Sunday, October 31, 2010

Tickee Teet! Happy Ween!

Halloween weekend was a lot of fun. On Saturday we went with the Lease's to downtown Bellingham to trick or treat. All the downtown merchants give out candy and it's a lot of fun for the little ones, a good daytime practice for more advanced neighborhood trick-or-treating later. It took a little while for Conan to get the hang of it but he was soon charging right up to the candy bowl and saying "tickee-teet" and "happy ween" with the best of 'em. We ended at Boundary Bay for beers and food and finally some well-deserved candy. Conan's mouth was bright blue by the time we left, and he and Olive were bouncing off the walls, the chairs, and the legs of the very patient waitstaff.

On Sunday we went and visited Great Grandma Marjorie at Highland nursing home before going to the Columbia neighborhood for some really amazing trick-or-treating. We were accompanied by Brian, Abby, Chloe and Grandpa Dave, as well as some other friends. Brian had a really amazing Chewbacca costume, and Chloe was the cutest little Ewok. After trick-or-treating we went back to the Mapes place for apple pie and ice cream, and of course ate some more candy.

Monday, October 25, 2010

Chicken House

We've finally got chickens! I've wanted to get our own birds ever since we moved in, but I was also determined to wait until we had the time to really build them a good solid house. Every other time I've ever kept chickens, I've gotten the birds first and then cobbled together some kind of "temporary" shelter for them. The problem with that approach is that the temporary shelter is always needing maintenance to keep it from falling apart so there's never time to build anything permanent. On the other hand, building a good, solid, permanent chicken house was a project that had to wait until a few other things were taken care of, so it's taken us nearly four years to get to the point where we could bring home some hens. The new chicken house is not yet completely finished (the roofing, siding, and full yard enclosure are still incomplete) but I think it is WELL worth the wait. This isn't just an ordinary chicken house, it's a chicken palace!

This chicken house has all kinds of special features. It's got a cleanout door along the whole bottom of the north wall, and a piece of remnant vinyl flooring (in a tasteful beige tile pattern) tacked down over the entire floor and up the side of the nest boxes. Those two features should really help make cleaning out the house a much more pleasant task.

On the East side of the house, the lower roofed area is the future duck house. It's not finished yet, but it won't take much to get it closed in and ready for ducklings in the spring. The ducks will have a separate outdoor pen adjacent to the chicken yard when everything is complete.

There are three nest boxes with access from the outside, and there's a built-in storage cupboard underneath for keeping chicken food, egg cartons, and other useful items dry and secure. The roof has an extra-wide overhang on the south side to keep the rain off our heads while we do the chores. There's a window in the people door, as well as a window that opens for ventilation and light. The chicken door is actually a window as well, which adds a little more light and also closes easily and securely to keep the chickens safe at night. There's a porch on the west end so the ladies can go outside even in wet mucky weather, and where their water dish can be without getting muddy or full of straw.

Most importantly of all, it's a solidly built little house, which will keep them safe and warm and dry in all kinds of weather and for years to come.

We couldn't have done this at all without Dave's help. He had the lumber, the tools, the know-how, the willingness and the time to take my sketch and turn it into reality. We had to purchase some new plywood, the tarpaper, and the cement for setting the footings, but nearly everything else was used, salvaged materials from the ReStore and Dave's collection, and a few things left over from our house. Even the chickens are used! They came from our good friend Janet, who is moving soon and needed to relocate her flock.

Conan really enjoyed the building process. He helped a lot - hammering, measuring, and toting materials around. He is really, really, REALLY excited to have "bokkies" of his very own.

Our seven ladies moved in on Sunday, and we got our first egg yesterday. Once they get all settled in and adjusted to their new home, I expect we'll get 3-5 eggs a day. Mmmm!

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Cake Song

1. I don't think he's ever seen anyone play the drum and sing, but he seems to know how it's done.

2. We hardly ever have cake (the last time I can remember was at my Cousin's wedding in July). Apparently it made quite the impression.

3. Yes, he has better rhythm than either of his parents.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

True Story

I've been in Orlando, FL for a trade show during the last 5 days. I left after work on Wednesday the 13th and didn't get home until 2 am this morning, so it had been a looooonnnng time since Conan had seen me. So this morning when we heard him stirring, we went into his room together to wake him up, anticipating an enthusiastic greeting for his long-lost Mama. He sat up in his bed and Cary said "Conan, guess who's here?" in an excited voice. Conan paused a moment, looked at me, and then responded "Dayd?" with a happy little chirp of anticipation. Mama, schmama - what would REALLY be exciting would be to have Grandpa Dave dropping by first thing in the morning. We had a good laugh, and then Conan and I had a nice reunion cuddle. He does love me, after all.

Tuesday, October 05, 2010

Executive Baby

Workin' from home with Mama today. Typing, writing, calculating, and of course, talking on the phone. Looks like management material to me!

Saturday, October 02, 2010


Today we went to the Cloud Mountain Farm Harvest festival. This was Conan's second year attending, and he really had a lot of fun. We met up with Marci, Silas, Cohen, Charlotte and Bellatrix as well as lots of other moms and kids we recognized from around town - it's really an extremely toddler-friendly event. There were several free activities for the kidlets. The first thing Conan did was to decorate a small flower pot and plant a little lavender seedling in it.
He is quite the artist, so it took a long time before he declared his pot finished and ready to plant.

He enjoyed spooning the dirt into his pot, but he was a little suspicious of the lavender seedling I stuck in there. He pulled it out a couple of times before he decided it was OK to have a plant in his dirt. Only time will tell if it will survive, but we can replace it if needed.

We tasted some berries and grapes, sampled some cider, and ate delicious Mallard's Ice Cream. But the biggest hit by far was the giant pumpkin. Besides the big one, there was a large pile of more moderately sized pumpkins, and a wagon-load of squash and gourds to boot. The kids had a lot of fun looking at all the different colors and shapes, and of course many pictures were taken.

I should point out that Conan did not wear his orange fleece as part of any pre-meditated parental photo setup - I'm far too much of a scatterbrain to have planned that far in advance. But it DOES look really nice with the pumpkins.

I really like this one. It's just perfect.

Even baby Trix got into the posing with pumpkins, although she wasn't too sure about that tricky balancing.
Next year I'm sure she'll be more excited about it. :)