Category Archives: Homestead

Fashion on the Homestead

I was flipping through channels the other day and watched a few minutes of “What Not to Wear.” They were so earnest and serious about how to still look good even if you’re just running to the grocery store. Hmm, I thought. I wonder what they would recommend for, say, shoveling chicken shit here at the farm?

For you city dwellers, here’s what the well-dressed homestead fashionista is wearing this season.

Easy fitting, durable and toasty Russell jersey knit pants, kinda like a lightweight sweatpants:

 

 

 

 

 

 

Top that with a versatile Carhartt zip hoody jacket – has nice deep pockets, and a drawstring on the hood for those windy days!

 

 

 

 

 

 

Don’t forget to accessorize with these trendy Muck chore boots. Sturdy rubber soles and waterproof Neoprene uppers! Basic black goes with everything.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Now just assemble all that together, grab your bucket and shit shoveler and you’re off to make a fashion statement!

The Epic Chicken Coop

I believe it’s time. Time to capture the epic adventure that is …. the Chicken Coop.

Really, I don’t know what the hell we were thinking. It went something like this. “Hey, let’s expand our chicken operation.” “Yeah! We could build a 10×12 building from scratch!”

Uh, yeah. So we did. It took forever. It cost a decent amount of money. We did it during the hottest summer in a bajillion years, and it was hot as hell. It generated more than one argument. It required many, many trips to Home Depot. I learned new vocabulary and a lot about building, especially the fact that a 2×4 is not really 2″ x 4″ which is really annoying. But through it all, we survived and – dare I say? – are just about done.

We started with a concrete slab and put a drain in the middle. Took a chance on some guy who posted up on Craigslist that he did smaller concrete jobs (which is hard to find, by the way). Turned out he was a recovering alcoholic who had a breathalyzer on his car, and had to pass in order to start the car. He did really good work and was a nice man.

We then framed out the walls, then had a coop-raising party. Thank god for friends, is all I can say. Walls went up. Roof trusses were made. Shingles, insulation, drywall. Many, many screws. Thousands of them. Many ended up in the laundry. Trim. Interior panels, and chicken wire. Sharp chicken wire. Nest boxes and a roost, and trying to figure out how to make it all fit. But here it is.







On the inside, we thought we’d install cheap-ass linoleum vertically. Uh, yeah. It’s not designed to go on that way, but hell, with a gallon of contact cement, it didn’t have a choice but to stick to the wall. The idea is if I need to hose the whole thing out, just spray it with the hose and stuff can go down the drain and off into the woods.

We also thought we’d divide the interior into three smaller areas, so *in theory* we could run different flocks of chickens or perhaps have a brooder area. There are nest boxes that aren’t nailed down (on purpose, for easier clean-up), and some face one way, some face the other because it’s technically in the other area. There are hinged doors on the nest boxes to make egg-gathering easy.

Trying our hand at building a PVC feeder. We have since tweaked the design just a tad – this wasn’t angled enough to keep the feed flowing.

Stupid chicken. All this for a hen who isn’t laying yet. Oh, make that 17 chickens. The 14 new ones we just got are just a teeny bit young to start, and our veterans were molting. Now we’re getting 1 egg a day. SLACKERS.

So we went from this:

The finished product. The orange doggie door is really weld curtain slats I got from scraps at work. On average, 10 out of 17 have figured out how to go in there at night. We are still training the remaining stupid chickens.

Things we learned:

  • Hardipanel is heavy as hell, and we probably should have just gone with plywood.
  • Roost 1.0 was too steep and too narrow between rungs. It has since been removed and we put in a different one.
  • We got our first chickens from a very nice man in the next town over. As we got to know him, we learned he’s a deer hunter and offered to let him hunt our land. When we went to expand the chicken operation and told him we’d be buying 10 more, he said “Oh, I’ll just give them to you.” Sweet! He gave us 14 instead of the 10 we planned for. 14 didn’t fit into that space, so we had to combine two of the three interior areas.
  • PVC feeder 1.0 was not angled right and we came up with PVC feeder 2.0 (picture pending).
  • Home Depot gives military veterans a 10% discount, you just have to ask.
  • Power tools are SO worth it, especially when we borrowed a roofing nailer from a friend.
  • That generator we bought a few years back – totally worth it.
  • C. is an awesome designer. He planned everything down to the last stick of lumber. I would just describe the features I wanted and voila!

It was a big friggin’ project and took forever. I will never be the same!

Chicken coop upgrades

Way more info/pics to follow, but here’s Chicken Coop 1.0 and now the new 2.0 released this past weekend!

Chicken Coop 1.0 can hold 3-4 hens and is designed to be moved around the yard. Half is enclosed and has a nest box and roost inside, the other half is open to the ground so they can scratch and peck for bugs and stuff. We’ve had this for a couple of years.

Chicken Coop 2.0 can accommodate around 40-50 chickens. It’s 10′ x 12′ on a concrete slab that has a drain in the middle of the floor for easy cleaning. There are three “pop doors” so they can go outside, and we have a system of dog kennels (6′ high chain link fence) for a huge outdoor run. It’s not done yet, but it’s at least water-tight and I can finish it off in the weeks to come.

Read this in January

It’s hot. It’s been hot since May. I am tired of sweaty t-shirts and crappy-looking hair. Heat rash. Bug bites.

Even my hat has sweat on it. It’s been too hot to go swimming because the water is too warm. There is a new level of body odor, despite soap and deodorant. The laundry requires ammonia to get the funk out. c. will be thankful it will be too cold to sift dirt. There is continual condensation on the windows because the humidity is as high as the temperature. Getting into a car will just suck the air out of your lungs, it’s so hot. Seatbelt buckles will burn you if you’re not careful. I’m sick of mowing. The bugs and flies are obnoxious. I’m tired of drinking – I could float a ship in the amount of water and Gatorade I’ve had. My “body spray” is mosquito repellent and my moisturizer is Neosporin for scrapes and Benadryl gel for bites.

This coming Thursday, it’s supposed to be back up to 97 again. !!!

Chicken lips

Every now and then, I give the chickens some plain yogurt just because it’s funny as hell to watch them. Oh, okay, also because it’s good for them, sheesh.

The stalkers approach.

 

 

 

 

 

 

They close in on their prey.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Oh, it’s on. It’s on like Donkey Kong.

 

 

 

 

 

She’s not supposed to have white lips. Er, beak.