Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Good News! Maybe?

Today was a roller coaster of good and bad news. Let me explain.

The wife called me with the bad news that the mini chickens we were going to pick up from the hatchery this weekend all died. This news turned into good news because now I am not pressed for time to get the little pins done, then that news turned again to bad because she is ordering the eggs and hatching them herself.

She later called me again to tell me the good news that she found the breed of rabbits we are looking for at half the cost than she has found anywhere else. That turned to bad news when she said that even tho we are not ready for them, she is picking them up this Friday.

My good news is I got home at 5:30 and was able to complete the chicken pen and we are now ready for the chickens. My buddy Dave came over and assisted, laughed and even taunted me till we were done. The wife should get them over here tomorrow.

No pics tonight, it was dark by the time I made back into the house.

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

A Little At A Time

I got home before dark today and as soon as I walked in I was greeted with a smile and "Scene your home early could you......". In through the front door and out through the back I went.

My dad and wife chopped down some bamboo that was growing wild right down the road and I used it to make the roost in the chicken coop.

I also installed the chicken door.

I left for a short time to run down the road and get some prices from a lady that makes her living driving a dump truck. I was looking for some select fill to put in the bottom of the mini barn and Just so happens, she was loaded and asked if I wanted it right now.
I got her as close to the barn as I could and told her to dump it. She dumped out twelve yards of screened cushion sand.
Sand is not exactly what I was needing but she honored the price of the select fill and so I got a good deal. I am worried about sand flees now so that means I'm going to have to 7-Dust more often I guess, but I got a deal, right?

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Couldn't Stand It

The wind finally settled down around noon today. The wife, kids and I spent the morning doing some odds and ends on the mini barn like putting in the predator barriers around the bottom of the barn walls and hanging the middle gate.

After lunch the weather turned out to be so nice, I just could not wait till Tuesday to get the planks to skin the barn. So with a little encouragement to "get er done" by the wife, I went ahead made the trip into town. I was only able to get 150 boards, but it was enough to at least do the walls. I still need about 30 to 40 more for the eaves and still need all the trim boards but at least I have walls now.
I was really proud of the family today. They all pitched in, worked hard and helped out. The wife outdid herself and stayed with me till the last screw was put in. We might just have the chickens home by Easter.

The mini chickens are hatched and will be here Saturday. We have to set up a brood area in the house for them to stay for the next month and that will also buy me some time to get their little area ready.

The wife set up an area in the house to get some seeds started. The green house is still a ways off from being built so she had to make due.
Lavender, Jalapenos, Brandy Wine Tomatoes and Cheery Tomatoes.

Getting Close

If it wasn't for the 40 to 50 mile and hour winds, yesterday was a great day. With the wind blowing that hard, everything is harder to do. Just walking takes so much more energy.
The wife and I muscled through it for much of the day and finished the fence for the chicken pin. All that is left to do on the fence is to stain and weather treat it. That is something the girls can do after school this week.
I have decided to skin the barn with planks rather than siding. It will give the look I am after plus the cost is about the same. Tuesday I plan on getting the planks and putting them on next weekend. Just maybe we will get the chickens over here Sunday.

Tired of fighting the wind, we decided to take some scrap wood down to my buddy's wood shop (The Sac) and work on a indoor project. I made a six hole nest box for the new chicken coop. Now to make a little roost, a door, hang the feeders and the coop area will be complete.

Friday, March 26, 2010

Good Weather Weekend

Things are looking up.
I was able to get off work today while a small amount of daylight was left and put up another section of fence and also laid out all the rail boards for tomorrow.
Saturday's weather is going to be really good and I think there might be lot of work getting done if it holds.

I had a visitor stop by right at dark while I was packing up the tools for the night (good timing). He was really intrigued with what I was doing and with the over all plan of the mini farm. It just so happens he is an electrical engineer and was really interested in my plans with the solar, wind and water so much that he asked if he could be a part of the builds. You guess what my answer was.

People are talking, progress is being made, things are happening so please no more rain.

Thursday, March 25, 2010

A Little Something Done

Even a kick in the butt is forward momentum some would say. I was able to get home before dark a couple of days this week and even with two more inches of rain last night, I feel good about the little bit I did get done Tuesday evening.
I was able to hang two of the three gates I made Saturday and the wife pushed me to put up at least one section of fence.
If it wasn't to muddy, tonight I probably would put up another section.
For the weekend plans, I hope to make the three doors needed and finish the other two sections of the fence.

I finally got around to getting the battery back in the camera so just in case you thought I was bluffing about last weekends snow storm, here is the proof.

The oldest daughter showed her pig at the county youth fair this week and got third in her class. She was hoping for Grand Champion but I guess she will have to try again next year.

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Yet Again

I guess plans are made to be broken. Friday was 78 degrees with a slight wind. Saturday morning it started raining hard at about 3:00 AM and did not stop till late afternoon. Then the snow started about midnight and stopped when we had a good six inches knocking the internet out for the weekend. Starting tomorrow it is going to be a pleasant 65 to 70 degrees with full sun all week then rain again for next weekend. I am at a loss of words. I do not know what to say.

I was able to make a run with the family to a hardware/feed store called Atwoods yesterday. The closest one is 70 miles away. Even with the rain I did not want to sit in the house all weekend. The store reminded me of a lot larger Tractor Supply. The prices are better tho. It was everything I could do to pry the girls away from the bunnies and the chicks. If I wasn't such a Ogre, then I would have can home with three baby rabbits, six duck chicks and a few chickens.

I also took some wood and wire over to my buddy's wood shop last night and was able to make the three gates for the chicken pin. He was so excited he finally got some saw dust on the floor of his new shop. He called it production. I tell you one thing, I didn't care if it was delivered or not, It was warm and dry. It sure beat the heck out of anything I have right now. After we were done and a few beers later we named the shop, but I don't think it will stick. As it stands right now, it is called "The Sacs"

My camera batteries are dead so I can not give you any pictures of the snow, the rain or even the mud. If you have to have a visual then just go back in this blog to almost every weekend for the past three months and look at those pictures and you will see the same thing.

Stick with me, I promise it will get better......

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Nuttin Much

Sorry for the non posting. With the daylight savings and my work picking up, I have not been home till late every night this week. I have had just enough time to shower and go to bed. If this continues then I might just drop back to posting on Friday, Saturday and Sunday.

It looks like I might be off work for the weekend, but they said it is going to rain on Saturday. That figures. I stopped by the hardware store on my way home tonight and grabbed a roll of welded wire for the chicken pin. Tomorrow I plan to stop by and get some of the siding for the mini barn and get as much done as possible before the rain hits on Saturday.
Plans are still on for making a run down to the farm on Sunday for the out house. My brother scored me a overflowing pickup load of 2x4's ranging from eight to twelve feet long I need to grab while I am down. The wood couldn't have come at a better time, there's the fence right there.

No pictures today. It's been to dark to take any when I get home.

Sunday, March 14, 2010

That Time Already?????

Unfortunately when there is rain, there is grass and unfortunately it has to be cut. I can not believe we went from snow to mowing within the same month, only in Texas right? That is the plan for next weekend. De-winterize all the mowing equipment and get the season started.
I find it funny that during the hot triple digit summer days we pray for a nice cool rain and the winter chill cannot get here quick enough, but during the cold cloudy winter months we pray for sunshine and the summer warmth. If I ever could find the spot where it rained once a month and stayed 70 degrees year around, I think I would pack up and move tomorrow.

On a very positive note, Today turned out to be the best weather day in at least four months. A light to medium North wind, sunny and 75 degrees. For the first time this year we were able to use the solar cloths dryer and the cloths actually dried without freezing. What a deal!
We even had some family visitors stop by and check on us and chit-chat for a while. It's always good to see the kinfolk. Finishing the day off our good friends down the street brought over some hamburger meat and fixens and I fired up the grill. Now I don't care what you say, that's livin.

As far as work goes, I was able to reconstruct the back wall of the animal barn and frame in a new door so we can incorporate the mini chickens into the overall design. I also started installing the ventilation system to keep the rabbits and chickens cooled for the summer.
I took some time and cleaned and leveled as much as I could of the yard so I will not get any unwelcome surprises during mowing next weekend. I had scrap wood piles, re-bar and fence post piles laying every where.

Speaking of next weekend, I am making a run down to the old farm next Sunday. While I was there last weekend getting the bathtubs for the worm beds, I spotted a few things I left and had forgotten about. I plan on getting the old outhouse structure. It is solid and still in real good shape. With a little rework on the floor (removing the sitting area) I plan to have it store garden tools and be the battery bank house for the wind turbines. Yes it is that big. I actually thought about making it a two holer when I built it but then thought, I am really not that close to my family and friends to sit side by side with them in an outhouse.

We are almost half way to completion of phase one of the mini farm. The thing is, there are five phases and they get bigger and bigger as it goes along. Yup, this is going to take a while....

Friday, March 12, 2010

Blow Me Away

It is a shame I do not have the wind turbines up yet. For the past few days the wind has blown so hard even the my eye lids are chapped. It sure is hard to get anything done with it blowing that hard. Sunday is the only day I have off from work this weekend so I am not sure how much I will be able to get done on the mini farm. Look at the pic, even my dog is a mini dog.
Speaking of mini, I am catching some flack from family and friends about those stupid miniature chickens the wife ordered. I don't know what to say, I didn't order them, she did. Yes I wish we were already set up for them but it is done and it is what it is.
As it stands, I can say I have raised just about every animal I can think of. From Llamas to Emu I have lost money on them all, now it seams I can add miniature chickens to that list.

Monday, March 8, 2010

What In The World?

Yup, that is a full grown chicken. It is called a Serama. From what I gather they are from Malaysian and are the worlds smallest chicken and you guessed it, the wife ordered some. We do not have a chicken pen yet nor do we have a brooding area yet, but she still ordered some. Now I am scrambling to redesign the rabbit side of the animal barn so I can house miniature chickens.
My understanding is you cannot call a hatchery to get these. You have to find someone who raises them and order either hatching eggs or chicks they hatch for your personal order and deliver them at a week old. At $10.00 a chick they better lay golden eggs.
I can't tell you where she is going with these little things or even what good they are. But I can tell you this, it seems most of the farms in this area are mini hobby farms and I have never seen one of these little things in person. That is telling me there might just be something to having the only miniature chickens around. So Cock-a-Doodle-Dooooo!!!!!!

I have collected all the materials for starting the worm beds and now just waiting on ordering the worms around the first of April. I have chosen to go with the Eisenia fetida worm due to there hardiness and unbelievable composting ability. A pound of these little creepy crawlers run around $30.00 and I am to believe about 500 to 1000 worms make a pound depending on there size. (I could only get 3 miniature chickens for that amount)
A friend of mine gave me a few trash bags of shredded paper to use for the initial planting of the worms and I have all the dirt/compost mix for the top. I have a couple of old bathtubs I am using for the beds and will be placing them inside the barn to keep them cool during the summer.
I do not know how it is going to work yet, but I plan on screening the drain hole of the bathtub and having a collection basin to see if I can extract some worm tea to use as a fertilizer.

Sunday, March 7, 2010

I Tried!

I was able to get the weekly burning and some yard cleanup done, plus put on the last two pieces of tin on the animal barn and installed all the metal rafter brackets before the rain set in. It was not foretasted to be here till late this evening but decided to set in at 10:00 AM.
I took advantage of the rain and ran into town to the hardware store for some much needed supplies and material pricing.
Maybe next weekend will be better working weather.

Hanging With The Pigs

Most of the day was spent just hanging around with the pigs up at the AG barn. As a matter of fact, six hours were spent there for the local FFA livestock show.
For a small town show I was impressed with the number of pigs, goats and steers that were shown.

We won second in our class but did not place in showmanship. The pig decided he had enough and just laid down right in front of the judge and refused to go any more. My middle girl tried and tried to get it up and going but the pig just dug himself in deeper and hollered like it was being killed. My poor girl just hung her head in defeat. It was the funnest thing I have seen in a while.

We all had a great time. My daughter even won second in the tractor driving contest and she was really happy about that.

So needless to say I didn't get any work done on the mini farm but Sunday is a new day.

Friday, March 5, 2010

Nice Weekend

This weekend should be full of progress. The weather is going to be sunny and 70 degrees. Sunday night is the next chance of rain so it should not effect me.
I have to run into town in the morning and watch my middle girl show my oldest girl's pig at the local FFA show. The oldest is away at a softball tournament and the school was kind enough to let her sister show her pig. The daughter and the wife went up earlier and got the pig ready to show. I wish I could have been there to watch them give it a bath. Now that would have been funny.

While i'm in town, I plan to get the last two pieces of tin for the barn and check some prices on pvc pipe. I have to move the sprinkler heads on the aerobic septic system that was installed when the house was moved in. They installed them way to close to the house and if you are in the back yard working when the system comes on and the wind is blowing, it's not a good thing.

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Slow Week

Not much happening on the mini farm this week. I rained again all day yesterday so it is to wet to get out and do anything. It is said it will rain more this weekend so we will see what happens. Other than that, it's work, home, eat and sleep.