Monday, December 14, 2009


Have you ever tried to get anything done around free ranging chickens?
While attempting to pick up some wood that was stacked to dry, my hens followed me to see if they could find some treats.  As soon as I started loading it on the truck they dove in.  While some attacked the wood pile, Goldie jumped on the tailgate, to be closest to me, and made a nuisance of herself.

Of course she wasn't alone.

When I finally got to the bottom of the pile the feasting really began.

On our days off from babysitting, and sometimes after babysitting, we have been kept busy cutting firewood for the winter.

My son built this trailer for me. A friend of his entered a demolition derby where they had boats on trailers towed behind their cars and my son got what was left of the boat trailer. He cut down the frame and added a different axle and tires, then built the box on it. As an added bonus it was an old tip trailer, so the box will dump.  This has come in very handy especially when it is loaded with manure.  As you can see in the photo, we loaded the trailer with wood and the truck with brush.

And he made this hydraulic log splitter for his tractor.  It has been a real back saver and makes short work of a stack of wood. And since he doesn't heat with wood, I guess you could say he built it for our use.  Thank you son.

He bought the hydralic cylinder and attached it to an I-beam from an old mobile home frame.

He fabricated the splitting wedge, slide and stop.

We temporarily set it up on blocks but he has plans of making it a tow behind assembly.

This is some of the downed trees we have yet to cut up.

And here is part of my ever growing brush pile.

This photo shows how late we normally work cutting, splitting and stacking wood. This was our last load of the day to be stacked.  Then it was on to feeding the animals, and finally ourselves.
I know you can't see much in the photo, so I lightened it up for better viewing.

These photos were taken about 2 weeks ago, The following were taken today after 2 days of thawing weather following our first major snow of the winter with near 0 temps and high winds.

Most of our dwindling wood supply.  We have been burning it for a couple of months already.

The chickens were very happy to get out of the coop again.

Goldie and friend, staying close and finding the large bare spot to forage.

Some venturing further away but under protection.

And finally of course, our grandson Owen.
Now that winter is here hopefully I will find more time for blogging.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Building the Pallet Palace

I wish that I had a bunch of pallets like this, but sadly it is just one of the odd extra pallets that I have left from the construction.  So first we will flip it over...

and show the bottom, notice the three 2x4 rails on the bottom.  As you can see this is a very sound pallet and excellent for use in building,

Some are not, but they are still usefull to dismantle for the wood needed in the construction.  The 2x4's are used to fasten the good pallets together and the slats are used to replace badly damaged or missing ones or fill in between the spaces of the good pallets.

The first step is sorting your pallets and finding good matches where the outside rails match up (unlike these two but I will use them for demonstration anyway.

After you line the pallets up take 2 of the rail from the dismatled pallets and scab them on to the to the inside of the outside rails of the good pallets. (if the middle rails line up, scab one to it also) Long drywall screws work best for this as the hard wood makes it almost impossible to use nails.
I was lucky to have pallets that were 4ft long and only needed to use 2 for each panel.

Here is a before and after....

of scabbing on a rail, I only used one pallet for clarification.

After you join enough pallets to get the height of the wall panel, trim any slats that hang over the edge and add nails to the slats where neccesary and replace any broken or missing slats.
If you want a solid wood wall now you can fill in between the slats with pieces of the dismantled pallets. (see photo above)
Now you have one complete wall panel. Make as many panels as you need for the length of the walls you want.

From here things get more complicated because you can build it many different ways.  It is possible to construct the entire wall on the ground first is you have enough manpower or equiptment to raise it. But since we didn't I will just tell you how we did it. It may not be the most sound construction method but due to limited time it was the fastest and if it survives the harsh winter winds and weight of the snow, I will strengthen it next summer.  I don't want to give the impression that it is rickety, as it is a very sound addition, but there are a few things I plan on doing to make sure it will last for a long time.

As I mentioned in my previous blog, all we did was lay a treated 4x4 base, and after all of the wall panels were constructed, one by one they were erected and toe-nailed to it and each other, again using 3 1/2 inch drywall screws. So in effect the walls are 4x4 stud, 2x4 stud, 4x4 stud construction. The corners are filled in with additional 2x4's.

After all of the walls were up and a doorway constructed a chaulk-line was made at the end wall and the excess was removed using a chainsaw. Then a 2x4 was used to cap it off to attach the rafters to.

Then another chalk-line was used to mark the roof pitch and the other walls were trimmed and the first 2x10 rafters were cut, notched and attached to them.  Then the rest of the rafters were installed and covered with 7/16" OSB sheets.

Friday, November 6, 2009

My World....And Your Welcome To It

I know it has been a while since my last post, (which wasn't up very long), and I wan't to apologise for those who were offended at my horrible hoax.(although I did leave clues for those who looked, I changed my header and also the message in the upper right corner. And for those that forgot, I AM THE IRISHMAN)  The whole thing back-fired on me.  The reasons for posting it were my own, and they too failed to achieve the desired results.
The reasons for my absense and the lateness of this post are many, but here are a few:

My  grandson Owen, who we watch 4 days a week.

His first ride on a Harley....OK, so it's my dog Harley.

I am not sure what the statement is behind the bat costume.

Mr. Ethel likes to wake up Owen .  Here he is ducking behind his post perch because Wifey has a squirt bottle that she employs to try to keep him quiet. He hates baths.

Every now and then we get to see our other two grandchildren.  Here they are watching a movie when they spent the night last Saturday.

And when my son took his wife up north to visit her dad a couple of weeks ago, instead of babysitting Owen we got to take care of his dog Kane.

At home Kane uses the cats as chew toys, not hurting them but mouthing them none-the-less. Here the cats won't put up with that kind of treatment, as Abbey forcibly reminded him.

Our 2 boys weren't very playful this time either, but every now and then they would get into a 3-for-all.

Ethel had had enough of the commotion and was about to go break it up, but the boys tired of the rough-housing just in time.

All summer long I had been planning on building an addition to my chicken coop for the rabbits, but there always seemed to be more important things to get done first. (i.e.- gardening, canning, chopping firewood, walking the goldfish, etc. etc.)
Then as the weather started dipping down towards freezing at night, it couldn't be put off any longer.  I called up my private contractors "Eric & Eric Wrecking and Repairing Inc." and begged them to come help "the OLD man" (me) out... (AGAIN)

We planned  the construction project for the following weekend, giving me almost a full week to get things ready.  I planned on leveling the ground and constructing cement block footings, sorting the wooden shipping pallets I had collected for this purpose and nailing 2 of them end to end to form building sections and then tearing apart the extras and use the slats to fill in the gaps between boards.

However, Mother Nature had other plans. SIX DAYS OF RAIN !!!

Luckily Saturday morning was dry.  The boys showed up and I had NOTHING done.  Earlier in the week I had talked to my son-in-law Eric and we discussed building the walls on treated 4x4's staked to the ground. We talked it over with my son Eric and decided to go with that. 

I basically let the construction crew decide how to build it after giving them an idea of what I had in mind.   Then I just backed off and stayed out of the way, helping where I could, like trying to keep the chickens out from under foot. (They were very interested in the construction and I believe they thought it was for them.)

As you can see I did a great job there too.

No my son-in-law wasn't hungry, just tired of this pesky hen always under foot.  By the end of the day all 3 walls were up.  

Sunday my son came over and we worked on the roof.  He cut off all of the unneccessary wall parts with a chain saw and we used recycled 2x8's for the rafters.

Somewhere during the construction I started refering to this addition as the "PALLET PALACE" and continue to do so.

The we got started on the sheeting.

Some thinking was involved in planning how to attatch the rubber roofing.

By the end of the day we had the roofing on with enough left over to run it right on down the wall. And all of the rabbit hutches all brought inside. With room left over for the straw, hay and feeds. Now the chickens have full run of their coop.

Over the next few days, due to high winds and rain, we gave up on trying to fill in between the boards and hung plastic tarps on the other two walls. If it holds up over winter we will finish the fill in job next year, put in windows and then side it to match the coop. And hopefully get the cement footings done too.

Please don't mind the construction residue as there are still some modifications underway.

Happy rabbits inside their new home.

I even installed electric lighting and the 3 ft. wide recycled door makes mucking it out a lot easier.

But I still think the chickens are miffed that the Pallet Palace wasn't for them.

Sunday, October 4, 2009

Silly Sunday Stills

Not quite the reception I was hoping for a few days ago when I went to babysit my grandchildren.

Aden had pulled 2 of her own teeth and this is what I got when I asked her to show me.

Then I got her to give me a better look.

Of course Ethan had to show me his teeth too!

Even my granddog Ginger got in on the show, but of course she is always happy to see me!

And here is a picture that I promised Ethan I would show Grandma, of a flower he made for her out of blocks.  Grandma couldn't come along as she was babysitting Owen, who was ill from his first baby shots.