Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Survived the Big Storm Last Night

We had very high winds, heavy rain, and large hail last night that left a swath of devastation and death across several states including Missouri. Locally, there was damage to several residences and shopping areas in Lebanon, some damage in Conway, Branson was hit hard, and Buffalo was smacked hard. Even our little berg had some damage but we came out of it pretty lightly and I mostly slept through it.

We were lucky....this was the extent of our damage. I am not making light of what some have had to go through, just trying to put some family members at ease and make them hopefully understand that its a real crap shoot. A mile away from us a trailer was seriously damaged while we didnt really even notice the storm until morning.

So spring is here, at least for now. Tornados, hail, thinderstorms, unstable will be 73 degrees tomorrow. And the early spring flowers are blooming...

Daffodils are up, the crocus' are up, the Iris' have their leaves in full march towards the sun and even the Hollyhocks are leafing out.

These little guys are Autumn crocus' which around here are called Naked Ladies. They have these green leaves that sort of look like Iris' and they sprout up for a couple months then litterally disappear all summer. Come fall a stem will shoot up overnight (no leaves) with a delicate pink and white flower.

We continue to get the new chicken coop ready and thankfully we didnt put stuff off. We anchored it to the ground with 4 three foot ground augers that were through bolted to the runners and we nailed heavy hardware cloth all around the bottom (to help keep out predators) that was then filled with a cubic yard of #1 gravel. Needless to say it held up to the 71mph max gust we got last night rather well. We (Holly and Judy) have also begun painting the roosts and nest boxes to make cleaning easier.

The ground anchor you see in the background (black square) has a 3 foot auger that is burrowed into the rocky ground and then bolted through the side runner of the coop...and we have 4 of them. These are the same type of augers they use for mobile homes so we feel pretty secure that its not going to fly away. Best advice I can give here is to not delay these projects.....our storm last night would likely have destroyed this coop if we handt taken these precautions. The hardware cloth is nailed all along the perimeter pressure treated wood we added to deter burrowing predators.

We then took a cubic yard of gravel to put on top of the hardware cloth. Chris is currently going to truck driving school and still working his old job but he got pressed into service here and we got the job done in short order.

In the coop itself, we will top this gravel with dirt and then a layer of wood shavings and in the outside run the gravel will be covered with sand.

Mother and daughter hard at work painting their coop...their enthusiasm and participation in this grand adventure is very very satisfying to me and the fact that we can all share this is just..perfect.

I just had to include this picture of my best friend and beautiful wife. After all these years she still makes my heart sing.

While the gals were busy with the coop I had some projects of my own to tackle. I decided to stick close to the house and put off more fencing because I wasnt feeling very good (and may want to wuss out) and for the fact we have been called out multiple times a day lately for brush fires (low humidity, very dry). So on to the well house renovation project that has been put off for far too long.

The windows were completely gone and I had to do some mortar work and add some wood framing to get the new windows in.

I am one of these people who seems disorganized but I have a method to my chaos. Here is a tool bucket, water bucket and mortar bucket along with the new window and an old folding chair marked for an Army National Guard Unit that was disbanded during the Viet Nam war.

Once you get the window framed in you have to put the new window in then trim it out inside and out. In this case, because this is an old stone building with no straight lines or right angles it was a bit of a challenge and I ended up chiseling out a lot more stone and mortar than contemplated to make everything fit.

Looks better than a gaping hole ne'?

I am still in the process of re-tuck pointing the mortar in this building and once that is done it will be sealed and the color will all blend into the house ad look nice. The windows will remain white but the wood and the mortar bed I redid around the window will be hunter green. 
And the other side of the building is complete (as far as the window anyway) as well. All of the mortar between the stones will be redone, then sealed and painted to match the house. The roof doesnt leak and I am debating whether to just recoat it and paint it or replace it. The front (towards the right in this picture has a door I am repairing and it will be painted hunter green as well and the back (to the left) has a 4 light paned window that I am repairing and it will be white mullions with the hunter green trim like the side windows. All the door and the paned window neds is a little repair and some glazing compound...too easy.

Tools of the trade. If you are going to own a stone house or do much concrete work (and we do a lot) get some basic tools. For re-tuck pointing and jobs like this these are my basics. And if you get to a point where you are tempted by the cheap tool bins at Lowes or Home Depot or anywhere else run away. You will note my mortar point and trowel are Kobalt which I find makes a good product even though its sold at Lowes but for the most part I purchase top quality tools because they last.

And at the end of today (it got up to 63 degrees) we BBQ'd some ribs. Start with a dry rub and smoke over a smoldering fire that you have loaded with wet oak chunks you cut yourself...

About an hour or an hour and a half later take the ribs and put them in tin foil and add some of your favorite BBQ sauce (this is ours) and wrap them up and return to smoke heavily for another hour...

And...perfection. A fitting end to a productive and enjoyable spring day. I can hardly wait to tackle the things we have planned for tomorrow!!!!

1 comment:

  1. Great pics of the coop sprucing up and reinforcing, and especially those anchors! Wonder what county the coop would have ended up in had the storm hit you direct and you DIDN'T put in those anchors in!!

    Oh, and I keep going back to the rib pictures. Thanks, it's not even lunchtime and I'm starving now.