DIY Jewelry Organizer Update!

Hi everyone! I wanted to take a moment to let you know that I finally made the inserts for my jewelry closet.

Of course, I had to draw my plans up first. I couldn’t just start sewing away without any plan in mind. I ALWAYS advise you to do this if you think you have an idea in mind, because sometimes your idea won’t fit exactly, or work like you need it to. So I took my piece of paper and started drawing what I thought I wanted. This image below is my third attempt because the first two weren’t going to work.

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So as you see above, I measured out each insert and each pocket so I would know what size to sew everything to. The little rectangles are place holders for Command hooks.

I used clear vinyl for the pockets and black binding (1/4″) to edge everything so I wouldn’t have to worry about raw edges on anything. I measured out each pocket and made a tiny mark with a Frixion Pen (the marks from this pen iron right off) and stitched a straight line to divide the vinyl up. I then made a button hole stitch on the top of each panel to hang from a hook, as you can see at the top of the panels below. Once the panels were made, I hung them up and then proceeded to hang the hooks. I measured out where they needed to be placed and staggered them mainly for visual interest.

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What do you think? I think I need to ask for more bracelets and rings from Dale for our anniversary/birthday/Christmas!

 

To see how we built this box, go to https://homesteadingfortwo.wordpress.com/2016/03/03/hidden-jewelry-box-mirror/

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Chickens – Week 30

It finally happened! We’ve been waiting and waiting and waiting for Lucy to lay, and finally, a few days ago, LUCY LAID! I’ve been waiting since the day we ordered these babies online for her wonderful blue or green eggs, hoping that they would be colorful, and that we didn’t get the one Easter Egger that laid brown eggs.

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Odd thing is, they are HUGE! Typically when hens first start laying, their eggs are small and progressively get bigger and harder as they get use to the laying process, but Lucy’s eggs started out double the size of others firsts.

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Starting at Lucy’s egg working clockwise: Blue Andalusian egg, Speckled Sussex egg, another Blue And. egg, and a Chochin egg.

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I found these in the coop this morning

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Currently, we have 7 out of 10 hens laying. We’ve decided to start marking the bottom of the eggs each week so we can keep track of how old each egg is. This week it’s purple, so you can see some eggs have purple dots on their bottom.

Lately, we have been having issue with our Blue And. rooster. He’s been a big ole’ meany. Anytime we go down to the chicken yard, he thinks we are a threat. He’s already gotten me once, giving me bruises and cutting my hand. Luckily I was wearing jeans and boots or else he would have gotten me worse. We talked about things we could do to correct this behavior, but seeing that he is a chicken and lacks whatever it is that makes animals trainable, we are unsure if this behavior can ever be modified. We shall see.

DIY Ironing Table

I’m an avid crafter, DIYer, and quilter. I love making and creating things with my own two hands. I also love having the space for it! But Dale and I share our hobby room which means I only have so much space to create. I love having him in the room with me, but sometimes I need more space than the two tables I have (not to mention that one of these tables has my sewing machine on it). Throw in an ironing board and I’m just about out of room. So I decided that I wanted to do something about this. All along, I’ve always wanted one table for ironing, one table for cutting fabric/miscellaneous crafts, and one table for my sewing machine. But there’s no way we could ever fit all that into one room.

You may be thinking that, yes, of course, there is a way to make it all fit, but when working with a ton of yardage of fabric, you need tons a table space so it’s not falling off while you’re ironing it or trying to cut it to the perfect dimensions. My half of the room isn’t big enough for that.

So my way of solving this issue was to just cover my current ironing/cutting table to make it an ironing board that I can place my mat on to cut. It’s a two-in-one! AND it’s a rather simple task!

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All you need is:
– A table that you don’t mind converting- A cotton based batting that isn’t too thick and will cover the top of your table
– A duck or canvas fabric (think upholstery) that will cover the top of your table
– A heavy duty staple gun and its staples
– An iron
– A hammer (optional for setting the staples flush against the table)

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To begin, lay out your batting to where the edge of the batting overhangs one edge of the table. You want to fold this overhang under the lip of your table so that there’s only one fingers width under the lip. Begin by stapling this edge in place. Next, you will want to iron out the wrinkles if there are any. Use light pressure with the iron as batting can pull and rip. Now go to the side just right of the stapled side. You will want to cut your batting so the overhang matches the first edge. Staple that into place. Continue to all four sides, working around. Don’t worry about the corners just yet.

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The corners are tricky, but remember that this is just the batting. It doesn’t have to be pretty because your fabric will cover it. First, push one side of the excess batting under the corner:

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Then pull the excess batting on top of what you just folded under:

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Staple in place and repeat on all corners

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See how my staples are sticking out? I just hammered those in.

Next, you’ll want to lay out your fabric and iron out all the wrinkles. You’re going to do the same thing you did with the batting, lining up one edge and stapling it. But I folded my first edge under, and ironed it, so the edges wouldn’t fray.

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Then I placed the folded edge under the lip of my table and made sure it lined up with the apron of my table (the part that the table top is sitting on). Begin stapling. Do not do the corners, but continue around like we did before with the batting. Remember to cut your fabric with a little bit of excess around the next three edges so you have enough to fold under. Also remember to smooth out the wrinkles on top of the table, so your fabric isn’t twisted or bubbled anywhere.

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Now to do the corners. This time it matters what they look like. They should begin to look something like this:

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Use your creativity and fold them up so they lay nice and neat. Cut them down if you need to, but remember to allow enough to fold under so you don’t have any raw edge showing. I’m pretty sure I did every corner differently, but this is the best looking one:

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Hammer in all your staples so they are flush. Now stand back and look at your new ironing table! YAY!

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Chickens – Week 26

It’s getting hard to keep track of how long we’ve had these chickens! I’ll tell you what, the time definitely flies by.

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They’re literally figuring out how to jump the fence

The flock is adjusting to it’s new hierarchy. Our Blue And. is still the top (and has gotten pretty feisty lately, attempting to attack me multiple times, which is a completely different story for another day). The other rooster that we have, the Partridge Cochin, found his voice soon after the flock shrank in size. It’s funny to hear them crowing at the same time, because their crows are completely opposite. Unfortunately though, we’re guessing because of the sudden transition, this Cochin (whom we’ve aptly named Bigfoot) has been wandering around our property alone. We aren’t sure if he’s being kicked out of the group by Blue, or if he’s just looking for his other friends (sorry dude).

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The days following the harvesting, we updated and cleaned our coop and opened up the nesting boxes. In the photos below, the nesting boxes are currently closed (to keep them out at night) and I hadn’t put any curtains up yet (for privacy). We also removed the top roost and lowered it for two reasons: 1. so we wouldn’t have anyone pooping into the boxes at night and 2. so no one would have poop on their backs. The egg that you see in the photo below is a ceramic egg. Also excuse my “demonic” Brahma. She wasn’t ready for her picture to be taken!

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Within a couple days, we had a (tiny) egg show up! I assumed automatically that it was a Speckled Sussex because she was rooting around in the hay in the nesting boxes once when I opened up the coop during the middle of the day. She hadn’t laid that day, but the next day was when we found her egg. A couple days later, I hung out in the chicken yard and watched her climb into a box, scratch around, and then sit.

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I waited outside in the cold for 30 minutes before she came out again. BUT, there was an egg! So our suspicions were confirmed. These tiny eggs were coming from a Speckled Sussex.

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The egg laying adventure had begun! Now we’re just waiting for the rest of our girls to start laying. Below is an image showing the size and variety of the eggs we are currently getting on our property. The top egg is our Speckled’s egg. The middle one is one of our renter’s Rhode Island Red’s egg. And the bottom is a Georgia egg.

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Pretty neat huh?

Raised Garden Beds – Construction

Today, Dale and I decided to begin working on our raised garden beds. The boxes are relatively easy to build – so easy, in fact, that I built them all by myself (with Dale’s occasional “yes, that’s right”).

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We bought enough to make two boxes (24 planks total)

Supplies you need to build one box:
– Drill
– 1.5″ Screws
– Saw (circular, table, hand, whatever you typically use to cut wood)
– Measuring tape and pencil
– 12 cedar fence pickets
– 1 2x4x8 pine or cedar (anything but treated wood)
– A helper to help hold walls in place

First you will need to cut 4 cedar pickets in half. They should originally be 6′ long, so cut them down to 3′. It doesn’t have to be perfect, as we are going for practicality, not beauty. There are ways you can make it look good, but we won’t be discussing that here since we decided to spend as little as possible on this project.

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You should now have eight 6′ boards and eight 3′ boards. We will be making these boxes four pickets high (14″ tall). None the less, stack four boards together and measure them (see image below). Whatever this measurement is, cut four of these sections out of the 2x4x8 pine plank. You will also need to cut two more smaller (or same size) sections for the middle of the longest section of the boxes – for stability. More on this later.

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We had already used the majority of these 2×4’s for another project so these were our scraps

Now you can begin placing the screws in. Start by placing two 14″ blocks on the ground and laying four pickets across them. Make sure one side is lined up against the edge of the block. We placed two screws on either outside board and one in both the middle boards.

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Repeat this step on the other end. Once this is complete, measure out the middle and place another block under the middle. This could be either 14″ or smaller, depending on what you have on hand. What we used were scraps, but if you wanted to place a ledge on the top of your finished box, I would make these middle sections even with the rest. Screw this in. This will help keep the boards from bowing when placing soil in the boxes.

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That should complete one wall of our box. Repeat these steps to create two walls.

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Now you will need a helper to hold the two walls up so you can begin screwing the sides on. Make sure they line up and go board by board until you have four boards attached.

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Repeat this on the other end.

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And there you have it! A complete raised garden box. Rusty and Chester seem to be enjoying the box! This project literally took an hour, maybe even less. In the next few weeks, we will be adding soil and getting ready to plant our seeds!

Chickens – Week 23

Preface: this is an angry vent / sad post about stupid, mean hawks.

I’m sitting on my couch, scheduling appointments for the day because I’m not feeling well when all the sudden I hear chickens screaming and running toward a corner of the chicken yard. I put everything down, run for the bedroom and grab the shotgun, then run outside to the chicken yard. As soon as I get half way through the chicken yard, I see a hawk fly off into the thick of the trees. I shoot at him, only to miss (of course). But typically this is all I have to do, then they go away and find an easier, quieter, not-as-difficult-to-get meal. So I look down and see one of my friend’s RIR and my Blue taking cover under some brush, but only five feet from them, I see one of my female Brahma’s laying on the ground. I walk over to her, and she moves her head.

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She’s alive! I saved a bird! ME, Kallie, without Dale, was able to intervene and save a bird from dying! I felt like such a hero. So, shaking, I pick her up, and start talking to her with a calming voice. I knew she’d be in shock. There were feathers everywhere, but she wasn’t bleeding upon first glance. I looked her over, pulled her wings out, and found a little bit of blood, thinking the hawk had just started pulling her feathers out. So I brought her in, put her in my sink (which, now that I’m writing this, remember I need to clean it. Luckily it just happened 30 min ago), and started cleaning her up. Turns out I was right that the hawk had just started ripping her feathers out, as she had a huge clot of blood above her right wing, and a little bit of blood under her left ear. I called my husband and until now I’ve been strong. I started telling him what happened and of course I start crying, freaking out, as I see the Brahma’s not holding her wing against her body. Her right wing is broken. Dale calms me down and says she will live but she will have to be harvested when the time comes. I was afraid he was going to tell me that I would have to kill her right there in the kitchen sink. I got off the phone with him and looked out the kitchen window, only to hear and see more commotion. I run back down to the chicken yard, Brahma in one arm, shotgun in the other. I place her inside the coop so she’d be safe and could roost up (although, she can’t jump – duh, Kallie). I run around the back of the chicken yard where the trees are dense and finally see the hawks broad white chest in the sun. I shoot at him, it’s all I can do. He wasn’t scared away from the first time I shot at him, and my babies were under attack. I, of course, didn’t get him but he did fly off. My husband is good with the .22, but I unfortunately, would not be able to aim under that kind of stress, whether the bird was moving or not. So that’s why I use the shotgun. I back away and go to count all the birds, checking the coops and whatnot. One of my friend’s RIR decided to hide under some VERY thorny vines, which was very smart of her, but also not smart because she was NO WHERE NEAR the rest of the flock. (not the best picture as I was still shaking)

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And I think one other chicken was hiding somewhere because I only counted 22, when we have 23. That’s when I see the crows attacking the hawks. Yes, I said hawks. Plural. I look up to see 3 or 4 crows trying to tackle three hawks. THREE! I knew in that moment that we were losing a bird tonight. We haven’t yet, but I have those dang doctor appointments. The hawks were persistent. The crows couldn’t fight them off this time. The hawks circled around and flew to some nearby trees where I couldn’t see them. They proceeded to call to me, telling me to go away so they could eat. Even now, over an hour since the incident, our poor birds are still in hiding. I wish they knew to go into the coop. I wish I could gather them up and place them in the coop so they would be safe. But they are just birds. And hawks are just a part of the process of owning chickens. It’s the unfair circle of life. It sucks to raise chickens, just to see something else slaughter and eat them up and leave the remains for me to clean up. I’m grateful that I was able to save that Brahma, although her life is significantly shorter still, but I prayed so hard that God would just watch over the chickens – and Georgia. I won’t be able to protect them today, because of my appointments. I’m just hoping that the four times I shot the shotgun was enough to scare them away for at least a little while – and that it didn’t ruin my hearing! What sucks the most about this is that I’m home alone. I’m only one person, with bad aim, and even worse at dealing with death.

My message to the dang hawks: go after the stupid rat in the shed on the other side of our property!

Chickens – Week 21

Hello everyone! It’s been a crazy Christmas season! We’ve been so busy making Christmas gifts and preparing for the cold and for traveling that we haven’t had much time to post about our chickens. But do not fear! They are still growing and still eating a ton, although the chicken yard is getting pretty skimpy – both greenery wise and bug wise! Anytime we walk anywhere in sight of the chickens, our Blue crows at us, and we swear he’s demanding we bring him food. But I’ll tell you what, our chickens are spoiled! They get all our scrap food and veggies that are too ripe for us to eat. They also got our pumpkins that we never carved (they were decorations). Surprisingly, they weren’t rotten yet, so we had fun throwing the pumpkins up in the air and watching them land and smash everywhere (not gonna lie, we also got to practice our zombie-head kicking).

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In this picture above, you can see all the chickens thoroughly enjoying the pumpkins. Also, you can see our Blue chasing our friend’s Black Sexlink away from our coop. He’s such a meanie.

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Georgia the turkey contemplating what this huge orange thing is.

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We are unsure if grass will ever grow in this chicken yard again.

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They have successfully cleaned the pumpkin halves. They love love LOVE these pumpkins. In fact, we had only two left, and they were waaay on the other side of our property (but still in view of the chickens). A few of our chickens went up and around our fence and waaay down to where the pumpkins were just to eat them. That had to of been a trek. Good thing there was food at the end!

Lately we’ve been in and out of the shop working on projects and Christmas gifts. Some of the chickens – we’ll call them the Fab Flock – figured out where their food comes from.

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I think I was sanding, when all the sudden Rusty and Chester came to attention, looking toward the entry door. I look over to see a few hens wandering into the shop. These guys weren’t scared at all. They just wandered on in, picking at the ground, as if this wasn’t a whole new scenery. I walked over to them and they looked at me and decided that I was right, they didn’t need to be in the shop where there was who knows what that they could get into, so they ran out.

Currently, we are experiencing a ton of rain, and I’m sure we will be getting snow here within the next day or two, but other than that, I probably won’t be posting about chickens for another couple weeks. Until next time!

Chickens – Week 18

Hello everyone. Long time no post! Sorry about that guys. We’ve been super busy with projects and family visits and holidays! But fortunately, nothing much as changed since we last posted. The babies keep growing and growing. We didn’t lose a single chicken to the disease that spread through the flock. We figured out it was avain flu mixed with maybe a hint of Coryza. We kept waiting and waiting for it to get better, doing a ton of research and feeding them lots of probiotics and electrolytes. We consistently cleaned their eyes and applied Neosporin to their wounds and one day they started to look better. Not once did any of them express signs of respiratory issues (which can be a killer), nor did any of them lose their appetite. The only issue we have seen since this has passed is that it has stunted their growth (or at least we believe it has). Our assumption of this is based on how several chicken owners cull their flocks back when they reach 18 weeks of age. Well, looking at all our roosters, only one looks like he’s reached maturity (our Blue Andalusian). None of the other roosters have filled out. Our Brahmas are (on average) suppose to weigh around 12 lbs. Ours are maybe 8 lbs. When we pick them up, they just feel like bones. We narrowed it down to either the flu caused them to delay their maturity, or we weren’t feeding them the right amount of protein rich food, or even both. Because this is our first flock and we are completely inexperienced and practically alone on this whole raising chickens thing, we just went down to the local Lumber 2 and bought what seemed right. Once one of our chickens got crop problems from that food, we immediately switched over to high quality food (Dumor). I highly doubt we will ever switch from Dumor or Purena brand food.

None the less, all our chickens survived the flu and none of them are being harvested for another few weeks at least. But when we do decide to harvest them, we will for sure keep our Blue And as well as either a Brahma or a Cochin.

Our Blue is so handsome too.

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Dale decided to put him on the roof of the coop. He enjoyed it quite a bit.

Another interesting thing happened since last time I posted. We didn’t realize that chicken’s beaks chipped away in order to grow. This picture below is a little fuzzy because I had to take it of myself holding him, but this is our male Buckeye. That white part on his beak is it chipping away so it can grow. Weird, right?

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We’ve also decided to start letting them out into the yard, since their yard is mostly dead (see below). They love it!

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This is one of our male Speckled Sussex, taken this past Monday. He still doesn’t have any of his showy tail feathers.

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This is ours and our friend’s flock mixed together. They get along quite nicely, until our Blue decides to pick on Georgia, the turkey. We just stand back and say, “dude, you have too much testosterone to go after that big of a bird.”

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This is one of our male Cochins.

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This is one of our male Brahmas. They are starting to look big and bulky, huh?

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I do love our male Cochins. Their coloring is so brilliant. The females aren’t as blue.

In other news, we did have to kill one of chickens this week. We’ve deemed him with the name “Sickly” because he is the one that’s had crop problems all along. This is him below. Just looking at his feathers and comparing him to the other Speckled next to him, you can just tell he’s not getting enough nutrients to develop correctly. Even his comb is a tell-tale sign. It’s very muddled and dark, in comparison to every other chicken’s comb that is bright red. And I know the picture doesn’t show it but he looks very bloated and big in the chest, mainly because of his crop.

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I sat out in the chicken yard one day and just watched this little guy. He’s significantly smaller than the other Speckled Sussex. But on this particular day, he just stood there, holding himself in and shivering. Yes, shivering! I didn’t know chickens could shiver. Look at that poor baby.

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So Dale built a box for him in our garage with a heater. We figured he hadn’t developed enough meat on his body to keep him warm through all the cold we’ve been getting. We would watch him for the next several days. Below is day one in the box. That little cut out is the heater. There was no poop the first night, but the next morning, there was watery poop everywhere, so we thought he was getting better.

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Unfortunately, he was not getting better. This morning, we discussed putting him back out in the chicken yard because he was starting to chirp and move around a little more. So Dale walked down to the garage to check on him and he said it was probably time to put poor little Sickly out of his misery. He said he walked down and saw Sickly laying on his side and when he poked him, he barely moved. Dale thought he was dead. We decided to just kill him then so he didn’t have to suffer any more. Surprisingly, it was hard on me. I knew I would have a hard time seeing any of my chickens die, but I was briefly really upset about poor Sickly, because we had nursed him back to health several times. He was always the first to the door for food, mainly because he was always so hungry. The cold just got to him and he couldn’t make it through this time. Poor guy. But I’m ok now knowing he’s not hurting any more (and yes! I know it’s just a chicken, but have some compassion!!)

And then there were 20 chickens.

Until next time 🙂

 

Chickens – Week 11

Hello everyone! Sorry I’ve been so absent from the blog for a while. There really hasn’t been any exciting things going on with our little beasts. They are still growing, and eating, and growing, and pooping, and oh yeah, growing. They are soooo ready to get out of that coop. I will say that the past two or three times that we have let them out in the evenings, they have roosted themselves up, which is nice. Now Dale and I are just waiting for them to be big enough so we can let them out full time. Hopefully that will happen by the end of this month.

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Because the chickens are getting so big, we figured out that they aren’t all roosting on the roost. Instead, a lot of them (ah hem, the Cochins) have been roosting in the nesting boxes. I’m afraid of them keeping this bad habit and not laying eggs in there. So I decided to add an extra roost, as well as board up the nesting boxes. They aren’t using them anyways for their designed purpose, so why not, right? Now they love the roost, or at least I haven’t heard any complain!

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However they did enjoy pecking at the board quite a bit. I can just imagine hearing them saying, “Wait! Let me in! It’s so comfy cosy in there!!”

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All my babies roosted up.

Also, check out these feet feathers! They crack me up! I love my Cochins (and my Brahma’s)!

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Here are a couple pictures of the flock.

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This is one of my very pretty Blue Andalusian females. We have two (three if you include the male). One female is a dark grey, whereas the other one, this one, is all very light grey, with only a few black feathers. Isn’t she gorgeous?

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They love this top roost.

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They are getting so big! It’s crazy how big they are getting.

The only issue we are finding is that because they are getting so big, and of course they are figuring out the pecking order, but the coop is too small for them. They are constantly fighting and unfortunately, there’s no way we can really stop them. We’re pretty sure the male Blue And is the one picking on everyone, but who knows. It always happens when we aren’t around. But my poor babies are getting all beat up. This morning when I went to check on them and feed/water them, I noticed one my Partridge Cochins had a swollen eye and a little scab on his comb:

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I also noticed one of my Brahma’s had a huge scab on his comb:

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It upsets me, but I can’t do much to stop it.

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I’ll end this update with a cute picture of my pups, waiting for me to either let the chickens out or for me to come play with them. Silly pups!

Until next time!

Garlic!

I ordered garlic online in July from The Garlic Store and I couldn’t wait to plant it. I had heard that it was super easy to grow and it was a good insect deterrent in the garden. PLUS, it smells amazing to have around. Well, I have three potted apple trees that have insects on them almost daily. So I decided that once the garlic comes in, I would plant them under the trees to help get rid of the insects on the trees, as well as repel mosquitoes on the porch.

So here’s my tutorial for planing garlic!

First, you need to start with a head of garlic. Start breaking off the cloves.

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These are huge cloves.

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Try to keep the skin on them. I had four heads of garlic. This picture (below) shows the cloves I got from one garlic head.

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I laid them out around the tree in the pot. Make sure you place the well.

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Using a spade, dig a little hole by rocking the spade back and forth to move the dirt out of the way. It only needs to be 3-4″ deep, depending on your garlic variety.

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Slide or push the garlic into the hole gently and cover it with dirt.

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These next two pictures show two cloves that were rotten. They smelled terrible.

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Once you have them planted, make sure they are covered with dirt. I then sprinkled a little bit of fruit and veggie fertilizer over the surface of the dirt. I covered this with mulch because garlic loves water and I have a hard time keeping this trees watered and moist. Mulch helps keep the dirt moist. I’ll have to update you guys once they start peeking through the mulch.