Thursday, May 17, 2018

The Chicken Coop

During our house build, every time there was a length of wood that was going to be scrapped, I snagged it and put it in a pile.  For the last two years, that pile has been a mouse mansion.  A couple of weeks ago, we pulled the pile apart, separating the good from the too warped or weather worn.

Then, based upon the supplies available, I began building a chicken coop.

I had to be creative and even then it was a bit higgledy-piggledy. My lines aren't always straight because the wood I was using was not always straight!  But some mistakes were just plain my fault, like this atrocious trimming around the arched door.

But I figured it wasn't something a lot of caulk, some paint, and a good deal of distance wouldn't solve.  After washing all of the wood thoroughly, I got the kids painting one afternoon using leftover house paint. In the end, I did have to buy some wood and hardware, but it is 85% recycled or reused supplies.

It was about 1000° that day, but they persevered.  It was fairly difficult to paint because it was a hodge podge of surfaces.  

That work, therefore, earned them their first trip of the year to the lake!
Even though the air was hot, the lake remembered that it was early May.  It was terribly cold, but the kids played and had fun anyway!

A few days later, and in typical spring fashion, the temperatures fluctuated wildly.  The tarp roof wasn't cutting it, so I attempted my first trusses.  The girls wanted to be right at my feet, "helping."

I did it!  The trusses were tricky, but I figured it out and got them up on the roof.
(Yes, there was a window box and a pink door before there was a roof because, priorities, man.)

Inside, there is a roost with a tray underneath to help catch the majority of the night droppings.  The ramps lead up to the roost, then second story to the nesting boxes.
Once we get the run built, there will be a small chicken door opened up underneath, too.
Everything was coated in a lime whitewash that is supposed to be good for the chickens and will help with insect and rodent control.  I think the chicken's beaks are the best insect control, but I'll do anything to prevent a mice infestation in my chicken coop!

The view from the back shows a little roof over the nesting boxes with a door for easy access to the eggs.  

The nesting boxes are actually removable dish washing tubs for easy cleaning.

Under the nesting boxes is a small storage cabinet with shelves for chicken and bee keeping equipment and a rodent proof metal garbage can for the chicken feed.

There are still a few small things that need doing, but for now, I'm calling the chicken coop DONE!

Isn't she adorable?
The girls seem awfully pleased with their new house.
And so am I.

Monday, May 14, 2018


Mondays are my work days.  I'm not sure why it worked out that way, but after the busy weekend, I usually wake up on Monday ready to go.  I conquer a lot on Mondays, but too often I conquer it alone.  Today I decided that was unacceptable.
I've made the list, nine miles long, and have informed the children that everything must be completed on the list and there will be no joy in the house until it is done.
The expected balking began immediately,
but I do not care.
I am strong.
And I'm wearing my Wonder Woman t-shirt to give me that bonus strength.

Just try getting out of it, children.
I'm ready for  ya!

Thursday, May 10, 2018

Going for a Walk

My little independent woman,
headed out for a walk
with her Family Size bag of Cheetos and
her pull-along duck. 

What else do you need?!

Monday, May 7, 2018

Random Cute Kids

Our missionary, pictured with the tools of his trade, is still having a stellar experience in Arizona. He is learning selflessness and charity.  (All of the heart eyes.)
Cutie in her bright new dress, on a bright Sunday morning, next to the bright tulips.
Hooray for May!

On this particular night, they crowded me out of my bed, so I escaped to the couch.  It wasn't long before they found me and instead of four people in a Queen sized bed, there were three of us sharing 16 inches of space.

I was preparing my lesson on the other side of the table and she was doing her work on her side.

Friday, May 4, 2018

Our First Broken Bone

Camilla has been running track for the Junior High.  No one besides Camilla was brave enough to try running hurdles, but she really enjoyed it.  Until she fell.

She broke her elbow!  With all of these kids and my free range parenting style, I still can't believe it took this long to have a broken bone!  Sadly, that meant the end of her track season.  Also, since the break occurred only a few days before her piano recital, she couldn't play the right hand of her pieces.  Thank goodness for sisters; Eliza helped her out.

Upon follow-up with the orthopedic surgeon, he said that since the bone wasn't out of line and didn't need to be reset, she could have the splint removed and didn't need to have a new cast put on.  He gave her several exercises to do regularly to encourage extension and movement which is supposed to prevent the joint from becoming stiff.  I was so thankful for that doctor!  As self-pay patients, it is such a relief to hear that kind of news!

Good thing she can still hold her little chickies!

Wednesday, May 2, 2018

Putting Things Together

After I got back from our amazing trip, I had a huge To Do list.  Not only was I gone for nearly two weeks, but it is spring!  There is always so much to be done in the spring.

One of the things I've looked forward to for years, really, but especially since Christmas when Justin got me this bee box kit, was becoming a bee keeper. 

After reading books and articles, watching YouTube videos, talking to beekeeping friends, and attending a class put on by our local extension office, it was finally bee day.  Our friend and neighbor has raised bees for years and when it was actually time to put the new colony into the hive, I chickened out.  Tyre came right over and helped me introduce the bees to their new home.  I'm not afraid of bees, but the reason I'm not afraid of bees is because I just leave them alone.  This activity required that I get very close to A LOT of bees.  Then I was supposed to shake and otherwise mess with these bees!  I was rather unnerved, but my good friend helped me through. 

And now I have honey bees!  How exciting!!
Next up is the chicken coop.  I'm hoping to use mostly leftover and recycled wood from our house build.

 Here goes nothing.

Tuesday, May 1, 2018

Our Baby is Two

Even though I had been thinking about her birthday for weeks, I had no perfect gift idea for our Wynnie (except underwear, which isn't as fun as it sounds haha).  Finally, I decided, She's turning two.  This is when you just get fun toys.  When I could finally get to the store, I had 30 minutes to shop. I set the alarm on my phone and Eliza and I burst from the starting blocks.

Eliza's Happy Shopper Stock Photo
 I'm telling you, that is my new favorite thing!  It was so fun and wasn't stressful in the slightest.  She loved all of her gifts and had no idea I hadn't planned and ordered things weeks and months in advance.

Trying out the Cinderella shoes on the wooden floor.
 How we love, love, love this sweet and happy little girl!