Chickens, Journal Style Posts

Chicken Update During Quarantine 2020

During my hiatus, I lost another chicken. I lost one of the Rhode Island Reds to a broken neck. She fell from the roost and I assume she smacked into the waterer inside the coop before hitting the ground. I honestly don’t know what exactly happened, but her neck was definitely broken. That dropped my flock down to 13. Chicken Little has become quite feisty and it is still hilarious when he fluffs up his feathers and goes to attack me by launching himself at me feet first.

He’s still tiny and adorable

If you are a first time reader, he is a Buff Sebright Bantam rooster and he is half the size of a normal sized hen. He is very sweet most of the time, but some days he gets his feathers all ruffled and tries to fight me. I usually scoop him up and love on him and he calms down. He gets really mad when I wear anything with the color red so, I try to remember that when I put the flock to bed, but sometimes I forget and I am wearing red pajama pants and he decides I must die and launches himself at me feet first repeatedly. I can’t help but laugh at him because he’s so small it looks ridiculous when he puffs up like he’s the biggest baddest rooster out there when he is actually teenie tiny and adorable.

His women are looking a little rough because he has decided that fertilizing eggs is an Olympic sport lately, I have no idea why he had this sudden desire to fertilize everything because none of the hens are broody. He is just crazy. The flock will be moving to the new coop very soon. I am hopeful that Miss Chicken (my accidental Cornish cross meat chicken) will be able to handle living with the flock again.

Miss Chicken socializing with the flock

So, Miss Chicken is a Cornish Cross or Cornish X, which is a breed specifically for meat production. When I bought chicks last spring, I ended up with two of these meat chickens. One died from the heat and I brought the other one, Miss Chicken, into the laundry room to treat her for heat exhaustion and some injuries from being bullied by the rest of the flock. I honestly expected her to die shortly after bringing her inside. This breed grows rapidly and they are meant to be slaughtered around 6-10 weeks of age. Well, I couldn’t do it, hubby didn’t want any part of it, so she’s been inside ever since, living her best life in an extra large dog crate. As long as the temperature isn’t too high or too low, she goes outside and socializes with the flock from the safety of the other side of the fencing. They still peck at her and bully her. I can safely bring the girls out one or two at a time and they are not mean to her that way. Sadly I can’t let them roam free because there are too many predators and I want them safe.

This doesn’t mean that they never get to eat bugs or grass, weeds, etc. I collect huge amounts of the things I know they like (I watch closely to see what they go after first when I do let one or two out while supervised.) They love dandelions, chickweed, henbit, certain types of grasses and other specific weeds that I have not yet identified because they are new to the property this year. I have a section that doesn’t get mowed down and I collect their daily green stuff from this section. They also get mealworms, I collect grasshoppers for them when they start hatching and hopping all over the place, I also bring worms from the compost pile and other caterpillars and bugs I come across when I am pulling weeds or cleaning out a flowerbed.

They also get fresh fruit, fresh vegetables, scrambled eggs, leftover plain pasta (they go crazy for angel hair and spaghetti noodles)

An example of a daily treat tray.
Miss Chicken found some scratch
Miss Chicken and Chicken Little
Popular hangout spot is a sunken sprint car tire
“I see the worm now give it here”
Hungry girls
The reward for spoiling them rotten
Plenty to do and lots of holes have been dug

Until next time….

Adventures, Chickens

The Coop Building Has Begun (Oops I forgot to publish this) from 2018

So, my whole body hurts and I am sunburned in weird places like the tops of my hands and the backs of my legs, but the chicken coop is starting to take shape. (Yes, I was nicely coated in sunblock and reapplied it several times, but I still burned.) Last weekend, we set the support posts into 3 foot holes, which I dug rather crookedly and we didn’t notice until after the posts were set.

I hate Oklahoma clay when digging is involved. Those holes may not look like much, but it was similar to digging through rock with a shovel. Hubby kindly explained, after I finished digging, that it’s easier to dig if you dump water in the holes. I worked really hard on those holes. It killed me when he told me just how crooked they were.

I mean, seriously, that’s a LOT of dirt. The wheelbarrow is bigger than I am when it leans against the garage. I am 5 ft. 1 in. In height. This was a huge accomplishment for me.

Hubby also decided I needed shade after taking one look at me. I became a lobster rather quickly. Those posts are shockingly level. The ground is not level, but the support posts are level.

Once the posts had a chance to settle for a few days, we started building the coop to line up with my crooked posts. None of us wanted to dig new holes. So, the walls went up first.

Remember how I said I was going to frame it with pallets, well Hubby decided that he was taking over my project and went out and bought a ton of plywood. Also, remember how crooked that cut on the compost tumbler door was, you will know exactly which parts I cut as you continue through the pictures. I was fully supervised with the power tools and saws freak me out. I wore my gloves and safety glasses because I don’t want splinters in my eyeballs.

As the walls went up, Hubby was walking around the coop slowly asking me how I planned on roofing it. I explained I wanted a slant roof with a slight overhang and a gap between the walls and roof, which I would close off from predators with construction fabric or this roll of fencing that has 1 inch square holes. This roll of fencing is extremely thick and he’s guessing it is meant for goats. He was thrilled I didn’t want a normal roof. I don’t think he wanted to try to frame out my crooked little square building.

See how uneven the ground is? He made the coop door for the chickens rather large. His reasoning was, what if two chickens want to leave at the same time? I couldn’t argue with that reasoning. Please, don’t panic about those gaps. The floor has not been built yet and this coop will be safe from predators. We are burying fencing almost 2 ft. out from the building walls and the floor will start with concrete pavers and then, plywood on top of the pavers secured to the walls with those L-shaped brackets used for industrial shelving. There are a few reasons behind this flooring design, but the main reason is to keep the inside of the coop dry. Because of the slope, rainwater would run right through the coop. With the concrete pavers, there will be space for water to flow through, but the coop floor will not get wet. The pavers we are using are almost 6 inches thick. They will also deter predators who manage to get past the fencing while digging. We will also be digging out the floor a bit to make it level prior to installing pavers.

I wanted a rounded top door, but once I tried cutting it with the jigsaw, I got maybe an inch cut and told hubby to make it a triangle. (I draw crooked too 😂 He was not happy when he realized I drew a crooked triangle for him to cut out) I’m not sure if you can see it, but each wall is two pieces of plywood, stacked on top of each other. This was necessary because the coop itself is about 5 1/2 feet tall. I can comfortably walk through the door, but everyone else has to duck.

The triangular topped door has some 2×4 boards as support because a plywood door is kind of flimsy. There are also 2×4 boards on the inside around the doorway because he wanted to make sure an animal couldn’t pull the door off easily. Also, the door will have to withstand Oklahoma winds, which can be 70 mph and higher. My neighbors were outside while we were building. (You can see their house, which is an acre away, in the 7th picture.) Her hubby will be over next weekend to assist and learn (He has never built anything either) because his wife decided she wants chickens over on her property. So, he’s going to help and then, when he starts building, we will help them because they are fabulous neighbors. We don’t have any other neighbors aside from a concrete prefabrication place (which is a little bit south of us, past her property and across the street from her and I have the School’s Agricultural Farm north of me.) So, we always help each other out whenever help is needed.

Hubby lined up the t-posts for the run just to see how big he wanted it. He wants it to go to the first tree right next to the nose of the truck. I know what you are thinking, that’s way too short of a fence for chickens and they will jump or fly over it. Not to worry, the run will be fully enclosed. I am taking pvc piping and arching it over the run area then, I have two dump truck covers (they are heavy duty mesh material) and they will go over top of the pvc arches. The run will be fully enclosed and the cover will provide shade because it is black. If you have no idea what I am talking about, think of a dump truck hauling sand, rock, or gravel, they have a tarp like cover over their load. That’s what I am using. Hubby brings me home the coolest things. He works on diesel engines so, he has access to some weird stuff, like dump truck covers that have minor fraying at the edges and are no longer deemed safe by the company. They throw them away or let mechanics take them for projects such as my chicken coop and run. He also brings me blue plastic 55 gallon drums, pallets, and I have a dump truck liner as well. (I am using that for another project.)

In between the coop and the shed that needs a new floor and some other minor repairs, I am building a greenhouse. Eventually, the shed will also be a chicken coop with both coops sharing a run. One coop for meat birds and the other for laying hens. I have all sorts of projects planned. They just take time and money so, I am building them slowly. I am extremely grateful I have a husband who can weld, has tools, and while he laughs at me because of how bad I am at building things, he is always willing to help me so, my projects end up being useful instead of junk. I couldn’t have done any of this without him. I couldn’t even lift a sheet of plywood on my own. The kiddos (two adults and a 17 yr old) are also willing to sacrifice their weekends to help their Momma. Their reasoning is, “Momma, you never ask for anything so, when you ask for help, we are all going to help you.”

Our 21 yr old daughter’s boyfriend was extremely helpful because he can lift plywood sheets and he was happy to help. He’s looking forward to helping with the fencing because he does fencing as a side job. So, it will definitely be done right since he knows how to build fences.

An unrelated update, the horses we were boarding have moved to their new home. Their dad bought 20 acres after falling in love with the quiet on our property. He was so excited about owning his own land, but promised to bring them by for visits when he takes them to the park, where the rodeos are held (it’s a beautiful set of arenas) because it’s free to use. He also promised to give them their favorite treat once in a while. (Brown sugar and cinnamon poptarts) Yes, they are junk food as far as horses are concerned, but they were skittish and would run from him every time he came to feed and groom them. Then, I gave them each half of my poptarts and he would pull in and they would be at the gate by the time he got out of his vehicle. They got excited to see anyone. They mostly got apples, carrots, pears from the pear tree, and other fruits and veggies, but on rare occassions, I would either hand him the poptarts if he was trimming hooves, or bring them out myself. They have turned into extremely social horses and never run from him anymore. They were lovingly spoiled while here. All animals are spoiled here because I can’t help it, I have to spoil all of the animals.

I will continue to post updates on the chicken coop and run until it is completed. Then, the greenhouse build, and the updates to the shed. I will be ordering chicks from the hatchery once the last freeze date passes. (Mid to late May) I will be posting oodles of pictures. I have to find a way to tell them apart because the hens and single rooster will have names. Any suggestions for identifying chicks and being able to tell them apart prior to feathering out? I thought about coloring a wing with food coloring, but I would need multiple colors and I would feel bad because that may be a shock to their little systems seeing their wing blue or purple or whatever. What do you name a chicken anyway? I thought about the seven dwarves, snow white, the queen, and the rooster as the huntsman, but my daughter wants to make one or two of them. We may name them after Harry Potter characters. I have still not decided on a breed either. Any suggestions for both extreme high temps and low temps? I want hardy chickens that can survive in snow. I will insulate the coop once it’s fully built.

Until next time….

Reviews of Products and/or Companies

It’s Here!!! Fab Fit Fun Spring 2019 Box Review

I cannot even begin to explain how happy I was to see my box on the back steps when I let Miss Mia out to potty this morning. Giddy isn’t even remotely close enough to describe my joy.

Yes, I ripped it open as quickly as I could.

Before I dig through it and show y’all everything here’s a pretty picture of how nicely they pack everything into these boxes. If you want this box, click this link.

This is my box it is worth $414. (I added extra items from the choices and add ons galore, but this is the actual subscription without add ons or extras. Not to worry I will include the extras too.)

I am going to lay every single thing out and tell you all about it. I have used everything already throughout the day so, I will give my honest opinion on everything too.

This didn’t quite fit in the other picture so, I gave it it’s own picture.

This was a mystery choice item. A friend also did the mystery choice for her box and received a different product from the same brand. She received a lip crayon. I know the photo is terrible. I have another and I will post it later in this post with my review.

Ok so, I will go product by product and then delve into extras and add ons. Each box comes with eight full size items. With my link, you will pay $39.99 for your first box. The regular price for this subscription is $49.99 per box, which comes once per season /four times a year. I receive a credit, which can be used to purchase add ons or items during the Fab Fit Fun edit sales for each person who subscribes using my link. I am eternally grateful to everyone who uses my link. I didn’t spend a single extra penny of my own money aside from paying for my subscription because people signed up using my link and I had a nice amount of credits to spend. (I got to go shopping for myself and I never really shop for myself aside from my three subscription boxes and cleaning supplies from Grove Collaborative so, thank you very much, for funding my splurges.)

I am going to start with these super cute cat eye sunglasses from Quay Australia. I honestly would never have given these a second look in the store. The other option was a pair of aviator style sunglasses from the same company or a sleep mask or a picnic set (I added the picnic set) I was nervous about these because I have a hard time with sunglasses. I try on so many pairs and they are always huge on my face and make me look like a bug. These are super cute, a bit big compared to the style I normally wear, but no bug eyes. Yay!!!

Next up, Ouai leave in conditioner. This stuff smells amazing. It leaves my hair so soft and helps me with tangles. I have baby fine hair and combing through it, even with a wide tooth comb, is near impossible because my hair becomes one giant knot. Leave in conditioner is ALWAYS welcome. I had just recently purchased Living Proof shampoo, conditioner, perfecting spray (a leave in conditioner) and a few other products so, while those are my favorite, this bottle will go in the upstairs bathroom so, I can detangle after a soak in the tub. (Get the box here)

I didn’t have to open it to know I love it. I have a travel size already opened. 😁

This is a new one for me. I have never heard of Tula nor have I ever heard of probiotics being added to facial cleanser or skincare in general. I was pleasantly surprised when I removed my makeup this evening. It not only removed a majority of my makeup, but it removed the dirt and oil, sweat, and whatever else was on my skin and it did so WITHOUT drying out my skin. It didn’t make my skin angry either. (waterproof mascara and matte liquid lipstick usually require a makeup wipe or micellar water so, this isn’t abnormal and definitely not a reason to say no to a facial cleanser)

For my first experience, I am definitely happy and will use it for a week in place of my preferred cleanser to see if I have any reactions or if it actually improves my skin. So far, I like it and the bottle is quite big compared to most cleanser bottles. Get the box

Next up is a product I am VERY familiar with because I have been using it for a while now. Dr. Brandt Needles No More No More Baggage Eye Gel.

Here is my opened tube. First, allow me to explain that this isn’t your typical eye gel by any means. I don’t use this every single day. There are multiple reasons why I don’t use it every day, but the two main reasons are, it is expensive and it isn’t what you think it is because it isn’t regular eye gel or eye cream. It isn’t exactly a gel either. It comes out of the tube as a peachish colored pasty gel. I know that sounds gross and why would anyone put that on their face? I use it because it WORKS! It really does work and it works so freaking quickly and keeps working all day long. So, imagine you are having an extreme allergy attack and your eyes are super puffy and almost bordering on swollen, imagine you got no sleep and you are staring into the mirror at huge puffy eyes, imagine you just got off of a red eye and you look like you are having a major allergic reaction, this is the product you need. You basically smear this party stuff under your eyes and wait a few minutes. It dries to a powdery finish, but before it dries it feels like someone put ice cubes under your eyes cooling all that puffiness. Then after a few minutes you look in the mirror and BAM! What puffiness? It’s magically just gone like it was never there. This stuff is amazing and it works so freaking well. I just wish it didn’t cost so much. You only need a little bit so, the tube will last a long time. It is worth it if you are like me, allergic to everything and sleep like garbage. Get the box

Remember that mystery item, here it is again and with a better picture. treStique makes a very interesting line of stick products that are very similar to crayons for your face.

This bad boy is a chunky multitasker. It comes with a built in blending sponge on the bottom and the lid has a nifty magnet so it stays closed and you don’t risk taking a chunk out of the product when you are trying to remove the cap. It opens smoothly and closes as soon as the magnet gets close to the base. These sticks are so versatile. This one is basically a face stick. You can use it as blush, eyeshadow, highlighter, whatever strikes your fancy. I know the lighting is not helpful, it is a neutral peachy shade and definitely not as dark as it looks.

I was very excited about this product. I LOVE S’well bottles. I have a smaller one and it is purple. This one is much bigger than my tiny toss in your purse size. The color/pattern was completely random and there were some cute patterns available, but I was hoping for a neutral color and no pattern. I received a black one and I am just thrilled to itty bitty pieces because black means my darling hubby will take it to work because it’s not purple or loud. It will keep your ice cold water cold for up to 24 hours. You can use it for any beverage, hot or cold, but it really is the perfect water bottle because it really keeps your water cold. It is spill proof, leak proof, and made of metal so no BPA plastic is involved. You definitely need a bottle brush if you are going to use it for any other liquid. I want more of these bottles.

Champagne Charcoal Scrub by Manna Kadar. This stuff smells so good. I tested a bit on my hands just to see how good the scrubbing power was and WOW! It gets bubbly while you scrub, but it took care of the flaky dead skin on my hands and they were so soft when I got done. They weren’t in desperate need of lotion afterwards, but I put some on anyway. I can’t wait to use this at the end of a soak in the tub. Maybe, just maybe, it will help with the dreaded winter itch from dry skin in desperate need of hydration. I sure hope so. Get the box

This is the last item from my base subscription and it was chosen on a whim. It is the Deux Lux Demi Backpack and I thought it was adorable and would be perfect to carry snacks, drinks, and sunscreen when we go for hikes in the wildlife refuge. I wasn’t wrong. It’s a small little pack, I think it is meant to be more like a purse. It says, “for best results do not exceed 22 lbs” so, that screams purse to me. Also, the straps adjust in a very strange manner.

Those little metal buckles are how the straps adjust. They go right through those buckles, but the ends hang loose once tightened. Loosening or tightening can be done rather easily while wearing the backpack. So, all of these things mean it is meant to be a fashion accessory like a purse. It will work perfectly for what I got it for. It is made of very thick and sturdy canvas and vegan leather. Very well made.

Okay onto extras and add ons.

This was the holy grail item for me for this season’s box. A Show Me Your Mumu robe… I was so excited about this robe. I have washed it and dried it and then, I put it on. Get the box

I am 5 ft 1.5 in and the back came down past my knees. The front came just to my knees. Please, ignore my hair, I know it looks like it hasn’t been washed in a week. I have a mask in my hair and it just looks so dirty it’s killing me to post this.

I seriously just tied it as quickly as possible so, I could get a picture. Notice you cannot see my pajama shorts. It is definitely long enough for me to run around the house in my shorty shorts and not accidentally show my son my rear end. It is polyester but feels like a cotton sheet. I may adjust where the belt loops are because it just feels strange tied there. It says one size on the tag, but that is pure BS. There is no such thing as one size fits all. I would say this would fit up to a size 22 (US sizes) or so. Maybe a bit larger, but the sleeves would be the hardest part about this robe fitting properly. They are quite roomy on my body, I know it doesn’t look that way because my arms are down. I am a size 8-10 (US) if that is helpful. Now, for the downside…. I know I suck for this.

It’s rather sheer. Not completely see through when worn, but it is thin material and if the light hits it right, all of your bits will be seen. As I said, I was wearing a tank top and a pair of short pajama shorts under it for the above photos. Do I love it? Definitely. It is exactly what I expected. I will adjust the belt loops and it will be perfect.

Remember that picnic set I mentioned at the beginning, well this is it. It has everything needed for a picnic for two. Isn’t it adorable?!

It’s made by Sunnylife and comes in an adorable little zippered case.

Picnics in the wildlife refuge are definitely in my future.

My son’s girlfriend asked me to add this because she doesn’t have full customization because she is a seasonal subscriber so, I got her this body sander thing. 🤣😂 Seriously though, it is a Daily Concepts body brush and she is thoroughly excited about it.

Now for add ons. I don’t normally spend much on add ons unless they have Living Proof hair products on sale.

These were in the Winter Editor’s box and I wanted them. They are Pier One mini prep bowls. They hold about a cup and a half of whatever you need them to hold. Also, super cute.

I know the writing is difficult to see, I’m sorry about that. These are Corsx Acne pimple master patches. They are hydrocoloid bandage dots for acne. they are clear sticky dots that suck the grossness out of a pimple. I know, that sounds truly disgusting. It is, but they can heal a pimple almost overnight. You can either pop the pimple or stick it with a pin when it comes to a head. Then, stick on a patch, go to bed, and wake up to the dot that was clear, turning white. They work amazingly well. This is a 3 pack of the patches and well, I use them and my son uses them. They are amazing little things.

I love the Ahava brand. Seriously everything they make is amazing. This is a one bath package of dead sea salt. Dump the whole package into the tub and soak. Perfect evening in my mind.

This little bar is amazing. It demolishes acne on your face and body. The instructions aren’t like normal soaps, you lather up and let it sit and work its magic.

During warmer months, I break out on my chest and back and this deals with that issue.

This was a freebie. It was a sponsored product and everyone who had at least $15 worth of items in their cart could add this until the supply was depleted. It is apparently available at Target. I will be giving it to my son’s girlfriend because I don’t like deodorant. I prefer antiperspirant because I don’t enjoy being wet. I am always sweating even in the middle of winter.

GlamGlow youthmud (this is the best clay based mask ever)

St. Tropica hair growth vitamins

I have been taking these for two months and my hair has grown in far stronger than before and it is beginning to thicken up a bit. They have biotin, but there are a bunch of other natural ingredients and any vitamins are worth taking when you are like me and forget to eat during the day. 😂 I am trying to get my hair past my butt so, hair vitamins are worth trying for a few more months. (I am pretty close, my hair is to my butt.)

These are pretty self explanatory. The green one is for my son, the blue one is mine. Corkcicle cups keep drinks cold in the Oklahoma sun.

A giant round towel by Sunnylife. (It is really a towel, Terry cloth and all.)

A giant XL towel from SandCloud. (This is not Terry cloth) It is very tightly woven, almost like canvas. It is supposed to be sand proof meaning sand won’t come through the weave and won’t stick to the fabric. I will be using it as a picnic blanket. I can’t wait. It is approximately 7 ft × 5 ft. (Approximately) It’s HUGE.

If you made it all the way to the bottom of this post, I am in awe. I am also going to reward you with kitty pics.

They love whenever any packages come because they get to play in the box and play with packing materials.

If you would like to subscribe to Fabfitfun, you can click here for $10 off your first box.

Until next time…

Journal Style Posts

FabFitFun Spring 2019 Box

I’m so excited about the spring box. Spoilers have been released for this box and I am in love with the robe from Show Me Your Mumu (Valued at $84) It is considered a kimono type robe and looks rather similar to this robe from the same company. (The colors are a bit different, but it is very similar.)

There are three choices for this specific item (usually about 6 items that can be customized if you subscribe annually, and 2-3 items if you subscribe seasonally)

The second choice is a Deux Lux Demi backpack valued at $75. It is super cute.

Finally, the third choice is an Unplug Aromatherapy diffuser valued at $55. This diffuser comes with a bottle of orange essential oil.

The subscription for FabFitFun costs $49.99 per season with four boxes a year. I wrote a post for my Fall box and took oodles of pictures, but I completely forgot to make a post for my winter box. If you click this link you can save $10 on your first box, making the price of your first box, $39.99. (I receive a small credit for add ons if you subscribe using my link.) If you haven’t noticed, every single one of those options for the first choice is well over $40 and that is just one item. There are more items in the box. My Winter box was valued at $365, and I paid $49.99 for the box. There are no sample size items, though sometimes companies add a sample of there product to each box. V8 added a sample of one of their products into the winter box, as did Barilla. (Barilla added a small jar of pesto with ricotta and it was delicious.) The products that you choose from are NOT samples, they are all full size products. The best part about this subscription is if you want both options for an item choice, you can add the other option for $10. So, you are getting a product ranging from $55 to $84 ( for the first item choice options) for $10. That is fabulous.

The winter box had:

In every box,

AHAVA hydration cream mask

Blaq eye mask (5pk)

Thrive Causemetics eye brightener highlight stick

My chosen items

BearPaw combo, headband and pop top gloves

Richer Poorer Rena over the knee textured socks

Lele Sadoughi silver circle necklace

Mark and Graham color block throw (grey/ivory)

A mystery item (it was a wearable blanket aka a poncho)

Anthropologie Mer-sea & Co. Whipped body cream

Those were my personal choices. There were at least two options for each item choice. I opted for all of the warm things since winter is cold and I like to be comfortable. The only item I wasn’t thrilled with was the Thrive Causemetics highlighter stick. I don’t know what to do with it so it just kind of sits in my makeup organizer. 😂

Again, if you want to get this box, it has NOT released yet, it releases next week and ships at the end of the month of February (23rd I believe, but not 100% sure) you can save $10 off your first box by using my link. (If you can afford to pay annually, do it, you get to customize all of the choices. Seasonal members can only customize a few choices. Plus, it’s cheaper in the end to pay all at once. I think they take an additional $20 off of the price of the subscription. You will get your money’s worth. If you are seasonal and don’t like an item, Fabfitfun has a swap forum on their community (on the website) and people trade all the time as long as the product is unopened and undamaged.

Until next time….

Barn Kitties, Journal Style Posts

Meet the New Members of the Homestead Family

This evening, I went to the dairy building to feed the barn kitties and to fill their water bowls. I have multiple water bowls around the property to ensure all of the wildlife and the barn kitties have access to water since we are dealing with drought conditions, even though it has rained recently. I was filling the dry food pan, which is a disposable aluminum roasting pan and I heard movement behind me so, I went to the area of the building where I heard movement. Suddenly I hear hissing and growls. I figured the possum was in the building and shined my flashlight on my phone behind the old doors leaning against the wall. This is what I saw:

I found a litter of kittens, but they do not belong to Little Momma. Apparently, Weasley, my ginger barn kitty, is a female and shall now be known as Ginny Weasley. She was hiding behind an old mattress, which is leaning against the wall next to the old doors. She continued to hiss and growl until she heard that familiar sound of a cat food can opening. I opened three cans and gently nudged one into her hiding spot with a broom handle. I proceeded to take some more pictures. Forgive the terrible quality, it was dark outside, I left the light off inside the dairy building, and took these by holding my phone over the area while snapping pictures quickly. I will get some better pictures during the day and as they get bigger.

They are so tiny. Based on their ears being completely opened, eyes opened, and how wobbly they are, I am guessing they are approximately three weeks old.

Look at that tiny paw.

I definitely need to put a sturdier box in this space. I had placed a cardboard box behind the doors, with the towels that Little Momma had her last litter nested in, inside the box. I wanted the box to smell familiar so they would use it to hide or sleep in during cold or rainy nights. I have a plastic tote, with two exits cut into the sides, ready to replace the cardboard box once the kittens get a bit bigger.

This little baby looks to be a black kitty with white tabby pattern. This is a very unique coloring. I am hopeful this baby will come out next time, so I can get a better picture.

I was only able to count four babies. Two ginger, one black, and the black and white tabby looking baby. Looking at this photo, I am seeing another tabby. This one is not black so, that makes five baby kittens as of right now.

Those paws are almost like a brindle pattern.

This picture was one that didn’t show much. You can see the outline of a kitten’s head, but I am including it to show just how protected this box is and why I placed it in this spot. On the left side of the picture, you will see the edges of the old doors. To the right, the corner of the building is seen, with a door frame against the wall. This is about a 2.5 ft wide space. That box is not very big. It should only fit one adult cat and it would be a cozy fit for that cat. Wedged between the leaning doors and the wall is an old bike, which is missing a front wheel. This allows the cats to get in, and out, but prevents any animal larger than a cat from getting inside that space. There is about a foot of space between the leaning doors and the wooden work table, which holds my toolbox and in that foot of space, there is a pallet standing on its side. The pallet is home to rakes, shovels, a broom, and other gardening implements. So, no animal or human can get to that space without moving everything to get back there. There is a loveseat against the doors, a mattress behind the work table, and fencing and random buckets and flowerpots under the table. Ginny Weasley chose a well protected spot for her babies.

I have placed plywood against the table to add some more protection. I also added food and water dishes under the table. Now, that I know she is there with a litter, she will have her own food placed in her area and the food and water under the table. This will allow her to avoid hunting if she chooses. She has plenty of food and water. I made sure she had enough for a few days just to keep her from leaving her babies for long periods of time.

If I do find her away from her babies and out hunting, I will put gloves on, swap out the cardboard box with a plastic one, and give her a bit more space to lie down to nurse her kittens.

I am still searching for Little Momma’s litter. I am convinced they are in the abandoned burrow underneath the dairy building. The Original Little Momma hid her litter there and the only reason I knew where they were was because I would see her sliding between the fence panel and the dairy building to get into the burrow tunnel. I also saw her kittens behind the fence panel poking their heads out of the tunnel to take a peek at me when I peeked in with a flashlight.

I know anyone reading this is wondering what is going to happen with this unexpected litter. Well, I have fabulous news. The entire litter has been spoken for to include Ginny Weasley. The owners of the horses we were boarding purchased 20 acres and they had asked about one or two of Little Momma’s litter, but I was asked for the entire litter when they heard that I had found a litter, but it wasn’t from Little Momma. They will be humanely trapped, one by one if necessary, and immediately taken to the vet for vaccinations. They will each be micro-chipped, spayed or neutered, and then brought to their new barn home once they have healed enough for release.

They originally wanted one or two barn kitties to help keep the mouse and snake population under control, but upon hearing I had an entire unexpected litter, they asked for the whole family. Knowing how well their horses are cared for, I have zero hesitation handing this little feral family to them once they are old enough. They have also picked up strays and taken them home during the drive from where they were living to our home. They currently have four cats under a year old that have been retrieved from the middle of the road, the side of the road, and one jumped into their trailer while they were exercising the horses at the rodeo grounds. This feral little family will be fed and kept out of the elements by being housed in the barn.

I will miss their cute little faces once they go to their new home, but for now, they are very loved new members of our little homestead. Once Little Momma finally brings out her new litter, they will be vetted, ears will be notched, they will be spayed and neutered, and released back onto the property to live their lives as barn kitties who are well fed and have their own building to call home. Until next time….


Chicken Coop Build Update

This weekend was rough. The coop is almost to the point of being completely done, but it is not done. We had to stop in the middle of working on the run because hubby was injured. Now, it wasn’t anything too major, but it did require a trip to the emergency room for five stitches in his pinky finger. He was putting a T-post into place and instead of hitting the post, he hit his hand with the sledgehammer.

He is fine, he only needed the stitches. I will continue working on the run this week, but will not be doing any fence posts. The posts are all in place. Injuries do sometimes happen, we use safety gear, he was wearing gloves, but accidents happen and he will spend the next 7-10 days healing instead of working on my coop

We managed to get a lot of work done prior to his accident.

For the arches, we used the old PVC piping from our well. We recently had the PVC replaced with roll pipe to make pulling the pump up easier. The PVC is attached to the T-posts and to the white fence, to which we attached fencing that chickens cannot get through and predators cannot get inside.

The coop has been painted with an eggshell color and a metal roof has been added. The metal is only temporarily secured as you will see in the next picture because we are not sure how this roof will work as far as rain is concerned. We are hoping it rains this week like it is supposed to so, we can test the roof.  I know it looks completely flat feom the photos, but it actually has a slant. The front is higher than the back, but we arent certain it the difference in height is enough or if the angle needs to be increased. If it does not work as planned, we will raise the front of the roof by placing a 2×4 board under the plywood to raise it to a bit more of a slant. As you can see, there is a gap between the roof and the coop and this is securely blocked from predators with what I am calling rabbit fencing. It’s a roll of fencing that was found in the shed. We aren’t quite sure what it is, but I have a better view of this fencing over a window. The gap is there to provide ventilation for the coop without causing a draft during winter months.

This is the fencing I was referring to. This section is stapled onto the coop temporarily until I purchase larger washers. The ones I bought are too small and slip through the holes far too easily. We do have the plywood to close this window during winter months and there will be a section of roofing or the material used to cover the run, running between the coop and the shed next to the coop. It gets really hot during the summer months and air circulation is an absolute must. The section of roof or cover we use will keep the rain out, but allow for enough airflow to keep the coop from becoming an oven. I sat inside the coop for twenty minutes with the door closed to ensure this would provide enough airflow without being straight wind as the coop was being built. It was 94° outside during my test with wind gusts up to 35 mph. I was cool enough to be more comfortable inside than outside and while I felt a slight breeze, I didn’t feel the gusts of wind, which blew over a pallet leaning against the coop.

See that blue sledgehammer, that’s the culprit. That’s the very hammer hubby smashed his finger with. As you can see, the black cover is hanging on the other side of the white fence. We decided we needed more PVC arches. There was simply too much slack in the cover for our liking and the wind was blowing fairly hard at this point. Entirely too much sway was happening with the PVC arches for our liking so, more support was absolutely necessary. I had to apply a filter to this picture because it was really dark and hard to see. I brightened it up a bit so the details could be seen clearly.

As you can see, the cover is on the arches. It’s difficult to see, but there is fencing on the T-posts and on the white fencing. We used fencing that is coated in green plastic. It virtually disappears there is a space with no fencing right next to the coop. We are going to be installing a gate here. I am leaving the cover as it is in this picture because it provides protection from hawks. I will have to duck to enter the coop, but once inside I cannot reach the tops of the arches without using a ladder. Hubby can just barely reach them. The inside of the run is over 6 feet high. The cover provides an amazing amount of shade, while still allowing airflow. I am uncertain if I explained what we used as a cover in previous posts, but this cover is a dump truck cover. You see them stretched over loads with loose dirt, sand, or rocks. Hubby brings random things home from work for me and I love this about him. This cover was deemed useless because it had a few holes in it the size of a quarter and a foot long rip. I used lacing wire to stitch these up prior to our installation. I have no idea why such small holes and a small rip would render this cover useless, but I am very glad he rescued it before it was tossed in a dumpster. I have tried to reuse as many materials as possible. Some of the pallets that hubby refused to use on the building itself will be used for fencing between the shed and the coop and a greenhouse will eventually be built between the coop and the shed. Those pallets will form the frame of the greenhouse.

This is the very end of the run. As you can see, there’s excess cover material. Hubby was placing the final T-post for the additional arch he was placing when he smashed his finger.

Part of the cover is attached to the final arch and I will finish attaching the cover to the arch this week. The only problem with this final arch being added is the space between the fencing and the cover on the end. We will either attach metal screen or cut fencing and attach it to both the arch and the fencing below. We have not decided yet. Neither of us wanted to cut the cover to be neatly fastened to the fencing because we did not want to destroy the cover, which may be moved and used on a larger coop for a larger run. It is, after all, a perfect rectangle complete with a reinforced border and metal grommets every 2 feet. No one in their right mind would cut that apart.

The coop still needs:

  • A gate installed
  • The window secured properly
  • The cover fastened
  • The gap at the end of the run closed and secured against predators
  • The space between the shed and coop fenced off and covered (We have another cover.)
  • Some color because eggshell is boring
  • Roosts and nesting boxes installed
  • Feeders and water sources installed
  • Dust bath
  • Possibly adjustments to the roof

It was a very productive weekend and aside from hubby needing stitches, it was a good weekend. I am so excited and looking very forward to having chickens living in their coop, which we have paid attention to every small detail to ensure it is as comfortable and as safe as possible. I am still looking for suggestions for chicken names, but I am also looking for suggestions for a paint scheme. As of right now, I am debating using fairy cottages as inspiration or even gnome homes. I have a wonderful memory of a television show called “David the Gnome” and that is what is running through my mind at the moment for inspiration. Leave me a comment and let me know what you think. 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….