Monday, March 30, 2009

Chicken Little

The chickens are getting bigger.  They have some nice wing feathers as Dave is showing in the photo.  No, his hands aren't usually that dirty -- he had just been working in the dirt outside.  They are putting in a garage this spring and they are pulling out some raised flower beds to do so.  Anyway, the chickens have been here a total of 3 weeks now and are still doing well.
I have started a few of my seeds indoors now.  A few are sprouting up nicely.  We finally got the seeds we ordered from Burgess.  They took a very long time to ship our stuff.  Baker Creek Heirlooms had our seeds out right away.
I need to start spring cleaning soon.  I'm looking forward to having the windows open and downsizing the amount of "stuff" that we have -- or at least organizing it.
We are also starting to look around for our own property/house.  We want to get something while the market is still good and the first time home buyers tax credit is still available.  We would like some acreage to garden on and maybe keep a few animals.  Now we just have to find the perfect place...

Friday, March 13, 2009

Chick update and other critters

Just a quick update on the chicks...
They are starting to get some wing feathers.  They look pretty odd right now and they will likely get uglier next week.  Today they were all huddled together in one huge pile.  I'm guessing they were trying to get warm under the heat lamp.  A bunch were sleeping too.  The barn was a bit cold as Uncle Dave hadn't been around to add wood to the stove for a while (I heard he was making sausage -- sounds interesting).  

After checking in on the babies, I enjoyed a little time outside enjoying the wildlife.  I heard a red-wing black bird (one of my favorite birds) across the road.  Then I heard some canada geese that were hanging out with some sea gulls in the temporary pond out back.  I also spotted two large groups of deer to the back and the side of the farmed area.  
The barn cats also visited with me.  Mama -- the black kitty with extra toes, and her two grey tiger babies were feeling frisky and playful with the almost-spring smell in the air.  The babies (who not only survived the cold winter but thrived, thanks to our generous food donations) were rolling around and tackling each other.  I hope we have some new cats join the group this year.  

Monday, March 9, 2009


Saturday, 150 chicks hatched and were shipped to the farm.  Today they are here and getting settled in.  Uncle Dave took the day to get them all comfortable and make sure they are healthy.  One died earlier in the day.  He says it is normal to lose a couple in a group this size.

He got White Rock and Red Star chicks.  There are a half dozen others that Uncle Dave got for someone else, and 1 black one that the hatchery sent as a freebie "exotic".  The exotics usually end up being picked on by all the others.
They are just the cutest things you ever saw.  In a couple of days they will be ugly -- with some feathers and some fuzz.  I'll take more photos as time goes by.
They are amazingly noisy for such little critters.  They were peeping and running around on the newspaper making scratching and stomping noise.  When they get tired they just fall over and pass out -- oblivious to the fact that they are being stepped on by the others (see the top photo, right side).
Their beaks may look strange if you look closely.  They have had their top beak seared off after they hatched -- otherwise they start pecking each other to death.  It looks painful to me, but I guess being pecked at isn't much fun either.
Uncle Dave and I also discussed plans for the garden this year.  I got my seed shipment already and need to get a few things started soon.  I can't wait to get my hands dirty!
So, what does everybody else have planned for this year?  Even if you are only planting flowers or one tomato plant, I'd love to hear about it!  Leave me comments...

Monday, March 2, 2009

Garden list

So, to finish what I was saying yesterday... I've ordered my seeds/plants for my garden this year.  Jen and I decided to get 2 Paw Paw trees.  We are just too curious to not give it a try.  Paw Paw is native to Michigan and some surrounding states.  The fruit is supposed to taste like banana and mango -- like a tropical plant.  I hope they grow well.  Also, between my garden and Mom's garden we have plans for heirloom tomatoes, summer squash, peas, beans, salad, pepper, chives, carrot, broccoli, asparagus, onions blueberries, and midget cantaloupe.  One of the companies we ordered from are also sending ground cherry tomatoes and garden huckleberry for free.  Oh, and we are going to try growing some luffa (or loofah) sponge too.  Of course I will document the progress as the year goes on.  

Yesterday before I left Grand Rapids, Mom felted some slippers that she made for me.  Felted wool is pretty neat if you ask me.  Here are the before and after photos of the slippers.  They start out very large, go in hot water in the washing machine, then come out soft and shrunken.  Thanks Mom!  I love how orange they are : )

Sunday, March 1, 2009

Another weekend in Grand Rapids

I made a trip to Grand Rapids this weekend to spend some much needed relaxation time.  I've had some stressful things going on for the last couple weeks -- but nothing that I really wanted to blog about.  I'd rather mention the good stuff in my life.  First of all, yesterday I went with my Mom to the Frederik Meijer Gardens and Sculpture Park.  Mom is a member and we get in for free.  This place has been a favorite of ours since they built it right down the street (literally) from the house we were living in.  I've included a few snapshots...

We also did a little shopping and had vegetarian burritos for a late lunch.  At night I spent some much needed quality time with my friends.  It is good to catch up with each other and sit around remembering the old days.
Things are still very wintery and cold out, but there is hope in the air.  I see little green shoots coming up in Mom's garden.  The forecast is promising 40 degrees for most of next week.
Mom and I finally sat down to order our seeds for the veggie garden.  We are a bit late I suppose, but now that I have it done I am getting excited.  We are splitting up the seed packets so we get more variety for less money.  I will write later with a list of what we got.  Right now it is lunch time, then I have to drive home.