Friday, March 21, 2014

How Did My Animals Handle Moving?

My animals made the transition surprisingly well. Reggie, my Yorkie, wanted to mark the new place the first time he visited. I guess I couldn't blame him too much. The house did smell like a doggie bathroom when we first moved in. It only took me fussing at him 3 times before it sunk in that it wasn't OK to mark indoors. Since then he has been good as gold.

I was most concerned about my cat, Singha. He is an indoor/outdoor cat who is extremely nocturnal and wants to wake you up at 3am to let him out. If you don't comply there will be consequences. A friend suggested I keep him inside the new place "for a few weeks". That would never happen. I once kept him indoors for 14 days while he healed from surgery. Neither of us had a good time. I got very little sleep. He was constantly looking for a way outside and I have the claw marks on my wall to prove it. I decided to leave him at the old house on the day we moved because of all the chaos and open doors. I returned to Tacoma the following day to gather him up and bring him to his new home. I placed him in a travel crate for the drive. Once at the new house I put his crate and his enclosed litter box into the back bathroom, where I could close the door. I opened the door to the crate. He slowly slunk out of the crate and into the litter box, where he remained for the rest of the day and night. I went into the room frequently and talked to him. The next day when I checked he had moved from the litter box and had wedged himself behind the laundry bin. He stayed there for the rest of that day. The next morning he was still behind the bin but it was apparent he had ventured out long enough to eat half of his cat food. We were making progress. I continued to check on him frequently. That afternoon it was just he, I and the dog in the house. I decided to open the bathroom door and see if he would emerge. Pretty soon I see his head peeking around the corner. Little by little he would venture out, then retreat back into the bathroom. Then he would come out a bit further. Pretty soon he was snooping all around the house. That night he started mewling to go outside but I wasn't ready for that. He was being very vocal so I closed him back into the bathroom so I could get some sleep. The next day he was feeling very comfortable around the house. a few times during the day I would let him outside but I stood where he could see me and called him back after a short time. We repeated this a few times throughout the day. I wanted him to know where his home was. Later that night, when he asked to go out, I let him. In the morning I called him back and he came running. He has been fine ever since. The bonus for him? His dad now lets him sleep in the bed.

That leaves Shirley, My last remaining hen from my small Tacoma flock. Shirley is 4 years old. She was still laying eggs but 2 months before my move she stopped laying and her health was obviously declining. I was hoping she would live long enough to make it to Winlock and experience what it is like to free range. I don't have a proper coop here on the property but there is what I think was a goat shed. It consists of 2 rooms and has straw bale sides. The top is canvas. I hoped Shirley would hang out in there. The first night I went to check on her and found her outside the shed, wedged up in a bit of fencing. I rescued her and set her inside the shed. She remained inside the shed for 2 days, even though the door was open and she could leave at any time. On the third day I saw her out eating some bugs near the shed.

 I went to check on her later and couldn't find her anywhere. She wasn't in the shed, or anywhere in the orchard. I though something must've got her. I was heading back to the house when I saw something moving in the pasture next to the orchard. There was Shirley, happily gobbling bugs. I checked at dusk and she was back inside the shed, roosting up on top of the partition between the rooms. That is where she sleeps every night. Her days are spent free ranging our property. Yesterday she made a nest and laid her fist egg in a very long time. Today she laid another. I think she loves her new home.



Monday, March 17, 2014

Finally Residing In Winlock.

It's been a month since my last post....and what a month its been! We finally closed on our Winlock property on March 8th and moved the majority of our belongings here on the 9th. We were originally supposed to close on the 28th and have a week to clean the new house and make any needed repairs before moving on the 9th. But fate intervened and we had some last minute hoops to jump through which delayed our closing. That is par for the course. Nothing about purchasing this property has been easy. Was it worth it? Hell yeah!

We headed down to Winlock the day we closed. My intention was to scrub it before we moved. The previous owners were not clean people, to put it mildly. In fact the interior of the home looked (and smelled) like it had been used as a kennel. Dog hair everywhere. A layer of filth on every surface, and badly stained (and smelly) carpets were still installed in 2 of the rooms. This worked to our advantage. I'm sure this is the main reason the house remained unsold for so many months. Well that, and the really poor  photographs provided by the listing agent. We wound up getting this lovely 1930's schoolhouse, with a full basement, on an acre, for the bargain price of $87,000. Definitely worth all the hassle. But I digress. We headed down after closing, ready to commence with the scrubbing, only to discover that a pipe in the well house had burst during the last hard freeze. It took all day for my husband and our poor, long suffering  realtor to get the pipe fixed and the water running.

Moving day arrived and we rounded up some young muscle, thanks to our son-in-law's friends. They quickly loaded up the furniture and boxes and off we headed for our new digs. By the time we got everything unloaded it was getting late and I was tired. We discovered that we had left our bedding behind in Tacoma. My husband went back for it while I zonked out in a recliner. That was my introduction to my new house. Left along in a stinky house, at night, exhausted with nowhere to lie down. I was feeling a bit blue....until I heard the trains. 3 or 4 of them passed by while I was waiting for my husband to return. And every time one passed, I smiled. The tracks are just far enough away to still be heard from inside the house. It is lovely.

Sunday morning we discovered that the hot water tank wasn't working. My husband made the first (of many) trips into town to the True Value Hardware Store. Winlock's hardware store is legendary. It is located on both sides of the street and if they don't have it...they'll get it. And quick. Once the new heating element was installed in the water heater it works just fine. Finally I could begin cleaning.

I began with the kitchen. This what it looked like when I began.

The floor hadn't been mopped in 9 years. I had to use a scrub brush and lots of Mr. Clean.

And here are some pictures of the kitchen after I moved the fridge over next to the stove and added some of my own storage cabinets (which just happen to match the existing cabinets).

 The kitchen is a work in progress. It is still morphing. Here I've added curtains and my wine bottle collection to the windows.

Preparing to make myself some fried rice in my new kitchen.

Next I needed to clean the nasty range, inside and out. And replace the largest burner. I also installed new drip pans. I couldn't get all the burnt on crud from around that largest burner but I am no longer afraid to cook in and on this range. Eventually it will be replaced by a propane range and this one will move to my canning kitchen, outside.

That's enough of an update for now. I still have more to share about how my animals made the transition but that will be for the next post. I am loving every day here. I am a very fortunate woman to have been able to make my dream of moving to the country a reality.