Tuesday, June 8, 2021

The Great Chicken Debacle and Visitors


In the past few weeks we have experienced mass chick death.  This event has become known as "The Great Chicken Debacle".

  I was so excited to order 20 chicks online.   I picked them up from the post office, put them directly into their state-of-the-art brooder and within 48 hours 17 of the 20 died. 


They literally just passed out each afternoon.  Is it too hot?  Too cold?  If they are too hot why aren’t they leaving the heat lamp,  if they are too cold, why aren’t they huddling under it!?    

I tell you, the living conditions for these chicks could not have been more perfect.  The hatchery refunded me for all 20 of the chicks – which was very kind and I went to Tractor Supply and got 20 more replacement chicks.  Within a day 13 more had died!   All in the evening!   I told Tractor Supply my ordeal and they asked me things like, “Do you have a heat lamp?”  “Do they have water?”  Ugh!  Yes!  I am not a total imbecile!  One guy said “What kind of water are you giving them?”  I stared at him and said “……..water, water.”   He gave me some probiotic and electrolytes to mix into the water.  I did that and I was convinced that they were too hot so I put a little fan blowing down into the brooder.   Ever since then, we have had no deaths.   Yikes!  

  The third time I bought replacement chicks the gal at Tractor Supply sold them to me for only .50 a piece so that was great.

Hopefully The Great Chicken Debacle will not be repeated.

We have been finding interesting creatures lately.

  Frog eggs that Joy scooped out of a puddle and hatched, 

(they are still alive nearly 3 weeks later!)


This little prehistoric guy.


A poisonous lappet moth hanging out on the wall.


A real FROG, not toad, and his slug friend


And this guy that is also not one you would want to touch.

But this guy is irresistible to touch and snuggle. 

We have had visitors!

 My uncle Joe and Paula drove up from Houston for Memorial Day weekend.

We showed them around, stuck our hands in the hot springs, 

and went to Garvan Gardens.


At night we played one of our family favorite games, Chicken Foot.  Paige was really into it.

The following week my younger brother and his family came from Oklahoma.  It rained much of the time but the cousins had fun regardless.  It is nice to see them more than once a year.

"It's bright! My eyes!"


Meeting baby Jovie.

Before we had visitors, we wanted to clear out the trash collections that had been gathering.   We found out that the county was having a hazardous waste day and we were allowed to take as many tires as we wanted for free!  My dad made 3 trips and dropped off 66 tires in one morning!  66!  

There are a few more to go but it was a relief to be rid of them.  Then he went to a regular dump to get rid of all the other stuff.   All that is left now is metals that will be taken to the recycling center.   Hurray!

We went to the library out here and WOW!   What a great library!   They have a section called the “Library of Things” where you can check out life vests, fishing poles, inflatable kayaks,  cake pans,  air fryers,  beading kits, etc.  Claire checked out a cake decorating kit and made a cake for when Joe and Paula were here

 and also a tiered cake.

We also enjoyed checking out movies like Disney’s 1990’s Heidi – because Paige just finished reading the book and also What the Dead Man Heard.   Good times.

This week’s project is going to be the kitchen counter tops!  I can’t wait! 

Thursday, May 13, 2021

Unseen Progress


We haven’t had any major projects started or completed but each day we make baby steps towards completing the many tasks at hand and the projects that are nearest the top of the priority list. 

Somedays we work all day and there is nothing to show for it - Like today, we worked hard clearing some woods so we could get to the trash that the previous owners threw all over.   We spent all afternoon hauling tires, trash, rusted fencing and cutting down terrible thorn vines and dead trees.    When we were done it looked a million times better to US.  But any other person would just see woods the way it is meant to be.  So much of our time is spent picking up the previous owners trash.  Apparently they treated the entire land like a trash can.

One HUGE relief is that we finally caught the elusive, last, feral cat. (we had named him Chief- cause every cat,  even one you are trying to get rid of needs a name)  He was so creepy the way he skulked about, watched us from afar, and terrorized poor Gandalf.  Chief had been caught in one of the regular traps we got from the county but he managed to bang his way out of it and after that, he was wise to our plan.   My mom and I constructed a net trap and placed a plate of tuna in the center.  Claire was the lucky person who happened to be watching when he finally came around and ate the food.  Bam! Claire pulled the stings from inside the house and next thing he knew he was swinging in a net.   The rest of us were sifting garden dirt and didn’t see it – I am pretty bummed we didn’t get it on video.  Oh well.  Yay for Claire!

We are happy to announce that little Lance did NOT get parvo and he is in the clear now.  He is very much a puppy, which is trying a lot of the time but he really is quite smart.  He has already learned come, sit, lie down, and stay.   “No cat”  does not seem compute and no matter how many time he gets bopped in the face. He can NOT leave them alone.

Oh speaking of cats, our beloved Gandalf has been missing for about two weeks now.   We are afraid that he got caught by a coyote.  Poor guy.  He was a city cat and didn’t have country smarts.


We discovered that our property has a ton of blackberry bushes.  Apparently this is a common thing out here and no one shares my enthusiasm and excitement about it.  


Here is the best look we have had of our pond yet, we believe it is about half an acre. 


We can’t get to its shore easily and have tried to get a pond cleaning service to come out and look at it and give us a quote for clearing it and cleaning it but no one actually comes even after they say they will.  We have had a hard time getting people of various trades to come out to our property.  We need our well serviced, no one will come.   We need a quote on getting a concrete pad poured, no one will come.   I have found that businesses are run a lot differently out here.  They close so early and everything is much slower paced.   My mom and I walked in a store this week  and a lady announced “We are closing in 4 minutes!”   It was 4:26.  Seriously?  At the same time though the people here are all SO nice.  Young men especially are so polite.

We have now seen two water moccasins and one copperhead.   I was worried because it’s not even summer yet.  What is it going to be like in July when it is actually hot!   Josh and I decided it was necessary, if only for our peace of mind, that we buy snake boots for everyone.   I don’t usually spend $500 on anything let alone boots for the family but I am glad that we did.  Even this week I was able to search through the weeds for a water moccasin that got away without being concerned at all that it would bite me.   Sometimes peace of mind comes at a price.  Even if just one bite is prevented we will save thousands on an ER visit. (Plus the just the trauma of being bitten by a snake!)

Our door way is constantly blocked by boots.


My dad is busy all day, every day clearing trash from the former owners.   Fires are a regular occurrence. 

 This week he is dismantling the hog barn and using the materials to repair the chicken coop and soon, start on the goat barn.  

(this is the hog barn after some tear down.)

With the price of lumbar these days, we are glad that there are a lot of resources here already.

Jack spends several hours a day riding the tractor with Poppy,  moving things, clearing things, and tending the fire. 


We went exploring a little bit and found a tiny waterfall!

The flowers are blooming and I am trying to clear out over grown flower beds and rake up as much fallen leaves (which should have been done by the previous owners last fall!) to put in my large compost pile I started.


The kids and I love to look for and collect earthworms.   I can’t believe how plentiful they are here!  We have a tarp on the ground and several times a day we pull it back to find dozens of worms.

   We throw them into the garden beds.   We have nearly a thousand in the beds so far.   Joy thinks there are more worms in our yard than in the entire state of AZ and I am beginning to agree with her.

 We have made some friends in the past few weeks - fellow homeschoolers from church who own an off road park in Hot Springs.   They had us over and took us on one of the trails.   If you look carefully that whitish building behind us is our church.  


I also met a friend at the Ladies' Bibles study.  She is older, and very wise as most older women are, which is why I enjoy their company so much.   She was kind enough to let us come over to her large property and she showed us around and gave us a truck bed load of her compost for our garden.  She also makes jellies from her blackberries and raspberries and elderberry syrup from the wild elderberries that grow here.  (I don't think there are any of those on our property unfortunately.)

Shoveling compost.

We are still working on sifting dirt to fill the last garden bed.   

The rain puts the operation to a stop for days as we have to wait for the dirt mounds to dry out.  It is super hard to sift wet dirt. 


It is supposed to rain every single day next week so we are trying to get as much outdoors stuff done in the next 3 days as we can.