Monday, November 28, 2011

Winterizing the Chickens

This weekend we made the coop cozy warm for the chickens. Not over-the-top warm. Just warm enough not to freeze their combs off. This is what we did...

The easy part was placing a water heater under their metal water fount. It is automatically set to go on when the temperature drops below 35 degrees & will keep the water from freezing in temps as low as 10 degrees. So far, the water has only froze once and that was just a layer on top. Of course when there is a  stretch of days below 10 degrees (ugh, hate to think of that), we will have to check the water for icing.
Next, after much research, we bought a thermostatically-controlled outlet (comes on at 35 degrees & goes off at 45 degrees) to which we plugged in a ceramic infrared heat emitter placed in a metal lamp with the protective shield around it & hung it from the coop ceiling. This set-up will keep the chickens from freezing, but will not allow it to get too warm in the coop. We will have to see if the heat lamp will keep the water from freezing.
The coop is so well insulated, that we may have just needed the water fount heater. The chickens give off quite a bit of body heat too. But, since this is our first year of raising chickens, we want to be sure they are all right. I once read a blog that talked about letting her chickens combs freeze like it was no big deal to have to trim off the dead black tips of the comb. I'm sorry, but I won't purposely let an animal suffer if I can help it.
Vinnie supervising Steve with Bubbles looking on.

The rest of the weekend was spent cooking (me) and mudding & sanding the foyer drywall (Steve). We had our Thanksgiving dinner at the farm on Saturday in the midst of the drywall dust floating around. :-) . A decision was made on someone else to finish the small amount of drywall mudding & sanding we have left. It's not that much, but it will get rid of a whole lot of frustration for one fantastic custom woodworker who shouldn't have to do drywall too.

This week, I am visiting family. Love seeing the two granddaughters! I was supposed to leave tomorrow, but couldn't wait any longer, so I hopped in the car this afternoon.
Should post some new pics here this week...

Thursday, November 10, 2011

The Sun is Peeking Out

Time to bring in the hose. We will be building a roof over the door next spring.

It was snowing again when I got up this morning. This time is was light & fluffy, not the wet, heavy stuff like yesterday. Our area got anywhere from three to five inches yesterday. All the fields are covered except for where the farmers haven't harvested the corn yet. Now the sun is trying to break through and we are having mini avalanches off the roof. We will be working on a entry way roof next spring to protect us from getting buried. :-) The high today is supposed to reach 39.
I waited until about 3pm to let the chickens out yesterday. It is the first time they have been hesitant to come out. I don't blame them. The snow was done but the wind was blowing hard out of the north. Today they came out right away thanks to lots of oatmeal I put on the ground for them. We are down to one egg a day now. I have read that it is the lack of daylight. We have thought about supplemental light, but I'm not sure about that yet. It is time to put out the water heater though & maybe a heat lamp on a timer. Don't want them to freeze or run out of water. Steve insulated the coop well, but since this is the first year we've had chickens, we're not sure how warm it will stay inside the coop.
Huddled under the coop for a little protection from the wind.

I got some sewing done yesterday. Been working on felt food for Jaelyn. I have so many projects to complete before Christmas. How about you?
Little Hayley :-)

Jaelyn, proud of her pumpkin she carved with Daddy.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Waking Up to Snow

Well, we knew it was coming sometime...this was at 6:30am. Supposed to get up to 5" of snow today. It is really blowing out there. Could hardly push the door open on the north side to let Vinnie out. No worries though. No errands to run. I have a day of sewing planned. And Vinnie & Tigger...this is what they will be doing, I imagine.
As for the chickens...I think I'll leave them in the coop until it stops blowing so hard.
The fire is roaring in the wood stove. The tea is brewing in the pot. And the ideas for Christmas presents are forming in my head :-). It is time to get busy. The way the time flies, it'll be Christmas before we know it.

Thursday, November 3, 2011

A New Look for an Old Clothes Pin Bag

 This is my mom's old clothes pin bag which was in pretty bad shape (besides being an ugly 60's or 70's fabric).
Here is the frame. That is Tigger's paws in the foreground. It took a few minutes of playing with the frame before I could have it back :-).

Here is the finished bag. Now sporting a 1950's print from an old tablecloth. Total time for this project...10 minutes. I've wanted to do this for a couple years. Every time I hung clothes to dry, I thought about it.
Tonight I started working on a pad for Vinnie to lay on by the couch made out of the other half of the down bed topper. While scrounging around in the attic today, I found two slipcovers from chairs that we no longer have. They are tan colored cotton, canvas-like material. Perfect size for the pad, plus a lot of leftover material for other projects. I threw the fabric in the wash & will start sewing tomorrow. You must think I never throw anything out :-). Well, I do throw SOME things out, but usually not fabric. I knew someday I would find a project that needed those chair slipcovers. I'll have to go up in the attic again tomorrow & see what else I can find....

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Snow Flakes...November is Here

Today it was windy, rainy with some big snowflakes mixed in. There is still a little more on it's way but tomorrow should be sunny and in the 50's. I have been going to town & taking walks on nice days. It is helping me get to know the lay of the land. Not that a town of 4000 is that big or confusing. I was taking walks on the county road we live on, but I'm not comfortable with cars flying by at 60 mph.
Here are a few pics from town a couple weeks ago...

There is still food to put by that I haven't got to yet. Tomato juice & paste in the freezer & pantry waiting to be made into pizza & spaghetti sauce. Beans drying on a screen in the attic along with sunflower seeds. A whole huge basket of garlic cloves that were left over from separating them at planting time waits for me to dehydrate them. I did make a garlic concoction last weekend for coughs that used up about a pound of the cloves. You can find the recipe on the blog Clean. It is the one called "Garlic Syrup". It is really tasty. We eat whole cloves daily anyway, but an infusion with apple cider vinegar & honey is a good way to "mix it up" a bit.
There are a lot of sewing projects that need to be started too. Today I finished a bed for Vinnie using what we had available here at the farm.
It is made from an old cloth shower curtain and stuffed with four large couch pillows topped with half a twin size down mattress topper. I did make a huge mess (along with Tigger) when I cut the topper in half. There were feathers flying everywhere. He was chasing them all over the place. I should have stopped to take a picture but instead I grabbed the vacuum before the whole floor was covered. Even Vinnie had feathers on his back. What a mess :-). I pinned the edge together & sewed it right away. Now I have to find something to cover the leftover topper with & Vinnie and Tigger will have another soft spot to lay.
We had more electric work done today. More outside lights & outlets along with more basement outlets. Not too much more to do. Next will be 220 service to the workshop for Steve's tools.
No luck with selling the shop building yet. We are keeping a positive attitude though. It just takes the right person to come along.