Tuesday, November 20, 2007

"winter "is a-comin

Winter, such that it is, is headin to Texas and I thought it was a good idea to get toe coop winter ready. The big blue tarp Had disintegrated from the sun and began to shred so I got a silver & brown tarp to put over the coop . as you can see it's a bit too big but I got it to work. I probably was not supposed to do that much work but it had to be done. The silver tarp will hold in more heat than the blue would have done. It is darker in the back now as well so perhaps the girls will be happier to lay back there. I'd like to think that they will roost in the tarped part but so far the silly things huddle up at the front door at night to sleep.

Thursday, November 01, 2007

I have been crocheting up a storm since I can't do much else. These fingerless mitts are fun and fast to make.

Saturday, October 27, 2007

and they are outta here!

So I finally got my fibroids removed on the 16th. 15 'broids removed! No wonder we never had that second child. Well now I hope things get much better period wise. All that anemia was for the birds. I'm going to scan in the pix when I get the scanner fixed. The recovery is about 6 weeks and I am bored already. I've made a purse, read 3 books, watched very little TV, learned about Australian colonists and done a million crossword puzzles. So I thought I'd update the old blog.
I've managed to lose about 20#in the past 3 months. I've been diligent about watching my carb intake and I've been walking 45min a day and Bam 15# went whoosh. Then I lost 5 # from the surgery. I've been trying to walk to the end of the block every day in the past week. I get real tired but it does not hurt too much. The lower carb intake seems to have a good effect on my blood sugar as well. I miss eating carbs, it's so much easier to cook with carbs but my diabetes seems to really prefer 30g carb a day.
Kevin has been wonderful helping me as I heal. He really has stepped up to the plate.

The chickens are doing great giving 3-5 eggs a day. So many that I have given some to the neighbors and some of my coworkers.

Thursday, July 26, 2007

Oh Happy Day!

The girls are 20 weeks old and this morning I got up to have my coffee with them and this was right by the water bucket! I'm so excited! I had noticed most of their combs getting red and when I try to pet them I get the power squat but I really am suprised to find an egg already.

Monday, June 25, 2007

latest obsession- Ferments!!

Well as you can see we ate 'Roo, He was very tasty. Thank you Roo!
My latest obsession is fermented foods. I'm trying a sauerkraut today and I also have kefir going in the milk and a kombucha going in the spigot jug. I've been reading Nourishing Tradition s by Sally Fallon and have gone back to my grain eating ways. the low carb diet was not working for me and I feel more creative using grains as a small part of my diet. And since money is tight right now being able to eat rice & Beans flavored with a tiny bit of meat has been a life/wallet saver. The LC was hurting our bottom line. Now I want to eat more locally so I'm going to spend that savings on locally raised grass fed beef and pastured chicken.

Wednesday, May 30, 2007


I think I'll go to Mansfield on Friday and have Cock-a-doodle-roo done in. I sold 4 of the pullets yesterday so I am down to 6. When Roo goes I'll have the final 5. I'll be sad to see him go. He isn't noisy but he does crow. At least he has the decency to wait until about 7am to do it. He is also the least skittish of the birds. He will let me pick him up with minimal thrashing and complaining.
Also I think I'll go back to the gallon waterer rather than the 3 gal behemouth I have now. The 10 birds got even the big waterer dirty very quickly. I was hoping that since it was larger and they couldn't roost on top on it or get on the cinderblock it rests on the water would stay cleaner longer. But no such luck. I think it will be better for the girls to fill the waterer more frequently anyway. I didn't go on the weekend trip any way so I think I can probably sell the big mamma jamma waterer.

Monday, May 21, 2007

hearding chickens

I can hardly believe haw fast these things grow. they are 11 weeks old this week. After having the coop in one place for a month I decided it was time to clean it. I put an ad on Craigslist and this man came and scooped all the poop for me! I got a clean coop and he got free poop! I love that. So all it really took was Kevin & me moving the coop then moving it back and adding more shavings. Easy peasy. The pix above are of my chicken herding exploits. I let all 10 roam the back yard for a bit then had toget them back in the coop. The biggest monster in the yard is the garden rake, well the lawn mower is the biggest and meanest, really. So I used the rake to scare them back into the coop. It took about 3 min. I was shocked. I thought it would take half an hour to get them all back in but they were very compliant.
I've been feeding them Dumor's chick starter but I think when this bag is gone I'm going to try to find them an organic feed. I may have to drive up to Greenville, more than an hour north east, to find some, but if we are going to eat the eggs these gals lay I want them to be as clean as possible. After the tainted chicken feed ( melamine tainted feed) noise I'm really apprehensive about the commercial foodstock.

Monday, May 07, 2007


Can you find the male? Spencer has named him Cock-a-doodle-roo. He sure is handsome but he is destined for the fridge. The other 4 I can't keep are going to buyers from Craig's list.

Saturday, April 14, 2007

So yesterday tornados whipped through the Metroplex. An apartment building near us lost it's roof. We had winds of 75 miles an hour and a downpour that rivaled anything in the tropics. And the coop withstood it all. The interior was still dry as well. I'm so glad it could withstand such extreme weather. I have hardwire cloth in the bottom as a precaution against the opossums that visit the back yard. So this baby is rather safe. The chicks are doing just fine in it. They go into the windblock at night and all rest, some even roost on the top edge. Miss Bracocin is doing just fine with the other birds. She is somewhat smaller that the others but sure can hold her own in the brawls. Cock-a-doodle-roo is as he is named, a Roo. His comb is bigger and much pinker than anyone elses and he spars with anything that moves. I'm not sure if any other chick is male tho. I guess I'll have to wait a bit longer before I can make the decision on who stays & who goes.

Monday, April 09, 2007

chickens outta da house!

I moved the chickens out to the coop today. I'm so worried about the overnight, but that seems normal. The chicks seem to like their new home and some of them are even roosting on the roost bar I provided tho most choose to roost ontop of the brooder. Tmw I'm going to buy some hardware cloth to put on the bottom as I am very concerned about coons & possums getting to the chicks. I hope they have enough sense to go into the brooder for the night as I tried to put them in and they kept flocking to my feet outside the brooder. Silly chickens.

Wednesday, April 04, 2007

coherent Econo-Chicken Tractor plans

3 2"X4"X10' Pressure treated boards
4 L shaped galvanized metal plates for making a square butt joint
deck screws
8 10' schedule 40 1/2" diameter PVC pipe
1 4' Schedule 10 1/2" diameter PVC pipe
3 1/2" 90 degree elbow joints
12 1/2" conduit clamps
3 2' X 25' green PVC coated chix wire
300 8" outdoor rated zip ties
2 very large blue camping tarps( scavanged from my camping set up)
bungee cords to hold on tarp
1/2" 90degree elbow joint for door latch

make rectangular frame with 2X4's, Deck screws and L shaped plates
mark 2' intervals on outside of frame for PVC ribbing.
screw on conduit clamps at marked intervals.
insert PVC into conduit clamps, bend to make hoop shape , tighten conduit after pipe is inserted.
After all 6 ribs are formed zip tie top spine down the lenght of the ribs at top.
Attach chix wire to frame. I attached it at each rib point rather than going the lenght of the frame. Make Sense? I used zip ties. A lot of zipties.
make door. Attach elbow joints to 4' section of pipe. Bent 10' section into Elbow joints. Cover with chix wire. I attached this horizontally so there was a very small gap at the top for the latch. attach door to frame on one size using zip ties. Place an elbow joint on the end of the top spine, close door and turn joint up to form a latch. secure door at bottom with a bungee.
Wrap rectangle of tarp around back of tractor, bungee on. Drape rectangle of tarp over top of tractor bungee on.
hang heat lamp inside with chain over top spine. tie excess cord up, feed outdoor rated extension cord thru chix wire at gap in the 2 tarps. Place tractor in desired spot.
This is light enough that Kevin & I could pick it up from the bottom and carry it over to the garden and I could drag it back & forth by myself. We shall see how it stands up to the wind. I have 4 screw in dog stale out posts and some chain if I need to anchor the bugger down in high wind.
I have already posted the pix in previous entries so I wont repeat myself here.

Monday, April 02, 2007

finished coop sans chicks

Just as I get the coop finished I look at the forcast and it will be getting down to the low 50's this week. Too chilly for the chicks so they will have to wait. But here it is in all it's glory just waiting for it's guests. I'm sure those chicks would like to get out of that bin. there has been alot of butt pecking in the last few days. I have not seen any in the last 2 days though. I hope it stops and they can hold out till they are 5 weeks to go outside.

Sunday, April 01, 2007

here is my chicken tractor. the bottom is 10X4 Pressure treated 2X4's held together with a L shaped metal brace. the ribs are 10' PVC schedule 40 pipes held on the outside of the frame with condiut clamps. the top mid rib is put on with outdoor rated zip ties. the chicken wire is green PVC coated wire held on with zip ties and stapled at the bottom. the tarps are camping tarps held on with bungee cords. This has taken me 2 days to do with no helpers. I probably could have gotten it finished in one day with help. I still have to fashion a door somehow. I think I'll use the PVC pipes bent into a U with elbow joints and a bottom piece. I can probably get the door to swing using zip ties but I'm not sure what kind of latch I can use. I have tomorrow off so I can probably get that finished then.

Saturday, March 31, 2007

chicken tractor

The framework for the tractor is done. I've done it all myself, which is amazing. I do need to brace the 4 corners of the frame so it is more stable and won't torque apart when I move it. Now all I have to do is figure out how to get the nest box in there and cover it with chicken wire. I spent 160 on materials but I didn tuse al of them. doubling the PVC pipes made the ribs about 9 ft tall, way too tall for the yard and the galvanized nails I just didn't need and I think I bought way too much chicken wire, but that will always come in handy.

Friday, March 30, 2007

The chickens are getting bigger so quickly I can't believe my eyes! I really have to get a coop ready this weekend. I've had to get a bigger rubbermaid bin to put them in and I still think it is too small. I've come home from work for 2 days now and found a chick with a bloody butt. I made an isolation pen out of the green bin for the 2 injured birds and bought some blue lotion and this hot pick spray that tastes like cayenne to try to keep the picking at bay. I think that they are too crowed. But they are still too young to go outside full time. What to do?
The sick chick is still hanging on, in fact she looks pretty good. SHe is substantially smaller that the other chicks and still had the lump in/on her neck. I'm thinking it is a deformity rahter than an illness. She is still in the house in a box right next to the computer. The others are out in the garage. I wish they were still in the house so I could keep an eye on them but they were kicking up so much dust that they had to go out of the house.

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Impacted crop

I think we are going to lose Spencer's favorite chick, Miss Bracocin. I think she has an impacted crop. She can't stand, has a hard lump in her throat and just lays on her side panting. Spencer is so sad. But this is a life lesson, everything that lives must die. It's just so hard to watch this chick suffer. I can't euthanize her. I'm a bit surprised at myself. I guess I want to give her every chance to make it.

Monday, March 19, 2007

chicken antics

I got the chicks a perch and put a kitty ball on a string and hung it for them to peck at. They LOVE the ball, pecking and pulling at the string. It's pretty funny. A few of them are using the perch as well although they fall off a lot.
I put them on pine bedding yesterday and they love to scratch at it and kick it everywhere. This is so fun. I just hope I can get a coop made in the next few weeks.

Saturday, March 17, 2007

day 6 Chicken update

I moved the chicks to a larger rubbermaid bin and put them on pine shavings instead of the shop towels. They are picking at the shavings and scratching them everywhere. I guess that is to be expected since this is new for them. I hope they eat their food and don't get plugged up from the bark.

Friday, March 16, 2007


The chicks are getting feathers already! It's only been 5 days! I think I am going to need a bigger brooder and soon. I hate to put them out in the garage as I want them to bond with us but I think they are going to be too big to keep in here in about 3 weeks. I really like holding them and so does Spencer. She is really good with the babies. I've got about 4 weeks to get a coop design down and built so I really better shake a leg. It is so hard to decide. With my very limited carpentry skills I don't have many options. I'd like a nice looking coop that doesn't scream hillbilly since this is Dallas, but I only have hillbilly skills and pathetic ones at that. Frankly, I'm an insult to hillbillies. It is going to be hard to choose which ones to keep and which ones to cull. Spencer has already named one Madison, one Spencer, one Meg and one Miss Bercoccin. I may have bitten off more than I can chew here.

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

"Can't take my Eyes off of you"

I just can't stop looking at the little fuzzballs. They are getting real feathers on their wings and are pooping up a storm. I have to change their paper 2X a day. I am so in love. I just have to figure out how to get a coop made in the next 8 weeks.

Tuesday, March 13, 2007

Chicken Mama

Yep, I'm a chicken mama. I drove the 156 miles to Ideal Poultry in Cameron Tx and picked up 10 adorable Delaware chicks. I'm so excited I can hardly stand it. The peeps are so cute and tiny. Picking one up is incredible, so tiny yet strong. Gaze upon them and awwwww. Now I am forced to get the coop built in the next 8 weeks. I can't keep all 10 so I think 6 are destined for the freezer if I can find some one to butcher them as it is illegal to do so in the city. I'd do it if I could but I don't want to antagonize the neighbors.
My brooder is a storage box with newspaper and shop towels on the bottom, a reflector clamp lamp with a 100 watt lizard warming light and the waterer & feeder. I have a larger storage box to move them to as they get bigger. I just have to make a lid for it.
I made soap last week as well. I really am feeling better these days.

Tuesday, February 27, 2007

back to soaping

I finally got over my slobby self and made soap. What fun it was and the house smells great! Here is a picture of my efforts. The orange soap and the big soap are made by the Hot Process method. The one in the middle is sone by Cold Process. The HP soaps are useable now. The CP soap will be ready in a month or so. It also will turn very dark due to the fragrance I used (Lavender, vanilla, patchouli). It was very fun to get back to soaping, I've really missed it. It is a bit like riding a bike, you don't forget how but you do get a bit rusty. I also made a green batch that is not ready to cut. All the soaps have silk and sugar in them and the tan & green ones have clays in them. I think that I put too much clay in the big HP bar.