Thursday, March 31, 2011

Some Call it Conniving...We Call it Composting

Not long ago, Jane at Hardwork Homestead posted about an awesome addition to her composting collection.  It was this:
Jane's "Big Mama"
Now, I am truly never a jealous person.  More like, I see something and think it's super cool, smart, worthy etc.  But this made me green with envy.  For real.  I have wanted a great composter for well over a year now. 

Originally, I thought one of those fancy fangled appliance types would be great.  Just put your kitchen scraps in and within a few weeks you'd have compost.  Like what, a cupful???
Well, around here (as with your homesteads), something this small would never do.  So I gave that option up.  We need large scale.

We have two open air compost piles out back.  They don't get turned like they should.  And I have learned that if you don't turn your compost on a very regular basis, you are simply fertilizing the ground it sits on and nothing more!  All the nutrients you want and need for your gardens are lost.
At first, I met with resistance from Pig Pen.  Always skeptical.  Then...when forces in two like-minded, powerful, conniving and intelligent women connecting...well heck!  Things just happen!

Now without disclosing too much here ;) and as if you don't already know, Jane's a pretty darn resourceful gal!  But she has an addiction...yes folks, she does.  I am "outing" her.  It's called Craigslist.  As any good addict will tell you, it's more fun if you have another addict to play with.  I'm not an addict yet...but she's getting to me fast! 

I did find one on Craigslist for $200.  I'd have to travel about 10 hours round-trip to the Southern most tip of IL and pay about $3.89 a gallon, but it's there. set Jane loose on a mission, without even asking, cuz that's what friends do!  She just hits it!

And HIT it she did!  She found the exact same ComposTumbler as her "Big Mama" for $75.00.  Yes my friends, you read that right, seventy - five dollars! 

Ummmm, but it's in Pennsylvania!

Now here's where the fun really begins.  Some quick math and a few shipping websites later, guess what Jane and The Ice Man did?

Come to Mama!!!

Not only did they have to go get it; they had to tear it down, package and ship it! 

How do you ever thank a friend enough for all that trouble? 

I'll work on that for a long while!

Remember the websites that I checked for shipping?  Do I need to tell you they were wrong???  Of course they were!  This behemoth weighs in at about 113 pounds.  Which we knew, but of course there is never anything as simple as plugging a few numbers in and thinking what comes back at you is truth.

So, we hymned and hawed for a day or two thinking maybe it would work just driving out to pick it up.  Nope, gas still higher than FedEx.  So, we shipped it. 
It arrived today!!!

 If you have never looked into the price of the Original ComposTumbler, they retail for around $460, before shipping!

And since I have no problem with good, used merchandise...what else were us girls to do?

The cost of my ComposTumbler you ask?

$190 -delivered.
Maybe that's crazy, you may think we're nuts...but man, if that isn't the best darn looking box blocking my garage door, I just don't know what is!

Jane and The Ice Man, THANK YOU!  

We'll be seeing you soon, my friends! 

Who knows what kind of trouble we'll stir up!

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Welcome Home Day!

Some of you may have noticed a new blog on my sidebar:

I stumbled across this recently when I had one of those "A-Ha!" moments.  You all know this guy:
Well, Dad's already had a heart attack, recently diagnosed with Diabetes and arguably PTSD.  Although he's been told he doesn't have PTSD, we all think he's a tad bit "off" a good way!  :o)

We've been told that Diabetes can be hereditary.  I have also been told that PCOS is hereditary.  Now these things have boggled my mind.  You know I come from an huge-HUGE family.  Why-Oh-Why, can't I find these in our family tree????

I lean towards the theory, the "A-Ha!", that Agent Orange, my Dad's direct contact with it from his years in Nam...and well, there you have it!  Monsanto, hell...they've GMO'd US!!!  Do you think they will try and patent that also?

I haven't been following this blog all that long and am just now tapping into it, as well as other resources they link to -particularly Monsanto and all the horrible things coming from it and it's evil -AGH!  I know you know what I simply can not put into words. 

However all the evilness aside, I was entirely THRILLED to learn this:

"The U.S. Senate recently passed a resolution to honor veterans who served in Vietnam by designating March 30 as Welcome Home Vietnam Veterans Day."

And I second that!  Frankly, it's about damn time!  Pass it on folks!

A very long overdue, Welcome Home!!!

How cool is that?

Monday, March 28, 2011

Rub A Dub Dub!

So I've had a week or so to use and enjoy a batch of homemade soap that I received as a Give Away from Carolyn at Krazo Acres!
Soap making is something I admire, fear, and really want to learn!  Therefore, I was thrilled to the point of peeing my pants when I won! 

The results?  Splendid!  You really can feel a difference!  Lather?  Better than store bought!

Reasons not to learn?  Ummm...none!  Thank You, Carolyn!  Especially for providing me with enough bars that I can make it thru this next job before I decide to suck it up and learn!  :o)

If you've not seen Carolyn's blog at Krazo Acres, might I suggest that you do so?  She's super funny, enlightening and all things admirable!  I promise you'll learn a thing or two!

Speaking of the this time next week, I will be gone again.  :o(  Boo!  Hiss!   However, the good part is that I will be with a group of people I truly love!  So there is a bright spot!  Six weeks just seems like an eternity!  With Spring teasing us endlessly (snow expected tonight), and of course my little peeps...I don't suppose I need to tell you that I don't want to leave?  Oh yes, not to be left out (my bad!), Pig Pen!  :o)

I'll probably have monster chickens by the time I get back.  And they'll hate me, peck my eyesballs out and all sorts of other horrible things.  OK, maybe I am being dramatic.

They are growing so fast and I have enjoyed the daily changes in them.  They all have wing feathers coming in.  Tail feathers are starting to appear and -we are learning new tricks!
So today when Pig Pen gets home, we are going to raise the light for the first time, put bedding down in the entire coop in case we have an 'escapee' and need to provide a soft landing/warmth.  But the question is, since they are quickly outgrowing their current space:  do we next let them into the coop or do we devise some sort of larger brooder (i.e. play pen)?

What say you's?

Oh and all the pasty butts are under control thanks to all your wonderful advice!  We have happy chickens!

Friday, March 25, 2011

Chicks and Little "Peeple"

Happily, I can report in that no Chicks were harmed during this experiment!  :o}

Today was all about introducing the Chicks to The Little Peeple...aka my niece and nephew!  My SIL, Jen and her kids, Addison and Blake (Beek) came for lunch and play time.  Unfortunately, Julee and her flock weren't able to attend!  Another time maybe, when they are older, uglier, meaner...
The chickens that is!

Now - how can this be??? 
No fear, no screamin', no throw downs...just this:

A kiss. 

Is that not the sweetest thing you have ever seen?

We had a little 'talk' first, just to make sure we understood a few simple rules and in we went!
Can you feel the anticipation? 
"Oooooh, gimme da boodie!" 
(She didn't really say that but that is how she would say it.)

Here she is getting her first encounter with her beloved "Pluto":
Coco was the peep getting the kiss by the way. 
She named them herself!

She so badly wanted to hold one with "Two Hands". 
So we sat her down and let her do just that...with Kelso!
Not once did she not do what she was told!  I was very, very proud of her!
She will hence forth be called, "The Chicken Whisperer"!

She even tried feeding them:
Don't worry, I had ahold of her coat!  Visions of smooshed chickens raced in my head too!

Here she got to feel her first little 'peck'.  Didn't.  Even.  Flinch.
Then, not to be left out, Little Beek got some action too! 
We, umm, had an almost incident, but it's all good!  All Good!
Can you see his little face all happy like?
I think next year he will graduate to holding his own peep and naming them for himself! 
When he can reach...or not  :)
He too - never flinched or showed any fear!

And I think the part that Pig Pen will be most proud of though:
His Sister.

Thank You Jenny, for sharing this day with us! 

We love you all very much!

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Where Did Spring Go???

My hopes of getting outside to do some much needed clean up have been put on hold again.  It's just too darn cold out there!  The Spring Teaser we've had ... well I oughta!

Any how, I need to get the house cleaned up for company tomorrow.  The nieces and nephews are coming over to see the Peeps and have lunch!  I am looking forward to their reactions with the little guys!  Who do you think will be more scared?  The kids or the Peeps?

I promise I wont forever talk about chickens (well maybe I will).  But I do have a question:  poop butts, any one?  I have a couple that are getting mashed up.  I have been using warm water and a piece of paper towel to loosen things up and it is working, however there appears to be a few bare butts running around now.  I swear I am not applying pressure!  What am I doing wrong?  Do I need to apply any sort of salve?  Just wondering from the experts.  Also, they are on organic 19% protein chick starter, if that matters.

We have a few feathers already!  Shocking how quickly that happens.  I can pretty well tell the Australorps from the Rock Barred now.  :)

So I have to show you one thing I added to my wardrobe while I was away:
I am working on getting them dirty breaking them in now!

As for the gardening, well if this doesn't get you all wanton, I don't know what will:'s a good thing I wasn't serving up these store bought ones as 'baked' potatoes.  Imagine the surprise!

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Ignorance Was Bliss

I think Chicken Mama may have solved the mystery of Kelso.  As soon as I saw her comment on my last post regarding my "Mystery Chicken", I hit up the Internet in search of what this bird may be.

She called in her vote as a Buff Laced Polish.  I have a feeling she nailed it.  Here is Kelso as seen yesterday:
Here is one I found on the Internet:
Hold your seats....this will be him in just a few short weeks:
And then, holy moly, full grown:
Now riddle me this, what the heck am I gonna do with one of these? 

I'm a little freaked out by Kelso right now!

Next time - must ignore Pig Pen when he insists - ignorance is bliss!

Monday, March 21, 2011

Home! In the Knick of Time! Peeps!

Whew!  One job down, two weeks off, then six weeks to go!  I have been home just a few busy days and received an email yesterday that my peeps where shipped!  This morning I got a 6:24 am wake up call that read "US Government" and in my groggy, sleep-coma state, I thought, "Oh crap, what'd I do???"  :)

Well as you can guess, it was the Post Office letting me know my Peeps were in!  So with just a few last minute preparations and a short wait for the official "Box Holder" aka Grama, and off we went!
Thirty-one little peeps arrived safely to their new home!  I don't think they like car rides too much.  Now, I have never touched a chicken in my life!  So I thought in my head, "No Fear!".  I took each little peep out one at a time and dipped their little beaks in water and within seconds they were running around!  Can I just tell you the little chirps they make are like a soft music to my ears?  It's really a very sweet little sound.

So here they are minus a few already in the brooder! 
I can't tell the difference between the Black Australorps and the Plymouth Rock Barred.
The Buff Orpington's are funny characters already!
Only one stands out just a little from the Buffs: 
This would be the "Mystery Chicken".  This is the freebie that was an option Pig Pen insisted we take.  I didn't want to...what if it is a Chucky Chicken???  Or a Naked Neck???  Well this guy has a longer neck and almost looks like he has a headband on.  Not sure if it's a he or a she actually.  But it looks like it came straight from the 70's!  So I named him Kelso.  Get it???  As in Ashton Kutcher from That 70's Show???

Any guesses on what breed that may be?  Yeah, me neither!

Here they are all settled in:
A funny little story, I called my Dad this morning to tell him I have 'special' chickens because they already know how to fly.  I mean, they shipped on a plane they did 'fly'.  :o)
Now that all my co-workers, family and friends have teased us tremendously that we are... ahem...different, hillbilly etc. I will have you know that I had to cancel my dentist appointment this morning in order to tend the chicks.  So I suppose if the shoe fits, we'll wear it!

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Barn Raising

Ya know the saying from that movie, "If you build it, they will come."?

Around here, it's more like..."If you leave, he will build it!"

Pig Pen has been busy giving the barn some much needed repair.  Or, a form of a Barn Raising.  I don't have a great "before" shot, so this will have to do:
And in a matter of just a few weeks, he has designed and built from scratch -new doors and sided the front upper.
Looks pretty good, huh?  He has the upper back door done also.  Now he is working on the lower Slide doors (main doors) and then he will put new siding on the upper back as well.  As soon as the weather permits, he will spray the bottom white to make it shine like new!  Then comes the fun's in desperate need of a new roof.  Sure am glad he doesn't mind climbing around like a monkey! 

We plan on adding dairy goats next year, so this will be their home!

He has also been busy getting the fence up for our chickens to have a safe place to range.  Pretty sure he is sick of digging post holes!  He's about half way there!
So as you can see, if I leave, He builds things!  Last year when I was gone, he built my pantry and sided the house!  Why does it work that way???

Speaking of being gone...two weeks to go!  Then my peeps arrive -and hopefully Spring as well- and I will have two weeks off before heading out for another six weeks.  I am pretty tired of icky food.  We are down to two square meals a week.  Home cooked that is.  Becky cooks once a week for us and about all I have mustered is one meal on Sunday.  I will probably gain 10 pounds before this is through. 

With Summer on the way, I'll sweat it all off!  Ahhh...Summer!  I see that many of you have seeds going!  I am real antsy to get that underway as well.  My seedling mats came in this week, so I am ready!  Next weekend I will get some of them started.  All our potatoes and onions have been ordered too.  Thank goodness for my great friends who have helped me do this from afar!

Keeping up with you guys has been a bright spot!  I wish I could figure the 'comments' and login issues however.  The next job location will have high-speed at the hotel.  So I will be back online then.  It's fun to at least see what the weather has been bringing across the coutnry!  Spring fever, anyone?

Ok, well time to get things packed and loaded!  I hope you all have a wonderful week!  I miss you's!
Now....Long & Lanky Loren...please wipe the sour puss off your face!  I updated -finally!  Ya big whiner, give a girl a break!  ;o)  xoxo