Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Nest box installed

The nest box is now in the coop and the hen that is laying figured it out in about a day.

Saturday, December 27, 2008


Someone laid eggs in the hen house and I am assuming it was the hens :)

They are only 5 months old, so this is a bit unexpected. I will have to put the nest box in tomorrow.

Sunday, December 7, 2008

Snow Birds

First snow of the winter

Some chickens like it:

Some chickens don't:

Friday, October 17, 2008


Further research has me thinking that Dinner is probably a Splash variety of Andalusian. It has the same black feet and coloring as the four week Splash pictured here:

and will probably grow up to look like this:

Unless it is a rooster. If that is the case then the name will still fit.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Chick update

Chicks are two and three weeks old.

And the cat says, "Hi."

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Last of the Chicks Arrived

Four new ones that hatched Sunday or Monday and arrived via mail today:

And these guys are a week old:

The new guys are Blue Andalusians and will grow up to look like this:

Except for that yellow one. I think there was a mix up at the chicken factory. I have named him "Dinner" because that is what he is going to be when he grows up :)

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Woodshed Site Excavated

The battle with the roots and rocks has ended. I consider it a draw with the rocks because the shed will end up positioned around some of the ones that wouldn't move. The site is approximately level. The next step is to fill the area with a couple of inches of gravel. There is rain in the forecast for the next couple of days so I threw a tarp over the woodpile and we will just wait it out.

The house is almost cool enough to build a fire in the wood stove. Last time we had a fire was May. Has it been four months already? Global warming is a lie. :)

Update: fire is going in the wood stove. Mmmmm, toasty.

More Chicks!

New chicks arrived in the mail today. I ordered 3 and I got 4, all supposedly girls. They probably hatched Monday or Tuesday.

Here they are awake:

The scroungy looking one in the middle was mostly dead when I picked them up from the Post Office but has managed to pull through.

And here they are 30 seconds later sleeping:

They will grow up to look like this:

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

The Cat

The cat is a Russian Blue - Siamese Mix. It is called Кошка (Koshka). That means "female cat" in Russian. It's not like she would listen to anything else that I called her.

I found her an internet site that aggregates listings from Animal Control offices. This one comes from New Haven, CT via the Haddam Pound.

At six pounds, she chases the 105 pound Rottweiler around the house.

Monday, September 22, 2008


I have a wood pile in my front yard: two cords of seasoned oak. For the last two years I have been stacking wood on pallets at the edge of the woods, as had the previous owners. In order to keep the wood dry it has to be kept covered with a tarp. That is an ass pain. Once again the interwebs came to my rescue or to my demise depending on how you look at it. Mother Earth News* has an article on traditional woodsheds. The article uses expensive and hard to find materials like 8x8 and 6x6 timbers for framing. I am going to use 4x4 timbers and adjust accordingly.

*Yes, Brian, I read the king of all hippy magazines. I also subscribe to the RSS feeds.

This is the site where the woodshed is going to go. It will replace the pallets. I started clearing the leaves and pieces of bark from previous loads of wood and running said debris through the wood chipper. This turned out to be such fun that the minions and I proceeded to shred the tree limbs that were left over from last falls tree cutting. No further work was done on the construction site.

Excavation resumed this afternoon. I actually managed to move some dirt. Mostly I pulled, dug, cut, and otherwise destroyed roots. There were also rocks. Lots of rocks. Big rocks. The above picture shows my favorite rock. His name is Dammit. Seeing as how Dammit required my truck to remove him from the ground, I figured that was enough for the day. I are tired.

Also, I have turned over the day to day ruling of the house to the creature pictured below. She was also found on the interwebs.

Friday, September 19, 2008

News Update

The chickens are growing. Only one rooster. The hens are getting fat. I switched them over to layer feed, which they do not seem to love, so I put the chick starter out during the day for them to snack on. The are scratching up the run for bugs and grass shoots. I mowed the front yard and caught the clippings. I dumped the clippings into the run and the chickens are quite please with that.

Names so far:

Priscilla - the baby of the bunch
Nine-Ten - She's big fat hen
Red Rooster - probably not his final name

Monday, September 8, 2008

Gate installed

All that is left is trim, touch up paint, and chicken wire over the run to keep the hawks out.

The chickens spent their first night without a heat lamp. Nobody froze to death. The coop light is on a timer that turns it off before dusk to give them a chance to settle down before dark. It seems to be working.

They got their first chance in the yard last weekend. They did not exactly run out given the opportunity. Once the came out, they figured out they could scratch up bugs and that grass sprouts are quite tasty.

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Fence Finished

It still needs a door and the posts need to be cut down to size. I ran out of nails in the middle of the last 2 sections, so yet another trip to Home Depot. Luckily the kids were available, so I picked them up on the way. They so love the Home Depot. :) They got dinner out of the trip.

Monday, September 1, 2008

Fence Started

I got two sides of the fence up. Another 16ft section for the front and a 4ft section for the remaining side to go.

The chickens moved into their chateau today. It took the first one 3.5 seconds to poop on the new bedding and another 2 seconds to find the food and start eating.

Sunday, August 31, 2008

Ready for occupation

I finished the inside except for the sills for the windows. It is painted and has wood pellets down for the floor bedding. I built a three rung roost "ladder" for the monsters to sleep on. I am going to give it one more day for the paint fumes to settle down and then tomorrow is move in day. They won't need a nest box for another five months or so, so that can wait.

I bought the lumber and fence for the run. I will probably start on that tomorrow. I wish Home Depot and the feed store were open tomorrow. I don't need any thing, but the expression on the kids' faces when I tell them we are going is priceless. Surly does not begin to describe them.

Friday, August 29, 2008

Interior walls

I finished the insulation and put up 1/4" plywood sheeting up for inside walls. I also set brick pavers in front of the door to cut down on the dirt and mud. Tomorrow I will paint the walls. Rain is not a factor now that most of the remaining work is inside. Perhaps the chicks can move in on Monday after the paint has had a day to dry.

Thursday, August 28, 2008


Mostly. I am a wee bit short of insulation, about a half a roll. Math is hard.

The egg door has been bothering me. I made it 3 pieces of shiplap high which meant the hook and eye had to be mounted on the fascia board. It was also too heavy. So I pulled the door, removed a piece of shiplap. The space left by the removed board was replaced with one of two extra pieces of shiplap I had left over from the siding.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Let there be light

I ran 1/2" conduit from the house to the coop and pulled 12 gauge wire. I tied the coop into the 20 amp circuit that has the microwave on it. The coop is not going to pull many amps with just a 60 watt bulb and the deicer on the waterer. I also put the other piece of trim on the front right corner.

My new favorite store is Fleming's Feed in Preston. They have everything that Home Depot does not. Chicken stuff, hardware cloth, all kinds of fencing, and baled straw. They also hatch their own chicks which could come in handy once the roosters in my flock make themselves known.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Chicken Plucker

Here's a neat contraption for de-feathering fowl.

I jacked up the front right corner of the coop and put a 1 inch thick concrete block on top of the cinder block to raise that corner a bit. The cinder block had settled over the past couple of weeks and the coop was a bit off level. I also put the weather vane up.

Sunday, August 24, 2008


I put the shingles on. Once the windows in the coop should be watertight.

Saturday, August 23, 2008

Fascia board

Installed the fascia board and soffit. I also put in the wire mesh between the walls and the rafters inside the coop. The pop door and egg door got the rest of their hardware as well. With the fascia board up, the roof is ready for shingles. Sunny day tomorrow. Yay!

Thursday, August 21, 2008


Two coats of a very blue self priming exterior latex. I cheated and used a Wagner Power Roller. When I get the trim up, I can put on the shingles. It should be watertight soon.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Weather Vane

Found one on the intarwebs, handcrafted in Maine, at East Coast Weathervanes.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008


I finished the shiplap on the walls and built and installed the door. It did not rain and it supposed to be sunny the rest of the week. That means painting. Shingles after that and then trim.

Monday, August 18, 2008


Framed in the rafters and put the sheeting on. Doesn't sound like much, but it took all day. Burned a vacation day, but it is supposed to maybe rain tomorrow and I figured a roof was probably a good thing. No shingles yet. Or paint.

Sunday, August 17, 2008

More Siding

I got the other long wall sided today and the pop door built and installed as well. I started putting up shiplap on the back wall but I ran out. The kids are here so we went out for Chinese food at a restaurant that happens to be next door to Home Depot. No painting or roofing today. Siding takes longer than it looks like it should. I probably should have bought a nail gun.

Saturday, August 16, 2008

First Wall Sided

I got the shiplap up on the first wall today. I also built and installed the egg door on that side. It took slightly longer than I expect, about 6 hours. No rain so far today and tomorrow is supposed to be sunny. I hope to get the other long wall covered and the roof framed tomorrow. I should probably paint the shiplap before I frame the roof. We'll see.

Friday, August 15, 2008


The walls are framed and installed. I cut the flooring and started painting it today as well. No more construction because it is, wait for it, raining! The weather looks better later in the weekend so I can get the shiplap up, the doors and windows framed, and hopefully get the roof on.

Thursday, August 14, 2008


Surprise! It rained today. No, really.

I went to Niantic and picked up the windows today. Stopped by Home Depot (again Surprise!) on the way home and got some paint and lumber to frame in the windows and to build the doors.

I got home too late for any construction, but I masked the windows and put the first coat of paint on them.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008


No rain so I framed in the subfloor. It is supposed to rain for the next whenever. I can frame the walls on the front porch and then install them when it dries out again.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008


Apparently Home Depot and Lowe's are not really hardware stores anymore as they do not carry fixed windows. They only carry the really expensive Andersen and Pella windows and want to charge you a fortune to install them. Anything else is out of the question.

I found the windows for the coop at Ring's End Lumber in Niantic. I had to special order them and they should be here in a couple of days. At least I could special order them.

The chicks were hatched on August 1st. I forgot to ask yesterday when I bought them so I called Salem Feed and Grain today and asked.

Someday it will quit raining in Connecticut. Really.

Monday, August 11, 2008


I bought 6 Rhode Island Red chicks from Salem Feed and Grain today. Let's hope they are all lady chickens. If not, we will be having coq au vin for dinner one of these days. The youngsters are in a puppy crate in the basement under a heat lamp for the duration of the construction.

Also made another trip to Home Depot. I bought plywood for the roof, shingles, and hardware for the door.

Sunday, August 10, 2008

More materials

I went to Home Depot in Uncasville for more materials this morning. I bought most of the shiplap I am going to need for the siding, the 3/4" flooring sheets, vents for the ends, and some flashing for the doors and window. Home Depot does not carry fixed windows so I am going to have to look around.

It is supposed to storm this afternoon, so I am not going to start the framing yet. That and I dropped a sheet of the flooring on my foot at Home Depot and my little toe is quite purple. All the wood is on the front porch out of the rain with a tarp over the shiplap for extra protection.

Saturday, August 9, 2008

Getting Started

I started clearing the area for the coop on Thursday. I ran all the fallen limbs and leaf mulch through the wood chipper, cleared out the big rocks, and cut down the sassafras saplings that were in the way.

Friday was the first trip to Home Depot with the kids for materials. I bought the wood for the skids, flooring, framing, and roof. I forgot the concrete blocks, so we stopped by True Value in Mystic on the way back from Westerly.

Today I set the concrete blocks and leveled the foundation. Much digging and swearing was involved, but the skids are level.

Done for the day.