Monday, April 15, 2013

Easy as Pie, With Friends

Saturday afternoon, and what more could you ask for than a fresh spot of dirt to bathe in? That's all Betty needs to enjoy her weekend. The rest of us had something even nicer to enjoy... friends coming by to lend many hands to some of the many projects we've been juggling!

It was Ruth's idea. She came by at the beginning of the week to see what we've been up to. Maria showed her the things she has been playing at during her break, and we made sandwiches, and watched Geoff and William setting the posts for our chicken run... then came the idea part, and she suggested we organize a work party. She took Mother Prerogative and volunteered Holly and Rich, planting the seed for a planned afternoon of working, followed by a potluck dinner.

It took me a while to accept that asking for help can be a healthy, sound, good idea, and finally, I sheepishly invited friends and family to ignore our dust, pardon our shutters and clutter, and come over to help us. It was a charming invitation... part begging, part coercion, a little shame, and a little bribing. The great thing is... it worked amazingly well!

William, Geoff, Paul, and Rich

The guys are digging trenches and setting baseboards for the framing of the chicken run.

Have I mentioned our chicken run? It's been in the plans ever since we moved here. The barn was going to house the chickens at night, then we would build a run for days when free-ranging is out of the question. Well, since then... I've taken over the barn for my own flock, and we've had a predator parade taking pets, one by one. Suddenly, the chicken run has become a high priority, with significantly greater attention paid to security concerns. It will be wired, all the way around, top and bottom and walls. And it will have an interior fence dividing a space for goats, and for chickens.

Holly, Sarah, and Alex

Now, about the playhouses. The cute kits are from Costco. They are cedar playhouses, with adorable details, and playhouse charms. And in the chicken run the two playhouses will be adapted as a chicken coop, and goat pen! It looks extravagant. Okay, by many standards it is extravagant. But honestly we found this to be a budget friendly approach to housing our critters. We could not buy the lumber and hardware, then measure and cut, for what we paid for these. In fact, just yesterday I saw a prefab chicken coop, one third the size and twice as expensive as our cottage!

Rich, finished with setting the boards, comes by to check the playhouse progress.

I'll be adding some things to make the playhouses safe, and comfortable for the goats, and the chickens... like adding roosts, and nest boxes. We are fortunate in that we don't have serious weather concerns. In our coldest weather, I may hang up some heavy duty canvas curtains in the windows, but there's no call for sealed frames, or insulation. I have white paint for inside the chicken's house... something I can scrub clean, hose down.

Holly and Sarah... I cannot thank them enough! Alex and Max had the four walls up, but with help, the whole house was finished.

Everyone found something to do. Inside, Janece, Anne, Ruth, and I put together a feast.

Look at this salad Janece created! A work of art, and it was amazing delicious. Maria is still talking about those pears. Personally, I am thrilled when other people make salads. I need to take a salad course from Janece.

Speaking of courses, I did get a lesson in food processing, from Anna B. She saw our big beautiful apples and was inspired to make a pie, with a real crust!

Now, for the record: She asked for a food processor. She did not ask, 'Do you have any Trader Joe's pie crusts, simple, tasty, and ready to go?' I actually do happen to have a food processor, brand new, waiting for me to overcome my hesitation about new-to-me gadgetry. My mommy, so generously, had it sent to me last September, and I have been anxious and unsure about it ever since!

Anna B broke that sucker out and gave me the quick intro on what happens to be a rather deluxe and shiny Cusineart. No doubt I have a lot to learn, but at least now the box is open, and I can see there are no monsters in there.

While Anna B worked on crust for a deep dish pie, Ruth got busy with the apples. First, Maria tried coaching her on our apple-corer-peeler gadget.

But Ruth was much happier going old school with her paring knife. And no wonder... she's got a handle on this!

Not only did we have the happy company of friends and family, and see the completion of lots of projects, and plans, but all was followed by a really delicious dinner, and some lovely 'round the dining table talk. And by the way, the pie was scrumptious. From the bottom of my heart, thank you, Ruth, Rich and Holly, Anna B, Paul, Janece, Sarah, and John, Amira, Izzy, Nick, Bambi, Maria, Max, Alex, and William, and Geoff. You each brought something wonderful to the Bird House, and made our lives better for it.


warren said...

I don't like people much but I may have to start. It would be super nice to have help on projects and I guess I could lend a hand on their projects too...but gosh, I would have to be nice.

Natalie, the Chickenblogger said...

Just do it, Warren.
I know you can!
Be the nice!!


judy in ky said...

Wow, so much always happening at the Bird House. You are creating your own little paradise there. Yesterday, I made a salad a lot like that one, with greens, pears, walnuts and feta. It looked the same but smaller.

Janece said...

Certainly no begging, bribery, shame or coercion ever required to get the Moments there! We loved every minute of it. Filled my entire weekend with a case of the happys.

And the feast after... tasty perfection! Perfect food with perfect friends! Days like this are when life is at its best!

Miriam said...

I can only imagine people would be lined up around the block for the opportunity to spend a day with your amazing family - whatever the reason! Work bees are a wonderful way to build community, spend the day with people you love AND get some big jobs done all at the same time. I'm so glad you did this!

And I love the chicken coop and goat pen playhouses - what a clever idea!

ArtyZen said...

What a great day you all had and how lovely to be able to share such interesting projects and food with friends. I am going to try and overcome my own problems in asking for help - we have a HUGE project ahead of us, nay several, to make our garden a chicken/rabbit/goat housing place as well as a children-rearing/playing/fruit and veg growing space. Not to be tackled all in one go - we're going to pace ourselves. I will be taking tips from you and yours.