Monday, 30 May 2011

The Ladies Are Home!

 Our coop is not quite finished but our beautiful chickens finally arrived yesterday! We have put them in a makeshift pen for now and a little wooden box is there for them to sleep in at night. The girls were so thrilled to have them home.

 Here they are huddling under my tree that we just transplanted from the side of our house last week in between rain storms. It has survived the transplant but the hens have already begun tearing off the lower branches and eating them! Here's hoping that lets up soon.

  We have introduced our dog Molly to the chickens and that went about as well as could be expected. She chased them all around the yard and when she could, she trapped them to the ground with her paw and gave them a thorough sniffing out. She hasn't tried to eat one yet but she has been seen watching them from the top deck while drooling and licking her chops.

The ladies also survived their first major thunderstorm in our backyard quite well. Me, being the anxious 'mother hen' went out and checked on them a little after 9:00 last night and they were warm and cosy in their box all piled on top of each other. They actually seemed quite put out by my interruption. 

McKayla woke up around 6:30 this morning and her and I went outside to let the chickas out and give them their breakfast. I proceeded to climb right back into bed afterwards but McKayla stayed there all morning (joined later on by Bray & Em) until I dragged them all in for breakfast and school. The older two then flew through their morning work so they could get back outside to see their 'babies'! What a great motivation these hens have been. Breakfast, chores and school were done very well and quickly with the chickens acting as an incentive...I wonder how long that will last?

Thursday, 26 May 2011

Trip to the Firehall

Firefighter Josh (aka Daddy) showing Mick how to spray the hose.

Showing her how to adjust the spray.

Now its Bray's turn!

Emmy too!

Just a little unsure!

Braelyn in the truck.

The girls and I had a special treat the other day when we were able to tag along on a school trip (with the Preschool that I teach at) to the Fire Station where Daddy happens to be a volunteer firefighter. The girls were very excited when we told them that he would actually be one of the firefighters at the firehall that day who would be teaching them all about fire safety and giving them a tour of the new station. They learned lots of great stuff and had a blast sitting in the fire trucks and spraying the hose.
Oh and by the way isn't my hubby smokin' hot  super cute in his uniform?

Monday, 23 May 2011

Daddy Finally Meets the Chicks!

McKayla loves her chicks.
Yay Daddy gets to hold one!

The little brown ones are laying hens, the others are broilers.

In other words, eggs vs. drumsticks
Too cute to resist.

The girls were super excited that Daddy finally had the chance to come over with us to meet the chicks where they've been staying at a friend's house until the coop is completed. We can't believe how big they've grown in the past couple of weeks, how fast they lose their down and grow feathers. We are highly anticipating their arrival at our place hopefully by the end of the day! Well gotta get back to work.

Wednesday, 18 May 2011

Reading About Chickens

The girls and I have done a lot of non-fiction reading pertaining to chickens so I decided to scour our bookshelves in hopes of finding a fiction book that would also tell us about chickens. Lo and behold the things I can find in our book collection! We've never read this one before and I can't even remember where I picked it up but what a good book so far! We've just started reading it (about a fifth of the way in) but the kids are really loving it. This is what they had to say about it at the dinner table (*spoiler alert):

McKayla: 'My favourite part of the book is when the little red hen tumbles down the ramp! That was soooo funny the way they described it.'

Braelyn: 'I don't have a favourite part, it is too sad when the little red hen loses all her toes. I do like the dog though, the way he crawls on the ground like an army man'

Emerson then yells: 'ME talk toooo' ....she was getting angry that no one was asking her what she thought. So I then proceeded to ask her what she liked about the book....I have no idea what she answered but she went on and on for a good minute telling us about something!

Tuesday, 17 May 2011

Simply Titled - Rain

I am feeling more than a little washed out by all this rain. I feel blurry, like those watercolours Burt drew in Mary Poppins that slowly blended and faded into a jumbled mess. I am anxious for the sun, craving it from deep within my bones, longing to drain out this excess moisture that is hanging about and replace it with a sun infused warmth. That's the nice's how I really feel....

What I would really like is to get all these plants out of my house, work in the garden, finish my backyard, never see another muddy dog print on my nice clean floor ever again, empty out the garage, have a garage sale to get rid of some junk extra stuff that's lying around and have the kids out from under my feet get some fresh air without tracking in even more muddy prints. K? So, pretty please with a cherry on top?

Tuesday, 10 May 2011

Our Seed Project {Part 2}

A new seed tray planted today.

Here is our first tray two weeks in.

This year I would like to have veggies over a longer period of time so I decided to try out interval planting. Basically I'm just planting another whole tray or row (for those veggies that go directly in the ground) a week (or two) after the previous one to extend the time frame in which I have vegetables available for eating. I'm also hoping to do a lot more container planting with my peas, beans, tomatoes and peppers to make more space in the garden for all the other veggies (cukes, beets, carrots, lettuce, potatoes, corn) and our single fruit, watermelon. We also might pick up a couple of hanging strawberry plants and possibly two blueberry plants and see how we make out with them. The girls are having a blast with the spray bottle keeping the plants moist at all times. I set the spray very fine, as between the three of them the plants were getting watered about 6 times a day! Can't wait to finish up the backyard and move everything outside.

Monday, 9 May 2011

So I Built a Retaining Wall

The backyard 10am after Josh had battled with the rototiller

My beautiful, level retaining wall!!

More beautiful retaining wall!

Up close with the retaining wall  
Now if you can't already tell, I am deeply in love with my retaining wall. Mainly because so many people laughed at me whenever I would mention my desire to put said wall in our backyard all by myself. Now I know it is not perfect, it could probably use another layer on the top and I still need to finish the one end, but it was a complete labour of love. A back breaking, sandpaper calloused hands, arm aching labour of love and devotion. I will mention that Josh did help but this was 95% my own project and I will gladly confess my sinful nature to one and all, that I am suffering from the worst case of pride I have ever been witness to.

What makes this project even better was that it cost us NOTHING!!! Josh's Aunt and Uncle were redoing their garden last year and were getting rid of the bricks and we gladly took them off their hands knowing that they would be useful to us in the future.  We were also very blessed in using my Uncle's rototiller rather than renting one, which was our original plan, for $70.00 from the local hardware store. So with a lot of time and energy we were able to do all this work for free, definitely my favourite kind of work out there!

On a completely unrelated note, I made these yesterday and they turned out great and I had to share:

Thursday, 5 May 2011

How Fast they Grow

All seven of them!
Braelyn herding them all.
What a wing span!

Em's still a little nervous

Starting to see their feathers.

Wednesday, 4 May 2011


Earlier this week as McKayla was doing her spelling we came across the word 'flout'. Having the Scholastic Children's Dictionary by our sides we proceeded to look up 'flout', as she didn't know the meaning. Here is the definition given:

flout (flout) verb If you flout the rules, you break them deliberately.

Waiting about half a second my brilliant child says to me 'Oh like you are going to flout the by-laws.' ..... I was completely stunned and at a loss for words. I hadn't really thought of it in such deliberate terms before now. The way she said it made it sound so much worse than I had previously thought.  I stood there for a moment and then proceeded to talk to both of the girls about how we had taken all the steps we could at the moment to effect a change in the by-laws and how hopefully the aldermen would see the need for an amendment. I talked about how we would be respectful of our neighbours and how we would ensure that our chickens wouldn't bother them, how we could share our eggs with them and the other benefits of being more and more self-sufficient.

Ever since walking away from that conversation, however, I have been having such conflicting emotions. I know that many people will and have said to me 'don't worry about it',  and feel that I am being silly with all this 'chicken business'. But there is a part of me that is wondering when if ever it is acceptable to be aware of a 'rule' and to do the exact opposite, just for the plain fact that I don't happen to agree with it and think it should be changed. Day in and day out my children push, sometimes slightly, sometimes more so, against the rules that their father and I put in is this any different? I am constantly saying to them 'hey it sounds like someone wants what they want when they want it eh?' (thats a tongue twister!) And when McKayla said that I would be 'flouting' the by-laws,  I felt that someone should say that to me.

So while we are still going ahead with building our coop and anticipating our ladies arrival, it is not without a bit of a black cloud over my heart and with unanswered questions swirling about my mind.
The base (don't even ask how long it took!)

Windows that I have been dying to use somewhere! The ladies will need their light!

Tuesday, 3 May 2011

Our Seed Project

It finally feels as if spring is here. Lots of rain, the weather is slowly starting to get warmer, our chicks are almost ready to come home... and so the girls and I decided we had better get to work and get started on our vegetable garden. We usually order seeds from the catalogue (either Stokes or Dominion Seed House) and have them started indoors well before now but I have slacked off this year and spring has really seemed to sneak up on me. In the end I decided I would just pick up some seed packets from the local hardware store and make do with that for this year.

The girls really love this 'seed project', from planting, watering, sprouting, hardening off, then transplanting, weeding, mulching, etc., etc., etc., ...and finally the best part, picking the veggies, the girls take a real interest in the whole ordeal and don't mind doing a lot of work along the way. The best part for me is that they eat way more vegetables than I could ever get them to eat and they eat veggies that they wouldn't have even looked twice at had they not grown them themselves.  

Here they all are!

McKayla planting tomatoes.

Em helping out.

One tray all planted, complete with hand made signs.

Newspaper seed cells all planted.

Easy to make and we will plant them right into the ground and let the newspaper break down to a natural compost.

Monday, 2 May 2011

Mom & Emerson
McKayla holding on tight.

Braelyn still a little unsure.