Sunday, August 21, 2016

Gimme a beet!

....from the immortal words of Janet, Ms Jackson if your nasty!  I canned beets this weekend, and yes I was playing Janet and her bothers tune, Beat it, also!  
My Bulls Blood beets did very well.  I didn't think I would end up with much because I thought my soil was going to be too hard, but they turned out quite well.

I was very excited that my Chioggia beet also did well.  These have red and white rings inside and they say the red does not bleed as bad as the all red variety.  However after they were done you don't really see the color variations anymore. 

It will be interesting when I open the first one.  My Detroit Golden beets and Albino beets did produce. I got three Detriot Golden and one Albino!  So I put them together in a half pint jar! 

I used a shrink wrap label on the jars after they done.  I like how easy they were to use, plus they will come right off when you have emptied the contents.  I have to see if they carry half pint labels too. 

I'm so happy with how they turned we'll see what they taste like in a few weeks.  That will be the true test!

Tuesday, August 16, 2016

Lillian's change!

Well I've got some bad news, last Monday morning when I went out to let the girls out, Lillian crowed....twice!  Not really bad news but not what I wanted to hear at 6:30am.  I then took a better look at some online photos of her breed.  The males have the same large comb and wattles that she does. The females of her breed have the same small comb and wattles that the other girls have. 

So Lillian is now Bert, for now anyway.  Since she was named after my Grandmother and that does not work for a rooster, I used my Grandfathers name, Albert, but he was called Bert.  But I'm not sure if Bert in a good fit for him.  Time will tell.

After reading more about the hierarchy of a flock, they will have one dominant rooster at the top and that is just what Bert has been. 

A few friends have asked what I'm going to do with him...well for now I hope he turns out to be a good protector for the girls.  I didn't want a rooster, but now that I have one, so far so good.

Now to add to my chicken obsession....I have four new baby chicks coming on September exciting is that!  I'll tell you more about them soon. I leave you with a picture of my first sunflower that opened a couple days ago.  They are about 8 feet tall!

Thursday, July 28, 2016

Birthday Celebration

I planned a get together with my mom, siblings and aunt & uncle. My brother and my aunt & uncle had not seen my new house yet. It turned into a birthday party. (my birthday was on the following day)

We had a great time.  I was especially happy that my friend Danny was able come.  The day went very fast and before you knew it, it was over.  My Uncle Daryl was not feeling very well and was not able to make it.  

Auntie Ann had a very pretty and delicious cake made for me.

Plus these fun chick sugar cookies.

I was so happy that Auntie Ann got to hold her namesake, Queen Ann.

In other news the garden is beginning to be over run with weeds again!  It's never ending, but it's been way to hot for me to be working out in it. I have some type of breakout on my forehead and all over my chest, arms and back, just from sweating!  I seem to be alergic to sweating!  Which is not good when you don't have air conditioning.  Hopefully we will get a break from the heat and I can try to tackle the garden again.  I really should have put everyone from the party to work, if everyone took a row or two we could have had it done in no time!

This was my latest harvest from the garden.  I have lots of tomatoes that will be ripening soon, can't wait!  I may have to put a fence around the garden. It will depend on how often I let the chickens run free.  I let them run last night and I had a basket with some cherry tomatoes in it that I picked on the ground, Lillian really wanted to get at them!  They love tomatoes!  So I'll have to keep an eye on where they roam so they don't help themselves too much.

Thursday, July 7, 2016

Ten Weeks Old

Can you believe they are growing up so much!  Monday they were ten weeks old.  I have officially moved them from chick to pullet status.  Then once they start laying eggs they will be called hens.  We ventured out of the coop for a little photo shoot.  Lavern was the first to step out because she is the least afraid of me.  Lillian did not like that at all.  She charged right out and made sure she was first in line to try anything that looked good. She kept the other girls corralled and would not let them venture very far in case they got something she wanted. 

They doing well in their coop.  They go in every night at dusk and get on the roost.  Lavern is always the last one to get on the roost and the others don't give her any room so I help her out occasionally.

I still can't figure out if Laverne or Lucille is on the bottom of the pecking order.  Lillian is such a tyrant.  She is constantly bullying the others, at least there is not one pullet that is getting picked on by everyone.  That would not be good.

Lucille is still the shyest.  Lillian will peck at me if I try to pet her.  The other day I picked her up and just carried her around the yard, so she can try to get used to the idea that I'm actually the top one in the pecking order!  I will keep trying to hold Lillian once in a while so she gets used to the idea that I'm bigger than she is.

I've been trying to finalize the plans for the bigger chicken coop and hope to break ground on it soon.  

Sunday, July 3, 2016


I finally got my clothesline finished.  I was inspired by the telephone poles in front of the house, and I found a great blog that had instructions to build exactly what I wanted. 

I cemented the poles in the ground and it took forever to set (turn white) about 4-5 days, then we got some rain and it unset!  It was very old cement.  I finally just said screw it and hung my line. It did cause them to lean in a bit but it's 2 feet in the ground I'm sure it's not going anywhere

Mother bought me some nice American made clothespins.  I put them in the  clothespin holder dress I made.  I was happy to put my first load out on the line.  I took the picture, then put my boxers on the line, your welcome!  And just like Grandma Buller always said, you hang your underwear in the middle behind the other clothes!
Now I need to find some antique glass insulators to put on the arms.

Sunday, June 26, 2016

added screen door

The first couple nights with the new coop I had to round up the girls and put them in the coop area.  This was kinda traumatic for them.  They say you should keep them locked in the coop area for several weeks so they get the idea, this is my home, I want to be here at night.  I really didn't want to keep them locked in the coop area because its so hot during the day, but I needed them to get the idea that the coop is where they want to be at night.  So I built a removable screen door so they have lots of ventilation.

They have been just in the coop area for 6 days now.  All of them have used the roost at night now.  Queen Ann has used the roost every night, the other three girls would huddle on the ground the first few nights.  Two nights ago Lillian and Queen Ann used the tallest roost and Lucille was on the lower one.  Last night those three girls were all on the tall roost, so I gave Laverne a little help getting on there with them.

I think in a couple days I can let them back out into the run area during the day.
These are some radishes I picked out of my garden a few days ago!  The garden, unfortunately, is mostly weeds but I'm trying to not let it beat me!

Saturday, June 25, 2016

Chicken Tractor

It started with a pile of lumber!

I have no building skills, I got the plans for this from Building Chicken Coops for Dummies.

A chicken tractor is a movable coop.  You move it around the yard so the chickens don't have time to decimate the grass before it can grow back.

In the book this coop is called the All in one because it has the coop and run together.  Its about 8'x3 1/2'.  The coop is raised to keep varments from getting in through the bottom and it gives the chickens more grass area to peck at.

I added two roost boards later. There is a window on each side. I also put a outdoor thermometer on the inside so I can see how hot it is inside the coop. The roof area between the coop and run is open so I put hardware cloth over it for ventilation.

The plans for the coop had the nest box area inside and a door flush with the wall to access the eggs.  I thought that gave the chickens even less area inside, so I built it outside the coop. 
Inside the coop its all about space.  You want to have 3-4 square feet per bird.  Chickens are very social animals and like to be around each other, but they do need space so they are not crowded.  If they are stressed they will peck at each other and it could lead to someone being killed.  Just imagine being in a elevator with 3 other people, you get the idea!

I tell you painting is the worse!! After I started painting with a brush I switched to a small roller, then I realized I should have just used the roller on the raised wide areas and left the groves plain.  But I had already started painting inside the groves so I had to do the whole thing that way.  But it got done!

The bucket is for water, it has 4 water nipples on the bottom.  I ordered a larger feeding bucket for the run area too.
 I did close off the nest box area inside.  They won't be laying for several months and it would just get dirty inside.  You want the nest area to be clean as possible to keep the eggs clean.  I hope to have the larger permanent coop built before they start laying. 

They got introduced to their new home last Saturday.  Mom and Rosebud were waiting for them to venture down the ramp for the first time.

They had to be enticed to come out into the run with strawberries! We ended up having to use the truck to pull it out into the yard.  The tractor kept getting stuck and spinning its wheels!  It is quite heavy.  They took to the new water bucket right away after I tapped on it to show them that water came out.  The new feeder did arrive in the post that afternoon and that did take some time for them to get used to.
Overall I am pleased with how it turned out.