Happy Fall!

Yes, it’s fall in Maine!  Look at that beautiful color in my backyard.  I especially love that dead tree sticking up above it all.  It’s a favorite place for the crows to hang out, and I have even seen a juvenile bald eagle there once!  It has been busy this fall with the normal start of the school routine, and of course fall sports for the boys.  K started travel soccer this fall and it has kept us busy.  He’s having an awesome time and has improved a lot with the higher caliber of play and coaching.

The girls are doing wonderfully.  We have 1 barred rock and 5 golden comets.  They have been pretty consistently giving us 4-6 eggs per day.  I need to discover some new frittata recipes or something!  Too….many….eggs.  My friends are going to begin to be the lucky recipients of fresh eggs.  K loves hard boiled eggs, but I’ve discovered that you can’t hard-boil the fresh eggs.  Well, I knew that to be true, but I have also proven it several times.  Last time I hard-boiled some, I let them sit for about 10 days before boiling them.  That still wasn’t quite long enough.  The shells are really difficult to remove and you get a mangled egg.  I’m going to try 2 weeks next time.

I made a great kim chi fried rice with fried eggs on top last night for dinner.  I’ll share the recipe this weekend.  The kids don’t like fried rice, but Hubby and I loved it!

My annual Halloween display needs some new additions this year.  J wants to make more ghosts.  I’m not sure what to make though.  Hmm….maybe a floss wrapped bendy doll in the shape of a skeleton?  That might be fun.  Some mini hay bales?  Or maybe these hay bundles?

Of course, the month is getting away from me.  So we’ll see if I end up with time to make anything.  I have a project to make for a fundraiser auction for J’s old school, and of course I haven’t even started on Halloween costumes yet!!  K wants to be a red ninja, and J wants to be Yoshi from Super Mario Bros.  Ninja is not so hard.  Yoshi…..hmm…..more difficult.  I’m thinking this dinosaur tail, plus a hooded fleece cape with some spines down the back.  That’s my project for this weekend.

This has absolutely nothing to do with anything but how super-cool are these mushrooms growing up a tree in the woods behind our house??

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Eggs!

Did I forget to tell you?  Look what I had for breakfast on Saturday!

Our first double-yolk egg

 

I love soft boiled eggs!  Flo started laying eggs last week (at about 19 weeks old).  They were pretty tiny at first, but have been getting bigger.  Now, some of the older Golden Comets must have started laying as well, as I found three today (they are 19 weeks old this week).  Unfortunately, there is this tiny little area in the back corner of the coop, and there were two there.  You can’t even see it because the egg laying box is in the way, so when the boys went out to look, they only found one.  I’m going to have to do something to prevent them from laying eggs there.  Might need to block it off.  Use the boxes girls!  It took me a lot of time to paint them!

I measured the two eggs that we got a few days ago, so you could see the size.  They are not yet the size of “large” supermarket eggs.  But they have gotten bigger in the last week.

Eggs after a week are about a "medium" size as compared to the supermarket eggs

A Summer Update

I have not been a good blogger or crafter recently.  Summer is always so crazy!  We have the normal things going on like vacations and the garden and visitors.  Our big project of the spring is finally completed!  The chickens are outside and happily getting bigger and bigger.  I can’t wait for the first egg come September!

The completed chicken coop, or "chick mahal" as the Hubby calls it

My in-laws brought us the super-cute metal Welcome sign when they came to visit.  They picked it up in a little gift shop in Saratoga Springs, NY.  Once the chicken coop was completed, we had the big unveil and brought out the chickens!

Amidst all the chicken hub-bub, we also celebrated J’s 7th birthday with a big “mad science” party!  More on that later because it was super-awesome.

And I was finally able to get out strawberry picking and make jam, as I have been wanting to do for three years.  So happy it finally worked out.  I picked 12 pounds of strawberries in about one hour and fifteen minutes, and all for only $18!  That made me two batches of jam, plus 3 pounds to freeze.  I used the instructions from Pickyourown.com to make the jam, using the low sugar method.

Chicken update

Hullloooo!

Well, the chickens are growing by leaps and bounds!  Flo, the barred rock, is 2.5 weeks old, and the 3 golden comets are 1.5 weeks old.  Flo is already getting huge!  Barred rocks are large hens, weighing 7-8 pounds.  Golden comets are only 5-6 pounds, so that probably accounts for the fact that Flo looks three times as large!  We will be getting two more golden comet chicks tomorrow, and that will round out the flock to six. Hopefully the new babies will be as easily integrated with the older ones as the last set.

Whatcha' doin'?

Flo has been trying to fly out of the box that they are currently housed in, so I will be making some changes today before the two new babies arrive.  The box is currently in our big dog crate, so I’m going to pull the box out, and put the chicks straight into the crate.  The crate is nice because it gives a really easy place to hang the brooding lamp (which keeps them warm).  I will be putting up a wall of cardboard around the inside walls of the crate though to keep the mess down, and to prevent them from trying to push through.  Also helps keep away drafts and keep it warm, of course.

Work on the coop begins this weekend!  We have it all planned out, and the hubby just needs to figure out some more exact measurements so he knows how much wood to buy.  It’s going to be about a 4′ x 6′ coop with a 12′ x 6′ attached run.  Roof over the entire thing for shade and to keep snow out of the run.  The coop is going to be raised up 2 feet off the ground so there will be run space underneath as well.  We need to figure out exactly how we are going to protect the bottom from predators.  Some variation of hardware cloth, but we haven’t figure out what exactly.  I think maybe straight down into a trench to protect from digging predators.  We are going to place it here in our cleared garden bed.

Future home of chicken coop

I need to make some important design decisions while the hubby works on the construction details…..like what color to paint it!  That is going to be my job.  You can see all my chicken coop inspiration on Pinterest.

Welcome Flo!

We have been very busy here, so not a lot of crafting has been going on.  It is Spring (hooray!) and we have been spending our time in our garden/yard, cleaning up from winter and getting ready for spring planting.  More on that later, but I need to introduce you to the newest member of our family, Flo, our new barred rock chick!  The boys named her Flo because she was born on Gramma Flo’s birthday.

Hello Flo!

Unfortunately, Flo had a sister that didn’t make it.  We picked them up on Thursday and both seemed fine.  But by Saturday, the other one wasn’t doing well at all. She wasn’t walking, and everything that I could find on the net just didn’t seem like what it was.  We lost her Saturday night, and it upset the kids quite a bit.  But they have recovered and are looking forward to three more new chicks (Golden Comets) arriving on Tues/Wed of this week.  None too soon either because Flo is pretty sad without a companion.  We gave her a little stuffed animal to make her feel better and that actually seems to be working really well.

It was not the plan to only get two.  We had our order placed for two barred rocks and two golden comets.  But, the farm store ended up getting  their orders at different times, so the other two golden comets aren’t arriving for another week and a half.  So, I spent this morning calling around and finding someone who had chicks for sale this week so Flo wouldn’t have to be lonely for too long.  Thankfully I found some!  We’ll be picking up three golden comets on Tuesday or Wednesday, and if all goes well, we’ll end up with a total of six.

More on the chicken adventure to come!  Hubby is building a coop/run in the back yard!