Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Around the Homestead: chickens, chick hatching, poison ivy, planting, and more.

Joel is suppose to be home in 45 minutes. Dinner is in the crockpot... can I write this post in just 45 minutes, sitting on the hassock, with my "sweet blogging setup", and two kids playing in the background or using my shirt as something to hold onto as they "furniture walk"?

On that note: Isaac walked a few steps for the first time yesterday! He walked to Noah! Noah was seriously so excited. It was adorable. He reacted the same way my sister did when she saw it happen today too. Isaac was too tired by the time Joel got home yesterday to do anything like that. So Joel has yet to see it

Joel has been working more often than he has in the past. Quite a few more hours. It hasn't really been that easy, but he'll have Thursday and Friday off this week - so that is awesome!

So lets talk about what's been going on around the yard/homestead, shall we?

two chicken tractors, garden, and toys
there have been a lot of occasions for family muck boot days.

My dad mentioned that we had a ton of poison ivy on the property. I honestly didn't notice because all the poison ivy has been killed before I see it in the past. I used to think wild strawberry leaves were poison ivy because that was the closest I'd seen. So I got to see it this year and tried a simple recipe I found online for treating it. It worked! It kills the other plants the solution touches, but so does Roundup supposedly.

Dead poison ivy!

I used this recipe from care2.com that I just stumbled upon in a google search. And I put the vinegar solution in a Smith 1 Gallon Bleach and Chemical Sprayer that I found on Amazon. The sprayer worked well and allowed me to aim. I could imagine the pain of using a spray bottle, and I wanted to be a little more precise than dumping the stuff on it. I only applied it for one day. But I did it in the early afternoon and went back out before dark to empty the container on the plants. I didn't want there to be a chance that I missed any. I expected to have to do it in another couple days, but I didn't have to.

I planted thyme, lavender, rosemary and rhubarb one day with Melissa after we weeded and planted in her flower garden. I think my front herb garden is one of my favorites. :-) Joel was going to plant his own rhubarb, but I knew he was having a hard time getting to everything, so I got it done for him. I can't wait to harvest from them in the future! Maybe next year we'll get to our strawberry patch like we wanted to so that we can have homegrown strawberry rhubarb pie.

herbs: chives, oregano, mint, lavender, thyme, lavender and parsley, rosemary. Three rhubarb. My raised salad garden.

We had the chickens in a brooder inside. We started on paper towel, but that was expensive, so after four or five days, I switched to pine shavings. The shavings got wet from their water and started to smell awful! And because chickens naturally scratch at things, they were kicking up so much dust that I was dusting every day.

Homemade waterer, black light heat lamp.

Basil liked them. She only tried to reach in and swat them a couple times.

They caught on to the waterer pretty fast.
In the time they were inside, our chick hatched! Only one hatched. :-( Two never started and one was a miscarriage. We knew this because we candled them. But here is the chick coming out! Noah loved the little baby and put his hand on the incubator and told it "I love you".

We kept the chick separated from the others in a cardboard box that we put in the brooder with the other chicks. They had a chance to hear the new baby and look at it before we let them roam together. When we took the cardboard box out and put them together, a few actually put their wings around the new baby chick and kept it warm. It was the craziest thing.

The little baby sleeping on one of the NH Reds.

We moved them into our chicken coop next. This is the same chicken coop that Joel and my Dad moved accross the property on rollers. Joel buttoned it up, made a lot of repairs, and then we painted it. It was perfect for the chicks in there and they LOVED it. We kept them in there until about 6 weeks old.

turning it around. Joel had to take the whole back off and clean it out.

Pretty near where we have it now.

I might upload a video of the chicks in the fixed and painted coop. But it will probably take all night... so I'll add later.

Next they moved into our chicken tractor. It wasn't complete yet, so they sat in the same spot for a couple days each time. Now we are doing a better job of moving them every day.

They loved it! They love the grass, weeds, clover... all of it.

from the side before wheels

You can see a little hand truck sticking up behind the tractor. Not the best way to move this one. So Joel added wheels.
And I guess I need to take some recent pictures with the wheels on it. It moves much better now!

I'm also realizing I never got to tell you that I milked a cow for the first time! I milked my friends cow while she was away picking up a carriage in Pennsylvania. Her cow is so sweet. It's work. And it takes me twice as long as it takes my friend. It kind of made me want a cow more though. I like the work. But I don't want a cow until quite a few other things are settled around here. It will be a mini cow. Just letting you know... :-)

chilling the milk

So I didn't finish in just 45 minutes. Joel got home and let me upload the pictures. Update again soon!

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