January

Key Tasks

Avoid planting fruit and nut trees after January 15. Check t-posts, pruners, saws, etc. February is a busy pruning month. Walk! Walk! You’ll be buried in tasks come February. Declare a gas engine day when we crank all the engines that have been dormant over the winter and let them run for a few minutes. If there’s a problem, gives us time to address it before spring. Set out cabbage and other cold-hardy veg if you haven’t already done so. Buy seeds for spring planting.

January 1

2015

Recorded and published the podcast this morning, which I was able to get done by noon. Then it was football basically from start to finish. I removed the corner cabinet door this morning and laid it out on the work table. Tomorrow I hope to make it to True Value to buy a dowel I can cut off and use to fill in the holes whose plugs keep slipping out. I’ll glue the dowels in and then drill into them to hold the hinges.

2014

Started the day slowly, working on the bulletin for the Feast of Lights on Sunday. Then Amanda and I planted 30-40 longleafs before the rain interrupted us. As it was falling, I pulled the grill down so it will be ready for tonight. The late afternoon was a mad rush and didn’t feel like a holiday at all. Thawed out chicken, mixed and applied rub to chicken and steak. Mixed up bread and placed it in Dutch oven. Fired up grill and cooked chicken, then cooked the two steaks. Then a mad dash to set up Skype for the interview with Nick Rose of the Australian Food Sovereignty Alliance. Once we finished the interview we were able to relax a little and had a delightful supper.

January 2

2015

First order was a run to town to pick up a dowel, which I got. But Dale suggested that I try just gluing the rubber stopper in. I used a rubber mallet and hammered it home. Now I don’t think I’ll need to use the dowel at all. Spent the bulk of the day working on the slides for the January CAMGA meeting dealing with opportunities to build service hours. My cough is lessening but may be morphing into a sinus infection.

2014

Recorded and edited the podcast this morning, then to town for a session and to print the bulletin. This afternoon Amanda took her picture on Veg Hill to use with the podcast, and then we spent the rest of the afternoon preparing for Mama’s visit this evening to watch the Sugar Bowl with us (Roll Tide!).

January 3

2015

Cooked a chicken this morning for Adrian’s chili and prepared corn bread for tonight. Also blew off the pavilion and porch at the lodge and the porch in the barn. Moved the chickens.

2014

Well that didn’t work out well at all. Our team was soundly and surprisingly beaten by Oklahoma. Let’s change the subject. It was perhaps our coldest morning of the season, combining 23 degrees with brisk wind. Absolutely brutal to be outside. As the day progressed, though, it became progressively more pleasant to be outside. I worked at the work table to prepare and then install a bag rack in the lodge, and we enjoyed a long walk in the early afternoon. When we returned, we folded up a section of row cover and stowed it on the pallet rack. The forecast calls for a low of 14 degrees Monday night, so we need to think through how to prepare.

January 4

2015

Installed the cabinet door this morning before church. Then a long stay at church, first to prepare the Little House and to learn to be Book Bearer with Wells, then for worship itself, then the dinner and annual church meeting later, and finally to clean up and change the sign. Then home to strike the table from book club last night and to take a nap. The chickens were ravenous this afternoon, because their feeder got clogged up with all the rain. Need to plan to always check it the morning after a rain to make sure it’s flowing freely.

2014

Began the day by posting about our preparations for the big freeze Monday night. Then I grilled burgers on the grill before using Tractor to hoist the grill back up on the pallet rack. Then I winterized the asparagus. First I cut it down to the ground using the hedge trimmer. Then I used Scamp to cover the bed in 5-6 inches of mulch. Next I emptied the humanure buckets. By the time I was done with that we were out of time, so Amanda and I showered and left for ATL to visit Trader Joe’s and then pick Adrian up at the airport. Nice visit with her on the way back and in the lodge after we returned. Late to bed.

January 5

2015

You can tell it’s getting colder now. No more of that heavy, damp feel. Spent most of the morning getting through correspondence and phone calls. Then a trip to town to take recycling, etc. This afternoon I sent out the draft of the January CAMGA meeting slides to all the work area chairs. Now I sit back and wait for them to respond with feedback and pics.

2014

Great morning at church that went on and on. First prep, then worship, then lunch, then annual meeting, then vestry (during which I changed the sign), then the Bordens, Van Ettens, and Weldons changed the nave over from Christmas to Epiphany. By the time we actually left it was 4:00 in the afternoon. So much for installing frost blankets outside. That will now need to happen tomorrow (with sub-freezing temps and winds in the high teens).

January 6

2015

Spending more time now firming up CAMGA programs and polishing slides for January meeting. The Internet was down all night, but we finally got it working again about 9:00 this morning. Spent an hour or two this morning securing the outdoor sink in the lodge and the sink on Veg Hill. Also moved the chickens to a fresh spot that has more green than any they’ve yet seen. Can’t wait to see if they chow down on all that good stuff.

2014

A long, exhausting day. Amanda was in Montgomery most of the day helping Mama get her cable and Internet changed over. The day was all about gearing up for the freeze overnight (14 degrees). First I took lots of photos: each bed got its own shot, as well as each of the olive trees, the pecans, and the O’Rourke fig. Then I wrapped the faucets of the lodge with towels. Then Adrian, Jeff, and I looked at the TV in the lodge and got it working well again. Then I moved the truck and pulled the roll of frost blanket down with the Tractor. Then I cut two squares of frost blanket for the olive trees and used them to wrap the olives. Then I deployed row cover on bed 11. Then I cut another row cover so Amanda would have some frost blanket to work with when she returned. I was in the process of picking the roll of frost blanket up to return it to its storage place above the apartment when I lost track of it and let it roll off the pallet forks. Before I could get a front in front to bring it to a stop it had unrolled about 60 feet, which I needed to reroll. By then Amanda had returned and decided she wanted to cover Bed 9. We got it covered and took a picture of it. By the time we finished that, I was on impulse power. Took a shower and worked indoors for an hour or so until nightfall.

January 7

2015

Today was mostly about gearing up for the hard freeze predicted for tonight. We discussed adding hay to the chickens’ roost, but we decided instead to rotate the coop so the laying box (now walled off until they’re old enough to lay) adds an extra layer of protection from the NW wind. Turns the entrance to the roost from due West to Southeast. So I did that today, and I think it will make a real difference to the ladies. This afternoon we had a delightful visit with Clayton Hutsler, and we pressed him into service to help us put frost blanket on beds #3, 15, and 16. As I write this, it’s after dark, and it’s amazing how fast it has become seemingly intolerable out there.

2014

Low turned out to be 10 and virtually no wind. We lost water pressure to the lodge in its entirety, the use of the utility sinks in the shop and storage room, and the toilet in the barn. The toilet freed itself up about 10:45 am, even though the outdoor temperature was still 22 degrees, well below freezing. Never made it above freezing. The water in the lodge freed up about noon. We’ll make it a point to keep the water running at low levels in both tonight, when it’s due to be cold again. Spent most of the afternoon editing the podcast with Nick Rose of the Australian Food Sovereignty Alliance. Super-complicated, but I have a rough cut. Now I need to listen to it to make sure it hangs together.

January 8

2015

The low turned out to be 13, so we could have had worse. We stayed warm; will check after we’re up and around to see if the pullets made it through the night okay.

2014

Fascinating. This morning the low temp was 15 degrees about 3:00 am. By 5:00 it was back up to 18, I assume because of the shift in the wind from NW to NE. Lots of sunshine today.

January 9

2015

Still cold today, and this time cloudy. Amanda was in Mgmy most of the day helping Mama with her colonoscopy, so I had the place to myself. I spent most of the day diagnosing and cataloging the problems with the Onkyo receiver. It’s not 1-2-3; some things work fine, others work semi-well, and others don’t work at all. I want to understand it before I box it up and send it somewhere.

2014

I had two sessions today, one at 9:30 and the other at 3:30, with EfM in between, so I spent most of the day at the church. It started to rain this afternoon as we were returning.

January 10

2015

We applied this morning for Amanda to begin drawing Social Security. Then we hung out two loads of clothes, because this was the last good drying day far a week. Then I deep-tuned my autoharp, loosening the fine tuners and tuning it so the fine tuners aren’t in danger of being tightened down too far. I finished running diagnostics on the Onkyo receiver; we decided that it made more sense to buy a new receiver than to try to repair this one, so I ordered it this morning. I also put the check to the Elmore County Community Foundation in the mail, which finishes up my work on the grant.

2014

After taking the garbage down, I worked inside for most of the morning. Changed out firewood at the barn. Removed #6 and replaced it with #9.

January 11

2015

Very long day, starting with getting to church early so I could return the speaker and amp I had borrowed, and so Amanda could put up Christmas decorations. Then Sunday School, then church, then to Montgomery for lunch with Mama, then to Patrick Hale’s visitation and funeral, then visiting afterward, then to Costco, then home about 5:30.

2014

This morning we took down the Christmas tree and packed it up. Drove to Loachapoka where I had my first lesson on the autoharp. I can play it! So now it’s time for me to buy an autoharp. This afternoon we drove from Loachapoka to Bill Shell’s house so he and I could experiment with my using his camera. It worked well. John and Kathy Haynie were there; it was great to see them again.

January 12

2017

This is my first entry in quite a while. My biggest accomplishment for today is getting this calendar back in use.

Work continues on the chicken tractor. This morning I built the passage door between the tractor and the run and added a vertical brace to the front of the tractor. I also finished painting the table top, the ramp between the floor of the tractor and the roost, and the top of the laying boxes. This afternoon I built and installed the main door, and I added the final vertical brace to the outdoor portion of the tractor.

I am beginning to see the light at the end of the tunnel for the tractor. I did a freakishly good job estimating how much lumber I would need and a freakishly bad job estimating how much time it would take. Oh well . . .

On the family front, I’m calculating the materials cost for us to redo the deck of the pier, and it’s coming in at about $3,400 using Evergrain composite decking.

2015

Met Johnny Celka at the lake this morning to show him four main issues we want him to address: (1) the pier light, (2) the lights and outlet under the house in the storage room, (3) the lights and fan on the gazebo, and (4) the incorrectly switched outlet in the master bedroom. He hopes to begin work tomorrow. I then lingered and used the Internet at the lake for a session at 1:30 pm. Returned by way of town, where I changed the sign at church, stopped at True Value to replace a hose nozzle and a faucet manifold, stopped at the PO, picked up peanuts and a flashlight at True Value, and picked up supper at Cozumel. It was getting dark by the time I got back home, so I hurried out to check on the chickens, which were doing well.

2014

Great morning at church, ending in a training for Eucharistic Lay Ministers. Then we drove to Montgomery where we (a) got Mama’s DVR to display the time, (b) connected but gave up on her DVD player, (c) gave up trying to get her sound system to stay off and decided to just let it stay on 24/7, (d) changed her voicemail greeting, (e) taught Mama how to check her voicemail, (f) got the TV in her bedroom working again. (g) fixed her front door so that it opens reliably, (h) moved her Christmas tree to the garage, and (i) changed out the light bulbs in her garage door opener. It was nightfall by the time we left and nearly 7:30 by the time we were back home.

January 13

2017

This morning I spent an hour and a half running numbers on the redecking of our pier at the lake. Then I began working on the chicken tractor. Before the day was out, I had installed the ramp to the roost, as well as the final three horizontal braces. I also cut and installed the sheet metal cover for the laying boxes, and I installed sheet metal on the overhead door of the laying boxes and installed it on its hinges. I figured out this afternoon that I don’t need to hang the passage door on hinges at all. I only need to close off the passage when I’m moving the coop, so I can just hang a wooden “chicken stopper” there when I need to keep the chickens in the coop. At the end of the day I tried to mount the main door to the roost. It won’t fit. I ran out of time before I could solve the problem.

2015

The highlight of the day was getting the new AV receiver connected and programmed in the lodge. The problem is that I have a bad hum in it whose cause I can’t yet pinpoint. While doing that, I was also receiving and including in the slides for the January meeting all the suggestions and input we’re receiving from the work area chairs. The slides are really taking shape now; I don’t see too many more changes before they’re ready to show next week.

2014

Amanda spent most of the day in Montgomery. I started the day taking “after” photos of Veg Hill and the orchard to document the effect of last week’s freeze. Then I headed to town to run errands and change the sign at the church. Then back to the farm where I began cataloging, editing, uploading, and commenting on the photos. Some research on auto insurance and autoharp tuning. By then the rain had begun in earnest. Thought I had written a nice little melody for the group in Loachapoka, but then Amanda told me it was already written. Oh well!

January 14

2017

The chicken tractor is racing toward completion now. This morning, with just an hour or so before we had to break to prepare for Whistle Stop practice, I adjusted the roost door so that it now swings freely and closes securely. Then I was able to cut and mount the roof, one continuous sheet of metal that’s 36 inches wide and 73 inches long. After messing up several of the sheet metal sections on the sides by overtightening screws, I finally seem to have gotten the hang of it by the time I reached the roof. It’s smooth and straight. The remaining items are:

  • finish attaching hardware cloth to “outdoor” areas
  • finish painting handle, drill new (larger) holes for it, and install it
  • remove the wheels from the old coop and install them on the new one
  • build and mount a “chicken stopper” I can use when I need to move the coop and run

I think that’s it. We’re getting close.

Late this afternoon, I was able to build the little chicken stopper. Now I just need to figure out a way to attach it to the coop when it’s time to move it. I also was able to put a coat of paint on the handle, and I used a 1 3/8″ drill bit to drill out new holes for the handle. Then I cut off the smaller holes that were further out.

2015

We recorded and edited the podcast this morning dealing with the gritty reality of using wood for heat. Then a good conversation with Amanda at Marietta Sportscar about loading up the Vespa and bringing it to her. Then lunch with the boys.

2014

Today was mostly about the autoharp. I received my new harp and unpacked it to discover that the button for the C major chord was stuck. Bummer. Glad I bought it on Amazon Prime. Packed it back up and set it up for return.

January 15

2017

I was able to do enough work on the chicken coop this morning to discover two significant problems: (1) the left wheel of the old coop is locked on, and I’ll need Amanda’s help to hang on to one end of the bolt outside while I twist on the nut from inside; and (2) I foolishly failed to measure the height of the run, thinking for sure it was 30 inches. So I didn’t see any problem when the boards holding the handle were only 35 inches off the ground. The run is actually 36 inches tall, so I had the tractor resting on the top of the run. I think I can solve the problem by attaching a 2 x 4 (1 1/2 inches thick) on the bottom of the front of the tractor.

2015

We were up early this morning to travel to Dave Gray’s and Lynda’s, where we had a soggy but useful morning touring the orchard with Dr Jay Spiers. I learned as much from Dave Gray as from anybody else, but it was a good morning, even though we were standing in the rain the whole time. This afternoon was quiet work indoors trying to get warm, which we finally succeeded in doing about 5:00 this afternoon.

2014

We recorded and I edited the podcast this morning on how we weathered the freeze. Then we spread out the three frost blankets so they could dry out. Amanda used lengths of rebar to hold them down so the stiff wind wouldn’t pick them up and blow them around. This afternoon I drove to town and printed the bulletin, and then Amanda met me at Parker Tire with the truck so we could leave it for them to work on while we were gone. When I got home I pulled the almost empty pallet #7, cleaned out where it had been, and replaced it with the full pallet #10. I picked up the Christmas tree and placed it on a pallet so I could put it up on the pallet rack. We’ll need to move it when we put full firewood pallets up there, but that probably won’t be until Labor Day, so that gives us some time. Then Amanda and I folded two of the three frost blankets; we decided to redeploy one of them on bed #11 since we’re expecting a low of 25 tonight and 24 Friday night. Then Amanda chopped and I cooked collards, rutabaga, turnips, and cabbage for supper.

January 16

2017

This was a really productive day. Amanda was gone most of the day, first to the Governor’s Mansion and then to pick up Adrian at ATL, so I was on my own almost all day.

Started early with a trip to town to pick up one more 2x4x8 TYP and a 5/8″ threaded rod and to run several errands. When I returned I cut the threaded rod into two 6 1/2 inch bolts to act as axles for the wheels. Then I lifted the coop on the pallet forks and took turns adding hardware cloth and wheels as I went around the coop. Then I added eye bolts and cable to fashion a closer for the laying box and a hook to hang it on to hold the laying box door open.

I wasn’t able to hang the waterer as I had hoped, because the handle is long and easily gets off center, causing the water to spill. I set the waterer on the same raised platform I had been using while I think about some other way to make it hang straight.

By the time I moved the coop out into position, the daylight was ending, so I got to watch the girls as they explored their new home. They weren’t at all sure about it at first, but eventually all four of them made it up the ramp to the roost. I still need to fashion the cable that will hold the tractor in close contact with the run. That’s doubly important now, because the tractor is easier to move than the old coop, since the wheels are always down.

2015

My cell phone started failing in the wee hours of the morning. Couldn’t get it to sign on or off the network, couldn’t do a normal reboot, wouldn’t recharge its battery. We had been planning to take the Vespa to Marietta Sportscar, so we decided this morning to do it today and get a phone while we were there. It took all day, but we loaded the Vespa in the back of the pickup (thank God for the pallet forks!), delivered it to Amanda Detrick at Marietta Sportscar, purchased and activated a new iPhone 6 with Lifeproof case for me, bought a baby gift at Target and some spade lugs at Radio Shack, and bought lots of wine and other groceries from Trader Joe’s. We made it back to the farm about 8:30. While we were having such a pleasant day, the chickens were journeying through hell. I apparently left the door to their roost ajar, and Oddie got all four of them. No sign of them at all. Bless their hearts.

January 17

2017

CAMGA meeting this morning. I downloaded the Farmbot video overnight so I could show it from my hard drive, and I packed my speakers so they would be ready to use. This afternoon I installed the aircraft cable that cinches the tractor to the run. I now have confidence that a critter can’t pry the two apart and get in to get after the girls.

2015

Beans & Rice early this morning. Then we stayed for me to redo the sign to say farewell to the Kerr family and for Amanda to help make the Little House ready for the reception. Then home for quiet work. I mostly worked on getting the hum issue solved in the lodge. The hum has gone away now, but I have a more serious problem with the switching that I will need to address the next time I can get in there without disturbing Adrian.

January 18

2017

This morning I got a wild hair about the waterer for the chickens. When the dust had cleared, I had spread out the galvanized waterer to dry and eventually put it up in storage along with its wooden stand. In their place we now have two hanging 1-gallon waterers that don’t need to be leveled up to stay filled. They’re both made from one-gallon Milo’s jugs with a nipple in the bottom. The reason I have two is that on those occasionally frigid mornings in the wake of a hard freeze, I just remove the other waterer from storage and fill it up in the house, take it out to the coop, and hang it instead of the frozen one that hung there overnight. I bring in the frozen one and let it thaw out so it will be ready to use after the next hard freeze. Yay!

Stopped by Jean Kerr’s house today to look at her band saw and to plan our assembly of it. It will take 3-4 of us to lift it into place and to hold it steady while we bolt it to its stand (which Jean has already assembled).

This afternoon was the BIG accomplishment: After watching a handful of videos on YouTube, I opened up my iPhone 6, removed its failing battery, and replaced it with a new battery. The glue tabs broke off, so I ended up having to at least begin the process by prying the battery out, but then I was able to pull on the sticky tabs and slowly remove them, which helped the rest of the removal go smoothly. I feel so proud.

2015

Lots of work in the wee hours downloading and installing apps on my new phone. It’s coming along well. Early to the church to deliver food for the Kerr reception. Then Sunday School, worship, and the reception. We stayed for me to redo the sign. Then home. After a nap, we planted about 75 longleaf pines, some around the utility area but most in the woods East of the driveway.

January 19

2017

The new chicken tractor seems to be working well, but there is one issue. Because of the way the girls face, they’re dumping a good bit of their poop not on the removable tray but on the non-removable surfaces that flank it. I can hose off those surfaces, but at the cost of keeping the hay in the laying boxes a little damp. I think the solution is to remount the roosting boards a tad closer to each other so more of their poop will fall into the tray.

This morning was all about the fence at Extension that will enclose Farmbot and some outdoor classroom activities. Amanda and I left Extension at 11:30 so we could drive to Epiphany and help unload Beans & Rice, but the work continued, and Johan told me they got all the posts set before the rain arrived.

This afternoon I took the back cover off the roost so I could move those roosting boards closer together. I’ll look forward to checking the poop tray tomorrow morning and see if we got more of their poop into it (and more importantly, LESS on those fixed boundary boards on either side of it).

2015

Amanda was up and out early to help at the Governor’s Mansion. I used the morning for quiet work. Caught up on web posting, paid bills, etc. Today I listed my too-small cowboy boots on Ebay, and I completed most of the work to list the old transfer switch. The remaining item is the old Onkyo receiver. This afternoon Amanda and I planted another 75 or so longleaf pines, both around the driveway and up north of the lodge.

January 20

2017

This morning I was eager to check the girls’ poop tray to see if my adjustment helped. Success! Almost all their poop is now ending up in the removable tray now. After morning chores, I removed the screws holding the old particle board top onto the old utility table and used them to attach the new freshly painted plywood top instead. I also removed the pocket screws jig from the work table and stowed it in the truck so it will be ready to install at the lake to work on the pier.

We drove to the lake and took several measurements of the pier. The walkway is a tad less than 5 feet wide, and the platform is a tad less than 16 feet wide and 20 feet long.

This afternoon Amanda and I did a lot of reorganizing in the storage room, including installing several hooks and moving little-used items higher up on the walls to make more room for things we use more often.

2015

The morning and part of the afternoon was all about the January CAMGA meeting. This was the big extravaganza I had been working on since Christmas, and it went off smoothly. We got everybody up to do their piece and even had about 15 minutes left for questions. This afternoon we planted about 50 or so longleaf pines. It would have been more, but we stopped to visit with Adrian when she returned to the farm.

2014

A delightful visit this morning with Tom Gift, who’s interested in starting an orchard on property he has purchased in Franklin County, GA. We spent time not only in the orchard but also in both buildings and on Veg Hill. Finished in town to have lunch together, then he dropped me off at Parker Tire to pick up the truck before heading home. I changed the sign at the church and then drove home myself.

January 21

2017

The morning started out with an unexpected thrill, a tornado warning for Elmore County just as I arrived at church for Beans & Rice about 8:00. First I opened the front door of the Little House and invited in the clients waiting in their cars. We talked through our safety plan (go to the kitchen and the anteroom for the bathroom and get low) and tried to find out the location of the storm. We were able to establish that it was near Wetumpka and likely to pass to our north. Then we waited for others to arrive. By 8:50 we had enough church members to open, so we started serving. Soon we were able to confirm that the storm was east of us and moving away from us, so we relaxed.

Right after Beans & Rice a handful of us met in Jean Kerr’s basement and set up her band saw. Big sucker. HEAVY sucker.

This afternoon I discovered that the main door, the roost door and the poop tray had all swelled so that they would not open and close smoothly. I was able to open the main door first, so I worked on it first, using the belt sander to grind down the bottom and side of the door until I was satisfied it would open and close smoothly. I was eventually able to whip the roost door into submission and get it to close, but not until I had picked up the coop and brought it to the barn on Tractor’s pallet forks and moved the door’s hinges. It’s still not great, but it will at least open and close. I’ll have to wait on the poop tray, because I can’t get it to open at all yet.

2015

Spent the better part of the morning at the church using the Internet before heading to 1220 for LWTB. Then home to plant longleafs and to record and edit the podcast.

2014

Amanda was in Wetumpka most of the day at the CAMGA meeting and then running errands. I put clothes out on the line, which took more time than usual because of the extremely high winds. At one point, they blew Mama’s mattress topper off the line and threw clothespins all over the yard. I tested wind filters for Bill Shell’s little microphone; finally settled on the little wind screen that came with our lavalier microphones, even though using it makes it impossible to clip it on someone’s shirt. I’m packing various sizes of paper clips to help with that. Also spent some time getting acquainted with the new autoharp and working to settle in the tuning. At the end of the day I scooped up a bucket of dirt and shoveled it on every place I could find where the pipes might be coming up on top of the ground.

January 22

2015

Published the podcast in the wee hours of the morning. Transferred the remaining firewood from Pallet #2 onto #4 and placed #4 in burning position at the barn. Sure I hope the wood on it is seasoned enough. This afternoon Amanda and I planted the last of the longleaf pines. Yea! Grilled some burgers for supper and got the grill back up on the pallet rack before the rain started.

2014

We recorded the podcast this morning. Then I had a long rehearsal in the middle of the day for Tecumseh. Then home, where Amanda and I enjoyed a long walk in the afternoon. It was good to get out again.

January 23

2017

We spent most of the day today working with Tom and Martha Lynn on the first day of our project to install a new deck on the pier. Today was all about just getting started, and we worked on land most of the day. We identified two joists that we needed to add to the portion of the pier that’s on land. Then we trenched for them, cut the joists, and installed them with 2×4 “stakes” screwed to them to anchor them in place so that they are level and parallel. All of us felt good about the progress, and we have more confidence now that we can see this through. Dog tired at the end of the day.

2015

A cold, wet day. We spent most of it doing indoor work, mercifully. First here, then at church to prepare the Little House for the Louise Wilson (Betty Weldon) family lunch, then back home.

2014

Published the podcast this morning. The bulk of the day was occupied with preparing for and then participating in EfM, followed by printing the bulletin.

January 24

2017

Started the day hoping to address the issues with the roost door and the poop tray on the chicken tractor, but my belt sander is on the fritz. I knew better than to open it up when I might not be able to get it closed up again without the sander. We went on to the lake, where progress was slow but meaningful. We were able to install the next two joists that tie together the land portion with the over-the-water portion. Crazy transition, but it’s complete now.

Those screws that Trent left in place are a huge problem. Can’t cut them easily with the saws-all or the hack saw, and my bolt cutters leave too much of a nub.

This afternoon when we returned, I was finally able to get the poop tray out and planed it down using a planer we bought at True Value. It’s still balky, but I was at least able to get the tray cleaned out. Whew!

2015

Started the day with some quiet work, including picking and cooking a mess of collards as our contribution to lunch today. Then to Linville Funeral Home for the visitation and then the funeral of Louise Phillips, Betty Weldon’s Mom. Then to the church to serve lunch. We had been told to expect 35-40, but we actually fed 66 folks. It was a lot of fun, and I’m proud of my church. Then to Loachapoka for the last hour of the two-hour rehearsal. Then home for a well-deserved nap and quiet dinner with Adrian.

2014

Wicked cold morning, so I spent most of it indoors going through paperwork. After lunch and a quick trip to town, I swept the pavilion and front porch of the lodge and the front porch of the barn, and then Adrian joined us on a long walk on the East Side.

January 25

2017

A good and productive day today, until it wasn’t. I often do my best thinking in the silence of the predawn hours as I’m slowly waking up. In between going over psalms in my head (I have now memorized psalms 1, 23, 51, 100, and 121, and I am working on 8), I think about the day to come. I awoke with a plan to address the chicken tractor, and started in on it first thing. I first moved the chickens so they would be content in the run for awhile. Then I closed them off in the run, picked up the coop with Tractor and brought it to the barn. There I removed the 1 x 4 that divides the poop tray from the roost door. Then I pulled the radial arm saw back down off the pallet rack and shaved about 1/32″ on either side of the 1×4. When I reinstalled the 1 x 4 on the coop, both the roost door and the poop tray worked smoothly.

Feeling my oats, I took the main door off its hinges and shaved about 1/32″ off its lower right corner where it had been sticking. Success! Now all doors are opening and closing smoothly. I moved the coop back to the run, and one of the silverlaced hens expressed her gratitude by almost literally jumping into the laying box.

I next removed the screen door on the back porch of the barn. Amanda helped me put it up on sawhorses so I could begin removing the molding strips and replace its torn screen.

Lunch with the boys, and a trip to True Value to ask about removing those screw shafts on the pier joists. Pete says I can just hit them in opposite directions with a hammer and that they’ll break off pretty clean because they’re so hard. Can’t wait to try it.

This afternoon I finished rescreening the door. Then Amanda helped me rehang it. I turned my attention to the 1×2 strips holding the fixed screen next to it (also torn and needing replacement). That’s where I hit the wall. Screws are great. I prefer them to nails for almost everything we do around the farm for their ease of removal. The problem is that when Scott Ruppert installed the screen, he used phillips head screws rather than star or square head, and he stripped some of them out in the process of installing them. Now what to do? I’m going to see if I can buy a screw extractor set tomorrow while I’m in town.

2015

A chilly morning (27 degrees F), but pleasant with the wood stove cooking away. Early to church so Amanda could fix coffee for Sunday School. We took two vehicles to church, because I was headed to Montgomery for lunch with Mama, and Amanda was headed to Birmingham for Jaime Kilgro’s baby shower. Lunch was good, then to Mama’s to assemble a clothing rack for her. Then to Chevron station in Mitylene to get about 140 longleaf pines from DGB. Then home for quiet work and a late afternoon nap.

January 26

2017

Today was mostly about getting the screen repaired on the back porch of the barn. Such slow work, but it’s done now.

At the end of the day I was able to spend a half an hour or so just putting away tools and bins ahead of our welcoming John August Swanson here for lunch tomorrow.

2015

Unpleasant morning to be outside with temps in the 40s and a nasty NW wind. Amanda drove to Montgomery; I stayed inside and spent more time than I should have trying to make the Montezuma theme work on WordPress. This afternoon the wind was a little calmer, so Amanda and I planted about 100 longleafs before we lost our light.

2014

Yesterday and today we spent at Bill Shell’s house just outside Auburn with a small group of Japanese maple fanatics. My job was to produce a series of videos describing the bonsai pruning of Japanese maples that Thomas and Nancy Ash practice. It seems to have gone reasonably well. Now I have hours of videotape that I somehow need to catalog and begin to edit. Tonight when we returned, Amanda and I did some woodshedding with Adrian and Justin. What fun!

January 27

2017

Today was all about welcoming John August Swanson for lunch. The group was John, Pete & Liz Land, Adrian, Amanda, and I. My job was to grind flour and make rolls. During each rise, I did something to clean up the exterior of the lodge. John turned out to be a tender, sweet, infinitely curious renaissance man. What a great visit!

2015

This afternoon we finished planting the longleafs DGB had given us Sunday, so that brings to 470 +/- the number of trees we’ve planted this January. Feels great to have that many new longleafs in the ground.

2014

With Amanda gone to Montgomery most of the day. I set up a card table in the apartment and set about reworking the chords of my autoharp.

January 28

2017

I moved the chickens this morning, but today was mostly about music, as we first tuned up for, then arranged music for, then traveled to and from Whistle Stop practice with Jean Kerr.

2015

First order of business was to outline and record the podcast. Then I hung out clothes before editing it. By the time I finished that, it was just about lunchtime. This afternoon was mostly about replacing the fresh air intake for the wood stove. The original hose, which looks like a cheap vinyl dryer hose, had disintegrated. I went to True Value, where Danny fixed me up with a flexible steel hose that looks like it will last longer. It took a couple of hours and quite a bit of cussing, but I finally got the new hose installed. I had several feet of hose left over, so I stowed it behind the dryer where I figure we’re most likely going to need it.

January 29

2017

Tom and Jan Bray are staying with us while they sell their house and pick up their travel trailer. This afternoon I changed out the firewood pallet here in the barn (#8 out, #11 in). I also loaded up the radial arm saw in the truck for tomorrow.

Last night we had a small going away gathering for them here, and it was a big success.

2015

This morning we took Amanda’s picture reading seed catalogs, which freed me up to publish the podcast. Then quiet work on the web site for a while. This afternoon I was totally frustrated trying to get the new AV receiver working in the lodge. Is it defective? Trying to pinpoint the problem.

January 30

2017

Today was all about working on the redecking of the pier at the lake. First, it was just Martha Lynn and I, and we made good progress, although we were learning together how to cut the boards, position the boards, start the pilot holes, and drive in the screws for each deck piece. About mid-day Amanda and Tom joined us. By the end of the day, we had installed 16 deck boards. We’re moving at a good clip now, but things will probably slow down when we get off the land portion of the pier.

2015

To the church this morning to prune Japanese maples. Then home for a little quick prep for the Walthers’ visit. I worked quietly in the barn while Amanda put the finishing touches on the lodge. Delightful visit with the Walthers this afternoon. Great to see them again.

January 31

2017

We determined that we were not going to rush through our goodbyes with Tom and Jan Bray this morning, because we knew it might be quite a while before we see them again. We enjoyed a leisurely breakfast with them in the lodge. Then we walked down together to see the chickens and to see the pond together. At the pond, we discovered that the spillway had become blocked, and the pond was up too high.

Then we returned to the lodge, where they gathered up their gear, and Tom and I hooked up their Airstream trailer. By the time they actually drove away, it was after 10:00.

Amanda started in on her big cleanup of the lodge, and I did paperwork for a couple of hours before heading to town for errands.

At True Value, Jeremy and I sifted through some culls of Evergrain and selected several that had blemishes. We paid a sharply reduced price per foot for the usable portion of each board. Helped us get our prices down, and helped him get rid of some junky boards that had been lying around.

Back at home, I took Scamp down to the pond and removed the blockage from the spillway. Looking forward to going back soon to see if the water level is down to a more normal level.

Late this afternoon, Amanda and I focused on the slides for our presentation tomorrow and hers on Thursday.

2015

Huge day for me. Had my first chance to be up close and personal with a controlled burn. I’ll be posting about it within a day or so.

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