Looking back on the past week lends a view of many things started and completed. There is still a list of things to do. But there is a feeling of accomplishment that comes along with the things that have been finished. So glad to be checking things off that list. In the midst of all of this busyness came two very nice surprises. Two happenings that made my day. The first was as I was reading Staci's post of Tuesday's Three at her blog lifeatcoblehillfarm.blogspot.com. I was interested to see other blogs Staci was enjoying. When I clicked on "this blog" and I saw 3Beeze page I figured something went wrong. So I went back and tried it again and then realized that I was supposed to be on 3Beeze page. This was so unexpected but a wonderful surprise. My second happened today. Going through and reading comments on my posts this morning I saw a comment from Deborah Jean at deborahjeansdandelionhouse.blogspot.com letting me know that I had been drawn as the recipient of the Mountain Rose Herbs EARTH DAY giveaway. Wow!! Another wonderful surprise. I will be receiving some tasty tea to enjoy and relax with. Two completely unexpected surprises that made my day.
Sunday, April 29, 2012
This weekend was a very busy weekend. Husband had a lot of stuff on his agenda and so did I. So with both of us working in different areas of our yard and the help of my brother-in-law and son we accomplished a lot of things that just needed to get done. From weeding the flower beds, to staining the fences on the chicken run area, to general clean up of the yard, we did it all.
Most important on Saturday morning the tiller was pulled out so that we could begin tilling the soil for the garden. This tilling took most of the day to get the soil conditioned for planting. After most of the day and a very tired husband the soil is in good condition to receive our seeds and plants. My son was right in the middle of it all. All that dirt - it was his heaven for the weekend. There was major excavation work being done there in the garden soil. Talk about dirt in motion. This kid and dirt go together like two peas in a pod. He has always loved playing in the dirt. I have always enjoyed watching him play in it. Getting dirty from head to toe and loving it. Nothing that a little bit of water won't clean up. We increased the size of our garden area by three times what we have had in years past. Can not wait to see this area with things growing in it. Can not wait to start harvesting the fruits and veggies of our labor. I am eager to get our plants and seeds in the ground. I will be working on this through out this next week. Need to rake out some of the weed and grass clods that are in the soil and then the planting begins. Carrots, tomatoes, cabbage, broccoli, cauliflower, chives, onions, garlic, squash, cucumbers, pumpkins, string beans, watermelon, radishes, corn.........I think you get the picture.
Thursday, April 26, 2012
I remember watching my dad when I was a little girl. He was such a hard worker. He worked hard at providing for his family. He worked hard at keeping our chickens and garden doing well and worked hard at working hard. What I remember most is that even though our family sustained ourselves with the fruits and vegetables we grew in the garden and the eggs our chickens gave us my dad always shared. He would deliver a fresh picked bag of vegetables to one neighbor and to another neighbor a basket of eggs, someone else he would take preserves that my mother had canned. He always shared the wealth. We intend on following in this tradition. Giving and sharing. Can't wait for our garden to start producing so that we can start enjoying fresh fruit and vegetables and start stocking our shelves. Even more fun is leaving a bundle of fresh vegetables with the neighbors. Can't wait for our hens to start giving us eggs. We will have plenty and we will most certainly be enjoying these eggs ourselves but we can share with the neighbors as well.
|These are not eggs from our girls. These are store bought eggs.|
Tuesday, April 24, 2012
A very important part of the chicken coop, outside of housing our chickens and keeping them safe is a comfortable operations department. Roosts, nesting boxes and egg collection- the operations department. Give the hens good food, roaming time and a comfortable operations department and they will handle production.
|Some nice roosts.|
|Roosting ladders with nesting boxes to the left.|
|Egg collection doors.|
|All of it put together.|
Monday, April 23, 2012
While we have been focusing on the coop and run other things around here have been being neglected. I have had on my mind the things that need tending. Flower beds weeded and made ready for more flowers, the vegetable garden soil to be tilled and made ready for planting, cleaning up the front and back yards from winter season and the list goes on. Today I made it to the front flower beds and their weeding. Got most of it finished and came across some new life under all of the old leaves and weeds. The flowers have been trying to bloom and the trees have been trying to get their leaves open with a small amount of success up until this weekend. Over the weekend we had unseasonably warm temperatures in the 80's. That's summer time temps for us. So while we were being hot going from low 70 degree temps to mid 80's overnight our trees and flowers were growing and loving the warm temps and sunshine. There has been an explosion of new life around our homestead! Bugs included.
Sunday, April 22, 2012
Thought I'd share a photo of the completed coop and run. All the building is now done. This is where our girls will reside for the remainder of their time with us. I figure they will be providing us with eggs, this coop and run and some time free ranging in the backyard is the least we can do. We will be adding some trees and flowers and little lanterns and trinkets on the barn and fence in time. But this is it. The Coop complete.
Saturday, April 21, 2012
Tonight I am a nervous mama. Our oldest girls, the Buff Orpingtons will be spending their first night in the coop tonight. They spent the day outside. It was a beautiful day. Nice and warm, blue skies and sunshine. The girls are just about 6 weeks old now and the temperatures are right for them to spend their first night in their coop. They are pretty big and the brooder seems so small. They are so much happier in their coop. The doors and windows are locked up tight with the girls snuggled together in a nesting box. I am still nervous.
Wednesday, April 18, 2012
I have been reading over all of the listings that I can find about chicken breeds. I knew that there were several but I didn't realize that several was as much as it was. My reading started off with the chickens that would start our flock. Docile, friendly, sweet, good egg layer, cold hearty. All of these things were what we were looking for. There are some very cool breeds that encompasse these features. Buff Orpington, Light Brahma, Black Australorp and Welsummers are the breeds we chose to start our flock. There are so many others as well but these were the breeds that we were able to get at our local feed store. I would like to try them all but I don't have enough room for that. So far out of the chickens we have we all have a favorite. Mine are the Light Brahmas. They are so sweet and very smart. They like to cuddle in when you hold them as well. My son really enjoys our Buff Orpingtons. They are very curious about everything around them and like to purch on his arm or sit on his leg. My husband really likes the Welsummers. They are the little athletes out of the group and very smart and quick but will settle down and snuggle for a few moments too. I really love the Black Autralorps too. They are the quiet ones and seem to be the observers. All of these birds very much like to be around us and start to peeping when we come and see them. What are your favorite breeds? Do you have a breed that you wish you had? A breed that your flock will never be with out?
Sunday, April 15, 2012
Saturday was a busy day. A great day to be outside and get stuff done and enjoy doing it. Lots of warm sunshine. My husband couldn't wait to get the girls outside to the run. He wanted to watch them scratch while he drank his coffee. Our neighbors came over and we enjoyed the rest of our coffee by the coop with them. A great way to start the day.
I went ahead and got to work finishing the inside of the coop adding the feeder and waterer. Then moved outside to finish up nailing the rest of the livestock wire to the wooden fence pickets. In the process of this I managed to smash the heck out of my thumb with the hammer. Not once but twice. Yes two times! Let me just say that the second time hurt way more then the first. I hate it when I do that.
Later in the afternoon we took a break and went to a friends house to collect some more reclaimed wood. We used some of it for making a trellis to tie the raspberries to. Some of it, the wood not good for anything, we burned in the fire pit and the rest we hope to use for our sons tree house and other small projects that come up.
The birds got to be outside in their run all day, we got the raspberries tied and they look so much better now, some of the garden area got cleaned up and at the end of the day we sat around the fire pit and enjoyed the warmth from the fire and watched the sun set and the chicks scratch in the run. A great day.
Thursday, April 12, 2012
Thought it would be fun to post a few comparison photos of the peeps. Not only are they all very different but they are spread out in age too. So here goes for comparing.
|This picture shows the Light Brahma peeps. They are 1 week and 4 days old. Still covered in fluff except for their wings and a few feathers coming in on their tails. They are about as big as a tennis ball.|
Wednesday, April 11, 2012
Over spring break we had some pretty crazy weather but we had enough good weather to complete adding a secondary fence around the coop and run. This secondary fence was not in the plans for the coop and run but it soon became obvious that one would be needed. Our lab who is just as sweet as can be when it comes to his people and his buddy the boxer is not so tolerant of the cats, who mind their business to stay out of the backyard, and most definitely not tolerant of the birds, especially chickens in his yard. On a particularly warm afternoon we brought out the Buff Orpingtons from their brooder and set them in their new run so they could enjoy it. Our lab was very interested in the little peeps. The kind of interest that is a lot overboard. We kept a close eye on him but I imagined that if he wanted to bad enough he would find a way into that run and that would be the end of our little peeps. Not to mention when having the coop door open to clean I would have a get-the-chicken-crazed dog hot on my heels. To be safe it seemed like the best thing to do would be to add another fence that enclosed the whole coop and run. So that is what we did. We were able to build the fence out of the rest of the reclaimed wood that we had left in the pile in the garden. The only cost was some livestock fence that we attached to the pickets to dog proof the area.. I was pretty happy about that. I can still see the run and my girls from my kitchen window and the girls will be safe.
Friday, April 6, 2012
I promised my son that if he wanted we would pick up a few more chicks over spring break. He was up for that. So at weeks end we finally made our way to the other feed store to collect the peeps. I am glad that we waited. We were able to find some Black Australorps and Welsummer chicks. The Australorps have been the first choice all along but couldn't find any until today and the Welsummers were so different looking and just so dang cute that we picked some of those up too.
Do I feel like I am addicted to chicks? You betcha! I must stop here and buy no more. This could become a very serious problem. I will have no problem finding uses for all these eggs either by cooking or baking with them (my guys love eggs) but I also intend on sharing the wealth as well. If I continue to bring home chicks I will run into trouble. I will run out of space and spend a small fortune in feed. So as much as I would love to continue with this addiction I must call it quits. At least for now.
Wednesday, April 4, 2012
I must brag on my Dear Sweet Husband. Today I woke up with a runny allergy nose and feeling like a Crabby Pattie. I just didn't feel much like making dinner this afternoon. I was trying but nothing was coming to me. I give the husband a call, we talk and then I whine, yes "whine" about feeling not so great and feeling somewhat crabby. So, he being my wonderful guy says "Don't worry about it. I'll figure something out". He comes up with Penne pasta in white sauce with clams and crab meat with Romano cheese and garlic sprinkled over the top. Mind you this is after he has been bustin his chops all day long at work! This is me being spoiled over here! Just what I needed. Some yummy eats that I didn't cook. Oh, I have to add that my husband loves to cook and is quite good at it. So yes I am one lucky gal and I am so spoiled.
Tuesday, April 3, 2012
What an absolutely glorious day today. Today was the day I have been waiting for all winter long. The sky was blue. A deep clear blue with perfect wispy clouds moving across it creating shadows on the ground. There was a slight cool breeze and warm rays from the sun. Perfect for soaking up all the warmth and vitamin D into every pore of my skin. My skin even feels like it was in the sun today. It was so warm that there was no need for a jacket and my son put on a pair of shorts. We even got out our toesies. Boy does the earth feel good underneath bare feet.
It was a busy day today. Had a walk down by the creek this morning collecting branches to use in our chicken run for roosts. The creek is full and moving fast. It will be interesting to see how the creek bed has been changed from the rushing water. The creek bed is a little different every summer after the spring waters go down. It was so beautiful today that we brought the peeps out and put them in the run. All of them. They loved it! Lots of scratching, pecking, looking and dirt bathing. The peeps really enjoyed themselves. So did my son and I. It was really fun to watch them.
Monday, April 2, 2012
First official day of Spring Break. There was blue sky and sunshine most of the day. My son and I decided to take advantage of the day and work outside. We worked on the secondary fence for the coop and run. A fence that was never in the plans but turned into a necessity. Needed more space in between the chickens and the dog. The secondary fence creates an outer yard around the coop and run to give extra space to protect the chickens from the dog. Most of the time was spent securing the wire fence to the existing fence boards. (I'll post pictures when it is closer to completion.) The remainder of our time outside this afternoon was spent with the older set of chicks and their first time outside. The chicks stuck real close to my son. They were pretty scared. It's a big world out there when it's your first time. Hopefully tomorrow will be another nice day and we can get them out again. Get them used to their surroundings. Not quite warm enough to have them out too long. Coop is not quite ready for chicks yet either.
In between doing the fence for the coop and run and taking the chicks outside, I was doing trash duty and laundry. On one of my trips out the front door to take out the garbage I noticed the miniature daffodils had opened and were worshiping the sun. So I had to take a few pictures of them to share. We do finally have spring here. Trees are budding, flowers are opening and things are starting to pop up out of the dirt. There is life! Now it's time to get my rear in gear and get the flower beds cleaned out and the rest of the reclaimed wood moved from the vegetable garden area to it's place in the backyard. It will soon be time to plant the garden.