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Wednesday, March 31, 2010

It feels like summer now

The weather was so nice today, it just felt like a beautiful summer day. I feel like I kinda plundered through the whole day not doing anything constructive. Well I kinda did. Finally got able to move this morning. My body was really sore when I got out of bed. Note to self, do not try to carry a 50 lb bag of chicken feed ever again. I think my body is broken, I just cant do those things anymore. But my little chicks are doing ok. Although they have been in a total panic all day today. Rodger and Jason were working on my summer kitchen and it is near the brooder house. I guess the sound of the saws and drills were a little much for the babies. But the kitchen did get started today with the sole plates in place an one wall framed up an standing. Thats progress as far as I am concerned. Maybe the other walls will go up tomorrow.
I got in the cellar to get the sweet potatoes out to get bedded out for slips and found a mess. All the sweet potatoes that we had stored in the cellar over the winter were not good. We have determined that sweet potatoes need warm dry air to store well, preferably in a dark place to prevent sprouts from forming. The cellar is perfect for other root crops that need cool an humidity. Not sweet potatoes tho. We had to toss out a few bushels of them and that was very disappointing. I have some of the Goldrush Irish potatoes out of the cellar so they can get light and heat and make some eyes. We plan on planting some of those this weekend weather permitting.
My trees came in yesterday that I had ordered a few weeks back. All of them look really good. Now we have a good start on an orchard of fruit and nut trees. Those will go in this weekend on the east end of the river bottom in front of the house. We will be putting up electric fence to keep critters from eating the trees.
Not much else happening here, so till next time, blessings from the McGuire homestead.


Monday, March 29, 2010

A boring day

I have had a boring day around here. Too wet to work outside and cool. I have had the greenhouse closed up all day to keep the little plants warm. Turned the heat back on tonight because we are supposed to get light freezing rain and temps in the low 30's. It should be spring by now. I did get the brooder house cleaned out an the little chicks moved to their new digs. Got their heat light hooked up and they are all nice and toasty.
Tomorrow we start on the summer kitchen. I think the guys are hoping to get it framed up and maybe under roof in 2 days. Im thinking they are going to have to hustle if they do. But at last it is to be started.
Nothing else happening around here today. So till next time, blessings from the McGuire homestead.


Sunday, March 28, 2010

Little chicks

Well as of today I have 17 little chicks that have hatched out in the incubator. I had intended to give them to the momma hen that was setting at the same time but when I took one of the chicks out there today to put it under her she started pecking it. So she is going to be stew pot material. I am cleaning out the brooder house tomorrow and will put the little chicks in there with a heat light and hand raise them like I have in the past. They are so cute.It is funny how the chicks dont have any interest in food or drink for the first day or so after hatching. Then they know what to do with both when it is offered to them. The ones that I have in a box are already eating and drinking and very active. This they do with their God given instinct. I will be setting more eggs in the incubator as soon as it is cleaned and I have enough eggs to fill it again.
Not much happening here today with the rain we have had. It is too wet to plant potatoes and stuff in the big garden. All that will get done later on this week as it is supposed to be warm and nice all week. And my summer kitchen is getting started this week as well. I am so happy about that. I have needed one for years and now its happening. So till next time, blessings from the McGuire homestead.


Saturday, March 27, 2010

I got babies

I got little babies today. My chicks in the incubator are hatching out. They are so cute and active. The hatch just started today and I have 7 at this time and many more that are chipped. The mother hen is supposed to hatch today as well but so far she don't have any babies. Not sure what is up with her. But dang I was counting on her being momma to all the little chicks. Oh well, I have hand raised chicks many times before.
I did get some things done outside today as well. Finally got my strawberry bed weeded and cleaned out. A few of the plants are blooming now, so we should have plenty of strawberries. I also got all the weeds out of the walking onion bed and they are growing really good and look nice. I used a shovel and turned the compost under in the section in front of the cellar wing wall and got it ready to plant when my herbs and flowers get big enough. That may take a while as I just got the seed started a few days ago. Rodger and Jason got the old pump house took down where my summer kitchen is going in and they went and got the lumber for that project as well. I might actually have an outside kitchen to can in this summer. I aint telling them but I am on the prowl for an air conditioner. It will be so nice to have the extra room to do all the canning and butchering and not have all the mess in the house. I have needed one of these kitchens for many years and now it is happening. Needless to say I am a happy camper.
Not much else happening so till next time, blessings from the McGuire homestead.

                                                      ( 2 of my new babies)

Friday, March 26, 2010

Hot or cold, open or closed

That has been the dilemma here today with the sun coming and going and drizzling rain, and sometimes overcast. It tough keeping a greenhouse at the right temp. It was really cold last night so we had the propane heater on. It warmed up in the day and we turned it off. I had a fan on and went out to work out there this afternoon and it was comfortable. The thermometer said it was 65 in there. The sun popped out and in 5 minutes it went to over 100 degrees in there. Took me a minute to figure out why I was so hot. I was thinking maybe just age, but heck no, I had to open the door and window. I did get more tomatoes, herbs and some flowers started today. Mostly marigolds to use in the big garden for bug deterrent. I sprayed all the seedlings with fish oil emulsion today as well and watered it in. On the way back up to the house I noticed that my herbs are coming up under the wire that I had put over the bed to keep the animals out. So its spring I think.
Jason went to Richmond today to see if he could have my great grand dads pocket watch fixed. Good news is so far it is running perfectly. Just a little part of the family history preserved.
The weather is posed to be nice next week so we are going to try and plant potatoes and get my summer kitchen built. I think maybe we will go get building materials tomorrow. Then we need to get the rest of moms furniture moved and stored for her. There is a lot to do and I must have the furniture moved before April 1st. With a little nice weather we have lots to get done around here. The fence still needs to be put up for the laying hens to have a lot. I am sure they are pretty tired of being inside all the time. Not much else going on here, so till next time, blessings from the McGuire homestead.


Thursday, March 25, 2010

Good deals today

I found some pretty good deals today while out looking for windows for my summer kitchen. We made a trip to the nearby wally world to pick up some potting soil for starting more seedlings. We happened by the clearance shelf and found a some radiant propane heaters for half price. I got one 15000 BTU single burner($21) and one that was 30000 BTU 2 burner heater for $45. I may have to use the single burner tonight to heat the greenhouse. Our temps are posed to be in the low to mid 30's tonight and tomorrow night. That might be a little too cold for seedling. I surely don't need to let them all freeze to death at this point in the game.
While we were out we intended to look for windows. We found some at a liquidators in a neighboring town. The windows we looked at were 36 by 72 inches. I ask the price and was kinda shocked. The lady told me any window they had was $20. I got 2 of em. So that left me more money in the budget to buy a better quality door. Which I found for $149. A good deal for both items. So I left a happy camper.
In our town we noticed there was a new business. We finally have a watch and clock repair shop. Jason had found my great-granddads old pocket watch in a drawer here at the house. I had gotten it from dad many years ago. It runs but needs some maintenance. The local repair shop did point us in the right direction of a repair shop that has tons a parts for old pocket watches. When we got to researching the pocket watch online, we found that the last ones made were made before 1860's. Kind of a neat piece of family history to have.
So till next time, blessings from the McGuire homestead.


Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Odd jobs

There were a few odd jobs that got knocked off the to-do list today. It was kinda hot outside if you moved around a bit. Temps in the 70's. Jason took the tractor corn planter apart to try and repair the fertilizer part of it all to find out that is will cost more to fix than it is worth. We can still use the planter to plant the field of corn and then we also have a side dressing attachment that we can use to side dress the corn once it comes up. Problem solved. We had to make a run to town to get bolts for the planter project and I picked up a can of paint for the front of my greenhouse. I did manage to get that painted this afternoon. It does look better and the coat of paint will protect the plywood for a few years. We are forecast for rain tomorrow so we will see how the paint holds up. The plants are looking good so far. I do need more potting soil to start some more things. I may have to make a run to wal-mart to get that. The local hardware store has potting soil but my garden soil looks better. I need to get the sweet potatoes put in dirt to sprout and make slips. If it rains and I cant work outside I think its time to put some potatoes out of the cellar and into the light so they will make little eyes for planting. We are getting behind planting potatoes this year for some reason. They really should be in the garden by now. Heck I am still waiting on my new strawberry plants to come in. And my fruit trees. Maybe they will be here soon. But it is early yet. I'm just in a hurry to get things growing.
I was at the rental house today and noticed the daffodils are blooming. So I just had to go pick a handful and put them in some water to enjoy inside. Lots of my perennial plants are coming out already too, so I will have blooms before long. I really need to sow some flower seeds, I love tinkering in the flower beds in summer.
So till next time, blessings from the McGuire homestead.


Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Spring cleaning

It was a little too wet to do much outside today so I decided it was time to do some spring cleaning. And oh my goodness did this place need it. It was past time to slaughter the dust bunnies that have over wintered under the beds and in the corners. And ya know, it was a beautiful clear spring day outside once you could see out there through clean windows. This is a person who does not do windows. I am a big fan of sheer curtains in back of drapes. OK so thas cheatin! But I got the windows cleaned that needed it so bad and all the furniture dusted and wiped down. Then moved furniture and shampooed the carpet in all but the master bed room. I even moved out some excess furniture into storage. There is almost walking around room in here now. Now when do the yard sales start?
It was rather cool this morning so I didn't open the greenhouse too early. I let the little plants get warm and toasty and opened it about noon or so today. The seedlings are really looking good. I think I am getting some manure tomorrow so I can get the manure tea started in the greenhouse as well. I am curious as to how much heat can be produced with a small amount of manure. If I could use buckets of hot manure to raise the temp in there by 20 degrees I think I could use the greenhouse most of the winter as well. We shall see what happens.
I'm tired and nothing else is gonna happen here, so till next time, blessings from the McGuire homestead.


Monday, March 22, 2010

The greenhouse is still up

We had some pretty heavy wind last night and my greenhouse is still standing. We also got a good deal of rain along with the wind. I didn't open the doors today as it was still warmer inside than out, so left it closed up to retain the heat. It has been overcast all day and just plain dreary outside. A good day for sleeping in.
Hopefully this weekend I will start having baby chicks. The little hen is still setting on the nest in the building. She should start hatching this weekend as well. So I need to check with my friend that has a little feed store to see if she has chick starter in stock. The eggs in the incubator will be taken off the turner on Wednesday so the lil chicks and peck their way around the shell and get out. One of God's little miracles to witness.
Not much else happening here on the homestead, so till next time, blessings from the McGuire homestead.


Sunday, March 21, 2010

The garden is growing

The early stuff that was planted in the garden 2 weeks ago has started coming through the ground now. We have peas, onions, carrots, beets, lettuce and mustard and turnips up. The seedlings are starting nicely and the ones that have been up for a while are doing fine. We are supposed to get rain today, but so far it has been just a light shower, not enough to settle the dust. I had bought some flower bulbs and got those in the flower bed today. I got some purple iris. Those should be a pleasant change of color when they bloom.
If we don't get more rain tonight I think tomorrow I will try to weed my walking onion bed. It has lots of lil spring weed thingys coming up all over the place. I have some regular onion sets and I think maybe I will plant some of those in the bed as well for green onions and maybe some lettuce too. The asparagus bed needs to be weeded but the asparagus is not up yet and I don't dare go in there pulling weeds. I am sure from past experience I will pull up all the asparagus and leave the weeds. That's what I usually do in my flower beds. So I usually just mulch and hope for the best.
Not much else happening here. So till next time, blessings from the McGuire homestead.


Saturday, March 20, 2010

Yeah!! Its done

The greenhouse is finally done, door on, shelves in and plants in as well. The guys got the benches built this morning for me to set seed trays on and got the door made and hung. When we get a few days of dry weather I am planning to paint the front side and door to protect the plywood. We use a piece of 2 by 4 welded wire to keep the cat out of the greenhouse. Cats have a tendency to lay where they shouldn't. I like my cat but I need my plants to be safe from getting squashed too. So far the seedlings are looking good. A friend from Mississippi sent me some pepper seeds, both hot and sweet banana and long red Cayenne so I started some of them today as I had not started any hot peppers. Rob and Amoy are here for the weekend and Rob got dirt for me to pot up my blueberry bushes so they can grow for a bit before I put them out in the ground.
I have decided after buying some crappy potting soil that from now on I will make my own potting mix. They stuff we bought was mostly sand. Heck I got river bottoms full of better soil than that. I was really disappointed in the potting soil but guess I will make do for now.
Maybe the first of the week I can get some goat manure to start my compost tea for the plants and give em a boost. We shall see what happens then.
Till next time, blessings from the McGuire homestead.


Friday, March 19, 2010

Greenhouse project

We started the greenhouse project yesterday and finished it up today. Not a hard project, just took some hillbilly ingenuity.
We started by driving 1 1/2 inch pieces of pipe 2 ft long into the ground, evenly spaced and down the side of where we wanted the greenhouse to be. Pipe was used pipe from the oilfield. These pipe are to anchor each end of the re bar that become the ribs of the greenhouse.

Once the re bar is in place we tied the whole thing together with lengths of re bar running horizontal. These pieces were wired in place to stabilize the frame work.These were 20 ft runs of re bar left from the cellar project last fall.

With the re bar up and stabilized we started the end framing. We framed the front side for a door and the back end was to be covered with plastic. Most of the framing material was used or leftover from other projects, some was purchased the day before new. The treated lumber was used everywhere the wood touches the ground. The plywood was used as well.

Once the frame work was up, we used duct tape to tape and cover all the re bar and rough edges that could potentially rub a hole in the plastic. On the back end where it was not framed, we used old used pipe insulation to cover the re bar.

The hardest task was trying to get the plastic on in a breeze. I purchased a roll of 6 mil plastic in 16ft by 100 ft. We only used a total of about 32 ft. So I have enough to redo the green house for the next several years. We also got the braces up on the inside which will be under the benches that will run down both sides. I used some used rubber roofing on the ground so that later I can cover it with gravel. But in the meantime the black roofing material will help retain heat at night. Will decide later if I really need to cover the floor with gravel. Tomorrow we finish up the door and the benches and the flats of plants will be up off the ground at working height.
Total 10ft by 12 ft project with a 7 ft center height cost out of pocket around $140 and 2 days work.
Till next time, blessings from the McGuire homestead.


Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Green house planning

Happy St. Patricks day to one and all. Being Irish I did fix the traditional corned beef for supper tonight. We had fried potato cakes, green beans, corn and corn bread with it. I didn't take time to fix cabbage with all this as I am the only one who will eat it.
We plotted and planned today and got some ideas and prices on material to build a greenhouse that will serve my needs here on the farm. It will be about 12 ft long and 10 feet wide with a peak of about 7 ft or so. The cost will be roughly $150 in additional material which in my opinion is not bad for the size. So tomorrow we will start on that project. Jason and I went today and looked at the greenhouses my friend has on her place to get ideas for building our own on a smaller scale. She grows plants for sale and I will only be starting and growing my own seedlings. I still need to start sweet potatoes, maybe after we get the greenhouse up. A lot of the material we already have lying around here such as the re-bar, used rubber roofing to go on the ground inside. We will be using some used pipe from the oil fields and will need to purchase some treated lumber and plastic for cover. The plywood end enclosures will be made from material we already have as well. This should be a fun project. I know its a dream but am hoping anyway that we can finish in a few days. Will post pics as we progress.
The young guys that had come here to pick up junk metal and haul it away came back today and got 2 more loads. This was a big help to us as we don't have to take a whole day to collect and haul off this junk. And the place looks better to boot. So I am a happy camper.
Till next time, blessings from the McGuire homestead.


Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Junk cleanup

Its spring time around here as far as the calender goes but not the weather. It has been overcast today and kinda cool. Didn't get much done outside but got some of moms stuff moved to storage till she needs it again.
I was here in the house this afternoon and a vehicle pulled in the drive. It was a couple of young guys asking if we had any old scrap metal laying around that needed to be cleaned up and hauled off. Well we are on a farm and the answer is a big yes. We had a bunch of old appliances and just odds and ends things lying here and there that we had intended to haul away when our county has their free spring clean up day. You load stuff that you cant put in regular trash cans and take it to a designated area and the county pays to have it taken to a landfill. I told the young guys that if they wanted the junk for resale and if they wanted to load it up they were more than welcome to it. It did save us a lot of work and gas money just to get rid of some things and there is another load of scrap stuff they will probably come back and get tomorrow. So I got some cleaning up done and didn't have to pay someone to do it which worked out well for both parties. Maybe tomorrow we can get some stuff done outside as the weather is supposed to be nicer. Till next time, blessings from the McGuire homestead.


Monday, March 15, 2010

Starting more seeds

Finally started more seeds this evening for the garden. I started about 250 tomato plants of different varieties, 100 cabbage, 75 bell peppers in different colors and about half a flat of parsley. Still need to start some hot peppers of different varieties. The other seedling I started a few weeks ago are doing good. Looks like I might actually have some celery to transplant this year. I also am trying leeks for the first time. I think leeks would be good in oatmeal soup.
Tomorrow Jason and I are going to try and get a cold frame built for the seedlings. I have far too many trays of them to keep in the house when this last bunch come up and need light. I just hope the weather warms back up this week so we can get some projects done. Its time to plant potatoes as soon as we get the seed potatoes. We are planting some of the Gold rush potatoes that Jason brought home from New Brunswick, Canada. They are supposed to be a drier flesh potato than we have grown in the past. I have Yukon Gold ordered as well and some purple flesh potatoes just for fun. I think it would be so cool to serve a bowl of purple mashed taters or a big bowl of tater salad. I like to grow odd stuff, just because I can. Till next time, blessings from the McGuire homestead.


Saturday, March 13, 2010

Cool spring days

I don't care much for cool spring days. If the sun don't shine, I don't function. We have had rain showers off and on all day. The temps have been in the upper 40's.
We started out today to go look for some windows to use in my summer kitchen. Yeah that may happen after all. Just don't tell Jason thats what he is working on when he comes home. lol In the next county over there is an indoor flea market that has all kinds of windows both new and used. The prices are pretty good so that's an option. I did find a sink to use in the summer kitchen, double bowl fiberglass. We will decide definite window sizes when we get the building measurements decided. We have some used windows stored and may in the end be able to use them. Not sure yet.
While we were out we made a Walmart run and I picked up some more seed starter trays with the peat pellets in them. I will start my tomatoes tomorrow probably as well as more cabbage, broccoli and peppers. The next immediate project will be go get a cold frame set up to keep the little plants in as they grow. I have decided against using the porch swing frame covered in plastic as a make shift green house. I am thinking the wind will give me fits with the frame being taller. The last thing I need is to have the wind tear apart the shelter and destroy the seedlings. That would be a lot of hard work gone by-by. In fall I maybe can use the frame to extend the harvest of a few plants if I am so inclined. We don't have as much wind to tear up the plastic cover in fall as we do in spring here.
Luna is feeling better today. She was sick and vomiting yesterday. I'm just not sure what she got into that made her sick. Yesterday afternoon I gave her 3 raw eggs and she ate those. I put her food in her bowl and she ate all of it sometime last night. I did get her a different brand today at the store and she loves the new food. Of course it is more expensive but she is worth it as a guard dog. And who the hell invented " Beggin strips"? Those things smell good enough eat. They actually smell better than most store bought bacon that I have smelled.
OK not much happening here so till next time, blessings from the McGuire homestead.


Thursday, March 11, 2010

Good day for sleeping

We have had rain showers off and on today and it was overcast but warm. Just a good day to stay in and nap. That is if you didn't have anything else to do. Well I have things to do but somehow I got absolutely nothing done today other than laundry. I went to therapy which was my last visit so I'm done with that business of needing to go out 2 days per week. Now the only time I will be out is to go see my mom at the nursing home. She has finished her therapy as well but still is not going to be able to live alone. She has trouble keeping her balance when she stands without assistance. Guess now we wait and see what she does later.
I got a call from Jason today, he is now back in the states after being in Canada and Newfoundland for several days. He told me he was bringing home some potatoes when he comes home. He picked up a load of Gold rush potatoes in New Brunswick to take to Rhode Island. They are a good variety for storing as they can take cooler weather better than most and quite pricey if you buy the seed potatoes. So we are gonna be planting some of those this year. But as for me, I am just glad he is back in the states.
I got a email picture from Amoy that she took of Robs arm after he set fence post here last weekend. He has poison ivy rash so bad on his arm. Dang it looked painful. Just hope he got it treated so he don't get an infection from the scratches. I really feel bad for him cause I had ask him to help set post for the fence. Sure hope he is better now.
Tomorrow I think I will start the rest of my seeds for the garden. I need to get maters, peppers and more cabbage and broccoli started. I may go see my friend who has a green house and see if she has any more seed starting medium and purchase some to put in seed flats. I don't think I have enough peat pots and trays to do all I need to do. That sounds like a good project for tomorrow and make it an easy day. Till next time, blessings from the McGuire homestead.


Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Pet deterent

I got my pet deterrent made today. I used welded wire to make a cover for the plants in my herb bed so the dog and cats would not get in there. Once the plants grow up thru the wire it will hardly be noticeable. I just used up wire that was not good for any thing else. My hands are so sore from using wire cutters to clip the wire to fit where I needed it. It has been so nice out today for working. I did get a good sweat up cutting wire though. The thermometer said 72 in the shade. I finally finished that project and then started on taking my sidewalk lights out. Most of them had gone bad so I just pulled wire and all out and will use solar lights now in stead. Of the lights I did salvage the timer from one and the power pack from the other set that made them come on at dark. I am sure on the farm we can find a use for those items. If we don't get rain tonight I might get started on moving the excess dirt from the back walk area and get it ready to put landscaping gravel down. I will look much better when I get that done. Then I can add my new solar lights. I like having some light low on the ground where we walk in summer to prevent someone from stepping on a creepycrawlie at night. Now we will see what tomorrow holds. Till next time, blessings from the McGuire homestead.


Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Yard work

I like having the yard look nice but I always get too many beds of plantings going at one time and make more work for myself. I got out today with the leaf rake and raked my mulch back in the flower beds that the chickens had scratched out this past fall. All the edges around the house needed raked and tidied up a good deal. Between the cats , the dog and chickens it was a mess. I have some new solar side walk lights that I am going to get put in very soon. Most of my old ones have been over run by Luna and the tops broken. She has really big feet and is very clumsy. Next time we have some dry weather I will be hauling dirt to fill in some holes in the yard that Luna has dug going after moles and such. My big issue this summer will be keeping Luna and the cats out of the herbs. I have a role of used 8 X 8 welded wire that I am going to cut to fit the length of the herb bed. You can cut the wire so you have some legs of wire to poke in the ground to elevate it several inches. Then just lay it in the bed over the herbs, they will grow up thru the openings in the wire and this will deter the dog and cats from digging in the beds. This creates an uneven and unstable surface and the animals wont walk on it. This method also works to keep chickens from scratching in places they shouldn't. Once the plants are up and growing this will be a lot less noticeable than having to put little fences all over the place. I will post pics when I get started on this project. Now I wonder if I have enough wire to do the flower beds as well. We shall see. Till next time, blessings from the McGuire homestead.


Monday, March 8, 2010

Garden planting

Its been one of those days when I feel pretty useless. The chicken pen was started yesterday when some of the post were set. Today Rob and Amoy finished setting the rest of the post. Now we have to get the welded wire put up so we can let the hens out in a safe place. They seem pretty happy with their new digs. And its an Easter egg hunt to gather eggs till we get the nest box moved down there for them. Rob also got the brush piled from the trees that were used for post around the chicken pen.
This evening I went to visitation for a good friend and former co-worker/EMT that passed away on Friday. I sure will miss him. I worked with him for several years in EMS and we always had a lot of fun. Rest in peace pappy(Everett).
While I was gone to the funeral home, Rodger, Rob and Amoy got my onion sets, peas, carrots, beets, mustard/turnip greens and lettuce planted. This was the only dry day we are supposed to have for a few days and the ground was dry enough to plant. So now if we get rain tomorrow I can only hope they come up and do good. I may have, as usual, over done it on peas. I ended up with 2 rows 150 ft long. But thas OK I can always can them for later. I think I will be starting the rest of my seeds pretty soon in seed flats. I still have tomatoes, peppers, more cabbage and broccoli to sow. Pretty much everything else gets direct seeded.
Amoy had her little puppy here this weekend and Luna was so jealous. But she let the baby climb all over her and when she got annoyed with the puppy she would put her paw on it to keep it still if she was laying down. It was cute to watch. The cat on the other hand kept swatting at the lil one and she loved chasing the cat. The cat was not sure what to make of the little "thing" on the end of that string. So till next time, blessings from the McGuire homestead.


Sunday, March 7, 2010

Building fence

We got some fence post cut this morning from some small locust trees that were growing here on the farm. Locust makes the best fence post, very hard and rot resistant in this area. Locust also makes some of the best firewood you can burn, more BTU's than other hard woods. Rob got home today to help set fence post and they got most of them set. Rob still has 2 or 3 more to set tomorrow and clean up the brush out of the field where we cut the post. Maybe later this week we will get the wire put up for the chickens. We got them in a crate and moved them to their new residence tonight after it was dark. They will have a few days to adjust before we get the pen done and let them out.
I got my incubator up to temperature today and put the eggs in to hatch. I only put in 36, and the little hen has about 10 under her. If I have a 50% hatch rate she will have her nest full of babies. The hen that is setting was left in the brooder house till she hatches then she will live there for a while to raise the little chicks.
I did manage to get some cleaning done at the rental house today. Maybe I can get it finished up this week. Just have to wait to see what tomorrow holds for us.
Till next time, blessings from the McGuire homestead.


Saturday, March 6, 2010

Closer to spring

I think we are a lot closer to spring now. The weather today was really nice too, sunny and about 55 degrees. My little crocuses are blooming now, finally. Last year they bloomed a lot earlier. I think they know spring is here.
We got the water lines fixed at the rental house today and no leaks now. I got the floors swept and maybe tomorrow I can go back an give it a good cleaning an be done with it.
Hopefully we can get some post cut an the chicken fence built as well. Would be so nice to get them moved to green grass for a while and out of my flower beds. I have my incubator in the house warming up so I can put eggs in it tomorrow if all goes well. We shall see. Till next time, blessings from the McGuire homestead.


Friday, March 5, 2010

Yeh! I got outside today!

The weather was so nice today. Sunny, warm around 60 degrees, perfect for working outside in short sleeves. My day got started earlier than I had planned but I managed. Jason called me this morning to chat for a few minutes before he went across the border into Canada. He don't use his cell phone when he is in Canada due to per minute cost of 70+ cents. Any way I was all befuddled because I am a smoker and I was out of smokes, and that's a must with my morning coffee. So off to town early to get smokes. I intended to stop at the local farm store and get some onion sets to have on hand in case it gets dry enough to plant them this weekend. I was so thinking of my coffee and my morning smoke that the onion sets were totally forgotten. So I restarted my morning routine and did some things in the house, then off to town again to get onion sets to plant. I got really nice size ones too, the size of a quarter, so I should have plenty this year.
This afternoon I got out and cleaned the brooder house where my dark Cornish hens are living right now and put in fresh bedding of shredded paper that I have been saving for this and mulching. I have 1 little hen that is sitting on about 4 eggs. I cleaned the building and was sweeping the floor and she didn't move or leave her nest. So I am thinking she is serious about hatching babies. That means tomorrow I am going to fill up my incubator with the eggs I have been saving. Then all the eggs should hatch together and this little hen will wake up with a whole house full of kids. This weekend we are going to try to get the fence built around the other hen house across the road then move the hens to that building. As I was cleaning that chicken house across the road I was thinking about the design. The building is designed so that under the chicken roost is raised off the floor, enclosed and there is a sloped floor under the roost that is covered with used tin and it slopes to a door that opens in back of the building. The manure can then be removed without entering the hen house. This serves 2 purposes. The first one is ease of cleaning, the second is that chickens produce the most of their manure while on the roost. So with the major part of the chicken manure being under the roost and not on the floor of the hen house, the house stays totally dry inside. The stuff that I removed from inside the building was nothing more that a small amount of manure and lots of fine straw that had been bedding for the old laying flock. The brooder house that has been used as a hen house this winter was a little wet on the floor from the manure collecting there. So if we ever build another hen house it will also have a trap door built in back of the roost with a slope under the roost to collect manure. Dang the older I get the more I learn.
Tomorrow more things to do around here. Probably fix plumbing at the rental house and cut post for chicken pen and maybe dig some post holes. Till next time, blessings from the McGuire homestead.


Thursday, March 4, 2010

Thinking spring

The weather has been so nice these past few days I am thinking spring with temps in the upper 50's. But still trying really hard not to get ahead of myself planting anything. It is supposed to be really nice all thru the weekend.
We went to the rental house to check on the water lines to see what we were gonna need to repair the leak so we can get the material and maybe do that on Saturday. Am hoping we can accomplish that task so I can spend next week cleaning the house up. That's plan 1. Next plan is to get some small locust trees cut to make fence post to fence in for a chicken run at the other chicken house across the road. I really do need the hens moved so I can set the one that wants to set and load my incubator at the same time. That way everyone hatches close to the same time and the momma hen cant count so she wont know how many babies she was sitting on. She is just going to wake up one day with a whole big bunch of babies. and backs permitting and the ground dries enough we are going to try to get the garden plowed up again so we can plant peas and onions and a few other cold tolerant veggies. Sure would be nice if my strawberries were here so I could get them in as well.
In the next couple weeks I will be starting the rest of my garden plants in peat pots. I was in the outbuilding at the rental house today and found the metal frame for the canopy that goes on the old patio swing that I was gonna put plastic on for a cold frame/greenhouse for my seedlings. This way I will be able to stand up inside the little greenhouse and have lots of room for plant flats. I bought the plastic a month or so ago when I was out of town. So am all set when the temps get a little warmer. Big plans, little money or energy. Till next time, blessings from the McGuire homestead.