Thursday, April 28, 2011


Luke came home from computer class one day all excited about "Wordle". He showed me how it worked and I stuck it in the back of my mind to give it a try and put one on my blog. Then I forgot all about it. Of course.

But today, Lori Greenberg put one on her blog and naturally I had to take five minutes to do one too.

Isn't that funny? Eggs. Roof. Cabbage. Ok, your turn, you know you want to!

Sunday, April 24, 2011

More Coop Progress

Frank decided the roof was overdue, so he threw up a board. And I said "Um, honey? What are we going to do with that big gap between the roof and our wall?" So we had to fix that little situation with yet MORE wood. We are certainly learning a lot along the way. I've even "manned up" and used the power tools - something I have previously had no interest in and even a little phobia about. I have to say, I looooove the miter saw!

See that over-hang, up there? Isn't that BRILLIANT for Seattle's 9 month long rainy season? I can stand under there and feed and water and even change their bedding and not get drenched! Nice, right?

We also got our North and South vent windows made. These will have flap doors as soon as I get hinges.

Zoe seriously thinks this thing is cool. She hopes it's a dog house.

See what she's sitting on? Luke and his friend Lilly drew those pictures - very nice.

And finally the roof was up, though this photo only shows it 3/4's done. Shingles soon!

Easter Eggs!

It's all about chickens and eggs this spring for us, isn't it? This Easter we decided to try something different: naturally dying our eggs. It was so much fun that we got totally carried away trying too many things and ended up with 40 eggs. Crazy. But check them out!

My favorites were the "onion" and "red cabbage" eggs. Onion because they were so easy and quick, and fool proof, and cabbage because of the lovely blue we got.

The onion ones are the deep golden rust-colored ones. All we did was wrap each egg up in the outer onion skin and put a rubber band on it and boil in water with a splash of vinegar. So easy, so cool.

The blue ones were more of a pain, and I almost gave up on them. We chopped up red cabbage and added in some vinegar and started boiling. And kept boiling. And the eggs were still bright white after half an hour. And an hour. Plus, the dye was pink, not blue... so I was a bit worried.

It was getting late so I decided just to turn it all off and let them soak. But when we woke up, we were in for a surprise - LOOK!

(The ones in the back were soaked in coffee grounds.)

Here are the results of our grape juice boil and our spinach boil. I now wish I'd let the eggs soak in the spinach overnight as well. Live and learn!

We also tried beets (the pink washed off in the end). Those are some of the brown-looking eggs in the first photo.

Anyway, it was interesting and a nice change up from the regular store-bought dyes. Happy Easter!

Oh, wait, I have chicken coop pictures too - I know you are wondering what we got done this week with that! Well, we got one of the people-sized doors done. And now it's raining, so I don't know if anything else will get done for a bit - we need to work on the the roof.

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Three Wood Walls and Two Wire Walls

The chicken coop is coming along! It feels like we got so much done today, and yet, there's still so much left to do. Doors, and ramps and windows and perches and latches... and a roof. Nothing goes as fast as you think it will either. But so far so good!

Frank put an extra shelf in my storage area... so now I'll have room for two big bags of pine shavings, a can of food, and a shelf for... I don't know what? What else will those chickens need? I'm sure it will come in handy.

And here it is, coming together.

The girls also outgrew their cute little driftwood perch, so Frank built them this big fancy one with two levels. They love it... of course. Chickens aren't picky.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Two Week Old Chickens

You know they won't get weekly photo-shoots for long right? Or else people will start calling me the crazy chicken lady. Oh wait...

Here they are at two weeks, plus, Daphne, the "insurance chick" - in case one turns out to be a rooster or some other calamity happens.

Daphne falls asleep at the drop of a hat:

Pippi is a "poser" - she likes to show off her tail.

Lulu is getting BIG. She's sweet and probably the smartest of all the flock. I only say that because she pays the most attention to what is going on outside the brooder tub.

And then there's good old Bellatrix. She's the quiet one these days.

We are still working on that coop. The roof supports are all on now. Next week is supposed to be mostly sunny instead of mostly rainy, so maybe we will finish it up.

Sunday, April 10, 2011


Not much done today. Too much time spent at The Home Depot, and then the rain moved in.

Saturday, April 09, 2011

Coop Progress

I can barely move. I may not be able to move at all tomorrow.

Here is what we got done:

Friday, April 08, 2011

Going Bright

Today was another chicken coop building day. Oh my goodness, am I ever sore and tired. But still going!

Today, we started out by painting. Check out this amazing color! I know, it's bright. Quite over the top. But think... Key West, or Belize, or Hawaii, or where ever your favorite tropical spot with chickens running loose is... and you'll see where I'm going. Happy. This thing is going to brighten up my whole yard, even when it's raining!

Zoe thinks it's great too. She is hoping it's her new dog house.

This is as far as we got today. I think we are off to a great start.

And here are some inspiring cottages and chicken coops, just because.

Thursday, April 07, 2011

On the Level!

I know you are just waiting for a chicken coop update, aren't you? Well, here I am with one! Sorry, no beads yet again. I know, that's a sadness that we will just have to live with for awhile longer. I don't know how long. Probably not until the chicken coop is done.

So... here's the progress.

Yesterday, Luke and I leveled things and laid down some hardware cloth and our foundation.

It was a poor job. It looked good as we were going along, but then we got to the end and it didn't line up. And when we stood back, we knew it really wasn't going to pass muster. Or is that mustard? Anyway, here you have it... our bad job which was really hard and exhausting. It started hailing yesterday afternoon and we were only too happy to give it up for the day.

Today, Frank took the day off to help us out. He got us all straightened out and level. Phew. Good thing somebody knows what they are doing.

We also got some lumber, which I've started painting. Tomorrow... more painting... then we start building.

Oh, you want a chicken update too? I'm sorry, but there are no photos... I'm just too tired. But here's what we know. Pippi is the dumbest chicken in the box. Seriously, she's just just not very bright. It's a good thing her pretty yellow fuzz and feathers glow. Frank and Luke were both saying how they felt bad for me because I got the lame chicken. I just know she's going to be a good layer though. She may not be smart, but I bet she's reliable. She also has the cutest tail in the bunch. It's got short stubby feathers with fluffy fringe on the end.

Lulu is a great flyer/hopper. She took advantage of an open brooder (I was getting them some fresh water) to fly/hop to the lip of the tub. Naughty girl, doesn't she know there's a big black dog and a silver Tyger in the house? She's getting great big strong wings, and she's always the first one to the front of the brooder to say hello and beg for meal worms. Right now she's the heaviest and tallest.

Bellatrix is our little petite girl, so far. She's the prettiest and believe it or not, now the quietest. She also finally grew a tiny little tail, no fuzz, just a perfect few stubby feathers.

All three run around in crazy circles when you give them meal worms.... it's quite hysterical. All three have also learned to roost on their perch. Usually Bellatrix and Lulu are facing one way, and Pippi is facing the other way. I'm telling you... not the smartest chick in the box. But I'm loving their almost constant "peep peep peep". I'll miss that when they move to the coop... but by then, I'm sure I'll be more than done with chicken mess in the house.... no matter how contained.

Tuesday, April 05, 2011

Progress = Blisters

Today we finished clearing our spot. And bought some foundation stones and hardware cloth. Tomorrow I'll finish making it level and I'll lay down the cloth and put the stones exactly where I want them.

Here is my second best helper, Zoe:

Here was the last post that I just couldn't get out.

And then my first best helper and I finally got it. Yay!

After much earth-moving, and blisters, I finally got to lay out my stones to see if it was going to work for me. I think it will. 10' X 4' total, and the hen house/storage will be 4' X 4'.

Oh, and the girls got to try freshly dug earth worms today. I think it's their new favorite. Fantastic. Glad I have a 10-year-old boy to take care of those kinds of details.

Monday, April 04, 2011

Breaking Ground

Today we broke ground - if you can call it that. Maybe it would be more appropriate to call it clearing ground. Mud, really. I sure hope I'm not going to regret the location we picked out for the coop. We had an old grape arbor that was rotting off it's cement footings... otherwise, it would have made perfect bones for the coop. But, that's the norm with this old house.

So... Luke and I started clearing the space today. In the cold and the rain and the mud. Here's before and after:

And I settled on a design. Unless I change my mind. It could still happen. But for now, I'm thinking something like this. Don't laugh at my sketch - it doesn't look that skewed in real life! And even less so in my head.

Frank and I will be using this coop as a planning guide: La Cage Mahal.

Luke and I agree that we'll need a weather-vane. Perhaps a rooster would be fitting, since The Girls won't have one to call their own.

And maybe a solar-powered protective owl to keep them safe?

Ok, enough planning and working for one day. Here's a glimpse into life with chicks in your living room:

Oh, and look who's coming around! He even build them a sweet little driftwood perch, which they love.