Friday, February 27, 2009

Just a reminder...

It's still winter!!

We had a big winter storm yesterday which dumped upwards of 8 inches of snow in just a few hours. It was awesome! It was also a bit windy so I think there's more snow on the ground than on roofs.
In the midst of the snow storm I waded over to Don's house. When I arrived, completely covered in snow from head to foot, he opened the door and said, "You are a true Minnesotan!" =)

Anyway, Jeremy had been taking a break from the coop for a few days to start planning our gardens for the year and ordering seed (more on that soon!). He got back out on Tuesday to work on the roof and got up a drip edge and tar paper.

Wednesday we found out about the coming storm so Jeremy decided he HAD to get the roof finished! We had gotten six different colors of shingles donated from two different couples (thanks Greg & Mina and Joel & Faith!). Jeremy got the north side done in the morning and then he started the south side in the afternoon.

I got back from volunteering at the library around 5:30 and he was still going on the roof. By 6:00 he just had a couple rows to go but it was getting dark fast. In the end, Jeremy was on the peak of the roof putting on the last shingles and I was standing on the ladder shining a light on the roof so he could see what he was doing. And I was running back and forth to the garage cutting shingles and finding tools, as needed. We got it done just before 7:00 and it is beautiful. But of course you can't really see it now because it is covered in snow!

Jeremy is trying to do a few more things today but it is a rather chilly 3 degrees. We are preparing for our "open coop" tomorrow - when neighbors and friends across the Twin Cities will descend upon us to see the coop progress and visit the chicks while they are still cute and fluffy. (They are no longer quiet and innocent - more about that later too!)

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Midwest Humor

It snowed last weekend and Sunday morning we gave a ride to our neighbor Greg. Our car was covered in snow and I remarked that it was like we had a mountain range on the front of the car. Greg said, "It's Mt. Hood!"

Mt. Hood?


The real Mt. Hood:

Being from the Northwest I didn't get the joke at first: I was trying to compare the shape of the pile of snow with the real Mt. Hood and it just wasn't the same. Sometimes I am so literal!

Friday, February 20, 2009

Feeding time

We're working on bonding with the chicks so we've started feeding them from time to time out of our hands. There is food out for them all the time of course. The first time I put my hand in the brooder with a pile of food they were quite wary. But a few brave souls came forward after a few minutes and tried it out. I guess they're a bit like lemmings because the rest followed suit.

The upside is that now when we come and put our hands in the brooder, the chicks all come running and peeping over. It's very adorable - and it makes catching them much easier. =) (sorry for the color - it's the heat lamp!)

Jeremy has been working away on the coop as you can see. He's got the roof up (and it started snowing right after he got this up) and he got a light in the hen house and some insulation in.

(the roof is nearly done! notice the frozen lake of a sidewalk. I keep trying to chip out the ice when it warms up, but it's usually quite treacherous walking back and forth from the garage to the coop.)

(this is a detail showing the underside of the roof and the inside of the hen house where you can see the can light.)

Wednesday, February 18, 2009


We almost had a delay this morning as the farm store employee wasn't sure if our chicks were coming in or not. But they did come in and we drove off to fetch them.

As soon as we entered the building I could tell the chicks were there - there was the sound of hundreds (probably not that many actually) of peeping baby chicks.

There were five varieties split up between two large tubs, covered over with a lid and a heat lamp shining down in.

Jeremy and I took turns scanning through the mass of fuzzy bodies looking for just the right ones. We were deciding our fates! What will these chickens be like when they grow up!? Loners? Bullies? Popular? Time will tell...

We got our chicks secured in their little cardboard box and then we had to drive home. Right now the chicks need to be at about 95 degrees - so as soon as we got in the car we cranked up the heat. The chicks were peeping incessantly and tumbling all over the box every time Jeremy had to stop and it was getting hotter and hotter in the car.

(Our ten babies: 2 Welsummer, 2 Speckled Sussex, 3 Rhode Island Red, 3 Americauna)

We finally got home and put them right on top of the radiator with a light and a heater blowing on them. The lamp in the brooder box didn't work (we found out last night) so we had to get a new one on and heating up. You can tell when they're cold because they all huddle up together at the warmest spot in the box.

We got them some water and taught them how to drink. This involves sticking their beaks in the water and after a time or two they get it. They are now feeding themselves and getting water on their own. They grow up so quickly!

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Our last chickenless day

That's right - the chicks arrive tomorrow!!

Jeremy has been busy with the coop, as you can see:

(a bit bright, but the window is in and all the interior walls are up...)

(all the interior is done and here Jeremy is putting up some framing for the roof...)

(roof pieces showing up...)

(a roof! a roof! I wish someone had taken a picture of Jeremy and I carrying that whole roof section out and putting it up there - that was a Kodak moment! Jeremy had to put the tarp back on after securing the roof - it started snowing hard almost right after he came in!)

We have one or two last minute things to do tomorrow morning before we pick up the chicks, then we'll be hard pressed to do any work sewing or constructing. We'll be oohing and ahhing over the chicks for weeks to come!

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Cooped up

Things have been progressing with painting, sawing, cutting, fitting, hammering, etc, etc! The chicks arrive in six days and we're hoping to be done painting and making loud noises in the basement by then. I guess those fluffy little chick bodies can't handle it.

Here Jeremy is working on the window which will go in the south side of the coop. This is the awesome window we got for free from the ReUse Center.

Here is the inside of the coop as of today. The hole in the back wall is for the nest boxes. There will be some little doors on the outside so we can reach in and swipe out the eggs. The hole on the wall to the left is, of course, for the window. And the hole in the floor is where the chickens will be jumping in and out.

And here is Jeremy working away in the "workshop" (otherwise known as the garage):

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Sew messy

It turns out I never told you all about my sewing room! I took all the photos in December and forgot to say anything. So, the story is, we have a second bedroom in our apartment that has been known by various names (depending on what we're looking for in the house, or the week, or the time of day): the library, the office, the guest room, the storage area, and so forth. We did have dreams for it to be an awesome library but all of this sewing has come up and we realized it would be a perfect room for that.

And my sewing mess all over the dining room (and having to move it all at least three times a day for meals) was driving me crazy!)

So, the mattresses were moved out of the guest room leaving a nearly blank canvas (there were still two bookshelves, a filing cabinet, and a dresser)...

Then we moved in a couple tables and voila! A sewing room:

I'm afraid over the past several weeks things have gotten messy and unorganized and disastrous! A couple weeks ago we did move the book cases out to the living room for more space, but it was still quite unorganized and messy...

So I convinced Jeremy to build me some shelves:

Yay - I love organizing!

So, what sewing have I been up to these days?

A doggie bed (doggie approved!):

A tie skirt for niece Claire:

And I took this corduroy jacket I got at Goodwill for probably less than $1...

...and turned it into a pretty cool bag (if I do say so myself):

And, if you notice the clothes rack in the last sewing room picture, that's a stack of mending I've been working on. I put the word out and in addition to making things like curtains, ottoman covers, dog beds, and whatever else, I'm also hemming, patching, sewing on buttons, and things like that. So, that's what I'm up to these days while Jeremy is in the coop...

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Rain Day

It's suddenly gotten up above 30 (40 even!) and the piles of snow and ice everywhere are melting. There is nowhere for it to go so all the sidewalks and streets and yards have turned into lakes and rivers. It also rained today. Jeremy got a tarp over the coop so it's hard to see what's going on.

But, he got a moisture barrier in the floor and the floor in. It's very exciting. Progress!

Sunday, February 8, 2009

Before and After

Remember that door Jeremy cut down to make the doors into the hen house? Jeremy wanted to paint them and I offered to sand and paint them so he could work on some other things.

I grabbed the first door and started sanding away. Lo and behold - it was a little white underneath! I thought it was just a grungy wood door, but it had been painted at some point in time. And then I thought, what if this just needs to be washed? So - I washed the door and that was about all it needed.

I kid you not - this is the same door!

I washed the other one, did some light sanding on the rough parts, and we got those painted yesterday. Jeremy spent a lot of time yesterday cutting some more wood and painting some parts that need to painted before they go in the coop.

I think we're about to have another explosion of progress on the coop. The weather is holding out for us too - lots of days in the 30s. Although this has made the whole area around the coop a wet, slushy, muddy mess.

Friday, February 6, 2009

all things chicken coop

The chicks will be here in 12 days and we're moving at a seemingly relaxed pace. Jeremy got the brooder mostly finished, with an adjustable light hanging over it. (Now we just have to find a different place for tools!)

Jeremy has also been working on the doors to the coop. We had a couple unused (unwanted) doors in the basement so he chopped one down. These will be access doors so we can open up the whole hen house and clean it out (oh joy).

And, work continues on the coop. Jeremy is painting some things in the basement (with a couple space heaters going to keep it at 50 degrees) since it's too cold outside still. Though, we have had several practically balmy days in the 30s. Ah glorious spring - I know you're on the way! (but I won't get my hopes up just yet)

Thursday, February 5, 2009

Stalactites (of the non-cave dwelling variety)

This last one is hanging off our house and as you can see it's probably 7 or 8 feet long. I could see it easily while sitting by the windows on that side of the house. There was another, much larger one at the front of the house but it came off with an almighty crash a week or two ago. These icicles keep forming, breaking off, then reforming. I think they are quite beautiful.

Sunday, February 1, 2009

Weekend chicken coop construction update

I was minding my business on Saturday, sewing or cleaning or something, while Jeremy was out working on the coop. He's been cutting wood and doing stuff in the garage, so I was quite amazed to look out the window and see this!

I took pictures as things progressed, but I didn't go outside so the pictures are a bit fuzzy since I took them through two panes of dirty window glass.

(nephew Adam came out to help for a little bit)

(this is today, Sunday.)

(putting up some studs for the hen house walls)

This was the best part of the day: Our neighbor across the alley heard Jeremy pounding away and she came over with her banjo and played us a chicken song she knew! It was great.