Chicken Newsflash

I haven’t written much about the chickens in a while. They have been blessedly normal and fine for quite some time! The only thing that has been bugging me is how long it has taken for the new bunch of hens to start laying. All I can figure is the few weeks of really hot weather may have delayed them. The older chickens, on the other hand, have been moulting, so there sure are a lot of feathers all over the place.

Pretty little egg

On July 27, there was one egg laid with an unfamiliar pattern on it, but nothing since then. Today, however, there was another pullet egg, on the ground, with some interesting spots on it. So, someone has started up.

The makings of a feather bed

I’ve been getting four eggs a day lately, and I have a suspicion that Blondie, the Buff Orpington, may already be laying normal-size brown eggs and I just don’t realize it’s her. She has very red comb coloration now, and has for a while (that is a sign they are ready to lay). There should be some colored eggs at some point, since I have an Easter Egger and another breed that lays colored eggs, but those two haven’t started.

I’m a grown lady. By the way, Henley, who is behind her, hasn’t laid an egg in months.
No idea why.

The other chicken news is rather predictable. Once again, Star, the world’s most persistent chicken mother wannabee, is broody. I thought about it today, and went ahead and stuck one of Butternut’s eggs and one from either Bertie Lee or Springsteen under her. We’ll not miss those three eggs, and if these hatch, well, Star is already setting in the cage where she can raise the chicks. We’ll see!

Leave me alone. I’m in my box.

In pool news, the guys seem to have finished the rebar today. The highlight is the shape for the fire feature. I will be interested to see what is next.

Ready for flames and lights.

Right now, I’m busy holding onto rocks for grounding, trying to look my best, and exuding positive vibes. It’s always a good thing!

This little rock has an S in crystals in it. Suna power!

Is It a Rebar Sculpture?

That’s what I asked myself when I went out to check on the Pool of Dreams after work. It’s looking very sculptural.

The flat area is our “beach” section, where you can bask in shallow water, or if you’re a dog, slurp.

They’ve been working on the rebar framework for the pool for a couple of days now. The idea is they make a ten-inch grid on all the surfaces. That’s for the gunnite to stick to when they build the shell of the pool.

The hot tub looks really cool. The part you can see through will be the waterfall. Ahh.

I learned from the men in the family why the rebar sits on bricks. It can’t touch the dirt, or it will rust and degrade and cause problems. They thought it was gonna do that and got all worried. But, the pool boss guy assured them anything touching dirt would go away when the frame was done. Yep.

You can see the bricks from this angle. You can also see where they are making a seating ledge in the deep end, for sitting and drinking wine.

It’s been fun watching the shape of the pool come to life. I’m figuring out where the skimmers will be, where all the fancy lights will be, and stuff like that.

What it looked like yesterday.

I also found out that because our fire feature will be propane, not natural gas, we can’t put those fancy glass rocks in it. We have to use lava rock. Why? Because propane is heavier than LP gas, and it would get trapped under the small pieces of glass. It would go boom. Not good.

And there’s always the sky.

We enjoy sitting and watching the clouds and animals now that the evenings are cooling down. It sure helps with the anxiety, which is better today.

Carlton really wanted to get into the disabled machine (its track thing burst).

Tomorrow is a big day for me, so send me lots of positive energy if you have any to spare. As a reward, I’ll share some pictures of my animal buddies. It is so pleasant outside with clouds, a cool breeze, and normal September temperatures!

More Rocks: Pool Update

Been a busy work day, so here’s a quick update. Today a big pile of gravel showed up. They also covered all those water lines coming from the future pool controls.

Gravel in rear. Lee keeping an eye out.

Lee was nice enough to bring me samples of the material in the gravel. They look like they, too, could have once been ocean, especially the one on the right.

Yes, my guest towel is cute.

What they did with the gravel was fill in where the water lines are, I’m guessing to protect them.

Yay, woman workers today.

They used sandbags to hold the gravel. That’s good, since I think we will be getting some rain from Hurricane Nicholas.

The area at right is the “beach” entry.

The other main thing they did was get all the holes covered, so that’s why the machine is going. If I said that already, we’ll, it’s been a long day! I even crammed in a writing workshop at lunch!

Admission: Lee Was Right

Yes. My spouse was right. It is true. We doubted him, but he was right. What about?

A lot of PVC

Lee saw a guy starting to fill in the hole with all the pipes leading to the pool and stopped him, saying they need to do a pressure test before filling it in. So they stopped.

The hot tub. Mmm. Jets.

As you can see, today the workers finished all the water lines. There was a lot of use of the bending torch deal! There are so many curves.

Bending the water line.

Eventually they got it all completed. So, they did the test. We were just sure it would al be fine.

Do we see water?

Darn it, Lee was right. There was a cracked pipe.

Proof.

The good news is that it was easy to fix, and the second test went fine. The pool is looking really cool. Cool pool.

Today they finished early, I guess so everything can dry. Knowing they are coming back gives me something to look forward to tomorrow. I also have a writing workshop if it works out!

Think of my relatives in the path of the latest hurricane. Hope it’s less awful than the others so far this year.

Things You Learn from a Big Hole in the Ground

I guess the whole swimming pool thing will happen after all. I’ll spare you the drama of the past couple of days, and instead share progress and learnings as the excavation phase took place.

The work so far.

It’s pretty cool that this morning there was just a painted outline on the ground and now you can see where our little pool is going to be! And yes, it’s not Olympic sized. I just want to bop around.

This morning it looked like this.

It was lots of fun watching them building the very complex setup that will recirculate the water. Geez, there are a lot of pipes in there.

They had to bend some of the pipes, and had a big propane flame that softened the plastic.

Sorta looked dangerous, but I guess it wasn’t.

I was really interested in the hole they dug. You could see that the top layer was a lot of sand and fill that Lee and the builders put around the house. Next came very dark soil from when it was a pasture here. Some was very clayey.

Hot tub area, where you can see the top two layers.

The guy running the mini-excavator was really good. He was expert at digging circles and curves. As the actual pool part got deeper, I had another surprise. There’s a layer of very light soil about 4 feet down. I wonder what that is? Was the area a lake for a while?

Se the light dirt? And look at that machine in the air.

No, I didn’t crawl down there and get some. But I’ll get some from the dirt pile later.

The mystery stuff.

I can’t wait to find out what’s up with the soil! But, watching how quickly and efficiently the guys worked on the project. They also used these flexible boards to form the edges of the pool and hot tub. And they had an interesting measuring poke that beeped, I guess to get the dimensions perfect. Hmm.

Looking from the deep end.

I must say we all enjoyed watching the process. Vlassic just kept jumping from lap to lap all morning. It’s great that they started on a Saturday so we could all watch for a while.

Wonder what I’ll see tomorrow?

No One’s a Fan of the Crop Duster

This morning, loud noises started. Now, we are used to the sounds of airplanes flying fairly low, because a neighbor has his own runway, and he has just gotten a new plane, so it’s been going around and around, taking off and landing, over and over for the past couple of weeks.

However, today it was real loud. The first couple of times it happened, Goldie and Alfred were barking away, since they are the two who hate deep sounds the most (they also hate what we call “growly trucks”). We humans knew what it was, since we’ve lived here a long time: the crop-dusting plane was here to spray the defoliator on the cotton.

I was worried

What? You city folks may wonder what that’s about. Well, when the cotton has made pretty white cotton bolls, the current practice is to kill all the foliage (leaves). This makes it way easier to harvest. So, one week there will be happy green fields and the next week there will be sad brown fields with little white snowballs in it. So, there you go. Here, that is done by a plane, especially on small fields.

Also, I have a lump that needs to be looked at tomorrow by the vet.

Once we took Goldie and Alfred outside and they could see the plane, they lost interest.

Zoom.

The newer horses, on the other hand, were not thrilled at all. Kathleen ended up putting all her horses in the pens, so they could settle down. Drew huddled up with them, but he sure was on the alert for that dang loud thing.

I don’t like that thing.

Apache has been there and done that, since he’s lived here most of his life, and Fiona seemed to figure it was better than Goldie chasing her all over the pasture (which happened yesterday).

We are not pleased.

I’ll watch to see how long it takes for the cotton plants to die. They contributed, though. That’s good, I guess. But now you know why cotton isn’t the greenest of crops. It requires a lot of chemicals when raised in the modern way.

I’m better now.

Good News BONUS

I heard from the swimming pool dude, and we don’t have to wait until September 20 for them to start…they start tomorrow! We’ll have all the fencing under control by then, so no problem from our end. The family teased me that now I will have endless blog material. I promise to talk about other topics. No one but me (and Kathleen) is THAT interested in giant holes being dug, and I realize that.

This is going well.

No doubt I’ll have many things to rant about or long-ass horse stories. It’s a wonder I get any blog hits at all!

Getting Started on the Pool of Dreams

Getting started already? Where’s the concrete mixer? No, before the pool people get started, the Hermits’ Rest team has to prepare for their arrival. The first step for that is to reconfigure our fencing so a) the equipment can get into the back yard, and b) the dogs are kept out of the construction zone.

The dog part is made difficult, since we have to block off part of the back porch, but lucky for us, there’s a gate waiting to be used for something.

That will work, yep.

Then we had to figure out where to put a temporary fence. It was important to Lee to have as much space as possible for the six dogs to poop, and I certainly saw his point! The first place we selected was deemed too close to where pool workers will have to be.

This was deemed too close to the future pool.

Eventually we figured something out, and vowed to get more fencing up in front, which is already in the plans anyway, so the dogs won’t feel confined. The poor dears. After that, it was a quick matter of putting in the t-posts.

There was much dog supervision.

Only one post got all bent up by a rock or something, so that was pretty good. I got to fetch more posts, and had the challenge of getting them out of their packaging with nothing to break the strap that held them together. Ranchhand Suna managed just fine!

There we go.

The posts aren’t in all the way, so it will be easier to get them out when the project is over. Next up is adding the actual fencing material. The plan is to re-use some old shorter lengths of fencing rather than use any of the new rolls, which we will want for permanent fencing that is going up soon.

After that, the fence between the house and the garage will have to be removed so that bulldozers, bobcats, cement trucks, and equipment delivery vehicles can get in. One good thing about having absolutely NOTHING behind the house other than one pitiful tree is they won’t harm anything as long as they stay away from the propane tank and septic area (which will be marked!).

Hope your weekend was productive or restful, whichever YOU prefer!

Little Pool Update

We went to put a down payment on the Pool of Dreams. We also finalized the plan for how it will look. Very much unlike me, I changed my mind on the edging and spillway. I found something both earthy and shiny that just came in. It’s a lovely glazed tile.

It reminds me of raku ware.

I hope this goes through. Spending money on anything that doesn’t promise to make money makes Lee sick. I just feel like if I’m stuck at home forever it would be great to have fun.

The waterfall area is at right.

We got a glass tile for where the water falls out of the hot tub, so it will be extra shiny. Everything else is either natural stone or something that looks like it.

The whole deal.

The above shows the patio surface at left, the pool edge under the tile and at top the pool surface. I hope it will look natural and shiny both.

Sorta like this sky. Shiny and natural.

Well, that’s if we end up doing it for real. I don’t believe things are going to happen until I see them. There have been so many disappointments and broken promises lately that I find that easier. I can just enjoy the anticipation, though.

We always have the blue of the sky.

The Pool of Dreams

Now that my horse dream has come true, it would be good to have a way to cool off. Lee had authorized us to find a pool company, which I finally did, and the guy came to measure our space a while back. Finally, we got to go look at designs.

This is where the GPS took us. We were alarmed. The more pool-showroom-looking kinda place was the next building on the other side of the road. Whew.

You’ll not be seeing the first design, though it was nice. It had every possible high-end finish, two fire features and thousands of dollars worth of rocks. Lee was not pleased. So, we found other options and knocked a third of the cost off. It’s still really nice!

Artist’s rendering

Other than the complete lack of shade, that’s darn nice. I like the patio space and the tanning ledge, which I will use after dark, no doubt. It will look very cool at night.

It can be purple.

The hot tub has a waterfall, which gives a running water sound without building a giant rock waterfall. And I plan to put subdued tiles around it, to blend in with the rest of the house.

I guess I just like the colors of rocks and sand. The top one is the pool surface. Looks just like beach sand.

I’m very proud of myself for not choosing the shiniest option.

Secretly, I love the one on the right. It’s way shinier than it looks.

I know things change around here at a moment’s notice and we may have to pivot once again. But until then, I’m dreaming of this pool as I water the horses and splash it on myself to cool off.

Sand and Waters

I rushed to the ranch this morning to be there in time for the swimming pool company guy to show up. I had time to check the animals, and discovered Star is broody again. Fine. I’ll mark what’s under her now and see if we get any hatching. Maybe we can keep this bunch confined long enough to make it.

We are being invaded by these guys. Great. The next plague will be Army worms.

I nice young man came to talk about our pool needs and look at our property. We had a good conversation about pool quality and what we’d like. Also we figured out basically where to put it. Ahh. Hoping it won’t be too big or too small or too fancy.

Pool guy is measuring

Before we could say goodbye to the pool guy, a familiar truck drove up. It was the guy that brought our road base, this time with sand to put in the horse stalls.

A load of sand

There was lots of sand, but it quickly got moved to the horse pens, thanks to the tractor. We’ve sure gotten a lot of use out of that old thing! Then the rest of us had to shovel it into corners and such.

The easy part

I got pretty wiped out from shoveling and went back to work, but Lee and Kathleen kept going. Goldie, however, didn’t help much.

Doggie paradise!

The horses will have a much easier time navigating the sand than the clay when it’s wet. Here are some more sand shots, so you can see what we tried to accomplish with improving the drainage and such.

I think we will have a lot more success with this better dirt. And soon we will have all the gates up. So fancy, right?

The day kept growing and growing. But, I’ll write about it in the morning. Too much going on to blog much!