Feeling Cooped up and going for a walk

We’re just starting week four of isolation here at the Gillespie household.

Sunday we woke up to find that one of our two flocks of chickens had lost two birds. The rooster and one of the hens. This is the flock we have out in the goat pen with the ducks. It’s next to the road, and we assumed that the goats wouldn’t tolerate anything that would bother the chickens. Apparently we were wrong.

Jessie talked about combining the two flocks, but the pen would be too small, so I volunteered to whip up a chicken coop. It took me most of the day, but we came up with something respectable. I had to go get some lumber to finish the sheeting on the outside, and I picked up some extra lumber so we can have some on hand. We built three doors on the back side so that we can have three next boxes, although that turned into two next boxes and an access door as the day wore on and we decided that we just wanted things to be finished. We also built the floor on a hinge so cleaning the coop will be as simple as sliding back a couple of barrel bolts and letting the floor drop down. I went out on Tuesday and nailed some roll roofing onto the top to help keep things watertight.

The real shenanigans begin when we went to put it into the goat pen. It was awkwardly heavy to move, so I decided to load it into the truck. That was easy enough, and then we backed it down the small hill from the roadside and into the goat pen and unloaded it. The truck promptly got stuck when we went to get it out of the pen. Its an old 1978 two wheel drive Ford F100 Custom. The tires aren’t great. It’s basically used for dump runs and getting big stuff from the local hardware store. I backed up and gently moved it forwards a few times and each time I’d get defeated by the short hill up to the road. It’s only a few feet…but it was enough. Eventually I got it up the hill to the point where I was ALMOST on the road, so I set the parking brake and shut the engine off. I opened the door to grab some lumber or something to give the tires a better grip and the truck slid backwards and wedged the open door on big fence post halting its backward motion. I couldn’t get the truck to move forward, and if it moved backwards I’d more than likely rip the door off the truck.

Uh oh.

Well, we called the neighbors since we couldn’t leave my truck in the middle of an open gate all night long. We were already having trouble keeping the goats and chickens in the pen with the truck stuck where it was. Our neighbor brought down his racing dune buggy which just happened to have a lightweight winch on the front and with a little bit of finessing we were able to get it all taken care of.

We rounded up the chickens and hustled them into the new coop, and that was pretty much the end of that excitement.

Tuesday after I got the roofing on the chicken coop, we all decided to go for a walk and take the goats out on leads. This was every bit as comical as you can imagine with the goats stopping every few feet to sample a treat from the side of the road. Pictures are worth a thousand words…so here are some:

Life in Isolation

We’ve been trying to follow the shelter in place order as best we can, and have mostly been doing what was required (stay at home except for necessary trips out for groceries, etc) since about March 11th. At the house we generally have Jessie and Zoe, and our roommate Stevie who has been living here since January 2018. Most days we see Porter, who is either at his house or here at our place. In some ways this is nice because there’s enough of us to play games and stuff.

Still, we spend a lot of time wrestling with the boredom of being confined to one area. Lately we’ve been playing a LOT more video games as they’re a great escape and allow you to immerse yourself in something for long periods of time.

We’re also working on cleaning and organizing the clutter around the house to make this whole isolation more palatable. We started with our kitchen, did Zoe’s room next, and then the main bathroom. The idea being that if our individual spaces are cleaned out, then when we get to the living room and dining room that the items that need to be put away will have somewhere to go. We also repainted and put tile floors in the bathroom. Stevie and Jessie are working on some other decorative stuff in there too.

I’ve been working on getting the Magic: The Gathering collection from Wandering Havoc Games organized so we can sell all the rest of these cards. The pandemic makes this really tough as people aren’t buying them much. At some point they will again and when they do I want to be ready! There’s somewhere in the neighborhood of 300,000 of them, and so far I’ve gone through about 75,000 since the beginning of February. So…another six months and I’ll be all caught up.

Boy…I hope we’re not still sheltered in place that long.

It’s been a year?

I can’t believe that it’s been a year since I updated this blog.

You wouldn’t believe the spam comments I have to filter through…

I finished the live edge mirror project. LOL

Now we’re all stuck at home because of the Covid-19 pandemic. It’s been…interesting. Two weeks so far, and we’re going a bit stir crazy. That seems to be a reasonable trade-off. The only time we leave the house to get something from the grocery store or to mail something off at the post office.

Live Edge Mirror Project

Jessie’s determined to clean out our room and so we’re working on projects to make that space more comfortable. We’ve cleaned out a ton of stuff that got thrown in there before the wedding this summer and we’ve just never cleaned up.

In the bathroom, we ripped a medicine cabinet off the wall that we’ve hated since we moved in. We have a basic piece of mirror glass and we’re taking a piece of apple wood that came from a tree that died in our backyard and make a live edge border on the left and right side of the mirror.

The first step was taking a branch off this tree, and letting it sit inside for a couple of weeks to make sure it was nice and dry. I started trimming protrusions off the branch until it was smooth, relatively speaking. Then i build a sled and tried slicing planks off the branch with my band saw.

That was a disaster. The band saw I have has a dull blade apparently, and apple is a VERY hard wood. The saw blade deflected all over the place and I got nowhere near a cut through the board. It was straight enough for me to move over to the table saw and go from there though.

In the end I had a huge pile of scrap wood

And two decent boards to use

Tonight I took a piece of the scrap and put a light coat of polyurethane on it to see what it’ll look like if we decided to seal the whole piece. The color comes out a bit better with the polyurethane on there, and it’ll protect the whole thing since it’s going into the bathroom and there’s a lot of moisture there.

I keep re-learning the same lessons over and over…

My last post was in September. I was hoping to do better.

Here’s what happened: I got busy. I was spending every spare moment I had working. I need to not do that. After all…all work and no play makes Jack a dull boy.

So, here’s what’s been happening. We had the wedding. It was wonderful. This was the first of many new memories we hope to make at this new property.

After this happened we went on a family vacation to Idaho.

Then…things got super busy. Mainly because it wasn’t. Let me explain…

I own a small store that sells tabletop games. Board Games, Card Games, etc. We sell literally NOTHING that people need to live. Everyone started doing their back to school shopping and things got slow. SUPER Slow. So, I started working on all sorts of projects that could help things out. Adding stuff into inventory that we’d bought and never processed, getting our inventory reorganized. And all that took TONS of time.

The next thing I knew it was almost the end of November. The year was almost over, and I didn’t remember what had happened in the last several weeks. It was a blur of sleep, work my day job, work my small business, repeat. My business partners were telling me I’m putting much time in, so were my parents, my friends, and most importantly my wife.

It’s not like I didn’t do other things, but they were wedged into my life and weren’t that relaxing. I hadn’t taken a break and I was burned out. It’s a thing I do…repeatedly. Somewhere in here were several birthday parties (including my own), several Sounders games, and a bunch of other things that should have been bright spots but I was so stressed and busy I don’t remember much of it.

At the beginning of December Jessie and I took four days and went away from everything. We spent four days where I didn’t have to worry about anything. We did some shopping for Christmas and spent the rest of several blustery days on the Olympic Peninsula just watching movies in our condo and just letting ourselves get bored. It was wonderful.

So, here we are at the end of the year. Well, almost. Tomorrow is the end of the year and we’re going over to my parents house for a belated Christmas party. I have goals for the new year. There are many things I want to do and work towards. But for 2019, what I endeavor to do more of is just relax, let go of things I can’t control and spend more time at home.

Been busy, so it’s been quiet

We’ve been pretty busy the last couple of months. Our brother-in-law had his wedding on our property, that ate up most of what we were doing in July. We went on vacation about 10 days after that event was over. I’ve got lots of photos from those events, but no real time to post them yet.

…stay tuned.

A Bridge to Nowhere, Part 1

Kegan’s wedding is coming up at the end of the month, and half of the event is going to take place in the back pasture, and half of it will take place on our back lawn. We’re working hard cleaning up the property to make it more welcoming for folks, and part of that project is to update our footbridge over the creek. I wanted to add some handrails, fix the stairs, and add an arched entryway to the path.

So, on the 4th of July, with the weather being 89 degrees, overcast, and muggy as I’ll get out, I went out and set posts. Our current roommate, Stevie had already cleaned up the stairs running down to the bridge and she’s working on a footpath for the kids that goes down to the water so they don’t have to run through the mud to get there.

Thursday evening, I found several likely candidates in our cedar trees to make handrails out of, and added some rails to the project. The idea is to take the curved cedar boughs that need to be trimmed out of the trees anyway and make them into a nice, natural looking railing system. So far it’s working out ok. I’ll post more as the project moves along. The posts on the bridge are going to stay tall, in the hopes that for special events (like the upcoming wedding) we can string lights and other decorations across the tall posts.

Hacked again

So the website keeps getting hacked. Not sure how that happens, but I’ve installed a BUNCH of stuff to help prevent this from happening in the future.