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Thanks for the link!! Love the saga of Bert. My chickens crack me up every day. Great stress relievers.

So I got the processed duck back from my day of butchering! 2 smoked and frozen whole. DELICIOUS!!!!
9 jars of canned duck. With that and the eggs I am protein independent for a good long while.

I traded half a smoked duck now for elk meat later in summer. I have the other frozen duck in the work freezer. Will have to eat it up ASAP.

The duck lady and I thought she was done with duck rearing..,the Perkins were fragile and hard to pluck and process....but once we got into the smoked meat all was forgotten and we want more! But not right away
 

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I tried to update this a few days ago but a wifi-burp threw me offline and deleted the draft. Oh well!

Anyway, Pearl, the white leghorn chicken, got her comb torn nearly half off! I thought she was "muddy" but it turned out her head and neck had dried blood on them. She is flighty and didn't seem in pain or traumatized and it wasn't actively bleeding when i saw her. by later that day the comb had realigned to where it should be and had a good scab. it was just off track, not scratched up so I think it was the rooster during some overzealous...um...love making. Not a tangle with another hen or the hawthorns. She's still healing and the others are not pecking her and it's not inflamed so I'm leaving her to her own devices but keeping an eye on things. It has made her lay in the coop more!

There have been a few soft shelled and odd shaped eggs so I got a calcium supplement, oyster shells, and found a feeder thingy at thrift to put it in for them. If that doesn't fix it I'll have to figure out who is the soft-egger and maybe give her a talking to. You don't get to eat if you don't put out quality product. Also, the shells are so thin that they break when sat upon by the next chicken in the nest box. That sort of thing leads to chickens getting in the habit of eating broken eggs and then creating broken eggs to eat. So, soft eggers can't stay in the flock

The builder and mrs builder are almost to my price and not avoiding my calls. This is good progress!

Had my noxious weeds (oxeye daisies) mowed by a neighbor kid (14 year old with a tractor...it is 36 acres after all). I could see him craning his next as he would mow close. I was building a garden fence out of used chicken wire, survey stakes (those 4' long 1x2" wooden stakes), a staple gun, and some zip ties. it is NOT pretty but so far, knock on wood, the chickens are being respectful.
No begins the quest for the perfect combination of hoses and thrift-store sprinklers to water 4 garden areas with the least amount of hose/sprinkler rearranging through the rest of the summer.
 

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Pearl is doing well! The comb is floppy but healed up.
Meanwhile..brittany is gone! One of the pair of runaways that were the first 2 I got this year. I let 6 hens and the rooster out the other morning and when I got home and checked the coop (it was late and they'd put themselves to bed) there were 5 in there with the
rooster. I banged the food pan and called...no hen. Shut them up and came back out after dark. Still no hen.
And still today no sign of her. That hen is gone.

So, selling stuff at a farmers market for a friend yesterday and a woman showed up carrying a sign that said "8 free chickens" I asked for 1 or 2...they were in a box of 4 so I said, "OK, 4 please" and loaned her my sharpie to change her sign. A bit later, it was HOT HOT HOT and I wouldn't be home to let them out of the box for hours. So I filled a cup with water and cracked open the top of the box to put it in...one hen shot out like a teenager after being grounded! GONE. Chased her for a second but it was no use. Damn. She was visible now and then but by the end of the market, no sign.
Looks like she, and 2 of the others, are brown leghorns (possibly mixed with bantam? ...funny tails and smallish but not super small). The other is a smallish white leghorn 3 years old...you are more likely to get an egg out of me than her! So, I have 2 brown leghorns and 1 white. All FLIGHTY FLIGHTY FLIGHTY. OF course they needed names. One of the browns has a floppy comb. Didn't want to call her "floppy" so "Flossy". The other is a bit more prim so I went with Flora. The white leghorn is excitable and loud so I named her "Flo" like the waitress character in the TV show "Alice" the "kiss my grits" lady.

So...current inventory:
Big Red...the genetic hot mess of a rooster
Suzanne (novogen)
T-Bone (novogen...almost my pet now, she's always at my feet but she also always thinks I might be dropping food)

Porky (big fat barred rock)
Pru (prissy ameraucana, blue egger)
Pearl (full size white leghorn with injured comb)

Flossy (brown leghorn?)
Flora (brown legborn?)
Flo (skinny elderly white leghorn)

Quite a few. Coop is at capacity.

The brown leghorns are known for being flighty and cautious so survive predators well. They LOVE LOVE LOVE the deep grass/hay and the scrubby hawthorns. They have been in there all day today.
T-Bone came over while I was putting henna in my hair (outside) (protip: my hair is too long for just one box of henna but I only had one box so I might have sort of a splotchy job, oh well) but the rest were uninterested in the make over.

Talked to the builder. He thinks we're close. But last year we were 6 weeks out for over 9 months so we'll see.

Selling at the farmers market has been fun. I have put my homemade mustards on the table and they are selling to the point I had to order 5lbs of mustard seed today. The bulk bins at 2 grocery stores can't keep up with me. I took 36 jars and came home with 7. I gave one to the chicken lady, traded one to the bread seller for excellent bread, and gave one to a cousin who was passing through from out of state. So I guess I sold 26. I'm not making a huge profit...if you count mileage or time, then probably in the hole right now. But it's something to do and I'm at the market already. With the bulk mustard and finding gallons of vinegars rather than the small bottles of stuff like apple cider vinegar, costs went down about 50% which might make it profitable or at least break-even-able. I'm going to be at the market for the friend for another few months. This is her first year back to farming and I think her first time ever selling at markets, so I'm giving her a hand. I'd go to the market anyway so might as well stay and man a table!
People are nice there and prices are good. Have done some good trading for meats and things that we can't be legally selling but can give to friends. Hope that continues. Hard to quantify but having the network with food producers cannot be bad!

The funny part friday was I had some "mustard scraps" (bits that didn't fit in a jar and weren't enough to fill another jar) so I put them in little fake tupperwares from the dollar store. Only had 4. Probably 50cents worth of ingredients and 40cents of "tupperware." That way when someone was interested or couldn't decide on a flavor, I could hand him (almost all dudes) one. One guy took one after buying a different type but hemming and hawing. About 30 min later he's back! He'd also gotten fresh pretzels from the bread guy and had his wife, who 'hates mustard', try some of the sample on her pretzel. She made him turn the truck around and buy up that type from me! I only had one 1/2 pint and one 1/4 pint left so he spent 9$ and took both.
WE can't open sample this year so I stopped at a restaurant supply store and got little sauce cups with tops so I can sell "taste size" mustards in sets. I'm thinking maybe 4 or 5 for a dollar. The cups cost a few pennies and the mustards will be mostly extras that don't fit well in the jars. Before this I'd been just throwing it together in a random jar for me to eat but if people will pay for it! Better to sell it.
Strange what we'll pay for. I was musing over this while dropping 6.50$ to my friend for her spiced honey butter. I COULD make it...but I shouldn't eat much butter and only wanted a little bit. Not enough to buy ingredients and mix it up. I took some and gave the rest to a co-worker. Silliness but now I see why some people pay 6$ for a half pint of mustard.
 

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As of Tuesday the builder had had an engineer look at cut posts so he's moving along I guess.

The new hens are settling in. Sadly Suzanne may have to go. Pretty sure she is the one laying soft shell eggs. These break and get eaten. Can't have the ladies getting used to eating eggs! I should isolate her to be sure. Getting 2 small eggs per day from the new little hens so they seem to be earning their keep.

It took me 4 HOURS last night to get ready for the market today. I am taking 36 jars of mustard and about30 little "mustard scraps" so people can have a taste. May sell those like 3 for $1 or something. I folded tiny boxes out of an old coloring book so people would have a cute package. I may clear money over ingredients and jars but not if I count labor. I'd quit if I weren't at the market anyway.

Today I have the day off work so it's chores!! I won't get done but that is the deal with chores, right??
Maybe 1 more cup of coffee first
 

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Well, we got to a price I can live with and not get into debt. It's more than I wanted to spend and less than he wanted to get so...equally unhappy. It is as much as I had this year, then a 2 year break and payments starting then on the last bit. I asked Mrs. Builderman (his manager) to write it formally on the contract with the 2 years as a payment break rather than a paid by the end of 2 years. We were working verbally until now so best to have it spelled out. If the car doesn't break down and I shift all windfalls into this, i can actually get them nearly paid off by the 2 years and still keep moving forward with my build. I think when the builder said "I suppose we can hand you a nail gun and you can do the roof yourself at night" and I said, "OK, let's do that. What does that save?"....part of the roof is 34' up in the air and it's all metal and slick. He understood I was serious. So, now I think I get to put on the porch roof and he is doing the main, high, roof and the post-n-beam. We got an engineer to spec #2 pine as OK rather than fir which lowerd the cost a few thousand. I had NO IDEA and of course lumber is up now in this region. I know it is because at work we're seeing more timber sales and more income from the same board feet moving out compared to previous years. lucky me! Bought my concrete high, my lumber high. I wonder if the price of toilets and windows will sky rocket the minute I need those! Cripes.

Anyway, I'm going to get myself a pick up unloader so I can haul more of my own wood, and what not. It's on sale for 45$ and I still have that out of mom's bday money.
Also looking to cut 500$/month from the budget or earn 500$ more or a combination. So far, I'm selling mustard at a farmers market and I think this week I break even on ingredients/jars investment and sales! Had to raise prices and add a jar deposit. We'll see. I'm at the market anyway so the mileage is not additional. The time is more.

In other news...up to 11 chickens...then back to 10. Got 2 roosters (Clyde...he arrived with a "hardened criminal" hen from a friend so "Bonnie and Clyde" obviously) and Fabio. Fabio is a big over muscled blond colored rooster who was at the community garden and related to too many of the hens. The garden boss got a new rooster, unrelated, and wants to raise chicks so the related roosters had to go. I'm letting the hens decide who lives and who dies. Clyde is a young easter egger so not aggressive. Frankly, neither rooster is servicing the hens. The old rooster, Big Red, went to a friend's house. I suspect he is not of this earth anymore. He was never healthy enough and a genetic mess so didn't want chicks with him as the father. One of the bantys I got at the farmers market got injured! she broke a leg or dislocated a hip. BUT she could still scoot incredibly fast and tragically I could not catch her. She did this saturday. Headed right under the hawthorn scrub the minute I got her out of the coop. I tried going after her but couldn't get through. Tried chasing her out. That made her suffering worse. I tried off and on all day to get her water or to catch her so I could decide to either pen her up and let her heal or to put her down and stop the agony. By 5pm or so I could not locate her any more. Still today I can't find her...should have been able to locate her by smell today since it's been very hot and she could not have lived this long without coming out for water. Damn. A critter must have gotten her at some point. I wish that hadn't happened. but it did.

in bee news: My bees absconded. BUT bees that look just like them are still eating my flowers. I wonder if they moved into a hollow tree or something not too far away. So strange but fun to watch! Hope they make it through winter. That would be some killer drones from my future bees to mate with requeen with!
 

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Thanks for the update! Even if the mustard doesn't make a lot of money good for trading! and fun I assume. a good mustard is great plus since it lasts. I think the sample pots are a good idea too.

the chicken adventures. love it and the stories!
 

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The mustard is fun! and an excellent trade item indeed! The chickens are also a hoot. Last night while I was picking service berries one of the hens tried to land on my dowager's hump to get at the higher, better berries. That makes one aware of posture.
 

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Well, the builders and I signed a contract yesterday. Supposedly they will be here in 2-3 weeks to start this year's work. Uh...we were supposed to be done by the end of june but there you go. That's why I kept saying June 30 was the target, so hopefully he'll get here before it starts raining in the fall. We'll see. It's not the price either of us wanted and there is one term I think I should have spelled out better, but there we are. I'm cutting the budget left right and center so I can try to pay ahead rather than on a couple of future terms we agreed to in order to get started and still leave me with enough money to get a septic system in and some walls done.

I KNOW I will love it when it is done which is why I am staying with this builder. Better the devil I know.
I'm bracing myself for the build. I'll be cranky, but I am always pretty cranky!

As for other things (because I am sick of talking about the contract and build), I warned my family and friends that gifts for the foreseeable future will be crap. The rich aunt didn't get it and said that if there is no gift maybe I can visit! Uh...that's a plane ticket or a 14 hour drive so, no. No visits either. Everyone else said "fine! We have enough!" I did start working on some homemade gifts last night. We're big gifters.

And the chickens. APparently the chicken who died was the ring leader of "let's hide our eggs under the hawthorns!" club. I'm getting 4 or 5 eggs a day IN THE COOP. now. Not bad for 8 elderly hens who are not laying like they used to. The two roosters are now fully roostering the hens. It's a bit like a 1970s "sexy romp" movie out there. GROSS. The roosters aren't fighting and I haven't decided which one to keep. In the afternoon it seems like Fabio, the big flashy muscly one, who is more aggressive but not toward me, and seems like a better protector and more likely to kill snakes and things for the ladies is the one. at 5am when he escapes the coop to repeatedly crow under my window ON SUNDAY! the one day I sleep in until 6am (the other days I'm outta here before 5 am, up before the chickens literally), it seems like I should keep Clyde who is the young easter egger. He barely crows, is quiet and is quite funny with approach to the ladies. Being the equivalent of an 18 year old boy...he runs up and tries to surprise them with his "love". The oldest hens just turn around and beat him up. The younger ones, the redlinked hybrids, seem fine with his approach. THey are about the same age so equally awkward with the loving.

Other than chicken sex...

The garden has zucchini, beans, peas, radishes and greens on! The tomatoes are there but green and the nights are hitting the 30s already so possibly I will never get a ripe tomatoe here. oh well. The potatoes may be ready. Beets are "baby beets" and I'm hoping to get some big ones in a week or so. The lovage has fully seededout. Going to try to get some seeds to have "celery seed" to use in soups over winter.
I should also try drying some leaves. We'll see if I get to it.

Getting great cheap veg at the farmers market where I sell mustard. A restaurant lady asked if she could buy it to use in her sauces but I"m on the edge just selling it at all. If someone got sick from anything or thought they did, from the restaurant, I think she'd throw me and my mustard under that bus. Also people warned me that she pays "at the end of the month" and that day may never arrive. It would be easier to sell it by the quart, but not worth the hassle or the risk. I'm not making much and don't have the time, room or motivation to ramp up. Some chick from the chamber of commerce tried to tell me I "had" to put it in every store in town and it would sell like hotcakes. Whatever. That would mean getting a real food license, a commercial kitchen, better grinding system, etc etc etc. I have a REAL job and building an artisanal food business that would match my pay+benefits from the job that uses my ph.d. education would take decades. so, NO LADY. I just stared blankly at her over my mask. I wonder if she has any idea how much I hate being told what I "have" to do? I have a necklace that my sister made me. It says "I don't HAVE to do sh*t". I need to find that and wear it to the market.

I did like the food at the restaurant where I won't sell my mustard! It's new. The owner lady comes in in the morning and makes 2 casseroles with what she has. Her techy son posts the menu on line. It's mostly take out. The options are fresh and healthy-ish, with a keto option and a "build your own" option. There are sides and desserts. It's not super cheap, but reasonable especially since she gets her meats at a local butcher! 5$ for an 8 ounce entree size. for 9$ you get a side and a drink. For more you can get double or family sized options. Made that day! Local eggs, local meat. I hope it works out and she pays her suppliers. The funniest bit is that it is in the lobby area of her beauty shop/ suntan salon. LOL! No one was getting a perm when I was in but I suppose sometimes it will smell like coconut tanning oil and perm chemicals. Wonder what that does to a sausage and alfredo over cauliflower rice.

Today I need to save some seeds, weed parts of the weed patch..>I mean garden, and fill up the well tank, do dishes with the rocket stove, maybe wash my hair (maybe) with any left over hot water from dishes, plant a couple of herbs and a pussy willow I"ve been nursing along in their little pots from when I bought them over a month ago, water the trees and shrubs, clean out the coop etc etc etc. So instead it's 10 am and I"m having just one more cup of coffee.
 

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DANG! A raccoon must have gotten a hen. I got my trap back from the person who had borrowed it. Wish me luck! WIth the chickens free-range I can only really set the trap when they are in the coop or I'll end up trapping a chicken and in this heat, she wouldn't survive the day in the trap.
The way the hen was killed is pretty diagnostic of a raccoon so...darn it.

The builder hasn't shown up yet and it's too hot to drive down there today (no a/c) so maybe wednesday when the weather breaks. I 've been emailing them with products I want used but no response yet
 

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well crap....accidentally drained the water cistern last week and have had almost no water pressure since. CRAP!!!!
A friend who runs a city type water system came to help yesterday and he was mystified too. Now, I get to hand dig to the bottom of the spigot/hydrant. We'll replace that in the hopes that is part of the problem.

Talked to my builder today. HE's cut some posts and beams. The rest sounded like BS. Still "2 weeks out" as we have been for a few months.

ALSO: The dead chicken might be T-Bone! Dang. Still trying to confirm which strawberry blond is missing. Gertrude, dark red novogen chicken, joined the flock a week or so ago and is smitten with both roosters. Gross.
 

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still messing with the water. It's been so HOT I can only dig in short bursts late in the day when it cools off. Crumbs.
THe hens set a new record...8 hens and one day I got 7 eggs!!! Usually 3 or 4 which is plenty.
The builder was supposedly out picking up the last of the logs he needs to cut my posts/beams on Thursday. I've been too busy dog sitting for a friend this weekend to get down there to give him stank eye so I hope he's cutting. Time is running out.
It's 95 outside. As soon as it gets down to 85 I'll dig for a bit. Tomorrow is windy and chilly so I'll dig until I have a snoot full of clay dust. I found my pig iron bar I use to break up the clay so hopefully I can finish up and get the spigot replaced. And I hope even MORE that the issue is then fixed.
 

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That sucks, Maggie, about the chicken and the cistern.

Wear a mask to protect your lungs from dust. Better than coughing and sneezing for days. Good luck.
 

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Thanks. the air here isn't TOO bad (not as bad as usual during fire season) but the mask seems to help so I leave it on. Thin cotton layers are most comfortable.

The builder called to have me come down on Monday. Turns out the engineer made a mistake that messes up the heights of posts shown on the drawings! on the roof and slab drawings (top looking down view) the east-west axis is the long one, which is correct. That means the north and south walls are the long walls. On the section drawings (as if looking at the house while standing on the east side of it) he made the east and west walls the long ones! What the heck? He kept the same roof pitch but adding several feet to the length of the wall spaced the posts out oddly and made all but the shortest (he must have started there) taller than reality! I want some $$ back. If he thinks I'm paying the 325$ he's trying to charge for a single answer to a simple question, he's probably wrong. Basically, on 3 of the engineered drawings, out of 5, he got the walls wrong. The builder will be fine. We all knwo where the posts go because he put the brackets in the slab. Those dont' move. they were put in before it was poured so they do not move. The builder is recalculating the height of something like 69 posts. cripes.he's also doubling some up needlessly (the structure is plenty strong) so I keep saying "OK, but I can't pay for that"

still no water but I think I'm within 6" of depth on the hole. I've hit the gravel bed the pipe is in and can feel the joint between the hydrant and the pipe but the hole fills slowly with silty clay water and I can't see through it. I got to spend a half hour digging out gravel with my gloved hands while lying on my stomach (probably on chicken poo) and lifting it into a bucket, then lifting the bucket out of the hole. I want to save the gravel. So, my shoulders hurt today. More tonight or tomorrow morning. I missed going to the gym. Dang. But probably woudl have just hurt my shoulders more.

In FUNNY news...the young rooster, Clyde, has a crush on the elderly brown banty, Flossy (or maybe she's Flora...there were 2 and one died and I could never quite tell them apart). Since Clyde is young, his approach is still, well, unskilled. He puts his head down, his wings out and RUNS full bore at her, scattering other more willing hens as he plows through. Monday Flossy saw him coming and she was by the coop. She ran around the coop for a while, bantys are fast, while he chased her. Then she jumped up on the roof (it's only 4' high or so) and Clyde tried to follow but is a hefty uncoordinated boy and ended up clotheslining himself on the edge of the roof. I laughed so hard. Flossy stood up there looking around as if she had not just humiliated her young suitor.

Last evening, while I was digging and lying in poo leaning into the hole to hand dig, I kept hearing people honking on the highway. Cripes. I had seen one red hen, Britanny or Suzanne I think, clear down where I park. Within striking distance of the highway. I took a moment to count chickens. Only 9 in view. THe highway is far enough that I can see it, but couldn't pick out a chicken. I start walking down the hill and sure enough, spot a red blob wandering around the shoulder (on my side...she had not crossed the road...). I go get her and end up having to walk down the highway about a quartermile carrying a chicken while covered in mud from the well digging. I must have looked absolutely BONKERS to those driving by.
 

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lol when you were talking at first about the water and poo ...I had a vision of you digging and surrounded by chickens lol sitting on your shoulder etc.
 

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well, they DID try to sit on my shoulders when I was picking berries last month. So far no one is interested in helping me dig.
I lost a hen yesterday. She crossed the road...and ended up in the big coop in the sky. It looks like it was Suzanne. By "looks like" I mean she's the missing one when I let the chickens out this morning. The remains were not identifiable. My sister recommended dental records...but the head parts were missing. At least she didn't suffer. Probably the one I got off the highway a few days ago. I'm glad she didn't cause a wreck!

In other news...there isn't much other news. Too smoky to do much today. We should clear off by Monday maybe. I'll try to dig in short spurts and I need to work on keeping the lungs clear.

I got a new mask from a colleague's wife that works really well! I don't like the ties because they mess with my hair and I take my mask on and off most days. We have a mandate at work that I am respecting, and don't mask up when alone in our offices but do when in public areas or meetings (which also have distancing). Yesterday we had a 3 hour each way trip with both of us in the truck. He has the same pony-tail vs mask-ties that I do, and he also hates the stretchy ear things. His wife made a loop tie with a bolo-type tightener. It works really well for extended wear. I move the bolo tightener bit off to one side rather than the center back. The upper loop was above my pony tail, the lower part of the loop under it, the sides go through the sides of the mask. Tighten up and VOILA! It stayed all day without me futzing with it and without my ears being pulled on. Since my nose bridge is so flat, I struggle with looser masks. This stayed up. Nice. I don't think I'll wear it on days when the mask is on and off frequently, but for long meetings or field trips in the truck, it's perfect. So many creative designs coming out!
Today for work, I'll just use a 3M type dust mask because I can SEE the particles of smoke and stuff in the air. It must be blowing in from Oregon. Those poor people!
 

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Woohoo!!! THe water is back on. WEll, it was yesterday and I want to finish filling up the hydrant hole (the hole I dug so we could replace the hydrant...big hole) before I start running more water. It should be fine. Yes, I actually stopped typing to knock on wood.
THe "we" is a couple of really good friends. The Mr. runs the tribe's water system so he knows from water. Looks like the clay that is my "soil" got wet and mucky over the years and has been slowly sealing up the drain vent hole thingy on the frost free hydrant. When I was that deep, 4'+, and clearing right around the base of the hydrant with my hands and my archaeology trowel (I know my marshalltown 6" like it's part of my arm so I like to use it), there was a rushing of air and burbling. I had the rod out of the hydrant but he handle on...for reasons... and I reach up and plug the holes and air bubbles up in the water in the bottom of the hole. DId I mention that I'm digging blind and bare handed reaching into mud-clay water because I am being careful not knowing where the plastic pipe is or any wiring to the well-pump regulator box which is about 2' from the hydrant? So, bare handed in water (but pretty positive the power is off) with wiring and plastic pipe hooking to brass. Anyway, air rushing and bubbling and I'm 4' deep in a hole looking up at a 6' hydrant...and the water comes out.
Water Fluid Seep Geological phenomenon Gas
I got a bit of a shower. Not enough to get clean but enough to turn the dirt in my hair into a mud pack. Cripes.

That was like thursday or something.
Saturday the water-system friend and his wife come out, I buy them breakfast on the way, and help me finish digging...hole not big enough. I didn't know I'd be swinging pipe wrenchs (plural) in there while I was in the hole. I do not know...did not know...how this stuff works.
Anyway, I get the hole dug deeper with the help of the sump pump that they brought. Old pipe off...more water rushing in. More pumping. We fill the cistern for a bit to ensure good flow and absence of dead mice in the pipe and things. Peachy. More pumping.

I'm back in the hole. I have a NEW better quality 6' hydrant to put on. Taping threads yada yada yada. Friends at the top of the hole and me at the bottom trying to screw on the new hydrant. I just will NOT start or grab the threads on the nipple (the names of plumbing things...good grief). About 20 minutes of this and we take a break. The friend has a plastic plug from the sump that is the same size and tries threading that. NO GO. The threads on the hydrant fitting look fine but must not be. I had gotten the last 6' hydrant in the bi-state area and I'm not making that up. I called the store where I bought it and ask if they happen to have gotten another in the past 3 days...nope, but they have a 7' one. I do not care. I will climb a ladder to turn on the dam water if I need to. We head over and the store guy tries to tell us, mind you it's 35 minutes each way, that the hydrant is FINE...see! He's threading on a nipple (while NOT standing in a hole taking the weight of the hydrant with his shoulder and standing in water) and he can get it to thread about 1/2 a turn then it binds. He says the threads are dirty. AS IF we did NOT check that before we got in the truck. I had to change my pants to get in the truck because they were solid clay. I looked like a beige Gumby! I grab his nipple (see what I mean with the plumbing terminology) and the new 7' hydrant and show how it screws right in about 1/2 INCH, multiple full turns before it binds up and say "we are taking THIS ONE" and that I think the other one had been purchased and returned and possibly dropped or cross threaded because it did not have an end cap on it when I got it. Being the first hydrant I had personally purchased, I didn't know it should have one and show him how the 7' hydrant has this cap. He says no, it was new. I say "You told me it was in the store when you bought it so how would you know that?" Then the friend said how about we just pay and get on with it. So we do that and throw in pipe dope and some water proof tape.

We get home and it threads right on. We'd made another mistake so it had to come of and go on again (between steps we had tested the flow again and the water was within and inch of me getting wet undies...), more pumping. FINALLY it's on and water come through like it is supposed to! YAY!!! He had me fit a cut plastic bottle around the base of the hydrant and tape it up so that the drain hole, part of the frost free feature, will not be sucking in clay as soon as it was before as that's the only thing we can figure out was happening. Then we bed it with gravel and stabilize it and get them on the way. I paid him 20$/hour for his help because he's a professional and working 2 jobs. He gave up 2 of his days off, he only gets on a week, over the last month to help me out. I also made sure I had his favorite snacks on hand this time. That helped attitudes including mine since we have similar taste in snackage.

I've refilled the hole 1/3 to 1/2 the way and will do more today. I'm tamping between layers and packing. And I have the dirt on tarps (thanks to that archaeology degree ...the hole had nice smooth vertical sides, a little ledge to sit on, and the dirt is uphill on tarps for easiest refilling). Once I get the weight of it to a managable level I grab the far edge of a tarp and pull it across the hole and all the dirt goes in. Them more tamping and empty the other tarp. No doubt the amount that came out of the hole will either over or under fill the hole. Happens every time.

Here's me in the hole during the successful threading process:
Plant People in nature Grass Adaptation Groundcover

Today I started out at the laundromat where I filled a machine with clay covered clothes...sorry laundromat people!
 

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It was less complicated than I thought it would be, I just have ZERO skills compared to people who work with their hands.

In new news:
The builder cannot get OSB to sheet (or is it "sheath"?) the roof and the 2nd story wall (first story to be cordwood, 2nd story double thickness framed wall with offset studs so I will have an 8" thick continuous insulation...blah blah blah).
Anyway, he can't get that so the county guy (new guy) OK'd using REAL 1" lumber that the builder is milling himself!!! YAY. Less glue, less formaldehyde. Less ugly OSB to look at. If the market stays crap for another month, there will be ZERO plywood in my imaginary future house. one "glu-lam" beam where bits of other smaller trees are glued to make one big beam. Replacing that would have required a beam so big my roof line was messed up.
So the builder's procrastination might just benefit me.
That and the 500$ I dropped on a 5gallon can of delicious smelling all natural food grade finish...for the OUTSIDE. THe thing about frugality is I do spend on what I value.
A friend just bought me a shiny new sweatshirt, tie dye from the local purveyor "tye dye everything". I love it because I love tye dye and especially this lady's work. but she thought I would love it because I'm the first owner. Apparently she thinks I suffer by owning 2nd hand. I pointed out to her that most of my crap is 2nd hand (often meaning really nice antiques) because the one big thing, my house, will be first hand. And exactly what I want. Of course, I may move in the day before I croak of old age, but whatever. I think something clicked in her head about that. She likes all things new but has gone thrifting with me and thought it was fun. I may be changing her mind or opening it up a bit to the option of 2nd hand.

So, with the rain starting and the hill getting slick, and lumber being unattainable, I wonder if we really have enough of a crisis moment for the builder to start building.
 

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Wow! What a week. You deserve a weekend in bed, breaking in that tie-dyed shirt.
 
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No rest for the wicked...though, if it's raining I will probably be indoors.
I decided to pick up more energy logs today. It's going to start raining and the neighbor lady who was supposedly trading me wood for rides to town etc has not coughed up the wood. She's money-poor (skills and friends rich), and may have just enough for herself. She gave me those killer boots so we're good trade wise. I'm not going to bring up the wood, just go get some. The local predictors are tending toward a cold snowy winter and there are better than 50/50 odds of my having to work from home and hence heat during the day rather than just at night which doubles my wood use. Anyway, it is what it is.

Still over excited about the possibility of an OSB/plywood free home.
I checked with a cousin who is a builder, and he said if they are going with 2 layers of 1" lumber to sheath (not "sheet" apparently) the 2nd story wall, I can indeed ask for the vapor barrier between the layers and use the 2nd layer as the siding. I can add battons (battens?) later with some caulk and wall complete! That saves me a bit of time, money and effort. I was planning on live edge board and batten so just get skinnier live edge material and call it a day. Might talk them into putting the diagonal layer on the outside.
 
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