Tuesday, July 28, 2009

The Completed Hutch/Run

Here are a few photos of the run Hal and I built with the old rabbit hutch. He added a ramp and a ledge attached to the front just below the sliding doors. The kennel is 6 feet tall and 12 by 12 feet square. Two inch bird netting covers the top.

The 2 month old chickens are checking out the ledge.

A Silver Laced Wyandotte makes his way down the ramp, while guineas huddle underneath.

The younger guineas and chickens huddling in the corner. This is where we found them after dark tonight. We had to pick them up and stuff them back inside the hutch. The older birds had already found their way into their half of the hutch.

In total there are 18 guineas, 4 that are 10 weeks old, 14 under 8 weeks; and 29 chickens, 20 of them 10 weeks old, the other nine less than 8 weeks. The chickens are mostly mutts; half Barred Rock and half Buckeye or Gold Laced Wyandottes. The Silver Laced Wyandottes I bought, all others I hatched in an incubator.

Monday, July 27, 2009

The Chicken was Tasty

But not yet perfected. Next time I will try starting it in the pan with the butter and then finish it on broiler to crisp it up. Hal wants me to add extra spices, too.

Oven Fried Chicken

It's in the oven now. I made it Italian style which only meant putting oregano, basil and onion powder in the bread crumbs. (The crumbs are homemade, btw.) I also added a dash of hot Hungarian paprika. I used 2 of our chickens, cut them up, took me half an hour, one of these days I'll discover the secret to doing that quickly. The pieces were rolled in a flour, salt and pepper mix, then dipped in beaten eggs and then into the seasoned crumbs. Instead of sitting them in a pan with butter like Hal's mom does I have them on a broiler pan and basting with butter and olive oil. I did the sitting in butter trick the last time and thought them too soggy. Tasty, but damp. They seem to be cooking fasters this way, I hope they aren't too dry. I may take them out before the hour is up.

Sure smells great though. A white wine. mashed potatoes and gravy will be served with them along with some of my own green tomato pickles.

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Making a New Chicken Run

Hal and I started the new 3 season run/coop today. First we moved the rabbit hutch we had acquired from his dad a month ago in front of the old vegetable garden. We used a combination of the riding mower on one end and a wheelbarrow on the other to slowly move it approximately 35 feet. The hutch is very heavy. Then Hal took apart the fence surrounding the garden and we moved the 12 foot long pieces to the opposite side of the hutch. (The garden is pretty much done at this point, between bunnies and bad weather.) He reattached everything into a square while I stapled chicken wire along the back wall under the hutch. Eventually the one whole side of the hutch will be accessible to the inside of the run and the chickens won't be able to sneak out through any holes.

Numerous showers and thunder storms moved in and out so we had to take breaks. Another storm is coming in now so we have to postpone the rest till tomorrow. He did manage to string 2 ropes corner to corner to support overhead netting, he'll have to install that tomorrow.

When it's done the birds currently in the hutch, the silver laced wyandottes, guineas and the mutts as well as the birds still in the brooder in the garage will be able to free range inside a little 12 by 12 foot section. They should be much happier while they get bigger and we decide who we're keeping and who will end up in the freezer.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Bought a Laptop!

Around midnight this morning, after 3.5 days of research I ordered a Dell Inspiron 15 laptop. This has been one of the quickest decisions I've ever made on a big ticket item, but after days of being frustrated by random, frequent freeze-ups on a used laptop, plus the fact I can't really use my 9 year old Dell desktop with only 256 MB of RAM for anything other than email, blogging (I'm using my old Dell for this right now), etc, and other wimpy, older applications, Hal decided it was time to put me out of his suffering. I guess I complained a little. Okay, a lot, but not without reason.

The final decision was between a Dell and a Lenovo. I sort of regret not getting the Lenovo because it has a high definition display and Dolby surround sound speakers, but the Dell allowed me to change the processor for a better one and in the end there was only a $40 difference. Except for taxes, I met Hal's requirement of keeping it below $600. This old desktop cost me $1069 back in 2001 and the power of the new one is far superior. Four (4!!) GB of RAM, a fast processor, wide screen display, dvd/cd burner, web cam and a 320 GB hard drive. I can hardly wait. But I'll have to since they said August 7th was the estimated delivery date. That's the problem when you don't buy off the shelf. They have to build this one for me.

In other news it's raining. A torrential downpour and we need it. I've been watering the veggie garden at Hal's camp with a water barrel on his tractor. Not very effective and only enough to keep the little plants form completely shriveling up. This will help tremendously. It may be a week or more before I have to resort to manual labor. The zucchini, cucumbers and pumpkins will survive. It's probably too late for the beans though.

With all this rain the dogs escaped early to Uncle Butch's so they can stay there for now. I may read my book after this, another Harry Dresden by Jim Butcher, "Turncoat". It's due at the library tomorrow, I shouldn't have any trouble finishing tonight.

Friday, July 17, 2009

Bird Fight

Mr Duck and the 2 roosters went at it today. Mr Duck clearly winning but then he is bigger. The roosters both had their feathers fluffed out around their necks to look bigger. But Mr Duck lunged after them unafraid. Hal said he saw the guineas harassing Mrs Duck and apparently Mr Duck came to defend her honor! Of course, as soon as Mr Duck plunged in, the guineas disappeared, they weren't crazy enough to harass a duck that big!

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Been a While

I sort of got caught up in FaceBook but now that the newness is wearing off I figure I ought to get back to the important things in life, like blogging.

We watched Endeavour launch on NASA TV today. Nice launch.

Hal and I went to Alpena today on another hot tub parts run. We didn't find what we needed and only returned a piece that was the wrong side. Hard to find schedule 40 unions in 1.5 inch diameter out here.

The weather has been abnormally cool all summer so my snow peas hadn't grown enough to be picked till last week. Spinach bolted while still tiny, so we didn't get any of that. Lettuce is still small, probably due to the 90 degree temperatures we had early. We have zucchini and cucumbers and pumpkins planted over on the hunting land, we've had to water by hand with buckets or using a hose from a 55 gallon drum of water on the tractor for over a week now because it hasn't rained.

The new outdoor wood stove is installed. Of course, Hal dug the trench running the water hoses from the furnace to the garage on the opposite side of the driveway during the heat wave. Mid 90 degree weather is not the time to fire it up and test it.

The hot tub parts are for heating the tub with wood instead of electricity. Much cheaper. He's been cutting down a lot of dead trees for firewood, too.

I've got lots of guineas and chickens.

Some hatched here in the incubator and some were bought through the feed store. I hatched mutt chickens, half barred rock, half buckeye or gold laced wyandottes. The chicks were all black and white, the barred rock is apparently dominant. A couple of them look to be purebred BRs since they have single combs instead of the flat pea combs of the wyandottes, and buckeyes. I also bought 10 silver laced wyandottes. They are also black and white but the barring runs front to back instead of across the feathers.

Momma Duck also had 4 ducklings hatch but one disappeared at the pond while very small. Since then I've kept the ducklings in the garage. Momma can fly in and out of the fence while they stay there safe and sound. I'm hoping she'll hatch one more batch but though Mr Duck seems willing, Momma is not interested.

I also watched the local fireworks on the 4th and took photos with my new camera but they didn't come out very well. There didn't seem to be as many as last year but the weather was dry for once.

That's about all I can think of for now.