Monday, April 6, 2015

Wrapping up March.

What to do between projects?  Find little ones around the house.  

On a lovely Wednesday when Alexe was home and playing in her garden, or reading in her bathrobe on the porch, I can't remember which, I tackled the problem of the swampy chicken house.  Six weeks of steady rain have turned everything into a soupy mess, and the chicken house has been getting unpleasant to visit, let alone for the chickens to live in.

A bit of shoveling, a truck load of washed sand, and with a perimeter of sandbags, a raised sand floor, and a new set of drainage channels around the outside, this place is back to the nice smelling cedar chicken house is was built to be.

There was a three day stretch without rain, and I took the opportunity to jump on the tractor and do some grounds cleaning around the place.  I got a little overambitious down by the pond, and when a weld on the box blade snapped and the blade dug down hard, I managed to spin the wheels of the tractor and get myself nicely buried in water and much up to the axles.  

With lots of chains and using the hydraulics on the bucket loader, I slowly pulled myself out in 6" increments, resetting the chains between each 6" advance.  

We were gifted a pair of ducklings.  They came into the kitchen for a short visit / pooping party.

Gallery opening on Main Street.  

Nowhere I have to be? A little too chilly to play outside?  Donuts it is.

Family chill time.  

This little man is now fully aware of how sweet, handsome, and adorable he is.

Possibly because we can't get enough of him.

Alexe's garden.  There has been a request that I step in and help her break out of her cycle of making the smallest plant-able spaces in the world, no matter how large a space she starts with.  Noodling on that, we'll see what we come up with.  In the meantime, her beans and strawberries and spinach are looking pretty good.

The junk booth at the BTC.  Fun to keep it looking full, and watching the clutter from all the nooks and crannies thin out.

Tad poles from the pond.

A good crop of frog eggs this year.  The pond is going to roar when they all hatch.

A little more work required in the children's swim area after the tractor mess.

Our newest toy.  Alexe called me when she saw this with a for sale sign on the side of the road.  Turns out we've both always wanted one. Tentative plans, after we replace the floor with bamboo and give it a cheerful coat of paint on the inside, is to make it into a guest house.  

Alexe took it upon herself to order 6 chairs for the teachers at the elementary school, to give them somewhere to sit when they're on playground duty.  She personally painted each one, over the course of 3 hours, and delivered them to the school all by herself.

Impromptu pizza dinner out on the town.  And when you're in a small town, and you order a grown up beverage, they may bring you an almost full first one, then after changing out the keg, a full 2nd one on the house.  

The kids have been going to a Weds. evening activity night at the church, providing Alexe and me with a weekly date night.  We go for walks.  On this evening we passed this lovely block of properties.  Notice the shadow of the church steeple:

Caspian saw something in a Doctor Who episode that has rattled him, so he's been sleeping in his sister's room.  The family rule has always been they can stay up as long as they want and are responsible for turning their own lights out, as long as they're reading.  It has always worked well, and then the other night I walked in to turn their lights off at a surprisingly late hour and heard for the first time, "Daddy, just let me finish this chapter!" 

And yet they're not entirely grown up.  They still crawl into my lap and ask me to draw on the bottoms of their feet...

The local Junior Auxiliary put on their Easter Egg hunt in the park this year.  Caspian found 28 eggs, the most in his age group, and won an extra Easter basket.  And got his picture in the paper.  He was very proud of himself.

Annaliese did her best to be happy for her brother, and seemed to have a good time with her aggressively uncounted number of eggs.  When they reconnoitered back at the BTC Caspian pooled his score with his sister's, and then they split it down the middle.  Not to belabor the point, but he's such a good kid.

A little go-cart type playing in the parking lot at the Blu Buck buildings while I tinkered on yet another little wrinkle. All the new tenants are putting the brand new infrastructure through its paces, and we're working through the little things that pop up in that process.

And then Alexe left on a Saturday afternoon to pick her mother and sister up at the Jackson airport and head on to Natchez, for a girls weekend.  The kids and I had some good times, with veggies and Duck Tales, and even a play date most of Sunday afternoon.  And in between I started the screening in of the porches project that has been lingering on the to do list.

I was disrupted by a Monday of dropping the kids off at school, putting on my Alexe hat and fetching produce, hitting up the feed store, and picking up the porch furniture I had ordered from the Amish for the hotel.  It was a fun day of cruising the back roads of MS.

I got back to town in time for a lazy lunch, and then my afternoon picked up when these guys got off the bus.

A quick stop to button up the hotel rooms after a guest checked out, and we headed home.  In case you haven't seen these, this is one of the hotel rooms.

I gave myself permission to not have the porch screening done by the time Alexe came home on Tuesday, and the kids and I had a very relaxed final evening home alone.  I saw them off to school the next morning, and had the downstairs porch complete, and the lower section of the upstairs porch buttoned by the time Alexe rolled in.  I finished them on Wednesday morning.  They turned out nicely, and now those 5 sets of french doors that lead out onto the porches can stay open all the time.  I still need a dog-proof solution for the three sets that lead into the kitchen, but in the grand scheme we are set to move out to the sleeping porch, and eat all our meals outside.  

The other morning, right around 5, the dogs went crazy. While walking around the farm checking for a cause for their insanity, I noticed the lunar eclipse and spent a long, chilly morning wrapped in a blanket and watching the moon set, with the earth's shadow passing over it, while the sun rose at my back.  Which has nothing to do with anything, other than it was nice to sit out on the newly screened in porches for the occasion.  

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