DIY Ammo box wood stove (part 2), Molting Chickens in an Ice Storm and Cheddar’s First Egg

ImageSo, Michael bought black high heat paint and applied 2 layers. We have burned it as is 4 times. We still need to pick up 2 pieces of the 4 inch pipe plus elbow. We want to make sure everything is going to work before we cut a hole in the side of the shed! (Between us though, I would have love to have had it done before this recent ice storm hit ;))

Our two older hens are in the process of molting right in the middle of an ice storm. They started about a week ago. We had some super cold rain at the time, so we went out inspected their coop. We stapled some 6mm plastic in some place because the wind was fierce and we knew the ice was coming. When we built the coop, all the specs we followed didn’t include them molting in the middle of Winter!! Oh No.. Improv with the plastic! I read during molting they need to be kept between 70-80 degrees. Our house right now doesn’t stay that right now. We cooped them so they would have to stay together and roost and hopefully keep warm enough. We sealed for drafts and supplies leaves and straw for their boxes and the floor of the coop. I read wood shaving are best because they actually do better at absorbing thermal heat throughout the day..

ImageCheddar, on a lighter note, has started laying!! I didn’t think she would until next month when the days stretched out a little more, but about 4-5 days ago I heard that ‘I got an egg in my butt’ cluck. At first I thought something was attacking one of them outside. I run out and Cheddar is pacing. We had our first little brown egg from her the next day 🙂

That’s it for now!! Send my hens warm thoughts, please and everybody safe safe and warm too!

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Rainy Day Cupcakes :)

Image So Sydni found this show on Netflix, DC Cupcakes. that she really likes. I like Cake Boss myself 🙂 So, she and I have been on a cupcake kick. We made our first batch last week, Princess vanilla cupcakes and we made up our own frosting with leftover halves.. Half a tub of chocolate frosting, half a stick of butter, half a cup powder sugar and half a stick/bar of cream cheese. We had so much fun, that we decided to make a monthly edition cupcake. Come on guys, remember we try and entertain ourselves…

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I bought the Wilton 4 piece tip kit last week. The tips weren’t giving me the DC poof I was after, so back I went. I hate spending money, but this was in the name of cupcakes! I bought a sifter too btw, jus sayin’.

We found a recipe that actually is modeled after a cupcake DC has, vanilla/vanilla, that we thought would be perfect for our January cupcake. We also picked up gold and silver sugar toppings, yes I know I splurged. But! I will have those things in my new baking hobby forever.. or until I run out or break something 🙂

ImageYesterday being one of the YUCKIEST days in awhile made it even cozier in our kitchen. The batter was delicious before it even went into the pan so no worries there. Now for my first homemade buttercream. It’s only 3 things. Okay I’m NEVER buying another cake for birthdays again. Let them eat cupcake cakes!! We filled our piping bags and stared down the cooled cakes….

Mind you we, I have been watching YouTube videos for this, Sydni says she already knows. I wanted to try ALL my tips plus some I’ll prolly never get! But we went the 2A round and a 2E? and started having a time! We split them up to decorate, good thing we had two bags this time.

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So far from perfect, we had a great time making these cupcakes!!

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New year.. New projects.. New goals..

ImagePumped up for the new year!! Michael started a project on a mini wood stove. I’ve been pouring over seed catalogs, brushing up on crop rotation. Last year was all about growing, this year we actually are incorporating a little more method behind the madness 🙂 I want to focus more on preserving this year. My mom got us a dehydrator for Christmas! Score. And I’m picking up a canning set soon with the Ball book to start reading through it. I canned tomatoes in a class last year so we’ll see how it goes..

Image We have a shed outside that is roughly 100 square feet. With the tiny home movement in our future, we decided to turn the shed into a model tiny home for us to see what it’s like. Now mind you, we don’t plan for 100 sq. ft. but it’s going to be fun to see what we can do with our shed.

Michael scored an 50 cal ammo box to project a mini wood stove we have seen on a couple YouTube videos. We had some old pavers left over to use for the corner for both protection and to help absorb and hold some of the heat. Using a Sharpie, ruler and his dremel, he cut out a door. He went and got piping. We want to make it chimney out the side if possible instead of the roof. Right now we are burning in it outside to burn off any zinc.

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More up to dates next week. Hope everybody had a great Christmas and Happy New Years!!

Starting a backyard pumptrack today!!

Image Yeah, we’re excited. Enough with the videos.. We have a wooded area behind our neighborhood that has been looking more and more like it wants to be a pump track for me the kids. They are already loving playing in the woods, which I love, but they can’t ride their bikes. Bingo, plus I can practice to get ready for some serious shredding.. Sorry, that was definitely a joke. We went out yesterday and kind of mapped the rough estimate. There is lots of open clay patches and a small hill already.

I’ll up date you guys tomorrow with progress and pictures!!Image

New Pancake Recipe a Hit!!

ImageNot having a clue what to feed the three children demanding food, I turn to AllRecipes.com (one of my savior websites) for something for breakfast. I had flour, milk and eggs.. I felt pretty confident 🙂 A picture of fluffy, golden pancakes immediately caught my eye. Checked the ingredient list. Okay.. This could work and I get to make my own sour milk. Oh yeah..

ImageFirst I put the vinegar into my milk to sit.. How weird. This has got me wanting to look up making buttermilk. I whisked together my flour and other dry ingredients while my butter melted. In drops an egg to the butter. I’ve noticed how dominate the yolk in our chickens eggs compared to what I’m used to from the grocery store! It’s cool how I get to pick which chicken’s egg I use. Donna got the honors today 😉

Mixed our flour mixture in and then proceeded to make some of the BEST pancakes I’ve ever had. Ladies and Gentlemen, we have a new recipe.

Fluffy Pancakes

  • 3/4 cup milk
  • 2 tablespoons white vinegar
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 2 tablespoons white sugar
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 egg
  • 2 tablespoons butter, melted
  • cooking spray

Directions

  1. Combine milk with vinegar in a medium bowl and set aside for 5 minutes to “sour”.
  2. Combine flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt in a large mixing bowl. Whisk egg and butter into “soured” milk. Pour the flour mixture into the wet ingredients and whisk until lumps are gone.
  3. Heat a large skillet over medium heat, and coat with cooking spray. Pour 1/4 cupfuls of batter onto the skillet, and cook until bubbles appear on the surface. Flip with a spatula, and cook until browned on the other side.

Getting ready for winter..

Image Getting the chickens ready for their first winter.. I first cleaned out most of their old soiled bedding, not as good as their Spring cleaning will be if they are still in that coop, but remove all wet or really soiled stuffed, wiped out the nesting boxes. Then we laid in extra straw and leaves back in their boxes and the area under their roost and around the pen. We had our first frost this week and I don’t want their feet to get frost bite. We definitely have a rooster, now to figure out what to do with him. Michael wants to butcher it himself. I told him to have at it, but finish the job if he starts it.

We stopped letting them out of their pen this week as well. I will have no Fall garden because of them. Our plans are to build  a fence over Winter and move their pen once a week. We built it to where the two of us could do this, we just thought the birds all over the yard was ‘cute’. Not anymore! Donna finally started laying yesterday!! She laid the first that morning in the shed and the second in their coop but on the floor, not in the nesting boxes. The other two pullets will have around 2 months before they lay if we supplement their light. Pepper already sits on Althea’s!

We are still pulling peppers by the day. Today’s pull of jalapeno barely took the weight off the bush! Bell peppers are still forming, but I’m sure once the frosts are more consistent, they’ll be gone in the week. We let the chickens ruin most of our trail and error for this years Fall garden. I did plant three rows of garlic and plan to get onion sets over the weekend. But they completely ate the Brussels, lettuce, striped the potatoes. I guess I did learn one error!

I love pallets and Pinterest!

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I got this cool idea off Pinterest for a potting table. Something I could do myself!! We had been collecting pallets for a fence project that has long been discarded. There were so many things to do with pallets. I’ll start with a potting station.

I went down to Harbor Freight to get a saw. I needed one anyway for my fence. I was smart enough to get the two year warranty and was on my way. I got home and cut up my pallet and some 2x4s we had been saving. (Never know ;)) Michael had brought home his impact gun from work and with his help lining things up, my table was together!! Not only did it look good, it was very sturdy!

I had to scrap the pallets for for my failed fence because I cut them up, but something tells me the winter months will having me collecting pallets again and planning ideas for Spring 🙂