This video brought the biggest smile to my face for some reason. I always admire folks who can take something as simple as a bottle and may good music with it. I hope you enjoy it like I did.
Posted by Steve On February 12, 2015
Posted by Steve On February 10, 2015
Whew! This was a big week for the chickens! Saturday was a beautiful day, which could mean only one thing: it was time to get one of the run extensions built!
To give a little history, I have long wanted to build a northern and southern run extension, which when done would triple the run size, allowing the chickens more room to roam when we can’t let them out to play in the yard. Ultimately, I would love to get to a point where these could be moved so we could actually let some grass grow in a spot, move the run on top of it, and let the chickens
decimate eat the grass. 😀 Anyhow, that is a long way off. This weekend was time to build the Northern Run.
First, I had to get the materials. People often laugh at me when they see me leaving the home improvement store with 2x4s heading to my economy car, but let me tell you, this little thing can haul stuff! No, it is not a pickup, which I dearly want, but it it does the trick. Look at my Toyota Matrix loaded up with 20 2x4s and other building materials!
So I decided to build this run much more sturdy than originally planned. My original plans were to make this modular, meaning wall panels that could be easily moved, but I decided that a semi-permanent extension was better. When I say semi-permanent, that doesn’t mean immovable. It just takes at least two strong people, if not four. Here’s the eastern and western walls, which provide the basic strength for the run extension:
It wasn’t long until I had this thing framed up and ready. You can see by the looks of this, it was not light at all! It is 6.5 feet wide by 8 feet long.
One of the main things I wanted in this was a feeding door on top. The original run has doors on the northern and southern side that lift up. While this is fine for letting the birds out to play, it isn’t so convenient when you just want to throw some scraps in there for them to eat, as they quickly run out! It is also a pain when it comes time to change their water or food, as you have to climb into the run, which is under 3 feet tall, to get to the food and water. With a feeding door on top we can now throw scraps in without them getting out, and we can hang the waterer and feeder from the 2×4 next to the door for easy filling. Sadly, I only realized after getting far into the project that I will have to put some sort of roof on this to keep the food from getting wet. Another project for another day.
As mentioned above, we haven’t liked the doors that swing open from the bottom. This is our new door that will open out to the side. MUCH more convenient!
And this is the completed run before we moved it to the coop:
Here it is in place on the northern side of the current run. You can see it effectively doubled the side of the run, giving the girls a lot more area to roam, including the ability to get out in the sun more.
After we installed this, the ladies spent the rest of the afternoon poking around in the new area. I take that as a sign they were happy. 😀
I was a bit worried they may try to roost outside, as it was such a mild day and evening, but apparently the events of the day had them all tuckered out. Nine of the ten are on their roosting pole, while the other is on the other side of the coop hanging out by the watering bowl. Silly bird!
As if this wasn’t enough excitement, the ladies had another increase in egg laying this week. It seems the Easter Eggers are getting back in the swing of things.
The next two projects are chunnels (chicken tunnels – you are going to enjoy this when I get to it!) and the southern run extension. It is going to be a weekend or two (or more!) before I get to those projects though. There are just too many other things to do.
Posted by Steve On February 9, 2015
It has been a busy weekend around the homestead, with the bulk of that time spent building the northern run extension for the chickens. Check back tomorrow for pics and details on that.
It seems that every weekend I have more on my to-do list than there is hours in the day, and this weekend was that way and then some! On Saturday I intended on finishing the run extension, then working on winter sowing (am I ever going to get to this!?), roasting coffee, and the normal weekend chores. I only finished the run extension and roasted coffee though.
It is funny, when I tell folks I roast coffee, the most often think I mean that I grind coffee. They don’t realize I actually roast my own beans. Not only that, I do it in a kind of old-fashioned way – in an iron skillet over a charcoal fire:
No, that is not me stirring the coffee. My lovely wife agreed to hold the pan and stir while I snapped a picture. This week I roasted mostly Brazilian coffee, but this batch happened to be a new one for me: Peruvian. I just finished a cup as I am writing this, and it is a definite keeper. I tend to enjoy the South American coffees best, and in my opinion this Peruvian coffee had that same flavor I enjoy.
Do you realize it is just three months until May? That means it is just three months until my garden will be fully planted, I hope! I know it seems so far out, but it won’t be long until the cooler weather crops are growing. That reminds me – I need to be getting some peas sown! Argh! Maybe next weekend! 😀 No boredom, that is for sure!
Posted by Steve On February 6, 2015
It doesn’t take much to entertain me sometimes, but this just kind of blew me away. 🙂 I do have to admit, by the time the video finished, I was wondering if the creators enjoyed cleaning up the mess as much as they did creating it.
Posted by Steve On February 5, 2015
I am always trying to find a way to make my hobbies pay for themselves. Photography is just one example of that, where I began shooting with the intention of making a profit in order to help me afford more photography equipment. Believe it or not, that is true with gardening too.
The funny thing about gardening is that it already pays for itself, in my opinion, from the savings we have on food. We are also able to bless others with the excess crops we have. Even so, wouldn’t it be great to be paid to grow things? No, I am not referring to being a big-time commercial farmer, but there are some profitable specialty crops that seem to fit well into small operations. To be honest, I am particularly partial to #2 on the list.
No, I am probably not really seriously considering growing specialty crops for money, but it is fun to dream a bit, isn’t it?
Posted by Steve On February 3, 2015
This is the third week in a row that egg laying has increased. I wasn’t really expecting this until later in the winter, when the days are longer than they are now, but I am sure not complaining. This week the ladies laid 33 eggs: 20 from the Rhode Island Reds and 13 from the Easter Eggers.
Speaking of the ladies, they sure are enjoying the Back to Eden garden! They love getting in there and scratching it up, looking for bugs or worms underneath the covering. I am sure they won’t be very pleased here in a few weeks when I put a stop to that. I can’t have them digging up my plants come spring though.
I have always heard they are not smart animals, but you sure can’t tell that with these birds most of the time. In particular, we have at least one Rhode Island Red that will go up to Charity when she has let them out to run in the yard, letting her know she is ready for Charity to put a shovel in the ground and turn some dirt over. This bird will then eat all the worms, then look back up at Charity, as if it is asking her to please do that again. 😀 Some of the others join in, but most of the time it is just one who starts it.
Posted by Steve On February 2, 2015
I know I am not the only home gardener who struggles with this. Each year I find something new I want, but I have more seeds now than I know what to do with. I went through and organized all my seeds the other day, and was shocked at the varieties I have, and even multiple packets of the same seed.
While I attempt to organize this, I don’t do a very good job. I do separate the seeds generally by the type of plant they are, and then I put a rubber band around all those packets. That, in turn, is then thrown in a box which I keep in a refrigerator in the garage.
Sometimes I see other people with fantastic organization of their seeds, and I druel a bit, but I haven’t decided yet it is worth the effort to achieve what they have. As I was searching for a picture of what I am talking about, I became a little convicted, as it is not that hard to do. I just need to make the effort to get some photo albums. Yes, I am going to just give you a link to more information: How to Organize Seed Packets.
It’s Sunday morning as I am writing this post, and I still haven’t finished the winter sowing I have been mentioning here. I am going to try to get to this today, though we are expecting rain which might put a glitch in those plans. We’ll see.
Well, I am updating this very early on Monday morning. Winter sowing did not happen, though we had an interesting afternoon. Let’s see if this tells the story better than I can:
Evidently sometime over the winter we had a pipe to an outdoor faucet burst. Yesterday while that faucet was being used, one of our bedrooms ended up with water halfway out into the room. SIGH.
While I worked on this some, my two oldest boys did the bulk of the work, and I appreciate them for that. It is a basement level bedroom, so I don’t have to worry about floor damage, but the carpet may still have to be pulled up. We have a dehumidifier and fans running in there now, and the boys have used a wet-dry vac to clean all they can.
Where was I at? Winter sowing. Perhaps that will happen during the week. We’ll see.