On the cusp of turning 11... this is a recent photo of our oldest granddaughter, Maizy, who has her birthday tomorrow. Sweet memory of hearing the news of her birth...Happy Birthday, dear Maizy. Happy Birthday to you.
Almost 2 weeks ago now Shelby, Sherwin and I were on Skype late one night. We were picking Shelby's brain for the ideal present to give Kim for her upcoming 40th birthday. We wanted it special so we tossed ideas back and forth for a while until Shelby said, You know what she would really, really like? A chicken coop!
We three all did some research and we came to the conclusion that we could build it...nothing to it, right? We set aside a couple days last week for the project and away we went.
Notice the equipment and tools in the back of the truck. While we waited for the ferry in Seattle I caught Sherwin making sure his tools were riding safely. Notice the 2x6 board he planted from side to side to hold the gear in order for the trip. Ingenious...
The first order of business was clearing the spot where the hen house would stand. An area in the upper corner of the vegetable garden was chosen and Kim got out there and clipped away like mad removing large amounts of greenery. On the left hand of this photo there had been a small coop/hutch that was old and not adequate that I had removed board by board. Two posts stand there in the front that were needing a manly helping hand.
While Kim and I performed the clearing duties the fellows went shopping for more supplies and tools. And they came home triumphantly laden with necessary lumber and tools happily carrying lunch for all from the Subway shop.
Sherwin caught a snap of Kim and me removing one more load of clippings. Kim had so much fun pruning that she looks at her whole yard now with new eyes and a pruner in her hands.
Of course, we had a great cheering squad who came around to bring us drinks and cheer and some light-hearted entertainment.
Now that Sherwin and Shelby had their tools and supplies in hand they went to work with a vengeance and started getting the place in order to build. Levelling the land and digging holes for foundations were the first order of business.
Tah Dah!! Here we have one of our Mayne Island left-over saddles on a concrete block being set in concrete. It hardened over night and...
before breakfast the next morning Sherwin had some major work already done.
Kim and I went running errands for a couple hours and while we were away the fellows had to put up rain protection and started the wire installation. Every aspect of this project was done with great thought and care. If it wasn't Sherwin having a perfection moment it was Shelby but with good humour it began to take shape.
Notice the ends of the 2x6 headers...even they were shaped to match the arbor where the grape vines grew. This place was going to be lovely and completely free of all predators. More than once I heard either Sherwin or Shelby say that those *^%$& chickens better really appreciate their deluxe environment.
While the rest of us worked on finishing the mesh screening Sherwin started on the house itself laying in the floor joists.
The walls and rafters were barely up when one of our resident 'chicks' had to try out the place...
By the end of day 2 the house was ready for finishing.
Sherwin had hung the door on day 2 but on day 3 Shelby took it upon himself to finish the door with screening. Isn't it gorgeous?!
Next the plywood sheeting went on all around the house. Those chickens are going to have a lovely spot to supply our kids with eggs.
Sunday morning Sherwin and Shelby took off for Home Depot with a final list of supplies necessary to the completion of the project.
When they returned Shelby went at the roofing as soon as Sherwin and I completed the facia and soffits and sheeting.
Our little 'chicks' had to try out the inside of the house as soon as Grandpa got the pretty floor down.
By the end of Sunday we had the roofing, siding done and vents in the side walls to complete the house.
Notice the hinged hatch at the back of the house where the nesting boxes will sit for the lady egg producers. We are expecting great omelettes from these girls.
It was getting dark as the front wall was being completed. The piece de resistance was the double-duty window Sherwin is installing. He put hinges on the top of the window so it can lift up for ease of clean out. Then he put siding on all sides to hide that fact and make it look like a regular window. If you look closely you will see the hinges on the top of the window. He did an extraordinary job on it and we all rejoiced as he came to the end...and it worked!!!
To the right is the little chicken door where the ladies will enter to go to their nests. The door is also hinged with a lock/handle to hold it open during the day when they are out and about. He also set up a ramp for the hens to walk up to get 'home'.
It was getting so dark by this time that no more photos were taken but Kim has promised to update us with final shots when the chickens take possession of the house. They may even have a ribbon cutting ceremony.
Next morning (today, Monday) Sherwin and I were on the road by 4:18 and at the border by 8 a.m. so we could catch the 10:20 ferry to home. All in all it was a great week. We had a lot of fun and laughter, good food and good companionship.
Wishing you all a lovely week...God bless and be well.
Outside my window... the sky has character which means activity in the weather today. It is lovely to watch the sky lighten and brighten as the day begins. I am thinking...no matter where you go, there you are. No matter if I am home or away, I still am me. Change of location doesn't seem to change my heart and soul. I am thankful...that I have been with Maizy and Lucy this week, to hear their laughter and chatter. So thankful for their sweet, gentle natures yet so full of fun. The squeals of delight as they play with each other and the dogs is pure sugar to my soul. In the kitchen... well, in Kim's kitchen the food has been so good; it is always a treat for me to eat other people's cooking and somewhere in this room there is some Australian candy hidden that we all love and pretend we don't know where it is for as long as possible and then someone pulls it out and we all dive in for a little sugar frenzy! I am wearing...work clothes; I need to help out at the hen house construction site again today. I am creating...a page on my art journal regarding my Paris trip...it is taking me way too long but distractions knock at my door constantly. It is fun to go back through my pictures to see and remember the pieces I want to make a part of my page. Otherwise I am creating order out of chaos in my gardens. I am going... to start through my kitchen cupboards again and do some changes for efficiency reasons. I do love making order where at the moment there is none. I am wondering... what it is going to take for us all to learn to live together in peace...probably heaven, right? I am reading... a new book of poetry by Mary Oliver...well it isn't a new book for her but a new one for me. Otherwise I am between books...just finished a tome on Queen Elizabeth, the Queen Mother which makes me want to read something light and frivolous next. I am hoping...for a sunny, warm August. 'They' say it should happen so I am trying to count on that. I am looking forward to...American Thanksgiving with all our kids together. We must take a formal photo of all 9 of us all together in one spot at one time. I am hearing...the stock market chatter between Sherwin and Shelby's friend Bradley quietly behind me here in the kitchen while we wait for the world to rise around us. I learn about the ups and downs of that business by listening. Around the house... we are still waiting for permits to get started on our renovation. So looking forward to a new closet and a new pantry and a new place to put my art table... I am pondering... how to get my right leg working like it used to. Do I walk more and take pain pills or do I walk less and get by with less/no medication? Hmmmmm..... One of my favorite things... has to be my camera. Just this past week I have been thinking about how much my camera means to me and how much satisfaction I get from a shot well done. I am amazed at my interest in photography. Yesterday Kim dropped my downtown here on Bainbridge and I wandered about for nearly an hour without my camera and felt naked. There was so much out there to capture and here I was with no camera. A few plans for the rest of the week...well the week is at an end but we need to work diligently today again to get the hen house together. When the chickens come we will be gone but we wish them happy laying!
Here is picture for thought I am sharing...this is the mystery of the week...what is it, how long has it been there and why have I not noticed it before when we have taken the ferry to Bainbridge? Hmmm
As I go back into my Paris photos I have such great reminders of the ladies I travelled with...
We were so cold riding on top of the bus and Marilyn had come prepared. She was wearing this knit jacket and she had a lovely scarf on her hair. She saw I was without any warmth for my head so she put the scarf on me and pulled up the hoodie for herself. She is a doll! This is one of my husband's favourite shots of our trip.
Not sure about the weather in your part of the world I thought, since we are in grey/overcast/foggy drizzle I would start by cheering up myself with a few words of wisdom on weather.
"Let the rain kiss you. Let the rain beat upon your head with silver liquid drops. Let the rain sing you a lullaby." -Langston Hughes
"Anyone who says sunshine brings happiness has never danced in the rain." -Anon
"Tell me how many beads there are In a silver chain Of evening rain, Unravelled from the tumbling main." -Thomas Lovell Beddoes
"All was silent as before - All silent save the dripping rain." -Longfellow
"The sky was dark and gloomy, the air was damp and raw, the streets were wet and sloppy. The smoke hung sluggishly above the chimney tops as if it lacked the courage to rise, and the rain came slowly and doggedly down, as if it had not even the spirit to pour." -Charles Dickens
p.s. I started this post before breakfast. Now I look out and I see sunshine on my garden. Now is the time for all good gardeners to get those weeds.
For some time now I have wondered about my interest and 'devotion' to the Royal Family of England. Where did that interest come from and why was I still a follower of their comings and goings in the press?
Probably the interest stemmed from my childhood and the days of the old "Star Weekly", a long ago forerunner of magazines like "People"or the popular modern royal watcher "Hello". I do remember Mother having them around and we clipped out the articles and made scrapbooks of this family in England that is called Royal.
Some years ago I came home from a browse at an antique shop with yet another very old book of hymns. I opened it to start enjoying the songs/lyrics I found there and out of the book fell a postcard...
Wow, I felt like I had hit a small streak of gold...I lived in Bassano from 4th grade to the end of 7th grade and knew the railroad station there very well...so this was a treasure. King George VI and his wife had made Canada their first official tour. And here was proof to me they had stopped at a little one-horse town in Alberta where I had spent some childhood years.
But now why, in my adult life, was I still following these people, more interested in them than in most others? What kept me looking?
When there was a wedding, a funeral, a celebration or disaster among 'them' I wanted to read about it, see all the press on it. So, when I saw this book at a book shop I mentioned to my husband that would be a great gift, if he was looking...
...and I am happy to report that I have completed the book...there are 943 pages of detailed information here. I must confess that there was probably about a third of the book I did not read thoroughly. There were specific years of interest in her life that I burrowed into and feel like I have a wee bit of a grasp, or should I say an understanding of my interest here.
About three quarters of the way through the book there is a quote regarding the popularity of the Queen Mother...'she symbolized our better natures'. And it hit me quite forcefully (my Aha! moment) that was most likely why I have been so interested in the past. The Queen Mother and her daughter Elizabeth II have lived lives of honour, discretion, devotion to God and country. All attributes worthy to make one's own.
Oh, by the way, if you are thinking this would be a good read? It is, if you are REALLY interested in the lady and her life. The book is jam-packed with really interesting information about who she really was. You do get a fresh look at the underpinnings of the family and get to put real faces on them with real emotions and motives. From the generation ahead of Elizabeth Angela Marguerite Bowes Lyon (The Queen Mother) to the children of Elizabeth II you get to know them as very real humans. You do begin to understand why things are the way they are today among them.
Keep in mind as you are reading that this is an official bio with the stamp of approval of Buckingham Palace and HRH Elizabeth II. There are pages in the book where you feel the author is just listing one royal commitment after another and not giving you a story but there is great research done here for any die-hard interested reader.
Ever since I told Sherwin about this quote he has been very quick to remind me of it when I speak inappropriately...which is way too often.
"Everyone thinks himself the master pattern of human nature; and by this, as on a touchstone, he tests all others. Behaviour that does not square with his is false and artificial. What brutish stupidity." -Michel de Montaigne
In the past couple weeks this quote has been with me and I have taken the words 'the master pattern of human nature' and replaced them with the words 'the master pattern of human physical design' or 'the master pattern of good taste'; you can replace those words with whatever you find yourself up against in your own life.
If you think of this seriously you will find yourself in this quote...do you find yourself looking sideways at others with a critical evaluation running through your mind? Yesterday Sherwin said, Well, maybe people just don't realize that the hurtful things they say and do to others are just that...hurtful. But I don't buy that. I believe that many of us have felt superior in some facet of life over the others around us. Others are too tall, too short, too wide, too thin, too smart, too dumb, too pale, too dark...just not like ME. After a while it begins to sound like the whole world needs to be blue-eyed blonds! And we don't want to go there.
Instead I want my heart enlarged to include, not exclude. That means I will open my eyes to see the good around me and not look for a way it needs to be improved to my way of thinking. My excellence may not be your excellence...
If you went to Sherwin's blog and read about the construction you will know we are busy with changing the landscape around here. The preparation for the foundations has gone along very well.
Last evening as Sherwin was taking his photos to do his blog I was tending to recycling in the garage. All of a sudden I heard a mighty roar and a crash and looked up. Over the equipment in the garage all I could see were two big legs with black shoes flying through the air.
Sherwin had tripped on an asphalt edge to one of the shallow holes and his camera went flying. He had the presence of mind to do a roll out of the fall so he did not hurt his arms or face...only his one leg. But even though he is stiff and sore, somewhat, today he is out there at it again.
The blog Sherwin did was for the use of the engineers and sub-trades so you can see he did not mention his fall there. We are grateful and delighted that he is not hurt seriously. It was a mighty crash!
Of course, I took photos to add to my album of 'Sherwin's Mishaps'...Tah, Dah!!
Why do I feel joy? Oh, this could have been so much worse. Much worse.
"Funny thing about joy is that you only really find it when you are too busy having fun to be looking for it."
-from 'The Wold According to Curly Girl' by Leigh Standley
Thinking this was a good way to end last week I wrote up a blog with photos and all but by the time I got it finished it appeared stale and outdated. When I awoke this morning I knew now was the time to share this quote and some cheer to start off our Monday.
What brings you joy? What defines joy for you? Over the years I believe it has changed some, but only some, for me. The busy part of the above quote has really been true for me. Too much leisure does not bring me joy. Activity and some deed accomplished is what does it for me.
Yes, I am getting the decks all refinished. I started at the bottom with deck 6 and am slowly working my way up the hill and today will tackle the mildew problem and fill cracks on deck 2. It is feeling good!!
On the driveway side of the house great things are happening with Sherwin's hole digging project preparing for foundations for our new 'house'. If you will click here you will get to see the details of his work. It is a marvel to see.
This spot of joy came from our early morning ferry ride to church on Sabbath...what more could you want for a commute?
We are delighted to be able to take food from our garden and we love the flowers that feed our souls...
And there are little surprises, like my little Yoga Froggies peeking out among the clematis in the garden, that give another opportunity to smile...
While we were in Victoria we saw an old church, actually the only remaining standing and used church dating from the late 1800's. Some of the original stained glass windows were very well done.
But I must say that one of my greatest sources of joy is to have good conversations with my children...
So I do hope I have brought a smile to your face as you start out this new week.
Around here there have been a lot of changes with more coming every day. We have plans so this is only a first glimpse into what has been going on... Sherwin is putting in long days working on one aspect or another of these plans so I thought I would just give you a few sneak-peeks on the changes.
You all know that there were too many trees around the greenhouse which made it difficult for plants to actually thrive inside the little house.
So trees (many trees) had to come down,
with lots of chain saw work...
to bring them down and then sawn up...
rocks were moved,
and earth moved
to make quite a difference around my little greenhouse.
It is so beautiful to see the results. Compare this photo to the first one on this post and you will see the change.
Now we are wondering what we will do with all the open space. Maybe little fruit trees or berries? Who knows. Have to figure out a way to discourage the animals from gnawing on the fruit...hmmm...