Friday, July 18, 2014

Smack Dab In The Middle Of Summer

By date and how the seasons go here in the Pacific Northwest we are smack dab in the middle of summer. We have blue skies and hot temperatures. Perfect for drying the wheat out and that's about it. For the past week we've had to resort to turning the air conditioner on in the middle of the day and doing all the outside chores as quick as possible in the morning before the heat sets in. Some days it seems that is a losing battle. A little sweat never hurt anyone, right?. I take these days in stride and my son and I spend a lot of time at the creek. The water is quite cool still and very refreshing. Soon the weather will turn and we will have blowing snow and below 0 temps. (I'm not a big fan of that.)  The area farmers are just days away from putting harvest into full swing and high gear. Doing as much as we can to soak up as much summer time as possible and tuck it away to pull out and savor later in the year.                                                                                          
Wheat is just about ready.

Cool water at the creek.

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

June/July Update-Time Got Away From Me

I had so many photos that I wanted to share that I paired them down and decided to post them in two different sets. I can't believe it was April when I was here last (before yesterdays post). I guess looking back we have done all sorts of things since then. It just doesn't seem like it has been that long. So here goes. A photo update on the happenings around here in June and July.                    
Where the wheat meets the vineyards. (Last weekend in May)

Visited the Lavender Farm in early June with my sis.

Summer time thunder storms and glowing wheat. Beginning of June.

Beautiful peaches that my sister brought for me all the way from California.

Beginning of July thunder storms moving in.

                       Our raspberry vines blessing us with wonderful berries end of June beginning of July.                                                                                                                                                                                                                     That is it in a nut shell. A small one but enough for you to get the idea. Now for posting more regularly then once every 3 months.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                   

Monday, July 14, 2014

April/May Update - Time Got Away From Me

I find myself rather surprised at the time that has flown by since I was here last. April!!! Really, has it been that long? My gosh. A quick run down in photos of the things we've been up to around here is in order.                                                                                                                    
Early April had us with snow in the mountains and some heavy rain in the valley.

Another storm in mid April blowing in over the hill tops for the night.

Fields ready for planting by the end of April.

May's snow melt has all the rivers and creeks swollen.

Progress on my nieces quilt, finished by mid May to give to her as a gift for her birthday.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                       **Stop on by tomorrow for the rest of the photo update for June and July!!

Friday, April 4, 2014

Liebster Award Nominee

Liebster Award. It is an award given to up and coming bloggers with less then 200 followers. Leibster is German for favorite. So you could say that this is the Favorite Blog Award. In being nominated or receiving the award you are given 11 questions that you are to answer, you are to give 11 random facts about yourself, nominate 11 other deserving blogs, let them know you nominated them for the award and ask them 11 questions. You should also acknowledge the blogger who nominated you for the award.
I am honored to have been nominated for this award. I was nominated by Linn Acres Farm. You can find them at Here are my 11 questions to answer.                                                                                                                                                                                                                             
1. Where are you from?    We reside in the rolling wheat fields and fertile wine country of Southeastern Washington in Small Town USA. When I tell people where we live I say it this way because it is easier to grasp our location by this description because it seems that no one has ever heard of the small town we live outside of let alone has any one ever heard of the small township we reside in, I get more understanding from people by telling them our geographical location.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                             2. Favorite food or recipe?    Raspberries fresh off the vine, still warm from the afternoon sun, I would say is my favorite food. I can't say that I have a favorite recipe. I kind of add-lib as I go in all of my cooking and baking.

3. Do I prefer summer or winter?    I am a summer lover. I love the sun and the warmth that the summer temps bring with them.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                   4.  Why did I start blogging?    I have always liked to write but could never find the time. When we started the idea of the homestead and everything that came with it I thought it would be neat to chronicle the events. I liked the idea of the blog over doing a hand written journal. So that is when the blog became.                                                                                                                                                                 5. Is there anything I'd like to change in my life?    Speaking in the moment no. But taking a look back there are things that, with the knowledge I have now I would have done differently. But wouldn't we all. Our life is good here and we are very blessed.                                                                                                                             6. What is the favorite holiday?    Ours here is the 4th of July.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                7. What is my favorite thing to do with my free time?    Free time. There isn't a lot of free time around here. More like free moments. But what I love to do most with that time is to create. I am an artist through and through and look at everything through the eyes of an artist. So any form of creating is how I like to spend those ever so precious free moments.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      8. Daily routine?    I suppose I do. The same things happen for the most part each day around the same time. But as for following a list, no. Sometimes days are different. Things happen and not the same things are done everyday at the same time.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                           9. Do you have any pets and what are their names?    We do have pets. A good handful of them. We have several fish - none of them have names. We have 14 clucks. Only some of them have names. Our one rooster, Little Bit. (He isn't all that small either), Our older set of hens all have names, the Buff Orpington, Lucky, the trio of Light Brahma's we call the Dixie Chicks, our Black Australorp is RB and our older Welsummer hen is Althea. Only the ee rooster and the ee hen in our group of newer clucks are named. The ee hen is Chong Win. We have four cats. A 19 year old tabby Lola, our 6 year old male Maine Coon is Barthalmeow, we call him Bat for short and he is quite the character. We have a set of twins, brother and sister tabby barn cats. The male is James, the female is Zooey. Last but not least, the two dogs. Our big lab Luke who is our constant companion and our little Boston Terrier Josie who is our little baby girl.                                                                                                                                                                       10. One of my favorite books?    That's a tough one. I love to read and have lots of favorites. Does an author count? Elizabeth Peters is my favorite author. I know I can count on her for a good read.                                                                                                                                                                                                11. What would I do if I suddenly won the lottery?    I'd have to sit on the money for awhile. Let it sink in for a bit. But I think I might go on a fabric and yarn buying frenzy. Make sure to secure a home in a place that is warm in the winter time and have the husband "retire". Then we would most likely travel. (go back to our rubber tramping roots.)                                                                                                                  Eleven random facts: 
1. We have a library.  2. I am a self proclaimed artist. 3. I love to bake even though I don't do it often. 4. I love to dig in the dirt. 5. I love how dirt smells. 6. I am computer challenged. 7. I love how books smell. 8. I like how fabric and fiber feels when I work with it. 9.  Thunder storms excite me. 10. Roses and lavender are my favorite flowers. 11. I go barefoot as much as possible.                                                                                                                                                                                             Eleven blogs that I nominate for the Liebster Award. I don't follow too many blogs. Some of them have more then 200 followers and a few do not. Here are the few in no special order.,,                       ,,                              and                                                                                                                                                          Here are the 11 questions for our Nominees                                                                                                                                                                   What is the most favorite thing to do on your homestead/farm?                                                What is your most dreaded chore?                                                                What are five words that best describe you?                                                                Where is your most favorite place?                                                           What was it that started your interest in keeping a blog?                                                      How did your blog get its name?                                                                      When is your favorite time of day?                                                                    What is your greatest achievement?                                        What are some of the things that you have done to become more self reliant?                                                   Any hobbies that you have?                                                        What is your everyday job besides your homestead/farm?                                                                                        

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Almost Two Years

It has been 2 years since we began this journey of our little homestead and the things that come along with it. Along the way we had another journey that seems like a lifetime ago but is ever present in the scheme of things and events here. One that is knit with the basic ideas of the first journey we began but has been ever so life changing. One that we never anticipated that we would be taking. 2012 January. The idea of living simpler, eating healthier and concentrating on a less stressful lifestyle. We were excited to start this journey and live it. May 2012. Husbands Mom became dreadfully ill and we nearly lost her. I watched this take a tole on my husband, all I could do was be there. I couldn't remove the pain or shoulder the experience. Summer 2012. Husband became ill and was down for 3 weeks with an appendicitis -not a burst appendix but one that had been slowly poisoning him for 3 years and had finally culminated in him being septic, surgery to remove his appendix and nearly a month of healing. Again all I could do was watch and be strong. I couldn't lessen the pain. Mean while my Mom-in-law is still very ill. September 2012-we learn that my husband must have emergency surgery in a matter of days-his life depended on it. That was a big chunk to digest. No time to make arrangements - time enough to gather a few things together and travel to the neurosurgeon and his hospital. Thus the life changing event. Again I was the watcher. The watcher of my husband as he went into surgery not knowing if I would see him alive again and if I did what condition he would be in when I saw him next. My son - not only did I have to stay strong I had to keep my thoughts moving forward to anticipate a plan of attack for us -for if I was to be my husbands caregiver, for if it was just my son and I and to look ahead to bringing my husband home well. This is the thought I focused on. I found myself many times in the only place I could find peace and reassurance - on my knees. Here is where my strength was, my courage. Mean while my Mom-in-law is still ill and we still did not know her out come.  
No time for much of anything else or myself. 2014-nearly 2 years later and what seems like a lifetime ago. My Mom-in-law is on the mend and improving daily. Nearly back to herself again. After several adjustments and learning curves for us, we here at 3Beeze are nearly back to what we could call an everyday life. Some things are the same, a lot is different but in a way that knits itself to the original life change we were looking for when we started with the idea of the homestead. So here we are, ready to keep going and keep adjusting so we can continue to live this life.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                       

Friday, March 14, 2014

Something New

The pile of yarn after pulling out what I had been working on.
     Trying something new. I am a quilter by family DNA. It's in the blood. I have always loved knitted items and especially my wool sweaters and cardigans. I have often contemplated the whole knitting thing but that is as far as I have gone with it. Both my Mom and Mom-in-law knit. For my mom it's a once in while thing. She would rather sew. She's the seamstress. Always at her sewing machine. My Mom-in-law does knit often and she turns out some really beautiful stuff. She too is a quilter. My Aunt crochets. Something I would also like to learn but after I get this knitting thing down. As in quilting I love the medium I get to work with. The weight of it, its texture, the gorgeous patterns and colors. I just can't get enough. I love to see it evolve into what it is supposed to be. I have an idea of what I would like to see but what ever piece I am working on has a mind of its own and takes the project in the direction that is meant for it. I suppose I look at all of the projects that I take on in this way. I'd have to say that as long as I follow the direction the project takes me, I have liked the out come. No sense in fighting and going against the grain. Go with the flow and everything turns out the way it was meant to.

A new start.

Saturday, March 8, 2014


     I have been trying to post something every Friday. Mostly I manage except recently. The only thing different about these Fridays is that I have not made it here to the blog to post or to our facebook page, is that these are the Fridays that my son has had a day off from school and the days prior to that day off are busy with trying to get the things done that I usually do on Friday so that my son and I can have a day together doing mom and son stuff instead house and yard chores. I also feel on these days that my attention and time need to be given to him and not to the cyber world. Now don't get me wrong. I love to write and look forward to it and that is one of my main reasons for starting this blog. Secondly I enjoy sharing my thoughts and the goings on around here. Thirdly and this is the part I consider a bonus, the part that I didn't take into account when I started this blog and our facebook page as well as the pinterest page was the new friends that were made through these pages. I look forward to sharing with all of you and your comments, thoughts, advice and opinions. But I also think that being "unplugged" and spending time with my son and husband and even some "unplugged" time for myself is very important and healthy too. 
A hiking day and country drive. Being "unplugged".

Friday, February 14, 2014

Chicken Talk

So you've made the decision to get chickens. You've secured a place for them to call home, the next step is to bring some home. Some folks may decide to bring home hens already laying and skip the chick process. But I think most people decide to bring home chicks. Those oh-so-cute little balls of fluff. You could order them from a hatchery and have them shipped to you or you could wait until your local farm supply brings in their spring supply of chicks. This is what we have done. We wait until the end of February. That is when the first shipments of these sweet little chicks begin arriving. There is a new shipment each week through the month of May for us at our farm supply. Many different breeds.  Now here you are looking at these little chicks sold as pullets and straight run. If you are a first-timer then you might be thinking what on earth does that mean? Is a straight run like a home run? And what is a pullet? These terms are chicken talk. A straight run is the term given to a group of chicks that have not been sexed. In this group of chicks are both male and female. No body knows what they may end up with. If you were to bring 5 of these little chicks home from a straight run group of chicks you will end up with some little soon-to-be roosters. Most likely more of those little chicks will be roosters then future egg layers. Usually these are less expensive as well. Now if you want egg layers this is where the term pullet comes in. These little chicks have been sexed. The term pullet refers to the female chick or egg layer. (Keep in mind there is a 10% chance that in the 5 or so pullets you bring home, you may end up with 1 of these pullets being a rooster.) In the total group of chicks that we have purchased as pullets 3 out of 19 of the chicks (pullets) ended up being roosters. This is also over two seasons of purchasing. Our first season we purchased 11 pullets and 2 ended up being roosters and in the second season we purchased 8 pullets with 1 of these ending up being a rooster. If you have large open space for your pullets, soon to be full grown chickens, a rooster or two would be ok. You should have a minimum of 10 hens per rooster as a general rule. We have a rooster here and kept him with our hens but over time we have decided that it is better for our hens to keep the rooster in his own space. If it is eggs you want then you should be looking to purchase pullets. You spend a bit more but in the end it is worth it.

Friday, February 7, 2014


     Here we are in February already. Month 2 of this year well on it's way to being history. Man, why does time seem to go by so fast? Seems the older we get the faster time goes. Do you remember as a kid how time couldn't move fast enough. How it seemed to stand still at times. But now you blink and you've missed something. The school year nearly half over and the prospect of junior high for my son after summer-which never lasts long enough and goes by way too fast. Another year older, moving closer to an age that seemed unattainable when I was younger -shoot even now seems that way. How did this happen? I certainly thought I would have it together by now. Maybe I do a little more so then I did when I was say, 20 but geez I sure don't have things all figured out. I'm still learning and gaining wisdom everyday. I look at things a lot differently then I used to - but that's because of the experiences life has thrown at me over time. You live and learn. Shame on you if you don't live. One time through is all you get. That's why I wish time wouldn't move so quickly. I'd like to savor the good times a little longer. I guess that is where you finally come to when reach the plateau of life when you have lived enough years to actually have a small bit of that so hard to obtain wisdom. When you are smart enough to learn from your mistakes and you aren't afraid to live life. Some folks never realize that part of living life until it's too late. Until that point in time when too much time has passed them by. So in the ever increasing passage of time one must reach the point at when it's time to slow down and notice the details, see the small things, smell the coffee, sit and be still for a moment or two or three or more, study your children and tuck away in your heart all of the sweet things about them when they are small but even more so those special qualities about them that make them who they are as they grow up. Hug them and continue to do so as they grow into adults. Take a moment to tell someone they are cherished and how much you love them. Before you know it, in the blink of an eye, time has gone by so quickly.  

Friday, January 31, 2014

Contemplating Clucks

     Looking back a few years, it was this time of year that our thoughts turned serious about bringing chickens home. We were sure we wanted to add them to our family and looked forward to their egg gifts. But first things first, we had to make a secure place to house them in. We decided to construct our little coop and run from reclaimed wood that we happened to have. We could have also used new wood from the lumber yard or home improvement store but for us it was nice that we were able to reuse some old wood. But one could also use an old garden shed or a new one, an existing out building that could easily be converted into a coop, or maybe one of those wooden shed kits that are sold at the home improvement store. What ever your choice ends up being make sure you really think about your decision. Where is the location of this coop going to be, will that location allow for a nice size run for your clucks and most importantly is it big enough. Now, due to space and how much you can afford in your finances to dedicate to this coop and run for your clucks has a lot to do with the size of coop you are willing and/or able to choose. For us I absolutely adore the little coop and run that we constructed. But if I had it to do over again, I think I would go a bit bigger. Our coop has a 4 x 8 foot print and our run is 8 x 12. I would do an 8 X 8 coop and 16 x 20 run if I had it to do over again. One reason is quite simply this, chickens are addicting. So are their eggs. But another important reason is that you need to have enough space so that each spring you can add a few more clucks to your flock. Why? There are several reasons. Sometimes clucks die. Just like that. No apparent reason. Or there are predators that you can loose your clucks to. But if you had none of that to worry about you would want to add a few more clucks each year for egg production purposes. When you bring your new little peeps home they won't be laying for a good 4 to 6 months depending on the breed. Once they start laying they will lay well for 2 to 3 years and then the amount of eggs they lay will decline. So if you add a few clucks each year, your egg numbers will continue to remain strong. I love knowing that the eggs we eat are coming from our very own, very spoiled clucks.                                                                                                                        


Friday, January 24, 2014

Square Foot Real Estate

Square footage. That's some touchy real estate. I think if we all had a choice we would have as much as we could possibly get our hands on. But for most of us that just isn't the case. If you have the space and the funds and are contemplating chickens or a new coop and run build it bigger then you think you will need. You will use the space. I wish we would have built our sweet coop double the size it is. Cause guess what? We want more clucks. We have been able to add a few each year and will be able to add a few more this year but then that's it. We'll be done with adding clucks to the space we have for them. You see it all hinges on the square footage. A bigger space for the clucks is always better. Our hens have a nice size run and spend most of their time there. Using the coop to lay eggs and sleep. We also give them time out of the run out in the back yard. Allowing us to have a few more clucks then if we kept them cooped up all the time. If the clucks will be spending all of their time inside the coop, then in my opinion it would be best to have a minimum of 4 to 5 sq ft per bird. But have a look at what 4 sq ft really looks like and you will see it's not much space at all - so more space is better. If you have an enclosed run space along with your coop then a minimum of 8 to 10 sq ft outside per each bird. But again that just isn't that much space and if you can go bigger then by all means do so. Taking into consideration your own unique location and situation for your clucks and how many you think you would like to have, key word being think, because once you have clucks you will inevitably want more. Rethink what size coop and run you can build or accommodate because this will determine the number of clucks you will be able to have.                                                                                

Friday, January 17, 2014

Counting Eggs

Counting eggs. Looking at internet sites that have lists of chicken breeds, somewhere in the description of the chicken you may find a listing of how many eggs that particular chicken is projected to lay either per year or by the week. For some one like me, I have to do the math. It's just how I'm wired. So for instance you might come across the Australorp who is projected to lay 260 eggs in one year. Now by chicken standards that's a bunch, since most chickens lay about 3 eggs per week. Divide that 260 eggs by 52 weeks and you end up with 5 eggs per week. So, if you were to know the amount of projected eggs each of your hens was expected to lay, you could find out how many eggs you could be expecting each day from your flock. Keeping in mind these numbers are based using the first 2 most productive egg laying years of the chicken. After 2 years the amount of eggs the chicken lays in a year goes down. Using the hens we have in our flock as an example, we'll do the math to find out how many eggs we can look for each day from our hens.
1 Buff Orpington - 3 eggs per week      3 x 1 = 3 eggs
1 Black Australorp - 5 eggs per week   5 x 1 = 5 eggs
1 Easter Egger - 4 eggs per week          4 x 1 = 4 eggs
3 Light Brahma - 3 eggs each per week  3 x 3 = 9 eggs
3 Cochin - 2 eggs each per week           2 x 3 = 6 eggs
4 Welsummer - 4 eggs each per week      4 x 4 = 16 eggs
 Our total number of eggs per week is 43 eggs.
Divide 43 eggs by 7 days and this will give you the amount of eggs you could expect to see from your hens each day. 43/7 = 6.14. Round this number down to 6. (Chickens are not going to lay a part of an egg. It's all or nothing.) 
Keep in mind also that there are factors that will lower the amount of eggs your hens may give you. Heat, cold, shorter days, diet, water, parasites, broody-ness and molting are some triggers that will make the hens lay less or not at all. Most of which, can be managed.
So, this is counting eggs. Or egg math. How ever you want to look at it. 

Monday, January 13, 2014

The Breeds of Chickens We Have

Buff Orpington. Lays 3 light brown eggs per week.
This is our one Orpington that we have. She is always friendly and very curious. First to come over and investigate what we are doing or come up and say hello. She seems to get along well with the other hens and does fine whether or not she is confined to the coop and run or out in the yard foraging. Her eggs are a medium size, fat oval, light brown egg.
Black Australorp. Lays 4/5 brown eggs per week.
We have only one Black Australorp as well. She stays to the hens. She isn't interested in being handled and stays back or away from us when we are in the coop and run. She doesn't seem afraid or flighty but isn't interested in mingling with us humans. She seems to get along well with the group but every now and then she will get after one of the other hens and peck at them or run at them. It is always short lived and never amounts to anything. She does well confined to the coop and run as well as out in the yard. This one lays a medium size brown egg.
Top brown hen is a Welsummer. Lays 4 dark brown or speckled brown eggs a week. Bottom white and black hen is a Light Brahma. Lays about 3 light brown eggs per week.
The Welsummers are a more active hen. They seem to be leaner and lighter in their build. We have one that is a year and half and she is very curious and friendly. We have 3 that are about 8 months old and they too are very active. They would rather be left alone by advances from us humans but will not hesitate to come and gather around us when we are being still. They do well in the coop and run but when let out to forage in the yard one can see this is where they enjoy being most. They can fly for 10 feet or so, about 3 feet off of the ground. Our year and half old hen lays large very dark brown eggs. The 3 young hens lay smaller speckled brown eggs. Their eggs are darker then your typical brown egg covered with darker speckles.      
The Light Brahma hens are a sweet bunch of hens. We have 3 of them. They are very calm and quiet and eager to be near us. One of them went broodie on us this last summer. Even for her broodie-ness she was never mean and never pecked at us when it came time to collect the eggs from under her. These hens have done well confined to the coop and run but also do great when let out into the yard. They like to run and stretch their legs. Being a heavier chicken that is about all they can do. These hens have laid large and medium size light brown eggs.
Blue Cochin. Lays 2/3 brown eggs per week.
We have 3 Cochin hens in our little flock. These are very sweet and gentle birds. They seem to be very comfortable being confined to the coop and run. When we let out the chickens into the yard the Cochin are the last to come out. They are actually a smaller framed bird. With lots of extra downy feathers and their feathered legs and feet they seem larger then they really are. They lay small brown eggs.
Easter Egger. Lays about 4 mint green/light blue eggs per week.
The only EE hen that we have in our flock. She is friendly and a fun bird to have. She is so curious. She contemplates everything she looks at. Quite the little thinker. She is one you will find up on the fence or up on top of the run. She is all girl and very expressive with her fluffy cheek feathers. She likes to play and will try to get the other hens to play with her. She is fine in the coop and run but would rather be out in the yard foraging. She lays a medium light minty green egg. Sometimes her eggs look pale blue.

Saturday, January 11, 2014

Happy Chickens Lay More Eggs

Chickens and egg laying. Seems to be a basic concept. Chickens lay eggs. But happy chickens lay more eggs. This is a crazy notion but we think it's true here. Having a before and after peek into the lives our chickens you can draw your own conclusion.  
Before: We acquired a rooster in a batch of pullets that we purchased in Spring. By the end of summer this roo was big enough to start acting the part of a Rooster. Around September. Here is when we noticed a slight drop in egg production from the lady clucks. Then came the onset of the cooler temps of fall and shorter daylight hours. Loss of more eggs. The end of November brought deep negative temps and snow prompting us to put a cover over the run making it dark inside the run. Next to no eggs being laid. 1 to 2 a week from 13 hens.

After: Removal of part of the cover over the run making it much lighter. Addition of a well secured heat lamp for those cold, cold days and nights. Removal of the Rooster to his own space away from the lady clucks. Different brand of layer feed and an increase in the scratch that the clucks are getting. A week later after the lady clucks adjusted to the changes we are now receiving 3 to 5 eggs a day.                                                          We think our hens are much happier after the changes we made and they are showing us their happy-
ness in the quantity of eggs that they are laying.

Friday, January 10, 2014

Making Changes

Last weekend we had some pretty good weather. That is weather that wasn't freezing you to death and biting at every patch of uncovered skin. So we took advantage of these warmer temps (mid 30's just above the freezing mark) and cleaned the coop and run and made some changes and additions to the clucks coop and run. We got in and cleaned the coop. Removing all of the poopy litter and added fresh new litter and doubled the amount we usually add. We then removed some of the covering that was over the run to keep it dry. The covering made the whole run area dark. We all know how much chickens love and need the light. A night and day change for the run to say the least and the clucks seemed so much happier. We added a heat lamp for the night time. The temps up until this week were dipping into the negatives and on warmer nights barely into the teens. We also, after more observation of how the rooster was treating the lady clucks decided it was best for the ladies to remove him from their coop and run and put him in his own space. We changed up the feed and added more scratch to their diet. A week passed by and we still had little to no egg gifts from the clucks but at the beginning of this week -Sunday to be exact we received 3 eggs. Now we were careful in our excitement that maybe the clucks were starting to lay again because on Monday we only received 1 egg. But Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday we were gifted with 5 eggs a day from the ladies. Today we collected a total of 9 eggs!!! Happy clucks lay lots of eggs. Lots of eggs make happy humans.

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

To Heat or Not To Heat

Heating the coop. We have not heated our coop in past winters but this winter we installed a heat lamp. My thought on heating the coop is based on stories my Dad has told me about the coop that he had when he was a boy. He lived smack in the middle of South Dakota and the winters there were not kind. In the midst of blizzards and deep negative temperatures he and my grandparents had chickens for their eggs and meat. Never did they heat the coop. As my Dad tells it, chickens are like little mini heaters. They put off a bit of heat all on their own. Now this doesn't mean that a chicken isn't going to freeze if she was left out in the brutal cold of the dead of winter. What this does mean is that if you are smart about your chicken keeping in the middle of winter the chickens natural body heat will enable them to keep warm.  If you had only a few birds you might want to add a heat lamp to help them with staying warm. A few chickens will put off a little heat but not enough in the bitter cold temps to keep them warm. The more birds, the more heat they create. We have a group of 13 clucks and by their numbers should really be able to stay warm enough on their own without the need of a heat lamp. However they will be using all the energy they have to stay warm, taking away from energy used for laying eggs. In those brutal South Dakota winters my Dad would close up all the chickens in their coop and they would stay warm. He had quite a few chickens, so there was no need for a way to keep them warm. The clucks did it on their own. So for winters sake and staying warm without the use of a heat lamp the old saying "the more the merrier" applies. Or perhaps it should be "the more the warmer." The more chickens there are in a coop the more heat they create. This is all providing you have a draft free coop with deep litter to help insulate the floor from the cold.

Thursday, January 2, 2014


      Tossing around ideas for around here. Lots of them. Not necessarily because it's the new year. But because we as a family have had some good down time these past few weeks for Christmas and New Years. We all had some good time off from work/school and in general being busy. So we were able to talk about our ideas for what we wanted to see done around here.
-Ideas like a walking path from the patio to the clucks coop and then over to the fire pit area.
          -Raising the roof of the clucks run. Our son is nearly as tall as I am now and even he has problems with squatting down to get in the run area to put down the food. Time to raise the roof so the run is more kind to our backs. I think the clucks will like the taller space too. We will be finding some large tree branches to put inside for them to get up on to roost. We will all be much happier.
        -Adding more clucks to our little flock. Husband and Son are both wanting to add some little banty hens to the flock. I would like to add another Easter Egger and a Wyandott or maybe some Faverolle. Not sure but wanting good egg layers. So we'll see what's out there this year in the way of choices from our local farm supply. 
      -We want to plant a garden this year. Since we took last year off. This year something smaller and started from seeds. 
           -I would like to see the porch cover done that Husband has been wanting for several years too. Not sure if we'll manage that but we'll keep it on our list.                -Moving the strawberry patch to a different location.                                       - Planting more trees.       Then there is all the up keep. Trimming up the berry vines, staying up with the
  weeds when the time comes and preparing the garden area to be planted.
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