Monday’s Homestead Barn Hop #1: This Week Around The Homestead


Good Monday morning to ya, and welcome to the very first edition of the Homestead Barn Hop! Homesteaders from around the globe will be linking up with me, Amy, Jill & Megan, and sharing what’s been going on around their homesteads… I hope you’ll share what you’ve been up to as well!

I thought today would be a good day for me to share what we’ve been busy doing this past week.

We have so many projects to complete, it’s frustrating not being able to do them all at once and be done. But I guess that’s homesteading… a never ending job! There is always something else to do. Always.

We’ve been blessed with really nice weather over the past week, and have done our best to take advantage of it before cold weather sets in again. It has been incredibly tempting to start planting stuff in the raised beds with temps being in the mid 70’s, but our last frost isn’t expected until April, so I must be patient.

I’ve been using the sunny days to pull weeds from my garden area at least getting it ready to be planted in. I’ve found that weeding in the winter is SO much easier than weeding when things are turning green again. The roots pull right out without any trouble.

Starting seeds indoors has been a great way to somewhat appease the planting urge. So far I’ve got little onions, broccoli, lettuce, cabbage, and some flowers growing under a light on my kitchen counter. It’s just a plain old halogen bulb shop light, hung underneath my cabinets by a hook and chain, which I can lower and raise as needed. I see my broccoli looks a bit leggy (long and scraggly). I’m afraid it needs to be closer to the light; it’s supposed to be about three inches from it.

My husband worked on building some new nesting boxes in the chicken coop for the hens. No, they aren’t pretty. Yes, that’s graffiti you see on that wood. And yes, they were repurposed from free scraps of lumber, so we aren’t complaining!

We needed to make them a bit bigger for our Buff Orpingtons to lay in comfortably. We were hoping the over-hung roof, and a lip on the front of each box to hold bedding in would help to keep the new boxes clean. Unfortunately, the hens are STILL sleeping and pooping in the boxes instead of laying in them. *Sigh* So, we’re trying to figure out how to discourage that. Any suggestions??

We are also talking about taking some scrap vinyl flooring that we have and laying it in the chicken coop. The manure is beginning to rot and warp the plywood flooring. Covering it with something like vinyl would help, I think.

Again, this is homesteading. Constantly learning what doesn’t work, and trying to improve upon things to make them even more efficient.

Jerry has also been working hard at putting up a fence so we can try our hand at owning goats again. This time we’re gonna do it the right way and be ready before bringing them home!! My grandfather gave us an old tool shed of his, which Jerry has been re-assembling to make a mini “barn” for the goats. Ideally, one side will be their sleeping/birthing quarters, and the other side will be used for keeping food dry and for a milking stand.

If you look closely at the picture you can see a structure in the background. That’s a little playhouse Jerry has been building for the kids (lol, not goat kids, our kids). But now it’s in the goat’s pen. I wanted him to move it out, but he suggested that the goats might like to lay underneath its shade in the heat of the summer. When we had our goats before (free range), they always laid underneath my husband’s workshop building. So, I think he has a good idea.

I sold the dryer on Friday, so I’m locked into my clothesline and floor drying rack now! But seriously, I’m loving hang drying everything. There’s just something therapeutic about it. Plus, I’ve enjoyed the unforeseen side-effect of not having clothes piled up on my couch ready to be folded. It’s so easy to fold things as I take them off the line, they end up being put away immediately. With a dryer, I could dry load after load and dump the clean clothes on my couch to be folded later. It was easy to get so many clean clothes piled up that it became an overwhelming chore to fold and put them all away. Now, I am limited to 2-3 loads per day, which is easily managed.

I’ve also been busy in the kitchen as usual. My little man turned 4 years old this month, and we had a birthday party for him over the weekend. Determined to stick to my goal of grinding all of our flour and not buying store bought, I found a whole wheat chocolate cake recipe to try. It turned out great (recipe to come)!! And it felt good serving a cake that was made from 100% fresh ground whole wheat, fresh eggs, fresh raw milk, fresh homemade butter, and homemade mayonnaise (that’s right, I said mayonnaise!). Not to mention the homemade butter cream icing, orange at Ty’s request. Yummmm. Much better than anything out of a box!!!

I’ve also been absolutely giddy over the weekend with the arrival of my new NutriMill electric wheat grinder!! I’ll be telling you all more about that this week too. But I will share this… I can completely imagine now how the housewife of way-back-when must have felt the first time she ever used an electric washing machine. “Honey, look at this… I just put the clothes in and press a button!! Amazing!!”

So, anyways, that’s what I’ve been up to, in a nutshell.What’s been going on around your homestead? Have you tried a new recipe you’d love to share? Learned a new trick we could all benefit from? Got a cool project you’d like to show off?

Link up, grab our button, and let us come visit your homestead!


Kendra
About Kendra 1106 Articles
A city girl learning to homestead on an acre of land in the country. Wife and homeschooling mother of four. Enjoying life, and everything that has to do with self sufficient living.

16 Comments

  1. Don’t feel bad–we all live and learn! 🙂 We’ve learned that even with 15 hens, we don’t need 6 nesting boxes–they all lay in the same three everyday!

  2. Kendra, I’m glad Krista made that point! I was going to ask you yesterday if the perches were higher than your boxes, since the boxes looked so high in your photo, then I got distracted and never got back to replying to your reply to my comment. So yes, they will choose the highest possible point to roost, so like Krista said, just make sure that that place is your perches! Good luck!

  3. Hello!

    Your nesting boxes need to be lower than your roost. The hens want to sleep as high as they can for safety…in your set-up, this is your nesting boxes! Try moving your boxes so they are only 2-3 inches off the ground…you will notice a huge improvement!

  4. I too have the problem with my chickens sleeping in their nesting box (they actually perch on the lip of it) BUT they do prefer to lay in the nest box as well. Have you tried the golf ball method? I have a small coop with two nice roosting poles but nooooo, they like to squeeze together and perch on the narrow lip of the nest box to sleep. I clean their little piles of droppings out of the shavings each morning and the funny thing is, if I forget to do this, they won’t lay in the nest box (they’ll lay on the coop floor) because of the poop in it!! HA! They are getting prissy and particular…

  5. Kendra – so sorry for linking 3 times, the linky thing kept telling me my file was too big and sending me back to the begin linking page – oops! I don’t know how to remove the extras, maybe you can? thanks and sorry! 😛
    katy

  6. I am taking a master gardener class with the local extension office and in our botany class, the teacher told us to rub our hands across the top of the plants in the starter trays daily. This will help make them short and stocky and they will be less leggy. She said she actually participated in an experiment and that was the outcome. You could experiment as well. Rub one tray and not the other and see what happens over time.

    Also, blue on the light spectrum promotes foliage growth. Red on the light spectrum promotes fruit growth. She said that is why some people use red plastic to mulch their tomatoes. I wonder if you placed something reflecting blue underneath the trays or surrounding the trays (like a blue plastic table cover}, whether that would promote foliage growth. Worth an experiment? I am going to try it.

  7. Congrats on the new NutriMill! You will love it! I love to grind my wheat nice and fine. You can’t believe that your bread is 100% whole wheat… it is amazing.

    I also found some really interesting recipes calling for rice flour. Of course at first I was bummed because rice flour around here is sooo expensive. Then I got out my Nurtimill book and sure enough… it grinds rice. I love that “Hooray, I can do it myself and save a gob of money” feeling.

  8. Regarding the hens sleeping in the nesting boxes: We didn’t have any problem with that until we added a few more hens, which meant there wasn’t enough perch space for all of them at night, which resulted in the ones that couldn’t fit on the perches looking for cozy sleeping spots in the nesting boxes. Although perches aren’t required, chickens naturally want to perch (to get up as high as possible, for safey) at night, and they also like to cozy up close to each other on the perches, too. The ones that don’t fit will look for another place to feel cozy and safe, and that place is usually the nesting boxes. After we added the extra hens, we noticed that it was three of ours that didn’t fit on the perches and that started camping out in the nesting boxes. We decided to give three away, therefore, and one night took out the three in the nesting boxes and put them in an animal carrier until morning to take to a friend. It probably wouldn’t have mattered which three we gave away, though, as long as we took the number back down so that all could fit on the perches. So I guess the first thing I’d do if I were you is to see if you need to add more perch space. Hope that helps. 🙂

    • Thanks Pam!

      I wish I could say that was our problem though. We’ve actually got two whole perches that aren’t even being used. All of the hens roost up on top of the nesting boxes, and there is plenty of room for them all. I don’t understand why some just prefer to sleep alone below. But that’s a good tip to know anyways 🙂

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