Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Hen pen redoux

The hen pen is done.
There is still a couple things that need to be done to make it a little bit easier for me to clean the coop, and a little more comfy for the little flock. But the major overhaul is done. They've settled in here for the last 3 weeks and suffered through a tropical storm fairly well. This is actually just after the first storm band passed through.
It is still raining out. Not non-stop. But the sun is not shining, either. So the run is very moist. Not wet mind you. No puddles at all but it's not drying out either. It makes for, well... it's kinda stinky. Not crazy smelly, but there is an odor about. I don't like it. I do pick up their waste. So it's not a matter of sanitation. The coop is cleaned daily, as is the run. Actually the coop smells light, and MMMmmm The smell of fresh cut wood is somewhat intoxicating to me. *swoon* I don't know why. 2x4's or tree limbs it doesn't seem to make a difference it's all good to me. ;-)

Anyway - I need to create a second small shaded area for them to go. Under the coop shouldn't be the only area. I also would like to have a (small) compost pile there in the run for them to dig through when the mood hits them. I need to replace the roost in the coop. They don't like the one in there. I've not once seen them on it. I have the perfect branch, I just need to figure a way to get it in and attach it. One side would be easy enough, but the back side I may have to think about.

At any rate, here is the new and improved hen pen. Tonight we finally will be done tying the gate shut. I'm getting the latch finished. It was supposed to be done before the storm, but I was panicking over getting the chicken wire out from  the overhead lean to's. I didn't want one of them tangled up in it, or it collapsed on top of everything possibly cutting open one of them - a VERY likely scenario. Besides, it's really nice to be able to walk upright in there now. It's so nice not to have to crouch down the whole way through anymore. Now, if I just didn't have to stick my whole body into that little hole to clean the coop...

'Till next time!


Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Something to ponder....

Something little, something big...

But I do SO love the speckles!

They make my cheeks hurt form smiling.

I can't wait to get home and see what awaits me today.

'Till next time!


Monday, August 27, 2012

Harvest Monday 8.27.12 & Isaac

It's Harvest Monday - I'm linking into Daphne's Dandelions once again to give my update on what's going on in my garden and what has been harvested! Thanks Daphne for always being such a wonderful hostess.

But, first the update on Isaac. For me he's just been a bit of a nuisance. Isaac took out my poor bean patch. My black beans are now none existent. Anyone who knows me knows this breaks my heart. I think it is too late in the season to restart them. (Daphne's seed for one  - I'd have to order this go 'round) and for 2 I need to repair the trellis the stupid storm took out last night. But for the most part this is what Isaac is:
It looks like the dead of night in broad daylight. It's raining, and windy. That's it. I'm glad. But, I think considering the timing I would have rather had it come here than where it is heading instead. :-( Hold on Louisiana!

As for my garden, I got 5 pods of black beans before the dagnabbed trellis came down, I also got a half pound of pink eye purple hulls, a pound of zipper creams (yummmm we had those last night) a few black eyed peas
a half pound of peanuts

AND... 2 small sweet potatoes. I totally forgot to weigh, in all my excitement I just cut those suckers up for sweet potato fries and snarfled! OMG.... I need to let the others grow more these were on the small side - but HOW - how do you leave behind the potatoes that taste like this?!?!?


Also 'harveseted' 9 eggs.

Check out that range of colors from just my 3 hens. Can't wait till things settle down and I can figure out who is laying what eggs! Someone is laying a speckled egg that is absolutely beautiful. It makes it hard for me to break it. I want to keep them until the next one comes along just to make sure I'll get another that is just as pretty. LOL.

'Till next time!



Thursday, August 23, 2012


It's still early - 3-4 days early. By Saturday I'll know a lot more. But right now it's looking like my poor garden and the flock will be wet for a little while longer. According to this Isaac has his eyes set on us. If this holds true and the models are right we'll be wet for another 3 days solid.
Leaves me wondering what to do with the poor hens that are just getting settled in their run outside. I'm thinking that along with trying to finish the overhead wire to keep them in the run I will also need to finish the temporary housing that could be used in the garage. It's only 3' square, but when it comes to a hurricane 3' square inside a garage is better than 35' outside - yes? No?
If only I had 3 separate dog carriers. Large ones. That would work better. But, I don't have them so it's useless to ponder the what ifs.  Alternately I could close them up into their coop for the 2 days it will be directly overhead. The coop seems like it should be in a sheltered enough location between 2 houses and against a fence. I could lower the roof and secure it down so that rain doesn't enter from the top. After all they did make it through Tropical Storm Debby just fine.
Tough enough critters.
I'll keep ya posted as the situation changes.

'Till next time.


Wednesday, August 22, 2012


Yes, I am henboggled.

This week my lovely little trio went from living quarters like this:
Sweet, but - let us get a closer look...just over 6 ft long.... 39" across? This is no way for 3 hens to live 22 or 23 hours a day. I mean I was letting them out on Saturday's and Sunday's as long as we were home, but - that just did not seem enough. Not in my mind. Could they survive? Sure they could. But, I simply didn't know if they could thrive. If I was going into it KNOWING that they were going to stay in those hours I would have gone for smaller breeds. Ah, but one of these birds is an extremely large bird, indeed. A gentle giant if you please. And I do please. She is my sweetheart and when and if I get that dreaded letter form the HOA I will do everything in my power to keep her and rid myself of the other two.

Oh, I believe I got sidetracked there. Anyhow. This last weekend my itty bitty flock went from their tiny coop to what is now known in my home as 'The Hen Pen' LOL. It's still in transition. We got rained out. Big time - and have every evening since starting the project. So my gals haven't gotten any real attention since getting the new space. Poor critters.

Anyhow, behold the transtion:
They now live in 35' x 4'. It's not much to brag about yet... and it may never be a huge bragging right. But it beats the heck out of barely enough room to pace a cirlce, huh?

The roof remains unfinished for now. Hopefully this weekend the rain will break some and I can get that finished. Those poles are leaning all the way across and are in the way. For now they are holding up the wire, but they need to go. The idea I have is that there will be a furring strip along the wall of the house and the wire will be attached to that via screw eyes and 'S' hooks. For now this temporary solutions has kept the gals safe, but it won't forever. The storms we get will take down the loose wire quickly. I've left the grass long and it's unsightly but I know it will only take a couple weeks before the girls have it mowed down to the right height. The sprinkler heads will be taken out this weekend as well.

That coop needs work, too. We forgot to turn it sideways before moving it in. We actually like it better this way, but can't open it to clean it so the front will have to be restructured. I have no unearthly idea yet just how I'll make that panel a lift off - but I will do it. No doubt about that. I'm thinking about something like putting a door hinge on it and a lock to keep it closed...Then the area that used to be a door needs to be addressed. It now goes all the way to the ground and needs to be cut out. I may need to borrow someones jig saw to open that up. Then I can use that wood to build a new nest box and the entire coop needs to be centered in the back there so that the roof can over hang and protect all the way around.
Weather permitting - of course. *sigh* It's been nice to have so much rain again. Florida hasn't seen a year like this in ages, but it's been hard to get any work done.

As for my gal who lays 2 eggs? So far we are still laying 2, and they are still broken each day. On the ground. But, at least they are no longer at the foot of the ladder. I'm thinking of putting in a ground nest to see if she will try that. Maybe a kitty litter box or some other covered thing out of the way. She's earned herself a new name as well. This name is permanent. Campbell. She flew the coop (literally) a good dozen times while we were trying to get them set up in here and I'll be darned if she ever tried before. Try to give her space and nicer digs and how does she repay me? Hurumph! She'd better stay put in the yard or she will live up to her new name and be soup. She's the loud one after all so I don't know as I'd feel all that bad for it. They aren't supposed to be here, so I can't very well let her antics get me caught. I may seperate her for a day and make sure she's the culprit of the double eggs/soft eggs. If it's true and shes double trouble with the noise and eggs then I'll have to weigh my options soon.

Hopefully I'll be back next week with the scoop on the coop update. That should be easier than this upgrade. Less work, but more frustration. I'll also be looking at ways to solve the old what to do with the chicken poop problem. Well, I know WHAT to do with it. I want to compost it, but inside the coop it's a problem, and until I get enough to take it to the composter.

'Till next time!


Monday, August 20, 2012

Harvest Monday 8.20.12

Hey, hey - It's Harvest Monday again! I'm joining in over at Daphne's Dandelions for he weekly  harvest recap. Make sure you stop by her place to see what's being harvested form all over the world!

At my place it's beans, and eggs!

1lb 6oz of Zipper Creams and some Pink Eye Peas as well. 

8 eggs. We got more but my ladies have only been laying for 3 weeks. Seems one of them has a Kink in her system. Sometimes she lays one egg a day. Some times every other day and she lays two. They are soft then, and when she lays them she lays them pretty close together. Maybe just an hour or two apart. She's not laying them in the nest box so they are breaking as soon as she lays them. I can't even use them to turn them into food for the hens. :-( It's sad really.

The barred rock seems the most distressed so I'm thinking it might be her. She will pace up the ladder and them drop down and inevitably that is where we will find the egg broken at. She's also extremely vocal about the whole thing. Maybe with more room in the new run she'll settle down now? Boy I hope so. I'd hate to have to find her a new home.

Anyone with a QUIETER barred rock around here? This one seems to be the only true obstacle in my way of keeping them here in the neighborhood. The other 2 don't seem nearly as keen on squawking and clucking like roosters! Shoot if most hens were as quiet as the other 2 I'd be able to get away with a couple more. :-) But i know better. I'd be happy if this hen would just close her mouth. (Or if someone really would trade for a quiet hen! LOL)

The Flock accompanied me in the garden to get the peas and were right at my side waiting for anything I would turn loose to them. It was nice to have company, but the one time I forgot they were there - sure enough I bonked one of the gals on the head. With a honk and some flapping she settled herself right back under me like it was just par for the course. Kinda like the kids in that aspect I guess? I suppose it takes time getting used to them being right underfoot. Later I had to chase one out of the peanut patch because she was eating the blossoms. Guess I'll have to start looking at the garden a little differently now. Try a chickens eye view.

'Till next time!

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Thursday blues...

Thought I'd lighten my mood a little.


These balloons are an every day occurrence for us during the summers here. But now that the days are getting shorter we see less and less of them. They lift off just about dawn in the pastures around my home. The kids love watching them floating around and it always seems that the balloons catch their eyes at the same time that they catch mine.

'Air Balloon, Momma - Air Balloon!!!' the whole "hot air" part seems to elude them. The kids have also never realized that there are PEOPLE attached to the bottoms of these balloons. I'm kinda glad for that. I don't think I could stomach such a ride, and I know full well my loving husband would not tolerate such things. He hates ladders, much less something that far off the ground. LOL.

This brings me to other things that lighten my mood. Food!

Have I shared this with you yet? I just adore this creation. It's mozzarella cheese on the inside (though I think ricotta mixed in would be a little better) and guava jelly/syrup on the outside... a combination I assure you that I was unaware could be, would be fantabulous together. But, but.... it is - OH so much so. MMMMmmmm. I just couldn't resist that first bite before I took the picture for you all. :-D It was so yummy.
So remember when you are thinking about new ways to prepare your favorite foods. Or for that matter ways to prepare foods that are overrunning your cupboards. I don't seem to have that problem  in the heat of the summer, but I get low in the heat with my gardens not producing much, experimenting is a good way to kick the doldrums. This sweet and savory crepe was a great way to do just that. It made my day, for sure!

This weekend I'm off to Ocala for a little extra family time on Saturday and Sunday it's chicken coop re-coup day! We'll tear up the old on and make it new. Hopefully I'll remember to take pictures along the way! Can't wait to share the new digs for my fine feathered friends with ya, I just know they are going to LOVE having room to stretch their wings.

'Till next time!


Monday, August 13, 2012

Harvest Monday 8.13.12

Ah - still not harvesting much. The rains have me down. The heat and the rain make a whole lot of.... ROT.

But, I have high hopes. My harvest will be going up now in one department...

The hen house is no longer in the neighbors yard. She gave up and doesn't want to share any more. :-) That works for me.
Well. It means more work for me... but I'm all right with that. It also means more compost for me, and more eggs for me! Our family will certainly take full advantage of the eggs, and I don't think that they do, really. I think that it was more of a novelty for them. The hens are happy to be here and have settled in nicely. Bug patrol has begun and they seem to like the fact that I bring them our table scraps.
Funny that. I never fed table scraps to any of our other animals and here I spoil chickens... hmmm. *scratches head* This MUST have something to do with the fact that they are the only pets that gives us food back. Yes, that must be it. :-D

Only two eggs this week. The day of the move they decided they were having none of that. You can see here that one of the hens is still giving us very small eggs as compared to this 'large' Egglands Best egg. But they are getting larger now.

The nest is certainly inadequate as is the run, but it will have to wait for another week or two before I can fix that problem. They are given free roam in the evenings so I don't feel too bad except that they don't roost out of the weather. Of course I also want them to learn to lay in the nest box but as I said it isn't right... The coop is good enough, but I want better for these girls and I certainly want them to lay in a nest and roost indoors. I'll have to work on that. They actually roosted ON THE GROUND last night. *shakes head*. That just won't do.

Also harvested this week:
More lady peas, some pink eye purple hulls joined in (not pictured - I was busy with setting up the coop) and I yanked some leeks that were rotting and tossed them to the chickens.

Part of the deal of getting the coop over to our side of the fence was putting in this secondary fence:

This is inside the gate a landing pad area that I put in this weekend. It's a place for the garbage can to go. This way when we open the gate to get the garbage can no one can see into the side yard, we can get the garbage can out without fear of letting a hen out and it also helps stifle any sounds emanating from them. This 5' section beyond the fence you see here?  This runs the entire length of our house and will be where the hens will live... (5' x 20' run + coop) hopefully for the rest of their useful lives. Of course, that is as long as our HOA stays out of it. I've talked to all of our neighbors. Obviously they don't have any problem with it. The hens have been around for 6 months already. They only just started laying so the noise just started and that is the only concern. So we will move them here between the houses where unfortunately we won't see them until we let them out in the evenings - but that is when we would see them anyway.

Guess I should have made that two posts. SORRY!

Linking in to Daphne's Dandelions for Harvest Monday.

'Till next time!


Thursday, August 9, 2012


Hot... but,
productive in some ways at least. ;-)

Chicks, and chicks.
The eggs are getting to be normal sized now.
'Till next time!


Wednesday, August 8, 2012

A new B

Yup. A new B. LOL. She likes to be called B. Short for Banana. Anyway - She has a new look. Last night we took her to 'the groomers.' She was just before we left pretending to be a kitty. So it was the groomers rather than the beauty shop. I told her she needed a new look to go with the new glasses. Really Momma was just tired of fighting the tangles quite so much. ;-)

She looks spiffy and ready to start school again next week. Hard to believe it's time for school again, but it is. The shorter style was definitely easier to get a brush through this morning. It's hard to believe they only took about 2 inches off it seems like so much more!  Now if I can just get her to keep the scissors away from her own hair.... ugh. I'm constantly finding little chunks out of her hair. She swears she doesn't. I don't know if that means her sister is doing it or that she is doing it on accident (hand resting on head while she thinking type thing?) or what, but I REALLY don't want her to end up with super short pixie cut. Not because I don't want her to have short hair. But, because she has expressed concern over having short hair. (I'll look like a BOY,  Mom!!!) So having to cut it that short would be traumatic for her undoubtedly.

Friday we go for Open House to meet their teachers. Yes, teacherS... YIKES! 2 teachers this year. I have reservations. 2 sets of homework to keep straight, 2 sets of ....ACK - EVERYTHING>.... Oh me, Oh My.... I think I'm hyperventilating..... I need a paper bag.....

'Till next time..... I hope I'm still here....