Monday, July 28, 2008

the great chicken conspiracy

OK - I am not making this up. Everywhere I turn, there's more info on backyard chickens.

More stuff on how cool it is to have chickens around - see This Week in Chickens at Garden Rant. What to do for vacation chicken care? Check out this article.

It appears:

1. They're not noisy
2. They don't stink
3. They're not much more trouble than the average dog or cat

So there.

Now. I wonder how hard it will be to find a couple that lay those pretty blue eggs?

Thursday, July 24, 2008

let's see, now. . . .

The courtyard is really shaping up.
Inside, we would appear to be continuing on with an orangey-apricot theme. Eeek!
But no, it's just the subfloor, over which the slate will go. Here's a couple of pieces just laid out.

Thursday, July 17, 2008

"here. . . chickchickchickchick!"

The Hillmans in Ireland keep a very cool blog detailing their country life and Sally Gardens Smallholding.

Today, they talked about raising chickens.

This is of interest to me, as I have become more and more incapable of ignoring the conditions under which we seem to be producing our "food" here in the States. Food mass-produced becomes inhuman at some level. I think we reached that level a long time ago, but I'm only just now being forced to recognize it. I will not go into details. We all 'know' what we're trying so hard not to know. . . . Suffice it to say that I am avoiding the "bargain" chicken slaughter on offer at the local supermarket. At present, I have assuaged my complicity by buying "organic" or "free-range", but it may very well come to the point of buying local, where I can actually see the conditions under which animals we eat are being raised.

Consider what the Hillmans point out:
[It's] four months from hatching to table in comparison to just over thirty days for most commercially grown chicken. Our chicken will be far superior in flavour, low in fat and high in nutrients thanks to their slow growth, organic feed and happy free ranging lifestyle.
What I really enjoyed, however, is reading about their life with the animals, and observation of the animals' lives and habits. Not all the chickens are destined "for the table." Like beef, it's generally the young males. Sorry, guys!

I don't think I could bring myself to "dispatch" any chicken, though, except under dire necessity, so I'm thinking I'm just a hypocrite, coming and going.

I have friends and family, however, who might not be horribly averse to dispatching [EEEEK-- and "cleaning" !!!] a chicken. . . . if we were to find ourselves with a chicken or two on hand, and a few extras roaming around?

[Just teasing, my king.] sort of. . . .

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

plugging along

Yesterday, we met Tom-builder at the site to map out the driveway, courtyard entrance, and front driveway entrance onto the street so that the final grade and hardscape [ok - "gravel-scape"] bits can be completed as soon as the painters and stucco guys are finished swarming all over the house.

I have high hopes for beginning the garden move soon after.

We have water on-site, now!

And I'm thinking that the workers will probably be going in and out of the doors from now on, rather than pulling up just anywhere in their trucks and trampling everything in sight.

Speaking of doors, here's the front door, finally visible.

Here, having stained the windows, the painter has finally cleared off much of the protective wrapping and you can begin to see the lookout from the living room into the greenwood. It looks "quiet, dark and deep" - even now in the summer - for those who recognize Frost when they hear him. . . .

Monday, July 14, 2008

up to his usual tricks

My, what sharp puppy teeth you have, Lairdy Luther!I'm blooded and bruised, today. I'm trying to get the hang of making THE WALK fun for both of us, without turning it into a free-for-all.

Yesterday, I erred on the side of no-fun for either of us. Today, it was on the side of free-for-all. Fun for him, not as much for me.

Luther was a-leapin' and a-cavortin' and having a grande old time. Unfortunately, my shin bone and ankle bone took a bit of a beating, as -apparently - also did my forearm, as I discovered when I got home and saw the blood on my shirt.

I might have to get that spray-on tanning stuff. The purple, green and yellowish hues of the bruises of various past days' encounters are not a real good look for me.

Back to the drawing board. [fun for both of us is the desired result. remember.]

Saturday, July 12, 2008

the gray is just a memory now. . . .

By the time we get there today, I don't think there will be any coloured stucco remaining to be done. Here, you see they were finishing the studio yesterday.In the back, the first stucco applied has really faded back - to the point where I'm thinking that I don't want it to fade any more.
This, by the way, is Ebert: the man responsible for mixing the colour.
"Most people choose beige." he told me yesterday.

"I can see why", I retorted, "choosing this colour has given me sleepless nights, worrying that it would stay this colour!" We laughed.

Perversely, now I'm worried it won't keep enough of it. . . . [colour, that is]

Thursday, July 10, 2008

inside and out

Outside, you can see how much the colour has dried back. The back guest house was done a couple days ago; the front part was done just this morning.One wall of the studio has gotten stuccoed.
Meanwhile, inside, the library fireplace is in.
As are the hallway arches.
Lots of decisions - now - to be made. It's overwhelming. Occasionally, infuriating. How long have I talked about the 'hurry up and wait' syndrome? Well now, it's: having waited so long - after hurrying - now hurry! hurry! hurry!!!

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

colour musings

The colour has mellowed a bit, as you can see.

Here's the picture the same day it went up. It might look the same to you on the screen, but trust me! It's mellowed.

. . . .and look! The cross beams are in on the back portico. Yes, that's apricot on the back wall, as well.
It is really vivid going up, isn't it? This is a colour you have to have some courage to go for. Once stucco goes up, you don't paint it. That's the colour it is. . . . but you can't get it that colour, unless you're willing to risk passing through the vivid.

I think there's a life lesson to be learned here.

Monday, July 7, 2008

in other news. . . .

the colour white is going in the house - moonrise white, remember?

Turns out that Moonrise is one bit blue, two bits raw umber, and 3 bits gold.

The man spraying it on looks like he stepped out of a bad 70's James Bond spy thriller.

But the colour looks true,
and its as I hoped: good with my skin tone.


colour started going up today. I'm a bit freaked.

In person, I love this. By photograph, it's a bit over the top, isn't it?

I expect it will dry back a bit. But this really is one of those colours that - if you're going to do it - you just hafta do it. There ain't no sliding gracefully into this colour.

So there.

Saturday, July 5, 2008

not yet

Nope. No colour. Not yet.But we do have the studio fireplace 'mudded' now - the masonry block lines will fade when it dries - and the kitchen hood is in (finally!), complete with the fan that also finally arrived.
Inside, things are shaping up.
The third fireplace mantel made it - safely! - inside the house, and was installed.
And here - one last shot, I hope - of the house, sans colour.
Next? Who knows. Either the 'greenwood', or the 'apricot abbey'.

We'll see.

Thursday, July 3, 2008

and the colour is . . . .

The stucco goes up today. I have to be there at 11 to direct the final mix of the colour. Above, you see all the mixes so far. We're thinking the darkest yellow is still just a bit too intense, but the next step down (at 75% - and that's the half-board farthest left above - and to the left below) is not intense enough.
It looks darker in this second picture, out of the sun, doesn't it?

The other thing [apparently] to keep in mind is that the colour will not be uniform, and that some areas will dry back a lot lighter than others. I understand that it doesn't dry any darker. . . . It's a very inexact process, and that's much of its charm! It can depend on the kind of water being used, the temperature, the amount of sunshine the day it's applied - all these things.

Well. . . . it's going to be a hot, sunny day today. So I'm thinking we're going to go as dark as I can possibly muster the courage to go.

Here's hoping the greenwood doesn't become known as apricot abbey.

In a side musing, it appears that there was a third option in the 'stucco vs. dryvit' sweepstakes. Surprise! We always wanted stucco; Tom-builder could never really understand why we would do dryvit; now it appears that there's a dryvit-type something-or-other that goes on kinda like stucco. Oh, and did I mention that that was cheaper?

Tom-builder is busy extolling the merits of this other substance: it's "better", any colour you want (you're not dependent on sand, water, cement issues), it won't mottle or fade, doesn't crack, it's a "polymer" - don'tcha know - and why in the world wouldn't we want "polymer"s when polymers are to be found? Who in their right mind would want stucco - of uneven colour, uncertain dry-back fade, cracking, weathering, etc.? Oh - and more expensive. . . . apparently, as Tom-builder has just discovered, to his dismay.

Well? We would.

That's sort of like asking 'why would you want a real wood floor - or door - when a polymer fiberglass facsimile of wood is available?'

I know, however, that there are people for whom that is a real-live question. We are just not one of them. . . . as we told T-b in the very beginning, when we did the stucco/dryvit smackdown.


Ah well, off to playground to mix up some finger paints! Wish me luck. . . .