Sunday, March 31, 2013

Spring is Coming Right?

Oh this weather is killing me! Up and down the temperatures go!
I know this is happening all across the United States. I am finished with winter! We had a record snow for the end of March last week. At our house we had about 13" of snow. The kids loved it, but mom and dad not so much. Of course the boys wanted to go sledding. It was a little wet for sledding down the hill. They tried the ATV but it was too deep for ours. They talked Mike into getting the tractor to pull them. They had a blast. Mike had the blade on so as they went along he collected up snow then pulled the blade up creating a nice hill for them to go over. It was a beautiful snow and thankfully only lasted two days.

I am anxiously waiting for the warm weather to get my 97 broiler chickens outside in their chicken tractors. I planned on buying a new building for Nico's 4-H chickens, however, I wasn't planning on having it house the broilers too. I couldn't take the chickens in the house and garage anymore so was super excited when they called Monday and said they were delivering the building. Immediately the cages were moved out to it. 
 I love the building. I have plans to add three separate cages for breeding/show chickens/injured chickens (how ever they will be needed they will be ready). I am going to add brooder boxes in one corner. The rest will be open for chicken play. I will be adding a large fenced area to the sides for free ranging, plus chickens tractors are being built for them so they can get out in the yard and eat up. (Coyotes have come out even during the day and snatched a rooster so I had to quit with the whole property free ranging).
Today I spent 3 hours fixing up a corner of the coop for the broilers. They were not happy while I was moving them around and working, but they sure were happy to get in the area and be able to move. I need to video them when I first feed them. It is pure craziness!
After working in the coop this morning, I quickly got things together for the boys to color a dozen eggs before I had to go to work. Pinterest, as I said before, is my new best friend! I found a couple of cool ways to try decorating our eggs this year. One of the ways is using shaving cream with food color swirled into it. You then roll the egg in the mixture, let it sit for a few minutes to soak in the color and then wipe it off...wah-la, swirly colored eggs. Luca had a great time playing in the shaving cream and making his hands different colors. We even used our brown eggs. I just couldn't bring myself to buy the eggs from the store even though they were just 99 cents.

I think they turned out pretty darn good. There is one mystery egg here that has been dyed for an April Fool's joke on Monday. Can't wait to use it!
Happy Easter!

Sunday, March 10, 2013

February into March 2013

Once again I fall behind. Good thing for Facebook and my posting of pictures there or I would never update my blog.

February brought us Valentine's Day fun with 2 parties with different homeschool groups. When I was in grade school Valentine boxes were so much fun. There were always contests to see who could make the most creative boxes. My dad always had the best ideas. We had a record player, a guitar, and a mailbox. (those were my favorites). I am proud to say I have carried on the tradition with Nico and Luca. Nico has liked to come up with his own ideas since he was little. For the last two years he has come up with his idea and made them himself with a little help from mom. Luca is still learning the whole concept and Valentines.

Luca with his tank Valentine box

Nico's Star Wars Cantina. It is complete with music and working floor lights and overhead lights.

February also brought the addition of Nico's chickens for 4-H. He chose to do show birds and selected Polish Crested. Not the easiest to match for show, but beautiful chickens anyway! We ordered 15 chicks to come through the mail from a town 3 hours away. Of course what happened the day after they shipped out....SNOW, and lots of it. It took the chicks 2 days to get to our post office. The poor things, out of 16 sent only 6 survived. The others got too cold on their journey and sadly didn't make it. The hatchery backed their guarantee and replaced the ones we lost. However, this time I drove to the hatchery to get them to ensure safe delivery to our home. We ended up with 17 Polish Crested chickens. (2 silver, 4 blue, 4 white crested black, 7 gold). We are not sure how many roosters or hens we have but hoping for some that are the same so we can breed them and hatch more of our own.

Here are three of the first 6 we got. These guys are 13 days old.
As if adding 17 chickens to our flock of 20 isn't enough, we added 115+a couple more broiler chickens. They hatched on March 9. We headed over and picked them up right away. They are so adorable when they are little. It's a good thing they don't stay so cute or I could never process them for dinner.
Here they are, all 115+ . They won't all fit together for long.
 So with adding all these chickens we have created quite a bit of work for ourselves. We are now deciding what coop to build for Nico's chickens as we want them separate from our other laying hens. The show chickens will take more TLC to keep them pretty and ready for show. Not that my other layers don't get plenty of TLC. We don't want any extra pecking to occur as they would be introduced into an already established pecking order. This way they have their own already. I have scored about 35 wooden pallets so far of which I am planning on using a lot of the wood for coops, tractors, and gardening.

We have a couple of books we are looking through for ideas. It think we will be combining a couple as we want to be sure it is big enough to put a brooding area and for a growing flock.
We have also had to make new brooders as it is still pretty cold outside here (the snow finally melted this week). Right now all the chickens are inside in tubs under heat lamps.

Here are a couple of the brooders. Simply made from totes. I repurposed our Monkey Balls game racks to make the brooder light holders. The holders sell on the internet for about $35 . It was a lot cheaper to repurpose the game since the golf balls all melted in the plastic bag in the car a couple of years ago.

March brought Nico's first competitive dance competition. He had his first solo performance. I was so nervous for him, but he did fantastic! He took home several awards including Diamond Elite Top First, 1st place Novice division, 1st place Hip Hop division (ages 11-12) and Top Starz. I am so over the moon proud of him and his hard work. Nico is a perfectionist and would not let me see his routine all together until a week before competition. He has such skill and his heart is totally in his dancing. Besides his solo, he dances with his team, OZONE. They did very well too. They took 10th place in the intermediate division for ages 11-12 year old and earned an Elite Top First.

He is on his head a lot! I absolutely love this photo. They snapped it at the perfect time.

This boy loves to dance and be on stage!

Team OZONE. Such a great group of kids. They are so much more a team this year. This is their second year dancing together.

Kara, a fellow hip hop dancer, also from the team, performed a solo as well. They both did awesome! I am very proud of these kids.

So besides all of that we had our regular school days and regular activities. We are definitely ready for spring to get here and get our projects going! The tomatoe and pepper seeds are already sprouting in the house.