by Jen on April 27, 2012
Here’s a quick little video I took of our livestock. I thought it turned out cute, so I wanted to share it with you.
by Jen on March 22, 2012
So, you may remember that our drake had been chasing our hens around, which led us to order some ducklings as more girlfriends for said drake. When the ducklings were 3 weeks old, and outgrew their brooder, we put them in with the hens/ducks. Only to have the drake chase them all day and damage the down & new feathers on one duckling in particular. So, we were forced to put the drake in solitary confinement (ie live with the goats).
Well, earlier this week, the goat kids were being ornery and knocked down part of their pen wall and the drake managed to escape and run loose through the garage. When I went to do chores in the evening I found him wedged between the chain link chicken pen and the wall trying desperately to get back in with his girls. I managed to catch him before he got out into the yard, but we decided it was probably okay to go ahead and let him back in with the girls.
Really, the drake’s escape wasn’t the only reason we moved him back in. Our 9 meat birds were severely outgrowing their box, so by moving the drake out, we were able to move the meat birds into the goat pen.
We also discovered through this process that the mama goat, Geraldine, prefers chicken feed to goat feed and would quickly eat up the chicken feed before they got any. So we had to switch to a covered chicken feeder attached to the fence. Here’s Geraldine trying her hardest to get some of those chicken crumbles out.
Really they’re getting too big for the garage pen, so we’ve been working lately on their outside/permanent pen. It’s been going relatively quickly and progressing well. Here are a couple of pictures of what’s been done so far.
Matt got the gate put in and part of the drainage ditch dug to route the runoff water around the goat pen.
In order to get all this done recently, Matt took a couple of days off work. The first day he was home this week I was out in the garage doing chores with my youngest, and he turned to me and said, “Mommy, look a baby.” I looked where he was pointing and the broody hen had in fact hatched a duck egg.
The bigger hens got to picking on the baby ducklings so we put up some chicken wire around the nest. I went back in the evening to tuck everybody in and do evening chores and all the hens and ducks crowded around the newly fenced off area like it was a nursery window in a hospital. It was pretty funny.
Well, I think that’s enough excitement for one post, especially since it took me three days to get it all posted.
I hope you’re all having a productive spring so far. I have several other things to tell you about, but I need to end here for now. See you soon.
by Jen on February 28, 2012
So, something I learned recently is that winter is mating season for ducks. Which would explain why our lone drake has been harassing not only his girlfriend, but also the chickens.
In an attempt to help settle the drake, we decided he needed a few more girls to hang out with so we ordered 5 ducklings. However, the company we ordered the ducklings from uses male chicks for warmth with small orders. We weren’t planning on raising chicks again, since we’re still within city limits and there are ordinances regulating that kind of thing. Until Matt pointed out that chickens are darn good eatin’ (so he didn’t say those exact words) but the point is, we decided to keep them and raise them as meat birds.
The box of chicks & ducklings arrived the last weekend of January, and for the most part, everyone is doing pretty well. There have been a few issues, but it seems as though everything has settled out for the moment.
Here are a few pictures, because baby birds are cute.
They’re all much bigger now, but we’ve been busy around here. And we’re passing around a cold and taking turns having sick days. I’ll try to get some bigger pictures posted sometime so you can see just how much they’ve grown.
by Jen on February 17, 2012
“Oh yeah? How much?”
Was the conversation we had. And now, we have three goats living in our garage.
Here are some pictures of the process.
So, we’ve only named the mama goat, the babies still need names. They’re both girls, so if you have any suggestions, feel free to leave a comment.
by Jen on February 15, 2012
We got the kids a puppy for Christmas this year. After much debate, we named her Jessica Sophia or Jessie (like the cowgirl from Toy Story). :)
She’s mostly Australian Shepherd and really is a pretty smart dog. We’ve introduced her to the other livestock but she’s never been loose around anything except our two cats. So we’ll see if her natural herding instincts kick in or not.
by Jen on January 30, 2012
If you look up at the header image, you can see a stone retaining wall that runs from the garden shed over to the garage. Above that retaining wall is a mostly sunny spot that will eventually become the garden.
Here are a few pictures to get some idea of what we’re hoping to do.
We’re building raised garden beds because the soil is a lot of clay & sand. The landscape timbers mark out where the beds will be with paths between each for easier weeding/planting.
Here’s the middle of the garden along the fence looking out toward the street.
That is the beginnings of our garden. Hopefully we can get all the raised beds built up three timbers tall and filled with dirt in time to put the plants in.
I just ordered some seeds this week too. I’m planning to start as many as I can inside using handmade newspaper seedling pots. I’ll try to post those once I start making them.
What does your garden look like? What would your dream garden look like?
by Jen on January 26, 2012
We have been in our new home for almost 4 months, but since most of it has been colder temperatures, we have yet to move the chicken coop over. So, the girls are set up in the garage for right now.
We took the old chain link chicken run and put it inside the garage to give the chickens a 10 ft by 10 ft space inside where its warm. Here’s a few pictures:
We’re hoping to get the chicken coop moved over in the next couple of months and this spring, once we get the fence finished, they’ll free range in the backyard for part of the day.
That’s the plan anyway…
by Jen on October 25, 2011
Hey, I’ve been meaning to tell you about what we did last weekend, and what we got done the weekend before that…in fact we’ve just been downright productive all the way around. But before I can really expand upon our productivity, I had better tell you that we have a new prairie ashram.
You read that right! We found, saw and purchased a new property that is now the headquarters of Our Prairie Ashram. You may also have noticed our new header image of our new ashram. Its been very exciting here, but with the move taking place later in the year than we’d hoped, there are lots and lots of things that need to be done before fall wraps up and winter begins. Which is my attempt at an excuse for not posting the exciting information sooner. ;)
We moved in the last week of September and have been working weekends (and Matt’s days off) to get things done and try to get settled before the cold really settles in here. We’ve gotten some exciting things accomplished and I really can’t wait to post them for you, but more often than not I sit down on the couch after getting the kids tucked in bed and fall asleep sitting up for a good 20 minutes. And then once I wake up again I need to get lunches packed and clothes laid out for the kids to be ready for the bus in the morning. So, don’t take it personally, I’m not neglecting you purposely. And, we’ll be back soon to post more often.
Really, we will.
by Jen on September 4, 2011
I’ve never canned anything before, so when we decided to make grape jelly I really had no idea what to expect. Luckily Matt had some experience with canning things and I am grateful that he took the lead on this project.
My youngest and I picked grapes on Friday morning and ended up with a bucket full, approximately 10 lbs worth.
Our first step in the conversion to jelly was to pull the grapes off the stems.
Next, the grapes got rinsed and dumped into a stock pot.
Then, they got cooked and mashed and cooked and mashed.
And more cooking and mashing.
Then into the strainer to separate the juice from the pulp.
We ended up with just a little over 10 cups of grape juice after squeezing out every bit of juice we could.
We prepped our pint jars by filling them with hot water to keep them from breaking when we poured in the hot jelly.
Next, we mixed the fruit pectin and sugar with our grape juice and ended up with this fantastic tasting, though still slightly runny jelly.
We filled our jars and wiped them clean.
Then we added the tops and proceeded on to their hot water baths.
The final tally of useable jelly was 11 full pints with a bit leftover.
For my first canning adventure it was fun to see how it worked and especially fun when the end result looked & smelled & tasted like what we were hoping for. It was also good to make use of the fantastic crop of grapes we have. It wasn’t as hard as I thought, but I could see that it was definitely easier with Matt and me working together.
Have you done much canning this year? What do you like to “put up for the winter”?
by Jen on August 18, 2011
Well, once we knew for sure that Betty was a rooster, it was only a matter of time until we had to get rid of him. That time came this week when we received a letter of notice from the city. They had received a complaint regarding our rooster crowing and gave us almost a week to remedy the problem. Fortunately I had a friend who had a good home for him just outside of town where he’ll be able to stretch his wings and chase all the hens he wants to.
It was disappointing to have to send him off to another home, but we were very glad he’ll be able to keep up with a new group of girls.
I think I’ll miss the crowing, but I’m not sure yet. Sometimes I enjoyed him and sometimes he was annoying.
He was such a pretty rooster and I’m sad that one of my Americanas had to leave, but we really couldn’t keep him in town.
I’ll be curious to see how the coop dynamic changes with Betty gone. We’ll find out!