Sunday, October 27, 2013

No nothing ...

No walks, no knits, no quilts, no nothing last week but Murphy's Oil Soap, sand paper, primer and paint. Nails, a saw, hammer, and as a friend says, "caulk and paint will make a job what it ain't".

I spent my free time in the spare bedroom, transforming it from the bird's summer playground to a guest room. Over the years I discovered Murphy's is the best cleanser for the job and it is now just about the only cleanser I keep in the house, other than dish detergent.

Almost all traces of the room's prior inhabitants are gone. There is one rather telling sign remaining: the piece of plywood which covers about a square yard of the ceiling where the birds chewed through the tiles! I haven't been to the store to get replacement tiles yet.

When the contractor removed the living room window to put the bird room door in place, I made sure he didn't toss it. I'd planned to replace the window in the old bird room with it, the bird's window having suffered rather severe chewing about the corners. However, while removing the old frame last week I realized that the rounded corners of the sash had some charm about them, so what with their endearing history and all, I decided to clean them well, sand them down and re-paint. They're fine. With the rebuilt framing--which I did myself, I purchased a compound miter saw!--the window looks quite OK and I'll keep the spare for when I really, really need it.

Today I knit a bit for the first time in days... ah, it felt good.

Tomorrow the chimney inspector comes and cleans if he has to. It will feel good to have a little heat about the place! Last night I snuck in a couple hours of oil heat to take the chill out. Quite a chilly chill on the hill lately!

Sunday, October 20, 2013

Home, sweet home ...

They made it! I brought them down one by one starting at noon and it was quite reminiscent of the Brooklyn round up the night we made our trip here. I had to put a dark curtain in the window in order to catch them and it worked very well; it took only an hour. I figure it took so much less time than the big move because the ceilings upstairs here are much lower than those in NYC and I wasn't having to be up and down a step ladder the whole time.

It appears to me they like their new room--I like it too!--they were very chatty after the move, and appeared to settle in rather quickly. A few spooks since nightfall but that is to be expected until they learn the place.

The room heats up very well with the oil-filled space heater and it retains the heat. I have been turning the dial down since initially turning it on this afternoon. I'm much pleased by this.

There is still a bit more to do... I have one "tree" in the room and will look for another this week. I might also build a few more perches here and there. They took quickly to the perches I put in the windows, their favorite seeming to be my favorite as well: The one which looks like a clothes rack. A picture of this below.

I placed newspaper on the floor under the perching "complex" but strew straw over the other half of the room. I walked out of the kitchen around 11:30 this morning on my way out to get the straw and the door "clicked" behind me. Lock out number two!! The lesson I learned from the first lock out (early on, remember?) is to leave at least one window unlocked for these sort of emergencies. So the bathroom window was accessible. Imagine me coming head first into my bath tub from half way up the wall! Go head, imagine it. :) After that brief interlude all went well.

Gee, six months since moving here and they are in their own digs. I'm so happy. This week I will start on fixing up the upstairs bedrooms and hallway. Got my work cut out for me.

Saturday, October 19, 2013

Tomorrow's the big day ...

I got the bird room where I wanted it this afternoon, only a few perches and clothes lines to hang. I really want to lay straw on the floor--because I think it will be easier to clean up!--but if what I have under the entryway isn't suitable I'll simply use paper until sometime next week.

Whew! Can't believe it. I'm planning to move the birds down tomorrow morning. I hope they'll like it; they'll have good views--3 of them: East, North, and South. I do think they'll be happier in there than upstairs where the ceilings are on the low side. They haven't been all that comfortable about the fact that I can reach their highest perches without much effort. Their "condo complex" in the new room is out of reach so they'll feel more secure there I think.

20 years of keeping birds has taught me what I need to do to protect the windows. In the new room all the edges of the window trim are covered in plastic protectors, and I protected the sashes and sills as well. All this will help preserve the windows and make cleaning a bit easier.

Part of the seed platform is visible in this picture. It contains holes in which the various size dishes sit. The protective measures around the windows are visible. This window faces South.

This windows faces East. I plan on bringing in another "tree" for the other corner.

I like the perches I made for this window.

This is the north facing window.

Part of their perching "complex". I've put up a lot of perches, inside and outside of "safe and secure" areas. The next boxes will sit on the ledges. One ledge is visible on the far right.

The second ledge. I built the ledges so I could place the nest boxes away from the walls--again, for ease of cleaning. This one was hard to put up by myself.

Looking into the room from the entry with the screen door open.

Hopefully I'll have pictures showing the birds in their new digs tomorrow evening.

Friday, October 18, 2013

Late afternoon walk ...

Before the walk I managed to get some seams sewn on my quilt. I'm very happy that this project is seeing me relax into long straight seams and I'm no longer so intimidated by the sewing machine. So glad I decided to take on this project after the introductory class last month. There is nothing like diving into something head first and getting a really good dose of it to work out the kinks and find smooth sailing. I remember this was very much the case when I was learning how to spin on a drop spindle. If I hadn't determined to spin every day--regardless of the frustration--I wouldn't have progressed. I guess it's really that simple.

Here's where the quilt is at this evening. It's going to be queen size so obviously a bit more work remains.

I had a really neat idea as I was sewing up the latest strip: For the very center square in the quilt I'm going to "fussy-cut" (that's what they call it when you cut out a specific area of cloth) a bird from the following fabric. Won't that be lovely!! I'm sure I'll feel all warm and safe under this quilt with the bird keeping watch over all.

This evening's walk brought me to a rather imposing (ominous?) looking tree.

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Evening walk ...

It's been a stressful week and I've felt a bit overwhelmed. That is odd in a way because it's been a year since I was set on my journey to relocate and this is the first instance that I recall feeling overwhelmed in any noticeable measure. Frankly, I think the prospect of the government defaulting was sitting heavy, as I'm sure it was for most people. It would have been a catastrophe. So, feeling relieved this evening about that.

Since the contractors left, the new room has been waiting for me to finish up. Yes, the painting went smoothly and quickly but beyond that it's taken me some time to figure out what I want to put in the room and how I want to arrange things. Slowly--and surely--it's taking shape but progress has lagged, or seemly so. Maybe I'm just in a hurry. There is too the fact that after such-and-such painting and redoing as I've undertaken in other parts of the house, maybe I sorta wish the rest would just sort of magically happen! Heehee. Yes and no.

Today I laid the remaining vinyl on the floor and protected the window sills with scraps of lino. I've hung perches in each window--all different, and I've fashioned and attached the bird seed shelf to the wall along with a shelf over the door and another on one wall. There are 3 more shelves I'd like to put up; need to get strips to cover the floor seams; need to hang some nest boxes; get some hay. Then they can move in! At the moment I'm thinking it'll happen over the weekend.

Of course, there was also the laptop's crash to attend to this week: The drive was irrecoverable. My laptop is on it's way to NY to get a new disk, and over the weekend I bought a tablet called "Surface". It's what I'm on at the moment. All-in-all I'm more impressed with this thing than I thought I'd be. It is nice to have the touch screen, and switching between programs and my NY desktop is faster on this tablet. It's pretty cool.

After an hour in the bird room today the stress started to abate. I had a good cello lesson via Skype this morning and a great practice at the piano before that. Today feels like a turning point in the week. Things don't seem quite so hectic this evening. Ahhh, breathe and relax.

I took a walk earlier this evening and got some walking spinning in. Yes, the pace is settling back to "normal" tonight and it feels good.

Saturday, October 12, 2013

Afternoon walk 10/10 ...

A small lull as my laptop's hard drive crashed beyond repair on Thursday evening. It crashed just as I was copying this photo from my camera to the hard drive. I'm posting this from a tablet while I await the arrival of a new laptop.

At any rate, I did take a walk on Thursday, in the afternoon for a change. I'm not sure how this picture will appear. This little tablet hasn't much in the way of photo processing software. But we'll see...

Sunday, October 6, 2013

Caught up ...

"Caught up." Funny phrase that: It could mean something awful or something wonderful.

I'm going to report on the wonderful. It's true I've got 'caught up' in the politics of our government's shutdown (who hasn't?, it's just natural after all) but I'd rather not take up too much space over it here ... other than to say I think the rift in Washington is indicative of a rift in the country. It almost seems that we are experiencing a "cold civil war". I hope the issue can find resolution before lasting damage is done.

Now for the something wonderful. I got 'caught up' on plying the 'walking yarn' this weekend. Hurray!

Plying has revealed that my walk spinning is pretty consistent. The second and third skeins are almost exactly the same length. The third was only about a foot short of the second. The first skein doesn't count because I had started it before my walks began. A total of 241 yards from nine walks, plus a little bit extra that was on the spindle at the start. Well that's encouraging!

Friday, October 4, 2013

Moose ...

Yes!!! I have finally seen one. It came out from the left side of the road as I was approaching the town of Dorchester this morning on my way back home from a trip to the hardware store.

OH, ever so majestic and beautiful. It made my day!

Indulge me a peeve: I would like to know why I can't call several moose meese! Goose: geese. Moose: meese. It's only logical, and I've a good mind to ignore convention in this matter!

There was no walk this morning. Too much to catch up on I'm afraid.

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Sewing machine ...

I attended a reception last week in a hotel that happened to be next to a thrift store, so after a lovely lunch I popped in to browse the goods. I did not anticipate--in the least--coming home with a new-to-me sewing machine but it was only $25 and a Singer--vintage-ish. What I really like about it is that it's almost entirely made out of metal and is heavy. That's quite a contrast to my little $99 machine which appears to be 90% plastic, and very light.

This old Singer is in good shape. I opened it up to oil and it's very clean inside. It sews well too! It was missing a bobbin case but it turns out that the case in my other machine (a non-Singer) fits. To celebrate, I sewed together the first of ten panels for the quilt. Each panel will have a slightly different ordering of colors and they will end up being cut horizontally to make the blocks of the quilt.

I also bought a new iron (ruined the last one by melting some sort of fabric on it!) and was rather annoyed that it came with instructions for "first use" but no words! Just pictures! I suppose this was done so the iron can be sold in several different countries without the need for translated text. But really!

Morning walk ...

No walk yesterday because ... er ... um... I had to go shopping for bird room supplies. Plus I painted some more. Time was elusive yesterday, don't know why.

Nice walk today. I finished another 3-walk spindle. At this rate of spinning I can't keep up with the plying. Way behind on that front.