5.25.2011

More Fun with Power Tools - The Pressure Washer

The front porch has been a long-time repository for tools, lumber, garden equipment, tarps, more tools, more lumber, and of course, goose & chicken poo (which was sprayed off regularly, of course, but you knew that... right?). The temporary shed - up and in place since January - has been patiently waiting for all of our chaos, and we finally got the goodies transferred these past few days. The moving of all our white-trash goodness, however, left behind a very dirty porch.
I have a pressure nozzle on the garden hose, but this was three years of ground-in dirt, kiddies. It wasn't going anywhere: 


Rented a small pressure washer from the feed store, with "small" in their mind being 2700 PSI (the "big" pressure washer they also had available would have needed a trailer to haul to our place). The pressure washer needed gas, and I needed a refresher course on how to use the choke (snickeringly provided by Spouse, who said "Don't worry hon, I'll make a  man out of you yet!"), but eventually the machine got to going, and started revealing that it was grey-colored concrete, NOT tan, under all that dirt:


Not only did the concrete get a power wash, I also sprayed down the windows, screens and the doors. During the spray-down, we quickly found out that whatever weatherstripping the doors may have had at one time was now long dead and gone. As I washed, water sprayed through the top, the sides, and the bottom of the door. Spouse had to stop the process at one point, as the water almost reached the floor computers in the office. Yikes!

Still, only a couple hours worth of work, less than $20 for the half-day rental, no scrubbing, and look at how clean... w00t!


Wish we could use one of these things on the inside of the house!

5.08.2011

Volunteers in the Compost Pile

Last Fall, the chicken ladies got a nice treat: pumpkin and squash meats and seeds, which had the bonus of costing not a red cent as they were "old" Fall decorations being thrown away at the feed store. Not everything was hoovered up by the ladies, however, and what was left over was pitched into the compost pile.

Fast forward to Spring. We now have several squash and pumpkin volunteer vines in the compost pile. Not sure what we're gonna harvest come Fall: will it be Blue Hubbard squash? Princess Pumpkins? Pie pumpkins? Kinda nice to have the volunteers, as I still don't have our raised beds finished (mea culpa!), and am scrabbling together a large container garden instead (just got in a bunch of tomatoes & herbs - more on that later).

Besides a growing medium of rich compost, the vines are also getting recycled duck- and goose-pool water. There are a dozens of flowers on the vines at the top of the pile, indicating that if all goes well, we'll have a bountiful supply of Fall and Winter fruits. 

[A moment of solemnity for the other volunteer vine that didn't make it: a sweet potato that had been growing in the second compost pile. The chickens squeezed their way into that particular bin, and ended up tearing out the plant in their hunt for tasty bugs. Our compost bins continue to be locked up like Fort Knox, but never underestimate the determination of a bug-focused chicken.]

5.02.2011

The Morning Lie... err, Incentive

pic: the morning greeting during
mating season. 

Usually a hiss or a series of fast, 
ear-splitting high-pitched 
squawks. Lovely!
BZZZT!-BZZZT!-BZZZT!-BZZZT!-BZZZT!

[slap alarm clock]

*grooooooan*

[repeat if necessary, up to 2x]

The usual dawn sounds - outside of the Lucky the Roo crowing the quarter-hours, that is.

I tell myself to get up, that all I have to do is the bare minimum of chores then I can come back inside for a nap. I cling to this seductive promise every time - bare feet on concrete floors, pulling on clothes in warm & muggy or chilly weather - holding it close to my heart. I've never been a morning person. It has taken a lot of work to get my backside into bed before 11:00AM at night - my old tech, night-owl proclivities are tenacious. And though lately my eyes may open before dawn (the joys of getting older), it doesn't mean I'm ready to get out of bed yet.

And I could come back and take that nap, if I wanted to, sure thing. By the time I get into the routine of chores, however - pump dirty pool water to fruit trees, refill pools, watering bowls, feed for the birds, the dogs - I've come awake enough that my stomach rumbles for breakfast and coffee. There's no sleeping once that starts. And in a way, I'm glad: if it's nice outside, I'll get that cup of coffee, sit on the porch, and watch the animals do their morning routines. If the dogs aren't mugging me for attention at that point, some of the chickens might even come and perch on my lap. Who would want to nap throught that?