Thursday, March 6, 2014

Making Shift Homestead Updates

Whew. I have so much to talk about I don't know where to begin. There has been all kind of homesteading madness going on around here lately. You can always assume that if I'm posting less it is because I am doing more. In chronological order:

The Chicks Arrived And They Are Doing Great
It's impressive how quickly those little puffballs can grow. The meat birds (there are 16 of them) are much larger than the two layers I ordered. That is very interesting to me. I can hardly keep enough food and water in there for them. They go through it so quickly that I have to refill about four times a day. That schedule, combined with the warm, animal smell of 18 chicks that is emanating from my guest room, reminds me why I am always so glad when the chicks grow up and move outside. It just plain smells weird in the back hall. Unfortunately (or fortunately, depending on how you see it), as soon as these birds move outside the duck and goose shipment arrives. Hip hip hooray!

I Got a Microscope For Doing Goat Fecal Exams
How I got the microscope is pretty cool. I went to my first ATX Swappers food swap and met a really nice biologist named Nancy. I mentioned my blog and when she went home and checked it out she read my post about needing a microscope in order to do my own goat fecal exams. She had some vintage microscopes she had salvaged from an old biology building and she offered me one. She even brought it over to the house, which was beyond nice. One day I hope to repay her in fresh goat's milk! Now I just need to get some slides and I'm good to go...

The Scavenged Bed Frame Is In Use
My dear brother-in-law fixed up the new bed frame last weekend while he was visiting. He just snuck outside early Sunday morning and got it all done. He even brought his own tools. Now that's good company, right?

On Monday morning I cut some extra bed rails (I don't think I'd ever operated a circular saw while wearing pajamas and safety glasses before). Then I got the bed all set up in Brother's room. It looks fabulous. I currently have his futon mattress on it and it really needs a box spring and regular mattress. Someday I'll get around to changing that.

The light colored bed slats are the new ones I made

I Sold the Goat Feeder
Remember that free goat feeder/ hay rack that I got off of  Craigslist? My goats were never going to be big enough to use it. Ever. They could have lived inside it if it had been designed differently. So I sold it on Craigslist for $150. Oh YEAH. As I told Mr. Chanclas, "I just flipped a goat feeder."

We Are Getting a Dog
This is A Big Deal for us. Our sweet old dog, Penny, passed away last summer. She was a mutt I adopted from the SPCA in Maryland back when I was single and living in a one-bedroom apartment. She was always My Dog. This new dog will be Our Dog, belonging to all five of us. I'll keep you all posted on this. We have a dog in the works but I don't know if he will be ours yet.

I hope he's not this blurry in real life. Isn't he adorable?

I Planted Potatoes
I did. I planted them a few days after Valentine's Day. I haven't seen any signs of life yet and I'm hoping the two hard freezes we have had since then didn't kill them. I'm such a haphazard gardener. I really need to get with the program on this. It appears I am better at raising animals than I am at raising plants.

I'm Hosting Another Clothing Swap
I'm so excited about this. The last swap was great and this one looks like it's going to be even better. I've been saving up clothes for months and I have LOTS to swap. I'll report back about the swap after the fact.

And that's about it, folks. I left out the part about how I tore down half of the chicken run and then turned around and put it right back up two weeks later. Let's just say the T-posts wore me down when I realized they were not coming out. So a big coop/run overhaul will have to wait for another day, another season.


  1. The bed looks great! I can't wait to see your new pup.

  2. You have been busy my friend!

  3. Amazing progress all around! Animals are easier, generally, because they ask for food and water in one way or another, whereas with plants you have to REALLY watch them, or just anticipate their needs. Also, I think we will soon be getting baby chicks, too. :-)

    1. SO true! Plants just quietly die! Good luck with those baby chicks.

  4. I have often felt that I am much better at animal husbandry than vegetable husbandry. Animal care comes naturally while growing veggies takes WORK!

    You don't want to get a pug? Really? I think you should get a pug. Once you get pugs you don't ever go back to any other breed. Although your blurry pooch has a beautiful soft and lovely face. I just wanna hug him....

    Yay for chicks! Did you go cornish or red ranger this year - I'm thinking cornish based on their exponential growth rate. YUM. Raise em up, bleed em out, put em in a pot. Deeelicious.

  5. I do so wish plants would squawk/whine/bat at us when they needed something like animals do. They'd die less.

    Congrats on getting so much done at the homestead!


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