Thursday, April 28, 2011

Chickens, Gardens & Weaving

Well, I was hoping to have more updated pictures of our port-a-coop but the weather has not been on our side. So since we were stuck inside I had the kids paint some pretty garden markers. I love practical art!
We did have a wonderful Easter weekend and I hope you did too. The weather could not have been nicer on Sunday and the 2 older kids and dad went and hid the eggs, then we all sat back and watched the younger 3 hunt them.

I did some work on my new loom and am enjoying this. I have always wanted to learn to weave. I think it is one of those skills from times past that should be kept alive. There is a satisfaction of making something with your own hands that you don't get when you buy it. What am I making here? A practice piece that my 7 yr old has asked to have for her baby dolls. So I guess it will be a doll blanket!

Scallywag our cat "helping" me weave.
We got a little done in the garden. I am hoping that the seeds did not wash away! I am thankful that the winds did not blow away our almost done chicken tractor.

The chicks are getting bigger and starting to get their feathers and got moved to a big cage to await their new home to get done. I will try to get updated pictures of them up soon.

Thursday, April 21, 2011

The Chicken Tractor / Port-A-Coop in the Making

Measure twice cut once!

 Thomas and Josiah looking at the plans.
 Abby learning to put screws in.
 All hands on deck.

 Rachel and Josiah having a Kodak moment.
Rachel and John. (John happens to be the one who designed the coop!)

 Rachel working hard.
 Its starting to look like something.
A model of what it will look like when its all done!
A sample of the plans that will be available.
This is our soon to be chicken home! It is taking longer than we thought to build, (Doesn't everything though?) due to scheduling, weather, finding little changes that need to be made... you get the idea.
It has been fun though and we can't wait to get it finished and painted!

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Some More Pictures of our Chicken Adventure

      The Incubator bought from Tractor Supply.
                                                         Got to keep them warm!
    Candled them at 8 days and could see life in 11 of the 12.
Here comes Alpha, named of course because he was the 1st.
                      Isn't he cute?
One of the others making a break for it. ;-)
   5 chicks waiting for the others to dry enough to join them.
  Rachel's little set up. Going to get a larger box in a day or two.

          These are what you call a Barnyard Mix. Which is chicken for mutt. :-)
They came from good healthy layers and should be strong chickens. I am glad we are doing this. It has already been a great life lesson for the kids and will continue to be one, plus a good Homeschooling and
4-H project!
Next post, I will show more pictures of their future home as its coming along.

Monday, April 18, 2011

Our Chicks!

In the light of rising gas and food prices we have been looking for ways to become a little more self reliant. I have had a garden for several years now and am getting so most everything I plant grows.

Last year my husband found out about Amaranth, a grain that is gluten free and very healthy. He planted a bunch of it and it did pretty well. He will be planting more of it this year.
(I will have my husband do some posts about this grain soon.)

We have a done rain barrels, mulch piles, gardening classes and getting books to learn how to be as self reliant as we can on our small piece of land in a sub-division.

For a long time now I have wanted to have just a few hens in the back yard for fresh eggs and manure. Not to mention the fun and pleasure. It is also a great project for my children. (This will be a 4-H project for my 10 yr old.)
Everything started to come together for us to be able to do so. My friend John had been looking at port-a-coops/chicken tractors and really didn't like what he found and started studying different types and the pros and cons and designed his own. We are building the prototype and making changes as we go. My 10 year old told us she wanted an incubator for her birthday and a friend gave her a dozen fertile eggs and after carefully turning them every day and watching the temp. The eggs started hatching Saturday morning and we have 8 chicks hatched and 3 eggs to go! We will keep only 4 or 5 hens and sell or give away the rest.

I will post more later but I need to rub some coconut oil on my shoulders. I got a little sun burnt adding compost and rock dust to my soil this afternoon.
I will do some gardening posts soon.

Our Backyard Homestead

Spring is here! Time to plant the garden, chicks are hatching in my daughter's incubator and we are building a chicken tractor! I love spring!
So you might be asking, what pray tell is a chicken tractor?
Are pictures of a chicken driving a John Deer going through your head?
Chicken tractors, other wise known as port-a-coops are small movable chicken coops that you can move around your yard so the chickens can eat all those healthy bugs and weeds while giving back to the ground wonderful fertilizer!
We live in a subdivision so we are limited in what we can have. No milk goats, cows, ducks are too loud and messy... so we are going to have four or 5 hens (no rooster!). We will have eggs enough for our family, fertilizer for the yard and garden, and they will keep the bugs and weeds down. What more could you ask for?
I will post pictures when it is built and we will have plans for it for purchase so you too can have some beautiful hens in your backyard!