Minnesota – Week 24

Welcome to the start of summer! You’d hardly even know that it was summer instead of late September by the wet and rainy weather we’ve been having, but I can’t complain too much, we’ve hardly had to turn on our wall unit air-conditioner, so its all relative I suppose. Today was actually very hot and muggy though. Here’s what’s new with us!

Chicks

The chicks have finally gone to roost in their new home, and it couldn’t have come a moment sooner. They now have many of their real feathers and have lost a lot of their down. They are approximately three weeks now and are on a grower ration of food. (Not medicated)  Today one even flew the coop when I was changing their water in the brooder, so it was definitely time to move to their new digs. They now have a lot of space to roam around in, and I think my husband can’t be happier that the project is done and now he can actually enjoy his evenings. I love him so much for it. The chicks are very happy too!

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We have our eye on you Sadie!

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Enjoying their new home and french window.

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Checking outside! They really love it outside.

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Staredown between Sadie & Naomi

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Looking to get snuggly for the night.

Family

We are all doing great. Little miss is nearly done with school, and I can hardly believe she will be done with kindergarten! Where did the time go? I’m learning as I get older and as my child gets older the time just FLIES. She is now reading level 2 and 3 books, can count to 100 and can add and subtract. She of course learned many other things throughout the year but these were the highlights. Now we get six weeks off until 1st grade! I will post more after her last day.

Soccer

This summer we (little Miss) is playing soccer, and its been going fairly well. She is still very distracted, but what can you expect from a six year old that has never played before? K is more interested in making friends on the field on both teams than kicking the ball, but at least she is having fun. The coach has only scheduled one practice so far, and its quite evident that the other teams have scheduled more practices. The team we played today had a Nazi coach that yelled the entire game. not in a mean way, but very “Dance Moms(esque)”. Click on the link… I’m not even kidding that’s how the other team’s coach yelled the entire game! It was kind of wild. I doubt she was “on crack” though…

That’s all for this week. I hope everyone is having an awesome week!

Minnesota Week 23 – Lessons from the “farm”

Up here in “Not Quite Hinterland” Minnesota we’ve been taking some lessons from “The Farm”.
Clarification – NO… in case you’re wondering I did not move to a farm, although I think that would be totally rad, and some of my co-workers might argue that I DON’T live on a farm….! The neighbors behind me do “farm hay” and drive a tractor, but no the extent of my farming is my new and improved vegetable garden, and my chicken coop!

This past week we both celebrated life, and death.

As you know (by my late post) we got chicks on Thursday night, and on Sunday… they were all dead… Our four day old pullets were attacked by our Jack Russell Terrier when she was able to get into the garage and get into the brooder. She killed all of them. Like a good mom I wanted to pull the old “gold fish” trick on my kid… you know the one where before your child even knows that the gold fish has died you’ve already gone and bought another one… I headed up to Runnings which is just like Fleet Farm only more “country” if you can imagine that… and got five new chicks. Afterall my husband had already started on the coop and was more than half way done! As they saying goes, “Have coop – will chicken”. I actually made that up, but why are you even surprised? We got three ISA Brown/Gold Stars, and two Black Australorp’s.

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From left to right Nathalie (black), Ruth, Lexie (black), Naomi and Hope.

 

Once I got home my daughter ran into the garage and promptly announced, “Mom, they’ve already turned black!”…. I couldn’t hold the truth from her any longer and we had a discussion about the circle of life, and how Jack Russell Terriers are very naughty and are never to be trusted! We have our eye on you Sadie!

It took me several days to name the new chicks, but I think we’re set. The two Black Australorp’s are: Nathalie (K loves the name) and Lexie… and our ISA Brown’s are: Ruth, Naomi and Hope. Now yes of course I could have just “reused” the names, but it felt so wrong since already in four days I had become so attached to them. I know… and I kill chickens in August for meat, but this is sooo very different! Besides the broilers are never ever “cute”.

Here’s our Coop

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Roosting bar and french windows for natural light

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Nesting Boxes

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Roosting branches made of real branches

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Coop and Run. They will be able to wander the backyard however when we’re home.

Summer:
Our daughter K is having a lot of fun so far this summer. Most of her friends are all done with school now, so its so hard to tell little miss that bedtime is still a priority! Two more weeks and she is DONE!

So far her and her group of friends from the neighborhood, and there are about 5-6 of them in total are total buddies, and have a little gang when they’re all hanging out which is rather cute. Just the other day I told little miss she could run out but she said, “ma… I don’t have shoes” and I said, “Girl… you just go barefoot! Its summer!” She was so excited that she got to run around the neighborhood and outside barefoot! Just watch… this weekend I’m even going to let her drink from the hose!

Really though… I want her to have a totally carefree summer. Free from rules and regulations and overly busy schedules! We are going to be total hipsters and fly by the seat of our pants. Its a lesson from the “farm”… take life how it is, because life is too short!

Minnesota – Week 22

This is a chicken farm…. and we’re the chickens!

 

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I am so excited about this post! After weeks months of planning we finally have our chicken operation up and running! We finally got our chickens in. After pouring over several articles from Pinterest, and other websites we chose the Isa Browns/Red Stars which are very friendly/docile mega egg layers, and are supposed to do very well over the winter months continuing to lay the eggs. Now I realize that our family of seven just went to a family of 12, but our chicks whom we’ve named Beatrice, Anita, Ginger, Natalie and Babs will give us something nobody else is… FOOD! These will JUST be for eggs, and companionship of course. Our meat chicks are being raised by our friends who have more acreage.

Beatrice, Anita, Ginger Natalie and Babs arrived to the Elk River post office just this morning and our friend Phil was kind enough to pick them up. We drove over to their house tonight to get them and bring them home. They went peep peep peep the whole way home!

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Beatrice, Anita, Ginger Natalie and Babs – Day old Pullets

Currently they’re all huddled around the lamp taking a nap. They’ve had a very long day of hatching and travel from Iowa at Hoover’s Hatchery.

(I just went and checked on them, and they’ve woken up! They’re currently chasing the little mosquitos that have gotten in the brooder and are happily feasting on little bugs and their food of course!)

To start with we just got our basic brooding supplies as they will live in the brooder for the first several weeks anyways.

Supplies we needed:
Like I said, to start off with – we just needed the very basics, so we got the following:

* Brooder Box
* Heat Lamp – I had a 60w bulb, but it didn’t feel very warm so I switched to a 100w.
I will check it before I go to bed and in the morning.
* Water Container
* Food Container
* Large pine shavings
* Thermometer (I still have yet to get – apparently 100 degrees is the magic number)
* Feed

Eventually they will have to move into the coop, but we’re undecided about building one from scratch or getting the 1/2 built ones from Fleet Farm. We’ll probably build our own, and I really want Jason to build this one, although I really like this style too!!!! Eh- we’ve got time.

Farmers Market

Pam, Maggie & I all headed down to the Minneapolis Farmers Market last weekend to get our plants. I got Cilantro, Basil, Celery, Rosemary, Lemon Verbena, Asparagus, Jalapanos, Habeneros, and a tomato plant. I have already harvested some of the basil and it tastes divine!

Yard Work

We’ve (and by we’ve I really mean Jason) have been hitting it hard in the backyard! Jason built a pavers ring around our firepit in the back, and has been working on some retaining walls. Soon he will bring home a dump truck of wood chips to fill in the blanks! Once semi complete I will take some pictures.

New favorite wines

I have had a love – hate – love relationship with Pinot Noir. As many red wine drinkers can attest this “gateway to reds” wine is a favorite among many novice drinkers. After trying much heavier, bolder, drier wine I began to HATE pinot Noir, but recently I have had a few amazing ones!
> Erath
> redtree (thanks to my dear friend who got this for me… yes it is VERY drinkable)

My favorite wine to date has got to be Summers Charbono! It is absolutely spectacular and VERY much worth the $25 price tag. I also very much love the Reserve Bonpas Chateauneuf du Pape, but at $40 a bottle, its a “treat”. Currently however Bota Box is on sale at the liquor store for $14.99 so this girl has been drinking plenty of that! By the end of summer I really want to try Chateau Montelena’s famous Chardonnay!