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Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Reclaiming wood for a natural lifestyle

I started building a Chicken Wagon so I could raise a few chickens and a couple of ducks. I gathered all the wood laying in discrete areas of the yard and hidden under things to use on this Pen/hutch. I gathered up an old wheel chair, childs wagon, grand pa's old wood hauler side boards an old small book cabinet thing used for holding tools in yard, and even the picnic table that was not being used. and made my chicken wagon.
As you can see. It is a work in progress. I used some guttering material to cover the edges of the pen area to allow for climbing in and out. Wagon wheels in back on platform to stand on and larger wheels on sides to allow for mobility. Side doors for accessing the eggs inside the hutch and top lifts to reach the 3rd floor.
It turned out too heavy to move with the very skinny wheels not supported with a solid axle.
It worked very nicely for the baby chicks and the two ducklings.
Until they got to be a month old. Time to move up to a mansion.
I spoke to a few neighbors and some relatives and asked for wood scraps that they were not using. Chose a spot in the front yard that was not being used and could be reclaimed as well as the wood.

I am not an architect nor a carpenter so as you will see this was a lot of fun. I went with an idea of what I thought would work for the birds and the tree/bush which is a Quince tree/bush. I figured that I could wheel the hut over to it and make an opening and join the two together. That didn't work as nicely as I'd hoped. I
had to chop the front of the chicken wagon and attach it directly to the big pen to allow them to keep sleeping in the hutch and lay eggs in a location I could access easily.
I also wanted to raise rabbit so I thought a good place to have them was under the tree along side of the chickens and ducks. I used some shelves from a neighbor for the boxes on the right to house the rabbits.
I wanted to put in a mulch area too. I framed one in under the shade tree and directly under the rabbit area on the right wall/side. I can use the area for a temporary green house area while the garden still needs to be tilled up...
 Main objectives: Chickens, Ducks, mulch area, green house, Rabbits, Hammocks in shade for relax area, remove old deck under Walnut tree reclaim ground, transplant Strawberries into raised planter boxes, and provide us with Rabbit meat, eggs and a garden area while sharing our chicks and duckies with our grand daughter. Their is a lot of joy and love in raising ducks and chicks for a two year old.
 I have to replace a few odd cut old 3x4's on the far right and 2x4's that are temporarily in place for support. I have ran out of 2x4's so I nee to make some more phone calls.... This is what I have so far. I used the left over wagon inside the pen.
i lined it with a very thick garbage bag for now and some rocks for the ducks to climb in and swim in. They love it!

The pen is considered as our "grand daughter's play pen". She loves it! See mee Ducks, Gram! See mee Ducks! She goes inside the pen and says Hi to each one of the ducks and chickens.
ALL of the hutches, pens, mulch bin, posts all the work has been done with RECLAIMED WOOD! My only investment was in nails, paint, and some misc.  hardware pieces, chickens, ducks, rabbits and feed.
All under $100.00.....   Not bad for a country girl living in town. It has been over twenty years since I have had farm animals. I still want a goat.... Ring Neck Pheasants, and a few other things done and put in... Put two more post holes in behind the hammocks on the outside for my actual green house area. I think I'd like to pen in the area out in front of the duck pen for Pheasants (smaller cages in under the bushes). I need more supplies to finish that area. One thing and one day at a time... Wish me luck & success!

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Reclaimed Wood Projects.

I have constructed a Chicken Wagon out of scraps from around the property. I used an old shelf, side boards off Pops old garbage hauler/wood truck, wheels from his old wheel chair, the kids old red wagon and various pieces of wood. I put some thought into it and kept adding as I went along. Had a basic idea of what I wanted the rest was translating the thought into reality.I used old guttering to cover rails so I could climb in and out with out snagging myself while constructing and thinking.
This is a  Multi~Family, 3 story, Private play yard, two sky lights Duckinham Palace & Hen Hut!
Top back piece/lid lifts up, both side top sections open for bottom egg access and cleaning. Ramp can pull up to close from pull chain and twist over wing nut to secure closed. I have used zipties to secure some nice flat plastic on the outside for added fence security while they are still chicks & ducklings..
Now I have had 2 more adult female mallard ducks given to me so I need to build an attaching yard, play area for the ducks to all go in... I painted some strawberries, flowers and eggs with legs on the back and the two sides. Painted eggs-n-legs on the fence top and front with some graffiti! 
Cost less than $30.00 to make, paint was $12.00. A few pieces of hardware and nails and screws.. My eldest son, Benjamin McKenzie, had some plexiglass so we covered the diamond sky lights with that. Tooo cute.. Can't wait to get eggs from my, "Grany's Hen Hut"!
Now I just need and want to work on hutches for meat rabbits and then of course a larger play pen area for the two more ducks, and a small shelter for a spring goat to eat my grass and get yummy fat...

Saturday, February 18, 2012

                                                       Teaching yourself to Crochet is really easy.

Each and every stitch in crochet is listed inside the cover of any crochet magazine or leaflet. Understanding these stitch guides is fairly simple and mainly uses some common sense.
The one thing that I have noticed that is not the same in crochet is each persons individual stitching. Referred to as a , stitch gauge. The manner in which each person is comfortable holding the crochet hook and making each stitch. The stitches, same in pattern or sequence, is a pattern gauge.  It determines the length of a stitch/pattern for the size of crochet hook and yarn that person used.
So, if you want to make a small blanket for a toddler use Baby weight yarn and a small crochet hook. For a larger blanket, not only would you increase the number of blocks, rows or sections, you would increase the yarn size and crochet hook.
There are many places on the internet that are very helpful with “how to do a stitch”, so, all a person needs is to know if the manner in which they are holding the hook is correct and the yarn or “what does that mean?”..
Each person holds a crochet differently, slightly. That varies to each persons comfort level as in hand writing with a pen or pencil and the manner you actually hold the item.
I was shown how to crochet by a dear neighbor & friend and my Grand mother. My Neighbor taught me by showing, examples and repetition. Making a very small shoulder bag, hat in the style then of a Bonnet.
 My Grand mother by example. I made a lot of Granny Squares for her.
It wasn’t until I became married and a mother that I learned how to read crochet patterns. It’s a little tricky for some at first. But, it can be done.
I rarely purchase new yarns or threads. The local thrift stores have an abundant supply of scraps and even new skeins for an inexpensive purchase and a newbie.
I have to admit, my cousin taught me to use my fingers in what was referred to as “finger crochet”. It is fun for kids that you want to share the craft or art with. Simple chains for decorating out of three random sized threads/yarns.
Crocheting is fun and easy to learn. One hook, one piece of yarn and your hands.
Practice the starting loop then make some chains. Use different hooks in random sizes on the same yarn. See the differences in size for yourself. Label them with a scrap of yarn and a piece of a paper bag. Write the hook sizes on the paper. Start with a “G”, then go up to a “K” and then the larger “P” or “N”.
After you have made some chains with each and you are fairly confident of rolling or twisting the crochet hook in your fingers try adding a new stitch. Keep it simple, use a single crochet (sc).
Make new chains in the same manner as the chains you practiced making and then chain one more for the turn and poke the hook into the second *chain in front of the hook and “Yarn Over” (Yo) and pull the yarn back through to your side (two loops/strands on hook), then, Yarn Over, (Yo) and pull the yarn you just put on the - yo- towards you on your side of the work.
This is a good place to introduce the asterisk. *…..* Such as:   *single crochet (sc) in next stitch (st) and repeat around/down the work, etc..
This means to repeat the stitches you just made that are printed inside these symbols. Look for a patterns guide of stitches. Listed is a Stitch Pattern Guide which shows what stitches for a particular design. The written pattern will use, Parenthesis and Brackets along with the Asterisk.
See, “you can do it”!
I went onto the pinterest site and started a page of some items I have crocheted. There are numerous places with videos that are all very simple to follow and do.
The most basic is, your comfort. If you are not comfortable holding the crochet hook try a slightly different way or watch a video. No two are exactly alike. So, feel free to get comfy.
Feel free to contact me with a stitch request. I can do a video or we can email or chat.

I drink alot of coffee and enjoy crocheting my day away when I am not out in the forest, even then I have my crochet work bag with me.  I am usually working on at least one indoor project and a few out door ones at the same time. As a wife,mother, grand mother, author and photographer I do try to do what I can when the weather is not cooperating. So, no worries, I grab up a hook crochet or fishing and just do it! You should see my carry bag! Camera, crochet project, cranraisins, fingerless gloves!

Deer fence around Garden

I published this video a few years back.
It still works much better than any thing else I have tried.
The deer still get the nonessentials in the yard but not my garden!

Friday, February 17, 2012

I was enlightened with the usefulness of a new web site, pinterest.
A simply amazing little place. Just type in your key words and walah! Pictures galore.
Of course I uploaded pictures of mine. Crochet items I have made like beanie hats, bean bags, jacket, etc..
A nice place to organize a wish list.

Winter mushrooms are still coming into the shop.
Black Trumpets, Hedge hogs, Yellow feet...