Monday, December 20, 2010

"Dear, I want that!"

This post's title is a favorite quote from one of my favorite childhood movies, Ollie Hopnoodle's Haven of Bliss.  In the movie, the mom of the family tells her husband she wants a big wooden windmill that he in turn calls "lawn slob art".

I don't want a windmill - or any other lawn slob art for that matter - however, I am in love with these shoes and they have hit the top of my wish list.  Now, to be honest, I can't tell you when the last time I bought a new pair of shoes.  The tennis shoes I wear everyday are at least four years old, possibly five.  I have bought a pair of dress shoes at the thrift store, but NEW shoes are very few, and very far between.  Still, I don't know if I can justify $90 on a pair of shoes.  What do you think?

Picture borrowed from Zappos.  Click HERE to go to their site.

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Carrie’s Home-made Christmas Present: a crochet purse with ring handles

Today I finished Carrie’s home-made Christmas present.  Purple is her favorite color and she loves black flowers.  I used Vannah’s Choice yarn for the bag and some black yarn with filament for the accents.  I followed the pattern out of The Happy Hooker book that I borrowed from the library.  The flower pattern is from the book called First Crochet, also from our local library.  I bought the handles from JoAnn Fabrics a couple weeks ago when they were just $3.99!  (This bag cost less than $8 to make.)  What could be better than CHEAP and CUTE?  :0)

Now I have the girl’s homemade presents finished.  I think I have decided what to do for Jake, but Brady and Kip are still mysteries.  At least I have a week to go before Christmas.  Wish me luck!


2010 Christmas Card

Okay, so I created our family’s Christmas card design today using my favorite crafting tool….the Cricut!  This card features K&Company paper, Bazzill paper, and the Straight From the Nest cartridge.  The ribbon was left over from a sewing project and originally purchased at Wal-Mart.  The pearl beads are from an online seller on eBay.
Although we won’t be sending a bunch of Christmas cards this year, primarily because we can’t really afford all of the postage, I needed a stack for our church friends and Sunday school teachers.  If they don’t like the card, surely they’ll love the candy treats we made them!  :0)

Thursday, December 16, 2010

I just love this photo! I think it speaks for itself…


Cute Little Crochet Bunny Slippers

This year, my goal is to make each of my five children a handmade Christmas present.  So far, I have one down…five to go.  :0)  As I make them, I will post them on my blog to share.  I have something lined up for Carrie but am still struggling for just what to make the boys.  They don’t necessarily enjoy paper or yarn crafts, so I’m going to have to really stretch my brain for them. 
I got the bunny slippers idea out of one of my favorite books The Happy Hooker.  The pattern in that book was not quite working for me, so I used the Mary Jane Slippers pattern from ohmygoodknits! blog.  (Click here to go to that blog post.)  I used her pattern for the base slippers (without a cross strap) and the pattern for the ears & face from The Happy Hooker book.  I am super happy with the outcome and I hope Katie is too!  :0)

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Sad Day for the Gantz Family Farm

Well, I am very sad to report that our prize winning rooster, Mr. Buffy, has passed away.  We don't know what happened, but he was gone when we let the chickens out yesterday morning.  It was so sad to see him lying on the coop floor, lifeless.  He had been fine the day before and I honestly have no idea what happened to make him die.  Jake said the night before he was acting a little strange, but none of us thought he could be sick.  Someone suggested that he was bitten by a spider or a snake; my husband wonders if he possibly picked up something from the fair back in October.  We're not sure, but so far the girls seem to be feeling fine so if it was a disease, I am hopeful that it didn't spread through the flock.

I was so sad when I heard he had died.  I cried....more than once.  My husband says I'm too sensitive to be a farmer.  I suppose I am.  I don't apologize for crying though.  Mr. Buffy was not just a chicken, he was our pet.  Every chicken expert I've ever met or read about has said that chickens are not pets.  I completely disagree.  Each bird has a unique personality.  Some are playful, some are serious, some are food hogs, some are so docile that they could be house pets (were it not for the lack of potty training-ness), but they are each individuals in need of love and attention and here at the Gantz Family Farm, we all welcome them as members of the family.  And Mr. Buffy will  be missed.  R.I.P. Mr. Buffy.  We love you!

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Sunday School Teacher Gifts

Okay, so the kids and I were trying to decide what to come up with for a fun Christmas gift idea for our Sunday school teachers.  I found a cute idea for a kitchen sponge and modified it to be a bath sponge.  I paired them with a nice, pretty-smelling soap and tied them up.  Now that I think about it, I am wondering if it is a rude gift.  I mean...soap?  I would hate for the ladies to think that we think they need to take a bath.  Hmmm.....
For the original pattern, please visit Hook Candy by clicking HERE.  I really enjoyed making them.  I had to learn a new type of stitch called Tunisian Crochet, or the Afghan stitch.  I really like it!  Check out You Tube for a demo if it's new to you too.  :0)

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Quick & Easy Recipe: Chai Latte

I've been absent for a while due to a painful illness, a ruptured ear drum!  I have really been out of it for about 3 1/2 weeks now, but am finally feeling better.  Since I've been "gone" I've found an awesome recipe for a Chai Latte.  It's so simple and so good!  I love warm drinks, especially in the winter.  Since losing over 30 pounds, I seem to have lost my warmth, so I am always welcoming warm drinks.  Here is my new favorite:

1/2 cup water, 1/2 cup milk, 1-2 tsp. sugar (or a sugar substitute), and one chai tea bag
Mix all together in a small sauce pan until it boils.  Remove from heat, cover and let seep for about 3 minutes.  Add to your favorite girly mug and enjoy.  :0)

Saturday, November 6, 2010

He just keeps winning...

We went back to the fair the other day and low and behold, Mr. Buffy had another ribbon hanging on his cage!  This time, he and Jake were awarded for "Best in Show".  Now Jake has been nominated for a Claude McAllister Award, which he will meet the judges tonight to find out if he won.  What an amazing experience for all of us, especially considering no roosters were allowed.  :0)

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

We Have a Winner!

Many of you who read my blog regularly know that I've been struggling with just what to do with the boy in the hen house.  He's a handsome guy, pretty friendly (as far as roosters go), and is a good protector for the girls, but I must say we have been dreaming of some good old chicken & dumplings via Mr. Buffy.  Back in the spring, when we first decided to get chickens, the first rule we set was that if anyone got a boy, he would not stay - no matter how attached we were. 

A couple of weeks ago I heard that the Cape Fear Fair & Expo was going to be setting up shop and that they were looking for livestock animals to display at the fair.  We decided to enter Mr. Buffy into the fair and got all of the paperwork around.  He had to pass an inspection and a blood test, which he did, so he was welcomed into the livestock tent with over 200 other animals ranging from tiny little bunnies & bantam chickens, all the way up to big horses & cows.  We have been visiting Mr. Buffy at the fair every other day and also helping clean cages, feed animals, and give them fresh water.  Well, the last time we went, we were shocked to see a blue ribbon hanging from Buff's cage!  That's right!  Our almost-turned-into-dinner boy has won a first place prize in the "youth - cockerel" division!  I thought I'd share a photo for you.  Under the photo, you can read Mr. Buffy's bio, which I printed and hung on his cage so fair-goers could read up on him.  We are very proud and very excited for our backyard superstar.  The kids say we can't eat him anymore....Mommy and Daddy still think Blue Ribbon Chicken & Dumplings sound great!  :0)

My name is Mr. Buffy. I am five months old. My family thought I was a female Buff Orpington chicken when they got me (at just one day old) so they named me Buffy. As I grew – and started crowing – they realized that my name wasn’t quite a good fit, so they added the “Mr.” part to it.

I love pancakes, spaghetti noodles, cottage cheese and corn on the cob! I live in a backyard flock of chickens with ten hens and a big white German shepherd dog named Angel. Although I do a good job of protecting the ladies (as my human flock calls the hens), Angel is my backup officer in case of emergencies.

I am a big University of Michigan Football fan and crow at every touchdown, which, unfortunately, hasn’t been a lot lately.

My human flock consists of Mom & Dad and five kids. I like them because they feed me yummy treats (see above) and let me free range every night before bed. While free ranging, I love to eat bugs, frogs, and even anoles (geckos).

Thank you for stopping by to visit me. I hope you have a wonderful time at the fair and if you see any pancakes, will you let me know?

Friday, October 15, 2010

There's a Boy in the Hen House!

Remember my "no roosters allowed" clause?  Yeah,'s being put to the test.  One of the mail order chicks from turned out to be a boy.  He is such a nice chicken.  He's strong, vibrant, beautiful and friendly.  He's quite tame; he'll let you pet him and he even tolerates being held.  Now, if he were a mean, ugly rooster, I'd have no problem eating him.  But, because he's so nice, it's hard to think of butchering him.  Every other chicken owner I've ever met tells me that chickens aren't pets and I shouldn't treat them like pets.  Sorry.  I can't help it.  They are my flock and I love them as pets.  And they love me.  (Okay, they love all of the food I bring them.)  But they do run to me for protection, affection and treats.  I view that as love.  (Heck, sometimes that's more than my own children come to me for!)  :0)  So...the dilemma is....what to do with this crowing boy.  Hmmm.....

Buffy, our New Hampshire Red rooster.  When "she" was a baby we thought "she" was a female, Buff Orpinging chick; hence the name, Buffy.  Now that's "she's" all grown up, we realize that HE has a girly name, therefore it is now Mr. Buffy.  :0)

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

New Eggs

We are now up to four laying hens in our coop.  Trudy, the White Leghorn, has been laying white eggs since late September.  Shortly after she started laying, our first Easter Egger started laying light brown/pinkinsh color eggs.  This past Sunday we came home from church to find our first ever green egg!  We are pretty sure it came from Zoey, because she has been showing some of the same signs as the other two layers (bright red comb, talking & squatting a lot, etc.).  Just yesterday we found a fourth color egg in the coop; this one laying on the ground.  We are not sure who layed it, but are considering that it might be from Dixie, our Barred Rock chick.  It was a light, creamy beige color.  Here is a photo of the green egg next to Fluffy's latest treasure.  I think it is the biggest egg I have ever seen!

Crochet Critters

Here's a quick post for you crafters out there.  Last week at Michaels I found this cute little leaflet book from Vanna White's yarn line called "Vanna's Choice".  It has the patterns to make ten different crochet animals.  So far, I have made a hippo, an elephant and a monkey.  The hippo is my favorite.  Which is yours?

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Our First EGG!

So, I haven't posted in a while and while I've been "away" from my blog, we have been blessed with about a dozen little treasures from The Chick Inn!  Our first little egg came on September 22nd.  It was from our White Leghorn girl, Trudy.  Trudy is from our second batch of babies and was just barely four months old when she gave us her first egg.  Since then, she has laid about one egg every other day.  White Leghorms produce the most popular eggs in America.  They are pure white and are what you would normally buy at the grocery store.  They will give almost one egg every day, which is why they are so popular with commercial egg producers.

Here is Trudy's egg (on the left) next to a store bought, grade A large egg (on the right):

Not bad for a first egg!

The one difference I just can't get over is the color of the yolk!  The other day I made pumpkin bread and needed four eggs.  I had three from our coop and one store bought egg.  I have a habit of cracking my eggs into a clean bowl before adding them to a recipe just in case there are any blood spots or - gasp! - developing chicks inside.  (It's just a precautionary thing I do.)  When I saw all four eggs in a cereal bowl I just couldn't believe the difference in the light yellow yolk of the store bought egg and the almost orange looking yolk from our homegrown eggs!  I wish I had sanpped a photo of the four eggs...I will the next time I make something that requires more than one egg.

Here is a photo of the inside of our first egg:

And here it is scrambled.  We split it into seven bites.  :0)

Cream Puffs

Okay, so it's been a couple of months since I last posted.  For those of you who randomly check my blog for updates, I do apologize.  It's been a busy end-of-summer around here and I will fill you in on all the details over the next couple of weeks. 

First, I wanted to share a recipe with you for cream puffs.  We had a church potluck dinner last Sunday and someone brought homemade cream puffs.  Did you hear me?  HOMEMADE cream puffs!  I got to thinking - especially since my husband LOVES cream puffs - that I wanted to learn how to make them.  Well, I got to searching this morning and found a recipe at  (You can find it here.)  I was very pleased with the first batch and will make more.  They are so good!  And, when you mix the pudding you use heavy cream & milk, rather than just milk, and let me tell ya...that is the way to make pudding!  :0)  YUM!

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

The Shabby Chic Cottage Style Kitchen is finished!

Well, it has been a work in progress for a few weeks now, but I am happy to announce that the kitchen is finally painted and put back together.  I still have a few finishing touches to make, but for now I am loving my new, hot pink kitchen paint.  All of the colors in the kitchen and dining room are from Martha Stewart's new line of paint at The Home Depot.  I went with a super-light pink on the top of the dining room walls, and a mossy green on the bottom.  The hot pink in the kitchen really helps those other colors pop!  Feel free to leave a comment and let me know what you think!

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Hold the pot...

After many interruptions in my life (some good, some not so good *sigh*), I was finally able to set aside a bit of time to sew.  My fabric finally came in at JoAnn's last week so I've been working on my roman shades, but the other day was able to make a couple of pot holders.  It was great to complete a project in an afternoon, as the roman shades are quite labor intensive.  :0)

I used the same two fabrics that are in my window valance.  (The shades are made from the white & green swirly fabric.)  I appliqued a heart - cut with my Cricut - on each front.  There are two layers of terry cloth inside so they're flexible, yet quite heat resistant.  They were fun to make - so much so that I am thinking they might make nice Christmas gifts!  If you'd like directions on how to make your own, please email me or post a comment.  Have a great day!   

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Make Your Own Laundry Detergent - Be Green & Save Some Green!

Yep!  Off the deep end I go...again!  :0)  This time, I am turning my attention to making my home more green - both with using homemade, green products AND saving some green, as in CASH!  Today I made my own glass cleaner, as well as a batch of homemade laundry detergent.

For the glass cleaner, I simply mixed equal parts of water and white vinegar and some freshly squeezed lemon juice.  I swirled it all together in a spray bottle and viola!  It works great.  I think the stuff you get at the store - the blue juice - has alcohol and/or ammonia in it, so it dries much quicker.  I noticed as I was washing my windows that I didn't need as much spray as I normally use of the blue stuff.

For the laundry detergent, I found a recipe online that uses Arm & Hammer Super Washing Soda ($2.79, Harris Teeter), Fels-Naptha soap ($1.29, also at Harris Teeter), and Borax ($2.97, Wal-Mart).  There are lots of online recipes, but here is the one I used:

1 cup grated soap, such as Fels-Naptha
1/2 cup Arm & Hammer Washing Soda
1/2 cup 20 Mule Team Borax

Grate the soap and then mix in a pan with 3 pints of water over medium heat, until it all dissolves, roughly 3 to 5 minutes. Stir in the washing soda and Borax. Mix until everything thickens, another 3 minutes or so, then remove from heat. Put 1 quart of hot water in a 2 gallon bucket, then add the soap mixture you just made. Mix well.

Now fill the bucket with the mixture with cold water. Stir until well blended. It will thicken and separate as it cools. Stir or shake well before using. Use 1/2 cup for each load, or more for very dirty items.

An average gallon of laundry detergent is around $5.00. This recipe is environmentally friendly, and costs about 25 cents per gallon (1/20th the cost!), so you save the green in two ways!

Saturday, May 29, 2010

Six Week Old Chicks

Boy-oh-boy, our baby Ameraucana chicks are getting big!
Here is Sunshine at one week old:

And here she is at six weeks old:

I am just amazed at how fast they grow!

Friday, May 28, 2010

Introducing the New Babies

Okay, here are the new additions.  I am fairly certain of the breed, but they did come in a sale box of assorted biddies, so I could be wrong, especially since I am a novice.  :0)

This is Dottie, a Silver Laced Wyndotte

This is Buffy, a Buff Orpington.

This is Dixie, a Barred Rock (aka Plymouth Rock).

This is Trudy, a White Leghorn.  (She's quite squirmish, so taking a decent photo is not easy.)  :0)

And, last but not least, this is Mabel.  We think she is a New Hampshire Red, but she may be a Rhode Island Red.  Time will tell!  :0)

All of the new girls will lay light brown eggs, except for Trudy, who will lay large white eggs.  (Most Americans eat eggs from White Leghorns, pronounced "leggerns".) 

The Amerucana chicks we already have will lay either light green or light blue eggs.  I recently heard that a chicken will lay eggs similar to the color of their feet.  I can't wait to see if that is true!

Mail Order Chicks

Yep!  We're totally addicted to our chickens!  Those of you who read this blog know that we are raising six Ameraucana chicks and building them a coop.  Well, the coop is finished and we are putting the finishing touches on the outside pen (or run) this weekend.  The "big girls" (as they're now called) are sleeping in the coop at night now, and although I was not too happy about letting them go, I am somewhat at peace thanks to a $10 baby monitor I bought off of Craig's List.  Now, I can sleep knowing that they will raise a fit if anything tries to sneak up on them.  :0)  (Yes, I did say we're addicted...)

Okay, so we have a 64 square foot coop and the outside pen is about 150 square feet - plenty of room for lots of chickens.  (From what I've read, large-foul chickens need about 3 square feet of indoor space and about 8-10 of outdoor square feet.)  Given all of the extra room, we decided to buy a few more baby chicks just for kicks.  :0)

This time, rather than buying from a local hardware store, we purchased a "sale box" of assorted large foul chickens from  We received 25 assorted day old chicks in the mail, which we split with two other families.  Unfortunately, one baby died in transit, but the other 24 were quite happy and healthy.  We were supposed to get six new chicks, but because of the one not making it, we took five. 

So what do mail order chicks look like?  I have had a lot of folks ask me, so here is a photo of how our box came:

Our post office called us the day they arrived there and asked if we wanted them delivered, or if we wanted to come pick them up.  We opted to pick them up, but can you imagine?  Having your postal carrier bring a box of 25 chicks right to your front door?  It's just crazy!

Although getting a variety of chicks was a lot of fun (I will post pics of our new babies soon) I think I prefer going to the hardware store or local feed store and picking out our own babies a bit better.  Don't get me wrong, we love our new babies, but there was a bit of an impersonal feeling about just having a box delivered.  I guess losing one in the shipment was a bit sad too, but the kids handled it like pros.  They buried her and put a cross on her grave.  Sweet kids!

Saturday, May 22, 2010

Mandy, the chicken wrangler...

This is my favorite doggie in the universe!  Her name is Mandy, also called "Nandy" because my kids used to have a hard time with the "m" sound.  :0)  Mandy is five days older than my oldest child - yep!  5 days!  Her birthday is May 27, 1995 and Carrie was born June 1, 1995.  Mandy was my 20th birthday present from Aaron.  He went out for pizza on my birthday for dinner and came home with a 1/2 pound Nandy on top of the pizza box.  She was about as big as a tennis ball and I instantly fell in love with her.  She has been with me since July 28, 1995.  I almost lost her to parvo in September of the same year, but she pulled through and has never been sick since!  She will be 15 next week and is still very healthy, although her vision and hearing are starting to slip.
Little Nan loves to chase the chickens in the yard.  At first, when they were so little, we were very cautious and didn't allow Mandy to chase them.  Now that they are older, she is quite helpful chasing them to the coop for us.  :0)  I  know the time is coming that I will lose my Little Nan, as she can't live forever, but I am so thankful for her and her bright spirit.  She truly is this "woman's best friend".

Friday, May 21, 2010

Princess Parking Only

Okay, so you know by now that I love finding goodies at the Goodwill.  I just couldn't leave this sign there!  As soon as I saw it I thought it would be so funny above the chick's roost.  What do you think?  :0)

Thursday, May 20, 2010

The "Shabby Chic Cottage" Kitchen Curtain

You'd never know I live 5 miles from the beach; better yet, just 3 blocks from the intercoastal waterway.  You'd never know, because there is not one single sign of "beachyness" anywhere!  Our back yard looks like a farm now with the large garden & chicken coop, and inside is just pink, pink, and more PINK!  No blues, no seafoam green, no seashells -- nothing.  I'm just not into that look, I guess.  What I am into is "shabby chic" style.  I love repurposing old, vintage things that I find at the Goodwill or a yard sale.  So, I've dubbed my new kitchen style as "shabby cottage".  What do you think?  Here's the homemade kitchen curtain.  Hope you like it!  :0) 

 (I know the red hot coffee pot doesn't match.  I am either going to have to replace it, or spray paint it.  Have I mentioned that I love spray paint?)  :0)

Sunday, May 16, 2010

The Mother's Day Apron

For Mother's Day last week, my awesome husband and wonderful children went to my favorite "real" store.  (I say "real" because I love second hand stores, but those are more "fake" than "real".)  :0)  Anyway, the favorite "real" store is Hallmark.  Why do I love Hallmark?  Well, because that is where all of Vera's treasures reside.  That's right - Vera Bradley.  She is my fabric hero!  I love her tote bags, clutch wallets, rolling duffel bags, stationery and more!

While my favorite people were at my favorite store, they bought me my new favorite thing:  a beautiful apron and recipe card box in the new pattern called "make me blush".  It is probably my favorite Vera Bradley pattern of all time with its pretty pinks, mossy greens and hints of yellow and gray.  It's just beautiful!  In fact, I like it so much that I have decided to redecorate my whole kitchen and dining room to match the apron!

So, I will be working on my new kitchen curtains and wall colors this next week or so.  Here are a few pictures of what I'm working on:

The far fabric on the left is my new apron.  The other two fabrics are what I bought at JoAnn Fabrics the other day to coordinate with the apron fabric.  The next picture show you the wall colors I am leaning towards.  They are from the new Martha Stewart paint color collection available only at The Home Depot.  (Another of my favorite "real" stores.  Oh, and Martha Stewart is another one of my heroes.  Like her or not, she knows her crafts!)

I am certain of the bottom color and a bit unsure of the top color.  I have decided to make my curtains first and then decide on the paint colors for sure.  I may mix my own upper color with white paint tinted with some of the green from the lower half of the wall.  Like I said, I'm still undecided, so we'll see after the curtains are made.

I'll post pictures as I finish up my projects.  Keep in mind, we are also building a chicken pen in the back yard as well, so this should be a very busy week!  :0)

The Coop; aka The Chick Inn

You all know that we adopted six baby chicks last month.  We have been raising them for the past five weeks and have also been working on planning & building their coop.  Last week my awesome handy husband, Aaron, put the finishing touches on their new home, now dubbed "The Chick Inn".  I named the coop after a drive-in restaurant in my hometown of Ypsilanti, Michigan - they're the home of the Paul Bunyan burger.  :0)  Anyway, without further ado, here is the coop:

Isn't it cute?!  We converted an old lean-to that was built off of the shed.  (You can see the before picture in my previous post.)  My dad gave us the old window panes which are hinged at the top so the chicks can have ventilation and fresh air on hot summer days.  Aaron built the door using 2 by 4s and we recycled an old picket fence for the bottom of it.

Under the front window is a trap door that we call the "egg drop shop".  When you open it up, you have access to the chick's nesting boxes on the inside.  Here is the view from inside the coop:

(We put golf balls in each of the nests as a clue to tell the biddies where their future eggs will go.  It's an old trick we read about online.)

Aaron made them a roosting bar for inside the coop.  It is a 1 1/2 inch by 1 1/2 inch square dowel (cut from a 2 by 4) and then he trimmed the corners to 90 degrees and sanded all the edges.  Chickens in the wild will roost off the ground, usually in lower tree branches, in order to stay safe from predators.  As soon as we put them up on their roost, they settled right in - some even went to sleep!  :0)

 Here is a close up of the end of the roosting bar.

 Next up, we have to build the biddies an outside pen.  They are in the coop during the day time, but we are still bringing them in at night to sleep under the heat lamp.  The past two nights they have not slept directly under the lamp, so I think they are now old enough to sleep in the coop.  I am crazy, but before I let them sleep in the coop at night, I want to get a second-hand baby monitor so that I can keep an "ear" on them.  They are very quiet at night, but will start screaming if a predator comes in their coop.  I think it's pretty safe, but - like I said - I'm crazy and don't want to lose any of them.  :0) 

Well, that is all for now.  We have added some chicken coop art to the Chick Inn and I will post new pictures of that soon.  Stay tuned!

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Chick Update

Okay, okay...I'm so sorry!  It's been about three weeks since I lasted posted and I've got folks wondering where in the world I am.  Well, I've been up to my eyeballs in baby chicks - literally!  Last week, during a great photo op, my baby chick, Sunshine, was on my shoulder.  Just as my son, Jake, snapped the photo, she pecked my pupil.  That's right (cringe) my pupil!  O-U-C-H!  (Here is the not-so-flattering photo of the incident, but I just had to share it.)

I was half blinded in my left eye for the rest of the evening; woke up the next morning with my eye crusted over, but - once cleaned - was able to see out of it.  I kept sunglasses on for a good day & a half because I had a lot of pain when my eye tried to dilate.  Anyway, I am now recovered and my eye is much better.  However, we have been SUPER busy trying to get the chick's coop (now dubbed The Chick Inn) built so that they can move into it!

I will have pictures of it up soon, but for now, here is a "before" shot of where we are building the coop:

Just beyond our kitchen garden is a small 8 foot by 8 foot potting shed with a lean-to roughly the same size.  We decided to enclose the lean to for our chicken coop.  Aaron (my husband) is the handsome guy in the photo - he is probably standing there wondering just what in the world he's agreed to.  :0)  I'll post pictures soon of the new Chick Inn, so check back in a day or so! 

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Baby Chicks

For years I have thought about having a few backyard chickens and now that we are settled in our home in Wilmington, I convinced my husband that it was a good idea.  :0)  Last week, with my DH's (dear husband's) permission, the kids and I went to the True Value Hardware store up in Castle Hayne - about a 30 minute drive north - to pick out six chickens - one each for the kids, plus one for me.  Since then, we have been busy cleaning up the enormus amounts of poop (recent FB status reads:  "6 chicks = TONS of poop"), socializing our baby birds, teaching them how to drink water and making plans for a chicken coop.
This is my baby bird, Sunshine or Sunny for short.  I didn't name her, the kids did because she kept trying to climb into the heat lamp.  Yes, INTO it!  She really likes the sunshine - whether its the real rays, or the fake heat lamp rays.  :0)

All six of our babies are Ameraucanas, also known as Easter eggers because they lay colored eggs.  Their eggs will probably be a light shade of green or blue, but some can lay light pink or light lavendar eggs!  I picked this breed because everything I read online agreed that they were great birds to have around children.  Apparentlly they are mild tempered, docile, smart and playful.  So far, they are living up to their reputation.  Click HERE for a cool article that shows an Ameraucana from one week to full grown so you can see what my girl will look like when she's older.

Here is Sunshine on her way to the park...

And here she is at the family campfire...

Can you tell I'm having fun with her?  :0)

Here are the kid's babies:

Kip named his chick Fluffy.

Brady named his Color.

Katie named hers Zoey.

Jake named his Victoria.  (I call her Tori.) :0)

Carrie named her Bellatrix.  (I call her Trixie.)  :0)

Many of my friends think I've jumped off the deep one on this one.  I guess they could say I've "flown the coop".  :0)  Hopefully these girls will turn out to be a blessing with farm fresh eggs and friendly company for my "unsocialized homeschoolers".  :0)  According to what I've read we should have eggs near the end of September.  This breed can lay up to one a day!  {Although I'd love to have eggs now and could have purchased "point of lay" or "POL" pullets (birds about 16 weeks old, near to when they would start laying) I have read that when you have children it is better to hand raise babies so they are not afraid of the kids and vice versa.}

No Roosters Allowed!!
The store was *almost* certain that we received all females, however there is a chance that one or even more could be a male/rooster.  We should know within the next month to six weeks.  All of the children understand that if we do have a rooster among us, that he will be given to a friend's farm.  I definitely don't want a rooster around!  Many people don't know that hens can and will lay eggs whether a rooster is around or not.  If there is no rooster, they just won't be fertilized eggs - meaning no baby chicks.  :0)  Pretty cool, hun?  I think so!  God's plan and His creation is just amazing to me!

Be sure to check back for updates on our chicken adventure!  I am hoping to take pictures every week so we can document their growth.  I've heard they grow very fast.  Better get to building that coop!  :0)