Monday, August 22, 2016

New Digs

As of last night the chickens are in their new home!  The little mess makers are finally out of my house and into their permanent abode.  

The new coop is 8 feet by 20 feet wide.  This is the view from the front door of the barn.

They have a lot of space to roost.  On the wall will be a small door that will open so the girls can go into a penned area that we are building. 

The other side of the coop has more roosts and the door at the bottom of this wall opens up to where the tractor is.  All I have to do is pull up the rope, shoo them into the tractor and take them out into the yard.

Jim went a little nuts with the amount of nesting boxes he built.  We will add straw to them closer to when they should be starting to lay.  We don't want them to get used to hanging out there.

We brought the girls up to the barn in the tractor.  It fits right up against the side of the barn where the little door is.  They didn't know what the heck was going on, so Jim had to get into the tractor and help point them in the right direction.

I can't count how many times I went to open the door to the breezeway to check on them today.  I went out to the barn a couple of times to see how they were doing and they seemed fine.  They were squawking up a storm and enjoying all that extra room.  

I'll deny it if you tell anyone, but I miss them.

Friday, August 19, 2016

Chicken Treats

The girls are almost 10 weeks now and growing like crazy.  They are really enjoying spending the evenings in the tractor and will be heading to their new home in the barn this weekend.  The smell and the mess they make is getting out of hand, so no one is more happy about this than I am.

Chickens will eat all kinds of greens and scraps, so I have to remind myself to not automatically take things to the compost bin.  Another great form of recycling.

The broccoli is done for the year, so I pulled two plants from the bed and brought them inside for the girls.

Two hours later, the plants were stripped clean.

Note to self: next year - plant more broccoli.

Tuesday, August 16, 2016

Farmer's Market

There is a Farmer's Market in the city that I live near and I look forward to it every year.  It runs from May to October for five hours every Saturday morning and approximately 2000 people pass through each week.  

Farmer's Markets have grown in size and popularity over the years and I can certainly see why.  Not only are you buying the freshest food possible, you get the opportunity to meet the people that grew it.  

The amount of vendors at my local market has more than doubled since last year. It is great to see so many different artisans and crafters making and selling their wares.  The assortment of items to buy is endless - fresh cut flowers, honey, jewelry, clothing, baked goods and so much more.

My mission at the market is to buy produce.  I love that most of the fruits and vegetables I'm buying were picked less than 24 hours before I paid for them.  You can't get much fresher than that.  There are about a dozen different farm stands every week and they have gotten together and set their prices to match each other, so it doesn't matter which one you shop at, you are paying the same no matter what.  I think this fosters an incredible sense of community, not only for the farmers, but the customers as well.

Do you shop at a Farmer's Market?

Friday, August 12, 2016

Can You Grow Broccoli?

That's what Jim said the day we were buying plants and seeds for the garden and he saw the broccoli seeds in the cart. I remember rolling my eyes and shaking my head at what I thought was a ridiculous question.  This has been on my mind for a while now and maybe it isn't so ridiculous after all.

I think this question just shows how far removed we are from our food sources.  Where do people think their food comes from?  Do grocery stores magically make it appear when we need it?  Do they have food fairies hiding in their store rooms making sure there is an endless supply of whatever customers want to buy?  Nope. It grows on farms and in fields by people who plant seeds and grow food.  Lots and lots of food.  Even broccoli.

Saturday, August 6, 2016

Chicken Tractor

Our first chicken tractor has been made.  There are some things I like about it and some things I don't.  After the barn is complete, a second tractor will be made.

This one is 12x4 and they all fit in just fine, but once they get bigger we will have to divide them up between two tractors.

We've been letting the girls out for a few hours in the evenings and they seem to be enjoying it.  The dogs are getting used to seeing them, sort of. Jackie stands on guard the entire time they are outside, licking her lips. Should I worry?

I would love for them to be able to free range, but it just isn't possible.  I have seen too many foxes in the neighborhood and coyotes are a big problem too.  One of the dogs next door killed 6 chickens in one day and I don't think my three can be trusted either.

Wednesday, August 3, 2016

Homestead Happenings

Time for an update from the homestead. We have been busy. Last weekend was a civic holiday, it is always nice to have an extra day to get stuff done.

Things got started on Friday afternoon when Jim left work early to pick up some insulation.  Our county advertised that the local hockey rink was getting new insulation put in, so they were pulling the old stuff out and it was free for the taking.  I like free.

It doesn't look like a lot, but Jim had three levels compressed down by stepping on it and laying pieces of wood on top of each layer.  When we released the straps that were holding it all down, it sprang up quite high.  The insulation is about 20 years old and in really good condition.  

We spent the majority of the weekend putting the insulation into the walls of the barn. There is enough leftover to do most of the roof and when we are done insulating the addition, we will use what's left for the barn roof as well.  If we had to buy the insulation, it would have cost $1000.  

We took a few breaks from working in the barn and cleaned up the property.  I did a lot of mowing and Jim cleaned up and organized all the piles of lumber.  Quite a bit of it was scrap that needed to be cut down and stored.  One of Jim's customers at work owns as scrap metal yard and one day when Jim was there, he noticed a lot of these bins lying around.  Jim asked if he could have one and was told to help himself.  We placed it close to the garage and the back of the house where the fire pit will be.  It will be handy to reach over to grab pieces of wood to burn.  Again, I like free.

We ended the weekend by working in the garden.  Can't think of a better way to relax after three long, busy days.  The potatoes needed to be weeded and hilled, so that is what we did.  We pulled out all of the smaller plants and dug up all the little potatoes.  Those little guys are so tasty and very pricey at the grocery store.

We got five pounds worth and had some for dinner last night.  Yummy.

Tuesday, August 2, 2016

Happy Birthday, Beau

Today is Beau' 3rd birthday.  All the white hair in his beard makes him look a lot older.

I blame Ruby.

The birthday boy is only interested in scratching his ear.

Happy Birthday, Beau.  I love you.