Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Chicken nipples are DONE!

So I finally received my chicken nipples, and put together a watering system for them today!! They caught on REAL fast and were lapping up the water like  it was nobody's business!!!  LOVE that I don't have to worry about crappy water dishes anymore!!!

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Darn this rain!

So...I've made VERY little progress on my pallet building projects!  We keep getting more and more rain...and quite frankly, I'm a little tired of it! LOL  I keep telling myself it could be worse!  My heart goes out to all those lost in tornados this past week!

The chickies are all growing super fast...and stinking super much!  It's only been 11 days, and I seriously do not remember them stinking THIS bad!  I've changed out the litter, but I still smell poo!!!  I'll have to do SOMETHING real soon, as we're having Easter dinner here, and my super "clean freak" sister will have a conniption if there's even a faint sniff of chicken!!  I'm hoping that this next weekend, I can move the chicks (at least the meaties) out to the run outside!

I did score a used shed for $100!!!  I'd planned on making it into the new chicken coop, but some friends of mine are selling me a milking goat and a new kid whether, so I'm thinking that the shed will have to be shelter for the goats!  I'm going to meet the goats tomorrow and watch my friend Susan milk her!  Apparently she's a great milker, and I'm looking forward to having my own goat milk! (...cheese...yogurt...cream...soaps...lotions...)  My hubby doesn't know it yet, so I'm sure I'll face some big argument with him...but I'll win! ;)

Well...that's all that's pretty much been happening here...the rain has really put a damper on my plans!
  So till then...toodles!

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Let the pallet building begin!

Began work on the garden shed today...and I gotta tell ya, building with pallets is NOT as easy as it looks!!! Maybe it wouldn't have been so bad if we didn't have gale force winds out here!!! Hopefully we'll be able to work a little everyday between our sons baseball games! Not sure what I'm going to side it with? I suppose it'll be whatever I can find for free or cheap on Craigslist! Lol but it WAS a beautiful day outside! Went from chilly and rainy to over 80, so yea...I'm a little sunburnt! Heres pictures of what we accomplished today! Mostly it was me and one son at different times, (whoever was home to help!) and then when my hubby got home, we finally had a third set of hands!

Friday, April 8, 2011

The Chickies have arrived!!!

My first batch of chickies arrived on Tuesday!  35 Meaties and 7 Rhode Island Reds (5 hens-2 cockerels)  They're just the cutest little things!!!  I spent the day preparing by building and modifying 2 broody boxes since you can't broody the two breed together.  Yes...I'm SURE it's been done before by someone...but I chose not to!!!  I've already lost 1 meatie chick on the 3rd day. Not really sure why??  I figured I'd lose about 5 total based on the mortality rate of the Cornish crosses, so I didn't get too upset this time! lol
Here are the two broody boxes.  The smaller one on the left is for the RIR's, and the larger one for the meaties!  I built hinged lids covered with chicken fence to keep out my cat Cutie, and Rockey.  I had to invest in a second heat lamp, feeder and waterer...but they're items that'll come in handy again I'm sure!

and here's Rockey, babysitting all the little chicks! He's so sweet!!!  He paces back and forth crying, like he's so worried about them!!!  I've found Cutie sitting on top of the smaller one just watching them!  I'm SURE out of appetite more than concern! LOL  I'll continue to post more pics as they grow!  Toodles!


Here's the first load of pallets me, Deb and Tammy loaded up!!!  All FREE!!!
and here's the awesome 12 footers Deb scored from Craigslist!!  I kept 6 (for a 12x12 yard shed) and she'll use the rest!  Unfortunately, our weather up here hasn't afforded me the luxury of trying out my pallet building skills...but hopefully this weekend we'll have better weather!  The place we got the 12 footers is suppose to call us when/if they get any more!!!  Can't wait to finally have some outbuildings!!!  I'll post some  pics as the structures go up!! ;)

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Going "Pallet Collecting" tomorrow!!!

So me and my friends Deb and Tammy are hooking up the trailer tomorrow and headed out to pick up a boatload of pallets!  We're well on our way to building some structures on the homestead!  Deb's really taken to the idea for her homestead too!  We swap ideas like it's going out of style!  Love it!  So stay tuned for some pictures of our motherload tomorrow! ;)

So when we were clearing the trailer of all the wood, my daughter found this and fondly named him "Smiley Face Freddy"  Not sure what we're going to do with him yet though???  Enjoy!

Friday, March 11, 2011

I'm IN LOVE!!!!

Ok..so...doing some research on pallet building, and I'm blow away at the creativity of people and how they've taken pallets that would otherwise be disposed of...and build something amazing!  I KNOW I might have set my sites high with this first one, but I SOOOOOOOOOOOO want to build this!  Time to start scouring Craigslist for free pallets and castoffs!!!  Take a look at these babies!
Amazing huh?  You can find more pictures here:
Pallet Houses

I'll probably start with something easy like this...
I can just see these springing up all over my beloved acres!  I LOVE IT!  The guy that built this one has a whole page of descriptions and such....Here's his link:
Butch Bridges

Ordered my Chickens today!

Just got off the phone with our feed center and have placed my order for my spring batch of meaties!  I ordered 70 this time of the Cornish Cross meaties, (yes...I know...they're not freedom rangers!)  The first 35 will arrive on April 5th, and the last 35 will arrive on May 24th.  Nicely spaced apart, but close enough to have them finished by fall!

I also ordered 5 Rhode Island Red little lady chickies, and 2 RRI cockerels.  I'm hoping to establish my own breeding flock so I won't have to keep buying chicks!  I love my ISA's but the fact they never go broody is a downer for me!

I'm also planning my new chicken coop and wood shed!  After a lot of research, I THINK I'm going to be building them out of free pallets!  Wowzers...this should be interesting! ;)

Also received my meal replacement powders today!  Can't wait to get my GREENS too...hopefully tomorrow!  Gotta run for now!  Peace!

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Amazing GRASS...No...REALLY!

So I've decided that I'm going to try powdered Wheat Grass and see if it has the same benefits as growing my own!  Even though I loved growing my own...I encountered issues with mold, no matter how hard I tried, and did everything right!  So I just placed an order through Amazing Grass for their COMBO pack of Wheat Grass and Green Super Food!  I can't wait to get back on the "Green" wagon and get my nutrients!  Here's their link:

Amazing Grass

Along with that, I also placed an order for some "meal replacement" whey protein. I spent my evening devouring every bit of information about meal replacement powders.  I'm happy with my choice, as here's what they say...

"Our whey protein comes from grass-fed cows who are disease free, pesticide free, chemical free, hormone-treatment free and GMO free" 

 I ordered a container of the Vanilla and a container of the Chocolate.  Not only was the price per serving lower than others, I liked that they are more "organic" than the others.

Check it out!  I'll keep a update to how I'm feeling/looking and report back here!
Now for some daily HUMOR...The most amazing thing happened today!  I was getting around in my bathroom, and my kitty "Cutie" (yes..that's her name) jumped up to the toilet, where I THOUGHT she was going to try to drink (I know...GROSS) ...then she positioned herself and actually went #1 into the toilet!  I even heard it and saw it for myself!  So yes..with absolutely NO training, I now have a kitty who uses the toilet!  Now I just need to teach her how to flush!  TOODLES!

Friday, March 4, 2011

And now for some PICTURES!

These are the square foot gardens that I built last spring!  I filled them with 1/3 Vermiculite, 1/3 composted manure, and 1/3 professional garden soil.  They did SOOOO well!!!  But, were still not big enough for my family or for me to have anything left to can or freeze.  I planted several different lettuces, onions, cantelope, beans, peas (fail), tomatoes, green peppers and cucumbers.  I'll be expanding them this next growing season!
This is the living quarters kitchen and den.  I stained the concrete a beautiful "terra cotta" and absolutely LOVE not having carpet out here!  With the amount of dirt we track in, I can't imagine all of it just settling to the bottom of carpet!
 This is my daughters room!  I built her loft bed from reclaimed 2x4 from a wall I took out of my storefront when I had my business up town!  didn't cost me a penny!
This is "Rockey", our wonderful Shetland Sheepdog (Sheltie) The ONLY breed I will ever have!! (unless I get a BIG outside dog for protection! lol)  Best chicken herder ever!
And HERE's my sweet ISA's!!!  I let them free range...but in the next couple pictures, you'll see why I'm going to be fencing them in this next summer!  LOL

But...here comes my rewards!

Yes...that's 2 back to back double yolkers!
These are my meatie chicks in the first "tote" broody box.
second broody box.  I later took them outside into their covered chicken run where they lived out the rest of their lives grazing fresh grasses as I moved the chicken tractor around the yard!

and here's what they looked like after!  Yum!!!  I pieced out most of the chickens and bagged the breasts and legs in separate bags for easy access!  Boiled the rest for shredded chicken and stock!

And just for FUN...here's a pic of my gorgeous foot.  sorry for the distortion...but I was on pain meds! LOL The second one is of my daughter (on the left) and her Amish friend Rose.  Rose's Mom dressed up my daughter as "Amish" for trick or treating!  I think she fit the part pretty good!!! 

These last ones are of my recently finished bathroom!  Well..ALMOST finished!  I still have to put in the toilet and hook up the sink plumbing...but I'm getting there!  That's it for now folks!  Hope you enjoyed!~  Like I said, I'll be keeping up a lot better in the future!  Have a great day!


First and foremost, I'd like to apologize for not updating this blog in quite some time...ok, so maybe it's been a LONG time, BUT...I DO have a lot of GREAT reasons why! LOL

Shortly after my last post, I ended up having major surgery (of the female kind!) that came with some pretty serious complications.  That set me back for quite a few months.  After that, when I started to feel better, I DID get my beloved chickens that I've wanted for soooo long!  AND...one beautiful fall morning, I was headed out to hang a corn cob from a string to the chicken coop, and was more concerned with the corn cob than I was about WHERE I was going!  A few steps before the chicken coop, I found myself laying on the ground after falling into a hole.  And yes...I broke my ankle in 2 places!  So that set me back another 2 months!  It's still not quite right, but I'm getting around.  The Dr. suggested surgery, but I really didn't want to have another one! LOL  So I'll deal with it until I can't stand it anymore!

BUT, I'm back..and ready to completely tackle my ongoing homesteading project!  We've come pretty far since I updated last time.  I'll give a quick summary:

We moved into our living quarters the first of September, and quickly found out that 800 sq. ft. was a TAD bit too small for 5 of us! LOL And when I have a 2400 sq ft building, built entirely with the intention of housing my photography business just sitting there, well...it became obvious that expanding our living area was the wise choice.  I haven't been shooting much, considering that MY income depends on the disposable income of others (since I'm a "WANT" based business and not a "NEEDS" based business) and our community has been hit very hard by the DEPRESSION (yes...you heard me right!) it just didn't make sense to have this huge building and not use 3/4's of it!  Don't get me wrong, I still shoot and have stayed busy enough to keep going, but it's just more like when I first started many years ago and worked out of my home!

The HUGE camera room is now our main FAMILY room! Still big enough for me to set up my equipment and shoot when needed!  The Lobby is now the master bedroom, (which makes the boys happy that they get their own room!)  I still need to build a wall in the master bedroom that makes a hallway that will enter into the living room, but yea...for now...when you come here, you enter into our bedroom! LOL  too funny! 

And as for my chickens...well...I love them!  They're my babies!  I chose the "ISA" egg layers, and they have been so wonderful!  I'll even yell for them, and they just come running to me!  I hand feed them, and actually have been known to "fork feed" them (yes...with a plastic fork!) lol  They really are such great girls!  My friend gave me a little black Banty Rooster, who we affectionately named, *hithead...lol and he's a great little rooster and takes care of the girls quite well!  Rockey, our beloved little Sheltie is very fond of our little hens too!  He's been the BEST little farmhand and watchdog I could have ever hoped for!  When he's outside...he's with the chickens!  I'll post some pics of the little ladies in a bit!

I also successfully raised 21 Meat Birds last fall which have been so wonderful on our dinner plates!  I got them as day old chicks, and me, my hubby and a couple friends butchered them ourselves!  Wish I would have gotten more pictures of THAT, but I'm placing an order for some more shortly, so I'll track that progress a little better this time!  I'd already placed my order before breaking my ankle, so it was all I could do to get by!

The last update, is that we installed a wood burner in the camera room/living room.  Even though we have the piping in the slab for the heated floors, the LP costs were killing us!  We didn't have enough money to put in an outside wood boiler, so I got to looking through Craigslist, and was able to score and AWESOME fairly large woodburner with built in blowers for only $200! Granted...we did have to install the chimney and all that pipe, which cost us around $600...BUT, it's been the BEST decision we've made so far!  LP was literally DRAINING our finances to the tune of $400-$600 a MONTH, (because we were trying to use a normal LP gas water heater to heat 2400 sq ft of floor!)  and we've successfully  been heating this whole place with that one woodburner for almost $65-$75 a month...yes...you heard right!!!!  under $100 IN OHIO!  We get our wood from an Amish neighbor in long log form, and we all take turns cutting and splitting!  We'll definitely be continuing that throughout the spring and summer to gather us a large amount to season.  Yes...it's a LOT of work, and I'm very fortunate to be here all day to stoke it, clean it, feed it...but it's been the BEST thing! 

Well, I think that's enough for now...and if you made it through the entire update, then congrats!~ :)  I'll post some images that I have been able to take throughout last year, and promise to keep better tabs on the blog!