Are we having fun yet?

Things have been a little busy around these parts. We got home from vacation and all hell broke loose. Apparently the lack of snow brings the over abundance of farm work to be done.

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Y’know, just a typical Friday night

The chickens are growing fast and will be 8 weeks (8 weeks!!) this coming Wednesday. Yesterday I awoke to my very first “crow” attempt which had the dogs in a tizzy – a sure sign that the freaking chickens need to get out of my house. They are adorable, yes. But messy and stinky and loud. The dogs think they are the greatest things and wait with their noses below the door on a regular basis. We have been working on Dog Chicken Relations every day, so I am hopeful that we may have a few Livestock Guard Dog’s on our hands after all not have to deal with a massacre right off the bat.

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Millie is getting in some nice cheek fluff

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Maynard is practicing his manners

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I am assuming that Dick (on the left) is the culprit of the “crow” attempt

Clay and I have been putting our full attention into getting the chicken coop finished. We’ve taken some trees out and moved the sea can, stripped the interior of all the shop aluminum, sanded the floor, cut the window hole, cut the chicken door, power washed the inside, framed the partition and landscaped and measured the chicken yard. Phew. And we still have approximately 43 things left to do.

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Moving the sea can with the cat

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In the beginning…

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Cleared out

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“Everybody’s working for the weekend….”

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So first time with a chainsaw and I get to landscape willows… not an easy task and the photos make it look like you are chainsawing nothing.

During our spare time we have been peeling a great number of logs that will eventually be the corrals for the wild horses. I say eventually because we are averaging about 5 per day between the two of us and there are 500 logs. So here’s to a celebration party in approximately 100 days! Log peeling is not easy work. But by god, I better have the best upper arm strength in the county by the time we’re finished…Am I sounding country enough yet?

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Unloading some of the many logs

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Sometimes we get helpers… sometimes

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Wyatt seems really impressed

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My badass Alaska ax on a freshly peeled log

Our hopes are to have the chicken coop finished by this weekend (please, god) so we can lounge about for the rest of the summer work our asses off on something else. Apologies for the straight iPhone photos, it seems I won’t have time to properly edit a photo until winter (instagram editing counts, right? (I can see my photographer friends rolling their eyes from here (triple parentheses!!)))

Ah, farm life. Are you having fun yet?

Off to paint the chicken coop and receive our riding horses… have a fabulous Friday!

~Katy

The great chicken adventure of 2014

I’m back! Sorry it’s been awhile, I was on a gorgeous 10 day Caribbean vacation with my family loading up on Vitamin D and too much wine (and a little bit of whiskey for good luck). So it’s back to reality for us here at Canadian Acres. The snow is gone (thank god) and the burned areas are so nice and green. Everything else remains brown and dirty, but hey, baby steps. Up here in the North, sometimes you just have to say to yourself over and over – Summer is coming (eat your heart out Ned Stark).

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The burned side of our road compared to the un-burned section

Clay and I arrived home from San Juan on Sunday evening, after a very long and cluster filled line of flights. Our luggage didn’t arrive until Tuesday. In my own brilliance, I of course scheduled to pick up our 14 one month old chicks the following day, Monday at 6:30pm. Brilliant. Upon awakening Monday morning, we realized that the brooder was not finished, the set-up was not started and we honestly had no idea what we were doing. By the time 4:30pm rolled around, we were running around like chickens with our heads cut off (pun intended). I had a melt down because we didn’t have any staples that fit the staple gun (we did, I just put them in wrong) and when we finally went to put the brooder into the spare room, it didn’t fit through the hallway door (I did ask him a few times  if the measurements were right). So basically we were total panicked first time parents. Since we had to leave to go pick them up, we quickly set up one brooder in the living room so that Clay could make some adjustments to the other one later that night.

With the extra large dog kennel packed in the back of the 4Runner we headed down the road to our neighbors house to pick up our chicks. I was so excited! Clay was… not as excited. The lady who was keeping them for us helped us catch them and get them into the kennel, gave us 2 dozen eggs and we were off on our very own chicken adventure.

Then I realized… chickens in my living room! Oh no.

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They’re here!

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Clay’s beautiful brooder – I’m a lucky gal

But soon enough they were settled into the spare room and making a mess like nobody could believe. I fell in love instantly with their little peeps and their curious eyes. The brooder Clay made is wonderful and just perfect for their needs as of now. It is 4 x 4 square with a plywood bottom and has plastic chicken wire lining the sides. We hooked up a heating lamp from above, spread out some pine chips, built a perch, placed in a feeder, a waterer and a thermometer. The next day, I added some clumps of dirt and grass from outside to add to their activities during the day along with a bowl of grit to help with their digestion. Whew, it all seemed pretty easy.

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Settling into their home for the next few weeks

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I love my little half-naked chickens

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So sweet

Things I have learned thus far – Day 4:

  1. Chickens are messy… VERY MESSY
  2. Always keep their waterer higher than the ground… it’s disgusting
  3. Always put a lid on the brooder at night, or you will chase chickens around your craft room at 4:45am the next morning
  4. Chicken catching is fun – taking photos of chickens is hard
  5. Keep an eye on Maynard as he really really wants to eat the chickens

All of the chickens are very wild and haven’t had much human contact for the first month of their lives. I make sure to take time each day to catch a few and hold them and pet them. I also feed them out of my hand which they have grown to love. So far, there are definitely a few favorites. When we picked up the chicks, the woman did ask me a few times if I was sure I wanted to take the “turkey neck” crossed chicken as she would always look like, well essentially a vulture with a toupee. I have never been one to shy away from the needy, less attractive critters so of course I would take her!  She is definitely a favorite. Ornery, but adorable.

This batch of chicks are known as Easter Eggers and Olive Eggers. Basically, they have Americauna genes (blue and green egg layers) mixed and crossed with other breeds to make a variety of colored eggs. Just what I’ve always wanted 🙂

I decided to name them after popular Victorian names (old lady names as I call them) and without further ado, introducing a few of the newest additions to Canadian Acres (okay, catching and holding and taking photos has proven challenging):

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Gerty! She also comes to “dirty gerty” and “Gertrude”

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Mildred aka Millie

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Pretty sweet little Stella

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Dolly

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I’m pretty sure this ones a rooster so I call him Dick

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Agnes

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Mable

With all of this chicken excitement, I bet you are wondering what our chicken coop is looking like. Well, for the first few days, it wasn’t even here yet. But Clay, his dad and his brother fixed that by bringing it (carefully) down our road and into our driveway. Ladies and gentlemen, introducing our soon to be chicken coop!

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Arrival time

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Timber and Clay start to unload

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Time for some cat assistance

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The boys checking out the interior – we have a lot of work to do!

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Happy husband

Our very own sea can which we acquired for free (amazing, thank you Mom-in-law). It has A LOT of work to be done to get it outfitted for the chickens, but we are very blessed and happy for the opportunity to make it into a coop that will meet our needs and the needs of our chickens. Not too shabby for only being home for 5 days 🙂 Let the games begin, and may the odds be ever in our favor!

~Katy

 

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Treat time! (loving me some naked Gerty neck)