Sunday, March 14, 2010

I'm a blog slacker!

I admit it... I am a huge blog slacker!

I always think I am going to have more to say that I really do.  So this blog has suffered during the winter.  The chickens are doing great.  We had one chicken molt, but other than that the ladies were laying eggs all winter.

We are having a freakishly warm end of winter, it was even 60 a couple of days this week.  Which led me to start my garden seedlings up early this year.  Last year I was late and had bags full of green tomatoes so we should have lots of tomatoes early this year, especially if the summer is as warm as I am thinking it is going to be.

I have been busy working up some drawings for how I would like to have the garden look this summer, we are going to build some garden boxes for this years garden to maximize space, and maybe a fence to keep those pesky curious chickens out of the garden this summer.  Last summer they weren't interested in the garden at all until the tomatoes started to get ripe then they ate over 50 tomatoes in one day while we were at work, was not a happy girl!

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Almost done...

The coop is getting so close to being done now... Marshall and I are taking a trip over to Seattle for the weekend he has a couple of shows over there.  We are really excited to see his cousins and the band.  

Marshall and my dad got a lot accomplished on the coop yesterday got the roof up and door made.  Not much left now, maybe only one more day of work.  We still have to pick up some insulation for the coop, to combat the cold of our winters here.

The chickens have been pretty funny lately, with trying to figure out what we are doing, following us around the yard, freaking out because of the sounds of the power tools.  This morning when I went outside to check on them, Jade hopped up on my leg to check out the camera. 
You can see in the above photo that the coop will have a sun roof for the ladies so that they have lots of sunlight shining on them.  I haven't decided what kind of vine I am going to grow along the side of the coop, I think this year I am just going to grow sugar snaps.  Maybe next year I will plant a vine of some sort.

The garden is really coming 
 along, I have my snow peas, cucumbers, radishes and carrots out now, just waiting on the peppers, tomatoes, tomatillo, and spaghetti squash to get a bit bigger
before I move them outside.  I need to get a couple of larger planters to put the spinach in, and I would like to get some more lettuce so we have more than just spinach to eat.  We got our blueberry bush starts, and raspberry bushes all planted.  I need to get the asparagus in the ground.  Other than that we are just enjoying the chickens, doing lots of yard work... Trying to get the yard and house in order for Marshall's families visit in July.   

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

One step closer...

The chickens are one step closer to having a home outside!!  The back yard is really coming along.  I have spent countless hours weeding... with sore arms to boot.  We planted the raspberry bushes, should be getting a few blueberry bushes soon from a guy on criagslist, and I picked up some strawberries today from a lady on craigslist.  Pretty much I am obsessed with that place.  So many great things to find there.  I got my seeds from Tomato Bob's finally after weeks of waiting, they are all diligently growing.  I ordered some irish moss seeds, and started growing that inside also for the patio.  Marshall and I are trying to get so much stuff finished before Lucas and Maria come here in July.  We are also hoping that his parents will come and visit in August.  

The ladies seem to be really attached to this spot next to the garage, they don't stray far from there.  I can't believe how huge they are!  They are exactly one month old in these photos.  I was so worried when I first brought them home that Marley wouldn't get along with them, but it seems to be going really well, she could have cared less that they were outside yesterday, she really is a queen b... I even brought out her blanket so she could lay and watch us work on the coop and keep an eye on the chickens.

You can just see the tip of her nose there in the photo.  She pretty much stayed there all day.  Marshall, Dad and I went to Montana on Saturday to hike up into the mountains and get some slate for our patio and Marshall's bar.  We brought Marley with us, and she had a great time running up the mountain, it wasn't quite as exciting a few hours later when we were making our way down.  We brought back a ton of slate, and I am guessing we will have to go back and get more still, but our back yard is going to look so nice!

We are on our way to having the coop finished, it has been quite a project!  Good thing I have such an awesome dad, and amazing boyfriend who are willing to build me the coop of my dreams, which has been dubbed "The Palace" since it is going to be so kick ass!

Here is Marshall and Dad putting in the posts.  What started out as being a pretty chill, simple box coop has turned into to a 3x3x4 coop, with another 4 feet of area that will be enclosed with chicken wire and  clear corrugated fiberglass for the roof so that in essence the ladies will have a really kick ass sun roof year round.  I have been searching for a small solar panel to attach to the coop so that we won't have to wire out there for the heat lamp that they will inevitably need in our very, very chilly winters!  

You can kinda see the fence that Marshall and I built this last weekend...  I don't know why I didn't take a better picture of it.  But you can kinda see it to the left in the photo below.
It smells so nice!  I love how cedar smells!  I have to admit that now all I can think about is having a new fence in my whole back yard.  Marshall and I will keep doing 20 feet or so every month I think, until the whole back yard is done. 

Dad and Marshall are both out of town this weekend, so the coop will have to wait until next weekend to be finished.  I am pretty excited to have it finished, and to not have to force the chicks to be stuck in the extra large dog kennel in the basement anymore.  Not that they seem to mind.  They are always huddled up in the front corner of the kennel sleeping, and if they aren't sleeping they are eating until they want to go back up to the front and sleep some more.

Anyway, that is really all that is going on here, nothing too crazy, but enough that we are keeping very busy.


Wednesday, April 15, 2009

3 Weeks and Counting...

So we have had the chicks for 3 weeks now... I can't believe how fast they grow!!  Their little wings are starting to come in, and they are starting to have a whole lot of personality.  Marshall and I are having so much fun playing with them.  We go downstairs with them every day for at least a couple of hours.  We want to make sure that they feel like they are part of the family.  Marley is even starting to get along with them.  I was a little worried at first.  The little chicks look a bit like mice, and she likes to catch and eat mice.  The hardest part is that they peck at her, and she really, really doesn't like that at all.  I was keeping the chicks in the kennel and making Marley lay next to it with me and watch them.  But it wasn't until I started letting them out of the kennel and walking around the she finally figured out that they are alright.  That and they don't seem to be pecking at her quite as much now.  In the pics below they are 2 1/2 weeks old.  You can see their little wing and tail feathers coming in.

We decided today to bring them outside for their first trip, since it is 60+ outside today.  They were so cute, at first they didn't want to be anywhere except up in our hands and resting on our arms, but then I just made them go check out the grass.  After that, they were pretty keen on roaming around as long as they stuck together.  If one walked off a bit the other two would get upset and start really chirping.  I would say for their first outdoors adventure it was quite exciting.  

I started my veggie starts yesterday.  I have tomatillo, sugar snaps, candy carrots, and regular carrots, pickling cucumbers, radishes, green peppers, and jalapenos.  My mom has a ton of heirloom tomato seeds, so I will get those started this weekend.  I am also going to drive up to Greenbluff and buy a few year old raspberry bushes, and maybe a blackberry bush, and also another 6 strawberry plants.  I am just so excited to have a small garden this year.  We also have two apple trees(that we won't be getting any fruit off of for a couple of years), and two year old grape vines.  I think I am going to get another grape vine to have crawl up the coop, or maybe wisteria, I haven't decided yet.  Marshall should have the fence done after this weekend, or next.  Then the chicks will be able to head outside (that is if the coop is all done)  gotta have my dad come up and help us with that.  

Anyway, I am jut so excited for the spring weather, and to see everything wake up from our long cold winter... well just about everything, we have to spray the wasp nest, I saw a few of them flying around today.  I can deal with just about everything, but I really don't like to be stung!!

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Bringing the babies home!

Well after a much anticipated wait, and almost a year of talking about it...  I am so happy to announce that our chicks are here!!!   

Jade, Lola, and Roxy
So there they are in all their glory!

Jade is an Araucana, Lola is a Silver Laced Wyandotte, and Roxy is a Barred Rock.  I picked them up from Aslin Finch today, they are a day old.  It is so crazy to me how fast they grow, that after only a day they already have feathers growing in.  I have had chickens before, but it is still just as amazing to feel like I am watching them literally grow right before my eyes.  Marley has been so cute, she doesn't quite know what to think, she goes and sits right next to the kennel that I have them in and watches them for hours.  If they make any noise at all she starts barking to get my attention.  Since she has been known to catch mice, I was a little worried that she would try to snack on the little ones.  Though a little skittish, she hasn't even nipped at them, even when they peck at her feet.  Little does she know that they may end up being bigger than she is, so she better be nice to them... haha!  We don't have the coop finished yet, but they will need to be in the house for a month, so it really just has put more pressure on Marshall to get the show on the road.  Man, I do love that guy!  We should get the little bit of fence up that needs to be done so that dogs can't get into our yard.  

We had decided to build a coop that was going to have a green roof on it, but have now changed 
our minds and picked out something a bit different.  It is going to look something like this, except a bit smaller since we only have 3 chickens.  I like the idea of having the vines growing up the sides, and we will put a nest box out the front door there.  The plans don't call for insulation, but we are going to do that, for our unbearable winter weather.  Gotta take care of the ladies!  Marshall and dad really like the look of this coop also.  I am just so excited to have the girls here now, it makes it all real, as opposed to it being this thing that I have been just talking about.  I could barely force myself to go to work today, because I was so excited to have them here... I'm such a dork!  

Well I have a few more pictures of the girls, thought I would just throw them in here so everyone could check them out.  It has been such an exciting day! 


Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Here goes nothing...

I figured for my first ever blog, I would start out by talking about who I am, and some of my favorite things...

Marshall, the love of my life.
We first met almost 4 years ago now, he was just a boy in a band, one that I had no interest in, mostly because I never wanted to be knows as "one of those girls," but thanks to Frankie (my pseudo big brother) I was really left with no choice.  We chatted on the phone here and there for about a year, I would drive to Seattle if his band was playing up there, but we didn't see each other much.  One day he said he would like to come and visit, and the rest is history.  This photo is from a trip that I made up to Seattle, when the Warriors were playing a show with Trial.  It was a crazy show, with so many people.  I can't even begin to describe how great it is to see Marshall up on stage.  He has this energy that I have seen so few people be able to create.  I know it sounds cheesy, but it is true.  I fell in love with him because of his passion, but not just his passion for music but for his family and friends,
his love for cooking, and mostly his ability to make anyone around him feel like a million bucks.  I really lucked out with Marshall, because he also happens to have a really great family.  I have become especially fond of Janice and Kelly who have really opened up their doors to me, and made me feel like I am part of their family right from the start.  I just feel so blessed to have them in my life.  They have really opened up my eyes to wanting to make a change in how I live my life.  Especially Janice, who is always blowing me away with her forward thinking, and zest to try new things.

I also have this little dog, Marley, she consumes just about all the rest of my time.  She is a little tiny Miniature Pinscher, topping the scales at 4 pounds.  She is 4 years old, and just as stubborn as her mom.  It has taken her a little bit of time to grow accustom to having Marshall around, but now she thinks of him as being part of the family.  Little does she know that soon enough, we will be adding a few chickens, and maybe even another dog.  I'm not so sure she is going to be very happy about that, but I guess we will just have to wait and see.

Lets see the other players... My very supportive family, who really deserves their own blog.  Let me just say, I have this sister who is an awe inspiring figure skater, who will soon be off galavanting across the world as a professional skater, and a brother who will soon be a house hold name when it comes to hockey.  I really couldn't be any more proud of 
a sister.  I really hit the jackpot with them!  My parents, both hard working and loving have been the best of role models for me.  Always pushing me to become the woman that they know that I can be.  

So for me... I am an art student with dreams of becoming a college art teacher.  What is really crazy is that up until two years ago, I didn't even know that I was an artist.  The drawing to the left is the first still life I had ever drawn, in my first ever drawing class.  I was really lucky to end up 
with Cindy Williams as a drawing teacher, and she pushed me to find my inner artist.  I'm not sure she even knows this, but she is my mentor.  Without the encouragement that she gave me I don't know if I would have even taken another art class!  I work with many types of mediums, and am open to try everything once.  I am even giving ceramics a try, though I have this thing about getting dirty, lets just say I will be using a whole lot of latex gloves this quarter.  My mom is always telling stories about how even as a little girl, I was always the one who came home clean.  Funny considering I am awful
at keeping my room clean even now as an adult.

But all of this really is just the tip of the iceberg.  I started this blog because I am in the process of trying to learn how to live a more sustainably, it started with a little herb garden, and a couple of tomato plants, and has expanded into a dream of a full garden, grape vines, apple trees and all!  I even obsess over composting, till I am sure that I am driving Marshall insane!  Then last year while visiting Janice and Kelly in Seattle I saw that they were thinking about getting chickens.  I had chickens once, I hatched them for a science project.  Speaking of, after all of my researching I have come to realize... I sure didn't do much for that project other than hatch those eggs.  Thanks dad!  I couldn't have done any of it without you.  Back to the chickens, I have spent many hours looking at different styles of coops, what kind of chickens will do the best here in our Spokane weather.  I have most of my answers, I know I want a coop with a green roof, I know the kind of chickens I want, and I know where we are going to put it in the back yard.  Now all we need to do is get building!  Then I am sure I will have dozens of questions!

So Welcome to my little blog.  It seems that I have decided that this is where I am going to journal about all of my crazy adventures, art, boyfriend, chickens and what not.  This way my friends and family who don't have myspace or facebook will still be able to read about what I am doing.  

Talk soon,
Alicia Jane