Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Feelin Hot Hot Hot

I got the new electric chicken water heater
set up just in time last night.
Our high temperature today is in the 20's.
That's Fahrenheit.
It seems to be doing its job
and keeping the water from freezing.

Thursday, November 13, 2014

Throwback Thursday

My first flock of pullets.
Today I only have 2 of the original 6 pictured above:
1 of the Buff Orpingtons 
and the Araucana.
I miss my Barred Rocks.
Might just need to get a couple more.

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Cat and Dog Games

 This is Templeton.
He is one of two barn cats.
I saved him from certain death when he was a kitten
(someone was going to give him to their dog as a play toy)
Templeton has attitude.
He only pays attention to you and allows you to give him attention when he feels like it.
And he enjoys messing with Bailey the chocolate lab.

 Bailey is in the background,
leash looped over a fence post while the humans take care of feeding the horse.
Templeton is perched on the log by the barn door
pretending not to notice the dog.

 But then he looks at Bailey to make sure she's watching
while Templeton rubs up against the door.
He's also been known to sit perched on the bow of the old boat,
closer but still just out of reach.
It drives Bailey bonkers.

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Fall Chickens

 The girls were out and about for a bit this evening.
They were thoroughly enjoying the piles of compost 
that were heaped in the garden.
Nothing makes these hens happier than a nicely aged manure.

 They haven't been allowed to roam as often or as long as usual
because my mom saw the big fat fox sitting by the coop.
 I spent the last nice weekend getting the coop ready for winter.
Basically that means a good cleaning and
covering the run in plastic sheeting.
We get a lot of wind on the hill and the plastic gives the girls protection from that.
It also helps keep out moisture.
I leave the door uncovered for ventilation.
When the inside door from the coop to the run is left open during the day, 
there's a nice flow of air through there that is usually enough.
But if more ventilation is needed, 
the plastic allows me to cut holes where needed. 
 We did discover an area where the local fox seems to be digging.
The hens were scratching around on the inside, 
but the area of missing grass outside leads me to believe something is trying to work its way in.
I never did anything about burying wire under ground and up until now, it hasn't been an issue.
So my brother put a stake in the area,
and I found a scrap piece of chicken wire and some large rocks
to completely block it off.
There are some make shift barriers around the perimeter now
that will hopefully keep the hens safe until spring
when I do what I knew I should have done in the first place
and bury some wire to prevent things from digging under the coop.

Monday, November 10, 2014

Black Gold

 Recently, Big E and I managed to get the garden weeded 
and tilled and ready for the winter.
We have a large pile of straw mulch and weeds that need to be burned 
(to hopefully kill off some of those squash bugs that lived among them)
but other than that, it's all good to go.

 We also began carting wheelbarrows full of composted manure
up the hill from the barn to the garden.
(and after pushing a few wheelbarrows full I realize we have a crap ton lot of work to do to get in shape for the 40 for my 40th)
It's black gold.
We're hoping this helps with some of the issues the garden was having this past growing season.
We had a great year the year before, but this year was less than stellar.
I blamed our lack of fertilizing.
(Not to mention we had that little thing called a wedding to plan)

There's about 3/4 of the garden left to fill with all that warm composted fertilizer
and once that's done,
we plan on covering it with black plastic.
I've been told the black plastic will heat up and kill off bugs and weed seeds.
At the very least it will help the soil warm up in the spring 
so perhaps I'll have quick germination for those spring veggies.
Now we just have to wait out the winter...

Monday, November 3, 2014

40 For My 40th

Lately, I've been in a funk.  Maybe it's the stress of life, maybe it's the realization that I'm living the last year of my 30's and heading straight for 40, either way, I haven't been able to shake it.  It occurred to me that perhaps I needed a goal.  Perhaps I needed something to work towards- something that would be a pretty significant accomplishment.

Years ago, I had it in my head that I wanted to hike a section of the Appalachian Trail.  Really, I'd love to do a thru hike (hiking the entire AT from Georgia to Maine) but that's a 6 month trip and not realistic for a working married mom.  But a section hike- that's possible. 

But the years came and went, and I got busy with other things.  I never forgot about that idea, but it just seemed like something that wasn't going to become reality.  There's always an excuse not to do something- the gear is expensive, I'm not in shape and getting in shape is hard.... but then, after turning 39 and feeling like I hadn't really accomplished anything (and coming across a list I had jotted down of things I wanted to do before I was 40- none of which I've done) the thought of a hike became something I thought about regularly.

I decided it seemed fitting to hike 40 miles for my 40th birthday.

Still, I hadn't really actually planned anything.  I just decided in my head that I should do it.  So this weekend during a trip to Bass Pro Shop, the plan was hatched.  While looking at camping stuff with Big E, I mentioned how I'd really like to actually go on the backpacking trip I had been talking about (since before I met him) instead of talking about it.  He agreed.

So, we have a little less than a year to get into shape and get our gear ready for the 40 for our 40th. 

I'll keep you updated on the progress.