Chicken Run

So with the last few weeks battling Mr. Red Shoulder and Mr. Red Tailed hawk I needed to beef up the size of my run and add a new extension for the days when the hawks are just really relentless. So I got a 10x5x6 dog kennel and cover and attached that to my coop the results were this:

The finished run and coop

that was a dog kennel

That was the pre-existing coop and small run/pen area

The girls seem to like it I think here they are checking it out:

I am getting ready for my garlic planting in the next few weeks. The girls are helping me fertilize the soil and getting it in friable condition. here they are in my fall flowers:

The girls in the Fall flowers

September Morn’

I have been lax in my writing the past few weeks! We have had a busy last few weeks here at the Hannah-Murphy’s. We lost another chicken. She became lunch to our local Red Shouldered Hawk. It was not a pretty scene and my girls are still really upset and barely leave their run now. We also welcomed 3 new pullets to the flock. They are black and white Plymouth Barred Rocks. They flew in from Texas last Wednesday and have settled in nicely, their names are: MJ, LaToya, and Janet. In fact this morning one of the girls (Janet) ate from my hand so a week in and getting comfy. My older girls are not thrilled in the least but they are currently all in separate coops and runs and can just see each other. In a few weeks I am sure they will forget all about hating each other. I think later this week I will allow the new girls to free range and see how it goes. Not sure if I should stagger free-range times and let the new girls get a feel of the yard on their own, or let everyone out and if there is trouble at least the little ones have some running space. We’ll see. Hopefully by mid October everyone will be happy and in in 1 coop.

Since Mr. Hawk has been making an appearance we have to sure up a new run. I have opted for a covered dog run. It is made with galvanized chain link fence and is 10ft, by 5ft by 6ft high with a door for people. I will dig down some hardware cloth to keep critters from digging in and the roof will keep the elements and hawks from coming in. I am not too handy with wood crafts, so this kit should be fine. I hope! No more lunch for Mr. Hawk.

 

We are also busy with the end of the season garden and getting ready for fall plantings. I have some straw much ready to go, my first batch of homemade compost (compliments of the chickens) and my 4 different types of garlic ready to plant later this week. We are planting, some Georgia Fire porcelain hardnecks, Music hardnecks, Samarkand-Persian Star hardneck, and Erik’s German White hardnecks. We are also going to try yellow multiplier onions this year. Just as a small experiment. I still plan on planting sets in the Spring but I have heard good things about the Fall planted onions and would like to see if this can work and not have to buy sets every spring. I like that I am building up my garlic crops and varieties. With those 4 varieties I should be set for life 🙂 The hardnecks did the best in my garden the soft necks didn’t fair as well.

So now that Fall is upon us shortly (although it is 83º out as I write this) look for more blog updates as well as some of my homesteading tips that get me through throughout the year. Also the birth of my second son is happening shortly in November so look for cute baby pics for the holidays!

Some New Chickens on the way

Since I have been the harbinger of chicken death lately I am pressing my luck and getting 3 new chickens to add to the Hannah-Murphy menagerie! This time I am getting a different breed then My Red Stars. 3 Barred Plymouth Rocks. They are a black and white breed and look something like this (minus the weird studio pose..really who brings their chickens to a photo shoot?).

So, they will be joining us the week of September 4th. Their names are MJ, Janet, and LaToya. Yep, I did that chickens. Mildly douchey I know, but I am Jen Murphy after all! I am looking forward to having them though. It will be yet another new adventure here.

On a side note my 3yr old  boy is officially potty trained!!! Thank you Sweet Baby Jesus!!!!!

Back from Downeast Maine

This gallery contains 28 photos.

Just spent another completely relaxing week in  Lubec Maine. This is our 3rd year going there and every time I love it. It is the Easternmost point in the United States and sees sunrise first on the mainland. By first we mean 4:30am! That first morning is always a shock .  It is so remote […]

I am the Chicken Angel of Death

I just had to cull one of our chickens. That was one of the hardest things I have ever had to do, but needed. She had been eggbound for 2-3 days. I had felt around up there and felt nothing,  no stuck egg, or anything. The last egg she laid was shell-less so something was afoot. Also she seemed crop bound at the same time she had a hard lump in her crop and I thought that may be the culprit so I gave warm olive oil and  massaged the crop and it seemed to break up, but I also noticed she wasn’t pooping. So after 2 days of this her health was waning and she was getting sicker and sicker.  I knew I did the right thing, it just sucked really hard to do it (for lack of better terms). I am not raising them for meat so I am not eating these birds I buried them. This is the 2nd bird I lost. The first bird I lost the same way. But I wasn’t paying attention and she suffered and died in her nest box. I wasn’t going to let that happen again. So rest in peace Jan! You were a good bird and I got a perfect egg everyday from you up until the end! So thank you!

My sweet Jan in my flowers that she loved!

 

 

Finally Bottled the Lager

So my kitchen was being remodeled for the last month and I have been waiting patiently to bottle my lager. It is a French farmhouse beer know as a Biere de Garde. It is malty and slightly sweet with a bit of fruit nose and even un-carbonated (I of course snuck a few sips before bottling) tastes fantastic. I used to be afraid of lagering, but this is my 3rd one and I must say all 3 have been my best brewed beers to date. I have an ESB ready to be brewed possibly at the end of the month. I am thinking of lagering that. I saved some of the yeast cake from the primary ferment of the Biere de Garde and I think I may see what happens when I turn an Ale into a larger. It will either be fantastic or fail miserably. We will see. I also have a Cream Ale that needs to be brewed soon. A nice late Summer early Fall Ale.

Image

Here is the quick unscientific recipe if anyone is interested:

Ingredients:

– 0.5 lbs Belgian Aromatic Malt
– 0.5 lbs Gambrinus Honey Malt
– 3 lbs Pilsen dry malt extract (90 min)
– 4 lbs Pilsen dry malt extract (15 min)
– 1 oz Styrian Goldings Hops (90 min)
-Wyeast 2035 American Lager yeast ( it was what I had on hand, there is a Biere de Garde Wyeast that is available)

Directions:

– Collect and heat 5 gallons of water.
– Pour crushed grains into a mesh bag and tie the open end in a knot. Steep for 20 minutes or until water reaches 170°F. Remove bag and discard.
-Bring to a boil and remove the kettle from the burner and add the 3 lbs Pilsen dried malt extract.
-Return wort to boil.
– Add 1 oz Styrian Goldings hops and boil for 90 minutes.
– Add 4 lbs Pilsen DME 15 minutes before the end of the boil.
– When the 90-minute boil is finished, cool the wort to approximately 100° F as rapidly as possible.Use a wort chiller, or put the kettle in an ice bath in your sink.
– Sanitize fermenting equipment and yeast pack.
– Fill primary fermenter with cold water, until it reaches 5 gallons, then pour in the cooled wort. Leave any thick sludge in the bottom of the kettle.
– Aerate the wort and add the yeast when the wort is 70 degrees. Allow to ferment for about 2 weeks at the temp required on your yeast packet.
– After 2 weeks transfer to your secondary fermenter. Allow the beer to condition in the secondary fermenter for at least 2 months at lager temps between 36-48 degrees before bottling.
– bottle with 5 oz. of corn sugar for carbonation and sit at room temp ( about 70 degrees or less) for 2-3 weeks…
– DRINK AND ENJOY!!!