Thursday, March 29, 2012

New bed for sunflowers

First the new babies are doing well! They are one week old today and I had to put a lid on the brooder, They are trying to jump out and can almost make it! They are so much bigger and tail feathers are starting to poke out and the wing feathers are starting to show some color now. They will not be babies for long!
Any way, today was a day off from work and that means work on the homestead got done. What was it the "John Wayne" said? "We're burning daylight"! Well I sure did today! I did some mowing last night and carried on with that this morning. The problem is the Rotary Cutter is broke down again (Broken stabilizer arm, The third time this has happened!). And I had to use the finishing mower. Its not as powerful as the R.C. and it does not like wet heavy grass or weeds! So I had to move slower that I normally would and there is a problem with the tractor too! The charging system is not working and I have to jump start it each time off the truck. So if it bog's down and stops running, I have to go get the truck and jump it again! So after that hap ping 6 or 7 times, I moved on to another job. Building the new Sunflower raised bed!
Last year the rabbits had a field day with the sunflowers. They would eat them as fast as they came up. And the soil is not fertile enough to allow the flowers to grow very well (Just like every thing else). So I built a raised bed so I can mix up a growing medium just for them.

This is the south end of Mark's house and we have tried to grow Sunflowers here the past two years. They did not do to well here due to the rabbits and the poor soil. But the weeds did very well!

I dug out the weeds and raked it smooth. Cover the whole area with cardboard (As a weed guard) and covered the whole area with "Cotton Dirt". Just a inch or two. The PH is way to acidic for most plants, But weeds do not like it and I get it by the truck load, FREE! And I found out the Worms love it! The combination of cardboard and Cotton Dirt just pulls them in!

There is the finished box. I had to add more cardboard boxes to widen the bed. But that's OK, just means more flowers. I will cover the whole thing with the cotton dirt and then cover that with wood chips. It should look pretty good when I'm done.

The bed is 5' wide and about 16' long. And all of the wood is recycled. And I can add another board all around if we decide we want it deeper.
  The cardboard works really well in smothering the weeds and as it breaks down, it will help to hold moisture in and around the bed. And like I said, THE WORMS LOVE IT!

And speaking about the Worms, Leigh over at who has been wanting to get into raising Worms for the longest time, wrote a post about Dan (Her main man) building their first Worm bed!
I'm so excited for her and Dan! Give her a shout and watch as they add Worms to the Homestead!
Leigh, I expect lots of pictures of your new "LIVESTOCK"!!

Friday, March 23, 2012

Back to 6

After my last post, I called ACE Hardware and told them I lost one of the Chicks. The manager told me to come get a replacement!
So I jumped in the truck and got another "Chipmunk" one. Odd Ball has a darker strip down her back then the new one and I may give her that name.
I took a plastic bowl to carry her in, nit thinking that she would not be able to stand up on the slippery bottom. But she jumped out of the bowl 3 times on the trip home. I had set the bowl in a box on the seat and each time she got out, she ended up on the edge of the box, just like she was roosting for real!
All six are in the brooder now and I got a couple pictures of them:

You can see the two "Chipmunks" standing side by side. Rhode Island Reds? We will see!

This corner seems to be the place they like, or is it just as far as they can get away from me?
So day two, A little sadness and a new addition. I wonder how many are Roosters? Time will tell!

Down to 5!

Morning everyone,
The joy I felt yesterday has been dashed! I went to check on the babies this morning and found one of them dead. I believe that it was the one I named "Droopy". She didn't hold her wings up against her sides like the rest of them do. But carried them low to the ground. This should have told me something was wrong with her to begin with.
But I did not pick any of them out, The manager did. I was just so happy to be getting my first Chicks and getting them home! Next time I will pay more attention to the ones I get and will decide witch ones go into the box!
I only had one other that needed her "Fluffy Butt" cleaned this morning. She was not happy that I had to do this, but she is clean now and I will watch her to make sure that she stays that way!
Fresh food and water was given to all and they seem to be doing alright.
With the loss of the one, all I want to do now is sit by the brooder and keep an eye on them. But that's not going to happen as I have other things to do today and tonight is a work night (How can I leave them all alone?!). So on to other things!

Thursday, March 22, 2012

I'm a Chicken onwner!

Yes, My friends...I HAVE CHICKENS!!!!!!
And I'm doing the HAPPY DANCE!!!!!
Five Brown Leghorn's and One I'm not sure what she is, I just liked the color and markings!
And here are the first pictures:

Isn't she cute?

Sleepy baby after her long trip from the "Cackle Hatchery" in Lebanon, MO to Ahoskie, N.C. and then to my house!

And this is the one that they were not able to tell me what type it is. Can anyone tell me from the markings what she is. I may call this one "Odd Ball" as she is the odd one out.
 I was told by ACE that they were going to get a shipment of "Easter Egger's" on the 16th of April. And I plan to get 6 of them too! And if all goes well, I will have Brown, Green, and Blue eggs sometime in September or October!
This first 6 have been on the top of my wish list ever sense I moved to the Homestead 4 years ago! And I dreamed about them for years before that!!
I want to thank "Bee Girl" and "Tool Lady" over at for the inspiration for the brooder I built for the babies! Thank You, Thank You, Thank You so much! And the brooder looks like it will work really well for the new KIDS!
I just went to check on them upstairs and they are all sitting on the edge of the feeder with their heads inside, sound asleep!
Do I sound like a Proud Parent? Well, I AM! And not to sound to much like a little girl, They are so cute and I find myself wanting to go and just watch them and make sure that they are OK! When they are this little, I find that I worry about them if I can't see them! I guess that is part of being a new DAD!?
Now I have to get the coop build and soon! A couple years ago I got the instructions and plans for a coop off E-BAY that I think I will use. Mainly because it shows how to use Pallets for the main building material and I have lots of them laying around and they are the right price, FREE!
So, Susan, Leigh, Carolyn and all my other Blogging Friends who have listened to my Winning about wanting Chicks...
Oh HAPPY Day!!!

Friday, March 16, 2012

Alass, no Chicks!

I got up at the crack of dawn and went to get the Chicks. But nobody had any (Tractor Supply had 5 Cornish Rocks, But they are meat birds and I want egg layers!).
I went to Ace Hardware and they were completely out. But I talked to the manager and they will have a new batch of "Brown Leg Horne" birds in Monday. So I will be there bright and early and try to get a half dozen.
He also told me that they will have a batch of Easter Egger's on 16 April. I will be there before they unlock the doors!!
He also asked if I knew anyone that was raising Rabbits this year! When I told him I did, He wanted to know if I had any ready for sale! I had to tell him that I did not at present, But that I will be trying to breed next month or the month after. He said that he would buy all that I can produce for $7.50 each! I need to get "Buck Henry" to be" THE MAN" and get Alice and Coley knocked up!

So Chicks on hold until Monday!

Thursday, March 15, 2012

The Chickens are coming, The chickens are coming!

Long before I made the move to the Homestead, I knew that I wanted chickens! All kinds and lots of them!
I read a post over at about the niffy Brooder that Tool Lady had built for their new chicks. And I knew that I had to build one.
With a few tweaks this is what I came up with!

Here it is in all it's newness! The thing I did here that was different then what "Tool Lady did, was I put legs on it to raise it up enough to slide the tray underneath. And all the dimensions are fit to the tray. As you can see, I even have the heat lamp in place!

The tray came from one of the Rabbit cages I got. Didn't need for the Rabbits. It is 2' square and about 3" deep.

The floor is 1/4" Hardware Cloth stapled to a wooden frame that drops right in. And to remove it, I bent a couple nails into hooks and it lifts right out!

While the little ones are....Well LITTLE, I will cover the floor with newsprint to keep their little feet from getting caught in the wire flooring.

And cover that with a layer of wood chips. I will just remove the newsprint and let the chips and poop fall into the tray. Slide it out, dump it in the garden, reinstall the tray and reload the floor. Later when they are bigger, I will leave out the full sheet of newsprint and only place it in a corner to give the little tike's a comfortable place to sleep.

So Bee Girl, If you or Tool Lady are reading this, What do ya think? See I do learn somethings from reading your Blog! I used one of my favorite tools building this! A "Pocket Hole Jig". The floor frame and walls are held together with Pocket Screws.

All I have to do now is get a feeder and water bottle......And of course the CHICKS! And I will be getting them first thing in the morning!
Next building project....Chicken Coop for grownups!
Tonight I will go to sleep counting EGGS!

Friday, March 9, 2012

A Movie review

I watch a lot of movies. New ones, old ones, and I make my own list of movies that I will watch over and over again!
 I picked a new (to me) the other night at Wally World out of the the $5.00 bin and have watched it twice in the past two days!
"Taking Chance" with "Kevin Bacon" I give this movie 10 stars!
This is not a Guy movie or a chick flick. This is a movie for and about Americans and A nations reverence and gratitude toward its war dead.
It is based on the true story of LT. Colonel Michael Strobl USMC RET. as he volunteers to escort the remains of Lance Corporal CHANCE PHELPS USMC back to his home town in Wyoming.
This movie is the best that Kevin Bacon has ever done!! I have been a fan of his ever sense "FOOT LOOSE" and he out does himself in this one!
If you have not seen this movie, I highly recommend it. But be prepared to feel emotions that we as Americans do not look at very often, as they are very personnel and hurtful!
I for one felt a very strong feeling of PRIDE to be an AMERICAN and the very small part I played in the Military for 24 years!
Colonel Strobl was a marine, But first he was a Proud American. And I wish I could shake his hand!

I have just had the chance to watch the Special Feathers on this DVD. Comments from the Family, friends and the people involved with the making of this film.
It gives you a little bit of who Chance Phelps was and to what extent his life and death impacted all our lives!
I highly recommend that you watch this also!

Thursday, March 8, 2012

A guest post

Hello Tom's blogging friends,
I'm not necessarily doing this under duress, but since I have no clue what I'm doing, I guess I'm saying Tom kind of bullied me into it! I'm a photographer and have been having a field day taking pictures of the flowers that are popping up all over my yard. In previous years I have done art shows and sold my flower pictures there. Since I've taken this year off from art shows, these are done purely for the love of it. I have 2 different cameras I use and 2 different lenses and since we planted about 300 bulbs last fall, I'm probably going to wear my cameras out before I'm done! Tom also planted a Gala apple tree and a Golden Delicious Apple tree today and I hope that they produce more fruit than the 2 pear trees! lol So here are a few Spring flower pictures and a couple of apple tree pictures.
2 frilly centered daffodils and Tom's fingers (to hold them still!)

Bluish Dutch Iris

small daffodil

Peach and Yellow centered daffodil

Dark purple Dutch iris petal

Dark magenta and white pansy

Yellow crocus

Closeup of the center of a frilly yellow daffodil

2 pear trees (been in the ground for 4 years-had fire blight the last 2 year)

Tom's blurry picture of pear tree buds

New Gala apple tree

New Golden Delicious apple tree

Tom says to sign off anyway I want...something hokey like "Springtime in North Carolina".  I'll just say goodbye.

Saturday, March 3, 2012

I Confess!

OK, I Confess! I can not even come close to understanding the instructions on hoe to operate the sewing machine and "Buddy the Frog" Pattern is even more confusing!
After reading and rereading both sets of instructions, I realized that I was not born with the SEWING GENE! So after e-mailing Carolyn to see if she still wanted the pattern (and admitting to her that Buddy is a male frog!), I put Him into the mail yesterday. And he is on his way to a new home.
So I guess I will have to put up with all the comments teasting me about how a man can be run off by a little FROG! I'm alright with that! At least I know my limitations! And yes, There is a Quitter in me that I try to keep hidden deep down inside and I do not allow him to see the light of day very often!
So there will be no pictures from me of "Buddy". And I will have to be vary careful about the Giveaways I sign up for from now on! But isn't there a little bit of "LOOK I WON" in all of us?
So I guess I will go get a beer and hang my head in shame and move onto other projects! I still have to figure out what I'm going to make for The 5 people that became my "2012 Pay It Forward Challenge" participants. Now that is something I can really get into and know I can do!