Friday, October 03, 2014

A Whole New Wall

Something is missing. No one is more distressed about this than Mister Washburn Foo, because all his life there has been a massive screen at this end of the living room, not for movies and entertainment, but for him to scale, and hide behind, and make his sweet Ninja moves from. Now it's gone, and he's a bit traumatized.

Mister Foo wasn't even a fur ball when we put our plans into action and built our big screen. Having our own theater, outside, had long been a dream of ours, and after less than one year in our own home, we made the dream come true, and started having our first movie nights in the carport. Episodes of Planet Earth were our early favorites to screen outside. And then we had our first big screening, when we celebrated Alex's birthday... it had to be Sky Captain and The World of Tomorrow! What a blast! We were spread across the lawn and under the stars. It was perfect. Almost. For some horrid reason our yard is a mosquito sanctuary, and by the second, or third, movie night friends were begging us to move the party indoors. We tried all the citronella in the world, and of course, removing all standing water, but in the end, the mosquitos won. We "temporarily" moved the massive screen indoors, and believe me there were many assurances that this was a "temporary" solution. It was odd, at first, and lots of fun, too, when we filled our home with friends and watched favorite movies. After awhile, I even forgot that we had a wall, windows, a fireplace! Those movie nights were such a pleasure... whether for a winter party, or family time at home, we enjoyed our screen a lot.

Last night the entire screen keeled forward, slowed down, and torn a bit, by a chair. But that thing is massive, and we were so relieved that Max and Maria weren't in their usual spot, doing homework on the living room floor. Mister Foo was out of harm's way too. Actually, I looked at him suspiciously, but I don't think it was his doing. Now the screen is down. Our living room looks odd. Bigger, too. We will get around to repairing the screen, and we have other movie night ideas up our sleeves. And we do have a movie barn, don't forget! One way, or another, the Bird House will still be a movie house... But I don't think I'll be such an easy sucker for "temporary" installations in the living room, again!

Now, if only we had the kind of weather that inspires a nice, cozy fire...

{this moment}

A single photo, capturing a moment from the week.
A special moment. A moment I want to remember.

:: Inspired by Soule Mama ::

If you're inspired to do the same, leave a link to your 'moment' in the comments, for all to find and see.

Geoff and William experimenting with the homemade vacuum chamber~ Peeps in Interstellar Space!

Wednesday, October 01, 2014

Bird House & Barn

... a Farm Report~

Happy October!

Actual fall, seasonal weather, and classic events of the season, may soon be ours to enjoy. The hens have stopped molting. Those poor dears were looking scrappy, and egg production took a dip. Now the ladies are fluffing up again, laying gorgeous eggs, of gorgeous colors. Ten hens, and all but one is laying. Little Debbie is an old lady hen, and we are happy to see her enjoying her golden years. Kamen is another dowager hen, but she still issues forth an egg every now and then... such gumption and resilience, that Kamen!

Goats! Maybe I shouldn't try so hard to get "good" pictures of these two. Sometimes I'll just be content to show them in their true form... ravenous, mobile, darling goats! I keep watching them for signs that we'll have a cold winter, hoping to see them start growing nice thick and wooly coats. Their big adventure this week was going to the school district farm, to greet visitors at the latest and greatest in education. Schools + Farms = Fabulous Learning! Tasha Tudor Goat and Ada Lovelace Goat were well-behaved, and made good efforts at mowing weeds, and making new friends. Maria was as busy as the goats, making friends, making seed bombs, and planting cover crops in the newly plowed field. She is always thrilled to be living her farmer dreams.

I am still neglecting my garden. Sigh. But even without much trying, we find little treasures and surprises popping up! Let me see... Swiss chard, eggs... I think we may begin this new month with a Bird House & Barn quiche!

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Cool Stuff William and Alex Are Doing

This week we have been in a making riptide! The strong current of overpowering creativity and project immersion has come from William and Alex, but the tide takes us all in, one way or another. Geoff and I have both been pulled in, helping with sewing, programming, welding, and devising a means to extract air from vacuum molding. What's in the mix? William finished his pirate breeches {britches?}... a sewing project that has had us both at our wits end, and were we ever elated to sew the last button on that one! Simultaneously, he is making a sword, a flintlock pistol, two scabbards (one for Alex,) a waistcoat, modifying shoes, and organizing a Halloween party. The weapons are reproductions (leaving out the functioning component... not a sharp sword, not a firing pistol.) He is creating molds and formulating compounds to make his own parts, like the trigger, the frizzen, the flint. He models parts and patterns for sewing, for wood working and for molding, on the computer, and then comes up with ways to make his ideas in fabric, wood, plastic, epoxy, or vinyl. He's gotten quite expert with his painting methods, too. Many of his wood pieces look just like brass, or steel parts. Alex was invited to a Viking Festival, and decided to go suitably attired and armed: He made a Viking shield and sword, then he hammered steel plates into a Viking helmet, riveting and welding the parts together. Geoff assisted on the TIG welding, and I applied myself to making a Viking tunic, and belt bag.

Our poor neighbors have endured some long {late} hours of workshop frenzy, and the house looks like a... {searching for a poetic phrase}. The house looks like a ginormo mess! Those are the less dignified admissions, and I only mention these to be honest, transparent. I am not a great housekeeper, but I try. I cannot "do it all," but this time, I let go of worry and shame and just enjoyed the ride. I sewed tunics, britches, bags, and hats, and I found glue, buttons, and new ideas, and ordered pizza, and washed enough dishes to get through the day, then went back to braiding hair, modifying loafers into pirate shoes, sharing goats, making hat shields. I watched Geoff direct lessons in TIG welding, and filing steal, then reading Full Metal Alchemist comics with Max and Maria, before unraveling the mysteries and deficiencies of MasterCam. We were all in the current, together, and it was a great feeling. The creativity was an overpowering tide and we all took it for an exhilarating ride!

Now, would you like to see some cool stuff? Here we have some works in progress, second-tries, do-overs, and successes, too...

William's blade and the start of the first hand guard, which partially failed, and he had to start over with a new approach.

Apoxie Sculpt flintlock hammer, ready to be drilled and sanded into shape.

Rough cut of flintlock pistol. African mahogany.

Measuring the fitting of the trigger guard.

Trigger mold... "the finished master for the trigger guard."

The chopsticks are called sprues.

The rebuilt sword guard, glued back together, this time with biscuits.

Max and Mister Foo, checking out the anvil.

With an anvil, the children are another step closer to completing their forge!

Trying the hammer.

Measuring seams on the britches.

Details on the sword Alex made. Ask him about aluminum backed plumbing tape! Stuff is amazing!

How many hits to turn steel plates into a helmet?

Helmet panels.

A lot going on. As usual. {By the way, this is our "dining" table.}

William designs things on the computer, then takes his patterns to either wood, fabric, or metal. In this case wood... shaped, and sanded, then painted to look like metal.

He made flaps and I sewed them to the thrift shop loafers, and with the buckle he has a whole new look!

William continues to work on the sword.

*Steel Aluminum blade and the wooden guard {hilt?} that he began in the first image.

*Correction. William was flattered that I thought it looked like steel.

Viking Festival time! Gauntlet time!

I added a pouch, and Maria and I added the pocketful of posies. Alex is a Viking with a cell phone, and wallet.

The medallion is Appoxy Sculpted, the armor is home-hammered!

Alex and Sarah bear their shields.

Okay, that's all, for now.

I am going to fold laundry!

Monday, September 29, 2014

Five Good Things

Chango. He has us so well trained it's scary. But he's such a dear old man, how can I refuse him?

What a weekend! It was so full of activity, projects, events, and make-work, it was like an endurance run... not that I could literally tell you what "endurance runs" are like! As constant, relentless and dizzying as it got, I found a good groove, settled into the rhythm, and had a great time. That dining table of ours has a few more dents, lots more paint flecks, and loads of stories! Is it Monday, already? It's almost a relief! Usually, Monday feels like the start of the "work" week, but I am catching my breath, today, and enjoying the simple pleasure of sweeping, washing clothes, buying groceries, and planning an autumn inspired dinner of vegetable soup and roast chicken. Hopefully I can squeeze in time to go through our pictures and eek out some kind of post to share a few the things we've been swimming in... like carving, molding, shaping, modifying, sewing, and painting!

Good Things...

1. Letting go of worry, and immersing myself in the activities at hand. Yes, the house is a mess, but we got so much accomplished, and had such a happy time at it!

2. Connecting with our community, with goats! Ada and Tasha visited a start-up school farm, and were darling ambassadors to all the visitors!

3. Everyone participating... making, thinking, tinkering, creating, improvising, and encouraging.

4. The look of my trunk this morning... full of orange zinnias, pumpkins and a gorgeously odd gourd, a Viking sword and shield, helmet, too, and bread, milk, carrots, leeks, celery, oatmeal. We have plenty.

5. Feeling tired in a good way, pleased with all that has come together, happy to be healthy.

*6. Help. It's so much easier to be la-de-da about all the domestic perils this morning, because I am getting cleaning help!
*Definitely a bonus Good Thing!

Are you glad it's Monday? What's good in your life? I hope you will share~