Bird Brained Projects

We have quite a few projects on our list, but they’re all optional, fun projects, not necessities. In our old house, we had so many repairs, updates and even structural changes needed that it was a headache. Here, in a smaller more simple home, we add to the project list things that we’re actually looking forward to. Here, our gutters are fine, the basement doesn’t leak, the plumbing is updated, the electrical wiring is good, the bathroom doesn’t need updating, no basement to finish finishing, and walls don’t even need holes cut out of them for lighting. Projects like those are a thing of the past, and when/if things like those do arise, they’ll be smaller and less expensive to deal with. We still really love it here, and are amazed at the simplicity we live with now.

There is time for more enjoyable and creative projects. Indoor painting hasn’t even been started yet because of the great weather we’ve been having. I’m saving paint projects for the cold days that lie ahead. Here is a small list of what we’ll try to tackle this Fall:

  • move the fence back on the East side of the house so we can lay gravel and finally park there. This makes total sense, and brings the cars away from blocking the front view of the house.
  • finish landscaping in the front of the house with shrubs, bulbs, and perennial flowers. Look for interesting rocks to line the pebble walk and drive way.
  • turn the soil, and build several vegetable garden frames in the back yard so they’re ready for Spring planting.
  • order blueberry bushes online so that we have them for Spring planting time. I recently learned from garden center staff that they should only be planted in Spring.
  • purchase and assemble a large trampoline for Liam near the back yard shed.
  • install two tall wooden posts on the West side of the backyard for a clothes line (sooo looking forward to having this, and it will save us a lot in electric bills).
  • last, but not least, we’re hoping to at least get a very simple chicken coop built in the back yard with wood, paint, and wire. I keep seeing a red coop with little green shutters… don’t ask me why. I see it very close to the clothes line.

this coop is very similar to the one I keep visualizing. It can be moved around the yard so they can graze on the grass.

Chickens, you ask? Yes, definitely chickens. It’s been on my mind since we lived at our last house. I was considering a coop there, too. Just two baby chicks to start out (may buy 4 to make sure at least 2 survive). We all LOVE eggs, and since we’re lacto-ovo vegetarian, it seems like the logical choice for our very own meat/protein supply. They lay eggs for approximately 6-7 years. After that, they’re kept as pets, and we’d add one or two more chicks to get more eggs going. They live roughly 12-14 years, so they’re a long term commitment like any pet. The trick in this climate is finding the breeds that do best in colder winters (there are over 300 breeds of chickens). We’ll have to insulate the little house, and may find a way of installing a heat lamp. Home laid eggs are far more nutritious because there are a lot of nutrients lost in transport, not to mention the type of feed commercial birds consume… grass fed hens lay extremely nutritious eggs.

I have to point out that Mother Earth News did a study on 14 pastured, grass fed hens and discovered major benefits to eating those eggs, versus industry eggs. They had:

· 1/3 less cholesterol than commercial eggs
· 1/4 less saturated fat
· 2/3 more vitamin A
· 2 times more omega-3 fatty acids
· 7 times more beta carotene

I have no idea why my type turned tan, and cannot fix it. Maybe it’s a sign that we’re getting tan chickens, heehee! Anyway, they also found out that home laid or pastured eggs have 4 to 6 times as much vitamin D as commercial eggs! Vitamin D is a vitamin most Americans are severely lacking. If eggs are our primary source of protein, why not have a couple of our own hens? I loved reading about how, if they’re tamed and raised from chickhood, by the time they’re grown we can hold and snuggle them. It makes me laugh– snuggling a chicken, right?! I read that they each have individual personalities, like dogs and cats, and they have a sense of object permanence that most birds don’t. Chicken intelligence is much greater than man gives them credit for. The kids will get so much out of the experience; seeing the chicks grow, the cycle of feeding, laying the eggs, and consuming them. We can also sell excess eggs at the local farmer’s market ($4-$5 a dozen). I’m hoping to get to the coop built this Fall, but if we don’t we may have to put it off one year… Spring of 2012 at the latest, but hoping for 2011! Time to start crossing off that list, one by one, if we’re to get it done this year.

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This entry was posted in Chickens, Gardening, Pets, Projects, Simplified Living and tagged . Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to Bird Brained Projects

  1. LinZi says:

    That’s so exciting! We got chickens when I was in 1st grade (My sister in 3rd grade hatched chicks as a class project). We had three- Henny Penny (mine, the runt!), Curious George (who turned into just plan Curious when we found out she was a girl) and Henry. Eventually we had to give Henry to a nice farm (to be a pet!) because he kept waking our neighbors up at 4 a.m.
    They were really fun to have. My dad built a coop and mom used to left them scratch in the gardens and eat the bugs (Until one-day our neighbor thought they were lose and tried to “catch” them for us, my mom didn’t want to tell him all his running around was for nought. ) We also used to feed them our vegetable scraps. It was great fun– but unfortunately after some reason a raccoon got into our coop and did them in. 😦 The raccoon was so smart, he undid the latch and got in easily… so beware— make sure your coop is not easy for wild creatures to get into.

  2. jillpeebles says:

    Aawww, so sad to hear your chickens were devoured by a raccoon. We have them, so I’ll make sure to put a padlock on the door every evening! Thanks for the warning.

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