Ev can't view e-mail attachments at work, so she asked me to post pictures of a little problem I was trying to describe by e-mail. So, this is how Kwachie spent her Saturday. We finished framing up the Duck Dome this morning (no, it's not a big wooden tipi) and then went and bought the plywood sheathing for the panels. My job was to stain and seal them before it starts raining again tomorrow. (I should mention that I've never used stain before in my life ... I'll explain the importance of that confession momentarily.)
The first problem I encountered was that we had the nice lumberyard man cut the 4x8' sheets diagonally for us, and it didn't occur to any of us that we should have had him cut five of the sheets in one direction and five in the other. Since every other panel has to be turned backward, and since they were all cut the same, there are 10 panels with the "good" sanded side facing out and 10 panels with the "bad" knotty, rough side facing out.
This isn't a huge deal, except that a) stain doesn't cover the lovely "Weyerhouser" stamp on the "wrong" side of every other panel, and b) the rough side soaks up stain like crazy and looks blotchy.
No biggie. What did strike me as a biggie was that I picked out a stain that was, quite specifically, brown. As I was applying the stain (and yes, I stirred the crap out of it) it looked sort of light to me. When I went in the house and looked out the kitchen window at it, it looked really orange. Specifically, it put me in mind of a gigantic version of one of those chocolate oranges that break into slices ... the kind we always put in the kids' Christmas stockings. I asked Katie if she thought it looked like that and she said, "No, I don't think so. It looks more like cheese."
After I got below the halfway point in the can, and I was able to stir it with the brush instead of the stupid pain stick, I realized there was a lot of brown pigment still in the bottom of the can. So I put a second coat on one of the panels (the darker one in the photo) and I was much happier with that answer. Ev, in an effort to make me feel better about the oranginess, said, "Don't worry about it. Next year, when we have to re-do it, we'll get a darker stain."
Next year ... when we have to WHAT !?
This is actually a picture from last week, so it doesn't show the bright blue wing stripe the rouens have all developed this week.
I wish I could get a really good picture of the color on the cayugas. They look jet-black in photos, but their faces and wings are actually bright iridescent green in the sunlight.
They're free-range ducks now, and they only have to go into their pen at night. They've got a very specific routine every day. First thing in the morning they charge out of the pen and take off at a run for the back yard. While I'm filling their waterer they pick bugs and worms out of the resulting mud around the water faucet. During the day they alternately roam around the yard (always together, of course) eating weeds and bugs or following us around at a safe distance while we do stuff. They've become completely oblivious to the mower ... except to chase it. They take a little swim, they take a little nap under a tree, they hang out under the back deck for awhile and then they start the whole process again. At 8:30 sharp they let me know it's time for bed. While I refill the waterer and get their evening duck chow and cracked corn they head for their pen and wait for me to bring them their dinner. They eat like they haven't been eating constantly all day and then fall into a deep sleep until morning, when they wake up and stand by the gate waiting to be let out again. It's a tough life.