Monday, July 25, 2016

our chicken coop tour

good morning there!

it has been awhile since i've gushed about our sweet chickens. things are going well and i just am still smitten over my gals! i'll have to give a little update about how much fun it has been to have our ladies laying the eggs for almost one full year. but today is a photo tour of our chicken coop and some of my favorite parts of their home...

my husband was presented with the task of making a coop. i had picked out a few designs that i liked and even a few pre made packages that one just assembles. he decided that it would be fun to make our very own design and incorporate all the good ideas we noticed from other coops. we decided that we would base our coop on the likelihood that we wouldn't have more than 12 birds at once, so it was designed and built for 12 laying hens. we currently have 8 chickens and they are all layers (well, when our one buff orpington isn't broody!). 

one of the first desired attributes - a tall run! we both decided that if we didn't have to duck down the entire time we were in the run that we would probably keep up on needs inside the run. my husband is just at six feet tall, so that was the height we aimed for and he can comfortably stand in the center of the run when he takes a turn to "lock up" at night.

something else we decided that was important - shade! the girls can hang out under their coop when needing shade, it also is dry under there, so they often take dust baths. we also positioned our coop under some tree branches which provides even more shade seasonally. (at our school we put a tarp over the run to give the ladies some relief from the sun, so you don't really need trees to be next to your coop, this was just what worked well in our yard)

getting in and out of the run is something that happen several times each day - i'm talking hooks/latches/locks/human friendly unlocking and the safety net of "what if i get locked in?' we decided to select various locks and closures that are not raccoon friendly - mostly we have carabiners securing the run and each opening around the coop (the front coop door, each set of nesting boxes, the back coop door, and the tall door to the run are all locked at night) 

my husband installed a simple string pull system incase one ever gets accidentally closed into the run, if the door blows shut behind one of us we can pull on the string and it lifts the unlocked latch on the door.

we have six nesting boxes - but of course the girls like to lay in just a couple of them and put their eggs together. we liked the idea of being able to access the eggs from outside the run, that way we can just quickly pick up eggs on the days that the girls aren't able to free range (i don't like to get their hopes up that they are getting to gallivant around the property, which they do often, but not during the school year/work day when no one is home - too many predators around here).  my husband installed a little hook so the door can be held up easily while we collect eggs. this has been a nice addition, especially if children are helping with egg collecting. then of course we just lock up this exterior access point with a carabiner.

we also decided to use reclaimed barn siding for top layer of siding on our chicken coop. we thought it would look great and age well. it goes well with the look of our mini farm and should continue to be fairly low maintenance. one bonus i didn't think of until we had new wood structures around our place - the wood bees definitely prefer the new wood! so that has been nice too.  

so far we've really enjoyed our coop and the way it was designed and built. one idea not pictured: we have an easy access clean-out on the back of the coop and it is a perfect height for a wheelbarrow to sit underneath and catch the rakings when we have a clean out session. as we consider how to make certain structures and systems around our mini farm we've been trying to make things easy, low maintenance... hoping that it will age well with us and allow us to continue doing the work ourselves for many years to come. 

thanks for checking out our ladies' coop today!

*i added this blog post to the Our Simple Homestead Link Up! Click on over to check out all the homestead goodness! And Nancy On the Home Front selected this post as a favorite of the blog hop! i'm so honored- thanks Nancy!! Click on over to check out her post!

Monday, July 18, 2016

around these parts {+ on my bookshelf} summer 2016

hello loves!

so i've been doing plenty of reading lately - and as an "expecting mama" you know what types of books i'm devouring!! (here's looking at you Dr. Sears!)

i've also been trying to save a little time for fun reads too. i find it enjoyable to sit in the shade and prop up my feet, so i keep telling myself that quiet reading time is part of staying healthy for the baby.

right now i'm reading

+ big magic: creative living beyond fear by Elizabeth Gilbert
sometimes when i'm looking for a new book to read i just find an author that i've enjoyed their books in the past. this is how i decided to pick up a copy of big magic. this is different than the last Elizabeth Gilbert book i read but i'm really enjoying it. in fact, i would credit my inspiration to saving a little time to write on the blog again to this book (well, and to all the podcasts i've been listening to about 'self care' and 'saving some time for you'). if you are looking for a little creative pick-me-up i totally recommend this book!

+ sleeping with your baby: a parent's guide to cosleeping by Dr. James McKenna

i'm about half way thru this book, which means i should probably finish it today - don't you think all parenting books should be roughly 70 pages long?! it is full of research committed to human sleep patterns and healthy development (for mothers, fathers, and babies) and it explains ways to safely create a sleeping environment that includes your new baby whether you room-share or bed-share with your sleeping little one.  part of the book is also dedicated to identifying if sleeping in separate rooms is more appropriate for your family. it is very interesting (yes, early human development nerd right here!!) and i'm hoping to have my husband read it. i think it will be good information to have somewhere in our heads when we are sleep-deprived and trying to figure out what works best for our newest roommate and family member :)

what about you? any juicy summer reads? i think i'm ready to find something suspenseful that i just can't put down!

Monday, July 11, 2016

a few {current} favorites...

i'm just loving...

+ planning ahead on my Grove Collaborative order - so nice to know that even in the tiredness of new mama hood i will be less likely to run out of toilet paper and dishwashing soap. i've already got a few of my most often used consumables saved in the cabinet for that fourth trimester. here's to hoping that late night target run won't do me in...

+ my Baby List registry - our family is throwing us a co-ed baby shower and i'm very excited! when j and i got married we decided to keep things fairly small, so when it came to having a bridal shower we decided not to make everyone drive again to see us just a few weeks before our wedding. but now that we're talking about celebrating our baby we decided that a shower would be very fun. you know, a good excuse to have everyone that we don't see nearly enough gather for some delicious cake + conversation.

+ doing a bit of baking - we've been enjoying a lot of muffins {using this recipe lately} for snacks the past few weeks and of course a few cookies here and there. I love {this} no bake recipe for when the days are too hot for the oven.  And I have {this recipe} to try next.

hope your week will be full of your current favorites!

Monday, July 4, 2016

mama hood mondays {28 weeks}

now that i've shared my big news on this quiet blog, i thought it would be fun to give a few little pregnancy updates over the next several months and then maybe consider some thoughts about being a momma once the baby is here. so i'm trying out this little {possibly monthly} series "mama hood mondays"...

we're here! the start to the third trimester! this pregnancy has progressed so quickly, i can't believe we are two-thirds in!

the first trimester was full of excitement, tired mornings, a few sleepless nights and a fair amount of secret keeping. my husband and i loved knowing about our little one so very early and then slowly sharing the news with family members + friends. luckily, i had very minimal "sickness" and quickly found that eating/snacking often and going to bed early kept me from feeling nauseous. i didn't like cooking meat, drinking coffee, the smell of smoke, barbecue sauce or beer. i very much loved consuming smoothies, macaroni and cheese and mashed potatoes {oh my!}.

the second trimester was full of baby classes {from childbirth and newborn care to baby wearing and cloth diapering too}, consuming lots of protein and guzzling the water. i learned to set my phone alarm for remembering to take my supplements and began to gather up the emergency hospital bag {after listening to ::this:: podcast i felt like i needed to prepare for an early baby... just in case}. we found that we still didn't have THE name picked out {we haven't learned the gender of our baby so we will most likely have a name or two for either a boy or a girl planned by the time the baby gets here}. and we have appreciated our generous family + friends, so many have passed along really great baby items for our new little one.

now we are starting the third trimester, working on the nursery, hopefully selecting the final few possible names for our child and getting some rest in there too. it is completely exciting and sometimes a little overwhelming. but enjoying each part of the pregnancy has been very important to me, so i will continue on, soaking up all the kicks, new ways my body stretches and the many questions that pop in my head.