

foggy mornings….

Foggy days lately… It’s unusual for it to be foggy in Colorado, sunny days are more the norm here… so we are enjoying the novelty of the fog. I especially like the cocooned in kind of feeling it gives, almost as though we are wrapped in a layer of cotton. The kids love the way the lights look, after dark, shimmering spookily through the fog.

It doesn’t take much to entertain us, I guess.

`

“Mr Barn”, always smiling, despite the weather… and Tucker watching me suspiciously while I walk around taking pictures.

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The road out front… almost hidden in the fog.

It looks like the fog is already starting to lighten… maybe we’ll get our sun back today. :)

`

 

 

~Happy Monday~

Crazy Casa K

 

What makes me happy?

Old family pictures…

I love looking through them.

Here are my parents, very early in their marriage (1948 or so).

Here’s another one… Joe as a baby. I love his grin…

I need to figure out my scanner and scan some more pictures in to post…

they are just too much fun. :)

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