Spring on the Small House Homestead – Photo Diary

Good morning! Spring is truly busting out all over on the Small House Homestead this month.

HOR quince and bench studio USE

A favorite flowering quince bush bursts into bloom at my studio building. 

Forsythia and studio USE

All of my forsythia shrubs were transplanted or propagated from tiny shrub starts.

Phlox and stones USE

Creeping phlox offers a splash of pale lavender and spreads.

Spring and its intense flowering beauty is what we in Michigan live for!

Burning bush and daffodils barn

Daffodils and a burning bush in front of the pole barn.

Violets and logs in garden USE

Wild spreading violets in the vegetable garden. They will be transplanted when it rains. 

Our homesteads many flowers, shrubs, fruit trees and bushes are really starting to come alive!

Pink pear blossoms

Planted in 2015 , this peach tree replaced a tree that died from our high ground water flooding.

Phlox and chartreause shribe behind porch USE

The low growing flowers and shrubs behind the three-season porch.

Our 5-acre homestead garden is a bloom with the fruits of fifteen years of my labor.

Silver Lace Vine , trelllis, fence

The newly planted (2015) silver lace vine on the trellis is putting out leaves.

Violets under digwood in bird bed

Masses of wild purple violets bloom in the bird feeding bed under the dogwood tree.

Freckles with persnality and Snowball USE

Freckles and Snowball out and about enjoying the sunshine.

Playhouse with climber

The playhouse in the spring; day lilies are growing again and the climbers are too.

Sidewalk and chalk fun

Chalk drawings on the sidewalk speaks the language of spring.

I hope you enjoy a view of this week on the homestead and that you bloom where you are planted!

Small House homesteader, Donna

Foggy Morning at the Small House – Photo Diary

Woods pines fog“Sometimes we need the fog to remind us that not all of life is black and white.”            Jonathan Lockwood Hue

 

We are not yet used to daylight saving time on the homestead. It is “spring forward” and hour in SW Michigan. My body gets me up at the same early hour every day. Only now it is dark outside.

This gives me time to start cooing a meal, start a load of laundry, clean up the house and perhaps do a bit of computer work before heading outside to take care of the chickens.

Barn sun rising in fog

Today though I was treated to a lovely view of an early morning fog that shrouded our property and gave our outbuildings a lovely muted and mysterious look.

Barn coop garden in fog

In spite of the monochromatic look, it was a beautiful morning, quiet and calm.

Chicken coop in fog USE

Our chicken coop and sun under the majestic White Oak.

“Beyond the fog lies clarity.”     Anonymous

Small House homesteader, Donna

Small House Homesteads Week in Photo’s-Photo Diary

Balmy warm weather, sunshine and spending time outdoors was the best thing about our week on the homestead.Curious chicken USE                     Look at the shiny hackles on this Heritage Rhode Island Red.

The temperature got up to the 60’s for a few days and we spotted the first Phoebe, Rufus Sided Towee and Robin of the season.

HORZ shrub and cart USE

The weather warmed up enough I could remove the protective burlap from the yewsSister Rhdoes in leaves cute USE  Sisters, sisters / There were never such devoted sisters /

VERT close target and chicks

A Rhodie is drawf-ed by the oak logs target for hatcket practice.

Totes barn chickensThe chickens are interested in our water totes containment center.

Sister Rhdoes in leaves cute USE

Hey baby…what’s happening?
Burlap frying on fenceDrying the burlap on the vegetable garden fencing.

Chickens in front of the run USE

Our chickens enjoying the sunshine in the open run near the enclosed Rhodies run.

Pecking at my pants

Newest bluebird house inmeadow USE

We put up two more bluebird boxes this week.

Small House homesteader, Donna

62 Degrees Sunny and Windy – Photo Diary

  Wow, what a great day on the homestead.

Chickens outside comples and bkue sky USE

Blue sky and white fluffy clouds overlooking the chicken complex.

Gene Rhodies Forge 2-19-16

Gene by the blacksmith forge while the Rhodies scratch in the bark chips.

We enjoyed a lovely sunny and warm day for our mid-winter February thaw. The morning was full of chores; washing clothes, cleaning the stove, making bone broth and more.

Elsaside viewgreat USE

Elsa taking a dust bath.

In spite of the recorded 50+ mile an hour winds our afternoon was spent outside enjoying the chickens.

Elsa dust flying USE

Dirt flies when a chicken takes a dust bath.

Who knows what tomorrow will bring so gotta make hay today!

4 Rhodies in covered run USE

Doors open and the sun shines in the covered run.

HORZ chicken on path USE

Chickens follow the snow blown path around the homestead.

Small House Homesteader, Donna

 

A Week in Photos Small House Homestead

We had a bit of the January thaw this week. Our weather rose to around 40’s degrees and the sun shone brightly for a few days. We were happy to be able to get our snowbound chickens out of the chicken run for a stroll and a munch on patches of grass that popped up as the snow melted.

Hey lady where are my worms

Crystal says, ‘Hey lady where is the food?’

Our winter has been relatively mild this year with small amounts of snow interspersed with a warmish week in-between. This week the animals certainly enjoyed enjoy our old-fashioned January thaw.

Sunrise hprzontal most pink

A beautiful winter sunrise one day this week on the Small House homestead.

And, I enjoyed a rare opportunity to photographs very pretty sunrise on Saturday morning. I am usually up and at em’ early as our retriever Sassy gets up very early to go outside to the bathroom. My day often begins with the sound of her nails clicking on our linoleum floor and her head pressing down on my arm as her signal, ‘Okay mom its time!’

Sassy 11-18-14

Miss Sassy the snow dog.

Everyday the sun rises but most days I am preoccupied with animals needs or cooking breakfast to actually walk out and concentrate on taking a good a photograph. But luck was with me that day.

Sunrise tree in half interesting for textGreeting The Dawn.

Elsa the fluffy butt

Do these feathers make my butt look big?

After the animals are fed and our breakfast eaten we do our yoga stretches. On this day Sassy was determined to get into the act.

Sassy doing yoga stretches

Sassy and Gene do their yoga stretches.

Circling the fire

The Rhodies circle the wagons.

Crystal bithbat head up USE

Crystal scratching for sunflower seeds under the bird bath

Sassy run three

Sassy gets a good walk everyday.

The chicken monitor

The chicken monitor.

I hope your week was a good one too.

Small House homesteader, Donna

The Small House Homestead Winter – Photo Diary

Pole barn crystal gene USE

Crystal the Rhode Island Red likes to follow us around the homestead.

Our winter thus far has been spent, cooking new gluten-free recipes, doing some deep cleaning inside our home, letting the chickens out to free range with supervision and shoveling snow. Welcome to winter in Michigan!!

This is our week of January 15, 2016. I hope you enjoy the view!

Rhodies and Cochins in dirt USE

Rhodies and Cochin’s alike want to get out of the run no matter the weather.

We shoveled snow away from the door to the covered run so the chicks could scratch and peck. Our girls love their dirt!

Rhodie at pole barn USE

Elsa found a tiny bit of open ground in front of the pole barn door.

We are challenged to find open areas of dirt or leaves to keep the chickens occupied during the long, cold days and out of trouble. Too much time in the coop means chicken squabbles and the lowest chickens in the pecking order seem to be the one who suffer, especially poor Freckles.

If there is a tiny patch of dirt USE

The wondering buddies, Crystal and Elsa.

This was a tiny melted area about the size of a plate near the front of the pole and the girls found it and scratched around satisfying the Rhodies intense drive to dig, scratch and peck.

Crystal and Elsa are wondering buddies. Even when no one else will venture outside in the snow and cold these two avian friends find a way to occupy themselves.

Rhodie at pole barn USE

Posing at the pole barn!

Gene and two chickens USE

Gene and his girls!

Unless there is a terrible snowstorm, we try to get the chickens outside every day, if even for just an hour. Sunlight, fresh air and exercise are good for the girls and helps to keep them busy and occupied too.

Rhoide under forge at buckets USE

When the chicken run gate is open for our morning chores they invariably find their way to the overhand of the forge where there is open dirt and leaves. THIs winter we have stored buckets of bark chips under the forge overhang that we use from time in the chicken coop.

Chicken tracks use

Chickens tracks lead the way to where the girls have been traveling.

I hope you have been having some enjoyable travels too!

Small House homesteader, Donna

Home From Florida and Back to Reality

It is hard to wrap my head around the fact that just a few days ago I was sitting in sunny and warm Florida, lodged right on the bright blue Atlantic Ocean. It was a wonderful and relaxing few days in a place and a lifestyle that is frankly, foreign to me.

Ocean shows at townhouse

The townhouse my brother rented and graciously allowed me to stay in.

However the reality of winter and real life came crashing back to me when I came home to a storm front of 55 mph winds roaring in off of Lake Michigan.

A stunning bride

  My stunning niece Carrie, on her wedding day.

It was a whirlwind trip to Florida for my niece’s wedding – just four days total and two of them were travel days. I would have loved to have spent a week or more there on the beach in the sun but I had to keep my expenses as low as possible.

HORZ heart of shells lighter

Shells I found on the beach and fashioned into a heart.

This destination wedding was held at the Victorian Florida House Inn on Amelia Island. This quaint and colorful 1857 vintage inn is located in the heart of the historic district of Fernandina Beach, Florida.

Entry to Inn NICE

The front door of the Florida House Inn is a taste of what is to come inside.

My niece is an events planner for the Hilton group so creating memorable experiences is what she does for a living and it showed. The charming wedding and wonderful reception were held out-of-doors under the Florida sky in the inns courtyard and garden. Having everything, from wedding to reception, lodging all happening in one location made it easy on everyone who attended. http://www.floridahouseinn.com/

Florida House Inn

Today it was spitting sleet so Gene and I spent the morning reworking the chicken runs to protect the chickens from the high winds. Their corner lazing area needed serious reinforcement as its tarp cover was loose and blowing around and the 2″ X 4″ frame had blown down to the ground.

Gene tarping gate USE

Tarping the gate and the run fencing.

I added more dirt and leaves to the slippery base of outdoor dog kennel hang out spot that serves as a wind break and protection from the rain. I also added two long logs and a wooden pallet to give the chickens a place to stand-off of the ground. Gene added another tarp to the metal fencing to provide even more wind protection, especially from the brisk west blowing winds.

Outside vegging area tarp USE

This outdoor vegging corner gives chickens shelter, food and a place to dust.

I chopped open a pumpkin for the chickens to peck at and divided it between the indoor and outdoor runs. I added additional wood ashes to the dusting areas and the under coop areas and generally tried to make the covered and open runs a bit more comfortable and secure for the girls.

VERT feeding corner close

Hay bales make a good wind break and a sheltered feeding area in high winds.

I moved the chicken feeding areas into a sheltered corner behind the hay bales to give them more protection from wind and snow when eating. Their eating areas have been out in the open, sunny run but with the changing seasons that has all changed during the last week.

Rhodies on new log USE

The girls love jumping up and off an old log I found in the woods.

I also rolled an old log into the Rhodies covered run to use as a jungle gym and perching place. I also moved chunks of barley grass into the covered run that I grown in the open run areas. My goal is to keep live greens available and help to keep boredom at bay as boredom leads to infighting.

Rhodies grass USE

A chunk of barley grass helps to keep the busy on a boring inside the run day.

I am trying in particular to give our Cochin/Phoenix mix, Freckles, more options to eat and rest out of the wind. Freckles as you may recall has been under the weather in her post-brooding and molting months.

Close up

Freckles, the Phoenix/Cochin mix in better health. 

We have been giving Freckles a small amount of cat food each morning in a special efforts to get more protein into her. We have been separating her for feeding from the others who quickly gobble up her food. This lowers her stress that arises from pecking and marauding from the other birds and has been a strategy this is working. This week her very pale comb has slowly pinking up on tis way to a normal red color. Her eyes have brightened a bit as well. She is still nervous around the Rhodies and avoids eating with the others in fear of being pecked but she is doing a bit better each week. My goal is to have her well as soon as possible because winter is coming very soon.

It is 32 degree today and spitting snow…..goodbye fall. Hello winter.

Small House homesteader, Donna