Sunday, March 31, 2013

Poultry hoop houses

Just some pics of the poultry hoop houses I told someone I would post.  Nothing new, just didn't have a pic to show them the other day

Lean-to is up

After 2 good days the lean-to is up.  Although, it's not really a lean-to.  I still need to paint the back and right wall, add some trim, and build the shelf for the straw.  Here are some pics of the assembly and the current state of the building.


The Coop roof comes over the new roof to keep the water from running down the side of the new building.

 A view from the front of the coop.

Friday, March 29, 2013

Dan's worm farm

We took the kids fishing in the neighbors pond a few weeks ago.  Turns out that there are only two places in town that sell worms.  They were $3.50 for a container.  Danielle took the leftovers and made a little worm farm on the counter and has been feeding them since.  They are quite full now and she's going to have to get a bigger container soon.  They eat kitchen scraps.  I think she's going to feed them to the chickens as well as use them for fishing.

Lean-to walls are built

We have finished building 2 walls for the lean-to.  It's going right up against the back of the chicken coop so I have to put the siding on before assembling it.  We painted the siding this evening.  Tomorrow we will attach the siding and put up the walls.  Then it's time to start cutting rafters and work on the roof.  More pictures tomorrow if there is no rain.

Chicken picture

Just a picture of the laying hens.

Planting Onion Sets

I tried growing onions from seed this year and I have really nice looking grass.  Basically I think I should have started them last year if I wanted to transfer them to the garden this spring.  I was at Tractor Supply picking up bird feed yesterday and bought 240 onion sets, 3 bags of 80.  I ran some mason twine at 4" spacing and planted them 4 inches apart.  I was 8 short, so I have a nice bald spot right in the middle.  Some kind of flower will probably go there.

Monday, March 25, 2013

Hives are placed

Friday afternoon I picked up some gravel and cinder blocks to build bases for the bee hives.  I got them nice and level and set the hives on top of the cinder blocks.  Now all we need are some bees to be ready!  Hopefully we'll hear from the fatbeeman soon and be able to pick up the nucs.

Mar 24 Garden Update

I've made a little progress on the garden this weekend.  I worked late on Wednesday so I got out of work at noon on Friday.  I headed to Lowe's and picked up six 2x6x8 boards to replace the ones that I had stolen for the deep beds.  I spent Friday afternoon building the 3 replacement bed frames and putting them in the garden.  All the beds are framed in again now. 
The below pictures are the peas.  They are coming up nicely.  I need to get their trellis built soon.

The potatoes have broken ground.

 Two beds of bush beans have been planted. (3/22)

Incubating Turkey Eggs

Yesterday Paige and I gathered up 14 turkey eggs that the girls have laid in the past week and a half.  Some of them were pretty nasty looking, but we'll see if they grow.

I bought a Hova-Bator Genesis incubator with a egg turner.  The hatchery recommended the goose egg turner because the turkey eggs are a bit larger than chicken eggs.  However that was a big waste of money.  The goose egg turner is the same as the chicken egg turner but they removed three of the trays and bolted a wire rack to the remaining four.  It looked like this when it arrived.
Problem is that the turkey eggs are too small to be held in place by the wire.  So I removed the 4 wire racks and ended up with a overpriced four rack chicken egg turner.  Odds are we will never incubate more than 21 eggs, but I wish the girl at the hatchery would have known her products better.  Here is is loaded with the eggs.
They were loaded on March 24th.  In 24 days they will be removed from the egg turner for hatching.  They will hatch in 28 days.  The last 4 days you take them out of the turner because some may hatch early and the turner can crush them.  We'll candle them in a few weeks and see if they're growing.

Friday, March 22, 2013

Planted Corn

We spent the past 5 days on vacation so nothing happened in the garden until last night.  When I got home from work I took the new (to me) wheel plow out to the corn patch.  It's a 20x20 square in the back half of the back yard.  This was the third time I've plowed it with the wheel plow and it was nice and soft.  It only took about 20 minutes this time as compared to the hours it took the first time cutting through the remaining sod.  Once plowed it was raked nice and flat.  Finally the bed was prepared for planting.  I got out the seeder that I got last year for Christmas, picked the correct seed plate, loaded it up with corn seed, and went to work.  I set the spacing at a wide enough distance to be able to walk the wheel plow between the rows to weed the corn.  I ended up with 11 nice straight rows in about 5 minutes.  I'm digging this seed planter. 

After the corn was planted the kids and I went to work on the raised beds.  I don't know why I didn't think about it before but the chickens ran right over to the corn bed and started pulling out the seed.  It was a mad run back to the corn and Logan was put on scarecrow duty to keep the chickens out of the bed while I went to the garage for supplies.  Luckily I still had a 1/2 roll of fence and a stack of T-posts lying around.  I now have a nice 20x20 fenced in corn patch.  We have had so much rain lately that driving the T-posts into the ground was quite easy, unlike last time when it about killed me driving them into the concrete hard clay.  However, they probably will never come back out.  I'll try and get pictures this weekend.

Saturday, March 9, 2013

Doubling down on the raised beds

The raised beds that we built last year were 4'x8'.  They are made out of two by six lumber with a piece of 4x4 in the corners.  One thing we noticed last year was that, even with double digging the beds, our root crops really couldn't get down into the soil below the bed.  We decided that we needed to double the depth of the beds this year.  Doubling them all really isn't in the budget so we're just doing the ones that the root crops are going into.  Before disassembling the beds we dug the dirt out from around the edges to simplify reassembly.

The new double depth (11") beds are essentially the same.  The only real difference is the piece of wood screwed to the side to keep the two long boards together.

Then just repeat three more times.  You can see where I stole the wood from the front beds in the picture.   We're going to re-build them with new wood.  I figured that it would be better to have the same age wood on the beds rather than old on the bottom and new on the top.  It will make replacements easier when they eventually rot out.

Once finished and filled it was row after row with the dibbler (sitting on the edge of the bed) and 2 carrot seeds per hole.  
I am definitely going to spend some time with my drill press next winter to make a dibble board like this one from beekman1802.  This would save some time.

Monday, March 4, 2013

Dead Duck

We came home last night about an hour after dark.  I went back to lock up the chickens and my count was off by one.  I was missing a duck.  Occasionally the ducks will get stuck in the water tub they swim in.   I went back behind the coop to where the water tub is and found a pile of feathers and a headless duck.  I'm not sure what would have done this to a bird.  The head and neck meat was missing, but all the good meat was still there.  I wish it had been a chicken, the ducks are Danielle's pets, and there were only 2 of them.  Her friend is going to be sad today with no-one to waddle around with.  We're borrowing a game cam today to put out and try to figure out what did this.  Dan wants to sit out there with the shotgun tonight.  I'm not going to put the pic on here because she hasn't seen it.

Click HERE to see the bird.  Maybe someone can tell me what did this.

Foundation installed

I'm still working on putting together all these frames for the bee hives.  So far I  have all of them wired up and crimped.  Today I finished installing the wax foundation in 24 of them.  Only 26 to go.
24 is one complete hive.  I did notice that 9 frames fit perfectly in an 8 frame hive.  I'm going to have to look into why that is.

And.... the stack of those remaining.

Starting seeds

It's that time of year again.  Time to start the seeds for the garden.  Feb 17th we started 72 Amish Paste seeds in soil blocks.  On the 24th five beds of peas went into the garden, totaling 100 feet of plantings.  This weekend (March 3rd) we started 16 cucumbers, 8 butternut squash, and 12 Queensland Blue pumpkins in the garage.  Below is a picture of this weekend's soil blocks.  In the background you can see the tomatoes have sprung up well in the last 2 weeks.