Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Where do I Start?!

I don't know where to start! So much has been going on this past week, and all of it good. Each day is a blessing. I can't believe I waited until I was in my 40's before getting chickens. They are a great substitute for the boob tube, not that I get much of that in anyway. They, all 12 are still around, are always on the move. I still need names, and hope to have that wrapped up this week. We had one scare, a pasty butt issue with Sweetie Pie. She/he was sick for a day or so, not much energy, but is now on the rebound, and back to running around with the rest of the Hooligans. They have a new set up, which you can see in the photo. There are ledges that they have already figured out how to jump up to.

We spent all day Saturday at the Compound working on the garden, and cleaning out the pond. We had some mud and debris that needed cleaning out, so we got that taken care of, just in time for a weeks worth of rain. We're praying for a considerable amount, to help sustain the garden over the coming months. Sunday we were back out there, we leveled off the chicken run area, and planted grass seed. I know the Hooligan's will just scratch it up, but we wanted to start somewhere. The Moose also dug a trench along the outside of the pond, so if we do get a hard rain, it won't wash back into the pond.

The blueberry bushes are full of berries, the raspberry, blackberry and mulberry plants also have blossomed and are bearing fruit.

Here's one final picture, this is one of the Red Stars taking a one minute nap. Have a great week!

Friday, March 25, 2011

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Chicks on Board - Day 2

Well, we're starting out on day 2 with our new chicks. Yep, all 12 have made it through 2 nights. The Moose calls them the anarchists. It's very fitting if you have a chance to watch them. They eat and poo like crazy. From what I can tell they take 1 minute cat naps throughout the day. 1 minute only, because once they get settled, one of their brood members comes along and either pecks at them, or runs them over.

We have one stinker, we're guessing a rooster. If you put your hand in the area comes running over. Never gets close enough to peck at you, just comes up short. For now, he/she is being called Crabby Pat/Patty. Either way, the name will stick.

We also have a runt, the Moose has named Nugget. He's much smaller than the rest, and does his/her fair share of budging to get at the food.

They've all started to get their pin feathers on the wings. They are getting much more active, and curious. We had fun putting out feed on the boards in the area. They loved it! It gave them all something to do, and they really scratched up a mess. They've become such a fun focus for us, even our dog Izzy.

Izzy was not sure what they were at first. We've let her in the room with us, and we let her peek over the side. She whined at first wanting to get in there with them to check them out. Now she likes to make sure they're still there, and then she sits next to them, almost like she's keeping guard. We often find her sitting in front of the door to the room as well. We won't let her near them on her own, until they are older, and we're sure she won't hurt them. She's always been a good dog, so we'll take it as we go.

The Moose built them a roost. It cost us around $2 to make the thing, 1/2" diameter dowel and a 1x2 board. He cut it down, drilled in the holes, and now they have a roost. They haven't been able to get their balance figured out yet, but a couple of them really want to be on there.

Now we need names for the other 10. 6 are definately girls, and the other remaining 4 we don't know for sure. Our daughters wanted to give them chicken names; Nugget, Patty, were two they came up with. Do you have any suggestions?

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Chicks on Board!

I had good news today; my MRI came back negative for any issues. There was concern I had an aneurysm due to some vision, head ache and face numbing issues. It was pretty scary, and now that it is behind me, we decided to celebrate by picking up our chicks!

The Moose and I picked up 12 chicks. 6 Reds (New Hampshire or Rhode Island, light color w/stripes, not sure yet which breed exactly) and 6 Buckeyes (dark colored). Boy, did they make alot of noise on the way home.

I'm sooo excited, I've been waiting and talking about these silly chickens for months! Their finally here! We get to keep these little buggers at the house for 8 weeks, before turning them loose in their new coop and run. We now have a deadline to work with, to finish that area.

Here's a cute picture of a few sleeping. They actually "face plant" when they fall asleep. It's really cute.

I'll be sharing more photos as they grow.

Sunday, March 20, 2011


What a fabulous weekend! Weather was perfect (except no rain, and do we need some). The Moose scored big at a community garage sale event, on Saturday, where my parents live. The Moose could start his own hardware store! He got somewhere between 15 and 20 old tobbaco cans full of screws, nails, etc, and all of them were properly marked. He also picked up a couple of drills, a shelving unit, shovel and more. We love yard sales, the bargains we find are incredible. Most of the Compound has been furnished by yard sale finds. We finished the day off with lunch to celebrate our daughter's 23rd birthday.

We spent all day Sunday, offloading his finds, weeding the garden, watering, and setting up the new solar panels. We've been debating for a while of whether to purchase this system, but after we put it together, we both feel confident it will do what we need; charge up our existing batteries for the RV and our boat, as well as store enough power to run a pump for the pond, and some lighting for the chicken coop area. So far, so good. We paid $350 for a 60 watt system. Our goal is to get as much as possible working at the Compound using renewable energy, and not the gas driven generators.

We had a bit of a scare as well. The Compound is very remote, and there are on occasion some folks out there having target practice. Today someone decided to try target practice on the road at the edge of our property. He shot once, scared the heck out of us and the dog, so I hollered that there were people in the area, and to be careful. He stopped for about 30 minutes, and then seemed to be even closer when he decided to rattle them off. Well, let's just say, when it comes to protecting one's family, there is no better than the Moose! I'm all for gun rights, and have a few of my own, but it's gun safety 101, to know where you're shooting, before shooting! Hopefully, that will be the end of any further episodes.

Sorry, no photos, forgot the camera. As an update, the squash, peas, beans, corn, watermelon, zuccini, onions and garlic are all up! Most are up within a week, some in less than two. I swear they were growning right before my eyes today. The Moose and I ate some of the first strawberries out of the garden today. They were WONDERFUL!

Stay safe, and have a good week.

Monday, March 14, 2011

Out with the New, and In with the Old

What a fantastic weekend to get some work done at the Compound! The Moose and I spent part of Saturday finishing the mowing of the front drive, planting a few more tomato plants, onions and garlic. We also made a trip to the hardware store for supplies so we could finish the fencing and roof top of the chicken coop.

Sunday, my very dedicated parents, and my awesome uncle Herb came out to help with the chicken run. I think my parents are more excited about me getting chickens then I am! While I spent some more time getting my garden planted; corn, squash, melons, cucumbers, and pole beans, they spent their time running wood supports for the roof and then the chicken wire. We really felt it was necessary to keep the hawks and owls out of the area, as well as not giving the raccoons any other opportunities for a buffet.

The chicken wire was lighter and easier to work with then the wire welded fencing, so that was our plan. During the process they stapled the wire onto the support beams. The Moose hooked up the generator and the air compressor for the staple gun. Things were moving along pretty good until the new air compressor decided it was not going to run any longer. So out with the new and in with the old one. It ain't pretty, but it finished the job.

So the fencing and roof are up. We have some small clean up things to do, chicken wire run along the bottom, as well as a "skirt" around the bottom to keep the snakes out. The Moose is going to add on to the existing coop and build some nesting boxes. This place will be the Taj Mahal when it's completed. The fenced in run area ended up being approx 24' x 33'. Plenty of room for 6 or so chickens.

Thanks to everyone for their help! Have a good week! Oh, here's a picture of the rhubarb and asparagus.

Monday, March 7, 2011

Garden and Wood Hauling

It was a 2 t-shirt day Saturday.

My parents are quit the troopers, they came out to the Compound again this weekend. My Mom helped me with the garden. It was one of my goals for this last weekend to get the rest of the main garden tilled and the entire area planted. Goal accomplished! Thanks to my Mom's help. We planted strawberry,tomato, pepper and eggplant plants (store bought, and greenhouse grown), lettuce, spinach, cabbage, cauliflower, broccoli, peas and bean seeds. As you can see in the garden photos, we used hay on the strawberries to keep the berries off the ground and the moisture in the soil. Here in FL we don't have access to straw, it's not grown here. So we'll see how this works out. I planted some asparagus and rhubarb plants the previous weekend and they are already coming up. I'll try to get some photos for next week. Come hell or high water, I'm going to make a strawberry rhubarb pie out of my garden!

We still have some beets, carrots, brussel sprouts, onions, leeks and celery growing. Yes, off in the distance is what will be my chicken coop area.

One bonus to the work on Saturday, since we had my parents help, is the Moose and I were able to get another section of garden tilled up. We need to add some compost, and then plant some remaining items like corn, sunflowers, watermelon, squash, etc.

My Mom and Dad had an oak tree cut down by their house this week, and were kind enough to save it for us to use at the Compound. I don't think any of us realized how much wood there would be, but it filled up our trailer. Here are a couple of photos of my Dad and the Moose offloading, and organizing. I didn't get a photo of my Mom, but she helped with this project too.

The Moose, Mom and Dad also finished with the remaining posts needed for the chicken run. There's still more that needs to be done, but every weekend we get a little closer to getting it done.

Welcome Mandyfarmer to our small but growing group of followers!

Have a wonderful week!