The cats know how to stay cozy and warm on a cold day like today.
It snowed recently and when I went out to check on the chickens I could see many coyote footprints around the perimeter of the chicken run. Among them was a set of huge footprints.
For comparison that’s my footprint on the right
Here’s the other photo I took showing a clear paw print . This one wasn’t as big.
Pretty excited that they are bringing back HeroQuest.
I started as a temp at Hasbro back in 2006. When they moved my department to a Dedham office in 2010 I left, only to return to Hasbro in 2011 once they moved my department back. At that time I thought I’d never leave Hasbro again. But things change. Today was my last day at Hasbro for the second time. I’m off to start a new adventure. Leaving Hasbro again was twice as hard as it was the first time I said goodbye. To all my Hasbro friends, I look forward to meeting up for a drink once Covid is over.
This morning a fox stopped by to look at the chickens. (Sorry its blurry, I took the photo through the kitchen window)
The Cascade hops I planted in the backyard haven’t done much since 2015. There were a handful of cones each year, but it wasn’t until this year that there were enough to harvest.
I collected 3.3 ounces of hops. They smelled amazing. Sweet and delicious.
But how to best use them? I decided to use them as a late add to a one gallon lager beer kit I had.
My track record with beer brewing is not the best. Out of the five or so kits I’ve made only about two have been drinkable. But I won’t get better unless I keep practicing.
Brew day went smoothly and the wort looks great. I’ll find out in a few weeks if it’s drinkable.
Oh man. I’m old now but back in the day growing up we all wanted one of these. Old man Smith had one with an extra pair of chrome bumpers and tail fins that scraped the sky. Sure they got 4 gallons to the mile, but gas was a nickle a tank and these wagons were the coolest.
Now that I’m older, I scouted around the collector sites looking for a low mileage wagon. I kicked the tires on a few, but it wasn’t until I saw this one that I knew I had found the perfect restoration project.
It was a barn find. Another tale of a young kid putting his wagon in the back of a barn and forgetting about it.
It was is perfect condition considering its age, 12 long years. The deck had rotted out, the paint was flaking, all the chrome had been stolen, and the gold lug nuts had been been lost at some point in the past, but the soul of the wagon was still there.
I got to work. I started by first sanding down the frame with 5 grit sandpaper and easing slowly into 1000k grit for a smooth finish. Unfortunately there was not much left but sawdust after this. But it was factory original sawdust.
Once I had smoothed out the frame I brought in to the professionals for an acid bath and finally a blessing at a Shinto temple to ward off evil spirits.
After that the difficult work of assembling a numbers-matching frame-off restoration began.
The dealer sheet says the wagon should’ve come from the factory with the XLG21 Sports package, but after further investigation this was most likely installed afterwards by the dealer and was in fact the GXL20 Sportsman’s package which was a mid year replacement for the popular PLX67 package. The “G” stands for gold. You can tell the difference easily if you still have the gold lug nuts as the former package uses a star pattern while the latter package uses a standard 1 lug pattern. As i did not have the gold lug nuts I could not determine the package. Instead I decided to use the VIN as the guide for this restoration. And that meant no gold lug nuts, no chrome. Just the stock wheels. It would be a sleeper.
First thing was to replace the deck. The original was 1/4in plywood, but I only had 1/2inch. The wagon will be sturdier than the day it came from the factory.
Now to put the wheels on…
She’s looking good.
To really finish this project I just need to apply a five coats of paint and 678 coats of polyurethane. But for now I have my summer driver!
I was given this old barrel that originally stored non-toxic antifreeze. My plan was to build a Whizbang chicken plucker, but buying a small backyard chicken plucker turned out to be nearly the same price as buying all the hardware needed to build my own. (It might be worth it if you already have all the parts on hand)
So what to do with the barrel?
I have automatic feeders and I have automatic waterers for my chickens, but the current waterers leak everywhere and I have a garden hose running across my backyard to the coup. Its time to reengineer the poultry watering system. It would be a good start to have a water source at the coup. A rain barrel is just what I need.
No plans needed!
Just need it up high enough to let gravity do the work.
That should be about right. Now we need to add the spigot
I had to cut off the cover in order to access the inside and install the spigot and give the inside a good washing. Now how to reattach the cover?
Mistakes were made, but its finally back on securely.
Now to place it behind the chicken coup. Its in just the right spot to catch the rain once I install the gutter.
Hmm, that looks a little dangerous. Better add a safety rope to keep it from tipping over and crushing someone.
Lets’ secure the bottom as well…
Ok now let’s do some plumbing.
I have a few scraps of piping left over from a different project, but it will do fine. Maybe I should buy the correct kind of elbow? Nah.
Water was flowing out both sides, so I had to plug up this hole until I get to the hardware store for the correct elbow.
That’s a good start!
Ok, let’s lets connect up the new chicken waterers.
Two buckets hooked up. Each bucket has a float valve and watering cups. The rain barrel is high enough for the water to flow downstream and refill the buckets when the float valves open.
I put a rock inside the bucket as a counter weight to the float.
My goal is to be able to go away for a few days without worrying about the chicken’s water. I’m using Grandfather’s Feeders for automatic feeding which hold 40lbs of food and work great. But water had always been an issue.
Previously I was using the 6 gallon buckets shown in the photo below. There is a float on the bottom that is supposed to slowly let out the water, but they only worked correctly if the buckets were perfectly level and often the water would slowly drip out the side after only a day or two. I tried hanging the buckets, but then the chickens knocked them around and splashed the water out. I also tried modifying the buckets to use a float valve on top connected to the hose, but that just lead to them continually refilling and causing an even bigger mess. The chickens would also poop in the trough causing the water to get completely dirty.
I’m really happy with how this came out. Now I have non-spilling waterers and 50 gallons of reserve water that will automatically refill itself when it rains (or I could fill up from the garden hose if there’s no rain). My next step will be to make covers for the water buckets to keep the leaves and mosquitos out.
Success! The poults like it!
A snapshot of our school day during quarantine.
Simultaneously Sam is working on a virtual lesson, Lilly is in a video conference with her class, and Christine teaches in the background.
This is what school is like now. We are all doing the best we can. Hang in there. We’ll get through this.