Adventures, Everyday Activities

The Calm After The Storm

I always seem to dread going out to survey the damage after the storms have passed, but this time, I knew exactly what to expect when I walked out into the yard. I knew some branches had fallen because I heard them fall, but they were much smaller than expected. We lost two shutters thanks to 70 mph wind gusts. Thankfully, everything that starts to blow away ends up against the barbed wire fencing. We knew they were going to come off because of the sound they were making during the storm. It sounded like someone was banging on the side of the house. They will be bolted back on this weekend.

I will also be creating an Instagram account because I still have no idea how to post photos within a post, but I am very familiar with Instagram. It’s also much faster to post a bunch of photos to Instagram than it is to post a single photo as a header here. I will eventually figure this all out. Once I get the Instagram account up and running, I will post a link on the blog as well as in a post.

Now, for the updates. Hubby was extremely helpful this week and cut 1 inch square piping before welding it together to form a frame for my barrel compost tumbler. He will strengthen up the handful of tack welds that are not completely welded this weekend while also helping me to finish the chicken coop.

This is the process of the support beams being set up. I burn easily so hubby made sure I stayed put of the sun as much as possible. I was still sunburned.

I swear that man has the patience of a saint when it comes to me and my ridiculous mistakes. The first part of the chicken coop was to sink the support posts three feet into the Oklahoma clay. I dug four, 3 ft holes, but once I started digging, my measurements were no longer accurate I also did not account for the slight sloping and dug each hole exactly the same depth. So, I had a very uneven square and my posts weren’t level. He had to sit down he was laughing so hard. I never once claimed to be good at building. When he handed me a saw to cut the barrel for the compost tumbler, he had a good giggle once again because I cannot cut a straight line with a saw for the life of me, but the cuts lined up and the door works just fine. He will be cutting all of the wood once we finish the chicken coop because I can’t cut a straight line. (Omg I figured out how to put a picture in the post.) Here’s my compost tumbler.

He was impressed that I was able to determine just how much plywood I needed for this project because I only had a photograph to go off of. No instructions, no blueprints, no designs, just a picture. He double checked my supplies after the posts were correctly spaced and asked me how I figured it out since I am terrible at math. I laughed and explained that I just guessed. As I said, patience of a saint when it comes to me.

We will be ordering chicks from a hatchery by mail because friends have had terrible experiences with the local Tractor Supply and Atwoods (feed and farm stores) chicks being extremely ill or dying shortly after bringing them home. So, we are taking the recommendation for a hatchery from close friends who also homestead. They recommended McMurray Hatchery. I will have the chicks arrive during his vacation time because I am not allowed to drive. Live chicks shipped by mail need to be picked up immediately and having him home makes that so much easier to accomplish. I still have not chosen a breed, but that will be based on what they have available during that time frame. I only have one particular thing I want, which is no white eggs.

We are still debating getting calves this year since the horses we have been boarding for about a year are leaving this weekend. (Their owner fell in love with our property and bought 20 acres not far from us.) He doesn’t even own a lawnmower and bought 20 acres. Sounds like us when we bought our property. We had a push mower. (It was a nightmare those first few months.)

I’m not one to go back and delete an entire post because I figured out how to do something. Instead, I will keep a record of when I learned how to do it. Speaking of horses, the boys were very excited about keeping me company as I made my crooked square of posts.

I will definitely miss them greeting me each day, but we won’t be buying horses. Neither of us can ride due to medical issues and the kiddos don’t particularly like horses. We may board horses again, but for now, letting the pasture be wild for a bit is fine with us.

I will continue to post updates until the chicken coop is completely built and then it will be mass amounts of baby pictures of the new chicks. I am so impatient. I want them now, but I also want their coop completely built before they come home. That way, I don’t have the stress of getting it done as they grow.

Until next time…

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Adventures, Chickens

Chicken Coop Disaster Averted

This past weekend was filled with nonstop rain, which was probably a good thing because it became abundantly clear that the spot I had decided upon for the chicken coop was definitely NOT going to work out as planned. I walked out towards the edge of the fenced area, which we refer to as put backyard and slowly but surely began to sink into the muddy Bermuda grass. This was a Major issue. I began walking the fence line to see if it was just that section or if I had to rethink my entire plan from the beginning.

I sunk in several places, but the worst was almost ankle-deep. I can’t have chickens sinking into a mud pit and a coop isn’t something that is easily moved. I also don’t want them getting wet, as my coop plan looks like a small cottage garden shed. This was not looking good. Then, I walked over to the garden shed in the corner of the yard, the one I had originally planned on turning into a chicken coop, and the ground wasn’t squishy. (I actually squealed with joy when I came to this realization.)

I squished my way back to the house to have hubby come approve my new spot because decisions are made together when something is built or added and we both have to look at it. He came out in his muck boots after looking at mime, which were caked in mud and Bermuda grass. (I hate Bermuda grass.) He agreed with my squishy vs. solid ground  assessment and preferred this new spot to my original spot. He also noted that it would be a much shorter walk in the winter months when our backyard turns into a sheet of ice and snow.

The new spot will need a bit of leveling and I convinced him to drive to the back of the property where previous owners dumped various building materials into a fenced in pit right next to the ravine there our property fencing ends. (We own half of the ravine and it is fenced to show the property line, but our fencing that we keep up with stops before the ravine.) Among the random bits of old plumbing, rotting wood, and other random building materials that have been in this pile for who knows how long, there is a lovely pile of rocks. These aren’t small rocks, these are rather large and I can’t pick them up. They are flat on the top sort of like rocks that would be used to make a path and all are at least a foot wide. They are irregularly shaped and orange, like almost everything in Oklahoma. He piled these into the bed of the pickup and delivered them to the new location of my coop in progress. (I dismantled the pallets this past weekend, which was no easy feat.) These rocks will either become the foundation of the coop, or a predator deterrent around the coop. Either way, they will be used.

I also had him get on the ladder and pull down the corrugated metal roofing sheets, the sheets and scraps of plywood, and the 2×4 and 4×8 boards, which were in the rafters in the garage. Then, I had him pull down the split fence posts that he had stashed in the old dairy building rafters for me last year. These will be roosts  they are round wooden fence posts that have been split down the middle. I found them in that pile of random building materials and stashed them so they wouldn’t rot out in the elements.

I am trying to decide of the remains of the bottle calf shelter, which was taken out by 80 mph winds last spring will be useful for the chicken coop run. The corrugated metal roofing sheets will definitely be used, but the wrought iron fencing posts that were welded together to make a frame for the roof, may not work for the coop.

Perhaps, it will work for a goat pen or a pig pen because I want micro piggies just because. I also want ducks, cows, and a donkey. Everyone says they are mean and I don’t want one. I definitely do want one and I would name him Eeyore. I don’t care if everyone says donkeys are mean, I have never met a mammal I didn’t like. Reptiles and insects fall into the iffy category. I like some, but not others. I want as many critters as I can fit on 10 acres. I want to figure out how to make our puddle of a pond a bit deeper so i can stock it with fish as well. I have entirely too many projects.

The chicken coop and double barrel compost bin will both be finished and put into place this weekend and hopefully I won’t be too exhausted and I can go get my baby chicks. I will be testing out some designs for feeders found on Pinterest and will let you know how each design pans out. I will also be testing a rain gutter and water barrel watering system. I am really hopeful that the rain barrel system works out well because I have three options for a water source and none of them are very close to the coop location. One is on the front side of the house (left side when facing the house), one is on the right side of the house, half an acre from the house, and the last one is next to the horse stalls and 3 sided building. (I will draw up a layout of the property and post it as the featured picture for a post or place it on its own page.) Having a water source at the coop, which doesn’t require lugging water around would be beyond ideal and I have plenty of blue plastic barrels to build a rain barrel system that will hold plenty of water  I think one would be plenty since it holds 55 gallons, I will just need to  find a way to keep overflow from flooding the run and the coop, which shouldn’t be too difficult. I can just have a gutter system leading away from the coop and the run. Perhaps a small ditch to ensure nothing floods. I will keep you posted.

For the remainder of this week, I will be leveling out the new area chosen for the coop, deciding where to use those lovely rocks I made Hubby haul for me, and determining if the old bottle calf shelter can be used for the coop or the run. I will also be learning how to build feeders from pvc (I get to use the purple sealant stuff that makes me light-headed.) And I will be mixing up a batch of whitewash for the base-coat of the coop. I will be painting inside with whitewash and the outside with house paint. I also need to find a cute window flower box DIY  for the coop windows. Only because everything looks cuter with flowers.

Until next time…..