Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Chicken update

Well they are all still alive! They appear to be acclimating nicely to their new home. we have them in the garage (with two lights in their lair) to protect them during their first winter from the elements. At first they had a hard time getting along, but appear to have bonded over the cold at night and so the three snuggle together while they sleep. All and all it's been a pretty easy transition. its fun to show them to people and watch them chase each other. Still not tame enough to be held on a regular basis though. They have gotten noticablely bigger in just a week and a half.

Thursday, November 15, 2007

GREEN Thursday

For those of you in the area, Mall of America is having an old electronics drop off starting today until sat. Everything will be recycled. Let's keep that mercury out of the landfills people! here's more info.

UPDATE: The event has been called off due to the unexpected number of items dropped off on Thursday. Rumor has it that cars had to wait in line for 2 hours and caused by traffic congestion. 5000 cars came through and 1 million pounds of electronics collected. wowsers!

Sunday, November 11, 2007

Home to roost

We (accompanied by Kristen) drove out to the Anoka Ramsey Farm yesterday and picked up our chickens. So far so good. They were pretty shy and huddled together the first 24 hours. Since then they have been running around and seem to be quite happy. We ended up getting two month old hens because we found out the survival rate is iffy at best (especially in winter) for younger chicks. Also the farm doesn't sex their birds until they get a bit older and we can't have a rooster.

Let me introduce them to you:

The Princess of Wales AKA Lady Diana, a Silver Ameraucana
The famous "Easter Egger" with eggshells in shades of green & blue. Originally a cross-breed of the South American "Araucana" breed and another breed, today the Ameraucanas sold by the commercial hatcheries are more like a "mix" that don't involved any purebreed Araucanas and don't adhere to breed standards. This breed is also very hardy.
Egg Laying: Good (3/wk)
Egg Color: Green/Blue
Egg Size: Medium
Comb Type: Pea Comb
Crested: No
Feathered Feet: No
Number of Toes: 4
Hardy In Winter: Yes
Bears Confinement: Bears confinement well
Especially Docile: Yes
Setter/Broody: No
Personality: Fun

Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II, a Barred Rock
Barred Plymouth Rocks or "Barred Rocks", as they're called, are one of the most popular dual-purpose chickens on small farms today. Their heritage is unclear with reports of different crosses, but what is clear is that they're very friendly, great layers of large brown eggs and able to withstand cold weather quite nicely. Though they tolerate confinement, they're most happy when they get to range freely. All varieties of Plymouth Rock aside from the Barred and White varieties are relatively rare.
Egg Laying: Very Good (4/wk)
Egg Color: Brown
Egg Size: Large
Comb Type: Single Comb
Crested: No
Feathered Feet: No
Number of Toes: 4
Hardy In Winter: Yes
Bears Confinement: Bears confinement well
Especially Docile: Yes
Setter/Broody: Yes
Personality: Smart, plucky and docile

The Duchess of York, a Buff Silkie Bantam
Of all the ornamental chicken breeds, the Silkie Bantam is the most popular and most loved. Can't you tell why? They're the lap dog of the chicken world, complete with hair-like plumage and an incredibly sweet temperament. Unlike lap dogs, though, Silkies don't freak out when guests come over. Silkies were originally bred in China, where they are still kept (and eaten) today. They have black skin and bones and 5 toes instead of the normal 4. In addition, Silkie hens make wonderful mothers and are even known to adopt baby ducks if given the chance!
Egg Laying: Good (3/wk)
Egg Color: Cream or Tinted
Egg Size: Tiny (bantam)
Comb Type: Walnut Comb
Crested: Yes
Feathered Feet: Yes
Number of Toes: 5
Hardy In Winter: Yes
Bears Confinement: Bears confinement well
Especially Docile: Yes
Setter/Broody: Yes
Personality: Sweet, tame, mothering.

I bought the coop off craigslist from a guy in Woodbury. The thing weighs a good 300lbs or more (Thanks Anton for helping me pick it up). It was a rabbit hutch, but with a few alterations it will serve as a perfect chicken coop.

We installed a piece of wood across the whole thing for the birds to roost on (they prefer to sleep there instead of on the ground). For now the coop is in the garage. Once they get a bit older and more tolerant to the cold we will move it outside. We will move them outside in the spring.

The far right side has a separate area for them to use as a nest. They will not begin to lay eggs until they reach 18-20 weeks.

Monday, November 05, 2007


I took the day off work to be home for the new counter top installation. Christina and I researched lots of options to replace the laminate counters in our small kitchen. After several weeks we finally had them put in today. We got Silestone, a man-made solid surface. We also reconfigured the cabinets to make room for a new sink. Unfortunately the farmhouse apron sink we chose has a small crack and we need to replace it before we can install all the plumbing and new faucet. Further annoying is the fact we can't get a replacement until December because the are temporarily out of stock. Here are some before photos to compare to the above after:

The kitchen as it looked when I moved in. Yuck!

A few days ago before I ripped everything out and cut up the sink cabinet.

The installation went super fast. They came beforehand and used a digital camera to measure everything to fit the imperfections in the old kitchen.

Other upgrades? I put in some missing siding under the window trim Christina finished painting yesterday, I took my Jeep in to have a nail removed from a tire and fixed and found out I needed a new catalytic converter, and I got the last signature needed to secure a small animal permit for the CHICKENS! Upgrades!

Thursday, November 01, 2007


our friends (my friend elissa's cousins) at the lostview farm need your help. becca, chris, charis and jay are planning to remodel their single family farm house into a space that is suitable for two families to have their own areas. they moved from the city a few years ago to a farm in WI to create a more sustainable life for themselves. they are planning a green remodel and have entered this contest and need your vote. they will win $5000 towards their project. you will have to register quickly before you can vote, but it is pretty painless.