Sunday, November 15, 2009

LadyBug, LadyBug

Each year the kids become divided on loving the LadyBug. They, the bugs, invade our home each fall to hibernate. LadyBugs are everywhere! Dive bombing us while cooking, in the bathroom, during school even. The nerve of these cute little critters. Some of the kids are totally grossed out and others find that each little bug is a "lucky" sign and lovingly put the little red creepy-crawly back into the cluster of sleeping bugs. I don't mind them and I know that Spring will come and we can usher the little red bugs out to the garden.

Do you remember the little ditty regarding the ladybug?

LadyBug, LadyBug fly away home.
Your house is on fire and children are all gone.
All except one, and that's little Anne.
She's hiding under the frying pan!

I never did really understand this poem. But recently we had not one but TWO fires! The first one was electrical. The connection of the cord and the control panel on our oven was loose and shorted out. It resulted in a new oven for Biscuit and me!

The new stove/oven is quite different from the old, though still electric, it is a glass top and has some really neat features! We both like our new stove. I put on a water kettle for some tea and turned on the burner. After a few minutes, the stovetop was all smoke! Biscuit hollered to me and I came running! Another fire! This time the culprit was a little Red potholder hiding under a pan that I had left on the stove.

The fire was not serious and everyone was safe, thank's to the quick reaction of my darling daughter, Biscuit!

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Turkey Chickens

We have had a wonderfully busy summer! We had lots of company from different states. For one family of visitors (there were 8 of them) we decided to feed them some home-grown chicken. Hubby took care of the yucky part and Biscuit and I cooked her up. Could I possibly feed so many people with just one bird? I not only did, but we even had left-overs! That bird was so large! I guess they were fairly happy living in our little hen house.

Since then, we have put the other five meat-birds in the freezer. We did not weigh them but I would guess they were about 10 pounds each. We figured that it cost us roughly $15.00 per chicken to purchase the chick and feed it for 10 weeks. It turned out to be much more expensive than getting one from the grocery store. However, knowing exactly what went into each one and allowing them to live a decent life made the expense a little easier to stomach. Having her covered in BBQ sauce may have helped a little, too!

Saturday, July 18, 2009

Hey Mikey, sHe Likes It!

Our Little Ladies are fully moved in to the Palace! Dear Hubby loves to go out to the palace and play with "his" ladies. He clucks and talks sweet and tickles them on the belly! They are happy, the kids are happy, Dear Hubby is happy, and NOW I am also happy!

We built a terrific little "interem" brooder from PVC and screen. It worked okay, but I need to make some modifications for next year. The duct tape pulled away from the screen, but the idea was not a bad one. The whole kit-n-kaboodle cost $46.00. I was shooting for $0.00, but the free cardboard fell apart when the waterer fell over!

They have a lovely roost made from sticks and a new bank of nesting boxes!

Our Ladies also have live-in guests! An Eastern Phoebe had made a nest on the I-beam of the chicken house and is currently tending at least three babies. There were four eggs, but we have not been able to determine the last one's status.

So, I plan to paint the hen house (outside) and jazz it up. But what I am missing is a name for our home. I have several ideas, but am not decided. Hen Haven, Poultry Palace, Chicken Chateau, Hen Harem, or something referring to Eggs. Please comment on any ideas you might have! I'll consider most anything!

99 Red Balloons

Okay, there was really only one! But it almost landed in our field! It was very cool! The kids were hoping, but it landed in our neighbor's blueberry field. The rest of the day was just beautiful, sunny and comfortable. We had some late afternoon showers, but were rewarded with a spectacular double rainbow behind our home! The picture does neither rainbow any justice! Just had to share!

Friday, July 17, 2009

That Which Doesn't Kill Us, Makes Us Stronger!

I've heard it said that the sure way to test a marriage is to renovate. There are 7 people currently in my home. Four of them are kids. We bought a house with three "necessary rooms" and when the one went, we actually lost two(One sits above the other and all the piping had to go)! We are now all sharing 1 potty! We have guests coming soon that will increase our numbers to NINE! Soon after, another family will be gracing our humble abode and the count will be at 13. WE NEED TO GET THAT JOHN FIXED ---- S O O N !!!

We have been down to one potty for a month, now. It's not so bad 75% of the time, but that other 25% is not pretty. Kids bouncing in unusual dance moves with a glassy look in their eyes, squeking out, "I gotta go!"

Progress happens with 3 steps forward, 2 steps back. Our steps have brought us to a point that the trees are being nicely watered (Thanks boys!) and Dear Hubby is burning the midnight oil so as to continue along in a happily married situation!

We're feeling stronger already!

Monday, July 6, 2009

The Poultry Palace

So the time has come that our little ladies are no longer welcome in our cellar. They NEED to go to the coop. Unfortunately, the coop is not quite ready.

It is going to be a wonderful place for them. All cement, 11' x 15', has a nice door and a window with a great view! As of this weekend, it now also has a non-leaking roof!

We still need to install the new nesting boxes, finish the run and lay down the bedding. Electricity will also need to be run to the building because it is still chilly at night and they are too young to completely regulate their body temps, so they still need heat lamps.

We had lots of help this weekend getting the coop ready. Dear Hubby is the kind of guy that can't do anything half-way. Actually, he really even has a hard time doing any project that wouldn't stand up to a Class 5 Hurricane or F5 Tornado! If a particular job requires 5 nails, he will use 15 nails, 10 screws AND glue! We had to keep telling him, "It's just a coop!"

So now our coop is a Poultry Palace! We don't have a proper roof -- yet. Since the roof was so leaky, it needed BIG repair. We looked at tin roofing, plastic roofing, concrete, and shingles. We opted for blue tarp. Actually, we layed down a layer of roofing felt then topped it with a blue tarp folded in half. It did turn out to be a little less expensive than the other options, but not as permanent. I don't think the chickens will mind but I'm not sure that the Queen would enjoy a night at this palace!

Monday, June 29, 2009

Raising Chickens by Lucy Ricardo

I LOVE Lucy! Who doesn't? Do you remember the episode where the Ricardos have moved out to the country and Ricky is upset about all the bills, so they decide to raise chickens? Back in 1957, Lucy says that eggs are 75 cents a dozen. Eggs are not much more than that now! I have taken her advice and brought home some chicks! (I decided on way less than she did!)

I have wanted chickens for about 10 years, so since we are now out in the country and on a farm, no less! - it is time to raise some chickens! We bought 12 layers and 6 broilers. We are also raising 12 layers for some friends. Chicks are SO cute! They'll nod off right in their food dish. We picked them up about a week and half ago and already have had to move them twice into bigger boxes.

They were only 1 day old when I picked them up - all fuzz! After just a few days, their wing feathers have grown in and they have the start of tail feathers. They can already fly up to the top of the box and roost on the edge! Some of them love to be held and others love to peck at the hand that feeds them.

We are going to be using the old boiler room for the giant chicken barn that used to exist on this farm. It was big enough for 80,000 chickens! The boiler room is cinder-block and about 13'x12'. It leaks and is missing the door and window. It was being used as storage for junk wood and snakes! My boys worked for weeks cleaning it out (it was only work when they couldn't find any snakes that particular day!) and our friends that are keeping chickens here (the W Family) came and put up a door and screened in the window! The only thing left to do is repair the very leaky roof and put up a run, build nesting boxes and roosts, fill the cracks in the walls and run the electricity!
If we don't get the Poultry Palace up and running soon, I guess I can always just keep the chicks in my living room!

Sunday, June 21, 2009

A very Expensive FREE sink!

There's no such thing as a FREE puppy - or sink! This beautiful mint-green pedestal sink was a lovely item I picked up for FREE from a Freecycler. My wonderful Hubby said, "I'll just replace the sink tonight and we can slowly work on the rest of the bathroom later."

This is what the original bathroom looks like. It was very small and very stinky. The old vanity was taking up so much room and we thought it was the source of the foul smell.

Once the sink came out, he discovered the floor was rotten. Then the walls, then the sub-floor! He got so excited about finding all that mold and rot that he stayed up all night pulling stuff out! We are now down to studs on the walls and exposed joists under the sub-floor. Two of the four joists are missing big sections so there is no support! It's amazing we never fell right through!

This is the gutted bathroom. You can see the light on the bottom right of the picture....that is the basement under the bathroom!

We knew when we bought our old farmhouse that things would need replacing/remodeling/renewing. I was hoping that we could ease into the bigger projects!

Well, my FREE sink is going to cost us about $750.00! Let's just hope the kids don't come home with a free puppy any time soon!

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Welcome to the Funny Farm!

I have never blogged before, but it looked like fun! I have friends who blog and feeling quite inspired, I thought I would give it a go! I might be crazy, I might be just fine, but either way, here we go - welcome to the funny farm!

My plan is to blog about what I learn while making our new "old" farm NEW again! I will try to describe experiences in renovating our old farm house and what it is like for a city girl to try her hand and raising animals, veggies, kids and weeds!

A little background so you'll know where I'm coming from. Twenty years ago, my very southern husband married a military-raised northern girl. Fortunately for me, he LOVES the north! The time came when we knew it was time to go back home. My home. By Providence, he quickly found a job and we put our house in the city on the market. We packed up and headed NORTH. Eventually the old house sold and eventually we found just the right place to plant some roots - literally! Again, by Providence we bought an old chicken farm, that had once been a dairy farm, that has not been in operation for quite a number of years. It is 45 acres, mostly wooded with a very large farm house. It had everything on our want list! Providence again!

We moved into our new home in October of 2008, just in time to try out our woodstoves. Having lived in the south all my married life and most of my youth, the opportunity to operate a woodstove, let alone three of them, had RARELY arrisen. I would now get the chance to keep this southern acclimated body to a temp in which I become accustomed. NOPE! I found that it is not as easy as it looks. It took me about three months to get the hang of it. Fortunately for me, there was still PLENTY of winter left to master this newly acquired skill.

Once spring hit, the desire to grow things became overwhelming. Because we moved from the city and had the yard the size of a postage stamp, we had no need of a lawn cutting apparatus bigger than a weed whacker and a push mower. Therefore, I began growing WEEDS. LOTS of them! I discovered that I am great at growing weeds.

So far, I have lots of "deck" flowers. That is flowers on my "deck" - go figure! I have NOTHING in my garden - save for the weeds.

My experience with animals, since having children 15 years ago, is with several batches of plastic fish and some sea-monkeys. Until recently the sea-monkeys were doing great, but they somehow have met their untimely demise. Well, I needed to move on to bigger and better things. At least, better-suited for a farm. I ordered chickens. We have 12 layers and 6 broilers on order and they should be arriving by Friday.

So truly begins the farm life for me. I guess I am now commited, happily of course! I can't wait to get started....