Dollar Stretcher "Silly Questions" thread - Page 5
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  1. #61
    Registered User MaggieTru's Avatar
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    Got 2 chickens today! Free...of course. Through a mutual help-friendship. They also fixed my hand-powered tiller thing. It needed a new handle. And I gave them some home-made mustard and paid for eggs. A good day. The hens are calm and in their new pen, but apparently they are escape artists so we'll see if they are in there tomorrow...I am upgrading the run and coop, but of course not done yet.
    I skipped the sheep poo this time, and they are starting to sell it rather than give it. They need to make up for a job loss. I think they are down about 800$ a month. I do not begrudge them the poo, they said I still get it free. But I'm picking up a load of pallets in the truck tomorrow and don't have time to get the manure out so told them we'd skip it. They don't have a market for the donkey manure so I'll be switching to that for the next few loads. That needs to be composted a year but I have a garden bed with zero soil in my construction site so ...it can compost as long as it wants.

    Tomorrow I am supposed to go help install bees at the community garden hives. That's where I get the pallets. I can combine the jobs and save gas and a trip. Minimizing highway time.

    Got some eggs and locally made bread too. THe baker did rustic french loaves this week. YUM. So good. He traded one loaf for a jar of the homemade mustard. It costs me about 2$ a jar (if I don't pay for the jar), plus labor. I had to buy a better stick blender so ...if they are worth 6$ (cost of his bread loaf), then I need to trade....12 or 13 jars. I'll get my money back by the end of July or mid August. Since I got a free repair and a long term relationship with the chicken friends, it doesn't cost out exactly, but seems well worth it. They come here and till my garden with the power tiller for free.

  2. #62
    Registered User MaggieTru's Avatar
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    Well, no pallets at the community garden last weekend but I got another chicken (named "T-Bone" because she is a tough trouble maker...which is why the community garden boss wanted her gone). Also went home with 9 greens starts. Bee installation with social distancing was pretty easy. I was the back up person setting up the tools and area, then I backed away and the garden boss installed the bee packages. I think we were too close during a bit of queen bee handling but we did our best. And we were outside. THe bees looked happy enough in their new homes. Here's hoping!

    This week I started fermenting cabbage, onions and a slaw of cabbage carrot onion. I haven't done the slaw or just onions before. The only challenge is it is slightly too cold in my place. I'm using a candle heater to keep the ferments above 60degs today. I like 55-60 in the house but lactobacillus works slow at that temp.

    I got free lumber off craigs list on weds and hope to use it to finish up the new coop. It's been raining and my skill level is LOW so it's not done yet. The stuff is gathered and the plan is developing. So far the 3 hens are ok in the old coop. I'm getting 2 eggs a day. I think T-Bone is either not laying or isn't laying where I can find the eggs. I found an old golfball on my property (I don't golf so don't know where it came from) and started using that as a bait-egg in the coop and that helped get the 2 eggs laid in the coop rather than wherever.

    The bread guy isn't baking this week, but said he'd trade for fermented veggies next week! Nice.

    I get bees Saturday am for my place. Just 1 hive. The hive that survived winter on my property is still doing well so hopefully I head into summer with 2 hives.
    I talked to my builders on Wednesday. Still no bid...but, I can be a real pest so eventually it will happen I hope

    Idaho is set to SLOWLY start reopening on Friday. WE'll see how that goes. Only a few new business types can open and some non-crisis medical procedures are being OK'd to start back up. I hope folks don't rush it But I am really looking forward to more stuff going on. I like being alone all the time and have been working even in the office sometimes, but I can see the isolation really wearing on some people.

  3. #63
    Registered User MaggieTru's Avatar
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    I saw my actual builder today, not Mrs Builder... She kept claiming he was close to a bid. He said he didn't have a bid. Cripes. BUT getting to talk to him directly is a more advanced stage of the process. This is our 3rd go-round with a project so I'm familiar. I keep stopping by at odd hours and calling from different numbers. New ways to be a pest. They did keep the one good looking guy on the crew so that will be nice. He's WAY too young, but the others are a bit...uh...not cute.

    I am just about done with Coop 2.0. It's better pallets than the old one, with a slide out bottom tray (found half of a car top carrier at the recycling center last year), bucket laying boxes and a sliding access door to the back of the boxes. The whole front (south) side slides out as 4 panels. I got cedar fence slats off craigslist and sided part of it and made the tracks for the sliding bits. The guy said he had more so I met him again tonight and got 18 more used fence slats. I can close up some of the bigger holes and just make it a tiny bit cuter.
    Dollar Stretcher "Silly Questions" thread-photo3267.jpg

    The chickens however are underwhelmed. They won't use the laying boxes and keep trying to use what's left of the old coop (a few pallet scraps with no roof or front!). I found an egg in the garden. So I put that in one of the laying boxes as bait. We'll see....There should be 2 eggs per day at least from the 3 hens. Cripes. Oh well. It's motivating me to fence the raised beds better. Critters eat the produce all the time so they need fenced. If I get real ambitious I will make a screendoor for my little porch. The chickens come up there specifically to poop! Especially while I'm trying to do zoom yoga inside. They make a racket and throw me off my game. Still...they amuse me and it makes me laugh to greet them in the morning ....Brittany, Suzanne and T-Bone.

    OH! ANd I got home from picking up free cedar slats this evening to find a note hanging on my "no trespassing" sign. It's from the woman down the road who lives in a horse trailer...the one that a lady at a christmas program a few years back informed me was "way more pioneer than you!" (I did not know there was a contest or that I was trying to be a pioneer).
    She invited me to come by and say Hi. I'll have to do that. From a safe distance.

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  5. #64
    Registered User MaggieTru's Avatar
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    Well, I keep meaning to post an update with pictures but that isn't going to happen.
    The most interesting picture would be my face after I got a dozen bee stings in my head!!! DO NOT handle bees after driving 90 min with disturbing and distracting covid news on the radio. I didn't double check my protective gear, rehearse my motions for moving bees from a nucleus hive to the big hive, or bother to get my smoker. It was a recipe for getting stung. And I got stung. Over 20 in all! OOPS! I'm fine. Not allergic. And I do have epi pens for an unrelated allergy so even an unexpected reaction would have been handle-able. But still, I had a major "fight or flight" reaction once I got the bees in their new home, and OUT of my hair!!!! And had to lie down with a glass of water for a while until the blood pressure went back to normal.
    I took 1 benadryl (off brand cheapo version of course) to keep the stings from itching and it worked. took one morning and night for about 3 days until the stings healed up.
    BUT head stings were around my hairline and the swelling juice drained INTO my eyelids! I could barely open the eyes for a day. I looked like I'd been in a bar fight. I was going to go meet a neighbor that day but decided to delay.

    By the next evening I looked OK and felt fine. The bees are not overly aggressive when I'm not tearing their home apart (as happens when you move them into a different hive). So that's good.

    The coop is working well and 2 of the chickens regularly lay their eggs IN the coop. The third laid in there the day I fed and watered them in it until everyone laid. After that, she must be just pooping the eggs out whereever she happens to be when it's time. I can't find them.

    Talked to Mrs Builderman today. We can social distance at their salvage yard. So, supposedly they are close. Whatever. They do know that working late in the year is a bad idea. We'll see. I'll just keep going every few days. Calls don't work.

    Um...Idaho is in stage 1 re-opening and on Saturday will likely to to stage 2...a few more businesses can open.
    I'm back in the office a bit more than half time and most people are in part time as well. We have TONS of distancing rules and temperature checks and sanitizing rules. I hope we follow them and that they work! We don't have known local cases so it's all still a bit surreal. My mom is in Iowa and it is REAL to her! I am being cautious.

    I built a screen door for my porch so I can use that space better and keep the chickens out of it.
    I've covered up one raised bed well with chicken wire over a frame and the plants are grateful for the lack of chickens scratching around.

    Still eating well...put of 5 quarts of ferments today (carrots, onions, and kraut) and have a new mustard brewing...brown mustard seeds with live kombucha vinegar I found at the food co-op. It is super fizzy and smells fantastic.

    I did a zoom brunch for mother's day from my wee shed with the wifi hotspot. I was eating but mom only brought wine! She's a hoot. Not a giant drinker but she wanted a mimosa for mother's day. More power to her.
    My brother got distracted by a bird out his window, and my sister and I got off on random topics...so pretty much like a real in-person mother's day brunch for us.

    Hope you are all doing well in your various situations/

  6. #65
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    wow that is a lot of stings glad you are ok! and your chickens are laying where you can find the eggs.

  7. #66
    Registered User MaggieTru's Avatar
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    I found some missing eggs! Friends came to till the garden. I had broadforked it but rototilling REALLY helps. Now I need to get the seeds and plants in...but maybe fence it first? Anyway, one step at a time.

    So, to pay them back and offload a surplus, I gave them about 100' of 6mil black plastic that had been covering the strawbales insulating my slab/foundation for the winter. There are 2 layers of black plastic so I will have plenty for me. As we were pulling the plastic off the top of the straw...I hear "hey! I found your eggs!" I had 3 chickens but was only getting 2 eggs per day. Looks like the one hen was laying where she could make a nest in straw by sneaking under the plastic! I float tested the eggs and all sank like stones so I boiled them up and they are lunches for this week...one was breakfast today and I'm still alive. 6 eggs were there.

    The friends had someone give them 11 hens, 1 year old, that were no longer wanted. I had room for 3 more (and a rooster...still could use a rooster) so they brought me a leghorn (white with a giant red comb just like Foghorn in the cartoons), an Austrolop (spelling?) who must be the one who laid a blue egg, and a barred rock who is HUGE!!! I thought she might be half turkey. Good lord that girl is heavy. I suspect she is the one who gave me an egg too large to put in even the "jumbo" carton. There is a local source for 40lbs of layer feed for 12.50$. I wasn't going to buy feed, but now that I have enough eggs to barter a dozen or more a week, i think I'll splurge on pre-ground feed. That amount will get me through summer with the grain and peas I've already got I think. And the hens are free ranged during the day so they can eat worms and whatever they can find when they break into the garden fence. The other 8 hens went to my work colleague. He had a coop ready from last year and has a Mrs and 3 kids so they do like having their own chickens in the summer.

    Looks like the friend needs to butcher 16 chickens (not laying anymore...she does major egg production and doesn't mess around with elderly or non-laying hens) so I'll go help her and come home with jars of canned chicken ready to make lunches.

    She, the lady friend with the tiller and chickens, went with me Sunday (Idaho is opening up...kind of) to my tree and plant source about an hour north of my place. We bought about 20 plants including a tree and a couple of shrubs, and were charged 44$...some of it must have been given to us free. The garden folks know me pretty well now and I brought them some of my home-brewed mustard. They were pretty pleased and offered me a small roofed thingy about 4' square that they used to feed quail under. I think is is just the right size to shelter my giant solar cooker! I have enough left over metal siding scraps to make it more weather tight, and some cement board to put a floor in it. Then I can roll out the cooker to cook, roll it back in to keep it out of the weather. The thing is great, but a monster. Here's a picture:
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    Hauling it in and out of the storage unit south of my place is a loser but no room in my wee shed or the old camper to keep it all year. Hopefully this new roofed thingy will work!

    The garden folks also said they had given up canning and wanted to pass jars on to the friend who came with me because she cans stuff to sell at a market. WE left with about 3 dozen jars, many plants, and a small shed (basically) in my pick up and only paid 44$! Nuts!
    I thanked them profusely and have some rare greens growing and will share the seeds back later in the summer.

  8. #67
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    nice! looks like a solar cooker my hubby says. I still want chickens we can have 4. and we have the old playhouse on legs so can make a home under there. wouldn't be able to kill them though lol they would just live their lives out. you can rent chickens but $$$ so who knows.

  9. #68
    Registered User MaggieTru's Avatar
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    yeah...I made sure I could kill them before I got them...no freeloaders on my farm (YET)

  10. #69
    Registered User MaggieTru's Avatar
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    i got an estimate from the builder!! twice whati hopedand 50,000$morethan i have. they saidthey would take payments but that is money i would be saving for septic, electrical, walls.., little things like that. so, i hadto argue with them a bit and say ‘down grade the roof to exposed fastener metal and get back to me”

    we’ll see if we can get closerto do ething i can afford.

  11. #70
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    Maggie glad you got the chickens and the free stuff. Interesting but sounds like a lot of work.

  12. #71
    Registered User MaggieTru's Avatar
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    Yep. Lots of work. I can take out my builder-price-estimate frustrations by working through the cranky! Once it's all set...a decade?...I can relax. That's about retirement time if not before then. Getting perennials in, the house built and paid for, and seeing if I can keep chickens long term will let me know if I can do this while I'm super old (my mom's side tends to make it through most of their 90s living on their own and then pretty much drop on the spot. I tend to take after them so I've got 40ish years to keep doing this)

    Right now I'm getting so many greens I am "greens independent" and "egg independent"!! There is a little farmers market opening up in a week or so and that should fill in my gaps foodwise. today I found bean-chili I put in the work fridge last friday...so breakfast and lunch are chili. Gotta eat it up!

    I ordered local nonGMO chicken feed for a bit less money than it is costing me to mix my own, and it comes in a bigger bag. Have a metal trash can at the ready to keep it in at my place. That should be delivered here shortly.

    Tomorrow I'm taking the day off and will go pester the builder man.

  13. #72
    Registered User MaggieTru's Avatar
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    I saw mrs builderman today...no new estimate but she says the price is coming down. They will do the roofwork if I go with D-something exposed fastener, which is what is on my shed that I live in. And they are trying to get the engineer to OK a swap from fir to pine for the posts and some beams. Apparently cheaper. I said I wouldn't mind skip sheeting on the porch roof (at this point I'd give up the porch roof but I didn't mention that yet). Etc etc...so...here's hoping. They know the price to hit. I would bet dollars to donuts that once again we are right up against the fall rains when they finally get really moving on things. The builderman doesn't like to start a project until it is a crisis. If I weren't the same at work I'd be even more frustrated.

    Anyway, in other news...I got a rooster! It's damaged goods, getting beaten up constantly at the community garden and at his next home. So, he came here. The biggest hen, Porky, kicked his butt when he first arrived but when I went to close up the hen house, they had let him in and he was sleeping on a perch. Today I was home most of the day (other than going to see the builderman) and he's....um...."taking care of business"...with the hens.

    Yesterday I got 6 eggs! From 6 hens. A new record. It was before the rooster arrived so he gets no credit. AND they laid them all in the nesting boxes. I swapped the real egg in there as bait with 2 old plastic easter eggs filled with mud and covered with masking tape to make the hot pink color more egg-like. Apparently, they like those bait eggs better. Used both boxes and didn't poop in them. I'm thankful for the little things like poop-free eggs these days!

    While I was in town I didn't spend any $$...I wanted a fancy coffee or a snack, but then I remembered I also want a house. So, knowing the college kids would have come back last weekend to empty out apartments, leases up May 31 (some of them anyway), I drove around. Found a board with 2 strap hinges on it and grabbed that. It just fits the free mini-shed I got the other day! Now it will have a drop down front just like I envisioned...I can wheel the solar cooker right out on to it (with some bracing) and cook! Cool. No lifting in and out.

    Made some garden progress. I can really tell that one plot has had sheep manure with lots of straw/hay/bedding tilled in 3 years vs the other one with only 2 years of tilling. Much easier to work the one with more organic matter.

    MOved the raspberries to the 2 year garden, well, the remnant raspberries. They were unhappy on my hillside. Too much clay. The berries look happier now.

    We had a horrible storm the other night! I guess it was saturday night. So the duck butchering a friend had scheduled for sunday morning was canceled. We had high winds, a green sky, and HEAVY rain with lightening and thunder. Being originally from tornado country, I was a bit freaked out. The shed has no basement. But, other than shuddering in the wind, the shed held up fine. Even my crap-tastic chicken coop held up. It is near a hedgerow so that must have blocked the worst of the wind.

    I have to be at work tomorrow but at least I get to drive up to a historic town and check a few things out. Better than being in the office with my mask on and isolated from coworkers. Strange times...

  14. #73
    Registered User RABBIT's Avatar
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    Love your updates. Does the new rooster have a name?
    I'm too busy working on my own grass to notice if yours is greener.

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    lol yes but in the city so not like I can have many chickens. hell half the family can't eat eggs. but would be fun but have to watch for raccoons and coyotes here. can't remember what happened to your last rooster.

    funny how you had to bug them for a quote and then high! here everything is pine mostly fir second. spruce last. there is a lot of storms going on.. think it was a stream going though..up though the states into the interior here ..normally it comes over the island from the ocean.

  16. #75
    Registered User MaggieTru's Avatar
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    I've been calling the new rooster "Big Red"...but it's like calling a beefy guy "tiny". He's red, and of a reasonable size but deeply not intimidating.
    He has greasy feathers, no toenails, a deformed toe (he was badly beaten up by the bigger better roosters at the community garden) and is generally easy to bully. BUT he's not too rough on the hens and puts them to bed early, safely in the coop. Doesn't keep them out of food and shares tidbits. So, lookswise he's a hot mess but personalitywise, not bad.
    Dollar Stretcher "Silly Questions" thread-photo3364.jpg

    My previous rooster had one eye and a limp so..."Rooster Cogburn". When he died I was able to get a closer look and it looks like a serious genetic issue. Half female, half male which can happen to birds! Who knew. I mean, I knew. But with birds apparently you can have like the left half male (larger, more tail feathers, bigger comb etc) and right half female (smaller, no significant rooster-tail, and small comb and cheek pad). Poor thing was never healthy and now that I've got the new rooster I realize I never saw Cogburn take after the ladies. He couldn't really crow either (my sister says Cogburn might have preferred the pronoun "they" but I can't ask at this point).

    Martha: bummer people can't eat eggs! My Dr. says I have magic cholesterol so whatever I'm doing is fine. I don't eat over 3 day including in cake/bread usually, but my "good" cholesterol is about the highest he's seen and my "bad" is in the healthy range so...i'm thinking of upping my bacon intake! The Dr was not thinking that was a great idea.

    I am loving my new coop. Easy to get eggs. Easy to slide the poop tray out and put the poop straw in a pile to compost for next year's gardens. It's not perfect but way better than the old one. I had made the lean to for Big Red thinking the hens wouldn't let him in (and by "lean to" I mean I literally leaned a 4'x4' piece of plywood that was lying around up on the north side of the coop) and the hens seem to go in there for shade now and then so I'll leave it until i need the plywood for something else. They like being near the brush and trees and thick grasses near the ravine just outside the coop. It's cooler and there is cover from hawks and things.

    Yesterday I got home and T-Bone, the most assertive hen, probably the smartest (she's looking into the camera in the avatar photo) was clear down under my car! What the heck! Probably 500yards from the coop. I told Big Red he had to keep track of his ladies a bit better. Everyone else was up digging through the straw I'm getting off the slab (winter insulation) and over the new bank (erosion protection..and apparently a good source of bugs).
    The slab is much closer to the coop. T-Bone roams all over heck.

    OK...time to make lunch. One of the few NOT featuring eggs.

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