Tree Planting Complete

27March2014_300_1736Misty painted the chicken coop door – it looks very nice! 

We had a fairly intense wind and rain storm last night, and I was curious to see whether or not the coop would leak.  When I checked for leaks this morning I was pleased to see that there were no leaks and no wind damage.  Two weeks until the chickens go outside.

I planted the trees yesterday, and am fairly happy with the placement. I also dug up an small plum tree that was growing off one of the main trees roots, and transplanted it to what will become an herb garden.  I have doubts that it will survive or ever produce fruit, but I was going to dig it up anyway and figured I would give it a chance to live.  I took a few pictures of the trees that I planted and they are below.

The first picture is looking South towards the front of the property the next picture is looking West towards the house:

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We are also doing quite a bit of lawn and house maintenance in preparation for Spring and Summer.  One of the things is that we are try to to is to provide a cleaner look to the front of the house, so Micha is doing a bit of landscaping in the front of the lawn by the driveway.  Hopefully, this will help us not use as much poison to prevent weeds, and will also provide a nice place to plant our 10 new lavender plants. 

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In some fun news – we went to the DMV to apply for our concealed weapons permits, as we completed the legal and shooting portions in February.  The DMV was quite crowded, and they have a ticketing system that prints numbers for the cue that you are waiting for.  For us, of course, it was the concealed weapons cue.  What was interesting is that the cue for weapons permits was also the cue for those registering as sex offenders.  Apparently, a separate (additional) button on the ticket machine is $10,000.  As usual with Idaho it seems, the people at the DMV were very helpful and nice, and we were out of the office quickly.

Oh – and this is what I get to see when I am working outside – either sunshine or beautiful clouds:

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Finished the Coop!

24March2014_DSC1734Spring is here, and flowers are everywhere. Our daffodils are blooming, and the tulips are all up and should bloom shortly.  Better yet, the orchard trees are also starting to bloom.

Down the street a bit is an apricot orchard that is in bloom.  From the house the orchard, and several other apricot orchards that are in bloom, looks like a white carpet, so we decided to stop by and take a couple of pictures.  It seems that apricot trees are the first to bloom, with the others, including peach, pear, apple, cherry, and plum, following shortly after.  I am interested to see the pink apple blossoms as well as out two old and large crab apples. 

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So, the chicken coop is finally complete!  We finished painting it today, and I put the roofing on the nest boxes.  While I say it is complete, I actually have a few minor items left to do in the interior of the coop.  I want to 24March2014_DSC1725temporarily block the nest boxes so the chicks do not think it a good place to sleep and then lay eggs elsewhere, and there are a few small weatherproofing, bug proofing, and trim items to take care of.  I will be putting the chicks outside in two and a half weeks, so I have time to spare in completing the remaining tasks.

While I really do not enjoy building things, building the coop was often enjoyable due to the beautiful weather last week, it was in the upper 50’s and sunny, and the wonderful scenery that surrounds the property.  Today while painting, it was in the low 60’s and again, beautiful.  Also, I am extremely satisfied with the coop itself.  It should provide the chickens a good home where they can lay a lot of eggs for us and maybe a bit of soup or a nice BBQ dinner…..

As you may be able to see, the chicks are growing fast.  I am thinking of moving them to the studio in the shed, as they are very dusty in the garage.  As they loose their baby feathers, the feathers, in the form of dust and fuzz, to everywhere, and the garage is a mess. 

Next on the agenda is a fence for the chickens and the lambs that I will be getting in the next few weeks.  I have decided to raise sheep for meat, as they will have enough food in the pasture I am developing to not need much, if any, additional feed.  Also, in the next few days I will be planting 6 apple,  1 nectarine, 1 peach, 2 sweet and 1 sour cherry, 1 plum tree, a boysenberry and raspberry bush, transplanting three or four old grape vines, planting 10 new grape vines, rototilling all three garden areas, finding and developing an area to grow hops, helping Misty develop an herb garden, putting in an irrigation system for the trees, bushes, vines, garden areas, and who knows what else.  This does not include performing spring maintenance on over 15,000 sq. ft. of a very resource wasteful, but nice, lawn.  All hard work, but all extremely enjoyable to do.

Almost Spring Update.

DSC_0011Spring (almost) seems to be here, with daffodils blooming, tulips getting ready to bloom, trees starting to leaf out, and green appearing everywhere.  With Spring comes all of the chores and projects that need to be done, meaning it is becoming very busy around the home.

First, the chickens.  We now have 13 chicks growing in the garage.  They hatched the last day of February to about mid-first week in March.  They are growing quite well, and will be put outside at the end of this month. The chick brooder is a very large plastic water trough for cattle that came with the property.  I installed a heat lamp as well as a Brinsea brooder which the chicks like to hide under.  I topped the brooder with wire to keep the cats out, and put a pallet on top of the wire.  The pallet provides a nice viewing platform for the cats.Spring2014_DSCF2336

I am nearing completion of work on the chicken coop.  I initially started the coop in the Fall, but I was unsure of what type of coop I wanted.  I knew that I needed an 8’ X 4’ (32 sq. ft.) coop, but could not decide between a tall or short coop, or if I wanted it on or off the ground.  I still did not know what I wanted last week, so I decided to simply start building and see what developed. 

As you can see from the below images, I choose (finally) to build a short coop that was off the ground.  The coop walls are 4 feet tall and the coop sits 2 feet off the ground.  I decided to build an elevated coop as it will be easier to clean and easier to collect eggs.  The coop is based on a set of plans that I modified a bit to better suit my needs and materials that I had on hand.  The coop if based on “The Daisy” coop by cleancoops.com.  I am vary satisfied with the quality of the plans, though I did find some of the instructions a bit unclear in a couple of sections, but nothing at all major.  Basically, a 4.85 out of 5, and a set of plans that I would very highly recommend to anyone wanting a spacious, strong, and if you know how to do woodwork, very attractive coop.

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As you can see, I build the walls and then attached them to the coop floor.  This was easier for me than building directly on the floor, as the shed floor provided a level base to cut and nail as well as a warmer, less windy spot to build.  All of the parts fit together well, and as the last image shows, the coop is almost done.  Hopefully, it will be done prior to the weekend and we can paint and decorate.  We are having a wind storm with up to 50 MPH gusts, and so far the coop has not tipped over or fallen apart, so I guess I did a pretty good job putting it together. 

In other news, I planted vegetable seeds last week, and the cabbage are already sprouting.  Not many seeds as compared to previous years, but still about 150 starts.  All vegetable seeds for this years garden, with one exception, are heirloom seeds.  I am also finalizing plans for the garden and will post a plan as soon as it is finalized.  Planning over 5,000 sq. ft. is not as easy as I expected, especially now that I also have to determine how to irrigate the garden.  there are also 7 fruit trees in the driveway ready to plant – 3 apple, one nectarine, and three cherry.  Still have two apple, two chestnut, and a peach to buy.