Thursday, February 24, 2011

Spring, oh Spring where are you?

Good Morning.  This time of year is hard for me.  It is still technically Winter, but Spring keeps teasing me, showing up and then disappearing again.  It is still too cold to do any planting, but I have Spring Fever so bad.  I went to a local nursery this week to buy our vegetable seeds.  Since I do have the "fever" I decided to buy some herb plants for indoors.  I bought Rosemary, Basil and favorites.  I have already planted them in a pot and I am enjoying seeing and smelling them. 

While tending to my hens yesterday I noticed something was wrong with Laverne's foot.  Two of her nails are missing, so today I have to go talk to our Vet and see what to do about it.  Also, I noticed Shirley's beak is chickens are falling apart.  Hopefully these things are normal and it isn't a big deal.  I will find out today.  Three out of my five hens are laying eggs, the other two have decided they aren't ready to start.  Sabrina, the one that always has a lot to talk about is one that hasn't started laying yet.  I have been telling her that if she has so much to say, she better start showing for it.  No hen (except for in our stew for dinner).

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Room with a view

It has been a couple of days since I blogged.  We had a super busy weekend fixing the boy's room.  Wow, what a difference!  It turned out so great.  We didn't get all of the little details finished before they came home, but they loved it.  They were so excited when they saw their room.  It is so neat to watch your children be happy and it made all the hard work worth it. 


As I have mentioned before, this house has been neglected.  Also, whoever did work on it in the past didn't do a good job on any of the carpentry.  This room was probably the worst.  There was absolutely no trim work at all.  Luckily my husband knows how to do a lot of this kind of stuff.  His father taught him and my husband will get to teach our sons.  My boys are in their room all the time now playing and just loving it.  Our youngest went from a crib to a bed and has been doing awesome.  So, overall this project turned out really successful.  Now, I am going to relax while my kids nap because I am tired.  Bye. 


Saturday, February 19, 2011

And we're off...

This weekend we are fixing up our boy's room.  We have already started getting it ready at 7:00am this morning.  I woke up at 5:30am and couldn't go back to sleep.  I woke up thinking about their room and I can't wait!  It's funny the things that excite you once you have kids.  They are off to Grandma and Grandpa's house today.  They love staying there and it allows us to get a lot more done without them in our hair. 

We got three eggs again yesterday from the hens.  This morning my husband and I are going to have eggs and toast for breakfast.  It is pretty cool to be able to eat eggs from your own chickens.  Homesteading is something I love more and more every day.  My hens are digging holes in their hen house.  I guess they are searching for bugs in the ground, but it is making a mess.  Also, my chickens have a new roommate.  Of course this fury friend invited himself and I am not happy that he has made himself feel right at home.  Yes, we have a mouse in the hen house.  I have seen him a few times and I have to admit that he is cute.  I hate mice and the idea of mice, but they are cute somehow.  I have to figure out a way to get rid of him, but I can't seem to come up with a safe way...YET!

Well, off I go and I will post pictures after we finish the bedroom.  Bye.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Rain, rain go away...

We don't get very much rain where we live, but when it rains I cringe.  Not because I don't like rain, I actually enjoy the rain.  The reason is because our old farm house doesn't like the rain nor does it hold up against it very well.  We know part of our roof needs to be replaced, luckily it is a small section, but the elements finally won.  This morning I found a small leak in our breakfast nook.  The leak isn't major, but it isn't something you get excited about discovering regardless of its size.  A call to my husband letting him know the news, wasn't the best decision I made today.  Something else to add to his sooner than later list, keep in mind that list is growing a lot faster than the later rather than sooner list.

Today I entered a contest for "the ugliest bathroom."  I have actually never entered a contest, but when I saw the title and we have just that, I figured why not?  We deserve a little help considering all the work we have done on this old house.  How awesome would it be to win a free bathroom makeover.  Of course, I realize I probably won't win.  I don't seem to have luck for those sorts of things, but it is worth a shot.  Believe me that our bathroom is ugly.  It isn't being used right now because we had to tear out the shower wall and all the adjoining walls because of a leak and mold.  They decide the winner at the end of February, I will let you know if we win.

Enjoy your day everyone...until next time.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

On to bigger and better things

Today has been a day of cleaning and organizing.  No matter how many times I organize my boy's playroom, it seems to become cluttered in a matter of hours.  It is driving me insane...totally insane.  So, new rule starting today, whatever is left on the floor at bedtime goes into a box and it is gone (at least temporarily).  We shall see if this new rule works.  I can already predict the future on this one and the answer is "no." 

This weekend my husband and I are going to work on our boy's bedroom.  It is one of the rooms we haven't worked on and it so desperately needs it.  So, we are painting, decorating, hanging curtains, etc.  We are sending the boys over to Grandma's, so we can get the work done and so they don't have to sleep in paint fumes.  I don't necessarily want high toddlers (with cabin fever).  I am really excited to fix their room up and our youngest son is going from his crib to a big bed.  So, this weekend will be a big deal in their little lives.

Yesterday we got three more eggs and so far none today.  The days are warmer and so my hens like to lay in the sunshine absorbing all that yummy heat.  I can't blame them as I like to do the same thing.  Today I was able to hang my sheets and towels on the clothesline...oh how much I love sheets dried in the outside breeze and sun.  Well, I am off to paint some trim for the boy's bedroom.  Bye.

Monday, February 14, 2011

No pain, no gain

Today I am sore because we did a lot of work outside this weekend.  My arms and my back are in pain, but it is that good pain, you know?  The pain that reminds you how hard you worked.  The acreage that we have was neglected for so many years and it needs a lot of tender loving care.  Luckily, our winter has been pretty mild and we have been able to work outside throughout the season.  It is getting exciting because we have gotten rid of most of the weeds, of which were as tall as me.  We are cleaning up the piles of rocks, wood, trash and whatever else we find laying around.  Spring is just around the corner and since we got a lot of the prep work done, we will be able to start working on landscaping and planting sooner.  I order a bunch of plants and trees this weekend.  I am going to have a lot of digging in my future.  Just to give you an idea, I ordered 100 strawberry plants...that is just the tip of the iceberg.  Even though it will be a lot of hard work, it will so be worth it when I get to enjoy the "fruits" of my labor. 

Yesterday was a good day too because it was the first day our hens laid more than one egg.  We actually got three eggs.  They make a really loud and funny noise when they are laying.  My youngest son thought that it was so funny and my older son informed me, "our chickens are annoying."  We also had our pancakes and eggs for breakfast.  The eggs were so good.  The taste of them was so different than store bought eggs.  The yolk tasted very sweet and rich.  They were delicious.  We are very excited for eggs, eggs and more eggs.

Well, while my kids nap I am headed outside to check on my chickens and enjoy some warm sunshine.  Have a great day.

Sunday, February 13, 2011

With a mow mow here...

Good Morning.  Weekends are nice because we are all together and are able to get more tasks done around the land.  The weather is warm enough to work outside, so that is what we have been doing.  A lot of our land is pasture, but it has been unkempt.  Slowly, my husband has been mowing it down with just a little lawn tractor.  It is funny to look out and see him on this small mower in this big pasture.  So, yesterday I decided to lend a hand.  That kind of work can be therapeutic for me and I needed some therapy after this week because my kids have been driving me crazy.  Being a stay at home Mom can be frustrating at times.  I love my boys, but they are boys and it is let's just say cabin fever with toddlers can be an interesting combination.  Anyway, so I spent an hour or so mowing and then I gave up because my finger tips (with gloves on) were going numb.  Not to mention I was mowing down weeds my husband had left up on purpose, so as not to spread the seed all over.  Whoops! 

Our chickens are enjoying the warmer temperatures, so they come out of their hen house more often.  My husband told me that while I was mowing yesterday, Sabrina was going crazy.  He said she was annoying and wouldn't stop talking.  I wonder what she was upset about?  She doesn't do that while he is out mowing. We did get another egg yesterday morning.  I think this morning for breakfast we are going to cook them up and have them with pancakes.  Yum!  I will let you know how they taste tomorrow.  My oldest son, who is four years old, is excited to try the eggs and truth be told, so am I.

Today will be another day filled with chores, but the more chores we do the prettier our land looks.  It is amazing how quickly this place has transformed and we will be putting in new windows and painting this summer.  Then, it will look awesome.  I can't wait!

Enjoy your weekend.

Friday, February 11, 2011


Today was a pretty unexciting day here at the farm and my chickens didn't lay any eggs.  However, I did discover a not so wonderful thing.  When I went out to the hen house I noticed one of the poops looked strange.  So, I picked it up with a stick and brought it outside.  Upon further investigation I realized one of my hens has worms.  So, I called my local "farmacy" and told her what I found.  The Veterinarian we work with told me she just did some research on that very subject.  So, we are ordering treatment that we put in the water.  The bad news is, while on the medicine, we can't eat the eggs.  Seriously?!  We just started getting eggs and now we can't eat them for about a month. I realize it isn't the end of the world, but it is frustrating.  Part of the learning curve, I guess.

Not much else to talk about today.  I hope (and you probably do too) that I will have stories on something else besides chickens.  We shall see...until then, I bid you adieu!

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Twiddle Dee and Tweedle Dum (aka my two dogs)

Another cold day today.  Farm chores and winter is not my favorite combination.  I keep thinking of Spring and Summer...hopefully one of them shows up soon.  It took most of the day, but I did end up with egg #3.  This afternoon I went out to check on the chickens water and give them a treat of broccoli pieces (yes, they love all kinds of foods, even broccoli).  Then I opened the hen house door and Shirley, our white hen, was sitting on a nest box laying an egg.  I felt like I was intruding on her personal time, so I quickly closed the door and waited until she came outside.  A few minutes egg.

Moving to open land from a fenced in 1/4 acre lot is a big change for two dogs.  We have Oliver, a border collie mix who is almost 11 years old and Sam our dachshund who is five years old.  Oliver hasn't exactly figured out the rules of the farm.  He likes to roam, not just on the 5.5 acres we own, but anywhere he feels like visiting.  That includes prancing down the road to who knows where.  Sam, will roam at times but mostly he enjoys searching for mice.  Initially, we contemplated getting a cat to control the mice population.  We soon discovered that was unnecessary because Sam loves to hunt, catch and even eat mice.  Unfortunately, I had to witness him eating one just a couple of weeks ago.  But, I can't complain, better in him than in my house.  I am sure I will have more dog stories for you from time to time.

The days are getting longer each day, so I know warm weather is on the way.  I am sure once Summer hits, I will be complaining about how hot it is.  The grass is always greener, isn't it? 

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

That's what she said


Today was an exceptionally cold day.  We reached a whopping 25 degrees for our high, needless to say outdoors wasn't on the menu for today's activities. We got egg #2 today, of which I was surprised because of how cold it was last night and this morning.  Our weather is supposed to warm up by the weekend, so I am crossing my fingers that we get a lot more eggs.

I didn't have much for "farm" chores today, but I had other errands to run.  My kind Mother came over to watch my boys so I could have some alone time.  I always appreciate running multiple errands without the kids in tow because in and out of car seats is enough to make anyone crazy.  I had an a-ha moment during one of my errands.  I went to an office to drop off papers, while waiting I noticed a group of women chatting away.  They were obviously irked at something and they were discussing it amongst themselves.  While watching them all I could think of was that I am glad that isn't me.  I am so thrilled that I have a farm to care for and I don't have to put up with all that B.S. anymore.  I feel free and seeing them disturbed only made me smile at the fact that my husband and I TOTALLY made the right life choice for us.  I know it doesn't work for everyone, but for us it just fits.

Hopefully tomorrow I write about egg #3...we shall see.  There are some not so fun chores, like taking the ice off the chickens water every two hours.  Keep in mind, if the water is am I!  This weekend we will take advantage of the warmer weather, so I will have more to talk about.  Have a good night all!

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

cluck, cluck, cluck...

Good Morning!

Today we woke up to snow.  My boys love the snow, but I just see lots of mud in my future.  In the mornings I have my routine of making coffee, feeding my kids and watching cartoons.  Now that we have chickens, I have to go out in the morning to get them fresh water and give them some scratch (corn and grains).  Well, today was an exciting day because I went in the hen house and to my surprise there was one egg sitting on a nest.  I couldn't believe it.  I have been waiting for two weeks for this moment.  It was still warm, so which ever one of my hens laid it, she just did it this morning.  I ran in the house and showed my boys...they were so excited too.  Finally, we are going to start getting our own farm fresh eggs.  SO COOL!

Hens are funny in that they all have personalities, just like you would find in a pet dog or cat.  Okay, they aren't as smart, but they still have a personality.  Each group of hens has what they call a pecking order, so it didn't take long to figure out which one was the leader.  Sabrina is without a doubt #1 in the pecking order.  She gets the "treats" first each time and pecks at the others who try to join in too quickly.  She is a talker.  As soon as I start walking over to them, she has to share her thoughts with me.  I still am not sure what she is trying to tell me, but I am assuming it is pretty important stuff because she has to let me know how it is while I am visiting them.  Hens for the most part are scaredy cats, for lack of a better term.  But, Sabrina is definitely not.  When I go into their house to clean it or give them new food, she stands their chatting away, never flinching no matter what I do.  So, which hen laid the first egg I do not know.  But, I can say I am so proud of my little group of chickens and look forward to finding more and more eggs every day!

Monday, February 7, 2011

Here we go...

Good Afternoon!  I have never blogged before, but I thought it would be fun to share the ups and downs of my newest endeavor.  In September of 2010 my husband and I purchased an old farm house on 5.5 acres.  The year prior to our purchase we talked and talked about starting our own small farm.  We wanted a different life besides living in a subdivision with two cars, two kids, two dogs, etc.  We wanted to have space and create a life more meaningful.  We have two young boys and we desired to raise them outside of what is considered "normal" for the average American.  So, we decided to sell our house and look for a house with land.  We managed to find one in the same small town we were already living less stress.  It was scary to actually do it, but we decided why not.  What do we have to loose?  Worst case scenario...we sell the farm and go back to our previous way of life. 

So, here we are, it is February 2011.  We spent the past six months fixing up the house.  This house is over 100 years old and very neglected.  The first week we moved I cried each day asking, "what did we do?"  There was a lot to do, but day by day we got stuff done.  We had to tear out old floors and put in new and refinish hardwood floors.  We painted walls and cabinets and tore out sinks and found termites and leaks and mice.  You get the idea about how awful this place was?  It was bad, but now we are living in the house and we still have tons of work to do, but it is 100% improved.  I will share the journey of new tasks on the house as we work on it as well as post before and after pictures.

Spring is just around the corner and we are excited to finally work on the land.  Two weeks ago we got five laying hens (who have yet to lay an egg).  They have been so much fun..through the cold and my dog getting one, but luckily just her feathers.  I even had a dream last night that the white one (Shirley) had laid three eggs.  Yes, I named my hens...Laverne, Shirley, Henrietta, Veronica and Sabrina.  I will keep you updated on how they are doing as well.  We have figured out the space for our garden and I have planned out the vegetables we will be growing.  You see, our biggest feat is to grow and raise as much of our own food as we can.  We will learn as we go...through good and bad moments.  The stress of this new adventure sometimes is overwhelming, but for the first time in my life I am in LOVE.  I love my husband and my children and so many people, but this is the first time I am in love with what I am doing.  I am elated at times.  My friends all think I am slightly crazy and they call me farmer Janice, but I just smile because I am so happy.

So, day to day I will write what is new and as I remember stuff over the past six months, I will share that too.  Thanks for reading!