Saturday, October 11, 2008

Congratulations to Ryan!

Ryan finally got his bar results this week and is now a Colorado attorney! (You may remember the song Brian and I posted to encourage him called "You'll Do Great on Your Test"). Congratulations to Ryan and good luck with the job search!

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

The Chicken Coop!!

Although we did a lot of other things while Louise and Ryan were visiting, the main project was the chicken coop. Or, I should say, Brian and Ryan's main task was the coop. One of the reasons that we moved to Iowa was so that I could raise chickens and have a big garden. We decided to buy a shed kit for the initial structure and just add a roost and nests after. Here's a chronology of the project.
First, we all tromped down to Menard's (the local building supply store) to buy the building kit. Then the boys unpacked it and took inventory...
And realized that we didn't have all that we needed to actually build a building. Turns out Menard's doesn't really know the products that they sell. Anyway, one trip back into Fort Dodge and we had everything that we needed. The constructing began...
Here's Brian nailing on the outside wall. And Ryan working on the floor.The building begins to take form! And the roof is put into place...The pups helped (as usual). And here's a group shot. I have a chicken coop!!! Brian has been working on a few final details, but I'll post some additional photos later this week.

Ryan and Louise came to visit!

Our long awaited visit with Louise and Ryan finally happened this past weekend. Louise and Ryan are two of our dearest friends who drove all the way from Denver to spend a few days with us, see our new spread, and help out with harvest chores. In addition to building a chicken coop (which will have its own blog entry), we accomplished lots of tasks.

First, we attended Oktoberfest at the Amana Colonies in hopes of finding some good local beers. As it turns out, everyone else and their brother had the same idea. It was very crowded, but Brian and Ryan found some beer and Louise and I learned lots about the Amana people by hiding from the crowds in the museum. It was excellent.

Here's a nice shot of Ryan and Louise...partaking in the festivities.
And the boys hanging out on hay bales...Ryan is describing his beer.And Louise found a big bunny for sale. Although tempted, the bunny stayed in Iowa and did not move to Colorado.
Back at the homestead the next day, there was lots of work to do. The first thing we did was harvest grapes...bags and bags of grapes. There were way more than I had expected, so Louise and I decided to make jelly. Next we picked apples until we ran out of bins to put them in. Here's a photo of Ryan up in one of the trees. We mostly make apple butter during the visit, but I currently have a huge batch of apple sauce on the stove. The boys were even kind enough to help.We had one rainy day, so we decided to go to the local orchard to check out what was going on there. We ate apple dumplings and drank warm cider. They had some beautiful apples that I thought about buying, but Brian said we shouldn't buy apples until we used up all the bushels we have at home. Always the voice of reason. Apparently from this photo Brian made a new harvest friend.And, of course, we had to take a trip to Rustix's for big beers....
And the second best pork tenderloin sandwich in the state...
And the oldest wall in the county.
It was so great hanging out with great friends. I'm not sure if they'll come back again during harvest season (we really put them to work), but Ryan and Louise thought they might come back in the spring to help plant our garden and get our chicks settled in. Now THAT'S friendship!