The Chickens’ Comic Debut

My youngest son has always had an interest in drawing, particularly super heroes and comics.  As you may know, we homeschool our kids, and this year he is taking an art class that has a section of it devoted to drawing comics.  I thought I would share the latest one, as it puts a recent event which started as a video in pictures.  I hope you enjoy it like I did.

Snow White Egg - Page 1

Snow White Egg – Page 1


Snow White Egg - Page 2

Snow White Egg – Page 2

Maybe it is just the fact that I am the dad, but I love this!

The Chicken Chronicles

There’s not a whole lot of new news this week with the birds other than their egg production is really going up.  This week we had 53 eggs, with the Rhode Island Reds laying 23 and the Easter Eggers laying 30.  That is 5.3 eggs per week per bird, and I am expecting that to go a little higher.  Go ladies!

Speaking of birds, check out the Welsummer chicks!  They are really growing!  It won’t be too many more weeks until we can begin to put them outside, and I think they will be more than ready.  By this time the container we are keeping them in is getting a bit crowded for them.  I cannot wait until these ladies start laying.  They are supposed to lay a beautiful dark-brown egg.

Welsummer Pullets

Welsummer Pullets

Oh, I shared a picture of the new portable run last week, but I wanted to share another with the birds in it.

Portable PVC Chicken Run

Portable PVC Chicken Run

You will notice the ladies checking out the milk crate, which I had hoped would be a good make-shift nesting box in case one needed to lay an egg while in the portable run, but they rejected that idea.  We’ll have to find something else today.  While you cannot see it in this picture, they love the roosting bars in this run.  I added them more for stability, but I am sure glad I did now.

As I mentioned yesterday, you are not going to want to miss tomorrow’s post.  My youngest son has drawn a comic which I think you will all enjoy.

Happenings Around the Homestead

What a difference a week can make!  Last week we were basking in wonderful temperatures, and this week we have had freeze warnings!  I read one person on Facebook who said, “If I knew spring was only going to last three days, I would have made sure to enjoy it more.”  😀

I am running into the same issue I ran into last year about this time.  My workload at the office has increased to a point where I can barely get anything done at home, and when I am at home, I am quite frankly ready to rest.  I am determined that this will not slow down planting when that time comes this year though.

Oh, speaking of plants, let me share what I saw yesterday!

Chocolate Mint

Ms. T, the tenacious Chocolate Mint

I rarely “name” my plants.  In fact, I think it sounds kind of crazy, but this one earned a name.  I call her Ms. T., which stands for Ms. Tenacious.  I have been growing this mint for a number of years now, and when I first bought the plant it barely survived.  In fact, the other mints that were purchased at the same time died.  Why?  They were potted and didn’t get watered during a very hot, dry spell.  She has also survived two winters of very cold temperatures, and a summer of very hot, very dry weather.  No matter what is thrown at it, this mint just keeps going.  I was happy to see her popping her head up good and strong this spring – a sure sign warmer days are to come soon.

This weekend my oldest son and I spent some time staking out the garden so we would know exactly where to plant things this spring.  I didn’t finish it though, as I became a bit overwhelmed with it all.  I’m not sure why that is.  I may try to finish it this upcoming weekend.  Thankfully I have some time.

One other thing I spend some time on this weekend was roasting coffee.  This has been one of the better coffees I have had in a while – it is a Brazilian coffee, which is typically one of my favorites.

Roasting Coffee

Roasting Coffee

I sure do enjoy the fresh-roasted coffee.  Until you have had it, you can’t imagine how good it is.

Oh, one last thing before I go – be sure to watch this upcoming Wednesday for a post with a great comic one of my son’s created.

Man in the Maze

I am a capitalist – someone who embraces the free market, but things like this video disgust me. Enormous amounts of food are being thrown away as the prices fluctuate up and down while folks are hungry nearby. What a shame.

The Chicken Chronicles

Whoa! Spring is here!  As I said yesterday, you can tell it in the weather, and the ladies must be able to also.  They are really increasing egg production!  We now are getting 8 eggs a day most days again.  Here, the totals speak for themselves.  The Rhode Island Reds laid 20 eggs and the Easter Eggers laid 30 eggs.  That is a total of 50 eggs or 5 eggs per bird per week.  Not bad!

Speaking of birds, the Welsummers are really growing!  It is hard to believe that they will have their feathers in just four more weeks, but I guess that should make sense, as we saw tail feathers for the first time a few days ago.  I cannot wait to get them out with their sisters in the pen, though I suppose that is some time away.  As I understand it, we will need to allow them to get to know one another first so they don’t get injured by the older hens.

Yesterday I wrote about the new run.  I have a few chicken projects underway, this being one of them.  The idea was this: a portable run that is lightweight, yet strong.  It must also allow the hens plenty of space so they can stay in it for long periods of time without overcrowding.  I must be able to move it at least once a week to keep the grass from being destroyed in any one area in the yard.  So, here is what I came up with:

Portable PVC Chicken Run

Portable PVC Chicken Run

This was made with 1″ PVC pipe, 2″x1″ fencing, and a 14’x14′ piece of bird netting for the top.  It is 10’x10′, which is more than enough run room for the fourteen total birds we have.  It is best to give them 10 sq. ft. per bird, which this is short of, but combined with what they already have and the movable nature of this, it will work.  Once you see the next project, you will understand why I say that.  A last minute addition was a roosting bar made of PVC on the inside.  This not only gives the birds a place to roost, but it adds stability too.  I don’t know what it weighs, but one of my sons and I can move it.  It is easier with four people though.  I am sure my neighbors are wondering how much more stuff I will put in my yard, but that’s okay.

As I said above, I have a few projects underway.  This was one of them.  I would also like to extend the chicken run under the coop on the south side, but that is the last project.  Before that comes, I have another secret project that I will share as I get closer to doing it.  Many of you already know what it is though, as you have seen others doing it and have shared it with me on Facebook.  😀

Happenings Around the Homestead

What a week!  We started off and ended with some beautiful spring-like weather, which is fitting now that we have officially crossed over to spring.  It wasn’t without a nice brisk few days inbetween though.  Even so, my gardening fingers are itching!

Speaking of fingers, both my index finger and thumb seem to be healing up nicely from the pruning accident last weekend.  The index finger in particular seems to be doing quite well.  The thumb was cut deeper, and I still do not have full flexibility with it.  It is improving day by day though.

The big homestead project this week was to create a portable chicken run, which I decided to make out of PVC and fencing.  It wouldn’t hold a big dog, but it will hold chickens.  😀  This is light enough two people can move it, though four people would be able to handle it easier.  The plan is to move it to a different place in the yard weekly, and then let the chickens have a considerable amount of time in it throughout the day, which should give them a nice addition of bugs and grass to their diet.  I’ll show pictures of it in tomorrow’s post.

Oh, one other thing from this weekend is that I opened my winter sowing pots and let them breathe.  It is really going so well.  All plants haven’t sprouted up in hearty strength yet, but I think all of them have sprouted.  The brassicas are looking really good though!  It won’t be long until they have their first true leaves and are ready for transplanting!

Winter Sowing - Broccoli

Winter Sowing – Broccoli

Yes, they need thinned out – ALOT!  I didn’t think I seeded that heavily, but obviously I did.

That reminds me of another task I need to complete.  I need to stake the garden off so I can know exactly where the planting areas are according to my planting map.  Yeah, yeah, yeah – that’s the nerd coming out in this gardener.  😀

How to Remember Everything

Memory is something that has always fascinated me, and I am always excited to learn new ways to better my memory.  I even have a book I keep meaning to read on ways to better your memory, but sadly, I keep forgetting to read it.  I know that sounds like I am trying to be funny, but I am not.  When I get to a place where I have time to read the book, it is the furthest thing from my mind.  🙂

I thought this article shared a really easy step that we can all use which adds to our ability to remember.  In fact, I can speak to this a little, as I have used this some without really realizing what I was doing.  Now to remember to use it more often. 😉

How to Remember Everything

Dehydrating with Solar Power

I am always interested in alternative forms of energy, and this is never more true than when I am speaking of food preservation.  Dehydrating and canning add a tremendous amount of heat to the house in the summer, running up the electric bill.  I have been checking out solar dehydrators for a while, and this one is a plan I hope to use.  Be sure to read through the article – it is pretty amazing how this has been designed.



Quote of the Day – Talent

“If you ever find that you’re the most talented person in the room, you need to find another room.” – Austin Kleon

The Chicken Chronicles

The ladies have had a great week this week.  The warmer weather and the lack of snow has meant they have gotten to have time out roaming the yard.  With the completely saturated ground, the worms are abundant right now, and the hens act like they are starving and at an all-you-can-eat buffet!

Last week I was so excited to post the Unbelievable Egg Video that I totally forgot about the other big news of the week: we have new chicks!  As I wrote a few weeks ago, I wanted a couple of more hens.  Unfortunately, we couldn’t buy them in quantities of two, so we ended up with four.  We decided to go with Welsummers, which sound like a wonderful bird.  They are known for being more intelligent than the typical chicken, and they are great foragers.  Even more exciting is the fact that they lay a very dark brown egg!  I can’t wait to add that to the mix of eggs!  We will certainly have no shortage of eggs now.  😀

Welsummer Pullets

Welsummer Pullets

One of the other interesting things about Welsummers is that you can determine their sex by a couple of feather pattern characteristics,  First, a Welsummer pullet (young hen) will have a well defined triangle on the top of their head, and they will also have “eyeliner” coming out from their eyes.  If these characteristics are faded or not well defined, it is a cockerel (young rooster).

Back to the topic of eggs, this week was another good egg laying week.  The total was 39 eggs, with the Rhode Island Reds laying 18 eggs and the Easter Eggers laying 21 eggs.  We are quickly approaching the point where we can start giving eggs away to the neighbors and family.  In fact, we gave a few away this week.  I really enjoy blessing folks in this way, even though it is something small.