Archives For Gardening

It is my plan to start sharing a more personal post each week, giving you a glimpse into how we live an intentionally simple life. I’ll be sharing a photos of the boys, glimpses into our home/routines, updates on raising produce/chickens and more.

A glimpse into last week:

Snack Time

Last week we moved the little table back into the dining room. Back in December, we rearranged rooms and put it in Weston’s room, it was rarely used in there. We moved it back and already it’s been used almost daily for snacks and art time. Little Weston looks like such a big boy sitting at a table!

Baby Chicks

Our baby chicks are growing. Their wing feathers are really developing, it has been fun watching them change almost daily.

Clearing Brush

We’ve made quite a bit of progress on clearing the brush between the fences since last week. John David has taken off a few trailer loads of brush already and the space is looking great. (The trailer was borrowed, so thankful for friends who let us borrow big items so we don’t have to rent/purchase them!)

Floor Bed

John David’s dad came to visit this weekend and help with a project. Since rearranging the boys rooms, our former guest bed is now Paxton’s bed. Whenever we have guests, Paxton gets to sleep on a floor bed. He loves having guests not only because it’s exciting having family/friends in our home but also because he gets to sleep in his ‘little bed’. We typically place his bed in our bedroom floor, right beside the bookshelf which holds the majority of our children’s books, the little bookworm loves sleeping beside the bookshelf.

Not much work was done outside during the week, but once Friday arrived we got to work. Friday was beautiful and I was able to get outside and do some planting. (The rest of the weekend was chilly, so I stayed inside with Weston!)
Strawberry Plants
We purchased a few more strawberry plants and now the raised bed lining our sidewalk is full of strawberries.

Planting Onions

We also purchased some onion sets and got them in the ground. Since snapping this photo, the bed has been covered in a wood chip mulch/compost mixture, we recently watched the documentary Back to Eden and are applying some of the concepts shared in that film in our garden.

(The wooden dividers are in the bed to help us mark off the squares for our square foot gardening. I’m simply using them as a planting grid to keep things even!)

The big project of the weekend, and the reason Papaw came to visit, was building a chicken coop.

The men (including Paxton), started building on Friday morning and by Sunday afternoon were 90% finished. The coop was constructed using salvaged/reclaimed wood and materials (except for a box of new nails!)

Brothers in the Chicken Coop

The boys enjoyed playing in the new coop. I’m sure it will be a fun place space for them until our hens move in!Boreing MenOur new chicken coop and the 3 generations who built it together. (I plan to share more details on the materials/construction of the coop soon!)

And, my husband is one talented man, he designed this coop and then was able to build it.

That’s a glimpse into life last week!

Linked to: Homestead Barn Hop


Little Digger
This space has been quiet during this past week or so since we’ve been spending almost every spare minute outside preparing for spring. We’ve had a few cold days but we’ve all bundled up and ventured out to work in the yard.

Sweet WestonWe hadn’t spend much time outside since late fall and the boys have definitely been in their element. They’ve been digging with their ‘digger’ they received for Christmas, exploring all around the yard, digging in the dirt and just being boys and getting messy.

Garden BedsWe purchased a load of soil and added some to our existing raised beds. We have plans to build a few more beds so we can have an even larger garden this year.

Future Chicken PenOne of the big projects we’ve been working on {mainly, John David} is clearing out the area between our chain link fence and the property line fence. It was full of brush and remnants of a tree that fell during a storm and we had to have cut down. We’re thinking about turning this area into a chicken pen.

Baby ChicksOne of John David’s big projects has been preparing a space for our baby chicks which arrived this past Friday! We all have enjoyed  the chicks these past few days and are looking forward to watching them grow.

New Raised BedsWe spent Saturday afternoon working on turning a flower bed into a raised bed space. This area was covered with mulch which we raked up {and moved to the front bed, thus mulching the front for free!} John David built a raised bed around the 3 strawberry plants which were already in this space and then built 2 small raised beds. We’re wanting grass to grow around the raised beds so there isn’t as much to weed!

We’ve enjoyed being outside, creating things and working together as a family.

Have you been preparing for spring in any way? 

Previous Post: After Graduation

Although it is completely counter-cultural, we agreed that my time was worth money to our family. With that mindset, I began my career as a “stay at home wife” who worked part-time.

I continued transcribing for TFC from home and in the fall of 2008 began going into the office one day a week. The drive was over an hour which is why we made the decision for me to only work one day a week. I enjoyed my job, especially since it was in my career field, Agricultural Communications. We continued living solely off of John David’s income and my earnings went toward our down payment savings.

Around October of 2008, we learned that the media director at the church we had joined in Columbia felt called to serve in a pastoral role. We began praying that this would be an opportunity for John David to begin pursuing what he felt was his calling, church media. In early December, John David was offered the job. While we took a pretty substantial pay cut, we were confident that this was exactly where he needed to be and knew that we wouldn’t have any issues financially.

Our First Home

In December, we also had reached our goal of saving 20% down for a home and found an adorable foreclosure that was out in the country on two acres at a great price. It was in great condition, just needed some painting and carpet cleaning.

We moved into our home 5 days before Christmas and were excited to finally feel settled. John David had a new job that we knew he was going to love and we had a sweet little home that was all our own that we could personalize.

Our First Garden

When spring arrived we started a large garden and I finally had a clothesline. I spent my days working hard in the garden that summer, saving our family quite a bit of money because we had bell peppers, green beans, tomatoes, cantaloupe and corn. I chopped up peppers to freeze, cut corn off of the cob and canned tomatoes. I was having a blast raising a garden which combined my love of agriculture and saving money.

Then in early August, in the midst of our tomato harvest coming in, we found out some exciting news which halted my gardening.

Next Post: We’re Expecting

Our-Financial-Story

A chicken coop can be a large expense and often stands in the way of making the dream of having backyard chickens a reality.

When we made the decision that we wanted chickens, having nice housing for them was a priority. We wanted a nice coop that would be easy to clean and roomy enough for a couple of hens but we didn’t want to spend over $100.

Thankfully, it is possible to have a nice chicken coop without spending a ton of money. We were able to modify a chicken coop quite frugally. Sure, it’s not a fancy coop but it’s nice, keeps our chickens housed and didn’t cost much!

We found our coop via Craigslist for $30! John David did some modifications and made the plain little coop into a nice ‘chicken tractor’ (moveable coop) for our hens.

Before:

Nice, sturdy little coop with a teeny yard.

After:

John David expanded the yard portion and added wheels to make a ‘chicken tractor’.

He spent $19.01 on the wheels and parts to attach the wheels and $12.89 on the chicken wire.

Before:

The ‘back door’ was just a piece of mesh stapled onto the back of the coop.

 

After:

He created a door and latch that is much more practical than stapled on screen!

 

He installed a roost in the coop for the chickens. (It was just an empty ‘room’.)

 

He added a feed box so we could feed them from the outside.

Cost of our chicken coop:

  • Coop $30
  • Chicken Wire $12.89
  • Wheels and Parts $19.01
  • Wood for roost/feed box FREE (he salvaged wood we already had from previous projects and an old fence!)

Total: $51.90

(If we ever decide we’re tired of having backyard chickens, we’re confident that we can sell our coop for what we paid for it.)

Our hens rarely are ever in their coop! We have a large, fenced in back yard and we let them roam ‘free range’. John David built a laying boxes house for them near some bushes they like to relax around.  They go into their coop each night to roost and the rest of the time they’re foraging in the yard or lounging under the deck or under the bushes.

Linked to: Your Green Resource