Friday, August 23, 2013

(not) Busy Days...and Microsoft Excel

Well, it has been an exciting and very busy last few days...(not really).  Yesterday we had a huge rain storm which was really really needed!!!  Its so good that it rained, but the wind blew a whole lot!  I don't think the chickens understood what was happening because when it started raining real good the chickens were still out standing in the rain, so as it was pouring I shooed them into the coop.  Otherwise they probably would've drowned!  I'm guessing, I don't know!  Silly chickens though!  A couple of hours later after the majority of the storm passed, I went out to let the chickens back out and found this.

It is the PVC run thing that we made.  ...wrapped around the coop.
The good news: it bounced right back from that, good thing PVC pipe is flexible!

For my painting class, we had to find something that we want to paint, something that interests us, so I took in this picture.  I thought it would be really interesting!
Here's what happened after the first class...(now we can see the progression).  So far so good, but we'll see how things go.

I saw this as I was taking pictures of the other chickens, I took this in as one of my painting options, but it turned out the other one would probably have more interest in it.   They found one of the old mole mounds and were using it as their dusting spot!  So cute!  

And, this is the wonderful and most exciting events of last night.
We bought our couch from the DI in Ogden, UT almost 2 years ago.  It is possibly the most comfortable and best couch we've ever had!  Best use: naps!  I kind of miss it because I slept on it the whole summer of last year while hubby was doing his internship here in Iowa.  I slept sooooo good on it!  But I'll take sleeping next to him over the comfy couch any day.  :) Anyway, hubby was sitting in his spot and he looked down and found this in between the armrest and the cushion.
A Simpsons puzzle piece.  It is not ours, I know this.  1) we only have one Simpsons puzzle. 2) it is 1000 pieces, so the pieces are much smaller than this. and 3) its a mosaic puzzle (where every piece has like 5 tiny pictures that all work together to make up one whole big picture).  So, we've been carrying this piece and it has made it through 2 years, a 1200 mile move, and a wild car-ride on top of my car when taking it home from DI during which it was rained on.

Another exciting thing that happened last night is this.
Hubby was curious just how many rows and columns Excel had.  Well, the answer is this: Rows: 1,048,576, and Columns: XFD.  My question is, why didn't it just go to zzz?  or a round number like 1,050,000 or something?  Weird! you can see, yesterday was a VERY busy day... hehe.


Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Random stuff

Okay, so its been a little while since I've posted and I apologize...I'm still trying to figure out what to talk consistently about next, but that isn't going very well.  Any ideas?  I know that's a loaded question. :)  Btw, one of the last times I talked about how my heartbeat was irregular, but I've been on some heart medication for about a month now and it feels perfectly fine.  I had to give up caffeine, which was very disappointing and difficult (I miss you...) but it is all worth it.  I still have to ask the doctor if I have to be off it for the rest of my life or how that will work (I hope not and kind of doubt it, just not as much as I was getting before).  Seems like everything is coming together, lets hope it stays that way.  I've been working on eating better and changing my eating habits and its working pretty well, I think.  Mostly I've been trying real hard to get in more fruits and veggies, which is hard because I usually don't opt for them.  So we have a lot of them around the house and in the fridge (which also means lots of fruit flies, which you will see later).  But it is good, I've already lost a few pounds and it would be nice if it kept progressing that way.  However, we did go to the Iowa State Fair (awesome!) this last weekend and ... well ... you know! :) Fair food is pretty good!  But its back to being a good girl now!

Anyway, enough about me, lets see some pictures from the "garden" and then some other random stuff.
You remember those raspberries I decided to put in pots and see if they worked?  Well...we actually got some raspberries this year!  I'm very pleasantly surprised!
 Here are 2 raspberries I picked on Friday that we ate before we left for the fair...YUM!!!!
I picked one of our watermelons!!  I picked it last week and its still on the counter, so we should probably eat that for dessert tonight :)  Its maybe 8 to 9 inches in diameter!  I love the size of it, and it should be perfect for hubby and I to eat and not have much left over!  I'm very excited!

Here are a bunch of tomatoes that I picked!  This was also last week, right now they are a deeper awesome red!  They look so good!  I wish I knew what to do with them!  I think I'm going to try a recipe for salsa for one, and then maybe spaghetti sauce? Or Pizza sauce?  I don't know about those though!  I've never made any of this!  Anyone know of some good recipes?

Here is a picture of the front yard (across the street).  I wanted to get pics with the hay bales in it before they removed them, and they did later that day, so I'm really happy I did that when I did!  So pretty!!  This is what I look at all day while I'm working! :)

We had a bunch of flies and fruit flies around the house, so I made this for the flies outside by the brooder (now there is probably 20 dead flies in it).  I put it out there last week and its been doing a pretty good job of keeping them down!  I forget, but I think there's sugar, vinegar and water in there...
Here is my fruit fly trap (the top is aluminum foil poked with little holes held on with the ring).  This has apple cider vinegar and a couple of drops of dish soap.
I put this out one morning and the next day I had a ton of fruit flies in it...(here's a picture but you can't really see them real well).  But there's a ton in there now! Yay!!!

We haven't really been giving them anything other than feed, except I put a cucumber out there that they weren't too interested in.  I had some apples that were going bad and I thought I would see what the chickens thought of them.   They were all over them, they had them eaten up in no time!  That made me really happy!
And a couple of weekends ago, we had a bunch of egg yolks left from our eggs on the weekend mornings so I cooked them up and fed them to the chickens!
They weren't quite sure about it all, but some of them really enjoyed the yolks!
We had to cook up the yolks because if the chickens eat them when they are gooey they will know they are eating yolks.  And if an egg breaks in the coop they'll know what it is and where it comes from and that they love it and so they will eat their own eggs.  Which we DO NOT want!!!

Oh!  And we took a little video of moving the coop with hubby's riding lawn mower!  Check it out!  Its pretty neat!

And, last but not least, in an effort to get in some socialization, I started a beginner acrylic painting class.  Its only a 6 week class, but so far I think its helping, and its kinda fun too!  I'm not sure painting is for me, but its worth a try! This week (tomorrow) we get to bring in something that interests us to start painting, I might bring in a picture of one of my chickens! :)  Here is a picture of my first work of art! (haha)
Not bad, eh?  I think it turned out okay, it really discouraged me at some times, but, its alright!
All right...I better get to work!

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Chicken adventures: Coop done!!!!

Well, its been a very exciting last few days!  We finished the coop on Sunday, finally!  Brought it out of the shop, finally!  We could have built it a lot different and a fair bit cheaper, but we wanted it to look really nice and be a little fortress for the chickens so they would be completely safe and sound.  So its probably overkill, but we are sooooooo happy with it!  Worth all of the sweat, blood and tears that went into it! :) Here are some pictures of it!!!
Here is the front door...
 View from the run door...
The window on the rear and the little door that goes from the coop to the run...(I really enjoy the contrast between the green rafters here and the white roofing--we got a really nice green color I think).
Here is where the nesting boxes will go here soon...They are only 2 months and won't start laying eggs until they are 4 to 6 months old, so we have some time.  We made the roof come out more so that the nesting boxes can extend out of the building which will give us more room inside.  (I made the filler screen thing all by myself! haha)
Here is a side view of the other window and the coop propped up on the wheels, this picture was taken during transport! :)
Here is the inside on the right, the roosts and the one window, I'm so happy with how it looks!  It was a nice touch to paint the inside green.  Plus, it'll keep the wood longer and should be easier to clean (maybe?).
Here is an inside view on the left side, this is the nesting box window...the little door on the right and the rear window on the top right.
 Here is what hubby made to make the coop mobile (so we can move it regularly around the yard).
Here is how we make it mobile, move the bar up and then it props the coop up on the wheels.  He did such a great job!!!!
Here is how he is hooking it to the riding lawn mower, we realized the wheels need to be farther apart, so we'll be working on that tonight.
 Here are the chickens right before we put them in the coop!
 Here is the coop in the morning sun (this morning).  Sooooooo cool!  Oh, and the chickens are in there too.
 Here is a different view of it.
2 nights ago was their first night in the coop.  They piled up on the ground under the roosts together.  LAST NIGHT though at dusk, I went outside to check on them and see what they were doing and this is what I found!  They were all on the roosts!!! (you might not be able to see very well)
I was kind of worried that it would take them longer to get comfortable and get into their good chicken systems, but no, they're right on!  Their little instincts are kicking in and all is well!  I'm so proud of the little babies, they're so smart!  We left them in the coop all day yesterday so they would get used to the space and know that it was their new home, but this morning I let them into the run.  They weren't sure what to think of it at first, but afterward, they came outside and started doing their grass eating!  They'll start to love that time (when they come outside first thing in the morning) and rush me when I open the door! Haha... :) And Basil has started crowing at like 6 or 6:15 (since I'm already awake at that time, I get to enjoy hearing it!).  I think I'm going to call the little partridge rooster Parker.  (Par-tridge..Par-ker)  He hasn't started crowing yet, but we THINK he's started chasing the little girls around... wink wink.  Funny enough, Basil doesn't seem to crow much around hubby, its weird! :)

We fed them some different things too, but I'll save that for another day.  I'm running out of things to post on here! The chickens won't change much any more, so I just don't know.  And the garden is pretty much done. Except for the watermelons and the million tomatoes I need to pick...What am I going to do with them!?!?!?! Maybe I'll try salsa? I just don't know.  Any ideas?


Sunday, August 4, 2013

Kind of garden and shelves...

Well, this is kind of a combination post...I'll post pictures of the garden that I'm not real proud of next week sometime.  I made some delicious home made mashed potatoes with my home grown potatoes on Friday...
They were soooooo good!!!! It felt really cool making them from my own potatoes...

I made this second set of shelves a few weeks ago, here it is outside waiting to get painted, which it never did.  It is just like that other one I built, but quite a bit bigger!

Here it is in its place being used! :) Still not painted, but at least its getting some use out of it! Not too appealing with my stuff, but it works just like I wanted it to!  It is perfect for the space and makes it more usable.  It is perfect for us!  And some day when I feel like painting it I might, but for now it works just fine. :)
I have the exact materials used and price list somewhere, but I can't seem to find it.   
Cost including screws: about $95 (-ish, which I'm not sure if it is worth it or not, buying something similar costs about the same price, I think).
Time: several hours, depending on time availability.  
Measurements: 63" wide, 17" deep, and 79" tall.  Shelf measurements, top to bottom (some of them are weird, I'm not sure why): 15.5"; 11"; 15.5"; 15"; and 18".  
I wanted the bottom to go up to 18" so that I could fit the water bottles that we buy our water in under there as well as some other things.  They all fit quite nicely underneath.  I wanted some of the shelves to fit my totes really nicely, like the second shelf, it fits those totes quite perfectly with little space unused.  I'm very happy with it! :)

And...because I think its really cool...I saw this in the backyard the other day.  You can't see real clearly, but its a nice herd of deer! :)  I can't see that far, but with some of them you can really tell that they have a decent set of antlers! Some of them are pretty big!  

Chicken Adventures: Happy Hatch Day 2 months!

Well, on July 31st (yes, I'm that far behind, and I'm sorry!), the babies turned 2 months old!  I can't believe they are 2 months....its gone by so fast, and I just realized the other day that we've lived here in Iowa for 3 months already!  My goodness!  Since they are a whole 2 months old, I thought it appropriate to update their pictures! :)  And I've come up with a few names for some of them...

Here is Ginger (maybe Little Red, that's what I think she'll more likely be called)...She's sooo tiny!
Basil, the golden rooster (pronounced ba-sil, like a sheep's baa).  We got the idea for that name from the Fawlty Towers BBC tv show, its quite funny! He's really filling in and getting quite handsome!
 The golden girls, I was thinking Marge and Rosie...
 The twin red sex links...(not sure of names for them yet).
Little blue girl...she's really feisty!  I was thinking of naming them after my 2 favorite female jazz singers, Ella Fitzgerald and Billie Holiday, so Ella and Billie...
 Our partridge rooster...
And one of the buff brahmas...we're naming them henny and penny, but we can't tell them apart so I don't know if we'll just call them both henny penny or something, I'm not sure yet.
There we are!  It was their hatch day, very exciting!!  :) Maybe some day we'll have their coop done...we are sooooo close!!!!!

I was running some errands for hubby the other day and I came across this magazine.  I wanted to get it anyway so that we would have some more chicken reading materials, but I also couldn't resist the cover stories! :) "Hot Flashes? Life after Henopause" bwah ha ha!  And "Let's Talk about sex (links)" haha... :) Where do they get this stuff!?  ...Henopause...awesome!

The canopy, fencing thing that we have been using outside to let the chickens out and give them some fresh air and green grass has been steadily going down hill since the tornado that we didn't have.  As you can see below...
So we thought it was time to make something that we have been thinking about doing later on when we have the coop built so that we can move them around the yard to get fresh areas of grass and food.  We were talking about it and decided now was the best time as any, especially considering the condition of the canopy.  So we bought a bunch of PVC pipe, some fittings, zip ties and string and went from there.  Here is our new outside run thing!  Yay!  I think its one of the best things that we've done and it really turned out nice!!
We used the same fencing stuff that we used with the canopy, but at least on this one its all tied down and its much better!  We are both just thrilled with it!  I think the chickens love it too! :) I'm hoping in the next chicken post the coop will be done and I'll be posting pictures of them in the coop, but we will see how today goes.  Now its nap time, but I'm not tired, so there we are! :)