About Me

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I am a 50+ yr old stay at home wife of a scientist/Military man.  I raise chickens for eggs, rescue dogs & cats & spoil them all.  I am a silver/metal smith & stained glass artist.  I, at one time was an secondary art teacher & Social Studies teacher.  I am sorta a eclectic earth mother who recycles everything I can get my hands on.  Enjoy working with power tools & even built my own 10ft by 6ft chicken coop.  am pretty much interested in learning everything I can thur books, magazines & friends. I enjoy veggie gardening & doing gardens just for the chickens. I also sew & love making pioneer style comfortable clothes for myself & adding vintage lace when I can find it. I am pretty easygoing, but need my coffee first before I am ready to face the world & day.

Monday, October 24, 2011

The antique wood stove is in / how I almost broke my spirit

                                                     1936 cream & green cooking stove

Hello to all my chicken friends,

I may only be about 5ft 5ins tall & around 148 lbs but when I decide to do something there is little that stands  in my way......not even a 250-300 lb cooking stove!

A week ago yesterday, a friend was suppose to show up to help me move this from the shop into the house......yeah like I need to tell you!...a no-show as usual....I was a bit mad so decided it was coming in one way or the other.....well I was able to get it onto its side & on a far so good..started to move it towards the house & it hit the lip of the cement into the shop.

For the life of me I could not get it over that silly lid & it finally decided it had had enough & was coming down.....stove,Dolley & my arms.  Thank goodness I had just enough energy not to let it free fall & was able to get it down fairly ding to the side....

OK good time to over & out there trying to get it back up...who knew I could dead weight something that heavy???  but only to about my waist so down I let it & decided to just pull that puppy as far as I it again...this went on for 6 hours!  But low & behold I got it in & within 12 inches of where it would end up.  Loved having it in the house even if it was on its side & attached to the Dolley.

 I have been battling a bad left shoulder since the beginning of July....possibly pulled or torn tendon...well since I am alone right now, the things I have to do sometimes make it so I have to rest for a few days before I try anything open a door...& yes I am left handed so that's the hand that always goes out first to do anything.

I had a friend I needed to pay some money to who cut some of my wood, so after 2 days of resting the shoulder I went over to see him......a miracle happened, he had a friend with him  & they offered to move the stone onto its legs for me right then & there...5 mins to drive them to the house, 10 mins to get the stove exactly where I wanted it & 5 mins to get them back home...I can not tell you just how happy this ole lady was to see that stove in place & ready for me to do the pipes.

Next 2 days I worked cleaning pipes, sanding pipes & cutting pipes so they would fit this stove correctly...not as easy as the old wood stove.....But I did it & got them in nice & tight & correct to boot!...score one for me!

Now if any of you have ever dealt with a old wood cook stove, its not like a traditional wood stove...can't just throw the paper,wood & kindling in & off you go....Thank goodness I was able to find a old book on cook wood stoves that told you what all the levers, vents ect were for & how to use them.....

But if you have read any of my stuff you now its never that easy...I made sure the doors & windows were open & a fan pulling air out of the house......very little paper put in, kindling , a few pine cones plus a small tea candle of two.....learned they do great for helping stat a fire.  OK stepped back, rechecked everything......lookin' good...lite it.

No one notified the fire department because they knew if they see smoke coming out of my back door & I am not running down the street screaming, that I am trying to build a fire......This was not a small amount of smoke, it came out of the top closed burners, through every vent & was so bad I had to kick all the pets out plus I had to come & go outside while I tried to deal with this.....I knew that when the pipes are cold that sometimes heating them will help draw the smoke up through the I got out my small hand held jewelry blow torch & heated every thing I could reach.......yeah that helped a bit but I could not image doing this every day but it finally worked..An hour later smoke gone & nice hot fire going.

So you think that's the end of it?  Please!..did I mention that for some reason I decided to oil the top to help get some of the rust off?.....I am up in the office & smell more smoke...go downstairs & see the oil being burned off the top cooking,doors & fans open & on again....I did not do a heavy coat so it just smoked like a cast iron pan would....grabbed some paper towels & wiped as much oil off as I could, which I might add with the heat the rust came off wonderfully....another 30 mins or so later could shut doors/window/fan off.

You have to realize as you are laughing, that I have never ever had one of these stoves so was clueless even with the book on what to do right....thank goodness for the web is all I can say.  I found on You tube a man who takes you through the steps & shows how to prim a vent...prim a vent?  New one for me.....he used a tight wad of newspaper but I thought I could use one of the tea candles to do the same thing...hey it worked!  When the candle flame quit dancing around & stood up straight & then bent towards the flue the wind in the chimney was going the right direction so I could light the fire without it coming back into the room....How smart is that!!!

Yesterday did another fire with only small bits of smoke before it took off & today I had a bit more trouble because the winds outside were pretty fast...but no hour of clearing out the house.  I still see this as a on going event of fan use ect but hopefully I will have it down pretty well by the time the snows come.

Then when Thomas returns I get to teach him, which should mean the fans come out again....does he ever listen to me?????

I was able to give Mason, the broiler Roo to a friend to butcher before he  got any more weight on him & injured himself....he stopped by today & brought me a bit of the cooked meat & raved about how tender that Roo I said 'Now you know why I feed them as I do'......he was impressed & I must admit Mason turned out to be a very tender tasty bird......May he rest in peace.

Was down to only one hen in the house, but this morning noticed Piper my girl with the Charlie Chaplin leg was having such a hard time walking plus she is molting, I decided she needed to come in for the winter.  She can't get to the food & water very well with the bad leg so this way she won't have to work to get the food plus with her having few feathers she will be warmer in the house....I just checked on her & Lauria....Piper is on a big old wool piece of fabric & Lauria was up near the wood I think they are content.

My winter supply of feed for them is all here but the 7 grain mix.....They will all have a good winter again with all the different grains ect I add to their feeds.  With the weather cooling now they are starting to eat more which I am glad to see since this summer they all got a bit skinny under those feathers from the humidity.

Macy kitty is now fixed so no more babies for her & her son Monk is growing & healthy.

                                                                        Macy 2011

So anyhoo the Old Batz Farm is doing alright & almost ready for the winter.............Happy halloween to all that celebrate it...its my favorite much so I got married in costume on halloween in 1993.

Until next time have a wonderful chicken day......M'

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Add-on to big coop done, now to get the chickens all housed

                                                   Lauria, My crooked neck broiler girl

There is something that just melts my heart with my odd chicknes, don't get me wrong I adore everyone of them, but this picture of my little Lauria just makes my heart all warm.  her & Mason both the broiler chicks I took from the feedstore because no one else wanted them are doing very well for being over 4 months old.

Mason is now the size of a small turkey & I do worry about him, I so want them to grow old but a broilers life is short because of the breeding...a bantem hen to a regular sized rooster.....everything I have read says the heart can't grow fast enough or strong enough for them & the legs will sometimes break from the weight. 

So far so good with Mason, he has super big strong legs & he is no longer eating 24 hours a day so I may have a chance with him......Now Lauria can't eat like a normal chicken so her weight is not heavy & she seems to be doing well as far as the legs go....Because of her defective neck that keeps her from eating as much I think I can keep her for quite awhile.....fingers & toes crossed!

I got the 6 foot by 6 foot add-on to the coop done finally & have 7 of the in-house kids in it.  I put in a 4ft by 3 ft wooden box I had made for one of the original coops & set up the purches on top of it so it actually has more foot space now for them.  Gertie & Piper who limp stay on the floor area but the other 5 sleep on the purch.....They seem to be comfortable enough to use both laying boxes.

As you can see I am still the queen of recycling!  I used 2 damaged pallets & some extra stair posts....there is actually 2 post up there for them so they are not crowded.  this is on top of the 4 ft by 3 ft box & I lined the underside with old fabric vinyl to catch the poo & I can take it out to clean it &  return it.....much easier for me & I don't have to bend over to do it.

As you can also see from this picture I tarped the walls again, since I use old wood & some may have lead paint I want to protect the kids from eating it plus the tarps help since the coop is on the north side of the shop.

I am getting pretty good at building coops now since I have had to do so many in the last 4 years, plus I have learned treats that help me clean easier & make the space better for the kids.  All I ever wanted was happy healthy chickens.

Now if I can get rid of that neighbors Chow chow.  He showed up again this last week & climbed the 4 foot tall horse fencing my sis & I put up.  Porgie & Star missing but I was in the shop so able to get him to leave without any more damage.  The man had the nerve to drive down with the dog in his SUV & ask me how I knew it was his dog......& the dog was right there looking at me!  Called the police again & they came out, went up & told the man I could kill the dog & if it was there while they were there they would shot it.

I doubt the man will do anything since he has been warned before but I am sure he will change his mind if the dog comes home with an arrow in it....Crossbows have become my newest best friend.

Its so hard to be an animal lover & animal caretaker when you have to deal with someone like this who just doesn't care.  I have lost 5 hens & babies to this dog, 1 injured & 2 scared out of their little minds.  Oh just to let you know Porgie & Star finally came back home about 3 hours later unharmed.  I am thankful I decided against clipping their wings thats for sure.

The Farmers Almanac says we are getting a very bitter cold winter so am glad I got the firewood because I have been battling a messed up shoulder.  Doc thinks its a torn or strained ligament but boy does it hurt like the dickens if I use it too much with lifting.  Right now I can't let it heal like I need to since I have things that need to be done but I know this winter I will be able to let it rest & hopefully heal correctly.  We can only hope right?  those that know me know a bum shoulder won't stop me from doing what I need to do.

I haven't forgotten about posting the lye soap demo but we have had a shortage of pig fat at the slaughter house lately...leaner pigs you know have less fat...but I did get pictures of making the lye from the ash & as soon as I get the pig fat I will take pictures of rendering that & making the soap for you.  Hopefully I will get to that soon before the snows hit so I can render the fat outside but if not I have a woodstove I can do it on for you.....

In 2 days I am hoping to get the antique cook wood stove in the house, one of the roof workers is coming to help me, with pay of it or not I can move it, just not get it on top of the leg bracing that goes under it. I am very excited about having it in the house & being able to learn to use it correctly.  I even got a book on old fashioned cook woodstoves to show me how to mess with all the vents....I can't believe how many vents this thing has for all the different areas.  If you are not using the oven you have vents for the cook top, vents for the wood areas, vents for the oven & then vents for the chimney.  Yes I have a fan ready cause I know I will be smoking up the house until I get it right. I will have to warn the neighbors so no one calls the fire department when they see smoke coming out the back door.

What I find really cool about this stove is the chimney pipes are iron compared to what we have now...ok let me re-say are in iron & it has a iron vent piece with a knob for adjusting air flow to the chimney.  yes this type of thing fascinates me.  I am hoping to re-use some of the chimney pipes that are connected to the regular wood stove that is in there now with the cook stove as well.  I promise to take pictures & put them up once its done.  It a beautiful 1930's cream & green which I have always loved & to get this for only $50 still amazes me.

This year up here the corn crops weren't good so I didn't get a bushel of corn to can up, nor did I get any pumpkins since no one needed them.....I still have a freezer full of pumpkin I did last fall.  So I am only doing pears this year....well thats if it will quit raining & I get the energy to go get them from the neighbors tree....With all the rain we got this year the tree went crazy & is very heavy with fruit so I will have plenty to can, dry & make juice with. 

If you have never had pear juice you need to try it, not only is it great just to drink but I use it in pear/apple crisp, liquid for pies plus use it in the feed for the chickens. I add no sugar & only enough water to cook them down with before I put them through my juicing machine.  The pulp from that gets frozen into baggies for the chickens as well so there really is no waste.  Which I might add is a bonus.

Well this ole hen is tired so I will close for now......

Until next time have a wonderful chicken day......M'