Thursday, August 18, 2016

A Needle in a Haystack

More like a set of keys in a hay field.  On Saturday evening we went out to pick blackberries for the Sunday market, about an hour before dark.  Because we were heading out to the back of the property, Larry locked the house and brought a set of keys.  He was wearing soccer shorts because they were light and airy and it was warm, and they had no pocket.  He tied the keys in his shoe laces and double knotted them.  When I saw that I was about to say something negative, like 'that's a dumb idea', but for once I managed not say what I was thinking, and kept my mouth shut. (That doesn't happen often!)  Somewhere along the way the keys fell off.  We looked where Larry had been for the last bit of picking because that's where he thought they must come loose, but we couldn't find them.  We have two sets of car keys, and every once in a while one disappears.  Usually it is found in a pocket in a piece of clothing that hasn't been worn for a while.  So before Saturday we were already down to one set.  Now we were down to no sets.  Fortunately when we had a previous loss of a set, we had got an extra key made, and I carried that single key in my purse for emergencies.  This was an emergency, we needed the car for the market in the morning.  We have so much in the way of fruit and veggies at the moment that we can't fit it all in the truck.  We have had numerous key searches in the past few days, but so far no luck with either set.  Yesterday Larry broke down and got both house and cars key made.  I think we will just stick to one set from now on.  More chance of remembering where it might be if someone doesn't hang them up in their proper place, if there isn't another set to just grab.  That way we have to do a search right away.  And I still have the emergency one in my purse.

Meanwhile, out in the chicken coops.....especially the new coop,... we had a lot of broody hens.  Seven  at one point.  By broody I mean hens that don't want to lay eggs any more, they just want to sit in the nest box and be all huffy and clucky and ideally they want to hatch some eggs.  They don't care if there are no eggs to hatch, they will just sit there anyway and try to scare off other hens that ARE still laying, that want to get in that nest box.  As well, we had hens that wanted to sit in the nest boxes at night, instead of on the roosts.  And they poop in there overnight. 

So a few weeks back when Larry was away for a couple of days, I had had enough of the huffy hens.  After the eggs were collected in the afternoon, I fastened up a piece of tarp that covered over the nest boxes.  The broody hens got ejected, and the nest boxes were covered up. 

 That was enough to discourage four of the broody hens, but three of them got back into the nest boxes as soon as they were uncovered the next morning.  So those three spent a couple of days in a wire bottomed cage.  If they don't have something solid underneath them they won't sit down .  Sounds mean I know, but if you don't do something, some of those hens will stay broody for weeks and weeks...and weeks. One hen was very determined, and it took another day in the cage, but she has got herself straightened out now, and egg numbers have gone up.  Most of the hens are on the roosts at night.  A few roost on the perches in front of the nest boxes, which is okay.  When the coop door is shut at dark, the tarp is tucked up and out of the way, and the clean nest boxes are all set for the next morning.  And we are loving those nest boxes! No bending over, easy to collect the eggs, we should have done this years ago.

In the morning those hens charge out and its heads down and grass for breakfast.  

Granny Marigold asked a question about the labels on the jam jars.  I do get a lot of jars back, I give customers a 25 cent discount on their next jar, for each empty they bring me.  Most of them have the labels on.  I think most of the time the jar has been through the dishwasher, and my theory is that the heat just sets the sticky part even more, and the label doesn't want to come off.  I usually get them wet and just rub the paper part off with my thumbs, the sticky part is still there.  Sometimes I feel like I have rubbed my thumbprints right off.  Then I put the new label right over where the old one was.  Lately some seem to rub off, sticky part and all, so I'm wondering if maybe they didn't go through the dishwasher?  The dishwasher thing is just a theory, I haven't tested it.  I have noticed though that on the old style jars that you can't buy any more, the label, sticky and all, will rub off after getting wet.  There must be something different about the glass.  Occasionally I get jars back with the label and the sticky stuff off, I love those ones!

When we replaced our computer, Windows 10 didn't really support the very old Print Artist program I was using.  I was able to sort of use documents I had already created, but the font I was using wasn't available, the labels were all weird with a different font, and I couldn't get them to point where I really liked them.  So we ended up going for something simpler that I could make with the office program that came with the computer.  And wow, was that a learning curve that was!, but I have mostly figured it out now.
 I think.

Saturday, August 13, 2016

One Thing Leads to Another

A long time ago I read a little story about a woman who was getting ready for bed, and how she needed to take something down stairs.  Well the story goes on about the woman picking this and that up along the way, stopping to put things away etc, seeing other things that needed doing as she went through the house.  She got to bed finally an hour later.  The man of the house got up out of his chair and just went to bed.

I felt a bit like that this morning.  I had got up early and cleaned out the big chicken coop, brought a wheelbarrow load from the compost pile to the garden, and dug up the potatoes for Sunday's market.  This was before breakfast. I was on a real roll this morning.  After breakfast we took the dogs through the bush, and then I went and picked some blackberries while Larry got the tractor and mower and beat down some grass.  I was coming in to put the blackberries on trays to freeze individually, as I am hoping to sell them frozen during the winter.  There was no room to work in the garage where the freezer is, so I was moving some stuff around to open up some space. I uncovered a bin of red plums that had been there more than a week, and had got forgotten after they had been buried under something.  What a gross mess, fruit flies galore, into the compost they went.  There were a few apples in there that were okay so I took them and threw them to the chickens.  Which reminded me that the coop needed some bedding adding to the floor, and I had left the roosts propped up with a 2x4, so I had better go and check that things were okay.  The floor had dried so I went to get some hay from a barrel over by the other coop, and then realized that I needed more than what was there.  Got a wheel barrow, and went to the barn to get a bale of hay.  Saw a bunch of baling string that I needed for a project, and brought a bale over to the coop and spread some around on the floor.  Then the waterer needed filling and there was no water left in the buckets outside, so I carried two over to the hose and filled them up and carried them back and got the waterer filled up.  All good in there.  I had left the dirty bin down the garden after dumping the plums in the compost, by the closest tap so I could clean it out.  I washed the bin out with the hose and thought I had better water the seeds I had planted.  Did that, and was amazed once again by the arugula.  I put those seeds in the ground on Wednesday morning, and here it is Friday and they are coming up already.  So then I took the baling string and cut it into pieces and tied up the new raspberry canes that are flopping over the paths and scratch you as you push your way past.  And then finally I went back to the garage and bagged up the frozen berries that were on trays, and got the ones that I had picked this morning onto the trays and back into the freezer.  And so it goes......

Wednesday`s jam in Thursday`s early morning sunlight

The Crabapple Jelly is so pretty with the sun shining through it

It has been a real fruit week.  Crab apple juice to sieve and bag for the freezer.  Plums to pick and jam and freeze and sort for the market.  We picked the last of the green apples last night.  There were some monsters.  The Bartlett pears need to be picked and peeled and sliced and frozen for Ginger Pear Jam.  I brought home a huge box of seconds of peaches and nectarines from the produce store yesterday, and half of those need to be dealt with.  Jam to make of course.  This afternoon I made Fig Apple Preserves (sounds fancier than calling it jam!) and Greengage Plum Jam.  All our own fruit.  Next is to get those peaches and nectarines sorted out, and then Peach Jam and Peachy Mango Jam, and maybe even some Peach Persimmon Jam.  I have a small bag of persimmons that I have been saving to do something with.  Now seems a good time. Time...there is not enough of it.  Of course I don't use all my time wisely.  The computer calls....I chat with David in England.  I read and look up this and that.  Darn thing anyway, that time sucking computer.

PS. It was hot today, and I decided to make some more jam this evening, when the house had cooled off. So a batch each of Nectarine and the Peach Persimmon were made tonight. I went outside for a quick look  for some of the Perseid Meteors, but only saw one.  The moon hadn`t set yet, so the sky didn`t seem that dark.  An owl hooted off in the distance.  I saw more meteors last night, and listened to three packs of coyotes yipping and howling to each other.
Tomorrow is another day.
Oh darn, it`s tomorrow already!

Tuesday, August 9, 2016

Last Weekend

It seems to be so difficult for me to spit out a post these days.  I have so much I'd like to say, but I can't seem to keep it simple, and it gets more complicated than I want, and there the photos sit until they hardly seem relevant any more.  Anyway, here goes....

Early morning mist, just to remind us that Fall is on it's way.  

It's got to the time of the year when some days I just want to run screaming off into the hills, shouting 'I don't want to do this anymore! And then I get over it....
Don't get me wrong, I love doing the markets, most of the time, or at least after we get there and are set up and you open up and there is a bit of a lineup and people give you complements....and I love it all.  I mean, who doesn't like to get their ego stroked once in a while.

But right now with so much fruit in season, and the weeds still growing like mad things and only so much time and energy for each day, there are some days I just feel fed up.  I like to keep people happy, and if I'm out of one thing and someone is disappointed that they didn't get it, well I try to have it done for the next week.  But sometimes it is one of the things that is lower down the list of the things (well really we are talking about jam here) that I like to make, so I procrastinate and then am rushing at the last minute to get it done.  As in last minute, midnight on Saturday night kind of rushing.  Silly and stupid I know.  But that seems to be the way I roll.

The start of a bumper crop of figs

Blackberry season got off to an early start, probably the earliest ever that I remember, and we've been picking them since the beginning of July.  We have picked 47 four litre (a bit over an American gallon) buckets for jam and jelly, so far.  Probably half as much again to take to sell at the market.  Right now, our two plum trees are loaded and ripening constantly, the pears are just about ready, and we have apples and figs too.

Having decided to only go to one market this summer hasn't seemed to make things any simpler.  Jam sales are on par or better to the last few years. 

On Saturday morning we went to a few garage sales. Nice to just get out and have a bit of fun.  We were out about three hours, and got some good things.  The best one for me was a heavy duty jam or stock pot for $5.  Nice heavy bottom on it.  I've been wanting another one for a while, and the cheapest I had seen was about $40, so I was really pleased with that.  It didn't even look like it had been used.  

In the afternoon I had to make a Spiced Rhubarb Relish.  An old family (not my family) recipe whose grandma was not around to make it any more.  Not a difficult thing to make, but it takes some babysitting because it has to cook slowly for a couple of hours, so you have to hang around and give it the occasional stir and when you think it has cooked enough, then it has to be jarred and processed.  I thought it was going to be picked up at the market on Sunday, but I was wrong about that.  At least I got it done after procrastinating on it for some months, and arrangements will be made to pick up in the next little while.  And in my quest to make things a bit simpler, I've since informed that family that it is time for one of the younger generation to tackle the relish themselves.  So while I was babysitting the spiced rhubarb, I made these  chalkboard signs.  I've found that signs really need to be in people's faces.  The week before I had a big board at the back with all the different prices listed, and people just didn't seem to see them.   So this week I wanted to put a sign with each item.

I went to Dollarama and tried to find the little cute chalkboard signs I had seen there before.  They were no where to be seen, so I wandered around to see what else I could use.  I bought one piece of black foam board, and three metal paper towel holders.  I cut the foam board into pieces and cut the rounded end off the holder so that the two metal legs were now able to be slid very carefully between the front and back of the foam board, and voila!  I smeared chalk all over the foam board and wiped the excess off, and now it works just like a chalk board.  I was pretty impressed with myself!;-)

I did have someone comment on the 'Naturally Grown', he asked what else would they be, as in what is Unnaturally Grown?  So I explained that I am not allowed to say organic because we are not certified, and that was my way of getting around it, as everything we grow really IS organic.  I suppose Unnaturally Grown would be with sprays and chemical fertilizer, as that wouldn't be how they would grow in nature.

I'm getting a bit sidetracked here.....Anyway, we went to a garage sale less than a mile away from home.  The fellow had sold and was moving from his ten acres.  It was 10 acres of trees with a house in there and an old falling down barn. Nothing to look at. It made our 10 acres look like an estate! Now property in this whole neck of the woods has gone crazy, the trickle down effect from the skyrocketing prices in Vancouver, an hour away.  I asked what his place sold for.  Don't faint.  $1,400,000.00.   Yes that is $1.4 million. If he got that for his, well it just floors me what ours might be worth.  Ours is a prettier piece of property, better is just mind boggling.

So after the rhubarb stuff was done, we went out to pick plums off both trees.  It's a slow process because they are not all the same degree of ripeness, some are too ripe and rotting, some still hard.  After that we went to pick blackberries.  Time is rolling on and it was dusk when we were done.  I hadn't picked the flowers yet.  As I am wandering around in the dark with a head lamp on, trying to scrounge enough flowers up from my pathetic garden, to make a few bouquets, I think to myself that I must be crazy.  Why am I doing this.  Why aren't we slapping a For Sale sign up, selling as is (as there is sooo much that needs upgrading here, but like I said, our place looks wonderful compared to that other 10 acres)  and moving to a cheaper area and a smaller place.  A hard decision when you have lived in a place for 30 years, and mostly love it there.  But it was definitely a slap upside the head, to tell me that I really don't NEED to do this if I truly don't want to.

  Have no fear, nothing is changing in the near future, but it has certainly given us something to think about.

Tuesday, August 2, 2016

BC Day Bike Ride

  Monday was a holiday here in BC.  It was our provincial holiday, BC Day!  We forced ourselves to do a bit of something different, so first we took the dogs down to the dyke for a swim, and then after that we went for a bike ride.  Of course, like usual around here, nothing is ever as simple as it sounds.  Since we had to drive to where we wanted to ride, we needed to take the truck.  Since there was a bunch of market stuff in the back of the truck, we decided it would be easier to use the bike rack that fits in the hitch receiver on the back of the truck.  That would save us unloading and then reloading the truck.  Of course first we had to find the bike rack, and since it hadn't been used in ages, we weren't sure where it was.  I looked, with no luck, but thankfully Larry saw it fairly quickly.  Then we had to change the part that went into the hitch reciever, because it had last been used on David's car, which took a different size.  So we got a bigger one bolted on the rack, and then found it was too long to fit in the truck reciever, blah blah blah,.  So in the end we could probably have unloaded and reloaded the truck five times, in the amount of time we spent getting the bike rack sorted out.  That's just how we seem to roll. 

It was about 7:30 by this time, and it had been a nice summer day.  By the time we got one our bikes, about 25 minutes away just south of Hougen Park, by the Cole Rd rest stop on Hwy 1, it was cooling off, with a cool breeze.  We set off down the dyke, heading southeast towards the little village of Arnold.  This is a flat area with a lot of dairy farms.  There were acres and acres of silage corn, and some of it was monstrous. 
 "The Corn is as High as an Elephant's Eye'

The dyke went quite close to a few farms, one in particular made you feel like you were riding through their back yard.
There were different sizes of bridges crossing the drainage canals.  This one hadn't been used in a long while.  Those darn blackberries, as we know well, would cover the whole area given half a chance.

We passed a few dog walkers, and saw two other cyclists.  The going was pretty rough, I think they had put more gravel down since we were last there a few years ago.  The sun was shining just about straight down the dyke.

The end of the dyke, with Vedder Mountain in the distance.

This was as close as we got to Arnold, as we needed to head back to the truck before we ran out of daylight.

  We chose to ride back by the roads, it was a lot smoother that way, and most of them had very little traffic. 

It was a nice evening with some interesting cloud formations

And if it had been earlier and a hot day, we could have gone for a quick cool down

Monday, July 25, 2016

I'm Still Here

You may be wondering what happened to me over the last month and a half.  Then again, you may not.  Either way, I'm back!  Way back in June, things just got really busy, and blogging went by the wayside.  I was flying to Ontario on June 19, so there was the last minute panic of trying to get all those things done that had been put off, procrastinated about, ignored, etc.

Things got sad too.  All of a sudden, Calli, the wonder dog, was not doing well and went downhill.  I'm sorry to say that Larry had the unenviable job of taking her for her last visit to the vet on June 20.  The appointment had been made a few days before, so I was able to say my goodbyes to her on Sunday before heading to the market and then the airport.  She had lived a wonderful long life of 16 years, 4 months and 25 days.  A long life for any dog, and more so for her.  She was a real trouper! I like to think of her running on four legs now, chasing her orange ball. She loved those orange street hockey balls...and she loved (when she was still able) to carry shoes to her bed and pile them up to make a pillow for her head.

 We have lots of good memories....:)

So I flew to Ontario to my sister's.  Quite a while back she said she wanted to do something different, so she was going to drive to B.C. this summer.  I didn't have to think about it too long, 'Roadtrip!' I thought, and said I would fly out and drive back with her.  We decided that 'to heck' with trying to stop at a whole bunch of tourist traps, we were going to Thrift Shop our way across Canada.  And we did! And we camped and slept in a tent.  I was determined to travel light, so only took a few clothing options with me on the plane, considering that it was Summer.  In that bag (a 50 cent garage sale buy) I had a sleeping bag and my usual bed pillow, a few changes of clothes, a coffee mug, toiletries, another pair of shoes and a few other odds and ends.  I had fun seeing how much I could fit in there.  I used big plastic bags that were designed to have the air sucked out of them, the dollar store had them, and they worked wonderfully well.  We did have a great time, we called ourselves Thelma and Louise.  Not really appropriate, as we had so much fun, a lot of laughs, but they were the first names that came to mind.  Neither us could remember seeing the movie, so weren't sure of the story line until we looked it up.  Cathy has since watched the video, and said we should have called ourselves Laverne and Shirley instead. We will have a name change for the next trip! Maybe in the Fall....
Oh yes, and we have been without a computer for the last two weeks.  So now Cathy has made it three for three.  There has been a major weather event the last three times she has been here, which resulted in damage of some sort.  This time it was a gigantic thunderstorm.  It happened the night we got here.  We don't get a lot of thunderstorms here, and it's always a bit exciting when we do.  This one just seemed to be right over top of us, and went on and on, and there was one massive crash near the end and I expected to look out and see the Apocalypse. Nothing.  The only thing was that in the morning the computer was dead.  And there was no internet.  We did find out that our carrier was having issues in the area and then I phoned them near the end of the day.  Apparently the internet was back up and running, except at our house.  Turns out our modem was faulty, and we managed to get it replaced the next day.  The technician poo pooed the idea that it was anything to do with the thunderstorm, but he didn't know that our neighbours had to get their same modem replaced as well.  The computer was not revivable, it was old and not running well anyway, so a new one was in the works.  That meant making a decision, and I put that off as long as I could, but I needed to make labels for the we finally had to get one.  And it has Windows 10, which is just that bit different to make things awkward, and neither of us are anywhere close to being a computer geek....and sometimes I just want to scream and smash my fist into the screen.  Oh, and by the way, both modem and computer were plugged into a good surge protector... go figure! 

So there you have it.  All my excuses for disappearing.
  Here's a couple of photos from our trip.  The moose was in Dryden, Ontario.  The only moose we saw. 

A thunder storm moving in at sunset in Medicine Hat, Alberta

Hopefully I'll be a good blogger and talk to you again soon!

Thursday, June 9, 2016

My New Best Friend

 My knee has been bothering me quite a bit. When I first went to see the doctor about it, he had put in a request for an MRI, just in case I might need it.  Since the waiting list was so long, there was lots of time for me to cancel it.  I did get an appointment, for January of next year!  Good grief, really?  Anyway, apparently the powers that be decided it was time to get rid of the wait list for MRIs, so they are now running pretty well 24 hours a day across the province.  There must be an election coming up soon! I was on the cancellation list, and I actually missed a phone call from the hospital at the beginning of May.  Then I got another call less than two weeks later, and I was booked in for a 9pm Saturday evening appointment.  Since I had never had an MRI before, I was sort of looking forward to a new experience. 

 My first thought was that 'oh wow, is it ever quiet in the hospital at that time of night'.  A bit creepy in fact.  Anyway, I was given a questionaire to fill in, was asked some questions (was I claustrophobic?). I didn't think I would be, and then I was informed that my head and neck would be out.  Now I was imagining slowly being slid into the big tube, some quiet humming of the machinery for a few minutes, and then it would be all done.  Then I was told that it was quite noisy, and I would be in there for 25 minutes.  I was handed some foam ear plugs, but I didn't get them in very well because they sure didn't do much for dulling the noise.  Wow, noises like horns blaring and a hammer drill, then it would go all quiet and then start over again.  I was determined that I was going to lay perfectly still, and I did, although I had to fight the urge to get a bit twitchy at one point.  All done and then it was just over a week later before I got back in to see the doctor. 

 The verdict was two tears in the meniscus (the big cartilage between the upper and lower leg bones) and some sort of floating knee junk. To make a long story short, I was a candidate for arthroscopic surgery.  The doctor asked me how the knee felt, and I told him it felt the pits.  He was typing away at the computer, so not sure if he used those exact words.  I said that it felt like I had a wooden leg, and the joint wasn't functioning properly.  I did have good days and bad days, but when I saw the doctor I was in a stretch of bad days and was feeling particularly fed up as I limped into his office, and said I just wanted it fixed.  So I have an appointment to see the surgeon at the end of July.  The next day I was at the chiropractors.  I told him about my knee.  He said to get myself a cheap stationary bike, and to ride, ride, ride.  He told me how another patient of his had managed to avoid surgery by pedaling, a lot of pedaling.  He made the comment that although it is a minor sort of knee surgery, once they have been in there, the knee is never the same.  The best option would be to avoid surgery if possible.  Sooo, since the doctor had also asked me if I had a stationary bike the first time I went to see him, I decided to see what I could do for myself.  So on to Craigslist I went, and I found my new friend about 25 minutes away for $50.  Off I went to pick it up.  That was a week ago.  My aim is to ride 10 miles a day on the bike.  I'm not meeting that goal, but have ridden 60 miles since I brought it home last Thursday.  I must say that my knee has felt pretty good the whole time.  I haven't had the 'wooden leg' feeling at all.  I think the theory is that the constant gentle repetitive motion helps to smooth things out.  We will see.  Fingers (and knees) crossed!

And back at the farm, those new hens are squawking right along.  Six eggs today, and five of them were laid in the nest boxes.  What smart birds!  The one in the middle is announcing to the world that she has just laid an egg.  The one of the right is joining in to spread the good news, but she hasn't laid her own yet.  Sometimes the whole flock of hens has to shout it to the world altogether. And people complain about roosters being noisy.....huh, they have no idea....!

My theory is that the hay picking is to help cover or camouflage the egg.
Looks like a case of the hay being better on the other side of the divider.

Wednesday, June 8, 2016

To the Usable Point.

The chicken coop is finally to the point that it is fit to house chickens. It is functional, but not pretty.  Hopefully the pretty part will come, although we are not so great at getting projects past the functional part sometimes. We do have a box of the house siding left over, so hope to use that on the most visible part of the coop.

The west end of the coop.  Can you see the little chicken door cut out at the bottom?  That's our $5 Craigslist bathroom window.  We have two smaller chicken coops, and they have bathroom windows too.

The east side.  That screen door was on our house originally.  When we found it hidden behind some plywood, I was thrilled.  It serves the purpose of a door and window all in one.  You can't really see it, but there is a window under the roof overhang on the south (left) side.  Right now it just has wire mesh over it, but we have a piece of glass to fit in there for winter.  The wood gates on either side were from the sheep barn.  The one on the left leads to the field, and the one on the right goes into the yet unfinished leanto for Ramona and is an outdoor, out of the weather spot for the chickens to hang out.

On Sunday we had the farmers market, and since it was a 34 degree day, we just didn't have the energy to work on the coop when we got home, although we did go out later in the evening.  We were out there early Monday morning and got the roof finished, and the doors and windows in, and a feeder hung up and water in there.  I headed off mid afternoon to go and pick up the chickens, and Larry tidied up so that I could back the truck right up to the door when I got back.  I was the last person to pick up their hens, and as luck would have it, an earlier person hadn't taken their full amount, so I was able to get 60 hens instead of 45.  We put a tarp into the back of the pickup, and threw some hay on top, and the hens are just put in there loose.  It's all fine until I get them home, and then they don't want to leave the truck.  I had to climb in there with them, and as I push them through the door they are trying to fly back into the truck.  It's absolute mayhem for a bit, until we get them all in the coop.  When I had arrived home,  Jake and Luna had met me at the gate.  I opened it, drove through, stopped and walked back to close it.  Luna had been all wiggly and happy to see me, and then all of a sudden her nose came up, sniff, sniff, sniff.  You could literally watch her body change from a wiggly little thing to a super charged, on full alert, I have a job to do, OMG that truck is full of chickens! kind of dog.  She herded the truck back to the coop, and just quivered the whole time we were unloading them.

That afternoon we didn't let them out of the coop, although we opened the door and put a wire grid over it so they could see outside.  First we had to change the fence.  We got that done yesterday morning and let the girls out.  They are very cautious at first but it didn't take long before a fair number were scratching around and had made themselves a dust bath, and were picking at the greenery.  Being young and foolish, every once in a while there would be a squawk, and one chicken would suddenly fly up and over a little distance, which seemed to get quite a few of the others doing the same thing.  Inevitably a few went over the fence, but they were easy enough to get back in.

We left the door hanging at an angle as a roof.

We got a nice surprise yesterday, we got three little eggs, and again today.  I had looked on the internet for options for nest boxes.  Sure we could have built some wooden ones, but that involves so many little pieces of wood and fastening it all together.  I saw lots of different ones, but one caught my interest.  You know how you have some of your best ideas while laid awake in bed?  So I got thinking, and remembered all these wooden boxes/drawers that we had.  Something I had seen on Craigslist a number of years ago, back when I first discovered Craigslist, and I dragged Larry all over the countryside picking up various 'bargains'.  I don't remember actually having a plan for these boxes, but quite a few of them were used in the shop by David to store some of his tools and stuff in.  So as I was laid in bed, I wondered if some of the boxes would work with some of the dollar store bowls (do you call them bowls when they are rectangles?).  
Well honestly, when I put the two together, it couldn't have been more perfect! 

 And then I found I had the perfect little metal slides that the plywood dividers fit into. They were from a previous 'shelves in the closet' project.

 Already the right length with two holes drilled in each one, just what I needed to screw them to the bottom of the box.  The advantage of using the bowls is that if the nest box gets messy, you just lift the bowl out and dump it and give it a rinse and it is all clean again.  And the nest boxes do get messy.  Eggs get broken, or hens poop in them.  So that was my project yesterday and this morning.  There is a roost for them to fly up onto to access the nest boxes, and if they want to roost there overnight, that is fine too.  We don't want them spending the night in the nest boxes, so if that happens, I've got a plan for that.  And guess what, a hen laid her egg in one of the nest boxes this morning!  The other two laid theirs on the floor, but I think they will figure it out.  I hope so.  And the beauty of these nest boxes is that you don't have to bend over to collect the eggs.  I am thrilled with how it has all turned out!

    We did get them a roosting ladder made for last night, but they haven't used it yet.  It takes a while for them to change their habits.  They lived in a big barn up to this point, and I'm assuming had no roosting areas, as they all just huddle together on the floor at night.  They will figure that out fairly soon too.

There is still a ton of work to be done.  All the cleanup of the wood from the old barn that we didn't use.  The leanto to finish.  Clean up/changing of the bricks and slabs of concrete on the west side of the barn.  One of these days it will hopefully look kind of cute.
 In my mind it does!