Wednesday, September 28, 2011


My sweet daughter-in-law sent me this early this morning.  She is in Texas with 3 of our grandchildren.  Her husband, our son is in Afghanistan.

Heavenly Father; I come to you as humble as I know how. I confess my sins, those known & unknown. Lord, you know that I am not perfect & I fall short every day of my life.

I just want to take time out to say Thank You. Thank You for your Mercy.
I have more bills than money but thank you for my home, car, food, life and everything I do have.

I realize that life is full of trials & tribulations but thank you for not putting more on me that I can bear.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

The New Chicken Pen

A year or two ago I read on line or in a magazine that farmers used to make their garden on either side of the chicken house. They would fence off one side of the chicken house and let the chickens do the work of cleaning the garden and fertilizing it as they did so.  The next year they would block off that section and move the chickens to the other side of the chicken house to start the work all over again.  The old side would then be planted.

If you have ever had chickens in a pen then you already know they will peck and scratch an area completely bare like our old chicken yard.  The few remaining chickens were still the ones I had to catch to move to the new pen.  The front area here is where I plan to now plant a winter garden.  The back area is useless as it has massive roots from a live oak tree.  I have been dumping all of the goat manure in this front area and the chickens did a great job of scratching it into the ground.  Just a light tilling and I should be ready to plant.

 In the new area I had a small hoop house I used for plant propagation when we had our nursery business.  I decided to turn it into the new chicken coop.  The rooting house is made from pvc pipe and thick plastic.  Grandson and I made a small 16 x 16 doorway in the side and cut the plastic out of the new opening.

We then covered the entire hoop house with a tarp as it would be too hot with the clear plastic.  We even have an emergency stash of water by the new coop if needed.

The chickens have their work cut out for them.  I hope in a months time they have eaten every weed, weed seeds, insects and their eggs out of this area and then I'll move them to another side of the coop.

We put up two long roost in the coop but the chickens have refused to sleep in the new coop.  

I thought maybe that maybe the roost are too high but one flew up on top of the 6 foot fence to roost.

A few flew up on a cross brace.

The rest of them settled down alongside of the lattice back fence.

The only time they are in the coop is to eat the layer pellets.

I put some nursery pot containers with hay in them for some temporary laying boxes.  Only a few have gotten the hint.  The rest of the eggs are being laid right out in the enclosed yard full of weeds.  I go on an Easter egg hunt everyday.

I will try lowering the roost and see if that will help to make them start using the coop at night.  I also plan to build their new nesting boxes this week.  I don't know what else to do.  I accidentally clicked on a PETA site the other day with an article on why you shouldn't eat chickens and how intelligent they were.  They haven't met my chickens!  I think I will order this shirt and wear it to the coop every morning and see if any of them can read. 

Monday, September 26, 2011

The turkeys are in their new home!

I am so happy!   We have almost completed two projects this past week.  First the turkey pen.

We sectioned off a 50 x 50 foot of pasture area for the turkeys and fenced it in with 6 foot poultry netting. 

This Camper Shell was about to be hauled off to a land fill so we rescued it.  We thought it would make a fine roof for the turkey house.  Grandson and I are going to side it in with cypress scraps a friend got us from her friends small sawmill.

The turkeys seem to like getting out of their small enclosure and into their large new pen..  They are almost 12 weeks old and have just started fanning their feathers.  Four of them are doing this so I guess we have 4 toms and 2 hens.

Although the eggs I ordered were supposed to hatch out to be Narragansetts.  We had one white with black markings.  I think it may be a Royal Palm.  He fans his feathers out too so I guess it's another tom.  I wonder if I should try to get a few more Royal Palm eggs so he can have a girlfriend of his own kind or maybe I should just name him Thanksgiving or Christmas?

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Out of the mouth of babes

I was listening to the TV in the background from my son's room and caught a funny statement that I haven't heard before.  A woman stated that her grandma always said that if the shoes don't fit, they ain't your shoes.  Papa Bear and I had a laugh and then it was time to put my 6 year old grandson to bed. .  We say our prayers that always start with the "Now I lay me down to sleep and then Grandson adds what's on his mind.  After talking to God about his friends and family he added....and God if the shoes don't fit they ain't your shoes.

Homesteading..It's all rainbows and butterflies.....


I was reading Phelans Blog this morning and realized that a lot of so called homesteading blogs I read really does "sugar coat"  the real life of a homestead.  The fact of the matter is that a lot of the time it "ain't" pretty.  Phelan woke up to a problem and dealt with it like any sensible person would do.  She just took the time to tell the blog world about it and to post pictures.  Why would anyone do that you ask?  So we can learn from their mistake.  I know now that when I see a tear in my wire I don't need to put off repairing it.  I have enough problems with my flock of chickens.  Phelan apparently got a lot of nasty emails for her post but I for one appreciate the real life blogs.  I then know I am not the only one with problems.

A few months ago we noticed that more than a few hens were losing their feathers on their rear end.   This is how cannibalism starts in a flock.  The culprit (usually a hen) will pluck the feathers out of another and then start on the flesh, pecking  at them until death, at this time others will join in on the "feast" so they too learn cannibalism. Usually it is one rogue hen causing the problems but I have yet to find the one doing it.  I just find the dead body pecked to death and covered with ants and swollen and smelling in the it is not pretty.  I have lost an egg producer and future meat for the table.  I have lost 5 like this in the past two months.  Although we have a fairly good size chicken yard, the flock has pecked every blade of grass and weed in the area so boredom may have been the cause.  I recently sectioned off a small section in the yard and have been moving all of the hay and goat poop into that area for them to scratch in.  The chickens make great little garden tractors by scratching in all of the hay and poop.  I'll have a nice little garden area here when I move the flock.  I'll show you in another post what I am doing as I find the time to complete my project.

Another homesteading family also deals sensibly with problems as they arise.  Patrice at Rural Revolution posted this on her blog about a cow they had to put down due to an injury but they like Phelan was able to turn a bad situation into something good by providing meat for the family.

Saturday, September 10, 2011


I wanted some Narragansett turkeys to raise.  I looked for months on Craigs List for turkeys or eggs to hatch but couldn't find any.  I turned to the internet and finally ordered 2 dozen eggs form a hatchery as they were sold out of poults for the year.  

I incubate chicken eggs all the time with a pretty good hatch success but I was so disappointed with the turkey eggs.  Out of the two dozen I ordered only 6 hatched and one is white with some black markings so it is obviously not a Narragansett.   I did email the company and they informed me they were sorry I was disappointed and they had no idea what the white turkey is.  Will not be ordering from them again.

I wanted more than 6 turkeys so I looked on ebay and low and behold they had turkey eggs.  I bid on and won a dozen.  The post office called me to come and pick up my was "leaking".  When I opened the package 4 eggs were broken.  I guess some postal workers along the way used the packaged marked "Fragile Hatching Eggs" for football practice.   Needless to say none of the remaining eggs hatched.

So far with the cost of the eggs, the shipping, food, 6 foot poultry netting, post, staples and a small house our Thanksgiving turkey will equal out to about $100.00 a pound.  We will think we are as special as the elite in Washington who dine on $100.00 a pound steaks!

We did get another 50 foot of netting up this morning before it got too hot to work.  Hopefully a few more days will see the turkeys in their new home.  I had no idea they grow as fast as they do.  Keep your fingers crossed that I have at least one hen and tom  so we can produce more next year.

I've missed blogging!

Although I went days, weeks and sometimes months between posting, I still enjoyed my blog.  

When I stopped blogging I was writing the story of my son's car wreck and the months that followed.   Just as I was getting into DJ's story, Representative Gifford was shot in the head and suffered a TBI (Traumatic Brain Injury).  Without going into a lot of emotional detail let's just say I was more than a little upset that because of her position she received the best medical care and therapy while our young men and women in the military have to fight and beg for any care that they receive.  Don't get me wrong.... I am thankful for Mrs. Gifford's recovery, I'm just saying that the military deserves just as good treatments and therapy as Mrs. Gifford receives. In the future I may once again share DJ's story with you but I am just not up to it at this time.

As time permits I will be adding our "farm stories" to get you caught up on happenings around here.  I have been sick for over a week but getting better.  We have got to get the turkey pen (yes we now have turkeys) finished and get them out of the small enclosure they are in before they begin to walk humpbacked!

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