Tag Archives: Chick raising

Watching paint dry

As I have posted recently, we are trying to get our log house re-stained before winter. This either a tough or expensive task as the front of the house has 3 dormers on the upper floor, though the front of the house walks out onto a ground level porch but the roof is metal and steep.  The back of the house that originally was designed to have french doors that walked out to a ground level deck ended up on a walk out basement, not in the original plans and the french doors walk out onto a narrow part of the deck one story up and the deck itself sitting about 4 feet off the ground with a serious stone retaining wall under the west edge.  This makes the dog run dormer on the back of the main house on the 3rd story.  As we have set and moved scaffolding and Son #1 tries to figure out how to set up enough on the deck and in the breezeway garden to go over the breezeway roof to stain the east end of the house, we have discussed the dogrun dormer and its steep sides.

He reminded me that when he was designing and building the deck and walkout that he suggested we extend the walkout the full length of the back of the house to accommodate an extension ladder so he could get up there.  At that point, our building funds were running low.  The painting contractor who did the house 4 years ago sent two young men up on ladders set precariously on the roof to do it, and charged us an arm and a leg for it.  There is no way we are going to let our son do that.  We will get as much as we can done then hire someone brave or fool enough to do that part.  If we come into a windfall of funds (not likely since we don’t play the lottery and don’t have any known rich relatives), we will extend that deck walkout.

The stain we use, recommends it be applied between certain temperatures and with humidity at or below 40%.  This is Virginia, the humidity is never that low, so we have to pick the driest days with a string of expected dry days following it to get sections done and then we sit and watch the paint dry.  The stain should dry overnight, it is taking days.  Days of being careful not to brush up against it.  Days of hoping the cats and dogs stay away from it.  Days and days of waiting.

The plan was to stain the front of the house on Monday.  It absolutely poured rain on Sunday, so we needed a drying out day.  Instead of painting, we made our annual jaunt to Mabry Mill (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mabry_Mill) for the winter supply of grits and cornmeal.  Though it is not ground there anymore, it is locally ground especially for them, it is wonderful and I like supporting the Parkway, the Mill and having local grains in the house.


The view from one of the overlooks on the Parkway.  A beautiful place indeed.

This morning I was going to start early.  Nope, this is what I am waiting for the sun to dispatch.


Fog is definitely not low humidity.  Though the temperature last night fell to the low 40’s for the first time, when I awoke, I couldn’t see past the window panes.  Chicken chores were done by feel.

The Rainbow Rangers are huge now, they look like chicks in the bodies of adults.  Some have combs and wattles that are red, though they still behave and sound like chicks.  Their heavy bodies and thick legs make their movement amusing.  If they want to move quickly, they flap their wings and run awkwardly like they are trying to take off. They have 3 1/2 more weeks to feed and fill out before I will be back to only 12 hens and Romeo.  Just as all of the hens are finally laying, it is getting on to molting season and the two older hens will molt this year for sure.  The March hatches probably won’t molt until next year.

I know I said I was done canning, but I can’t resist making one more batch of applesauce so that Son #1’s family can have some this winter too.  And of course, I will continue to make Tomatillo Salsa and XXX sauce until the Tomatillos and peppers quit producing.  Guess I’m going to need more jars after all.

Lovin’ life on our mountain farm.

A Moment from the week


The chicks are now 3 weeks old and the 50 gallon plastic tote no longer large enough for them.  They were starting to escape, requiring more than the pint waterer and the gallon one took up too much of their dwindling space.  A piece of screen was put on the top to keep them in, but there was no way to expand the floor space.  We have a large wire dog cage and an extra large one.  The large one isn’t too difficult to erect, so it was moved to the basement, set up and set inside the larger plastic tray from the extra large one.  I know that there will be more mess to clean, but the chicks are getting big.  After putting it all together, I threaded two sticks from pruning fruit trees at two heights as perches and the chicks learning to use them is comedic as they tip and rock learning their balance.  I think I need to make the perches with 1 x 1″ wood scraps or larger branches to give them more to grasp.  We have a warmer week ahead and that hopefully is signalling an end of the cold weather.  In another week, I may move them back to the garage and I need to start planning how to divide the coop for their introduction later this spring.  That also means that the chicken tractor needs to be moved back outside and a nesting box or two added to it as 6 of the hens will be moved to it until sometime in the summer.  My coop was built for 14 and I will have 14 in there when the chicks are moved.  The size of the coop is fine during the spring, summer, and fall, but a bit over estimated when they are all inside on a snowy day.  We will see how it goes and the flock may have to be reduced back to 10 or 12 after this year.