There has been no shortage of projects here on the Homestead, but as Austin and I just completed our 4th full weekend here on the Homestead, we are starting to breathe a little as the MAJOR parts of move-in are done. Meaning, I finally finished unpacking the last few boxes yesterday!! Since our new home is a little smaller than our last house, we had some boxes we shoved into a corner because we did not know where to put some items. It quickly became an "out of sight, out of mind" situation, and I finally got around to making sure that got taken care of over the weekend.
...However, we are still not 100% finished with our new bed frame/headboard yet, but getting closer!
Everything is complete as far as constructions goes! Austin wants to touch up some stain and stain the board edges that face out from the headboard, so that will happen next weekend. But I must say, the final product is pretty good looking and we are very happy with it!
Austin is definitely a craftsman and carpenter by his own interest, and wants to continue doing wood-working projects and building things around the Homestead and eventually start selling them on our Etsy shop I JUST launched. I am not marketing the Etsy shop quite yet until we can build up more items for it, so stay tuned! If there are certain items that you would LOVE to see Austin build for sale, please message us in the 'GET IN TOUCH' portion at the bottom of our website and let us know!
I spent most of my day on Saturday fixing up the chicken coop, and Austin helped when he was finished changing the oil in his car and putting his new rims/tires on for the summer. The coop barn technically has 2 coops inside and a working room (which might be converted to another coop in the future). A virtual tour of the coops is below!
Anyways...the front coop has some holes in the walls from where outside rodents had made their way in probably for warmth and protection from the elements. I do not want my chickens in an unsafe coop, so up until now, they only had access to the back coop which was safe and secure from predators. I needed to get the front coop fixed up because the 5 chicks and duckling I was keeping in the brooder box I built in the garage, was starting to get crammed and it was time they upgraded to the big coop. Since the front coop goes straight to the outside, I moved my ladies to the front, and put the babies in the back.
You might be wondering why I only have 1 duckling, and it's a sad story, but life and death are both part of daily life on a Homestead, so I promised to tell about the good, the bad, and the ugly of this journey. I ordered 4 ducklings from an online hatchery, and have never done this before, let alone raised chicks from babies before.
The ducklings shipped on a Monday and were supposed to be delivered between Tuesday-Thursday. I think I looked at the tracking information every hour to see where they were. They arrived in a post hub about 1.5 hours from my house by Wednesday morning, but we did not receive them until Thursday afternoon! I would have drove and picked them up right when I saw they were close by, but I was in Canada for work, and Austin works until after the post office closes each day. When the package was finally delivered, 2 of the 4 ducks were passed away, and the 3rd duck passed about a few hours after delivery from mal-nourishment. This BROKE our hearts, as this could have been completely avoided if it hadn't been for someone else's negligence and delivering LIVE animals on time.
As upset as Austin and I were over this, the hatchery agreed to replace all ducks, and I am making sure I will be home this time to ensure I can get them alive. No animal, let alone a baby animal, should have to suffer like that. I believe that all animals play their role in life, and my birds are raised for production, meaning they will provide us with meat or eggs, however, I am a firm believer that as long as these animals are in my care, they have the best and happiest life possible until the day we harvest them. I refuse to mistreat an animal, so I am excited for the next batch of ducklings so I can care for them the way they deserve to be cared for!
The duckling was picked on at first by the chicks as we introduced the duckling days after the chicks had arrived, but now I'd say they are all pretty good friends! I even catch the duckling cuddled up with the cornish rocks from time to time :)
I placed the brooder box inside the second coop so they can still have access to the heat lamp on these cold spring nights, but am finding that each day they are taking another step out into the big coop to explore. In about a week or so, I would imagine they will be running wild in their own coop!
The next big project we tackled this weekend was garden prep. I moved all of my gardening tools, rototiller, planters, soil, and other misc garden things out to the garden shed. There is a nice garden shed on the very south end of our property that is right next to the garden! There's even an old shower on the backside, so I can rinse off on a hot summer day...with clothes on, of course, because the shower faces a road that runs past the farm, haha!
While I was getting the garden shed situated, Austin went out of his way to rototiller the garden for me! The ground is still partially frozen, so he was only able to till the top soil, but we will do a few more rounds of tilling before we plant. We also need to build a fence around the garden. This fence will serve a few purposes.
1) It will keep the deer, rabbits, and other critters who love garden vegetables out.
2) I have a crazy idea for the summer that involves garden chickens, but I will blog about that once we have that project done :)
These pictures just don't do a justice for how beautiful and big the garden is going to be this year. But trust me, by the end of the summer, you will have gotten sick of me posting pictures of my vegetables and fruit! Speaking of fruit, we bought blueberries, raspberries, and strawberries that I have started in buckets, but will be planting once the ground finishes thawing out.
With these additions, we will have blueberries, raspberries, strawberries, blackberries (patch in the garden), plums (trees), and apples (trees) that will grow each year as long as we properly maintain them. I also found an asparagus patch next to the blackberry patch! It looks like a mature patch with many juvenile plants growing around the edges...I am BEYOND excited about this :).
I am writing this blog post early this week, as I am leaving tomorrow for a conference that I am hosting and will not be back until Friday. That leaves Austin to hold the fort down all week. I couldn't ask for a better partner in life, as he reminds me each and every day that we are a TEAM, and a solid team at that.
Keep warm weather in your thoughts and maybe summer will come faster :)