Creating a Life of Plenty

April 18, 2017
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Comments Off on The Evolution of a Market Garden: Rain Catchment, Phase 1 at Verdigris

The Evolution of a Market Garden: Rain Catchment, Phase 1 at Verdigris

Given our organic principals, we naturally chose to collect rainwater at the new market garden.  This will help us ecologically as well as economically during the first year of the garden and beyond.  When we bought the property we understood … Continue reading

June 23, 2016
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Comments Off on Here Chicky, Chick, Chick (Part 2)

Here Chicky, Chick, Chick (Part 2)

Creating a wholesome environment extends beyond food and water.  We are outfitting our girls with the best items we know to keep them healthy and comfortable.  These are new pets for us and as such, they do take an investment.  … Continue reading

June 22, 2016
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Comments Off on Gardening in the International Harvest Garden, an Update

Gardening in the International Harvest Garden, an Update

Our expanded garden plot is growing fast.  Some plants have been very successful while others have struggled, here is an update! Our corn is doing very well.  The method of starting the corn ahead of time in pots and deep … Continue reading

The book above was my guidebook through the process of choosing chicken breeds, building the coop with my partner and generally learning all I could before we actually got chickens.  It is a terrific book and is available at or your local book seller!

With the coop ready, we eagerly await our fluffy new family members.  I had ordered four chickens from a local homesteading store for city folks like us.  City Folks Farm Shop allowed us to place pre-orders earlier in the winter for staggered pick up throughout the spring.  Going through a shop like this allows us to order smaller flocks of more interesting birds from reputable, local organic farms rather than going through a feed store which buys in bulk and treats the birds as disposable commodities.

Chicken Breeds

For our first cohort, I ordered two Buff Orpingtons, One Barred Rock and One Easter Egger.  These are birds that will get along well together, are perfectly suited to the backyard environment and provide high quality, uniquely colored eggs.

Before their arrival I had to create a brooder.  These one day old chicks will need to live inside the house for four to six weeks while they grow a bit and begin to have feathers.  In addition, the day and night time temperatures need to be appropriately high for the birds not to suffer the cold.


I purchased a very large tote with locking lid from a local store.  This large space will give our four fuzz balls plenty of room to run around, sleep and grow.  In addition I purchased a chick feeder and chick water fount specifically for the small birds.  I have a feeder and watering system for the coop, but those are designed for more adult birds.  I also purchased a heat lamp.  The chicks need to be kept in a warm environment as they are highly susceptible to cold at this young age. For the first week, they must be kept at approximately 95 degrees, the second week can be reduced to 90 degrees…and 5 degrees each week after that until they are to room temperature or to match the outside temperature.  I also put the oil radiator back out on the sun porch and slipped a seedling heating mat under the brooder for supplemental night time heat.  To monitor the temperature in the brooder, I affixed an adhesive reptile thermometer purchased at a local pet store.


To prepare the tote to be a brooder, I cut a large portion out of the lid and replaced that portion with hardware cloth.  I cut the tote with strong tin snips and attached the hardware cloth using nuts, bolts and large enough washers as not to slip through the hardware cloth opening. This will provide ventilation for the birds, allow the heat from the lamp to penetrate, allow us a view to them and keep them protected from our household kitties.  We laid a couple of inches of bedding in the bottom right before the chicks arrived and began the preheating process of the brooder.  We picked them up two weeks ago and delivered them to their new, temporary, home….they have grown quite a bit in just two weeks!

Chicken Composite

They will have to be tended twice a day to ensure they are healthy and thriving.  In addition we will want to remove waste regularly and check their feeders and water as they are notorious for knocking them over or making a mess in them.  To minimize this, we placed a two inch thick board in the brooder and built the bedding up to its level.  This creates a level, stable space for the water fountain and feeder.

The weeks will fly past and these little puff balls will grow into teen birds and will be ready to take their place in the backyard homestead.


Happy Gardening…and Chicken Keeping!

January 5, 2016
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Comments Off on What Can We Do? A Report Card

What Can We Do? A Report Card

Last January I wrote a blog about really setting some homesteading, sustainability and other goals for our household.  With the state of the world, our broken industrial systems as well as our environment, it seemed like a good idea to … Continue reading

May 17, 2015
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Comments Off on Gardening Away From Home

Gardening Away From Home

  Recently, my partner and I expanded our garden outside the confines of our little urban plot. We applied for and were approved for a small patch in the Franklin County Community Garden program. Our 12’X12’ plot is part of … Continue reading