Friday, May 13, 2011

Backyard Chickens and Other Spring Projects


Spring has sprung on our little semi-urban homestead and so have several much discussed outdoor projects. Our chicken coop has been built, five brown hens moved in, and egg production is in full swing.

We knew it would be a thrill to add feathered friends to our family, but could never have anticipated the extent of the boy's enthusiasm over the fowl.

Noah scampers out in a dressing gown and flip-flops each morning to lower the ramp from their loft, give them a scoop of feed and check for eggs. His toes curl up, withdrawing from the dew-drenched grass as he crosses the yard, and he arrives back at the breakfast table with bright eyes and rosy cheeks.

What a way to start the day. It makes me so happy.

The coop is low enough for both boys to handle most of the chores. The design is such that the coop is moved every couple of days to give the hens fresh greens to eat and ground to scratch. It is working very well for us.

Danny and I have decided that we're going to 'off' the birds in the late fall. We both have plenty of experience in this area. The only question is how much - if anything- we will tell the boys. More on that hot topic later.


A Garden of Our Own

After admiring my neighbour's garden all last summer (no time to put one in last year with birthing a blog, hosting a family reunion, and everything that comes with settling into a new home) we are determined to get our raised beds up and producing this spring.

Danny, ever a man of thorough action, has sourced us the wood pictured above and will be building four raised beds. Not, as it would appear, a log cabin.

The whine of his skilsaw eating into the logs last night sent me into a tizzy of excitement and I abandoned the post I was drafting to tap out a quick list of vegetables and herbs I will be planting.

And for now, I look out over the woodpile and dream of fresh parsley, baby beet and colorful chard.

Ah, Spring! She always brings exciting new possibilities.

4 comments:

Cheri Neufeld said...

We used to have chickens growing up and all of us had to pitch in with the butchering (sounds so bad!). I think I was in about grade 2 when we started. We watched them grow from chicks and I don't remember ever being upset.. except when the chickens would chase me *after* their heads were cut off (still gives me the heeby geebies). I was much more sad when we had to kill our rabbits (they are so much more cuddly then chickens). :) Your boys would probably handle it better then you think. :) I have a photo of me and my friend plucking chickens that I thought you would appreciate: http://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=34198687131&set=a.34196142131.55467.521502131&type=1 Such great memories! :)

The Vanilla Bean Baker said...

Can't wait to see pictures of your sprouting vegetables and herbs Aimee! Such fun living in the country isn't it, so great for the boys(everyone) to have all that wonderful space.

P.S. Love that weeping willow you have there :)

Jennifer Jo said...

We butcher our chickens. I talk about how I helped (?) my daughter, the most chicken-friendly child in the bunch, deal with it here: http://bit.ly/jJETp4

viv{re} said...

wow! chickens and a garden!? I am so jealous. I have no room for a chicken coop, much less a vegetable garden. I am only halfway living my dreams with the two potted strawberry plants I have on my front porch. I hope everything turns out as planned! good luck.. Love your blog btw, I just suscribed! :)

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