Sunday, April 30, 2017

Chickens are HERE!

So…this happened, yesterday!

How we transported our hens.  5 to a box!





We are in our BLISS.  

The kids are beside themselves.  Always going out to the coop to see the hens.  They like them even more than they like the chicks.  
Kids learning a bit about chickens.

I am tired!  So tired and bone sore.  I knew that there would be more work...and I love it.  Just taking a moment to appreciate that this work is work!  So much worth it!

I woke up so many times last night thinking about the hens.  Over the years the wooden floor of the coop has rotted away in spots.  I am so nervous that skunks or coyote or a fox is going to dig under the coop and get the chickens!

So I bought a solar powered electric net fence.  I got it set up but I was too tired last night to try to make sense of the instructions.  

Finally, at 5:30, I got out of bed and checked on them.  All was well, thank goodness.

Hopefully, I can get the fence powered before night fall and teach the kids how to turn it off and on again.  Don’t want my littles to feel the force of the electric fence by accident.  

I am sure they will each try it out.

I hope I am around to see it.  

13 here...3 more came before we had lunch.

In 24 hours, our 20 hens, have laid for us 16 eggs!  They also laid one for themselves as evidenced by the empty shell fragments.  The waterer was leaking.  5 gallons slowly spilled out onto the coop floor.  I was frustrated.  The chickens loved it.  Yummy mud.  They make me laugh.

And this is now my life!

I can’t believe it!  God is so good!  

Life is not perfect.  I would love my husband to be home.  I would love some more sun.  I would love the finances to be able to buy a second hand riding mower and a rototiller without freaking out inside.  

But life is so much sweeter because of the heartache.  

We lost a chick, last night.  We don’t know why.  It is what happened.  Nothing that we could have done to make it not die.  It is part of life.

We mourn and we change and we grow.
...fried in bacon!

The eggs were so very tasty!!  I mean, I have never had such fresh eggs!  From the chicken to the table in less than 4 hours.  I hoped they would be noticeably yummier, but I was blown away!  

We ate them all!

They were filling!  

I also hung clothes on the line, today.  Then the clouds blew in and it started to sprinkle.  So I took my clothes down and then...it stopped raining.  

Whatever.


Life is still good.

Friday, April 28, 2017

Chicks!!

Today…this happened!

I can’t believe it.

Truly, it has happened.

I have chicks in my garage.

Took a while to figure out the brooder and get it warm enough.  Finally, 30 minutes before I left to pick up the chicks I had the temp right.
Me dipping beaks into the water dish.
...then letting them go.

There is newspaper on the floor and rubber shelf liner on the newspaper for the floor.  The shelf liner will keep the chicks from getting Spraddle Leg, where they can’t stand up.  When the liner gets covered with poo, I will remove one sheet and put a clean one down.  I’ll hose off the dirty one and let it dry in the sun to kill off any germs.  Then repeat when necessary.

So…here I am.  Thinking about all that has happened in the last few months.  

I wonder…
…and think…
…and I am AMAZED!

Is this really me?  Is this really happening?  It is right in front of me but…it is a dream.  A dream realized, sometimes, can not be appreciated appropriately in the moment. 

Thank Goodness

We need time to grasp the fullness and the awesome that God has done.  Time to also understand the dream that hasn’t been fulfilled, or fulfilled the way you had hoped.  

Plus, we get to re-live the AWESOM of the moment again and again in our thoughts and remembrances.  

And that is completely the best!

I have chicks!!


Eek!! 

Wednesday, April 26, 2017

Glimpse of...Farm Life Noobs

I thought that I would show some of our farm life…so far.  You know…before all my photos are only of chickens.  

About chickens...I messed up my dates.  I don't get to pick them up today.  So sad.  Somehow, I must wait 3 more days.  


I think I may die.
BUT...
The coop is almost done.  It can house chickens, anyway!  More to be done but we are satisfied, for now.  Off to watch a movie with the kids, now, but I leave this with you all.

It's hard to be a farm cat.

They are sprouting!

Not our eggs...yet!

Trying to charge the new solar powered electric fence...to bad the sun hasn't showed itself in two weeks.

Planting!
Hey, look...a door!

Roosts for the girls.

My son taking a momenst break from doing my bidding/helping me.

7 bales of straw will fit in the back of a Honda Odyssey.

Husband bought me this orchid for Christmas.  Survived the move and still blooming!

Tuesday, April 25, 2017

Tomorrow is Chicken Day!

The laying hens arrive tomorrow!

I am so very excited…if you haven’t noticed.

Still more to be done on the coop today. 

Need to figure out the electric fencing sometime, too.

And this the view that greeted me when I woke up this morning.

Still…I’m getting chickens!!  Eek!

Chicken and chick feed has been purchased.
Wood chips and straw…check. *
Oyster shell…check.
Exterior door, yep.
Interior door, yep…but needs tweaking.

All holes pugged, working on it.
Chicken door…shoot, I forgot a chicken door!
Roosts made…not yet.

Tomorrow, eh?
Coffee has been drunk.
Time to get to work!!



*How 
many straw bales fit in the back of a Honda Odyssey? …7,  seven straw bales will fit.

Friday, April 21, 2017

Chicken Count Down!

The countdown continues…

Chickens in 5 days.

I’m not ready!!

I’m more ready than I was…but I am not ready.
Still need to clean up the "chicken yard."

The coop needs more work.  I don’t have any chicken feed for them yet.  I don’t even know what I am going to feed them.  Still need bedding for them.  Nesting boxes, roosts.  A waterer!  

Being more ready than I was is still not being ready…and I am freaking out a bit.  So many hours we have worked.  We have saved so much money retro fitting the granary to be a coop but the hours we have spent!!

So. Much. Time.

Time well spent.  

It is good to work with my hands.  It is good to work with my kids.  It is good to be tired...bone tired...because of all the work.  It is good to rest after I work!  The "rest" is a reward and a time to reflect on all that was done.  Even to reflect on who I am becoming.  I love it! 

And the fresh air is wonderful.  

God sure does know what He is doing.  Which is good, cause I am making it up as I go...hoping and praying that I am in His will.  And doing the best that I can.

Being not ready might even be good for me.  I can only do so much in the time I have. I will do all that I can and then...God has this...He has me and my family.  I won't worry about it.  Sometimes I begin to worry but then I stop because I am so tired that I forget.  Weird.  I think it's the bone tired that makes me forget to worry.  Worry doesn't stop the draft.  Worry won't get the roosts up.  

And...

Chickens.

I can not wait!

Anyway, supper has been eaten and there is still some sun in the sky.  Time to put in a couple more minutes.


Just need to get out of my recliner, first.
 

Thursday, April 20, 2017

Seeds

So, on this strange strange weather day…that started with 3 inches of snow but has turned into almost sun and copious melting, we decided to start some seeds.

A bit late, I know.

But hey, it was snowing this morning.  It’s not like I could put seeds in the ground.  We live in Zone 3!

My little pond.
I love to mix dirt.  I love getting my hands dirty.  
Teaching the children how to get the right mix of “soil” and vermicompost and water.  



It is wonderful to see the kids taking an interest and helping out.  Letting them choose the seed they want to plant.  Letting them fill the little pots with soil and drop in the seed and cover them and water…ever so carefully.

In the garage, I found two heated seed mats!  I have always wanted to buy some but I have never done so.  Couldn’t bring myself to pay for them.  They have been used but when I plugged them in, they work!  I am so excited!  Can’t believe my luck.

There are now way too many tomatoes seeds planted in way too many little pots.  Along with way too many zucchini seeds and not enough flowers…but flowers do not need the supplemental heat, I don’t think.

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Patiently in the Snow

Snow.

I am tired of snow.

I want sun and warmth and green grass and growing things and fire pits and naps in the yard.

Not inches of snow…3 inches so far, this morning.

It is beautiful…and makes me so angry.

I need to clean up the yard and finish the coop.  Burn some more rotted wood.  Finish taking apart the old greenhouse and clean up that area.  Break ground for the garden. Plant seeds.

God patiently teaches me the lessons that I need to learn.  It does not matter what I want.  He makes the plans.  He knows what is best.  I must wait upon Him.

Sigh.  
I want it my way.  
Sigh.

I will wait upon the Lord.  I will wait and read His word and search Him out and learn His way.  

I will also...
              Slow down...
and warm up by the fire, read my book, drink some tea, watch some youtube, and enjoy my family. 

We will rejoice in the Lord always. 


The snow truly is beautiful!  He does good work!

Tuesday, April 18, 2017

Chickens Chickens Chickens

I am not sure if you have noticed or not but I am ridiculously excited to get chickens!!

Seriously, it would be almost embarrassing if I was the type of person who cared about such things. 

    I.
Can. 
Not. 
Wait.

I am getting 20 laying hens on April, 26th.  They will be 13 months old and laying eggs already.  

So.
Excited.

They are Novogen Layers.  
I will be bringing them home in my Mini Van…in cardboard boxes, in my Mini Van.

It will be fun.

We are refurbishing an old granary for a chicken coop.  A temporary chicken coop.  I have plans.  Surprising, right?

AND…

I am getting 75 broilers.  Two days after starting with my layers, I will be bringing home 75 day old chicks!  

I mean, really!  I can hardly contain myself!

Build this brooder for them.  http://www.plamondon.com/wp/build-200-chick-brooder-two-hours-20/  It is going to be wonderful.  Just need to finish the rest of their “enclosure” before they come.  Then I need to think about the type of “tractor” I will be building for them.

STILL need to finish working on the granary-converted-to-chicken-coop I've got going on.  Need to patch the roof and all the holes in the walls and wrap it in plastic, I think.  And add roosts and nesting boxes and buy feed and watering dishes and FEED and figure out the electric fence and cross my fingers that the coyotes don't find us before I get it all worked out.  

There is so very much to do before THE DAY arrives…and the weather seems to not care, AT ALL.  

(Seriously, Weather…that is enough cold and SNOW.  I am sure you have heard from others this year but, it’s April!  Stop snowing and warm up!)



(All pictures are from Pixabay.  I don't have the chickens, yet.)

Saturday, April 15, 2017

A Week in this Place

So much has been happening on The Farm in the last week or so.  

The skunk is STILL at large…tricky little guy.  With all the other “stuff” going on, catching the skunk became less of an emergency.  

The emergency was the barn!  We needed to get it to a state where it wasn’t going to fall on one of the kids…or hubby or I.  OR to a state where we no long felt the draw to hit it with a sledge hammer.  

We also had 7 trees cut down.  Three were very old Poplar trees that were beginning to rot where they stood and would fall on the house if the wind blew them over.  Two were 50 foot tall Sprue trees that grew 10 and 15 feet from the foundation of my house.  They would have taken US out if they fell in a storm.  The last two were smallish (in comparison) Spruce that were in the way of us getting an internet connection.  They HAD to go!!

Public Service Announcement :
Planting a tree needs some thought, people.  60 years from now, what is that tree going to look like?  Will it cause safety issues?  And for goodness sake, plant trees that flower!  And label them…I’m not very good at telling trees apart.  

And now…my yard is such a mess!  I don’t even know where to begin!  The kids cleared off the parking area so at least we can drive up close to the house to unload groceries.  I am very glad the Hubby will be away for a few more days so we can get this looking less like a battle field and more like the park setting it was when he left.  

We certainly have some wood, now.  It will take some time to dry and cure but then we should have wood for days and days.  Guessing at 2.5 to 3 cords.  Not bad at all.

Going to to sell some barn wood and use some to refurbish the old granary into a chicken coop…they are coming sooner than later!  Also, plenty of nice beams in that barn…thinking of the future greenhouse…and the future chicken coop. 

Have I mentioned we are getting chickens? 


Sunday, April 9, 2017

Barn Shenanigans

I have this dream.

(Yes…another one…)

You see, there is this large hip roof barn on my farm that, well, has seen much better days.  Don’t get me wrong, it is beautiful, just getting to be on it’s last legs.  Truth be told, it had both feet in the grave 10 years ago…just waiting for someone to whack it on the backside of the head and start shovelling in the dirt.

So, I was planning to be that someone who did the whacking.  I was looking forward to it, actually.  The plan was…in a few years, after I get some other things done around here, I was going to clean it out.  (Lot of leftover “stuff” from the previous owner.)  Carefully, take it apart/carefully, knock it down and “harvest” all the lovely barn board to sell.  

THEN, I would…
…build a lovely greenhouse using the concrete half wall the barn was built on as a foundation. 
…a bit of straw bale insulation mixed with winter chicken housing
…a mass rocket heater…

I would have myself a lovely place to 
…start seeds in the spring
…grow salads and what-nots throughout winter
…overwinter tender transplants
…keep my composting worms
…hang out in the middle of winter when I just need to get my hands in the dirt
BUT…
…all of this was to be in the future.  A few years from now.  After I KNOW what I am doing out here and not just flying by the seat of my pants, making it up as I go.  I would at least wait until I have internet!


Instead, the wind blew and blew and blew and blew my barn “more” crooked.  Not down…just to crazy scary twisted and a “No one go near the barn!” order shouted every time anyone goes out side. 

And so, because we are grown-ups,
…and smart 
…and like to set a good example for our children, We decided to,
…rip some boards off, 
…hit it with a sledge hammer (repetitively) 
…and loop a chain around different parts of the barn to try to pull it over.

It definitely got our adrenaline going a few times!  When a whole BIG barn moves and  twists towards you…

And oh, the amount of video we have of the barn ALMOST falling and creaking and shuttering…and of us running away after hitting it relentlessly with the sledge.  

Run run run we did.  I think we need a montage. 



Okay, it's not a montage but whatever.

But still she stands.  (We have figured out that in the country, all inanimate objects are she’s.  We don’t know why, they just are.)  Well, she kneels.  A lop sided kneeling, at that.  Lop sided, precarious, drunken, leaning of the sort that makes you think she will never fall down but could fall at any second.  

She’s waiting until I put my hand inside to loop the chain around that one support…then she’ll fall…on me.  Murphy is like that.


I’m still pulling boards off of her to help rebuild the granary that is becoming the new chicken coop because, “I could use that wood!”  And, I am smart.