Boy, we’ve been bad about posting to this blog! That’s what happens sometimes, I guess. What’s been going on around the homestead? Not a whole lot. General maintenance around the house mostly. The garden didn’t really do all that great this year. The ground needs a lot of work. Still, we got some things out of the garden. We’ll aim to do more this next year.
The chickens are all doing well. We’ve got far too many eggs but they’re really good eggs so that’s nice. We recently had a cold snap and snow! The chickens didn’t know what to think about that.
McCoy loves the snow and had fun chasing snow balls. Xander thought that was pretty funny, but wasn’t too sure what to think of his first real snow.
Right before the snow came it was rainy and the tree in our front yard fell down — away from the house! It hit the fence instead. The ground was wet enough that it just pulled the roots right up.
I went out that morning and cut off the branches with our handsaw, and part of the trunk but didn’t have time to do the rest. Plus I decided that it’d take quite awhile to get through the trunk with a small pruning saw. The next day when we went to town we stopped at the store and bought a small, inexpensive, electric chainsaw that looked like it could do the job. Today I went out and cut the rest of the tree into more manageable pieces. The new chainsaw worked well and I didn’t have any trouble. The tree still needs to get cut into woodstove-sized pieces, but at least it’s off the fence. I also hauled the branches from out in front of the property over to our field for future disposal.
I want to start planning for the rest of the winter and next year. I think the next thing I’ll do is plant our garlic in the Earthboxes, and start figuring out what else we’re going to do.
We bought chickens on the 7th and set them up in a temporary box.
But chickens grow fast. The cardboard box (originally from our lawn mower) would not be sufficient for eight growing chicks. We had to get something else built. I’d already fixed up the old shed/chicken coop, including a fenced off run, but they won’t be able to be out there for a while yet. So yesterday I drew a quick sketch of what I was thinking for the box.
The box would be built in two sections to make it easier to move. Each would be 2.5′ x 3′ x 2′ with a hinged lid. That’d give the chickens 15 sqft of space, almost 2 sqft per chick. Enough room for them to grow. With my ‘plan’ in hand I went off to Lowe’s to buy the materials needed. I bought inexpensive 1″x2″ for the frame and some 1″x6″ boards to go around the base. Plus chicken wire, a new handsaw to make it easier to cut the boards, hinges, screws and extra staples.
When I got the materials home (after lunch) I started working on the project. First step, cut all the wood into the appropriate lengths.
Unfortunately I didn’t have enough staples to get all of the chicken wire done. I got it one one side and today we’ve got to get more bedding, food, another feeder and waterer, so I’ll get more when we go out. But I didn’t want the chickens to have to stay longer in the small box so I set up the one side of their new box and used a piece of cardboard to block the open side.
We also added a dowel for a perch. Later the other side should be set up, but they’re already enjoying the extra room. They’ll grow fast, before we know it they’ll be moving outside!
Given the nice weather lately I’ve been out digging up the compacted ground where the pool used to be to prepare it for planting. There’s a lot of rocks. Tons of rocks. Most are smallish but I’m pulling out the bigger rocks and will use them as a border. Ultimately I’ll probably divide this circular bed into quarters for planting. I’m thinking of doing more circular beds. I think that’d be interesting. I could do more beds of different sizes from a small area that might be a couple zucchini. That’d be fun.
I worked from the outside around the bed inward. Alexander was out playing in the grass until he decided that the dirt looked like more fun.
I finished two of the outside rings, leaving the center still to dig. The ground is packed down pretty hard from the pool. Beside the stones I’ve pulled out I also took out concrete paving stones that had been put around underneath the pool footings and had been buried over time. I’m going to reuse those for a walkway.
Baby-proofing the house has been a challenge. I’m sure everyone deals with this in their own way. When we first moved in we put things where it made sense. Then Alexander started crawling, and sitting up, and suddenly books and DVDs needed to move. The television needed to move. We ended up pulling a lot of stuff out of the living room but that wasn’t enough. He could get into the kitchen, dining room and down the hall and none of those areas were safe. The wood stove is in the dining room. So we barricaded the entrance to the dining room and kitchen with large plastic tubs that we could step over but it would keep him confined.
But that proved to be a pain. Particularly for Poppy as the jumping over the tubs aggravated her bad knee. Plus there has been plenty of stumbling and tripping. Not good.
We tried purchasing a gate that could span the wide entrance to the dining room but it arrived broken. We sent it back and the replacement came broken too. We gave up on that option and talked about building something ourselves. Then before we knew it Alexander wasn’t only crawling but standing up and cruising around. For awhile the barricades still held but he’s started using his strength to simply shove the tubs out of his way. Poppy helped, she showed him that they could be pushed by squeezing between them. So we had to move fast and get something up.
The new wood gate runs along the front of Kate’s table/desk area and then has a gate across the entrance. It’s easy to operate with one hand and can keep the dogs in the dining room and Alexander safe in the other room. Because it is past the front door it gave Alexander a new area, about 3′ x 6′ with a different floor to explore. He spent a lot of time last night playing in that new area. He also walked around the gate/barrier testing it for any weaknesses, trying to squeeze between the slats (too small), and generally checking to see if there was any way he could get through. It held against the baby onslaught!
The gate and barricade along the table is made from our old futon frame that we hauled along from the apartment because we figured that we’d find a use for it. We picked up the hinges, latch, nails and a spare board that I used to mount the hinges. Using the frame made it much easier to put up quickly. It’s functional at least. Another piece will be used to block off the hallway. Once I get the repainted kitchen cupboard doors up and secured then Alexander will be able to go into the kitchen too. I’m sure he’ll be excited.