More Dormer/Roof Progress and a Strawberry Bandit

It goes with little need to say, vacations come and go way too quickly! After spending most of my vacation week working on the house, I definitely did not reach the point I had hoped to reach.  But, then again, these are the first dormers I have ever built, and the roof took a bit longer to reinforce than I had planned.  That is me, trying not to beat myself up.  Before starting back up at work, I was able to get the side dormer framed up and most of the metal on the dormer roof.

After starting my first day back at work coming off vacation, my dad offered to stop out that evening and help seal up the roof a bit more to prepare for some storms that were predicted to come through Tuesday night (and they did).  I won’t turn down help!  So together, we finished the roofing on one dormer and started the roof on the other.

Fortunately, the roof endured the storm, with the help of only a few strategically placed buckets in the attic.  I think once I get the roofing done around the dormers and chimney, the rest should go pretty quickly.  Then and only then, will I once again enjoy the rain.

Last week was warm (by Minnesota standards) and this week looks like more of the same.  Until I purchase and install our next batch of house windows, our chickens have to do without any windows in their coop.  No windows, no natural light or cooling breeze.  So, taking a quick break from the roof last week, Stephen and I quickly assembled a screen door for the chicken coop, similar to the one we built for the duck coop.  We re-used the spring from the old door to retain the auto-close feature, a nice thing to have when children frequent the coop.

On a completely unrelated note, our children had entered the garden last night to pick a few strawberries to eat. How awesome is it to have fresh and healthy food growing at the reach of your children’s fingertips!

To their surprise, they were greeted by a furry strawberry bandit.  They went running out of the garden hollering that there was a raccoon in the strawberry patch “staring” at them.  The coon seemed unphased by the commotion, content to be located in strawberry heaven.  I ran out there, gun in hand, and took the rascal down.  Little did I know, his buddy was still hiding deeper in the patch, biding his time while we dealt with his comrade.

I was heading back to work on the roof to further prepare for the coming storm while Shelly grabbed a shovel to deal with the dead raccoon, when all of a sudden I heard a scream from the garden.  Shelly came running out of the strawberry patch, just as the kids had done moments earlier.  I again ran to the garden and dealt with the second coon.  This time I looked a little deeper to make sure there wasn’t a third.  All clear!

-Jeremy

Continue Reading

Weeds and Strawberries

It is starting to feel like June!  As I am writing this, I can hear the thunder from a storm brewing to the south of us. June is a month known for its storms.  It has been almost seven years ago since an EF4 tornado struck nearby Wadena.  That is part of life in the American plains, thankfully tornadoes are a bit more scarce around here than they are further south.

Besides storms, June also brings on the weeds..

And more weeds….

Believe it or not, there is a garden in there…. Somewhere…

Shelly has started dealing with the pesky weeds over the last few days.  No better time to pull weeds than when the ground is soft after a few recent storms and the sun is hidden behind the clouds.

Onto one of the best parts of June, sweet, bright-red strawberries!  They are starting to ripen up nicely.  We picked our first few last weekend and it looks like our kitchen is in for a strawberry avalanche over the next week or two.

Our 120 strawberry plants seem to have turned into 1200 strawberry plants (and 5 thistle plants) over the last year.  Not that we are complaining!  On the contrary, this is probably what every homesteader hopes for when they buy their first few strawberry plants.  Once August or September rolls around, we will thin them out and expand the patch a bit more (we will also have plants available for sale if you would like to purchase a few this fall).

There is something about eating chemical free, homegrown strawberries that hands-down beats out any strawberries a store has to offer.  Did you know that strawberries have now become the most pesticide ridden produce available on the market.  Not ours!

Wait, that’s not a chicken!

We found this little critter hanging out with the chickens while we tended to the evening chores.  It looks to be a baby pigeon that hasn’t yet learned to fly.  I did a little barn cleaning this weekend and may have taken out its parents.  We took pity on it and put it in with our two baby guineas.  Maybe Stephen can train it as a messenger bird 😛

While Shelly was weeding this evening, I starting plumbing for our central vacuum system.  One port complete.  And this is why I have been holding out on drywall.

-Jeremy

Continue Reading