Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Homemade Sink Cabinet

About two weeks ago, we experienced a kitchen crisis: the stainless steel kitchen sink that came with the house rusted apart (the drain literally fell out of the bottom) and the sink cabinet that housed it (a $100 cabinet from Lowes) collapsed. Our kitchen has been badly in need of rennovation ever since we moved here, but this situation made a re-do imperative. 

When we moved in, we had re-fitted the kitchen with cabinets salvaged from someone else's rennovation, but almost all of those have now lost their doors or broken their drawers, leading my husband to declare war on the standard kitchen cabinet. And new cabinets and countertops, with their thousand-dollar price tags, remain beyond our budget.

So the solution? Several components came together to help us escape this kitchen debacle, no doubt guided by our guardian angels.

1) A vintage sink.  With built-in dishdrains on either side, this cast-iron sink was given to us by an in-law, who had it lying on the ground outside his barn. We had to work to find faucets to fit both the holes and our checkbook, but it's solid and sturdy. Bar Keeper's Friend took the rust spots off the enamel, and it almost looks new.

2) Corian countertops. Once the Cadillac of the countertop world, solid-surface Corian has suffered a downfall in the wake of the granite-and-concrete revolution. A retired contractor bought the contents of a store that dumped its old colors of Corian, and offered them for a bargain price in our local paper. What timing! Andrew and I spent several dusty hours moving huge slabs in his warehouse and finally found three pieces in black and dark green that matched. We talked him down to a price of $120. Sold!

3) Barn wood framing. We've been living with open shelves in the kitchen for years now and we love them. So Andrew decided to try open shelves on our base cabinet. Using salvaged barn wood, Andrew and I built a base of old 4x4s and thick planks we had belt-sanded and stained. (Did you know they now have wipe-on polyeurethane? I wanted to sing for joy as I finished the wood, knowing I wouldn't be ruining yet another brush by failing to clean it properly!)  We've yet to build the shelves for holding pots and trays beneath the cabinet: as you can see, we're just storing our tools there in this picture. But there should be room for lots of bulky items that right now are piled in cantankerous piles in the broken-door standard cabinet across from this one.

There's more work to do, but our kitchen is now functioning again, and our family is rejoicing in the spacious new counter space. I'll let you know what happens when we finish building the shelves. But so far, so good: and we are thinking of applying the same design to the stovetop island that makes up the other side of the kitchen: so the adventure continues!

Monday, May 10, 2010

Thank you for your prayers!

The baby llama has pulled through okay, and is happily skipping around the pasture with her mama and enjoying chasing the sheep!  We never did get her to accept any sort of supplement, but she managed to nurse anyhow. I suspect the culprit might have been the heat: she was born on a very hot day, and since then the weather has been considerably more mild.  (Being born with a full coat of curly black hair has its disadvantages in Virginia!)  But I also believe in the power of prayer, and I am certain that the prayers and good wishes sent its way helpled exceedingly! Thank you!

Monday, May 03, 2010

A New Llama!

This Sunday we were wonderfully surprised to find that our mama llama had given birth to a beautiful little black baby girl llama!  The little one is well-formed, but sadly, she's not nursing well, which doesn't bode well.  I need to ask for prayers for this little one, since llama babies, unlike sheep babies, are fragile and need looking after.  She's refused a bottle of colostrum, but we have some hope that she managed to nurse in the night.   The parent llamas are very proud of their little girl, and though they don't like my husband and I to approach her, they are perfectly fine with our young children coming up to pet the baby, which of course, they love to do.
So I'm asking for prayers that our little "Black Beauty" will nurse well and thrive!  She is a delight to our children already, and if she keeps her black color (her father is dark brown with a black face) she will be a rarity in this area.  So pray, and I will let you know how she fares.