Sunday, August 25, 2013

The Finished Coop

Hi there!
Well, we finally finished the chicken coop remodel.

If you didn't see the before and during pictures, go here.

This is the outside including the chicken run.  Mr. M put hardware cloth over the window so that when it's open, predators can't get in.  The window is one that was in the old front porch on the house; we stored all the windows in the barn when we remodeled the porch.  We also put a 4 foot wide covering right outside the door to keep snow from piling up there.  The roof of the machine shed, which shares one side with the coop, is metal, so snow tends to slide right off it and ends up in front of the door to the coop. 

Looking out the door, with nest boxes on the right.  We brought these up from the previous coop.  There are ten, which will be way too many for the number of hens we'll have, but it is all one unit so that's what we have.

The walls and ceiling are boards from our barn.  We looked around by the woods and found some dead elm and box elder branches which Mr. M made into a roost.  It fits with the rustic look of the coop.  I guess the floor isn't very rustic, but it's some leftover vinyl flooring that a neighbor donated to us.  It will make cleaning the coop much easier than if we had not covered the plywood at all. 

This is where we store the chicken feed.  That window makes a huge difference on the inside of the coop.

The feeders are in place.

Now all we have to do is get the waterer back in as well as some straw, and the coop will be ready for chickens.  Our plan now is to get a few young meat chickens that will be ready for the freezer before it gets too cold this winter.  Then in the spring we'll buy some chicks that will be kept to give us eggs when they are old enough--the hens that is; the roosters will probably go in the freezer.  Maybe someday we'll want to raise our own chicks, but for now we don't need roosters.

We are very excited that we were able to complete this almost totally with materials we already had on hand.  I think the chickens will find it to be a nice home.

Also linking up with http://www.fresh-eggs-daily,com/2013/08/from-farm-blog-hop_30.html

Thursday, August 22, 2013

Quilt Progress

I've been busily working on the Lone Star quilt for the past couple of weeks, being extra careful with it since I'm getting paid to make it.

This is how the quilt looks right now with two of the borders on. 

Today I'll be starting the third border.  It's going to be quite wide since this quilt needs to be the size of a queen bedspread.  Also, since the star can't be part of what's tucked under the pillows, the top border will be even wider than the bottom and side borders.  The fabric has subtle hints of the orange in it, but is mainly dark similar to the reddish radiant.

The person I'm making it for came yesterday to look at the progress, and she's pleased with how it's coming along, which of course makes me happy.

Sunday, August 18, 2013

From the Garden

The garden is doing pretty well, despite no rain in at least two weeks, and none in the forecast.  Mr. M did water it a couple of days ago, so it should be good to go for the 90 degree weather coming up this week.

Here are some things we picked this morning.

Green beans, sage, a few small side shoots of broccoli, and Green Zebra tomatoes--Mr. M's favorite kind of tomato.  This variety is the only ripe tomato we've had so far this year. 

Yellow zucchini, cucumbers, green pepper, and carrots.  The reddish carrots are called Cosmic Purple and the orange are St. Valery (my favorite carrot). 

And some things from last week.

 Garlic continuing to dry.  We use lots of garlic.

 This pile of garlic is going to be planted back in the garden in early September for next year's crop.

When we had picked enough peas for eating and freezing, we let the rest of the pods dry out.  Last week, we picked them, and I laid the peas out in one layer to finish drying.  Now they're in a container to go with the rest of our garden seeds to plant in next year's garden.

Well, it's time for lunch. 

Today we're having roast pork (from one of the pigs we raised last winter and spring), baked potatoes, buttered carrots, and Green Zebra tomatoes (all from the garden).  It is such a satisfying feeling to sit down to a meal that comes entirely from our farm.  Well, all from here except for the butter.  We'll most likely always be buying butter since we don't plan to have dairy animals, although I do occasionally buy cream from a local organic dairy and make butter from it, a very easy process.

Hope you have a great day!

Friday, August 16, 2013

Canning Peaches

Every summer for the past several years, I've bought Georgia peaches from the Tree-Ripe Citrus people.  They bring them in refrigerated tractor-trailers to many cities in Wisconsin as well as parts of Minnesota and Illinois.  The peaches are the best I've ever tasted.  I envy those of you in the south who are able to actually grow them; here in the north we have trouble growing them, if we can at all.

So, this time I bought two boxes, and have been busy canning most of them.

Here are some after putting in boiling water for about 60 seconds and immediately putting in cold water.

After removing the skin and slicing; ready to be put into jars and then water-bathed for 25 minutes.

Some people remove the reddish part from around the pit, but I like leaving it because it gives the canned peaches a bit of a rosy color.

And on the pantry shelf ready for winter eating.

We have also been eating them fresh, and I made a peach cobbler, but these canned peaches will really taste good next winter just as is or in a peach shortcake or whatever else I make with them.

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Happenings of the Past Week

We just returned from several days in Missouri.  We were mainly there for a memorial service for Mr. M's mother who died in late winter out west.  All of our children and grandchildren were able to be there, which we were very happy about.  Although a sad time, it was nice to see and visit with other family members whom we hadn't seen in several years. 

On the way down, we stopped in Hannibal, home of Mark Twain.  We weren't able to do much sightseeing, but I did manage to get a few pictures.

This is a statue of Tom Sawyer and Huck Finn.

Overlooking the back of the statue and the main street.

This is the beginning of the first Mark Twain Memorial Bridge that used to start here and end in Illinois on the other side of the Mississippi River.  This bridge was torn down in 2001 after a new one was built a short distance away.

Standing by the fence in the previous picture and looking across the Mississippi toward Illinois.

Around the home front, some news is that I've been commissioned to make a quilt.  It'll be a Lone Star to fit a queen size bed like a bedspread would.  So, it's going to end up being about a king size.

These are the six fabrics she has chosen for the star.  The one at the top will also be the first border, and the second one from the bottom will also be the second border.

The fabric on top will be the third border, the backing, and the binding.  The fabric on the bottom is for the background.

This will be a challenge, but I am definitely excited about it and looking forward to doing it.  I have everything ready to go, so I'll be starting to cut and piece the star tomorrow.

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

A New Storage Piece

As you may know, I love shopping garage sales and thrift stores.  A couple of weeks ago, I found this small shelf unit for $2.00.  It was pretty nondescript and unhappy looking really, but I knew I'd find a use for it. 

With a bit of white spray paint and some sewing-related fabric and foam board, it now looks fresh and useful.

And here it is with some sewing/quilting items on it.


It's always nice to have more storage space in a quilting/crafting room, don't you think?