Thursday, June 7, 2012

Homestead Braindump

...because I'm too lazy to make multiple posts outta this stuff.

  • When we got home from vacation, we noticed Kung Pao was spending a lot of her time in the nest box. Eventually, we realized she was spending ALL of her time in the nest box.  She got all puffy when you got near (good thing she wasn't a RIR, or we'd never have been able to get to the eggs!), she had plucked all of her tummy feathers and was VERY warm.  From what I've read, the 2 best ways to discourage broodiness are to lower their body temperature and to make them as uncomfortable as possible on the nest.  First, I hoped stealing her eggs would work, then I moved her off her nest several times a day, then I put an ice pack in the nest box, then we started dumping her in buckets of cool hose-water.  Nothing.  She is now quarantined in an elevated dog crate in the yard.  It's drafty, uncomfy and at the very least will hopefully keep the broodiness from spreading.  Although, nick said he spotted another of the girls without tummy feathers.  ugh.  This is definitely affecting egg production.  

Get away from my nest!

Do I look comfortable to you?!?

Monday, June 4, 2012


I am pretty darn far from a master gardener.  As a matter of fact, Nick does most gardening because I KILL PLANTS.  But, one thing that is my task around here is pruning all of our trees and the raspberry and rose bushes.  Growing up, my parents had this really old, hardy rose bush  and every "dormant season" (late fall to early spring) my dad would cut the thing to the ground, nothing left of it.  And every year, it would grow back just as healthy as before and it would blossom all summer and well into the fall.

We moved in the winter and in the spring, upon seeing a rose bush, I dutifully cut it down to nothing.  It grew lovely, tall stalks... too tall to support their own weight, but there was not one blossom.  The next year, I refrained from cutting it and it blossomed beautifully, but it looked like this:

Saturday, May 19, 2012

Summer Garden

The spring portion of our garden had been in for about a month and a half and is thriving and even producing for us already but I have just been itchin' to get the real growing started.  Typically we wait for Memorial Day weekend to put our warm weather stuff in, but I will have my toes in the sand by then, our tomato plants were starting to outgrow their starter dish and it's been nice and warm lately, no fear of frost.  

Preserving Eggs

In the fall, when our girls had just started laying, it was all we could do to get enough eggs to not have to buy more.  Once they finally started to pick up the pace, the cold weather settled in and their laying stayed on at a very reasonable pace.  we only had 3 or 4 extra dozen eggs all winter long.  But our girls are young and now that the weather is steadily warm, it takes less than 2 days for them to put together a dozen eggs.  We are swimming in them.

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Swimming in Greens

Spring is leaf time, in the world of vegetannual.  (Which btw, if you haven't checked out this site or Animal, Vegetable, Mineral I highly recommend them) And let me tell you, we are swimming in leaves!  Mostly arugula, but some spinach too.  This is the first year that we've been able to successfully grow spinach.

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Ittle Bitty

Two nights ago, it was raining buckets.  I decided to transfer my porch hanging flower baskets to the sidewalk and let mother nature water them.  I was surprised when a bird flew out at me, but it was dark and i was in a hurry to not get rained on.  The next afternoon, when it had stopped raining, I realized why there was a bird in my flowers in the middle of the night.

ugh, I cant believe this new format has the same rotation problems as the old one!

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

The Last Day of "Winter"

Well, Ikea let me down...again... (raise you hand if you're surprised!) They now say that the counters I'm waiting for will be in on Thursday.  I hope it's true, but I'm not holding my breath.

Ikea aside, the last day of winter was a productive and shockingly summer-like kind of day.

I did indeed make an eggs for sale sign, and it worked too! Not 2 hours after hanging it, someone who had never bought eggs from us before knocked on the door and said "If that sign's for real, I've got $2".

Sorry about the glare, I said it was sunny yesterday!

Monday, March 19, 2012

Feet First

Ok, so i stopped blogging a month and a half ago because I woke up one morning and didn't feel like it.  It's my blog and my prerogative, and I really can'y provide any explanation beyond that cuz im not sure there is.  Then I woke a couple weeks ago determined to start up again, but each time I sat down to type, I was kinda overwhelmed by the thought of catching ya'll up on the things you missed (not blogging doesn't necessarily mean doing nothing).  Therefore, I'm just gonna jump back in feet first, no looking back.  If any of the new additions wind up in future posts, I'll try to update you then.

That being said, today has two missions:

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Chicken Update

Most of our girls are holding their own against the cold, but our poor easter-eggers seem to be having a little more trouble, or at least I think it's the cold.  They seem to be going bald.  Not in the shaggy, messy, moulting kind of way, in the patches that look like something you got at the butcher's counter kind of way.  


Once our counters were in, we gave ourselves a week of rest and dove into tiling.  I won't lie.  I was so scared silly by this project that I got quite a few quotes to have it done.  In the end, the "friends and family" rate i got from one person wasn't any better than Lowe's standard rate.  It's just as well.  We never learn anything if we don't try it.  

The first thing I did was sand the walls to scratch the paint up so the adhesive would hold to it better.  Apparently, at one point our kitchen was painted purple.  

Then I applied adhesive with a notched trowel.  Basically you just smudge it on and scrape the wall with the notches, leaving behind just what slips through the notches.  

Wednesday, January 4, 2012


You know it's cold outside when you find this:

... in the chicken coop.  And to think I just told my mom we'd never had one freeze!  It's a shame the shell cracks and gets the good stuff inside dirty, or we could have eaten the thing :(.

Tuesday, January 3, 2012


Hey folks. Sorry for the long absence.  I almost didn't realize it had been so long between the holidays and a pretty incredible head cold (which still refuses to go away).

On Thursday, after work, Nick and I removed our sink (always an unsettling prospect) and old counters.  Its a little unnerving to do something that's so hard to reverse, I won't lie but being brave enough to do it is what gives us the opportunity to make things better.
One last look

You have to undo the plumbing... 

...before you can remove the sink

And you have to remove the sink before the counters can come out

Naked cabinets!
Friday after work, we stuffed ourselves with Chinese take-out (no counters or sink) and set straight away to cutting our counters.

Once we installed a carbide-tipped finishing blade to our circular saw, the straight cuts were simple enough.  After the primary cuts were finished, we put all the pieces in place inside.

We wanted to cut the sink hole inside because we were afraid of  moving it and breaking it afterwards.  We made a cardboard mock-up of the counter so we could measure and cut the sink hole without fear of destroying our counters.  

Even so, we cut the hole a little smaller than it needed to be at first, and widened it from there.  We drilled a hole to allow the blade of Nick's new jigsaw to get started.  

Looks almost finished, right?  Well, then we disassembled it all for 2 days of waterlox application.  My only disappointment with the waterlox was that the lambswool applicators, which are what the can said to use, left fuzz in the finish giving it a little bit of texture, so its not totally smooth when you run your hands across it.  

Yesterday, we screwed the counters into the cabinets, actually installed the sink (plumbing is much easier than I thought it'd be) and caulked the seams.  Both the counters and caulk are dry, but "curing".  Aka: we can use them, but are best to be as gentle with them as can be for a few more days.  


Now it's time to start learning how to tile for our backsplash!