Wet weather and mobile hens

April showers bring May flowers! Or… April snow storm turns into blistering hot summer days and huge thunderstorms during the evening, thus producing a lovely greenhouse effect causing plants to spring out of the ground (pun intended), flowers to bloom all at once, hay fields to make you feel like a midget and your arms and neck to turn nut brown before June even thinks about coming on the scene. Whew! Sorry for the long drawn out sentence! That has just been my life in a nutshell for the past month. 🙂 I must say that I truly love living in Minnesota, if only for the weather factor! A common saying in my home is “there is never a dull moment in the Voit family!” and it is proven true every day, especially in the spring, summer and fall months. Oh, and the winter ones too. 😉 This past week has proven to be no different, we have been endur (ahem!) enjoying really high temperatures, and their sidekicks the thunderstorm group.  On Memorial day it got up to 101 degrees! We are very blessed though to not be needing to water the gardens at all right now, especially with it being so hot.  Currently in the morning hours my mom has been working in her garden up by the house. We had a huge bunch of lilac bushes just out the kitchen window that had grown so large that they were impeding the space there, plus a few of us were just miserable when they bloomed so down they came and in came a garden! My fabulous mother is putting in something of a kitchen garden, she has herbs, popcorn, flowers, radishes some cherry tomatoes and a bunch more planted there.  During this fabulously extreme weather I have been working on finishing my hen house on wheels. IMG_4631As you can see I have the structure done along with the siding and roof. During this evening’s rain I discovered  some leaks in the roof that I will need to fix before rehoming the girls, besides that and some extra varmint proofing though she’s all done! Stay tuned and I will give you an exclusive tour in the next post!

 

Happy Happenings, and Chicken Tractors!

What a busy week this has been!  What with gardens being put in, chicken tractors being built and of course the daily chores that just come with being alive.  This past Tuesday I started building a mobile chicken coop that is referred to as a chicken tractor.  With some lumber that I got for a really good deal at a fabulous estate sale I got building.  I based the structure off of the model that Joel Salatin -a farmer from Virginia- uses.  The idea is that it be light-weight and easily portable while also containing the chickens, protecting them from the elements and keeping the pesty little predators out. Mr. Salatin makes his to be 10’x12′ but since I did not have boards long enough for that size and I wanted to stick with what I had so I made mine to be 8’x8′ square. Because I am a visual learner and I have never made one of these before now I started by laying out four 1-1/2″  x 8′ boards in a square. IMG_4593

I then attached three 2″x4″x2′ boards onto the far and near side boards, screwing another 1-1/2″ x8′ board to the top of those, for the other two sides I put only one 2x4x2 in the middle.  After I attached the support boards I screwed all four sides together, and added the top boards to the sides with only 2×4. The resulting frame looked like this. IMG_4599I did put the  support boards on the other two sides as the whole structure would shift if they weren’t in place. I had some chicken fencing wire on hand so I enclosed about two-thirds of the coop in that, just covering the sides. My Dad and brothers are working on residing one of our sheds and so from the old siding that they pulled off I was able to make a wind break for the chickens on two sides.  For part of the top I used some sheet metal that I got at Menards from the discount area and some of the siding. This provides a good roof and shelter from the wind, rain and sun. IMG_4600

For the other part of the top I used a panel from our old chicken-run that was made with thin boards and chicken wire.  I fastened that down with pieces of wire and voila a good working “roof” with a part the can easily be taken off for when I am doing chores and handling the birds. IMG_4604

The next morning (Wednesday) I put the broilers out to pasture in their “new” tractor! I think they look happy don’t you?IMG_4611IMG_4610

On a vegetable note… the radishes are poking their adorable heads out of the ground! We did some planting last week and these are the first to come up besides the peas and lettuce that was planted a couple of weeks ago. IMG_4614IMG_4613

I love spring and all the happy things that go on, don’t you?! Have a good week!!

 

 

Free from sin?!!

I bet some of you are wondering how on earth I could possibly make a claim to being free from sin. You are probably thinking that I am this ridiculous, little, self-righteous liar and that I cannot possibly be speaking the truth. “I mean, how can anyone be free from sin?!” Please keep reading. 🙂 I am here to clear the air on this one, and to explain how it is that I can make this claim.  About twelve years ago when I was seven I heard the gospel given at the church my family and I were attending. I don’t remember the exact words the preacher had said but I do know that he told us about Jesus, the Son of God and how he had lived a perfect life while he was on the earth and that he was falsely accused of blasphemy and sentenced to death. He had a crown of thorns placed upon his head and  was beaten cruelly, then he was hung on a cross with his arms extended and nailed to the branches of the cross. There he suffocated to death, and paid the price for our sins with the blood that was shed. After being buried for three days, Jesus arose and came back to life, showing that he had conquered death and had power over it.  The preacher then went on and  told us that if any of us believed this, then would we follow him in a simple prayer known as the sinner’s prayer. I did believe and gave my life to Jesus, at that moment because of Jesus’ sacrifice for my sins God forgave me for the lies that I told, the horrible thoughts that had entered my head and for every wrong thing that I had done and would do. At that time my track record up in heaven was replaced with Jesus’ record, thus erasing my sin and making me a child of God. As a child of God, I was given the power to be free from sin, meaning I don’t need to sin any more and if I do choose to sin, then that sin is not on my record because Jesus paid the ultimate price for ALL of my sin, and by doing so, every time that I do something wrong, that sin is placed on Jesus and is covered with his blood thus erasing it.  So does this make me this perfect person who never sins? Yes! But only in the eyes of God. I am still tempted and deceived by Satan. I still falter, make mistakes and sin, but when God looks at me all he sees is the blood of Jesus his only begotten son covering me and making me perfect. That is how I am free from sin.  If you have ever sinned ( which we all have!) and you don’t know how to stop sinning than all you’ve got to do is believe in the name of Jesus, your sins will be erased, every wrong thing that you’ve done and will do will not be committed to your record up in heaven and you will live forever with Jesus Christ up in heaven after your journey on this earth is completed.

New update.

Hey there! I come to you with an new update on the farm and also some fun pictures! I was looking around for a new camera over the past week or two because (so I thought) mine had deceased.  I had found a couple that would work but didn’t get either because I am new to the world of online bidding (you’re supposed to place your bid BEFORE the bidding closes) 🙂 . Oh well, today I thought I would try and see if my old and deceased camera would work, just once more. So not knowing what else to do I put new batteries in it and pushed the ‘on’ button. It worked! Apparently I didn’t have new batteries the last time I tried that. 🙂 I will still be looking at upgrading but for now I at least have some pictures to share with you!

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Running in the sun!

Since the weather has been so nice I have been getting the geese out for fresh air and lots of grass. Aren’t they cute?! I have never had geese before now but I had heard  that they could be mean, I got them to guard the chickens but I didn’t want them to be mean to people so I made a point to socialize them while they were in a brooder in the house. Well, I think I may have done a bit of overkill in that area as they now think that my family and I are “mamma” and panic when we are two or three feet away from them

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Enjoying the ‘bird’ bath while my mom was pulling weeds.

. It is adorable but I hope that they will be just as attached to the chickens and will stay by them when I put them out in the field.  Speaking of chickens… the broilers are just about ready to head outdoors as they have most of their feathers and the weather is warm enough. The little hens are a bit behind the broilers in growth rate, but that is expected and wanted, they are not eating themselves into maturity but are rather enjoying the hunt for bugs and various greens that are thrown into the pen. They should be able to go out in about two or so weeks.  My mom and I are very similar when it comes to the feedmill during spring time when the shipments of chicks come in. Since there are always extras or rejects it is not unheard of for one or the other of us to come home saying “They were so cute, and they were extra’s which means they didn’t have a home! How could I just leave them?”  Needless to say… 😉 there are now eight new chicks in the coop. I partitioned off a sections of the coop for the newbies because mingling them with the bigger bird would not be a good idea, they would more than likely be pecked to death or sat on and suffocated. These new chicks are fun and exotic breeds so they will add variety and color to the otherwise black flock.  A few of them will lay white eggs, a few will have those fun top hats that make the bird look like it has an overgrown afro (can they even see?!), and the rest are going to just add interest to the flock.

The other day my brother Levi and I moved the large hog feeder into the pig paddock so there would be a constant supply of feed available, in addition to the grass, roots and bugs they find.  Eventually I would like to  use grain only as a supplementary option but due to my inexperience and the layout of the land that I am working with right now that is not a reality.  It took the three little (times two plus one;) ) pigs a short while to figure out that if they lift one of the lids on the feeder and stick their face into it they would get feed. It is funny to hear the banging of the lids as they eat their bedtime snack.  I think they are all very happy about the new arrangement. I know that I sure am! I don’t need to worry about feeding them three times a day and dealing with wasted feed as they fight over who gets their nose in which spot of the feed pan.

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I have started putting apple cider vinegar into the water of all the animals. It is good for the health of the animals and it also helps to prevent the waterers from growing algae. I am hoping that it will help to clear up some problems, such as goopy eyes on our cats and a few pasty butts for the chicks.

We’ve been working on getting our straw bale gardens set up. Last week we were able to get some organic straw bales from a local farmer which is  a huge blessing as we try and do our best limiting the amount of chemicals used on our farm.  Levi, the awesome boy! Set up the t-posts and 2×4’s  for the trellised veggies we plan on growing in the bales, and today we worked on seasoning the bales. Over the weekend my mom and two of my brothers got some more bales and we set them up on the hill that I overwintered the horse and donkeys on.

 

We will use those bales for our viney fruits that are too heavy for a trellis. We seasoned the bales with an organic fertilizer and water. Sprinkling some of the fertilizer on the top of the bale that is standing upright, and then drenching the bale with water. Fun Fact: Hose nozzles are very beneficial to your health, they provide different setting to spray your siblings with, they promote vigorous health (especially if the water coming out is cold) and produce tons of laughter which strengthens the immune system!

That’s all for now! I would love to hear questions, comments, or tips from you! I hope you all had a good a week! Until next time…. 🙂 .

 

As spring is beginning… so is this blog!

Welcome to this, my blog!

I am excited to be joining the world of bloggers. I plan to use this small  corner of the internet to update you on the happenings of my little farm and hopefully be informative, inspiring, and encouraging . Though if all else fails, I hope to at least bring a smile to your face as you read my posts. 🙂

So. Since this is my first post I am going to just jump right in!

Spring has sprung! And with it comes lots, and lots of things to do on the farm, though it be only twelve acres.   Starting a couple of months ago I ordered the first batch of broilers, layers, and my adorable geese. They all came in April along with a batch of seven feeder pig. Thus begins one of the most work intensive but extremely fun and rewarding times of the year. Spring!

Now that the snow is gone, the grass is greening up, Magnolia our tree is blooming, and the trees are all leafing out we are putting the early garden in. Peas, lettuce, cabbage and cauliflower. The tomato plants are growing away under their heat lamp and though it is a bit late I will be sowing some pepper seeds indoors for planting after the danger of frost has gone. Yesterday I extended the hog’s paddock into more of a pasture-sized plot and they are happily tilling up our new garden plot. I must say that a happy bunch of hogs makes for a happy farmer. It is so fun watching them root around with their strong little snouts and smack their mouths when they find a tasty tidbit.

The horse and donkeys are now moved to a smaller paddock that incorporates part of the hay field, thus beginning the year of rotational grazing as I attempt to heal the land and bring back vitality to the pastures and our field. The mobile hen house is almost ready for use (grow little chicks, grow) and I have the lumber for the new chicken tractors that I am going to make. Things are in motion!

 

 

 

 

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