Want a coop tour? Oh, I'm so glad you said yes! I am more than a little stoked about my chicks' new digs.
This was a DIY green build through and through. We spent exactly zero dollars on wood. All of the wood was reclaimed and generously gifted to us. I love how the reclaimed wood and modern design gives us a great mix of style. It's sort of rustic-modern; an eclectic, eco-friendly style that is very much in keeping with the rest of the garden.
The predator-proof coop boasts skylights, vinyl flooring, nesting boxes, roosting bars, and ample ventilation.
The coop and run were designed by my amazing husband. He also built the entire thing with the help of my very handy and fabulous father.
The coop is situated in a spot in our yard that gets only morning sun, the rest of the time it is in the shade, perfect for our warm summers.
The run is covered in sand, which makes poop scooping a breeze. In case you were worried that the run is not very large, please know that my beloved chickens are free-range birds, spending most of their time with full access to our large (for California) suburban lot.
Jude and I painted the coop and door (Grenadine by Behr) and sealed the other wood with low-voc sealant. All of the hinges were purchased at Restore, saving us a bundle and helping a great cause.
To save space (and for ease of feeding) Jason made this DIY gravity chicken feeder. The girls love it and there has been almost no waste (tutorial coming soon).
We still need to take a trip to the beach to find the perfect piece of driftwood for a perch in the run. And Jude insists that we make a sign with lots of glitter. But so far the girls love their new home and we love our girls.
Thanks so much for stopping by. We hope you enjoyed the tour. I'd like to take a quick moment to thank my fantastic husband and awesome dad for making such a great coop.
Hooray for Spring! We have been busy working in the garden. Lots of weeding and trimming and turning beds, not exactly fun, but I honestly love any time spent in the garden. Jude loves turning the beds because it means hours of playing in the dirt and making friends with worms. For me, the best part of spring in the garden is the sowing of seeds.
We have started herbs in egg shells. This time we've got basil and borage happening.
Jude and I also planted sunflowers in toilet paper rolls. Last year the birds ate all of the seeds for our sunflower fort. Not this year! Sunflowers don't like having their roots disturbed so I'm hoping the fact that you can plant the whole thing, tube and all, will work in our favor. Oh, and if you need a very mini greenhouse, look no further than the produce aisle, clear plastic salad bins work great!
And the thing I am most excited about: our Eco-Lawn is getting a nice reseeding to return it to it's original glory. I love our Eco-Lawn. The back area of our yard was a big ugly dog run when we bought it. I knew I wanted that space to be turf, but I also knew I didn't want the traditional high-maintenance, water-guzzling lawn. A little online research led me to find Wild Flower Farm's Eco-Lawn. This stuff seriously rules, I especially love how it looks unmown. (I like the no-mow look so much I neglected to mow it twice a year like you're supposed to, thus the need to reseed.) If you are looking for a natural, soft, meadow-type lawn that likes shade and requires little water and even less maintenance, this is the stuff for you. I know I sound like a commercial, but I want people to know that they can have a lawn without hurting the environment. Early spring and late summer are the best times to seed and the seed comes with all the info you need to sow successfully. It won't be long before we are picinicing on a lush lawn once more.
What's happening in your garden this spring?
Full disclosure: The nice folks at Wild Flower Farm gave me a bag of seed for this reseeding (I had already fallen in love with the product) as always, all opinions are 100% my own.
Peep! There is so much cuteness happening at my house right now I can barely stand it! I have tons to say about these little beauties, but it's Friday and sitting at the computer doesn't feel like the right way to spend a gorgeous spring day, so chick chat will have to wait.
Congrats to Chandra for winning the Bunny and Jane for winning the patterns!
There is still plenty of time to whip up a ball buddy for Easter, or maybe just to celebrate spring! Get them here!
Looking to add to your garden on the cheap? (If you live in the northern hemisphere) Now is the perfect time to get bare root plants on sale. And there is still plenty of time to plant these bare beauties. I have a few fruit trees I planted bare root last year, but this year I went with smaller edibles: a blueberry, three raspberries, one rhubarb, and twelve strawberries (the whole lot cost less than $20).
Can you say pie? Yes, I have been staying up at night dreaming of a pie garden. If I am ever lucky enough to have property, I will have a grand and abundant pie and preserves garden. For now, this little planting is surely a step in the right direction.
I thought I'd share a few tips I've learned about planting bare root plants:
Set the roots in a bucket of clean water for a nice long soak (at least an hour) before planting.
Don't drastically amend the soil, one of the benefits of bare roots is that they will adapt to native soils quite well.
That said, a little compost never hurt any plant.
Don't plant them too deeply, leave the crowns exposed.
Water, water, water to help them get established.
Am I the only one who dreams of growing pie from scratch?
Our city finally legalized hen keeping, and I am so very excited to join in on the fun. I've checked out a stack of books and poured over coop designs on backyardchickens.com, but nothing can match the knowledge that comes with experience. So I turn to you, dear readers. I know many of you are homesteaders and keeping chickens is old hat. I'd love to know your thoughts. Do you have favorite breeds? Is there a can't-live-without element of your coop? Any advice for mixing chicks and a preschooler? Can I really get my chicken to wear a knit hat?
One of my 30 Before Thirty goals was to volunteer. Volunteering is one of those things that sounds great and important, but can be easily forgotten with a few quick excuses. Here's a list of excuses that I used for a while:
I'm too busy. I simply don't have the time.
I can't make a big commitment with a job and a family and a home to keep.
I can't get childcare.
Turns out those were all pretty lame excuses. I found a place to volunteer that was extremely flexible, zero long term commitment, and I can bring my toddler! Even better, it is a cause I feel deeply connected to.
For the past few months, Jude and I have been dropping in (I've been aiming for one Friday a month) to help at the Harvest for the Hungry. It is a beautiful organic garden run by wonderful volunteers that provides a bounty of organic produce to food banks and shelters in our area. I believe so strongly that everyone deserves fresh healthy food, and now I'm doing something to make that happen. It is a wonderful feeling. What's even better: I am teaching my son that he can use his own two hands to make the world a better place. We weed and water and harvest, it takes us a little longer than the other volunteers, but we are helping. And having fun.
Tips for Volunteering with Small Children
1. Find a cause you are passionate about. Your time is valuable, don't volunteer for volunteering's sake. You will get so much joy from giving your time if the cause is something you care about. VolunteerMatch and a good old google search are good places to start.
2. Look for something flexible. Places with drop-in hours or single day events (like beach/creek/trail clean ups or neighborhood improvement/tree planting days) are low commitment. Another cool idea is visiting an assisted living facility, toddlers have a knack for bringing smiles to the elderly.
3. Just go for it. Most of the time, the hardest part of trying something new is starting. Go into it with an open mind and realistic expectations. Toddlers can be difficult to wrangle. You might have to take lots of breaks, or leave early. But then again, they might just surprise you and happily pick tomatoes and stack zucchini for hours.
Do you volunteer with your little one? Please share your tips and experiences in the comments.
My love of dahlias is no secret. Anyone who knows me well, knows it is my favorite flower. I'm sure many of my readers have picked up on it, I've counted no fewer than four posts that feature them.
And if you are to visit my garden between the months of May and November you will have no doubt. I am a dahlia lover through and through. And I'm not talking one or two pale beauties. It seems I've created a garden where the flowers resemble their owner: big, tall, bright, loud, and more than a little over the top.
They make me exceedingly happy. So happy in fact, that I'm willing to break my general gardening rule just for them. The rule being: if it's not food, I don't want to water it. So my perennial bed is an eclectic mix of drought tolerant lovelies (yarrow, blanket flower, flax, Jerusalem sage), edibles (artichokes, strawberries, and pomegranate), and these:
Want a huge bouquet full of flowers the size of my child's head? Just invite me over for dinner (don't worry, I'll bring wine too).
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