Backyard

Tiffany blue for the win!

After a heated Facebook debate, we decided on a color for the chicken coop. 

 Tiffany blue for the win! 

Tiffany blue for the win! 

I'm hoping that Bill will get it painted by Monday, with the barn and shed painted next. 

On our way to buy paint last night, we also picked up some light reading. 

 Ah, Lowes.

Ah, Lowes.

The main reason we haven't made more progress on the chicken coop is because late last night we decided that adding to the family wasn't such a bad idea. And we weren't even drinking! 

 

 Introducing Lilith and Jezebel. 

Introducing Lilith and Jezebel. 

These baby Nigerian dwarf goats are just 5 weeks old and still need to be bottle fed three times a day. This will be the first time in my life that I've had baby bottles in my house. Weird! 

Coop Color

We need to make a decision immediately on the color of the chicken coop (which will also become the color of the stable and shed), as the number of unfinished Manor projects has reached a staggering all time high. So without further ado, here are the finalists:

upload.jpeg
  1. Royal blue
  2. Granny blue
  3. Ice blue
  4. Tiffany blue

Leave your vote in the comments. Note: there is an obvious winner here, followed by a strong second option. And one that should never grace a wall. Ever. So choose wisely.  

Ready for Chickens!

I finally finished the chicken coop a few weeks ago (actually my father-in-law came down to help over a long weekend) while we had 20 degree weather, then it snowed, and now it's warmed up so I took a few pictures.  At this point, I just need to paint and get the birds.

 The eggs, food, and water can all be accessed from this side of the coop.

The eggs, food, and water can all be accessed from this side of the coop.

The two windows and side vents have chicken wire on the inside so we can keep them open in the summer and not worry about predators.  Jennifer had the idea to add a hook in the front for the egg basket to use while you're collecting eggs.  The entire roof of the nesting boxes opens from this side and has a little weather stripping to keep the hens warm.

 I currently use a stick to hold up the roof - my engineering degree in action!

I currently use a stick to hold up the roof - my engineering degree in action!

I also built little doors at the bottom so I can access the food and water without having to go into the chicken yard.  They are suspended from the floor of the chicken coop with wire and a clip for easy removal.

The back of the coop is totally fenced in and has deer netting on the top to keep birds of prey out.  It also has a door which rises with the sun and closes when it's dark.  This way the hens will be able to get out in the morning and I won't have to worry about predators.  When someone is around, we can use the front door and have them run around in the stable yard.

 I can barely get my kids to school on time - no need to get up with the sun!

I can barely get my kids to school on time - no need to get up with the sun!

I have three large doors to help me get in and clean the coop and inside I decided to go with natural chicken roosts using two large branches I found in my brush pile.

Autumn at the Manor

The autumn is my favorite time of year. And although I spent most of it traveling for work this year, I did manage to capture a few fall photos of goings-on at The Manor. 

Probably the most impressive change was the construction of a new swingset/playhouse for the kids--all eleven of them in our 4-house communal backyard. It took about a bazillion man-hours to assemble, but it is now an awesome place for the kids to congregate. 

We also enjoyed some time at the nearby park, which had all of its foliage on full display. A weekend visit from my grad school roommate made for excellent plastic-drum music.

The Manor was gorgeous for five solid weeks as the leaves changed. Sadly, what remains are some droopy, bare branches and about six thousand magnolia pine cones on the front lawn. Onward, winter! 

Turn of season

I just got back from two weeks of business travel and am getting myself reacquainted with the state of The Manor. Here's what's going on:

upload.jpeg

We got a new piano! It's an antique inlay baby grand that we found at an estate sale two houses down from us. We had a professional come to evaluate it for quality and price, and they confirmed it was a good deal. Right now, it's really out of tune, but we'll fix that once the piano has had another week to acclimate to the space. 

upload.jpeg

Emmie gives her official approval to the new dresser in the master bedroom. The drawers are still empty while I make a final decision about drawer liners, but I've now lived so long without a dresser that I'm not feeling any rush. For now. 

upload.jpeg

She's also taken to sitting on the second floor bannister,  which gives me hives. She naps there, she rubs her face against the wood, she chases her tail between the spindles,  and she launches attacks on the poor dogs from her perch. It can only end in disaster, but I can't figure out how to curb this new obsession without just throwing her down 20 feet to teach her a lesson.

upload.jpeg

We had a very successful yard sale this morning, getting rid of a bunch of things (and donating the rest). It was a gorgeous day, and Bill took full advantage of the cooler weather to continue his work on the backyard. 

upload.jpeg

We had $900 worth of dirt brought into the stable area, so that we can grow some grass for the chickens. Can you believe that dirt costs $900? Me neither. Let's just say that was a decision I was not involved in.

upload.jpeg

The gigantic pile of brush continues to grow. Bill has grand plans to rent a chipper and turn all of this debris into mulch for the front trees, but so far it's just an unsightly mess. 

upload.jpeg

If you wonder where all the brush came from, you're looking at the side yard where the old tennis court fence used to be. When we moved in, it was covered in trees, bushes, ivy, and brush. Not so much any more. Bill loves the mountain views (squint really hard and look for the tiny spots of mountain in the distance) but all I see are the tract homes across the street. Bill has promised me that a privacy fence will eventually go back up that hides the adjacent homes. I hope so. Right now we're definitely in that "it gets worse before it gets better." 

upload.jpeg

And while the long shadows make the back yard look worthy of a manor house, we're also dealing with some pricy projects to the exterior of the house. Like $10,000 pricy. And it needs to be done before the winter arrives. Sigh. Bill might need to pick up a couple of shifts at the 7-11.