Monday, January 30, 2012

House 2012?

We (with help) did quite a bit to our house in 2011.

- New bathroom floor
- New bathroom paint
- Re-stained outside of 3-seasons room
- Painted garage trim
- Finally burned our leaf/stick pile
- Re-caulked living room window
- Cleared out butterfly garden
- Added two fruit trees
- Built chicken coop from scrap material
- Repurposed dog kennel to chicken pen

This year, if money allows (haha...) in addition to the flower & veggie garden, I'd like to:

- Add another dog kennel to the chicken pen for a limited grass-time area
- Paint living room - change from the gold-tinged color
- Paint kitchen - keep it white, just needs new paint

And for a "big" project...

Basement Re-do.

We had a mildew problem in 2011 because we did not have a dehumidifier running. We plan on purchasing another one before spring hits and hopefully that will take care of the problem.

When you come down the stairs, there is a small area with a storage shelf, my chest freezer, and a storage rack with Tupperware. To the right, we have a walk-out that has my husband's desk (mini-office), rabbit pen and spare twin bed. To the left, we have the enclosed pantry, laundry area, and an empty area that has a dresser, cabinet with more Tupperware. We have a full bathroom down there, and open storage under the stairs. Also more storage in the room next to the laundry area with the sump pump, heater, etc.

The walk-out side is painted white with a painted tan cement floor. The rest of the basement has a combo of wood, orange paint and white paint on the walls, with a garage type floor paint. The basement is waterproofed. We've been told that the one family completely re-did the basement, then had a foot of water, lost all of their work and had to have it waterproofed. We've (knock-on-wood) never had standing water in the basement.

I'd like to...

- Repaint the walk-out side floor. Some of the paint is peeling off and it looks bad.
- Fix up a better area for my husband's mini-office.
- Fresh coat of white paint for the walk-out side walls.
- Maybe move the bed to the second floor. The other guest bed area is up there, it would make sense.
- Paint the orange walls... maybe a light blue? Something brighter.
- Change the lighting for... well, more light.
- Re-do the laundry area. Add a folding area/table.
- Create a play-area for Connor, probably on the laundry room side.
       - Need flooring
- Create a work-out area, also on the laundry side so I can keep an eye on him and keep him out of daddy's hair.
       - Need flooring
- Figure out something for the rest of the walk-out... Maybe a rug with a couch, tv set-up. A family area.

Yeah... so not much... maybe this should be a 2012-2015 plan...

Wednesday, January 25, 2012


I saw 100% juice (tart cherry, blueberry and blueberry pomegranate) at the grocery store last week. I immediately thought they might make nice jelly. I did some research and yep, I can make jelly from them. I just need to get some no or low sugar pectin and I'm set. And hopefully it will "set". :)

I joined a canning group on Facebook. They talk an awful lot about pressure canning. I'm scared to death of pressure canning. I just picture it exploding in the kitchen. But the idea of pressure canned chicken, chili, and soups sounds so wonderful to have on hand... I think I need to master water bath canning first, then try pressure canning.

Sale going on now! Enter ENDOFMONTH20 for 20% off! Ends 1/27/12

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Soil Bag Gardening?

Someone on Facebook posted a link to an article on "soil bag gardening". It looks like something I'd like to do this year. The ground where the vegetable/herb garden will be has been compacted by horse hooves for the last few years. Even if I till it, I'd still have to amend it. For this idea, you take a bag of topsoil, poke holes in the bottom for drainage, place it where you want it, slice open the top and plant your seeds or seedlings. Easy peasy. In the fall, remove the plastic and there you go. You can also do something similar with straw.

Winter Finally Showed.

The girls enjoy some lettuce in the snow.

We took advantage of the last 50 degree day and enclosed the bottom of the coop with three spare pieces of plywood.

Lace at 8 months. She's getting so chunky!

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Winter in Sight?

Today was 56 degrees F... tomorrow is supposed to be low/mid 20's and 4-8 inches of snow. My husband came home early from work today and raked some leaves out of our walk-out. I asked him to grab his drill since it was still so nice out. We "winterized" the coop. I had him screw three pieces of plywood around the bottom of the coop for a wind-block. We get viscious winds from the south. The blocks are on the north, east and south. The west is where the door is. Yes, bad winds out of the south... strange, I know, but our property is lined with woods on the north and far east. South is a 20 acre farm field with woods on their far south. If that makes sense... :)

Anyway, they were already checking it out. I'm crossing my fingers that they don't start laying eggs under the coop... they are finally using the nest box.

Saturday, January 7, 2012

Planning The Pasture

Spring will be here before I know it. Shoot, I feel like it's already here. This winter has been highly unusual for Northwest IN. We should be in the 20's with snow... it was around 50 today. We've had snow on the ground TWICE so far this winter. Now, I don't particularily like winter. I don't like our recent winters where we've had numerous days at or below 0. However, I'm kinda concerned. Either we're going to get slapped with a huge snowfall soon, or we're going to have a horrendous bug season this summer.

Anyway, back to the point, planning the pasture. My girls have a 12x7 dog pen as their enclosure. I'm planning on either picking up a 10x10 pen with double gates or building some sort of tractor. If I can swing the pen, I will let them out in it at limited times, or every other day, some sort of schedule so they don't tear up the grass. At least with a tractor, I can move it around, but it would need to be predator-proof or resistant. I'm leaning more towards the 10x10 pen with double gates. That way, I can line up one door with the existing door and not have to cut any holes in the existing pen. And, I can technically shift the pens to give one area a break/reseed.

The ground cover is mostly clover and weeds right now. In the area where either the pen or tractor will be, I'd like to plant something else. Something more durable, but nutritious. I've been doing some research and found there are special poultry blends of seeds. It also seems like deer forage might work. Basically, a blend of ryegrass, flax, clover, buckwheat, millet, and alfalfa. I'd also throw some herb and wildflower seeds in there just because.

Sunday, January 1, 2012

RIP Goldie

Two days ago, we lost Goldie, the 5 month old Buff Orpington. She had been acting funny for a few days. She wasn't roosting with the other two and was very docile. She was normally quite flighty. Two days ago, she didn't leave the coop at all. I went to check on her in the afternoon and her vent was caked with poop. I went back in the house and got paper towels wet with warm water to rinse her off. She let me do it and didn't struggle. I set her outside to see if she'd stand, nope. I picked her back up and set her inside the coop. As I was securing the door, she started flapping around, fell over and was gone.

Jon dug a hole and we buried her in a corner of the pasture. I was already planning on planting wildflowers there this spring. Jon did a bit of research and found out that the flapping around is a sign of a heart attack. The other two have been acting fine.

The woman I got my chickens from is getting Easter Egger chicks in the spring and I'll get two more from her then.

In other news, Lace has finally started laying. I got one tiny egg from her that day and another today.
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