Monday, August 18, 2008

Some Projects

We've been mostly shut indoors here for the past few days due to some unusually heavy (but very welcome) rain. That just means that we've had some down time to come up with more new project ideas! Also, we've been able to come up with some solutions to problems we knew were in the post.

After only a month, it has become quite clear that the chickens do not need to have the run of the place. Don't worry - they'll still get to range, but their "range" will be somewhat determined by us. The problem is that a chicken will go wherever it wants to, regardless of how you may feel about it. Given the freedom, they'll be in your garden, on your deck, roosting on top of your barbecue grill, under (or on top of ) your car, and so on. As much as we enjoy them, we have our limits. SO, the ladies and gentleman will be enjoying some deluxe but rather more confined accommodations in a soon-to-be fenced area adjoining the small barn. The chicken tractor will remain in use for now as well - it can be their enclosed quarters, or could be re-purposed to house new birds until they're ready to mix with the flock. We also don't quite have enough nest boxes for our twelve girls. The tractor has just two built in, so today I set up a third one inside a chiminea with a broken top that's been sitting around waiting for some good use. Here it is - no visitors yet:

Yes, there's a bucket over the top to keep the rain out of it!

I also started growing a few batches of sprouts (bean and sunflower). I did that a lot before the move, and was finally able to unearth the sprouter. Hubby had a stroke of genius, though, and thought of a way to provide me with a much BIGGER sprouter, to make many more sprouts. Off he went to root through boxes, and he came back bearing a paper safe (the type used in photography to store photo paper). It's a good sized enclosed box with built in shelves and a roll-up door on the front. He intends to fit the shelves with some screens and I'll probably need to fix the door open and hang something like cheesecloth or a tea towel over it to maintain some air circulation, but it looks like it will work. I'll let you know after I've tried a batch. For now, though, here are the beginnings of my latest batch:

Lovely, aren't they? Just a box full of sprouty goodness!

Also on the horizon - a worm farm! We need to get out and rearrange the stuff in the barn, after which we plan to set up some worm beds. I'd like to get to that fairly soon, but the weather makes outdoor projects difficult, and we'll be busy this coming weekend helping our friends dispatch some more chickens (can't say I'm looking forward to that, but hey, what are friends for?). As soon as we can work it in, I'll post an update.


  1. Yea, it's going to be so fun to hear all about how the homestead gets put together.

    I don't feel too badly about confining my city cickens now.

  2. What a cool idea on the chiminea! I had a Can O Worms worm farm for a while (lost it in a break up long ago!) and it seemed to work all right but we had to do a lot more gross work with rotation than I thought we were going to. Plus, it stunk at times sort of like rotting compost. Keep us updated on what design you end up going with!

  3. Haha about the chickens taking over. I really appreciate all your advice, tips, and discussions about your chickens, I am learning a lot about having chickens one day!

    I love the sprouts! I have never tried growing sprouts, I always figured it would be difficult!

    Wahoo for the worm farm. Brett and I live in an apartment at the moment and are planning on getting a vermicomposting kit so we can, well, have the worms eat our "garbage" (veggie scraps) and turn it into good fertilizer!

  4. Jennifer - you should give sprouts a try. They're actually quite easy. I bought my little sprouter box for about $20, but you could make your own, too, if you were so inclined. All you need to do is soak them overnight, then rinse and drain them twice a day. I also have thus far avoided buying seeds to sprout from the online "sprout brokers" - they seem awfully expensive. I've been getting beans & seeds from the bulk bins at Whole Foods for sprouting. They do just fine and are a lot cheaper.