Friday, May 10, 2013

Happy Birthday to ME!! Gift #2 & 3

Gift #2
With the possum out of the way, it was time to move on to bigger and better things.  Hubby purchased a power sprayer to help clean the chicken coop.  Call me weird, but I am actually happy with it.  The second box was a little more interesting.

Gift #3
Magic Man and I met six years ago.  My friend Nancy likes Bruce and our relationship, we compliment each others creativity and humor.  Nancy is a gifted quilter, as you will see, wanted to capture that relationship in fabric.

She found fabric shortly after we married and was inspired to start a quilt for us.  The colors are the primary colors in the Magic Museum.  The quilt pattern is Card Trick.
Inspiration Fabric
Card Trick
 This project took a few years, revisions, consultations, and a whole lot of love to complete.

Quilt Front
There are 89 different fabrics in this quilt, gathered from all across the great USA.  Each one heart selected, based on Bruce and my professions, hobbies, passions, and faith.  She took the time to cut out the pattern in the fabric to piece into the quilt.  What kind of love is that?
The back is filled with applique bunnies, using the quilt fabric.
Nancy pushed creativity to the limit and appliqued rabbits on the back of the quilt, hopping around cards and more bunnies in the center of the quilt back.
Quilted pillows back
She took the time to quilt the backs of the pillows...
Quilted pillows front.
And honor Bruce's parents by printing photos of these rabbits they made and painted many years ago.  

The ensemble is beautiful.  BUT now we need a bigger bed.  :)
I wish I had words to express my joy and gratitude for this precious gift.  The time, expense, the love that went into this project cannot be measured.

All I can say is the God is so good to me for giving me the bestest of friends and family.

Happy Birthday to ME!! Gift Number 1

Normally, I like to keep my birthday quiet; slip past the desks at the office and celebrate with my family.  However, today is a little different.

It began last night.  After visitors most of the day, it was well past the Girls bedtime when the last one left.  I ventured into the darkness only a porch light to guide my way.  The girls were fed, watered, and locked in for the night.  Then I heard it.  A strange sound in the trees on the south fence.  There is was, staring at me, a possum perched on the fence, visible only by the beam of light from the porch.  I hissed and barked and the thing did not move.  

After walking away, I turned back one last time and the possum slipped into the darkness and the yard next door.

This morning I woke and realized this possum was a gift from Gerald, my dearest friend killed in a motorcycle accident last May.  The photo below is the only birthday card he sent me, and it's upside down on purpose.  Here's the story...
The year was 1980 and I accepted a job in AZ with the current contractor rather than the new contractor at Ft Hood. My apartment wanted a full month's rent for the last 2 weeks, but Gerald offered his couch in exchange for the materials and labor to build a deck. (That in itself is another story). I was sleeping on the couch, when a scratching sound from the kitchen awakened me. I opened my eyes and standing on the stove was the biggest rat I'd ever seen.

"Rat! Rat!" was all I could manage to scream. Gerald came running down the hall and started laughing. It was a 'possum. We painfully managed to remove the varmint from the premises.  
I poked at the possum with the fishing pole and Gerald waited for the possum to run out from the lit broiler.  Gerald was in shorts armed only with welding gloves.  The possum grabbed the fishing pole and tug-a-war began, along with a tad of panic while Gerald laughed at me.  The critter ran out at long last, Gerald grabbed it by the tail and it was hanging upside down as we took it out to dump it.  All the while, the possum was making growling, gurgling noises.  He returned twice more. On the third morning, Gerald hauled the possum several miles away.  That did the trick; he returned no more.
Gerald swears that when I hollered "Rat! Rat!" the possum was yelling back "Human! Human!" It was one of his favorite stories to tell on me. Last year, Gerald sent me this birthday card with a possum on the cover. Your call - coincidence or is Gerald still having a little more fun at my expense?
Birthday card, with instructions to view upside down.  Inside the words Rat Rat & Human Human were scrawled under the birthday wishes.
I am convinced the nocturnal visitor was a gift, a gag gift from Gerald.  After all, his sister found a brand new Black and Decker flashlight on her way to work for her birthday.

Thursday, May 9, 2013

Souped Up Coupe

This morning was "Modify the Coupe Day."  Magic Man decided we needed to enhance the "Coop de Ville," making it maintenance friendly.  Step 1, add a hatch system and Step 2, an improved feeding station.  For someone who groaned "Oh dear Lord!" when he first heard the coupe coop idea, he's taken quite a liking to the concept.

You may have seen the first posting of the Coop de Ville, in its early, but livable stage.  But here's what we did today.

Magic Man decided on a "hatch system" that 1) offers protection (we have raccoons, wild cats, and 'possums roaming about the 'hood) and 2) provides easy "open and close" access between the coop and run.  

The Hatch is two part system, one hatch attaches to the coop and another to the run.  The hatches can be coupled securing the living quarters together or quickly decoupled to ease cleaning and relocating the quarters in the yard.

Installing half of the Hatch System to the coop
Hatch closed

Hatch opened

Top view of the coupled hatch, now attached to the coop and the run.  The doors slip down closing either section.
The best part about this system is we can quickly close one or both sections, locking the girls in either half.

The next modification was the feeding system.  Every morning required cleaning the poopy feeder, sighing over wasted feed, and adding a fresh supply of feed.  We repeated this task each evening.

Then we found this feeding station on Pinterest.  We made a few tweaks, using 3" PVC and parts rather than the suggested 2" and we secured the feeders at the base instead of tying them to the walls.   Also, our feeders are 24" tall, purely a cosmetic choice, shorter than 4' tall feeders. 

Magic Man cut three holes in the trunk area, just large enough for the PVC tubing to slide through.  We attached the WYE and bases inside the coop and secured them to the floor.   And finally filled the feeders.  The material cost for three feeders was $30.  A fourth can be added for $7 for the extra WYE and Caps.  Not a bad deal, value-wise.  We can fill the feeders to capacity and the girls will be happy for a week.

Feeding Stations inside the Coupe

Feed Filling Tubes, easily accessed
Wow, what used to take us a good 30 minutes each morning, is now accomplished in about 10 minutes.
Finished Coupe, today

One problem we did not foresee.  What will granddaughter do?  She knows we carry feed to the chickens each morning and battle the chickens to move to greener patches.  She'll have to accept the fact she has more time to play in the morning before school.

Care to guess what the next addition will be?