Monday, September 11, 2006

Chickens and Children

We continue our attempts to step back in time and find a simpler lifestyle. This means raising more of what we eat, recycling and reusing and lots of hard work! . . . Well, it is one way to handle living on a single income, especially when that income is a ministry income.

My husband finished the second chicken coop a couple of weeks ago. This is our budget coop.

Since we plan to eat most of the chickens in this coop, we didn't build a shelter. We are using tarps for now, plus the camper shell we found on the property.

This is definitely our "tight budget" coop. Here is the feeder my husband made.

We got three five gallon buckets free from the Wal Mart deli. We then purchased some $2.44 bases that are designed to go under plants. Add a little hardware and a chain and you get a hanging feeder. Or, a waterer.

My clever husband designed and built two of these waterers. We are hoping to be able to get some more buckets soon for another feeder or two.

About a week ago we started free ranging our chickens. I've wanted to do this all along, but the hawks which constantly circle our property concerned me. The chickens are doing great however and we haven't had any predator problems so far.

The kids love having the chickens wandering around. They keep taking their food outside after meals to lure the chickens onto the porch. Now we have a porch that must be carefully navigated. The chickens like the porch.

Gabrielle loves to sit on the steps and watch the chickens.

Granted she likes to pet them and is always trying.

Gregory likes to pet the chickens too. The chickens only put up with the petting after being sufficiently bribed with lots of people food.

Lilly has adjusted well to sharing her territory with the chickens.

Sometimes we can tell she wants to chase them. But she is a good dog and has resisted her doggie instincts.

However, when I saw her foraging with the chickens, I thought things had gone too far.

It is so nice to sit on the front porch and watch the chickens. We are all really enjoying it.

I am still harvesting our garden produce.

I made green salsa the other day from our hot peppers, tomatillas and green tomatoes. Whenever the tomatoes get ripe, the bugs get them so I have been looking for ways to use green tomatoes. I need to figure out an organic way to protect the tomatoes next year. For starters, I plan to grow them in a new area. I suspect the previous owner of our home grew tomatoes in the same location through the years. I hope by planting them somewhere else, we will at least start off without so many tomato pests.

We've enjoyed several watermelon from the garden so far.

This was a tiny one, but so delicious! I've been letting the family eat half of each melon and then freezing the other half for our smoothies. Of course they like the "watermelon popsicles" and so I don't have much put away for later.

Sometimes a watermelon will burst, usually after rain.

When this happens, I give the melon to the chickens who don't mind bugs in their fruit. They love watermelon too.

I pulled the last couple of cucumbers out of the garden the other day. I don't know how we will ever be able to eat store bought cucumbers again.

We have started our winter garden.

You can't see it too well, but the beans are already coming up. We used chicken coop left-overs to build a better fence this time. I plan to plant greens and I want to keep the rabbits away.

We've started back to our home-school. I'm still waiting for the kids to get back into the swing of it.

We joined a home-school group in a neighboring town. The group got together for a park day and the kids had a blast. Gregory and Gabrielle both met new friends and are extremely happy. Michael had some fun at the park too.

He decided grass wasn't so bad afterall.

He spotted his sister and took off.

On the knitting front, I am still working on my cloth diapering system. Now that I have a few soakers made, I am starting to have fun with them. I've done one with anchors and sailboats and most recently, strawberries.

This was the first time I ever attempted to carry three colors on a single row. It was awkward.

However, I did manage to finish the soaker, my seventh, so all is well. I'm also knitting diaper liners out of dish-cloth cotton using a pattern from the Knit List. I've finished four so far, but would like to make 36 or so. I would also like to do another five or six soakers. I have a great deal of knitting in my future!


Anonymous said...

Dear Deborah,
I just saw your post about Thankgiving with the link to your blog. Thank you so much for sharing all the photos of your beautiful family and life. We hope to someday get some land and do something similar, God willing. For now, we are in a suburb of NYC here in NJ and we can't quite live the lifestyle yet. Hope you are well. BTW, are you homeschoolers? We are.

Anonymous said...

Take care, and be well, Pam

Anonymous said...