Tuesday, March 24, 2009


I am sorry I haven’t been able to write on the blog lately because we have been really busy, I am going to try tell what has been going on this past week or two. Today is Tuesday March the 24th last Monday not yesterday the Monday before that, we went to a surprise birthday for the Longs. We have known the Longs for a long time. They have four kids. Two boys, one I played baseball with the other Thomas played with. And also two girls. They live across from Prestley farm and rent out a different dairy farm that is close to their house. They are very busy and have to milk the cows at 4 in the morning and 4 in the afternoon. They showed us around their farm, here are some pictures taken by Anna.

A calf.

This is where they milk them.

Another shot.

Here is the huge hay loft that we played in.

It is cool how you can see the water droplets on the lens.

We started building the chicken coop the Friday before this past one. It had been raining for a couple of days so we had to start building it in the shed because it was all muddy outside. Then we worked on it Saturday and Sunday. And in the week we have been doing lots of school. And then Thursday we went skating and after that we went to this herb farm that people from our church own, so we volunteer there. Then Thomas had home school baseball practice because he is not little enough for little league anymore. Then Friday we worked on the coop some more and I had baseball practice. The sad thing is now that we moved to Beaverdam I can not play for Mechanicsville instead I am going to play for Ashland. They are a much smaller group there are only three teams instead of like fifteen or more. And Mechanicsville also had the nicest fields. But I am kind of excited to make new friends because back at Mechanicsville I used to know almost everybody because this year will be my eighth year playing baseball, so here at Ashland I am like the new kid. Saturday I also had practice and we worked on the coop some more now it is almost done. Monday we went to a place called Eden Farm to buy berry bushes and also to look at ducklings. Yes even though we have chickens already we want to get ducks. So we looked at ducks but we did not get any because they were straight run (which means they didn’t know if they were male or female). But we got a lot of berry bushes. We got Blueberry, Blackberry, Raspberry, Cherry, (yes there is such a thing as a cherry bush) and a grape vine. I think we are just going to order ducks from a hatchery. So today is Tuesday the twenty fourth of March and today is Anna’s birthday, and I think we are going to get the coop done today.


Sunday, March 22, 2009

Building the chicken coop

Here is the back part of the coop

Here is the door frame

Here is the whole frame

Putting the pvc roof on

Doesn't it look like a chapel?


Snow photos from March 2

Saturday, March 21, 2009

Chicks are 4 weeks old - March 21

The Chickies are four weeks old today and growing like…like…..little chickies I guess. They are almost completely covered in feathers, and their baby fluff falls off everytime they flap their wings, and has created a sort of film over everything in our mudroom. The dust and the smell really grosses mom out, but I’ve assured her that as soon as the chicken house is built I will clean it all. Originally they were leaving their box at 3 weeks but unfortunately their house didn’t exist anywhere but in my head and on a piece of notebook paper, so their introduction to the outside world was postponed indefinitely. The roasters are huge, and boss everyone around when it comes to food. Two of the buff Orpingtons (the yellow ones) are roosters, I am aware that they will not be the best of buds when they grow up. Aware of this fact, we ordered only 1 rooster but the hatchery munificently (it means very generously I looked it up in the thesaurus:) gave us another. There may be room for only one father of the flock, but I have resolved to cross that bridge when it comes. We picked our 4 breeds for their personality, and so far have not been disappointed, they love to jump on my back when I lean over to fill their feeders and sit on my shoulder when I add more bedding to their box.

The chicken “manor” is under construction and the back half is sitting out back. The design of the chicken coop is based on a greenhouse,it has wooden framing for the sides with pvc pipe covered with recycled plastic for the roof. There aren’t many plans for these floating around the internet so I just combined several things I’d seen and ran it by my parents who made some adjustments here and there, before buying all the lumber. It is going to be huge, 10x16 feet. --Anna

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Chopping wood

A little while after we moved in our new house we had two acres cleared.

We have mostly pine trees (I guess that is why our neighborhood is called Pine Springs) and only a few hard woods, but it still took longer then expected to clear it all.

So dad went out one day and cut one of the few big oaks up with his chain saw. After school I loaded the tractor up with the wood and stacked it between two trees. After dad finished cutting the tree he showed me how to split wood. For a while we thought we were going to have to buy a splitter but then we decided you don’t need one, that’s what kids are for. For some reason I like to split wood, I don’t know I just like pounding in a wedge or every now and then splitting a piece in one swing. I just can’t wait till we can burn it but it is not really cold anymore; I guess it will be seasoned in a year though.

We put the whole logs on the right and the split logs on the left. The stack on the right used to be as tall as the one on the left. -Philip


Thomas has been taking a Debate class since the fall and it culminated in a tournament this weekend. It was a two-day 10 hour/day event and he spoke a total of 11 times. Amazingly he enjoyed it and wants to continue on their debate team http://www.ccofse.com/. The topic this year is "Should the embargo on Cuba be lifted?" Exciting huh? He debated 7 times and won 5 times. He also participated in 4 impromptu speeches in which the judge hands him a written quote, he has 2 minutes to organize his thoughts and then he has 5 minutes to defend his position. His goal was to be able to last 5 minutes which he managed to do 3 of the 4 times. The quotes he addressed were ... A merry heart doeth good like medicine Pr 17:22, an investment in knowledge always pays the best interest-Ben Franklin, If you faint in the day of adversity, your strength is small-Pr 24:10, and finally Greatness is not just talents and skills standing alone but is when a person of skill and talent meets a moment in time and prevails (our less than perfect recollection of the quote) -Douglas Wilson


New Brooder

The chicks have been getting bigger and their box has been getting crowded. So Anna and I (Philip) cut four boxes up and duct taped them together to make a bigger brooder. We then transported the chicks into their new environment and during the process I got pooed on twice.--Philip

Abandoned puppy

Saturday evening when mom and Thomas were driving home from Thomas’ debate tournament they stopped at our mailboxes. Sitting in the middle of the road was a little abandoned PUPPY!!!! They brought her home. At first she was very scared and yelped whenever we tried to touch her, but after a while she warmed up to us, sleeping on our laps while we watched a movie. Mom dug an old dog crate out of the attic for her to spend the night in. The plan was for her to sleep in my room, and that plan held till about 1:00 in the morning when she decided to wake the dead with her cries and howls. She was banished to the bathroom on the far side of the house. The next day was Sunday, animal control was closed, and we had to go to church. She stayed in her crate all morning while we were gone locked in a bedroom away from the 2 curious permanent canine residents. We are pretty sure she was abandoned rather than lost. There are only two houses within several hundred feet from where we found her and 7 week old puppies don’t just wander off. Knowing that we weren’t keeping her we didn’t name her and make the parting more difficult, we just called her Puppy which evolved into Poopy based on the fact that she did just that so frequently. I dreaded letting her go, but my request for a 3rd dog had been turned down with such certainty there was no hope of either parent changing their mind. So I decided, to play, cuddle, and be merry for tomorrow she gets picked up by animal control. We were certain she’d find a good home being such an adorable little sweet thing. Sure enough mom called the white truck in the morning and he came and picked her up. He said she was a shepherd mix. At first I wasn’t too sad, but later that afternoon I started missing her wondering where she was, but I’ll get over it after all I do have a Neo dog , a Lily dog, 2 gerbils, and 27 chickies. --Anna

One week old chicks

The chicks are one week old today (Feb 28th), They were born or “hatched”, and shipped on the 20th ,but we didn’t get them till the 23rd . I started decreasing the temperature a few days ago, and it’s been tricky getting a consistent temperature. Keeping the 27 chicks from freezing or baking to death is a full time job, along with cleaning and refilling the waterer and feeder, adding clean wood chips to the soiled ones, and wiping off poo encrusted hineys. If it isn’t wiped off, the bird can become constipated, and die. It’s true I read it on the internet. Their feathers are getting larger, and the Cornish roasters are already twice as heavy as the layer chicks. I just hope they all survive to adult hood since we didn’t have them vaccinated or feed them medicated feed, or pour an antibiotic called teramycim into their water, something a Tractor Supply co. employee said was necessary for their survival. She put $30 worth of it into our cart, which we removed after she left. -- Anna