Apr 23, 2014

Our Chicken Run {A Video Tour}

A while back we posted a tour of our chicken coop.  We thought folks might also be interested in seeing more details of our outdoor chicken run or yard or chicken pen, depending on what you call it.

Our pen is made of dog kennel panels - all obtained for free from family members no longer needing them.  It's reinforced along the bottom 24" or so with hardware cloth that is stretched outward from the pen and buried to help prevent digging.  Chicken wire covers the top to protect from airborne predators. 

Here is the video tour:

A few things we would do differently:
  • Reinforce the chicken wire covering.  It is starting to sag a good bit and sags a LOT with snow and ice which we saw quite a bit of this past winter.
  • Re-work both entry doors so they open inward.  One door will only open outward and we have to fight would-be escapees almost every time we open that door.
  • Set up a dry area for dust baths.  We like to throw in wood ashes every so often for them to dust bathe in and it would be nice if they could stay dry longer.

Hindsight is 20/20, right?  Oh, well. Hope you enjoy the video (however amateur it may be!).

Jan 22, 2014

DIY Freezer Hashbrowns

Our potato harvest last year yielded about 1 ½ bushels – a mix of Yukon Gold and Red Pontiac.  Overall, they were good size.  Our Yukons were hit with black heart, but it seemed to only affect the larger potatoes and, once removed from the center, the potatoes were fine to use.
We haven’t eaten as many as we should have by now and not having a proper cellar to store them in, they are getting a little wrinkly and sprouting eyes like mad.  The Yukons are faring better than the Reds, but it’s obvious we need to something with them. 
I have never put up potatoes before.  I know they can be canned, but how many ways can you use canned potatoes?  That wouldn’t work for all of them.  I've heard tales of people having homemade hashbrowns in the freezer and decided to give them a try.

Jan 17, 2014

Adoption Update {Big News to Share!}

It was a miscellaneous Wednesday.  I had taken the day off to spend time with my sister and her little ones since she was in town.  I was putting dinner in the crockpot before heading out for the day when the phone rang.  It was Louise from our adoption agency.  “Carrie, I have some good news.”  What?  What?  A little boy?  He’s two?  Awww.. Oh my goodness, yes, please send his medical and psychological report, omgosh omgosh.  I have to call Hubz at work. 
It was the phone call that every prospective adoptive parent dreams of and at the same time can’t imagine really happening, and we got it.  We had been matched with this little sweetie and we were elated, but we were also concerned – there are so many what ifs.

We reviewed everything and received a picture.  Such a little cutie!  A couple weeks later we were able to get some video of him and more pictures.   A regional children’s hospital has an International Adoption clinic and they have a service where they’ll review all information you receive on a child and give you their opinion of him/her.  We had that completed and said Yes!  A thousand times, yes! 

About three weeks later we flew over to meet him (our first time to fly ‘across the pond’) and on my birthday that week we signed documents stating our intent to move forward with adopting this little guy.
Now, we are anxiously awaiting his Visa approval, our court date (hopefully passing court) and then our travel dates.  We may travel sometime in April and on that trip he will come home with us.  :)
It’s still almost unbelievable.  We're still in shock and a little overwhelmed about the responsibilities of parenting this little treasure we’re being trusted with.

It’s interesting - when you talk to some people about adoption they act like you’re doing such a great thing, like it’s almost charitable that you’re giving an orphan a home and a future and a life that he otherwise may not have had.  But we don’t see it that way.  We almost feel selfish when people talk to us like that because we believe he’s giving US a life WE may not have otherwise had.

Oct 28, 2013

Chickens Under Attack

As you know we are backyard chicken keepers.  We love our little flock, and we try to let them free range as much as we can.  I’ve posted before about how we use temporary fencing to expand their run out into the yard and garden.  Until last week we’d only had one predator incident where we lost a bird. 

Sep 27, 2013

Adoption Update {Fall 2013}

Several people have inquired recently about how our adoption is coming along.  Here’s the answer, in a word:  slowly. 

Sep 25, 2013

Can You Freeze Tomatoes?

Ever find yourself with too many tomatoes and not enough time? 

It can happen so quickly.  It seems to take forever to get that 1st ripe tomato out of the garden, but once you do, they all start coming on like crazy. 

Like any good homesteader, I hate seeing those beauties go to waste.  Instead of tossing them to the chickens (they get their fair share!), I freeze them for future canning projects.
whole tomatoes in the freezer

Here's how to freeze tomatoes: