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Old 04-05-2013, 04:02 PM
SLACKJAW44 SLACKJAW44 is offline
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Originally Posted by dealfinder500 View Post
Stopped by the local feed store and they had onion bulbs the cheapest I've ever seen.

$1.30-$1.45/lb depending on if you got white, red, or yellow bulbs. I already placed an order from Dixon Dale Farms, but I think next year I'll just get these. I also picked up 1/2 lb of shallots. Never grew them before.
I think you're going to like the starts from Dixondale much better than the second year bulbs. You will get a much nicer, larger onion, than those bulbs can give you. I've used Dixondale off an on for years (usually when I'm feeling lazy) Have had great success with their starts.

This year, I'm looking into starting a bed of perennial leeks. I like stuff that you plant only once and it gives year after year.
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Old 04-05-2013, 04:40 PM
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Thank you for posting a journal for all of us to see! I love reading these things, especially this time of year when they're just getting started and so full of hope.

I have a suggestion for you for your broody hen, take it or leave it. I find that marking the original eggs with pencil on one end makes it easier to weed out the new eggs that other hens might have laid in her nest. If you mark them with the 21st day date, you'll know when the chicks should be coming out, too.

Hope you post more pictures of your chickens and garden as it all progresses. Again, thank you for sharing with us!
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Old 04-06-2013, 02:18 PM
dealfinder500 dealfinder500 is offline
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I've lost two chickens this week. I think I killed them with caffeine. I started a thread here about it.

I sold two dozen eggs today at work, and have requests for more Monday. I'm averaging just about a dozen a day. I've started keeping records of how many eggs I get, how many I sell, and how many days it takes me to go through a 50lb bag of feed. I'm also going to keep records of "chicken events" - I put the days that those chickens died, how they died, etc., as well as I'm going to keep track of when they have "visitors", what time they came, etc. Last night I had a visitor. They dumped over a small bucket of spoiled cracked grain (it was only a 2 gallon bucket, the top had blown away in the wind and rain and it got wet). I guess it's time to get out the Game Cam and the trap. It's a catch and release trap, I've caught my cats more times than probably anything else!

Another lady at work wants to buy some of my tomato plants :-) I'm hoping word gets around about that and I have more requests :-) I'm hesitant to "advertise" too much at work lest I be told "no more."

It is nice and sunny out today, and warming up. I hope to plant the rest of those berry bushes today. It's supposed to rain the next few days.
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Old 04-06-2013, 09:00 PM
dealfinder500 dealfinder500 is offline
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Well, I didn't end up planting the bushes. I'm trying to figure out exactly where I want them.

I did get the garden completely separated from the chicken pen. I had debated about planting the onions, but I'm going to give it another week or two. It was pretty muddy out there.

All three ducks got out again! I got the two females, but the drake is harder to catch. I ended up cornering him and that's when I found the the little gap in the fence that they've been using to get out. Now that's fixed. They didn't get out again... yet!

This evening I went and filled up 10 buckets of gravel for my path going out to the chicken coop. The path is about 1/2 way done. Today's load ended up going right in front of the door to the coop as that had become nearly two inches of mud. On the other side of the coop I'm going to make another stone path that will connect the garden to the coop path. I have a wooden bench I'm going to put by it, and plant some of my fruit trees when I get them, and some of the berry bushes. I'm going to make that area a little flower garden that I can go and sit and read a book and watch the chickens.

The drive to the gravel pit is over some beautiful country roads, and the sun was beginning to set in the hills. I realized what the song writer meant when he penned "For purple mountain's majesty," because those hills were purple in the sun set! There's this other spot where there is this huge tree near the road - and it's got the perfect tree shape. That with the sun setting in the background and the bend in the road made for the most beautiful picture... if I had only brought my camera. I will remember another time and post the picture.

I got the trap set for the raccoon. I'm hoping I get him tonight. I know there's at least one more though.
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Old 04-08-2013, 11:25 AM
dealfinder500 dealfinder500 is offline
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I started more seeds this morning... 4 kinds of tomatoes, 3 kinds of peppers, and some flowers.

I've learned that for seed starting, it's not only easier but I think you get better results over all (at least with tomatoes and peppers) to just start them en masse in little containers (like the bottom of a milk jug or a whipped cream container) rather than to use those seed trays with 72 holes in them. With the seed trays, I pretty much ended up with just the bare root plant most of the time anyway.
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Old 04-09-2013, 09:35 AM
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That's how I do my tomatoes and peppers. Then I prick them out and put into single containers. They're pretty resilient little girls, and whatever bits of roots they lose in the process does them good.
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Old 04-09-2013, 01:21 PM
dealfinder500 dealfinder500 is offline
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On the 1st I started keeping the egg money separate so that I can make the girls pay for themselves (or at least see if they can). I had enough today to buy two bags of feed :-)

They finally had seed potatoes. I was still disappointed, though. They didn't have them out in the main store area, they were back in the warehouse and you had to tell them what you wanted... I asked them what kinds they had and she rattled off at least a dozen kinds... lol! No paper list so I could at least see... I told her to just give me 10lbs of what potatoes. I already have plenty of potatoes, but I was told they have excellent stock and wanted to see. The price wasn't bad... 75 lb, which is the cheapest I've found around here.

Today was a short day at work, and I sure picked a good day for it! It is beautiful out - 65 degrees! They are doing some roadwork right in front of the road though, so I'm inside right now getting some things done. I don't like working outside when people are watching me, and 5 guys holding caution signs watching me work around the homestead kinda bugs me... But they should be moving on shortly. They are making the ditches bigger.
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Old 04-09-2013, 11:32 PM
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You are doing a great job - thanks for sharing! I have found already with my chicks that just being outside in their new kind of free range home since Sunday that they are eating half of what they were when they were inside in the kiddie pool if that much. I also found that the wild doves want to come eat their food too but can't get through the fencing to reach it :-)

Look forward to reading more!
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Old 04-11-2013, 10:18 PM
dealfinder500 dealfinder500 is offline
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I got my issue of Countryside in the mail yesterday, and today I had a chance to sit down and read it. It's a very good magazine. That and Backwoods Home are my favorites. There was a couple of interesting articles in there this time. One was on uses for coffee grounds. I have a lot of cats and sometimes I have a problem with where they choose to make their litter box. The article said to spread coffee grounds around the area and that would keep them away. I'll be trying that out tomorrow!

This morning before work I spent a little time trying to get the shed cleaned out. I got 10 5 gallon water jugs that I'm going to cut a few small holes in, partially bury them in the garden (like 1/2 foot down), fill them with water and use them to keep the garden watered. They aren't meant to be refilled so the plastic is much thinner than the normal water jugs. Think like maybe twice the thickness of a 2-liter bottle. So I got those out and ready to go.

We've had a lot of rain the past few days so the garden is still way to wet to do anything in. I did go out and dig in a few spots - I can really tell that the soil is improving. Three years ago it was all clay. Now in some spots I could easily push the shovel down a foot.

I cleaned out the fridge of almost everything. I'm going to try to be more organized with that, and make sure anytime I open something, especially home canned food (mostly applies to jams) that I label it with the date I opened it. I also worked on the freezer a bit. I found two huge bags of french fries that had best buy dates of a year or more ago... just imagine how freezer burned they were! I put three bags of broccoli in the dehydrator, and got rid of a few other bags of frozen veggies that were freezer burnt. I've got to work on that and quit wasting food like that.

Sunday a lady at church gave me a huge container of used coffee grounds. Another lady saw it and said she'd save hers for me, too!

Been watching the news about North Korea. I'm not quite sure what to make of it. But I'm going to keep on prepping!

If it's nice out this weekend I hope to be able to take some pictures for you. I think I need one ore two more gravel pit runs to have finish the path out to the coop. I've sure been very glad I got it as far as I did - it's been very muddy there with all this rain.

The eggs I gave to my friend down the road should be hatching out in the next few days. Now I've got to get another brooder box setup!
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Old 04-12-2013, 09:20 PM
dealfinder500 dealfinder500 is offline
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I got up very early this morning and got a ton of things done before work. I was in the habit of getting up real early for a while, but I haven't been doing that much anymore. I really need to get back into that.

At work they had a charity breakfast. They were selling pancakes for $1. When it was all done I got a good 10 lbs of pancakes for my chickens! And my mom gave me a large bread of stale rolls. They sure ate good today!

Very rainy today. My "official" rain gauge (i.e. a plastic bucket I left out) showed we've gotten about 3 inches of rain the past few days. With all that rain there are two small "streams" in the chicken pen. One goes right in front of the coop, right next to the garden. I noticed this "stream" last year and dug a very small ditch to help it drain faster. I spent 45 minutes tonight working on that (well, probably about 10 minutes was working on it, and the rest of the time was making dams with a shovel and seeing how big of a "lake" I could make and then watch the flood when the dam "broke"... you're never too old to play in the mud!) But I will need to do something about these streams. I plan on digging a bigger ditch, maybe a foot or so across, and having it slope down to the end... this area is next to the road, but it's probably a good 10 feet or more higher. I'll fill the ditch in with gravel. Or maybe put in some pvc pipe.

This should also help the garden drain better. I live on a hill, so I get a lot of the water from above me.

I ordered "Natural Healing Wisdom and Know-How" from Amazon.com and it came today. It's in the same series as the Gardening Wisdom and Know-How, Country Living Wisdom and Know-How, and Survival Wisdom and Know-How. I've only perused it a bit, but it doesn't seem to be as good or as useful as the other books. Thankfully I only paid $7 for it, including shipping.

I'm still watching the news about North Korea. I'm not really worried, as I realize there's nothing I can do about it. But I wondering how our world will change if they do go nuclear...

The broccoli I dehydrated the other day turned out very nice. 2 3/4 lbs of frozen ended up nearly filling a quart jar. 3lbs would have filled it, but I wasn't watching what I was doing when I opened the last bag and I spilled some on the floor. Dehydrating broccoli was very easy. For frozen, there's no blanching or thawing... just spread it out on your trays, and that's it. I can't wait to do my own from the garden this summer!

Keep on prepping while the prepping is good!
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Old 04-13-2013, 05:03 PM
dealfinder500 dealfinder500 is offline
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I had a death today in the chicken pen. There's a couple of hawks that fly around here, but I've never thought anything of them because they've never bothered the chickens before.

Well, they had come a little closer down than usual so I went out to take a look. I couldn't see any chickens in the pen, except one little bantam and it was obvious she was hiding. I looked up and saw in the far corner a hawk eating one of the chickens. I chased it off. It got my little silkie :-( I got a role of twine and wrapped that around the fence posts to make a sort of a crude net. I hope that will deter the hawk.

Then it struck me--- what about the ducks? These guys don't move very fast! I looked in the coop and I could only see 2 of the 3. I went looking around the pen to find her... kind of expecting the worst. I found her up in the pine tree part of the pen. At first I thought she was dead because of the way her head was, but as I got closer she was alive... though very scared. She was sitting on a clutch of 8 eggs! That explains why I haven't been seeing any duck eggs the past week.

I put her in the coop and took the eggs, keeping them separate from the other eggs because I will crack these ones open in a small bowl before I use them. They can't be more than a few days old, and they certainly wouldn't have hatched since it's been in the 20's and 30s at nights.

I came back and recorded the incident in my chicken journal, and then started to write this post when I looked out again and I didn't see any chickens out. I went out and that hawk flew off. No chickens this time... not sure if my twine had anything to do with that. I decided to just lock the chickens up now.

Not quite sure what to do about the hawk... it's not legal to kill them. One of my cats seemed interested in him. Maybe he'll get him for me lol! My cats roam all around the chicken pen... never once have they bothered the chickens.

I ran to Walmart earlier. With my preps, and mostly shopping at ALDI, I rarely go to Walmart anymore, and I sure didn't miss it today! So many rude people. I picked up another case of canning jars (I nearly always do), and I was going to get a few boxes of pectin but then I noticed the price had jumped - from $3.37 to $4.57 for 2 boxes!! Yikes!!! I walked past their fruit bushes and I was so tempted to get one... then I scolded myself... I already have several I need to plant!

I made another gravel run this evening. I finally finished the gravel path to the coop! Now I can walk out there without getting my feet all muddy. I measured the path and it's about 125' from the driveway.

The guy down the road who is incubating some of my eggs called me tonight. So far 5 eggs have hatched, and there's a few more that are just beginning. Kinda excited about that! These will be my first chicks from my own eggs!
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Old 04-14-2013, 05:16 PM
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Whoo hoo! New babies!!
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Old 04-14-2013, 08:40 PM
dealfinder500 dealfinder500 is offline
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I finally got around to getting some pictures.

I picked up the chicks today - there were 10 of them. There's more that should be hatching shortly, and the ducks should hatch next week.

This morning the hawk came back, though I didn't see him and he didn't get any of the chickens. I let them out of the coop around 7ish. When I went out at 8 I noticed they were all back in the coop, and their food was nearly untouched... but I had no problems the rest of the day. I really think the twine worked. I'm definitely going to have to get a few more rolls to have on hand.

I was able to spend a little time in the evening outside. There's a space next to the coop and on the other side of the stone path that I want to make into a garden/patio area. I'm going to plant my peach trees there and some flowers. Originally that was going to be the chicken pen, but that really wasn't big enough for them (the new area they have is about 15x bigger). Three years ago it was all overgrown with bushes, real thick. Last year I got most of them cut down. Today I dug some of the roots out. It will be nice to be able to sit out there with a good book and watch the chickens.

Pictures:

1. The baby chicks.
2. From the coop to my house.
3. From my house to the coop.
4. The side area that I hope to make a patio.
5. My little Frodo and Orangie. Frodo was the little runt cat that came back.
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Old 04-14-2013, 09:09 PM
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Looking good! Love your farmhouse - is it an old one? That is so what I wish I had on my property...
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Old 04-16-2013, 04:23 PM
dealfinder500 dealfinder500 is offline
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I only had to work 1/2 a day at work, so I got a bit done. If you work 4 hours Saturday, then you take off 4 hours the next week (our pay cycle goes Saturday-Friday).

When I took the car in for the oil change a few days ago the mechanic told me that I'd need to get the tie rod fixed before I got the inspection done (I'm due for an inspection in a few months). I had already suspected as much, so no big surprise. I got that done this afternoon - $223 for the rod, labor, and alignment!!!!

My order came from Starks Bros Nursery. I planted the 6 blackberry bushes along the path to the coop. I'm going to put two of the peach trees in the future patio area. I've got 15 raspberries and they are going to go on the ridge in the front yard. That leaves 3 apples and 1 more peach to decide on a place for.

So far I have not seen signs of that hawk again. I hope he's gone but I doubt it. I was reading on backyardchickens.com that it's ok to kill one if he's getting your chickens. I tried finding that on my state's DEC website but I couldn't find anything. I'm certainly not willing to risk a huge fine!
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Old 04-16-2013, 05:21 PM
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it may be legal to kill one for killing your chickens ,,,the best bet is if you need to ,,,do the deed ,,,bury the critter and dont say a word about it,,,or shoot ,,,shovel,,,,shut up lol the 3 s's

most states will let you defend your critters ,,,but some game wardens are by the book ,,,you might be in the right but they charge you and you need to fight it in court,,,easier if they never know it happen

thats a pretty homestead you got going there,,,grats and keep going
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Old 04-17-2013, 10:09 PM
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I got a pair of rubber boots today. I saw a video on youtube that mentioned them and how they save his shoes from getting all nasty. That same day I had been out working in the mud and got my boots all nasty. So I found a pair online and they came today. Very pleased with them! Now I don't have to worry about drying out my boots, and this should make my boots last much longer now!

I got a kid from church who's going to come over this weekend and help me plant my bushes. I have 15 raspberries, 4 fruit trees, and two grape vines to plant.

At work I had a ton of people ask me for eggs - I'm bringing in 6 dozen tomorrow! I've been keeping records of everything I spent/earn and so far for this month I've earned a whopping 31! Ha! Of course, if you exclude the expenditures on the baby chicks (waterer, plus I gave the kid who incubated them a couple bucks) then I've made a small profit.

The onions I started from seed are doing very well. I don't think I will buy starts again. They are extremely easy to grow. Of course, with all the onions I have to plant this year... if I dehydrate even half of them I doubt I will ever have to grow onions again!!!! lol!

I found this formula for getting rid of cat odors, and I tried it today and it sure works great! Here's the recipe:
16oz hydrogen peroxide
1 tbsp baking soda
1 tsp dish soap

Mix them all together in a spray bottle.
A real simple solution, and it worked great! Over the years I've tried several different kinds of pet smell remover bottles - and none of them seemed to work. This one worked great!
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Old 04-19-2013, 10:03 PM
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Transplanted some more tomatoes. I tried a different way this time. Instead of putting them individually into foam cups I used the bottom of a 4 gallon water jug. I get these from a small private school. They are not refillable and are only a tad thicker than a soda bottle.

I got 30 Violet Jasper tomatoes in one and 20 Vintage Wine tomatoes in another. It will be about another month till I am able to put them outside.

I picked up some bags of topsoil to use when I plant the bushes this weekend.

I used those rubber boots today for the first time. They are awesome!!! Why did I not get them sooner?!? I went out to the chicken pen and worked on that ditch... I was 5 inches in mud sometimes and my feet were nice and dry.

My younger cousin is over tonight. We made a delicious jalapeno pepperoni pizza and are now watching a MonsterQuest episode on Bigfoot. :-)
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Old 04-20-2013, 02:51 PM
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Well, we survived the night with no visit from Bigfoot :-)

Planted spinach and chard today. I got another load of stones and will need about two more loads to go all the way around the chicken coop. I get 10 buckets a trip (all I dare to put in my car) and I figure it costs me about 50 per bucket in gas, and it takes me about a hour round trip to drive there, fill up the buckets, drive back, and dump them out. Bags similar in size would be $4-$5 at the store.

I met my neighbor today. They just moved in a week or two ago, and have only really been there on the weekends. The lady came over while I was digging up some bush stumps. She liked my chickens and even asked about buying eggs. We talked a little bit. I told her I hoped the roosters didn't wake them up in the mornings - she said they don't even hear them and that I'm going to need them when things go down. She said they are country people and even plan on getting some pigs, she even thought about getting some chickens. Her husband hunts.

I thought it a bit odd her reference to "when it all comes down". I certainly wasn't going to ask if they were preppers... but it was interesting to know they were thinking about it, though of course I could be reading into it when it's nothing more than just a passing reference.

The previous occupants were a father and adult son, who were just living there until the owner decided to sell it. I never met them, and really had no desire to. As far as I could tell they never came out of the house, but boy, did they ever argue! I remember one time I was sitting out there under the trees reading a book, probably 500 feet away from their house, and they were yelling so loudly I thought they were going to kill each other! But as I got to thinking about who the new occupants might be... what if the new neighbors were party people who had loud parties on the weekends with tons of people over... when you think of it like that, then neighbors that never came out of their house really might not be too bad.
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Old 04-20-2013, 08:04 PM
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Now you just need to start keeping a casual eye on them... you might have some new buddies :-)
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