Sunday, June 30, 2013

Chicken adventures: Happy Hatch Day!!!

Well, today the chicks are one month old!  Happy Hatch Day!!!!  But first, something I don't think I have ever seen before!  I was making some chocolate chip cookies (YUM), cracked an egg in the bowl and found: A double yolker!  And, no, I'm not yolking!!!! ...I know, lame joke, but I couldn't resist! :)  Neat, huh?  You can kind of see the crease between them where they didn't separate properly...interesting!
And yes, I was so excited I had to take a picture.

On to the precious chick pics.  I thought it would be fun to compare them from when they were chicks, just a few days old, and today - which these pics were actually taken today!!  Here is a pile of newbie chicks in one of hubby's hands and today, here is a standard bank box with all 22 chicks in it.

Red sex link (the yellow baby chick on the right) and the red sex link today in the middle.  I was afraid she wouldn't have any red fill in because she was all yellow until the last several days.
(In memory of Marsha as well)

Blue cochin...

Red cochin...

Golden laced cochin...(little chicks-she's the most up front one with the red on her head).  Also, can you see on the today picture that her little wattles are starting to come in?

Buff brahmas...

Little boy blue cochin and partridge cochins...(left to right)
         (and the partridge cochins today...)

And finally (at least I think I got everybody)...
The brown leghorns...

I can't believe how big they have all gotten, and in only one month!  Its amazing!  They have already tried gotten out of the run thing outside several times.  Funnily enough, they climb up the chicken wire to get to the top.  We were outside working on the chicken coop last night (we actually got pretty far!) and one of the brown leghorns got clean out of the thing and started running around free.  And...because I am the motherly chicken mother that I am, I couldn't let her just run around free like that.  So we put her back in the pen with the rest of the family.

Well...I thought I had something else to say, but I can't remember...Oh well.  :) (sorry about the formatting of the pics, it didn't turn out like I would have hoped)

Thursday, June 27, 2013

Storage shelves

Well, I've been thinking about trying my hand at making some furniture and stuff.  I really wanted a big table for my kitchen in the event we have guests over...ever.  We are pretty anti-social so we don't have people over very often.  So, thinking about that I got into looking for furniture plans and things that I might could make.  I found a few tables that I really liked, but then it started seeming like the table would be really really heavy and unrealistic for me to build, but right before I got to that point, I found that table on craigslist, which I then bought.  I'm soooo happy about it and don't regret it for a second!  So, now I am still thinking about things I can build, but more along the shelf and armoir lines.  We really could use more storage around this house, like a linen closet, a pantry of sorts to store food in the mud room, and a shelving unit of some type to go in the kitchen to free up some counter space.

I wanted to start small with a very simple project.  So I found some shelves that I could make for my garage to help organize some things in there.  When the humidity gets bad, the floor gets all wet and I am very sure things do not dry out properly.  So, it would be nice if things were better organized and out of the way.  I got the idea from More Like, she has all sorts of plans on there that seem very doable and easy.  (also if you click that link it takes you to the actual plans for the shelves that I built)  I took a picture of the floor of the garage the other day, just to show a friend what it was like.  As you can see, I desperately need shelves and the time to organize the garage.

In honor of beginning to build things, hubby and I thought it was time that I got my own cordless drill.  Here it is in all its wonderful glory!  Isn't it beautiful?  Its just small enough that I can handle it and still has enough power that it should be able to do whatever we need it to.  (the battery is in the charger)

Okay, on to the project.  The whole thing is supposed to made out of 2x4s.  I decided to mix things up and make the shelves themselves out of 1x4s.

Technical stuff and numbers:
Time: 2-3 hours (probably could have taken less, but I'm new to this)
Cost: about $45
Measurements:  73" tall, 39 1/4" wide and 17 1/2" deep.  (-ish)
Materials used:
4 - 2x4x10 @ $4.59 each (this made the 4 uprights and the 8 shelf supports, and I ended up with 4 - 13" pieces of scrap); and 4 - 1x4x12 @ $5.98 (this made the 16 shelf pieces).  Plus a couple of bucks in screws (approximately 48 - 2 1/2" screws for the 2x4s and 64 - 1 5/8" screws to attach the shelves).

The plan is very simple, you attach the shelf supports to the uprights.  Cut 4 six foot pieces for the uprights and 8 - 17 1/2 inch pieces for the shelf supports out of the 2x4.  If you got 10 foot lengths, you'll have 4 - 13" ish pieces of scrap wood.  Use the 2 1/2" screws to attach the 2x4s to each other.

Then you'll cut 16 - 3 foot pieces of 1x4 for the shelves (since its a 12 foot length, there shouldn't be any scrap).  Then use the 1 5/8" screws to attach the shelf pieces to the shelf supports.

I cut everything to the plan that is in the link, but then when I tried to put the 3 middle pieces in between the uprights they didn't fit, so I decided just to use the 14 three foot pieces as my shelves and adding spaces in between the shelves.  Really, I used 5 1/2 of the 1x4x12s to make the actual unit.  I still have the 6 - 33" pieces to use, I might try to make a little bench or something with those and the other scrap pieces we have hanging around here.  We'll see how that goes.  Here is the shelf unit finished!  I made it all by myself, I even used the chop saw to cut all of my own wood. (scary!)  :) I'm pretty proud of myself!  It isn't perfect, that's for sure...

Here is what the shelves look like up close (that's the bottom one).  
There's about an inch-ish between each board, I think this and using the 1x4 instead of 2x4 will make it lighter and easier to move around, plus most likely its going to hold totes and stuff that shouldn't need a full shelf.  The plan also says to glue, predrill and countersink where you put your screws, but I didn't and it seems to be pretty good.  I also didn't put in the braces, I haven't decided if I'm going to do that or not, but I don't think it needs it.  I'll put lighter things on the top shelf, so it should be just fine.  :) YAY!!
I really really really love it!  I might build a couple of more, depending on what wood we have left around here after the chicken coop is done.  (SOMEDAY!  ACK!)  Here is the web site for something else I'm thinking about building: Cool Jelly Cupboard.

Have a great day!

Sunday, June 23, 2013

Chicken adventures: day 24

I can't believe that they are 24 days old already.  Time flies so fast...  They are sooo fun!  Yesterday was an interesting day.  Something really unfortunate happened and a bunch of cool things happened too.  We'll start  with the good news, the bad news, and then the chicken pictures. :)

The GOOD news:
Yesterday was the first day that I have ever seen lightning bugs/fireflies!  It was so neat and interesting!  Just little tiny flashes of light in the sky and in the field.  Soooooo neat though!  We were doing some building on the coop when I first saw them and hubby was a tad annoyed at how distracted I was.  It was kind of funny!  Super duper neato!!!!

In other neat news, I got my first cordless drill.  I'm really pretty excited about it!  I've been thinking about doing some building of shelves and other things for storage around the house and we thought it would be fitting if I got my own drill.  Hubby's is a bit too much for me to handle, plus if we have two drills going on the coop maybe we can get it done a little bit faster.  I still have to perfect my technique a little bit, but I think I'm getting the hang of it.  We also got the wood for my first set of shelves for the garage.  I'm really excited to see if I can do it!  We desperately need shelves in the garage, we have totes and stuff everywhere, so it would be nice to get things off the floor.  Plus, with the humidity creeping up the floor in the garage sometimes is covered with condensation and I'm just hoping that it isn't ruining things, so I think shelves will make everything look better as well as maybe dry out easier.  So, there will be posts and pictures about it, fyi. :)

The BAD news:
Yesterday was also a really sad day.  Marsha passed away.  She had been acting funny, not walking properly and being really quiet (if that makes sense), and yesterday when we took the chicks to play in the grass she didn't move around much or do much of anything.  We kind of expected it and saw it coming, but its still rather sad.  In memory, here is a picture of her...(she's hidden behind my little golden laced cochin friend, but here is her cute little face)
A few days ago when we were outside (Wednesday June 19), she would keep coming up to me and jumping on my lap and playing with me, but she didn't want me to touch her, so she wanted to make sure it was on her terms.  So that was kind of neat.  Over the last week or two she has really grown on me and I've started to like her a little bit more than before.  We are not quite sure of the reason for her death, but we have a suspicion that it was the buffalo gnat.  It is a little blood sucking gnat that attacks chickens.  We have had swarms of gnats around here the last few weeks, which are really really annoying, and I felt weird about them and didn't think that they seemed like the normal gnat.  Well, we think its this gnat and that that might be what happened.  I guess they get to the skin and suck the blood, can give chickens diseases, can cause shock in chickens and do all sorts of damage.  Marsha is the only one that we have noticed anything in, everyone else seems happy and healthy so far.  We are looking up ways that we can fight the gnats in the future, but I'm not sure what to do!  I kind of think that Marsha was the prime target, because they had easy access to her head and brain through the little pouf on her head, plus she is a rare chick, so maybe she was not quite as hardy as the rest, but we aren't quite sure, its all guesswork anyway.

Now the chicken pictures:
They are starting to roost, which is really neat to see!  :)

Here is a partridge cochin, red cochin and the blue cochin hen (we think).

This one might turn into my new "birdie."  (former birdie was a birchen cochin that got got by the neighbors dog at his parents house, it was so sad, birdie was so friendly and had the cutest little personality ...sigh)  This is the golden laced cochin that usually comes and visits with me whenever I'm in there.  She's so cute!

One of the light blue cochin roosters (maybe).

Buff brahma...(I really think this picture turned out really good!  It might go on the wall!)

Here are a bunch of butts for you... :) Left to right, partridge cochin, buff brahma, brown leghorn, partridge and brown leghorn.  

Little red cochin and the blue cochin hen.

Red cochin hen (This pic might go on the wall too....)

Red sex link...

This picture is so cute, I love it when they look at the camera curiously!  (Golden laced and blue cochin)

Little bit of everyone! :)

And is a picture of a really pretty strawberry that I picked the other day.  :) It was about the size of a pea, but look how pretty it is! Perfect!  And it was delicious!


Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Garden: week 6

Well, for once in a long time, I actually took these pictures today and I'm posting them today!  Sweet!!!
I'll admit there is a lot of grass...I'm not too proud of myself on that end.  If you can see them among the weeds, can you believe how big my peas are getting?  I don't have any flowers or anything yet, so hopefully soon!  The two beans are pretty big too!  (I spy two bean plants... can you find them?  haha).  The carrots are flourishing too, I really need to thin them.  I picked one yesterday when I was putting the Repellz All out to deter the deer, etc. from it.  I found some hoof prints by the watermelons the other day.

Holy crap the potato plants!!!!!  I can't get over how huge they are!!!!  My lettuce is looking awesome and the cucumber plant is getting big!!!  I did just weed this front part that you see.  Pretty much stopped there....I hope I get a good tan from this stupid garden weeding.  To be completely honest though, I attacked the grass/couple of weeds with a shovel.  That would be about as good as I would have done with my hands, and it goes way faster.  Probably the wrong way to do it, but there we are!

The bibb lettuce.  It feels like its time to have a salad...

You can't see them real well, but right there in the middle (of the tomato plant) are some flower buds!

Here are the flowers that I found on my cucumber plant!  Yay!!

The watermelon plants are growing pretty good, if you can see 'em!

I'm feeling grumpy, so....stupid wasps, hornets, freakin' gnats!!!!!!!  We have like a zillion!  AAAAACCKKK!!!!  Any tips on how not to freak out about bugs?  Bugs in general, I mean.  I think I really have a problem, I almost freaked out last week over one that was caught between plastic on the window and my desk.  Not good!  I had to get up and start making my lunch otherwise I probably would've completely freaked out. Anyway, that's my complaining for the night.  I'm so excited about the garden, its going so well.  Its been pretty dry, maybe I should water it....I dunno.  The weather channel says in a couple of days there will be 4 days of thunderstorms and rain, but I don't think I can trust it.  Maybe in the morning.

xoxo :)

Sunday, June 16, 2013

Chicken adventures: day 17

I can't believe the babies are 17 days old!  Every day I look at them and can't believe how fast they are growing, I always seem to notice new little things about them.  Its incredible!  This entry should feature at least one of every type of chick that we have, and so you will be able to see how fast they are growing and how they are getting all their cute little feathers.  They are in their awkward stage, its not so much of an ugly stage because they are not meat chickens.  The breed of chickens that are primarily for meat grow too fast for their feathers, its rather gross if you ask me, and just doesn't feel right.  So these chicks have more of an awkward stage, not an ugly stage. :) Yay!  Here we go!  I took these pictures on Friday June 14th.

Considering the "tornado" ruined our canopy, hubby figured out how to make it work again.  We tied it down real tight with our stakes and it works pretty good again!  Not perfect, but it works! :)

If there wasn't a blade of grass over its eye, this would be one of the pictures I plan on framing and putting on the wall.  Another of which is henny penny that you'll notice in the header at the top of the page.  Anyway, here is a partridge cochin.

Here are both buff brahmas.  I can't believe how much feather is coming in...

Top going clockwise: Marsha, brown leghorn, the little blue cochin girl (we think), and a golden laced cochin.

Here are the three red cochins (the more orange ones), a partridge and a buff brahma.

This is so sweet!  A red cochin and a golden laced cochin.  So adorable!

A red sex link female.  Isn't her little tail so cute?

Here is a little bit of everything, up front you have (left to right), a brown leghorn and a partridge cochin; in the middle row-ish you have a red sex link, one of our blue cochin roosters (we think) and below that a golden laced cochin (its black, weird); top row-ish we have a red cochin, another blue cochin rooster (maybe), a buff brahma and another red sex link.

We noticed some slight differences in their combs on Friday...The one on the left we think is the girl blue cochin and the one on the right is a blue cochin we think is a rooster.  His comb seems bigger, so I wonder if that is any indication.  But again, its all guess work anyway, so we're just playing with things that we're noticing.  Pretty much, we'll end up with whatever we end up with. :) But its kind of fun to guess.  At this point we think we might only have 2 roosters (both blue).

We opened up the rest of the brooder to them.  They seem to be enjoying it, and I can't believe how much more space they take up now.

We started the brooder yesterday.  Its going to be so heavy!  But I think I said that yesterday too....Scary heavy, good thing it'll have wheels on it!