Thursday, May 23, 2013


I'm almost halfway done with this pregnancy, which is insane to think about. I think I've been in denial, as an emotional protection (in case of miscarriage). So now that I'm starting to look pregnant, and feel the baby move, it's a fun reality.

He has already mastered the yoga pose Halasana (Plow Pose)
It will be fun for Miles to have a brother so close in age (20 months).

Saturday, May 18, 2013

7 days of construction

It's been a LONG week, but I've made a TON of progress since my last post. That chicken coop post was of the progress from the first day. Of course I had grand intentions of chronicling each days progress, but then at the end of the day I would be completely wiped out. So instead I'll just show the progress by day:

Day 2
 Earl helped me construct and install the walls. The wall installation was one of the most tedious tasks. We had to make sure that everything was level and plum (who knows what that even means?).

 The trusses were built. For some reason I felt such a pride in the fact that I could make trusses! I mean, it's not rocket science, yet it's something that does seem complicated and important.
Day 3:
After 2 long days of working, I was not looking forward to another full day of labor. However, I knew that I need to get as much done as possible, with Joe being home (saturday) Look at those beautiful trusses! I could build myself a house! (well, maybe)
 To keep the trusses in place, we used hurricane ties. Sounds pretty hardcore doesn't it?
 With the roof and walls put on, this was starting to look like a mini house!
 In order for the chickens to keep laying eggs through the winter time, it's important that they get at least 14 hours of light. So we decided to install a light on a timer. Joe's the master electrician
I am rarely so happy to get a Sunday. A good excuse not to work, but rest!

Day 4:
Didn't get a lot done, as I was feeling pretty worn out, even after a day rest. I did create the first nesting box. Those hens better use them!

Tuesday I was still feeling burnt out, so decided to take the day off. And that means off from everything. Except watching TV shows and cuddling with Miles. It's actually kind of funny.  Miles is my least cuddly baby, but around day 3 or 4 he would just walk on to a piece of plywood I was trying to mark, and sit down. As a sort of protest. He wanted and needed attention.

Day 5:
The windows arrived, and I started on the trim, so progress seemed extremely fast. All of a sudden you can start to see what it might look like. This day was very rewarding.

Thursday Joe had the day off work, and we spent it working on the garden. Yes, I know I'm crazy for taking on 2 such large projects, but they both just had to happen. We got all the gardenn beds rototilled, and new top soil spread out.

Day 6:
Although the front of the coop was trimmed out on day 5, the sides and back still needed to be finished. It took pretty much all day to get the little trim pieces on, and install the nesting box lids.
Day 7:
I had planned to prime today, but it was raining in the morning. So I spent the morning finishing the roosting boxes and plank. Then we took a little bowling brake, after which the weather had cleared up, so I got to prime after all.  It sure looks better from far away!!
Although the coop looks almost done, my to do list still seems unbelievably long. I have to paint, caulk, install roofing, make feeders and a waterer, make the run, finish the electrical, and hopefully get Joe to design an automatic door opener. The chicks are getting big fast, so I'd like to get them into the coop as soon as possible. Of course they can move in before the run is complete, so that takes the pressure off a little bit.

Thursday, May 9, 2013

Chicken Coop

Our new chickens will need a place to live, so I am building them a super deluxe chicken coop. I found an amazing looking plan on The Daisy plan can house up to 12 chickens
 When we lived in Texas I just converted a garden shed without much thought into layout or design. I built some nesting boxes that were sub-standard, and it was difficult to clean out. The chickens rooster everywhere, and therefore pooped everywhere too. So when I was searching for a set of plan, my main criteria was 'easy to clean'. Also, I want this coop to be attractive, as we are living in a suburban neighborhood, and not in the middle of nowhere boonie land.

A few nights ago I set off to Home Depot with a long list of supplies.
Joe joked that this coop will be built as good as our house. That sounds good to me! Yesterday was a crazy busy day so I couldn't start, but today Earl is staying with us, so it seemed like the perfect time to get started. Dad played with Miles while I measured and cut all the 2x4's for the floor and wall framing. Then I built the floor all by myself, and was feeling all proud of myself.
Then dad helped me build the end walls. It's amazing how much faster the second one went.
The next step was attaching the floor to the leg posts, which is definitely a (at least) 2 man job.  (notice the temporary housing for the chicks, the former rabbit hutch)
My least favorite part took a long time: getting the site prepped. We needed to dig holes for the concrete piers, get it all leveled and spread out right. Of course we ran into sprinkler lines.
After some digging, and planning to re-route the sprinkler lines, we were finally ready to place the frame on the piers.
And that's when we called it a day. A good day of hard manual labor.

Oh, and no, the house isn't officially ours yet.... we hope to close June 15th.

Monday, May 6, 2013


Joe sent me to the hardware store to pick up some paint, and they had chicks for sale. I bought 10 chicks. (That's what husbands get for sending their wives to the hardware store)
Now that we are planning to stay in this house, I can finally get my chickens again. I've missed my girls ever since we left the Texas farm almost 3 years ago! They had a great variety, and I wanted to get a bunch of different kinds. Here's what I got

1 Silver Laced
2 Golden Sex-link
2 Black Sex-link
3 Americauna, these girls lay green eggs, which is why I got more than one of these
1 Brown Leghorn - the only kind that lays white eggs
1 Rhode Island Red

 Of course it will take about 5 months before we'll see any eggs at all, but chicks are fun too!

Thursday, May 2, 2013


A few weeks ago a new piece of land came for sale at a reasonable price. Since this short sale is anything from short, I started looking into the possibilities of building with gusto. I called a bunch of builders, and even found one that told us we could get the house we wanted for only slightly above budget. We met with Blue Pine Homes, and started the process of finalizing floor plans to get an accurate quote. I made some small revisions to a plan they sent us, and planned out my whole kitchen with the cool 3D kitchen planner from Ikea. I spent hours on Pinterest dreaming of all the amazing things I could put into this house. Our house is very nice, but it just isn't the style I would pick if I can build from scratch. At one point we were pressured by our real estate agent to decide whether we were building for sure, so someone else could claim Michie Lane. As we didn't have all the details, we couldn't make that decision, and I had a few very stressful days. We were able to hold off the agent, and past Monday we met with the builder to finalize finishes and get a more concrete price. This is when the builder dropped the bomb. When he had originally quoted us the price, he had actually quoted it on the original layout of the floorplan. It was a 1700 square feet home (on main level). Well, the actual floor plan he sent us, was 1900 square feet. Obviously it will cost more to build a bigger house. To make the story short, building was going to cost an additional $50,000 above our already higher price. I was disappointed. But at the same time I was glad. Glad to have a nice house to fall back on. Glad to know I won't have to move again. Glad that I could use some of our money on changing this house to better reflect my style. Glad that I can now plant a vegetable garden this summer. My sister Wendy has been posting pictures of her awesome garden progress, so when she sent yet another picture today, I decided to head outside and start tackling the weeds. I don't know when the last time is that my flower beds had any attention. It must be a long time! The dirt is all compacted, and weeds well established. Using a shovel and a little rake I started one foot at a time. After 2 hours of hard work, there's not much to show for it, but I'm happy with the progress anyways.

After all the weeds are gone, we'll have to bring in some more top soil and miracle grow, but at least there is a defined area to plant my veggies in.

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