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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.

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Farewell for a while/ off grid living

Well tomorrow night the computer gets shut off & when set back up on the farm, will only be off line when I am up in the apartment repairing the floors & walls.  I plan to try on really bad cold days to sit down & write about what I am doing that may get published later.

I have yet to talk to my little sis, but am hoping if I mail her a Blog, she will write it here for me.....I would hate to have the blog sit for a year while you all wait for me to get back.

The sisters being here was WONDERFUL, I think I may have worked them a bit too much with picking,cutting & canning 23 quarts of apples, plus a 2 day trip to the NY farm where we had to work on the coop since the truck trailer somehow got turned onto its top since I was least there...lol...yeah I think Mr. Grumpy is really not happy about me being there.....

But little sis & I worked 2 days & got another building semi-ready & on Friday when I drive up there, I should be able to finish it before dark....if not I will be sleeping in the huge tent with the chickens that night so I know they are protected.......I may be covered in chickens if its cold, but as long as they don't peck out my hair I will be fine.

Bad day...had to put 2 hens down.  One was egg bound & after 2 weeks had not gotten it to move from the ovum area & the other one was sick from the neck feathers being pulled out & an infection set in.  Thank goodness I had the chloroform but its still so painful for me to do.  I hate doing it & I always cry for them when they are gone, but I know that it's the best thing I can do for them.
                              Samantha who had neck infection

                                       Coraline, the egg bound hen


Little Peeps, Bowzers baby she didn't like, is growing & doing well.  Needless to say already spoiled & falls asleep in my hair.  Since I will not have heat except for the wood stove will get out the homemade cashmere chicken sweaters & alter one for little peeps to wear when the wood stove isn't going.

Since I am still sick from the nasty cold Thomas brought home with him I think I will be doing things quite slow once I get there so I am sure little Peeps will be with me most of the time.  When I first got chickens I made a little bag that hangs around my neck with a fish netting window for them when they are in it.  This way I can have them with me but I can use my hands....most of the time the babies will fall asleep in it unless I am moving alot.

Tomorrow at 12 noon we go get the Uhaul & tow bar.  Since I am sick, we are pulling the car with us so Thomas can drive it back here when we are done.  I decided it was a lot cheaper to just drive the Uhaul one way, plus I can put the cats in the carriers in the back seat of the car with the windows down a bit & they can howl all they want without me going batty.

I have all the cages for the chickens out & cleaned & they will go into the Uhaul last so that when we stop every hour I can get to them to feed & water them & check on them.  They will go in the truck tomorrow night to sleep so I am not upsetting them in the morning moving them.  this way they will be in the truck & resting before we leave.

It will also let me see before we go who is fighting or pissy & can change out those to other cages if needed.  chickens travel quite well if you put plenty of bedding down for them, I also got some travel blankets from Uhaul to put on top of each cage so they feel safer.

The main thing is not to take turns super fast or brake fast....& to stop every hour  to check on them...Will do the same with the cats.  Little Peeps will be in the truck with us as will be Daisy Mae, the lizard.  Daisy will be in a cage of her own & Little Peeps will end up I am sure in my hair.

So much to still do but no energy, but I suppose it will get done as it is needed & no matter how stressed I feel, the important stuff will get done.

Well until I can get back on here or have little sis do my blog I guess this is it for a bit...until next time have a wonderful chicken day.....M'

Saturday, September 15, 2012

Lobster, apples & wood rot



Good evening everyone!  Yesterday Morning I had to drop the 2 sisters off at the airport for them to head home.  It was super hard to see them leave as I so enjoyed them being here with me.

They arrived here on Wednesday, the 5th & we had a slow easy first full day here.  We mainly hung out, visited, drank lots of coffee & visited with my kids...Chickens.

Friday we decided would be a good day for the apple picking as its the season & I knew Saturday picking would be crazy...so off we went to a apple farm that was celebrating its 100th year.  Now we didn't go hog wild or anything, just got one bushel of very nice apples for my apple sauce making, drying & just plan eating.

I have never been to this farm before so had no idea they had a feeding/petting zoo of sorts there...so me being me had to get some feed to treat the 2 goats, 2 sheep, 1 donkey & one very pretty small bull.  The sheep ram & mule were the pigs of the group so had to work around them to get to the females.  Lots of slobbers later I got each of them fed except for the bull, he was more interested in the children who were feeding him dropped apples.  Don't blame him a bit for that.

So the rest of that day & the weekend were for making up apples & creating big sisters jerky to go in the food dryer.  All said & done I have 24 quarts of apple sauce with raisins & nutmeg, 1 quart bag of dried apples & about 2 1/2 pounds of jerky to take to the farm with me.

Monday we headed out to NY to see the farm & work on truck camper for the chicken coop.  Well we were doing really good time til we got to one tiny town that was working on the main bridge,  2 people told us the wrong directions to get to a highway so we ended up a bit out of the way of where we needed to go....but finally found it, got Mr. Grumpy out of the main house & introduced myself to him.  Not the nicest or friendliest of guys.

Seems that a huge wind storm came through & the truck camper was on its top...Now its funny this would happen just then & not be on its side if the wind knocked it over, plus big sis saw him smurking as he told us...so a big fishy there but I knew he won't be the easiest man to deal with ahead of time so was not surprised.  But what was suppose to take maybe all of 2 hours now became a 2 day event.

Since that couldn't be used we had to go over to my side where I will now be (explain that in a bit) & try to figure out how to convert a small building with 1 missing wall into a temporary coop.  First we had to remove all the trash someone had to decided to place in there. As you can see it had a lot of stuff in it.  Little sis & I drug out & tried to bag up all we could, plus put junk in one pile & wood stuff in another.  Then the floor had in door/outdoor carpet that needed to go & found massive wood rot under that.  So we got that up & let the floor beams dry overnight.

We headed to a sweet little motel on the lake
                                    Our home sweet home for the night

                                     View of Lake Champlain from our room

Ok so much for a slow nice drive back home, checking out Vermont.  Next morning lots of coffee & little sis & I headed back to the farm, thank goodness there is a warehouse worth of wood on the farm & we were able to find enough wood to create temporary beams, braces & floor.  Plus while cleaning out all the junk we found two extremely large sheets of heavy black plastic that could be used to cover the walls, ceiling & floor after we got the wood in.

Needless to say since I only brought things for the truck camper I had to hit the hardware store.  Now those boys were so nice & helpful & I got all the nails, ect I needed to do this new job with.  Since we just could not tear out all the floor beams I got 3 inch penny nails that would go through the rotted part & at least attach to the dry good wood so we were able to nail down the floor so I don't fall through it.

By 4 p.m. we were finally done, tired & I smelled like dog pee,  The plastic sheeting seemed to be the favorite place for the old dog to pee on.  I will still have to put in a real wall when I go back up but at least the building is braced, cleaned out & I don't have to worry about that part.  Now I just hope Mr. Grumpy doesn't come over & tear out all little sis & I did.

I am only using about 1/2 of the building for the chickens since they will only be sleeping in it plus the rot on the area you don't see plastic is just too bad to work with.  That area will be blocked/boarded so the chickens can't get into it & hurt themselves.  I also had to take the door off since the hinges were rusted solid but got new hinges so I have a door in front that you can't see that shuts & is thick to keep animals out.

Now before I had stated I was fixing up a old garden shed to live in because the only good trailer belonged to someone else.  Well Mary & her husband have decided to buy it from the boy as he is moving to Texas to work in the oil business & doesn't want to try & get it off Marys farm.  So I will be living in it....I will have running water but don't want the electric turned on or oil tank filled....there is a nice heavy duty wood stove in the living room area plus a huge stack of firewood there for me to use.

It has 1 bedroom in the back, a bathroom & a small room that is for a washer/dryer....I plan to quilt off those areas & mainly use the living room/kitchen area...I have a twin bed I can put in the living room & use as a bed/sofa...the laundry room area will be the chicken ER room, bedroom will be for all the 55 gallon feed containers & 5 gallon buckets of grains.  Since I will have a toilet don't need to get the composting toilet & I can heat water on the stove for the bathtub to bathe or wash clothes.

                                        Wood stove in trailer

So for all of you that worried, this is a good solid mobile home where I can be safe & comfortable.  I can still be partly off grid but the sisters are glad I will not be hauling water from the other side of the road.  & I will enjoy that especially when its super cold......also I am only 3 steps away from the chicken coop which for me is very important.

The temporary coop just has to get them through the winter as in the spring I will be building them a new one & tearing down the one they spent the winter in.  I am hoping I can use my table saw to cut out the rotted wood & re-use the wonderful flooring beams as they are over 100 years old.

We finally got all we could do done & headed home dirty & tired.  Finally fell through the house door around 10 p.m....needless to say Wednesday was a slow day for us....very sore & I was pretty brain dead.

I did go get the sisters lobster & shrimp for a fish boil supper which we had in the living room picnic style.  I was able to get the lobsters for $4.99 a pound right now...so between lobster, shrimp, potatoes & corn on the cob we were quite full & very happy campers.

I am very thankful they were able to come up & spend time with me, even with all the driving, getting lost, dirty & cranky...I was cranky not them...lol.  I am sure they will not to have a repeat of this the next time they come up to visit so will have to make sure the next visit doesn't include cranky old men, mold, wood rot, falling down buildings & more of the fun things like lobster boils, sitting at the picnic table drinking coffee & talking to the chickens With no hammers in sight.

Until next time have a wonderful chicken day!.....

M' & crew

Monday, September 3, 2012

2 days til the sisters get here :)

First I want to introduce you to Ava Sunset who was born 3 days ago to Prudence, the hen who refused to quit sitting until an egg hatched....She sat for a total of 2 rounds before 1 of 8 eggs finally created a baby.  Needless to say I am quite happy to see the little chick as Prudence was getting a tad thin even with the extra meals I brought to her each day.

Now Moonlite is growing really fast, at 3 weeks is already super tall for such a small baby so have a feeling papa CeeCee genes were a big influence on this kid.
As you can see shes a biggin', both babies seem to like to be in the food dish & doesn't mind when Momma tries to eat as well.

Bowzer is again setting on eggs as well, she is my tiny rumpless Americana who wants to also be a momma so gave her 4 eggs from the big coop a few days ago.  So I may have a few babies to take with me when I go to the Farm at the end of September.

Now for the sisters!...Every 2 years we get together at one of our houses & this year its my place..well places if you count a trip to the farm to see where I will be living....I hate to drive & shopping is not my thing unless its at the feed store so have very few things for us to do.  But we will be apple picking one day & makin' up a big batch of apple sauce for canning & taking to the farm.  I also plan to dry some also for oatmeal on the cold winter days.

They will get here with in 2 minutes of each other on different airlines but thank goodness the Boston airport isn't that big so will be able to get to each quickly.  so Wednesday will be a big driving day for me, normally its about 1 1/2 hours through traffic to get to Boston but being near supper time I will have to leave the house 2 1/2 hours ahead so I can get there hopefully near the time they both arrive....Then a big slow trip back home, but with a stop to eat somewhere since I know I will not want to cook.

Big Sis has ordered a thing for us to make meat jerky with while she is here, it uses ground up meat & like an old cookie press shoots it out with all the spices ect with it & it dries faster & is more tender to eat.  I think we will have too much fun with that.  But I have a feeling I will so enjoy that jerky this winter since I plan to throw it in pots of soup, beans or rice for the proteins.

Next Monday we will head to West port NY to see the farm & tear apart the inside of the truck camper to ready it for the chickens.  since its got so much mold in the plywood/press wood walls, that all has to be riped out.  Big sis gets to man the tools while sitting outside & relaxing, handing us what we need as little  sis & I tear it apart & wash it down.

I am also treating the outside with a earth friendly mold killer & once dry will place a big tarp over the top of it & stake it down.  I am not sure if it leaks but don't want to come back after we do all this work & see more mold  from it raining inside...so the tarp should keep that at bay.....

We will also walk around the property where we can & see the stuff I didn't see last time & get a better idea of what other things need to be done.  Since its such a long drive we plan to rent a motel room that night & head back home the next day after a few stops in Vermont.  Many cool places I saw when up there the last time so will have to stop this time to check them out & let the sisters look & shop if they want.  So even though we will be doing some work up there I think overall it will be a fun trip & no hurries.

My poor food dryer has been running for over 2 weeks now.....Glad its a good one of I am sure it would have burnt out along time back.  Right now I have a cheap think steak with just a bit of garlic, salt & pepper blend on it......I cut it a bit thicker so it will take a few days to dry before I seal it up........But it will go in the big bucket for food that's going with me.

Big sis has a great meatball recipe I am thinking we may try to make & do little tiny meatballs that can be dried.....Since they have turkey in them I will first bake them then dry them to keep them safe.  I do not want food poisoning while out there on my own....

Finally got the house in good order, still things to be done...a few dishes, make up the sisters beds, vacuum the 2 bedrooms they will be in...but the floors have all been steam cleaned so am thankful for that.  Will miss that little steam cleaner while homesteading but with 2 tiny rooms I can't see it being a problem to keep fairly clean.

I will be taking lots of pictures while the sisters are here so hope I will get them up on my next blog which will be after they leave the 14th of September...

So as you can see I am busy, busy, busy but take the time to write, am tired so best get off for now & try to get some sleep.  Tomorrow is another busy day with a few trips to the gas station, post office & so on.

Have a great chicken day....M' & crew