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Showing posts from June, 2019

Meet Beaker and Foghorn Leghorn

We’re not sure if the names will stick, but we are certain these two little chicks are adorable. They are the first chicks we have had that were hatched by a broody hen here on our farm. Mama hen unfortunately had to go back out into the coop, as she was digging around a lot and trampling the chicks. So the chicks are now under a heat lamp. We had hoped to keep mama and chicks together, since doing so could ease the way for integrating the chicks into the flock once they are bigger. Captain Rooster  was their father. A week after Captain tangled with a bald eagle and perished, the chicks hatched— over Fathers Day weekend, no less, which seems ironic. Maybe one of these little peeps is a rooster?

Filling Cracks in Exterior Wood Before Painting

We came across the perfect solution for painting our house exterior and dealing with severe peeling paint, cracks and holes. It’s working so well that we thought we should share the information. The idea came from my father-in-law, who has been doing his own home improvement projects for years and has a wealth of knowledge to offer. We are in awe of the results.  At first we thought that a special primer called Zissner Bin Peel Stop would provide the coverage we needed after sanding and prepping the surface. But we were disappointed with how much uneven surface could still be seen. The surface, once painted, was still rough and you can see the edges of where the paint had peeled away, even after sanding it and adding the triple-thick primer. No amount of sanding or primer would smooth it out. That’s when my father-in-law suggested using an exterior spackling paste or filler.  We chose to try Dap Platium Patch Advanced Exterior Filler. The exterior filler, combined with th

Gathering 68,000 Pounds of Free Firewood

A local tree service took down nine hazard trees from a property not too far away and offered the wood up for free on Craigslist.  The fallen trees included two cedar and seven fir. My husband was one of the first to call about it and was the first to have a truck and trailer available for moving the wood.  Free firewood would soon be ours! The first load was moved by my husband and daughter while I was at work.  It was a monumental chore to roll each 250-pound round of wood up the aluminum ramps into the trailer. Once a load of the wood was home that first day and unloaded alongside the house, our neighbor, Brian saw the activity and came over to offer help.   In exchange for helping with the remaining loads, my husband offered Brian half of the free wood. Like us, Brian heats his home primarily with wood during the cooler months, and so he appreciated the offer of free firewood.   The two men then worked together, alternated dropping off a load of wood at Brian's

We're Hatching Chicken Eggs with a Broody Hen

Before we lost our rooster , one of our hens became broody and so we let her do her thing with seven of the eggs that had been laid that day.  She had a mix of eggs from all our chickens to sit on -- Rhode Island Red, Buff Orpington, Gold Sex Link, Ameraucana, Gold Laced Wyandotte and Blue Laced Wyandotte.  And so began the 21-day journey from eggs being laid to chicks hatching. For most of the three weeks, the hen -- her name is Cheech (we also have Chong, both of which were given to us for free from an ad we answered on Craigslist) -- did her best to stay on the eggs.  We decided not to separate her from the rest of the flock because we wanted to make sure the chicks would be accepted once hatched.  Also, leaving them all together meant that the other hens wanted to lay their eggs underneath Cheech in the nest with the other eggs.  This allowed Cheech time to go eat and drink. The one mistake we made was allowing her to sit on the eggs in a precarious location.  She had picked

Getting Ready to Paint the House

Painting the exterior of the house is the last major update needed by this vintage home. Other exterior work that we've already completed include replacing the roof and gutters along with nearly all of the windows.  We also had the chimneys repaired. From the looks of the house, we are pretty sure the last time the exterior was painted was sometime in the early 1990s, just before the prior owners bought the house.  There are only two layers of paint under the existing drab gray.  It's earlier color was white with dark green trim.  We plan to paint the house yellow.  It will also have white trim around the windows and dark blue shutters. My husband pressure washed the exterior as a first step.  He completed the entire lower half of the house one weekend. Scraping the loose, peeling paint from the house and sanding to create an even surface is going to take some time. We painted some of the yellow on one small area to see how it looked. I'm worried that once

Foraging for Horse Mushrooms in Our Pasture

There are wild horse mushrooms growing in our south pasture. It is strangely appropriate that these are called horse mushrooms, not only because they are unusually large for a mushroom, but also because they are actually growing in a horse shoe pattern across the pasture. At first I thought the mushrooms were growing in a circle, but there is actually an opening at one end. If you click the photo above, you can see a larger version.  Look closely to see the pattern of mushrooms growing across the pasture. We had never heard of horse mushrooms prior to moving here.  Last year, as soon as these enormous mushrooms appeared in the pasture, our neighbor came over to let us know what they were and to see if we were interested in sharing them.  He explained that they taste just like the white button mushrooms you buy at the store. Of course, we were glad to offer him as many of the mushrooms as he would like.  I'm not a mycophagists and until now had never been br

Farewell Captain Rooster

A bald eagle swooped down into the chicken run today.  We weren't home at the time; we heard about it from our neighbor, Brian, who was out on his riding mower and saw the eagle as it flew in after the chickens.  Brian also noticed the hens had made it to the hen house while the rooster distracted the eagle. Poor Captain Rooster didn't stand a chance.  It was so awful to come home and find his lifeless corpse out at the end of the chicken run. He was plucked clean. His beautiful iridescent black feathers had blown all over inside the chicken run.  I guess the eagle didn't have enough room for takeoff because he left the rooster there on the ground uneaten. We were all surprised at how sad we felt losing such a pain in the butt as that rooster.  Not a day went by that Captain Rooster didn't try to gouge us with his spurs.  He was a bloodthirsty bugger when it came to humans. But he was very good with the hens, always protecting them and chattering to them wh