Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Updates on the Projects

We've been in a whirlwind lately!! I don't know what we're going to do when the weather actually warms enough that we can get outside and work on the garden. We're so busy already :) It's a wonderful busy though. Maybe some of the busy-ness is because of my personality; I have to get something right or I don't want to do it at all! Here's the latest:

1. Chickens - our family has gone 'round and 'round with where exactly to house the chickens! First we were going to build a coop (and by "we" I very possibly might mean my patient husband). Then, "we" decided to convert part of our existing shed into a henhouse. Finally, we (and I mean all of us here) found a cute coop for a reasonable price at our local AgWay. Now, we just have to get it transported to our house! I myself have gone 'round and 'round trying to track down the little chickies. What a process: most hatcheries need a minimum order of 15 or 25 chicks. We were hoping for 7 or 8! It's too cold to ship smaller amounts of babies without a much higher shipping rate I've discovered. Another twist is that I really, really want to have 4 kinds of chickens! I've researched a bunch, and my list includes Barred Rocks, Golden Comets, Araucanas, and Buff Orpingtons. So, our hope is that our local feed store will be stocking live chicks around Easter. We're not sure what breeds we will come away with, but we are prepared with our heat lamp and chick feeder!

2. Honey bees: a hive has been ordered, a jacket and veil are on their way, and my dear Big Fish has built a stand to accommodate the hive. I stopped by a local army surplus store and found some canvas-type pants to go over my jeans (for 10 bucks!).

3. Soap making: I've made 2 batches that are curing. No verdict yet as to how the bars have turned out, for I want to hand mill them and add some wonderful essential oils. I did provide some comic relief in my safety goggles, pink gloves, and apron when I was mixing in the lye!

4. Completely unrelated yet keeping it real (stop reading if you have a weak stomach): I smelled something earlier today - you know, the smell you smell when you step in "something" from the yard. Well, turns out my little dog seems to have some tummy troubles. I had to do a major cleanup of him including donning my latex gloves (I'm finding more and more uses for those things), giving him a cleanup and trim around his bottom, and also cutting the hair off his back feet. While in the middle of this project which I was doing in the bathroom, my daughter came in to use the potty. She told me she was having tummy trouble. Then, my son filled his diaper. In the space of about 20 minutes, I cleaned up poop from 3 sources. Yuck! I've said it before and I'll say it again: I can't wait to open the windows!

Off to check the baby's diaper....

Monday, March 14, 2011

The Week of Beginning Projects!

Knowing that we did not have a lot of appointments or calendar items scheduled this week, I asked Big Fish on what kinds of projects I should focus here at home.

Here's the list: order chicks, gather supplies for our honeybees, and (if the weather cooperates) try a first batch of soap!

We are hoping to add some laying hens to our backyard. Through some research, we are almost positive that we want to try the Golden Comet variety. These chickens are supposed to be good layers and fairly calm birds (keeping the safety of the kids in mind). I just stumbled upon this blog last night - seems to have some good resources and advice in her chicken category.

We are awaiting news from a local bee supplier to see if he has any bees for us. If not we will order some online soon. We have been watching some DVD's and doing some reading in preparation for 2 hives.

Lastly, the soapmaking process has been all about collecting materials. I've found that the sodium hydroxide (lye) used in the "recipe" is not as readily available in local stores. I'm awaiting my shipment of a couple of pounds this week, but let me know if you have some great tips in this area!

So, you're here for the beginning, folks. Here is your opportunity to read this blog, shake your head, and wonder what in the world we're doing! Or, you could offer as much advice as you can! I would love to hear how you do it; where you find supplies; and anything else!

Here's to a fun spring!