Growing Herbs

Click here.  $.99 at time of posting.

growing herbs

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Deal Alert! Container Tomatoes

Click here or the image.  Free at time of posting.

tomato containers

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Deal Alert! Organic Pest Control Kindle Book

Another free kindle book at time of posting.  Click here or the image.

pest control

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Deal Alert! Free Kindle Homesteading Book

I haven’t had a chance to read this yet but the material looks good, it has pretty good reviews, and best of all…it’s FREE!

Click here or the picture.






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Coop Security and a New Waterer

This morning when I went out to let the chickens out of the coop and into the run my dog was sniffing around the run furiously. The only reason I can think he would do that is because something was snooping around. That made installing the hardware cloth around the bottom of the pen more urgent.

I also needed to get the new waterer completed. I had started it the other day.  The kids and I met my wife at Home Depot on her lunch break so I got some things I had been needing to get, including some chain and quick links to hang the waterer.  A couple days ago I had cleaned out a food grade five gallon bucket I had.  One thing I had been trying to figure out is how to hang the bucket without having the chain possibly slide around on the handle.  This is what I came up with.

I took a scrap 2×4 and cut it down the middle giving me a 2×2-ish.  I then cut that down the middle again.



I then scribed a line down the middle of each piece and carved it out a little using a flat head screw driver and a utility knife.



This channel was for the wire handle of the five gallon bucket.  I figured that by making a new “handle” that would be too big for the chain to slide past I would be set.  It ended up looking like this.


I simply drilled a couple pilot holes and screwed it together.


Last night I drilled four 5/16″ holes in the bottom of the bucket and threaded in the water nipples.  I got 25 of them from amazon for under $8.  After screwing them in, I took four scrap pieces of 2×4 and glued them to the bottom of the bucket.  I did this so that I can set the bucket down without breaking the nipples.



Today after having purchased the chain and quick links I hung the bucket over the 2×4 I have added to the run for just this purpose.


I added a couple screws in the 2×4 to keep the chain from slipping or sliding.


After getting it hung I went to check and make sure it was working.  I pushed on the nipples and hardly a drop of water would come out.  It didn’t matter which one I tried.  The only thing I could think of was that since added the top to the bucket a vacuum had been created.  So I added a couple holes to the top side of the bucket.  As I drilled the first one I could hear the pressure release.


So now the waterer works, I just need the chickens to figure it out.  All of the reviews say that the chickens will figure it out themselves, no training is necessary.  Until I see them using it, I will make sure they have plenty of fresh water.

This evening after dinner I got to work on adding the hardware cloth.  I started with an electric stapler but quickly realized that it wasn’t going to be sinking substantial enough staples to hold the skirting securely so I brought out the air stapler.


One side done


Another side rolled out. Head of security is checking my work

Rather than cutting out squares on the corner I just cut a slit in the hardware cloth and overlapped it.

IMG_4645-0 IMG_4647

The door side involved the most cutting because I had to cut not only the corners to overlap it, but also around the door.  I tried to be as careful as possible about leaving sharp ends anywhere because there will be plenty of kids around the chickens and I want to eliminate as many scrape and cut hazards as possible.





You can tell from the pictures that I finished by the last light of the day.  I did take a minute to look at the sunset, it was pretty spectacular.



Hopefully the skirting adds just a little bit more security to the coop such that if I needed to leave the door from the run into the coop open for a few days, I wouldn’t have to worry too much about the chickens safety.  Hopefully they figure out the waterer tomorrow, we will see.




















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I picked up our eight new hens this evening. They are about thirteen weeks old and are Amberlinks. They should start laying in about a month. The kids are understandably excited. Our oldest has always really liked chickens, and second son just today realized how much he likes them.

The Amberlinks are the latest hybrid that are supposed to lay as well or better than ISA browns, although they lay a slightly smaller egg. They are also supposed to do better free ranging than ISAs. Not only that, but they are supposed to be very docile and friendly and if today is any indication they certainly are. Our kids had no problem picking them up and petting them. Our friends at Destiny Farm have been selling started birds this year and luckily for me they had these ones available to pick up today.

I am now in the process of making a nipple waterer out of a five gallon bucket. I will post on that separately later. I also need to add the skirting to the coop.

Our dog is very interested in the new additions and his scent all around the coop should hopefully help to keep them safe.

It is nice to have chickens again. I can’t wait until we start getting eggs, one month! Now I need to fight chicken math, which is a way to describe to multiplication of chickens once you start with them. Did I mention I have a friend giving us a free rooster?

We had my sister in law and nephews over for dinner tonight and one of my nephews said to my kids, “I liked your old house better.” Both our older boys answered that they liked this house so much better because we had a golf cart, and sheep, and chickens, and so much space. I’ll be honest, it warmed my heart.





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Release the Chickens

That’s what I hope to do this weekend. I need to go pick them up from our farmer friend who sells started birds.  I decided to leave it outside the sheep pen and closer to the house so that it is easier for us to get into and out of.  I have a feeling that at some point I will move it into the pen, but this will be it’s home at least temporarily. This is the view out our window.
I had used some moving dollies and a hand cart to move the coop off the trailer. I blocked it up in order to get the dollies underneath it and the whole thing went rather well.

I got the hardware cloth the other day and still need to put that onto the coop but it shouldn’t take long with an air stapler. You can see in the following pictures that while some skirting is better than nothing, I want something more substantial.



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The Coop is Done, it Just Needs a Home

I got the second coat of paint on the trim.





I am happy with the way it came out.  This cements my desire to repaint the barn blue and keep the white trim.  I think I am going to put the coop between the sheep pen and our house for now and see how that goes.  I can always move it if necessary.

I wanted to show a little more about the coop.  The man who build it has thought about most everything.  He wired in an outlet so that you can run an extension cord to the coop, but then have two outlets to plug in a light bulb or a water heater.





As you can see from a previous picture the nest boxes are accessible from the outside, which is nice.  He had put one roosting bar in the coop.  I added a second one.




He also made it so that you can open and close the coop door from the outside which is convenient.  It’s hard to tell from the pictures but he left some of the chicken wire overlap on the bottom of the coop to create a skirt around the coop.  There is probably about 6″ of skirting to help deter predators from digging under the coop.  I ordered some hardware cloth with smaller holes and will overlap it more to create an even larger skirting.

The kids, especially our second son, have been wanting to pull some carrots.  I knew they weren’t going to be very big, but frankly I was surprised that they even survived the transplanting.  This is what they got.



Before bedtime while I was working on figuring out how I was going to get the coop off the trailer so I can use it for some other chores I have, the clouds looked pretty cool, so I took a picture.




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More Paint and Suggestions Needed

While the baby was sleeping I was able to get the second coat of blue paint on the coop. I don’t think pictures are necessary because it really doesn’t look any different.

In the evening I was able to get one coat of white paint on the trim. By the time I finished I needed to get inside and help with bedtime and it was getting dark so I didn’t get any pictures. I hope that by daylight it looks ok.

Here is where I need suggestions. I am trying to figure out where to put the coop. My initial thought was to put it in the middle of the sheep pasture hoping that the presence of the sheep would discourage any would be chicken killers. But I want the kids to be able to collect eggs and be around the chickens and they aren’t allowed in the pen unless I am there to hold George. So here are the next two thoughts that I have. I could put the coop near the fence close to one of the gates possibly even allowing access to the nest boxes from outside the pen. This would make it possible to sneak in with the chickens before George noticed them. Or I could leave the coop outside the pen altogether. Am I missing another option? Open to all suggestions.


I was thinking near the water bucket if I were to put the coop in the pen, thoughts?

I have been gradually trying to cut the grass down in between the trees in our rows. I hadn’t had time to do it early in the year so I had just been cutting down rows. It looks a lot nicer to have it cut, but it takes more time as I need to use the walk behind mower instead of the tractor.


Trees with grass cut between them near the driveway



Trees without grass cut between them, not as nice(although it leaves flowers for the bees)




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Little Blue Coop

I still hadn’t found time or a trailer worth buying to build a coop on so I had this coop built for me.


I still plan on building a larger shed on a trailer, but this buys me time to do that and then I can either sell this one or use it to keep specific breeds together for hatching eggs.

The man I bought it from sells the painted red, or unpainted. I wanted to have it match the eventual color of our barn so I am painting it blue with white trim. Here it is with the first coat of paint.



My oldest son helped me get it painted this afternoon. Fortunately it was warm and breezy so it dried out sufficiently before a big rain storm came through. Here was the sunset after the storm.



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