Too Hot to Paint but It Happened

I felt bad for my kid today. He is a very hard worker, not doing what he thought he’d be doing at this point in his life, but learning a lot. But wow it’s hot right now. And he’s been painting.

That shipping container blends in!

He and his coworker had already painted the Suna Shack red and white. But we also had the two shipping containers over in horse world. One is to be the hay storage and one storage for equipment. Both were reddish, but not red.

Another view.

In well over 100° heat, the second container got painted without the coworker. I was really surprised to see him patiently painting on white trim on it. I guess the nephew said to make it all match. Wow, it looks sharp so far!

Not quite done on this side, but I sure don’t miss all the shipping letters on the container. (Roof is getting replaced when it cools off)

I’m glad no one went along with the idea of painting stripes. Whew. I’m feeling like I’m a fancy barn owner, but not at such a high price. This is all done by my family (and Marcus). It means so much more than some prefabricated thing! I do love my kids and wish I’d been a better mom after their dad left. Oops. Back on that topic again.

Apparently this one gets white trim, too. Let’s see if they paint the poles.

Still. The horses will rest in so much style now! Speaking of style. I believe I found the loudest nail polish on earth. It’s called Mardi Gras. Obviously I’m not painting barns.

Yow.

But I do work, and I found out today that I’ll get to stay another year at Dell. We’ll see what I decide to do after that. And tomorrow I hope to do some painting for a good cause!

I hope I don’t mess up my nails!

Progressive Progress

More and more progress is happening here at the Hermits’ Rest. My favorite thing is the power washing extravaganza that went on today. The part of our garage that faces north has been mildewing, as north-facing surfaces tend to do.

Partway fixed

I was really happy to see the guys cleaning it, because Kathleen and I have been joking that the mildew ruins our view from the pool. And hey, power washing is a good job in this weather!

That’s not the only power washing that went on. After some trouble with not enough voltage to run the electric washer and having to coax the gas one to life, all the shipping containers also got power washed.

Cleaned of horse products.

Our old one was primed years ago by me and Lee, but it never got painted. The other one is also primer color. They are going to get painted!

The hay barn.

It’s been decided to paint them barn red with white trim to match the two portable buildings. I sorta wanted all the buildings the color scheme of the garage, but this will look nice, too, and farm-like.

The idea is that the pool house will match the house and garage, so it will be obvious which buildings house people and which house animals or their supplies.

Horses were fascinated

Meanwhile, I got a little more furniture in the Suna Shack part of the tack room. Kathleen got my pink chair from my former office and I put a couple of decorations there and in the chicken area.

And ooh. The cabinets, microwave, and sink are ready for installation in the brother-in-law suite. Progress!

Glad I was inside writing all day, though. I could get tired!

It tired out one dog, anyway!

On the Road to Comfy

Two of our many projects are moving quickly toward a better state. The in-law suite, which will actually be occupied by my elderly and a bit unsteady brother-in-law, is rapidly approaching a livable and comfy state.

Simple and clean

The room that was our first office/bedroom for Lee, which is in the back of our garage, is looking great, especially when I don’t show the other side of the room, where there’s still papers, books, amps and such that are Lee’s. I’m looking to see if any more of my stuff got put there. All the horse stuff is in the tack room, though.

In progress

The room now has a doorway to get to the bathroom and new kitchen area. Everything has been painted, new light fixtures are in, and the fridge is in place (and cleaned off from where the chickens used to roost on it). That was a lot of work.

Nice fridge!

The recycled granite is ready for cabinets that will hold the sink, microwave, etc.

I didn’t know we had a granite saw. Maybe that was already there.

The nephew went to get cabinets today. They need to go in, and I assume some flooring. Then it will be livable, even though the outside wall still needs insulation, which will happen when the pool house gets its insulation blown in.

We already had this bathroom with a handicap-friendly shower. It’s getting a bench.

I’m very pleased at how nice this looks. Speaking of nice! They put a desk in the tack room, which looks very nice with my temporary chairs. I’m hoping to get my furniture in there soon, now that it’s pretty clean.

Sure, the chandelier look better than the fly trap, but this is good.

I tried to clean all the lids to the horse food, but one I can’t get the oily stuff off. I’ll get a more intense cleaner, I guess. I’ll get there. And it wasn’t even too hot today!

I practiced this game today. That proves it wasn’t too hot.

Now to sit by myself again. I’d feel lonely around here, but I was so surrounded by people in my 9 meetings today that I’m actually okay that everyone has other stuff to do!

Me at work. I dressed nice to get me through things. Like my sparkly tooth?

Special Delivery, Size XL

Our pool house project is coming along slowly but surely, since it gets worked on nights and weekends. The walls are framed in and some electrical is in. There is no shortage of outlets, and it has a hefty breaker box.

Workers working on the pool house

And earlier this week, our friend Felix’s crew came by and installed the air conditioning system. They wanted to do it before plumbing or insulation went in. It looks good! Shiny!

We won’t know how it works until service is connected. That will happen…soon? I care a lot because that will also be when the Hen Haus (my new name for it, in homage to our Hermit Haus business we owned) and the Suna Shack (plus Kathleen) will get electrified. I bet the chickens will be thrilled.

But a big question about the pool house got answered today: why is the bathroom so big?

There’s something big

When I saw the truck show up and a huge box get unloaded it became clear. The pool house would also have its own “indoor pool” in that bathroom. It was a surprise for the bath lover in our family, Kathleen, who has been stuck with a standard tub while here in the guest room. Now she will be able to enjoy the soaking dream, and look out the window at our pond.

Good thing we have a big gate

That was a special delivery! I can’t wait to see how our pool house and its bathroom come out.

My son was very glad he didn’t have to lift it.

We will unveil the tub later, but I got a peek. It reminds me of the one we had in Bobcat. It was NICE.

Better News and Good Progress

I want to say something I never thought I would say: thank you do the Precinct 2 Commissioner for getting guys out to the bridge by our house by 8 am with pressure washers. They got rid of that graffiti as fast as they could. We still have the potholes over by Sara’s but the icky stuff is gone. That stuff really has made some members of my family uncomfortable, and these community gestures do help.

My wine speaks for my mental state at this time

I’ve been rather inwardly focused lately, and I have to tell you it’s because I am no longer taking my anti-anxiety medicine, so my actual emotions are coming through. I guess some of my equanimity lately has been drug-induced. I’m not as able to say, “Oh, that’s just so and so being themselves,” when I’m treated disrespectfully right now. But, I’m way better than I was before, so I think I’ll be able to handle it.

In stuff that is not me, me, me, me…other members of our ranch community are getting better lives, which makes me really happy. For one, we are soon going to be able to let Lee’s brother move out of the RV under the garage. He is 75 and a little unstable on his feet, and we worry about him going up and down the RV stairs. Plus, it’s not a great RV.

A door fit for a little black dachshund mix

So, the gang has been working steadily to take the garage room that used to be Lee’s office then was the former tack room and make it a nice little in-law suite for him. There was already a toilet and shower in there that we used when we were first living here, so it’s not too much work. They’ve added a new door, which of course has a doggie door for Vlassic.

The door goes to the bathroom. They added the little window to brighten the hallway.

There will be a kitchen area with a sink (since the guys removed the icky old utility sink that was there before), a fridge (we have a basic one that was already there or may put in a smaller nice one), and a place to microwave and store food with NO mice. The hallway is extra wide, as is the door, because we are anticipating wheelchairs some day.

As always, lots of outlets. At right is the garage fridge, home of beer and cold water.

The main room is large and nice, so he will have room for his computer, his recliner, and a couch for Vlassic…I mean for the nephew to use on his visits, of course.

Another thing that the gang has been working on that will make ranch life easier is repairing the cattle guards on the road that leads to the cabin where my son and his partner live, which also has lots of traffic from the folks who lease our communal land for their cattle. Both the guards had been sort of repaired over the years, but they needed a re-do.

A big hole with creosote-covered wood. That smells like my dad when I was a kid and he worked in a telephone pole plant.

This is NOT a simple re-do. All our tractors are involved, and very large railroad ties. I got some photos of work in progress, but wasn’t able to get over there later in the day, due to work, cooking, and such.

All the equipment. Well, we were in the truck.

These guys really WORK. I am really impressed with how coordinated the three men are with all these heavy objects. They each know their role and almost look like a delicate ballet as they move things around, measure, and place them. Both Declan and Marcus seem to be learning more and more every day!

Moving these logs was like ballet, only heavy.

One day I’ll share the progress on the pool house, which is the final installment in the “get everybody a good place to stay” campaign. We are a strong family who stick together despite our differences and struggles. Poo on haters.

Cat Butts, by Request

That’s right. Cat butts. Really, cat assholes. My friend Dorothy sent me a photo of some coasters that look like the back view of a cat. Could I make those? I figured I could. So, I looked for a pattern by searching for “cat butt” on Ravelry. Yep.

First one I made. Not thrilled with it.

It was harder than you’d think, because most of the patterns were not actually there or cost way more than they should for a circle with two lumps and a tail. I finally found a free one that was hard to read, but manageable.

Second one. Same colors but less awkward.

I made one according to the pattern and decided I didn’t like how many times you had to break off the yarn and how many holes there were. So I changed it a bit. Then I made a couple more.

Tan cat with pale anus

Then Dorothy said she wanted tabbies and calicoes and tortoiseshell cats. The pattern was for plain cats, so I’ve been improvising.

The butt of a tabby is not striped. And I had not yet figured out striped tails

I hadn’t crocheted much recently, so this was a nice break from knitting. I’m happy with this one.

I like the jaunty legs and striped tail on the calico.

There are a few more to try before I stop. I have a lot of Dishie cotton yarn from when I was making dishcloths, so there are many colors of cat butts I can make. I assure you this is not a project I thought I’d make, since I didn’t know these were a “thing.”

Kitty kitty kitty

If you want the pattern, just search for cat butt coaster and they’ll pop up. Grab cotton yarn and an appropriate hook and you, too, can set your water glass on a butt.

Drew and Sully Do a Show

Today Sara and I took Drew and Sully, the mare she is training while waiting for her to get pregnant, over to Tarrin’s to film the obstacles test for the Q2 Working Horse Central show. We were ready for fun!

In our horse show outfits.

It went pretty well, other than Sara’s first video failing. Luckily Sully did just as well the second time. She’s learned so quickly! And it’s beautiful to watch her trot.

They are friends now that they’ve trailered together. Before, Sully wanted to eat Drew.

Drew did okay. He started out refusing to do the figure 8, which confused me, because he hardly ever refuses to walk with me. Then he got better until he fell down heading into the slalom! I did the right thing by checking on him.

Oops. Dramatic film footage.

It got better after that and he did fine on the other parts. Tarrin said his jump was beautiful. That made up for the other parts.

That’s my boy.

It was a good experience except I got all upset with myself for not leading Drew well enough and that he fell. Normally I’d be fine but you know, it’s been a hard week.

I’m proud of what we can do, since we’re both rank beginners.

Also, since I get overheated so easily, I gave up trying to do a second take. It’s just like an in-person show, you lead the horse that showed up and accept the performance. Tomorrow we do the Functionality test. Maybe this time we will do better on that! If not, we will learn things and know what else to work on.

Here is the raw footage. Six minutes of our lives.

Back at home we are all happy and eating dinner. Life’s good if you are one of our horses!

Dinner time.

Lots got done here, too. Both the Hen House and the Suna Shack got latches to hold the doors open, and lots got done of the living space for Lee’s brother (no photos yet).

Look at that Suna Shack

It’s not done, but the tack room alas she shed has all the horse stuff in it now. The saddle racks are back up, pegs to hang bridles and halters are up, and it all looks good.

Everything has a place.

Feeding will be real easy because both Kathleen and I can access the food bins at the same time, and all supplements are easy to get to, thanks to the cool old storage unit.

I can even label the drawers.

I like how much of the stuff is recycled. It makes the place feel homey. Another cool aspect of the tack area is that we have a rack to store the trailer’s covers for the ventilation areas. Those things are hard to store.

Convenient. this is before the storage stuff went up.

I’m also happy that now I can see all the stored items in the lofts. That will make organized storage easier to achieve.

What about the Suna shed? Well, they put down my outdoor rug for fanciness, but that’s it for now. They don’t want to bring in furniture until the air conditioner is installed. The electrician isn’t scheduled yet but it should be soon. That will be good, since we don’t want the leather molding.

Imagine the possibilities!

I didn’t get to feed tonight, but I’m sure Kathleen enjoyed it. I was off taking my son and his partner out for dinner at the Nearly Empty Bistro, which was nice. No band so we could talk.

Forgot to show the finished windows yesterday. They will look good trimmed out!

We then walked around the completely empty town. It’s graduation night. Very few people don’t have a friend or relative graduating! Small town living.

Must sleep. Tomorrow we are filming a virtual horse show with Drew and Sully the mare.

Oh, Let’s Go Back to Fun

I felt a little better today, so I was able to get work done and enjoy my immediate surroundings. I also had some good talks with family, and that always helps. So, let’s see what’s going on with all those projects around here.

Nice water bottle, son.

The tack room (Suna Shack) is moving right along. I love the look of the wood they use for the walls and ceilings. The guys are doing a great job on it, too.

Looks like some wall got removed. Maybe more electrical stuff had to go in.

I love watching them work. The picture below warmed my heart. Those two are in the exact same pose and look the same from a distance. I think that’s sort of important. We all have a lot more in common than differences. This young white man and older black man look the same from this angle!

Holes for new windows. Also new light fixture.

The big thing that’s happened is they’ve taken a small window out and replaced it with two larger ones, which will make the Suna Shack area full of light, even with the air conditioner being in one window. That was not an easy task, either. There was much grumbling about how hard it was to get straight cuts with the Saws-All (no idea how that is spelled).

Ta da. All walls are back and window are in.

Lots of new lighting is also going in, plus a circuit breaker. It’s a class act, for sure. Motion sensors will make walking up to the tack room in the dark during the winter a lot safer and easier. The nephew thinks of everything.

Soon to bring electricity to the building.

Meanwhile, the hens are enjoying their henhouse, except when the door slams. I think they’d prefer I not check for eggs so often. So far, seven hens are happily using the nest boxes, and not all the same one, even. The exception is Bertie Lee, who lays her egg right inside the chicken entrance every day. She never ceases to make me chuckle.

At least I’m better than Bertie Lee at something, says Blondie.

Speaking of chuckling, dorky chicken signs were on sale at Tractor Supply when we stopped there on the way back from Mabel’s vet visit. I actually think the “Hen-trance” and “Egg-sit” signs are helpful to let you know which of the doors actually is the one to use. And it makes me laugh. I need to laugh.


PS: I also wrote Texas Governor Abbott a letter and reminded him he’s actually supposed to represent people, not lobbies. He spoke at the NRA Convention, along with a former US President and some other doofuses who forgot who they are supposed to be serving.

Something’s Different at the Henhouse

I hinted that things were different at the ranch when I came home. I didn’t notice it at first, because it was hiding behind cars and tractors, but the men in the family had conspired to upgrade the chickens’ living quarters. A lot. They even moved!

That hen house looks an awful lot like my tack room.

Wow! The chicken run is now attached to the tack room barn, which is no longer full of saddles and horse feed. It has a full-fledged roosting and nesting room in it.

Note the new flooring, screen door and such.

My nephew, husband, and son (along with their helper Marcus) conspired to move the tack room over and convert it to the Hen House. It also has space for all the food, my workbench, and the brown chair, for chicken watching. That’s fancy.

Just wait until I add chicken art.

Even fancier is the coop. Holy cow these are some lucky chickens. There are lovely roosts that they will probably use in the winter. They still like their branch outside. And there are a bunch of nest boxes. Sixteen! I need more chickens.

The colors!! And bless their hearts, they painted the ceiling blue.

Can you stand the cuteness? The chickens have a little door to come in that we will be able to shut if needed. Plans are to put in a heat lamp for winter. Yes! Electricity! No air conditioner, though.

See the door? And there is hay for them.

It’s all very charming. I think the chickens are wondering what they did to deserve a palace. I’m wondering what I did, too!

We fancy.

We have all the stuff needed to do babies, deal with a sick chicken, or introduce new flock members, too. I’ve got to start giving away or selling more eggs.

So, you may ask a question. If the Hen House is the old tack room, where’s your horse stuff? See next blog! I’m a truly grateful gal.

Sunset before rain. That also was good.
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