Mar 30, 2009

This week I'm Mama Bear

Hello all,
So most of you know that we are participating in the no TV challenge for the month of April. I am including a ban on facebook for next month but have decided to allow my blogging. This way I can keep my journal going and not feel like I will have to catch up in the month of May. April couldn't be a better month for this. I have so many projects that need my undivided attention. First we need to plant seeds and prepare the garden, I want to repaint the kids room, finish decorating the living room, start on an overall house purge, have a garage sell, begin fixing up the garage for my craftroom/classroom, find a wealthy land owner to donate land to the up and coming Raintree Charter school, work on the backyard landscaping, and oh man gotta catch up on cleaning, laundry, and sewing. I don't know if riding myself of couch surfing will actually contribute more to my available time to do those things but it is certainly exciting thinking that it will!

Here's what I am giving up: The kids typically watch 1-2 hours of TV on one day a week. Usually that day is Friday but not always. I usually watch TV when I am not feeling well, after the kids are in bed, and when Nick is home. I check my facebook account 2-3 times a day usually not for more than a few minutes but enough that it is an interruption (a welcome one) to my day.

I don't know if anyone has read the "Bearenstein Bear's TV Habit" book, but I am hoping the whole thing will go something like that! Who know's, maybe the month will allow me to strictly limit our TV even more throughout the year. Wednesday (April Fools Day) is the 1st and that is the day that the power goes out, well at least on the boob tube!

Mar 20, 2009

My Girls

We recently entered into the realm of chicken ownership. What began as a simple quest to have eggs, has become a full 'fledged' effort to educate our kids and enhance our lives. We began with 1 tiny fluffy chick and attempted to have it inside. Unfortunately the dangers inside were far more concerning than the cold outside. We have since increased our numbers to eight and have varying ages from a week old to almost 3 weeks old. They are so fluffy and cute, peeping whenever we are near.

Nick nearly completed two coups last weekend with the help of one of our neighbors (one for us, one for them). I quickly realized that the size of our flock and the size of the coup would not mesh. We are deciding to either enlarge the current coup or make a new hen house. Regardless, Nick was able to create these coups in one afternoon with the use of free scrap materials that we have accumulated. If the current coup is deemed useless we will sell it. (This could be another great way to earn some extra income.)

I am on a quest to beautify and simplify my life. My backyard and kids areas are one of my top priorities. It is my desire to redesign our backyard to create play nooks and areas to inspire creativity. In the next month I will build a sunflower house using natural materials (logs, sticks, bark, twine, sunflowers, etc..), also a deep open sandbox, plant some large growing grasses, plant our garden, incorporate more natural toys into our outdoors play areas, and many more projects. Of course it just so happens that almost all of these projects require absolutely no funds. Yes, I am getting very creative!

We considered my goal in our desire to have eggs. This is why our flock of gals is varied and diverse. We wanted a variety of color in the hen house as well as in the eggs. This is certainly a benefit of being able to buy one of each variety of chicken and not having to order them from a dealer. Kudos to the legalization of backyard chickens. I am loving the process of raising chicks and it has become a focus in the kids daily life. I may not have the ability to live on a farm but I can experience a small part of farm life through our chickens.

My friend Sharon took pics of her flock and posted them on her blog. I absolutely loved the idea. I also think it is a great way to remember what kind each chicken is and to capture their youth. After all, they have changed dramatically in only a week! Here they are:

First our beautifully colored Speckled Sussex, Dahlia. This is momma's bird.

This is our Buff Brahma Bantam, T-Rex. She was the original chick and has been with us from the begining.

Our Buff Orpington named Velociraptor. She is very mild mannered and docile.

This is our unknown chicken, Cauliflower Compsognathus. She is most likely a whiter version of a Maran and we will know by how dark her eggs are. This one we left at the store and I just couldn't stop thinking about her. After two days we went back and she was still there. I am just so curious about what she will be!

This is our Maran, Hazel Saltapus, and as you can see she is definately darker than the other.

This is our White Leghorn (pronounced leg-urn, and make sure to say it with a southern drawl). Brachiasaurus is definitely the brute of the bunch. She is a production layer and will have white eggs. She tends to dominate the group and is the 'chick in charge'!

This is one of two Americana's. She is named Blackbird (a name Landis chose after his favorite song). We got them today and I absolutely love them. These will lay a variation of green to blue eggs.

This is Archaeopteryx Cadbury our second Americana, she has such beautiful back markings I just had to show off. She is much lighter with more yellow than the other Americana. Both of these birds will be uniquely colored when they are mature.

Teilee holding Archaeopteryx Cadbury.

As you can see we shall have a colorful group of chickens and eggs. We are so excited!
I thought I would show you one of the coups made. I am thinking this is most likely a four chicken coup.

This really is exciting to be able to provide ourselves with our own eggs. Now all Fort Collins needs to legalize is having a goat;). A large garden, edible landscaping, and chickens, we are becoming more self sufficient and healthy everyday! Happy Spring!

My new umberella!