Monthly Archives: September 2014


 Although installing a range hood microwave is a simple matter, venting it outdoors is not, especially if you have a fear of ladders.  Being that person with the ladder fear, I couldn’t do it myself. I contacted numerous contractors, but everyone was too busy to take on such a small job.  It was the very last thing that needed to be done to complete the kitchen renovation.

I hadn’t used the service up to this point but out of desperation I subscribed to Angie’s List .  I typed in the work that needed to be done and hit search.  Two items came up.  I read through the reviews, and the credentials, and chose Squared-Away Handyman Service.  I gave them a call and set up an appointment to have them look at the job.  They came September 5th, and scheduled installation for today September 19th.  In the meantime, I finished all the backsplash tiling, grouting, sealing, and even the paint touch-ups.

Squared- Away arrived at 8 AM this morning and got right to work, took measurements, left to get supplies, returned to install, and finished around noon.

I can now say, with full authority as the person who planned and executed this renovation, that this project is done.

Inspiration can have many sources.  My inspiration for the kitchen colors came from the little painting my sister gave, so many years ago.

I had an idea in mind of what the kitchen would eventually look like when I ordered the very first light fixtures in the fall of 2006: the blue pendants and the brushed steel fan and dining room light.  I followed that with the beautiful blue clay wall, setting the color palette.

The rusty colored floor tile was a newer addition to the palette, but I always knew it would be darker than the ugly original beige.

I couldn’t be happier with the way the kitchen turned out.  It’s extraordinarily gratifying to have an image in your mind and make it a reality.

Having used it for a while now, I’ve found the flow of the kitchen is greatly improved just by shaving off  six inches from the peninsula. The garbage pail in a pull out drawer is just awesome. I’ve never had a dog that got into garbage cans, but I’ve solved the problem before it can happen.

Switching the fridge and stove around was a simple thing but really changed the dynamics of the kitchen.  No more carrying pots of boiling water across the room.

Now I need to really think about what I have stored everywhere and decide what will go where.  Some of it is set, but I still have a lot of kitchen items stored in the utility room closets and mudroom cabinets.  I also need to sell all the old appliances, and move the old microwave out of the mudroom, so I can get my clothes sorting counter back.

There’s always more work to be done.

First Egg!

On September 10th, at the the age of five months and five days, one of the daisies laid her first egg. (which for a pullet is a really good shape and size.)

How did I know it was a Daisy? She let the whole world know it.  She started by announcing that she was going to lay an egg, standing at the bottom of the coop ramp giving the loud “pa-CAW, puck, puck, pa-CAW” call, then about an hour later, she announced that she had laid an egg, then about half an hour after that she rubbed it in, just for good measure.

When you think about it, this would only happen in a domesticated animal, because no self-respecting ground nesting bird would ever announce that she had laid an egg.

How do I know which Daisy?  I saw her calling, but I can pick her out in the crowd of Daisies by the much more developed comb and wattles (center bird).

I didn’t expect any more eggs for a few days, but true to the nature of this breed, known for high egg production, my little Daisy popped out another egg the next day.

Assuming the eggs have yokes, I’m looking forward to some French toast on Sunday morning.

Never ending kitchen work

One last tiling effort was needed before the microwave can be installed.

The backsplash is a little complicated.  First I make a template of the wall space on a piece of cardboard. Then I layout the sheets of background tile so that cut tiles are reduced to a minimum, usually around one side of a junction box. The background tile is different shades of black glass.  I add in the two shades of blue tile in a random pattern, removing a black one and gluing in the new one.

Once the layout looks right I move the cardboard onto the counter, in this case I set a piece of plywood across the stove gap to support the cardboard.  The mortar is mixed, slathered on the wall, then up goes the tile.

Once it has a day or so to cure the grout can go on, but because I’ve been doing this in sections, I waited until all the tile was in place before grouting.  That’ll be done next.  Then a final sealing of the grout and some caulking of the joints.

Umm, I think Iris is a dude.

The chickens are now 5 months old.

I’ve been suspicious for a while, as my chickens matured, that not all of them were hens.  I’ve been watching Iris for some time, as she developped huge legs and grew nearly twice the size of my other Dark Cornish.  Then she started developing some ornamental tail feathers and a beautiful green sheen.  When she started to crow, I knew: Iris is a dude.

So…meet Osiris, my only (thankfully) rooster.  I’ll be keeping him for now.  Having one rooster does give me the option of raising a replacement flock in a few years, but he’s on parole.  If he harasses the hens to the point of injury, he’ll be headed for the Crock Pot.  I have to admit though that he is handsome, and so far his temperament towards me is friendly.

This is my Dark Cornish hen.  I’m calling her Isis.  The plumage is quite different.  Hence, my suspicions.

The Daisies have come around to the point of running to see what I might have to eat, and will take food from my hand, but they’d prefer it if I didn’t try to touch them.

Bertha is the most skittish.  Not the biggest anymore, but she’s growing some really lovely plumage.  I’d call her a Partridge Rock, except for the green legs.  The jury is still out on her breed.

Jasmine is still the friendliest.  She’s also the slowest to mature.  I’m pretty sure she’s a Black Minorca.

Pinky (because she was the smallest and had two pink toes)  is a Black Star.

I have three Barred Rocks. I can’t tell them apart but at least one of them tolerates being petted. They are simply called the Rocks.

Finally, there’s Willow, the biggest and the bravest.  She’ll walk right up to the fence to talk to me even if the dogs are there with me. I’m pretty sure she’s what the hatchery calls a New Hampshire Red.

So, I have seven breeds of chicken that I’m sure of and they should start laying within the next month or so.  They’ve mostly gotten used to the dogs and vice versa.  D’Argo will still occasionally charge the fence if a chicken wanders to close (he likes to make them fly), but Oscar mostly stares at them and they stare back.  At least D’Argo doesn’t fuss anymore when I go into the garden with the chickens.  I believe we have reached a certain level of détente.