Sunday, August 21, 2016

Love the New Egg Room & Nest Boxes

 Today I sat on the water bucket in the barnyard and designed the nest boxes and new roost ladder using a 1 x 8 piece of pine as my sketchbook. Can you tell I am married to a carpenter? Lol Don promptly built the nest boxes from my pine board sketches.

 The nest boxes will be under the stairs in an alcove we will create by cutting a door in the wall between Don's workshop and the chicken coop. The stairs are in the main part of the barn where Don's workshop is and the coop is on the other side of the wall.

 In the above photo Don is in his workshop and I am in the nest box room of the chicken coop. 

 The new doorway cut in the wall of the coop that leads to the "Egg room"where the nest boxes are

 Don in the "Egg room" looking into his workshop

 Don on the workshop side looking into the coop

Filling the nest boxes with shavings

Putting the top hinged door on the back of the nest boxes. The bottom door will be hinged too. 

 Checking out the nest boxes

 Looking out the chicken coop window down to the chicken run

The girls are molting and there are tons of feathers everywhere. Today when I was raking out the run and putting new bedding in the coop I couldn't resist grabbing a few. I am going to try sketching in my art journal with them using some oak gall ink. 

Saturday, August 20, 2016

Goat Fencing on Ledgy Land = Hard Work

 Don has been setting the corner posts for the small goat pasture by the barn. It will open up to a larger grazing area after the logger comes and does some clearing. It has been HOT so he put up an umbrella over the holes when he dug them. To make matters even more difficult our land is very ledgy with almost no topsoil in some areas. Don came up with a plan to make the corner posts stable by using rebar and cement. He drilled down into the ledge put the rebar in the ledge and into the post and then cemented it. He also ran rebar out from the sides as you will see in the photos. What a project!

 Success! The first post is cemented in.

 The braces are just a support until the cement dries

 As you can see in this second hole there is not much topsoil at this spot before you hit ledge. 

 Setting out the white line posts is a lot easier than installing all the corner posts. The tension from the electric fence requires really solid corner posts. The line posts, between corners don't need to be as solid. 

 If you look at the bottom of this post you will see how he has the rebar running out from the sides of the post in a + shape.

 Mixing the cement in the hot, hot sun!

 Shoveling the cement over the rebar

 The 3rd post had to be installed directly on the ledge. Don added a pin that goes into the ledge and up into the post and the the + of pins in the post like the other. Plus he drilled four other pins down into the ledge. The cement will be poured over all to those pins up onto the post. The wooden frame is just  a form to hold the cement and will be removed later.  

3 posts down and more to go. Looks like the weather is going to be disagreeable so not sure how much we will get done on Sunday. 

Friday, August 19, 2016

Garden Freebies Growing in Compost Pile (And More)

We have been so focused on building the chicken coop and goat barn, fencing in the chicken run and goat pasture etc.. that we didn't get a garden planted this year. Our compost pile saw our dilemma and came through with some broccoli, two different types of tomatoes and some spaghetti squash. I also had some horseradish root left over after making Fire Cider so I stuck that in the ground and it is growing like crazy. I made sure to keep that where it would not be too invasive.  I so love these free garden gifts that happen with cold compost piles. 

 There are tons of small cherry tomatoes ripening

 Larger tomatoes are growing in two different places

 This is just one of the areas with the cherry tomatoes. There are tons of them.

 Spagetti squash 

 In other news, I rescued this prehistoric looking grasshopper from the pool today. He was nearly a goner by the time I found him. I wonder if this is his grateful look?

 The hydrangeas looked stunning in the sun this afternoon

And these two, Niko and Bilbo, well they just looked too darn cute not to include in today's post. 

Thursday, August 18, 2016

The Roosters Are Crowing and there are 6 of them!

The roosters, (Yes plural),  are learning to crow and it is adorable! They have these feeble, wobbly attempts as they stretch their vocal cords in an effort to belt out a full on cock-a-doodle-doo. About the plural part, so far we have counted 6 rosters. We had ordered 1 Buff Orpington and 1 NH Red roo and the hatchery thew in a free Easter Egger roo. The Easter Egger is a little banty so I'm not sure how he will make out with the big meat/egg breed roos but I read that roosters raised together from day one get along better. Still he is a cocky little banty. Some of these roosters will end up in the freezer and will supply us with delicious soups and broths during the winter. For that we are grateful. 

The Welsummers were a breed I really wanted but the chicks were only available straight run, (not sexed), so I ended up with 3 roos out of 5 Wellsummer chicks. These Welsummer roosters are so beautiful though. Think Kellogg's Corn Flakes cereal box rooster. 

 Here are 3 photos of the Welsummer Rooster Trio we ended up with. They sure are beautiful. Now we will just wait and see how their personalities turn out. That will help us decide who to keep and who to cull.

 They are very watchful and curious about me. So far only one of the Roos has bitten me and it was more of a test, not very hard.

 The 3rd Welsummer roo looking proud and beautiful

 Over on the far right is the little Bantam Easter Egger roo. He is sitting here with his harem. He sure is a cocky little guy and if he bosses the others around too much he may have to go.  The hen's in this photo are (from left to right) Silver Laced Wyandotte, Black Australorp , and Plymouth Barred rock

 This Turken, also known as Naked Necks,  is my absolute favorite hen. She loves to be patted and fussed over. She will come right up to me and snuggle in for pats. She also makes direct eye contact a lot. She is no dummy, she has made me fall so in love with her that she will never end up in the freezer.

Here she is close up. What a sweetie. I need to come up with a name for her. 

 The Silver Laced Wyandotte hens are stunning. 

 The Buff Orpingtons (On left) are supposed to be super docile friendly birds and very broody. I only got 2 Orpington hens and one roo thinking it might make a good tempered rooster. Interestingly they are the most distant and detached birds in the flock. Not mean at all just very skittish and uninterested in us. All the other breeds are much more curious and friendly. Another very sweet Naked Neck girl is on the right. She is getting new feathers and you can see the feather shafts with the new feathers emerging.

 All the girls are molting their feathers like crazy and if you blow this photo up you can see the new feather shafts with feather emerging on the Naked Neck girl.

 Just chilling on one of the roosts

 A Silver Laced Wyandotte and a Black Australorp snuggling together on the roost. 

 The girls hanging at the waterer. The brown one in the center is one of the two Welsummer hens, I think, I hope ;-) Wish more than two of them had turned out to be hens.