The chickens spent their first night in their coop this past Saturday. I set up a ring of hardware cloth in the middle around the hanging heat lamp for the first few days because when we first put them in there they all freaked out and piled into a chilly corner crying. I left the box I carried them out there in for them so they had somewhere to huddle that was familiar. They’re still using it, so I figured it can stay a couple more days. Today I took out the hardware cloth so they could explore the entire coop. They seem a lot more confident and less scared. They are eating and drinking out of some old feed and water containers we had on hand, but I’ll soon be making some better ones. I absolutely LOATHE store-bought feed and water containers. They are inefficient, leaky, and annoying as all get out to clean.

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The coop still needs a lot of work. Once I’m done with the garden, I’ll get back to working on it. I still need to paint it, build dividers for the nesting boxes, finish plugging up the eaves that are covered in hardware cloth, and build gates for the run.

Speaking of the garden, remember that aerial shot from the top of the coop I said I’d do? Well, here it is.

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You can see the tiller sitting where I just finished tilling up the last bit of the garden. I started rowing it up this afternoon and the darn black flies and mosquitoes decided to come out in droves. I’ll get out there and plant the rest tomorrow if it’s nice. While I was up on the coop, I thought I’d take a few more shots.

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My husband has been working on this the past couple nights. He’s building a 14’x16′ shed next to the coop because we need somewhere to store the bikes, mowers, tillers, snow thrower, and all the rest of the junk that was in the chicken coop up until a few days ago. He works on that while I work on the yard and garden. Once the shed is done, maybe I can talk him into starting on the greenhouse…

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Pardon the mess around the house. I took the picture before I even thought of cleaning anything up. You can see part of the pile of junk from the chicken coop in the bottom right, along with the Volkswagen rabbit truck that my husband finally got running again. What do you think of the final color of our house? I like that it blends well with the environment around it. My husband has been painting, too, on top of building the shed and all the other tasks I’ve set him. Once he gets it all painted, we can start hanging the exterior trim. We’ll be doing craftsman style, white trim. The ugly yellow foam around the ICF basement will be covered with stone, though we haven’t decided which kind yet. Seeing as the fake stone is about $100 per 10 square feet… it may be a while before we decide.

You can see the orchard to the right behind the house. Our new trees are taking off. Looks like we lost our two peaches and two cherries from previous years – there aren’t any new shoots or greens on them. Que sera sera – that’s life on the homestead. Thankfully we bought four new cherry trees this year, and they seem to be doing great. The apples are all very hardy types, and are growing as if we didn’t just have a record-breaking cold winter. Maybe we’ll start seeing some apples in the next few years? One can only hope!

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