May 31, 2015

Walls are taking shape

Josh nailing in the last wall frame.

Oliver works on removing some nails.

A lesson on how to get some umph in your hammer.

Little B tried out his hammer on every surface.

B helps snap a "chop wine" (a.k.a. a chalk line)

"Is it time for a tractor ride yet??"

Today, with the help of our younger two boys, Josh framed out all the walls for the henhouse.  You can see the little guys working on their hammering skills in between bike and tractor rides.  An afternoon of hard work was followed up by some father-son fishing and nice family camp fire: another great day at the farm.  Tomorrow our plan is to finish putting siding on the walls and get them painted.  The building is really starting to take shape!

New things can be scary

I had a peach that was getting a little too squishy for my taste this morning so I cut it in half and put it out in the run.  The girls did their usual new-things-are-scary thing, circling around it and starring, but not daring to approach.  Finally one ran in and pecked out a piece of sweet yumminess, and they realized it was okay.  Soon after all joined in on the treat.

May 30, 2015

The sweet pleasures of youth

While Josh and McGregor worked on the coop, our youngest spent his day enjoying some of the sweet pleasures of youth: chasing butterflies and hunting for wild strawberries.  He didn't have success with the butterflies but did develop quite an eye for those pretty little red berries that we seem to have in abundance around the edges of our back field.  He wore himself out drinking in sunshine and running all about.  What a great day!  

Father-Son Coop Building

Josh and McGregor worked on the coop a good chunk of the day today, finishing the floor of the henhouse along with the skirt and girth boards that will support the fencing around the run.  They both donned their tool belts and got to work!  It was a productive day and the tradition of learning to build things carries on to a new generation...

May 29, 2015

Checking on the garden

A view of the whole garden






My first two peppers


Tomato blossoms

Lush carrots


Cucumbers under trellis Josh built me


Beans coming through the trellis

Last weekend I spent a lot of time mowing and collecting grass clippings to cover the whole garden.  A couple nights this week I pulled the big weeds that came up through clippings.  Now it's looking lush and healthy.  The tomatoes are covered in their first yellow flowers.  The pepper flowers are white and one little plant has the first two fruits of the year: tiny green sweet peppers.  The carrot greens are lush and full.  The kale is dark green and tall.  Sunflowers are almost knee high, reaching up towards their namesake.  Beets are leafing out in colorful shades of purple and green.  I planted beans and cucumbers under the trellises Josh built and they are starting to peak up through the wire.  The corn has doubled in size in the last week.  I love going out to the garden in the morning to check on the progress of each little plant.  Seeing their growth makes me so happy.  It still fills me with wonder what can come from a tiny little seed.

Bird Portraits

I spent some time this morning just hanging out in the run, watching the birds.  They are so interesting to observe.  I gave them a big pile of weeds and tree branches to root around in and eat.  Seems like the ducks prefer dandelion greens.  The birds like pulling the leaves off the tree branches.  There is one curious little chicken who loves her picture taken.  After they started to ignore me I decided to get some portraits of the birds, but no matter where I went this one little hen came up to inspect my camera.  Hope you enjoy these close up portraits from the farmyard this morning...

May 27, 2015

A stunning sunset

Had to share this gorgeous sunset.  I stood on the front porch for a few minutes just drinking it in...

Roof collapse!

All that rain we got yesterday weighed heavy on the roof of the run. When we went out to put the girls to bed we discovered that the roof had caved in in several spots. I went hunting in the workshop for something to use to prop up the ceiling. I found some sawhorses and scraps of wood and made temporary supports. This morning when I let the girls out they enjoyed exploring these new high perches - seems like they are always on the lookout for something high to sit on. I also put down a fresh layer of straw in the run because it was pretty wet. Everyone went nuts scratching and hunting in the straw for little morsels this morning. One chicken found a long plump earthworm and went crazy running around with it while the others chased her and tried to grab the worm away.  Finally I pulled down a few branches from the Boxelder tree next to the run and laid them in a pile for the birds. They seem to enjoy stuff like that to peck at and explore; plus they eat the leaves eventually making it a good source of greens.

Motivation to get moving on the permanent coop...

Snacking on some Boxelder leaves

This Rhode Island Red came to stare me down when I was taking pictures

She just loves the camera!

May 21, 2015


The hatchery fully explains that they can't sex their newborn chicks with 100% accuracy and there's a chance you could end up with a couple roosters in your batch of females.  So I've been watching the birds as they get bigger for signs of a rooster.  This one is looking suspicious.  Check out those tail feathers!  And it's crest is easily twice as big as the other Rhode Island Reds.  We may be hearing some cock-a-doodle-doooooing around here before long...

May 20, 2015

A solution for moving chickens

The girls hanging out in the run during the day.

My new system for getting them into their coop in the evening.

In they go...

Until the permanent coop/run is complete, we've got to move all these chickens from the coop to the run then back again every day.  When Josh brought the red coop out by the run he put it about 15 feet away from the door so you had to carry the birds over.  He can grab a few at a time but I can't seem to hold onto more than one without it flapping loose.  So I had to make 26 trips to get all the chickens and coops tucked in at night!  It was taking me more than a half hour just to move them.  Exhausted by this, I came up with another idea, which has been working splendidly.  I asked my kind husband to move the coop once more so it is right next to the door to the run.  Now I open the door and block off a small path for the birds so they can walk into the henhouse on their own.  All I have to do is shoo a few stragglers over to the door.  It is so much easier!  I wish I had thought of this sooner.