Starting Seeds

Yesterday I spent a little extra tie with my sister, which I surprisingly enjoyed very much! She went with me to pick up a few things, and then she helped me start some seeds for plants for the garden before she helped me make pizza rolls for dinner last night.

Mr.T helped me make a grow box to start my seeds in, and hopefully have better luck than last year. My sister has always liked to play in dirt, so I got out my supplies and let her go at it. She jumped right in and helped me with planting and the initial watering of my seeds!

A few weeks ago, Mr.T helped me make a grow box by lining a storage tote with reflective insulation stuff, drilling vent holes in the sides, and wiring spaces for 3 lightbulbs in the lid of the tote. So far so good! I love that I can put the lid on to keep my little brother out of it, which he is convinced there are baby chickens in there. I have to say it is kind of cute to watch him try to convince me there are babies in there! LOL The lid also easily removes so I can check on the plants and water them as needed.

I decided to start 3 varieties of tomatoes, Rutger, Better Boys and a variety of grape tomatoes, my brother loves them, as well as strawberries and my first attempt at broccoli. I started them early enough if push comes to shove and I kill them, highly likely, that I can purchase starts from a local nursery/greenhouse.

I am excited to say that in addition to the plants, I candled a few eggs last night and they are fertile with an embryo developing! I did not candle each egg, so I cannot say for sure at this stage how many are indeed fertile, but hopefully I will be able to do that within the next couple of days.

Spring time brings new life, and new growth, especially on the farm! This year is no different as I start plants and begin incubating eggs, so much is starting, and I cannot wait for the next couple of weeks when chicks start to hatch and plants come up! Stay tuned for progress reports!

Incubation Has Begun

I worked all Friday afternoon to get my eggs in the incubator! I am proud to say that they are successfully on the final hours of Day 2 of their incubation. My incubator has been running slightly humid, so I have had to keep an eye on it very closely but I have been able to manually control both it and maintaining the temperature inside the incubator. The incubator I have purchased has an automatic turner, so that is on thing off my mind, and the digital readout for temperature and humidity make adjusting it as easy as it can be.

I did a lot of research before I placed my eggs late Friday afernoon, and I double dipped each egg in hydrogen peroxide before it went in the incubator. This is suposed to sterilize it and keep bacteria inside the incubator to a minimum increasing the hatch rate. Time will tell if it really improves the statistics of my hatch.

I am eager to candle them and see how things are going inside my eggs, but I know that after more research, nothing will be very visable at this stage. So I am counting down to day 5-7 when I can candle and see what is going on! I am nervous and excited at the same time. This is my first attempt at incubating eggs and I am hopeful that everything goes well, but also oknow there are several factors that play a big role in the outcome of my hatch. I have not let hens sit on eggs, except once, and nothing hatched…. so I am hoping my rooster is indeed fertile. I was asked if I opened any of the eggs to see… and the soft side of me just couldn’t bring myself to do that.

Spring is an eciting time on the farm, and this year will be no different. I ordered the meat chickens Friday and they will be here right around April 1st. They will hatch within a day or two of the eggs in my incubator, making brooding much much easier on me. It took me a couple years, but I have learned how to make some things easier on myselfand having the pullets and meat birds close in age makes the brooding process incredibly easier.

My Dad is convinced I am now a crazy chicken lady, but I thoroughly enjoy my little birds! They are a great addition to the farm and I am excited to welcome some new members into the flock!

Christmas Chicks are Growing!

Today was the day! The blac Australop chicks my wonderful Mom gave me for Christmas are officially out of the brooder on this sunny Monday afternoon.  I had planned to put them out over the weekend, but I wanted them to have the last of the starter feed before I turned them loose. This afternoon the feeder was empty.

My fully feathered babies are 13 weeks old Wednesday and it was time they meet the older girls. When I lifted them from the brooder, three of the older girls were in the besting boxes and they did not even bat an eye. A couple others heard the commotion and had to come investigate. Fortunately, no squabbling and no bloodshed upon meeting each other.

I hope they enjoy their freedom! The little hens, I believe they all turned out to be hens, were hanging out together in the corner when I left them but I hope by later this afternoon or tomorrow, they are adventurous enough to check out at least the run.

My little brother, Nick, went out with me to collect the eggs, and as soon as he saw his babies free, he had to pick one up and give it a cuddle! He loves those little chickens. Of course, I lifted one so he could pet it and he cuddled it as the little hen loved him back! That is one of the sweetest moments on the farm.  Nick helped me get the eggs and we brought them inside, but he was so excited to see his babies.

The incubater is sterilized and spent the day outside in the sunshine today in preparation of setting eggs starting Wednesday or Thursday and I am super excited about that! My incubator holds 56 eggs, and I Have been collecting about 5 each day, tomorrow I will get ore and Wednesdy I will get more, to fill it. I am crossing my fingers for a good hatch, esecially since it will be my first one. If all goes well this year, I hope to keep 20 pullets and maybe have a few roosters for the freezer.

Spring is around the corner, and I am already full of excitement and anticipation! Stay tuned for updates, and hopefully pictures when I get my new camera figured out!

March Goals

I cannot believe today is March 1st! 2018 is flyin by and I cannot believe it. The first of the month is a great time to take a moment and reflect, and set new goals. Sharing them with you, I hope encourages me to stick to it and accomplish the things I set out to do.

I did very well at making things a priority in Feruary, and I hope to continue to keep my priorities in March, as well as add a few. The warmer temperatures bring more outside work, and I hope to challenge myself to continue working to be where I want to be.

Last year, my Aunt in Texas mentioned scripture writing, and I decided to give it a try then, which I was unable to keep up with. I have picked it up and tried again, and it has been a wonderful way to spend time with my Lord! Giving myself something physical to do while thinking on the specific words I am writing gives me an outlet and a way to occupy my body while my mind works. I am going to continue that through March and hope that it continually gives me new, positive things to think about so that I can continue growing.

Another thing my Aunt mentioned last year, is a plank challenge…. so I think I am going to give that try starting today, it is a 28 day challenge that I found, but I think it can easily be extended to 31 days. Riding will be starting next week for me, and I am chomping at the bit to get back in the saddle. I am hoping that the extra exercise of riding in addition to the plank challenge I have found will help me tone up a little. When I was toned a little a couple years back I had so much more self confidence. My hope is to get back to that, and feeling good about myself again.

Next week also brings starting seeds and setting eggs, which I am absolutely beside myself about! I have never incubated eggs before and I have been counting down the days! I started a few seeds last year but I did not do very well with watering them, and unfortunately I killed every one of the plants I started about a week or so into their growth. Very disappointing experience, so this time I have added that to the daily tracker in my Bullet Journal, which will keep it in front of my mind to do.

Spring is my favorite time of year, and this year spring is full of excitement! I simply cannot wait to see how the next few weeks go!