Saturday, September 13, 2014

Scrappy and Bold

 This is Scrappy (named so because she is the smallest, yet most brazen of all our hens).  
 She is one our newest additions, just over 5 months old.  

Scrappy is half the size of our other hens that are the same age.  She is a tiny brown leghorn hen, light weight and quite flighty.  These physical characteristics, along with her boldness, allow her to escape the coop every morning.  She wanders freely around the yard while the other hens helplessly remain in their prison, waiting for us to let them out.

Scrappy waits for no-one.

 This week, Scrappy has decided she likes the view from the top of our wooden fence.  She mostly does this when we are outside, but not in the yard.  She has yet to actually fly over the fence to the outside, she just likes to perch on top and then fly back in to the yard when she is done surveying.

  Today, I was standing in the driveway talking to hubby.  A flutter and a chuckle and there was Scrappy, sitting on the fence eavesdropping on our conversation.  As scrappy as she is and seemingly wary of our presence (no hope of catching this girl!) she doesn't seem to want to miss out on any of the happenings around here.  

She is a sneaky little chick, always creeping up behind you when you least expect it...don't call me surprised when she starts perching on the window sill and peeking in the windows!  

Thursday, May 15, 2014

Training tomatoes and teenagers

We are continuing to make great progress around here at the homestead and it feels great to get some major projects finished!  I am hoping to give an update soon on some of our progress.  For today...tomatoes and teenagers!

The garden is off to a great start this year.  Most years, after planting the garden, I forget about stuff for a few weeks while the seeds get started.  Then the weeds and the tomatoes get unruly!  So this year, I have convinced myself that I am going to be diligent about keeping the weeds under control.  I have also been working on training the tomatoes around stakes and in their cages.  Past crops have never been pruned or really managed, but we always got great yield, albeit unpredictable from year to year.  After some research, I have figured out how to prune both our indeterminate and determinate tomatoes to get the best yield and to keep the crazy plants out of control.  Training tomatoes...let's hope it works. 

Oh and we have teenagers...our chicks are not babies anymore!  They have been exploring the outdoor world in their run and it is quite amusing watching their curiosity bloom.  I still haven't given them all names yet, but we are getting there!  

I think I am going to call this one "Snoopy", she has her beak in everything!

This is "Scrappy" because from the get go she was the smallest, but the bravest!

Hubby made a seed growing frame for the chicken pen.  We have an Omega 3 greens seed blend and I planted it in the chick run.  Placing the frame over the seeds allows the seedlings to grow tall enough without allowing the chicks to mow it down!  It works great and the chicks love foraging on the top of the screen.  In a few days I will remove the frame and let them mow it down, then we will start over!  This gives the chicks some forage material while they continue to grow, until they are able to venture in to the yard!

Our other teenager, Gibson, is giving us quite the run around, keeping us busy and on our toes.  He is a joy to have around, but a lot of work.  Checking on the chickens is the favorite part of his day.  He does well with the adult chickens but is having a hard time adjusting to the chicks, they are so exciting!  He is learning to watch calmly and seems to understand the chicks are off limits but they are JUST SO FUN!

"Aw mom, can't I just play with one of them?"

 "oh, I am so bored with this...."

Next time: sheds, trees, jeeps and sandboxes!

Saturday, March 29, 2014

Our Latitude and Longitude

Onward with our year of projects...
I saw this post on Pinterest last year and I loved the idea of displaying the latitude and longitude, of a special location, in our home.
This picture originated from this Esty shop.

It seemed pretty easy to make..choose a latitude and longitude, find a piece of wood, get the wooden numbers/letters, glue on, hang up and tada, there you have it!  Right? 

Well, finding the piece of wood proved to be more challenging than I thought.  I started looking last year when I first saw this post, but then got sidetracked and put this project aside.  A few weeks ago, I decided it was time to get this done!  I kept seeing it on my Pinterest board, mocking me!  

There is an awesome ReUse Warehouse (not the Habitat for Humanity one) in our city.  This warehouse specializes in reclaimed barn wood, windows, doors, etc.  A few weeks ago, Hubby and I went and we found the perfect piece of wood, salvaged from an ancient farmhouse. 
I brought it home, cleaned it up and set out to find the numbers.  We decided to use the latitude and longitude of where we got married.  We felt that place was the most special since it marked the beginning of our lives together.  Finding the numbers the right size was really difficult.  The standard numbers at the craft stores were either too big or too small (too hot or too cold, just not right!).
I thought I was going to have to paint the numbers on, until I found this awesome company online called CraftCuts.  They have all different fonts to choose from and you can custom order your sizes.  They were also super helpful with figuring out the right size for the piece of wood I was using.  The numbers came in a few days! 

I painted the numbers, and then used heavy duty wood glue to glue them to the backing piece.  We just hung it up today and I love it! 

 Oh, and sorry for not showing the entire thing, I would like to keep the exact location, shall we say, a mystery, since it is on the property of a relative!

So, one more project down...only a billion or so to go!  But I am so happy to put this on my "done" list.  What latitude and longitude would you choose?

Saturday, March 22, 2014

Is it a sign?

I told ya'll 2014 was going to be the year of projects and I am happy to report we are off to a great start!  Is this a sign that we might get everything on our list accomplished?

First, we decided over the winter to expand the chicken pen and make it easier to raise chicks.  We have a brooder house, but we had no way to allow the little ones outside, protected, until they could join the rest of the flock.  Our pen also needed to be bigger.  The girls have to spend more time penned up these days.  This may or may not have to do with this guy....

Anyway, we decided since the garden was not being used this winter, and is conveniently fenced in, that it would make a good home for the girls while we changed their pen.  I say we, but really Hubby did all the work, I just did the supervisin'  

I am so happy with the final result.  So far it has worked beautifully and I think it will be so much easier to raise chicks this Spring!

Here is the entire pen, on the left the main pen and door, on the right the biddy pen and door.

The girls were actually out in the yard when I took this picture, but they always come to they modeled the food/water/outdoor shelter station for me!

 This is the brooder house side.  At the moment it is totally closed off, but we are putting in a chicken door between the two runs, so after the biddies are integrated in to the flock, they will have the entire run!

Brooder house door and pen.

My favorite part!  I have been wanting to spruce up our yard and garden with non-vegetative things.  I thought the girls could use a little humor in their lives.   
I did paint this myself, but I did not come up with this saying, I saw it on Pinterest!

This chick says..."you better believe the sign lady!"

I am so excited to have the chicken coop completed.   Along with building the new space, we also lined the bottom of the pen with crushed granite we had leftover from another project.  This is so much easier to clean and the girls feet stay healthier.  We also have some suet feeders and ropes for hanging heads of cabbage (chicken tether ball anyone?) to keep the girls occupied when they have to be penned up.  I still want to work around the outside, doing some landscaping and making paths, but that will have to come a little later.  Oh, and I would show you the inside of the chicken house itself, we did a little rearranging, but the ladies were not prepared for maybe next time!  

Saturday, March 1, 2014

The Year of Projects

Hubby and I have determined that 2014 is officially going to be the year of projects.  There are so many projects (big and small) around here that need to get done and we are motivated, which is a recipe for actually completing things! 

Some of the things we want to accomplish this year....building a trellis for our newly planted grapevines, preparing a second garden spot, removing a few trees, making the fence gate larger, building a dry creek bed, installing a second garden shed, raising new chicks (yay!)..and the list goes on and on.  Some of the smaller projects I will be tackling, like making frames to grow food for the chickens and sprucing up our garden/yard by giving some of our pots a much needed make over.  

The first project I completed this year was a new clothes hamper.  Our laundry room is tiny so our clothes hamper has to reside in the bedroom.  Finding a hamper that is both functional and attractive proved difficult.  So, Hubby and I decided to make one ourselves. 

Hubby made the frame using a simple "X" style and finished the wood with tung oil.  You can find similar plans on here.
I searched high and low for fabric that would go well in our room without an overpowering pattern.  I found this flower pattern as an accent and liner and used canvas for the bottom.  I used the guidelines from this tutorial to get the measurements for the bags.

Then I finished it using buttons and snaps to hold the bags on the dowel rods.  

 I have to say, I was quite surprised that this came together so easily.  The two bags are HUGE, so with just the two of us we wont have to worry about it overflowing and dirty laundry is fashionably stored!  I was sure I would have measured something wrong and ended up with wonky bags, but it turned out OK!  If every project we do this year has a similar outcome we will be quite lucky!  

What projects do you have planned for 2014?