You may have known from our latest posts that were raising chickens, and as you may know, we got a used coop from our dear friend Eddie but what you all DIDN’T know is that we did some updates on it! Partly due to the ordinance requirements of not having a metal roof and also because who doesn’t like a little bit of new paint?! We ended up making a new roof out of cedar shingles, painted the exterior walls blue for a splash of happiness and cleaned the inside for a fresh start.
We’re keeping the coop inside the shop for now or until they can handle the joys of being outside, or the cold for that matter. Young chickens get their underbelly adult feathers last so there isn’t as much insulation from the cold nights, even with a heat lamp. Currently they’re all living happily inside the coop with the occasional visit from us and our pup Milton (who as you might imagine is MOST interested in those little feathered friends!). More updates to come. In the meantime, thanks for stopping by!
Sometimes all you need is a great idea. In this case, a suggestion from our recently adopted-by-proximity, nephew, Kevin. As our niece/nephew(s) came for the ‘Finale Family Dinner’ before graduation day from Undergrad, we knew it was time.
DIY videos rolled, supplies gathered and the next thing we knew, it was Pour Time!
All hands were on deck for the giant (36″x48″) first-time pour! Not many explanations needed, would use more paint, thinner and heavier layers of lubricant the next time, hopefully to get bigger cells. Check out the pics. Excited to do it again (and again!!).
This is what it looked like once it dried… some crazing (cracking) in thick paint areas but WAY COOL! Can’t wait to do it again!
So as you may have noted, many of our lessons are about observing things in nature and looking at things with different perspectives. This project really showed us that even under the same label there can be many differences if you take a closer look! We gathered sets of ten different items such as pinecones and shells, a piece of paper and a pen. We collected our tiny choices from the Dunes but you can collect from your own backyard or anywhere that has nature-y things aplenty. When we came home we gathered our treasures and sorted them into groups of ten (some people had a few extra – hard to resist treats).
Olive selected rocks and mini pinecones, I had individual moss bits with their flowers and twigs from a tree and Mom had snowdrops and acorns. We looked at the color, size, what they were, their growth development when we found them and we wrote down what was similar and what wasn’t within the same species. Afterwards, we looked under the microscope to see their differences up close! In hindsight, I personally think we should all look at things from different perspectives more often and appreciate the differences we all have, despite being the same species. Different is not only good, it is found throughout the natural world.
BUT WAIT – IT’S UPDATE TIME! Did you check out our post on the fairy houses? Well, we went to the Dunes to gather our objects for this lesson, so while we were out we checked on our fairy houses. They were only outside for two days but the night before there was a big storm so we were exited/worried to see how they held up! Soon after arriving and seeing that the village was in ruins we realized we had a mystery on our frozen hands (it may be hard to believe, but its still grey, cold and frigid here in Michigan)! The 3D printed home was missing and nothing that went to it was there either… we never did end up finding it but we suspect that a fellow organism took it, mostly because “it” left no trace (We think its most likely a human but wouldn’t it be funny if a deer or squirrel took it?!). The woods can be a mysterious place!
The last few months of this school year we are focusing on longer term projects. They are more complicated and involve many different areas of study. Math, engineering, culture, history, language, materials and research.
Here was our first of this kind. It was a World Village. We’ll share the assignment as we were presented it in case you’d like to use it for your own, modified or not.
We use it all the time. Money. But the more things go electronic, the less obvious it is. Credit cards, Apple Pay, gift cards debit cards. When we work our craft booths, rarely do people hand us cold hard cash. Mostly they pop out their credit card and we run it through Square. Their balance goes down, ours goes up (minus the percentage we pay to Square for making the transaction).
But what happens from there? Where did the money come from and how do we get it to buy something we want? That’s what this lesson was all about. Currency. Interest rates. Layaway. Cash – how it is designed to keep people from printing their own. Coins. In a world that seems to (unfortunately) revolve around money, we should know how it works!
You may have noticed from previous posts the we are climbing an uphill battle to get chickens – we’ve unsuccessfully tried hatching (10 of the 13 were infertile and the 3 that were, never hatched) and so we moved on to day old living chicks. We got the first batch of 6 from Tractor Surprise (supplies) and the second batch from Family Farm and Home. In hindsight, we like Farm and Home more because you can touch them and you can choose which ones you like and they’re more relaxed (the birds and the employees!). We researched ways to determine in day old chicks which are female or male based on their wing feathers. Bantam chicks are so super small when they hatch, that they only sell as straight run, meaning you get a mixed bag of both sexes. That said, there is only so much accuracy with this method, and most online sources say you really can’t be sure until the rooster crows or the ladies lay an egg.
So! We have 12 total birds. They are ADORABLE! Enter Now our next hurtle: Sunshine. He-she originated from Tractor Surprise and is a Silver Seabright Bantam. ‘Sunny’ was pecking at the other’s wings and cheeping continuously – even paced, high pitched, like a baby car alarm. After settling him-her in the brooder the distress mounted. We put him in an isolation box in the same brooder to give him some space. When he-she was held, silence and sleep were instant. Mom was up 3 hours a night with the poor dear. Day 3, we couldn’t take it. The brooder already had a hot water bottle, covered with soft fabric, along with a stuffed bird and a mirror inside her-his brooder box. I suggested we swaddle him with fabric and incredibly, it worked! Instant quiet and instant sleep. Of course, every free hours he would wake up for water and food and the chirping would begin again.
After a fair amount of research, it appears that just as ducks imprint on their mother, since that’s the first thing they see, some chicks do the same except they imprint on the first human worker that they see and so when its taken away it begins to cheep. One post we read said every time they cheep its like saying “momma! momma!”. Waaahhh! That’s toooo sad! Long story short, gratefully, the educational Critter Barn was willing to add Sunny to their new group of bantams. Thanks to them, he is in a happy place now and we can finally focus on how adorable these little creatures are! (In fact I think they’re my new favorite animals!)
Up soon: The renovation of our new coop and the magic of fairies!
Below are the little wings… See how there are alternating short and long feathers? That is supposed to be a hen! We could only look this closely at Farm and Home.
First off, I promise not to do any egg related puns because we have some good and bad news about the progress of “Project Incubation”. As you may or may not know, a few times through the incubation of eggs, bright lights (candles a long time ago) are placed up against the shell of the egg and you can usually see shadows and blood vessels, and later in the development, even a baby chick, moving around! Where there is only a yolk, you can see that too. In some cases, you will see only a single blood vessel along the surface inside the eggshell. These are embryos that started to form, but died for some reason in the process of development. We saw a video online and they called their eggs ‘yolkers’, ‘quitters’, and ‘winners’.
So! First the bad news. We candled our eggs on day 10 and found only 3 of them are viable out of the thirteen that were shipped to us. One egg broke during shipping. We had 3 quitters and other 7 were yolkers. Either they got scrambled in shipping or they weren’t fertile. Giant bummer. We have hope that the 3 remaining are going to hatch and be healthy hens, since our ordinance says “no” to ‘roos. Probability is against us, but maybe all the ones that quit were the males?
So we’ve decided instead of waiting another month for a new batch to (possibly) hatch, we are going to get baby chicks from Tractor Surprise (Supplies) but we might have to compromise on the breeds we originally wanted… hence the name Tractor SURPRISE.
The good news? We’ve still got 3 eggs in the bator and it gives us a little more time to finish the coop which has been hard to work on since the weather here on the Michigan Lakeshore has still been so cold. Soon, the baby fluff balls will be here and we will post how the hatch went. Chick day is right around the corner!!