New O’Day 22 Mainsail!

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New mainsail from Peak Sails North America
New mainsail from Peak Sails North America

The new mainsail for the O’day arrived by FedEx today. It has been nearly 9 weeks since I ordered the sail from Peak Sails North America.

The sails look nice, but of course I’m not an expert on sails – I used the rags that came with the boat for the past two seasons.

How do I rate the purchase experience?

1. Price: Peak Sails couldn’t be beat for price – which was the primary reason for choosing them.

2. Quality: The sails seem pretty nice – I’d rate them a 4 out of 5 on quality. The insignia isn’t perfect, but it is a drastic improvement from the existing mainsail. I’ll have to see how well it holds up and how well it sails.

3. Processing Time: Not the best, but it is what I expected. I would rate it a 2 out of 5. If I needed the sails in a hurry I wouldn’t use them. But I didn’t need them in a hurry. I think the best bet is to order new sails at the end of the season to have them ready for the next season.

4. Customer Service: No problems with customer service. I would rate it a 4 out of 5. The time frame I was initially given was under 4 weeks to deliver, but I also understand I had a small order and picked a discount sailmaker. However, whenever I called and to get an update on the sail, Chris Stevens (Peak Sails customer service) was always pleasant to talk to and helpful on the status of my order. He didn’t always answer the phone, and I didn’t try leaving a message – however it wasn’t hard to get in touch with him. I only had to call two or three times each time to get him to pick up.

Now to get the boat cleaned up this weekend, and put it in the water Father’s Day weekend.

A weekend of house projects

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A three-day weekend! Every weekend should be a three-day weekend!

We had time to enjoy a date night on Friday (Comix Comedy Club at Foxwoods), get lots of house projects done, and even relax a little bit in the evenings.

Instead of starting a big project this weekend, we decided to focus on getting smaller projects finished.

I added a better bird waterer to the coop. The ducks had made a mess of the chicken waterers, so I took a piece of PVC gutter and a cheap float valve and made a new water trough for the birds. I plan on improving it in the future to make it easier to clean out, but for now it is an improvement over the old one.

The new duck/chicken water trough.
The new duck/chicken water trough. The trough is fed from a 5-gal bucket in the garage, so I don’t have to go in the cage to refill the water (though I do to clean it out for now).

We also decided to add a shelf and laundry sink to the mud room. Susanna and I worked on the shelf together on Saturday, and I installed the sink today.

Susanna working on the finishing touches of the upper shelf. We plan on adding a lower shelf above the sink later this week.
Susanna working on the finishing touches of the upper shelf. We plan on adding a lower shelf above the sink later this week.
Laundry sink installed. We picked up a kit from Home Depot. It took about an hour to assemble and install.
Laundry sink installed. We picked up a kit from Home Depot. It took about an hour to assemble and install.

I even got time to work on the third toy box for Susanna’s school. The box construction is complete, leaving only a couple of coats of varnish to put on the doors. Hopefully the weather will support delivering it on Thursday evening.

Third toy box nearly complete.
Third toy box nearly complete.

The entire household enjoyed the beautiful spring weather. Perfect for finishing projects, hanging out, or foraging for food (if you are a chicken or duck).

The chickens and ducks enjoying their time out of the coop on a beautiful spring day.
The chickens and ducks enjoying their time out of the coop on a beautiful spring day.

 

 

Improving the chicken/duck run

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I’ve lived with the pre-existing chicken run for two years. I liked the ability to let the chickens pick through the compost, but other than that I didn’t really like the run. The door was a little too low and would hit the ground whenever I tried to open it. The run was too low to easily get inside and clean it out – which meant it didn’t get cleaned as often as it should have been. It also got filled with snow this winter, and the chickens were stuck under the coop for at least a month.

I decided that, with the additional mess of ducks, I should upgrade the run this year. To make the project easier, I purchased some lumber and corrugated roofing from Home Depot and started the process of rebuilding the run. I was able to reuse some of the lumber and all of the fencing – which kept costs down.

I got the run mostly finished today. This week I’ll have to clean up the remnants of the old run (perfect for a bonfire) and clean up the fencing. I’ll also have to extend the run to cover a small section of the stream behind the house to keep the ducks entertained. Also on this summer’s project list is to redirect the gutter to dump downhill of the coop and run – hopefully also helping keep the place clean.

I left the compost bin mostly untouched – in two years or so, it will probably need to be rebuilt.

A nearly completed upgraded chicken run. The interior has 6 feet of headroom, so it will be easy for me to get in the run and clean.
A nearly completed upgraded chicken run. The interior has 6 feet of headroom, so it will be easy for me to get in the run and clean.

Second Toy Box Delieverd

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Last Sunday I delivered the second toy box to Susanna’s preschool. The third box is in the shop mostly completed – hopefully I’ll get it out the door in a week or two.

Second outdoor toybox delivered.
Second outdoor toybox delivered.

The roof on the first box is in pretty rough shape after being exposed to the weather for the winter (as I had expected). I finally got the preschool to agree that a better roof is needed (than just cheap plywood). I’m going to put a corrugated PVC roof on the third box, and will retrofit the PVC roof to the first two boxes.

It is nice to start reclaiming my workshop from the piles of plywood that have been taking up space for the past 6+ months.

Getting the garden ready for summer

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It has been a busy couple of weeks. The weather is finally warm and we can spend the weekend outside getting ready for summer.

The chickens and ducks are growing.

The chickens and ducks hiding in the corner of the coop. The ducks are only a week older than the chicks and much bigger already.
The chickens and ducks hiding in the corner of the coop. The ducks are only a week older than the chicks and much bigger already.

I learned that the ducks aren’t so good at doing ramps. I had opened up the bottom of the coop for the birds a couple of nights ago – they love exploring. However, the ducks love sleeping under the coop, and the chicks seem to think the ducks are their parents, so they try to sleep under the coop with the ducks. And the ducks don’t seem smart enough to figure out how to get back into the coop. It still gets cool at night and I worry that without proper feathers the chicks and ducks will get too cold away from the heat lamp. So, of course, I spent three nights climbing under the coop to collect the birds and return them to the coop.

Today I decided to close up the bottom until they are a week or two older. I was tired of crawling though the mud every night, no matter how amusing Susanna thought it was to watch me chase birds around a small cage. When they all have feathers I figure they can sleep wherever they want.

The garden is mostly planted. We have three raised beds. A couple of weeks ago, I put onions and leeks in the first bed. I’ve never tried onions or leeks, so it will be interesting to see how that turns out. The second bed is filled with strawberries, but I think I’ll be able to squeeze a couple of tomato plants into the end where the strawberries have yet to claim. I planted summer squash, winter squash, and pole beans in the middle of the third bed. Today I planted 13 of the tomato plants on the ends of that bed. If the weather supports tomorrow, I’ll plant 5 of the remaining 9 plants in the garden and Susanna will take the final 4 for her pots.

Tomato plants transplanted into the garden
Tomato plants transplanted into the garden