Thursday, April 27, 2017

April 27, 2017

Chicks By Mail!!  This is the first time we have gotten chicks by mail and did not know quite what to expect.  So here is how it went.  This morning I got a phone call from the post office about 7:50 am when they told me that my chicks had arrived and I needed to come and pick them up.  I told them I should be able to make it in the next 30 minutes.  I was surprised when I got to the post office and the postal worker brought me a small box of about 12 x 20.  I had ordered 50 Freedom Ranger chicks.  When I brought them home, I went and got their temporary housing ready.  We are hoping their chicken tractor is only a day or so away from being finished.  I had hauled in an old horse trough whose bottom had rusted out a long time ago before it was given to us, and sat it on a piece of cardboard opened up  from a large box.  I turned the horse trough upside down so there would only be smooth edges towards the chicks.  I then added hay, set up the heat lamp and food and water dishes that my husband had helped me round up earlier, and was ready to add the chicks.

I opened the box top to see if they were all healthy, and they were all living, so I picked them up one at a time, dipped their beak in the water, and counted them as I went along.  There are 51 chicks.  They seem to be happy in their new home.  I then invited in our two border collies to introduce them to their new charges.  They were very interested in them.  Phoenix was shaking.  I am trying to train them that chickens are for taking care of, not for eating.  We try to keep our chickens separate from our dogs, but occasionally a chicken will fly over the fence into dog territory, then the dogs think they are something that can be chased and defeathered, which reminds me of a song from a video that our children watched over and over, Friends for Dinner.

The new chicken tractor is almost ready.  Soon I will post a new tab with directions for making it.  This is to keep our chickens safe at night in the pasture.  As soon as they are old enough, we will open the door to let them free range in the pasture, and send them back to their chicken tractor at night.  Here are some progress photos.

Sunday, April 16, 2017

April 16, 2017

Love these weeks where we both have off from our daily jobs and can work on the farm full time.  Our big project for the week was to make separate paddocks for rotational grazing.  We finished three of them including the gates.  The cattle are a bit antsy with the changes.  We configured the fence so we can share a stock tank between two paddocks.

I have been working on the front porch trying to get all the functions in, and make them look nice.  I finished the cushion covers to our little table on the front porch in a green leaf vine pattern.  Also, we used two cement planters that we had with a square of marble on top so we can have a place to store the handtools I needed for my herb garden.  I bought two buckets and painted them the same purple as I used earlier on the oil lanterns on the other side of the porch.  I then took my old hand tools and painted the handles in the same green paint as the metal wall hanging.

Tuesday, April 11, 2017

April 11, 2017

Permaculture field trip with Harvey Harman
Oh my goodness, life is so busy!  One of the things we have been working on is a class that we are taking on Permaculture Fundamentals with Harvey Harman.  We have enjoyed it so much!  Lots of examples of how everything is connected and making your life more efficient such as moving all the things close to you that you do more often, and making sure that everything has many uses.  I would strongly recommend a Permaculture class to everyone!

As a result of the class, we moved our herb garden to combine it with our front flower bed so I can run out the front door (near the kitchen) and pick herbs to go along with our dinner.  What a pleasure that will be!

Our chicks are growing up!  After doing some reading about how long to keep them under a heat lamp, I started weaning them off of the heat lamp at about a week and a half old (easy to do since they were inside only.)  At about 2 weeks, we moved them outside where a mama chicken adopted them.  We added them to the broody hen at night and she didn't seem to have a problem with accepting them.  We put them in a separate space from the rest of the chickens in a mini coop with it's own yard.

We are putting in our paddocks for multi-species rotational grazing.  Today we got about half of the posts in for phase 1 (two paddocks).  The cows were so curious.  I was surprised to see them tasting the dirt that we raised out of the ground with our auger after we drilled holes.  I went and checked their minerals and added to them just in case.

Oil lanterns painted purple with green medallion
In addition to all this, we have been working on home maintenance, such as replacing our countertops and backsplash, painting, and sprucing up around the porch.
Green coleus with purple impatiens