There really is a roundabout point to the title. Stay with me here.
Ever see that musical The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas? Love it – and the stage-to-film adaptation is pretty good. The title is a lyric from the opening number. Here at The Pines, besides actually being a just a piddly squatin old time country place, yesterday we had a few hours left over, and we started building my little Chicken House. No worries – I’m not planning on opening a brothel on the property. However, I know myself well; and I know when I see chickens at the County Fair, I’ll end up bringing a few home.
Yesterday morning, I quick drew up a plan for a three or four hen condo (based on lots of research over time), and when we found we had some time at the end of the day, we started framing the poulet pied-à-terre. I’ve already made a few changes – swapped the human sized door to the tall side (duh) and put the window in a different place. I’ll have two nesting boxes and a perch inside, and we’ll open it up each morning, door leading to their little pecking yard. Once we’re done with the framing and siding, we’ll caulk it draft-free, and I’ll be all set. Bubbler in the waterer, and we’re ready for a few new family members.
The neat part? Free. Entirely salvage. Even the window is salvage from the house. (I admit, I did pick up a few hinges from the hardware store last night.) Even have some shingles for the roof. So, what? Maybe … a week and a half to a few Rhode Island Reds? Sounds about right.
And I promise to name one of them after the Proprietress of the film-version Chicken Ranch … Miss Mona.
Interesting. Very interesting.
Our back storage room/shed/whatever is now gone, and turns out it was built out of someone’s barn salvage years and years ago. Most of the uprights and joists were old barn beams, pegs still in place and just sawed off and the ends. I didn’t save much – lots of rot. However, I did manage to snare a few feet of an old hitching post. More on the treasures later. Time being, seems like we’re due for a play-by-play.
It’s come at last. The day you knew would come at last has come at last.
This morning, we started tearing the house down. We’re still waiting for electric service (bureaucracy reigns), but in the time being, there’s nothing quite as nice as a helpful neighbor, a teardown friend, and a long extension cord. Sawzalls ablaze! We’re starting with this back shed/storage room. It’ll give us a lot more outside space, and it’ll come down pretty easily.
Funny how things develop in your head – I was thinking, “Well, I might as well get the dumpster and do come pre-rip tossing. Doesn’t cost any more for it to sit there.” And then I thought we might as well run an extension cord and take the back room off. And then I thought we might as well start on the roof, long as we have the temp power. It became obvious that I needed to get a hold of my awesome friend who is going to be doing a lot of the work. I put the word out at the town store, and said friend was here within a few hours. (I love small towns!)
There’s nothing that can quite match the promise of an empty dumpster, is there?
It’s going to a be a big week, but the weekend was relatively quiet.
I helped a neighbor get some siding up, worked at the store a few nights. In the leisure department, I bought a couple of bags of dirt (to me, that counts as leisure), and we went over to the Fish & Game Club’s Flea Market in Saranac Lake. Some tools, a decent Native American booth, but mostly garage-saley type booths and junk stands. But, I was happy for those!
You know those things you had as a kid – toys or household items you wish you still had? The sort of thing you remember fondly and spend your adulthood trying to find a replacement for. I found one! I had just been thinking, “I wish I had a croquet set.” But not one of the new ones. I wanted an old wooden one, complete with bent wickets. Found one! For ten bucks!
Now, if I just had a little more yard …
Meet my new friend, Alice. Alice Chalmers.
Yeah, the rigmarole and turtle pace of the electric company have delayed the house tear-down to the point where I’m already starting to prepare for winter. Don’t fret – There’s still a good chance we can get it down before serious freezing weather comes. Meanwhile, I’m starting to prepare for the cold. I mean, it’s July already … this is the Adirondacks!
In the midst of these chilly thoughts, I met Alice. She’s an eight horse snow blower, and a friend down the street was selling her. He’s moving South, and won’t have much need for a beast of a snow blower. Starts right up, two gears plus reverse, a nice strong pull when she’s moving, and everything looks in pretty good shape. The (horror movie-esque) auger/blades looked to be a little slow. Seemed like the belt might be slipping. Opened up the case, and the belt was indeed the culprit. No matter – I know where to get a belt.
So when the neighbor came down to the store saying he had an excellent brand monster blower in good shape for a hundred bucks, I said, “Yep. I’ll take it.”
I have to admit – Being certified lunatics, we are actually looking forward to our first Adirondack Winter. And not in a namby-pamby, couple-of-fools way. We have a bit of the adventurer in us. (And besides, if we start to go all cryogenic, we have close friends on both sides of us … close friends with bigger furnaces than ours!) So, we’re pretty excited. And besides, I now am the proud owner of a beast-of-a-snowblower.
And I’m not afraid to use it!
Ideas generally come to me quite easily.
Except when I try to force my mortal schedule on them. I was thinking this morning that good ideas are a great deal like the sprouts of my new grass seed – I may stare at the underground seedlings every morning, trying to will them into being; but they generally insist on popping up here and there when I’m not looking.
Ever mull something over for years? For three years, I have been trying to come up with an idea for my own little local Adirondack business. I’m pretty saavy when it comes to knowing what feels and is right. In those three years, a lot of half-decent ideas have gone by the roadside. Literally. I’d been thinking of putting a little shop at the edge of our road.
I do pretty well in Winter with my knitting shop on Etsy, but my prices wouldn’t fly here in the village. Piano lessons? That’s a better idea, since I have a “studio” in the cabin already. But really, I’m not crazy about teaching piano. And then, I was in the store the other night. Someone came in looking for green peppers. And then someone came in looking for tomatoes. Yep. I finally had the correct idea – roadside vegetable stand.
And imagine this – other than inventory, I can set it up for nearly nothing. Just the price of a county tax certificate. I have a nice, large, flat spot right next to the road, perfectly visible. I have a 20 ft curb cut next to it, I have space to make a few parking spaces, and we have pull-overs besides. I am on the major road. I can build the thing myself with all my free, good lumber. I have tons of wood siding. I will have eggs from next year’s hens, and there are no NY State restrictions. And … there is nowhere around here to get vegetables and fresh eggs. I’m thinking of something like the stand pictured, but smaller – 10 x 14 or so.
But you see, now I have another idea conundrum. I need a name. I like the sort of plain, no-nonsense names that many of the smaller-village businesses around here have taken. I was thinking of simply, The Lean-To, but I am quite sure someone else is already running a biz in our county by that name. Maybe The Salad Shack? Nah. I don’t really like that. Something with Greens or Farm in the title? Hmmm.
Does it take four years to firm up the vision of your dream house?
Yep. That’s why it’s a true dream house – I started collecting clippings immediately after our first visit to the Adirondacks. I thought, “Hmmm. We should live here. I’ll have to start looking at some rustic cabin books.” And here we are! Well on our way to the dream and our ideal house.
Wait a minute – House? Eh, maybe not so much. Dream cottage? Year-round Adirondack cabin? At any rate, I’ve been collecting magazine clippings, my own shots, and photos from friends for four years. They go in a three-ring binder, inside those neato plastic sleeves. With the addition of photos from our visit to the cabin-builders place last week, I think the vision is fairly complete.
What do we want to live in? I see a 400 or 500 square-foot low cabin. It has natural wood walls, log or planks outside, maybe cedar finishing on the inside. Three rooms – living room/kitchen combo, a bathroom, and a bedroom. We’ll have the other little cabin for a studio. The “main house” is heated by a small woodstove. The small porch overlooks our little copse of spruce trees. It’s a low building, with a wooden porch – the sort of thing that easily blends into the evergreens here. Both inside and out, it looks like it belongs.
The pics are not something I would take verbatim. They create more of an overall impression. Ah, well. Enough talk. Let’s let the photos speak for themselves.