Tuesday, May 22, 2007

New Residents

Quinn and I made a birdhouse out of some left over barn board a little while back, and we put it with a birdhouse that Leah had painted a couple of years ago. I set them up more as a visual thing than to have actual birds in them, figuring that at some point I'd have to put them in a place where they could stay. The birds had other ideas...

Bert: "Hey Charlie come and have a look at this!"

Charlie: "Hey, this is nice Bert, I love the rustic appeal."
Bert: "Yeah, I've got dibs on the red one!"

Charlie: (all echoy) "Hey it's really spacious inside!"
Bert: "Mine's got a loft!"

Charlie: "Could have a bigger front door though, oh well. I could stand to lose a few grams anyway. Sold!"

Monday, May 14, 2007

Ed Lawerence is My New Hero

We've been spending a lot of time outdoors these days, getting ready for a busy summer of gardening, gallery running, and (hopefully for us adults) playing. The swing set went up about a week ago. Thanks to Steve (Quinn's future father-in-law)who happened by for helping us get it together. Here Leah is running up so as not to miss the photo-op.
By the way, I love photos that show the photographer in the photo. Not professional by any means, and I try not to include myself, but I do get a kick out of them.
We are also getting the gardens ready. This is a new little garden outside the store. It's kind of a garbage garden, as it features a big iron (wheel?) thingie we found, and also a wheel rim that we dug up from beside the barn. I figure it's easier to add that stuff to the garden rather than trucking it off to the dump. I put a little iron pot on the rim to get a bit of height. Now we just need some plants to go in it...I rototillified the veggie garden. It's big. It took a lot of rototillerfying. Did I mention how big it was? Let me tell you, big. So far we've collected some rhubarb with which Rose made an excellent crumble for Mother's day dessert. Even Quinn said it was "Kind not bad/kinda good." Here's another view where you can see the big rhubarb patch. Hard to see, but off to the right is a row of new tomatoes. We also plan to grow carrots, potatoes, lots of lettuce, and a few other eatables.Hey you! Stop running through my dirt! (we'll get some veggies in there soon...)
PS: I'm in that one too...
Speaking of intruders in the garden, a very short time after I shut off the rototiller and made my way indoors dreaming of giant salads grown a few feet from my door, Quinn looks out the window and spots this!
I mean for the love of Pete, I haven't even got the seeds in the ground and this little bugger is rummaging around. Luckily he was on the other side of the house, nosing in the neighbors garden, but I suspect he'll wander over with his buddies soon enough. Which brings me to this photo: Someone broke the cat! After a hard day of terrorizing the neighborhood fauna, (Our little mouse/bird/frog graveyard is filling up fast) the cat takes a power nap on the couch. He looks about the same way I feel after all the yard work. By the way, there really is no way to rotate this photo to make it look normal.

Monday, May 7, 2007

Bye Bye Birdy

So I'm working at the computer today, and I keep hearing noises coming from the furnace room, right behind me. I know it's a mouse, and he's crawled up and through the not so small holes in the pest grate covering the funace exhaust outside, and now he's making a nice comfy nest for him and probably some little hotty to make a litter in. I get up and investigate, bang on the pipe and try to scare him out. Then I run outside and poke long bendy sticks up there. Nothing happens, so I go back to the computer. More noises. Bang on the pipe. Run outside. Poke with sticks. Nothing. Go back to work. You get the idea. The dog now thinks I'm nuts, and I can no longer concentrate on work. Time for a better look.

Upon close inspection, I realize the noise isn't even coming from that pipe, but from the tin plate covering the chimney hole where the old furnace used to vent. If you saw the little furnace room, you'd understand, as this tin plate is right behind the pipe, and you wouldn't know where a noise was coming from till you crawled up behind the initial pipe. Made more sense that it was coming from the tin plate, as it sounded like a lot of fluttery ruffly noises rather than some scuffling little mouse. Unless he and the missus were already getting it on...

So now I have to get a screw driver and pry off the plate to look inside the hole. Sure enough, as soon as I get it off and pull it back a little, I see the back of a bird in there. Crap. Now what. I get a pair of big gloves, and a small fishing net, and wiggle up in behind the pipe. I take off the plate, and put the net over the hole, and try to reach in and grab the starling without killing it, or giving it a heart attack. After a few fluttery misses he decides he's going to play dead. He squashes himself right down tight against... wait for it, all the other dead birds at the bottom of the hole. That explains the smell coming from there when I took the plate off. Now I have to dig my fingers down between him and his dead comrades and coax him out. Eventually after my making noises somewhere between a stuck pig and a giddy school girl I managed to force him out, and carry him half in the net half in my glove to the open door. (I had the presence of mind to leave the screen door open so I wouldn't have to struggle with it) I shuffle him outside flip him out of the net and let him fly off, while I jellyfish on the front lawn. That was the easy part. Now I have to go back, reach in there, and pull out dead birds that have been in there for who knows how long. That is, and was very gross. Now I'm really squealing. The dog is cowering in the corner wondering what it could possibly have done to deserve such a noise. (It's not always about you, you know.) After bagging a couple of dead ones, I decide to call it quits, stuff the cover back on, and go outside for air.

After some time working in the fresh air, the kids come home. Then Les comes home, and we have to go pick up her bike, which has two new tires on it. That's all fine. When we get back, she decides to go out a little longer, and I go in to start dinner. The kids amuse themselves by taking turns crawling in a big blue rainbarrel and rolling each other down the hill. (I stopped myself from yelling out at them, they're going to have to learn for themselves sometime.) I went downstairs for something and low and behold, there it was, fluttering noises from the furnace room. Sure enough, some other stupid starling has found his way down the chimney, and can't get out. It's a foolproof starling trap.

I'm still grossed out from the last event, and I just can't get that smell out of my nose. Eventually Les comes home, and takes over dinner so that I can wire up the chimney opening before more fall in. Fly in. Whatever the stupid things are doing. Then I go back to the furnace room, pry off the plate, and try to get this bird out. This time, I have an audience, so there is noticebly less squalking on my end. The kids are around the corner, anticipating seeing a real live bird up close. Les is reaching in and holding the net in place so I can reach in and use two hands to handle the bird. He's leaning down tight against, Ugh, another dead bird. Guess I didn't quite clean it completely. Whap! The F#%&Er flies up into the net and whacks me in the face. I stuff a hand in there and hold him. Whew. Glad that's over. Whoosh-he's out now, flying across our downstairs. Now the kids are yelling, the bird is flapping and flying into every window in sight. The cat is there, trying to help I guess. The dog doesn't know wether to join in or run for cover. The bird is up, hits a window, down behind the little fridge, up again, across the room, into another window, and so it goes. Eventually, (with us all running behind it with our arms out like some bad cartoon) it runs into enough windows that it's stunned, and I can pick it up rather gently, and race the thing out the door with the kids in tow.
Quinn asks to pet it, but, seeing how it's just been nuzzling up to an un-countable number of dead buddies, (uncountable because I just don't want to look that hard) I say "no." And here he is a split second before take off. We only had one chance to get that timing right.I still can't get that smell out of my nose. Wait, I just took my hat off. Hmm. Maybe time to launder that particular item...

A Weekend Visit to the Galloping Goat!

Well we're open! The roller coaster season now begins! Here's Leah and Quinn putting the 'open' sign on for the very first time.
Ta-da!! Let's take a little virtual tour of the gallery. Here's what it looks like when you step up to the doors. This is the first display inside the doors.
Most people wander to the left when they enter, despite what we've heard from statistics. This is good though, it works better for us. Now take a moment and look back towards the entrance.
Here's Lesley's little section in the corner.
Turn the corner to find more goodies.
When you're finished browsing bring your purchases to the lovely clerk at the sales counter.
As you step out the doors, turn around and wave goodbye to the clerk. Come again! We've got lots to see outside as well, and I realize now that I don't have a wider picture of the outside of the barn, so I'll try to get some of those picture up so you can see the whole picture.
Thanks for visiting the Galloping Goat and come again!

Tuesday, May 1, 2007

Gallery Setup

Well with one week to go we spent last weekend setting up the gallery. Les is very excited.
Lesley's brother Chris came down to help us out. Here he is hanging wind chimes.
Greg Woods helps out with the construction of a sales counter while Angie Pajek keeps (or rather gets) the kids from (in) trouble.
Les tweaks stuff as Morghan looks for a good spot for some artwork.
Tim (that's me) takes a break with the dawg.
Here's a view of one corner of the showroom.

A look into another corner reveals some styrofoam. There is still a fair amount of polishing to do, including hanging curtains to hide some storage.
Here's a good view from the big barn doors.
A slightly different angle.
Lots of cool stuff hangs from the open doors to invite you in.
Even the local toads are excited. Hey you two, get a room already!