What's been going on around here? Just the same stuff as usual. With a couple differences from our norm... I will repost the In Like a Lion post here, so there are photos for you, and I don't bore you with 2 posts almost identical.
We have been busy here this past month! We started a quick remodel...yes, I used quick and remodel in the same sentence. On purpose. We decided to tear out 2 walls, opening up the kitchen to the great room here completely. One was load-bearing, so Dewey built a good sturdy header to take up the slack. The other wall, well, it wasn't a load wall. In fact, it wasn't even resting ON the floor joices, but was between them! Ugh, mobile homes are so disposable :-/
We didn't do the floors yet. Or the walls. And I haven't wrapped the post in the dining area either. It isn't that I don't have the flooring here...just not sure I want it in here yet. And the painting or other wall covering isn't done (or started, truth be told) because I simply don't know WHAT I want to do yet. So, Dewey covered what work we just did with the Sheetrock, the kitchen is in plywood, and the floors are plywood. I'm leaning toward rough cut boards for the walls, at least to the chair rail height, then maybe I'll just paint. White beadboard on the lower half and corrugated tin on the top was my original plan in the kitchen and cookstove area, but that could get pricey. Oh well...no one has to like it but us, so there's time to choose, right? :-)
After opening the great room and kitchen totally, we ordered the new cookstove and my new Kitchen Queen 480 arrived a week later! Christopher came in for the week so he could help get it moved in and installed. It's been a dream come true finally getting this stove...and also a pain in the rump getting it set up!
Heads up if you are in the market for the Kitchen Queen...the double wall DVL pipe is great, however, it does not FIT the channel in the reservoir! It's too large, by a good 5/8" and unless you want to 'scrunch' and otherwise forcibly fit the pipe section into place, you are out of luck using double wall for those first 19" of pipe section.
A week later, we are still sorting out the details as to what is going to happen here. We have nearly $1000invested in stovepipe alone, no way are we going to 'scrunch' it and try to force a fit. I called Kitchen Queen direct and spoke to them about the reservoir and pipe issue and according to them, the design of the Queen is such that heat loss via the stove pipe is decreased, and in the case of the reservoir, double wall pipe is unnecessary and actually hinders the heating of the tanks. (so, my question to the 'retailers' of Kitchen Queen is why sell double wall and recommend it?) so...it appears we need a single wall pipe section of at least 19" for the take-off from the stove itself, up thru the reservoir channel. Then we can switch to double wall at that point. However, my height from reservoir to ceiling box is just 30" more...and double wall pipe can't be cut to size. Ugh. I have a telescoping double wall section now, but we can't install the reservoir tank without changing it to single wall, which I have to order new. And I'm stuck with then price of the double wall. Annoying. I know nothing is hassle- free these days but really...I just wanted my new stove to arrive, get hooked up and bingo...new off-grid cooking here. We'll get it worked out, just taking time
Update: We have received the new single wall pipe now, just waiting to install. I have used the cookstove several times. One thing I have learned...I have a huge learning curve with the Queen! LOL. I can't seem to get my oven up to temp very well, I'm still learning. I love the stove though!
Even after stripping her down to the bare bones, removing the warming oven and water reservoir, pulliung the fire brick, both the regular grate and the summer grate, taking off the doors and the surrounging heat shield, that baby weighs a lot! We used sections of pipe and made our own rollers to bring her inside on her skid and get her into place. What a job that turned out to be! If you ever get a Kitchen Queen, plan on some large, strong and husky menfolk to do the mule team work of moving her in. Feed them well and you'll get your new stove into place in no time!
And during all of this heavy stove handling, we had babies born here. Every day, Thursday thru Sunday, babies in the barnyard! Thursday it was Rachel having twins. She was struggling hard with them trying to deliver piggy-back. Poor Abbey went to the barn alone and found her in hard labor and couldn't get anyone's attention to help. The doeling didn't make it, she was partially delivered too long without completion. When I arrived, we barely saved the buck, and Abbey was in tears. She did all she could have, having only 'assisted' and never been in charge of birthings here, but she still felt bad. Friday it was Leah. Leah is old hat at babies and did great without us. She has twins, a buck and a doe, doing great. Saturday we were surprised by KatiBug Goat, our blind boer! She had one cleaned and dried buckling near her, and following the signs of birthing around the pasture, we discovered she had triplets. The other 2 were dead, so she has a single buckling. She seems to have taken to motherhood well, but we have always gone out of our way to keep her out of the breeding roster. Apparently Jeremiah found a way in on his own. She is feeding and caring for her baby well, in the safety of her nursery stall in the barn. Sunday we found Abigail with a single baby in tow. She isn't the best momma out there, and having her baby in the pasture didn't help with her bonding with it any :-/ She nurses well...if we tether her and make her stand, but that is the extent of her motherly care with her baby. He will be a bottle baby I guess, but he looks very chunky and eager health-wise. The tally for the year...a total of 4 bucklings and 1 doling this season. We don't need 4 more bucks...anyone looking for some great bloodlines in a buck? Their grandpa, Malachi, is a beauty and has his milk star rating. Jeremiah, his yearling buck from Happy New Year is already the size of his daddy and pretty as can be. Sneaky when the girls come into heat...but a sweetheart nonetheless! We definitely dropped the ball on goat breeding this season :-/
We were more focused on Miss Judy and young Woody this year. Woody turns a year old next month, he is as large as momma though I know he hasn't met her weight yet at least. Not that I am an expert by ANY STRETCH of even the wildest imagination, but here's my observation on raising a bull calf...friendly isn a good thing, BUT, we made him a bit too friendly I think. He is like a puppy. A very large, probably 900# puppy and he wants to play with us. When we bring his grain, he jumps and bounces and nudges us until we rub his neck. Not a bad thing really, but in the flesh, he's like 900# of baby wanting attention and he just doesn't realize we aren't his equal at all :-/ He plays, a lot. He literally tosses and bounces his large rubber water trough around when he gets bored. He flips my wheelbarrow over while we clean the barn. He jumps my field fencing...and doesn't even rub belly hair on it. He's a big baby. A B.I.G. Baby. We are not equipped for a big baby like him. We are seriously looking ahead to fattening and giving him a visit with our butcher friends. And for me of all people to say that, it's a big deal. I'd simply keep every animal forever and start my own cemetery out here if Dewey would allow it. As to Miss Judy...have no idea if she was bred back. She came into a standing heat twice after the AI, but not so much since those times, so maybe? Not a clue.
Cows are great...but I am discovering I am very much a goat gal. They are easier to care for, and breeding (obviously...) is a breeze. I am such a cow novice.
So, there sums up our February. Remodel, cook stove and babies. A wonderful start to spring...or end to winter...on the homestead! Not that we have had much you could call winter around here. I'm a little concerned as to what summer will bring. I really hope it isn't a repeat of last summers heatwave season.
Add all this to the regular routine of the days here and we've been busy. I have a fabric square swap going on, crochet work, and a need to start running with the summer sewing needs. And now, I'm hosting a quilted potholder swap,a nd participating in another one with a long time group of quilting pen friends. That is my project for the weekend so I can get them together and mailed off in another week. My yarn work has been for the Grandmother's Hope Chest I'm putting together...crocheted diaper soakers, or diaper wraps, diaper covers, whatever you choose to call them. I don't knit. Wish I did, but I can crochet in my sleep, so the natural method for me was crocheting. I will do some sewn ones as well, but for crocheted wool soakers I'm using this great tute from With a Tangled Skein. Lots of great patterns there, including this other soaker pattern.
At the school desk, I'm collecting lots of links and resources for our dive into the more modern area of American History. We have used Paths of Exploration for the early area of explorers, Colonial life, Daniel Boone. I wanted to get the next level, Paths of Settlement, but it hasn't worked into the budget yet. So, given the sheer number of Civil War sites, books, online resources, lapbooks and more, we'll get off to a great running start I'm sure, then we'll go from there. I am leaning toward using the many books I already have and substituting them out fior the ones used in the Guest Hollow American History 2 plan. We'll see where we end up. The Civil War alone could be a year-long unit with all the bunny trails you know I'll end up on!
Do you have any resources you've used to map out and study American History?
taking a break from bringing in the hay