Three Losses

April 2, 2014

13 baby chicks are now 11 baby chicks.

One died during the night on Sunday, and one died sometime during the day today.

The one I found Monday morning was a complete surprise. She was generally the same size as the rest, and her wing and tail feathers were starting to grow in. There was no sign of any physical trauma, and she was warm from the heat lamp when I found her. I did move the flock of them into the milk shed on Sunday afternoon, so I guess I'm just going to chalk it up to stress.

The one that died today...I sort of knew it was coming, although I was hopeful that she was perking up over the past few days. She hadn't grown much at all since they arrived last week, and was always falling asleep on her feet. Though she did eat and drink, it wasn't nearly as much as the others. She also had a case of "pasty butt" which is a pretty clear sign that something's not right inside.

Poor little chickens.

The rest of them seem like they're going to be fine. They definitely don't look like they did a week ago! They are easily double the size and they're no longer just balls of fuzz. They're starting to practice their flying moves, and whenever I have the door to the crate open for any length of time, one or two of them are pretty sure they can make a break for it. The picture below is from Saturday - they're way different even from then!

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Now, the third loss?

Our old house! We officially no longer own it. I hope the new family is happy there!

Hobby Farm Beginnings

March 27, 2014

I finally did it - I got chickens!

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I picked up these 13 balls of fluff the other day from my local Tractor Supply Co. When I ordered them, I had originally planned to have them come in on April 9th, but at the last minute I changed my mind and had them come in 2 weeks earlier. Apparently I had high hopes that winter would bugger off in timely fashion.

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I have them set up in Tassy's old dog crate in the living room right now, but I'm hopeful that it will be consistently above zero soon so that I can move them out into the milk shed attached to the big barn. With 13 of them, it's going to get tight in the crate pretty quick, so I'll have to figure out what to put them in when they move to the milk shed. With their heat lamp and a space heater they should be fine to grow out in there until I have their permanent enclosure finished for them in the big barn.

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The dog already pretty much ignores them. The cat is way too interested for my liking (not surprisingly), so whenever Mike or I isn't in the room, she's locked out. Meowzer's exclusively an indoor cat so I'm not even going to bother trying to get her used to them because once they're out of the house, she'll never see them again.

I'm spending far too much time watching them, and I pretty much think they're hilarious. They're scared of me, but that's honestly fine. They're livestock, not pets, so I don't need them to be cuddly!

Tapping Trees - Maple Syrup 2014

February 24, 2014

Although this seems to be the winter that never ends, spring really isn't all that far away. Which means that maple syrup season is quickly approaching. This past weekend we decided to tap our trees even though it's still a little early. The sap won't start flowing until the temperatures warm up a bit, but at least it's done and we won't have to scramble to do it on a weekday if the weather decides to shift.

Somehow in the move we ended up misplacing all of our spiles and lids, so Saturday morning we made the trip out to our local maple syrup supplier to pick some up. In the past we've used plastic spiles, but we bought metal this time around since they're cheaper and we're hopeful that the others will show up at some point.

Armed with buckets, lids, spiles, a battery powered drill, a 7/16 drill bit, a cast iron spile driver, and a hammer, we put out 15 buckets (on 10 trees). The snow has drifted and is pretty deep in some areas, so we kept things pretty close to the house. In the future we may come up with some sort of plan to tap the trees further away on the property, but who knows. We're quite happily "hobby" scale and have no visions of sales in our future.

This will be our third year of maple syrup making. The trees at our old house produced tons of great sap for us, so we're hoping the trees at the new house are just as good!

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We got one!

February 20, 2014

Just a really quick update...

We accepted a conditional offer on the old house last night! There are of course still a lot of ways that it can fall apart, but we're hopeful. If all goes well, we'll be closing on April 2nd!

Moving Forward.

January 23, 2014

Our old house is officially on the market, and has been for just over a week now. We've had two showings, but no offers have come in. We'll probably do an open house in a little while, but for now we're in a "wait and see" holding pattern. We've had several people call it a "unique" property (I guess because it isn't your typical subdivision house? and it still needs some work?), so I suppose the right person just needs to come along.

I have so many ideas for the new house and for my life, and I want to jump head first into everything and do it all at once, but the reality is I need to pace myself and choose maybe one or two decent sized projects to tackle in a year or so. But I am a millenial and having to choose frustrates me. I WANT IT ALL. AND I WANT IT NOW.

Because I want to do so much, and I don't know which few projects to choose for this year, I'm probably going to end up doing very little. I tend to plan, plan, plan, plan something, and then...never do anything with that plan.

That being said, I feel completely different this year than I have in the past few years. Without major renovations looming over us, or having too much stuff in a too small house, I feel like I can breath, and my mood and outlook are vastly improved. So in completely cliche fashion, maybe this year will be different?

And just in case it is, here's a look at a few of the things gnawing at the back of my mind.

CHICKENS.

I've been talking about getting chickens since we moved into the old house. Enough talking about it, it's time to get some feathered friends. This spring. Mike and I were throwing the idea around again a few weekends ago, and there's still a lot of figuring out to do (where exactly do we house them? will they freeze to death in the winter? how many do we get? dual purpose or straight up egg layers? day old chicks, started birds, or ready to lay?). I'm good at research and planning, so this part of the process doesn't freak me out. When it comes time to order actual birds is when I'll start procrastinating...

VEGETABLE GARDENS.

We have seeds. We have cedar to build raised beds. But, we probably won't take this on this summer. There has been discussion about moving the fence that's by the horse barn, because the way it's situated right now results in a lot of 90 degree angles in a short distance and it's a pain in the arse for my father-in-law and brother-in-law when they're running tractors and other machines in that field. Currently there's a great open space behind the horse barn that would be perfect for gardening, but if the fence is moved this space goes away. Which is obviously fine because the farm is the priority. So even though we have most of the supplies needed to get this project going, it's on hold for now until we determime exactly where the garden beds will go.

THE BATHROOM.

Mike and I both really dislike this bathroom - both it's functionality and it's appearance. A renovation of the room isn't in the cards, but I would like to spruce it up in the looks department. It'll take a bit more than just paint and swapping hardware to get it to be more tolerable, and I'm sort of dreading the idea of turning our only bathroom into a work zone. But, I've been gathering ideas and sources over the past few weeks, so it's actually something I might tackle relatively soon. Fingers crossed?

FRONT & BACK PORCH.

Both the front and back porch need a little bit of attention. At the very least they need to be pressure washed and restained/painted, but the stairs on both could use some work too - they're a little bouncy.

THE BASEMENT.

I wrote a post awhile back about there being water in our basement. Putting in a proper sump pit and running an outlet pipe from the basement is a must. There is a ton of room for storage down there, but we aren't using it right now because of there being such a high chance of things getting ruined. So hopefully we'll get to this when things start to warm up. Which probably won't be for a million years based on how flipping cold this winter has been so far.

In addition to all of that, there are a few small things here and there that need done. Like fixing up the oval window that I started in the fall. And re-attaching some metal flashing around one of the posts on the front porch. And recaulking all of the windows on the exterior, because oh my goodness when the wind gets blowing, does the bay window ever howl.

One thing at a time, right?

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