Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Hoop Houses and Other Happenings Around the Farm

*I use the term "farm" lightly. Growing chickens, turkeys, hogs, gardens and kids on one acre may classify as a small farm I suppose.*

We've been working around the homestead hoping that the sun we're seeing (in between the bouts of rain) really is a sign of spring...with a summer on the way.

So, what have we been up to?
Well, first let's do a poultry count. These numbers aren't pretty folks. Over the last 2 months we've lost 2 ducks, 1 turkey, 1 hen and 2 chicks to different causes.

(A few of our older chicks that are in the coop already)

The last one though was hard to take. While the smallest chicks were free roaming just outside the barn the other day, it was breezy. Maybe more like windy. Windy enough to blow down a small piece of plywood that was up against a fence. Guess what was standing right under the plywood when it fell? Yep. Layton's chick for fair. How is it possible that out of the 14 or so chicks that are in there, the board had to fall on his one fair chicken??!
Well, it's a good thing that mama has learned from experience and when we got his chick for fair, we also got back up chick #1 and back up chick #2. While he still has a chicken to show, he lost all the work he had put into handling the first chick. Thankfully fair isn't until August so he still has time to work with this new one.
With the losses, we're currently standing at: 8 laying hens, 1 rooster, 22 chicks and 2 ducklings. I'm praying for no more losses!

Part of our problem with losing poultry is that the back of our property is not fenced. And around here, some folks allow their dogs to wander about the county without any thought. Dogs that like to kill chickens.

So, instead of sitting out all summer with a .22 we cross fenced the back.My husband is amazing. Have I ever said that? He is. His hands produce the most wonderful things. And our fence was no exception. Now all we have to do is fence the back of the property and I've got an amazing area for a small goat barn and pasture. Then I just need to convince my husband that goats milk really is wonderful.

Have I also mentioned before that we have a very short growing season here? Not Alaska short, but short. We start to plant late May/early June (when most of you are all already harvesting your first round of green beans and peas) so growing tomatoes here is difficult to say the least. Unless you grow cherry tomatoes in your garden. And we do. They are wonderful. But sometimes a girl longs for a huge, ripe, sweet, slicing tomato to add to a summer sandwich.
I think this may be my summer. We are going to build this hoop house:

The plans are from here. Just incase you want to build a quick, inexpensive green house for yourself. We're talking less than $150.00.
I can already taste the sweet goodness!

And it looks as if I already have my Head Waterer for the hoop house.

Sorry that this post is so long but I find that as the weather gets better, and the Lord works on my heart more about my jobs here at home, that I have less time to blog and therefore need to pack as much as I can into one post!


Unknown said...

So sorry to hear about Layton's chick, that's such a bummer! Hopefully that is the last of the losses you'll see this year. It's been a tough season around here for our goats, we've lost 2 adults and a baby. :-(

We can't wait for spring/summer to show up around here too...every ray of sunshine is a welcomed sight! Praying your weather improves and you get to feel the sunshine! :)

Sarah Rachele said...

So sorry about the poultry losses. :( We lost a broiler the other day and a few chicks too. I guess it's just part of farming, but it's still difficult though! Love the fence your hubby built and I really enjoy reading your blog. Take care!

Kim said...

I'm so sorry for Layton~how smart you were to think of backup chicks though! I'm sure Layton will still do well at the fair.

Kudo's to your hubby on the fencing job! It looks great, but I'm with him on the goat's would have to taste like chocolate and sunshine for me to like it!

We're going to build a hoophouse for our tomatoes too. The growing season just isn't long enough to harvest the big, juicy beefsteaks...but we have a wonderful cherry tomato crop! They just don't add up to much in the canning department. :)

Anonymous said...

Wow, you've been busy! Sorry about the's never easy helping our children deal with disappointments...but glad you had a back up plan! =)

Love your little man with the power tool. I had my son helping me with screws just the other day.

I hope that you have a wonderful week. I"m not online as much either...simply too busy...but I try to pop in occasionally. =)

Preciouspeas said...


Hannah lost both of her rabbits last year right before the fair also and we didn't have a back-up. :( She was very devastated. But after a long wait, she is getting a new bunny this Saturday.

I need to borrow your hubby to put in our goat fencing as mine is dragging his feet on it..

I cannot wait to see your hoop house!

Kelly said...

We have had the same problems here except with wild cats. We had 12 chicks and are now down to 8 and now I am suspecting that I have 2 to 3 roosters UGH! Everything is looking great at your place though :)

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