Wednesday, April 25, 2012

From Just a Dream To Raising Chickens

We have finally got our chickens!! Last fall I was discussing with a fellow mom at Jared's school about how we wanted to start our homestead by raising chickens once Daniel was back to work. I told her I didn't feel we could afford it at that time, so she held on to 4 of her 20 chickens for me. Well, she stuck to her word because just this last Saturday we went and picked the girls up. Thanks, Katie.

We wanted to be as frugal as possible, so I went to the library and grabbed several references on chickens. Self-Education = $0

Then, Daniel picked up some old fencing from his mom's house. We also had some boards laying around. Lumber = $0

Chicken wire, hardware cloth, and screws and nails were all things we had laying around sorta speak, as well. Other Needed Building Materials = $0

Wheels were taken from a rolling gardener seat that was not being utilized. Wheels That Turn the Coop Into a Chicken Tractor = $0

Chickens = $0

Hay, Feeder, Waterer, and a 50 Lb Bag of Pellets = $30

$30 Total (Not including gas)? Not too bad.

Chicken tractor in the making....

Here, we have it parked in the garden to get it tilled (from scratching) and fertilized (nitrogen-rich poop...Yummy). They love to roam!!

Daniel still has to complete the roofing. But, for now, it is sufficient. We plan on making a larger run and expanding the coop as we expand our flock in the future. 

This is Goldie. She is our Araucana. She is special because she is the only one of our 4 that gives us light green eggs.

Rhody and Brownie (aka Brown Head, according to Jared), are our Rhode Island Reds. They are the friendliest of the 3 breeds, I have noticed. Rocky, our Plymouth Rock, is behind them.

Dust baths. They love it!

Here is a better shot of Rocky.

 Goldie wedged her way in Brownie's dust bath hole. Heeheehee...

They really are quite amusing to watch and have very distinct personalities. 

And in the first 3 days, this is what the girls gave us. :) 

Chickens are awesome!! We totally want more now, but we will take it day by day.


Sunday, April 15, 2012


Easter. A Reflection of Spring. A Sign of New Life. A New Beginning. An Excuse for Celebration.

 I used to always want a lovely, yet cheap bouquet of flowers as a centerpiece for my table on a sporadic, yet fairly consistent basis. So, I decided that we now get some calla lilies. They were inexpensive, hearty, and absolutely beautiful. 

The boys dyed lovely eggs. 

Egg decor I made from scrapbook paper.

Carrots. :)

Easter baskets. This year, each of them received a field guide for when we take hikes, a personal book (the 2 older boys received camping guides and Dylan got a vintage Easter Golden Book.) Additionally, Lukey received a trivial pursuit game, Jared had a game of Set, and Dylan got lacing dinosaurs. The boys were also given some cool gifts from Grandma. Simple, functional, fun!

 On an egg hunt....Oh my goodness, Lukey was so wonderful and mature in leading almost the entire show. He made it so fun and magical for the littles. He kinda reminded me of me...really. :)

We just kept it simple without any frills, and it ended up being so....well, complete. We made it a fun celebratory day. We welcomed spring and the fertility therein, which is truly what Easter was historically recognizing. Really, we just made it our own thing and put our own twist on it, just like every individual family does. I hope you enjoyed your Easter, as well. 


Friday, April 13, 2012

Photos By the Kids

I am not sure how, but the boys sneaked the use of my camera when they were outside in the back of the pickup. When I went through the photos, however, I discovered some pretty cool shots and perspectives. So, I compiled a few to share and changed them to black and white to add depth.

 Apparently, Dylan took this photograph. 

 The rest, I do believe, are Jared's work. Pretty shot!

 Love this! You can see Jared's shadow.

 ...And his reflection....

 ....Oh, a fallen acorn perched inside one of the crevices of the truck bed. Cool, Jared....Nice eye.....

Perhaps I will intentionally give him the camera in the future. He and Dylan come up with some pretty interesting work. :)

Happy Birthday, Dylan

My youngest boy turned 4 years old on the spring equinox this year. In fact, the actual time of the equinox and the moment he was born were only about 2 hours from one another this year. Sorry it has taken me so long to post...we get busy! I was going to go with a dinosaur theme, but I thought that would be too hard when making all of my decorations. So, I went with a mod, masculine spring flower theme, developed from scrapbook paper I have had for years.

On our mantle we have spring scene pictures, complementary flowers to the adjacent wall that I began the motif in the first place, and a matching flag banner. 

I have included some complimentary books and fabric on the mantle, as well, to tie the colors together.

This was the main wall art I created. It ended up being 5 feet across. I love how it turned out!! It almost looks like a purchased wall decal. 

Thereafter, I matched Dylan's cake to the theme...My goodness, those food coloring pens were a pain this year!

 Dylan's birthday ring, with some painted inspiration rocks, and a center candle that Jared made.

The morning of his birthday, I made a short stack of pancakes with homemade blueberry syrup. 

The birthday ring characters come alive....

Birthday cupcake decoration. Wow, that one was messy. 

 Make a Wish.......

His actual birthday was a school day, where they too celebrated his 4th birthday, so we kept it simple. However, I read him a birthday verse the night before and some on the day of. So, we made it special. The excitement happened 4 days later, when a few guests came to join the celebration. 
 Here, I made bags from garden fabric in my stash, and stuffed them with healthy treats and spring-inspired goodies.

Here they are, stuffed.


Ooooh, Grandma's present was so exploratory right off the bat. 

 Just a little apron that Mama made......well, I painted it anyway.

This was the whopper. This time consuming creation turned out superb!! He loves it!! I made a road map from old green corduroy, blue corduroy, and dark wool felt. I hand sewed all of the streets and bodies of water. The blue fleece backing was machine-stitched, though. It even doubles as a cozy lap blanket. :)

Here is Dylan in action.

I did a vegetarian thing. Appetizers were homemade hummus and crackers/chips and a veggie dish my Mom brought, along with homemade soda (juice and sparkling water). The lunch was this fantastic tortellini salad I made and a green salad from Daniel's mom. Everything turned out perfect!

 Ah, yes, the kids. They had a total blast!

Everyone painted their pots for planting their own seeds.

 The girls stand back as the boys tackle the biggest boy.... ;)

 Make a birthday party wish......

Oh, by the way, this was a monster canvas he received from our friends and he painted it quite well, if you ask me. Teehee!

Happy Birthday, Dylan. Welcome to a new year of life!