Monday, December 31, 2012

Last post of 2012

Happy New Year!

To say that 2012 did not flow as I hoped it would, is an understatement!
Plans were made and dreaming of new projects filled my head this time last year.
And most of them did not happen....

But here is the report anyway.

1. I wanted to make this the year of the Chicken and in April I got my first 6 day old chicks. 2 RI R's and 4 Brown Leg Horne's. I set up a brooder up stairs and raised them up until the fluff was replaced with feathers.
While they were doing the baby chick thing, I built a Chicken coop out of recycled wood and got it ready for them when I moved them in.
Then in July I was on Crag's list and saw an add for 5 month old "Golden Comets" at $10.00 each. So I got 6 of them. making the flock an even 12.
And they all turned out to be Hens and I got my first egg on July 16. and today I collected the last of the 2012 Cackle Berries for a total of........849!! WOW!!. Never even though I would get close to that number.
The girls were allowed to free range and they were laying eggs everywhere! And that did not set well with the families around me. I even got a nasty gram from one lady telling me that the Chickens were getting into her flower beds and crapping on her deck.
So I knocked together an addition to the coop and tried to fence them in. But they still got out and Chicken Tussling is not my favorite sport. And try as I would to mach the Chicken run ex scape proof, they still got out. I finally put a big tarp over the whole thing and that seems to be doing the job.
And then about a month before Christmas, a man from down the road offered me 6 more birds. I took them happy to increase the flock to 18! But 4 of them turned out to be Cornish X and were 5 - 6 months old. Too old to put in the freezer and all they do is eat.
Well I have lost 2 of the "Comets" and 2 of the Eaters, So the flock is at 14 now and the coop no longer big enough, So I got a portable Building delivered just before Christmas and am working on get it set up as the new coop.

And here it is
The weather has not been very good sense it's arrival and I have not wanted to brave the cold and rain to do much with yet. But I have 3 days off work this coming week end and will try to get motivated to get things started!

So 2012 was all about Chickens. And this post is getting longer then I intended.
So the next post will be 2013 and more Chicken stories!
See you next Year!

Saturday, December 22, 2012

The new Chicken Project

Hey everyone,

So the new Chicken project was started today!

But let me tell a story that will lead us into all of this.

First.... About three weeks ago I got a nasty-gram from one of the people down the road about my free range Chickens. She was pissed that the Chickens had been tearing up her flower beds and crapping on her back deck. So I tried to enclose the top of the Chicken run. But the girls had gotten use to running around the yard all day and would not stay in the run! So I had to close them up in the coop. Now that is only a 4 X 8 foot space and that was not enough room for 12 birds to live all day in. And I lost one of the "Golden Comets" and have been seeing a lot of unhappy hens!
And then about 10 days ago a guy down the road came to see me about his Chickens. He wanted to get rid of the 6 birds he had and wanted to know if I wanted them.  And without even seeing them, I said yes!
He offered to take me to his place and help me transport them to my coop. And here they are!!!

This is "Rufus". A Cornish Cross Meat bird!  He is very aggressive and he is about 15 pounds! At about 6 months old, he is way to big to be processed and put in the freezer! He would be like trying to eat an old boot! And all he does is eat and sit!

And here is one of his girl friends. She is about 12 pounds!

And another one. As you can see, she has worn the feathers off her back end by sitting all day! They are to big and heavy to get into the Coop and live under the coop. What I will do with them is still not decided. They do not lay Eggs and they are eating me out of feed at a rate that is killing my budget! I got 4 of them like this! What the he-- am I going to do with them?

And then there is "Cuddles"! This is the sweetest bird I have ever see! She sits in my lap or on my shoulder each time I go into the Run. She lays brown Eggs of a good size. I'm not sure what breed she is, But she is a  keeper!

And this is what I think is another "Golden Comet"! Also lays brown Eggs. And likes to eat out of my hand.

So with 17 birds now and a small coop I had to do something to give them more room inside and a better Run to get them outside.!
And here it is! A new 10 X 12 FT. building. Two windows, a 48 inch door and metal roof. There is a peek vent running across the top of the roof and a vent in each end of the building. I got it as a rent to own for $95.00 a month and can set it up the way I want for the flock! Pretty cool!

It's so much better then the one I put together. I need to install a door with ramp, Roosts and nesting boxes. But with 120 square feet to play with, I can provide them with a 4 star place to live. I may even put a sign up and give it a name!! I also want to insulate the walls and add a inside cover for the walls. That will take some time, But I will have fun deciding where everything will go!
I have posted in the past about wanting to get a work shop put up out back of the house and I still want to do that. It has just been put on hold for a few months. I hope to get a Lofted barn type building in a month or so. The new coop had a higher need factor for right now.

And I now have the room to add more birds come this spring or summer!
So stay tuned for the build and the changes I plan to make!

Hows that for a Chicken Project?
As of today's collection of Eggs.........783 total! I bet I hit 800 before Christmas!!!


I also wanted to tell you all that I finally got my 5 projects for the "2012 Pay-It-Forward Challenge" mailed today! So if you are one of my lucky 5, The USPS should be delivering your craft project soon!

Monday, December 17, 2012

As Promiced!

Hey Yous Guys,
Happy Holiday's!
And as I promised in the last post.....

Terri and I went up north and picked up "ARCHER" It was an all day road trip and we met up with the couple that transported him from Kansas City, MO. for us.

Terri and Archer's first meeting.

And a better picture in the back yard.

He is a sweet little guy and has the typical gray and black coloring of a "Cataoula"

Just look at that face!

He has defiantly found a home!
 The couple that transported him picked him up on Tuesday out side Kansas City ans was in "Alexandria" Friday night at & pm. There were about 5 or 6 other family's there to pick up dogs. The couple live in Ill. and this is what they do for a living, Transport rescued dogs all over the country. When they left Virgina that night, They were going to New Jersey to deliver more dogs and on the Maryland to spend the night and then back home for the Holiday's. And they will start more deliveries after the New Years!
They have a big Horse trailer that they converted over to a travailing Kennel and they criss-cross the country taking dogs to new homes. We were happy to spend the $150.00 for the transport to get "Archer" Home!

So that's the story of "Archer" and his trip to Terri's house. We got back a little bit before 1 AM . He is crate trained and he spent the first night at my house (every one was excited and we did not think that any of us would get any sleep if he had stayed at Terrie's) and went to Terri's the next morning.

The next post will be about "The New Chicken Project" that hopefully will take place this Friday!
Stay tuned!

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Another Update....

Hello everyone,
My computer has been down for the past few weeks and I just got it back. It's running for now and I hope the problems have been taken care of. Only time will tell!

There is a whole new story to tell a bout the Chickens! But that will have to wait until the next post. For right now, the total of Eggs is up to 711!!! Do you think we will make it to 800 or 850 by the end of the year?

But the big news is that tomorrow I will be headed up to north with Terri to pick up a early Christmas Present for her! As you who read this hit or miss Blog know, Terri has two Dogs of her own. Dodger (the 105 pound Black Lab) and Eillie (her 60 pound Catahoula). Well Terri spends a lot of time on the web looking at Dog rescue sites and she found a 4 month old Catahoula in Kansas City the needed a home. The Dog was rescued from a Horse Auction Barn by a Lady out there and was put up for adoption (She already has 5 Dogs of her own!) and we found a couple that agreed to transport the Dog out here for us. So we will meet them just south of D.C. tomorrow night! So we will be picking him up around 7 pm and bringing him home.
There is a lot more to the story and I will do another post about the trip to get him (I will even take the camera to record the event).

I know that this short and I normally have a lot more to say. But I have to still get ready for the trip and get to bed. There is an early start in the morning. I will be back with a post on Saturday!

Saturday, November 10, 2012

Coop done and HOLLY CRAP!

Another Chicken Post!

This is the day I was able to complete the addition to the Chicken coop. Added a second door on the back and installed the new nesting boxes. And cleaned the old bedding out and put in new.

OK, so it's not pretty. But it works. All made from recycled wood!

Both doors opened and one of the "Comets" checking out the new space.

The new Nesting Boxes. 3 milk crates and 2 office boxes on top. Lined with a sheet of cardboard to help ho;d the bedding in.

And installed in in the coop. New bedding in place.

All cleaned out and new bedding in place.

One of the "GC's and "RIR's doing an inspection! The area to the right is where they have been laying Eggs, If they decide to lay in the coop.

And the fruits of their labors.

Small, Medium, Large and .....

HOLLY CRAP! I have gotten one of the Extra Large Eggs every day! Bet they are Double Yokes!

A surprise in each one!
With the 10 I got yesterday and 9 more today, That makes 447 Eggs so far!

God I love my Chickens!

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Egg Update

As you all know, I was working on a coop addition before "Sandy" came in last week. Thursday was the last nice day we had, Temps in the 70's and lots of sunshine. I got the addition closed up and the Chickens now have more room inside. I also started working on a new set of nesting boxes that I just finished today. I used 5 mike crates (3 on the bottom and 2 on top), lined them with some cardboard and wire tied (is there anything you can not wire tie in place? I think not!) a roost board across the front to help keep them from kicking a lot of the bedding out. I will place a 2 X4 under the front edge so Eggs will not roll out.

But the real reason for this post was to give you a update on Egg Production. The Ladies started to lay steady in the first week of August and as of today, they have produces 423 EGGS! This from 12 Hens! At least I will not go hungry! This morning when I got home from work I scrambled 3 Eggs with Han, Onions and Cheese and popped it into the microwave for a bit ,that and a couple slices of toast was breakfast.

As you can tell the Chickens are doing well and I have to smile at their daily retinue. One of the BLH's has taken to laying her Egg on the front porch right in front of Annie (I call  her "The Porch Queen") and she lets the whole  world know when she lays an Egg!  And when I go collect that Egg each day She stands in the yard and cusses me out! Well today, She was making all kinds of racket and I though that Annie had gotten to close. But another one of the BLH's had gotten it into her head that she wanted to nest in TPQ's spot and Queenie was standing on the other birds back, Raising all kinds of hell! Silly Chickens! When I went out later, there was another Egg in her spot. That gave me 9 for today.

The other day Terri was out with the dogs and called me over to one of her flower bed and showed me a clutch of 17 Eggs, Most of them were white (from the two RIR's). I took them into the house and tested them for freshness and put them in the fridge.

And to talk about "Sandy", She came in with a Bang! Lots of rain and wind! And she also brought cold temps with her! Today we are getting more rain and the high hit 44! Tonight is suppose to drop into the lower 30's. There was ice on the water containers the other day and frost on the truck windows. I think that "Summer" is really gone and I'm already tired of the cold!


Sunday, October 28, 2012

Build Site.....Or Swimming Hole?

Great Question?
Sandy the hurricane slowly came in late Friday and the rain started. That gave me enough time to get the Chicken coop addition done (For the most part!). A lite mist to begin with and then a steady rain with winds that is still coming down! And will  last Thu tomorrow.

And this is what the build site for the new shop looks like!!

Like I said..... Build site or Swimming Hole?

With more rain to come, This can only get worse. And no telling how long it will take for this to dry up so that I can get the sand and "Crush and Run" delivered and get the area ready for the building!?

The Hurricane season runs from June to November and today is the 28 of October. Only 4 days left in the season and She just had to make a trip up the east coast. She is still off shore about 200 N/M South South East of us and will not make landfall until early Tuesday . They say that will happen some where in"New Jersey".

When I said "Gully Washer" I was not Kidding. I'm keeping my fingers crossed that there is no more rain after "Sandy" get's out of here! Hopping for sunshine for the next 10 days at least!

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Chicken House Upgrade Part 1

With 12 laying Hens the Chicken House was getting a little cramped. When I first built the place, I had only the 6 Hens I got back in April as day old chicks. I raised them in a brooder up stairs in the house and built a Coop for them and moved them in back in late June/ early July.

And this is what I came up with!. I'm no carpenter and I used what I had on hand to put it together.

As you can see, I used all recycled wood. So the only thing I had to buy were the screws to put all together.
I do a lot of projects using recycled wood. When I lived in the city, I had a two car garage, but never parked the cars in it. No room! With all my wood working tools and wood I had stored in there!! My ex-wife use to complain that I had way too much and never did anything with the wood.
I pick up wood I see that has been set out at curb side.
 And I even have a place that imports material for kitchen counter tops from over seas. It comes in big containers and they use wood to secure it so it does not shift in transit. They normally burn it all, But I got permission to pick Thu it and take what I want.

Here is a side view of the inside. As you can see it's 4 ' wide and about 8 ' long. Not big enough for 12 Chickens!

And here is the wood that will be used to build the new frame work. There is a lot of nail pulling to do before I can use it. But what I will end up with is 8 FT 2" X3"s. And it's the right price......FREE!
If you have read some of the more resent posts, you know that I'm having a work shop built and transported to the Homestead soon (keep my fingers crossed!!!). And a lot of this wood will be use to build shelves and storage bins.

So, the frame work is up and I have to close it up and get a roof on. We have a big storm coming and we are suppose to get heavy rain and high winds this week end. So tomorrow the push will be on to finish this.

Two of the girls decided to supervise the work. That's one of the "Comments" looking over the new floor plan (she seemed to approve). And one of the Leg Horns is back in the right hand corner, She laid an Egg right after I took this picture!
The other thing I want to do is get a set of nesting boxes built and installed too. And get the yard fence up a little higher and covered. I'm not to worried about predators (Have not had a problem with any yet!), But 4 or 5 of the Chicken fly over the top of the fence and are laying all over the yard! I don't think I have found all the Eggs out there!! One of the Leg Horne's is laying her Eggs on the front porch (guess what her name is.....FP for short!).

So if I get it all done tomorrow, I will post pictures of the whole thing. But for now, I will close and If you are on the east coast, BATTEN DOWN THE HATCHES......There is a GULLY WASHER COMING!

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Happenings 2

I'm Back!
To continue from where I left off.
In the last post I said I was doing some grading work up near the house and breaking new ground for next years garden.
Well here is the area where the new shop will go.

With the help of my friend and his bigger tractor we were able to get it down to the hard pan, about two inches down. I will have 7 tons of sand laid down and compacted and set the shop on 4' cement blocks.

The building that I'm leaning towards will  face this way with a 4' porch on the far end and a 48" door on the near end. Inside dimensions will be 14' X 20' and it will have a metal roof.

The company that will build it is, "Graceland Portable Buildings" and I will be ordering it in December. Why December? If I were to order it today, the down payment would be over $800.00. But if I order it in December, a little under $300.00. It's a special they run in December and I can come up with that easier the the higher amount.
I like the fact that the shop will have a metal roof and the floor skids are 4" X 6", by setting it on the 4" blocks, that will raise it 10" off the ground. This will aid in air circulation under neath and get it up away from ground moister.
I like the idea of the porch, where after a long day of wood working I can set and watch the garden grow and enjoy a few brews.
To the left of this build site, I will have a carport placed by the same company. But that's some way down the road. I will also install a Rainwater collection system on both to store water for the garden. I already have 6 55 gallon barrel's for that and I will post about that at a latter time.
So there are the things that I have been working on along with the new job (witch has given me the added income to do all this!).
So until next time, Have a great week-end!

Saturday, October 20, 2012


Hey every one,
I know that the past few posts have been all about Daisy and Luke. But really there are other things going on here at the Homestead! I even took some pictures to prove it!

Eggs have been happening!

The original chicks I got in April will be 31 weeks old on Monday and I got my first egg on July 16. And not another one until August 2.

I was up on Crags list one night and saw an add for "Golden Comment" At 10 dollars each, I though it was a steal and I got 6 of them! I love the color of the birds and plan on increasing the flock next year with them!
 The "Comment's" are a Hybrid bird (a cross between a Cornish Rock rooster and a New Hampshire Hen) and they lay Brown Eggs. They were the same age as my other birds and needless to say, Egg production went way up!

Here are the 2 RIR's,  2 Brown Leg Horns and 1 of the Comments. At this point they were "Free Range". But when they started to lay all over the yard, I started to close the gate on the chicken yard. Back on 20 Sept I found a clutch of 18 eggs under a fence panel out back and another clutch behind the Heat pump of 11 eggs.

So the total of eggs so far is 308! That's a lot of eggs!! One of the RLH"S still get out and lay's an egg each day on the front porch. She had been cracking the eggs on the wooden deck, but I out an old rug there and she now lay's on it! SILLY CHICKENS!!

One of the "Comment's". They are very doesel  and like to be picked up. The birds were in a small pen and there was a lot of tail feathers missing. I have named one of the Hens "Little Bit" because she has yet to regrow any feathers back there!

Another shot of a Comment. I really like the tail feathers! White with a light brown stripping!
IN other happening's. Mark had the area back of his house graded and seeded. The tractor and truck belong to the guy that did the work. Mark also got him to grade the ditches along side the road to make it easier to mow that area. He will back on Monday to seed that area.
Another shot of the area. You can just see the grass has started to come up. Mark wants to put a Storage Shed/Shop and a Carport here.
So with all that in mind, I'm also wanting to put a work shop out back of my house. And this is a shot of the area where it will go. I spent half the day tilling closer to the house.
I want it closer so the electric will not be as long of a run. Once the Shop is in, I will get a guy to come out and give me a price on what that will run.

And this is the view from the house. This area will be tilled and leveled back beyond where the truck is and will have the shop and a carport placed here, and beyond will be next years garden. Can you see Daisy to the right?
Here she is making her way across the yard on three legs. It's been a month today that I did my STUPID deed and rolled over her with the truck. Had her at the Vets yesterday and she said that the leg was not healing very well yet. But she was not suprised at that because of Daisy's age and the fact that it was a bad break!
Here you can see how the Vet Has her leg strapped to her side and her paw in a sling. Thuis caused some fluid build up on the other side, But she put a couple drain tubes in last week and that has helped the situation. Daisy is still in some pain and she get pain medication along with Amoxicillin to stave off any infection.
Well I have run at the mouth for quite a bit and I still have a few pictures and up dates to post. But I will call it quits for now and try to pick this back up tomarow. Where I will show you the work I did to get the place where the shop will go.
So for now I'm tired and I want a couple beers! See you tomorrow.

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

A SAD day at the Homestead!

I lost one of my best friends last night!
Luke, my Cat that has been the king of the house for over 11 years, Passed late last night.
He got out of the house a while back and came back with a load of fleas that I was never able to completely get rid of. I took him to the Vet and had a blood count done, It was at 23 percent at that point and the Vet said that was very dangerous. She gave him a pill to get rid of the fleas (really did not do the job!) and to see if he would start eating again.
He didn't and he took to laying on the counter near the dish drainer. He continued to loose weight and sleep most of the time.
I called the Vet to set up a Blood Transfusion for him today and was going to take him in first thing this morning!
I came home last night to find him crying and very weak. I picked him up and took him into my room to see if I could make him any more comfortable. We sat in the lounge chair (One of his favorite places!) and as I talked to him, He started to purr and to sleep.
And it was about an hour later that he passed. He never woke up and I could not seem to let him out of my arms for the longest time!
We got Luke at the Animal shelter and he became a inside cat that ruled the house. He was a lover and a lick er. He would hold onto my hand with both front paws and lick my fingers until I made him quit.

He has crossed the "Rainbow Bridge" now and he will be missed!
Luke with his best friend "Bella" who has also crossed over
. They are together again on the other side of the "Bridge"!

I wanted to post other pictures of Luke, But can't find any.

I will be putting him along side his other friends later this morning.

Friday, October 5, 2012

Dasiy Update

Hello everone,
Just a quick post to update you on Daisy and her leg!
The Vet strapped her leg to her chest and put her paw into a sling so she has very little movement in the leg to give the bones a chance to heal. The problem with that is that is the strapping is causing a build up of fluid on the oppasite side right at the shoulder. T he Vet drained it last Monday and said if it contineued that she would have to put a drain tube in. Well it's now Friday and the fluid pocket is much bigger. So Monday the drain goes in.
Other then that, Daisy is is her old self! Still eating well and getting around on three legs is a lot of work for her, But she navagates stairs and going outside alright.
I pick up a couple new followers from all of this and they made comments on my last post. I have been to their Blog's and will return very soon.
So there it is.
I have a three day week-end this week and will try to write about something beside Daisy and get some pictures up of the things that we have been doing.
Talk to you then,

Monday, September 24, 2012


The Title said it all!!
I am so STUPID! And I hate this! I almost killed Daisy on Saturday!
I have written about Daisy in the past and she has been my constant companion for the past 10 years or so!
When we moved here to the Homestead, She was given 3 acres to run around in and she loves to be outside with me. I take her out when I work on outside projects and she sticks pretty close most of the time.
Because she is black, she can get over heated pretty fast and she  finds a shady place to lay down and watch me work!
Well that is what she did Saturday, While I was removing the potato tires from the garden and taking them to the storage area. I have loaded them up and had made my first move to the storage area and was going back for more. And as I pulled the truck forward I ran over Daisy! Stupid, Stupid, STUPID!!!!
I normally check to see if she is under there, But not this time! And she did not hear the truck start and get out of the way.
The right rear tire rolled over her and she Screamed and was trashing around on the ground. Elie (Terri's dog was out there too!) ran to her side and at first would not me near Daisy! But when she saw that I was trying to help and calm Daisy down, She just sat and watched.
I called the Vet and met her at her office and she said that Daisy's left front leg was broken pretty badly. She gave her a shot of morphine for the pain and waited for that to kick in. She wanted to get X-RAY'S, But wanted staff there to help with that, So she gave me some med's for Daisy and we came home.
I placed her on a pillow in my room and made her as comfortable as I could. She was pretty drunk on the morphine and slept for the next few hours.
Around midnight she was awake and in a lot of pain, So I got her to take some water and got the first of the pain med's in her. I sat with her until they kicked in and she went back to sleep.
Sunday morning, I got up and she was awake and thumping the floor with her tail (I guess she was telling me that it was OK and that she did not blame me!). I got med's into her and she even had a half can of dog food. I got some water for her and she took that .
I had to work last night and I try to get a few hours sleep in the afternoon. But Daisy started to cry and I though it was because the med's had worn off, But she let me know that she wanted to go outside, By hobbling to the back door. So I took her out and carried her down the steps and put her down in the grass and she put her head in my lap (I think she was forgiving me!). She did her think and wanted back in the house.
 Jump to Monday....
I got off work and came home and took Daisy to the vet's for the X-RAYS. Came home and got a few hours sleep and called the vet around 1430. The vet said that the leg is broken 3 ways and because it was so high up the leg she could not splint it.
She talked about surgery and the cost of that started at $2,200.00! And there was no guaranty that it would heal right. So we decided to bind her leg to her chest and let nature take its time to heal the bones.
I will be taking Daisy in to see the Vet each Monday so she can rebind the leg and monitor the healing. She told me that Daisy could still loose the leg. We just have to wait and see.
Like I said, STUPID, STUPID, STUPID!!!!!

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Egg Hunt

Hey All,
Remember when you were a Kid and on Easter Morning, You would get up and be all excited to get out there and find all the Eggs the Easter Bunny would leave for You?
Well I have that to look forward to each day! As I allow the Chickens Free Range, They do not always lay Eggs in the Coop. I recently found  clutch of 11 Eggs behind the Heat Pump and today I found a clutch of 18 under some Fence we had recently removed to move to another location!
I only find 2 or 3 Eggs in the Coop each and I knew that they were laying somewhere else in the yard. I just had to keep looking and hopefully would find the the Eggs before they went bad! The Temps have been very low the past few days (Lows at night have been getting into the 60's!) and The Eggs I found are in a cool place in the deep grass.
But that's what I get for allowing them to Rome all over the place! They seem a lot happier that way and they help to feed themselves!
The "Golden Comets" are working out very well and that Egg production is crazy! 160 Eggs to date! I have even sold my first dozen the other day! I have 4 dozen in my fridge right now and Terri has 2 1/2 dozen in hers! Good thing we all like Eggs!

Saturday, September 8, 2012

And here they are

As stated in my last post.....Pictures of the new GIRLS!

As you can see, They are about the same age as my other girls...5 months? And tail feathers are missing on most of them. They were raised in a small pen and that was fine when they were small Chicks, but as they got bigger and overcrowded, pecking of tail feathers became the norm.

This one has some, But not what they should be!

I love the color and the way the white shows around the neck!

This is a better picture of her.

So now all I have to do is get the two flocks together and wait for the Eggs to start flowing from all the birds!
As it is, I'm almost at 100 now! With the 14 I got yesterday and the 3 I got today........96! I have 4 1/2 dozen in my fridge and Terri has two more at her house! That's a good thing...Right?
I was told that I will soon have to put a sign in the yard to try and sell some. But that's the idea! Maybe I can sell enough to at least pay for feed!
But the flock is at 12 now and it looks like I do not have any Roosters. And for now that's OK. I will think about adding one or two later so that They can hatch some babies next year!

This was one of the biggest dreams I had for the Homestead! Before I got this place and was still in the planing stage (Back many years ago), Chickens were at the top of the list of animals I wanted to raise. And I think that 12 is the number for right now!
So I can cross them off the wish list and start thinking about Ducks!

Friday, September 7, 2012

Meet the new Girls

I know that I promised a DVD Review on this post, But life always seem to get in the way!
Today was no exception! I found an add on Crag's List the other night and I had to go pick up my new "GIRLS" today
Yep the Chicken Flock has been increased by 6! 6 "Golden Comets"! I did some research on them and was surprised to find that they are a Hybrid and if allowed to breed together, they will not produce another "Golden Comet". But that's OK, because I got them for the Egg production! 200 - 250 Eggs per bird per year (If on the low side, That's 1200 Eggs!).  I think I see selling Eggs in the future.
The six I got are about 5 months old and are all Hens. And they just started laying!
Speaking of.....I have been getting 3 - 4 Eggs a day from the other 6 for almost a month. But last week I could only find 1 or 2 in the coop each day. I though that because they are Free Range, that they had found a better place to lay. And today I found it! Right behind the Heat Pump! I had cut the grass and weeds down the other day and they though that it made a perfect place to nest. I found 11 Eggs in that nest and 3 more in the coop! That makes a grand total of 96 Eggs from the RIR and the Brown Leg Horns!

I will be taking pictures tomorrow and posting them, So you can "Meet The new Girls"!

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Of Tomatoes, Butter and Eggs

Hey Everyone,
Because of work, overtime and rain, Outside work has come to a stand still. This was suppose to be my 3 day week-end ( Sunday, Monday and Tuesday). But I was asked to work overtime Sunday, and yesterday and today RAIN! A lot of rain and because my land does not drain very well, Lots of pond size puddles!
I have been doing a lot of research to see if I can correct that problem without doing a lot of digging and found a device called a SUBSOILER.
Ever hear of this and has anybody used one before? It is a device that hooks up to a tractor on the 3 point hitch and using the hydraulics, It digs a 2 inch trench 14 inches below the surface in areas that water has a hard time getting into hard packed soil (witch is the problem I have on all 3 acres here!). The price is not to bad ($130.00) and my compact tractor has the HP required to operate it (22 - 50 HP). The cutting blade is mounted on a narrow beam that cuts the surface very little, as the blade cuts a 2 inch trench 14 inches down. And that surface cut can be closed by running back over it with the tractor tires. That 2 inch trench stays open to give the water someplace to go.

But title of this post has to do with other things!

We have been able to keep the Deer out of the paste tomatoes (San Mariano) and have been getting quite a few each day. I have been putting them into gallon zip-lock bags and into the freezer until we get enough to do something with.
And that time came yesterday! We took 5 bags out of the freezer and cut them in half. Put them in baking pans with garlic, olive oil, Balsamic vinegar, salt and pepper and roasted them in a 400 degree oven for 20 min.

The first 4 pans of tomatoes in the oven!

And the next 4

Two bowls waiting their turn.

And the garlic (That's from the garden too!

Once we got the roasting done we ran all of them Thu a food mill and ended up with a crock pot full of sauce. We set it on low and let it cook down all night with the lid opened at one end to allow to allow the steam out.

That's a full crock pot!

Better picture.

Ended up with 3 jars of sauce. I will freeze them. Not enough to fire up the Caner!

While the tomatoes were roasting,

The Butter:
I have read several posts about making butter from store bought Heavy Cream and decided to give it a try!

A quart of Heavy Cream from Wally- World!

A Stand mixer, covered with a towel. It went faster then I though it would! 10 - 12 min

12 OZ of salt free Butter

And about 8 OZ of Butter milk. We used it to make a salad dressing with plan Yogurt and spices. It was really good!

And here are two Kohlrabi that I got out of the garden. Believe it or not, the big one was sweeter and more tender then the smaller one!

And last the EGGS
The Chickens are 22 weeks old now and I got the first Egg on 16 July and then nothing until Aug 2. And I got just one Egg for the next 5 days. Now I average 3 Eggs a day, One of witch is a Brown one. As you know I have two RIR's and I though that they both were Roo's! But Knuckle Head has decided to be a girl and she is always sitting on the Eggs when I go collect them. So to date, 34 Eggs!!

 Last night we have grilled Pork Chops, Hash Browns and Farm Fresh Eggs for dinner. I fried the Eggs in the Butter we made and they were Wonderful! Mark was surprised at the color of the yoke and the flavor (That's a city Boy for you!).

So I think this is about enough for one post. The next one will be a review of a new DVD I just got. It's called "Back to Eden" and is a gardening film. But you will have to wait until the next post!

Have a great rest of the week everyone!