Saturday, July 4, 2009

Leak Resolved

The good news is that the problem has been fixed and it could have been worse. By cutting into the water line at intervals we were able to narrow down the leak to a portion of our water line. Rather than try to find the leak and repair it, we decided to dig and place a new line for that portion. Because of property lines and geographic issues - did you know that Blount County has a lot of rock? - we couldn't do a simple straight line. A lot of trench digging (no, not manually, thank goodness!) and laying just under 300 feet of PVC pipe later, the work was completed and we had water again. Whoohoo!

I hope everyone is enjoying their 4th of July festivities. We are taking it easy, lol.

Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Decisions, Decisions

There is a lot of work required in food gardening without chemicals. There is a lot of work required trying to get a flock of chickens started and building them a coop. The list of projects seems never-ending so it's with some chagrin that we've now realized that there is yet another project that must go to the head of the list immediately.

We have a water leak somewhere. Somewhere underground. Somewhere among a lot of pipe. Underground. We're not even sure of the exact route the pipe takes to get from the road to the house. Did I mention underground? As in digging is required to find it?

We have been able to narrow the leak's location down to maybe just over half of the total amount of pipe we have; the leak stops in front of the house, so at least we know it isn't under the house or past the house. So it's between our house and the road; that sounds better until I look out the front door and realize how far it is to the road. Wow. That distance takes on a completely new dimension now.

There are a couple of different options in such a situation. One would be to focus on finding and repairing the leak. That could take a lot of digging, especially since we aren't sure of the water line's route through the property. The second option would be to go ahead and dig a new trench and lay a new water line through the property, at least to the house. PVC is relatively cheap and, if there is a problem with the current water line in one place, it is possible that another problem will pop up eventually as it all was laid at the same time.

Ah, decisions, decisions.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Fuzzbutt Pictures

Here are pictures of the fuzzbutts the day they arrived:

A tired Golden Comet falling asleep in co-worker's hand

Learning Curve--We did see the difficulty the chicks were having reaching the food so we took the lid off the trough, after we took a picture. :) I couldn't resist. (And yes, the blur at the end of the trough on the right is a small chick who was able to fit through the feeder.)

I wanna see the babies! He is so maternal, he really wanted to love on them. He LOVES babies. Baby dogs, baby cats, baby chicks, doesn't matter. He loves and protects them all.

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

We Have Fuzzbutts!

All is quiet on the TCE front because 1) I had to finish this riveting series I'd been reading and could not make myself put down and 2) we have fuzzbutts!!! We got a delivery of chicks Monday and have been in chick nirvana with the soft down and sometimes soft (sometimes loud) peeping and cheeping. Now they're pretty happy so the cheeping isn't that loud anymore.

Their cute little faces and bodies aren't turning out very well in photographs. The majority of the chicks we got are black, and I've noticed our black dog's pictures don't turn out well either. I'll keep working on it, though, maybe I'll get a lucky shot.

They hatched Saturday so by the time they reached us they were 2 days old. Now they are 4 days old and they still seem so little--but they are perky and are busy eating, drinking, and sleeping.

There isn't quite anything like healthy, happy little chickies to perk up a mood!

Sunday, May 24, 2009

Properly Named Wildlife

A few weeks ago I saw a woman who had stopped her car and was using a piece of cardboard box to push a turtle to the side of the road. Now I know a reason why that is a good idea.

Today we saw a large turtle in the middle of our side of the road. It was very large. Naively I got out of the car and picked up its hefty self with both hands, holding it at the mid-point of its shell. Turtles are harmless creatures that simply hide in their shell when they feel threatened, right? There is nothing to be afraid of.


Was I ever startled when the turtle in one quick motion launched its long neck and tried to bite me! Fortunately I had only lifted it about 6 inches off the ground at this point so it didn't have far to fall when I dropped it in shock. WTH? Did it just try to bite me with that big beak? The "snap" I heard when its mouth slammed shut brought to mind the phrase "snapping turtle." Oh. It continued to extend its neck an impressive amount while it repeatedly snapped its curved beak at me to make sure that I didn't miss its meaning. It was clearly in a "bite first, ask questions later" mode. This is their standard mode, I have now read. It's a result of being too big to hide in its shell so it is a very defensive creature when it's not in the water.

Okay, so I realized I wasn't picking up the big beast and carrying it to the roadside. What to do? We had a fan still in the box in the back of the vehicle so hubby used the box to encourage (nudge) the turtle across the road--in the direction in which it was trying to go, of course, so it wouldn't be trying to cross the road again. It kept snapping at the cardboard and at one point had such a hold on it that it wouldn't let go. It had long claws that it was using to grab on to the gravel in the road, as if that would anchor it to the ground so we couldn't pick it up again. As if that ever crossed our minds!

Eventually my husband was able to figure out that if he kept the box a few inches behind the turtle it would stop trying to bite and would start heading away. In turtle speed it was moving quickly. It reached the edge of the road and started crawling down to the creek. Due to the angle of the ground, it ended up rolling down the bank, rolling over and over much of the descent, and landed on its back in the creek. Oh crap. I started looking for a long branch to use to turn it over. But wait--his long neck stretched out and he used his head to push off the ground and flip himself upright. That is a very strong neck because he was not a small turtle! Then he continued along in the creek, happily back in the water he knows best.

So Mr. (or Ms.) Snapping Turtle made it safely across the road, I learned that not all turtles retreat into their shells when they feel threatened, and I was glad that I still had all ten fingers attached to my hands. All in all, it was a good morning.

(I did not take the above picture, it came from an informational site.)

Here Comes the Rain Again

The sound of thunder started this Eurythmics song going through my head. It's appropriate. It's slightly vexing because the garden plants seem to be screaming, "Enough!" and showing signs from overwatering, but I wouldn't mind if the rain washed away some of this pollen. We worked outside yesterday and both of us are sniffly. Correction: he's sniffly, I'm miserable. Neti pot, here I come!

Monday, May 18, 2009

Murder Most Fowl

I'm not a happy camper. Something managed to get into our chicken coop and killed all 9 of our chickens. We had to bury 8 of them; there wasn't anything left of the ninth but feathers.

We have seen where we can make improvements to the coop. I'd also put in a very high roost, as the low one was knocked down but the higher one wasn't high enough to keep them safe.

All the time and energy and socializing we put into them--gone. It's hard to believe.