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Here comes the chicks…..

Now that our babies are getting bigger and have their feathers coming in, I am able to give them proper names to fit them and their personality.

Introducing our flock……

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This is Big Bertha. She is the oldest by a few days and the biggest of our chickens.

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This is Luna. It took me forever to come up with a name for her. She is starting to get more comfortable with me and will jump on me every once and a while.

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This is Precious. This one belongs to Brianna. Which is appropriate because she is the same age as Luna but so much smaller, just like her owner.

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Twinsies! They were easy to name because they are always into something. Thing 1 is at the top, she has a smaller and lighter colored beak. Thing 2 at the bottom, much larger beak and even has some black lines running through it.

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This is Speckles. This one belongs to Alissa. UMMM I am not sure what it is; girl or boy! But it’s pretty.

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This is Nutmeg. She has adopted herself as mine. When she sees me, she finds a way to jump on my back. She likes to look me eye to eye and talk to me. She is a gossiper.

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This is Midnight. She too has become a Momma’s girl. Her and Nutmeg like to fight over who sits where on Momma’s back.

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This is Ninja and in case you can’t tell; yup he’s a rooster. No eggs from this little fellow. He belongs to Cailin. And she changed his name from Fizzy to Ninja when he started running around and karate kicking the other chickens. Now before you say what happened to his feathers. It’s okay; He is a Frizzle chicken. Let me just say if anyone was going to pick the odd ball of the bunch it was going to be Cailin. And she is very proud of herself.

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Last but not least, Lil Baby. This one was named by Dakota. He took a liking to the youngest of the group. I am 95% sure Lil baby is a rooster. But he is so darn cute!

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Look at that he could be a chicken model! Adorable!

So here they are! We have had no health problems and they are the highlight of our day. Someone is always checking on them, feeding them snacks or thinking of something new to make for them. It really has been a fun family project.

 

 

 

Building our coop deville

As my husband puts it, I put the cart before the horse. I bought the chickens and then looked for a coop only to realize that all of the reviews were awful. I wanted something nice that would hold up more than 6 months. And then when I bought 6 more chicks, well it sealed our fate. We were building a coop.

Before I even got home with our new babies, my hubby had already found and print out of one he liked and was making a material list. Luckily, he was between jobs and had the time or else I am not sure what we would have done. After that we were off to Lowes for one of our 2-3 hour shopping trips.  That place is the equivalent of a mall to my hubby.

By the time we got home, we only had enough time to get the outline laid out.

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Day 2: The girls and I dug out all of the grass and leveled the dirt while Hubby was working. When he got home, we laid some hardware netting and rocks under the timbers for support where the ground was uneven.

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Day 3: I didn’t get any pictures because I had a lunch date with some family from out of town and then we had a severe storm come through. But the kids basically painted all the roof support beams and hubby started cutting and assembling. All of this was done in the his workshop since we knew we had bad weather coming.

Day 4: After a very early morning run to Lowes for more material,  we finished painting all of the structure pieces and started assembling in the yard.

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Day 4 was Easter so I was busy in the kitchen and didn’t get pics. But all we got done was painting the coop.

Day 5: we were making doors and painting them and adding the trim around everything.

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Day 6: We added the hardware cloth around the outside except where we are putting the entrance door.

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We had to take a break because Hubby had an important job he needed to work on. But after a couple weeks off, we were back at it to finish it up. Which is good because my chicks weren’t so little anymore and were trying to fly the coop. (Haha)

 

Gravel in chicken coop

Finally, we were able to get some gravel to put on the bottom. It was more like dirt and some rocks but it works.

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Then we put in a top layer of sand to complete the run area.

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We also  finished up the ramp and added our roosting poles to the inside.

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Now to test it out…..

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Success! The chicks loved their new home. Of course right now, I only put them out in the daytime and then bring them in the house at night. I am still protective of my little babies.

 

 

 

Ford Funny Farm

 

 

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When we decided to move out to the country 7 years ago, my Grandpa and I always talked about having a garden and chickens. Grandpa passed a few years ago, but I feel like I am honoring him by enjoying the things he wanted us to do together.

 

I started a garden last year and it did okay. But this year, I expanded it and did A LOT more research to know what I am doing. I am really good at growing tomatoes until the plant all of a sudden dies on me. That’s okay. Learning is living. More on my garden in another post.

 

And a couple weeks ago, I decided that I needed some chickens. So the kids and I loaded up in the car and headed to Tractor Supply.

DSC_0237We got 6 to begin with.

 

DSC_0240Look at Justice, our cocker spaniel! Such a good momma, unfortunately someone forgot to tell him he is a boy. It drove him crazy not to be able to get to the chicks.

 

 

Then a few days later, I went back to get something else and instead got 6 more. I couldn’t resist! They were so cute!

DSC_0298 We did lose 2 of the smaller ones. But the rest are doing great.

 

I have a confession to make! I am not a bird person at all. I mean to the point where I fear when groups are flying over me that they are going to poop on me. Or attack and peck my eyes out. You know lovely thoughts like that. I have never owned chickens and neither has Hubby. So why would I decide to raise chickens?

The eggs, of course. I get about 3 dozen fresh eggs from my neighbor every 1 1/2 to 2 weeks. They only charge me a $1 a dozen. But there for a while, something was getting their chickens and they were running low. I felt bad asking for the eggs. And the farm fresh eggs in the store are outrageous in price.

Another reason was for my special needs daughter. I noticed that unless someone had a job for her or wanted to do the same things as her, she would just lay around and sleep all day. She had no initiative to get up and find something to do. She had no hobbies except watching TV. She wouldn’t play with any of the toys we got her. She just laid there on the couch and slept. So I thought by getting chickens it would give her some responsibilities. She is an animal lover so maybe this will be good for her.

 

I have to admit,  I do find their little chirps to be soothing and relaxing. It wasn’t as hard as training a dog and easier than a kitten because they stay contained in one area.

 

At first, Hubby acted like he wasn’t thrilled with the idea. It took me weeks of convincing before he said whatever you want.  But when I brought home the first 6, he was really interactive and interested. He likes to try to get them to stand on his hand. When I brought home the second bunch, he decided we were building a chicken coop. But that is another post.

 

 

 

 

 

 

The 5 minutes my heart stopped

Two days ago I had the worse scare of my life. I felt like the safe sanctuary of my country life had been compromised. I was talking on the phone to my mom, when Brianna came running out of her room terrified. I mean completely terrified to the bone and yelling there is a guy with a gun. So I jump up and run to her bedroom window. And I see this strange guy casually walking with a gun hoisted on his shoulder between my front yard and my neighbors. I immediately tell my mom I got to go there’s a guy with a gun. The last thing I heard my mom say as I was hanging up was call the cops.

Now let me give some background. My mom lives 30-45 minutes away. My husband’s workshop is in my backyard. And him and my 2 oldest daughters were out there working.

So I try to call my hubby’s cell and got no answer. I told Brianna to watch her brother and lock the doors and I ran full force across my yard, shoes flying off to get to the shop. I yell there is a guy with a gun. My hubby yells WHAT?! Then I turn and realize my kids weren’t there. I yelled where are the kids. And we take off out of the shop to see them casually walking across the yard. We both yell get in the house~ there’s a gun. We all are running full force. Before any of us called 911 or my hubby grabbed his guns. He looks out the window and sees he is pumping it because it is a BB gun. We were all completely freaked out. But relieved!

Apparently he is our new neighbors boyfriend. And he was chasing their ducks because they were hungry or bored. I don’t know and I don’t care. That is just not what you want to be doing in a neighborhood in this day and age.

Now in the meantime, my mom has practically had a heart attack because she never got to the point of our conversation of where my hubby was that day in our shop or installing a job at a house somewhere. So she called my brother who has moved in with me, asking where he was and where was his brother in law and what was happening. He is flipping out and called me while driving. Which is awful because he has had his license for less than a month. I explain to him what happened and how we are fine.

I then called my mom and explained to her. And we both praised Brianna because even though it wasn’t a real gun, it was the right thing to do to warn us and get an adult. And that you can never be too careful. Then I realized that that 5 minutes knocked about 20 years off my life! And then I felt sad because this is the reality of the world that my children are growing up in. Shootings everywhere~ theaters, shopping malls and even our sacred schools.

But thank god it’s not in my neighborhood. I will take crazies with BB guns anyday. Well maybe not. I don’t think my heart can take it.

Depressing

Monday was the first taste of fall weather we have seen down here in Florida in about a year, possibly more. Fall is my favorite time of year. I love the smells, the holidays and the nice cool down from the summer heat and humidity. You can usually find me and the kids outside homeschooling or with the windows open.

But yesterday wasn’t a typical fall day. Instead it was very depressing because we can’t go outside or open the windows. Instead we are prisoners in our own home because of our mosquito swamp that the rains from the last month or so have created in our yard.

Our vehicles have been getting stuck. Rain boots are still the “in fashion” around here. I’m constantly sweeping and vacuuming the dirt and mud. My carpet is this fantastic shade of gross. I am exhausted and depressed looking out at my yard.

All I gotta say is THIS SUX!!!!

My backyard, where we would usually be set up with tables, as of yesterday afternoon.

Crazy weather

So as I was enjoying my relaxing first day of “NOT back to school” week. We had storm pop up and wreck havoc on our little piece of heaven out here in the boondocks. And I say this storm popped up because I texted my mom and she was getting nothing and she is only about 20 miles away.

We had massive rain, swirling wind, lightning and thunder. I mean it came down in buckets. The best part was it really didn’t look extremely bad outside when all of this happened. Our power was going off and on. Trees were swirling in circles and rain was coming at all directions. Our yard is perfect for mudding right now. I have never seen it this bad before.

So once it had stopped I decided to jump in my truck and drive back to hubby to see if he wanted some homemade cookies. I walked out the front door, glanced over towards our front gate and freaked out!

Our tree snapped in half and was completely blocking the road. We live on a dead end road so this wasn’t good. I jumped in the truck drove back to hubby horn honking and screaming about the tree. Almost got stuck twice trying to drive up for him to get in without soaking his feet.

So let me go back and say this tree blocking our road was not just a huge problem because I live on a dead end road but also because it was 3:20pm and the school bus for high school comes at 3:40 and it was raining. Thankfully the bus was almost an hour late and we were able to clear a path on the road before then. And there was no way around the tree because our rain came so much, so fast and so heavy that everything is a swamp and the one car that tried to get around got stuck and Hubby had to pull him out.

Anyways our power line got knocked out to our yard lights. Our fence got smashed along with our very expensive mailbox.

Here are some pictures….

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

This is after Hubby pulled it over the fence

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

This our fence. LOOK at all the standing water!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

This is my backyard this morning. Can you say waterfront property? Now I understand why I needed flood insurance even though I am miles and miles from the water. Oh and By the way more rain expected today with a possible Hurricane on Monday. YIPPEEE!

 

 

 

Hubby going to work. Needless to say we are now proud owners of rain boots. Just bought them this morning at Tractor Supply. Cashier said they were open for 15 minutes and have already sold 4 pairs. Geez I wonder why?!?

 

 

 

 

Earth Day 2012~ a new beginning for us

There was a time a few years ago that we were extremely frugal. During the early recession years, my husband’s business barely existed at all. We were barely making it by. Well in the last two years are business has picked back up a little more every year. There was a time when I would see my husband watching TV everyday to now when I barely see him because he is working SO much. Don’t get me wrong I am not complaining!

But with the increase in income has come the decrease in frugality. We buy fast food all the time. We buy little snacks and toys for the kids every time we’re out. I use to be very good about reducing waste but that seems to have stopped also. We are big recyclers around here but that is limited to newspaper, bottles, cans and cardboard, even though we can recycle more.

Grocery shopping use to be extremely tight. I fed a family of 7 for about $400 a month, that was 4 adults and 3 little kids. Now I have 3 adults, 3 teens and a toddler and can’t seem to spend less than $600. I want to get back to homemade and less processed no matter how good of a deal it is.

So beginning Earth Day 2012 our family is making changes!

I am stepping up our recycling to include envelopes, cans and anything else I can recycle.

I am pledging more homemade and less processed.

I am also going to try homemade cleaners to reduce the amount of chemicals in my home.

Reduce energy use. Less drying clothes in the dryer. Less wasting water. Lights out in an empty room (that’s mostly my kids). Open windows on a nice day. And push the air up a few more degrees and set out fans instead.

Less paper plates. I have to admit we use paper plates every day for lunch and sometimes for dinner or breakfast depending on what we are having.

We are also bad about wasting food. I always make too much and then most leftovers get thrown out. I am trying to work on reusing them in other recipes and not throwing out so much.

This is a huge challenge since a lot of this falls on me and with a family of 7 nothing is ever easy but I am ready and really excited to get started!

City Girl living a Country life

I have been a city girl my entire life until I was 24. That year, Hubby and I decided we needed to move to a bigger house with a bigger property. 2.9 acres to be exact.  Now we are living the country life. But some things need some getting use too. Like remembering to buy softener salt for the well and Rid X for the septic because we don’t want that problem. But the things that take the most getting use to is things like this!

Yup right through Hubby’s workshop. This rat snake decided to pay him a visit and check out the cabinets he was working on. Hubby about had a heart attack. Needless to say I had an anxiety attack! Especially since snakes are my phobia. Now in the city, yes we have snakes (I guess) but we don’t see them very often if at all. But here in the country they are everywhere. Never did it cross my mind  that I would have to deal with snakes.

What is even better is the night before I was telling Hubby we should get chickens. I was begging him to let me get some chickens. Well these snakes are also known as chicken snakes! Guess what we ARE not getting?