Chickens

More Chicken Adventures

I have been so busy trying to keep the coop clean, keep the run clean, and finding ideas for shade for my chickens. So, I am going to share what I have learned.

First, Sweet PDZ is freaking amazing.

I purchased two bags from Tractor Supply (I bought all they had) and sprinkled about two cups in the problem areas of the coop I sort of mixed it into the bedding so it was spread from the floor to the top by the time I was finished. I was being attacked by flies, mosquitoes, and gnats while I was doing this. An hour later, I went back into the coop because I had to spread some fresh bedding before Cheep Cheep Bedtime. Oh my gawd. The difference was beyond amazing. The smell was gone, the flying annoyances were gone, and I smelled absolutely nothing except for the pine shavings. I will never be without this amazing stuff again. This bag was around $8.00 I believe. It worked so quickly to reduce odor and moisture.

I also built the flock a hidey hole.

My youngest kiddo helped by cutting half of the bottom of the barrel off and then filing down rough edges. Then, he drilled holes in the bottom in the 5 pattern on dice for drainage just in case rainwater blows into the hidey hole.

When that was completed, I washed the barrel thoroughly with soap and water and then dried it. I added a nice fluffy layer of fine cut pine shavings and sweet PDZ. Then we put it in place in the run and added a cinderblock on each side so it would stay in place and no rolling away. I think the best part is that perching on top of it is rather difficult because it’s both rounded and a smooth surface. They will eventually figure out how to perch on it, but for now, it will stay poop-free. I also added a nice flat rock in front of it so they had a bit of a step to get inside easier. A few jumped in and right back out, but they were all interested.

While all of this was being inspected, I scooped up Chicken Little for a quick snuggle. He was so mad at me when I put him down. I think I may have embarrassed him in front of all of his women.

While I was at Tractor Supply, I picked up the next two stages of feed, oyster shell for added calcium, two 5-gallon buckets so, I can start fermenting their feed, and another waterer because temperatures are rising in Oklahoma.

I also grabbed a bag of scratch grains because the run is pretty much just dirt now and I wanted them to have something to scratch for. I bring in oodles of weeds and grasses every day for them.

I made them a dedicated dustbath from a sprint car tire, which hubby was kind enough to fold in half for me because these tires are HUGE. This folded tire will not collect water at all. I have to get some sand, gather some ash from the fire pit, and add some peat, but it is getting there. They love the tire because it’s nice to perch on.

I raked the run and put everything into a pile, which they essentially compost for me because they dig through it and I rake it back up and then, this cycle is repeated until there’s nothing left except for soil.

They chase the rake back and forth through the run as I am raking because I usually end up causing grasshoppers to jump or worms to be above ground. They go absolutely crazy for grasshoppers.

At the end of each raking they have a fun pile to dig through to find bugs and other tasty bits.

I FINALLY GOT VIDEO!!! Chicken Little is developing his crow and he sounds like a squeaky toy when he crows and it is just freaking adorable. (This was taken before the run was raked so you can see just how messy it is)

They have so much personality and seem to love my phone. They are also very attracted to my mint green nails and constantly trying to eat them. My toenails were also amusement when I made the mistake of wearing flip flops one night to put them to bed. My toenails are Tiffany and Co blue so I’m guessing they looked tasty too because I had a lot of beaks pecking at my toes. I normally wear my muck boots or tennis shoes, but I was tired and too lazy to put on real shoes. Bad idea.

They also love to perch directly on my back or shoulders and peck at my hair ties. (Hubby mowed the yard the following day so it no longer looks like a jungle outside of the run)

We still need to finish mowing the property, but a storm was rolling in so he had to stop mowing.

I have a few more projects for the chicken run to include planting inside of the run so they always have access to fresh plant matter. This will help me because I wont have to collect weeds every single day for them to eat. I will be trying out a few different methods for planting inside of the run so, I will be sure to document the process. I am also going to attempt to transplant some bushes that are planted around the front porch to inside of the run. I know theh won’t eat these bushes and I am hopeful that they will take root and will be a nice place to provide shade for the chickens. If you haven’t noticed yet. My chickens are completely spoiled. I am doing everything possible to make sure they live happy, healthy lives while providing me with fresh eggs (they aren’t laying yet). I have been informed about bobcat, coyote, stray dog, hawk, owl, and raccoon attacks to friends with chickens who all live near me and they are all free ranging their chickens. I want mine to be completely safe so I am doing everything possible to keep them safe while also finding ways to provide them with fresh plants, plenty of crunchy bugs and squishy worms, and whatever else they need to have happy healthy lives. I don’t want them stuck in an existence of dirt and bedding so, I am looking for ways to plant inside of the run. I will be planting peas all around the run tomorrow so they will climb the fencing and the chickens can munch on fresh peas. I am looking for a way to do the same with other climbing plants so they have all sorts of tasty snacks at their disposal. Any suggestions for planting inside or right outside of the run are always welcome, just leave a comment or send an email.

Until next time….

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Chickens, Journal Style Posts

An Overview of the Recent Insanity and a Chicken Update and a Bit of Bad News

I know I haven’t posted anything in a while. We had the in laws in town for two weeks, our youngest finished high school, Graduation happens this weekend, it has been just absolute insanity around here.

Where to begin, well I will start with the mixup that happened when we purchased chicks at Tractor Supply. They apparently had a mix up where meat chickens and bantam breeds were mixed in with the layers. Basically, all of the straight run chicks were mixed together on accident. I ended up with two meat chickens who were revealed to be Cornish X chickens. This news was rather upsetting to me because I definitely didn’t want meat chickens, only layers. I quarantined those two chicks because they were being brutalized by the rest of the flock and were bald in certain places. Well, they feathered back out and I tried to integrate them again. Everything went fine and no one was bullying them. We went to go buy a new dryer because mine finally bit the dust. (This was a nightmare in itself) Lowe’s was our first stop, I picked out a dryer, paid for it, and waited for it to be brought out so we could load it up and go home. That should have been a simple process. Nope. I am not that lucky. Lowe’s sold me a dryer that was NOT in stock. Then, they told me I had to wait 7-10 days for a refund because of their screw up. I lost it. Hubby took over the whole process when the manager of Lowe’s said if I didn’t leave he was calling the police. (Yes, I yelled at him. They screwed up, NOT me. I was not threateningly cussing, just yelling rather loudly. Had I been alone, I would have had police called on me all while trying to just get a refund because they were trying to get me to choose a different dryer instead of getting a refund and were refusing to refund the purchase of a dryer they didn’t actually have.) Approximately 20 minutes later Hubby came out to the truck and we drove next door to Home Depot. They had exactly one dryer in stock. Not one style, ONE dryer. At this point I didn’t care as long as it worked. I made that poor sales woman physically show me the dryer before I was willing to pay. Hubby explained the nightmare that had just occurred at Lowe’s and she completely understood why I insisted on physically seeing the dryer. Then, of course, something else went wrong. I end up having to stand at customer service for almost a half of an hour while they try to put an extended warranty on this dryer. The woman FINALLY figured it out and added the extended warranty. By this time, we had spent almost 3 hours trying to buy a freaking dryer. I just wanted to go home. We stopped and grabbed food on the way home. It was HOT, muggy from all of the rain, flooding, and multiple tornadoes that have battered the state of Oklahoma for the past two months so, I was miserable.

Finally, we got back home. (An hour drive each way to get to a city big enough to have a home improvement store is never fun.) It was also Memorial Day so those home improvement stores were having holiday sales. Total nightmare. Anyway, we get home and I go to Refill the chicken waterer and I am filling the pitchers I use to refill them and Hubby says, well it’s dead. I have no idea what is dead exactly so I’m hollering and asking. I lost a chicken. ūüėĒ One of the Cornish X chickens was dead next to the door of the run and of course it’s being pecked by another of the chickens so he thinks this chicken killed the dead one. Nope, not enough damage for that to be the cause. Just a few feathers missing. Then, I go check the other Cornish X and she’s panting like crazy and refusing to get up and go drink water. Whoever bred this breed into existence sucks. They will literally dehydrate and die rather than get up and go get water. So, I remove the deceased chicken, bury it and take the other Cornish X back inside to the dog crate. She has air conditioning and can reach water without much movement being required of her. So, the other one died of either dehydration and the heat or her heart gave out because of her weight (they are HUGE birds and just eat and eat and eat.) I don’t see the remaining one lasting much longer because of her sheer size, but I will NOT be killing her for food. She will pass naturally on her own. Until that happens, she is comfortable, living the high life with air conditioning and an extra large dog crate all to herself. I didn’t get chickens to have meat, I got them for eggs. I am not a meat eater. Hubby and the kiddos would rather not eat chicken so I rarely purchase it unless it’s in preformed nugget form or chicken strips. I feel awful about the first one passing from the heat and being too lazy to go get a drink, or her heart giving out from the heat, but I know she was comfortable during her short life.

I spoil the remaining one with ice cubes in her water when I have to run the dryer. (It gets really hot in the laundry room when I run the dryer.) She has air conditioning and when the dryer runs, she has a small fan blowing so she can lie under it or not, her choice. Usually she lies directly under it.

This photo was taken shortly after I placed them in quarantine. They were pecked bald on their backs.

As you can see here, her feathers grew back, tail feathers not so much.

She really is HUGE for a 10 week old chick. I make sure she gets plenty of sunlight. I have a small planter with whatever weeds and such grows outside in her crate so she can forage without really having to move far from the water. I open the windows when the temperature drops before the storms so she gets fresh air (70s F and 20s C) I bring her tiny grasshoppers and she gets mealworms (plenty of grit if she chooses as well) She’s probably the most spoiled meat chicken ever. I would love for her to be able to be outside and happily foraging outside, but she just can’t handle the heat. I have been told by the hatchery that she probably won’t live very long so, she can stay inside in comfort until her time comes. I realize this is very strange, but I didn’t set out to buy meat chickens. I don’t eat meat. I eat eggs and knowing exactly goes into those eggs is far more appealing to me than a month old dozen eggs from the grocery store.

Now that you know about the mixup with meat chickens, I had a few more questions for the hatchery. They were absolutely wonderful and answered every question I had with zero judgement on my keeping a meat chicken indoors and pampered. Chicken Little is NOT a leghorn or an Ameracauna. He, yes “he”, is definitely a rooster, and a Buff Sebright bantam. He was not supposed to be in that particular bin of straight run chicks either. He has begun to practice his crowing and I haven’t been able to catch it on video yet. It took me a week to find out who was crowing. I heard him all the way upstairs at the front of the house. (Chickens are out back.) I honestly thought something was wrong and a predator was inside. Nope, just Chicken Little trying out his voice.

He’s got an awesome little personality. He rules the coop even though he is half the size of everyone else. He has a rose comb, which is interesting to me because I have never seen one before. He also has green feet. He loves to flap his little wings and gets some serious height.

Rocky is out other surprise. Rocky now has feathers growing on her legs. This picture was about 2 weeks ago. So, I will need to take a few better pictures of her legs, but the hatchery has a strong belief that she is not a barred rock, but in fact a Barred Cochin. I will keep you posted on any updates regarding her breed identity. She is very curious and LOVES my phone.

They all love perching on the coop door.

My mother in law brought me these fabulous signs for the coop and brought two of each so when one sign gets sun faded, I can replace it with a new one.

She also found an egg basket for me. She always brings me the random things I cannot seem to find, but bring up in conversation when I talk to her. She’s amazing at her random gift giving because it’s always something I have been hunting for and cannot seem to find.

The cat litter boxes as nesting boxes have worked out rather well as far as durability and being able to keep them clean. I think I will take some wood screws or maybe bolts and bolt them to the coop walls because they tend to fall over when everyone loves to sit on top of them.

As for roosts, I got kind of lazy there because I couldn’t find an effective way to put in roosts and still have plenty of room for them to move around and enjoy the space. So, I had an old wooden ladder that was not capable of holding my weight, but they absolutely love it. The waterer hangs underneath the ladder on 550 cord (paracord)

It is also tied to the coop itself until hubby can go bolt it to the wall for me. I didn’t want it to fall over so 550 cord to the rescue. They love it because they can go up on the paint bucket shelf and look out the window. I am always greeted each morning by a handful of them peeking through the window at me when I open the coop each morning.

Chicken Little is still snuggly.

This also happens when I go to refill food and water. I become the best perch, I have had chickens on my shoulders, one loves to get on my back when I bend to clean up the feeder (bedding gets everywhere). The particularly love to perch on my thighs as I squat down.

In addition to the chickens, we have had some other feathered visitors. One has taken up residence in the sugar berry tree.

Before you yell at me about the red liquid in the feeders, I stopped filling them with the premade nectar and use just sugar water now. I didn’t know that it was harmful and was immediately made aware when I posted pictures and video on my Facebook page. I have fixed that issue.

My new phone takes really good pictures compared to my old phone.

This guy was found in the ditch heading towards the highway. I had a talk with him about how dangerous it was to cross that road and told him he would be squished and needed to turn around and go to the back of the property where he would be safe. Hubby of course laughed at me for lecturing the snapping turtle, but he listened and turned around and headed towards the back of the property. He was almost 2 feet long and lunged at me a few times. I was too close, so I don’t blame him. I am just glad he didn’t get squished.

I am thankful that we have not experienced any flooding, extreme weather, tornadoes, or anything else that is scary and involves the weather. We have been really lucky. I did have to completely empty the coop bedding after one really bad storm because it was soaking wet near the window. Hubby is making a shutter for that window this weekend so it can be closed for bad weather. I just cleaned it out, used an old mop to dry it and put in new bedding. The old bedding is in the compost pile and the compost tumbler that hubby made for me when I began this blog.

I have it next to the coop so I have easy access to it for adding old bedding and chicken poo scraped off of the coop door. Yes the grass needs to be cut, but it is just way too wet. We need a few dry days in a row so the mower wont get stuck in the mud. You can also see my makeshift clothesline that I used when the dryer broke. Another instance of 550 cord to the rescue. It worked really well and held my king size duvet, which was dry in about 30 minutes because we had some insane wind that day. Hubby promised to install a permanent clothesline for me so I can hang up linens to dry. I love the smell of line dried sheets. I grew up without a dryer so, I guess I just got used to that smell and the crisp feeling of clothes that are line dried. We definitely have enough wind and sun for it.

Finally, for those of you who love my kitties, here are a few pictures of Fizzgig, Gizmo, and a few of Miss Mia (she’s an honorary kitty).

Until next time….

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…

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…..

 

Everyday Activities, Journal Style Posts

Just a bit about me and an overview of my adventures so far on our homestead

To begin, this is my very first blog and I am looking forward to the amusement that blogging about my adventures brings. I am a wife, a mother to seven kiddos, most are grown, and a single grandbaby. We are a mixed family and I have loved every minute of the adventure we began 11 years ago. It has definitely been an adventure as we have moved cross country, and watched as all, but one of the seven graduated from high school and began their own lives. Our youngest is homeschooled and we began homeschooling for his junior year at the beginning of the 2017-2018 school year. This is our family and now, this is our homestead.

As long as I can remember, I always wanted to live on a huge farm with cows, chickens, ducks, goats, pigs, horses, and any other animals that I could find. I grew up in the city so, farms just had this image of wonder and excitement as far as I was concerned.¬† I managed to make that dream from childhood into a similar reality. While we don’t have a farm, we do have a ten acre homestead in rural Oklahoma. I fell in love with the house and property the minute I saw it. That was three years ago and I have finally settled in enough to plant my roots and make this a functional homestead. Hubby and I purchased the homestead a little over 3 years ago and we haven’t done much in the way of animals or a huge garden, but we have done far more projects inside of the house to make it our own. I still have a purple kitchen, which I absolutely hate, but I will eventually change that.

Our homestead is currently occupied with myself, hubby, our adult daughter and her fiance, our son who starts his senior year of high school in the fall, 2 cats, a husky/wolf mix, 2 horses we board for a friend, and an unknown number of barn kitties. (I believe there are four, but my son has seen random kitties all over the property and Little Momma is currently pregnant with a litter of kittens.) If I could catch her, I would gladly get her fixed, but she has yet to fall for any of my attempts at tricking her into a cage. I feed the barn kitties and they have free access to the old dairy building, which is used for storage of racecar parts by hubby and as a tackroom for the boarding horses.

Now that you know a bit about me and the critters I do have, I will give you some background on the honestead, projects that have been completed and the to-do list for spring.

Since purchasing the house and property, the projects have been nonstop. The house was built in 1918 and was originally a dairy on a massive amount of land. Eventually, the land was sectioned off and sold bit by bit leaving the original homestead and ten acres remaining. The house has been updated so, we don’t have a coal furnace or anything weird like that, though I want to eventually have a wood stove installed for power outages during ice storms and snowstorms. Plus, a wood stove would heat the house saving on electric bills, which are always expensive no matter where you live.

The projects that have been completed are as follows:

Compost bin with 3 fenced sections built

New roll pipe installed on the well so the pump no longer has to be pulled up by hand (I can’t even begin to tell you how worth it this investment has been.)

Sections of fencing replaced so livestock cannot escape (We don’t have any livestock yet, but we will eventually and we board two horses for a friend)

Flower beds and two raised beds completed

Fire pit was built

And finally we have trash service with a dumpster so no more driving to the dump twice a week. (Also worth every single penny.)

The current project list, which I will be documenting as best I can are as follows:

Build a chicken coop with a run and get chicks

Build a compost unit with 2 plastic 55 gallon barrels, some 4×8’s and metal piping plus some hardware¬† because using a pitchfork to turn piles is killing my back.

Plant vegetable garden and an herb garden

Find a donkey for the property (we have a two stall 3 sided shelter already in place)

Cattle are a possibility, but probably won’t happen this spring. I am still researching care, feeding, and vaccinations/vetting for cattle so, I am not ready for cows just yet.

Porch swings and a tree swing

Clean up the random piles of rocks/pavers, wood, branches, and an entire barn that’s in pieces (I plan to reuse anything and everything possoble)

Plant some fruit trees

These may seem like minor projects, but I have never build anything bigger than a birdhouse so, this is all new to me. I researched chickens for several years because I wanted to make sure I knew everything possible before getting a single solitary chick. We had chickens when I was growing up, but I was far too little to remember much about their care. I can’t wait until May when I go to the feed store to get my chicks. I will be the crazy lady naming every single one of them. We are focused on eggs only for the moment so these chicks won’t be meat chickens, just layers. We have also decided to get a rooster so I can have chicks hatching on the homestead.

I do hope you will join me on my adventures in homesteading. I am probably going to make a lot of mistakes along the way, but I will make certain I learn from those mistakes instead of repeating them. We are also trying to decide on a name for our homestead. I just can’t seem to come up with anything that feels right. The Homestead on the Plains is simply a description of what we are and where. Kind of generic, but it will suffice for now.

Until next time….