I’m happy to report that the chickens have figured out outside. It took a little while, I gotta say. After I built their new pen, we threw open the door, to allow them to come coursing
out, smiling, waving, flapping their wings with happiness and confidence. I imagined them waving a standard and victory marching to the new fields, proudly proclaiming their FREE RANGE status. What actually happened is that the unnamed white one clucked a little bit, and the whole crew shuffled tighter into the corner. No amount of coaxing or cajoling could convince them to come outside. So yesterday I took a broom and went on the attack. I shoved them outside and slammed the door. They were very upset. At first. But then they started pecking at whatever things on the ground that chickens peck at, and completely forgot the broom incident. It started to rain. They continued pecking. This morning I went out there, opened the door, and by the time I’d refilled their water, they were all outside, checking things out, eating, snutching around and piffling into the corners and hummocks of grass. It seems like they’ve finally caught on, and may, henceforth, be known as FREE RANGE chickens.
We’ve finally bit the bullet and bought some cast iron radiators. The die is cast, Rubicon
crossed. They’re old and rusty. According to the internets, they’re not the oldest radiators – dating more from the post 1935 years than from the victorian era. It’s a shame, in a way, because the Victorian ones are appropriately baroque, but since we are broke, and these ones are cheaper, it was an easier decision to make. Also, turns out, these radiators crank out way more heat per pound of iron (and for the record, there are many pounds of iron). We got some that throw 10,000 BTU per hour. Given the cold ways of the Hoot, the heat-per-pound quotient also helped make the decision easier. When I say these things are heavy, I mean they WEIGH A LOT OF POUNDS. It was just the two of us, and the cool proprietor of Edna’s Antique Shop loading said radiators late on Monday afternoon. We got them loaded, but after 3 days of stretching and complaining, my back is still a compressed spring. Now who is going to unload these things? Secretly, I’m hoping that
our wizard mechanic, Pete the Mechanic, (who came to us from our ultra helpful prelim-plumber, Randy the Plumber) can get the starter fixed up and maybe we can use THE TRACTOR to unload the radiators. Oh, but that would make me gleeful. As of now, the tractor is still sitting patiently, awaiting its inaugural startup.
The next step for our new radiators (we figure we’ve gotten enough for at least the ground floor, by the way – one trip! the back of the new truck! note the lowrider status of the back wheels) is pressure testing, to make sure there are no leaks or holes. We figure we now have to track down a pressure washer to do the testing. Would you loan us yours? And after the testing, comes media blasting. It’s a funny term. It does not mean sitting the radiators in front of the TV and the radio for an extended period. It means sandblasting, but with particles other than sand. Can we borrow your sandblasting rig, please?
Then after that, there’s painting. So the radiators still have a ways to go. We did find a couple of sandblasting rigs for sale at Harbor Freight Tools, complete with safety equipment. Casey was most taken with the safety equipment (as you might have guessed). I think she looks like a red squid. So we’re still shopping around for these kinds of things.
Speaking of shopping, we finally falling into a bit of routine in the woodshop section of the house. That is, we’re
making things, not the least of which is money. And we’re making furniture. The shop is makeshift, and temporary, but it’s got some new lights, so you can sort of actually see what you’re doing, and it’s got power, and some tools. It’s a relief to be in there and actually get some things done. I’m going to close with a before and after picture of the shop – hopefully taken from roughly the same location – so you can compare, even over just the short 2.5 months, the changes we hath wrought.