I have an addiction…… Chickens!!

Last fall after the county fair, I bought all the pullets (not yet egg laying female birds) that were available.  But at least 2 weren’t mature enough to know they were roosters!  Thankfully, we knew people who will take and eat them!  Can’t have too many roosters in the hen house!

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In February, a fellow chicken owning friend asked if I wanted her flock of 20 hens and a rooster as she couldn’t keep them in her new city backyard.  Of course I jumped at the chance, especially since she was selling her coop along with the chickens.   Good thing we have access to trailers!!!  Needed something to transport them.   I gifted 4 hens to Grandpa’s hired hand as he is a fellow animal lover.  As I’ve driven by his house, I’ve seen him sitting watching his own “chicken t.v.”  The new flock in our pasture is so happy running amidst the rock piles and under the Russian olives trees and scratching through straw piles.

In March, we headed to Texas to spend time with my family.  My parents live on my mom’s 66 acre ancestral farm.  My hubby D had a plan.  We were going to get a coop and chickens for my parents!!!  How could they NOT have chickens?  They lay eggs and eat any food scraps you give them.  We got them the cutest red barn hen house from Tractor Supply and searched Craigslist for the oldest pullets we could get them.  We did not want to get them the young chicks that are harder to take care of as they have to stay under heat lamps the first 7 weeks.  Mimi got to pick out the cutest 5 pullets – 2 Black Australorps, 1 Barred Rock, I Buff Orpington, and 1 New Hampshire.   And now they have a “Comedy Central” to watch.  Hopefully they’ll start receiving their first eggs by the end of June!

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After returning from Texas, I received my order of day old chicks.  I have learned I don’t like a uniform flock.  If they all look they same, how are you going to tell if a certain hen is doing certain thing – like has become broody or which buff is limping or if one is missing?  So I prefer having only 2 – 4 of the same breed.  in this order, the kids were able to pick some “pretty” birds (bantam breeds) and I got chicks for egg layers – araucanas (lay green or blue eggs), amber whites and black sex links.   Since this ordered was mailed, I had to have a minimum of 25 chicks so I asked others if they wanted to order with me.  After doling out the chicks to friends, we weren’t careful with the brooder and one of our mousers got in and had a picnic.  At least 3 were enjoyed by the cute kitty.  So I had to got to our local feed store to get 5 more to replace the ones we lost.

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At the first part of May, I got a call saying my rare lavender orpington day old chicks were shipped!!  I can’t tell you were we first saw or heard of this breed but Hubby D was just as intrigued by them as me. They are a unique lavender/grey bird.

I had to google the breed to see where it came from.  “Named after the town of Orpington, Kent, in south-east England, the Orpington chicken was created by William Cook in 1886. It was developed by crossing Minorcas, Langshans, and Plymouth Rocks to create a new hybrid. Since their first appearance in Maddison Square Gardens in 1895, they have become instantly popular and well liked on account of their loose-feathered fluffy appearance. Not only is the Orpington a striking exhibition bird, but often prized for its docile nature. They are exceptionally hardy during the winter months and continually lay eggs in cold weather.”

I was so excited to get the early morning call from our post office saying they had arrived.   For the first three days of life, chicks can survive without food and water which is how they can be mailed.  But I don’t like any animal not having access to food or water, so I was worried about this little fluffy butts!  But all 20 arrived safe and sound!  The entire family is watching them grow and getting more “lavender-y”!!  Cannot wait to see how they grow!

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We moved the March babies into the adolescent pen this week as they grew in all their feathers.  The first day, they didn’t venture out the pen.  They were nervous to be “outside” (pen is completely fenced in with fencing for the roof and sides) but now they have to be gathered up to be locked up at night.  They don’t know when to head to bed!!!!  And in the morning when I open them up, they all fly out of their coop!  Love watching my chicken t.v!!!

 

I LOVE essential oils

Doterra Cover picture

In September of 2014, I was offered the chance to watch the video presentations of an essential oil company’s national convention. I was blown away by the science behind the products. And how God created the plants this uses to make the essential oils and how they actually work to help heal and support our bodies’ health. And how the company offers so many types of testing to insure that the products we receive have not been adulterated or have fillers added.

I felt God challenging me to start sharing with others about why I love these oils and giving them the chance to try them too. So along with sharing the oils, I needed to start a business out of it because I couldn’t just give hundreds of dollars away of oils each month!! 🙂

I love introducing essential oils to people. Love leading classes. Love seeing the changes that individuals have seen by using the products.

I also love how it lines up with the rest of our natural living practices of raising our own animals and produce and cooking.

It has impacted my entire family. My son is a fruit cake!! I love him dearly! He has memorized my reference book. One day, I got stung by a wasp and ran into the house. He heard me and yelled from his back bedroom, “You need Basil!” Having no other quick ideas, I put a drop on the sting and felt immediate relief. I looked in my book and sure enough, he was correct! He is an elephant…. never forgets.

So you might learn several ways we use the oils in our family and on the homestead!!! 🙂

What’s keeping us busy??

Hello!  I cannot believe it is May of 2015!  I am finally feeling like I can breathe.  The last year has been a huge whirlwind with all the work we have done on the farm.  My idea of how much extra-curricular activities I could be involved in while on the farm shrunk drastically.

First off, we worked on getting the “dirt pile” ready to plant grass seeds.  That involved lots of racking, picking rocks, digging up BOULDERS, spreading manure and harrowing with the ATV. We also had the blessing of a neighbor helping (actually we helped HIM!) to put into a sprinkler system.  That helped putting int he grass seed so much easier!

 

Next, we worked to get our huge garden put in.  This also involved lots of racking, picking rocks, digging up BOULDERS, spreading manure and harrowing with the ATV.   And also was blessed by the neighbor putting in a sprinkler system!!  Made it 10X easier.  We still had tons of weeding to do over the summer.  We planted kale, swiss chard, beets, 45 tomato plants, strawberry plants, watermelon, pumpkins, cucumbers, beans, sugar snap peas, corn, cabbage, zucchini, yellow squash, honeydew melon,  jalapeños, basil, jackolantern pumpkins, daikon, blueberry bushes, okra, butternut squash….. and all from seeds that we started in March inside our kitchen.  I was able to can and freeze so much of it.  And was even able to share a ton too.

It wasn’t perfect by any stretch of the imagination.  The corn didn’t grow to produce ears, my husband ran over my blueberry bushes with the lawnmower since they were buried in weeds, the okra never produced, I got cucumber blight and only pickled about 5 jars, didn’t stake the peas early enough and the same with tomato plants, but we are back at it again this year!

August was busy with 4H preparation for all the kids.  We didn’t know how involved it would be. BUT I was amazed by what all the kids learned!  The last week of August was intensely busy with the county fair.  Our family entered over 45 items to be judged – from produce to cakes to sewing to jewelry to baking to paintings to lego and WWII dioramas!

My parents came to visit in the fall and we could show them our little patch of heaven in Idaho.  We stayed busy canning fruit (pears, peaches and apples), making and canning apple cider, and even learning how to ferment sauerkraut.  We were able to get a steady stream of regular egg buyers too!

Oh and we still homeschooled!  My goal was to make all our Christmas gifts but that didn’t happen!

Missions convention

Remember who I am??  I have NOT been taking the time to write…..  but here
I go….

I am a true home body.  It’s so nice to be home after being gone a large part of Friday, Saturday and today.  I would have great trouble adjusting if I ever had to work fulltime outside the home!

Since D and I moved here, we joined the tiny farm community church named Clover Trinity Lutheran Church where he grew up.  I’ve wanted to blog about it and never taken the time.  The Lierman family who moved out here to farm in the early 1900’s were part of the founding members in 1915 and D’s great grandfather was the pastor for a long time.  I LOVE being part of a church with such a heritage!  The average member is silver haired and but offers a such wealth of wisdom for this younger mom and wife.

Clover Trinity Lutheran Church

Each month the ladies host an LWML meeting.  That is such a hard thing for me to say.  L.W.M.L.  Can’t say that fast!!!  It stands for Lutheran Women Missionary League.  That’s about all I knew other than my mother in law (going to call her Doris since she looks so much like Doris Day!) and aunt are highly active members and have traveled to conventions around the country over the years.  After attending several local meetings, I came to realize that an LWML meeting always contains yummy snacks, a bible study, announcements and a mite offering.  I LOVE snacks made by farm wives.  There are so many new things to try!  We recently finished the video study called Gods at War by Kyle Idleman.  Now we have moved on to Your Strong Suit by Donna Pyle.  Love learning with these ladies!  And I love the name of the mite offering taken from Mark 12: 41-44.  My MIL Doris has had her mite box next to the refrigerator for the 18+ years I’ve known her.  When she has spare change, she puts it in the box and takes it to the monthly meetings for the offerings.  All the ladies do it and they vote where it will be sent – to the local pregnancy center, to help provide sewing classes for Muslim women, scholarships for seminary students, etc…..

But you know what??  Most of these ladies have silver hair!!  A couple of months ago, the ladies were talking about an tri-state convention held in Twin Falls (closest LARGE town to us) in April and they wanted to send a Young Woman Representative.  The pastor’s wife IS younger than me but was due to have a baby the first part of April.  That’s all I remember of the conversation for several weeks.  THEN my MIL Doris said, “Here’s the schedule and we bought your ticket.”  Okay………  The only other convention I have attended was MOPS (Mothers of Preschoolers) in Nashville in 2009.  Just a little different.

So this past Friday evening, I drove into Twin not knowing what to expect at all.  I prayed that God would keep my heart focused on Him and not that I didn’t know anyone and had no idea what to expect.  My instructions from Doris were to look for the group of women WITHOUT gray hair! Tee hee hee!!!  I got there right before the service and sat with the other Young Women Representatives.  Since it’s was a church service you SHOULDN’T talk too much so I just learned two of their names.  Afterwards we had a little meet and greet with the five other YWR’s and then went back to home/hotels since we were supposed to arrive back at 6:30 am to help set up.  Didn’t know WHAT to expect other than that was awful early for me!!

I got there a little after 6:30am.  (What??  Me??  Late???? NEVER!!!)  The YWR’s were instructed to stay together and do tasks throughout the convention like lead the group in the pledges, collect offerings, pass out flyers, help with the servant projects.  I actually enjoy being told what I’m to do and having a job to do.  I LOVED being with a group of YWR’s who had never attended any other type of convention.  I am amazed at how quickly we were able to form bonds.  We all love the Lord, were under 40, and love serving Him but that was our only commonality.  

Five of the YWR’s with leaders Donna Pyle (L) and Linda Gage (R)

These days were full of singing praises, voting on where offerings should be sent, learning how the “business” of LWML is run and listening to people give reports.

My favorites things – other than the being with the YWR’s and learning about them –

  • The worship music.  I have missed being able to sing worship songs as a group since we have moved to a smaller church. I love hymns but LOVE worship music!!  We were led by a simple trio of women playing guitars and a little native type drum.  Simple but still quite powerful!
  • The Bible study leader from Texas, Donna Pyle.  The key verses were Psalm 8:1-2.  “Oh, Lord, our Lord, How majestic is your name in all the earth.”  Donna is such a vibrant speaker and I loved the times I had to speak to her in a small group setting (… and got a little taste of Texas while being near her!)  I can’t wait to see when I will see and learn from her next!!
  • Hearing from some various local mission groups who have been impacted by our tri-state LWML groups.

How would I describe what LWML is???  It is a group of women who love the Lord and want to share the saving power and love of the Lord with who they can.  Either through making blankets for cancer patients, conducting mission trips to Native Americans in New Mexico, providing funding to print Braille bibles, sending funds to a seminary in Africa, and the list goes on.  These are just simple women who believe that their time, money, and lives should be used for God’s purposes.  But since this society was form in the 1930’s, they have given away MILLIONS of dollars and countless hours serving in the name of Christ.  I was blown away.  I want to be one of them!!!

Working on several service projects 

There is a major thing that I am concerned about.  The lack of young women and, I mean, under 50.  Yes, I know that we who are younger are busy with our families and raising them and our jobs and that IS important. But I am involved in several volunteer activities and our age group seems to have dropped off the face of the earth!  I feel like my generation has made TOO much of a focus on our families and their activities and that has become a type of idol. It IS possible to focus too much on family.  It’s a fine line and one I am trying to learn how to balance.

I was sad when our time together came to an end.  At the close of this convention, I feel that God is impressing on my heart that I am to work to help to train up the younger ladies.   I do not know what that means quite yet but will be seeking.  So please keep me in your prayers as I seek the Lord’s will.

I am so thankful that we are settled here in Idaho.  (It actually doesn’t even matter WHERE we have settled but that we HAVE settled.)  I am so thankful to be getting to know people that know past generations of Lierman family members. That we have this strong Christian heritage that I can teach our children.  But I am so thankful that I will be continuing to get to know these ladies year after year.  I feel so blessed!!

Baby gifts: Part 1

I can’t believe that I sewed all my formal dresses in high school and most of my church clothes too.  I also imagined that I would sew all my future baby clothes too.  I had that much focus???  Can’t imagine that now!  Well, Fly Boy and I got married and that thought flew out of my head.  Those frequent moves made me have ADD.  Always jumping from one place to the next.

Fast forward 15 years…. my Navy man surprised me one Christmas with a sewing machine.  Oh no!  I first used it to make all the cousins hooded bath towels.  But the next summer, I found out like 25 friends were having babies!  I wanted to give each of them something but buying that many gifts would wipe out our bank account.
When my children were babes, my mom made these wonderful silk “babies” for each of them.  They LOVED them!!  Would rub the silky on their faces as they went to sleep, went everywhere with us, lost a few on the way, comforted when they went to the church nursery.  Don’t say anything but they still sleep with them!
See how well loved they are?
Back to baby gifts…. Somehow I had a wild thought to make a soft/silky ribbon square.  There was NO way I’d sew the same things my mother did.  She has way more patience than me!!!  And I knew if the recipients loved them, there needed to be replacements so it needed to be something easy.

 

One of the many I have made.  This is #3 for this baby!!! :). All gifts come with free replacements!! 🙂
I try to make them around what the baby nursery theme is but if I don’t know it, I just choose something fun!  Have done robots, Star Wars, zebra, all sorts of fun stuff!  The important things is to have the silky satiny fabric and ribbons.

What I need to make these:

2 fabrics of the same size.  I vary from 12×12 inches to 10×12 inches.  There is no set size.  What ever you’d like.

 

Ribbons cut into 3 inch strips – once again, whatever you’d like.  I’ve made patterns or been totally random.  Doesn’t matter :). I do three on each side.

 

K creating her own 🙂

 

 

Baby gift: part 2

The other part of my customary baby gift is a couple of tins of homemade baby bottom balm.  I have no idea why I started making it!  Maybe as part of trying to make more natural products?  But I have heard from the moms that it really works!!  How could it not with coconut oil???  (One of my favorites of all!!)

 I purchased this book from Amazon (Prime is another of my favorite things!) and have enjoyed trying things from it.  This is where my recipe came from.  It’s official name is Bottoms-Up Salve but I call Baby’s Bottom Balm.  Not only is it good for the diaper area but also for all kinds of cuts and scrapes.
Ingredients:
Equal parts calendula flower, comfrey leaf, comfrey root, St. John’s wort flower totaling 2 ounces
 2 cups olive oil
1/2 cup beeswax pastilles (or beeswax)
2 tablespoons Coconut oil
Essential oils – I use Lemon, Lavender, Myrrh, Frankincense, and a calming blend of oils
Place herbs in olive oil in 1 quart jar.  Swirl around to cover. Place lid on jar and place in a sunny window for 2 weeks. This is called solar infusing.  At the end of the two (-ish) weeks, warm jar in pan filled with water heating on low on stove.  I put a wash rag in between jar and pan to prevent rocking.  Let warm for 1 hour.  Strain off oil and measure.  For each cup of oil, add 1/4 cup grated beeswax.  I am too lazy to grate and buy the pastilles from Mountain Rose Herbs! I also add 2 or so tablespoons of coconut oil now.  Stir to melt both beeswax and coconut oil.  Pour into tins or class containers and let cool before moving.  You could half recipe but I just make a big batch at one time.  I have several Ball canning jars that are devoted for herb use only.  And some mixture is always infusing in my window.

Products we love!

Whew!!  I am exhausted but I MUST keep plugging along with a routine.

Today was our first day to due school since we moved in.  Principal D allowed us one more week to set up the house (did I even get anything done??) and so we started back this morning.  Things went well as can be with three weeks off, the addition of a puppy and four new kittens.  Which means it was quite chaotic!  B and K are having trouble remembering that they need to listen and Mom is not talking just to hear herself!  And only one puppy accident!  The school room is not set up yet.  Still has 20 Lego creations on it.  But maybe we’ll meet there by the end of the week??

Okay, back to what I really wanted to say!!!!

The Hunger Games.  Did you read this series?!?!  I did and LOVED it!  Made me think a great deal about the world we live in and the direction it is going.  Not pleasant.  I am so thankful that I know WHO holds the future because it scares me.

I was intrigued by the use of herbs in the series, how they helped heal illnesses and injuries.  Do they really work??

Several years ago (two, three, four…. I can’t even remember!)  I began to change the products I cleaned with, cooked with, feed the family and even where I shopped.  I could see a VAST difference in the health of myself and the children.  Each child was on 2-3 medications and had at least some kind of virus every month.  But then it all dropped off.  No more medications and our illnesses reduced drastically!

As I said before,  I follow a blog called  The Prairie Homestead.  I want to be like her when I grow up!!  She talks about recipes for cleaning out the hen house, homemade cleaners and even essential oils.  I started buying essential oils when I started to make my own cleaners but that’s all I used them for.  She uses them for all sorts of things – when her family gets sick, to heal a burn, to give her livestock or even make cuticle cream!

Some time this past fall, she had a promotion for those who wanted to learn more and get an introductory package of essential oils that she uses, so I signed up. I know there are several excellent companies out there but I chose to sign up under her since she uses these oils on her homestead.  Which is where I would be using mine too!

I have become addicted!!  The kids and I have had a couple of small viruses – runny noses, coughs, upset tummies. We put the oils to the test!!  I think I had a case of the flu in November – fever, horrendous headache, unbelievable sore throat, box of Kleenex in 24 hours runny nose.  When I get that sick, it usually turns awful fast and I have to go on steroids and antibiotics.  This time, I just used the respiratory belnd around my nose and it would clear my nose up!  Peppermint went on my headache and I cleaned with the immunity blend. The kids now ask for the respiratory blend when they start to get a runny nose!  They know it works!

Another one I love is the immune boosting blend.  When I had that bug, I’d put a couple of drops on my tongue and it would numb the sore throat.  It is used to kill germs so I put it in a squirt bottle with vinegar and use it as an antibacterial cleaner.  Awesome right now as we are cleaning up many potty messes. :{  Can even make your own hand sanitizing spray with it.  I felt like I was getting a canker sore in my mouth and I gargled with a couple of drops of it in a tablespoon of water and it disappeared.

I put the lemon in my water glass as it adds a refreshing twist to my water. There is also a tummy blend that R and I used to help settle tummy aches – mine from over indulgence in Christmas goodies and hers as we think she had a minor form of the tummy bug going around.

Love these products so much!  They really work!  I follow several blogs and FaceBook pages so that I can learn more about them.  My kids believe in them too so I just ordered B a product that hopefully will help him focus more on what he needs to focus on.  He spent the other evening pouring through the catalog to see what we needed to get next!

When I start my garden this spring, I’ll add herbs that I want to learn even more about.  So excited to learn more about God’s creation and how people healed themselves before drug stores were around.

Welcome New…….

It is now 2014.  2014??  2014!!  We have now been in our new house for 2 weeks.  What a crazy few months it has been.  But we ALL survived it!  Including our wonderful Grandma and Grandpa who let us live with them for 4 and a half months.  Their small house invaded with five extra people…. and four of them who homeschooled there, and the all books, and all the legos….. plus a very overweight cat. And D who was in the craziness of a new job, a new RETAIL job – during the busiest season of the year.  Along with being extremely involved in the house building process.  Some nights he got only three hours of sleep!

We survived moving in a couple of days before Christmas, finding out half our furniture was lost, finding that said furniture, said furniture delivered on Christmas Eve, hosting Christmas Eve and Day for D’s family!  And all went VERY well!!!  Once all the family got here with their food and gifts, you couldn’t even tell how messy our house was! Was a wonderful day!!  Hadn’t seen my husband that content in a while!  Kids had so much fun with their cousins.  D is living vicariously through his children – getting them BB guns, planning a tree house, teaching them to drive the ATV….  making GOOD memories!  

 

We got a NEW dog!  We had been waiting to get a dog for so long!  So we finally got one a week before we moved into the house.  It was NOT the smartest thing we have done – not at all!  Having the grandparents put up with a non-housetrained dog, moving in with tons of boxes with a non-housetrained dog….  But, hallelujah, that we decided to put hard surfaces on the main portion of the house!  This poor pound puppy did not have a name for 2 weeks.  We couldn’t agree on her name and D was working crazy hours so we couldn’t discuss it.  BUT after Christmas, we mutually agreed that her name is Eula Mae!  It had to be short, not end with the “ee”sound, and not be ANY OTHER dog name D had ever had.  Eula was the name of Katherine Hepburn’s character in the John Wayne classic “Rooster Cogburn.”  And if you know D, he is huge fan of ALL of Mr. Wayne’s movies.  Eula is a sweet mix of black lab and blue heeler.  We are truly enjoying her – well, other than the puddles we get a couple of times a day.

I am so very thankful and blessed for all that has happened and how it has happened.  God is truly taking care of us.

I am SO VERY excited to see where He will take us in this NEW year.  This is a NEW beginning in many ways.  Last night we hosted a get together for the youth aged kids in the area.  Didn’t know if we would have any other than our own “youth” aged daughter but ended up having 11!  So we are starting a NEW youth group. 

I can’t wait to see this NEW house get set up!  I’d love to share some pictures but nothing has found its organized home yet.

I can’t wait to get to know our NEW neighbors and build a community!  One that will last longer than 2 years!

I can’t wait to start NEW regular mom talks here in this house!  I see that need in myself and other moms in our little community.  How many cups of coffee will we share here together?

I can’t wait to set up our NEW schedule!  D will be closing on Monday nights so my plan is to update at least on those nights.  The kids need to get on a better bedtime schedule, a better chore schedule, a better school schedule and now we can!!!

I am so excited for our new HOUSE, new YEAR, and new BEGINNINGS!

I have to close with the Doxology – it just flows from my mouth so much!

Praise God, from Whom all blessings flow;
Praise Him, all creatures here below;
Praise Him above, ye heavenly host;
Praise Father, Son, and Holy Ghost

Now I feel like a farmer!

Free time is few and far between here on the farm between homeschooling, having three kids and a daddy working in another city, unexpected surprise of cousins flying in from Hawaii, and trying to adjust to living in a new state.  Since we are living with the grandparents, I also try to prepare all the meals so we aren’t too much a burden on them.  But I am NOT complaining!!!  Life IS good!  Just not conducive to writing blog posts. 🙂

D was home for almost 2 days this weekend and we worked as hard as we could on the chicken house.  We had a HUGE Texas size storm on Wednesday that damaged SO much in the area.  Ripped the roof and door off our neighbor’s barn, peeled back the well house roof, hail damage on a lot of the crops and toppled our chicken run’s overhead netting (to keep out flying predators).  D worked on re-supporting the netting and reinforced the base of the chicken house so that no skunks or weasels dig into my coop!

Since we were going to be around the coop for several hours, we decided to let the chickens have their first chance of complete freedom!  I had read on Backyard Chickens that a good way to introduce them to complete free ranging is to let them out later in the afternoon and they’ll head to the coop as the sun goes down.  It worked perfectly!  They had a ball.  But I must say, they are not too smart.  A couple of them were attacking the side of the house thinking the paint MIGHT be bugs?!?!?!?  And they were ready to return into their house once the sun went down.  D only had one instance of a girl flying out and accidentally scratching him (just missing his eye!!), just because she did not like her new floor!

    We can get out?!?!?
    Freedom!!  But they didn’t go more than 20 feet from the house.

Now I did the purely gross work!!  Ugh!  Need some good mucking boots now!  I love my 100 year old chicken house BUT if you are going to build your own coop/house PLEASE make sure your coop drains out your door!!!  Ours is so old, it depressed in the center and sits there.  Does NOT help with cleaning out ALL the poop.  By the time I was finished, I was covered up to my waist. Forty-five chickens produce a ton of it.

    That’s quite the load!

What could I do to prevent from having to do this every month?  A friend of mine on Facebook (initials BH living in Dallas) 🙂 had posted a picture of the inside of her cute backyard coop and she had lined it with linoleum.  After discussing this idea with Grandma Chick, she said it sounds like a good idea!  I had gone to the local ReStore to buy remnant linoleum and bought them out.  Our coop now looks like a patchwork quilt!

    My clean coop!  Lasted 10 minutes!

At the moment, my babies don’t seem too thrilled with my choice of flooring.  Too many changes for them!  But it is teaching them to finally use their roosting racks.  So far, they FIGHT each night to fit into the corner that has their door into the yard. Now some are realizing there are wonderful roosting spots in there!  They are true creatures of habit!

After I did that, I spray painted our nest boxes since they were trying rust out of the bottoms.  We’d like them to last 20 more years. 🙂 I had already scrapped out all the old gunk and poked a hole in a couple of them in my overzealous cleaning.  The boxes are now set up in the coop ready for when my girls start to lay in about 6 weeks!!!  Cannot wait!!  Did you know it takes 4-6 months for a chick to start laying eggs??

We also have our cat kennel in there for the baby Black Java chicks.  Supposedly, you can introduce new chicks after the other chickens can hear and smell them for a few days with no problems.  But I guess the size difference is too great between these.  So we let them out only when we are with them and can watch them.  I have noticed only the pretty barred rock hens attack them.  Know now where the term “hen picked” comes from!!  Grandpa Chick is working on building them a small fenced enclosure for when they outgrow the kennel.

2 week old Baby Black Javas with a 10 week old Buff Orpington rooster

Whew!  That was enough for one day!  But it was so much fun to be able to care for my babies! 🙂 Next big chicken project will be winterizing the coop!  Since it’s SO old, boards have worn down where the prevailing winds hit it and there are no windows.  Will be important for when it starts to freeze at night!

What I’m learning

I am so excited for this life change we have had by living on the farm!!  (Kids not quite so much, still having trouble figuring out how to fill their time out in the country!)  But I truly have no idea what I’m doing!  For the last few years, I have been following several blogs and reading books on raising chickens, bees, gardening, canning…. all things I have never done! Trying to get an idea of things I want to do on my own land.

One of my favorites is a blog called The Prairie Homestead.  It follows a woman who has moved with her family to a farm and they raise goats, a milk cow, chickens, have a huge garden…. the whole farm experience.  What I like about her is that she breaks things down for the uneducated like me.

I purchased this ebook from her site – Your Custom Homestead.  Emphasis on the word “custom” – you could be living in an apartment, subdivision, or a full on farm and you could still learn from it.  She breaks down the book into 21 chapters – one chapter a day for three weeks and you will be well on your way to your custom homestead.  LOVE it!!!!! 

I have spent hours organizing my thoughts on why I want to have a farm, what my goals are, what my goals are for this year, next five years, and next ten years, and how to organize all my thoughts into an organized form.  For the newbie that I am, it has helped me so very much!  It will help provide direction so I am not heading into this venture all willy-nilly!

Some of my goals for our homestead are:

  • to have a better/simpler life for our family
  • to return to our roots (have gotten too commercial for my liking)
  • have less of an environmental impact
  • to know where my foods come from

I had to come up with a mission statement which is:  “To bring glory to God through living simply and being caretakers of the bodies, land, animals and plants He has given us all while teaching our children important life skills.”

Some of my long-term goals are in my first year:

  • get regular customers for my eggs
  • have a BIG garden next year
  • learn to pressure can
  • learn how to butcher my roosters :{

Within five years, my goals are:

  • set up a bee colony
  • have a regular spot at the local farmers market
  • raise turkeys
  • get alpacas

I am supposed to come up with 10 year goals but that is inconceivable to me right now!!!  I have never in my life lived somewhere more than three years.  That will take some hard thinking!!!