Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Turn this rooster off

Coco is crowing All. The. Time. starting at 3 this morning he has felt the need to declare his territory every hour on the hour, or sooner if he likes.

I'm not sure what to do. We have three weeks until we move (eighteen days really) and we're not legally allowed to have roosters. Now I know why.

What to do?

Sunday, November 28, 2010


Sometimes while you're travelling down the dusty path of life you are given certain truths. You take for granted what someone tells you, what you've heard or think you remember. You can go about your business knee deep in falsehoods and never even know it if you never bother to glance at your feet.

Recently, I discovered a falsehood. A mistake if you will. Though this wasn't intentional or sneaky or sly it opened my eyes to the realization that there are still some things I take soul deep for granted, just because a stranger told me so. And just so much I still don't know.

In my last post I invited you to meet the girls of our backyard flock. I have to apologize to you for passing on the misconception in the title post.

Coco is in fact not a girl. A new truth we learned three nights ago when we awoke to a distinct cock-a-doodle-do at five in the morning. That glorious crow opened our eyes to other behaivor and traits in our dear Coco that are very blatantly male.

Her...I mean his comb is quite a bit larger than the others. He pushes out his neck feathers into a mane when he's scared, fighting or irritated. He's quite a sight bigger (and always has been) than the girls. He's got beautiful green hued black tail feathers much longer than the other three. His feet are enormous. And then there was the tell-tale crowing which repeated this morning.

We did not want roos for a specific reason (mainly that we can only have 4 chickens in the city but agression was also a factor) so all these signs of testosterone have been ignored because I was ignorant of what a rooster really does and is. Being a first time chicken owner and not wanting roosters I never researched roosters, I had no idea of their behaivor and looks. I took the word of the feed store (and the extra pricing to have a sexed group of chickens) as an unfailable truth. But human chicken sexers are not free from error. No one is.

There really isn't much to do about it at this point. If we had discovered she was a he earlier we would probably have just sent him off to freezer camp, but for the past four months we've repeatedly told the kids these four would not be eaten. I would like to at least keep one truth in tact.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Meet the Girls

It's been three months since we expanded our city farm to include actual livestock. Wow, what a difference three months makes. I was so nervous to invite those little puffball chicks into our home. I felt everything had to be "just right" and then when out and bought them before we were really ready. Such is life, it never is what you think it'll be.

L to R: Caramel (Cari), Coco and Lemonade (Lem)

 But I have to say that even with the issues we've had with them pecking and rushing to build a coop when they quickly outgrew the rabbit cage in the laundry room, adding chickens to our home has been quite a wonderous thing.


For starters, chickens aren't stupid. They're not. When they cock their head and focus one beady little eye in your direction sizing you up, you know intelligence lay within their peanut sized brains. Yes, they're flighty and get distracted easliy but when you're low on the food chain and 99% of your day is made up hunting for your dinner, you really can't blame them for it.

Lemonade (or Lem)

The learning experience for the kids alone has been worth the occasional stomps in chicken shit. Chasing the chickens around the yard to get them back to the coop has been more fun than our trip to Seaworld. And then there was that time Coco escaped into the house...

Caramel (or Cari)

They're resourceful, friendly and low-maintenance. Their food is cheap to free and they gobble up kitchen scraps like mad reducing our need for feed, boosting their vitamins and elminating scraps that would normally just be waste. They're not laying yet but I'm hoping for eggs sometime in January.

One abrupt decision on a hot August day and I can easily see myself owning chickens for the rest of my life, who would have thought.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Friday, November 12, 2010

Two baby steps forward, one step...to the left?

I'm nervous writing these words. Yet, excited as well. After much talking we have decided to find a rental house. The bone between us in our marriage isn't holding up as well as I'd hoped. The nearly two year deployment only a year ago still has us on shaky footings being separated again is too much too soon. We're straining to be a couple which isn't good for anything.

After reviewing our finances the cabin just isn't going to be ready any time soon. With Rob needing to come home, to see his family on the weekends it leaves no time for working on the cabin even if we could get to supplies. No electricity means no work can get done and even after that there just aren't enough hours in his day to get it done. Work, where he's staying and the cabin are a triangle away from each other, each leg a good hour drive. And gas is an expensive commodity to burn in such large quantities.

So, we've decided to rent a mobile home in the backwoods near our land. While it seems like this would hold us back from our dream of having a farm in 2011, the owner is fine with us having livestock and the ten acres the house sits on even has a barn with running water and an already fenced pasture. The payment is more than manageable and will still leave us with money to work on the cabin and the ability to actually get to it within a reasonable time frame leaves even more incentive to get it done.

We've given ourselves a year to work things out, to get the cabin ready one hundred percent and rebuild our marriage. Sometimes life takes you in a direction you weren't expecting but needed regardless.

Monday, November 8, 2010

Holiday Sale for my Blog Friends

I'm running a sale in my Etsy store. Trying to gather up a little holiday gift money. All purchases done in the store by Friday November 12th with the words BLOG FRIEND will get 30% off their purchase OR free shipping. Please specify which you prefer and I'll send a revised invoice through paypal.

I have some great stocking stuffers! I'll also continue to list the PDF apron patterns as they are sold so anyone that has been wanting to try it out can.

Thanks for everyone's support this year.

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Why nothing has gotten done yet.

A few months ago I posted how our shipping container was broken into. The (enter expletive here) used bolt cutters to slice off the regular keyed locks we had. So, we scoured the internet and found a special lock for shipping containers that wasn't too ridiculously priced.

We got the new lock, drove up and installed it and haven't had a problem with breaking in yet.

Actually, it's such a good lock even we can't get into it.

So, Rob called the company that makes it, gave them the serial number off the lock and wouldn't you know it, the retailer that we bought it from sold us a defective lock. One the manufacturing company has listed as returned for defect.

So, Rob had to go buy an angle grinder to get the lock off. But wait, the angle grinder is electric and we don't have service yet. Well, we'll just use the generator...oh, wait. The generator is inside the shipping container.

Yes, just another day here in our world.

While we've been trying to figure out how we're going to get power to the grinder to get the lock off so we can have access to the flooring for the cabin that's inside and everything else we've stored up there (tools and whatnots), we haven't done really anything else. The electric papers need to be notarized, something they didn't tell us beforehand and since Rob doesn't live in Tampa anymore so we have to do it on the weekend when he's back but it's in the works. The electrician set up to do the pole is on standby until we get our papers in order.

Rob asked around and the same wonderful people he's staying with have an uncle with a generator that let us borrow it for a couple hours last night to get the lock off.  He had to pick up gloves and a face shield so he didn't get maimed while cutting through the thick metal.

Now we have to send this back to the company to get a working replacement lock.  It's all these little things no one tells you about that tend to come up. The broken lock has prevented us from getting into the container which means we couldn't get tools out or flooring, we couldn't store materials or bring much up to the land that couldn't afford to get stolen if someone had the idea to break into the cabin. We've literally wasted weeks just because of this minor set back. And this is why nothing has gotten done yet.

Be prepared, folks. When setting out on your adventures, realize things will come up that you would in no way be able to fathom beforehand.