The ground stood still

27024266332_b9139da8d8_z

After three years, the Golden mother load of all compost was dug out.

A few fun facts:
1- Chicken poo is considered “hot” compost due to nitrates. This means in most composting bins it needs to be worked at least three month so it doesn’t burn your plants.
2- Our composting pile was only worked by the girls. I did no turning, wetting, or really any maintenance.
3- I am a lazy composter.
4- That’s alright, hens make amazing worker bees.

26513299374_1270ef5af5_z
Hey! That’s alotta Hay!
Yeah way more than veggies like. After laying in the really well developed compost, I added hay from the second pile. Last step, till that ground until it looks like a fine potting soil.

27118791565_fc9295b38f_z
This year’s first look:
Tomatoes – Cucumbers – Poll Beans – Squash – Peppers – Pumpkins

As the plants go in, remaining hay particulars and crushed eggshells will go around the plants in “wells”. This helping to keep out little slugs. They are not biological enhancements to my garden !  I did not seed start, or get any heirloom seeds from my favorite sources this year. Truly I ran out of time and rather than avoid the garden, I sourced organic heirloom plants from local stores this year.
We have not been able to pay attention to the garden the last two years. I am excited to get my hands in the dirt and put good things from my yard on the table.

Renovation :: A little house

In December 2015 Hubs and I bought a house.  Not to live in, but to put a renter in.
There was a much larger plan that came crashing down and then changed yet again in the new year. During all of these up’s and down’s, not only did we survive, our marriage, and our finances, but the home that was an incredible bargain came through really well.

I  never showcased our after photos of some pretty paint and new appliances. It’s a wonder what a sprinkle of tenderness can do. Tenderness and a barrier primer that eliminates resin from nicotine. Former owners, the original owners had smoked inside the home since 1961. You can imagine that layer of memories.  Six months in and things are still getting updated a little at a time. I think the Country Cottage (as I am calling her) has had a pretty good start. At 4 bedrooms – she may be more than a cottage, but don’t let her know. She’s Chic !

The Messy Egg

My least favorite thing in the world to do is reach in to a nest box and palm a poopy egg. Why do some eggs come out perfectly smooth, and free of mud or poop, but others are a hot mess? We feed the ladies all natural organic everything. They have a beautiful coop, run and newly added barn. Their treats as well as environment are at the highest standards for good animal husbandry. I  love to leave my eggs out on the counter to remind me every day how wonderful it is to have backyard chicks! You can’t do this once you rinse them however. Messy eggs are cleaned immediately and put in the fridge, and that makes my egg bowl very sad…

Reasons vary; from my own experience our eggs get most messy when:

  • Seasonal Rains get the coop stinky and wet
  • Parasites start to bloom and begin impacting the girls
  • Health and nutrition are impacted by stress or circumstance

Weather – Wet and Stinky

When the weather is yucky your coop will be too, no matter what you do! Cautions such as raising watering stations, hanging food and getting roosts to get your ladies up off the ground all support their better health.
1- Install a walk strip right at the roost door. Walking over the jute will help brush off yuck before they hit the nest boxes.
2- Raise nest boxes so that waste has a chance to knock off when chooks jump up.
3- Install better drainage. Having to fix this now sucks but it is worth it.

The Attack of the Parasite

Even with the best intentions and care, little bugs will get to your girls. It is a very natural thing given what chooks live in. It can however be very moderated. Keeping the coop dry is step one. Step two – prevent and treat.
1- Pumpkin chunks have shown to help prevent worms. Everyone has a different opinion on pumpkin power. I love to watch the girls gobble them up.
2- Space/Clean bedding = most important. Some herbs even help and of course lots of options for dust baths, which are a chickens way of ridding lice and mites. Yes I use a little splash of DE in the coop. But it is UNDER the nest boxes, in the cracks and crevices and around the edges. I don’t apply it directly to my hens or their bedding.

3- Every Month In Spring – Green Goddess:
Eggs – Sage – Garlic – Rooster Booster DeWormer
This scramble of course if full of amazing protein so its great around stressful times like molting and brooding season. The wormer is something I have seen my girls pick out of their food.  I will grind it, in of course its own dedicated grinder. Last I checked we didn’t need a deworming, and then sprinkle on a favorite snack like scrambled eggs.

Helpful things for Eggs free of gross –

Clean nest boxes once a week and place soft absorbent bedding inside
Probiotics are your best defense for Happy Hens and Poopers
Clean diets full of vitamins variation and minimal treats keep birds and their back ends healthy!
Prevention like Rooster booster and Pumpkin go a long way.

 

 

 

 

 

Hello 2016 – GoodBye Bad Habits!

518e3vwrxgl-_sx351_bo1204203200_

Welcome to your new adventures! I hope you are as excited about this new year as I. 2015 saw so many transformations for my family, I am not sure if they are/were complete resolutions or the absence of such, which allowed us to change and grow. I can say for certain they were not all pleasant and some were incredibly painful.  Moving past that, we have settled the dust and started fresh. The start of the year always resets my brain in such a way.

In order to help my family do the same and develop better habits this year, I ordered the book “The life-changing magic of tidying up“. Available in Kindle and Hardcover – with my Amazon shared accounts, its going to every Kindle in the Family:) I read once that even small amounts of clutter (or piles as people often call them) can create chaos and distraction in your brain. They can also be mood changers and cause people to become depressed or anxious. I am the latter.

Stuff comes into the house and it never leaves! This drives me bonkers. It will quickly escalate my mood to one of no patience and a sharp tone. I don’t like that lady. She’s freaking scary.

So a short list of how I am looking at 2016 so far:
1- Start the process of clutter removal with Book!
2- Clean Rental and start prepping for tenants
3- Paint
4- Clean Eating starts Monday !
5- Work out 3x a week with Pix
6- Better habits for the pets. They suck.
7- Better habits for the family. They suck too.
8- Say “No” more – it’s good for you!
9- Use These great planners to keep habits constantly improving.
10 – Take a breath ! You are really trying to make great changes in the new year – reward yourself with a healthy (mentally physically emotionally) treat.

 

 

Domesticated

Front

On Monday This Happens:
My love and I will become investment property owners of this charming Mid-century treasure. Built in 1961 it has original knotty pine interiors, huge back yard, and the potential to be truly loved by a family that needs a more economical residence.

kitchen.jpg

It has been very well loved by its original set of owners. I could not even fathom owning a house for as long as they had, and raising a family in it. We were really blessed to find them. I wish them happiness and peace in their retirement and the knowledge we will care for their legacy with love and dedication. There will not be many restorations needed before we put it up for rent. Stay tuned for some updates on what we are going to do to make it a little more green!

This all comes on the heels of big changes in my life. New job, new title. New life, new choices. We are looking at opening a business and furthering information about sustainability and urban homesteading in our community. 2016 is going to be a very busy year for us!

 

 

 

Chicken Mojitos

Cool Summer Treat For Your Birds
(Not a Cocktail Containing Birds for You)

Handful of Frozen Strawberries
Handful of Fresh Mint
Handful of Lemonbalm
@ 1/3 cup water to ease blending

Into the blender – think pesto consistency – pour into ice trays – freeze.

I used little brownie bite trays they make smaller cubes

Looks a little like salsa doesn’t it ?
I had all of these strawberries from last season, and with soaring temps that made it feel over 100* outside, I knew the girls needed some help with cooling off. I have placed recycled water bottles, frozen, into the coop. A pan of cold water to walk in. I have added ice to their water and made sure they are shaded all day. It is still hot.

With out having the space to freeze some watermelon – which chicks love – I decided to use up some freezer scraps and over abundance garden herbs. The Chicken Mojito was born.

The Newest Littles also got to supplement their first chicky treat. Being a week old, it is ok to start letting them tit-bit for greens, fruit and scraps. The Turks are of course 3 weeks old, so they are more than ready to try new food items. Being inside it isn’t as important for them to get cooling benefits. In fact they need to stay warm. I simply poured some blended treats directly and added greens.

Pidge, the Great Large Marge Pigeon is all broody and bitchy so she came inside to cool the frank off. She is acting like some meany raptor squawking and clicking at anything or anyone that comes near her in the nest box. Cooling her off will get her out of the brood and back to laying eggs. I don’t mind giving her a break. She deserves it, but the meany pterodactyl act is old.