May 12, 2015

Chicken & Coop Update


The chickens and turkeys are still residing in our garage. Luckily, they're not quite fully feathered so they aren't ready to be outside, yet. But don't tell them that. Sunday night we decided to turn off their heat lamp to help them better acclimate to the night weather. When they move outside, there will be no heat lamp. 
 
We're actually farther along then these picks. This side is completely enclosed.

Well, about an hour after we put them to bed Sunday night, and after I had drifted off to dream land Cameron came in to inform me that the chickens had flown the coop, literally. We quickly located all six chickens and put them back in their pen, turning the heat lamp back on. One had been smart enough to get behind our freezer & spare fridge. Which is why we figured they flew the coop - to seek out heat. 
 
As is this side, as of Monday.

The turkeys had stayed put, which makes us think they are closer to being ready to go outside. Usually we find the chickens surrounding the turkeys. 
 
That just leaves the ends. This one needs the nesting boxes built into it first.

We keep trying to get further on the coop each week and weekend, but we swear the days just keep getting hijacked or we are so tired we don't have the energy.

We're getting close though. Cameron completed the floor and roosting poles a few weekends ago and now we just need to enclose the coop. All that is really left of enclosing the coop is building the roosting/egg laying boxes and enclose the end walls. Then we just need to enclose the entire pen with chicken wire and mesh. 

We just need a solid weekend. Hopefully that comes this weekend, as these birds will be ready before we know it.

May 8, 2015

Countdown to Kindergarten


It's hard to believe, but London turns 5 in just over a month. And we have begun the countdown to when she starts Kindergarten - 102 days to go! 



London knows she'll be attending a new school and get to ride the school bus to get there. Right now I'd say she's in between excited and neutral about the change. Cameron and I are beyond thrilled - mainly because we can't wait for the lower daycare bill! We are looking forward to her making new friends as well, as we will make the effort to get to know the parents, etc since she will likely be in class with these kids all the way through high school barring any moves on ours (we're not planning to move, trust me) or their parts. 



And I know that when the day gets close, and after it arrives, we'll probably have a month of adjustment emotions to deal with. London is all for change until it actually happens and then she gets a little unruly. I'm hoping age and maturity help to make the transition better than the last time she switched schools/moved to a new house. 


One thing I know London will be excited about is getting to bring a lunch to school (she will go to a full day of Kindergarten, yippee!). How do I know this? Because she was over the moon when her daycare class to a field trip at the end of April and she needed to bring a sack lunch. 


London even picked out the lunchbox that she wanted to take - one with all the Disney Princesses on it (only because she couldn't find her Frozen lunch box). The only reason we have these is because they have shown up as gifts. The girls play with them often to cart toys from room to room. I had originally planned on using my old work lunch box, but I liked London's idea better. 


And I had fun making her first ever lunch. I made her a turkey and cheese sandwich, packed in some raisins, apple slices, regular fishy crackers and graham cracker fishy crackers. I know it was over kill but I wanted to make it special for her. 


London reported back that the field trip was fun, learning the difference between a hen and rooster - though she still has a hard time understanding that both are chickens. She also came home with a nylon stuffed with seeds and shaped like a caterpillar (googly eyes and all) that if watered would grow grass. It's up in our window now growing away which thrills London every other day or so. 


Her teacher was kind enough to burn a disc for parents with pictures to be sent home that day as well. 


May 6, 2015

Front Yard Update


Whoops...there goes another month. As usual, we've been busy. Both Cameron and I traveled for work in April and then had the inevitable catch-up to play. Plus, he's been busy with his Fraternity this semester, which is finally winding down. 


The good news is, we've also been busy at home. One of those projects taking up our time is the front yard transformation. 


First, we added a few more plants besides the roses and pomegranate tree. We now have 3 Fox Gloves and 2 Merlot Grapes. The grapes are on either side of the arbor, of course. 





Also, we finally completed the irrigation for the plants we currently have, last week. And before that, Cameron had completed the pathway up to the house, filling in around the steps with white rock. 

This last weekend, we finished installing the seamless border around the area and filled it in with bark. While the addition of the bark is a nice site, for some reason it also shows us how much empty space is still out there. We keep checking Costco for our favorite lavender plants but so far, they haven't show up yet, just the Spanish Lavender.

Next, we want to fill in the small circles around the plants with leftover pea gravel from the girls play structure project, and then border then entire thing with more white rock. We hope to have this all completed by London's birthday party in June. Time will tell.


Apr 7, 2015

Easter


I can't say I'm sad to see this past Easter Weekend end. It wasn't the best, though it ended Monday morning on a high. Don't get me wrong - I was thrilled that my parents were able to fly in for a visit but...


Let's just start at the beginning. Which was Friday. Cameron and I both took the day off, since we don't have any big vacation plans this year. My parents had gotten in on Thursday but were up in Chico taking care of some things with a rental house they own up there. It seemed Cameron and I spent the morning of Friday driving around.



First, we took the girls to school. Back at home we prepped the garage for the arrival of our chicks & baby turkeys. 


Within an hour, we were back at the girls' school to attend the Eggstravaganza events in Sydney's class, which basically was just a little Easter Egg hunt. But Sydney did look adorable in her bunny ears. 


We had just under an hour to kill before London's class would take part in the Easter Egg hunt, so we ran over to Raley's to get all our grocery shopping completed. And back at the daycare, we watched as London ran around the playground picking up a total of 10 eggs. She actually did fairly well, given last year she really didn't grasp the whole "egg hunt" thing. What a difference a year makes!


And we stuck around to watch as London got to hand out the treats we had made for her class the night before: Crispy Egg Treats - The Pioneer Woman's Easter Special from the previous weekend inspired up. And the treats were a hit with all the kids. Plus, London loved getting to hand them out. 





On the way home, we finally picked up our chicks and turkeys. Back at home we got them settled into their new digs quickly. They are pretty cute, right now, though we find it funny that when we turn the main garage light out at night they suddenly get all up in arms and noisy. We've decided that they'rre either scared of the dark or forget to eat until they can't see the food. Either way, each time they have done this, we have gone out to turn the light back on for an additional 15 minutes before turning it back out. This seems to help. I know, odd, huh?



The rest of Friday was spent at Costco or in the yard. And all the while we were in the yard, Sophie was right next to us, which is normal. 


Saturday, we got up and headed out to another Easter Egg hunt, this one put on by the Roseville Active 20-30 club. But not before we rushed around searching for Cameron's wallet. I ended up driving since we couldn't find it in time. I'd end up finding it under a box of protein shakes minutes after we got home. 


Cameron helped Sydney during her egg hunt, while my parents and I cheered London on at hers. London, again, did a lot better than she did last year. At one point, she started to run to pick up some eggs, and accidentally dumped almost all the eggs currently in her basket. She didn't hesitate and quickly picked them up. And I was very proud when London stopped as soon as her basket was full, even though there were some eggs still needing to be picked up. 


Sydney successfully filled up 1/2 of her basket too. This egg hunt took all of 5 minutes so we were home fairly quickly. 


The rest of the day was uneventful. My parents spent time with the girls while Cameron and I did more yardwork and I made a carrot cake for Sunday. What was missing on Saturday was Sophie. When we're outside this much, she usually shows up within an hour or so and hangs out until we go inside. We didn't see her all day and by that night, we were worried. 


London woke up to Easter Sunday to discover that the Easter Bunny had arrived - quite to her amazement! She was so excited. And the Easter Bunny was pretty smart in leaving the baskets up on the mantel so mom and dad could sleep in without worrying about London and Sydney getting into the treats. The girls loved the mix of treats, bubbles, coloring books, new crayons and gardening tools. We told them they could pick out some seeds the next time we were at Home Depot or a nursery. 

Other than that, we did our usual homemade pizza. Cameron had to attend a meeting up in Chico in the evening, so Easter dinner became Easter Lunch. I also made a crustless Quiche Lorraine for us adults for breakfast that morning, making this a new tradition for us (it's the second year I've done Quiche Lorraine for Easter breakfast). 

And my dad made the girls "Bunny Butt" pancakes, which they got a kick out of - London even almost finished hers! Before lunch, we even squeezed in some Easter Egg dying with the girls. All the while searching for the keys to our truck, which had now gone missing. We were also searching for Sophie again, as she was no where to be found, again. 



By Sunday evening, with Cameron back at home, we were emotionally drained. Frustrated by the missing keys and beyond upset about Sophie, we didn't do much that evening. Sydney was pretty tired so she went to bed early. Luckily, just as my parents headed out the door to go back to their hotel, my mom found the truck keys in her purse! None of us know how they wound up there, but we're glad they were found before we spent a couple hundred dollars to have the dealer make new ones or before my parents had flown home (especially as we will likely be replacing this truck later this year). We will be going to Home Depot soon to get a spare key made - we've never had two sets as we got the truck used and they only provided us with one set of keys at purchase. 


But still no Sophie. We were truly worried something bad had happened to her. Yes, she's a barn cat but she also sticks to routine. And we've never gone a full day without seeing her. By this point, I was online reviewing "found cats" by the local shelters and discovering I could fill out a profile to receive emails from the local shelters of matching profiles. I quickly filled out the form, submitted and verified our "lost cat" profile. We were truly worried something bad had happened to her. Yes, she's a barn cat but she also sticks to routine. And we've never gone a full day without seeing her. 

Then came yesterday morning. I was dreading the walk to the car, knowing the girls would be asking where Sophie was - she is almost always there to greet us on weekday mornings as we head out for school and work. We'd tried not to let on to the girls that we were worried about Sophie all weekend. And just as expected, London & Sydney asked where she was as we walked to the car. London must have overheard us talking about her over the weekend too, as she asked "is she dead?" 

But just as I opened the car door for Sydney, London turned and looked toward the garden and said "oh no, she's right there." And there she was, trotting over to all of us like it was no big deal. Cameron and I rushed over to greet and love her. Seeing her made up for all the frustrations and emotions of the weekend.

Of course, I made it all the way to work before I realized I'd left my work laptop at home. And we forgot to take the garbage and recycle bins down to the curb in time for the recycle pick up - and those bins are full! Did I mention the tab on my soup can for Monday lunch broke so I couldn't eat it? Oh well, all of this is minimal now that our Sophie is back. That is all that matters. 

Oh, and honey (cause I know you will be reading this), painting & decorating the front hall entrance just moved up on the priority list. While you work to complete the coop, you can be sure I'll finish the Kitchen Deep Clean this week so that I can turn my attention toward the entrance to ensure you have a standard place to put your wallet, phone and sunglasses down on and we'll be moving the key holder so you can put the keys where they belong when you get home before walking into the main part of the house. That will be good for me too - that way keys don't disappear into the depths of my purse like they often do. 

Apr 2, 2015

Chicken Coop & Arbor Update



The chicken coop is coming along quickly. While it may not appear that much has been done based on this photo, I can tell you Cameron spent all weekend working on the coop. He installed the roof which was a big undertaking. We wanted to ensure it was a good roof, so he roofed it like you would roof a house. Now he gets to put up the floor joists and start enclosing it while building the roosting nests. I'll be painting it before we know it! Which is good since the girls and Turkeys come home today! I'll make sure to post pics next week. 


We also got the arbor installed in our front yard. Plus, Cameron used a couple days last week to get the irrigation started in the front yard so I don't have to water it by watering can much longer. We have also decided to grow red grapes on the arbor. Of course, we're a little late to get some bare roots from Home Depot, etc. But we may make a trip to a local nursery that we know will have older, more established grapes available. 


Speaking of the front yard, we are eyeing the Foxgloves that Costco is offering right now. We may come home with a few to go between the roses and the pomegranate tree. And once the irrigation is all in, we'll be covering all the dirt with bark while we will line the edge with the same white rock we are installing in the pathway. Soon, we'll basically be able to say the front yard is complete - minus the addition of more plants as we find ones we like. We do know we'll be adding lavender - we're just waiting for Costco to come out with our favorite variety. And at some point I'll add lamb's ear as well. 


All in all, at least in the front and side yards, I finally feel like we are truly making this place our home and making it our own.