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!