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Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Construction Zone! Part Two

So, now the inside of the "bonus" space is painted
and the wire shelving is going up.
Three beautiful deep wire shelves plus the space
at the bottom, just itching to be filled!

Initially, I thought I might paint the inside of the pantry
 and was in the process when a little helper arrived.
 So I gave him the brush and let him go to town.
He was so proud of himself (and so was I!)

Now the bonus space is completely walled-in and painted.
I decided not to take the time to paint the entire pantry space
but the back wall definitely needed it since I used various pieces of
left-over wall board and it had a not-so-pleasing patchwork look.

It's time to begin installing the shelving in the side walls.
As I always do, before I begin a project, I spent hours on the
internet, searching for ideas, suggestions, and other people's
solutions. I came across a brilliant invention by a fellow
Texan that would have been fabulous if I had not been on a
tight budget--The EZ Stud Rack.
 However, it is what it is . . .  so back to the drawing board I went
and came up with the idea of using pegboard and shelf pegs.
(Most of my inspiration hits as I roam the aisles of Lowe's!)
I bought sheets of pegboard and cut it into strips, then screwed the
strips into the studs, using pieces of quarter-inch wood as spacers
 between the stud and pegboard so that the shelf pegs would push
all the way into the holes.

I went from just above the floor to the ceiling on both walls, installing
wider strips of pegboard on the right side for wider shelves, since the
right side has a few inches more space than the left. 
As tempted as I was to stuff the entire space with the widest shelves
possible, I didn't want the pantry to feel too crowded.

The shelf pegs were more economical to buy in quantities of twenty. I lost count of how many bags I ended up buying (technically, I could go back over my receipts, but sometimes, ignorance is bliss.) I also found some plastic pegs on clearance at another hardware store and ended up using three different kinds of shelf pegs before I was done but you don't notice them so it doesn't matter. I was going for utility rather than showiness and, anyway, isn't variety the spice of life? (I do have to say I've come a long way from the day that I would NEVER have mixed and matched but instead would have worn myself out making sure it was all PERFECT.  Ahhhh, sweet freedom!)

One thing you do have to watch for is the size of the pegs.
If you have 1/4" pegboard, you must use 1/4" pegs.
If you just assume all pegs are 1/4", then be prepared to
head to the returns desk on your next trip to Walmart.
Trust me on this one.

 I must pause to give credit where credit is due . . .
how could I have ever done this project without
the assistance of our Head Hen, Lucy?
"I wanna cut some wood! Can I? Please, please, please???"
(And there's Miss Violet, standing by,  waiting for her turn.)
I went with shelf pegs so I could adjust the shelves to different heights.
This has proven to be a very good choice. Two shelf pegs on each side
to hold the shelf and one on each side to keep the shelf from tipping.
I've since discovered other options for tipping prevention--just plain
 pegs would work or even pieces of quarter-inch dowel rods. This was
 definitely a learn-as-you-go project and yes, there are some things
I would do differently but, over all, I'm very pleased.
The shelves were cut from 1"x4"s and 1"x8"s and slip between the shelf
pegs (not always so easily but at least they're a nice, tight fit.)
One thing I had to be careful to do was to make sure the pegboard
holes were lined up so the shelf would be level. A few times, rather
than move the pegboard strip, I just drilled new holes.
You gotta do what you gotta do.

 I didn't even have all the shelving in place
before I just HAD to start filling the new pantry!
The fact that I can only fit one item deep on the narrower shelves and
two deep on the wider ones, makes it so easy to see at a glance exactly
what I have on hand and when it's time to re-stock. No more pulling
 out ten items to get to the one thing I need in the very back.

As an afterthought, I installed pegboard to the back wall to hang tools.
 No space wasted!!!
The flooring is vinyl left over from the rent house renovation.
I also glued a piece to the bottom of the bonus space for easier
clean-up and a nicer appearance.

 I'm still adding shelves and have re-arranged a few things since
this picture was taken but all-in-all, this project is COMPLETE!
We are loving our new pantry and as an extra bonus, our laundry
space is much neater AND now I have room to install a barn-type
door for the pantry. Yay, another project!!!

Thursday, October 17, 2013

Violet Goes to Time-Out

Our coffee time was interrupted this morning by a phone call.
"Did you know one of your chickens is outside the fence?"
"No. No, I did not," I said, with a sigh,
 and ran to put on my robe and slip into my chicken-chasing shoes.
Surely it's Pearl, I thought to myself, since she's the only one whose wings
haven't been clipped. But (I should have known) it was Violet.
Vexatious Violet!
I had already foiled her plan to escape the yard by flying
to the top of the gate then out. How did she manage this time?
Into the "playpen" she went for time-out until
I could figure out her newest escape route.

I did a little bit of research on backyardchickens.com and someone
mentioned moving anything away from the fence that they might
be able to flap up onto and thus facilitate their escape.
Ahhh, the lawn tractor!
Right next to the fence and just asking to be used in a break-out.
So I moved it next to the house instead and released Violet from time-out.
 So far, she has remained within the confines of the yard since.

Sunday, October 13, 2013

Construction Zone!

Farm life isn't just about chickens (even though that's one of the most fun parts!) Sometimes it's about gardening, sewing, crafting, decorating, etc., and there are always the homekeeping duties--dusting, dishes, laundry, and all the rest. Right now, for me it's all about CONSTRUCTION . . . as in, new Pantry! I forgot to put that in my "dreams" list but it certainly should have been there.
Ever since we stopped using our old furnace (our almost 30 year old furnace) I have coveted all the beautiful space that housed the monstrosity. If there's anything I hate, it's wasted space and I needed that space something awful. So I made up my mind to just do it. Out with the old . . .
(Is this disgusting, or what?) 
Once the unit was out, I tore down the sheet rock on the wall sides and pulled down the sheetrock ceiling. That gave me about three more inches on each side and a whole lot more space overhead. Then, I pulled down the back wall and was overjoyed to discover 1.5 x 2 extra feet of space. Oh my heavens! So now, not only do I have the two foot by four foot space I was counting on, I have a bonus space that's deep enough to use the wire shelving Julie gave me.

 Look at all that lovely space! Not too wide, since I have to allow some room between the wall and the fireplace pipe, but over five feet high!
The huge hole in floor where the ductwork connected to the furnace plus some rotten wood means a new floor.

                                Ta-da! New 3/4" treated plywood floor.
Fit like a puzzle piece--a miracle!!!!!
                    The rule is "Measure twice, cut once." The rule for me is
                       "Measure three to five times and hopefully cut once."

I spent a lot of time cutting and installing a plywood floor to replace the sheetrock one (that wasn't intended to bear weight) and framing in the space, adding side support for the shelf brackets. A lot of trial and error.
The "bonus" space is walled in and ready to be painted. So much done yet so much left to do. I'm impatient! More to come . . .


Thursday, October 3, 2013

Labor & Delivery

Pearl, our brown egg girl,
is quite vocal when she's in the process of laying.
Cluck, cluck, cluck, cluck, CLUCK, cluck, cluck, cluck, cluck, CLUCK,
 cluck, cluck, cluck, cluck, CLUCK, cluck, cluck, cluck, cluck . . .
It's sort of like standing outside labor and delivery,
hearing the sounds of the agony of childbirth.
Some say it's the sound of a proud hen after laying a
trophy egg. Others say it's the sound that comes from
the incredible relief . . . that it's over.

And yes, folks, we found three eggs in the
nest at the same time, two days in a row!
On the third day, no eggs at all,
which we could certainly understand.
Good work, girls!

Hmmmmm, fall is in the air and cooler weather is just around the corner.
I love this time of year, probably the most of any of the seasons, because
the end of the summer heat so invigorates me. I can hardly wait!
So many outside projects that have been put-off until it's more
comfortable to work. Among them is the cleaning out of the storage
building (not a job to do in the middle of a Texas summer, that's for sure!)
and the installing of the beautiful old-fashioned double-loop wire fence
and gate which entails digging postholes. A LOT of postholes.
Isn't there a machine that does that?
I'm anxious to dress the house in the colors of autumn,
which are some of my favorites--Beauty berry purples, 
spider lily reds, burnt oranges, chocolate browns . . .
 ahhhhhh, just makes you want to rake leaves (well, almost.)
Soon, the fireplace wall and mantle will burst with fall color but
I want to enjoy the summer vignette I created for a few more days.
 Pinterest gets most of the credit for the "look" but I had to do
the work of tracking down just the right elements.
I found the large shabby chic wooden window frame, platter,
and the just-perfect "welcome" sign at an antiques mall.
I already had the pitchers (the larger one belonged to my Grandma)
and dried hydrangeas from my garden, and I made the burlap
and paper lace banner. I love how the colors complement
the rock wall and give a sense of serenity to the room.
Calm and cool for summer, but soon to be warm
and rich and vibrant for autumn.