Friday, April 10, 2009

Rain, rain-go away!!

Of course, being Ohio, the weather changes yet again. Last week the forecast called for snow & freezing rain continuing through this week, we even had 2" on the ground earlier in the week. The weather changed dramatically, and we had nice sunny weather the past 2 days. Last night it called for light rain late and early this morning, then clearing up...........NOPE. Now it's going to be light rain all day today, cool and cloudy all weekend, then rain through most of next week. I really dispise this time of year. The weather constantly changes, giving you a 1 or 2 day break to get something done in between bouts of rain, cold, or even snow. It's just frustrating yanno? I have so many things I need/want to get done outside. Plus I'm tired of being stuck in the house with the layoff. Sure, there are things I can do in here, but I need to be outside. I need to do something physical. 3 months off and I'm starting to feel kind of useless, and need to get out and sweat my ass off so I feel I've accomplished something. Maybe I'm just getting a little Anyone got a Midol? I do feel a bit bloated......hahaha.

I did manage to get a few things done over the past 2 days at least. I had enough material left over from the canopy/carport disaster to make another 6 foot section of chicken run. I intended to open it up for more room for the hens, but instead left it for the 2 month old's. I left the fence at the end of the origional run, attached the new section to that, then attached the tractor to the end of the new one. This way, the young birds have their own area more than just the tractor, but are still seperated from the hens. I just cut a hole in the side of the lower tractor fencing, and taaadaaa, the youngun's had their own run. They wasted no time in exploring the area, and started scratching right away. I need to find something to make a cleanout door still, but I'm in no hurry for that. I'll check with the neighbor. He had a few junk cages laying around that I might be able to take a door from.

The new chicks are still downstairs in the house, in fact, not 8 feet from me now. They're wayyyyyy more energetic than the 3 americauana's were at a month old. These 5 are always moving, never stop chattering, and seem to play more than the others did. The 3 barred rocks are HUGE compared to what the others were at a month old, and the buff has taken to perching on top of the waterer. I actually found her perched up there asleep yesterday when I came in to take a break and check e-mails. They'll be going out with the other young ones next week when this weather changes. If need be, I'll put a heat lamp in the tractor for them.

Eventually, when all the young ones are old enough, I'll cut the fencing between the 2 runs and the whole flock will have access to the entire area. It won't give them more room, but the additional nesting boxes in the tractor, giving them a total of six. The whole thing isn't really what I wanted, but there was no choice in making due with what was on hand. Maybe later in the year when I find work, we can make something better and a bit bigger. For now, this will do just fine.
Yesterday, I did give the chainsaw another good workout. I had 3 pine logs behind the garage that I dragged home from across the orchard late last fall and never got to. All three were about 12 feet long and 18" in diameter. I got them all cut into roughly 12" lengths, and started bringing them around in a wheelbarrow. I decided to do a little camoflage with some of them, and stacked them in front of the chicken tractor to just above it's height. We're barely within zoning laws here, so I figured that from the street no one would see a second structure on the run and just a stack of logs. I don't really need the firewood anyway. I have a good stack going already, and there are 2 more large sections of apple tree down that I'll drag home and add to the pile. The one right next to the pile may have to come down sometime too. It lost it's center last year in the big windstorm, (pics of it somewhere in last summer's posts), and now looks like a giant ugly Y shaped tree. I'll have to talk to the neighbor about that this weekend when I borrow his chipper to FINALLY get rid of the giant pile of brush I have above the woodpile. I was going to bring it home last night when I walked over, but by the time we all got done talking and watching the kids, it was too dark to fight with dragging it across the field. Both of his son's now have little 4-wheelers, and they just HAD to have me watch them ride, lol. The youngest one told me that the chickens needed to see his new 4-wheeler, LOL, I told him they didnt need to quite yet, maybe this weekend. They're unruly little 4 and 5 year olds, but they're my little buddies. Every time they see me outside, they come across the field to see what I'm doing. If I can just get them to take their tonka trucks and little wheelbarrow
On Wednsday, we manage to do some grocery shopping. Our stock has been used a lot more than we realized with this layoff, so we needed to get some things to refill what areas we could. We only shop good sale items, and went to 2 different stores to get what was on sale. One store is normally higher than anyone else, but when they have sales, they are GOOD sales. Pasta was 10/$10, canned vegetables were 10/$10, (we've eaten almost all of last years corn-sigh), and a few other good deals. Next week's ad has 2lb bags of coffee beans at buy1/get one, so hopefully we can buy 2 or 3 and get 2 or 3. Now that I'm used to grinding fresh beans for every pot, I don't think I could go back to regular old ground canned coffee. The coffee maker finally died a few weeks ago, so all we are using now is a stovetop perculator or non-electric drip anyway, and both make much better coffee. (gotta admit I used the electric one in the mornings, I just wanted to have COFFEE and not wait at 6am, lol) We'll have to check the checkbook and see what we can get this weekend. If not, then it will have to wait till my checks go in on Tuesday or Wednsday.
There isn't much else going on now. I'm slowly getting my fishing gear out and cleaned up, and ready for this year. My friend Bob bought a new boat last year and keeps calling me, itching to get out and do some fishing. I miss all the old times spent shooting with Bobby Earl all day, so fishing with him will be fun. OK....his name is Robert Earl (bob), but I've always said that Bobby Earl suits him better, it's more hillbilly than "Robert", lol. I can't even think to count how many .22's and .22 mags we shot together at my dads place. We had a day-long competition once, hehehe. My Marlin .22 mag versus his heavy barreled Ruger. He didnt know that I did a 2 hour barrel polish on mine, or that I spent an entire day polishing the action and trigger. ( I even added an overtravel screw to the trigger) Needless to say, that old Marlin outshot that Ruger nearly every time. Ahhhh....fond memories of "poofy" birds.....don't ask! hahahahahahaha I can't wait to get out with him again, he's a fun guy to be around. Now who wouldn't want to spend a day out on this?????

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Growing again.....

Since getting the last 3 chicks, we've both had the urge to get more chickens. I've watched Craigslist and have seen a few, but most have been too far away. I called on one last week for silkies, and never got a return call. I've been calling the two local TSC stores, and theirs aren't in yet. Then I find out that they have a minimum of 6,(we only want 3), and that you have to show id and sign for them. SIGN for a chick? WTH? No thanks. SO I find this ad on CL yesterday, make a call, and Lisa and I head out after she gets home from work. They listed a pretty good selection of breeds, and we set ourselves on Barred Rocks. We get there, go inside, and wow, these people have a really nice setup! Nice and clean, all covered & heated, indoors, very impressive. The man picks out 3 female BR's, and I ask Lisa if she wants more. She kinda hesitates and says "ok, one more", and picks out a Buff Orpington. Well.....I figure since I have a 10 on me, lets just go ahead and get just ONE more, lol, so I pick out a New Hampshire Red. Yep, here we come, back from Deerfield, with 5 more month old chicks.....didn't I say we only wanted THREE? lol I'll take full blame for that one, Lisa wanted to stop at 3.

So now, here's the list of our flock:3 Delewares, 5 Aricaunas, 3 Partridge Rocks, 1 Cochin Bantam, 1 New Hampshire Red, 1 Buff Orpington, and 3 Barred Rocks. We started with 3 last summer, now we're up to 17.

The new ones are downstairs in my room with a heat lamp until this weather breaks. There's still snow outside, and the forecast doesn't show warmer weather till next week. I plan on extending the chicken yard another 8-10 feet, and building another temporary tractor for these when they're ready to go outside. Just when I thought I could concentrate on the garden, lol.

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