From the dirt to our plate; the trials and realities of first-time farm ownership

Week 24: Chicken Eggs & Coat Racks

WEEK 24

This week is not over yet but I couldn’t resist writing about some of the exciting things going on here at the farm.  Per our usual fall activities we are starting to get fire wood sorted out from the thickened shelter belt surrounding our new farmstead.

This year, we didn’t have to go far on our hunt for seasoned wood.  Our trees are filled with fallen, “dry as a popcorn fart” (as my husband would describe it) wood.  Admittedly, this is not one of my favorite chores but I love heat and that is what I have to constantly remind myself.  During the middle of a February blizzard it’s nice to sit down with a glass of wine, a puzzle and a roaring fire in the wood stove.  Nothing compares.


We haven’t gotten the wood stove installed at this point.  Yes, I know, it’s taking a while but with so many things to do, its easy to get sidetracked.  I have been waiting for final placement of the hearth floor pad.  Once that’s screwed down, I can get to work on tiling the area on which the wood stove will sit.  After that, I can continue up the wall by adding ledge stone quartz similar to what we had in our previous home.  We loved it so much we made a special trip to Bismarck to purchase it.

In the meantime, I’ve been busy tinkering.  I decided to get creative and make a functional, yet beautiful coat rack out of discarded materials found in our shelter belt.  I’m in love with the results and my husband agrees, it looks good and it’s just my kind of “unique”.  I think he was mostly impressed with the fact I used the table saw to create the mounting bracket…and…I still had all my fingers and toes.


I was so tired of draping my morning chore coat over the back of the desk chair, this project solves the problem quite well.  We had a few of the old glass insulator style electric poles just sitting in our trees.  The previous owners used a couple of them as poles for the clothes line and I remember how thrilled I was seeing them when we first looked at the house.  So, keeping with the theme, I created this wall mounted coat and hat rack.


I liked the final product so much I’ve considered making more and selling them.  Maybe I’ll have to add these to my next round of Wood, Wine & Redesign products.  If I like them, then someone else is bound to like them just as much.

Now, I don’t have to go far to grab my jacket before heading out to the chicken coop each morning.  It’s actually one of my favorite chores to do here on the farm and recently it got even better!

On October 13th the day started the same as any other day.  My walk out to the coop was full of expectation in finding duck eggs for my husband (and possibly my son) to eat.  It’s a daily egg hunt that I do enjoy even though I can’t eat them.


In recent weeks, I have started fluffing the straw in the bottom of the coop as I look for eggs.  I do this also with the straw and pine shavings in the chicken nesting boxes.  Flattened out straw in the boxes have been an indicator that the hens are looking pretty hard at the boxes.  One day, I even found Benny (short for Benedict, Eggs Benedict) one of our two roosters in a nesting box.


This week, I found something more than just flattened straw.  I found my first chicken egg!  I was over-the-moon thrilled finding this little beauty.  So thrilled in fact, I ran inside to take a picture and post about what I had found.  I’m sure my Facebook friends are tired of seeing eggs but I couldn’t contain myself.


Not long after I calmed down, I went back out to the coop to continue on with my morning feeding.  As I was putting away the chicken’s scratch bowl I noticed our white hen almost fretful.  She was tail up in a nesting box with Benny dutifully watching over her – he’s such a sweet, calm rooster.

As I watched, I was in awe.  More fretting and a slight wet sound, there it was, egg number two!  I gave her a nice calming pet and thanked her for her hard work.  I felt just as accomplished as she actually was!

As of today, we are up to 3 chicken eggs and yes, I can eat them!  I tested it out by making breakfast for dinner last night and although small, the egg was delicious.

One last thing I was able to complete this week was making a dusting box.  So far I’ve been lucky and haven’t encountered pests such as mites with my chickens.  Given the fact they dust themselves daily in the garden has helped ensure they are healthy and not infested with bothersome creepy crawlies.


It will only be a matter of time before the hard winter ground sets in.  Once that happens, natural dust bathing in the garden will be history until spring.  Making a dusting box takes very little skill but the chickens will love it and it will keep them healthy.

Chicken Dust

Mix equal parts of:
-Sand
-Ashes (wood stove or campfire ashes)
-Soil
-Diatomaceous Earth (food grade)

Add this mixture to a low profile box that is large enough for 1 chicken to roll around in.  I’m placing mine in the coop for winter use…away from the ducks who will make a mess of it.

 

 

 

 

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