Sunday, August 18, 2013

Corn Hole Crafting

A little back story to begin. Several years ago I decided to make teepee tents for the grand-niece and nephew. I got the fabric and cut everything out, but talked Mom into doing the sewing since I didn't have a machine. I thought (out loud it seems) about making some more at the time, so guess what Mom got me for Christmas that year? Yes, a sewing machine. Since that time, she has used it at my house for different projects we came up with three or four times. Me? I used it once I think, but never really knew how to set it up.

Jump forward to the current world and the corn hole fanatics (FabHub and his friend Jones) got the idea to build some boards. Actually, they want to build lots of them, so if you are interested and live nearby (shipping would be expensive), let us know. What is corn hole? A game where people throw bags of whole corn at boards that have a six inch round hole in them. The players get one point for landing a bag on the board and three points for dropping it through the hole. Kind of like horseshoes, but more versatile in location and a bit safer and easier for everyone to play.
These are some of the boards that the guys have built  They are set up at a picnic and ready for three different games to be played at the same time. Usually they play in the grass or on a gravel drive, but the driveway was more convenient this time.

Back to the sewing part of this story. Each team in the game has four corn bags. Because we can't do things the simple way around here, we decided to make the bags.

Ok, the truth is, we decided to volunteer MOM to make the bags.

I cut the pieces out of some old denim jeans and she agreed to do the sewing. Then they built another set of boards that we brought out to Kansas, and Mom sewed the bags for those at her house.

Then the guys decided to make a set of boards for the school and Jones gave his (without the bags) to some relatives so he needed new boards. The guys got together and built two more sets.

Luckily, since Jones still had his old corn bags, they only needed one more set for the school in black and red. And guess who got the chance to volunteer for that sewing part of the project? Yes, me, the one with the sewing machine. Lucky for us, Mrs. Jones has painting skills so that creative side of things is hers.

Since we used denim for the previous bags we wanted to do that for this set too. The problem is that I really doubted that I would find red denim so something would have to be dyed. So where does this all start? At the Walmart of course! I found some white jeans and a pair of blue on the clearance rack that would very likely take the red and black dye.

First thing was to cut our the seven inch squares.

Then the fun part started.
One pot of red dye cooking some denim.

After I had the colors done I hung them on a rack in the bathroom to dry.
If you notice the pieces all have some fringed edges of loose string. I had to trim all of that before I could sew them up because the strings kept sticking out the edges. Next time I will sew the bags up before I dye them.

After the fabric was ready I got the sewing machine out.

And the instruction manual. I read all of it. Filling a bobbin, threading the machine, speeds... all of it. Home Economics class came back - but very slowly.

I got all the pieces pinned together and got started.

And the result... corn hole bags!

Next up was the boards.
I don't have pictures of their development, but here they are.
They did a great job and the paint turned out pretty nice too.
Made of two by fours and plywood these things are solid.

Anyone ready for a game?

PS. I now have the "official" duck cloth fabric to use for the bags.

Friday, August 16, 2013

Changes in the Chicken World

The new next boxes are getting used every day now. 
A bit too much, but that story will come later.
Mabel wasn't to excited to see me peeking in.

I have read that as the hens get older the eggs will get bigger and more frequent. In the egg carton below, the two white eggs on the left are from the grocery. The next two are from one of the hens that I think is laying every day now. She has probably maxed out the size and I expect another one today.
The other four eggs - those were collected over three days so I don't know how many girls are laying at the moment. Probably just the two black birds and the white one though.

Do you see the white one in the middle?
That is a curiosity.

None of the hens "should" normally lay white eggs.
Their mothers were Black Australorp or Jersey Giant, Orpington, and Delaware.
 BUT their daddy is a Lakenvelder, who's hens do lay white eggs.
So, the possibility does exist that they could all lay white eggs, but it looks like just one of them will.

I am just guessing because of her color, but I think the white egg layer might be Edna.
Lakenvelder and Delaware chickens are both white and black.
According to my reading, Delawares are big birds and Lakenvelders are smaller.
Edna is kind of small compared to everybody else and that egg is kind of small.
So who knows! I plan to be out in the yard quite a bit this weekend. When I hear the triumphant "I have just laid an egg!" hollering from the coop I will try to get over there and see who comes strolling out the door. The first time I heard that racket I thought something was attacking them.

On another note. I have talked about getting two red chickens to add some more color to my little flock of birds. I decided to wait because five seemed like a good number. They all fit on the roost that I made and everybody seemed pretty happy. Then the neighbor stopped by a couple nights ago to return a piece of equipment he had borrowed. In thanks he brought two Rhode Island Reds for me! They are about the same age as mine so their size will help them fit in to the group.
I don't know if he has too many hens, there are 40 or so, but he sure seems to have a few roosters! We can hear at least one of them through the woods and the girls' backs are missing a bunch of feathers, which means the boys were pretty active. I left everybody locked up yesterday so that the new girls would know where the house is and get to know the others. I think their size and their being two of them helped hold off the pecking order fights for the day. They aren't mixing in with the group too much yet, but there weren't any pulled feathers laying around when I got home.
I do need to redo the roost today though. seven do not fit. When I peeked in the window last night I saw one of the hens had decided to sleep in a nest box and that is a habit I need to stop quickly. So, now I have seven chickens. Soon I will have just six goats. Moderation is the key to fun with animals. If you want to make money you need volume. I want to enjoy my farm.