Tuesday, July 18, 2017

More House Projects

At the beginning of the summer, we decided that we needed a second chicken coop. We already had 9 chickens in the first one and we wanted more! So we took apart an old bench swing frame, widened the legs for more space and put it back together. We used some old materials we had for the top shelter part, some more left over aluminum siding from the shed and leftover hardiboard siding from when they built the well pump house. The only thing we had to buy for this one was wire mesh and latches for the doors! James gave the dirty siding a good hosing down for us.

We assembled it and then moved it to where we wanted it to be. Not fun. We decided to put it right behind the first coop so that it would be easier to connect the electric fence. Our initial idea was to have these access doors on the side so that we could collect the eggs from the nesting area up in the top. Except we didn't figure in what would happen when we added the mesh to the bottom of the coop. Once the mesh is in, you can't walk up to access the doors! So we don't really use those :)

Adding mesh to the sides and making sure it goes deep into the ground so no critters can burrow in.

James jumped in and helped us staple mesh to the wood.

Everything up but the door! So close!

We finally finished it enough to put the chickens in! We put our silkies (they are bantam sized), our bantam rooster, and blueberry in there together.

It is easier for the boys to fit in the small door, so we send them in with food and treats for the chickens.

James took a break from building to walk over to the big coop and give them some treats.

Here they are! All completed!

Anthony took a weekend and installed a water softener (the big black tank) on our well pump. All that practice with RO units for the aquarium paid off and the installation went pretty smoothly! Now our water is much clearer and free of the iron and minerals. Next we need another unit to get the rest of the sulfur out of it. So the water isn't totally fixed, but it is a movement in the right direction for sure! When we first moved in we had a water treatment company give us an estimate for the filter and they quoted us over $5000. This cost us practically nothing since the water softener was given to us by a friend and Anthony put it in.

Once it was completely installed and Anthony turned the water back on, we had to run the faucet to let the water cycle through. It is supposed to get really dirty until it clears up. It got pretty gross!

Then it was so beautifully clear!

The boys took a bath that night and the difference in the water was amazing. The first picture is from them taking a bath a few months ago and the second picture is right after the filter was installed.

Over the next few days it the water got even clearer. Look at that gorgeousness!! It is so nice to shower with clear water now :)

While Anthony was working on the water filter, I decided to start tackling our kitchen cabinets. I have wanted to paint them white since we moved in, but I decided it was more of a summer activity. I got a lot done pretty quickly, but since then I've lost a lot of steam. I have about 2/3 of the bottom cabinets left to do and I need to figure out how to motivate myself to just get them done!

The top cabinets are completely done, here they are with the new hardware I picked out. It makes the room feel so much lighter to have all the white!

I've been wanting a new headboard and I've looked around at some project ideas for building one. But then my favorite thrift store posted a picture of this queen sized bed for $35! There is no way I could build something for that, so I paypaled them the money right away and Anthony picked it up on the way home. It is a lot taller than our old bed, so it feels like you are sleeping on a pedestal. I call it my "Queen Bed"

Friday, July 14, 2017

Summer fun & 4th of July

We've started eating eggs from our own chickens! Can you tell which one is ours and which ones are from the grocery store? Fresh eggs have yolks that are more orange in color and (hopefully) more vitamins and nutrition in them. It is so cool to be able to collect eggs and then cook them a few minutes later. You can't get fresher than that!

Since all of our chickens lay different color eggs, we were trying to narrow down who was the one laying our first, darker brown egg. Our red chicken and black chicken both lay brown eggs, just different shades so without both of them to compare to each other it was hard to say. One morning we caught Ginny getting ready to lay her egg, so we knew for sure who was doing it!

A week or so later we got our first egg from our yellow chicken (who is the only one that lays light tan colored eggs). It turned out to have a double yolk, which is good luck!

See how much bigger the double yolk egg is? When she lays a regular egg, it is more the size of the brown one.

Anthony was going to build some nesting boxes, but he just didn't have the time, so we ended up getting this storage system from ikea and lined the slide out bins with hay. They started laying their eggs in them right away, and it is easy to clean because we can just slide the bins out and hose them off.

Anthony has been wanting to clear parts of our property since we moved in and he finally got his chance! He took a few days off of work, reserved a small bulldozer and spent 12+ hours each day tearing out palmetto bushes and small trees.

Getting a quick tutorial on the controls:

James was explaining to me how it worked :)

The first palmetto of many!

James wanted to sit and help control the bulldozer for hours, but Rett wasn't really interested. He wanted to get back into the air conditioning and I didn't blame him. It was hot!!

Working:

By the end of the first day Anthony had accomplished a lot. He was able to clear most of the bushes up to our fence line, all of the brown parts in the picture was previously overgrown with brush. Now we can use it for whatever we want!

The hardest part was the sections behind the pond at the back of our property, some of the trees and bushes were just too big for the bulldozer.


Rett wanted to help Grandma cook some eggs. He would stir and then hand her the spatula and then take another turn. So cute!

We took a trip to the feed store and got 150 pounds of food! The boys sat on the cart, so I was pushing 230 pounds around that store. 

I am determined to get as much use out of our children's museum/planetarium passes this year. We have been two times this month so far. It is nice to have something air conditioned that we can do :) 

Rett climbed into our bed one night and slept between me and Anthony. Then James got up in the morning and wanted to snuggle. Look at these sweet boys!

James' loose front tooth was barely hanging on and flapping around so much that he could close his lips on it and it would stick out. We were begging him to just pull it out already!

He caught a lizard, but all I can see is that tooth!

The next morning it was still hanging there, so my mom asked him to wiggle it and while he was grabbing it, she purposely bumped his elbow and the force popped it right out! She was determined to get his tooth out and she actually did it!

It is hard to see in this picture, but while we were at IKEA we bought bunk beds for the boys so that James would start sleeping in Rett's room instead of our room. It has been almost a week and so far so good! James said he didn't mind where he sleeps, he just doesn't want to be alone. Most nights he falls asleep first and then Rett plays around him/on him/next to him until he finally gets tired enough to go to sleep. It is a good thing James is a hard sleeper!

On the 4th of July our ward had a cereal breakfast at the beach activity, so we got up really early and made our way to the beach. We usually don't go to the beach on holidays because it gets so crowded but it was early enough not to be too bad. We brought a little football and were tossing it to each other.

Our city fireworks were great this year. We were hoping that Rett wouldn't be scared, but it was just like last year. Not a fan. He likes to watch them from far away, but he doesn't like the loud noises when they are close.

James loves them, the louder the better!

We had to get our free chicken on cow appreciation day at Chick-fil-a. Rett was fine with whatever I put on him, but James refused to wear the shirt and would only wear the cow ears. He also wouldn't let me take a picture of him while we were there because it was "too embarrassing" :)

James and Anthony got new boogie boards and James was so excited for him to come home from work the next day so that they could test them out. Half of the time Anthony helped Rett boogie board and the other half Rett played in the sand with me. They had a great time. James said it was "the best day ever".