Friday, May 30, 2014

The Morning Haul

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

All Ready!

The coop is all ready.

And our girls have arrived! I had hoped to get some pictures of them this afternoon after they settled in, but we've been having some wicked storms roll in. We will let them in the coop for about a week so that they establish it as their new home. They're comfortable enough to have laid 2 eggs this afternoon!

Check back for more pics!

Monday, May 26, 2014


Happy Memorial Day! I know I've been a little quiet lately. Things are getting insane lately! Garden is going in, chickens are coming this week, a swing set is being constructed, windows are being cleaned, and we have some out of town company this week. I'll update with some pictures of the garden this week - hopefully tomorrow as long as the weather holds!

How's your garden coming along?

Thursday, May 22, 2014

Meet Butter

The construction chick! We had Butter and Amelia out for some playtime tonight with the kids and I was able to snap this picture of Butter hanging out on one of Kole's machines.

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

CSA Wednesday

Each week gets better and better, let me tell you! Fish Hawk Acres offers such a wonderful CSA. This week was lots of greens, granola, fresh shiitake mushrooms, French breakfast radishes, spring onions, and potatoes. When the eating is good, it's good!

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Almost Ready!

I got a message over the weekend from my friend who is giving us her hens that the neighbor's dogs are trying to get her chickens. Obviously, the sooner we get them out, the better! We have a few things to finish up before they can come stay - namely, finish installing the windows, build roosts, complete the nest boxes, and put the litter on the floor. I think we will use sand.

Speaking of the windows, my dad made us some windows out of security glass from when he used to work on prisons. It's some serious glass, 9/16" thick. Dan has them placed, but they need the final install.

Chip and Dale had to join me for their feline inspections. I'm surprised Dale made the trip down! He's 28 pounds of big orange cat and he doesn't like to venture too far. It looks like they approve, though!

Sunday, May 18, 2014

Thanks Craigslist!

We've been on the lookout for a dehydrator for a few months now. One of Kole's favorite snacks is dried mango, but it is so hard to find without a bunch of added sugar. And when you do find it, it can be pricey. We thought if we found a dehydrator, we could buy a bulk pack of mangoes and voilĂ , Kole's favorite snack!

I noticed an ad on Craigslist for a "like new" dehydrator, but kept forgetting to call. The other day, when I was out, I finally called. The man who owned had used it twice for jerkey and hadn't used it in a number of years. I brought it home, cleaned it up, and plugged it in. It works! And the best part? It was only $10. Score one for being thrifty.

Now we are thinking of all kinds of things to dehydrate. When blueberries are in season and we go to the pick your own farms, we are going to stock up and dehydrate. Apples in the fall. Yum!

What about you?  Do you have something that you love to dehydrate?

Thursday, May 15, 2014

CSA Thursday

This week's goodies from Fish Hawk Acres are definitely a spring offering! Lettuce, spinach, golden beets, carrots, eggs, peas, potatoes, and eggs. I'm planning to make some ginger dressing tomorrow for some yummy lunchtime salads!

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

My Little Amelia

So, I have a confession to make....birds kind of freak me out.  Not sure why, but they do. I think the problem was exacerbated when I watched The Birds, but I have always found birds kind of creepy.

I know, I know...I have a fear of birds and I wanted chickens. The desire for our own eggs has trumped my fears. Somewhat.

I'm so glad we got chicks. Being able to hold them and handle them daily has made a world of difference. Our little Barred Rock chick, Amelia, will walk onto my hand and hang out with me. She's my little chick therapist. And with her help, I'll be just fine.

Monday, May 12, 2014

New Digs

Over the weekend, we moved the chicks into a bigger brooder box. Dan put together a box using leftover siding from the coop. They love it! It gives them much more room and they are much more active. Some of them have taken to flying as well.

We have to figure out a little roosting set up. As you can see Ebony, our black Australorp, enjoys hanging out on the EcoGlow.

I've been working with them daily on being handled and being people friendly. So far, so good! We also had them out in the yard last week for some outside time and they had a ball. The dog did well with watching them as well.

And this weekend, Kole and I went out and dug some earth worms for them. I really don't think there is anything more entertaining than watching chicks quarrel over a worm :-)

Saturday, May 10, 2014

Beef Partners

I just finished watching the documentary FrankenSteer and it further solidified my desire to make sure we know where our food comes from. While it is set in Canada, much of the same applies to the US. Growth hormones and antibiotics? Not for my family, thankyouverymuch.

I recently received an email from one of the farmers at one of the markets we sometimes frequent. He was getting ready to send a steer in for processing and was looking for "beef partners." The idea was that two people would receive a package of meat, the bulk being beef, at a discounted rate. The money would be put toward the processing fees. Processing fees for meat prepared for resale can be really pricey and this helped the farmer with the cost.

We got hamburger, hoagie meat (think thinly sliced steak as in steak sandwiches), an assortment of steaks, stock bones, pork chops, sweet and hot Italian sausage, and chicken! The chicken is a free ranging bird, the Red Ranger. It feels good to have meat in our freezer and even better to have kept our money in local hands. If you go to the Clarksburg Farmers Market, visit Steve and Theresa Coleman with Sweet Hollow Farm! I'll do a post soon on our farm visit!

Thursday, May 8, 2014

They're Growing!

The chicks are growing so fast!  Most have their wing feathers and a lot are working on their tail feathers. We took them outside today to let them peck around under a laundry basket. I heard a commotion and when I went to check, Chief had a little flower in her beak and the others were chasing her. Lakelyn stood guard and didn't bother them.

The bossy chick has been named Tuffy. If anyone has kids that love Berenstain Bears like ours do, you'll recognize the name from one of their books. It seems fitting! In the picture, she is giving me the chick stink eye.

Wednesday, May 7, 2014

CSA Wednesday

Another yummy box of goodies from Fish Hawk Acres! Beets, carrots, potatoes, salad greens, mustard greens, tat soi, and apple cider. Has anyone ever tried tat soi? Let me know in the comments!

Tuesday, May 6, 2014

Simple Things

A milk glass vase, some freshly picked buttercup flowers, and blue sky. Take some time today to appreciate the little things :-)

Monday, May 5, 2014


We know Lakelyn is more of a vulture than a canine. But, we are trying to be vigilant in working with her around the chicks. She's more interested in sniffing their behinds than anything! One was pecking her on the nose. We hope that she learns they are not food and it'll be an added benefit if she protects them once they're outside!

Sunday, May 4, 2014

Meet the Babies!

Boy, chicks aren't easy to photograph. But, here's some pictures of some of the new flock at the house on the hill!

Only a few have names, so please leave me some suggestions!

First up is one of the original Buff Orpingtons. Since we have no clue whether it's a he or she, we've dubbed it Chief. When I brought the chicks home from Southern States, Chief got right in their faces and had his head up high. We will hope it becomes our rooster :-)

Yes, I know this is terribly out of focus, but I think it's funny!

Next up is a red sex link chick from Southern States. She's a bit of a bully and we discovered she has a crooked foot. We've dubbed her "Crooked Foot."

Next up is our Light Brahma. This girl will end up white with some black on her feathers as well as feathered feet. She seems to be the most docile of them all so far. And she didn't like to have her picture taken and promptly pooped on the sheet.

Next up is what I believe is our black Australorp. Since she will be black with a pretty green sheen to her feathers, I've started calling her Ebony. But I am open to anything!

I got another Buff Orpington chick at Southern States, so our flock will have 4 Buffs.

The next three I am not entirely sure of which breed is which. I thought I got a good look at them at Southern States, but am having a hard time now. I *think* that two of these are our Wyandottes, but I'm not sure which is the Speckled Sussex or Barred Rock.

They certainly have pretty faces! Some were a little camera shy and so I will try to get the rest tomorrow.  But for now, throw out some name ideas!

Saturday, May 3, 2014

Turkey Eggs!

We are so fortunate to have a lot of farmers markets around us. Some were starting their markets for the season, while others were holding their last "winter" market. We visited the Clarksburg Market today and I found something pretty cool....turkey eggs!

When I asked Theresa of Sweet Hollow Farm, she said that they are fantastic for baking. The have more albumen than chicken eggs and can therefore make your baked goods fluffier (in her experience).

I picked up a half dozen and tried them out as soon as I got home! I made cupcakes this afternoon and they were certainly more noticeably moist than when I've made them before. I plan to try them in more baked goods. I might just become a regular turkey egg customer!

In chick news, everyone is eating, drinking, and pooping like mad. We have a poultry nipple waterer set up and they go nuts for it! I hope to get some pictures tomorrow of them - I'd love help in naming them!

Friday, May 2, 2014

Change of Plans

So, yesterday we were to pick up 20 chicks. As you read, we only wound up with 3. We were so excited for a lot of babies and Buff Orpington especially.

But, you gotta roll with the punches.  While we were looking at having a single breed flock, the hens we are getting are a mix of brown layers. So, today I said "heck with it!" and went to Southern States.

I was so pleased with their selection. I got 8 additional chicks: Speckled Sussex, Light Brahma, Buff Orpington, Australorp, Red Sex Link, Barred Rock, Gold Laced Wyandotte, and Silver Laced Wyandotte.  They are really quite adorable and they are supposed to be pullets. Hoping we end up with all girls!

We pulled them out of their box to clean it this evening. I'll introduce each one to you in the coming days, but here's a look at them!

Thursday, May 1, 2014


We have chicks! We traveled an hour and a half to visit the Laura at Sweet Wind Farm. We really enjoyed seeing her birds all over the place!

Laura had 38 birds that have the run of her 100+ acres. They are a variety of birds and many of which were hatched on her farm. Kole fell in love with one that Laura thinks is a White Leghorn/Buff Orpington cross. If our coop were ready, she'd be with us right now. She fell asleep in his arms!

We had originally hoped to get 20 chicks, but for reasons unknown, not many hatched. We brought home 3 and they are settling in and chirping comfortably. They are currently hiding under their EcoGlow20, so pictures for tonight were a little tough.

I did manage this one, though!

And we were slightly sad that we didn't get as many as we had hoped, but you know how the saying goes: everything happens for a reason. I got a message from a local homeschooling family friend that she and her family will be moving out of state and are looking to rehome their hens. We will be getting 10 laying hens sometime this summer! And we can go to the feed store and perhaps pick up a few more babies! So it looks like we will get the fun of chicks this spring and delicious free range eggs this summer!