New Girls In Town

So the other day, a friend asked if we’d be interested in some grown up chickens.  Her friend could no longer keep hers so she thought of us.  We decided to take four of them and brought them home yesterday.  They transitioned quite well into their new home and were soon exploring.

Loomy

Loomy in the back and Esther in the front

Red on the right and yet to be named on the left.

Red on the right and yet to be named on the left.

So far we’ve (or should I say I) have named three of these girls.  Red was already Red from her former home and that just seemed to fit.  Esther just sort of stuck in my mind and Loomy got her name because I love her wing  pattern and it inspired me to try to recreate that at my weaving loom.

Loomy's wing pattern

Loomy’s wing pattern

They dogs did well with their introduction to the new girls.  Merri was interested but soon lost interest with them and went along her merry way (yes pun intended).  Caleb seriously pines and whines away at their pen and doesn’t want to come inside even when it’s raining.

Merri watching her new friends.

Merri watching her new friends.

A few hours later, I went to check on the girls to see how they were doing.  Loomy was in her box pecking and circling.  She’d sit for a minute then get back up.  As I watched, she puffed up really big made some cooing type sounds and then settled down.  She then started taking the pine shavings from the other nesting box and dropping it on herself and around her.  She let me watch all this without making a fuss at me.  I had a feeling there was a surprise inside the box.  Sure enough, we had our first egg.  Let me tell you, for this city girl, watching a chicken lay an egg was a very cool experience.

Our first egg

Our first egg

We then left for a bit for another commitment.  When we returned, it was dark, so the Mr. and I went outside to check on the girls.  With flashlights in hand, we checked their coop and found them huddled together cooing and sleeping.  In the nesting box, I found another present.  Not bad for a first day.

Two pretty eggs

Two pretty eggs

This morning, it’s drizzling and cool outside, but all four girls are out and about walking their run area like they own the place.  If the rain stops and the sun appears, as the forecast says it will, we will bring the baby girls outside and start letting them get to know each other.

Veggie Starts

As we move closer and closer to Spring, it’s time to start getting the garden in gear.  I’ve got seeds or starts already going for tomatoes, cucumbers, squash, onions, kale, lettuce, calendula, and potatoes.  I still need to work on my herbs and lavender. This year, we decided to try using a portable hot house.  Last month we set it up and started our seeds to see how it would work for us.

hothouse

We added a set of plastic shelves and planted the seeds.

hothouse1

For a few days the weather stayed warm and the seeds stayed outside.  Then we dipped below freezing.  I left the starts out there for the first night and they seemed ok.  The hot house kept temperature, but by the second night of below freezing temps, the hot house froze and I was a little worried about the starts.  We moved them inside and kept an eye on them.  The temps were again warm this weekend and I moved my little starters back outside and was happy to see some sprouting occurring.

sprouts1

Kale

sprouts

Pickling Cucumbers

Tonight the temps are supposed to get below freezing again so my starts will be indoors, but tomorrow we are on a warming trend for a few days and outside to the hot house they will return.

Introducing The Chickens

We’ve had our girls for just over three weeks now.  They were small when we brought them home and fit in a plastic tote:

chicks_firstweek

They quickly outgrew the tote and by the second week they took over the shower stall:

chicks_weektwo

It was such a wonderfully warm day yesterday that we decided to take the girls outside to see how they would do.

chicks_weekthree

After just a few minutes of looking around and investigating, they soon felt right at home and began pecking and scratching their food. When we brought the dogs over to meet them, there were a few tense moments but after awhile everyone seemed to get along.

chicks_weekthree1

chicks_weekthree2

Our girls have been handled a lot by the kids and seem to love the attention and constantly perk up and have no problem hopping into a hand or climbing up an arm.

chicks_weekthree3

We also built their run.  It took most of the day for me and two of the kids to construct the frame and get it to work the way we wanted it to work.

chicks_weekthree4

But by the end of the day, it was all put together, anchored down and ready for chicks.

chicks_weekthree5

Except the chicks jump right through the fencing for now.  But that’s ok, because when we were done, the chicks came back inside to their shower stall for a warm, cozy, and safe night.  They are still too young to stay outside all the time anyway, so for now on warm days, we will let them go outside and explore their new world.

It’s Been Awhile

It’s been almost a year since I last posted and I feel like I should be making a confession.  So here goes…forgive me readers for I have fallen short on blogging.  Life has been rather interesting since I last wrote, but thankfully things are getting back to normal if there even is such a thing.

As I wrote before, our dream of a farm full of fibery animals just didn’t happen.  No farm, no land, no country living.  We are smack dab in town but that hasn’t stopped us.  We are now “urban farmers” or at least trying to be.  So join us, if you will, in this new phase of our lives as continue to raise our children and watch some fly from the nest, raise backyard chickens, garden the best way we can, spin, weave, and grow with God.

Home Made Instant Blueberry and Cream Oatmeal

It’s very easy to make.  It tastes good.  It’s affordable.  It’s not full of preservatives.  Did I mention it tastes good?

What You Need:

  • 1 Cup regular oatmeal (quick cook is not necessary) **
  • 1 TBSP coffee creamer
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • 1/8 tsp salt
  • about 24 freeze dried or dehydrated blueberries

Combine oats, creamer, sugar, and salt into a food processor

 

Give it a quick 3 or 4 pulses to break up the oats and blend ingredients together.

Pour into a resealable sandwich baggie and add freeze dried or dehydrated blueberries.

Label and it’s ready to go.

To eat: 

Add about 1 cup boiling water, more or less to suit your preferences.  Stir and eat when you aren’t going to burn your mouth.

This makes a quick breakfast on a school morning or even when out camping.

 

** I suppose you could use quick cooking oats.  I find the long cooking regular cheaper and by chopping them up in the food processor they cook just as fast as the quick cooking oats do.

Peppermint Patty Soap

I like cutting into a new loaf of soap.  I can design how I want it on the outside, but sometimes the inside can be a complete mystery until you cut into it.

This particular soap is made with real cocoa and peppermint essential oil.  Mmmm and it smells just like a peppermint patty.  I can’t wait to try it out.  It’s going to be a long 4 weeks of waiting until I can give this one a whirl.

Pumpkin Whole Wheat Bread

I decided to play with my standard whole wheat bread recipe and substituted canned pumpkin for the milk in equal amounts.

Whole Wheat Pumpkin Bread

The bread turned out really good.  It was moister then normal as well as very filling.  Once slice was more then enough.  I will play with this a bit more because I think adding a little cinnamon will only enhance it.