Saturday, August 26, 2017

Experiement gone awry

A little over a month ago one of my cuckoo maran hens went broody. This means she sat on some eggs in a nest box in the hopes of hatching them out and raising chicks. I've never had a true broody hen in the seven years I've been keeping chickens. She would not budge from that nest (except for the very occasional food and water breaks). I was down to four hens and thought it might be fun to give her some fertile eggs to hatch out. Since we don't own a rooster she was laying on infertile eggs. I got onto one of the farm sale groups on facebook and asked if anyone had any fertile eggs I could buy. Sure enough I nice lady said I could come get eight of her eggs she collected that morning. Six of the eggs were Delaware chickens and the other two a Dorking/Delaware cross.

This was three weeks ago. In the mean time another hen went broody. Apparently (and I didn't know this) when one hen sees another hen sitting on a nest, she will want to do the same. Broody behavior is contagious. So I had two hens sitting when I brought home those fertile eggs. Well, 20 days later I heard peeping when I went into feed that morning. Seven of the eight eggs had hatched, the last egg wasn't fertile.

All was good for the first two days. Momma hen #1 took her chicks and stayed in one corner of the hen house. Momma hen #2 stayed in the other corner. I would come in the give fresh food and water and both hens would fluff up and try their best to protect their chicks. But then other hens would come in to eat and drink and hen #1 would go flippin' nuts. Running around trying to keep chicks velcroed to her side and in the mean time pecking those chicks. I told her if she hurts those chicks they become mine. Sure enough on day 2 one of the chicks had been pecked hard and was bleeding. So I pulled the brooder out and collected all six remaining chicks from both hens and am rearing them in the brooder in my living room. The poor pecked chick died later that day. I think in a perfect world where that hen didn't have any other hens around she would have been fine but I didn't have an isolated area for her (and I should have). Oh well, both hens can have their chicks back in five to six weeks when they leave the brooder. I don't think we'll be trying this experiment again.

In the mean time Winston thinks the little peeping appetizers in the hot box are quite interesting.

Thursday, August 24, 2017


It's a tradition that when the kids go back to school Sean takes those first two days off of work. We plan to sit around and watch tv, play PS4 and relax after a long summer. It's fun and we look forward to it each year. What we fail to realize each year is how extremely exhausted we are at the end of each summer. When school starts it's a stressful time, so many things to do and sign up for. Those two days of vacation for us turn into a "lay on the couch and try to regain energy" time. We had fun, we watched Rogue One. We'd been meaning to watch it for months now but couldn't commit to watching in the evening because it's over 2 hours long and we're old and need to be in bed by 10:30 just to function the next day.

He also happened to be home for the eclipse viewing Monday which was nice. We didn't get around to buying eclipse glasses so he dug out his welding masks which had a shade of 13 and 14 which worked for viewing the solar eclipse. We call it redneck style.

Tuesday, August 22, 2017

First Day

School started back up again last week. This year Wesley is moving into the 5th grade and Greta into 2nd grade. Wesley is kind of sad that this is his last year in the elementary school. Greta is excited to see her friends again.

We had a really fun summer and I'm sad to see that end, but a little happy to get back to sculpting full time again (the orders were backing up!). 

Sunday, August 13, 2017

Family Visit

Sean's brother and family came to visit us for a few days, leaving this morning. We don't get to see them very often so it was great getting together and letting the cousins play. Oh and play they did! We were thrilled the loft got finished just in time for their visit because they spent most of the three days up there camped out.

It was supposed to rain the entire time they were here but instead if just remained slightly cloudy and cool which was perfect weather for a visit to the zoo. We have a top notch zoo and try to go every year with the kids. I'm so glad they got to come with us this year, it was really a beautiful day and not crowded at all.

That bird was our tour guide for the rain forest building.

The brothers had a rousing game of Mario Cart while the gals went shopping. Boy do I like having a gal pal to shop with.

My sister-in-law and niece are both gluten free so we decided to make some gluten free vegan cupcakes so we could all enjoy dessert. It can be done! They were very good.

I sure wished they loved closer, we had a great time.

Wednesday, August 9, 2017

Summer Picture Dump

I have some fun summer pictures that don't seem to fit into any one category so I am dumping them all into this post.

I planted six packets of zinnias up by the house this year and I am in love with them! They are so tall and lovely and make me smile each day. I've been collecting the prettiest flowers and drying them to collect the seeds for next year. I'm going to make next years flower bed at least three times as big. Zinnias are by far my favorite garden flower.

Winston turned one year old last weekend. The kids insisted on a birthday party, complete with hats and presents. He's just the perfect dog for a family with active kids. He can keep up with those kids when I can't.

Not sure why Jessica is holding Winston, this picture makes me laugh.

Greta has become quite the Minecraft player. She builds all sorts of buildings and barns. I don't mind them playing Minecraft and love seeing their creations. I took this picture because she cracked me up sitting there in her unicorn blanket.

Coco the goat only likes the finest hay which lives right in the middle of these older hay bales. I told all of the animals they have to eat all of the 2016 bales before they can have the new hay. They aren't too happy about that.

We discovered the local shaved ice place this summer and have been trying to go weekly. What fun!

I can't not post this. I have been playing this game, Battle Run, on and off for three years now. I'm pretty good (if I do say so myself) and finally made it to the highest rank of Big Boss. Only the top 200 players in the world make it to Big Boss. I was so excited I promptly took a picture. It's the little things in life. :)

I love this picture of Sean. I took it while we were waiting for the firework show on the 4th of July to start. That's my cutie.

Monday, August 7, 2017

If you build it...

When we moved into this house 13 years ago the master bedroom was on the second floor. It had a vaulted ceiling and was hot in the summer. So in 2007 when I was very pregnant with Wesley we decided to move the master bedroom to the main floor and convert a large second living room/family area into our bedroom. Sean had to erect a large wall and in the process created a loft above our bed. Here is a picture taken several years ago when we got carpet so you know what I'm talking about.

Sean did a great job on the loft. He put electrical outlets up there, lighting and laminate flooring. The only thing missing was a way to get up there. Shortly after building it (like two weeks) I had Wesley and then I didn't want to put a ladder up to it....because nobody wants a toddler climbing a ladder all day long. So this is how it's sat for a decade now. But you see, my kids aren't toddlers any longer so we have no excuses. They've been asking for months now to build a ladder so they can play up in the loft. So we built them a ladder.

We researched all sorts of ladders. Wood ladders, bookshelf ladders and pipe ladders. In the end, a pipe ladder seemed the neatest. So plans were drawn and parts ordered. In the mean time we had to do a little sheet rock work to cover up the original plan from ten years ago. We cut out a hole in the sheet rock to build a built-in bookshelf ladder. It was neat in theory but neither of us were quite the carpenters to pull it off. So we filled in the hole, pasted it and painted it.

Then Sean started cutting pipe to the correct lengths. The motor on his metal band saw melted so he had to use a cut off saw.

Then I got to sand the pipe, wipe it down with acetone, prime it and paint it. The pipe had some imperfections (it is a water pipe after all) so we went with a hammered Rustoleum spray paint.

Then after letting the paint cure for five days it was time to assemble it. Turns out we had no idea what we were doing and had to try a few different methods before finding one that worked.

All done!

 The kids love it!